Blog: 1,200 Area Jobs Announced Today — But Not In Escambia County

April 29, 2009

Another major economic development announcement took place this morning on the Gulf Coast, and, one again, the jobs were not in Escambia County.

A new call center in Mobile County near Saraland will employ about 1,200 people. Ryla Cooperation will begin hiring most of those people immediately and hopes to put them to work by June 1.

And the Mobile County Commission is not giving away the bank to lure the company. They are paying them just $87,500 a year for the next two years to locate in Mobile County.

Meanwhile in Escambia County, we continue to rely on the Pensacola Chamber of Commerce and grand dreams of a Maritime Park. The old build it (read: shell out millions) and they will come theory just does not cut it in today’s economic climate anymore. The Escambia commission has discussed moving away from the Pensacola Chamber to do the county’s economic development, but so far nothing.

We can’t help but wonder how hard the Pensacola Area of Commerce works to sell economic development in North Escambia. The county tried to lure an electric car plant to Century with millions in funding, but that failed. But what has the Pensacola Chamber done for North Escambia?

Besides the car plant, which was a county deal, the only major development discussed in North Escambia has been a possible Gulf Power nuclear power plant. But the Pensacola Chamber and the county commission had nothing to do with that. In fact, they did not even know it was planned until reported it.

It’s great that Mobile County will get 1,200 new jobs, and we are sure some North Escambia residents will drive to Saraland to work. But we are tired of the jobs going everywhere but Escambia County. It’s time for the Escambia County Commission to take immediate action toward county economic development. The current system in the is county is broken, and it needs fixing fast. Wouldn’t we like to see 1,200 new jobs in Escambia County by June?

We must, in light of the recent stories that we have reported about the push to consolidate Escambia County, Century and Pensacola into one super-Pensacola, mention that the change are advocating is not consolidation to improve economic development. It’s time for Escambia County to shut the door on the Pensacola Chamber and the city’s economic ways. The Pensacola Chamber and its backers will not work to put a  business in Century or Escambia County. Pensacola has a pension fund going broke and a multi-million dollar Maritime Park that needs funding.

It’s time for Escambia County to get into the economic development business and dump the Pensacola Chamber.

Chiefs Advance In District Play With 12-8 Win Over South Walton

April 29, 2009


The Northview Chiefs defeated the South Walton Seahawks Tuesday night 12-8 in the District 1-3A Baseball Tournament.

The Chiefs improved their record to 14-9 overall.  They will play Thursday at 7 p.m. in Defuniak Spring for the district championship.

Northview scored four in the first inning, one in the third, two in the fifth, and five in the sixth.

Leading hitters for the Chiefs included Scooter Hamilton going 2 for 4  with a double, and scoring two runs.  Austin Lowery was 2 for 4 with three RBIs, and three runs scored.

Brad Lowery was 2 for 4, with a double and one RBI.  Dabney Langhorne was 2 for 2 with 4 RBIs.  Heath Burkett was 1 for 3 with a double.  Patrick McPherson was 1 for 4 with two runs scored.  Brad Foster was 1 for 3 with a run scored.  Dakota Stuckey was 1 for 2 with a double, three runs scored and one RBI.

Brad Lowery picked up the win on the mound for the Chiefs.  He worked six innings, gave up six runs, on six hits. Lowery walked four, and struck out 10.  He improved his record on the year to 7-2.  Heath Burkett pitched the 7th inning for Northview.

Pictured above: The Northview Chiefs. Submitted photo by Becky Lowery for, click to enlarge.

Wreck Injures One Wednesday Morning On Highway 164

April 29, 2009


One person was injured in a two vehicle accident just before 7:00 Wednesday morning.

The accident happened at the intersection of Highway 168 and Pine Barren Road near Bratt. The driver of a Ford pickup apparently pulled from Pine Barren Road into the path of another pickup. The second truck broadsided the Ford, sending it into a power pole, snapping the pole.

The driver of the second truck, a 19-year old female, was transported from the scene by Atmore Ambulance with a possible broken ankle. The driver of the Ford was not injured.

Residents in the area did not lose power until about 8:00 when it was cut by Escambia River Electric Cooperative in order to repair the pole.

The accident is under investigation by the Florida Highway Patrol.

Pictured above and below: A two vehicle accident Wednesday morning at Highway 168 and Pine Barren Road that injured on person. photos, click to enlarge.



Pilot Program Video System Brings Social Security Office To Century, Local Area

April 29, 2009


Century is home to a new video conferencing  system that allows area residents to interact with the Social Security Agency face to face, one of just three such sites in an eight state area.

