Florida

FWC sets sights on updating bear management plan

FWC sets sights on updating bear management plan

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is set to update its Florida Black Bear Management Plan, which has been in place in since 2012. The updates, which include new data, an expansion of the Bear Management Unit Profiles and a new section on population management techniques, have been in the works for some time […]

State seeks public input on new education standards

State seeks public input on new education standards

Floridians can weigh in on the revamp of Florida’s K-12 educational standards this month in the Florida Standards Listening Tour series scheduled throughout the state by Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran. The forum closest to Santa Rosa County is scheduled for Oct. 23 at Walton High School in Walton County.   Read the full article in […]

Florida toughens ban on texting while driving

Florida toughens ban on texting while driving

As of Tuesday, Oct. 1, motorists in Florida can be stopped for using a hands-free communications device while driving in a designated school crossing, school zone or active work zone area. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), through its division of the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), sent out an advisory reminding […]

More to the Fountain of Youth than just water

More to the Fountain of Youth than just water

This is the latest in a series of articles on outdoor opportunities worth checking out both in Florida and, every so often, out of state. This story puts the spotlight on The Fountain of Youth, which I visited during my trip to St. Augustine. Along a main street in St. Augustine, complete with stores and a […]

Branham appointed to Alzheimer’s Advisory Committee

Branham appointed to Alzheimer’s Advisory Committee

Michelle Branham knows as much as anyone about Alzheimer’s and the devastating effects of one of the most prevalent diseases in the nation. She’s the vice president of public policy for the Alzheimer’s Association in the state of Florida, and earlier this month, Gov. Ron DeSantis named her to the state’s Alzheimer’s Disease Advisory Committee. […]

Florida teacher compensation deemed a ‘crisis situation’

Florida teacher compensation deemed a ‘crisis situation’

Florida has sunk even lower in the rankings for teacher pay to number 46, according to the National Education Association’s (NEA) annual Rankings of the States. On average Florida teachers are compensated $12,309 less per year than their peers across the country, according to the report released in April of this year.   Read the […]

Director selected for new UWF AI doctorate program

Director selected for new UWF AI doctorate program

The University of West Florida (UWF) and the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) have announced the appointment of Dr. Kristen “Brent” Venable as the inaugural director of the Ph.D. in Intelligent Systems and Robotics program. UWF is partnering with IHMC for the program, which begins this fall.   Read the full article […]

Property owners see average 4.7% insurance increase

Property owners see average 4.7% insurance increase

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) established the 2019 personal and commercial property insurance rates for Citizens Property Insurance Corporation (Citizens) July 29. Citizens announced June 19 that their Board of Governors had approved revised 2019 rates to reflect the projected impact of Assignment of Benefits (AOB) reforms enacted during the 2019 Legislative Session. […]

New rules in place for deer harvest

New rules in place for deer harvest

The reporting system for deer harvest during the new season has changed. All hunters, including those under the age of 16, must now log their harvested deer prior to moving it from where it was located. Hunters must also report the harvested deer within 24 hours.   Read the full article in the Aug. 8 […]

Oil interests threaten test range mission

Oil interests threaten test range mission

This is part three in a series of articles on the impacts of the U.S. Air Force Eglin Gulf Test and Training Range, which consists of 123,000 square miles of overwater training and testing space. Delineated at longitude 86˚ 41’, the Military Mission Line effectively cuts the Gulf of Mexico in half. This imaginary line […]

History comes alive inside nation’s oldest masonry fort

History comes alive inside nation’s oldest masonry fort

This is the latest in a series of articles on outdoor opportunities worth checking out both in Florida and, every so often, out of state. This story puts the spotlight on Castillo de San Marcos, which I visited during my trip to St. Augustine. Gunshots are fired over the water by a man dressed as a […]

Original Underground Railroad led to Fort Mose

Original Underground Railroad led to Fort Mose

This is the latest in a series of articles that will appear occasionally throughout the year on outdoor opportunities worth checking out, both in Florida and, every so often, outside the state. This story features my trip to St. Augustine and a visit to Fort Mose. Slaves in the 1700s in the British-controlled Carolinas had […]

School district analyzing state test data

School district analyzing state test data

Official school grades have not been released yet, but Santa Rosa County School District staffers are already digging into the data about student scores on the Florida Standards Assessments and End of Course Examinations from last school year. Overall, the school district did fairly well, said Bill Emerson, assistant superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment. […]

FWC battling coral reef disease

FWC battling coral reef disease

Coral reefs in the Florida Reef Tract in the southern part of the state, which happens to be one of the largest reef systems in the world, are being impacted greatly by Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease. The disease is caused by bacteria and can be transmitted through direct contact and water circulation. Read the […]

Importance of campfire safety can’t be emphasized enough

Importance of campfire safety can’t be emphasized enough

Camping is pretty much a year-round activity in Florida. And that means campfires are part of the equation. Handled properly, they bring added fun to a weekend trip. Mishandled and it can lead to big-time problems.   Read the full article in the July 11 issue of Navarre Press. Visit navarrepress.com/subscribe to view subscription options […]

