Skip to main content
The largest online newspaper by by Ancestry
Pensacola News Journal from Pensacola, Florida • Page 7
A Publisher Extra® Newspaper

Pensacola News Journal from Pensacola, Florida • Page 7

Pensacola, Florida
Issue Date:

Page edited by Melissa Thursday, November 17, 2011 Pensacola News Journal 7A SOUTH 4 dead, dozens hurt as storms pound Southeast 'As I 4 vSV1 -J 4 sf-f Jeffrey Collins and Bob Johnson Associated Press ROCK HILL, S.C. A strong storm system that produced several possible tornadoes hit the Southeast on Wednesday, damaging dozens of homes and buildings. At least four people were killed and dozens more were injured. Suspected tornadoes were reported in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and South Carolina, and thousands of people were without power as trees and power lines were downed. In South Carolina, three people were killed and five injured when a likely tornado swept through a rural southeastern Mississippi, where Jones County emergency director Don McKin-non said some people were briefly trapped. Mobile homes were tossed off their foundations. In all, 15 people were hurt in the area. As the weather moved east, tornado warnings and watches were issued in Georgia and South Carolina. Forecasters said a cold front stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the Northeast was to blame. Temperatures dropped in some areas from the low 70s to the 50s as the front passed, and winds gusted to near 30 mph. community near Rock Hill, about 20 miles south of Charlotte, N.C. In north Georgia, an unidentified person was killed when a tree fell on an SUV. In eastern Alabama, a suspected twister splintered trees and demolished mobile homes at a pair of housing parks near the Auburn University campus. Less than seven months ago, a massive tornado roared past the campus of archrival University of Alabama in the western part of the state. It was the worst bout of weather for the state since about 250 people were killed during the tornado outbreak in April. Both campuses were spared major damage this time. In Rock Hill, Simone Moore told The Herald newspaper that she was sitting on her back porch when she saw the tornado touch down and then quickly move back up. She said that after the storm passed, she noticed a nearby trailer had vanished. "Everything's gone," Moore said. "Even the cows in the pasture." As National Weather Service experts fanned out to assess damage, Auburn graduate student Staci DeGeer didn't have any doubts about what sent a pair of trees crashing through her mobile home at Ridgewood Village. ULJL. A fallen tree damaged a house on Green Street and Elkins Drive after a suspected tornado touched down in Auburn, on Wednesday, vasha huntopeuka-auburn news "It's tornado damage. I'm from Kansas; I know tornado damage," said DeGeer, who wasn't home at the time. "It's kind of hit or miss. There will be two or three (trailers) that are bad and then a few that are OK." Trees fell on homes in LOCAL that Evers used his personal email to communicate with Kopelousos about the issue. A call to Bill Salter Advertising on Wednesday was not returned. Evers, who was a state representative from 2001 to 2010 and was elected to the Senate in 2010, told the St. Petersburg Times on Wednesday that he did nothing wrong. "I'll do it next time and the next time and the next time," he said. "As long as my constituents send me to Tallahassee to represent them, I'm going to represent them in the best way I know how." The grand jury will meet again on the matter on Nov. 29, Cappleman said. Evers' Senate District 2 includes a business within his district. He said he called the DOT only because Salter was having trouble getting in touch with the DOT. "They couldn't get a phone call returned," he said. The Times-Union reported that emails obtained by the newspaper showed that an official of Salter's company communicated with Evers and Kopelousos. "On 1-8-09, I spoke with State Representative Mr. Greg Evers and Secretary of Transportation Ms. Stephanie Kopelousos about this and they agree and we were granted these permits," wrote Dave McCurdy, Salter's general manager, in a May 2009 email to a state contractor. The Times-Union also reported portions of northern Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. During his election bid to the Senate, a rifle-toting Evers was featured prominently on Salter billboards touting his endorsement from the National Rifle Association. Evers told the St. Petersburg Times on Wednesday that he would not leave his post as vice chairman of the Senate transportation panel and chairman of the Criminal Justice Committee during the grand jury investigation. "Of course not. What? For helping people?" he told the newspaper. Evers has received at least $5,000 in contributions from the billboard industry. Bill Salter, 80, and his wife, Helen, contributed $500 each last year. Grand jury Continued from 1A Cappleman said. She characterized Evers as "a potential witness" rather than a target of the investigation. "I think (Evers) made a phone call on behalf of a constituent," Cappleman said. "The question then becomes, how much influence did his call have over the decision to issue the permits