Monday, May 31, 2010
SR285 facelift to begin
By ANGEL McCURDY
Northwest Florida Daily News 315-4432 firstname.lastname@example.org
NICEVILLE — A resurfacing project for State Road 285 will be giving the roadway a facelift starting June 7. The effort, however, will take about seven months to complete. The 9-mile project will resurface the roadway from north of College Boulevard to the Walton County line, according to a Florida Department of Transportation press release. Crews from Anderson Columbia will be working on the $2.9 million project. “We’re just going to resurface the existing roadway with new asphalt,” said Tommie Speights, public information officer for the DOT. “Basically, we’re preserving existing roadway.” The construction is part of a five-year program with the DOT to work on milling damaged roadways. The week of June 7, crews will focus on clearing the right of way, drainage work and preparing the site for resurfacing, the release states. Along with resurfacing, the roadway will have guardrails replaced, drainage upgrades, minor safety improvements and placement of new signs and pavement markings within the project limits. Motorists can expect lane restrictions during construction. However, there will be no lane closures weekdays between 6 and 8 a.m. and 4 and 6 p.m. Speights said the construction will have a flagger on site for the one-lane closures. He said the DOT does not foresee extensive traffic backup based on the times crews will be working. “ This road badly needed repairs to preserve the existing roadway, so that’s what we’ll be getting started on shortly,” Speights said.
Friday, May 28, 2010
EGLIN AFB — With a series of training devices, software and instructors in place, the F-35 Joint Training School is ready for a dry run. After months of preparations, the F-35 team of instructor pilots and engineers will be testing the school curriculum on those slated to fly the planes first: the instructors. The dry run will not only prepare the instructors for their initial flights but test the syllabi they had a hand in preparing. Though the initial operational capability (IOC) – the date the F-35 program is expected to be at full capacity with 59 aircraft – has been pushed back to 2015, the school will be operational by this fall. “IOC isn’t driving what we’re doing here,” said Col. David Hlatky, commander of the 33rd Fighter Wing. “Operational testing and 33FW core cadre haven’t changed. We still plan to have them trained next year.” Hlatky has spent the last few months getting his staff to stop looking at calendars and thinking about the IOC. In its infancy, the F-35 training school has plenty of work to do before changes in the IOC will have any effect on the daily tasks of its staff. The school has a timeline that spans the next 18 months. By fiscal year 2011, the training center will have more than a thousand people under its roof, including students and instructors. The school also will have a few F-35s in use. “We’re gonna have jets in the fall,” Hlatky said. “If, magically, the jets don’t show up, we’re okay. If it doesn’t show up, we’re gonna go out and start playing golf.” With advanced virtual instruction for pilots and maintainers, Hlatky will not be scheduling a tee time in the near future. Hlatky’s focus is on equipment, facilities and instructional processes. The Academic Training Center, dorms, dining and recreation facilities are still under construction but Hlatky has set up instruction for the current pilots in an existing facility. Pilot training aids are step one for pilots training on F-35s. After the computer programs, they graduate to a sophisticated computer system that includes touch screens, operating sticks, voice activation systems and simulated software. The advanced systems, called Mission Rehearsal Trainers, acclimate pilots before they move on to Full Mission Simulators. Maintainers have a similar process involving avatars with simulated tools and aircraft. A simple operational system and a host of software make flying the F-35 easier than previous generations, said instructor Greg Wilder. He won’t be taking the planes in the air but wishes he could. Wilder said the training program and the plane itself is beyond anything he trained on when he flew F-16s. He remembers learning to fly under hard conditions by turning the lights off in his simulator. The first time he did a refueling mission with a tanker, it was in the air. “I joke that the guys shouldn’t even be able to get flight pay anymore, it’s so simple,” Wilder said. Hlatky prepared an update of the 33rd Fighter Wing that included his ideal answer to the question of runways for the F-35 program. He would build landing pads for the Marine version of the F-35 at Choctaw Field. The rest of the F-35 flight training would be done at Duke Field. The decision is not up to the commander but he has shared his opinions with the Air Force staff.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Daily Real Estate News May 24, 2010
Despite Downturn, More Shopping Malls Emerge The number of U.S. shopping centers has continued to increase despite the economic downturn. There were 104,148 shopping centers in 2008, 104,919 in 2009, and by the end of 2010, there are expected to be 104,990, according to CoStar Group Inc., a commercial real estate information company that compiled information on behalf of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)."The prospects for the retail real estate industry appear to be improving and the sector, in time, will likely regain its investment luster," says Michael Niemira, ICSC’s vice president, director of research, and chief economist..
