Century & Molino To Pensacola Bus Is ECAT’s Most Expensive; Riders Say Most Valuable

December 31, 2008

The Escambia County Area Transit bus that runs from Century and Molino to Pensacola is the most expensive bus per person and the most expensive bus per hour in the entire public transportation system in the county. But to those that ride it, the “Route 60″ bus in the one of the most important buses in the ECAT network.

The “Route 60″ bus makes three weekday trips between Century and the ECAT transfer center where it allows riders to connect to the rest of the ECAT network. It makes the run twice on Saturdays.

“It’s so valuable,” Brenda Spencer said. Spencer is a frequent passenger on the bus, riding between her home in Century and her job downtown in the county attorney’s office. “It is truly needed in Century, even if it does need more passengers. I wish more people would take advantage of it.”

The bus costs $16.27 per passenger to operate, according to ECAT numbers from the last fiscal year. That’s the most expensive cost per passenger by far over any other bus in the system, with every other route falling below $10 per person (except for a free tourist route that runs to Pensacola Beach). In fact, is almost twice the next most expensive route per person, a 12th Avenue area route that costs ECAT $8.68 per person. The Century and Molino to Pensacola bus is also the most expensive per hour to operate in the ECAT system, at $78.29 per hour.

route60b.gifBut the bus provides transportation to and from Pensacola for Century and Molino residents that otherwise might not have a way to get to and from Pensacola, Spencer said. And, it’s much easier and cheaper than driving.

“It has saved me so much money,” Spencer said. “And it has saved me mentally and physically. It’s given me time to do my reading, do my Sunday School lesson and more while riding to work.”

A total of 7,819 riders took the Route 60 bus over a one year period. That compares to 145,883 riders on a Fairfield Drive area bus.

Spencer said she would like to see more Century residents take advantage of the bus, whether it be for shopping trips, or doctor visits, or any other trip to Pensacola.

“It is such a wonderful group of people to ride with,” she said. “It’s like a family atmosphere. We’ve gotten to know each other.”

“Ride the bus, ride the bus, ride the bus,” Spencer added. “I can’t advertise that enough. Ride the bus.”

For a printable pdf Route 60 map, schedule and rate information, click here.

Pictured above middle: The “Route 60″ Century and Molino to Pensacola ECAT route map. Pictured below: A timetable for the bus. Click to enlarge.


Year In Review North Escambia’s Biggest Stories Of 2008: May

December 31, 2008

NorthEscambia.com is looking back at 2008 with our “Year in Review” series. Each day, we will review the biggest stories of 2008. Today, we take a look at the biggest stories of May 2008.

NorthEscambia.com was the first to report that the Escambia County School Board was considering closing Carver/Century K-8 School. We had complete coverage, with stories here, here, here, here and here..

Escambia County’s top leaders held a public meeting in Molino to discuss department consolidation and budget cuts. Read more…

A wild spring storm caused major damage to homes in McDavid (pictured above). Read more…

The discussion to unify the county’s volunteer fire departments continued, with leaders meeting with the Walnut Hill Volunteer Fire Department. Read more..

The building occupied by Helicopter Technologies in the Century Industrial Park was listed for sale for $1.75 million, and that had one Century councilman upset. Read more..

Carver/Century K-8 held a celebrated huge FCAT gains. Read more…

The Class of 2008 graduated from Northview High School in late May. Read more…

Angel Mitchell was crowned Junior Miss Ernest Ward Middle School. Read more…

Escambia School Superintendent Jim Paul and his top staff met with Carver/Century supporters to discuss the school’s future. NorthEscambia.com was the only media at the meeting. Read more…

The annual Escambia County Farm Tour took to the roads of North Escambia. Over 100 county, city and state leaders joined leaders from the agricultural community on a tour of farm locations across the area. Read more…

Ernest Ward Middle School named their cheerleading squad for 2008-2009. Read more…

Brianna Parker was crowned 2008 Baseball Queen for the Northwest Escambia Little League. Read more…

The North Pensacola Relay for Life was held the first weekend of May at Tate High School. The goal for the annual relay event was $97,000, but it actually brought in $111,000. North Escambia teams in the event included Molino Park Elementary School and Aldersgate United Methodist Church. Read more… Students at Molino Park Elementary held a storybook character wagon parade to celebrate a successful Relay for Life campaign. Read more and see the photos..