The video system now available at the Workforce Escarosa office in Century is one of just three in an eight state Southeastern U.S. region. A citizen using the free system is able to sit down in front of a video monitor and carry on a face to face conversation with a Social Security representative in Pensacola or Ft. Walton Beach.

“There’s no more hour to Pensacola, hour to wait in line at our Pensacola office and an hour to drive back,” John Sullivan from the Pensacola SSA office said. “You can sit down in Century with little or no wait and see our representative face to face and do everything that you can do in Pensacola. You just don’t have the wait.”

Sullivan said his Pensacola office sees 350 to 400 people per day, which often leads to a long wait.

The video system is easy to use — you simply sit down and talk. There are no buttons to push, and no computer knowledge required whatsoever. The conversation takes place across a secured line, and the conversation is not recorded. If the SSA representative needs to see documentation, such as a marriage license, the person using the system simply holds it up to the camera. Family members or social workers that accompany someone are able to join in the conversation as well.

“It’s so easy,” said Catharine Jeter, director of the Century Workforce Escarosa office that houses the system. “Anyone can do it, and it really, really saves all the time of going to Pensacola.

Jeter demonstrated the system for She sat down to the screen and was able to carry on a natural conversation with SSA representative Mary Lanham in Pensacola. There was no awkward delay, and the picture was crystal clear.

Persons using the system do not have to be Escambia County or even Florida residents. Anyone can use the system since the Social Security Administration is a federal agency.

Two other SSA video systems are located in North Carolina and Mississippi.

The system is available at the Workforce Escarosa office at 8120 North Century Boulevard Monday – Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. For more information, contact the Pensacola SSA office at (850) 434-5488.

Among other things, the video conference system can be used to:

  • Apply for Social Security retirement or spouse’s benefits.
  • Apply for Social Security disability benefits (includes the Adult Disability Report).
  • Apply for extra help with your Medicare prescription drug costs.
  • Request a Social Security statement.
  • Change your address or telephone number.
  • Get a replacement Medicare card.
  • Request a proof of income letter.
  • Get a a Form 1099/1042S benefit statement.

Pictured above: Catharine Jeter (right) sits at the Workforce Escarosa office in Century and holds a video conversation with Mary Lanham (on screen) at the Pensacola Social Security Administration office. photo, click to enlarge.

Lady Chiefs Fall In Tourney Play

April 29, 2009


The Northview Lady Chiefs lost Tuesday night in the Region 1-3A Quarterfinals.

The Lady Chiefs lost on the road to Bonifay-Holmes County by the score of 10-0 in six innings. The Blue Devils allowed just four Northview hits.

The Northview Lady Chiefs finished their season at 11-12.

The majority of player this year for Northview’s softball team were sophomores: Kara Hardin, Emily Vickrey, Ashley Digmon, Shawna Montgomery, Miranda Burkett, Sarah Killam and Hayley Simpson. Juniors playing for the Lady Chiefs were: Aimee Clarke, Amber McMillan, Candice Greenwell and Kolbi Cobb. The team had just one senior this year, Briana Halteman. The Lady Chiefs were coached by Stephanie Elowsky and Sammy Day.

Carver/Century, Ernest Ward Students To Get Health Letters

April 29, 2009

Parents and guardians of sixth grade students at Ernest Ward Middle and Carver/Century K-8 schools will receive a letter today outlining the need to obtain a Tdap shot before the student can attend seventh grade.

“Students will not be allowed to start the 2009-2010 school year until they have received the shot and submitted their blue card ,” according to Rebekah Fore, RN from Ernest Ward Middle School.

The tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis shots are available from the student’s doctor or free of charge from the Escambia County Health Department. The requirement to have the Tdap shot prior to seventh grade pertains to all students in Florida public schools.

If you have questions about the requirement, call the EWMS clinic at 327-4283 ext. 225

To read the letter from EWMS and see Florida’s immunization requirements, click here (pdf).

Escambia Public Safety Chief Resigns

April 29, 2009

Escambia County’s public safety chief is resigning; his resignation coming just over a month away from the start of hurricane season.

hardin.jpgMichael Hardin submitted his 90 day resignation letter to County Administrator Bob McLaughlin. In the letter, Hardin requests to be released from the job prior to the end of the 90 period required by his contract.

Hardin was hired as public safety director last June after the early retirement of Janice Kilgore.

Hardin’s new job will be a deputy supervisor in the Escambia County Supervisor of Elections office.

The search for a new public safety director is expected to begin almost immediately.

Carver/Century Parents Visit Ernest Ward

April 29, 2009


Ernest Ward Middle School hosted a Parent’s Night Tuesday for parents and guardians of incoming students from Carver/Century K-8 School. The event, hosted by the EWMS PTSA and School Advisory Council, gave  the parents and guardians of students being transferred from the closing Carver/Century a chance to tour Ernest Ward and meet the faculty and staff. An orientation for all incoming sixth grade students will be held at 6:00 on May 7. Pictured above: EWMS Principal Nancy Gindl-Perry shows parents and students the school media center. photo, click to enlarge.

