The Buzz 1/23/20
Chappie James Fundraiser
The Chappie James Museum is hosting its annual General Daniel “Chappie” James Fundraiser event in February. This year’s event marks the celebration of what would be the four-star general’s 100th birthday.
“We’re going to celebrate his birthday and commemorate him and his achievements in the community,” said Goreatha Simmons, a museum board member. “It’s just to commemorate his life as an American hero.”
Gen. James was born in Pensacola in 1920 and went on to a prestigious career in the U.S. Air Force, becoming the first African American four-star general in the Air Force. During World War II, James served as a flight instructor, helping to train other African American pilots in the 99th Pursuit Squadron. Over the course of his career, James received numerous honors, including the Distinguished Service Medal for his service flying combat missions in the Korean War, as well as the George Washington Freedom Foundation Medal in both 1967 and 1968. The retired general passed away in 1978.
The Chappie Museum is located in James’ childhood home, at 1608 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Pensacola. This same site also served as a place where African American students received tutoring services from James’ mother.
Simmons said that since opening the museum three years ago, interest and traffic has steadily increased.
“We get a lot of foot traffic through here,” she said, “so many people, we’re having two tours a day.”
The annual fundraiser for the museum helps fund the facility. Tickets for the semi-formal event may be purchased in person at the museum for $65 or by calling 542-4721.
The third annual Chappie James Museum Fundraiser will be held 2-7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9, at the Sanders Beach-Corinne Jones Resource Center, 913 S. I St. For more information, visit chappiejamesmuseum.org.
Pleasant Grove Update
County Commissioner Doug Underhill is, in the words of Escambia County School Board Member Kevin Adams, “mad as hornets” about it.
“It’s a horrible location for a school,” Commissioner Underhill said last Thursday, a day after the Escambia County Board of Adjustment approved a conditional use permit for the project.
The Escambia County School District intends to build a new school on the western side of the district to alleviate capacity issues at the current Pleasant Grove Elementary School, as well as two other schools.
The new school is slated for a parcel of property located off Sorrento Road. Underhill has previously raised concerns about the school’s proximity to Naval Air Station Pensacola’s flight path. Concerns have also been raised about the project’s environmental impact, as a portion of the property is considered wetlands, as well as about the school’s impact on nearby traffic.
On Wednesday, Jan. 15, Escambia’s Board of Adjustment approved the school district’s conditional-use request, allowing for the construction of the new school in a High Density Mixed-Use District (HDMU) and a Low Density Residential District (LDR).
“It was as I expected,” Adams said after the approval. “I know the parents of Pleasant Grove, where they’re at capacity, are very happy.”
The county adjustment board also noted that the current school is in NAS’s Accident Potential Zone 1 (APZ1), whereas the new school will be located in Airfield Influence Planning District 2 (AIPD2), a lower designation.
Underhill, however, still has concerns. He said, “The board of adjustment decision yesterday does not make these issues go away.”
The overall cost for this new school is expected to be around $38 million, funded by Half Cent Sales Tax revenue. Thus far, the district has spent about $190,000 on the project, in addition to the initial property purchase price, which was just shy of a million dollars.
Rinse & Repeat
In his State of the State address last week, Governor Ron DeSantis encouraged lawmakers to recognized that people are more mobile and will move out of states with high taxes and too many regulations.
“We live in an increasingly mobile and interconnected time,” said DeSantis. “States cannot tax, regulate and spend with impunity without significant negative consequences.”
He continued, “Taxpayers flee. Businesses relocate. The economic base narrows, and the state inevitably hemorrhages money. Rinse and repeat.”
He cited IRS figures that show Florida has led the nation for six consecutive years in the amount of income brought to the state from the migration from other states. The governor said, “People are voting with their feet, and they are leaving states with bad economic climates for the greener economic pastures of the Sunshine State. “
DeSantis said Florida has good potential for further growth in aerospace, financial services, healthcare and manufacturing. However, he stated, “To realize this potential, Florida needs to tax lightly, spend wisely and regulate reasonably.”
Gilley, Robinson to Speak
The 2020 CivicCon Speaker Series will feature topics like water quality, housing strategies, creating a plan for trees and green scape in a community and how to measure a return on public investments. The series will also focus on good government, local economic growth, as well as how to get more citizens to engage and lead in the community.
Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson and Escambia County Administrator Janice Gilley will speak at the first event of the year. On Monday, Jan. 27, at the Saenger Theatre, Gilley and Robinson will each provide a presentation on the priorities and vision for Escambia County and the City of Pensacola, respectively.
The last such “State of the City” address was given to the general public by former Mayor Ashton Hayward in the Saenger in October 2013. No county administrator has ever given such a presentation at the Saenger or any public meeting outside of commission chambers.
This will be an opportunity for community members to get first-hand information about what projects will be the focus of 2020 as well as ask questions about county and city government. The event will begin at 6 p.m. and end at 7:30 p.m. Doors will be open at 5:30 p.m.
Questions to Robinson and Gilley can be submitted in advance via email to Lisa Nellessen Savage, editor of the Pensacola News Journal, at email@example.com. She will moderate questions with the speakers at the end of the event.
Pensacola is currently seeking to establish a regional paddle trail in local waterways, complete with a designation from the Florida Paddling Trails Association as a Blueway Community. Included on the potential trail is a landing at Baars Park, at the north end of Bayou Texar.
Pensacola City Councilwoman Ann Hill recently hosted a forum focused on the paddle trail efforts, during which the Baars Park concerns were raised about the impact such an inclusion on such a trail might be. Asked about the issue at his Jan. 13 press conference, Mayor Grover Robinson said that he would have preferred to discuss the matter with area residents prior to any public events.
