Billy Walters on his conviction, gambling -- and ex-friend Lefty

Billy Walters on his conviction, gambling — and ex-friend Lefty

THE WORLD’S MOST feared sports gambler is out of the game.

William “Billy” T. Walters, 71, who in his prime had the financial muscle and acumen to move betting lines worldwide and scared Las Vegas sportsbooks and offshore gambling operators to the degree that they refused to take his bets, is laying low inside the Pensacola Federal Prison Camp, a minimum-security facility housed on a naval air station in the Florida Panhandle. Read More

Property appraiser loses Beach tax appeal

The Florida Supreme Court has denied a request by Escambia County Property Appraiser, Chris Jones, that the Court review two recent lower court decisions in favor of Pensacola Beach taxpayers.

The ruling by the high court lets stand the decisions in Island Resorts v. Chris Jones, Beach Club v. Chris Jones and Portofino v. Chris Jones. All three of those decisions found that the plain language of the controlling Florida statutes makes leasehold interests in county-owned property subject, exclusively, to intangible personal property taxation – not ad valorem taxation.  Read More

Causes: UWF, Sacred Heart, 90Works receive generous donations

(Photo: Special to the News Journal)

Our community has a generosity of spirit throughout the year. Here are good things happening in the area and opportunities to help organizations trying to make life brighter for people in need:

UWF receives $39K for Larry Butler Memorial Music Award

The University of West Florida has received a $39,550 donation to the UWF Department of Music in support of the Larry Butler Memorial Music Award.

The donation will help fund student participation in academic competitions and performance-related travel experiences.

The funds are a result of a special concert at the Flora-Bama and a private concert in the home of Teri Levin, featuring Don Schlitz, a Grammy award-winning songwriter and newly inducted member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, as part of the Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival in November.

The Larry Butler Memorial Music Award was created in 2015 by Peggy Butler in memory of her husband, a Grammy Award-winning songwriter and producer and Pensacola native. More than $93,000 has been raised by the Butler family and friends to support the Department of Music.

More: Causes: Meet United Way of Escambia County’s new ambassador class

Peggy Butler said the award was created to meld three of Butler’s passions: music, Pensacola and UWF.

For more information about the Larry Butler Memorial Music Award, contact the UWF Foundation Inc. at 850-474-3118.

Gamers support Sacred Heart’s mission to care for kids

Sacred Heart Foundation recently partnered with Pensacon, its video game provider SuperCon2K Series and popular Twitch streamers James Werk and GSXR Clyde to raise money for the new Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Sacred Heart.

During the three-day Pensacon 2018 event at Pensacola Bay Center, Pensacon Charity Stream helped raise more than $12,500 through Extra Life. Extra Life is a grassroots experience that mobilizes gamers to support local Children’s Miracle Network hospitals that treat sick and injured babies and children in their communities.

Pensacon Charity Stream helped raise more than $12,500 through Extra Life for The Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Sacred Heart.

(Photo: Special to the News Journal)

Extra Lifers raise money throughout the year, culminating in a massive, international, 24-hour fundraising and gaming marathon.

You can sign up and dedicate a day of play for children in Northwest Florida by visiting, or call Adrienne Maygarden, director of Sacred Heart Foundation, at 850-416-4663.

Community Foundation helps to fund efforts by 90Works

90Works recently received an $8,989 grant from the Community Foundation of Northwest Florida.

Founded in 1985 and rebranded in 2014, 90Works is a nonprofit organization — formerly Families Count — with a new mission for serving families in need. Their vision is to help people move from being in crisis and vulnerable to safe, stable and thriving.

90Works recently received a $8,989 grant from the Community Foundation of Northwest Florida.

(Photo: Special to the News Journal)

90Works has a 90 percent success rate getting people self-sufficient in 90 days. The organization coordinates housing, jobs, transportation, safety and health care.

The Community Foundation helps donors establish giving funds that reflect its philanthropic interests while making a positive impact on the community. Donations may be made to Community Foundation of Northwest Florida, 17 W. Cedar St., Suite 2, Pensacola, FL 32502.

