Data snapshot: Pensacola crime data

The Pensacola Police Department released crime data for the month of May. The data shows that the most reported crime in the city limits for the year through May is simple assault — fighting with your hands, fist or feet. There have been 328 reported simple assaults as of May. The next most reported crime is larceny of something valued at more than $200. There have been 320 of those reported. Other highlights of May’s data: — When it comes to violent felonies, there were no homicides, two rapes, five robberies and 21 aggravated assaults in the city. Of those 28 violent crimes, there were 20 arrests and five were classified as “exceptional” (a designation that means a case is considered cleared because authorities know exactly who did it and they could make an arrest, but for example, the victim will not cooperate with the prosecution). — There 54 domestic violence offenses, bringing the yearly total to 220 reported offenese. — Two autos were reported stolen. — There were 34 residential burglaries and 10 burglaries of a non-residence. — There were 214 arrests in May in the city, with 53 of them for drug offenses and 49 for larceny/theft (most of those are shoplifting). When the Pensacola Police Department turned in 2013 crime data to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the numbers showed a 14 percent drop in crime overall from 2012; and 18 percent drop in violent crime. The drop was the largest single yearly reduction in the city in more than 14 years. See the monthly reports for May, April, March, February and January here. This article originally appeared on Progress+Promise. Read full story


Hearing set on Pensacola Bay bridge replacement

NEWS RELEASE — The Florida Department of Transportation will host a public hearing concerning the replacement of the Pensacola Bay Bridge from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. June 10 in the grand ballroom of the Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, 200 E. Gregory St. The hearing will begin as an open house at 5:30 p.m. followed by a formal presentation at 6 p.m. The hearing is being conducted to give interested persons an opportunity to express their views concerning the location, conceptual design and social, economic and environmental effects of the proposed improvements. The study involves the replacement of the Pensacola Bay Bridge located at State Road U.S. 98 from 17th Avenue in Pensacola to Baybridge Drive in Gulf Breeze. Project documents are available for review until June 23 at the following locations: Read full story


"Big Hex" shows off in Pensacola

When the Cylons come, here’s hoping they have a soft spot for Pensacola. If the robot overlords of “Battlestar Galactica” fame become reality in our lifetime, it may be due in no small part to the work going on at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition here in Pensacola. Researchers at IHMC are now working on HexRunner, who is eclipsing robotics records as you read this. “Big Hex” was built late last year. he is the latest product of an award-winning, nationally renown robotics research family that putting Pensacola on the map as a place where all the robot action is. Check out the IHMC’s latest YouTube video to see what Big Hex can do: Read full story


Building on the family bond

by Sgt. Jon Holmes, Defense Video Imagery & Distribution System It started with bedtime stories – stories of exotic lands with strange foods, cultures and peoples, stories of brave men and women who fought for freedom and protected the innocent, stories that extolled the virtues of honor, sacrifice and bravery. These were the stories often heard in the Goodwyn home. There were no wizards, elves or knights. Only brave men and women who had taken up service for their country. It was these stories, told by Hosea Goodwyn, which first kindled the flame of service in his son, Hosea Goodwyn Jr., and daughter, Alexis Goodwyn. “Each time he told his stories, they would continuously interest me,” said Alexis Goodwyn, from Pensacola. Their father shared with them his experiences in places like Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Spain and Dubai. Places that are as mystical and mysterious to a young mind as a fantasy world. “His journeys inspired me to go on my own,” said Hosea Goodwyn Jr., from Pensacola. The question for the young Goodwyns was not if to serve, but in which branch. The bond they saw among the U.S. Marine Corps solidified their decision to enlist.  “They would help each other out through the worst of situations,” said Hosea Goodwyn Jr., a senior from J. M. Tate High School. “Everyone in the Marine Corps is like a brother or sister.” “The Marines had a tight bond with one another,” added his sister, also a Tate senior, explaining why they chose the Marines. As the two prepare to start their new journey, their father had one final story to share. “You have people who stand back and watch, and then you have those who step up to the plate and make a difference in this world,” Hosea Goodwyn said.  “Honor, courage and commitment, and the words we repeat while taking the oath are not just words to take lightly. “My father was a police officer, and each of my brothers served in the Army and the Air Forces. We don’t have followers in this family. We have leaders, and they are demonstrating this trait now. I am proud and honored to be their father.” With their decision made, the only story left to tell is their own, which they will forge with honor, courage and commitment. This article originally appeared on Progress+Promise. Read full story