Monday, May 24, 2010
The homes are Custom Style Craftsman designs with great attention to the aesthetic use on exterior materials and a color palette that blends quite beautifully with the natural setting of the community.
The community features great amenities including Lake Majestic and the Natural Pavilion ("Oaks Pavilion"). In addition, Vineyard Park will be near the main entrance and will feature a basketball/hockey sport court, a children's play structure, a viewing/picnic pavilion and a large playfield. Every aspect of Majestic Oaks was designed to enhance your family experience in your new community, so enjoy a friendly game of basketball or soccer in the playfield, and bring the kids out after school to enjoy the great play structure and meet your neighbors.
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With the enormous growth of the Crestview market, the beautiful setting of this development, and Majestic Oaks Vineyard being designated a Featured Site for the 2010 Builder's Industry Association's Parade of Home, Lots and Homes will be a great investment. Lots starting at $35,000 and homes starting at $160,000, you can't miss on this investment. I can assure you the prices can't stay this low. Demand is great and supply is running low.
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Saturday, May 22, 2010
What a great feeling to see the newest Airport opened since 9-11 in our own backyard. Great fanfare and energy filled the air as the first Southwest Airlines plane lands with their newest passengers.
It is quite obvious there are some big plans for this area as you drive on to the Airport grounds and walk through the Airport. So, be ready folks, as the Panhandle of Florida becomes the destination for people around the country and around the world.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Housing prices are expected to increase 12.4 percent between 2010 and the end of 2014, predicts MacroMarkets, which surveyed more than 100 analysts and market strategists.Those interviewed didn’t all see the housing market in the same light. Joseph LaVorgna, a economist at Deutsche Bank predicts that home prices will rise 37 percent by the end of 2014.On the most bearish end, both Anthony Sanders, professor of real estate finance at George Mason University, and investment adviser Gary Shilling, president of A.Gary Shilling & Co., expect prices will decline 18 percent.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, James R. Hagerty (05/19/2010)
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Eglin provides answers to 7 SFG transition questionby Minty KnightonTeam Eglin Public
Affairs5/19/2010 - FORT BRAGG, N.C. --
Hundreds of 7th Special Forces Group Army Soldiers met with Eglin Air Force Base supporters to gain insight into what their future holds in upcoming months.The 3rd Eglin AFB/7th SFG Town Hall meeting was held here May 11 and 12. The meeting focused on the concerns of military spouses and families."We've had a pretty good crowd," said Col. James Kraft, commander for 7th SFG. "It includes everybody, our Special Forces soldiers and what we call our MOS, [Military Occupational Skill] personnel. MOS is an important audience. They are our young people and probably the most stressed."The meeting began with an overview from both Eglin and 7th SFG leadership. Sgt. Maj. William Zaiser of the 7th SFG tried to put attendees at ease."I know there's a lot of anxiety." "It's never easy to pick up and move, but we're going to reduce the concerns and anxiety as much as possible."Followed were breakout sessions and information fair. Personnel from Eglin, Okaloosa, Walton and Santa Rosa counties traveled to the area to provide information on housing, employment and educational opportunities. Basic concerns included continuing education for spouses and children, employment for spouses and basic living conditions."A lot of the husbands and spouses are asking about education," said Lynn Wilson, Education Specialist for Eglin. "Many thought there was no money and are really happy to know we still have money for military spouse education."Eglin Airmen and Family Readiness Center along with Job Plus of Okaloosa County provided guidance and information on employment opportunities."Most of the spouses attending already have in mind what they want to do and most want to work in that same field," said LaShae Dunlop, personnel specialist for Eglin's Civilian Personnel Office.Most of the professions asked about were nursing, physical therapy, administrative jobs, pharmacists, social work and cosmetology according to Mr. Don Holloway.Ms. Dunlop shared some encouraging information with attendees in that according to U.S. Executive Order 13473, Non-competitive Appointment of Certain Military Spouses was