Santa Rosa K-9 Suffers Career Ending Injury

March 31, 2011

An Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office K-9 has suffered a career-ending injury, leaving the department short a much needed K-9.

From the Santa Rosa Sheriff’s Office Public Information Office Sgt. Scott Haines:

On Thursday, March 24th, 2011, Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office K-9 “Gero”, along with his handler, Deputy Andrew Magdalany, anxiously started his shift just as he has since 2006.

That night, K-9 Gero was scheduled to perform a demonstration for Sheriff Wendell Hall’s “Citizen Law Enforcement Academy”. As Gero was giving his best performance, it was obvious to Deputy Magdalany that something wasn’t quite right.

As the performance ended, Gero limped back to Magdalany’s patrol vehicle and got inside. Deputy Magdalany could tell that something was wrong with one of Gero’s rear legs. Gero, who is nine years old, was taken to his veterinarian.

It was then that Gero was diagnosed with a severed ACL and a torn meniscus, both which are career ending injuries for a K-9 of that age in the law enforcement field.

Gero is being retired, but will still be undergoing surgery in the very near future so that he will be able to maintain a reasonable quality of life after his devoted service to his community and fellow officers.

Gero recently received recognition for his performance in the U.S. Police Canine Association Region 1 Field Trials in Fort Walton Beach.

The Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit is comprised of four K-9’s; one of which is Gero. Another K-9 ,Banja, (soon to be 8 years old) is required to be retired in the near future for health related issues. These K-9’s are responsible for narcotics detection, criminal apprehension, and the tracking of missing persons. With current budgetary restraints in place, it is not possible for the Sheriff’s Office to provide funding to replace these two K-9’s out of the Sheriff’s Office budget.

The Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office is currently accepting donations from community minded business leaders and the public to replace K-9 Gero, and the future replacement of K-9 Banj” in order to effectively provide the much needed K-9 support to deputies and citizens of Santa Rosa County.

To purchase one law enforcement K-9, the approximate cost is $10,000.00. Anyone wishing to contribute can contact K-9 Sergeant Chris Turcic at 850-983-1219. A special account has been established for any donations that are received. Please join us in wishing Gero a speedy recovery after his upcoming surgery. Photographs of K-9 Gero are attached to this email.

Pictured: Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Gero. Submitted photos for, click to enlarge.

Elvin (Papa) McDonald

March 31, 2011

Elvin (Papa) McDonald, age 63, and a lifelong resident of Cantonment went to join the Lord on Tuesday, March 29, 2011. He was surrounded by his family and friends.

Elvin was born May 25, 1947, in Pensacola. He was an amazing husband, daddy, papa, brother and friend to so many.

Elvin was preceded in death by his mother, Nettie McDonald, his father, John McDonald and brothers Wilburn McDonald, Wilmer McDonald and Carl McDonald. Survivors include his loving wife of 38 years, Becky Mar tin McDonald; his children, Chris McDonald, Ronnie McDonald and Laurie Dove;  his son-in-law Patrick Dove and daughter-in-law; Tiffany McDonald and Lynne McDonald; his grandchildren, Shelton Adkinson, Garrett McDonald, Levi McDonald, Hunter McDonald, Kendra McDonald, Allyson Bullard, Ryan Dove and Jacob Dove;  brothers; Herman McDonald, Charlie McDonald and Don McDonald;  his sisters, Marie Powell, Mary Brooks, Dorothy Diemer, Vivian Lambeth, Bertha Comans, Vera Volovecky and many nieces, nephews and friends.

Funeral services will be held at 10 am on Friday, April 1, 2011, at Faith Chapel Funeral Home North with Rev. Ron Carnley, Rev. Michael Tadlock and Rev. Gene Hudson officiating. Interment will follow at Pensacola Memorial Gardens.

Serving as pallbearers will be Harold Mar tin, Shelton Adkinson, Garrett McDonald, Levi McDonald, Robert Glover, Charles (Junior) McDonald and Robert Weekley.

Honorary pallbearers will be Frankie McDonald, Shane Lambeth, Steven Mar tin, Gene Mar tin and David McDonald.

The family will receive friends at the funeral home on Thursday, March 31, 2011, from 5:00 until 8:00 pm.

In lieu of flowers memorial may be made to Covenant Hospice, 2001 North Palafox Street, Pensacola, Florida for their devoted care and support during our time of need.

Senate Prez: Prison Guards, Police Are Different

March 31, 2011

Responding Wednesday to a question about how privatization of prisons might be perceived, Senate President Mike Haridopolos said most people believe there is a difference between cops on the street and corrections officers in prisons – and that many newer prisons don’t need as many guards.

