Church Signs Stolen For A Second Time

June 30, 2009

For the second time, someone has stolen signs belonging to a Molino church advertising their Vacation Bible School.

Thursday night, Highland Baptist Church members placed 10 signs, valued at a total of $250, at locations from Highway 97 to Barrineau Park Road — including signs in private yards and at the church. Friday night, someone stole all of the signs.

A church member had 10 signs reprinted Monday, and they were once again placed around Molino. Tuesday morning. church member discovered that they had been stolen again.

Highland had set a goal of 200 enrolled in VBS. For their first night Monday, 225 enrolled in the week-long program. Church members attributed the high number partially to coverage and advertisements on and a discussion of the story on WXBM 102.7 radio’s morning show.

Anyone with information on this crime is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 433-STOP or the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office at 436-9620.

To read our original story from Sunday about the first set of stolen signs, click here.

NWE, Tri-County Baseball And Softball Roundup

June 30, 2009

Tri-County will play for the  10-11 year old Softball district title tonight in Defuniak Springs. Tri-County and Defuniak at 1-1 in their series. Defuniak won the their first game 8-5. Tri-County came back to beat Defuniak Monday night, 12-7.

In 9-10 softball tournament play Monday night in Niceville, Tri-County fell to Shalimar 19-9.  Tri-County will take on Destin Tuesday night as the tourney continues.

Northwest Escambia’s 11-12 year old softball district game in Destin was rained out Monday night. The game has been rescheduled for tonight at 7:30 when NWE will take on Niceville. Shalimar and Defuniak Springs will also play in Destin tonight.

In 9-10 year old baseball action Monday night in Panama City, Tri-County advanced to game three of the tournament Thursday night when they will take on Niceville-American. Coming off a 12-2 win over host RL Turner on Saturday, Tri-County dominated Freeport Monday night 13-3.

Tri-County Downs NWE In 11-12 Year Old Tourney

June 30, 2009

Tri-County downed Northwest Escambia Monday night in Little League 11-12 year old All-Stars Tournament action in Jay.

Tri-County won the game in four innings, 14-3 over NWE.

In other tournament play Monday night in Jay, RL Turner beat Destin 11-4; Defuniak Springs was victorious over Shalimar 12-9; and Niceville-National slipped pass Niceville-American 4-3.

Tri-County will advance to take on Niceville-National at 7:30 Tuesday night in Jay Northwest Escambia will play again Wednesday evening.

Century Man Back In Jail On Charges Related To Bad Checks In 1997

June 30, 2009

A Century man is back in the county jail on charges stemming from three bad checks he wrote back in 1997.

daweddielee.jpgEddie Lee Daw, 42, of Century has been arrested and charged with violating probation in 1998 for the worthless instruments.

Daw was first arrested August 13, 1997, on the bad check charges. In September, 1997, he was referred to the check diversion program and given the opportunity to make good on the checks. He was to return to court on Christmas Eve, 1997, but was absent, according to court records.

In February 1998, he was found guilty and sentenced to a six month suspended sentence in the county jail. He was also ordered to pay $268.50 in fines and costs and sentenced to 20 hours community service. He was back in court in April 1998 and placed on six months probation. By late June 1998, a warrant was issued for Daw after he violated the terms of his probation. He was arrested on that warrant in July, 1998, and later found guilty of violating his probation. He was sentenced to 30 days in the county jail, with credit for time served.

Daw was due back in court in early December, 1998, but failed to appear once again, according to court records. Another warrant was issued for Daw’s arrest on December 9, 1998.

He was arrested Friday on the 1998 warrant. Monday, bond was set at $3,000 total on three counts of violation of probation. Daw remained in the Escambia County Jail early Tuesday morning.

Fresh From Steve’s Farm: Sweet Corn, Beans, Peas, Catfish And More

June 30, 2009


In 2002, Steve Hiebert and his family planted six acres of sweet corn on their Walnut Hill farm. It was the start of a booming business that now offers a variety of fruits and vegetables, and even a little fishing down on the farm.

stevesfarmfront.jpgSteve said he always wanted to farm. But the traditional crops like cotton and catfish were not appealing on his relatively small farm because it is hard to compete with cheap catfish from China or cotton from India.

