PENSACOLA BAY AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE The organization announced last week that it has raised more than $7.3 million, $800,000 more than its goal of $6.5 million for Vision 2015, its five-year capital campaign to generate the resources needed to develop a strong economic development program and create 3,000 jobs in the region. The money will be used to implement a well-designed, specific, targeted program of economic development. The Pensacola Bay Area Chamber of Commerce also received a $3 million commitment from the City of Pensacola and Escambia County.
ANNETTE SMITH Superintendent Tim Wyrosdick, Santa Rosa County School Board members, members of the Santa Rosa Education Foundation Board of Directors, and local media surprised the S.S. Dixon Intermediate teacher in her fifth grade classroom at S.S. Dixon Intermediate to announce her selection as Santa Rosa County’s Teacher of the Year. Smith will be Santa Rosa County’s nominee for Florida Teacher of the Year.
PATRICK BRUHA The Pensacola Catholic High School freshman dreamed up the idea for an Eagle Scout project to build osprey platforms for Little Sabine Bay on Pensacola Beach more than a year ago. Bruha, a member of Gulf Breeze Scout Troop 484, soon embarked on a course that would involve the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Santa Rosa Island Authority, the Little Sabine Homeowner’s Association, Gulf Power Company and Pike Electric. Today, two osprey nest platforms now dot Pensacola Beach thanks to his perseverance.
UNITED WAY United Way of Escambia missed a deadline to apply for $89,291 in stat funds that could have been used for emergency food and shelter and then forgot to apply for $192,800 in federal emergency food and shelter funds. These 2009 and 2010 deadline snafus weren’t the only ones. The organization had the responsibility to establish a system that prevented such losses. We hated to see the resignations of two senior leaders, who have done so much for the community, but changes had to be made to ensure these funds aren’t lost again.
ELWYN GUERNSEY The Santa Rosa Island Authority is leading the charge to force DeLuna Fest organizers to pay off Santa Rosa Triathlon, the Pensacola Beach Songwriters’ Festival and the Pensacola Beach Art and Wine Festival. The outdoor music festival attracted more people in its first year than the other lesser events combined over their entire histories. Guernsey wants DeLuna Fest to write checks totaling $18,000, plus guarantee any losses. We expect his next demand to be to have the Starlight Vocal Band as the headliner.
PENSACOLA CITY WORKERS Mayor Ashton Hayward may have discovered a way to increase ridership for Escambia County Area Transit. Effective March 1, 22 city employees will no longer be able to drive home their city-owned vehicles. The move eliminates 22 city-owned vehicles that rack up 2,562 miles a week and is estimated to save more than $30,000 annually.