Governor slashes funding for local projects

Governor slashes funding for local projects

What initially appeared to be a successful state budget session for Santa Rosa County has taken a disappointing turn, delaying multiple projects. Gov. Ron DeSantis on June 21 released his final list of vetoed items from this year’s $9.1 billion state budget, and all but one of Santa Rosa’s allocations were on the chopping block. […]

Opportunities plentiful in the great outdoors

Opportunities plentiful in the great outdoors

June was tabbed Great Outdoors Month in Florida by Gov. Ron DeSantis. The month was designated to highlight the opportunities available and the benefits of being outdoors. “Our staff works tirelessly to protect and preserve Florida’s environment, and I encourage everyone to spend more time outside enjoying natural Florida,” Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Noah […]

Insurers seek increase despite law change

Insurers seek increase despite law change

Thousands of residential property insurance customers across Florida could see reduced costs in 2019, but on the whole customers will not see cheaper insurance premiums as the result of long-sought regulatory reform. At the forefront of the insurance discussion is an amended rate filing by Florida’s insurer of last resort, Citizens Property Insurance Corporation.   […]

Knowledge is power when it comes to understanding elder law

Knowledge is power when it comes to understanding elder law

Elder law has plenty of layers to it, but legal service providers exist to help seniors navigate their way through it all and keep them informed of their rights and where to turn when they need legal help. “As they say, knowledge is power,” said Ashley Chambers, director of communications for the Florida Department of […]

Out of sight doesn’t mean out of danger when it comes to alligators

Out of sight doesn’t mean out of danger when it comes to alligators

In early June a young girl was attacked by an alligator in Leon County. She and her grandfather had gotten out of the water for a snack and spotted an alligator in the lake in which they’d just been swimming. They waited 30 minutes or so before re-entering the water.   Read the full article […]

Area lawmakers say recreational pot coming

Area lawmakers say recreational pot coming

Recreational marijuana’s legalization in Florida is inevitable and could come within three years, according to Santa Rosa County’s two members of the state House of Representatives. “The whole movement about medical marijuana has really been about recreational use and it’s going in that direction,” said Rep. Alex Andrade, R-Gulf Breeze. Addressing the Gulf Breeze Area […]

State allocates funds to widen 98 in Gulf Breeze

State allocates funds to widen 98 in Gulf Breeze

Approximately four miles of U.S. Highway 98 from Bayshore Road to Portside Drive is set to get two additional lanes. Approval of funding for construction was announced May 30. Read the full article in the June 6 issue of Navarre Press. Visit navarrepress.com/subscribe to view subscription options – or click here sign up to receive […]

Funding cut for BearWise program

Funding cut for BearWise program

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is looking in a different direction after funding for the BearWise program was cut out of the new state budget for the fiscal year that begins in July. Consideration had been made by state lawmakers to earmark $500,000 for BearWise, a program that provides bear-resistant garbage containers to […]

Floridians urged to buy flood insurance

Floridians urged to buy flood insurance

Floridians are less than 30 days from the start of the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season, and state officials are reminding residents to start preparing now. Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis said recent history speaks for itself.   Read the full article in the May 9 issue of Navarre Press. Visit https://navarrepress.com/subscribe/ to view subscription […]

Age-friendly designation given to Florida

Age-friendly designation given to Florida

Florida has been awarded an age-friendly designation through the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities. The initiative to create age-friendly communities and states began in 2012. The Sunshine State currently has 26 communities with the designation. The state now has it as well.   Read the full article in the May 2 issue of […]

Florida lawmakers aim to crackdown on texting while driving

Florida lawmakers aim to crackdown on texting while driving

The Florida Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill March 25 to make texting and driving a primary offense within the state of Florida, but it still must face the full Senate. SB 76 moved through the committee with 5 yeas and 1 nay. Read the full article in the April 4 issue of Navarre Press. […]

Concerns raised over bills to limit public records access

Concerns raised over bills to limit public records access

Several bills put forward in the Florida House and Senate have caught the attention of public records advocates. The biggest bill of concern at the start of session was SB 186 (with companion HB 7017 in the House) which exempts photographs, video and audio recordings of mass killings from public records law. Read the full […]

Generator mandate puts nursing homes in a bind

Generator mandate puts nursing homes in a bind

Nursing home operators are raising concerns about their ability to comply with a 60-day deadline requiring facilities to install generators that can provide electrical power for at least 96 hours in the event of an outage. Florida Gov. Rick Scott issued the emergency order last month in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. The storm is […]

Florida prisoners hold little hope for parole

Florida prisoners hold little hope for parole

Parole in Florida is nearly extinct. Of the approximately 100,000 inmates incarcerated in Florida, only 4,545 are eligible for parole. And even fewer are approved. That is because the state has almost abolished parole across the board. Parole is the release of a prisoner before the completion of a sentence with conditions that a person […]

Educators wary of Scouts’ classroom pitches

Educators wary of Scouts’ classroom pitches

At first glance the “Patriotic Societies” bill that’s working its way through the Florida Legislature may seem wrapped in the American flag and no more contentious than Mom or apple pie. But House Bill 95, also known as the “Scouts Access” proposal, would mandate the right of paid Scout leaders—for both boys and girls—to make […]