Brewton Man Shot To Death Near Jay

February 28, 2010

A Jay man is behind bars charged with shooting and killing an 18-year old Brewton man early Saturday morning in the Berrydale community near Jay.

Robert Franklin Floyd, 21, of Jay, is charged with an open count of murder and three counts of attempted murder.

boydrobertfranklin.jpgThe arrest stems from an incident that occurred shortly after midnight last night at Floyd’s home on Country Mill Road. A party was being held at Floyd’s residence in which numerous subjects were in attendance, according to Sgt. Scott Haines, spokesperson for the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office.

Since the shooting, racial tensions have grown amid rumored threats of retaliation. Several business in the area closed early, and Jay Hospital was reportedly put on lockdown

During the bonfire party, a vehicle occupied by four people from Brewton arrived Floyd’s home on Country Mill Road.

According to Haines:

“The subjects exited the vehicle and a verbal altercation occurred between Floyd and one of the subjects. Floyd stated that the subjects were there uninvited. Floyd requested that the subjects leave the premises, and words were exchanged between Floyd and the subjects from Brewton. The subjects refused to leave, at which time Floyd allegedly pushed one of the black males and told them once again to leave.

“Floyd alleges that at that time, the black male which he pushed pulled out a handgun. Floyd then ran to his truck which was parked nearby. Floyd then retrieved a rifle from his truck and stated that he heard gunshots being fired from the area in which the black male subject’s vehicle was located. Floyd also alleges that he saw a muzzle flash coming from their direction.

srstateside.jpg“Floyd then fired multiple shots from his rifle towards the direction of the vehicle as it was leaving. The vehicle left the scene and Floyd returned the rifle to his truck. After a short time, Floyd decided to contact the Sheriff’s Office to make them aware of the situation. When deputies arrived, they spoke with Floyd and gained the above mentioned information. Numerous rifle shell casings were located at the scene.”

One of the Brewton residents, Getyron Lopez Benjamin, 18, was shot as the vehicle fled the scene. He was driven to D.W. McMillan Hospital in Brewton where he was pronounced dead.

“The other occupants of the vehicle were interviewed and stated that they did not observe any of their vehicle’s occupants produce a firearm. No firearm has been located as of the time of this release. It is also not known if Benjamin was the subject that Floyd had alleged brandished the handgun,” Haines said.

Floyd is being held in the Santa Rosa County Jail without bond.

As investigators remained at the scene Saturday afternoon, what appeared to be beer kegs were still around picnic table in a field near Floyd’s residence.  Homemade cardboard “No Trespassing” signs had been posted at the property.

Benjamin is a 2009 graduate of T.R. Miller High School in Brewton.

Two Charged For Shooting At Newspaper Delivery Men

February 28, 2010


Two men have been charged for chasing down and shooting at three newspaper delivery men early Wednesday morning.

Jerry Joseph Stefani (pictured left), 49, and Douglas Mitchel Wienberg, 39, have been charged with three counts of aggravated assault each. Both were released from the Escambia County Jail on $15,000 bond.

The Turkey Road neighbors are accused of firing semi-automatic handguns at three Pensacola News Journal delivery men about 3:45 a.m. Wednesday. Weinberg told Escambia County Sheriff’s Office investigators that he armed himself with a semi-automatic handgun after he was wife woke him and stated that she observed someone creeping along the family’s fence.

Wienberg exited his residence to see a white colored vehicle exit a side street one house from his. Weinberg stated his neighbors began exiting their residences due to the commotion, according to Sgt. Ted Roy, spokesperson for the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office.  Wienberg and his neighbor Stefani, also armed, gave pursued the white car occupied by the three newspaper delivery men,  Dylan Duffewn, 19, David Crittenden, 32, and Daniel Hayes, 22. The white car became stuck in the mud in a field, and the three newspaper deliver men ran.

“Weinberg and Stefani then fired several rounds at the three fleeing occupants and into the air in an attempt to stop them from running into the woods,” Roy said. Duffewn laid down in the field, while the other two ran into the woods.

The three PNJ delivery men said they ran because they thought they were about to become victims of a robbery.

Pictured above: Douglas Mitchel Wienberg (right) and Jerry Joseph Stefania (left), are charged with aggravated assault after they shot at three newspaper delivery men they said they thought were burglars.

Today’s The Deadline To Save On Your Property Taxes

February 28, 2010

Time is running out if you want to save one percent on your property tax bill.

A one percent discount when you pay your real estate and tangible personal property taxes is ending, according to Janet Holley, Escambia County tax collector. Over $44 million — about 18 percent — of the tax roll remains unpaid.

Since the deadline falls during the weekend when the offices are closed, offices will honor the one percent discount Monday, March 1, for in person payments only.

In addition, payments will receive the one percent discount if:

  • mailed with a postmark of February 28
  • left in a 24-hour drop box available at all tax collector offices by midnight February 28
  • made on the tax collector web site by midnight February 28
  • made on the tax collector after-hours automated telephone (800) 601‑1055 by midnight February 28

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

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

Northview Splits Two Against Pensacola, Washington

February 28, 2010

nhsbase.jpgThe Northview Chiefs split two games Saturday, beating Washington but losing to Pensacola High.

