Highway 31 Crash Injures 2

November 30, 2010

A two vehicle accident injured at least two people this afternoon on Highway 31 in Escambia County, Alabama.

A passenger car and a SUV collided about  about 1 p.m. on Highway 31 just east of Old Atmore Road, about four miles outside Flomaton. One of the injured was reported to be trapped in their vehicle for a short time.  Both of  the injuried were transported to area hospital by ambulance. Their names and conditions were not immediately available.

The Wawbeek Volunteer Fire Department, Flomaton Fire Department and the Century Station of Escambia Fire Rescue were among those responding to the scene.

The accident is under investigation by Alabama State Troopers.

Friends Turn To The Internet To Remember Hunter Fromm, 11

November 30, 2010

Friends of 11-year old Hunter Fromm turned to the Internet to remember and memorialize the Ransom Middle School student after his sudden accidental death on Friday.

Fromm struck his head on a tractor Friday morning after jumping from a horse at a relative’s Molino home. He was transported to a Pensacola hospital where he later died.

Within hours, word spread of Hunter’s death, with hundreds of Ransom students expressing their thoughts in the comments section of a NorthEscambia.com about the incident and on Hunter’s Facebook page.

“Hunter. I hope you can check FB (Facebook) in heaven!! I miss you like crazy,” one girl wrote on his Facebook page. “I wish I would have seen you more because now thats all I can think about. Your one loved kid and we will never forget you!!”

Students have created and posted memorial YouTube videos, and posted their memories about the boy with spiked hair. Ransom students even used Facebook over the weekend to organize spiked hair at the school Monday in his memory.

“You always made me laugh when I was around you. We will all miss how goofy you were and you’re smile and laugh. Rest in peace Hunter. You will always be in are hearts and in mine,” another student wrote.

Goofy. Funny. Smile. Laugh. Those words appear often. Friends also used the Internet to quietly express their grief over the sudden death of a classmate.

“This is horrible, I’ve been crying all night,” a person that identified themselves with just a frown wrote on NorthEscambia.com “God knew it was his time and he took him for a reason. If God put the family to this then God will bring the family through it.”

“We will all miss you coming down the halls of Ransom where everyone loved you alot,” another student wrote on NorthEscambia.com.

  • To read the comments on a Saturday NorthEscambia.com story about Hunter Fromm’s death, click here.
  • To visit Hunter Fromm’s Facebook page, click here.

Friends say that the Fromm family did not have burial insurance for Hunter. Donations are being accepted at any Gulf Winds Federal Credit Union location to the Hunter Fromm Memorial Account. Also, a benefit concert is being organized for Saturday, January 15. Details will be posted here on NorthEscambia.com.

Our Forecast: Turning Colder

November 30, 2010

Here is your official North Escambia area forecast:

  • Tonight: A 20 percent chance of showers before midnight. Mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming mostly clear, with a low around 32. Northwest wind between 5 and 10 mph.
  • Wednesday: Sunny, with a high near 54. North wind between 5 and 10 mph.
  • Wednesday Night: Clear, with a low around 29. North wind around 5 mph.
  • Thursday: Sunny, with a high near 60. North wind around 5 mph becoming calm.
  • Thursday Night: Clear, with a low around 36. Calm wind becoming northwest around 5 mph.
  • Friday: Sunny, with a high near 66. North wind around 5 mph.
  • Friday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 37. North wind around 5 mph becoming calm.
  • Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 64. North wind around 5 mph becoming south.
  • Saturday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 38. South wind around 5 mph becoming calm.
  • Sunday: Partly sunny, with a high near 67.
  • Sunday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 46.
  • Monday: A 30 percent chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 62.
  • Monday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 32.
  • Tuesday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 56.

State Wants Sales Tax On Your Online Purchases

November 30, 2010

Many Floridians made purchases over the long Thanksgiving weekend, but many did not pay sales tax. And that has the attention of Florida lawmakers.

With Florida facing a $2.5 billion budget gap, rising Internet sales over the Thanksgiving holiday renewed calls Monday for the state to join others looking to make it easier to collect sales taxes from out-of-state and mail-order merchants.

