Brush Fire Consumes About An Acre On Smyers Road (With Photos)

March 30, 2010


The Molino and Cantonment stations of Escambia Fire Rescue responded to a brush fire on Smyers Road just north of Williams Ditch Road in Cottage Hill Tuesday afternoon. The fire consumed about an acre. There were no structures involved. Submitted photos by Kristi Smith for, click to enlarge.


Driver Charged After Morning Byrneville Road Wreck

March 30, 2010


A Century man is facing charges after a single vehicle accident about 8:05 Tuesday morning on Byrneville Road.

Lennon Levi Cassidy Raulerson, 23, of Century, was southbound on Byrneville Road near Highway 4 when he lost control, crossed across the northbound lane and struck a tree. His truck came to rest partially in the roadway on its side.

Raulerson was transported by ambulance to Jay Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

He was charged with driving while license suspended or expired, careless driving and failure to provide insurance in a crash, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

In addition to the FHP, Engine 519, the Century Station of Escambia Fire Rescue, the Escambia County Sheriff’s Department and Atmore Ambulance responded to the accident. The Escambia County Road Department, which was working nearby at the time of the crash, provided assistance with traffic control.

Pictured above and below: A Century man was injured in this single vehicle accident on Byrneville Road Tuesday morning. photo, click to enlarge.


Jeffrey D. Foster

March 30, 2010

Jeffrey D. Foster, 41, of Milton, passed away Thursday, March 25, 2010. Jeff was born September 11, 1968 and was a lifelong resident of Munson, FL. Jeff was the owner of Jeffrey Foster Logging and was well-known in the Jay, Brewton and Milton area.

Jeff leaves behind the love of his life, Annette Wells-Foster, and his precious baby girl, Ally Foster.

Jeff is preceded in death by his father, Ralph “Jim” Stewart; brother, Derryl Foster; and paternal father, Charles “Wickey” Foster.

Jeff is survived by his wife, Annette Wells-Foster; daughter, Ally Foster, of Milton; mother, Bonnie Stewart, of Munson; brothers, Dean (Mona) Foster and Dale (Teresa) Foster, Doug (Ramona) Foster, Don (Ellen) Foster, and Jim (Tammy) Stewart; sisters, Connie (Paul) Timmons, Cindy (John) Whitehead, Sandy Foster, and Lori (Jim) Sammons; in-laws, Robin, Nancy and Abbi Wells; and numerous aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and friends.

Funeral services for Jeff were held 11:00 AM, Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at Lewis Funeral Home, Milton Chapel. Burial followed in Springhill Baptist Cemetery with Lewis Funeral Home directing. Friends called on the family from 5:00-9:00 PM, Tuesday, March 30, 2010 at Lewis Funeral Home, Milton Chapel.

Pallbearers will be Dean Foster, Dale Foster, Doug Foster, Don Foster, Lumon Black and Clint Barnes.

Honorary pallbearers will be Timmy Foster, John Whitehead, Paul Timmons, Paul Timmons, II, Jim Stewart, Tony Faulkner and Stewart Vance.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Costal Bank and Trust, Ally Isabella Foster, P.O. Box 12966, Pensacola, FL 32591-2966, account 1002201893.

Jeff never met a stranger and was loved by everyone whose life he blessed.

Tate, Pine Forest Lose; Escambia Wins In Tate Tourney

March 30, 2010


Two of three Escambia County teams lost in round won of the Aggie-Gata National Baseball Classic tournament at Tate High School Monday.

The Aggie-Gata tournament is a four-day, six-team tournament. Tate, Escambia and Pine Forest from Escambia County; Coral Reef High School from Miami; Gibbs High School from Knowville, Tenn.; and Bartow High School from Bartow, Fla., are taking part in the week.

In Monday’s action:

  • Coral Reef 7 Pine Forest 6
  • Escambia 11 Bartow 11
  • Gibbs 5 Tate 3

Tuesday’s games are:

  • 1:30 Escambia vs. Pine Forest
  • 4:00 Gibbs vs. Bartow
  • 6:30 Coral Reef vs. Tate

Getting Warmer By The Day; Lots Of Sunshine

March 30, 2010

We are in for a couple more cool nights, but overnight lows and daytime highs will continue to increase daily. By Good Friday, we are expecting a high around 80. There will be plenty of sunshine then next several days.

