Headlines

Weak bed tax totals expected to continue

Weak bed tax totals expected to continue

Santa Rosa’s Tourist Development Council (TDC) will likely be tightening the purse strings in 2020 after two months of lackluster bed tax collections, directly on the heels of a record-setting year. Bed taxes are the additional fees collected on temporary accommodations in the county, earmarked for tourism promotion and projects by state statute. Read the […]

County takes $35 million loan for new courthouse

County takes $35 million loan for new courthouse

Santa Rosa County is set to take on a $35 million loan for construction of a new courthouse on Avalon Boulevard, with an expected interest payment of $13 million over 20 years. Commissioners voted Jan. 9 to pursue Synovus Bank’s offer as the best option of the six tax-exempt, fixed rate, non-bank qualified loan offers […]

Leonardo to open support center at Whiting Aviation Park

Leonardo to open support center at Whiting Aviation Park

Leonardo, through AgustaWestland Philadelphia Corp., will soon build a comprehensive support center at the Whiting Aviation Park in Santa Rosa County after being awarded a contract to replace the navy’s fleet of aging training helicopters at NAS Whiting Field. “We are excited in Santa Rosa County that Leonardo was awarded the new contract acknowledging their […]

US sending home 21 Saudi cadets after shooting

US sending home 21 Saudi cadets after shooting

Washington (AP) – The United States is removing nearly two dozen Saudi military students from a training program and sending them back to Saudi Arabia following after an investigation into a deadly shooting by a Saudi aviation student at a Florida navy base last month, Attorney General William Barr said Monday. Many of the 21 […]

Homeowners battle repeat flooding from drainage system

Homeowners battle repeat flooding from drainage system

The front porch of the home at the corner of Avenida De Sol and Mercado Street in Navarre is a bit different from the neighbors. There’s no furniture or decorations. Sandbags are piled to one side, and walls around the door frame have been modified with a system to allow plastic barriers to be snapped […]

Suspect leads deputies on multiple high-speed chases

Suspect leads deputies on multiple high-speed chases

Santa Rosa Sheriff’s deputies were led on a series of high-speed pursuits through before finally bringing an alleged car thief into custody Jan. 3. Coty James Anderson, 23, of Milton is facing 19 felony charges and five misdemeanors for the incidents that occurred over the course of two days. According to multiple arrest reports, the […]

Pace nurse allegedly molests elderly patient

Pace nurse allegedly molests elderly patient

DNA evidence led to the Jan. 3 arrest of a medical center nurse from Pace for allegedly molesting a disabled elder in his care.   James Ronald Bemis, 71, is charged with felony lewd and lascivious molestation of an elderly, disabled adult and felony indecent exposure in the presence of an elderly, disabled adult. According […]

Barber announces bid for superintendent

Barber announces bid for superintendent

Another face familiar to school district administration has thrown her hat into the ring in the 2020 race for Santa Rosa County school superintendent. Dr. Karen Barber made her intentions official Jan. 6 by prefiling with the Supervisor of Elections office. Barber currently serves as director of federal programs for the district, and she is […]

Severed hand report false

Severed hand report false

Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s deputies and even the county’s medical examiner were convinced it was a hand found on Navarre Beach Sunday afternoon. But it wasn’t. According to Sheriff Bob Johnson, the object was convincing looking. It even fooled him he said. According to a press release, a citizen saw the “hand” on the beach. […]

Helen Back property sold

Helen Back property sold

The long vacant waterfront restaurant at 8651 Navarre Parkway sold for $1.25 million in late November 2019. Now the new owners are looking at their options. The parcel had previously been the home of Helen Back Again. The restaurant closed its doors back in 2017, and the property was turned over to Beach Community Bank […]

Panera, Whataburger, Firestone planned for Navarre

Panera, Whataburger, Firestone planned for Navarre

Applications to the Zoning Board may have revealed what will neighbor an Aldi grocery store currently under construction in Navarre. The application was posted to the county’s website Jan. 2 ahead of the Jan. 9 meeting. According to site plans provided in the project application the grocery store project near the corner of Ortega Street […]

Pen Air ATM theft

Pen Air ATM theft

Santa Rosa Sheriff’s Office deputies were dispatched to a drive-thru alarm at Pen Air Federal Credit Union on Gulf Breeze Parkway at about 3:30 a.m., Dec. 24. When they arrived, they discovered the outside ATM was burglarized and the contents removed. Surveillance videos reveal several individuals dressed in dark clothing were responsible for the burglary. […]

