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 […]

Bridge contract grows as cracks await repair

Bridge contract grows as cracks await repair

The price of the new Pensacola Bay Bridge has recently gone up as the Florida Department of Transportation awaits promised repairs to cracks in the work already done. Documents obtained in a public records request show that Skanska USA has been awarded a “supplemental” contract for about $25 million—in addition to the $398.5 million in […]

United Way seeks relevancy during holidays

United Way seeks relevancy during holidays

The embattled United Way of Santa Rosa is open for business, though not quite as usual. But the charity isn’t open to questions about the month-old federal probe into its finances or the circumstances that prompted the seizure of documents by investigators and the firing of three paid officials at the Milton office. Read the […]

Tiger Point residents to fight golf club selloff

Tiger Point residents to fight golf club selloff

Fearing traffic jams and drainage woes, some neighbors of Tiger Point Golf Club plan to take their case against the proposed sale of two parcels on the property by its owner, the City of Gulf Breeze, to Santa Rosa County officials. “We get it, the city owes a lot of money on the golf course […]

New mayors in opposite ends of Santa Rosa

New mayors in opposite ends of Santa Rosa

Spirited elections in mayor’s races were won by David Landfair in Gulf Breeze and Heather Lindsay in Milton on Tuesday. Both newly minted mayors said they are humbled by their victories and plan to dig in quickly on addressing community issues. Landfair, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and JROTC instructor at Gulf Breeze High […]

United Way regroups during FBI probe

United Way regroups during FBI probe

The federal probe of finances at the United Way of Santa Rosa County may be delving into matters of donations, spending and the charity’s payroll that few if any of its 27 directors understand. That’s because the nonprofit had a “separate budget” in addition to its regular ledger in 2015 and 2016, according to Guy […]

United Way financial questions mount

United Way financial questions mount

As federal agents continue their probe into finances at United Way of Santa Rosa, records at the agency show that staff salaries there kept soaring before the volunteer board recently stepped in to put three employees on paid leave and order a special audit. While donations and grants have been on a roller coaster at […]

Changes promised by Gulf Breeze candidates

Changes promised by Gulf Breeze candidates

More government transparency, less litigation and increased civility toward residents who speak out at City Council meetings are being promised by both candidates for mayor in Gulf Breeze. David Landfair, who has been on the council for eight years, is making himself sound like an outsider bent on reform at times. Read the full article […]

Utility tweaks Tiger Point land sale for school

Utility tweaks Tiger Point land sale for school

If you buy it, you fix it. That’s essentially what the City of Gulf Breeze wants the Santa Rosa School District to do as a condition to purchase 45 acres of land on Tiger Point Golf Club property. Read the full article in the Oct. 25 issue of Navarre Press. Visit www.navarrepress.com/subscribe to view subscription […]

New managers on tap at Holley Navarre Water

New managers on tap at Holley Navarre Water

  In the wake of an accident that cost Holley Navarre Water System at least at least a quarter of its sewage treatment capacity and perhaps more than $1 million in repairs, one manager has been terminated and another will retire. Board member Brett Ramsey told the Navarre Press that Zach Lewis, the wastewater plant […]

Ethics charge filed in Gulf Breeze mayor race

Ethics charge filed in Gulf Breeze mayor race

  The election campaign for mayor of Gulf Breeze heated up further on Friday with an ethics complaint filed against Patty Burke, who is challenging Mayor Pro Tem David Landfair. The written complaint to the Florida Ethics Commission in Tallahassee by Joe Henderson, a former Gulf Breeze city council member, charged that Burke is illegally […]

Fairpoint’s finances get big boost

Fairpoint’s finances get big boost

The collective of utilities that supplies Holley Navarre Water System has discovered a line of low-interest credit that can apparently be used to cover much of its infrastructure costs for years to come. John Grant, the volunteer president of Fairpoint Regional Utility System, told the Navarre Press: “We found a million dollars that we didn’t […]

New details: FBI probes United Way’s finances

New details: FBI probes United Way’s finances

Board directors at United Way of Santa Rosa have told the charity’s outside auditor to assist the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which began looking into the organization’s finances earlier this month. The nonprofit’s federal tax records examined by a reporter indicate that while its donations and grants had been dwindling between 2014 and 2016—the only […]

School flu shot company to go off-campus

School flu shot company to go off-campus

Being barred from administering flu shots at Santa Rosa schools won’t stop the Jacksonville company’s vaccination program here. Instead, Healthy Schools LLC plans to jump-start its for-profit program of flu shots for public school students at off-campus locations in cooperation with the Florida Department of Health. The Santa Rosa School Board suspended the company’s in-school […]

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