Escambia, Santa Rosa Declared Disaster Areas

January 31, 2010


The U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated Escambia (Fla.) and Santa Rosa counties as primary natural disaster areas due to losses caused by Tropical Storm Ida and associated heavy rains that occurred from November 9 through November 10, 2009.

“President Obama and I understand these conditions caused severe damage to the area and serious harm to farms in Florida and we want to help,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “This action will provide help to hundreds of farmers who suffered significant production losses to a wide variety of crops, including upland cotton, forage grasses, pecans, peanuts, and soybeans.”

Farmers and ranchers in Okaloosa County in Florida and Baldwin and Escambia in Alabama also qualify for natural disaster assistance because the counties are contiguous.

All qualified farm operators in the designated areas are eligible for low interest emergency (EM) loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses. FSA will consider each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability. FSA has a variety of programs, in addition to the EM loan program, to help eligible farmers recover from adversity.

USDA also has made other programs available to assist farmers and ranchers, including the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program (SURE), which was approved as part of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008; the Emergency Conservation Program; Federal Crop Insurance; and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program. Interested farmers may contact their local USDA Service Centers for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs. Additional information is also available online at

Pictured top: Wet cotton sags to the ground in a Walnut Hill field on November 10, 2009, as the rains ended from Tropical Storm Ida. file photo, click to enlarge. 

Ready, Set, Go: Bratt Church Holds Pinewood Derby

January 31, 2010


bratt-pinewood-derby-22.jpgThere was some small-scale, fast-paced racing action Saturday afternoon in Bratt as the First Baptist Church of Bratt held its “nearly annual” Pinewood Derby.

The cars begin with a block of pinewood that is cut and shaped into a car. Add wheels, paint, weights and other personal touches, and it’s a pinewood derby racer as long as it is under five ounces. During workshops on Wednesday nights in January, the participants sanded, weighed, painted and wheeled their cars.

The cars are 1:25 scale. Reaching about 8 mph on the short wood track equates to a full scale speed of about 200 mph.

For a photo gallery from the event, click here.

The First Baptist Church of Bratt  “nearly annual” Pinewood Derby race winners were:

Mission Friends

  • First (tie): Anna Lee, Luke Amerson “Luke Duke”
  • Third (tie): Rachael Sanders “Princess Car”, Lizzie Amerson “Lizzie Dizzie”

Girls In Action

  • First: Juliana LaBorde
  • Second: Mary Sanders
  • Third (tie): Annah Amerson “Hanna Montana”, Victoria Amerson “Dorothy’s Tornado”

Royal Ambassadors

  • First: Zachary Holland “Black Hawk”
  • Zachery Payne “Alexander the Great”
  • Colby Morris “The Gator”


  • First: Greg Wilson
  • Second: Dawn Turner “Hildegard”
  • Third: Pete Amerson “First Place”
  • Fourth: Sidney Amerson “The Tank”

Grand Finals:

  • First (tie): Anna Lee, Zachery Payne “Alexander the Great”
  • Third: Zachary Holland “Black Hawk”
  • Fourth (tie): Trace Presnall “Thunderbold18″, Juliana LaBorde “The Faithmobile”

Pictured top and bottom: Scenes from the Pinewood Derby at the First Baptist Church of Bratt Saturday afternoon. Pictured inset: Anna Lee was one of the grand champions in Saturday’s racing. photos, click to enlarge.

Tates Gets Dramatic OT Win Over Navarre

January 31, 2010

Tate 49 Navarre 48 (OT)

It was big shot from Kevin Brown with three seconds remaining that gave the Tate Aggies a 49-48 overtime win over the Navarre Raiders Saturday. The Aggies now have the top seed in the District 1-5A tournament coming up in a couple of weeks at Pine Forest.

The Aggies were up 13-8 at the end of the first quarter, but Navarre rallied on their home court to tie the contest 22-22 at the half. Tate took the lead at the end of the third, 12-7, but the Raiders tied it 44-44 at the end of regulation.

Walden led the Aggies with 15, and Brown added 14.

