Kyle Holley

Breaking: United Way acting chair arrested for theft

Breaking: United Way acting chair arrested for theft

Santa Rosa United Way’s acting chairman was arrested Monday night for allegedly stealing from the nonprofit. David “Davey” Willhoit, 41, of Milton was taken into custody by the Milton Police Department after he allegedly made two unauthorized withdrawals from one of United Way’s bank accounts. According to United Way acting administrator Kyle Holley, Willhoit withdrew […]

Defunct United Way to refund donations

Defunct United Way to refund donations

Stripped of the right to call itself a United Way earlier this month, the remaining shell of the Santa Rosa chapter has decided to refund all donations collected so far in 2019 via payroll deductions. “The board has directed me to give back the donations,” Kyle Holley, the acting administrator of the Milton-based charity, told […]

Leaseholders reject county’s beautification plans

Leaseholders reject county’s beautification plans

Some of the planned improvements for Gulf Boulevard along Navarre Beach have been put “on the back burner” according to county Tourist Development Director Julie White. White said plans to replace benches and garbage cans while adding shade sails along the high-traffic portion of Gulf Boulevard are not moving forward amid complaints from beach residents. […]

County purchases Westgate property

County purchases Westgate property

Santa Rosa County commissioners voted Monday to purchase the Westgate Mobile Home property as part of a land purchase for conservation around NAS Whiting Field. In October, the Westgate Mobile Home Community was left without water when an aging septic tank cracked and began releasing sewage. Read the full article in the Feb. 14 issue […]

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 […]

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 […]

TDC fed up with two of everything

TDC fed up with two of everything

Two plunges is too many. That was the position taken by Tourist Development Council (TDC) member Liz Horton, a bed tax collector from the south end. She said she is tired of two of everything in Navarre from chamber of commerce breakfasts to events like New Year’s Day plunges. Read the full article in the […]

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 […]

Tourist development project list takes shape

Tourist development project list takes shape

A revisit of the strategic plan resulted in a checklist of projects for the Tourist Development Council (TDC) Sept. 6 as the council weighed where their best investments would be to increase quality of place. Under the 2017-2021 Strategic Plan for the Santa Rosa County TDC, the group charged with oversight of bed taxes collected […]

Westgate families get helping hand; some still stuck

Westgate families get helping hand; some still stuck

United Way of Santa Rosa County has thrown a life preserver to a dozen families stranded without water at a Milton mobile home park. But the rescue is slow going. Residents of Westgate Mobile Home Park, located just outside NAS Whiting Field, have been without water for more than a month. Read the full article […]

Tourism council balks at Milton Riverwalk fund request

Tourism council balks at Milton Riverwalk fund request

Milton officials faced harsh questioning by members of the Tourist Development Council (TDC) Aug. 2 over whether to commit funds toward the continuing Milton Riverwalk project. Milton City Manager Randy Jorgenson came to the TDC requesting funding for construction of additional Riverwalk pathway along 210 feet of shoreline in downtown Milton next to the Blackwater […]

Infrastructure grants off the table

Infrastructure grants off the table

Despite taking a hardline approach in May, the Tourist Development Council (TDC) flip-flopped Tuesday, voting to fund several out of cycle Local Event Marketing Grants just weeks before the TDC’s final budget proposal is due to the county. In doing so they gutted a plan to offer two $10,000 grants for the encouragement of budding […]

Tourist Development Council cancels county tour

Tourist Development Council cancels county tour

Santa Rosa County’s Tourist Development Council (TDC) has canceled its planned countywide field trip, citing concerns about legal liability and potential violation of the Sunshine Law. The group, which makes recommendations about the expenditure of county bed taxes, was scheduled to get a firsthand look at tourism assets throughout the county July 2 in a […]

Holley calls for revisiting of long-term plan for Navarre projects

Holley calls for revisiting of long-term plan for Navarre projects

It took the Tourist Development Council seven hours of debate in October over how to pay for a $7 million renovation of Navarre Park to finally come to a consensus. In a meeting filled with differing perspectives, by the end of the Oct. 5, 2017, meeting all those sitting on the board agreed on a plan […]

Local option sales tax may fund new Avalon sports park

Local option sales tax may fund new Avalon sports park

Following the acceptance by voters of a half-cent local option sales tax (LOST) in November 2016, the Board of County Commissioners held a series of public meetings throughout the county asking what the public would like to see done with that money. A repeated plea was recreational space, including additional sports fields. Read the full […]

Sanborn supporters lament his exit from TDC

Sanborn supporters lament his exit from TDC

Jack Sanborn’s forced resignation from the Santa Rosa County Tourist Development Council last week came so suddenly that some of his supporters missed their chance to send letters backing him. “I was preparing a letter but he resigned before I could send it,” said Milton City Councilman Alan Lowery, who also sits on the volunteer […]