“We were looking for a niche,” he said. “I was not looking at leasing more land than I already owned. I was a farmer at heart and wanted to remain a farmer. The sweet corn was what I could do.”

The idea to grow sweet corn and retail on the farm came from a friend in Arkansas. After that first year, Steve realized that specializing in produce farming was what he wanted to continue to do. Along the way, his wife suggested peas and customers requested butter beans.

This year, Steve has 30 acres of sweet corn, 20 acres of peas and 20 acres of butter beans.

steves-farm12.jpgToday, Steve’s farm is a far cry from that first six acres of corn that was hand picked, hand sorted and hand bagged. The corn is graded on a mechanical conveyor line; the butter beans are machine picked — it’s hard to find someone willing to pick butter beans, Steve said, and the beans and peas are available mechanically shelled. No more sore fingers from shelling — the peas and beans are perfectly shelled in minutes with almost no debris remaining in them.

This time of year, they are picking 70-80 bushels of peas per day, but Steve’s claim to fame is still his Steve’s Homegrown Sweet Corn.

“There is no fresher or better tasting sweet corn than corn that is picked the morning you buy it,” Steve said. “It does not spend days on a truck from California, plus there’s not all of the fuel spent to haul it. It just makes sense to get it from the local guy.”

steves-farm10.jpgSome of the produce is sold wholesale, but most is sold at retail farm fresh from the Hiebert barn in Walnut Hill. In addition to the corn, butter beans and peas, Steve’s Farm also sells cantaloupe, watermelons and other seasonal produce.

And then there’s the fishing.

Steve’s pond is open and stocked with farm raised catfish.

“It’s not just fishing; it is the experience,” Steve said. “Dad’s don’t need a new boat and a trip to the river to fish with the kids. They get tired, and they might not catch anything. But here, they love it. The kids almost always catch fish, and they always have a good time.”

Anglers can bring their own bait and tackle, or Steve “will rent you the poles, sell you the bait, clean your fish, sell you a cheap ice chest and you can head home with your fillets and your happy campers”.

Steve’s Farm and his catfish pond are located at 1201 South Highway 99 in Walnut Hill, about a mile and half off Highway 97. The farm and the catfish pond are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday until the end of September. For more information, call (850) 327-4020 or visit online. Steve says to call ahead if you are driving very far if you want a specific item; the corn, peas and beans can sell out quickly some days. He does take orders.

Pictured above: Some of the fresh produce available at Steve’s Farm in Walnut Hill.  Pictured below: An automated butter bean picker at work Monday afternoon. photos, click to enlarge.


Blog: Stolen Church VBS Signs

June 30, 2009

This little light o’ mine, I’m gonna let it shine.

It was a childish act Friday night as someone stole signs around Molino that advertised Vacation Bible School at Highland Baptist Church.(Read more here.)

Stealing is always wrong; we are all taught that when we are what — about three? Perhaps it was someone with something against the church, someone taking part in a prank or someone with serious spiritual issues. Maybe “the devil made them do it” would be their excuse.

But sometimes things backfire and good prevails. The church had set an aggressive goal of 200 in VBS, about the equivalent of their sanctuary full. One of the ways they decided to advertise their VBS was with the signs around the community in an effort to reach every child possible. VBS is, according to the Southern Baptist Convention, the single largest evangelist effort of the Baptist church each year. The same holds true for other denominations and other churches.

The signs would have reached a few. But the missing signs served to reach thousands.

We at will always promote what Bible-believing churches in our area are doing. Because of the sheer number of Vacation Bible Schools in North Escambia, we could not give display advertising to each one on our front page. A few weeks ago, there were about 25 VBS listings on our events page.

But when we heard about the signs being stolen, we decided to make sure there was no victory for evil there. We are providing the church with thousands of display ads on our front page this week at no charge. And, since it was a newsworthy event, we ran a story on our front page as well. Rather than a few people noticing signs on the highway, tens of thousands would have seen the ads and the story Sunday and Monday.

When Marty and Linda at WXBM radio read the article, they took to the airwaves talking about the incident. We understand that they are regular readers. (Appreciate that guys!) Tens of thousands more people learned about VBS at Highland.

