Need To Get Rid Of Your Christmas Tree? Recycle It For Free

December 30, 2009

There are several options for disposing of your natural Christmas tree which will result in the the tree being recycled and ground into mulch — and the options are all free for you.

In Escambia County:

Escambia County Division of Solid Waste Management drop off locations are available until January 15:

  • Oak Grove Citizen Convenience Center, 745 North Highway 99
  • Perdido Landfill, 13009 Beulah Road in Cantonment
  • John R. Jones Athletic Park, 555 East Nine Mile Road
  • Escambia County Equestrian Center, 7750 Mobile Highway
  • Escambia County Transfer Station, 2906 Palafox Street

Trees dropped off at the above locations must be free of tinsel and tree stands. There will be a minimum charge of $9.37 for processing artificial trees, or trees still bearing decorations or tinsel at the above locations.
The Emerald Coast Utilities Authority (ECUA) will pick up Christmas trees from customers for free with the regular collection of yard waste.

Customers are asked to remove all decorations from their trees and cut the trees so that no portion is longer than six feet. Trees can be placed at the curb with other yard trash, and should not be placed in the regular garbage container.

Three ECUA sites are also available for  customers who prefer to drop off their live trees. The drop off sites are at:

  • Ellyson Industrial Park, on Sturdevant Street
  • ECUA Sanitation Complex, at 3050 Godwin Lane, just east of Pine Forest Road
  • one-half mile north of Lillian Highway, on Blue Angel Parkway

Christmas tree collection at drop off sites and curbside will continue until January 15. For more information, contact ECUA customer service at (850) 476-0480.

In Santa Rosa County:

Trees can be disposed of at five recycling areas through February 28:

  • Jay Transfer Station on Transfer Station Road in Jay.
  • Quintette recycle area at the Five Points Intersection in Pace.
  • Gulf Power recycle area on East Spencer Field Road in Pace.
  • Clean Community System on Park Avenue in Milton.
  • Tiger Point recreation area in Gulf Breeze.

Trees should be placed in the designated areas identified by signage, not in front of the recycling containers.

Year In Review North Escambia’s Biggest Stories Of 2009: March

December 30, 2009


In March, the Escambia County School Board voted to closed Carver/Century K-8 School, despite pleas from area residents like Annie Savage (pictured) to keep the school open. The vote came a few weeks after the school board held a meeting in Century where dozens of angry parents argued for the school. broke the exclusive story that Gulf Power was purchasing land in Cox and Road road areas between Bratt and Byrneville for possible nuclear power plant.

The Escambia County School Board approved $1 million in renovations for Bratt Elementary and Ernest Ward Middle Schools.


The  2009 Law Enforcement Torch Run across Florida in support of Special Olympics started in Century.

Hundreds of people gathered at Jay High School to pray for schools across the area. The prayer service came about two months after a federal judge issued an order against any prayer or promotion of religion in Santa Rosa County Schools.

State Rep. Greg Evers filed a bill in Florida House that would led to the formation of a commission to study the consolidation of the governments of Century, Pensacola and Escambia County.

Century’s celebrated its heritage with the annual Teaspoon Festival.

Softball returned to Century after a long absence at Century Little League.

Hundreds attended the annual Ruritan Farm Auction in Walnut Hill.

Up to 15 inches of rain brought flooding to Molino, shutting down all highways between the north of south parts of the county.

A North Escambia woman, Cheryl Renee Cain, was found murdered in a dumpster at an abandoned Pensacola gas station.

The Town of Century voted to spend $4,000 to find out how much it would cost to hire a Crestview attorney to find out what legal grounds the attorney thought Century would have to fight the Escambia County School board over the closure of Carver/Century K-8 School.


Drew’s Field was dedicated in honor of Drew Marlow, a two-year old that died in a 2008 auto crash.

About 1,000 students and volunteers took part in the annual Food for America program at Northview High School. The program, sponsored the National FFA Organization and conducted by the Northview FFA, gave the students a chance to learn about agriculture firsthand as they got up close and personal with farm animals, farm equipment and more.

John William Lance, 28, of Century, was sentenced to 10 years, four months and 24 days for DUI manslaughter in connection with the 2007 death of his brother, Jack Lance, 33 of Holt.

On the first to be ticketed by the new code enforcement program in Century was the town’s mayor, Freddie McCall.

Escambia County listed 22 projects on a “Project Priority List” — including a new community center and library in Molino.

Florida House and Senate committees have approved a bill proposal that would get the oil flowing again in the Jay Oil Field. The bill, sponsored in the House by Rep. Greg Evers, would provide exemptions and tax breaks to the six active oil producing companies in Florida. One of those producers is Quantum Resources in Jay.

March was time for FCAT testing at area schools

Ernest Ward Middle School held “Penny Wars” to raise funds to send veterans on an Emerald Coast Honor Flight.

thomas30.jpgEscambia School Superintendent Malcolm Thomas paid a surprise visit to Northview High School, meeting with students and faculty.

Northview High School held their first home track meet in years on their newly resurfaced track. file photos, click to enlarge.