Live Painting Happy Hour benefits Ballet Pensacola, PLT

The Pensacola Cultural Center, Ballet Pensacola and Nina Fritz are combining forces for a fundraiser from 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday, March 29, at the Pensacola Cultural Center, 400 S. Jefferson St.

Participants can watch artist Nina Fritz paint Ballet Pensacola’s professional dancer Scarlett Rustemeyer while enjoying hors d’oeuvres provided by The Fish House, drinks, and music. At the end of the evening, Fritz’s painting will be raffled off.

Tickets are $25 and include food, a specialty cocktail created by Old Hickory Whiskey Bar, and one entry into the drawing for the painting. Additional entries for the drawing are $10, with a ticket to the event.

A cash bar serving cocktails, beer and wine will be available. In addition, Fritz’s art will be on display in the Atrium of the Cultural Center. Pensacola Little Theatre will receive a significant donation for every painting sold.

Pelican unveiling to kick off Donate Life in Escambia

A “pelican unveiling” at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 3, will celebrate National Donate Life Month in Escambia County.

The kickoff will be in the courthouse complex courtyard next to the Tax Collector’s downtown office at 213 Palafox Place.

This event and month-long celebration is designed to raise awareness of the life-saving role that residents can play by registering as an organ, tissue and eye donor.

Tax collector employees help register potential organ donors by asking all driver license customers if they would like to join the registry. Eighty-five percent of Florida’s donor registrations now occur through driver license transactions. Donate Life Florida hit the 10 million donor mark this month and is the nation’s third largest registry.

One person can save up to eight lives through organ donation and enhance dozens more through tissue and eye donation. Florida offers three simple ways to register:

On Donate Life Florida’s website at renewing your driver license or identification card online at obtaining a new or renewed driver license or identification card in one of our tax collector offices.

For more information, visit or 850-438-6500. To learn more about organ donation, call 877-357-4273.

Golf Ball Gala a hole-in-one for First Tee of Northwest Fla.

Dress up in your sharpest golf attire and come party with First Tee of Northwest Florida at The Golf Ball Gala.

The gala will be from 6-10 p.m. Friday, April 6, in The Grand Ballroom at Skopelos at New World, 600 S. Palafox St.

There will be a Masters-inspired cocktail buffet, bar and live music. Coverage of the 2018 Masters Tournament will be played on large screen. Live and silent auctions are planned as well as a $5,000 putting contest.

Tickets are $75, and group discounts and VIP tickets are available. To purchase tickets or for more information, visit or call 850-456-7010.

Flea Across Florida offers opportunity for nonprofits

For eight years, Flea Across Florida has brought thousands of visitors to small communities across the state on U.S. 90.

This is a great opportunity for nonprofits, churches, or individuals to hold sales along the route, or to rent spaces to those wanting to participate and set up.

This event on April 13-14 is a mixture of individual yard sales, businesses offering specials, and retail vendors set up at Flea sites. It is a treasure hunt for the thousands of participants looking for great bargains, hidden treasures, or the adventure of traveling along U.S. 90 through small communities.

For more information, or to have your sale site listed on the event Facebook page for free, contact

The Facebook page is also a great way to stay informed of the clusters of participating sites.

To learn more about the event, contact Kim Macarthy 850-554-3906.

Camp Bluebird open for registration for adult cancer patients

Adults who have been diagnosed with cancer are encouraged to register now for an upcoming Sacred Heart Health System program that offers support, encouragement and renewal. All adult cancer patients are eligible, even if they are not seeing a Sacred Heart physician.

Camp Bluebird, a retreat experience for people coping with cancer, is scheduled for April 25-27 at Sacred Heart’s Miracle Camp. This gathering of cancer survivors and volunteers will celebrate 20 years of Camp Bluebird in Northwest Florida.

The Miracle Camp complex is nestled in a 40-acre nature preserve on Beulah Road and includes dorms, a dining hall, activities center and nature trails. Camp Bluebird activities include arts and crafts, pampering, education, optional sharing sessions, entertainment and more.

