Teachers’ pay raise limited by school board

Teachers’ pay raise limited by school board

Santa Rosa public school teachers will receive about half of the $3.3 million annual pay raise they have sought per a 5-0 vote by the school board that limited their increase Thursday night. School Superintendent Tim Wyrosdick, who had a victory statement prepared in advance, seemed to anticipate the board vote that supported his position […]

Eight new employers wooed by Santa Rosa

Eight new employers wooed by Santa Rosa

From a 500-employee gun manufacturing plant to a 300-worker distribution center, Santa Rosa County is seeking to attract a diverse list of potential employers to its three industrial parks or other locations. But Economic Development Director Shannon Ogletree said on Thursday that his efforts are hampered by a lack of financial incentives, starting at the […]

County ready to pay again for economic advice

County ready to pay again for economic advice

The County Commission’s recent proposal to pay up to $120,000 for an economic development strategy devised by a private consultant seems to ignore that it paid $25,000 for such a plan in 2013. In fact, three current commissioners and Santa Rosa Economic Development Director Shannon Ogletree are listed in the report by California-based Chabin Concepts […]

Gulf Breeze nears medical marijuana sales ban

Gulf Breeze nears medical marijuana sales ban

The impending City of Gulf Breeze ordinance that prohibits medical marijuana sales outlets within the municipality’s borders leaves no room for misinterpretation—starting with its first words: “Ban imposed.” Written by the city’s paid staff at the direction of the elected City Council, the new law is tentatively slated to go into effect in mid-to-late August […]

Businessman accepts $850,000 offer for courthouse site

Businessman accepts $850,000 offer for courthouse site

Pensacola businessman Jerry Long didn’t waste time in accepting Santa Rosa’s $850,000 offer for his 19 acres on Avalon Boulevard as the prospective site of the new county courthouse. Long accepted the offer within days after the commission voted to make it last week, according to County Administrator Tony Gomillion. If the 75-day due diligence […]

Last call for first responder

Last call for first responder

The bright red paint still shines, and the siren can scream as loudly as ever, but the hulking firetruck that started a proud career in 1986 in the City of Gulf Breeze is now relegated to the auction block. Finding a new home for the 20-ton Pierce Lance pumper isn’t easy. Since posting a national […]

Medical marijuana in Gulf Breeze squeeze

Medical marijuana in Gulf Breeze squeeze

The message from Gulf Breeze City Council to medical marijuana dispensaries: This town isn’t big enough for both of us. Despite the 70 percent statewide voter approval of the expanded sale of a non-euphoric form of the drug in November, the five-member Gulf Breeze panel is balking at allowing sales in this beachy community of […]

Pace flood control elbows past Navarre

Pace flood control elbows past Navarre

County officials revealed this week that they have moved the start of five flood control projects in the Pace/Pea Ridge area ahead of stormwater containment in Navarre. The roughly $10 million in retention ponds, drainage and other infrastructure for which the county is seeking federal funds in the Pace/Pea Ridge area contrast sharply with those […]

New sales pitch needed for latest courthouse location

New sales pitch needed for latest courthouse location

When the proposed location for a new county courthouse was rejected by voters last year, it failed despite a core of support from downtown Milton and unanimity among the Santa Rosa commissioners who proposed it. The latest prospective site has neither. “I’m disappointed,” Milton City Council Member Alan Lowery told this newspaper Thursday after a […]

Feuding pier partners make peace and plans

Feuding pier partners make peace and plans

Before the partners in Coastal Concessions LLC began a legal war with each other in February, their lease from the county to run the Navarre Beach Pier seemed like a license to mint money. But the dueling lawsuits between Stephanie Maddox and Scott Rayner have now been settled and the roughly $2 million-a-year business that […]

Tiger Point golf neighbors wary of development

Tiger Point golf neighbors wary of development

The owners of homes near the defunct west course of Tiger Point Golf Club are expressing concern they may have new neighbors—either a public school or a sizable housing development. The former course, now vacant, is being studied as a possible school site while its owner—the City of Gulf Breeze—awaits prospective bids on the 47-acre […]

Garcon Bridge purchase picks up steam

Garcon Bridge purchase picks up steam

The first steps toward the state purchase of Garcon Point Bridge, and the reduction or elimination of tolls, are being taken faster than proponents previously expected. Although state legislators had requested earlier this year that the Florida Department of Transportation prepare a report by Jan. 1 on the feasibility of buying the bridge from the […]

Courthouse site search advances fitfully

Courthouse site search advances fitfully

Yes. No. Maybe. Let’s look at somewhere else. That’s how Santa Rosa County commissioners reacted July 10 when they discussed five offers of land on which to build a new county courthouse. Not only was there no consensus on the five offers on choosing a parcel of land for sale or lease—and one for free—from […]

A bridge too close

A bridge too close

Business at the Thai 54 Cuisine restaurant in Gulf Breeze has plummeted by 40 percent since early June, when construction began on the new Pensacola Bay Bridge less than 100 yards from the eatery’s parking lot. “They blow dust here all the time,” said Narueman Nonnapha, owner of the restaurant, which opened in 2012. For […]

County officials scramble for flood control answers

County officials scramble for flood control answers

From requiring developers to dig deeper stormwater retention ponds to imposing new fees on residents that would pay for better drainage, a task force of Santa Rosa residents, county officials and engineers is recommending measures to fight flooding. The strategies are detailed in a draft report from the group that is scheduled to be discussed […]