put into action to specifically help spouses find employment during BRAC transitions."We also have job listings not normally posted to general public to aid spouses in employment," said Renea Washington, career counselor for Eglin AF&RC. Housing was another concern. Towns in the tri-county area of Northwest Florida attended the meeting eager to provide information on what their area can offer."Regardless of where they choose to live, the opportunities are right at their back door," said Maj. James Brownlee, 7th SFG Public Affairs Officer.Although the three main concerns of education, employment and housing, were up front, there was also an underlying concern of support."I really need to know what kind of support system is there [Eglin AFB]," said Hilda Sepulveda, a 7th SFG spouse. "I've been with the Army for 16 years and heard the Air Force has a good support system."Eglin personnel noted the concern and did what they could to alleviate the stress."Anxiety is coming from moving out of their comfort zone, but once they get there they will see Eglin AFB is a military community and will welcome them with open arms," said Becci Luna, 7th SFG Town Hall meeting coordinator. "They will feel right at home."Aside from the concerns, most of those attending the Town Hall meeting were also interested in the fun stuff. They wanted to know about recreation."We have what they have, just on a larger scale," said Justin Johnson of Jackson Guard. "If they hunt and fish at Fort Bragg, they'll feel right at home here."Both Eglin and 7th SFG leadership agreed this town hall meeting had the biggest impact."What we see is phenomenal." said Colonel Kraft. "I've never seen this level of support in my 26 years as we have with Team Eglin." "You can see the stress is turning to excitement and that's in large part due to the efforts of Eglin's team."Orders are already being cut for the first group of soldiers to arrive Summer 2010. Their new history begins
Monday, May 17, 2010
RELEASE NUMBER: 100517-03DATE POSTED: MAY 17, 2010
7th SFG (A) Soldiers prepare for PCS during BRAC town hall meeting
FORT BRAGG, N.C. (USASOC News Service, May 17, 2010) – For the approximately 2200 Soldiers of 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), a PCS move from Fort Bragg to Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is on the horizon.
A 7th Special Forces Group Soldier and his family learn about homes in Walton County from a local expert during the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) town hall meeting in Fayetteville, NC, May 12. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Daniel Love)
In order to alleviate the common stresses of moving 620 miles for the Soldiers and families, leaders from 7th SFG(A) and Eglin Air Force Base held a town hall meeting at the Crown Expo Center in Fayetteville to answer some of Soldiers' nagging questions.
Approximately 60 representatives from the Northwest Florida area were in attendance, including city mayors and representatives from Eglin Air Force Base garrison command.
Soldiers and families were given the opportunity to learn about Eglin area employment, education, healthcare, housing and recreation from people who live there.
“The Eglin community has gone above and beyond in opening their arms to 7th Special Forces Group and welcoming us,” said Col. James Kraft, the 7th SFG (A) commander. “You may have experienced a PCS in the past where the Army just gave you a copy of your orders, the number for movers, and an out-processing checklist. This will not be one of those moves.”
Command Sgt. Maj. William Zaiser, the 7th Special Forces Group command sergeant major, answers questions during an open forum during the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) town hall meeting in Fayetteville, NC, May 12. For most Soldiers, the main question remaining is when homes should be bought and sold. “We're lucky enough to be in a situation where Fort Bragg is a seller's market and Eglin is a buyer's market,” said Command Sgt. Maj. William Zaiser, 7th SFG (A) CSM. “With the right preparation and time invested, selling your house should not be a problem.” With thousands more Soldiers of Forces Command and Reserve Command moving to Fort Bragg in the very near future, also as part of the Base Realignment and Closure plan, leaders predict the housing market will stay very strong at the least in the Fayetteville area.
Though the move promises to bring challenges, the 7th SFG (A) leaders said the work is worth the reward. “The CSM and I had the opportunity to go to Eglin a few months ago, and I can tell you the facilities are absolutely world-class,” said Kraft. “It's something 7th SFG (A) has been due for quite some time, and frankly, something the entire community can be envious of.”