illegally?" In an interview Wednesday, Evers said he couldn't comment on the grand jury investigation. But he said he has never asked a state agency for preferential treatment or to break the rules for Occupy Continued from 1A in fniii umiii mi 11 ton! in Jobs Continued from 1A make the transition to civilian life, aligns state licensing requirements for technical jobs with the skills service members learned in the military and monitors the performance of retraining programs in placing veterans in appropriate jobs. The veterans' programs would be financed mostly by extending a fee the Veterans Affairs Department charges to back mortgages. "Today's victory is only the first step," Miller, chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, said after the vote. He promised to "champion this issue until we reach the final step, when our veterans are out of the unemployment lines and on the path to success." In a Congress divided by partisan rancor, helping veterans is a cause supported by both parties. The House overwhelmingly passed Miller's bill last month and sent it the Senate, which added the tax breaks and sent the revised version back to the House, where it passed 422-0 Wednesday. Veterans have had an especially tough time finding work after leaving the military. The latest government data shows unemployment among "Gulf War-era II" veterans at 11.7 percent, compared to 9.1 percent for the entire country. Miller, whose Panhandle district is home to more than 100,000 veterans, said the Veterans' Affairs Committee has used those same funding sources in the past to expand other veterans benefits. Veterans groups say they support the bill despite how it would be financed, because jobs are so important to their members. As many as 1 million veterans are estimated to be unemployed. The Associated Press contributed to this report. lJf VMl -1 V'-f, OCCUPY PtUSrCCLrx A message left for Pensacola police Chief Chip Simmons was not returned at press time. City officials terminated a meeting with protesters after less than eight minutes Wednesday after protesters refused to apply for a special events permit to continue camping out at City Hall. "If you're not going to fill out an application for a permit, we have nothing to discuss," Neighborhood Services Director David Flaherty said before adjourning the meeting at 1:08 p.m. Electricity to the lawn was cut off about 3 p.m., protesters said. The mayor's office issued a statement about two hours after the meeting, attributed to City Administrator Bill Reynolds, that reiterated the office's requirement for a permit. "(The) permitting process allows the city to secure appropriate contact information from the group's leadership and requires Occupy Pensacola to cover the costs of any and all further service for water, electricity and sanitation," the release stated. "Other events have to submit to these processes in order to move forward with their planned events. Occupy Pensacola must as well." During the brief meeting, McK-enzie cited previous "letters of no objection" from Special Events Coordinator Kim Kaminski that stated the city would allow the demonstration to continue and Dozens of Occupy Pensacola members are currently camped next to City Hall, gary pointed because he expected to discuss further steps with the mayor's office, not to walk into a permit meeting. "What we saw (in the meeting) was a marked change in the tone the city has had toward the movement," McKenzie said. He said asking protesters to apply for a permit after saying one wasn't required amounts to "talking out of both sides of your mouth." McKenzie said protesters will likely remain at City Hall "whether they are in tents or not in tents." the paragraph in the mayor's letters stating that a permit was not necessary was a result of the stance of no objection, not a statement that no permits are ever needed for such activity. Peterson noted that the lawn remains open to political protests between sunrise and 11 p.m. "At no point does this impede their rights to peaceably assemble," Peterson said, adding that the 4-week-old protest has cost the city about $2,000 in sanitation costs. McKenzie said he was disap waived a restriction on tents and overnight camping. In the letters, Kaminski stated that a permit for such activities was not required within city limits. The city's most recent letter of no objection expired Friday. Kaminski told protesters at Wednesday's meeting that Occupy has grown beyond a simple protest and now requires a permit. "It has evolved into another event into a living compound," Kaminski said. Peterson said Wednesday that information on the four different governance systems that are operating in Florida," Robinson said. "If that information can come from the Florida Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus, and it's free, or we have to pay $15,000 for a study, it's all the same." The other four commissioners could not be reached for comment. 