Northview 3 Washington 1

Northview beat Washington 3-1 in Pensacola Saturday in a non-district game.

Winning pitcher for the Chiefs was Austin Reid, pitching seven and striking out eight.

Bratt Lowery was 1-2 for Northview with two runs; Austin Arrington was 1-3 with a run. Dabney Langhorne was 1-2, as Dakota Stuckey went 1-2 with an RBI. Austin Reid was 1-3.

Pensacola 8 Northview 2

Northview fell to Pensacola High School Saturday, 8-2.

Brad Lowery was 1-4, and Austin Reid was 1-2 for the Chiefs. Austin Arrington pitched four for NHS, allowing six hits and striking out three.

Pensacola’s win came from a strong fifth inning, scoring six.

Highway 97 Lane Closures Monday

February 28, 2010

A continuing project on Highway 97 will cause lane closures beginning next week.

Monday, crews from Panhandle Grading and Paving will be working to replace a section of guardrail on Highway 97 just south of North Highway 99, according to Shawn Joseph, project administrator for the contractor.

Lanes will be temporarily closed during the guardrail replacement, but one lane is expected to be open at all times.

It’s all part of a project to resurface Highway 97 between Molino and the Alabama state line. The project is expected to last until the fall of 2010. will continue provide the most current Highway 97 lane closure and construction updates to help you avoid delays.

Highway 31 In Alabama Reopens

February 28, 2010


Highway 31 is now reopened between Atmore and Perdido.

The road was  closed to repair damage from heavy rain and flooding back in December, including an area near Pineville Road. The closure was expected to last about a month, but work was completed in less than three weeks.

During the closure, the Alabama Department of Transportation detoured traffic along I-65 between the Atmore and Perdido exits.

Pictured above: Highway 31 was closed between Atmore and Bay Minette for about three weeks so areas such as this washout in Nokomis could be repaired. file photo, click to enlarge.

International Gospel, Patriotic Recording Artist To Appear In Walnut Hill

February 28, 2010

International recording artist Jim Worthing will be in concert next Sunday at Annie Jones Methodist Church in Walnut Hill.

worthing10.jpgIn his 29th year of professional singing, Pennsylvania native Worthing is an accomplished songwriter in gospel and patriotic music.

In addition to producing and recording five solo CD’s, Worthing sang with two national award-winning groups, Re-Creation and The Cumberland Boys. While he was with Re-Creation, the group was awarded the prestigious George Washington Medal of Honor by the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge.

While with the Cumberland Boys, Opryland’s gospel quartet, he shared in the Horizon Award, Christian Country Group of the Year Award, and seven nominations for the Music City News/TNN Christian Artist of the Year Award. The Cumberland Boys recorded 11 albums and scored 10 gospel top 80 hits with Worthing singing lead. He has appeared in 48 states, Canada, Bahamas and Switzerland.

He has appeared on the Grand Ole Opry, Prime Time Country, Nashville Now, Crook and Chase, the Trinity Broadcasting Network, the Canadian television, and Paul Heil’s nationally syndicated radio show, The Gospel Greats.

Worthing was also featured as the special guest vocalist of the 100th Anniversary Celebration of the United States Army Reserve held in Washington, DC, CPAC 2007-2009, Presidential Banquet, the 2003 Miss Kentucky Pageant, and produced and hosted a Gospel Cruise for “The General Jackson Showboat” in Nashville.

A three octave range, a voice alive with the dynamics of faith and experience, a clear and winsome testimony, and a deep-seated commitment to the Christian message make a Jim Worthing concert inspiring, challenging, and uniquely unforgettable.

The public is cordially invited to attend. A free-will offering for Worthing’s ministry will be received at the concert.

The concert takes place at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 7 at the Annie Jones Methodist Church in Walnut Hill. The church is located “under” the water tower on Arthur Brown Road near Highway 97.

For more information, call Leslie at (850) 565-7128.

Turning Brown: How To Help Your Palm Recover From The Cold

February 28, 2010


Many varieties of palms across the North Escambia area are brown and sometimes even dead in appearance following our extremely cold weather. Drs. Monica Elliott and Tim Broschat from the University of Florida provide the following tips on how to cope with damaged palms.

Patience is essential with cold-damaged palms! If the palm leaf has any green tissue remaining, the leaf should not be removed until later in the year. Leaving damaged leaves on the palm during the remainder of the winter may actually help the palm survive future cold events. Once the palm has produced substantial new growth (2 to 3 new leaves), damaged leaf tissue can then be removed.

All new leaves of a palm develop from the apical meristem or bud located in the crown of the plant. It is the bud that really needs to be protected. Leaf bases naturally provide insulating protection to the bud. This natural protection is one reason not to over trim palms at any time of the year.