Here is your official North Escambia area forecast:

  • Tuesday: Sunny, with a high near 71. North wind between 5 and 10 mph.
  • Tuesday Night: Clear, with a low around 39. West wind around 5 mph becoming calm.
  • Wednesday: Sunny, with a high near 76. Calm wind becoming south between 5 and 10 mph.
  • Wednesday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 42. South wind between 5 and 10 mph becoming calm.
  • Thursday: Sunny, with a high near 79. Calm wind becoming south between 5 and 10 mph.
  • Thursday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 47. South wind between 5 and 10 mph becoming calm.
  • Friday: Sunny, with a high near 80. Calm wind becoming south between 5 and 10 mph.
  • Friday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 56. South wind between 5 and 10 mph.
  • Saturday: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 81.
  • Saturday Night: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 56.
  • Sunday: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 76.
  • Sunday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 51.
  • Monday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 76.

Could Century Correctional Institution Be Privatized? Or Closed?

March 30, 2010


Big changes could be coming to some Florida prisons if one state senator’s plans are approved — resulting in a large number of prison guard layoffs.

The Florida Police Benevolent Association has gone to war with Senate Ways and Means Chairman J.D. Alexander, R-Lake Wales, over his proposal to save what he says is about $20 million annually by closing at least two existing state prisons and privatizing more than 5,000 prison beds. The move could result in more than 1,000 correctional officer layoffs, state and union officials said.

Alexander is looking to open 2,224 privately-run beds at the newly completed Blackwater River Correctional Institution in Milton by closing two state-run prisons and laying off 639 prison guards. He also would privatize a now-unidentified 1,350-bed prison and turn over another 1,463 work-release beds to private interests at Orlando’s Central Florida Reception Center, the South Florida Reception Center, and other facilities in Columbia County and in Gainesville – saving $8.2 million, according to budget documents.

The prisons that would be closed, and the 1,350-bed prison to be privatized have not been named. Century Correctional Institution has a maximum capacity of 1,345 prisoners, according to the Florida Department of Corrections. Century CI was over capacity with 1,435 inmates as of January 31. Century is not the only prison facility in the state with an approximate capacity of 1,350.

All told, Alexander’s prison overhaul would eliminate 2,449 correctional officer positions, including more than 1,000 direct layoffs.

“We have no idea which prisons are slated for closure or privatization, so that means everyone’s job is in jeopardy. This act is one of the most aggressive actions against correctional officers taken by the Legislature in over a decade,” the  Florida Police Benevolent Association stated in their “State Correctional Officers Chapter Hotsheet” released last week.

Alexander said that while the state spends $65-a-day for inmates in existing prisons, Geo Group has said it would charge $41 per-inmate daily, an immediate savings for the state on the 2,224 inmates it would house at Blackwater, which was included in the state budget when Rubio was speaker of the House.

“Closing an entire prison devastates already economically strapped communities,” the Florida Department of Corrections said in agency analysis, pointing out that the layoffs anticipated by Alexander could result in a $59 million loss in the prison communities targeted.

Alexander said that with a $3.2 billion budget shortfall looming, the state has to take dramatic steps to find savings wherever it can.

“The reality is, we’ve got a brand-new prison that the state directed to use taxpayer money to build,” Alexander said of Blackwater. “I think putting that prison online, saving the money and saving the maintenance costs is something that makes financial sense.”

“Politically, you’d think Republicans are big on public safety and we certainly didn’t expect to see this type of thing coming at us this year,” Florida PBA President Jim Baiardi said Monday. “We’ve got to see how this plays out.”

While the Florida Education Association, the big teachers’ union, has been reduced to merely howling at a measure looking almost certain to win legislative approval – tying teacher pay to student performance on standardized tests — the PBA looks more likely to win its fight with the Senate.

