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TRADE DEFICIT LOWEST SINCE '04 The nation's "current account" deficit shrank a healthy 1 6.3 percent last year, Money, 6B DEACH BURGLARIES ON THE RISE Burglaries in the Navarre Beach area are on the increase compared with a year ago, 3B SCHOOL OFFICIALS PAY TRIBUTE TO GILL Okaloosa County School Board members remember late chairman Gerald B. Gill, elect Robert B. Grant as their new leader, 3B Pensacola, Florida TO REPORT A LOCAL STORYs 435-8561 Wednesday, March 14, 1990 Newsjournal BRIEFLY Bidding threatens firm's expansion By J. Todd Foster News Journal FORT WALTON BEACH A company planning a controversial expansion in the Fort Walton Beach Industrial Park hit a barrier Tuesday competition for the property. Aero Component Technologies Group was outbid nearly 2 to 1 by a local lawyer who wants to form an exercise equipment company.
Aero Tech wants to buy 2.05 acres now March 27 meeting. On Jan. 23, the council voted 4 to 3 to competitively bid the land using specifications prepared by Aero Tech. The city advertised that the successful bidder must buy both parcels and relocate the Panhandle Area Square and Round Dancers Association. Aero Tech's proposed buy-and-swap led a private citizen last month to file state ethics charges against Mayor Bill Roberts and Councilmen Jim Wyatt, J.C'Buck" Smith and Cissy Wyninegar.
They have denied any wrongdoing. City Hall critic H. Thornber Smith alleges the four officials granted "special privileges" to Aero Tech by requiring that the successful bidder relocate the dance group. Aero Tech has refused to comment on the reason the firm wants the additional land and, at the same time, has decreased the salaries of their 300 employees by 10 percent. ECUA sues to recover water well damages Two dry cleaners named as defendants Verdict delayed on plan for road in subdivision SHALIMAR Residents of the Overbrook subdivision north of Mary Esther must wait before learning whether a developer can build a thoroughfare through their neighborhood.
Okaloosa County commissioners voted 2 to 2 Tuesday to allow construction of connector roads to limited-access highways, such as U.S. 98, Antioch Road and Freedom Way. Commission Chairman Ferrin Campbell was absent Tuesday and will break the tie at a future meeting. The developer of Overbrook wants to extend Overbrook Drive to Freedom Way, a new four-lane highway that when finished will run north and south along Hurlburt Field's west boundary. Residents say the thoroughfare will be dangerous to children by bringing in speeding drivers looking for a shortcut to Hurlburt.
Okaloosa passes measure to zone five lots SHALIMAR Okaloosa County commissioners voted 3 to 1 Tuesday to zone five undesignated lots between Mary Esther and Fort Walton Beach. The lots, among the last of county land that is unzoned, will be designated residential, industrial and agricultural. All five property owners affected by the zoning supported the designation. Reward increased for tips on missing teen-ager A 13-year-old Fort Walton Beach girl who disappeared six weeks ago has not been found, and the reward fund for information leading to her whereabouts has been increased to $3,100. Andrea Durham vanished from her mother's apartment in the Ocean City area Feb.
1. She disappeared without taking anything with her. Keltec employees, who work with Roseanne Sterling, the child's mother, this week pledged an additional $1,000 to the reward fund. Andrea is 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighs 110 pounds and has shoulder-length, dark-blonde hair and green eyes. People with information should call the Okaloosa County Sheriffs Department at 651-2611.
Okaloosa pays $4,000 for pier inspection SHALIMAR The Okaloosa County Commission on Tuesday hired a consulting engineer to perform a structural examination of the Okaloosa Island Pier after a preliminary inspection revealed chipped concrete. Director of Public Works Dave Heinrich said the 15-year-old pier requires small repairs but is safe. Bill Simms, of Consolidated Testing Laboratories in Gulf Breeze, was hired for $4,000 to do an inspection and report on what repairs are needed. UPDATE Evangelist's Guatemala march blocked by Mexico Andrew Lamberth, a self-styled evangelist who left Atlanta in September determined to walk to Guatemala, never made it. Mexican officials met him at the border about six weeks ago and refused to let him into the country.