67 counties handle tourism promotion as a county department; nine operate through chambers of commerce; five use nongovernment boards that hotels must contract with; and five use private nonprofit boards, such as the hotel owners are seeking locally. Six counties have no tourism entities. "One way or another, we've got to have some V4Z3Jr we can fulfill the county's request," he said. "Escambia County is a very important part of the state's tourism industry, and we will do everything we can to pitch in and help." The commission's 5-0 vote last week to pursue the study is an outgrowth of an effort by a group of Escambia County hotel owners to gain control over how $4 million in bed tax revenue is spent annually. The hotel owners, led by MacQueen and Patel, went before the commission last week to unveil a proposal for a nonprofit board appointed by and comprised of hoteliers who collect bed taxes to take over countywide tourist promotion. The local Convention and Visitors Bureau, which is under the umbrella of the Pensacola Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, currently fulfills that role. Whose offer? During the meeting last week, County Administrator Randy Oliver said the Chicago-based consulting firm CH Johnson had confirmed it could do a study for $15,000 on what might be the best model for promoting tourism. But the five commission unclear whether the association could conduct an unbiased study that might ultimately not end up in its member's favor. Understanding sought Pensacola Bay Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Jim Hizer and Oliver have separately talked with Skrob this week to get a better understanding of what's going on. Hizer said Skrob told him he'll be checking with the association board "to see if they want to take on this project and to see if it's beyond the things that they typically do as an association." Oliver said Skrob reiterated to him that he did not know of the commitment to do a study before being informed after the fact. He said Skrob told him he could possibly offer the commission an overview of various ways counties promote tourism. "He also told me they don't plan on interviewing anyone here," he said. Commissioner Grover Robinson IV said he thinks it's critical for the commission to get information on the four general formats under which tourism promotion is handled. Across the state, 42 of ers said they either didn't want a study at all or didn't want to pay for one. 1 So Patel and Green stepped forward and announced that the state Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus would do it free and deliver it within 30 days. Soon after, all five commissioners voted to accept the offer and move forward with the association study. They did not ask to speak with a representative of the association or set out any parameters for the study. Green has been meeting with the group of local hotel owners pushing to take over tourism, but it's not clear what his relationship is to the state Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus or on whose authority he made the offer. Repeated calls and emails this week to Green's Tallahassee office were not returned. Patel said he made his representations based on what Green told him. MacQueen said this week that he was perplexed. He said he thought Skrob had agreed to a study. Complicating the matter, the local Convention and Visitors Bureau, under the chamber's authority, is a dues-paying member of the state association, so it's Tourism Continued from 1A state Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus had agreed to do a study within 30 days at no cost. But Robert Skrob, executive director of the Tallahassee-based bureau, said this week that he didn't even know the commission wanted the bureau to do a study before it voted unanimously to accept the offer he'd never made. "I did not have any prior knowledge of a commitment to do such a study," Skrob said. Skrob said Ron Ellington, who is director of strategic planning for Innisfree Hotels, owned by Julian MacQueen, called him after the commission meeting and told him about the vote. Before committing to a study, Skrob said, he would have to bring the matter before his organization's board of directors, which next meets on Tuesday. However, Skrob said he wasn't sure whether his group, which has only two full-time and one part-time employees, could help. "I will be happy to bring it to our board of directors and determine whether NOVEMBER 19 20 PENSACOLA INTERSTATE FAIRGROUNDS 9AM-5PM SUN, 10AM -4PM SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE! LADIES ESPECIALLY WELCOME! j. Bring Your Gun and Trade for the Gun You Always Wanted, XSee the Many Displays of New, Used and Collectible Guns, Ammo, Gun jParts, Books, Knives, Knife Sharpening, Pepper Spray, Stun Guns, Militaria, namNiflanearwIRplatprittpmcfltnkmintPriroc ADULTS: $7.00 CHILDREN UNDER 12 FREE Si -) LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS IN UNIFORM ADMITTED FREE Vf El nnfiini run shows 1 'ennRinirjiucunm

Clipped articles people have found on this page


Get access to

  • The largest online newspaper archive
  • 300+ newspapers from the 1700's - 2000's
  • Millions of additional pages added every month

Publisher Extra® Newspapers

  • Exclusive licensed content from premium publishers like the Pensacola News Journal
  • Archives through last month
  • Continually updated

About Pensacola News Journal Archive

Pages Available:
Years Available: