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October 2016 local headlines:VT MAE, IMPACT 100, NFCU Settlement, Murders and much more

November 1, 2016

1. Governor Breaks Ground on VT MAE
Governor Rick Scott joined state, county and city officials to break ground on the long-awaited aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility for VT Mobile Aerospace Engineering (VT MAE) at Pensacola International Airport. The 173,000-square-foot facility will cost $46 million and will sit on approximately 19 acres of property at the airport. The construction will last approximately 16 months, with the facility opening for operation in early 2018. VT MAE is expected to create 400 new jobs. Read more.

2. IMPACT 100 Announced Winners
IMPACT 100 Pensacola Bay Area, a local women’s philanthropy group, handed out 10 grants of $108,200 each.

3. Navy Federal Hit With $23M Settlement and $5.5M Penalty
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau took action against Navy Federal Credit Union for making false threats about debt collection to its members, which include active-duty military, retired servicemembers, and their families. The credit union also unfairly restricted account access when members had a delinquent loan. Navy Federal Credit Union is correcting its debt collection practices and will pay roughly $23 million in redress to victims along with a civil money penalty of $5.5 million.

4. Seventh Murder Inside Pensacola City Limits Recorded
A PPD homicide investigation on Oct. 25 signaled the seventh murder for the year. The City’s 2016 homicide rate is on pace to be the highest since 1993, when the city had 10 murders. The ten-month total for 2016 has already tied the 2012 total that earned the city the moniker as one of the most dangerous small cities in the nation. Read more.

5. IHMC’s Walking Man Places Second
The Florida Institute for Human & Machine Cognition (IHMC) robotics team placed a strong second in the powered exoskeleton division of the first annual Cybathlon in Zurich, Switzerland.

6. No Go on Offshore Inland Rent Deferral
Mayor Ashton Hayward’s request for the City of Pensacola to partially defer Offshore Inland’s rent on Warehouse #9 due to the lack of a second. Council members asked why the tenant hadn’t been given a default notice and how were the local subcontractors going to get paid for work done at the Port.

7. Gulf Power Seeks $106M Rate Hike
Gulf Power will seek a $106.78 million increase in base rates, according to a filing with the state Public Service Commission.

8. The First Acquires Gulf Coast Community Bank
First Bancshares of Hattiesburg announced that it had acquired Gulf Coast Community Bank, which has $133 million in assets and five branches in the greater Pensacola area.

9. University Park Center coming 2018
The University of West Florida broke ground on University Park Center, a mixed-use facility adjacent to Pen Air Federal Credit Union Field, with an anticipated completion date of Spring 2018. Read more.

10. DCF Coming Under Scrutiny
For fiscal year 2015-16, the First Circuit, which includes Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, and Walton counties, had the fifth highest child abuse victims per capita of the 15 Florida Circuits – 14.31 per 1,000 children, according to DCF reports. The state ratio is 9.92 per thousand. August and September of 2016 was the highest two-month period for the initial and additional reports of child abuse in the First Circuit in the past two years – 1,865, an 11.6 percent increase over the August-September 2015. Read more.

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Career Moves
Tiffany Sullivan is the new executive director of Innovation Coast. Allison Hill was named the chief executive officer of Lakeview Center, Inc. Curt Morse is the new executive director of the Downtown Improvement Board. West Florida Hospital CEO Brian Baumgardener will be leaving Pensacola to become Chief Executive Officer of LewisGale Regional Health System, effective Nov. 14.

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