Tate — Petey Jones 3, Krys Walden 15, Kevin Brown 14, Dylan Anderson 10, Shermonne Jones 7.

Tate 13 8 9 12 7-49 Navarre 8 14 7 13-6

Want To Save On Your Taxes? Today Is The Deadline

January 31, 2010

If you want to save 2% on your property tax bill, payments must be made by Sunday.

Janet Holley, Escambia County Tax Collector, said that the 2% discount to pay real estate and tangible personal property taxes ends Sunday, January 31. Since the deadline falls during the weekend when the offices are closed, offices will honor the 2% discount Monday, February 1 for in-person payments only.

In addition, payments will receive the 2% discount if:

  • mailed with a postmark of January 31;
  • left in a 24-hour drop box available at all offices by midnight January 31;
  • made on the tax collector’s web site by midnight January 31;
  • made on the tax collector’s after-hours automated telephone (800) 601‑1055 by midnight January 31;

Drive thru service and 24-hour drop boxes are available at all locations.

You may check the status of your taxes and pay online at If you have any questions, call the tax collector’s office at 438-6500, ext. 252. (TTY users for the hearing impaired call 850-472-0031.)

Faithful Pray For Century

January 31, 2010

Saturday evening in Century, community leaders, local pastors and church members gathered at Abundant Life Assembly of God for a community prayer service.

The prayer meeting focused on the future of Century and surrounding areas. The faithful prayed that God will move in a positive manner in the Century area, showing blessing and mercy upon area residents.

The service took place the Abundant Life Assembly of God.

Watch Out: New Traffic Light On Ten Mile Road

January 31, 2010

There’s a new traffic signal on Ten Mile Road at Ashton Brosnaham Drive. The new signal will “flash” through Tuesday, February 2. Beginning on Wednesday, February 3, the signal will be fully operational.

The installation of this signal will aid traffic going to and from McArthur Elementary, Escambia Westgate Center, R.C. Lipscomb Elementary and the Ashton Brosnaham Soccer Complex, according to Escambia officials.

Campers Rescued After Being Stranded A Week By Flooded Escambia River

January 30, 2010

Two campers cut off by a rising Escambia River near Molino were rescued Saturday morning — a week after they were stranded.

campers.jpgEugene Beaudry said he and his girlfriend, Sue Lahti had been camping from their Chevrolet S10, stranded at the end of Cotton Lake Road for a week. When the Escambia River rises, the dirt road to the boat launch floods, preventing vehicular access.

“We had been stranded there for seven days. We planned to take off this morning, but she (the river) began to come up fast,” Beaudry said. “That steady rain last night really caused her to come up fast, and we got worried and decided to get help. That rain, she really come down steady last night.”

“We ran out of gas and most of our food last night,” he told just after being rescued Saturday morning.

Beaudry and Lahti did not have a boat, just their Chevy, a small tent and their supplies. “We were prepared and had planned to stay awhile, but that rain, she changed that,” he said.

Members of the Molino and Cantonment stations of Escambia Fire Rescue used a couple of small boats to ferry Beaudry, Lahti and some of the their supplies back to the high and dry side of Cotton Lake Road about noon Saturday.  As for the Chevrolet pickup — it will be stuck at the boat launch until the river eventually drops. Family members picked up the two campers, headed for a drier night — indoors.

North Escambia Resident Honored As She Turns 103 Years Old

January 30, 2010

North Escambia resident Elmira Gandy Crapps turned 103 this week, with congratulations pouring in from friends, family and political leaders.

Century Mayor Freddie McCall designated an Elmira Gandy Crapps Day in the Town of Century. Florida Governor Charlie Crist offered his congratulations, as did Congressman Jeff Miller.

Crapps  was born in Butler County, Alabama, near Georgiana in 1907. Theodore Roosevelt was president. A loaf of bread cost four cents. A gallon of milk was 29 cents. A new Ford? That would set you back 600 bucks.

She moved to a farm with her family in the Gandyville community in 1925, and still lives just down the road from that home.

