Bubba Watson Becomes Partial Blue Wahoos Owner

bubba watson pic (back9network.com)
Hometown Hero and Masters Champ Bubba Watson Becomes Partial Blue Wahoos Owner
By: Kelly Woodard

Two time Masters Champion and Pensacola native, Bubba Watson, has become the newest part owner of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. Blue Wahoos President, Bruce Baldwin, made the announcement on Monday just before Watson took two swings at home plate; one with his signature driver and one with a Wahoos bat.
Watson said of his involvement with the Pensacola based Reds' Double-A team, “Ever since I went to my first Blue Wahoos game I have been a big fan of the team. There's something special about pulling for the hometown team. It's great that Quint and his wife were willing to let me be a part of it.”
Quint Studer, Blue Wahoos majority owner, said of the merger in a press release, “Over the years many have been touched by Bubba beyond golf. His work to make life better for others is what attracted Rishy (my wife) and I to him. Rishy, Bubba and I all view the Wahoos as an investment in improving the quality of life for people.”
The Blue Wahoos stadium will be undergoing some changes with the addition of Watson. According to the press release, in honor of the partnership, the team will begin selling co-branded merchandise, a Bubba Dub Grilled Cheese, a double decker grilled cheese sandwich with crispy hash browns inside, and the restaurant and bar behind home plate will be renamed Bubba's Sand Trap.
Studer said of the changes that are coming to the franchise, “Together we will continue to create great experiences for all ages, make lifelong memories for our fans, be a super place to work and now, with Bubba's leadership, we will gain a national and international awareness for the Blue Wahoos and Northwest Florida.”
Watson said he wants to be as involved as possible with the program, but don’t expect him to make any career changes in the future. “One thing I know for sure is that you won’t see me out there in a uniform playing. I already asked, and they said I can't do that even if I own part of the team.”

Flora-Bama “Super” Bowl Chili Cook-Off

super bowl chilli pic
Things Get Spicy At the Flora-Bama “Super” Bowl Chili Cook-Off
By: Kelly Woodard

Few things go together like winter weather, the Super Bowl, and chili. Hearty foodies can get their fill at the 21
st Annual Flora-Bama “Super” Bowl Chili Cook-Off this Saturday, January 31st from 10 am to 3 pm.
Some of the best chili recipes from all over the south will be cooking up slow thanks to the spirited teams that will be competing for the title. Teams of three will have a chance to showcase their one-of-a kind concoctions in categories like Best Overall Chili, People’s Choice, and Best Dressed.
Cooking begins at 10 am. All teams must provide a minimum 2 gallons of chili, and teams are to supply all cooking utensils, pots, burners, and ingredients. All teams must be willing to eat your own chili, and all participants must be at least 21 years of age to participate. No outside alcoholic beverages will be allowed, however they will be available for purchase throughout the day.
Entry fee for teams wishing to participate in the Cook-Off is $45 per 3-Man team, and includes 3 event t-shirts, draft beer, plus other party favors. Cash prizes will be awarded as follows:
1st Place - Perpetual Trophy and $100 Cash
People's Choice - Perpetual Trophy and $99 Cash
2nd Place - Ribbon and $75 Cash
3rd Place - Ribbon and $50 Cash
Registration is going on now, and can be completed by visiting www.florabama.com/events.
Maybe cooking isn’t your thing but you still want to get in on all the best chili that the Emerald Coast has to offer. Then head over to the big top for a fabulous tasting. Tickets start being sold at 11:45am, tasting begins at 12 pm. Tickets are $10 and will provide you 10 samples.
All proceeds from the event will benefit the American Cancer Society and Relay For Life.
For more information call 850-492-0611.