Lamberth, carrying a handmade 10-foot-long, 70-pound wooden cross, passed through Pensacola in September. He said he had left Atlanta's Christ Fellowship Church a week before on foot and was going to Guatemala to help a fellow evangelist build a church. CORRECTIONS Because of a reporter's error, the source of letters of congratulations, certificates, lapel buttons and Red Carpet mats awarded to schools last month was incorrectly identified in Monday's News Journal. The items were from state Commissioner of Education Betty Castor's office. Because of a reporter's error, the former position of the Escambia County School District's new payroll director was incorrectly reported in Monday's edition.
Gloria Johnson was an auditor with the district's auditing department. Because of a reporter's error, the amount the Escambia County School District hopes to recover from roofing repairs at Washington High School was incorrect in the March 9 edition. The district hopes to recover $110,000 from GAF, the company that made the original roofing materials. leased from the city by a dance organization. In exchange, the firm has agreed to buy another 1.74 acres in the industrial park and relocate the dance club with a new building.
In applications submitted Tuesday, real estate attorney William F. Stone bid $21,285.47 on the 1.74 acres and $25,077.65 on the 2.05 acres. Aero Tech bid $11,310 and $13,325 respectively. The City Council can reject both bids or award the contract to either party at its Crane operator Rick Slade and mate Eddie Singleton ride in a man-basket to the top of a "spud" on the dredge "Chicago" in Pensacola Bay on Tuesday. A "spud" is part of the platform and is used to stabilize the barge during dredging.
The dredge is preparing to begin work March 30 to deepen the turning basin near Pensacola Naval Air Station in preparation for the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk. The dredge Carolina is working to deepen Pensacola Pass for the carrier's arrival in "Escambia County Sheriffs officials told us they pick up 80 runaways a month. That shows you how badly we are needed," Lohmiller said. The site is at 4610 Fairfield Drive, just west of Mobile Highway. The Florida Legislature last year approved about $224,000 to buy the property for $153,000.
The rest of the money will be used to refurbish the building. Under the contract with HRS, the group's 20 em if Rentex, which was bought by Sketchley Services, an English firm, Ann Belleau said. "I think they're using us as a vehicle to get to the previous owners," she said. Belleau denies that her business used the pollutants, pointing out that the pollution spans over 17 years and is based on tests that show it took several years for the ground water to be contaminated. "This has been an unfortunate experience for us," she said.
Operators for Fashion Cleaners could not be reached for comment. The Florida Department of Environmental Regulation also has suits pending against the companies. So far negotiations with the current and former owners have not resulted in any settlement offers the DER or ECUA would accept, ECUA attorney Robert Kievit said. In other business, ECUA agreed to spend $89,872 on two engineering contracts with Barrett, Daff in and Carlan to prepare specifications for improvements to clean up the stench of the downtown Main Street Wastewater Treatment Plant. The DER ordered ECUA to clean up the odor.
State officials said the odor was polluting the air and harming the environment. Burgess said ECUA had budgeted $1 million for odor improvements before the state issued the order. Improvements include pit lid covers for the plant and an afterburner for burning gases that remain after the burning of sludge or solid waste, Burgess said. system rates state report Superintendent Pete Payton's annual report is expected by next week. The district will also finish making background checks on employees contracted from companies that operate after-school day care on several campuses, or those working in pre-school programs for handicapped or academically at-risk children.
The background checks include fingerprinting, clearance from the state child abuse registry and a notarized statement of moral character. DEVELOPING A comprehensive long-term plan will take more effort, Carlton said. The district already holds several components of such a plan, he said. District officials have until March 21 to contest any errors they believe DOE may have made in its preliminary report. With the updated information he will submit, Carlton said he hopes the district's rating will rise.
