Santa Rosa County

Photo via Flickr//E.L. Malvaney

This fall, voters in Santa Rosa County are being asked to support a one-cent local option sales tax to pay for a new courthouse and determine where they’d like it to be located. In an effort to gain support, county officials have been making the case that the existing facility in downtown Milton is outdated and needs to be replaced.

Early Voting Begins For General Election Nov. 4th

Oct 20, 2014

    Early voting is getting underway across the region for the November 4th General Election. Voters in Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, and Escambia Counties can cast ballots beginning Monday and continuing through Saturday, November 1st. 

For the General Election, each of the counties is exceeding the eight-day minimum by providing a total of 13 early voting days, with a combined 14 polling locations that will be open for 10 hours each day in Okaloosa and Santa Rosa counties; nine hours daily in Escambia.

The Santa Rosa County Commission is mulling over an upgrade to the county’s emergency communications system. The the issue again goes before the panel on Thursday.

The idea is to get all Santa Rosa first responders on the same page of the hymnal – or in this case, on the same channel. County Administrator Hunter Walker says communications in emergency response can be compared to an algebra equation, in that there are two sides.

Pet owners in Santa Rosa County are being offered a low cost opportunity to have their animals spayed or neutered. Dale Hamilton, Director of Animal Services in Santa Rosa County says the county received a $25,000 grant from the Florida Animal Friend license plate program to help income-eligible residents of Santa Rosa County get their pets spayed or neutered. The program began on October 1 and will run until the grant money is gone.

Okaloosa Expands Rabies Alert & Santa Rosa Holds Rabies Drive-Through Clinic For Pets

Sep 25, 2014

The rabies alert, first issued last week, lasts for 60 days and is designed to notify the public of a concentration of animals testing positive for rabies in the area.  

Dr. Karen Chapman, Director of the Florida Department of Health in Okaloosa County, says this is a relatively unusual occurrence but residents should be aware that rabies can be found in all kinds of wild animals, "In this case it happened to be bats, that is we had three rabid bats associated with contact with humans or domestic animals in a 30 day period."

Santa Rosa County

  At face value the Republican primary in Santa Rosa County for the Board of Commissioners District 2 nomination looked like any other primary race. Until you noticed that both candidates were incumbent commissioners. Bob Cole is the sitting commissioner in district 2 and is running for his fourth term on the board. Jim Melvin is the current district 4 commissioner, but because of redistricting he now lives in district 2, so to seek a second term on the board he had to run against Cole. Take those circumstances, add an extremely low voter turnout and you get a very close election.

Santa Rosa County

In Santa Rosa, the August 26 Republican Primary features two races for county commissioner. Due to redistricting, the District 4 race is wide open, with six political newcomers seeking the seat and the current office-holder running in District 2.  

That means the District 2 race has been left with the unusual circumstance of having two sitting commissioners running against each other.

Bob Cole is the District 2 incumbent. The owner of an auto repair shop for nearly three decades, Cole has held the office for 12 years and is seeking his 4th term.          

Jim Allen Elementary

The final countdown is on toward the beginning of a new school year this coming Monday morning and the school districts on the Panhandle are ready to go. Escambia County School Superintendent Malcolm Thomas says everyone in the district is prepared for the 20145-15 school year. He says there have been some construction projects around the county over the summer that will carry over into the school year, saying Suter Elementary and Earnest Ward are probably the most notable  new construction projects that will not be complete for the beginning of the school year.

Photo via Flickr//Vox Efx

  Early voting got underway Monday in two of the three western Panhandle counties.

Voters in Santa Rosa and Okaloosa Counties can cast ballots prior to the August 26 primary through Saturday, August 23. Tappie Villane, the Elections Supervisor in Santa Rosa, says the stream of people was fairly steady on day one. Those wishing to vote in the primary, either early or on Election Day, will need to bring some form of photo ID.

Bob Barrett / WUWF News

Garrett Walton, the CEO of REBUILD Northwest Florida remembers those days in 2004 when home after home suffered severe damage during Hurricane Ivan. 

Photo via Flickr//Tracy Ducasse

No one wants to get stuck in a hurricane shelter. They are, and should be, a last resort for keeping you and your family safe. But what if your family includes pets? There are options. Escambia, Santa Rosa and Okaloosa Counties all have an emergency shelter that will take pets. John Dosh, Emergency Manager for Escambia County says the idea for the shelters came after seeing the chaos in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina where so many pets were left behind and abandoned.

Photo courtesy www.operationblessing.org

Dump trucks are making regular trips to and from landfills in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties, discarding massive amounts of storm-related debris collected from area residences.

Emerald Coast Utilities Authority has about 20 crews out picking up the storm debris. As the flood waters in many areas began to recede, ECUA began their work on May 4 in the Bristol Park subdivision.

Bob Barrett / WUWF News

While residents hit hard by last week’s floods in Escambia and Santa Rosa County begin applying for federal assistance, work is underway at the state and local levels on repairing virtually washed-away roadways.

Ian Satter at the state Department of Transportation’s Quincy office says repairs are underway on some of the roads, and they’re mobilizing contractors to begin work on several others.

“They are a priority for us and we want to get them started as quickly as possible,” said Satter. “It’s just that the repairs are more complex than others.”

Residents Clean Up After Flood

May 2, 2014
Joshua Condon

After Tuesday night’s deluge, local government officials, business owners, and residents across the region had little rain to deal with as they began to pick up the pieces from this week’s floods.

As much as 27 inches were recorded in some areas over a 30 hour period.

The floodwaters left some residents stranded. While many were pulled to safety on Wednesday, with equipment and assistance from the state, a final round of checks was underway on Thursday.

Daniel Hahn, Emergency Management Plans Chief for Santa Rosa County.

Santa Rosa County Board of Commissioners

Santa Rosa County Commissioners are now looking ahead and what’s next, following their selection Thursday of a site on U.S. Highway 90 for a new $35 million courthouse.

The board started out with six potential sites, but in recent weeks had cut the list down to two choices; the parcel on U.S. Highway 90 owned by Coldwell Banker and the JDL of Santa Rosa property on Avalon Boulevard.

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