Ashton Hayward

City of Pensacola

After three years on the job, Eric Olson has stepped down as Pensacola City Administrator. The announcement was made late Friday afternoon, four months before the end of the Ashton Hayward administration. 

The written statement from Hayward gives no details; calls to the Mayor and to Olson seeking comment have not been returned.

Hired as an assistant administrator upon his retirement from the Navy – Olson was named administrator in 2015 – the third person to hold that job in the Hayward administration, after Tamara Fountain and Colleen Castille.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

Pensacola native Daniel “Chappie” James, Jr. rose to become the nation’s first African American four-star general. Now, the property where he grew up is now home to a museum and flight academy honoring his legacy.

Bob Barrett / WUWF News

General Bernardo de Gálvez returned to Pensacola Tuesday morning as the Pensacola Heritage Foundation unveiled a statue of the Revolutionary War hero. Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward and a crowd of a couple of hundred people watched and cheered as the statue on the corner of Palafox and Wright Streets was unveiled.

Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward’s decision to step down after two terms is drawing mixed reaction at City Hall, and leading to a number of "what ifs" in the run up to the June 22 candidate filing deadline.

Mayor Hayward announced a week ago that he would forego a third and final term as allowed by the 2009 city charter. The following day he said it would be business as usual for his remaining nine and a half months in office.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

After two terms in office, Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward will not seek a third. The announcement came Wednesday from City Hall.

Ashton Hayward was a political neophyte when he entered the mayoral race in 2010, the first election under Pensacola’s new charter that changed to a strong mayor form of government. He was elected over incumbent Mike Wiggins and two other challengers.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

Almost eight in ten Pensacola residents say the city’s on the right track, according to the fourth annual Community Survey from the Haas Business Center.

That 76 percent mark is ten points higher than last year’s survey. The project, says Amy Newburn at the Center, was a mixed-method survey, that is, primarily on the telephone but also with “intercept surveys,” Haas-speak for in-person interviews.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

In a somewhat-anticipated move, an outgoing Escambia County Commissioner is seeking the Pensacola mayor’s office in 2018.

Grover Robinson announced eleven months ago that his fourth term on the Commission would be his last. While he had no concrete plans at the time, he did say that he wasn’t ready to give up on public service.

FPREN

  

Governor Rick Scott was in Pensacola Thursday morning for a briefing and to update the media on Tropical Storm Nate. "Based on current forecasts from the National Hurricane Center, we expect the storm to continue its northward track as it moves into the Gulf of Mexico this weekend" said Scott after he emerged from the briefing surrounded by local officials at the Escambia County Emergency Operations center. "The storm has the potential to become a hurricane and impact the Florida Panhandle this weekend and families must be ready."

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

After the recent violence in Charlottesville, Virginia over removal of a Confederate monument, efforts to remove a Confederate memorial in downtown Pensacola are gaining steam.

Pensacola’s Confederate monument is located at Lee Square on Palafox Street, downtown. It was dedicated back in 1891, more than a quarter-century (26 years) after the Civil War.

FDOT

Governor Rick Scott made a stop in Pensacola Monday morning to talk about building bridges-- literally. Scott, along with many state and local officials gathered at the north end of the 3 Mile Bridge to talk about the bridge replacement project and its impact on the area. "A 398 million dollar project. As you might expect you had a lot of people making sure this bridge was done right." 

Bob Barrett / WUWF News

Another historical figure from Pensacola’s past is getting a monument downtown. "What makes great cities is art and culture" said Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward speaking to a crowd of donors and dignitaries Monday morning. They were gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony for a monument to Revolutionary War hero Bernardo de Galvez, the general who drove the British out of Pensacola during the Battle of Pensacola.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward could face his biggest political challenge, if he decides to seek a third term next year. That’s according to a recent survey commissioned by the Independent News.

The poll of 506 most likely voters conducted by Political Matrix shows Hayward on top with just under 28 percent. Two Escambia County Commissioners,Grover Robinson are Lumon May, are second and third at 20 and 18 percent, respectively.

Laura Bogan, City of Pensacola

“BIGS with Badges” has landed in Pensacola – it’s part of a nationwide partnership between Big Brothers-Big Sisters and first responders.

The idea is to recruit first responders as mentors, which supporters contend will pay off for the kids, the mentors, and the community as a whole. Participating agencies include the Pensacola Police and Fire Departments, and the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

In 2010, Addison Russell led Pace High School to the Class 5A state baseball championship. Just six years later, he helped the Chicago Cubs win the World Series for the first time in over 100 years.

The high school plans to honor Russell on November 29. On Tuesday, he was presented with the key to the city of Pensacola.

The Haas Center at the University of West Florida is conducting its third annual Pensacola Community Survey, in a partnership with the City of Pensacola.

Mayor Ashton Hayward took to Facebook to announce the project, saying the responses will help balance priorities and upgrade services.

http://vtmae.com/

Two years after the announcement that VT Mobile Aerospace would build a plant in Pensacola, more talks on funding the project are expected this afternoon. 

Construction was announced in September, 2014, with the plant originally scheduled to begin refurbishing large aircraft this summer. But, the site, 19 acres adjacent to Pensacola International Airport, remains idle with no groundbreaking date as yet.  

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

Florida’s senior U.S. Senator was in Pensacola Monday morning, with a number of stops around town. 

Bill Nelson’s first stop was a tour of the federal courthouse downtown, which is closed because of health-threatening mold and water damage. In April, the Senate approved spending the $32 million needed to renovate the facility. The House followed suit, but something else has cropped up.

Bob Barrett / WUWF News

  Since 1889, 14 members of the Pensacola Police Force have died in the line of duty. Wednesday morning, the city took time to remember their service.

City of Pensacola

Matt Schmitt and Joe Glover are out as Pensacola Fire Chief and Assistant Fire Chief, respectively. They were fired Tuesday by Mayor Ashton Hayward after a three-month investigation of the department.

The Mayor’s action came after reviewing the 138-page report which he says outlines a number of instances that demonstrated what it terms as “a lack of judgment, poor leadership and contempt for the city’s Human Resources Department.

Bob Barrett / WUWF News

Hospital officials, community leaders and the media gathered at Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola Tuesday morning for the groundbreaking of the new Children’s Hospital building. And along with a new building, the hospital will be getting a new name. Debbie Calder, the Chair of the Board of Directors for Sacred Heart Health System made that announcement towards the end of the ceremony. "On behalf of the Sacred Heart board and leadership team, I am honored to announce we will rename our facility as The Studer Family Children's Hospital at Sacred Heart."

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