The Senate has suggested privatizing much of Florida’s prison system, potentially saving $70 million.

“A prison guard is doing a very important job, but is not a police officer,” said Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, adding he would rather make cuts in areas like prisons than education.

Asked by a reporter whether he meant that corrections officers weren’t law enforcement officers, Haridopolos clarified: “Prison guards are law enforcement,” he said. “They both serve the public very well.”

Police Benevolent Assocation lobbyist Jim Baiardi said later that corrections officers go through similar training as police. “Prison guards have to deal with convicted felons, and people on Death Row,” Baiardi said.

Editor’s Note: This updates an earlier story by The News Service of Florida. The News Service issued the following statement: “Officials in Haridopolos’ office say we mischaracterized what he said. This brief updates and clarifies the earlier brief to report more of what Haridopolos said to add context so the reader can better decide what he meant.”

By The News Service of Florida

Today Is The Deadline To Pay Property, Intangible Taxes

March 31, 2011

If you have not paid your real estate or tangible personal property taxes yet, Thursday is the last day to pay to avoid late fees. All unpaid taxes will be delinquent April 1, according to Escambia County Tax Collector Janet Holley. A penalty of three percent for real estate and 1.5 percent for tangible taxes will be assessed on April 1. Over $33 million (approximately 13 percent) of the tax roll remained unpaid as of last week.

Payments will be accepted without penalty if:

  • mailed with a postmark by March 31
  • left in a 24-hour drop box available at all offices by midnight March 31
  • made on the tax collector web site by midnight March 31
  • made by phone with credit card on an after-hours automated service at (800) 601‑1055 by midnight March 31 (convenience fee applies)

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.

Northview Forming Dance Team

March 31, 2011

Northview High School is forming a dance team.

There will be a meeting and sign up for prospective members Friday morning at 8:30 in the school library. Tryouts will be April 4, 6, and 8 from 7:20 until 8:20 a.m.

The dance team will be under the leadership of Heather Leonard of Heather Leonard’s Danceworks.

Wednesday Night Forecast

March 30, 2011

Here is your official North Escambia forecast on this Wednesday night:

  • Tonight: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 51. North wind between 5 and 10 mph.
  • Thursday: Mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming sunny, with a high near 69. Northwest wind between 10 and 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.
  • Thursday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 45. West wind between 5 and 10 mph.
  • Friday: Sunny, with a high near 80. West wind between 5 and 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph.
  • Friday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 58. West wind between 5 and 10 mph.
  • Saturday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 77. North wind between 5 and 10 mph.
  • Saturday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 48. East wind around 5 mph.
  • Sunday: Sunny, with a high near 81. Southeast wind between 5 and 10 mph.
  • Sunday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 58. South wind around 5 mph becoming calm.
  • Monday: Partly sunny, with a high near 87.
  • Monday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 63.
  • Tuesday: A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 80.
  • Tuesday Night: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 46.
  • Wednesday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 74.

Barrel Racing Team Overcomes Dual Disasters To Help Kids With Cerebal Palsy

March 30, 2011

Skeet Davis and his big Paint horse, Boomer, are on a mission — thanks in part to a North Escambia area veterinarian and farrier.  Although they are a competitive National Barrel Horse Association team, their hearts are devoted to helping kids with cerebral palsy.

Since 2004, Davis has been organizing benefit barrel races for United Cerebral Palsy, and every summer finds Skeet and Boomer at “Camp Smile” in Mobile, Alabama.  There they brighten children’s lives by giving every child a ride on gentle Boomer.  Equipped with a special custom-made saddle that provides increased support and security, these children — even those in wheelchairs — are able to experience the thrill of riding Boomer.

With the help of Camp Smile counselors, each child is gently secured into the saddle. Then Skeet leads Boomer around the campground, the horse stepping softly to provide smooth rides for his precious cargo.  For Skeet, the father of three, this work has special significance; his youngest daughter has cerebral palsy.

Two freak accidents nearly destroyed the Davis and Boomer goodwill efforts.  In October 2008, Skeet came home one day to find that Boomer wasn’t waiting for him at his usual spot.  Something was wrong.  Skeet found Boomer standing in the lane to the barn, and there was blood everywhere.  Boomer had been playing with deer outside his fence line and caught his foot in the one strand of barbed wire that Skeet kept strung along the bottom of the fence to keep the coyotes from catching ducks in his pond.  Boomer’s hoof was almost completely severed. Skeet immediately hauled his horse to Boomer’s vet in Grand Bay.  Dr. McCoy x-rayed the foot, cleaned it and surgically removed two barbs that had become imbedded deep in the foot.

