Kyle Holley

Tourism council backs dog park on sound, not Gulf

Tourism council backs dog park on sound, not Gulf

County commissioners tossed the ball of creating a dog beach to the Tourist Development Council for its input Oct. 3, but conflicting public opinions have made the topic a hot potato. Current law prohibits dogs on all public beaches. Creation of a beach area allowing dogs was originally proposed in August to be located along the […]

How Thompson looted United Way

How Thompson looted United Way

Hubris and a lack of financial oversight are at the center of how junior college dropout Guy Thompson fooled dozens of high-profile community leaders in stealing $652,000 over seven years from the United Way of Santa Rosa County. Thompson, who pleaded guilty to federal charges of embezzlement and tax evasion last week, conducted “hundreds of […]

Navarre Chamber announces new potential home, tourism programming

Navarre Chamber announces new potential home, tourism programming

The Navarre Beach Area Chamber of Commerce is eyeing a new forever home, and with that new space comes new programming targeted at Navarre’s largest economic sector: tourism. Navarre Beach Area Chamber of Commerce Board Chair Gail Acosta presented these new programs and a financial ask May 1 to the county’s Tourist Development Council (TDC). […]

Escambia United Way steps in for defunct Santa Rosa charity

Escambia United Way steps in for defunct Santa Rosa charity

Laura Gilliam is trying to pick up the pieces left by the shattered and scandalized United Way of Santa Rosa County. “We are reaching out to the donors who have supported United Way of Santa Rosa and to the organizations that relied on it for financial help,” said Gilliam, the United Way of Escambia County […]

Commissioners reject purchase of landfill over water supply

Commissioners reject purchase of landfill over water supply

The land above the aquifer that provides water to all of south Santa Rosa County could become the home of a construction debris landfill after the County Commission indicated Monday it would reject the owners’ offer to sell the property for $12 million. Blue Water Holdings SRC Inc. owns the property itself. Read the full […]

County Fair is back in town

County Fair is back in town

For two weekends, residents are invited to get up close with the agricultural side of their area during the annual Santa Rosa County Fair. Organizer Kyle Holley, representing the Santa Rosa County Fair Association Inc., said it is all about agriculture education. Read the full article in the March 28 issue of Navarre Press. Visit […]

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 […]