David Murrell, a veteran PBA lobbyist, called Alexander’s budget squeeze a “low blow.” And while the privatization move has not been embraced by the House, Murrell said the organization is still working to have the measure stripped from the Senate’s roughly $69 billion spending plan.

prisonpeople.jpgThe PBA also may have a not-so-secret weapon in its fight with Alexander – Gov. Charlie Crist, already endorsed by the corrections union in his U.S. Senate Republican primary battle with Marco Rubio.

In a sign of how serious the governor’s office is taking the Senate move, DOC Secretary Walt McNeil spent much of Monday huddling with the governor’s office and Senate staff, preparing the department’s opposition to Alexander’s privatization effort.

DOC maintains that the Senate’s proposed staff cuts would leave the state with 2,519 inmates more than system-capacity – forcing a court-ordered early release of inmates. Florida has avoided using early release to control the state’s now 100,000-inmate prison population since the mid-1990s, when legislation was approved requiring those behind bars to serve a minimum 85 percent of their sentences.

A co-sponsor of that bill: then state Sen. Charlie Crist.

While the governor’s office is pushing back hard this week, Alexander has defended the move – which clearly helps private prison giant, Geo Group – saying it is driven by dollars and cents, not politics.

“It’s a substantial savings,” Alexander. State workers “don’t necessarily have to lose their jobs. With 300 something vacancies a month, there’s lots of opportunities to take another position.”

John Kennedy, News Service Florida, contributed to this story.

Man Threatens To Kill Deputies; Arrested For Robbery, Battery On Deputy

March 30, 2010

A Cantonment man is jailed after he allegedly robbed a man and then committed battery on a sheriff’s deputy Monday morning before telling them that he would kill them and another man when he gets out of jail.

bradley.jpgJimmie Bradley (pictured),54, of Hazard Lane, Cantonment,  is charged with felony battery, felony battery on a law enforcement officer and robbery in connection with the incident about 10:45 a.m. at 605 Neal Road, just east of Highway 29.

Escambia County Sheriff’s Office deputies Aubrey Anderson and Melissa Sterling responded to a reported robbery. Bradley advised that he went to the victim Robert Nellums’ business and demanded $195 that he alleged the victim owned him. Bradley said the Nellums picked up a pipe and struck him, and he responded by fighting back.

Nellums said Bradly did demand the $195, but Bradley also produced a box cutter and threatened to cut his throat. Nellums told deputies that Bradley hit him and attempted to strangle him. At that point, Nellums said he gave the $195 to Bradley because he feared for his life. According to Deputy Anderson, Nellums was bleeding from his forehead, his shirt was nearly torn off and he had wounds on his chest and neck.

Bradley admitted to deputies that Nellums gave him $195. When Deputy Sterling attempted to search Bradley, he grabbed her left arm and slung it away, according to the arrest report. He refused to admit the location of the money on his person, but $195 was later located in his sock when he was search at the jail, the report states.

“It should be noted that suspect Jimmie Bradley calmly told me and the other officers that when he got out of jail that he was going to kill victim Robert Nellums. He made this statement several times in front of officers,” Deputy Anderson wrote in his report. “He then advised that he would call us and tell us when he killed victim Nellums and when we responded he would kill two of us (deputies).

Bradley is being held in the Escambia County Jail on $25,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in court in April.

State Line Bank Robbery Suspects Indicted

March 30, 2010


The man and woman accused of robbing three banks along the Alabama/Florida line have been indicted by a federal grand jury.

Rhianna Marie Jones, 30, address unknown, and Jerry Hover Tinsley, 30, of Rutherford, North Carolina, are facing federal bank robbery charges in connection with the March 8 robbery of United Bank in Flomaton and the March 17 robbery of the BankTrust branch in East Brewton.

According to the federal indictment, Jones and Tinsley took $4,963 from two tellers at United Bank in Flomaton and $2,840 in cash from one teller at BankTrust in East Brewton. They are also accused of taking $1,700 from a Wachovia Bank in Florala, Ala. on March 4, but they have not yet been indicted for that robbery.

If convicted,  they face up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines each.