Boomer’s accident destroyed Skeet’s hopes to ride him in the 2008 National Barrel Horse Association World Championships in Augusta, Georgia.  However, through the generosity of a friend, Skeet was able to compete on a borrowed horse.  But, Skeet’s problems had only begun.  On his second run in the show, a miscue between horse and rider sent Skeet crashing into the ground.  He had sustained what is called an “open-book”  hip fracture, one that kills more than 50% of it’s victims.  Fortunately, the horse show was only minutes from a major teaching hospital with a world-renowned specialist in pelvic fractures.  Skeet was in the right place at the right time.  Working quickly, the medical team was able to save Skeet’s life and repair his hip.  But, the severity of the injury was going to keep Skeet off horses for quite a while.

When Skeet was released from the hospital, he was determined to make sure that both he and Boomer were rehabilitated successfully.  By January of 2009, Boomer was still very lame from his injury and Skeet was beginning to fear that he’d never be able to ride his horse again, much less continue their commitments to helping children with cerebral palsy.

But, fellow barrel racers urged Skeet to take Boomer to the Lee Veterinary and Podiatry Clinic in Atmore, Alabama.  There, Dr. Hank Lee and certified journeyman farrier Jim LaClaire of Beulah have joined forces to diagnose and treat lame horses, combining astute diagnosis and surgical interventions with innovative horse podiatry.  Every Friday, the clinic parking lot is full of stock and horse trailers who travel to see the vet-farrier team from as far away as Tallahassee and upper Alabama.  Skeet hoped that something could be done for Boomer.

After examining the horse, the Lee Clinic team had an answer.  They constructed a therapeutic shoe for Boomer, filling in the lost hoof wall with epoxy.  They had essentially created a partially artificial foot to evenly support Boomer’s weight while his natural hoof wall recovered and regrew.  With his new foot and shoe, Boomer was ready to get back into action.  It took Skeet a little longer to heal, but now they are both back to barrel racing.  Best of all, they have returned to their mission of giving children with cerebral palsy a chance to ride.

Boomer’s recovery from his disastrous injury is testimony to the love of his owner and the cutting-edge experience of the Lee Veterinary and Podiatry Clinic.  As for Skeet, he’s doing what he’s always done; he makes plans and continues his mission.  Currently, he is working to raise $1,800 to buy another custom saddle, so that more these special needs children can enjoy the thrill of riding a horse.  Donations would be welcome!  Skeet Davis’ phone number is (251) 865-1000. He and Boomer can be found at 14775 Burnham Road in Grand Bay, Alabama, 36541.

Story and photographs by Janice M. LeCocq, freelance writer and photographer, Century.

Saturday Mail Delivery: NE Readers And Postal Commission Offer Opinions

March 30, 2011

The Postal Regulatory Commission has issued an opinion on the U.S. Postal Service’s plan to eliminate Saturday mail delivery, collection, and outbound mail processing — a plan the commission says will especially impact rural areas like North Escambia.

We asked Facebook fans to weigh-in on the proposed end of Saturday mail delivery, and if it would adversely impact rural residents. Here’s a sample of the responses:

  • “It would make things a lot harder on the people in rural areas. My mother is a mail carrier, and if we ended Saturday mail, that would mean they would have to deliver it on Mondays. Giving them two days of mail to deliver on one day would not only mean extra work for them, but mail would come later that day for everyone because there would be so much for them to deliver,” said Sarah McLean.
  • “The post office is operating in the red so if this helps them, by all means, stop Saturday delivery. The federal government has not been good to the post office,” said Leza Nelson of Brewton.
  • “But what about my Netflix movies received on a Saturday? Gotta have them,” said Brenda Flota of Pensacola.
  • “Keep the Saturdays’ I have a new found love of Ebay,” said Dana Kittrell of Cantonment.
  • “I say stop Saturday delivery but keep the post office open for a few hours. Will save gas and hours,” said Crystal McDonald of Atmore.
  • “Some stuff doesn’t mail out until a ‘business day’, so I don’t think it makes a difference,” said Nicole Davis of Century.

(To join our Facebook page, click here and be part of future discussions.)

The Postal Regulatory Commission Opinion

The Postal Service is required to ask the Commission for an Advisory Opinion on any change in nationwide service it proposes. The Postal Service advised the Commission that due to falling mail volumes and revenues it is considering eliminating Saturday mail collection and delivery except for Express Mail and existing post office box service.

