One Homeless After Early Morning Fire Destroys Cantonment Home (With Photo Gallery)

December 30, 2011

One person was left homeless after an early Friday morning house fire in Cantonment.

The fire was reported just before 2:30 a.m. in the 400 block of Washington Street, near Louis Street.  The small wood frame home was completely involved when the first firefighters arrived on scene. The home was completely destroyed in the blaze, which was declared out at 3:14 a.m.

There were no injuries reported. The owner of the home was not at home at the time of the fire.  The American Red Cross is assisting the adult male left homeless by the fire.

The cause of the fire is under investigation by the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

For a photo gallery from the scene, click here.

The Cantonment, Ensley, Molino, Ferry Pass and Beulah stations of Escambia Fire Rescue responded to the fire, along with Escambia County EMS and the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office. The Bellview and Molino stations of Escambia Fire Rescue were placed on standby to answer other calls in the area during the blaze.

Related Story: December Fires Down Compared To Previous Years

Pictured: This home on Washington Street in Cantonment was destroyed by fire early Friday morning. photos by Kristi Smith, click to enlarge.

December Escambia County Fires Down Compared To Previous Years

December 30, 2011

wreath.jpgWith just hours to go in the “Keep the Wreath Green” Fire safety campaign, December 2011 residential fires are down significantly in Escambia County when compared to last year.

As of early Friday morning, there had only been four residential fires in the county. The most recent fire destroyed a home in Cantonment early Friday morning. [Read more...]

By comparison, the 2010 Keep the Wreath Green campaign ended with 18 red bulbs representing residential fires, with 15 of those fire occurring by Christmas Eve. In 2009, there were a dozen fires during the period.

Mike Weaver, Escambia County Public Safety director, said the decrease in residential fires could possibly be attributed to a slightly warmer December and, hopefully,  to public education leading to improved fire safety.

In the wreath campaign, each time firefighters respond to a residential fire in Escambia County, a green light bulb is replaced with a red one to remind citizens of the dangers posed by holiday decorations.

Between 2009 and 2011, only one December residential fire has been in North Escambia.

For 31 Keep the Wreath Green fire safety tips, click here. file photo.

Forrest Gibbs Files Suit Against 3 County Commissioners

December 30, 2011

The man hired then fired amid controversy as the manager of the Escambia County Equestrian Center has filed suit against three Escambia County commissioners.

Forrest Gibbs held the job for about two weeks in October until being fired by County Administrator Randy Oliver following a complaint that Commissioner Wilson Robertson influenced his hiring and landed Gibbs a salary higher than was advertised.  The commission, including Robertson, called for a state investigation into the process. The State Attorney found no wrongdoing.

Now, Gibbs has filed suit in Escambia County Circuit Court against Commissioners Kevin White, Marie Young and Grover Robinson claiming that he was qualified and they improperly removed him from his new job. The suit does not name Escambia County as a defendant.  Gene Valentino, who was not at a county meeting in which the board considered the matter, is also not being sued.

Gibbs is seeking unnamed damages in excess of $15,000 plus legal and court costs from White, Young and Robinson.

The job was advertised again with a selection committee slated to choose the new manager. Gibbs is one of seven finalists on the new short list for the job.

Items Worth Thousands Taken During Cantonment Burglaries

December 30, 2011

Residents in a quiet Cantonment subdivision have been rattled by a break-ins over the past couple of weeks in which thieves have made off with thousands of dollars worth of goods.

The break-ins were reported in Saverna Park subdivision, off Well Line Road near Santa Rosa Road.

Wednesday afternoon, someone used a brick to smash through a window of one of about  dozen homes in the neighborhood. About $6,000 worth of items — many recently opened Christmas presents — were taken, including a big screen TV, laptops, other electronics and money. About two weeks ago, almost $10,000 worth of possessions including TV’s, cameras and firearms were stolen from another home in the subdivision. A brick was also used to smash a windows in that burglary.

Residents say the burglars are approaching the homes from the rear from nearby wooded areas then making their getaway back into the woods.

Anyone with information on the burglaries is asked to call the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office at (850) 436-9620 or Crime Stoppers at (850) 433-STOP.

Time Running Out To Make Donations For 2011 Tax Deductions

December 30, 2011

The next couple of days are a great time to clear out the old and make room for the new as the 2011 winds down — and a great opportunity to take advantage of the chance to save on your taxes. Or, simply just write a check to your favorite church or non-profit.

Area non-profit thrift stores are ready and waiting to accept donations of furniture, clothing, household items and more. With a receipt, the donations can be written off your 2011 tax return. There are plenty of choices in the North Escambia area, including the Waterfront Rescue Bargain Center in Cantonment, the Molino Outreach Ministry Thrift Store, the We Care Economy Shops in Atmore and Flomaton, and the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store in Century.

Tax experts say you also have until Saturday to write a check to your local church or your favorite charity in order to receive a deduction for 2011. Most churches or charities will willingly provide a receipt or a year-end summary of your contributions.

Pictured: The Waterfront Rescue Mission Bargain Center in Cantonment, the sixth store opened by the organization. file photos, click to enlarge.

Elderly Century Woman Cited After Three Vehicle Wreck

December 30, 2011

A 77-year old Century woman was cited after a three vehicle crash  Thursday afternoon on North Century Boulevard.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Margaret Smith Bell pulled her 2000 Buick LaSabre from a stop sign at Hecker Road and North Century Boulevard into the path of two other vehicles.