2009 In Pictures: April

December 30, 2009

The annual Century Relay for Life was held.


This unique cloud formation rolled across North Escambia in late April.


An Escambia County Deputy was involved in this accident near Jay.

Enjoying a cupcake at an Easter event in Molino.


Firefighters battle a blaze that destroyed a home on Pilgrim Trail West in Molino.


Pictured above: Opening day at the Molino Ball Park.

McDavid Youth Bags First Deer

December 30, 2009

preston10.jpgBen Preston of McDavid shot his first deer the day after Christmas near the Escambia River in Century. The deer was a 12 point and weighted 155 pounds. Ben is the son of David and Ramona Preston. Submitted photo for, click to enlarge.

Forecast: Rain This Year; Cold Next

December 30, 2009

The last couple of days of 2009 are forecast to be rainy, but the rain is forecast to clear by the time 2010 begins on Friday.

Here is your official North Escambia area forecast:

  • Today: A 40 percent chance of showers after noon. Cloudy, with a high near 59. Southeast wind between 5 and 10 mph.
  • Tonight: Showers. Low around 50. Southeast wind between 5 and 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%.
  • Thursday: A 40 percent chance of rain. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 64. North wind around 5 mph.
  • Thursday Night: A 40 percent chance of rain. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 40. North wind between 5 and 10 mph.
  • New Year’s Day: Mostly sunny, with a high near 53. North wind between 10 and 15 mph.
  • Friday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 27. North wind between 5 and 10 mph.
  • Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 54. North wind between 5 and 10 mph.
  • Saturday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 27. Calm wind becoming north around 5 mph.
  • Sunday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 53. North wind between 5 and 10 mph.
  • Sunday Night: A 20 percent chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 27.
  • Monday: A 20 percent chance of rain. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 46.
  • Monday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 24.
  • Tuesday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 48.

State Rep. Comments On WEAR Dispute

December 30, 2009

State Rep. Dave Murzin has joined other lawmakers in asking the FCC to intervene in the disagreement between Mediacom and WEAR.

Unless WEAR and Mediacom strike a retransmission deal by the end of the year, Mediacom cable TV customers will be unable to watch WEAR’s programming. . The contract between Mediacom and WEAR expires on December 31. At issue is the amount of money WEAR is paid by Mediacom for the right to retransmit the ABC affiliate’s programming. Mediacom does not want to pay an increase proposed by Sinclair Broadcasting, the parent company of WEAR.

Murzin’s letter is below:

Chairman Julius Genachowski
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, S.W., Room 8-B201
Washington, D.C. 20554

Re: Mediacom v. Sinclair Retransmission Consent Dispute

Dear Chairman Genachowski,

I am concerned that Sinclair Broadcast Group is threatening to withhold our local ABC news affiliate, WEAR -TV3 signal, from cable customers in my area beginning January 1, 2010. This threat will be carried out unless Mediacom agrees to Sinclair’s demand for a 50% increase over what they paid in 2009. WEAR is the only Florida-based news source in our area since all other TV stations are based in Mobile, Alabama, about 60 miles away. I understand that Mediacom has filed an FCC complaint asserting that Sinclair has not been negotiating in good faith as required by law. They have asked the FCC to order Sinclair to allow Mediacom to continue providing consumers with access to these stations on an interim basis until this dispute is resolved.

I strongly urge the FCC to require Sinclair to grant Mediacom temporary consent to continue carrying this station so as to minimize the disruption that our consumers will otherwise incur through no fault of their own. I am very concerned that the FCC may not act on this matter before the January 1st deadline.

This dispute between Sinclair and Mediacom is threatening to harm our consumers, many of whom cannot receive a good signal for this station over-the-air due to the digital transition. Mediacom customers did not purchase a digital converter box due to continuing their service with Mediacom. In an area of the country with a high poverty rate, providing such short notice of a need to purchase a digital converter to watch the local news will impose a financial burden following the Christmas season. I urge you to insure that my neighbors continue to have access to this programming while this dispute is being considered by the FCC. This could pose a public safety threat to my neighbors if they do not have access to the local news.

Thank you for your consideration of this important issue.

Best Regards,

Dave Murzin
State Representative, House District 2

1,300 Without Power For Hours

December 29, 2009

Almost 1,300 Gulf Power customers were without power for about five hours overnight in the Cantonment area.

gptruck.jpgThe power failure for 1,289 customers occurred at 9:02 p.m. Monday when line pulled out of a switch near Muscogee Road and Louis Street, according to Sandy Sims, Gulf Power manager of public affairs. Power was restored at 2:15 a.m. Tuesday. The outage was attributed to wind.

“We realize that being without power for a period is a major inconvenience, especially on a cold night like last night,” Sims said. “We brought in crews to repair the outage as quickly as possible.”

New ECUA Plant, Pipeline Construction Ahead Of Schedule

December 29, 2009


The construction of the new Emerald Coast Utilities Authority Central Water Reclamation Facility in Cantonment is ahead of schedule.

The new facility replaces the 73-year old downtown Pensacola Main Street Wastewater Treatment Plant and is the largest public works project in Escambia County’s history.