Newly Elected Officials Meet and Greet

Get Informed and Get Involved At the Newly Elected Officials Meet and Greet
By: Kelly Woodard

Get involved in your community by getting to know your newly elected officials at a special Meet and Greet, this Tuesday, January 27
th from 5:30 – 7:30 pm at The Fish House, located at 600 S. Barracks Street in downtown Pensacola.
Attendees will have the opportunity to mix and mingle with all newly elected Pensacola officials while getting informed on upcoming issues facing our city. Guest will have the opportunity to address concerns and opinions at a Q & A session while enjoying complimentary hors d'oeuvres. A cash bar will also be available.
Presented in partnership with Pensacola Young Professional and Seville Rotary, this event will help Pensacola residents from every neighborhood get informed and get involved to make our community strong and united.
The event is free to attend.
For more information, please contact Maegan Leonard at mleonard@pensacolachamber.com or 850-438-4081 x232.

Tax Issues May Cause Cuts In Escambia County Volunteer Firefighter Roster

irs firefighter pic
Tax Issues May Cause Cuts In Escambia County Volunteer Firefighter Roster
By: Kelly Woodard

The Escambia County’s volunteer firefighter roster may be getting a little shorter thanks to a recent IRS audit that revealed the county owes $79,000 in back taxes on stipends that were paid to volunteer firefighters.
Currently, the system in place allows Escambia County volunteer firefighters a stipend between $300 and $550, depending on rank. During the 2012 tax year, volunteer firefighters were given both a W-2 and 1099. Escambia County public information manager, Kathleen Dough-Castro, said, “According the information we received from the IRS, volunteer firefighters cannot be both W-2 and 1099 employees.”
The Escambia County Board of County Commissioners resolved last week that all remaining volunteer firefighters will continue to receive a stipend, but that stipend will be taxed. In addition, the decision was made that any employees for the Board of County Commissioners will not be eligible to volunteer in Escambia County as a firefighter in hopes of eliminating any tax overlap or county paid overtime.
The Board of Commissioners will meet Thursday to discuss further IRS issues and repercussions in hopes of resolving any back taxes outstanding for the county. Escambia County Public Service Director Mike Weaver said the volunteer firefighters will not be held responsible for any back taxes.
However, due to expected cuts because of the latest rules, Weaver said the county is recruiting new eligible volunteers. For more information or to learn how you can become a volunteer, visit www.myescambia.com.

Gala of the Royal Horses At the Pensacola Bay Center

gala of the royal horses pic
Celebrate Tradition and Beauty With Gala of the Royal Horses At the Pensacola Bay Center
By: Kelly Woodard

Get the royal treatment as riding Master Rene Gasser, creator and producer for “Gala of The Royal Horses”, will be bringing his world-renowned equestrian tour to the Pensacola Bay Center for two shows on Wednesday, January, 28
th at 7:30 pm.
The Royal horses of Europe are some of the most celebrated in history, favored for centuries by royalty, equestrian riders and bullfighters and this performance will celebrate the tradition, athleticism and grace of these revered creatures. Following in the family footsteps of seven generations, Gasser has recreated a show for this tour only previously seen at the famous riding schools in Vienna and Spain.
“The unique qualities of the Royal Horses single them out from all other breeds in the Equine world. Their physical beauty & grace, coupled with exceptional courage and nobility make them an object of admiration and a source of inspiration for horse lovers everywhere,” says Gasser.
In addition to the marvelous stallions, Gala of The Royal Horses will also feature vivacious Spanish Flamenco dancers that will dazzle you with authentic costumes and heart pounding music that will leave you feeling like you’ve been transported to the streets of Madrid.
In the south of Spain, the tradition of flamenco dancing is rivalled only by the tradition of breeding fine Spanish horses and Rene Gasser says the breeds have been featured in portraits with European royalty, used in multiple movies and are extremely popular among riders.
Gala of The Royal Horses will feature a number of performances involving the Andalusian, Friesian, Lipizzaner and Arabian breeds and the event is dedicated to showing off the amazing beauty and maneuvers these horses are capable of including the stunning maneuvers once used on the battlefield now known as “The Airs Above The Ground”.
Tickets are $29.50, $40, and $50.50. There are a limited number of VIP seats available for $60.50 each. Children 12 and under and seniors 60 and over receive a $5 discount (Excluding VIP and $50.50 ticket). Tickets are available at Pensacola Bay Center Box Office, Pensacolabaycenter.com and All Ticketmaster Outlets. To Charge by phone call 1-800-745-3000.