Effluent deal could save HNWS millions

Effluent deal could save HNWS millions

The proposed lease by Holley Navarre Water System of rural land in the Bergren Road area to dispose of treated wastewater could save much of the estimated $18 million it had planned to spend building a pipe to Eglin Air Force Base for the same purpose. Such savings could help pay for—among other things—repairs to […]

HNWS vows crack down on culprits for effluent overage

HNWS vows crack down on culprits for effluent overage

The failure of Holley-Navarre Water System to stay within its state-approved standard for disposing of treated wastewater is partly the fault of some homeowners who are improperly channeling stormwater  into sewers, according to the utility board’s president, Bien May. In a letter responding to a Navarre Press query, May confirmed the accuracy of this newspaper’s […]

County gets five offers of land for courthouse

County gets five offers of land for courthouse

Five Santa Rosa property owners have come forward with offers of land—one for free and the others for sale—on which to build a new county courthouse. The overtures are in response to county commissioners’ request last month for bids as they reassess their previously unsuccessful strategy to replace the aging downtown Milton courthouse. Read the […]

New houses rise from teardown sites

New houses rise from teardown sites

The number of Santa Rosa homes torn down to build new and bigger ones has nearly doubled since 2012, and the trend is evident from Milton to Gulf Breeze. “I think it’s a healthy sign for the real estate market,” said David Peaden, executive director of the West Florida Homebuilders Association. Read the full article […]

HNWS nearing deal to add effluent disposal sites

HNWS nearing deal to add effluent disposal sites

Unable to stay with the state-approved standard for disposing of treated wastewater by spraying effluent on a golf course or piping it into ponds, Holley Navarre Water System is nearing a deal for a major expansion of disposal capacity. Mindful that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is well aware of the utility’s continuing infringement […]

Santa Rosa among nation’s top 50 scam targets

Santa Rosa among nation’s top 50 scam targets

If it seems that you’re getting more of those suspicious phone calls lately from someone claiming that you’re way overdue on money owed to the Internal Revenue Service or on a credit card, welcome to the club. The Escambia-Santa Rosa County area is ranked 45th among the country’s most popular markets for telephone scammers in […]

Judge seeks to end pier partners’ turmoil

Judge seeks to end pier partners’ turmoil

Although the feuding business partners who manage the Navarre Beach pier are being allowed to stay on after a contract violation, they still face possible sanctions in Santa Rosa Circuit Court. Judge John Simon told Scott Rayner and Stephanie Maddox last week that they must soon end their four-month legal battle through supervised mediation. Read […]

Gulf Breeze Don Quixote tilts power structure

Gulf Breeze Don Quixote tilts power structure

Jim Doyle is disproving the old adage that you can’t fight City Hall. He recently rallied several of his Gulf Breeze neighbors to defeat a plan devised by the City Council and its paid staff to levy a special assessment of $1,686 per home to pay for new stormwater drainage infrastructure near their houses. Doyle […]

County to woo more retailers to Navarre

County to woo more retailers to Navarre

Navarre could eventually be the site of new high-end grocers such as Whole Foods and The Fresh Market if the county successfully expands its fledgling economic development incentives for national retailers as Shannon Ogletree envisions. Read the full article in the May 25 issue of Navarre Press. Subscribe online for as little as $38 per […]

Red tape commandos fight for vets’ benefits

Red tape commandos fight for vets’ benefits

The daunting hodgepodge of forms and documents required to obtain some financial and medical benefits for military veterans has driven up requests for help in Santa Rosa by double digits in the past five years. But even if they lack the precious scraps of evidence to qualify for pensions, insurance and medical care, Karen Haworth […]

Some oversight volunteers feel ignored

Some oversight volunteers feel ignored

Although a citizens group is supposed to oversee how the county’s new half-cent local option sales tax is spent, some members of that panel say the real decisions are being made without their input. Read the full article in the May 18 issue of Navarre Press. Subscribe online at navarrepress.com for as little as $38 […]

Tale of two flood control delays

Tale of two flood control delays

The familiar military axiom “Hurry up and wait” is now shared by the civilian residents of Holley by the Sea and the City of Gulf Breeze who yearn for flood control relief measures they say are long overdue. Each of the similarly sized communities is run by governments that have separate studies in hand documenting […]

State could gain control of Garcon Point tolls

State could gain control of Garcon Point tolls

The first steps toward a state purchase of Garcon Point Bridge and the authority to reduce or eliminate tolls have been taken by the Florida Legislature. Led by freshman Rep. Jayer Williamson from Santa Rosa County and Sen. George Gainer of Panama City, two bills that passed on Friday authorize the Florida Department of Transportation […]

Pier partners pardoned for contract violation

Pier partners pardoned for contract violation

Threatened with possible eviction from their Navarre Beach Pier business, the embattled principals who run it bought more time this week with a three-year-late payment of $3,250 on their revenue-sharing pact with the county. County Attorney Roy Andrews backed off his recent ultimatum to Coastal Concessions LLC over the company’s unauthorized subcontract with an outside […]

Club II comeback appears less likely

Club II comeback appears less likely

The personal bankruptcy case of the Sacred Heart emergency room doctor and his wife who own the Club II athletic center appears no closer to being resolved than when it was filed last October. In fact, rather than offering a plan to satisfy creditors, as ordered by Federal Bankruptcy Judge Jerry Oldshue in Pensacola, Paul […]

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