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Santa Rosa firefighters get $1,000

Firefighters work to contain a bushfire along Old Bar Road on Saturday.
Munson Fire Department

Volunteer firefighters in Santa Rosa County on Thursday got a late Christmas present: Commissioners voted unanimously to give each $1,000.

The stipends will be paid out of a pool of $51,000 from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

“Many of our rural residents are served by volunteer departments,” District 5 Commissioner Colten Wright said in a news release after the meeting. “These volunteers continue to serve the residents of Santa Rosa County and they put their own health and well-being at risk every day. These men and women are one of our greatest assets and this is just a small way to say thank you.”

The 51 volunteer firefighters are members of all-volunteer departments which include Berrydale, Munson, Jay, Allentown, and Harold, the county news release explained, noting "According to the Santa Rosa County Firefighters Association, eligible volunteer firefighters have had no disciplinary actions against them since Mar. 1, 2020, were categorized as active duty during the entire quarantine period and responded to over 20% of the calls dispatched."

In other action, commissioners approved spending $116,761 for the design of a new traffic signal and school zone at Wallace Lake Road and Chumuckla Highway, near the site of a new K-8 school north of Pace. District 1 Commissioner Sam Parker said the traffic signal is needed in that fast-growing area.

In a related item, commissioners informed the public that East Bay Boulevard in Navarre will be closed for a day and night to install the Tom King Bayou Pedestrian Bridge. Commissioners said a public notice will be issued as soon as the dates are determined. Also, the work will exceed the time limits for the noise ordinance for the overnight work.

District 4 Commissioner Dave Piech, who represents that area, said there will be a lot of activity in that area.

"Please use caution," he said.

Finally, there will be three Waste Tire Amnesty Days at the Central Landfill near Milton: Feb. 19, March 26, and April 30.

Tom Ninestine is the managing editor at WUWF. He began August 1, 2019. Tom is a native of Geneva, New York, and a 1983 graduate of King's College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, where he studied journalism and political science. During a 29-year career in newspapers he worked for the Finger Lakes Times in his hometown; The Daily Item in Sunbury, Pennsylvania; and the Pensacola News Journal from 1998-2016.