Pensacola, Florida
Monday March 25th 2019


The Buzz 4/12/18

Tanyard Flooding With the help of the Thriving Earth Exchange, the Tanyard Association and Flood Forum USA have partnered to recruit a scientist to assist the neighborhood association in investigating its flooding challenges and provide recommendations on how to mitigate future flooding. The scientist will also work with the community leaders to prepare recommendations for presentation to residents and local government entities.

Thriving Earth Exchange helps volunteer scientists and community leaders work together to use science, especially Earth and space science, to tackle community issues and advance local priorities related to natural hazards, natural resources and climate change. By 2019, Thriving Earth Exchange will launch 100 partnerships, engage over 100 AGU members, catalyze 100 shareable solutions and improve the lives of 10 million people, according to its mission statement.

Dr. Gloria Horning, vice president of the Tanyard Association, will serve as the community lead. Marilynn Lowe, the Tanyard Association president, will assist her. They would like to work with a hydrologist to investigate local hydrodynamics, synthesize available reports and develop next steps or proposed solutions.

The project is one of Thriving Earth Exchange’s new cohorts. The organization has partnered with Flood Forum USA, which supports grassroots flood groups across the country by helping them develop strategies for a sustainable future.

Thriving Earth Exchange is working with 10 of their grassroots groups to connect them with scientists who can help them better characterize neighborhood-level flood risks and work effectively with local decision-makers to mitigate those risks.

Best Florida Beach Pensacola Beach won the title of “Best Florida Beach” in USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice 2018 voting. Our area actually boasted not one but two nominations for the contest, with the Gulf Islands National Seashore coming in third place.

“Once again, the response from our visitors and residents show the pride we have in our nationally-acclaimed beaches,” Visit Pensacola President Steve Hayes said. “Receiving this recognition illuminates the unique experience that is Pensacola and all of the unmatched areas and activities America’s first settlement has to offer. We all benefit when one of our beaches is named one of the top destinations in the nation.”

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by a public popular vote.

Dr. Z Runs for Congress Dr. Jennifer Zimmerman, a Santa Rosa County pediatrician, says she will run for Congressman Matt Gaetz’s seat as a Democrat. Born in the Philippines, she arrived in the United States in 1993. Zimmerman has been a pediatrician in the state of Florida since 1997, taking care of children and adolescents in Palatka, Crestview, Fort Walton Beach and, for the past 17 years, Pace.

Upset over what she considers an assault on health care, Zimmerman states on her campaign website, “As a pediatrician and as a mother, I want to be your voice in advocating for every American’s right to health care. Silence is no longer an option, and I am committed as a candidate for Florida’s 1st Congressional District.”

She will face Phil Ehr, a Navy veteran, in the Democratic primary in August. Cris Dosev and John Mills are running against Gaetz in the GOP primary.

Zimmerman joins a record number of females seeking Congressional seats this year. According to the Associated Press, the number of women running for seats in the U.S. House of Representatives sets a record with 309 women filing candidacy papers so far in 2018.

Airport Makes Turkey List Every year, Florida TaxWatch reports on the items in the state budget that it considers “turkeys”—appropriations included without being fully scrutinized and subjected to the budget committee process or that circumvented established processes.

Escambia County had one item on the list—$1 million for the Escambia County Beulah Interchange Connector, which Gov. Rick Scott struck from the budget using his line-item veto power.

Florida TaxWatch also included on the “turkey list” an appropriation for $3 million for expansion at the Pensacola International Airport to accommodate additional hangars for VT MAE. Scott did not veto this item.

As an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit taxpayer research institute and government watchdog, Florida TaxWatch provides independent research and analysis of issues related to state and local government taxation, expenditures, policies and programs. The “turkey” label does not signify judgment of a project’s worthiness but focuses on the Florida budget process to ensure that all appropriations using public funds receive the deliberation, debate and accountability they deserve.

Why target the local transportation projects? The projects that are not part of the DOT Work Program take scarce transportation dollars away from the vetted and comprehensively planned projects that are in the Work Program.

Florida TaxWatch would prefer a formal competitive selection process, with whatever criteria the Legislature sees fit, be established. The organization would also like a set amount of funding to be established so DOT may include it in the Work Program, and the Legislature should not exceed that amount unless it uses general revenue to fund the additional cost.

The 2018 Budget Turkey Watch Report can be found at

The Power of One The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) found the part of Escambia County Ordinance No. 2017-65 that permits “light industrial uses” within the MU-S future land use category is “not consistent with the Escambia County Comprehensive Plan.”

The DEO referred the matter to the Division of Administrative Hearing and requested an Administrative Law Judge be assigned for a hearing on the inconsistencies.

The petitioner was Jacqueline A. Rogers. In an email, she wrote, “It is very sad to me that the only one responsible for holding local governments to stay consistent with their Comprehensive Plan is the citizen, as the state, since 2011, no longer has any review powers for anything that is not considered affecting state facilities or assets.”

She added, “This is frequently incorrectly explained at county meetings by the development staff, where it is said the state will review ordinances and transmittals for consistency, but they will not if they do not affect their state resources.”

Rogers first filed her petition with the county on Dec. 13, 2017, less than two weeks after the Board of County Commissioners adopted the ordinance. The county took no action and Rogers filed an instant petition with DEO.