Retail sales reached $45 billion nationally over Thanksgiving weekend, a $4 billion boost over 2009 levels. But equally remarkable, analysts said, was that the proportion of online sales rose to one-third of the holiday total, the highest ever, according to the National Retail Federation.

Monday — promoted as CyberMonday — the past five years by the Retail Federation, was expected to drive another round of heavy online sales.

But with many of these transactions not subject to state sales taxes, Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, D-Tallahassee, said Monday the trend bolstered her push for Florida to join the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement, which currently includes 24 states pushing to collect tax on remote sales.

Rehwinkel Vasilinda said the state would likely lose about $10 million in uncollected sales tax Monday, alone.

“Ten million dollars would hire at least 300 new teachers, help our universities remain competitive, create incentives for bringing jobs to Florida, or for much needed social services still reeling from an almost 12 percent unemployment rate,” she said.

Online retailers that also have brick-and-mortar stores, such as Wal-Mart and Best Buy, are required to collect Florida’s 6 percent state sales-tax online. But Rehwinkel Vasilinda, who is backed by Florida TaxWatch and the Florida Retail Federation, say a huge number of purchases also come from such online-only retailers as Amazon and eBay, who are not required to collect.

“We’ve certainly got a lot of needs in this state and as we shift more to e-commerce, our tax structure should, too,” said Robert Weissert, a Florida TaxWatch spokesman. “Internet sales give a competitive advantage to some companies over other stores and businesses that do the bulk of hiring in this state. That’s something we should keep in mind, too, when we have more than 1 million people unemployed.”

States began working on the sales tax agreement in response to a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that Internet sellers, mail-order merchants and other “remote” sellers cannot be required to collect sales tax from out-of-state customers unless they have a physical presence in the customer’s state. The court held that sales tax systems across the country were too complicated for a merchant to know what tax to charge, otherwise. The multi-state compact provides a uniform set of rules to streamline collection and more than 1,000 retailers have begun remitting tax to participating states.

More important, though, supporters say increasing the number of states involved would nudge Congress toward clearing the way for Internet taxation.

Rehwinkel Vasilinda and Sens. Evelyn Lynn, R-Ormond Beach, and Nancy Detert, R-Venice, have proposed sales-tax legislation in recent years – but the measures have drawn little traction in a Legislature where many see the step as a tax increase. Rehwinkel Vasilinda said she will sponsor a bill again this year, although House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, and Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, have shown no interest.

“Florida has many needs and letting revenue already owed to the state slip through our fingers is simply not good business,” she said.

By John Kennedy
The News Service Florida

Resurfacing To Begin On Chumuckla Highway

November 30, 2010

Santa Rosa County has begun construction of a 12.5 mile widening and resurfacing project on Chumuckla Highway, also known as County Road 197, between the Chumuckla crossroads and State Road 89 near Jay. No road closures are anticipated but some delays should be expected. The project is expected to be completed by mid-December unless there are significant weather delays.

Currently the road is being widened, followed by the placement of asphalt leveling courses with a motor grader to fill depressions and wheel ruts. For safety purposes, a temporary centerline stripe is painted as needed each day. Motorists may mistake one of the leveling courses as the final pavement surface, according to Santa Rosa County. However, the roadway leveling is an intermediate phase of the project and the final pavement surface will be placed by a paving machine, resulting in a much smoother surface.

The project cost is expected to be $2.7 million with 75 percent funded by the Florida Department of Transportation through a Small County Outreach Program grant. The county will be responsible for the remaining 25 percent, much of which will be met with in-kind services such as labor, equipment and materials for drainage and shoulder work performed by the Santa Rosa County Road and Bridge Department.

Area Art Students Recognized

November 30, 2010

Several North Escambia area students were among a group of high school and middle school students from Escambia and Santa Rosa counties that were recognized for their art entries in the School Art Exhibit at the Pensacola Interstate Fair.

(Names of winners from North Escambia area schools are in bold below.)


