Donations in limbo amid financial probe

Donations in limbo amid financial probe

In the wake of being expelled from its certifying parent group in Virginia, the embattled Milton-based United Way of Santa Rosa is trying to regroup while contributors look for answers and consider alternatives for charitable deductions from employee paychecks. “The board will have to decide whether we appeal the decertification, or try to continue operations […]

BREAKING: United Way of Santa Rosa expelled

BREAKING: United Way of Santa Rosa expelled

The embattled United Way of Santa Rosa County has been ousted from the charity’s parent organization, United Way Worldwide. Concerns about financial irregularities in the Milton based local United Way prompted trustees of United Way’s umbrella group in Alexandra, Virginia, to act Wednesday. “Effective March 6, 2019, United Way of Santa Rosa County (Milton, Florida) […]

New council member seeks unity in Gulf Breeze

New council member seeks unity in Gulf Breeze

Despite the recent upheaval in City of Gulf Breeze political circles, new council member J.B. Schluter foresees a local government that can quickly focus on solving problemsand making improvements. “I think most people here believe the city is well run,” said Schluter. Read the full article in the Feb. 28 issue of Navarre Press. Visit […]

Federal probe of United Way nears conclusion

Federal probe of United Way nears conclusion

The federal investigation into the United Way of Santa Rosa County’s finances that began last October is expected to conclude in March with the release of information about its findings. Davey Willhoit, the charity’s new chairman, told the Navarre Press earlier this week that he participated in a phone call by some volunteer board members […]

Gulf Breeze steers toward golf cart law

Gulf Breeze steers toward golf cart law

Signs that proclaim “Golf Cart Legal Street” are coming soon to the City of Gulf Breeze. Since 2016 city council members have debated various versions of a proposed ordinance that allows the operation of golf carts on neighborhood streets by adults and teens who view the vehicles as an enjoyable and inexpensive alternative to cars, […]

Pensacola Bay bridge replacement completion a moving target

Pensacola Bay bridge replacement completion a moving target

The general contractor on the Pensacola Bay Bridge replacement missed its Feb. 5 deadline for a $15 million bonus, raising questions about when the overall $420 million project can be completed. Although a roadside sign near the construction site in Gulf Breeze has long proclaimed “summer 2020” for the six-lane, three-mile span to be finished, […]

Gulf Breeze scandal deepens as council digs out

Gulf Breeze scandal deepens as council digs out

Nothing about politics seems to come easy in the City of Gulf Breeze these days. Just when the voters seemed to have elected a popular new mayor last November, the winner–David Landfair–abruptly resigned in January amid a texting scandal. Read the full article in the Feb. 7 issue of Navarre Press. Visit www.navarrepress.com/subscribe to view […]

State audit roils Gulf Breeze City Hall

State audit roils Gulf Breeze City Hall

State auditors who started a probe of Gulf Breeze finances and operations last April continue to ask more questions in an examination destined to extend into summer. “I have spoken with the city manager (Samantha Abell), who expressed her frustration about this,” said State Sen. Doug Broxson. Read the full article in the Jan. 31 […]

Santa Rosa school security gets boost

Santa Rosa school security gets boost

Tripling down on school protection from would be shooters, Santa Rosa schools are spending millions of dollars on new measures to keep out bad guys or stop them in their tracks. In cooperation with Sheriff Bob Johnson, schools are bolstering his force of resource officers with upgraded cameras, alarms that notify more officers within 10 […]

Lease fee delinquencies abound

Lease fee delinquencies abound

Four years after county commissioners agreed to cap the annual lease fees on Navarre Beach residential property at $250 a year, about 130 leaseholder accounts are still overdue with total delinquencies of $216,819. Some of the lease accounts have had overdue balances dating to long before the county capped the fees in 2015, and a […]

Gulf Breeze moving past mayor’s resignation

Gulf Breeze moving past mayor’s resignation

Following the abrupt resignation of Mayor David Landfair last week in a texting scandal, former City Council member Renee Bookout has emerged as the favorite to fill the volunteer panel’s fifth seat as Mayor Pro Tem Cherry Fitch moves up. “I think it would be a smooth transition for her and the council,” said Tom […]

New water utility directors take control

New water utility directors take control

Move over. The four new board members at Holley Navarre Water System wasted no time asserting themselves Tuesday in their first public meeting. They voted to replace board President Will Goulet with one of their own, Mike Kennedy. Read the full article in the Jan. 24 issue of Navarre Press. Visit www.navarrepress.com/subscribe to view subscription […]

BREAKING: Landfair resigns as Gulf Breeze mayor

BREAKING: Landfair resigns as Gulf Breeze mayor

Newly elected Gulf Breeze Mayor David Landfair abruptly resigned on Friday, less than a month into his first term. He wrote the following letter: ”To the City Council and Citizens of Gulf Breeze: Today, I resign as Mayor of the City of Gulf Breeze. Life does not always go as planned. I had looked forward […]

Bridge contractor under pressure for repairs

Bridge contractor under pressure for repairs

State officials have been pressing the lead contractor on the new Pensacola Bay Bridge since October for details on the company’s plan to fix numerous cracks in the span’s concrete deck. In an email to the Florida Department of Transportation, obtained by this newspaper in a public records request, an independent bridge inspector raised questions […]

