Saturday, September 26, 2009
Mossy Head wastewater plant moves forward (with DOCUMENT)
DeFUNIAK SPRINGS — If all goes well, a long-awaited wastewater treatment plant will be up and running in Mossy Head in a little more than a year.
Walton County commissioners earlier this week directed Polyengineering of Dothan, Ala., to send its application for a construction permit to the state Department of Environmental Protection.
The plant is expected to cost about $3 million and initially treat about 250,000 gallons of sewage per day, Commissioner Larry Jones said.
Glenn Stephens, Polyengineering’s vice president, said the plant will treat wastewater from residential neighborhoods and the 240-acre Mossy Head Industrial Park.
That park has yet to be developed. However, Stephens said county officials have told him that at least five businesses have expressed interest in locating at the park but have held off until there was a way to treat their wastewater.
While the construction permit heads to Tallahassee, Polyengineering and the county are working to apply for a $2.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“We don’t know what percent will be loaned,” Stephen said. “The USDA will determine that.”
Jones said county officials will have to wait “to see what (the USDA’s) position is and move on from there if other (funding) sources are needed.”
County grants coordinator Angie Biddle was not immediately available for comment.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Florida’s existing home sales rose in August – marking a full calendar year (12 months) that sales activity increased in the year-to-year comparison, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. Existing home sales rose 28 percent last month with a total of 13,850 homes sold statewide compared to 10,813 homes sold in August 2008, according to Florida Realtors. The state association also reported a 45 percent increase in last month’s statewide sales of existing condos compared to the previous year’s sales figure. Sixteen of Florida’s metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) reported increased existing home sales in August; 18 MSAs also showed gains in condo sales. A majority of the state’s MSAs have reported increased sales for 14 consecutive months. “For a year now, statewide sales of existing single-family homes in Florida have increased each month compared to the year-ago figures,” says 2009 Florida Realtors® President Cynthia Shelton, CCIM, CRE, a broker and director of investment sales with Colliers Arnold in Orlando. (CCIM stands for Certified Commercial Investment Member and CRE is the Counselor of Real Estate designation). “This is encouraging news, and while it shows the beginnings of recovery, the housing market still needs time to continue its gradual absorption of housing inventory that will help stabilize home prices. That is why it is critical for Congress to extend the first-time homebuyer tax credit into 2010. And, because it’s now taking longer to finalize a home sale, first-time buyers who want to take advantage of the $8,000 federal tax credit need to act quickly, or they may miss the closing deadline of Nov. 30, 2009.” Florida’s median sales price for existing homes last month was $147,400; a year ago, it was $188,500 for a 22 percent decrease. Housing industry analysts with the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) note that sales of foreclosures and other distressed properties continue to downwardly distort the median price because they generally sell at a discount relative to traditional homes. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less. The national median sales price for existing single-family homes in July 2009 was $178,300, down 14.6 percent from a year earlier, according to NAR. In Massachusetts, the statewide median resales price was $310,000 in July; in California, it was $285,480; in Maryland, it was $273,769; and in New York, it was $205,000.Signs point toward continued positive momentum in the housing sector, according to NAR’s latest industry outlook. NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun predicts existing home sales will rise through the fourth quarter. “Unless the tax credit is extended, no one should be surprised to see home sales drop in the first quarter of next year,” he said. “However, the fundamentals of the housing market and the economy are trending up, and we expect home sales to generally pick up in the second quarter of 2010. The buyer psychology may be shifting from, ‘Why buy now when I can purchase later,’ to ‘I don’t want to miss out on a recovery.’” In Florida’s year-to-year comparison for condos, 4,674 units sold statewide compared to 3,222 units in August 2008 for a 45 percent increase. The statewide existing condo median sales price last month was $107,500; in August 2008 it was $158,100 for a 32 percent decrease. The national median existing condo price was $178,800 in July 2009, according to NAR.Interest rates for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.19 percent last month, down significantly from the average rate of 6.48 percent in August 2008, according to Freddie Mac. FAR’s sales figures reflect closings, which typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written. Among the state’s larger markets, the Daytona Beach MSA reported a total of 686 homes sold in August compared to 573 homes a year earlier for a 20 percent increase. The market’s existing home median sales price last month was $132,700; a year ago it was $164,200 for a 19 percent decrease. A total of 135 condos sold in the MSA in August, up 27 percent over the 106 units sold in August 2008. The existing condo median price last month remained level compared to a year ago at $184,300.
