Rick Scott Campaigns For Governor In North Escambia (With Exclusive Interview)

October 30, 2010

Rick Scott, Republican candidate for Florida governor, brought his campaign to North Escambia Friday in a last minute effort to earn votes in advance of Tuesday’s election. Following a stop in Molino, Scott sat down with NorthEscambia.com for an exclusive interview.

Scott made several stops in Escambia County, including Plastic Coated Papers in Cantonment and Fran’s Country Grill in Molino. Scott told supporters that his business experience and rise from the bottom qualifies him to lead Florida forward.

For more photos from Scott’s visit, click here.

“We have the chance to change our country. If we do the right thing here in Florida, every state has to compete for us with jobs, for people. We can change the whole country with what we are doing,” he said. “We cannot allow this country to go down the path of high taxes and high regulation. This is our opportunity.”

Government has gotten too big at every level, from local to federal governments. The place to cut, Scott said, is at the state level. “We can be the number one state. The number one state for taking care of taxpayers, the number one state for job creation.”

“Mr. Scott, do you mind if I interrupt you?” Ray Chance, operator of a local trucking company, said from the back of the room during Scott’s stop at Fran’s Diner in Molino. “I run trucks.”

“My dad was a truck driver,” Scott said.

Chance (pictured) explained that he had to shut down his trucking business do to increasing costs from the state.

“A tag went from $1,058,” he said, “to damn near $2,000 up a year. What’s the problem?”

“Government has got too big,” Scott replied, “and they justify it through fees and taxes and just more and more inspections.”

“The drivers have got five  and six young’uns that I am having to cut loose right now,” Chance said, “because I can’t afford to keep ‘em running. I’ve run down to zero. Now what was your plan?”

“What we have to do is look at every tax and fee and regulation to see what we can reduce and eliminate to make it where people say this is the state they want to do business in,” Scott said.

Scott’s plan includes the creation of 700,000 jobs in Florida during a seven year period.

“We are doing really well,” Scott said as he echoed his ongoing message of seven steps to 700,000 jobs. “I am going to make sure the state runs like a business. I am going to reduce regulation; I am going to work every day…I am going to run the state like you run a household or you run a business.”

Scott, his voice obviously strained from days on the campaign trail, said he would be campaigning hard all the way to Tuesday.

“I believe in this country; I believe in the American dream,” said Scott, who grew up in public housing and worked since he was in second grade before building successful businesses. “I’ve lived the American dream, and I want that dream for all of Florida. That’s the dream that we all want, and we want to get the state back to work.”

Following his appearance at Fran’s, Scott said down one on one with NorthEscambia.com on his campaign bus (pictured left) to talk about some of the issues facing North Escambia.

The Town of Century’s primary focus over the past several years has been to improve economic conditions. Scott said he can help.

“My focus is to get people jobs. The real key is to get everybody a job and build businesses back in the state. Then our local communities like Century will have the tax base to grow,” Scott said.

If elected, Scott said he won’t forget about small rural communities. He pledged to get out and talk to people all across the state to learn what issues are important to them.

“When I am governor, I will get out and see how these laws, these regulations impact them. I grew up with no money, so I know what it’s like when government passes things that cost you money.”

One such regulation, Scott said, is SB 550, legislation passed earlier this year to require septic tank inspections every five years to protect Florida springs.

“It doesn’t make any sense to me and I want it repealed. What is the state government involved in that? It makes no sense.”

For more photos from Scott’s visit, click here.

Pictured top and bottom: Rick Scott addresses supporters Friday afternoon at Fran’s Country Grill in Molino. Pictured top inset: Supporters greet Scott at Fran’s. Pictured bottom inset: Scott sits down for an exclusive interview with NorthEscambia.com. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.

3 Escambia Deputies, Woman Shot

October 30, 2010

Three Escambia County Sheriff’s deputies  and a woman were shot Friday  morning in north Pensacola as they responded to a reported home invasion that resulted in a hostage situation. The gunman was also shot before being taken into custody.

Saturday morning, Deputy David Cassidy remained in critical condition after undergoing another surgery at Sacred Heart Hospital.

Cassidy,was still in surgery as Sheriff David Morgan conducted a Friday afternoon news conference. The other two deputies, Chad Brown and Sam Parker, were released from Sacred Heart Hospital in “excellent” condition Friday afternoon.

“We ask you to keep Officer Cassidy in your prayers,” Morgan said.

The female resident, Jackie Rosenblum, was still in the hospital Friday afternoon after being shot multiple times, as was the suspect, Phillip Monier, 47.