Water plant operating at reduced capacity

Water plant operating at reduced capacity

The plan at Holley Navarre Water System to temporarily operate its damaged wastewater treatment plant at two-thirds capacity has been approved by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Further, on Dec. 26 the FDEP issued a revision in the water utility’s operating permit to allow replacement of a treatment tank, called a clarifier, that was […]

Gulf Breeze abandons contentious land claim

Gulf Breeze abandons contentious land claim

With a new mayor and two freshman city council members, the City of Gulf Breeze is giving up its long fight to win control of a narrow strip of land between two private homes that has cost the municipality’s taxpayers more than $800,000. “The city is abandoning its claim,” City Attorney Mary Jane Bass told […]

New Navarre school coming bit by bit

New Navarre school coming bit by bit

The planned K-8 school on Elkhart Drive will open by 2021 with a few missing pieces:  no completed classrooms for middle-schoolers and a cafeteria without cooking equipment. Budget constraints at the Santa Rosa County School District prompted the decision to start building a school that’s affordable in the summer of 2019 and gradually add to […]

Accusations cloud water utility election

Accusations cloud water utility election

Hopes are being shaken that cronyism at Holley Navarre Water System would be challenged by the Jan. 15 election in which four seats on the volunteer board of directors are up for grabs. Five Navarre residents who are customers of the water utility recently wrote to its attorney that board member Doug Larson had improperly […]

Santa Rosa warned of state’s tight purse strings

Santa Rosa warned of state’s tight purse strings

We’ll try to help you, but we expect shallow pockets next year. That’s the message that the Santa Rosa County Legislative Delegation brought to local charities, political action groups and other organizations in a pre-Christmas hearing to discuss the 2019 budget and lawmaking session in Tallahassee. Read the full article in the Jan. 3 issue […]

Area housing market on steady growth pace

Area housing market on steady growth pace

The Navarre real estate market isn’t booming quite like sometimes in the past, but it’s on a solid growth trajectory that doesn’t appear to hold a bust in store either. In other words, it may be just right. Read the full article in the Jan. 3 issue of Navarre Press. Visit www.navarrepress.com/subscribe to view subscription […]

Bridge tolls issue goes to court

Bridge tolls issue goes to court

Here comes the judge. After years of cautiously circling each other, posturing and trading ultimatums, state officials and the investors who bought bonds to build the Garcon Point Bridge are headed for a legal showdown. “It seems like they want it their way or no way,” State Rep. Jayer Williamson told the Navarre Press on […]

Williamson’s hands are tied at the water utility

Williamson’s hands are tied at the water utility

The list of duties that are legally off-limits to the newly minted $100,000-a-year Chief Executive Officer at Holley Navarre Water System keeps growing. Already being held at arm’s length by Santa Rosa County officials, ousted District 4 Commissioner Rob Williamson also won’t likely be allowed to handle applications for federal and state grants or loans […]

Utility gives Williamson free rein on travel

Utility gives Williamson free rein on travel

With a new travel budget equal to the $50,000 a year authorized for the entire Santa Rosa County Commission, new Holley Navarre Water System CEO Rob Williamson doesn’t need pre-approval for out-of-town trips to lobby or for other purposes. Although volunteer utility board President Will Goulet told the Navarre Press that the $50,000 isn’t a […]

Gardner reflects on 33 year career before retirement

Gardner reflects on 33 year career before retirement

On an evening in 1995, Paul Gardner and his wife were cresting the top of the Navarre Beach bridge when they spotted a breathtaking view, thousands of lights along the coastal community known as Navarre. The couple were headed home from a celebratory dinner. Gardner had just secured a promotion to Operations Manager at Holley […]

County holds ex-commissioner at arm’s length

County holds ex-commissioner at arm’s length

Wary of violating a Florida statute about consorting with former colleagues, Santa Rosa officials are carefully avoiding work-related contact with Rob Williamson, the new CEO of Holley Navarre Water System. Keeping Williamson at arm’s length has already required dodging an overture last week to tour Holley Navarre Water’s facilities on Turkey Bluff Road along with […]

New leadership takes reins in Gulf Breeze

New leadership takes reins in Gulf Breeze

Working the room with handshakes all around, newly elected Gulf Breeze Mayor David Landfair acted more like a candidate than a winner Monday night. Emblematic of Landfair’s promises of city meetings that are more “collegial” than some of the contentious sessions of recent years, he thanked the 40 or so friends, residents and reporters who […]

Gulf Breeze audit and legal pressures grow

Gulf Breeze audit and legal pressures grow

The state audit that City of Gulf Breeze officials tried to avoid is expanding at a time when the municipality just lost the latest round of a controversial and costly property rights case. City Manager Samantha Abell told the Navarre Press that the Florida Auditor General’s operational review, which began last April, is requiring her […]

Navy aircraft maintenance contract in play

Navy aircraft maintenance contract in play

Concerns among about 400 civilian aircraft maintenance workers at Whiting Field and Pensacola Naval Air Station have prompted renegotiation of their health insurance contract starting Dec. 10. “We’ve got to assess the situation…We don’t want to make it sound as though a strike is looming because we aren’t at that point,” said Tony Wirth, a […]

New mayors look to future in Gulf Breeze and Milton

New mayors look to future in Gulf Breeze and Milton

David Landfair and Heather Lindsay face similar challenges about the future in the small cities to which they were elected mayor at either end of Santa Rosa County on Nov. 6. Both newly minted mayors vowed to quickly address questions that include how to improve and expand the business cores of both communities. Read the […]

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