Candidate defends marina water, sewage disposal

Candidate defends marina water, sewage disposal

Raised voices and bickering returned to the Holley Navarre Water System (HNWS) board of directors Dec. 17 amid accusations that a board candidate has been improperly dumping sewage from his marina into the utility’s system. Based on staff calculations, James Dabney owes HNWS $770.83 for using the system for the Navarre Boardwalk and Marine without […]

Deputies investigating Tiger Point shooting

Deputies investigating Tiger Point shooting

Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s deputies are investigating a Monday shooting that occurred near Tiger Lane and Tiger Point Boulevard. According to a press release, deputies were dispatched to the area in reference to a shooting. The complainant was arriving home during the early morning hours when they observed a white vehicle in front of their […]

Storybook ending for Argos

Storybook ending for Argos

Not even the best writer in Hollywood could have scripted this ending. Not one in which the University of West Florida concludes its fourth season in program history with the NCAA Division II national championship. Yet, here in Texas on a chilly Saturday afternoon in late December, the dream became reality. The Argonauts completed a […]

Bus monitor allegedly showed nude photo to students

Bus monitor allegedly showed nude photo to students

An ex-bus monitor for the public schools has been arrested for allegedly showing Holley Navarre Intermediate School students an obscene photograph while on the school bus. According to a Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office arrest report, Jessica Wylie, 35, of Gulf Breeze was previously employed as a bus monitor with Student Transportation of America, the […]

Recycling set to restart Jan. 1

Recycling set to restart Jan. 1

The return of recycling in Santa Rosa County finally has an official date on the books. County Commissioners moved forward this week with approving a final agreement with a third-party hauler to get gathered recyclables from the Central Landfill to Emerald Coast Utilities Authority’s (ECUA) processing plant. While recyclables have continuously been picked up, they […]

A HOPE clinic approved; gas station denied

A HOPE clinic approved; gas station denied

Volunteers of animal advocacy group A HOPE celebrated a victory Dec. 12 after county commissioners gave them the thumbs-up to open a low-cost spay and neuter clinic. The nonprofit was seeking a conditional use to allow it to build a low-cost spay and neuter clinic in Milton on a 25-acre parcel off Pine Blossom Road.

School district buys Edgewood property

School district buys Edgewood property

Despite concerns about traffic on U.S. Highway 98, Santa Rosa County School District moved forward Dec. 12 with plans for a potential new school at the intersection of Edgewood Drive. Located directly south of the end of Edgewood Drive and fronting U.S. Highway 98, the 41-acre property will cost the district $4.85 million.

School district pushes forward with impact fees

School district pushes forward with impact fees

School Superintendent Tim Wyrosdick rejected requests to slow down and wait on impact fees during a lengthy Board of County Commissioners meeting Monday. The school district, which has been pursuing impact fees for more than a year, is nearing implementation of a fee of roughly $5,000 for each newly constructed home. The school board will […]

Navy: Flight training suspended for Saudi students

Navy: Flight training suspended for Saudi students

By Lolita C. Baldor Associated Press Washington (AP) — Flight training has been suspended for more than 300 Saudi Arabian students at three bases in Florida in the wake of the deadly shooting by a Saudi Air Force officer on Friday, the U.S. Navy said Tuesday. Navy Commander Clay Doss said classroom training is going […]

Pace man arrested in homicide

Pace man arrested in homicide

Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s deputies are investigating an deadly stabbing in Pace that occurred in the early evening Dec. 8. Thomas Joseph Lazio, 25, of Pace is charged with homicide in the incident. According to a press release from the sheriff’s office, deputies were dispatched to the 5300 block of Avenida De Golf in Pace […]

Congressman Gaetz: Shooting investigated as terrorism

Congressman Gaetz: Shooting investigated as terrorism

UPDATE Dec. 6, 3 p.m.: In national news reports, several law enforcement officers have identified the shooter at NAS Pensacola as Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, a member of the Saudi Air Force. He was an aviation student at the Naval Air Station. In Gulf Breeze, students and residents are learning one of their own was shot […]

Argos ready for Elite Eight showdown with Bears

Argos ready for Elite Eight showdown with Bears

December football. Nothing beats it. Never mind that there is a chill in the air on a Wednesday evening at Pen Air Field in Pensacola. It’s no big deal for the University of West Florida as it prepares for its next NCAA Division II playoff game. “It’s awesome,” wide receiver Quentin Randolph said. “When the […]

Five things to know: Internet safety for students

Five things to know: Internet safety for students

It’s no secret that dangers lurk online for children. Cases of sexual predators abusing social media to gain access to children are reported with disturbing regularity. But parents in Santa Rosa County took a step to protect their students Nov. 19 during an internet safety presentation in the cafeteria of Holley Navarre Middle School.

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