Currently under construction, the 7th SFG (A) compound at Eglin features more room and better facilities than their current space in Fort Bragg. The state-of-the-art buildings and ranges were co-designed by special operators to fill the needs of today's ever-growing Special Forces mission.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Local bases to get more people in fiscal 2011
Eglin Air Force Base scheduled to gain 596 positions; Hurlburt Field, 207
By MONA MOORE
Northwest Florida Daily News 315-4443 email@example.com
Local military installations will see an increase in personnel in fiscal 2011, according to the Air Force’s proposed realignments released Tuesday. The proposal, in response to President Barack Obama’s budget, includes changes in military personnel and aircraft. Duke Field will add three civilians and 18 reserve positions. Duke also will get six MC-130Es. Eglin will gain 288 military positions and 308 civilian positions. Ten F-35s also are slated for delivery. Hurlburt Field will see an increase of 108 military and 99 civilian positions. The base will add nine CV-22s. “The force structure announcement reflects the Air Force’s best effort to meet our mission and growing demands, enabling us to balance our unique capabilities to support new and emerging missions critical to operating in today’s global and expanding environment,” Capt. Lisa Citino, spokeswoman for 1st Special Operations Wing, said in a news release. A few of Hurlburt’s contractor positions will be converted to civilian positions. That change is responsible for 79 of its new civilian positions. The greatest increase will come from the additional CV-22s. The 1st Special Operations Wing will add 94 military positions to support the aircraft. One civilian position will be added as a result of a BRAC 2005 decision to realign base operating support from Pensacola NAS to Hurlburt Field. Contractor-to-civilian conversions will result in an increase of 208 civilian positions at Eglin, according to a news release from the base. The Air Armament Center will add 56 civilian positions because of Acquisition Excellence resource realignments. The 33rd Fighter Wing will gain 260 military positions and three civilian positions in support of the F-35 force growth. The 53rd Wing will eliminate six military positions as a result of security forces manpower realignments. The 46th Test Wing will add 12 military positions to support Guardian Angel manpower requirements. The wing also will lose two military and add two civilian positions because of militaryto-civilian conversions. Air Force-wide personnel changes involve more than 13,000 people, including about 2,450 active duty, 9,200 civilians, 1,300 Air Force Reserve and 220 Air National Guard positions.
Monday, May 10, 2010
AETC commander sees opportunity, innovation at F-35 training wing
by Ashley M. Wright
Team Eglin Public Affairs4/30/2010 -
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- General Stephen R. Lorenz, commander of Air Education and Training Command, visited the 33rd Fighter Wing April 26 to see how the wing is taking "the opportunity to shape the future," training pilots and maintainers on the F-35. "[The wing's mission connects to] not just a larger Air Force mission, but a larger DoD mission, because they have the opportunity to shape the future on how we fly, maintain and integrate the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter across all the services including international [partners] that will be coming here," General Lorenz said. Currently, projections indicate more than 2,100 pilots and maintainers annually training on the 5th generation aircraft when the wing reaches full capacity in 2014. The Air Force, Marines, Navy and international partner nations will send their students to Eglin for instruction on the F-35. "General Lorenz's positive feedback and motivation couldn't have been timelier," said Col. David Hlatky, 33rd Fighter Wing commander. "Our folks are feeling the drain of driving integration and best practices for F-35 training at the same time they are bedding down new equipment and learning complex new systems. When the four-star validated their innovative concepts, thanked them for the effort and then asked how he can help, everyone got a lift." The purpose of the general's visit was to receive a status report on the 33rd Fighter Wing and the Integrated Training Center that will train F-35 pilots and maintainers for the Air Force, Navy, Marines and eight coalition partners. Included in his update were a campus tour, mission brief, and a 33 FW "all hands" call where General Lorenz addressed more than 200 Airmen, Marines, Sailors, contract partners and one soldier."It was a lot of insight on how he sees things," said Cpl. Lewis McCormick, Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501. "He talked about how it was important for us being the first boots on the ground and setting the tone for future joint operations. It made me a little more proud to be a part of this organization." The general said like all new ventures, challenges are bound to arise. "There are lots of challenges whenever you bring new weapons systems on board," he said. "There are challenges on the integration of the services and the international [partners], how we are going to share the ranges around here, how we are going to share