Repairing Pensacola's social safety net

Human services organizations in Pensacola that were hit hard by the late April floods are inching their way back toward helping those in need. For some it is a long road. Three offices of the Escambia Community Clinic, the Waterfront Rescue Mission facilities on Herman Street and Manna Food Pantries all saw standing water during the flood and temporarily shut their doors. All three agencies are in varying stages of recovery. The Escambia Community Clinic, which provides medical care for thousands adults and children in need, saw water in its main medical appointment clinic at 2200 N. Palafox St., the ECC Dental Clinic, located in the Florida Department of Health at 1295 W. Fairfield Drive, and the ECC Waterfront Rescue Mission Primary Care Clinic at 350 W. Herman St. The main clinic saw 2½ feet of contaminated “brown water” during the flood, said Ann Papadelias, director of dental services for the ECC. The location has seen flooding as far back as 1998, and Papadelias said, after the April 29-30 flood, the recommendation is not to rebuild the main site at that location. The clinic has relocated to a temporary site in the Midtown Professional Building at 14 W. Jordan St., just across the street. “The building is a 1960s vintage medical office building that will accommodate all of ECC’s clinical and administrative operations,” Papadelias said. “It will require some renovation and will meet the immediate needs of the health center, but is not a permanent solution.” While patients at the main clinic are being redirected to the Midtown Professional Building, the dental clinic is closed indefinitely for repairs, Papaelias said. The clinic is working to replace those services on a limited basis with mobile units. The clinic also has a primary care clinic inside the Waterfront Rescue Mission’s day resource center, which saw 1½ foot of water. That clinic is expected to reopen by mid-June. The mission facilities on Herman Street flooded for the second time in less than two years. The administration building and day center had about 20 inches of water, while the mission and its donation warehouse and recycling center had 8 inches. The flood temporarily sent the 30 or so transients who normally sleep at the mission to Salvation Army facilities. “The mission is now open for all of our clients and overnight guests,” said Jessica Howell, the mission’s development associate. “We are still in the rebuilding stage, waiting on carpet and baseboards to be put back down, but we are fully operational there.” The mission’s administrative offices relocated to an Olive Road facility that normally houses about 60 participants in the mission’s addiction recovery program. Those clients were sent to temporary lodging at Hillcrest Baptist Church. “The administration office is still located at the Olive Road facility. We will be there for the next six to eight weeks,” Howell said. “However, the 60 men are back at the mission.” The recycle and donation center was shut down for several days with much product lost, she said. Manna Food Pantries, which provides groceries to the hungry in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties, saw as much as three feet of water in its Gonzalez Street facilities, destroying thousands of pounds of stored food. Manna – which also saw significant flooding in 2012 – ceased all operations immediately, but has since begun accepting food donation. Leaders there hope to begin distributing food again in the coming weeks, but are actively looking for a new location to house their main pantry. Clinic photos are courtesy of Ann Papdelias. This article originally appeared on Progress+Promise. Read full story


Honoring a Pensacola legend

The Eastside Neighborhood Association wants to keep the life and legacy of one of its greatest sons alive. The association members, along with a newly created museum board, envision transforming Gen. Daniel “Chappie” James Jr.’s boyhood home into a museum. The house on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive is now a memorial plaza. If the eastside residents have their way, the home of the nation’s first black general will become a monument in memory of James’ contribution to his community and country.  “His legacy is so important to this city,” said Jeannie Rhoden, association president. “We needs things and people like this to inspire our children to do great things.” Pensacola City Council recently approved an architectural design and cost feasibility study up to $25,000 to look at developing the museum and linking it with the Gen. Daniel “Chappie” James Jr. Summer Flight Academy. The flight academy is a program designed to expose young people to science and aviation in a summer program that includes academics and flight training. While the Chappie James Museum Board is in its infancy stages, it plans to establish a foundation with six of the eight members having museum board background. As the two groups iron out specifics, they both agree on restoring the white five-room, “shotgun” style wooden house on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive into a repository of James’ memorabilia and historical artifacts of his life in Pensacola and the military. The groups also envision including an office, classrooms and gift shop. James was a fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force who in 1975 became the first African American to reach the rank of four-star general. Born in Pensacola, James attended Tuskegee Institute and was one of the famed “Tuskegee Airmen.” Read full story