It became the story of ten little signs reaching tens of thousands. Sort of makes you think about a little boy’s two fish and five loaves of bread feeding 5,000 men, plus women and children, in the Gospel of John. In that Biblical event, there was even baskets of leftover food.

In our little sign story, we even have leftovers.  The signs were reprinted Monday thanks to an individual in the community and Performance Graphics of Robertsdale, Ala.

But the children are more important than our little story of the stolen signs. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14.

Monday night, the first night of VBS at Highland, they surpassed their goal of 200 in VBS, with 225 signed up to hear the Gospel.

Incidentally, the theme for this year’s Southern Baptist Convention, which wrapped up last week, was “LoveLoud:  Actions Speak Louder than Words”, based upon Matthew 5:16, “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your fine works and give glory to your Father who is in the heaven.”

The childish act of stealing the signs served a purpose — for good. Romans 8:28,  “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.
Hide it under a bushel? NO! I’m gonna let it shine,
Hide it under a bushel? NO! I’m gonna let it shine,
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine

New Seat Belt Law In Florida

June 30, 2009

Law enforcement officers in Florida can now stop you for not wearing your seat belt, even if you are not speeding or committing another traffic offense.

Before Tuesday, officers had to a have another primary reason for pulling you over, but today they can pull you over for just the seat belt offense.

The new primary seat belt law carries at $93 ticket for failing to buckle up.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that in a state with a primary seat belt law, such as the one that begins today in Florida, about 14 percent more drivers use their safety belts. In 2008, Florida ranked 35th in the nation in seat belt use.

The NHTSA believes Florida’s new seat belt law will save 124 lives each year, and another 1,700 will avoid serious injury just because they choose to buckle up. Increased seat belt use translates to dollars too; the NHTSA believes the costs associated with traffic accidents will fall over $400 million.

Florida’s new seat belt law will net the state $35.5 million in federal funds under the Safe, Accountable, Flexible and Efficient Transporation Act, which was formerally known as the Highway Bill. States that implemented a primary seat belt law by today qualified for the federal dollars.

School District To Consider New Strategic Plan

June 30, 2009

The Escambia County School Board is considering a “Strategic Plan” for the next school year.

The plan includes a vision to “create a district where parents want to teach, employees want to work and students want to learn” and a mission to “make a positive difference in students’ lives and prepare them for lifelong learning”.

“Pillars are the broad framework by which the School District of Escambia County organizes the district goals, objectives and strategies,” the plan reads. The “pillars” referred to in the plan are “service, quality, people, resources and enviroment”.

The plan lists specific goals and objectives:

  • Over-arching goals and measurable objectives will be set under each pillar.
  • Goals will be shared with all leaders.
  • All schools/departments will develop their own measurable goals which best support and align to the district goals. Then they develop strategies to help them achieve those goals.
  • Goals are shared with everyone.

The plan seeks to create “efficient, effective and friendly interaction with our district employees, staff, parents, students and visitors”. The plan calls for the value of staff, students, partners and community in the county’s school system.

The school board will discuss the plan at a special workshop meeting today. The strategic plan could be presented to the school board at a workshop on August 14 and approved as early as October.

Read the entire presentation that Superintendent Malcolm Thomas will present to the school board by clicking here.

Traffic Note: Flomaton ‘Twin Bridges’

June 30, 2009

If you travel Highway 31 east of Flomaton, be on the lookout for some changes at the “twin bridges”.

Traffic in the area was rerouted Monday as construction on the highway continues. Officials urge extreme caution in the area.

Chance Of Rain Today

June 29, 2009

Some areas of North Escambia received over two inches of much-needed rain Sunday afternoon, but many spots remained very dry.

Today, there is a 60 percent of showers and thunderstorms across the area as  week cold front appoarches from the northwest. Today’s high will be around 95.

Winds by Tuesday will turn to the northwest bringing in drier, but not cooler, air. Tuesday through Wednesday’s highs are forecast to be around 95.

By the Fourth of July weekend, there is a 50 percent chance of rain for Friday and a 40 percent chance of rain on Saturday.

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