Frank Green, assistant superintendent for instruction in the Santa Rosa County School District, said DOE rated his district at 98 percent compliance. Green said the Santa Rosa School District is challenging some of DOE's conclusions involving "nitpicky errors" in working out teacher ratios. "Either you are in compliance with the law, or you're not," Carlton said. The district did so well, he said, because officials conducted a self-monitored com officials conducted a self-monitored com- pliance study in the months leading to the state visit this summer people to reach the goal. Francis Mann who has lived across Fairfield Drive 'from the church since pliance study in the months leading to the Fairfield Drive from the church since By Jo Ann Gordon News Journal The Escambia County Utilities Authority on Tuesday sued two dry cleaning companies to recover at least $2 million in damages caused by contaminated water wells.
The suits, against the current and former owners of Crown Laundry and Fashion Cleaners, stem from eight downtown wells that were shut down in 1986 after cancer-causing chemicals were found, said ECUA spokesman Steve Burgess. The public drinking wells were returned to service at different times after the county spent $2 million for filters to screen out contaminants. The contaminants included tetrachloroe-thylene, used as a dry cleaning agent and used to degrease metal, Walker mm uicmuruemyiene and trichloroethylene, solvents or de-greasers that are possible carcinogens. Benzene, a byproduct of gasoline also was found. Benzene is a known cause of leukemia, state health officials said.
"If we don't pursue this as far as we can, we may be sending an unfortunate message to other potential polluters," ECUA member Larry Walker said. Ann Belleau, who owns Crown Laundry with her husband, George, said the couple had bought the laundry June 3, 1985, only a year before the contamination was discovered. The laundry was owned by national chains, including American Linen and County school 99 percent on By Terri Jo Ryan News Journal The Escambia County School District received a 99 percent score on its most recent "report card" given by the state Department of Education. A preliminary report that the district received last week from a committee monitoring its compliance with state statutes and State Board procedures found only four discrepancies with the law. In the report's cover letter, DOE complimented the district for its advance preparation and its "high percentage of criteria compliance." The state average compliance is 96 percent.
THE REPORT CITES the district for not having a comprehensive annual and long-term plan and for not having a plan for continuous review of the management information services department. The district also was cited for not publishing the superintendent's annual review of the status of education in the district and for not completing background checks on. employees of contracted services. Cecil Carlton, assistant superintendent for instruction, said three of the four problems identified can be corrected easily. For example, the district is reorganizing the management information services He.
partment so the district can quickly create done anything seriously wrong and keeping them out of the detention system. That's where the kids are really hurt," said state Rep. Buzz Ritchie, D-Pensa-cola. The Tampa-based, non-denominational group, which operates 12 other centers in Florida, still needs about $170,000 to bring the buildings up to state standards. The group is counting on donations from local residents, churches and business I Charlie SteedNews Journal August 1991.
ate the plan, he said. Management infor- mation services includes departments such as the budgeting and planning. First area shelter for runaways could open By Bill DiPaolo The district includes Escambia, Santa ployees will receive $300,000 per year in Umal Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties and operating costs, Lohmiller said. Northwest Florida'sfirst runaway shel- part ot Bay County. (Th August 1991.
the plan, he said. Management, infor "They will be servinsr kids who haven't ter and family counseling center at the site of the Holy Trinitv Episcopal Church could be open this summer. The 12-bed facility will be the only runaway and counseling shelter for children ages 12 to 17 in the state Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services' District 1, said Kay Lohmiller, assistant executive director-north of the Lutheran Ministries Of Florida, which will run the center. 1965, said he had not heard of the shelter. "I wouldn't object to it.
It sounds like it's needed," Mann said. The 4.89 acre site will allow for expan- sion, Lohmiller said. The maximum stay at the center is twr weeks, and most teen-agers are reunited with their parents after three days, said Patsy Hudson, clinical supervisor. See TEEN, 2B.
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