Monday, September 21, 2009
As you can see the new Crestview Movie Theater and Shopping Plaza is taking shape and should be ready for the May 2010 Grand Opening. As many has shared, this commercial project is going to stimulate the commercial markets in preparation of the growth associated with the Base Realignment Commission 2005 decision. Located on the northside of Crestview across the street of the Crestview High School; this site should be a tremendous success. Great Job Mr. Jernigan.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Joint Strike Fighter timeline moved up
By Andrew Tilghman - Staff writerPosted : Saturday Sep 19, 2009 9:28:23 EDT
The Navy’s carrier version of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter will be ready for deployment earlier than expected, a Navy official said.
The Navy’s first F-35C squadron will be operational by September 2014, about six months earlier than the previous target date in 2015, said Lt. Callie Ferrari, a Navy spokeswoman at the Pentagon.
The F-35C’s timeline is critical, Navy officials say, to help reduce the “fighter gap,” the looming shortfall in fighter jets as the older F/A-18 Hornets wear out faster than the F-35Cs will arrive to replace them.
The Navy’s F-35C is slated for its first test flight later this year. The first operational aircraft will begin arriving in 2012 at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, where the first F-35 pilots will be trained, Navy officials said.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
A day at Nokuse Plantation
By KIMBERLY WHITE Northwest Florida Daily News 654-6905,email@example.com
FREEPORT — Nature enthusiasts shrugged off the wet weather Saturday and hit the trail adjacent to the E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center. A b o u t 7 m i l l i o n longleaf pines would not form a canopy over the trial if not for the efforts of Nokuse Plantation owner M.C. Davis and a team of scientists and volunteers who helped restore the land to its natural state. Many of those involved in the restoration efforts — as well as its namesake, world-renowned scientist and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner E.O. Wilson —were on hand Saturday as guests strolled through the exhibit hall. Parents snapped photos of their children climbing on the red, larger-than-life Florida harvester ant that greets visitors in the front room. Nearby, several wallm o u n t e d f l a t - s c r e e n televisions showed a video that describes the history of the 48,000-acre Nokuse Plantation. Nine acres is dedicated to the Biophilia Center, which offers children a chance to learn about the natural world and the importance of biodiversity. Schoolchildren will be able to explore nature on the hiking trails and in the learning center, which features exhibits ranging from various species of snakes and frogs to Native American tools to an active beehive with tens of thousands of honey bees. Katie Scally, the 9-yearold daughter of Biophilia Center Director Christina Scally, stood in front of a panel that explained the process of photosynthesis by using a panel of multicolored lights. Katie, a fourth-grader at Butler Elementary School, said her class will come to the center once a week for five weeks to learn about photosynthesis, pollination, the importance of prescribed burns and how they all contrib u t e t o a h e a l t h y ecosystem. One exhibit at the center allows visitors to step on a series of strips to find out what kinds of sounds different animals make. Another explains the importance of longleaf pine forests, which once dominated Northwest Florida but largely have given way to development. And out on the trail system “you learn a lot of really cool things,” Katie said “There’s even a tree where a beaver has chewed off some bark and there’s a lot of longleaf pines out there,” she added. “When you walk down the trail, you see something new every time, like a snake, a bird or something like that.” M.C. Davis co-owns Nokuse Plantation with Sam Shine. The center initially will cater solely to fourthgraders from Walton, Okaloosa and Bay counties. Future curriculums will be created for middle school and high school students. Although scientists can meet and conduct research there, Davis said the center is geared toward children. “The main purpose is to get children to fall in love with nature and develop a little bit of a naturalist in them, and be able to implement that in the rest of their lives,” Christina Scally said. They will be able to observe animals and plants along the nearly 1-mile trail, part of which consists of a wooden boardwalk that crosses a wetland. Children can pull up crawfish traps that hang from posts and identify the animals caught befor letting them go, Scally said. At the end of the trail is a screened-in, solarpowered barn where she said students can plug their computers into outlets and type their notes for the day. The center also features a 165-seat theater, several classrooms and a lab station, all geared toward students. Scally said the center is affiliated with the Chipleybased Panhandle Area Education Consortium, which represents 17 counties in Northwest Florida. The consortium has its own television channel and can send and receive broadcasts to the center. During a late-afternoon presentation, Matt Aresco, Nokuse Plantation’s director, showed a slideshow about the plantation’s activities, goals and achievements. The plantation, he said, is home to 39 rare species, including reptiles, mammals, birds and insects. Conservation is of the utmost importance “so we can pass this torch on to the next generation.” “Giving young people the chance to experience and explore nature, we hope, will inspire them to continue our efforts to protect in the future,” he said.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Demand grows for smaller homes
