Northwest Florida Roundup
WeatherSTEM technology alerts of lightning strikes
Tallahassee-based entrepreneur Ed Mansouri has developed technology that provides up-to-the-second alerts of lightning strikes. Mansouri’s WeatherSTEM system consolidates real-time data into a customizable app. Users set a location and are alerted when lightning occurs within a defined radius of the location.
Among those who’ve adopted the app are coaches and athletic trainers at many high schools and colleges, including Florida State University and at Booker T. Washington High School in Pensacola, who use the app to decide when to suspend play or move practice indoors.
Washington High School athletic trainer Brie Ashauer says the app alerts coaches when lightning strikes within 15 to 20 miles of the school. School policy requires all athletes and coaches to clear practice fields when strikes occur within six miles.
- Jacksonville-based VyStar Credit Union has acquired Citizens State Bank, a Florida state-chartered bank headquartered in Perry with $280 million in assets.
- North American Properties, developer of the $150-million Cascades Project in Tallahassee, closed on the sale of the Cascades hotel parcel under an agreement with AC Hotels by Marriott. The 154-room hotel, AC Hotels’ fifth location in Florida, is under construction and scheduled to open in late 2020.
- Mississippi-based Spooner Petroleum has filed an application with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to drill an exploratory oil well in northern Gulf County. Spooner plans to drill the well on a 4.8-acre site near Wetappo Creek, about 25 miles east of Panama City.
- The state and Jackson County have signed an agreement that will give local governments access to more than $7.2 million to help rebuild local homes destroyed last fall by Hurricane Michael.
- Construction is under way on a 255-room Embassy Suites at Pier Park in Panama City. The $50-million project is being developed by St. Joe and Miami-based Key International.
- Former NFL player Josh Sitton, an offensive lineman who played for the Packers, Bears and Dolphins, has purchased a 35,000-sq.- ft. commercial property in downtown Pensacola currently occupied by a U.S. Post Office. Sitton, who retired from pro football this year, says the existing building will be renovated to accommodate commercial office, retail and residential space. The purchase price was not disclosed, but Escambia County records show the site was most recently valued at $974,893.
- Heavily damaged by Hurricane Michael last fall, the 324-acre Sheraton resort in Panama City reopened in August after 10 months of repairs. The former Sheraton Bay Point Resort is now the Sheraton Panama City Beach Golf & Spa Resort.
- The Taylor County Commission has approved an agreement with two companies to provide construction, engineering and inspection services on a $17.3-million upgrade of the railroad between Perry and Adel, Ga. The county recently received $8.6 million from the Federal Railroad Administration and Georgia & Florida Railway to help fund the project.
- Tyndall Air Force Base will become home base for three F-35 fighter jet squadrons in 2023. Tyndall, which is near Panama City, was severely damaged by Hurricane Michael last fall. Plans call for rebuilding Tyndall as a “base of the future,” which requires that new structures be capable of withstanding 180-mph winds and also resist storm surge.
Read more in Florida Trend's November issue.
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