the runways." However, General Lorenz pointed to one factor capable of surpassing those challenges that does not recognize one particular service over any other: leadership. "A lot of great leaders from the all the services are working these issues on a day-to-day basis and are doing a great job," he said. General Lorenz, who is charged with developing America's Airmen today...for tomorrow, anticipates 33rd FW leadership continuing to build on the "Nomads" distinguished history as they work toward the integrated training center housing not only Airmen, but Sailors, Marines and international students as well. "As a team, I expect them to build a foundation for others in the future to move the ball down the field," the general said. "They are going to have an opportunity to shape the future. That opportunity is only given to a few people, especially in such a large defense program like the JSF, which is the largest defense program in the DoD at this time."To keep pace with the expanding realm of technology, AETC recently added a fourth core competency: Innovate, the general said during a recent trip to Keesler AFB. As the 33rd FW prepares to continue its air power dominance for the next half century by training aviators and maintainers on the joint strike fighter, the general forecasted innovation on a multitude of levels. "This is a perfect example with the leveling off top lines of the Dept. of Defense budget: where they have to think faster, better and cheaper in order to accomplish the same mission in the 21st century," General Lorenz said. "Building and bringing the F-35 to Eglin and the 33rd FW is on the cutting edge of all these issues, and they are on the forefront of innovation."The 33rd Fighter Wing closed its operations with the F-15 Eagle in September 2009 and became the DoD's first F-35 Lightning II training wing on Oct. 1, 2009. The F-35 establishment at Eglin stems from a 2005 Base Realignment and Closure decision.
FAMU to get $8.5 million
By MICHAEL STEWART
Florida Freedom Newspapers
CRESTVIEW — The Legislature has approved $8.5 million for the Florida A&M pharmacy school downtown.
O f t h a t a m o u n t , $7 million is earmarked for renovations to the historic Alatex Building, which Crestview donated to the university.
The remaining $1.5 million comes in the form of recurring annual funds to pay faculty salaries at the school.
The school plans to offer a PharmD degree that leads to licensure as a pharmacist in all 50 states. The PharmD degree differs from a Ph.D., which is a research-focused degree that permits graduates to conduct research in academic, industrial and governmental laboratories, according to FAMU’s website.
“Our plan is to have our first class of 40 students in fall of 2011,” FAMU President James Ammons said.
Future plans could include courses that lead to master’s and doctorate degrees in public health, health care management, health administration, occupational therapy and physical therapy.
“There is nowhere closer than South Florida where you can get those type degrees,” said Sen. Durell Peaden, R-Crestview, a primary supporter of the FAMU satellite. “For a little old country town like Crestview to be able to offer doctorate degrees will be a great thing for our area.”
Although Peaden is optimistic the money will be made available, it is not a done deal. Gov. Charlie Crist can veto the appropriation included in the state budget approved last week.
“Nothing’s cleared until you have the check in your hand,” Peaden said.
Asbestos and lead-based paint are being removed from the Alatex Building at corner of Main Street and Woodruff Avenue.
I n D e c e m b e r , Tallahassee-based Cason E n v i r o n m e n t a l & D e m o l i t i o n S e r v i c e s was awarded a $98,450 contract to remove the toxins. That work could b e c o m p l e t e d n e x t month. The city agreed to pay the cost for the cleanup, along with a $5,000 performance bond required by state law before work could begin.
FAMU cannot accept fee-simpletitletothebuilding until the toxins are removed. That had been a point of contention for some residents who criticized the city’s gift of the 1930s-era building that once housed a sewing factory.
However, supporters point to estimates by Rick Harper, director of the Haas Center for Business Development and Economic Development at the University of West Florida. Harper has said the satellite will have an annual economic impact of $3 million to $6 million on the city.
“When you look at the impact this kind of education facility and the presence of the faculty and health care professionals will have on that community, it is going to be an importanteraofdevelopment for Crestview,” Ammons said.
FA M U p r o m i s e d $10.4 million in renovations to the building. In addition to the $8.5 million allocated by the Legislature, FAMU had $2.5 million in hand from an earlier appropriation from the state budget.
If the funding is nailed down, hopes are to begin work on the building in September, Ammons said.
If successful, Crestview will be FAMU pharmacy school’s first satellite location to offer degrees. The school’s campuses in J a c k s o n v i l l e , M i a m i and Tampa do not offer full degrees.
“This is just the beginning,” Ammons said. “This is an opportunity for FAMU to extend its expertise to a region of the state where we haven’t had a presence.”