“Some of the Commission’s analysis in today’s Advisory Opinion suggests that even lower estimates of savings and higher volume losses are possible. In all cases, we chose the cautious, conservative path. Our estimates, therefore, should be seen as the most likely, middle ground analysis of what could happen under a five-day scenario,” said Chairman Ruth Y. Goldway.

Key findings of the Commission’s Opinion include:

  • The Commission’s annual net savings estimate is $1.7 billion.
    • The Postal Service’s savings estimate is $3.1 billion.
  • Full savings in either case would likely not be achieved until year three after implementation.
  • The Commission’s estimate of net revenue losses due to volume declines caused by the service cuts is $0.6 billion.
    • The Postal Service estimate of net revenue losses is $0.2 billion.
  • The planned changes would cause an average of 25 percent of First-Class and Priority mail to be delayed by two days.
  • The Postal Service did not evaluate the impact of the proposal on customers who reside or conduct business in rural, remote, and non-contiguous areas.
  • Customers in rural, remote, and non-contiguous areas can be particularly affected by the Postal Service’s plans. The Commission received significant input from rural America and traveled to South Dakota and Wyoming to meet directly with rural customers and community leaders.

The elimination of one mail delivery day has been proposed many times and was the subject of extensive congressional review in 1977 and 1980. In 1983, Congress adopted specific language requiring the Postal Service to maintain six-day delivery. The Commission’s Advisory Opinion will be considered by Congress as it reviews the Postal Service’s request to change the law.

Photos: 20th Annual Century Sawmill Pageant Winners

March 30, 2011

Over 65 contestants took part in this year’s 20th Annual Century Sawmill Pageant sponsored by the Century Lions Club.

The winners and their photos are below:

Baby Miss: Peyton S. Lee, queen; Ashley Elizabeth Mixon, first, photo, sportswear; Kaydence Makenzie Hadley, second; Addison Wise, third.

Toddler Miss: Emilee Grace Braswell, queen, sportswear; London Vera Brooks, first; Carlisa Spears, second, photo; Malia Jenay Smith, third; Alyssa Hullett, sold most tickets.

Little Miss: Jada Jones, queen; Olivia Blaze Griffis, first; Jordan Elizabeth Sanders, second; Andrea Grace Lasala, third, photo, all over queen; Kaylyn Franklin, sold most tickets.

Young Miss: Briana Dunsford, queen; Emma Barrow, first, sportswear; Maegan Mallett, second; Caroline Elizabeth Harp, third; Mallory Samantha Floyd, photo.

Junior Miss: Ansley Brooke Lasala , queen, sportswear, photo; Carly Leanne Sanders, first; Alexis Ariel Clark, second; Hannah Merchant, third.

Pre-teen: Mackenzie Taylor Leeser, queen; Morgan Shelby Floyd, first; Valencia Ariana Burnette, second; Auburn N’Cole Jernigan, third, sportswear; Tori Marie Knapp, photo.

Miss: Savannah Elizabeth Hart, queen, sportswear; Alayna Nicole Gordon, first, photo; Kourtney Paige Smith, second; Brooklyn Shae Dortch, third.

Overall Queen: Andrea Grace Lasala.

“The Century Lions would like to thank all of the sponsors who bought ads in this year’s program, all of the volunteers who worked at the pageant and assisted with everything, especially the teachers at Byrneville Elementary.  Many members of the community worked tirelessly with posters, flyers and signing up contestants.  This year’s pageant was the biggest and best ever. All proceeds will benefit children in our area who may need assistance with glasses,” the Century Lions Club said.

All photographs courtesy Photo By Fischer, Century for Reprints are available (850) 256-3980.

Vote Set On Application For Mega Landfill

March 30, 2011

The Conecuh County Commission has set an April 18 vote on the application for the proposed 5,100 acre Conecuh Woods landfill. The vote will be preceded by an April 11 meeting with engineers to evaluate the application.

Conecuh Woods’ landfill, would include a 1,600 acre “disposal cell” from Range to Repton to near the Big Escambia Creek. Big Escambia Creek flows southward into Escambia County, Alabama, through Flomaton and drains through a North Escambia swamp into the Escambia River and then Escambia Bay.

Many other governments in South Alabama and Northwest Florida have passed resolutions in opposition to Conecuh Woods, including Escambia counties in Alabama and Florida, the Town of Century, Atmore and Flomaton.

Even if the Conecuh County Commissions gives their approval to the Conecuh Woods application, the project may still remain on hold. Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley issued an executive order declaring a moratorium on new landfills in the state.

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