Dozens of people representing numerous churches gathered in Molino to pray on the National Day of Prayer. “We pray for a special sense of You here in Molino, Lord,” Pastor Bryan Calhoun of Highland Baptist Church prayed. “We pray for revival here in Molino, and we pray that it would spread to Pensacola and around the world.” About a dozen different churches were represented at the service. Read more….

Dozens of disabled people fished around Chester Jantz’s Walnut Hill catfish pond in the Pen Wheels Fiesta of Five Flags 34th Annual Fishing Rodeo. A thunderstorm put an early end to the fishing. Read more…

A dedication ceremony was held the first Saturday of May for the Leaning Post Ranch in Molino, a state-licensed facility and prevention program for developmentally disabled and at-risk young people. The facility was established in 1992 by Fran and Newman Gersin. They started with one horse, and a dream to use that horse to encourage kids and keep them off drugs. Read more…

Over 100 Century residents came gathered to pray as the mayor turned the key to the town over to God. Much of the prayer centered around saving Carver/Century School, and on saving the town. Read more..

The Northview Senior Play “Our Town” was presented by the Class of 2008. There were 22 cast members in Northview’s production of Thorton Wilder’s classic play. Read more…

Ray’s Chapel Baptist Church held a mother-daughter banquet. Read more…

Molino Park Elementary School help their annual Field Day. Read more…

The Minority Culture Club at Northview High School hit I-10 and took a trip to Tallahassee. Read more…

The Century Town Council discussed a $3,000 sewer bill they said resident Leola Robinson owed, and tempers almost flared. Read more…

Incoming sixth graders at Ernest Ward Middle School got a sneak peek at middle school with an open house at the school. Read more…

FCAT scores released by the state showed that Bratt Elementary school fourth graders scored among the best in the county in the recent FCAT Writing+ Essay test,with 85 percent of them scoring at grade level or above. Read more… The scores also showed that Carver/Century students had the worst scores in the county. Read more…

Gas prices continued to rise, hitting $3.64 a gallon. Read more…

The Northview High School Tribal Beat Marching Band held its first ever NHS Band Banquet in May with an emphasis on fun. Read more…

Northview High School’s FFA held their annual banquet, an especially emotional one for FFA sponsor Perry Byars. After four years in the NHS FFA, his daughter was about to graduate and leave the program. Read more…

Carver/Century K-8 held their annual Field Day. Read more…

The Atmore Rotary Club recognized an outstanding group of area high school students as Academic All-Stars, including about three dozen Northview High School students. Read more…

Bratt Elementary School students spent a “Day With the Arts”. Read more…

An alcohol-related one vehicle accident in Century shut down Highway 29 for several hours and left the north part of the town in the dark, while the Sheriff’’s Department helicopter searched from overhead. Read more….

Ernest Ward Middle and Northview High school bands held their annual Spring Concert at Northview. Read more…

Molino Park Elementary held their annual Spring Carnival. Read more…

Many Century residents attended an Escambia County School Board meeting in support of keeping Carver/Century K-8 School open. Read more..

XII Gates, the youth band from the First Baptist Church Bratt, took to the stage for a free outdoor contemporary Christian and Christian rock concert at the First Baptist Church of Flomaton for “Rock the Block”. Read more…

An investigative report from NorthEscambia.com found that most children in the Carver/Century K-8 School district don’t actually attend the school. Read more…

On May 18, Northview High School held its Class of 2008 Baccalaureate Service. Read more…

Ruritan Meeting Rescheduled

December 31, 2008

The normal first Thursday night of the month meeting of the Walnut Hill Ruritan Club has been rescheduled for Thursday, January 8.

The meeting will take place at 7:00 at the Walnut Hill Community Center. The meeting was rescheduled due to the New Year’s holiday.

NorthEscambia.com To Name Citizens Of The Year

December 31, 2008

North Escambia residents showed just how much they care about our community over the past year, working to improve our communities and the people that call our area home.