WASHINGTON – Sept. 11, 2009 – Census Bureau data shows that the median size of a new single-family home in the United States shrank to 2,215 square feet in 2008 from 2,277 square feet the year before. The change represents the first decrease in median size in almost 14 years, as single-family housing had been growing larger on a consistent basis since 1991 .“That’s reflective of the economy back then: the stock market, the egos, people trying to compete with their neighbors and people trying to keep up with the Joneses,” according to Cindy Ariosa, an executive for the Baltimore and Southern Pennsylvania division of Long & Foster. In recent years, however, the implosion in the residential property market has steered more buyers toward smaller homes. “When the economy is weak, unemployment is high, income gain is slower or nonexistent, people tend to focus on simpler things, less expensive things,” explains American Institute of Architects chief economist Kermit Baker. In addition, the sales market is being driven largely by first-time homebuyers, who lean toward townhouses and other smaller properties. Moreover, many of today’s consumers see smaller homes as a good fit with their environmental and ecological values.In response to the trend toward less space, nearly nine of 10 builders polled by the National Association of Home Builders are erecting smaller units.Source: Baltimore Sun (09/08/09) Cho, Hanah
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Governor Crist Praises Economic Development in Panhandle
Visits Panama City-Bay County International Airport site and Naval Support Activity – NAVSEA Warfare Center.
Tuesday September 1st, 2009
PANAMA CITY – Continuing his focus on strengthening Florida’s economy, Governor Charlie Crist today visited the Panama City-Bay County International Airport construction site and toured the Naval Support Activity – NAVSEA Warfare Center to highlight their economic impact on Northwest Florida and the state, as well as the environmental benefit of their use of green technologies.
“Florida’s economy thrives on projects and initiatives that strengthen our expanding tourism and defense industries,” Governor Crist said. “Florida will continue to foster an environment that supports projects that want to provide opportunities for job growth, marketplace competition and industry expansion, while also placing an emphasis on environmental stewardship.”
During today’s visit, Governor Crist toured the construction site of the terminal facility of the Panama City-Bay County International Airport, accompanied by Airport Authority Board Co-Chairman Bill Kramer, Secretary Mike Sole and Representative Jimmy Patronis. In 2007, Governor Crist lauded the groundbreaking of the airport as a national model for economic development and environmental preservation. As of January 2009, there were nearly 300 workers onsite, and an increase to 500 workers related to construction is anticipated. In addition to creating jobs in the area, the environmentally sensitive design of the new airport is expected to earn it the recognition of “America’s First Green Airport.” It also plans to be one of the first airports to seek the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, an internationally recognized green building certification.
The Naval Surface Warfare Center is located at the Naval Support Activity Panama City. Home to an estimated 2,400 active duty military personnel and nearly 2,000 civilian employees, this base contributes almost $2.3 billion in economic impact to Bay County. The center’s mission is to conduct research, development, test and evaluation, in-service support of mine warfare systems, and other missions that occur primarily in coastal regions. NAVSEA is the largest of the Navy’s five system commands and accounts for nearly a quarter of the entire Navy’s budget. In addition to the tour, Governor Crist met with high school students training at NAVSEA.
Florida’s Defense Economy
Florida is home to 20 military installations, including 12 major installations and three unified command centers, as well as many of the nation’s leading defense companies and a large pool of highly skilled workers and veterans. In addition, military and defense’s economic impact has increased by more than 9 percent per year since 2003, the last period evaluated according to Enterprise Florida. Florida’s top 10 contractors alone employ more than 28,000 Floridians. These contractors and other defense companies find in Florida the workforce and support they need to thrive. In fact, defense-related spending generated about 732,300 jobs and $52 billion in gross state product (GSP) in 2005, according to the most recent data available. Projections are that the economic impact of this important industry in Florida will reach nearly $60 billion by 2010.
Support for Florida’s Military Installations
In 2008, the state of Florida awarded almost $4 million in defense grants for projects to improve Florida’s position as a host state for military installations and activities through the Florida Defense Reinvestment Grant Program. The program is administered by the Governor’s Office of Trade, Tourism and Economic Development, in coordination with Enterprise Florida Inc. and the Florida Defense Alliance.