She collided with a 2012 Toyota Yaris occupied by driver Qunesha Tunya Bowen, 33, and Arielle Monique Brown, 22, both of Douglasville, GA.  The Yaris then collided with the left front trailer axle of a 2005 Freightliner semi driven by William Randolph Ballard, 46, of Milton.

Bowen and Brown suffered minor injuries and were transported by ambulance to Jay Hospital. Bell and Ballard were not injured.

Bell was charged with violation of right of way at a stop intersection, according to the FHP.

Escambia Extends Voter Registration Hours

December 30, 2011

The Escambia County Supervisor of Elections Office will be open extended hours – until 7:00 p.m. – on Tuesday, January 3 to accommodate citizens who wish to register to vote or change party affiliation for the upcoming Presidential Preference Primary election. January 3 is the last day to register or change parties before the January 31, 2012 election.

Florida law mandates that registration books close 29 days before an election. With the observance of the New Year’s Day holiday occurring on Monday, January 2, new registrations and party changes must be completed or postmarked no later than January 3 in order for them to be effective for the Presidential Preference Primary. Address updates, signature updates, and other changes can be made after the books close. If you are unsure of your registration status, visit and click Am I Registered?, or call (850) 595-3900.

Escambia County citizens have several ways to register or update their records:

Online/By Mail: Visit and complete, print, and sign the online application. Be sure to include a valid Florida Driver’s License number, a valid Florida ID number, or the last four digits of your Social Security Number in the appropriate space. Mail the completed application no later than January 3 to Escambia County Supervisor of Elections, P.O. Box 12601, Pensacola, FL 32591-2601. Or, take the completed application to the Elections Office at 213 Palafox Place, second floor, in downtown Pensacola. Or, call 850-595-3900 or email the Elections Office,, to have a form mailed to you.

In Person: You can register at the Elections Office at 213 Palafox Place, second floor, in downtown Pensacola, at any Florida Driver’s License Office, and several other governmental offices and public assistance centers. Registration forms are also available at many locations throughout the county. For a complete list of locations throughout Escambia County, visit, call or email the Elections Office.

Three Percent Property Tax Discount Ending

December 30, 2011

All four Escambia County Tax Collector offices will be open normal business hours today — 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. — for persons paying their 2011 real estate and tangible personal property taxes who want to receive the 3% discount and have their receipt dated for 2011.

Payments made on December 31 will be accepted if  mailed with a postmark, paid online at or by after-hours automated telephone at (800) 601‑1055, or left in a 24-hour drop box available at all offices.

Since all offices are closed December 31, January 1 and 2, customers who make their payments in person at any tax collector office Tuesday, January 3, will receive the 3% discount, however, their payment will be dated January 3, not December 31, according to Escambia County Tax Collector Janet Holley.

2011 In Photos: June

December 30, 2011

All this week, we are looking back at the photos that were in the news in 2011. Today, we are featuring photos from June.

Hundreds of North Escambia area students graduated in June. Pictured above: Valedictorian Sarah Killam addresses the Northview High School Class of 2011.

Poplar Dell Baptist Church celebrated its 100th anniversary with the opening of a time capsule that had been hidden away for 50 years.

Temperatures topped the 100 degree mark in early June.

A mobile home in Bratt was sliced in half by a falling limb.

A pedestrian from McDavid died when he was struck by two semi-trucks hauling logs on Highway 29 in Bluff Springs.

A massive wildfire scotched over 1,500 acres north of Flomaton

Fire destroyed the media center at Pollard McCall School, just north of the Alabama/Florida line.

A farmer’s John Deere tractor and a Walnut Hill Water Works tower are dwarfed by a massive storm cloud west of Walnut Hill in mid June.

Low water levels from drought led to the discovery of an 1800’s era steamboat in the Escambia River near McDavid.

Drought led to near-historic lows on the Escambia River, including at the Molino Boat Ramp on Fairgrounds Road.

A major archaeological dig is underway near the Escambia River in Molino unearthed evidence of a 1740’s Spanish mission along with artifacts believed to be 6,000 years old.

Six people were involved in this two vehicle crash at Molino Road at Highway 29.

A Geraldine, Alabama, man died in this wreck at Fountain Prison in Atmore.

A participant is hit by a water balloon during an Escambia County Extension Service Water Camp at Lake Stone.

Ted D. McGlothren, Sr.

December 30, 2011

Ted D. McGlothren, Sr. age 83, passed away Thursday, December 29, 2011. He was a member of Victory Assembly of God.

Ted retired from Champion Paper Company after 40 years of service. He was one of the founders of Cottage Hill Water Works. He helped build and establish Cottage Hill Assembly of God and later helped build the fellowship hall at Victory Assembly. Ted also served as a deacon at both churches. To his family, friends and community he was one that was always willing to give his time and talents to those in need.

Survivors include his wife, Ruby Darby McGlothren, his sons, Ted McGlothren, Jr. and his wife Angela, Ronny McGlothren and his wife Ruth, his daughter, Donna Lancaster and her husband Greg, son Larry Thomas and his wife Pam, daughter Lynn Hodge and her husband Jackie, nine grandchildren, eight great grandchildren, one brother, Dewey McGlothren, special uncle, Charles McGlothren and numerous other relatives.

Preceding him in death was his first wife, Edith Williams McGlothren,  sister, Dell McGlothren and  brother, Willard McGlothren.

Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. on Monday, January 2, 2012, at Victory Assembly of God Church with Rev. Jeff McKee officiating. Interment will follow at Cottage Hill Assembly of God Cemetery.

The family will receive friends at the church on Sunday, January 1, 2012, from 5-8 p.m.
Faith Chapel Funeral Home North, 1000 Highway 29 South Cantonment is in charge of arrangements.

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