Beginning Thursday, NorthEscambia.com will name five of those individuals as one of our Persons of the Year. Each day Thursday to Monday we will name one Person of the Year. Each person will also represent a group of individuals sacrificing a bit of themselves to make North Escambia a better place.

Scores of individuals were nominated as Persons of the Year. Some that made our list of five received multiple nominations; one received no nominations outside of our own. It was not a popularity contest, for doing something for others is not about popularity. Undoubtedly you will know most of the names on our list, but you may not know others.

It was a difficult job to narrow the list to just five, and we hope you will join us everyday Thursday to Monday, January 5 as we share our choices for the North Escambia Persons Of The Year with you.

Charges Dropped Against Walnut Hill Man In Connection With Century Burglary

December 31, 2008

Burglary and petty theft charges have been dropped against a 19-year old Walnut Hill man in connection with the September burglary of a Century convenience store.

Prosecutors dropped the charges again Levi Colton Peters in connection with the burglary of the Century Kwik Stop in Century on September 4. Peters was arrested October 1 and charged with the burglary along with Justin Dwight Harrison, 18, of Atmore.

Peters plead no contest on a trespassing charge that stemmed from the incident. He was sentenced six months probation to run concurrent with 24 months probation that he was serving on a marijuana possession charge from earlier this year.

Harrison is scheduled to appear in court on January 28 on charges of burglary, petty theft and criminal mischief.

The Century Kwik Stop was burglarized at sunrise on September 4, with the bandit breaking the glass out of a door to gain entry.

Someone threw a lawnmower battery through the front door of the convenience store located at 8130 North Century Boulevard about 6:20 that morning, according to Sgt. Steve Smith with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Department. The burglar made off with a few packs of cigarettes before leaving the store.

Pictured above: Broken glass covers the sidewalk September 4 at the Century Kwik Stop after a burglary. NorthEscambia.com file photo, click to enlarge.

FHP Out In Force For Long Holiday Weekend

December 31, 2008

If you are driving during this long New Year’s holiday weekend on Florida’s highways, the Florida Highway Patrol wants you to know that they are watching.

The FHP says they are using will use zero tolerance enforcement strategies to target aggressive and hazardous violators throughout the state during the New Year’s holiday enforcement period that began at 12:01 a.m. this morning and will at midnight January 4, 2009.

Troopers will place special emphasis on aggressive driving, Driving Under the Influence, speeding and safety restraint violations. Motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians who comply with Florida’s traffic laws and use sound judgment can help make this holiday period safer and less stressful.

“Our goal this holiday period is to make our roads safer for our residents and visitors,” said Colonel Czernis. “We will be out enforcing Florida traffic laws, placing emphasis on motorists who place others in danger. We will have zero tolerance for violators who have a disregard for the safety of others.”

All sworn personnel on the patrol normally assigned to administrative duties will be reassigned to patrol duties on high volume roadways. In addition, auxiliary and reserve troopers will volunteer to assist regular troopers during the heightened holiday enforcement period.

Motorists are urged to contact FHP or local law enforcement officials to report an impaired, aggressive or dangerous driver by dialing *FHP (*347) from a cell phone. Callers may remain anonymous. Motorists who experience car trouble on the highway or otherwise need assistance from the FHP are also encouraged to use *FHP.

The Florida Highway Patrol reminds motorists of Florida’s Move Over law. The law requires motorists to move over when a patrol car, emergency vehicle or tow truck/wrecker is stopped on the side of the road with lights flashing. Motorists are required to change lanes away from authorized emergency vehicles if able to move over safely or slow down while maintaining a safe speed. Violators of the Move Over law will be issued a citation.

Last Day To Trade Food For Library Fines

December 31, 2008

If you owe a fine at the library, you can “settle up” and help the Manna Food Pantries at the same time. But you better hurry, because today is the last day to take advantage of this offer.

All branches West Florida Library will accept food donations for fines until closing time today, including the Century Branch Library.

For each canned good, pasta, box meal, cereal or other non-perishable food item you donate, the library will give you credit toward your fines. One item counts for $1. All food items will be donated to the Manna Food Pantries.

