Around the State- Northwest- Feb. 2002
Blountstown -- Emergency room physicians at Calhoun-Liberty Hospital walked off the job after not being paid by DasSee Community Health Systems of Quincy. After going four months without pay, the doctors say they couldn't afford to keep up malpractice premiums. DasSee brought in replacement physicians and agreed to a payment schedule. The company blamed the problem on cash flow.
Carabelle -- Hundreds of seafood workers were without work after the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services closed Apalachicola Bay to oyster harvesting because of red tide, which causes toxins in oysters.
Panama City -- Louisiana-Pacific Corp. has closed the West Bay Sawmill indefinitely because of the poor economy. The company laid off 70 workers at the mill, which produces lumber for the construction industry. Officials told Bay County commissioners they didn't expect the closing to be permanent but suggested it would exceed six months. The company's mill in Marianna is not expected to be affected.
Panama City Beach -- Construction on the St. Joe Co. Pier Park project has been delayed. A Circuit Court judge is holding up $48 million in bonds on the grounds that the location isn't "blighted" and therefore doesn't qualify as a Community Redevelopment Area. Pier Park will be anchored by a 200,000-sq.-ft. retail center, with The Grand Ole Opry Theater and Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville expected as initial anchors.
Pensacola -- Daimler-Chrysler Corp. has started shipping 185 to 205 vehicles per week through the Port of Pensacola. The PT Cruisers and light-duty trucks are destined for Southeast states.
West Corp. has added another 750 jobs, more than doubling its workforce and bringing total employment to 1,400. In other job news, Metrocall Pensacola Customer Service Center will also be adding between 100 and 150 workers.
Port St. Joe -- St. Joe Co. (NYSE-JOE) has proposed building an expressway through Gulf County and moving U.S. Highway 98 in order to boost the economy. The expressway would link Port St. Joe with U.S. 231 north of Panama City. Moving U.S. 98 would reduce congestion on the beach, local leaders say. St. Joe owns about 260,000 acres in the county and has offered to donate land for the roads.
Tallahassee -- Protesting the Tallahassee chamber's support of discount air carrier AirTran, Delta Air Lines canceled its membership in the organization. Subsequently, Lance C. Norris, president of Achieva Telecom Services, made up the loss of Delta's $450 in dues with a donation, saying he saved that much on just one business trip since AirTran arrived.