Wharf Boat & Yacht Show Poster Contest

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Your Art Can Float Everyone’s Boat At the Wharf Boat & Yacht Show Poster Contest
By: Kelly Woodard

Are you a talented artist who loves boats? Then enter for your chance to win the 2015 Official Wharf Boat & Yacht Show Poster Contest. Artists are challenged to produce their own interpretation of what boating means here on the gulf coast with a creative concept that will serve as the official poster of the 2015 Boat & Yacht Show.
The winning artwork will be included in other promotional materials and advertisements for the show. Submissions should incorporate signature details such as show's name, year, and location and iconic elements such as powerboats, elements of The Wharf property including Marlin Circle, Ferris Wheel, The Marina, and so on.
The winner of the contest will receive a $500 one-time reward, a free display space at the 2015 Boat & Yacht Show and a pair of tickets to the Florida Georgia Line concert at The Amphitheater at The Wharf on March 21, 2015. During the 2015 Boat & Yacht Show, the winner must be available to sign posters and souvenirs for show attendees. Additionally the winner may have the opportunity to create additional small elements from their winning artwork to potentially be used for official Boat & Yacht Show merchandise.
Original artwork must be submitted no later than January 31
st by 5 pm. Submit artwork to The Wharf Retail Management Office, located at 4830 Main Street Suite G212, Orange Beach, Alabama 36561. Poster contest winners will be selected and notified by February 15th.
Visit www.wharfboatshow.com for more information and make plans to attend The Wharf Boat and Yacht Show, March 19-22, 2015.

The City of Five Flags Now Only Flies One After County

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The City of Five Flags Now Only Flies One After County Commission Vote
By: Kelly Woodard

What started as a campaign to remove the Confederate Flag due to its controversial history at the Pensacola Bay Center has resulted in four of the city’s historic five flags being removed after Escambia County Commissioners voted 4-1 in favor of leaving only the American flag to fly on publicly owned property.
Commissioner Grover Robinson made the original motion to remove the “rebel flag,” from the Pensacola Bay Center, a motion that left many Pensacola residents with split opinions on the matter. Pensacola resident, Marcus Bailey, said of the decision, “That flag has long stood for hate and oppression. The fact that any city is still flying it is disrespectful to its residents and breeds the kind of animosity that we have seen all over the news.”
Not everyone agrees with Bailey. Aubey Smith, Commander of the Pensacola Sons of Confederate Veterans, said “The flag is a part of our heritage. It’s our ancestry. The 600,000 men, women and children who died during that conflict, it’s not something that can be swept under the rug by not showing that flag.”
The County Commission listened to arguments on both sides of the issue last Thursday evening. After an hour of debate, the commission voted in a 4-1 decision to remove the flag from the Bay Center and all other government buildings. The new rule allows only the American flag and State flag to fly, but only if the State flag is already in place. Otherwise, only the American Flag is acceptable.
The new rules have left some residents questioning the lack of respect for Pensacola’s rich and diverse heritage. Pensacola resident, Jan McNalley, said of the ban, “I think it’s tragic that the very essence of what made this city great has been taken away. Those five flags all made Pensacola what it is today. To remove them is a slap in the face to those who respect our culture and where we came from.”
As America's oldest city, founded by Don Tristan de Luna in 1559, Pensacola has seen all five flags in control of the government flying high above the city. Though the Confederate flag has consistently received the majority of the criticism in years past, all the flags that have represented the city have their own history of both violence and triumph.
History aficionado, Jerry Nieman, said, “This isn’t an issue of a flag representing racism and oppression. This is an issue of political correctness gone too far. If you want to get down to the nitty gritty, blood has been shed by many that represented all of those flags. It’s not a question of whether or not you believe in what each of them stood for, it is a question of whether we will continue to acknowledge the fact that each one has had a huge impact on our history as a city. To lose sight of that and to ban them all is a travesty.”
But the County Commission stands by their decision with newly elected County Commissioner Doug Underhill saying, “We took an oath to this flag,” pointing to an American Flag, “This is the flag of Escambia County. So as we go forward thinking about that, putting any other flag on the dais with this one is an insult not to our past, but to our present and our future.”

“Make It To The Line”

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Don’t Let the Holiday Pounds Keep You Down, Just “Make It To The Line”
By: Kelly Woodard

Get a jump on melting off those holiday pounds at the "Make It To The Line" 4-Mile Run/Walk & 1-Mile Fun Run next Saturday, December 27
th beginning at 10 am at the world famous Flora Bama Lounge located at 17401 Perdido Key Dr.
The Flora-Bama Lounge is famous for many things including great drinks, good and flinging fish, but also for their incredible New Year’s weekend events. You’ll find a rockin’ party on the list of fun, as well as a cold swim and black-eyed peas, but the whole thing kicks off with a fun run down the shores of Perdido Key beach, many just moments from the snow white sand.
Individuals and families up to three members can compete. Participants will receive run packets that include t-shirts and other goodies. Trophies will be awarded three deep for all age groups in both the run and the walk. Special awards will be given for overall male, overall female, overall wheelchair, master male, master female, grand master male, grand master female, senior grand master male and senior grand master female runner and walkers.
All finishers will receive a Certificate of Completion.
Registration is open now by visiting
www.active.com/running/perdido-key. Registration fees are $25 before race day and $30 the day of the race. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Innerarity Point and Orange Beach Fire Departments.
Packet pick up & last minute registration is at the Flora-Bama Lounge on December 26th from 4-7 pm and December 27th from 8:30 - 9:30 am.
Kick start your fitness goals, and have an incredible time, when you Make It To The Line!