As of just a few months ago, she was still driving, mostly to three places: the Piggly Wiggly for groceries, her church and her hairdresser. She’s still an active member of Poplar Dell Baptist Church, and very quick to give the Lord all the credit for her age and her health.

crapps20.jpgWhen asked her secret for a long life, she quickly replied that there was no secret. “It’s good living and a love of God. I’ve been blessed by the Lord and walk with Him,” she said. “The Lord always takes care of me.”

When asked about the biggest change in her lifetime, she said “the way people wear, or don’t wear clothes”.

She never had children, but has “a ton” of nieces and nephews. Her father, John Oxford Gandy lived to the age of 108. In 1973, the Florida Legislature named Gandyville after him. He, by the way, had a first cousin that also lived to be 108.

Celebrating a 103rd birthday seems like a big deal to everyone — everyone but Elmira Gandy Crapps.”Everybody has birthdays,” she said.

Pictured above:  Elmira Gandy Crapps receives a proclamation in her honor from Century Mayor Freddie McCall at Poplar Dell Baptist Church. Pictured inset: North Escambia resident Elmira Gandy Crapps turned 103 Sunday. file photos, click to enlarge.

ECUA: UWF Study Affirms Water Is Safe To Drink

January 30, 2010

The Emerald Coast Utilities Authority is continuing to rebuke a report that claimed Pensacola’s water to be the worst in the nation among 100 cities with populations over 250,000 people.

According to a University of West Florida report conducted at the Center for Environmental Diagnostics & Bioremediation, “the water provided by the Emerald Coast Utilities Authority (ECUA) is safe for human consumption and did not exceed a single water quality standard established by the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the State of Florida”.

“I can sum up in one word the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) report: Bogus,” said Dr. Carl Mohrherr, PhD, co-author of the UWF study. “It was an effective political campaign to raise public awareness, but done at the expense of public confidence in regulation by US EPA, FL DEP, and the ability of the ECUA to provide safe potable water. The EWG report does not present a valid scientific assessment of water toxicity, nor are its comparisons of utility systems statistically valid.”

The EWG, a watchdog nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., released the report on Saturday, December 12, 2009. It placed the ECUA as Number 1 on a list of cities with the worst water in the nation. Stephen Sorrell, ECUA executive director says, “Bottom line: the ECUA’s water is safe to drink and meets every federal and state regulatory guideline. We didn’t have one single health standard violation in five years as clearly indicated in the EWG report.”

The read the recently released UWF report, click here. To see ECUA’s latest water quality report, click here.

Molino Church Still Collecting Supplies For Haiti Quake Victims

January 30, 2010

A Molino church is continuing to work to help the victims of the Haiti earthquake.

haitipics.jpgAldersgate United Methodist Church  is accepting supply donations from the community to assemble “health kits” for the earthquake victims. . The kits will be shipped to Haiti through UMCOR — the United Methodist Committee on Relief.

Donated items can be dropped off at the church office. There is a box outside of the church office for donations when the office is closed.  Aldersgate UMC is located on Highway 29, just south of Highway 97.

The church has already sent about 200 kits to Haiti.

Persons wishing to help can donate any of the items listed below, or assemble complete kits as instructed.

Haiti Health Kits

Place these items inside a sealed one-gallon plastic bag.

  • 1 hand towel (15” x 25” up to 17” x 27”, no kitchen towels)
  • 1 washcloth
  • 1 comb (large and sturdy, not pocket-sized)
  • 1 nail file or fingernail clippers (no emery boards or toenail clippers)
  • 1 bath-size bar of soap (3 oz. and up)
  • 1 toothbrush (single brushes only in original wrapper, no child-size brushes)
  • 6 adhesive plastic strip sterile bandages

(NOTE: UMCOR is now purchasing toothpaste in bulk to be added to health kits before shipping to ensure that the product does not expire before it is sent. Please include $1 for each kit you send toward the purchase of toothpaste.)

Important Kit Assembly Information

All items included in kits must be NEW items.

All emergency kits are carefully planned to make them usable in the greatest number of situations. Since strict rules often govern product entry into international countries, it is important that kits contain only the requested items—nothing more.

Do NOT include any personal notes, money or additional materials in the kits. These things must be painstakingly removed and will delay the shipment.

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