Educators: Kymberly Rejda, Marie Henderson, Ruth Fidler

Category – Beginning Art
First Place — Peyton Chavers – Northview
Second Place — Kimberly Caldwell — Escambia
Third Place — Buu Tran Duong — West Florida

Category – Ceramics

First Place — Aaron Scheller – Washington
Second Place — Alexa Robbins – Tate
Third Place — Alexa Robbins – Tate

Category – Digital Arts
First Place — Danielle Skaggs – Jay
Second Place — Courtney Somerset – Milton
Third Place — Katie Borders – Jay

Category – Drawing
First Place — Michael Brusoki – Pensacola
Second Place — Alexandria Quinn — Tate
Third Place — Dominik English — Escambia

Category – Jewelry/Textiles
First Place — Josey Zipfel – Escambia
Second Place — Brandon Sellers – Escambia
Third Place — Gina Tamborella – Central

Category – Mixed Media
First Place — Group project – Washington
Monika Barshun, Kenzie Kelly, Courtney Bodie, Lauren Bartnikowski, Anna Lewis, Brooke McKinney, Hayes Mixon, Rachel Medley, Annah Dubose
Second Place — William Searcy – Pensacola
Third Place — Trey Searcy — West Florida

Category – Painting
First Place — Tyler Hill – Escambia
Second Place — Andrew Johnston — Northview
Third Place — Avery Gaal — Tate

Category – Photography
First Place — Sebastiane House – Pensacola
Second Place — Steven Spiegel, Phillip Fritz, Tec Torres – West Florida
Third Place — Josey Zipfel – Escambia

Category – Printmaking
First Place — Addie Peteranecz – Pensacola

Category – Sculpture
First Place — Katelyn Watska – Pace
Second Place — Mariah Fitch — Pensacola
Third Place — David Sutton – Pace

Justin Gibson, Photography — Escambia High School Educator, Kymberly Rejda

Honorable Mentions:
Zachary Hathaway, Beginning Art – Pine Forest
A J Harris, Beginning Art – Pine Forest
Christian Connor, Ceramics – Pace
Keondre Hull, Drawing – Tate
Addie Peteranecz, Drawing – Pensacola
Karlee Pillan, Drawing – Milton
Michelle Henderson, Mixed Media – West Florida
Caitlin Bibza, Mixed Media – Pace
Chanda Hawthorne, Mixed Media – Jay
Kiana Okahashi, Mixed Media – Northview
Elizabeth Wright, Mixed Media – Northview
Amber Francis, Mixed Media – Northview

Taylor Ro,i Mixed Media – Pace
Caitlin Bibza, Mixed Media – Pace
Kinsey Patterson, Mixed Media – West Florida
Brittany Prince, Painting – Tate
Joseph Cecil,Painting – Washington
Madison Todd, Photography – Pensacola
Taylor Weldon, Photography – Pensacola
Brittany Abercrombie, Photography – Escambia
Chelsea Rinderneck, Photography – Pine Forest
Kinsey Patterson, Sculpture – West Florida
Isabelle Murphy, Sculpture – Escambia


Art Educator: Winston Foster
Category – Drawing
First Place — Samantha Ellis – PATS Center
Second Place — Rowan Carroll-Christopher – PATS Center
Third Place — Cheyanne Norrell – PATS Center

Category – Mixed Media
First Place — Jacob Houghton – PATS Center
Second Place — Elizabeth Smith – PATS Center
Third Place — Autumn Helton – PATS Center

Category – Painting
First Place — Sierra Yors – Woodham Middle
Second Place — Sakura Kawasaki – Woodham Middle
Third Place — Dane Stolsig – PATS Center

Category – Printmaking
First Place — Celeste Bishop – Woodham Middle
Second Place — Kenard Cook – Woodham Middle
Third Place — Liindsey Mitchell – Workman Middle

Category – Sculpture
First Place — Stephanie Rosemore – Woodham Middle
Second Place — Jennifer Sublett – PATS Center
Third Place — Hannah Holden – Woodham Middle