For more information and to download a registration form, visit or call Tim Gilbert, camp director, at 850-698-2202.

Autism Pensacola looking for help at Kids for Camp this summer

Autism Pensacola is currently accepting applications for instructors in its summer program. The unique learning lab offers hands-on, ongoing coaching and support.

Dates for the camp are June 18 through July 24, with staff training from June 12-14. Kids for Camp is located at Capstone Academy, Holm Elementary, and Washington High in Pensacola.

Kids for Camp will be June 18 through July 24, with staff training planned from June 12-14.

(Photo: Special to the News Journal)

Kids for Camp is supported through community partnerships with the Autism Center of The Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Sacred Heart, Escambia County School District, and Capstone Adaptive Learning and Therapy Centers, along with the support of generous people and businesses in the greater Pensacola area.

For information on how to apply, go to, call 850-434-7171, or email

Panhandle Butterfly House offers 2 training sessions in April

The Panhandle Butterfly House is seeking seasonal volunteers to serve as docents Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, May through August. Volunteers work in teams, educating visitors on the biology and habitat of butterflies and their importance in our ecosystem.

New volunteers are paired with seasoned docents to learn the ropes. Training will be held in the Navarre Visitor Center conference room, 8543 Navarre Parkway in Navarre. Contact for details and registration.

There are two options for docent training:

Friday, April 6, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.Monday, April 23, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Panhandle Butterfly House will also offer pre-scheduled Kinderpillar School tours for groups of 10 or more (including adults) Monday through Wednesday starting May 7 through the end of August. Admission is $2 per person.

Tours will consist of a basic lesson on butterfly conversation, the life cycle and habits of the butterfly followed by a journey through the vivarium, viewing live Florida butterflies along with their nectar and host plants, and the nursery showing metamorphosis. Larger tours may have rotations on beneficial insects and the ecology of the panhandle’s estuary.

To schedule a tour, email with the following information:

Name of groupContact name, phone number and emailAge range of youthNumber of youth and adult chaperonesRequested date(s)
IMPACT 100 annual Nonprofit Workshop set for April 19

IMPACT 100 Pensacola Bay Area has announced its annual Nonprofit Workshop. The workshop is open to all nonprofit organizations in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties to learn about the grant process, get tips for writing a successful grant, and be inspired to create a winning project for the 15th year of giving.

The workshop will be held from 9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Thursday, April 19, at Brownsville Community Center, 3200 W. DeSoto St. Check-in begins at 8:30 a.m.

This year’s workshop will feature Wendy Steele, founder of IMPACT 100. Steele will present “15 Years. 10 Million Dollars. Still making an IMPACT.”

The workshop will focus on the IMPACT 100 grant application process for 2018 with a review of all required forms and instructions for digital grant submissions. Construction and permitting will also be discussed. A panel discussion with board members, previous grant recipients, focus area committee chairs and co-chairs will cap this event.

After the workshop, attendees are invited to stay for a Nonprofit Social from 12:45-2:30 p.m. This event offers an opportunity to meet and network with other nonprofit organizations. The board members of IMPACT 100 will facilitate small group discussions among the attendees. A boxed lunch will be provided.

All nonprofits are encouraged to attend both events. Space is limited, and registration is required at no later than April 16.

This year, IMPACT 100 Pensacola Bay area will award 11 project grants of $100,300 to nonprofit organizations in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. Letters of Intent to Apply for a grant are due by noon April 3. A Letter of Intent must be submitted in order to apply for a grant; however, submitting an LOI does not obligate an organization to submit a grant application. Grant Applications must be submitted by noon June 13.

Additional information is available at

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“They Could Have Made a Different Decision”: Inside the Strange Odyssey of Hedge-Fund King Eddie Lampert

Photograph by Nigel Parry.