All three robberies were similar — the pair walked into the bank and each handed holdup notes to different bank tellers. The notes demanded the money be given to them  in small bills. They did not display a weapon during any of the robberies.

Authorities say Tinsley and Jones picked banks along the state line because they believed Alabama authorities could not pursue them into Florida.  Authorities believe in each robbery, the pair fled to Florida immediately after the holdups — including March 8 when they fled into North Escambia following the Flomaton robbery.

banksuspects.jpgThe pair was arrested by federal agents and local law enforcement after a short chase from a Motel 6 in Destin, Florida, March 18. The arrest was reportedly the result of a tip phoned into the Florala (Ala.) Police Department concerning a MySpace photo.

The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office Fugitive Warrants Unit was assisting the FBI from Mobile in the hunt for Tinsley and Jones. They determined that they were staying in the Motel 6 located at 405 Harbor Boulevard in Destin. In addition to being suspects in the bank robberies, authorities knew Jones was wanted on felony charges out of Pinellas County, Florida, and Tinsley was suspected of being in violation of his probation.

At 11:14 p.m. March 18, the pair was seen leaving the Motel 6 in a gold color 2004 Chevrolet Impala with a Florida tag.  Deputies attempted a traffic stop in the parking lot, but Tinsley and Jones fled westbound on Harbor Boulevard, a four lane divided highway, at a high rate of speed, according to the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office arrest report.

“Tinsley, who was identified as the driver, was passing around and between cars to get away,” according to Okaloosa Deputy Todd Watkins. Speeds in the chase, according to Watkins, reach in excess of 90 mph. Tinsley, who is known by the street name “Prison Ink” turned onto two-lane roads, and the chase continued over 90 mph until he turned onto the dead end Sea Hills Drive. The  total distance of the chase was about 1.8 miles.

While several units pursued the vehicle down the dead end street, Deputy Watkins went to an adjacent street where he observed the duo flee on foot. He was able to take Tinsley into custody, while Jones fled into a wooded area. She was located a short time later hiding in some brush in a fenced in yard.

Local charges were filed by the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office:  Tinsley was charged with fleeing and eluding at high speed, resisting arrest without violence, and possession of a controlled substance, and Jones was charged with resisting arrest without violence.

Tinsley reportedly had two grams cocaine and three Oxycontin pills in his possession at the time of his arrest.

Pictured above: Okaloosa County Jail booking photos of  Rhianna Marie Jones, 30 and Jerry Hover Tinsley. Pictured below: Surveillance video from the March 8 robbery of the United Bank in Flomaton. Submitted photos for, click to enlarge.


Community Blood Drive Friday At FNB&Trust Atmore

March 30, 2010

FNB&Trust in Atmore will present a Community Blood Drive on Friday, and donors will be entered for the chance to win a cruise.

The American Red Cross blood drive will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the main office of the FNB&T. Donors will receive a free t-shirt, cookies and a drink. Each donor will also be entered into a regional drawing for the chance to win a cruise for two.

Walk-ins are welcome, but appointments are being taken. Cntact FNB&Trust employees Murlie or Kim by phone at (251) 368-3148 or email or to schedule a convenient appointment time.

Boil Water Notice For Some Farm Hill Utilities Customers

March 30, 2010

Farm Hill Utilties customers living in Glenmoor Trails subdivision located off County Road 297-A in Cantonment have been issued a precautionary boil water notice.

Loss of water service and water pressure has been experienced due to a water main break that has occurred in the line that feeds the subdivision. As a precaution, the utility advises that all water used for drinking, cooking, making ice, brushing teeth or washing dishes be boiled. Water containing bacteria can be considered safe for drinking and cooking after vigorously boiling the water.

The water system is currently collecting samples to determine if the presence of bacteria exists within the water system. This precautionary boil water notice will remain in effect until the problem has been corrected and a bacteriological survey shows that the water is safe to drink. The anticipated date for rescinding this notice is April 1.

For more information contact Shaun Condon at 850-968-2573, 120 Madrid Road, Cantonment, Florida 32533.

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