Rob Williamson to run water utility

Rob Williamson to run water utility

In a move that smacks of more closed-door politics at Holley Navarre Water System, County Commissioner Rob Williamson has been offered a contract to run the utility, a job for which he has essentially no experience. “We’ll never know if he was the most qualified because we didn’t advertise the job and get applications from […]

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 […]

FBI probes United Way of Santa Rosa

FBI probes United Way of Santa Rosa

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is researching documents an agent took from the Milton office of United Way of Santa Rosa County on Thursday, and the charity put three officials on paid administrative leave. The federal probe coincides with an audit that United Way officials have hired the Pensacola accounting firm of Warren Averett to […]

Lax oversight raises concerns about school flu shots

Lax oversight raises concerns about school flu shots

In the wake of parents protesting that some Santa Rosa school students were given flu vaccinations against their wishes, questions are being raised about the large Jacksonville company that administers the shots with minimal oversight. Public documents and interviews with government officials indicate that although the Santa Rosa County School District abruptly suspended the flu […]

Water utility accident prompts state inquiry

Water utility accident prompts state inquiry

Holley Navarre Water System has lost at least a quarter of its wastewater treatment capacity due to an operator’s mistake at the utility’s main plant on Sept. 24 and state regulators are requesting details. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has written a letter to HNWS General Manager Paul Gardner seeking “a report of the […]

No end in sight to effluent pumped into sound

No end in sight to effluent pumped into sound

Although county commissioners have said for years that cleaning up Santa Rosa Sound is a top priority, the water utility they control will apparently keep putting treated sewage effluent into the bay indefinitely. The county-owned Navarre Beach Water System has applied for and received tentative approval for a five-year renewal of its state permit to […]

Navarre leaders tackling worries about road plan

Navarre leaders tackling worries about road plan

A proposal to build a “community access road” to ease traffic on Highway 98 is being repackaged in an effort to calm the concerns of some Navarre residents. In fact, the whole idea of using the word “road” to describe the alternate route for local traffic in the Holley by the Sea area is now […]

BREAKING: Bridge contractor to replace concrete

BREAKING: Bridge contractor to replace concrete

After months of downplaying the seriousness of cracks found in construction of the new Pensacola Bay Bridge, the contractor will tear out and replace several sections, Ian Satter, a Florida Department of Transportation official, wrote to the Navarre Press in an email on Thursday that Skanska USA, the agency’s general contractor on the $400 million […]

Pensacola bridge builder also faces Orlando cracks

Pensacola bridge builder also faces Orlando cracks

Another Skanska USA bridge in progress, another span dealing with cracks in new concrete construction. As the New Jersey-based contractor works to solve cracks that have appeared in the new $400 million Pensacola Bay Bridge, it has also been confronted with similar flaws in its new bridge on Interstate 4 in Orlando. Read the full […]

Gulf Breeze race for mayor ramping up

Gulf Breeze race for mayor ramping up

The first two candidates for mayor in the City of Gulf Breeze in a decade to actually put up yard signs and knock on doors have already spent many times the $1 a year that the job pays, and their campaigns are just now gearing up. “I was thinking I could do this campaign without […]

Santa Rosa budget to rise 5 percent

Santa Rosa budget to rise 5 percent

In a Tuesday night meeting notable mainly for its brevity and levity, Santa Rosa County Commissioners voted 4-0 to approve a budget increase of about 5 percent to $175.3 million for fiscal 2018-2019. Before adjourning after less than 10 minutes the board kept ad valorem tax millage rate where it has been since 2007—at 6.095 […]

Gulf Breeze grapples with stormwater costs

Gulf Breeze grapples with stormwater costs

Raising the monthly stormwater utility fee by more than 80 percent to $9.20 is being proposed for City of Gulf Breeze homeowners. But even that increase won’t be enough to cover the utility’s long-term costs and pay off debt, according to documents provided by City Manager Samantha Abell. Read the full article in the Sept. […]

School district will hire bus liaisons

School district will hire bus liaisons

Let’s talk about it. Beleaguered by parents who are frustrated over poor bus service as the school year starts, Santa Rosa District Superintendent Tim Wyrosdick will hire two new officials to listen and better communicate what’s being done in response. Read the full article in the Sept. 13 issue of Navarre Press. Visit www.navarrepress.com/subscribe to […]

Emails show bridge project riddled with missteps

Emails show bridge project riddled with missteps

From poor communication between management and workers to using the wrong formula of concrete, Skanska USA has run into many problems in the current construction of the new Pensacola Bay Bridge, according to inspectors. Within the more than 100 Florida Department of Transportation emails related to the three-mile span—obtained by this newspaper in a public […]

Agencies stonewalling on bridge flaws

Agencies stonewalling on bridge flaws

Sen. Bill Nelson’s office is warning that thousands of cracks found in construction on the Pensacola Bay Bridge, among others, “may involve inadequate supervision.” But both Nelson’s office and the Navarre Press have been blocked by government agencies in requests for details on the construction of bridges in Florida. Read the full article in the […]

New school board seeks harmony with teachers

New school board seeks harmony with teachers

With two teachers union-backed candidates winning seats on the Santa Rosa School Board, some members foresee more cooperation on the lingering pay dispute that could ease contention with District Superintendent Tim Wyrosdick. “We need to look at our priorities, which include instructional salaries,” said Wei Ueberschaer. She defeated District 5 board incumbent Scott Peden, winning […]

Former bridge worker questions construction cracks

Former bridge worker questions construction cracks

Whistleblowers often start expose quests alone, backed only by personal revelations and their reputations. Motivations are always open to the question: What’s in it for them? Richard William Gibbons Jr. knows he will face scrutiny about speaking to the Navarre Press this week, leveling assertions that the numerous cracks found in newly placed concrete on […]

Election could turn school board topsy-turvy

Election could turn school board topsy-turvy

Some critics of the Santa Rosa County school board say the five-member panel often wields a rubber stamp for District Superintendent Tim Wyrosdick. But others wonder if the Aug. 28 election could create an imbalance of influence with a new majority that favors the Santa Rosa Professional Educators (SRPE) teachers union, which is locked in […]

School nurse ranks thin in Santa Rosa

School nurse ranks thin in Santa Rosa

By most measures the quality of health care in Santa Rosa public schools is high, but that’s despite a relatively low ratio of registered nurses to the rising student population. In a diplomatically worded report to the county school board earlier this month, Leslie Adams, the district’s nursing coordinator under the Florida Department of Health, […]

School budget makes for an eternal impasse

School budget makes for an eternal impasse

The proposed $366 million budget for Santa Rosa County’s public schools in 2018-2019 is ground zero in a labor-management battle between teachers and district Superintendent Tim Wyrosdick that underscores the frustration on both sides. To the teachers’ Santa Rosa Professional Educators (SRPE) union, the most unsatisfying part of the budget is the sometimes misunderstood “general […]

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