Few people on Wall Street are as polarizing as Eddie Lampert, the billionaire majority shareholder of Sears and Kmart. His friends say he is reticent, while his critics find him aloof. His pals talk about his very high standards, while some observers say he is condescending, overly critical, and disengaged. Some people praise his determination and persistence, while others see only inexplicable stubbornness in sticking to failed ideas. “His critics will say he’s not really a team guy. He is a team guy,” insists Lampert’s close friend David “Tiger” Williams, a well-known Wall Street trader. “The Eddie I know works incessantly because he’s a ‘figure-it-out guy.’ ”  Read More

Tuesday's Afternoon Update - Florida Trend

Tuesday’s Afternoon Update

What you need to know about Florida today

America’s flood insurance chief has a message for all Floridians: You’re at risk

The National Flood Insurance Program provides nearly three times the number of policies in Florida as any other state. But the number of Florida homes covered in high-risk areas has dropped by 15 percent over five years. More from the Miami Herald.

Cortez commercial fisher seeks constitutional change

Cortez commercial fisherman Mark Coarsey will take his passion and petition to oppose the gill net ban to a statewide audience March 13. Coarsey is fighting to revamp restrictions promulgated by state agencies he considers out of touch with the commercial fishing industry. More from the Anna Maria Islander. Read More

Sci-Fi Speed Dating Employee Claims Boss Sexually Assaulted Her at ...

Sci-Fi Speed Dating Employee Claims Boss Sexually Assaulted Her at Pensacon

NBC15 is a weather and news TV station serving the Mobile, AL and Pensacola, FL regions — which included the Pensacon comic convention that ran in Florida last week. They are reporting that a female booth worker, Kristen Reynolds, claims she was sexually assaulted by her boss when walking from the Pensacola Bay Center toward the Grand Plaza Hotel parking lot.

She told NBC 15 that she has worked for a speed dating company, who were operating at the show, for six months and that this was her third comic-con working for the company. She states she has filed a report with the Pensacola Police Department. Read More

Impeach Donald Trump Now, New Billboard Tells California Drivers ...

Impeachment billboard going up near Trump’s Florida home

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (RNN) – It’s not up yet, but a pithy political billboard calling for President Donald Trump’s impeachment is already making headlines.

The sign will tower over I-95 about two miles from Trump’s South Florida residence Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach.

The message: “Impeachment now, Make America America Again!”

The left-wing Mad Dog PAC is behind the billboard and others across the country that target Republican lawmakers and conservative causes.

A recent billboard put up by the group in Pensacola, FL, reads, “The NRA is a terrorist organization.”

The political action committee was founded by Claude Taylor, a former White House staffer during the Clinton administration. Read More

State of Housing and Economic Study of Escambia County – March 14 ...

State of Housing and Economic Study of Escambia County – March 14

Dr. Rick Harper will present the State of Housing and Economic Study of Escambia County at a luncheon on Wednesday, March 14 at Skopelos at New World Landing. The study and luncheon are sponsored by Home Builders Association of West Florida, Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce, and the Pensacola Association of Realtors.

“We are excited to share the data that Dr. Harper has collected for this study,” said Home Builders Association of West Florida Executive Director David Peaden. “This information will be useful in helping our decision-makers plan for future growth in Escambia County. Read More

Escambia County Seeks Appointee For Housing Finance Authority

The Escambia County Board of County Commissioners is seeking Escambia County residents interested in volunteering to be considered for an appointment to the Escambia County Housing Finance Authority. Appointees serve without compensation. Escambia residents interested in serving on the Escambia County Housing Finance Authority are asked to submit a resume and letter indicating their desire to serve by 5 p.m. Friday, March 2. Resumes should be submitted to Judy Witterstaeter, Program Coordinator, Board of County Commissioners, P.O. Box 1591, Pensacola, FL 32502 or Read More

Colony House Apartments to be auctioned March 8

Colony House Apartments on Scenic Highway to be auctioned March 8

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Residents of Colony House Apartments on Scenic Highway in Pensacola face an uncertain future with a change in the properties’ ownership set to occur soon.

The apartments, spread across three parcels, will be up for auction March 8 at the M.C. Blanchard Judicial Building of the First Judicial Circuit Court of Florida. The sale arrives after the properties’ former owner, Perdido Housing Corp., failed to make payments on its mortgage. As a result, the Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Bank of Oklahoma foreclosed on the loan. Read More