Gene Valentino Files Ethics Claim Against Sheriff David

Gene Valentino Files Ethics Claim Against Sheriff David Morgan
By: Kelly Woodard

Former County Commissioner Gene Valentino is claiming that Escambia County Sherriff David Morgan and Chief Deputy Eric Haines violated various codes of ethics in several instances in an official complaint.
In the complaint, originally filed on October 28
th, Valentino claimed that Sheriff Morgan was threatening and intimidating in a phone message left on Valentino’s county issued cell phone. Valentino claimed that the message bordered on “harassment” and left him “in fear for his life” after Morgan, who disapproved of a presentation backed by Valentino that was set to be presented to the commission, stated that if Valentino went forward with the presentation that there would be “fireworks and blood in the water”.
Valentino goes on to say that Sheriff Morgan used county funds to produce a campaign video for his opponent, Doug Underhill, who later went on to defeat Valentino for his seat on the county commission. He claimed that Morgan’s involvement in Underhill’s campaign was a direct result of strife in their personal relationship.
Sheriff Morgan said that while he did shoot a commercial endorsing Underhill for county commissioner, the commercial was shot and funded by a Sheriff’s Office employee, David Craig, on his own time.
Valentino also alleges that Sheriff Morgan lead citizens to believe that the explosion at the jail that occurred on April 30
th was partially the responsibility of the county commissioner’s office by saying that the investigation would, “go all the way up to the county commission for their criminal negligence involving the explosion.”
Valentino’s final allegation in the ethics claim states that Chief Deputy Eric Haines refused to pay respects of the passing of former County Administrator George Touart by lowering flags to half-staff.
Valentino said that the relationship between he, Morgan and the entire Sheriff’s office has been strained for some time, and that his intentions for his ethics claim is to “remedy on-going intimidation and coercion”. Morgan said that the allegations against him and the Sheriff’s office are untrue and are “baseless and bordering on harassment”.
The Florida Commission on Ethics, who is responsible for reviewing the allegations, said that the matter is under investigation and will determine whether or not a hearing is warranted. In the event that the FCE calls for a hearing, the repercussions could include public reprimand, monetary fines, and/or removal from office for the parties involved.

Investigation Continues In the Murder Of Local Dolphin

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Help Needed As the Investigation Continues In the Murder Of Local Dolphin
By: Kelly Woodard

Local coastal communities are still reeling after the discovery of a dolphin with a hunting arrow in its side was found dead in Orange Beach this weekend. Federal officials are investigating the crime, which many residents are saying is “heartbreaking”.
In a press release from NOAA, preliminary results of a necropsy suggest the dolphin lived with the arrow in its side for at least five days before dying from a from a secondary infection caused by the wound. NOAA spokesperson Kim Amendola reports that this is the second human-related dolphin death in the past two weeks in the northern Gulf of Mexico coming shortly after the discovery of a pregnant dolphin was found dead after being shot with a firearm in Miramar Beach.
Published reports by NOAA state that at least 17 dolphins have stranded with gunshot wounds since 2002, with 70 percent of those occurring since 2010, a huge problem considering that all human interaction with the marine mammals is punishable by up to $100,000 in fines and up to one year in jail per violation according to Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972.
People should remember not to feed wild dolphins. It is illegal and it can encourage them to approach boats, putting them into conflict situations with fishermen, resulting in harm to the dolphins. Civil penalties up to $11,000 per count may also be assessed even if the animal is unharmed.
NOAA law enforcement has attributed many of these senseless dolphin killings to fishermen frustrated at having to fight dolphins for their catch, a fact that has left local residents furious. Perdido Key resident, Amber Thompson, said of the latest event, “I find it utterly disgusting that anyone could hurt an animal, especially a dolphin. People need to realize that when you fish in local waters, you are fishing in the animals’ environment. People need to respect the animals’ natural instincts and accept whatever that means for their catch.”
The Humane Society of the United States and The Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust are offering a reward up to $5,000 for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible.
In addition, NOAA officials seek information from anyone with details of this latest incident. Please call NOAA's Office of Law Enforcement in Niceville, Fla., at 850-729-8628 or the NOAA Enforcement Hotline at 1-800-853-1964 as soon as possible. Tips may be left anonymously.