Updated: Atmore Teacher And Her Husband Arrested For Child Abuse

April 29, 2009

linamfront.jpg(Updated) An Atmore teacher and her husband have been arrested on child abuse and domestic violence charges.

An Escambia County (Ala.) grand jury indicted Tracy Linam, 37, and Terry Desmond Linam, 44, both of Chapman Road, Atmore. Both were arrested on three counts of aggravated child abuse and three counts of domestic violence. The child abuse charges are felonies; the domestic violence charges are misdemeanors.

Both were released from the Escambia County (Ala.) Jail on $165,000 bond each.

Tracy Linam is a kindergarten teacher at Rachel Patterson Elementary School in Atmore, where she has been placed on administrative leave. Authorities say the children that she allegedly abused were not her students. The children that were physically, not sexually, abused were reportedly Desmond Linam’s from a previous marriage.

The Linam case has been handed over to the Alabama Attorney General for prosecution because the local district attorney had a conflict of interest with the case.

In February, another Escambia County (Ala.) teacher was arrested for giving Lortab to a student at W.S. Neal High School In Brewton. Larry Tindell was also charged with child pornography after authorities found inappropriate images of children while searching his home. Tindell is still in jail.

Pictured above: Escambia County (Ala.) Jail booking photos of Tracy Linam (L) and her husband Terry Desmond Linam.

Consolidation Commission Bill Passes Senate, Headed To Governor

April 28, 2009

The Florida legislature has given final approval to a bill to form a commission to study local government consolidation that would combine Century, Pensacola and Escambia County into one.

The Florida Senate passed the bill sponsored by Rep. Greg Evers 38-0 Monday afternoon, sending the bill to Gov. Charlie Crist for a signature to set into motion the creation of the consolidation study commission by July 1.

Once a consolidation plan is created by the study commission, it is to be submitted to the Escambia County Commission, the City of Pensacola and the Town of Century for action before submission to the Escambia County legislative delegation by January 15, 2010. Once approved by the legislature, the plan would presented to Escambia County voters.

Century, Pensacola and Escambia County will not be required to pay for the commission, under the house bill, but they will be required to provide clerical, technical and legal assistance to the commission.

The commission will include up to 25 members from various groups in the county.

The commission will include:

  • Five members appointed by the Escambia County Commission, with one member being appointed from each district
  • One member appointed by the Century Town Council, with that member being a resident of Century
  • Two members appointed by the Pensacola City Council, both of them being residents of Pensacola

One member will be appointed by each of the following groups:

  • Escambia County Taxpayer’s Association
  • League of Women Voters of Pensacola Bay Area
  • Pensacola Young Professionals
  • Pensacola Ministerial Alliance
  • Escambia County Farm Bureau
  • Home Builders Association of West Florida

The president of the University of  West Florida will appoint one member with expertise in local government matters. The sheriff, tax collector, property appraiser, clerk of court and supervisor of elections will each appoint one member.

The chief judge  of the First Judicial Circuit will appoint two Florida Bar members with legal expertise in local government matters.

One member will be appointed by the Escambia County School Board, and the Emerald Coast Utilities Authority will appoint a member.

A special advisory committee on public safety will be appointed under the house bill, consisting of the following or their designee:

  • Escambia County Sheriff
  • Pensacola Police chief
  • Escambia County Community Corrections Bureau
  • Escambia County Public Safety Bureau Chief
  • Pensacola fire chief
  • Escambia County Medical Director
  • chairperson of the Escambia County Fire Services Advisory Board
  • Police Benevolent Association of the City of Pensacola
  • Police Benevolent Association of Escambia County
  • Chapter of of the International Association of Firefighters of the City of Pensacola

A special advisory committee on economic development will be appointed, including members appointed by the following groups:

  • Pensacola Junior College
  • Pensacola Bay Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Perdido Key Chamber of Commerce
  • Pensacola Downtown Improvement Board
  • Gulf Coast African American Chamber of Commerce
  • local chapter of the Florida Black Chamber of Commerce
  • Florida’s Great Northwest
  • Town of Century Chamber of Commerce
  • Walnut Hill Ruritan Club
  • Pensacola Beach Chamber of Commerce

An advisory committee on health care will be appointed by:

  • Baptist Health Care
  • Sacred Heart Health System
  • West Florida Hospital
  • Escambia County Health Department
  • Escambia County Medical Society

Click here to read the entire bill (pdf format).

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