Deputies arrived at a reported  home invasion about 10:17 a.m. on Baywinds Circle, which is near I-10 and Scenic Highway.  By 10:22, the officers heard screaming inside the home and made entry, Morgan said. At 10:27, the first officer was reported shot, with multiple officers reported down by 10:28 a.m.

A short time later, Monier (pictured) had retreated to a bathroom in the home with Rosenblum as his hostage. By 11:03, the suspect had been shot and the situation was over.

Morgan said the suspect and a female had a relationship that had been “broken off”, but he was not sure what the nature of that relationship was.

The shooting is under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Pictured above: The scene on Baywinds Circle in Pensacola this morning after three deputies were shot. Pictured below: LifeFlight helicopter on the scene. Photos by Bill Pearson, WEAR TV 3 for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Amber Freeman Named Junior Miss Ernest Ward Middle (With Photo Gallery)

October 30, 2010

Amber Freeman was named Junior Miss Ernest Ward Middle School Friday during the school’s annual pageant.

First runner-up was Kendal Cobb; second runner-up was Kaitlyn Abbott and third runner-up was Morgan Ward. Hadley Woodfin was named Miss Hospitality, while Brittney Ward was named Miss Congeniality. The Poise and Appearance Award was presented to Autumn Ates, and the People’s Choice Award was presented to Kaitlyn Abbott.

For a NorthEscambia.com photo gallery from the Junior Miss Ernest Ward Middle School pageant, click here.

Pictured top: (L-R) First Runner-up  Kendal Cobb; Second Runner-up was Kaitlyn Abbott, Junior Miss Ernest Ward Middle School Amber Freeman, and Third Runner-up Morgan Ward. Pictured below: Autumn Ates, Kendal Cobb, Morgan Ward Krystal Whitehead and Brittney Ward. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.

Northview Beats Sneads

October 30, 2010

With a 28-0 shutout of the Sneads Pirates Friday night, the Northview Chiefs are still in position for a post-season playoff spot.

The Chiefs (7-1, 6-1) will host Vernon next Friday night in Bratt in a game that will determine which team has the number two berth in District 1A behind top-ranked Freeport.

La’Mikal Kyles returned the opening kickoff from Sneads 80 yards for a Northview touchdown just 14 seconds into Friday night’s game. With 11:46 to go in the first quarter, the Chiefs were up 7-0.

With 51 seconds on the clock in the half, Northview scored again, this time on a 10-yard pass from Brandon Sheets to junior Sim Brown. A good kick, and Northview held a 14-0 lead headed  to the lockers.

At 7:13 on the clock in the third, the Chiefs expanded their lead over Sneads to 21-0 on a 15-yard touchdown run from Montaio Mitchell. With another good kick, the Chiefs were up 21-0.

Sheets found Kyles again for an 18-yarder with 3:08 in the third. Lance Bushaw’s kick was good for a 28-0 final.

The Chiefs finished with 261 yards rushing, including 46 yards from Roderick Woods. Sheets was complete 6 of 10 passes for just 96 yards.

NorthEscambia.com file photo, click to enlarge.

Northview hosts Vernon at 7 p.m. next Friday in Bratt before wrapping up their season at home November 12 in a non-district game against West Florida.

Blood Donations Accepted Today, Sunday For Wounded Deputy

October 30, 2010

Northwest Florida Blood Services will be open today and Sunday for those that wish to donate blood on behalf of wounded Escambia Deputy Jeremy Cassidy.

Cassidy, one of three deputies shot during a domestic violence call gone bad Friday in Pensacola, remained in critical condition late Friday night. He underwent surgeries Friday afternoon and again Friday night.

Friday afternoon, several deputies donated blood for Cassidy.

Northwest Florida Blood Services will be open Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. for donations — both for Cassidy and general blood donations. The blood centers are located at 2209 N. 9th Avenue and 1999 East Nine Mile Road.

Friday Night Football Scores

October 30, 2010

Here’s a look at area high school football scores from Friday night:


  • Northview 28 Sneads 0
  • Freeport 42, Baker 34
  • Vernon 41, South Walton 0
  • Escambia 21 Tate 10
  • Bozeman 40 Jay 0
  • Pine Forest 56 Milton 21
  • Navarre 31 Pace 21
  • Washington 28 West Florida 13


  • Escambia County 35 Baldwin County 7
  • Monroe Academy 49 Escambia Academy 0
  • T.R. Miller 56 W.S. Neal 24
  • Flomaton 20 , Excel 6 (Thursday pm)

For “Good Boy” Rick Scott, Mom Can Be The Star Of The Show

October 30, 2010

Proud that her son is a “good boy”, Esther Scott has become something of star in this year’s race for Florida governor.

