Autism Pensacola providing safety training for public

Autism Pensacola is partnering with the Pensacola Police Department to present a free first-responder autism training Feb. 6-8. The five-hour training, held at the PPD station at 711 Hayne Street, is offered over three days as a way to maximize the opportunities for attendance.

The day-long training is geared toward law enforcement, firefighters, nurses, EMTs, social workers, teachers and those who want to learn more about autism and ways to make our community safer.

The guest speakers will include Capt. Bill Cannata and Sgt. Jimmy Donohoe.

Donohoe of the Pensacola Police Department is the creator of the Take Me Home Program, which is used nationwide. Cannata is a 34-year veteran of the Massachusetts fire service. Now retired, he is the program director of the Autism and Law Enforcement Education Coalition.

Both sit on the Autism Society of America’s Safe & Sound Task Force and are also fathers with children on the autism spectrum.

Registration is required by Feb. 2 and is available 

Jeff Atwater: Time to have the money talk

Dear Fellow Floridians:

If you sat down and thought about it, can you remember who taught you about money and how it works in our society? If you can, thank that person because they taught you one of the most important lessons of your life. To understand money is the first step in making smart financial decisions, and it’s a skill everyone deserves to have, regardless of their age, income or ability.

Knowing that many individuals with developmental disabilities learn differently, we saw a need for financial education tailored toward helping these Floridians gain the confidence and skills they need to live more independently. We set out to fill that need and last year, we launched an interactive learning program called “My Money.”

Using interactive games, activities and educational videos, My Money allows participants to learn and practice financial skills at their own pace. Parents and other loved ones can also use the program to learn how they can help their children solidify and apply these new skills.

Because these skills are crucial to an individual’s long-term financial success, we worked with Florida’s financial institutions to make sure information about the program is displayed in banks...

FAAST Atlantic Regional Demonstration Center & UCF toy drive offers modified electronics to children with special needs
The Rush to Pass a Federal Budget

Washington is a blur of activity these days as the 114th Congress works to wrap up the final days of this legislative session and the incoming Congress and new Administration begins ramping up for the 115th legislative session.  While funding for the federal government runs out on December 9, Congress seemed comfortable focusing on other issues this week, punting a final funding deal until next week.  The tight timeline to pass a funding bill will grease the skids for a flurry of last-minute deal-making allowing for possible policy riders that are priorities for various members of Congress.

This funding measure will extend the current continuing resolution (CR) – likely until April 2017 - that is level funding the Federal government at FY 2016 levels.  The timeline of this next CR is being pushed into April versus the originally discussed deadline of March 2017 given Senate Republicans are concerned the workload required to confirm Trump’s cabinet nominations will bleed into the spending debate.  If they extend the CR until April, it provides the Senate with more time to finish the nominations before turning their attention to the fiscal fight that is bound to occur as Congress decided on a final FY 2017...

Congress returns to Washington for Lame Duck Session

This past week Congress returned to Washington feeling one of two ways: hopeful or bewildered.  The election of the Republican candidate Donald Trump surprised many; even the Trump Team who began contemplating next steps immediately after the election but without much prior thought given to the potential transition.  

Over the course of the last several months, a number of options have been discussed to fund the government past the expiring CR’s date of December 9th.  These include a possible omnibus, which would roll the remaining 11 appropriations bills together and serve as the final FY 2017 budget, or a short or longer-term CR.  It seems the Trump team’s desire is for a shorter-term CR that would extend until March 31, 2017.  This extension would allow the new Administration to get their sea legs in Washington and align the budget with their policy priorities.