Help With Turtle-Friendly Lighting Escambia County has launched the Sea Turtle Protection Program initiative to reduce the amount of artificial light on Pensacola Beach. The county commission passed Escambia County’s Barrier Island Lighting Ordinance in 2014, which required turtle-friendly lighting for new construction and gave existing lights until Jan. 1, 2018, to come into compliance. Any light visible from the beach must meet the turtle-friendly standards found in the ordinance. Properties that don’t comply could be subject to a civil citation.

To help Pensacola Beach residents, the county is offering a cost-share retrofit program. If eligible, property owners may be reimbursed up to $56 per fixture and $25 per bulb to retrofit existing lights to turtle-friendly alternatives.

Artificial lighting is one of the largest threats to nesting and hatchling sea turtles. Bright lights can deter nesting behaviors, while hatchlings often confuse artificial lights with the natural light sources. This causes disorientation, leading hatchlings away from the Gulf and into danger.

Pensacola Beach residents and property owners are encouraged to contact Natural Resources Management at 595-1144 or Samantha Bolduc at to see if they are eligible for the cost-share program. More information about the project and sea turtles in Escambia County can be found at

International Professionals Forum The Pensacola Young Professionals and the Young Professionals of the Gulf Coast Citizen Diplomacy Council will host the “International Professionals Forum with Pensacola Perspective” 5:30-7 p.m Thursday, April 19. in Meeting Room B of the West Florida Public Library, 239 N. Spring St.

The panel will include Mambwe Mutanuka, corporate director of Contracting Governance, Risk & Compliance at Baptist Health Care; Dora Omerico, realtor at Levin Rinke Realty; Araba Hanson-Knoblock, client manager at Vizient Inc.; Dr. Kwame Owusu-Daaku, assistant professor, Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of West Florida; Julia Steinmetz, master’s degree exchange student at the University of West Florida; Mehrdad Valinasab, process engineer at Ascend; and Toby Diehl, support technician at AppRiver. Paul Stadden, public relations associate at the Waterfront Rescue Mission, will moderate the panel.

GenCyber Camps The University of West Florida Center for Cybersecurity will host the only National Security Agency/National Science Foundation GenCyber summer camps in the state for high school students and middle and high school teachers. The camps will serve as a platform to increase interest in cybersecurity careers and workforce diversity, enhance cybersecurity awareness and improve cybersecurity content and teaching methods.

Each camp will include 24 high school students and 12 middle and high school teachers, who will learn about Cybersecurity First Principles through engaging curricula and hands-on activities in the UWF Cybersecurity Battle Lab. The first camp will be June 25-29, and the second camp will be July 9-13. Each camp session will be from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on the UWF Pensacola campus. For more information or to register, visit

Kids For Camp Instructors Needed Autism Pensacola’s summer learning lab, Kids for Camp, needs instructors. Kids for Camp is a nationally-acclaimed program designed to provide training in best practices, using Applied Behavior Analysis and Verbal Behavior, for teaching children with autism.

Autism Pensacola is currently accepting applications from people of all experience levels to work as instructors in its summer program. The unique learning lab offers hands-on, ongoing coaching and support to the educators on staff.

Dates for camp are June 18-July 24. Staff training is June 12-14. Kids for Camp is located at Capstone Academy, Holm Elementary and Booker T. Washington High in Pensacola.

Kids for Camp is supported through strong community partnerships with the Autism Center of The Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Sacred Heart, Escambia County School District and Capstone Adaptive Learning and Therapy Centers, along with the support of generous people and businesses in the greater Pensacola area. For information on how to apply, go to

Mark Your Calendar The Alpha chapter of Alpha Delta Kappa, an international women’s education honorary organization, will host a tea as a fundraiser to support their annual college scholarship program 2-4 p.m. Saturday, April 14 at Asbury Place behind Cokesbury Church on 9th Avenue. Rachael Pongetti, a Pensacola High art teacher, photographer and 2018 recipient of the national George Washington medal award from Freedoms Foundation of Valley Forge, will give a presentation on her book “Uncovering the Layers: The Pensacola Graffiti Bridge Project.” The organization’s goal is to encourage young women to obtain their college degree and return to teach in our school district. Tickets are $15. To learn more, email

The first-ever “Walk The Beach To Fight ALS” is set for 9:30 a.m. Sunday, April 15 on Pensacola Beach. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. at Flounder’s Chowder House. All of the proceeds will be donated to the local ALS chapter to honor Pensacola Beach resident and businessman Jim Elbert, who passed away last month after a courageous battle with ALS. Entry is $25 and includes a custom “Walk The Beach” t-shirt and a ticket to attend the VIP Walkers Celebration from 10:30 a.m.-noon at Flounder’s. Light refreshments are included and there will be a cash bar. The event is open to the public and is family-friendly.

The Studer Community Institute and Pensacola News Journal host “CivicCon: Community Driven Design with Michaele Pride” at 6 p.m. Monday, April 16 at the Rex Theater, 18 N. Palafox. Pride is a professor of architecture at the University of New Mexico. As an architect and urban designer, she emphasizes principles of consensus, collaboration and public engagement in her teaching, research and professional consulting. Her current work focuses on the intersection between design and public health, seeking ways to create healthy, sustainable and equitable communities. To learn more, visit

Art, Culture and Entertainment, Inc. is accepting grant applications to be considered for the 2018 Foo Foo Festival. Deadline for submission is 4 p.m. Friday, April 27. Submit your application online at