Tourist Development Council to hit the road

Tourist Development Council to hit the road

As the Santa Rosa County Tourist Development Council (TDC) continues to push toward prioritizing funding of physical tourism assets, some members of the council admitted a lack of firsthand knowledge of some existing tourism facilities. “I think if we could go back in time a little bit and actually tour some of those areas, see […]

Update: Sanborn resigns from Tourist Development Council

Update: Sanborn resigns from Tourist Development Council

Update: Jack Sanborn submitted his letter of resignation from his position on the Tourist Development Council Thursday to the Board of County Commissioners. He resigned prior to a scheduled vote to by the BOCC to decide whether or not to remove Sanborn from the council following allegations of threats made on social media and an […]

Tourism Development Council creates annual sponsorship opportunity

Tourism Development Council creates annual sponsorship opportunity

The Santa Rosa County Tourism Development Board took a hardline approach to grant funding for the second year in a row during their May 17 budget workshop meeting, but even with the cutbacks, many events that did not receive the grant may still count this year’s budget a victory. The Local Tourism Event Marketing Grant […]

Five things to know: Tourist Development Council

Five things to know: Tourist Development Council

1. TDC gets grant for sanctuary signage and brochures Now that the Navarre Beach near-shore snorkel reef has nearly doubled in size, Santa Rosa County is seeking ways to lead people to it and to the other features of the Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary. With that in mind, the county applied for a $10,000 grant […]

Chamber seeks new vision for 87

Chamber seeks new vision for 87

  U.S. Highway 98 is changing and a new business corridor is emerging. Though the thoroughfare has functioned as Navarre’s main corridor for decades, increasing traffic and potential expansion plans could mean the roadway may not be able to serve that function much longer, especially for the hundreds of thousands of tourists who visit the […]

Santa Rosa tourists here for friends, stay for events

Santa Rosa tourists here for friends, stay for events

County Commissioners and Tourist Development Council (TDC) members gained insight into the impact of tourism in the county last week as the University of West Florida Haas Center unveiled the Tourism Market Economic Impact Study. This yearlong effort examined many aspects of tourism including spending by visitors, where visitors were coming from and how this […]

Kiln Walk center receives first funding push

Kiln Walk center receives first funding push

  After more than a decade of work and grant applications, the Gulf Coast Kiln Walk in Holley has finally received funds to take the first steps toward making its learning and arts center a reality. But the money is only a drop in the bucket of what the organization will need to break ground. […]

Santa Rosa County Fair brings fun and farming

Santa Rosa County Fair brings fun and farming

Squeals of laughing children and fleeing piglets filled the air Saturday as the 27th annual Santa Rosa County Fair got underway at the Santa Rosa County Fairgrounds in East Milton. This annual celebration of the start of planting season had more than a dozen thrill rides, rodeos, livestock shows, games and more. Featured in the […]

Agriculture makes millions in Santa Rosa

Agriculture makes millions in Santa Rosa

While data show that large drivers of Santa Rosa’s economy are the military bases and blooming tourism industry, there is another arm of the economy doing some heavy financial lifting, and it covers more than half of Santa Rosa County. Agriculture produced nearly $79 million in crops, timber and lumber in Santa Rosa County in […]

Williamson to Tourist Development Committee: ‘Stay in your lane’

Williamson to Tourist Development Committee: ‘Stay in your lane’

In Thursday’s Santa Rosa County Board of Commissioners meeting, District 4 commissioner Rob Williamson questioned the Tourist Development committee’s recommendation to keep $1 million in reserve funds. Noting that the staff recommendation is to keep $750,000 in the reserve fund, Williamson asked, “What is the compelling reason to push it to a million dollars and […]

Tourism board calls for accounting

Tourism board calls for accounting

As newly appointed chairman of the Tourism Development Council (TDC), Kyle Holley has pushed for a change in how the group approaches the county’s future and expenditure of funds. Holley has served on the board for years, but in the matter of a few months he and the rest of the board, largely composed of […]

TDC to drop more meetings, launch project teams

TDC to drop more meetings, launch project teams

In an unscheduled agenda item, the Tourist Development Council (TDC) on Monday discussed cutting its number of meetings each year in half and completely eliminating the committee aspect of the group. Tourism Development Director Julie Morgan said that now the grants process is being handled in one meeting each year, the committee lacked much purpose. […]

Warrior run to receive $15,000 in tourism funds

Warrior run to receive $15,000 in tourism funds

Emerald Coast Warrior Run has been approved for a $15,000 Tourism Development Event Marketing Grant to bring a 5k obstacle course run to the Santa Rosa Fairgrounds in April. This is the first year for the event put on by the Okaloosa County-based Emerald Coast Warriors. Event lead Chandler Robbins said his group hopes to […]

Sunshine Law complaint may go to trial

Sunshine Law complaint may go to trial

Jack Sanborn wants some light shed on allegations that he violated Florida’s Sunshine Law last June by speaking to another volunteer member of the Tourist Development Council. “I’d like to face my accuser and hear exactly what I said that supposedly violated the law,” Sanborn told the Navarre Press this week after State Attorney Bill […]