Life Guards on Panama City Beach – everyone else is doing it!

Ok, so the big question is, lifeguards on Panama City Beach – everyone else is doing it, why aren’t we? Local officials have argued that the cost is too much and the liability is too great. What!!?? What is everyone else doing? I should quantify “everyone else.”

As reported by the News Herald’s Ed Offley (great article Ed!) lifeguards can be found on the east coast from Jacksonville to Miami and on the Gulf Coast from Sarasota to Naples, not to mention most of the Panhandle has lifeguards posted on the beaches, including Walton County and Destin. As reported, the 43 miles of shoreline in Gulf County doesn’t have any issues with rip currents as it is protected in large part by Cape San Blas.

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VIDEO: Panama City – Bay County International Airport Construction Update

The construction of the new Panama City – Bay County International Airport is ahead of schedule. The entire 1300 acres of the initial footprint is cleared with crews to start paving the main entry way from 388 in the next couple of weeks.

The recent approval of the state budget that included $12 million from the state will fund the first extension of the runway. Day one of operation for the new airport will include a full 10,000 foot runway. In addition, all the preparatory work will be done so that when they need to lengthen the runway to the full 12,000 feet, it will take a mere matter of months.

Something else that is cool about the construction of the new airport is that the terminal will be LEED certified using all recycled material. The stormwater treatment will be 50% greater than what is required.

There will be an additional 1400 acres outside the airport property that will be used for commercial development.

Check after the break for the video and more pictures.

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Pier Park Express – Trolley Service from Wal-Mart to Pier Park

Sit Back and Enjoy the Ride
Save On Gas And Still See The Sights, Pier Park Express Service Starts

PANAMA CITY BEACH, FL (June 20, 2008) – Express Yourself… to some of the beaches best destinations.
Pier Park Express, Inc. and the Bay Town Trolley announce another option for tourists and locals to enjoy this summer… a ride on the Pier Park Express!

Why waste valuable vacation time and money at the pump! The Pier Park Express rolls out its summer 2008 service this weekend, beginning Friday, June 20, 2008. Potential riders are encouraged to hop-on-board the Pier Park Express to take-in the local sights, visit attractions, and experience the fine cuisine and world-class shopping and entertainment venues on Panama City Beach, Florida.

Pier Park Express Trolleys will travel simultaneously along the new EXPRESS trolley routes from the Super Wal-Mart on Front Beach Road to Pier Park. Each trolley is scheduled to provide service to stops approximately every 30 minutes.

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Coastal Vision 3000 Presentation on The Beach at New Airport Site

Coastal Vision 3000 takes off with Milestone Presentation at Panama City – Bay County International Airport Site

PANAMA CITY – Nearly 100 Northwest Florida business and community leaders came together today as officials with Coastal Vision 3000, a non-profit organization focused on marketing the region, and the Panama City – Bay County International Airport discussed future economic and growth opportunities for the area. The open-forum gathering, which was held under a tented meeting space at the site of the future airport, currently the only airport under construction in the country, was lead by Davage “Buddy” Runnels, chairman of Coastal Vision 3000 and chairman of the Destin-based The Sterling Companies.

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Should we drill for oil off the coast of Florida?

Technology has gotten so that we can do so with little risk of a spill.  With little spillage during Katrina from the Gulf oil rigs, many elected and appointed officials agree.  But, I ask, is 7 million gallons of oil a small amount?

China’s rumored to be doing it, why can’t we?

With the cost of oil skyrocketing, we have an immediate need to relieve some of the pressure this crisis is causing.  But, would this really help?

With an estimated 5.2 barrels of oil in the Gulf, how long would it take for us to see a difference?  Would this really alleviate pressure?  Analysts say that it would take at least a decade for oil companies to obtain permits, get the equipment ready and do the exploration necessary to start pumping oil, and even by then, the newly pumped oil would do little to affect the global supply and in turn have little effect on the price of gas.

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Math + Science = Jobs

JuliannBy: Juliann Talkington

Juliann Talkington is the administrator of the Panama City Renaissance School. Reach her on 850-215-8712 or

We have beautiful beaches, few traffic problems and warm friendly people, but we still struggle to diversify our economy. How is this possible?

A discussion with a Coastal Systems Station science official highlighted one of challenges. According to this person, it is very difficult to find and attract technical people who are US citizens to work at the base. The salaries are good and the working conditions are pleasant. So why aren’t people in Bay County lined up to take these jobs?

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Pier Park Opens More Retailers in June!

Simon Property Group, Inc. (NYSE:SPG), the country’s largest owner, developer and manager of high-quality retail real estate, will celebrate more than 15 exciting retailer and restaurant openings this June at Pier Park, the 900,000-square-foot retail and entertainment lifestyle center located on 93 acres that covers land from Front Beach Road (at the City Pier) to the heavily traveled Highway 98 (Back Beach Road).

New specialty shops scheduled to debut include the following:

Ann Taylor Loft
As Seen On TV & More
Bellies N’ Babies
Cost Cutters
Counts-Oakes Realty
Footprints Coastal Decor
Hana Japan
Peace Frogs
Popcorn Kingdom
Reggae J’s Island Grill
Regions Bank
Rocky’s South Philly Cheesesteaks
Shimmering Seas
Tran Fashion

Check after the break for a full list of open retailers.

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Local Chef Serves up Cuisine at BamJam

Local chef Shawn Barrera served up mouth-watering creations this weekend for celebrities such as ZZ Top and Lynyrd Skynyrd June 5-7, 2008 at the BamaJam Music & Arts Festival. Barrera, known locally in northwest Florida for his excellent skills as chef and food and beverage specialist at The Resort Collection, makes his debut at BamaJam this year preparing a variety of tasty foods for the musicians backstage in the VIP tents at the popular music festival. As a resort that strives for quality, we are thrilled that this off-site catering event will begin to spread the news that our resorts offer this service,” said Paul Wohlford, V.P. Sales and Marketing for The Resort Collection of Panama City Beach.

With 18 years of food and beverage experience at distinguished resorts, Barrera is creating culinary delights backstage for ZZ Top, Hank Williams, Jr., and Trace Adkins to name a few. Barerra currently manages and organizes all food and beverage functions at The Resort Collection restaurants including Oceans Bar & Grill at Edgewater Beach and Golf Resort, the H2O Bar and Grill at Majestic Beach Resort, two markets, several pool bars, a Pizza Hut and 90,000 square feet of banquet space within the resorts. Barerra earned his culinary degree from the prestigious Pennsylvania Culinary Institute and worked at several nationally reputed restaurants like Patina and Daighilev and the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles before coming to the Resort Collection eight years ago.

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