Adding to the MESS

NEWS RELEASE —  The Pensacola MESS Hall (Math, Engineering, Science, & Stuff) has added seven new permanent exhibits that will be ready for the public to see May 17. The new exhibits cover electricity and magnetism, sound and waves, and forces and motion. — Jacob’s Ladder demonstrates the power of high voltage, creating a climbing plasma arc. — The relationship between electricity and magnetism is evident with the Flying Ring exhibit, where an induced magnetic field sends a ring flying up a rod. — The Oscylinder Scope and Wave Tube both show the shape of waves, one using vibrating string and the other Styrofoam beads. — The Highest Note auditory illusion exhibit will keep even those with perfect pitch puzzling. — The Chaoscope double pendulum never moves the same way twice. — Visitors will discover what stays aloft with the Bernoulli Blower. Read full story


Harnessing the power of nerd culture

Mike Ensley can die a happy man. When Ensley began the long process of recruiting guests for the 2014 Pensacon, there was one man he wanted on the bill above all — Peter Mayhew. Mayhew is the flesh and blood man who has brought Chewbacca to life in the “Star Wars” movies. Read full story


Piedmont Road repairs a long haul

Repairing Piedmont Road is going to be a big undertaking. Nathalie Bowers, ECUA spokeswoman, said from the utility’s perspective Piedmont Road may prove a bigger challenge than Scenic Highway. “Scenic Highway is a huge issue, but we’ve made repairs there, there’s water there and there was no sewer line going through there,” Bowers says. “We’ve restored water service to Piedmont but the issue there is with wastewater collection. None of those homes have sewer service because there are no lines.” Bowers says that Steve Sorrell, executive director of the ECUA, met with city officials Friday morning and the city has hired Hatch Mott McDonald to manage the project. “We’re going to be working within the scope of that contract and we’re coordinating with them,” Bowers says. “The city is the lead on that.” As early as next week work will begin in that area, she says. The Health Department is ordering portable toilets and wash stations for that area. “I think we’re working to try to let people stay in their homes,” she says. This article originally appeared on Progress+Promise. Read full story


One51Main coming on line

The Community Maritime Park site is about to get busier. Beck Property Company, a regional commercial real estate firm, announced recently the groundbreaking of One51 Main, a new mixed-used development at the downtown site. A public celebration of the groundbreaking will be scheduled in the coming weeks. Justin Beck says the 24,000 square foot, three-story building should be done in early 2015. It includes seven retail spaces on the first floor and four residential condos on the third floor. Beck Properties offices will take up the entire second floor. Two of the four condos are sold and four of the seven retail spaces are reserved, he says. Beck says that when the company leased their office on Bayou Boulevard, it left them “homeless.” “I wanted to be downtown, (but) I knew we would have to build what we wanted,” Beck says. “When you dig into the market, I saw a lack of existing quality property. People look around at downtown and they see vacant lots and they think that translates into vacant office space and that’s not the case. “We do work in Mobile and Tallahassee and…Tallahassee has a 15-20 percent vacancy rate across board on office space. In downtown Pensacola, it’s 8 or 10 percent.” “I see a lot of awesome stuff happening over the next 20-40 years,” says Beck. “I’m 32, I’ve got to look out 20 or 30 years. You’re not going to have new office space on Palafox. You’re not going to go east into Aragon or Old Seville. If you want to build new office space, you’ve got to go west.” Beck also wanted to show that building on the maritime park site is possible. “I hope people will look and say here are some guys who have been in the community a long time, we’re still bootstrap kind of guys and we could do it.” One51 Main will feature several green building techniques including geothermal heating, insulated concrete form construction as well as high efficiency lighting and a living wall. Landscaping will feature native species with minimal water needs. The project will be one of the first to take advantage of the city’s green building ordinance. Beck has engaged Williams-Brown Construction as construction manager. Kelly Wieczorek and Steve Jernigan of Bay Design will serve as project architects. Financing for the construction was secured through executive vice president Bobby Fair with Servis 1st Bank. This article originally appeared on Progress+Promise. Read full story


Big job news for Pensacola?

Some job news would be good news right about now. Read full story