As warmer weather returns, primary or secondary plant pathogens often attack stressed plants through the cold damaged tissue. Copper fungicides are recommended as an attempt (not a guarantee) to protect the bud and developing leaves from diseases that may attack damaged leaf tissue. There is no research to confirm if this is effective or not. The recommendation is based on what has been observed regarding cold damage to palms and knowledge of fungicides. In most situations, it is the base of the spear leaf not yet emerged from the whorl of leaf bases that is damaged first, leading to a spear rot, which may then lead to a bud rot. Thus, the goal of a copper fungicide is to prevent this spear rot from developing into a bud rot that kills the bud, and thus the palm.

Copper fungicides are recommended over all other group of fungicides because they have broad activity against both bacteria and fungi. No other fungicides have this broad spectrum of activity. You must have complete coverage of the target tissue to be effective – in this case, the base of the spear leaf and the bud. This is more difficult to accomplish in some palm species than others, particularly those with crown shafts, because the leaf bases tightly surround the emerging spear leaf, preventing movement of a fungicide into the bud region.

If the spear leaf does rot and can be easily pulled from the bud, it should be removed immediately, followed by a copper fungicide spray or drench of the bud region, which is now exposed.

The normal recommendation is to apply the copper fungicides no more than twice because of the possibility of copper phytotoxicity. If it is believed that more chemical protection of the bud is needed after the copper fungicides have been applied, a broad-spectrum contact fungicide may be beneficial.

You will not know if the palm has survived the cold until new growth emerges, which may be 4 to 7 months later. Hence, the need for patience! The new growth may be severely malformed or damaged, but the emergence of any living leaf tissue is a sign the palm is alive. Subsequence leaves will gradually improve in quality, but it may take as long as a year before normal leaves emerge.

Escambia Farm Bureau Marks Annual Food Check-Out Week

February 27, 2010

The Escambia County Farm Bureau recently celebrated Food Check-Out Week, the week into the new year where the average household will have earned enough to pay for its food for a year.

The average cost of food in America remains affordable overall. According to the most recent information from the Agriculture Department’s (USDA’s) Economic Research Service, American families and individuals spend, on average, less than 10 percent of their disposable personal income for food.

With the continuing economic squeeze, many Americans are concerned that the cost of a healthy diet is out of reach. However, according to an Agriculture Department study, the cost of eating healthy has not changed as much as less-healthy alternatives. But eating healthy food within a budget does require smart shopping.

Farm Bureau’s Food Check-Out Week is devoted to helping teach Americans how to stretch their grocery dollars with healthy, nutritious food. America’s farmers and ranchers are committed to producing safe, healthy and abundant food. And they share a common concern with consumers when it comes to putting nutritious meals on a table while sticking to a tight budget. U.S. consumers still spent under 10 per cent of their disposable income on food according to the latest USDA data. Consumers in other countries spend much more: France- 14 percent; Japan-15 percent; China-35 percent; Philippines-37 percent and Indonesia- 46 percent.

A recent USDA report favorably supports the economics of healthier eating. Recent food price data show that prices for unprepared, readily available fresh fruit and vegetables have remained stable relative to dessert and snack foods, such as chips, ice cream and cola. Therefore, as defined by foods in the study, the price of a “healthier” diet has not changed compared to an “unhealthy” diet.

Farm Bureau’s Food Check-Out Week is aimed at helping American consumers learn how to shop effectively to put nutritious meals on the table with fewer dollars.

“Learning to use your grocery dollars wisely ensures that nutrition isn’t neglected,” according Dorothy Cunningham of Escambia Farm Bureau Women’s Committee. “Fruits and vegetables – along with whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean meats, fish, beans, eggs and nuts – are an important part of a healthy diet. Buying fresh produce when it is in season and costs less, while buying frozen fruits and vegetables when they are not in season, is a smart way to stretch that dollar.”

Here are some tips that consumers can follow to help stretch their food dollars :

Plan ahead before going to the grocery store. Make a list of the foods you want to serve during the next week. Check your newspaper for grocery store ads and coupons. Stick to your list. Do not go to the cookie or snack aisle if you don’t “ need” to. Shop the perimeter of the store. Produce, dairy products and meat are generally found on those outside walls. A tip for keeping produce fresh longer is to store it in a perforated plastic bag. This stops condensation and shriveling. Make holes in a plastic bag with a paper punch, knife or another sharp object about six inches apart all over the bag. When you get home, immediately store any fresh or frozen products especially meat.

For more specific information on nutrition , meal planning and food preparation, contact a registered dietitian.

Cantonment Sex Offender Busted For Failure To Register

February 27, 2010

A convicted sex offender from Cantonment was arrested Thursday morning for failing to report his current address to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

boykinjamesdaniel.jpgJames Daniel Boykin, 57, is being held in the Escambia County Jail on $10,000 bond. He served a 90 month sentence in the Florida prison system after being convicted of a lewd or lascivious abuse of a child under 16 in 1997.  His last address, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, was 526 Greenbury Drive in Cantonment.

Sex offenders in Florida are required to notify the state of their most current address.

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