Construction on the facility is about 80 percent complete, according to Nathalie Bowers, ECUA spokesperson.

ecuamore.jpgWhen the CWRF is finished in 2010, ECUA estimates it will have had a $320 million total economic impact, according Jim Roberts, ECUA spokesperson. There are 103 suppliers and contractors — 60 of them local — working on the project.  The plant is being funding in part by $134 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and $19.5 million from the Pensacola Community Redevelopment Agency.

Many of the massive facility’s components are complete, Bowers said, while others are substantially complete.

The project also includes about 25 miles of transmission pipeline to move wastewater to the facility. The northern transmission pipeline is being constructed by Morgan Construction. Two crews are currently working: one from Chemstrand Road to the south and the other on Chemstrand Road north of Kingsfield Road. Bowers said about 80 percent of the pipe is in the ground, and the project is about 45 percent completed overall.

The central section of the transmission pipeline has about 97 percent of the pipe in the ground. The southern section of the pipeline project is completely in the ground, and it is 94 percent complete overall.

The CWRF is located on a 2,300 parcel owned by ECUA off Chemstrand Road near Ascend Products (formerly Solutia).

For more recent photos of the facility, click here.

Pictured above: A December aerial view of ECUA’s Central Water Reclamation Facility in Cantonment. Pictured below: A 20-inch force main is installed. Courtesy photos for, click to enlarge.


New Documentation Requirements For A Florida Driver’s License

December 29, 2009

Beginning Friday, new documentation requirements will take effect for Florida residents wishing to obtain a driver license or identification card.

Residents wishing to obtain a new license, legally change their name prior to their renewal date, or immediately replace a lost or stolen license or ID card will be required to visit a driver license office and show proof of identification, Social Security number and residential address.

Those simply renewing may do so by a convenience method, via the Internet or mail, one time between office renewals. The renewal following a convenience option must be in a state driver license office or participating tax collector office where new requirements will be in effect.

Floridians are encouraged to visit to find out how and when to gather your documents, go to a driver license office and get your new card. This online hub allows residents to obtain contact information showing where to get required documents, create personalized checklists and browse a list of local driver license offices in their area.

“These new requirements support the most secure identification credential possible,” said Division of Driver License Director, Sandra Lambert. “We are pleased to have a convenient online tool in place that takes Floridians through a step-by-step process, helping to identify and obtain all required documents to prepare for their next visit to an office.”

Florida law was enacted to ensure the state’s compliance with the provisions of the Federal Real ID Act. Despite the recent extension of deadlines by the Department of Homeland Security, Florida will continue its efforts to provide the most secure credentials and issuance processes possible, benefiting both our citizens as well as law enforcement agencies. The decision by the DHS will have no impact on Florida’s planned improvements.

While the new documentation requirements begin Jan. 1, 2010, Florida residents are not required to visit a driver license or tax collector office on or before this date. Residents may verify when they need to visit an office with the required documents by visiting

For more information, visit

Two More Residential Fires In Escambia County

December 29, 2009

Two residential fires have added two more red bulbs in Escambia County Fire Rescue’s “Keep the Wreath Green” holiday fire safety campaign.

On Christmas night, a fire was reported in the 100 block of Manor Drive. When firefighters arrived on scene, they found the attic and a portion of the house on fire. The fire caused major damage to the attic, moderate damage to the kitchen and another room and smoke damage throughout the rest of the home. There was no one home at the time of the fire and no injuries were reported. The cause of the fire was determined to have been a problem with the home’s electrical system.

On December 26, a fire was reported in the 6600 block of Hampton Road. When firefighters arrived on scene, they found a fire in the attic of the home. The fire caused major damage to the attic and smoke damage throughout the rest of the home. There were no injuries were reported. The cause of the fire was determined to have been from an electrical problem in the attic.

All 11 red bulbs lit so far have been for residential fires south of Nine Mile Road. No serious residential fires have been reported in North Escambia this December.

Escambia County Fire-Rescue and the City of Pensacola Fire Department will continue the “Keep the Wreath Green” fire safety campaign throughout the holiday season. This year, the fifth year of the campaign, five-foot wreaths will be on display at 22 different locations throughout the holiday season. These sites are the Old Escambia County Courthouse on Palafox Place, the Public Safety Building on W Street, all 18 primary county fire stations, and two fire stations within the City of Pensacola. Every time firefighters respond to a residential fire, a green light bulb will be replaced with a red one to remind citizens of the dangers posed by holiday decorations.

Escambia Fire Rescue offers the following seasonal fire safety tips:

  • All good things must eventually come to an end. And the longer your decorations stay up, the greater the fire hazard. Never burn trees (branches or needles) in a fireplace. Firs and pines have a lot of sap, which can actually explode. Creosote deposits can also ignite in the chimney and cause a chimney fire. Dispose of your tree at a recycling center.
  • With winter’s dry vegetation, high-winds and low-humidity, wildfires can start and spread quickly. Take every precaution
  • Have extra money from those gift cards? Purchase a carbon monoxide detector for your home. Carbon monoxide can be produced by any malfunctioning gas powered appliance and is known as the silent killer.

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