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I don’t know about you, but I will sure be glad to start a new year. 2016, particularly the latter part has been so stressful. The election and the unrelenting 24-hour news cycle that accompanies it is mind boggling bizarre. And, when not covering every twist and turn, tweet and meeting of the new administration, my news feed seems to overflow with bad news—deaths of local loved ones and beloved celebrities, fires and earthquakes, shootings and hate crimes. 2017 cannot get here fast enough for me. It may not offer much respite from the negativity, but at least the new year offers a chance for a new outlook, a new slant on this crazy world we live in.
Here at Ballinger Publishing, we are already transforming for the new year. Our longtime editor, Josh Newby has moved on to greener to pastures. Over his four years with us, Josh brought creativity, insight and untold great ideas to our team. I’m grateful for the opportunity to have worked with him and I wish him the best in his new position, marketing communications director at The Council on Aging of West Florida. Fortunately for us, we found the perfect replacement for Josh. You may recognize our new editor, Hana Frenette, from her many fine articles written for a variety of local publications over the years. All though we are just getting to know her, I am confident that her professionalism, talent and creativity will bring a lot to the table here at Ballinger. Be sure to send her a warm hello and look for her first issues of Downtown Crowd and Business Climate in January. Welcome to the team, Hana!
As for this issue, it’s chock full of all the features and departments you’ve come to love from Pensacola Magazine. We continue our tradition of the end-of-the-year interview with Mayor Hayward. Find out what he thinks about many of the year’s top stories and see what he has in mind for the coming year.
Also, be sure to check out my story on Uncle Sandy’s, a local macaw park and sanctuary. If you’ve never been, be sure to check it out. This amazing rescue facility allows visitors to interact, feed and learn about their 110 different parrots of varying species. It’s a fun outing for the whole family!
If winter just isn’t winter to you without a little snow, be sure to read Dawn Gresko’s story on snow escapes within a short drive from Pensacola. Pack up the kids and head on out for cold, white powdery fun!
Special thanks to Jackson’s Steakhouse for supplying the champagne cocktail recipes that are sure to be the hit of your New Year’s celebration. And, be sure to read our Good Samaritan story as well. Learn about a special teacher and the students, colleagues, friends and family who made his retirement dreams come true. It’s a great, feel-good story and the perfect antidote to the negative news surrounding us these days.
Here’s to a better, no wonderful, 2017 for you and yours. Cheers,