Winners & Losers 2/22/18
Trinity Presbyterian Church’s Legacy Fund and the Red Ribbon Charitable Foundation have given $25,000 each to OASIS Florida for the purchase and operation of a mobile testing unit. The testing facility will help the agency address the lack of easily accessible HIV testing facilities in Northwest Florida and travel to areas where at-risk individuals may test more readily, as well as provide access free barrier methods and prevention measures. In Escambia County, African Americans represent only 23 percent of the population but, in 2016, made up 46 percent of reported HIV cases.
Pensacola Humane Society
In 1943, the Pensacola Humane Society opened to address the plight of homeless dogs and cats in the Pensacola area. Today, 75 years later, the nonprofit provides a home to approximately 80 dogs and cats who are given food, shelter, medical care and love until they find their forever homes. The Pensacola Humane Society also offers the Barbara Grice Memorial Low-Cost Spay & Neuter Clinic, which provides the lowest cost spay and neuter services in the greater Pensacola area.
Last week, Escambia County Development Review Committee approved the site plan development order for a campground for the homeless at 1999 Massachusetts Avenue. The nine acres have approval for 20 temporary shelters and hygiene equipment, such as portable toilets and a hand washing station. The DRC vote ended a four-year legal battle.
Politics is a game of compromise. The Florida House leadership refused an outright ban on marriage licenses for people under age 18 that the Florida Senate had approved. The House version allows children, ages 16 and 17, to get married under certain circumstances that include pregnancy. The minors could only marry people who are no more than two years older. The couples also would have to verify pregnancies, and the minors would have to get written consent from their parents or guardians. Shotgun teen marriages will continue in Florida.
Pensacola Bay Center
SMG, the Bay Center’s management company, had to postpone the Ice Flyer’s weekend stand due to unsafe ice conditions. The Bay Center’s equipment needs to be replaced, but the Board of County Commissioners has been reluctant to put more tax dollars into the facility.
Russian Election Interference
The U.S. Department of Justice has indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian firms for meddling in the 2016 election. The defendants allegedly sought to sow political discord, boost Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders and undermine the campaigns of Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. They targeted the “purple states”-Colorado, Virginia and Florida. Russian operatives were behind many of the Florida Goes Trump rallies and the Facebook page “Being Patriotic” that promoted the rallies, which focused on the importance of Trump winning Florida.