Her son’s TV ads feature her explaining how she raised her son in public housing, gave him all that she could and how he worked to buy a doughnut shop and gave her a job. Esther Scott said she really is proud of her son Rick Scott, the Republican candidate for governor.

“He really is a good boy,” Esther Scott told NorthEscambia.com Friday afternoon aboard the Rick Scott campaign bus. Rick Scott stood nearby, busily working to tidy up an on-board kitchen as he conducted a radio interview on his cell phone. Mom’s eyes were approving he as straightened up the mess left behind from doughnuts from an earlier visit to the Donut Hole Bakery Cafe in Santa Rosa Beach.

As Esther Scott, 86,walked into Fran’s Diner in Molino Friday, one would think a star had walked through the doors. Forget the guy with his name in huge letters on the side of the bus. Esther Scott has become a campaign star. As she travels with the campaign, she is asked to sign autographs, shakes hands and gets introduced like a star when Rick Scott takes the microphone. The applause is notable as she was introduced Friday in Molino.

Esther Scott said she remembers the day that her son came to her and hinted at his plans to run for governor of the Sunshine State.

“I told him to just be sure to hear what the people say, and not take money from people that would want favors in return. That’s what crooked politicians do,” she said. After all, he was a good boy, and mom planned from the beginning of the campaign that Rick Scott’s image would not be tarnished.

“He is going to make the best governor that Florida has ever had,” she said. “He will do the best that he can for this state, and keep every promise or die trying.”

She admits that she was a bit surprised that Rick, one of her five children, would seek the governor’s job. And she was even more surprised when he called and asked her to do the television ad.

“He’s a good boy,” is the ad’s catch phrase that has beamed its way across our televisions since Scott defeated Bill McCollum in the Republican primary.

“I was scared to death when it came time to film the ad,” she said. “I didn’t know why they wanted to hear from his mom. But it was kind of fun, and I think it got him a few votes.”

“I know I’d vote for him,” said said with a smile. “He’s good boy.”

But while she may be the rock star of the 2010 political ad season in Florida, Esther Scott told NorthEscambia.com that she is not a political adviser on the campaign. No pushing the issues to her son, she said.

“He didn’t listen to me as a child, and he’s not going to listen now about politics,” she said. “But he did always respect me.”

Pictured top: Esther Scott, mother of gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott, sits down for an exclusive interview with NorthEscambia.com Friday afternoon on the campaign’s bus. Pictured inset: Scott listens as her son addresses a crowd of supporters in Molino. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.

Jury Recommends Death For Leonard Patrick Gonzalez

October 30, 2010

An Escambia County jury has recommended Friday that Leonard Patrick Gonzalez Jr., 36,  be put to death for the first degree murders of Byrd and Melanie Billings.

The death penalty recommendation was not unanimous, with the jury voting 10-2 in favor of the death penalty. A sentencing date has not yet been set. Gonzalez was found guilty of the murders Thursday night.

Assistant State Attorney John Molchan told an Escambia County jury that Gonzalez planned, organized and then executed the July 9, 2009, robbery and murder of the Billings, who were known for adopting special needs children.

According to testimony, Gonzalez believed he would steal a safe containing $13 million from the Billings home.

The defense rested Thursday afternoon in the trial without calling any witnesses.

Gonzalez faces a maximum penalty of death on two counts of first degree murder when the court reconvenes Friday morning.

Fish Fry Benefits Councilwoman With Cancer

October 30, 2010

The community came together Friday to financially help Century Councilwoman Nadine McCaw who is recovering from surgery to remove a cancerous kidney.

In just a few hours, over 300 catfish plates had been sold to benefit McCaw at a fish fry at the Century Roadside Park. McCaw underwent the surgery at Baptist Hospital last week. Her health insurance is exhausted, and the family needs help to pay for her treatment.

Other fundraisers are underway  for McCaw. Here is how you can help:

  • Large purple bows to show support are being sold for $6. The bows are available at the Century Town Hall, the Century Branch Library and at Southern Treasures (across from Whataburger on North Century Boulevard).
  • Donations can be made by PayPal to the address nadinemccaw@yahoo.com or at Pen Air Federal Credit Union on North Century Boulevard.

Pictured top: Patrons line up for fish plates this afternoon in Century. NorthEscambia.com photo, click to enlarge.

Photo Gallery: Bratt Elementary Fall Festival

October 30, 2010

The annual Bratt Fall Festival was held Friday at the school.

For a photo gallery, click here.

NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.

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