Valerie Crowder

Valerie Crowder is a freelance reporter based in Panama City, Florida. Before moving to Florida, she covered politics and education for Public Radio East in New Bern, North Carolina. While at PRE, she was also a fill-in host during All Things Considered.  She got her start in public radio at WAER-FM in Syracuse, New York, where she was a part-time reporter, assistant producer and host. She has a B.A. in newspaper online journalism and political science from Syracuse University. When she’s not reporting the news, she enjoys reading classic fiction and thrillers, hiking with members of the Florida Trail Association and doing yoga.  

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Panama City Beach City Government

Panama City Beach is facing another whistleblower lawsuit. One day after council members unanimously voted to fire the city clerk, Mary Jan Bossert, she filed a legal complaint, alleging her poor performance reviews and ultimate termination were "retaliation" for doing her job. 

 

Valerie Crowder

Gov. Ron DeSantis issued on Friday an executive order that bars vacation rental owners from accepting new guests for the next two weeks. But the measure doesn't apply to resorts, time-shares, hotels or inns. 

Mary Jan Bossert - LinkedIn

At a city council meeting on Thursday, elected leaders in Panama City Beach fired the town's clerk for what they described as poor performance. 

Valerie Crowder

Panama City Beach’s main attraction will remain off-limits for at least two more weeks after local leaders extended an order to shut down access to the sandy shore on Thursday to slow the spread of the coronavirus. 

PanCare of Florida, Inc.

Bay County residents who think they’ve been infected with the coronavirus have another option for testing. In addition to the health department and local hospitals, PanCare of Florida, a nonprofit health care agency, has begun screening people over the phone and scheduling appointments for high-risk patients. 

Valerie Crowder

Residents and tourists are searching for alternatives after Bay County shutters its beaches. The move follows similar closures up and down Florida's nearly 1,400 miles of coastline.

A traditional school lunch, sorted on a plastic tray
KCLine / istockphoto

Big Bend School Districts have issued their food distribution sites and times for March 23-30th. Below is a list of locations for Leon, Franklin, Gadsden, Wakulla, Jefferson, Bay, Calhoun, Gulf and Liberty Counties. This list will be updated as more information becomes available. 

Panama City Beach

Days after college students on spring break in Panama City Beach ignored warnings from public health officials to avoid congregating in large groups, local elected leaders closed the sandy beaches to help protect residents from community spread of COVID-19. 

Valerie Crowder

Like many servers in Panama City Beach, Naddeah Clinton earns the most money during the busy spring and summer months, when tourists flock to the area. But statewide efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus could mean fewer customers, she said. 

Facebook-Bay County Sheriff's Office

College students on spring break in Panama City Beach aren’t letting recent statewide restrictions on public gatherings stop them from throwing large parties. But local law enforcement officers are finding ways to put an end to their defiance. 

 

City of Panama City Beach

Update: 3/19

 

Another major tourist attraction in Panama City Beach will close through the end of the month. Pier Park, an outdoor shopping mall and amusement park, closed on Wednesday evening, according to a release from Simon Property Group.  The attraction will reopen on March 29. 

Valerie Crowder

College students on spring break in Panama City Beach aren't letting the coronavirus pandemic stop them from having fun. 

Panama City Beach Government

Panama City Beach tourism officials are assuring people traveling to the area for spring break that their vacation won't necessarily increase their risk of contracting COVID-19. 

Valerie Crowder

New training programs for drone operators, commercial pilots and aircraft mechanics are taking off in the panhandle with an extra boost from 2010 BP oil spill settlement dollars, which have been flowing into eight coastal counties in the region for the last couple of years. 

Valerie Crowder

For communities still recovering from Hurricane Michael, the 2020 census comes at a bad time. Bay County officials worry they could lose millions of dollars and are trying to make sure everyone gets counted. 

Valerie Crowder

More than two dozen federally-funded crisis counselors will remain in the Panhandle’s hardest-hit disaster counties for longer than planned with additional FEMA dollars. 

Valerie Crowder

Two former Lynn Haven city officials are facing federal charges for allegedly paying two local contractors $5 million for Hurricane Michael cleanup that they never completed and then accepting kickbacks from those business owners. 

Valerie Crowder

A federal grand jury has indicted more than two dozen people in the Panhandle accused of illegally pocketing drought assistance money. 

Valerie Crowder

About 100 volunteers helped clean up neglected grave sites in Panama City on Saturday, as part of the city's first cemetery cleanup day since Hurricane Michael. 

Valerie Crowder

Hundreds gathered in Mexico Beach on Thursday to celebrate the community’s resiliency one year after Hurricane Michael decimated the small coastal town. 

Valerie Crowder

For the state’s largest teachers’ union, Gov. DeSantis’ proposed minimum salary increase for beginning teachers is “a starting point.” 

Valerie Crowder

At least 90% of structures in Panama City were damaged in Hurricane Michael. One year later, city officials are about to resume code enforcement actions, and residential property owners say they’re ready for the city to begin cracking down on neglected lots that pose a health and safety hazard to their neighborhoods.

Valerie Crowder

Mexico Beach is receiving the first grant from $25 million in state Hurricane Michael recovery aid that became available to communities in early September. 

Tyndall Air Force Base Facebook Page

Tyndall Air Force officials are working out how they will execute a years-long series of construction projects to rebuild more than half of the military base. 

 

Valerie Crowder

As part of a statewide campaign to increase access to mental health services, First Lady Casey DeSantis announced on Thursday that K-12 students in every public school across six Northwest Florida counties can receive virtual counseling and psychiatric care without ever leaving campus.

 

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