“We were not probably as ready to go as public as Ann went, because we had not had a chance to address that in the neighborhood,” he said.
Robinson said that the inclusion of Baars Park was important so that the trail included a northern launch site but that he wanted to confer with nearby residents before going further.
“I think something will happen at Baars Park, but we have not gone to the public yet in that neighborhood. We’re going to talk to them, and we’re going to listen to them to make sure that if we do Baars Park it is going to be something that they can appreciate and can work with or are at least agreeable enough,” Robinson said.
He added, “Now, I’ll remind them, Bayview Park is not the park for East Hill, and Baars Park is not the park for only the people that live around it. It is a city park, which means it is for all citizens.”
Port Revenue Up
The city reported last week that revenue at the Port of Pensacola nearly doubled year-over-year from fiscal year 2018 to 2019, growing from $1.26 million to $2.41 million—an increase of more than 91%.
The port also saw a significant increase in dockage days, wind energy shipments and breakbulk cargo, with approximately 64,638 tons of breakbulk cargo shipped through the Port of Pensacola in 2019.
“We’ve been working hard to continue to attract new tenants and provide opportunities for existing tenants to expand and do business at the Port of Pensacola, and we’re excited to see that reflected in our revenue,” Port Director Amy Miller said. “We look forward to another great year ahead as an economic driver in the City of Pensacola and beyond.”
The revenue totals include port operations only, excluding grants and other non-operating revenues. The Port’s tenants include Cemex, Pensacola Bay Oysters, American Magic Sailing, Blue Origin, Pate Stevedore, Martin Marietta and Offshore Inland Marine & Oilfield Services.
The Port of Pensacola’s plans for 2020 include working with the City of Pensacola to activate the SCAPE “Hashtag Connector” concept and Port Vision Plan, along with continuing to improve port infrastructure and increase cargo volumes. The port also plans to pursue new marine maritime repair and overhaul, or MRO, business and related light manufacturing.
The Pensacola Blue Wahoos announced last Thursday that the team will wear “We Have the Watch—NAS Pensacola” patches on their uniforms in 2020 to honor the victims and heroes of the tragic shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola on Dec. 6.
“The brave military members at Naval Air Station Pensacola keep our city and our nation safe, and it’s an honor for us to pay tribute to the victims of this tragic event and to the strength of the city of Pensacola as we collectively recover as a community,” team president Jonathan Griffith said.
The patches, designed by Marcus Pointe Baptist Church Media Director Robbie Harvey and created by Wings & Things Monogramming, are the same ones worn by local military members and first responders. Fans can purchase a patch for $1 at the Flight Deck Store at the National Naval Aviation Museum.
Nonprofit expert Cathy Brown will host the “Donor-Centered Proposals and Presentation” workshop 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29, at Pensacola State College in the Nonprofit Center for Excellence and Philanthropy, Bldg. 17, Room 1703.
A Pensacola resident, Brown is the associate director of education at The Fund Raising School in the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University. She currently serves as lead practitioner faculty for many of The Fund Raising School’s face-to-face professional development courses as well as online courses. She joined The Fund Raising School first in a curriculum design capacity, updating course materials, implementing adult learning strategies into course design and creating new faculty guides and instructional tools.
Brown has more than 15 years’ experience running small nonprofits and quasi-government agencies, as well as board and volunteer experience in a wide range of subsectors. She also has career experience in K-12 education and college-level curriculum design, college access, grant proposal writing and grant management, solid waste and recycling program management, newspaper writing and classroom instruction ranging from elementary school through college.
She earned a master’s degree in education from Indiana University and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Hanover College. She holds a certificate in fundraising management and completed the Graduate Certificate in Philanthropic Studies from Indiana University in 2015. She is currently pursuing Associate Professional in Talent Development certification.
Brown is a member of Association of Fundraising Professionals, Association for Talent Development, Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, National Association of Charitable Gift Planners and Grantmakers for Effective Organizations.
Full workshop participation is applicable for 7 points in Category 1.B – Education of the CFRE International application for initial certification and/or recertification.
Tickets are $75 per registered attendee for the workshop. Doors open at 7:30 a.m. and seating is limited. For tickets, visit foundation.pensacolastate.edu/nonprofit-center/.
The City of Pensacola’s Inspection Services, Engineering Services and Planning Services are changing their walk-in hours for permitting in order to provide better customer service for walk-in customers and allow staff adequate time to complete online permits.
The changes will go into effect Monday, Feb. 3, with new hours for Monday through Friday that are as follows—Inspection Services, 7:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; Engineering Services, 7:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; and Planning Services, 8 a.m.- 2:30 p.m. For online permitting services with the City of Pensacola, visit mygovernmentonline.org.
Mark Your Calendar
The 44th Annual Governmental Prayer Breakfast will be held 9 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, New World Landing, 600 S. Palafox. Breakfast line opens at 8 a.m. Tickets $20.
The first Mayor’s Neighborhood Cleanup of 2020 will start at 7 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, in the downtown Pensacola area, allowing residents in the cleanup area to leave eligible items at the curb to be picked up by City of Pensacola Sanitation Services free of charge. For more details, visit cityofpensacola.com
Downtown Improvement Board will meet 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 28, Bowden Building, Room #1, 120 Church St.
Visit Pensacola Board of Directors Meeting will meet 3 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 29, Margaritaville Beach Hotel, 165 Fort Pickens Road.