The Century Branch Library is located at 7991 North Century Boulevard, next to the Century Town Hall. The food-for-fines program is also in place at the other locations of the West Florida Library on West Gregory Street, North Ninth Avenue, Gulf Beach Highway and Cervantes Street.

Today Last Day To Get Discount On Taxes

December 31, 2008

Today is the last day to pay your Escambia County real estate and tangible personal property taxes and save a little money. A three percent discount is available on those taxes, but only if you pay up by the close of business Wednesday.

In order to receive the three percent discount and have your tax payment receipted with a December date, payment must be:

· received in the Escambia Tax Collector’s office by close of business December 31;

· made on the tax collector’s web site by midnight December 31; or

· made on our after-hours automated telephone (800) 601-1055 by midnight December 31.

Additionally, payments mailed with a December 31 postmark or left in the tax collector’s 24‑hour drop boxes after hours on that date will receive the three discount but will be dated in January.

Drive thru service is available at all locations except Century; 24‑hour drop boxes are available at all offices.

You may check the status of your taxes and pay online at www.escambiataxcollector.com. You also may get automated information on Tax Talk at 438‑3299. If you have any questions, call the tax collector’s office at 438-6500, ext. 252.

Fire Weather Warning; Two Departments Fight Gobbler Road Fire

December 30, 2008


A red flag warning remains in effect for today due to low humidity, and that low humidity contributed the spread of a brush fire on Gobbler Road that was fought by two departments  Tuesday afternoon.

The fire was reported about 12:15 Tuesday afternoon on Gobbler Road near Still Road in the Oak Grove community. Firefighters from the Walnut Hill and Century stations of Escambia Fire Rescue and Engine 519 were able to contain the blaze to about two acres.

It is not known how the blaze began. There were no injuries and no major damage.

A red flag warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now, or will shortly. A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and warm temperatures will create explosive fire growth potential.

Pictured above: A firefighter works to contain a brush fire on Gobbler Road Tuesday afternoon in Oak Grove. Pictured below: Flames  shoot above small pine trees in the blaze. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.


2009: Work Begins To Resurface Highway 97; Highway 29 Project Could Be In The Works

December 30, 2008

By this time next year, work should be underway to resurface Highway 97 from Molino to the Alabama state line. And, if a possible Barack Obama stimulus package works out like the state highway department hopes, a major resurfacing project could taking place on Highway 29 from Molino to Pine Barren Road.

The scheduled resurfacing project of Highway 97 in North Escambia is near the end the design phase that should see the first new asphalt on the highway by the end of 2009.

“A lot of projects were cut due funding, but this project was not,” Tommie Speights, Public Information Director for District 3 of the Florida Department of Transportation, told NorthEscambia.com.  “You are getting new pavement on that road; it is in the budget.”

A $1.78 million survey was  conducted by Volkert and Associates of Mobile in late 2007 and early 2008. The current timetable from the DOT calls for the final design plans to be ready before mid-January. Permitting and other technical events will take place prior to the contract being let for bid. There is  $16,372,775 in the state’s budget for the Highway 97 project.

“The project is scheduled to let for contract in late August 2009,” Speights said. “It would then take three to four months to begin actual resurfacing, so work would begin in about December of 2009.”

The resurfacing is expected to be complete by July 2010.

The entire 22.5 mile roadway is be repaved from Country Road 95 in Molino across Highway 29 to the Alabama state line. No major drainage changes are expected to the route’s 55 cross drains under the highway, with the exception of some possible changes near the intersection of Highway 97 and Crabtree Church Road.

Existing 12 foot wide travel lanes and five foot paved shoulders will be milled and resurfaced. This project does not include the four-laning of Highway 97. A four lane highway is not in any of the state’s current plans for Highway 97.

Meanwhile, if the state does receives funds as part of a federal stimulus package once Obama takes office, plans call for work on Highway 29. With federal stimulus money, the state would be able to start the contract process within 120 days to repave Highway 29 from Molino to Pine Barren Road.

The Highway 29 project has an estimated price tag of just over $5 million. Without federal money, the Highway 29 resurfacing project is not scheduled to take place within the next five years.

Pictured above: Survey crews work recently on Highway 97 near County Road 99 in north Escambia County. NorthEscambia.com file photo, click to enlarge.

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