Stephanie Rosemore – Painting
Winston Foster, Educator, — Woodham

Honorable Mentions:
Sierra Yors, Drawing – Woodham Middle
Madison Lockman, Drawing – Ransom Middle
Tessa Wihtel, Drawing – PATS Center
Dalton Young, Drawing – Ransom Middle
Cheyanne Crain, Painting – Ransom Middle
Lee Brown, Painting – Ransom Middle

Jessica Elliott, Sculpture – Woodham Middle

Save Money On Your Property Taxes By Paying Today

November 30, 2010

Do you want to save four percent on your property tax bill?

The four percent discount to pay your real estate and tangible personal property taxes ends today, according to  Escambia County Tax Collector Janet Holley.

Payments will receive the 4% discount if:

  • mailed with a postmark of November 30;
  • left in a 24-hour drop box available at any tax collector office by midnight November 30;
  • made on www.escambiataxcollector.com by midnight November 30; or
  • made by phone with credit card on a after-hours automated service at (800) 601‑1055 by midnight November 30 (convenience fee applies).

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

To check the status of your taxes and pay online, visit  www.escambiataxcollector.com. For more information, call the tax collector’s office at (850) 438-6500, ext. 252.

Century, Cantonment Cable Customers Could Lose WEAR

November 30, 2010

Cable television subscribers in Century and Cantonment are in danger of losing WEAR TV 3, the local ABC affiliate.

The current retransmission agreement that allows Bright House Networks to deliver the Sinclair Broadcast Group owned WEAR expires on December 31. That contract is still in the negotiation stage.

“If another agreement is not reached by the end of the year, our programming will no longer be available on their system,” WEAR Operations Manager Joe Smith said.

“Unfortunately, based on the status of the negotiations Sinclair does not believe we are going to be able to reach agreement on an extension of the deal,” according to statement released by Sinclair. “As a result, (Bright House) would no longer be carrying the stations covered by the agreement with Sinclair beginning on January 1, 2011.”

“As a normal part of business operations, our agreements with channels come up periodically for renewal. As a negotiating tactic, sometimes the channel owner threatens to take its channel off of the cable system. While this is an extreme measure, it rarely happens in our markets. Most channel owners stay on and put our mutual customers first,” Bright House said in a statement on their website.

In information aired on WEAR, the station is urging Bright House customers in Century and Cantonment to begin considering other methods to received WEAR 3.

“We are telling them to make plans to receive the station elsewhere, like DIRECTV, Dish Network or over the air with an antenna,” Smith said.

Bright House does not currently carry WEAR sister station WFGX MyTV 35. However, Smith said part of the Sinclair negotiations with Bright House would include adding the station to the cable provider’s lineup.

Northview Splits Games With Ponce de Leon; Aggies Get Wins

November 30, 2010

The Northview Chiefs split games with Ponce de Leon Monday evening, while Tate picked up two wins

Northview  — Ponce de Leon

In boys action, Northview’s Chiefs defeated the Ponce de Leon Pirates 48-41, while the Lady Chiefs fell 66-23.

The JV and varsity boys will host Pensacola Christian Academy on December 2, while the varsity and JV boys and girls will host the Baker Gators on December 3.

Tate 58  Gulf Breeze 57

The Aggies picked up a 58-57  big win on the road Monday against Gulf Breeze, taking the lead with just 7.3 seconds on the clock.

Tate 60 Niceville 46 (Girls)

The Lady Aggies defeated Niceville 60 to 46. Tate improved to 4-1 with the win. Courtney Brown led the Lady Aggies with 19 points .

Century Relay For Life Meetings Tonight

November 30, 2010

Two important meetings for Century Relay for Life will be held tonight.

A meeting for Steering Committee members will be held at 5:30 and a Team Captain’s Meeting will be held at 6:30. Both meetings will be at the Ag Building on West Highway 4.

New teams can bring their $100 registration fee and sign up for this year’s Relay at the event. For more information, or to sign up online, visit CenturyRelay.com.

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