Shooting Under Investigation

February 29, 2012

A Wednesday night shooting in Escambia County is under investigation.

Escambia County Sheriff’s Office investigators are on scene of an afternoon shooting. Investigators responded to the 100 block of East  Texar Drive here they found an adult male who had sustained a non-life threatening injury, according to a Sheriff’s spokesperson.

The victim was transported to a local hospital.

Investigators are asking for help in identifying a white Chevy Camaro with a black spoiler and aftermarket wheels and exhaust system. If you have any information about this vehicle or the shooting, call Crime Stoppers at  (850) 433-STOP  (7869) or the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office at (850) 436-9620.

One Injured In North Highway 99 Rollover Crash

February 29, 2012

A North Escambia man was injured in a single vehicle rollover accident early Wednesday morning near Bratt following a reported domestic disturbance.

Thomas Benjamin Davis, 32, was transported to Atmore Community Hospital by Escambia County EMS following the crash on North Highway 99 about a mile south of Breastworks Road. He was later transported by ambulance to a Pensacola hospital as a trauma alert.

The accident was discovered by a passerby about 2:40 a.m., but it was not immediately clear what time the accident happened.

Davis had reportedly been involved in a possible domestic disturbance less than a half mile away. He lost control of his Chevrolet Colorado, ran off the road and overturned. Davis was found outside the pickup; authorities believe he may have been ejected.

Following the crash, the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office and Atmore Ambulance responded to the possible domestic disturbance where a female refused treatment.

The Walnut Hill Station of Escambia Fire Rescue responded to both incidents.

Pictured: One person was injured following this wreck early Wednesday morning on North Highway 99. photos, click to enlarge.

Flomaton, Century Chambers Name Citizens, Students and Businesses Of The Year

February 29, 2012

Citizen, business and students of the year were named Tuesday night at the Flomaton and Century Joint Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards Banquet.

For photos of the winners, scroll down the page.

The Century Chamber of Commerce named:

Student of the Year – Caleb Leonard, Northview High
Business of the Year – Fresenius Medical Care
Citizen of the Year — Eddie Bondurant

The Flomaton Chamber of Commerce named:

Student of the Year – Jessica Pendleton, Flomaton High
Business of the Year — Wedgeworth Roofing
Citizen of the Year — Ronnie & Kelli Hammond

The Citizens of the Year are both deeply involved in their respective communities — volunteering often in their communities.

For a photo gallery from the event, click here.

Leslie Gonzalez and Heather Leonard contributed to this report and photos. photos by Leslie Gonzalez and Heather Leonard, click to enlarge.

Cantonment Man Gets 10 Years For Traffic Accident Manslaughter

February 29, 2012

A 21-year old Cantonment man was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years in prison in connection with a 2010 drug-related traffic homicide.

Phillip Michael Chevalier pleaded guilty Tuesday to manslaughter for the May 2010 death of Billy Beck III in a traffic crash on Chemstrand Road.

Beck, 23,  was  on Chemstrand Road just before midnight on May 6, 2010, when he was struck by at least three vehicles. Chevalier, identified by the Florida Highway Patrol as the driver of the first vehicle to strike Beck, fled the scene. Beck’s family maintained that foul play may have been involved in the crash; however there were few leads or witnesses, according to the FHP.

Witnesses told the FHP that Chevalier pulled off to the side of Chemstrand Road where Beck was standing. Chevealier pulled off after Beck handed him a bag of marijuana. Beck reached into the truck and tried to get the marijuana back, according to a witness’s affidavit. Chevalier continued to drive north on Chemstrand Road with Beck hanging on to the truck. He eventually fell off the vehicle and was hit by the vehicles.

In February 2011, Florida Highway Patrol investigators developed additional evidence that led to arrest warrants being issued for Chevalier for felony murder and leaving the scene of accident with death. Chevalier was arrested by U.S. Marshals in St. Johns County, Fla.

The drivers of the second and third vehicles to hit Beck were not charged.

Dense Fog Advisory, Warm Night

February 29, 2012

There is a dense fog advisory in effect for tonight and Thursday morning.

Here is your official North Escambia area forecast:

  • Tonight: A 20 percent chance of showers before 11pm. Areas of dense fog after 11pm. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a low around 64. South wind between 5 and 10 mph.
  • Thursday: A slight chance of showers between 9am and noon, then a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms after noon. Areas of dense fog before 9am. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a high near 78. South wind between 5 and 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
  • Thursday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before midnight. Patchy dense fog after midnight. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a low around 62. South wind between 5 and 10 mph.
  • Friday: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 78. South wind between 5 and 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph.
  • Friday Night: A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 64. South wind between 10 and 15 mph.
  • Saturday: Showers and thunderstorms likely. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 71. South wind 10 to 15 mph becoming north. Winds could gust as high as 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%.
  • Saturday Night: A 30 percent chance of showers before midnight. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 42. North wind between 5 and 10 mph.
  • Sunday: Sunny, with a high near 69. North wind between 5 and 10 mph.
  • Sunday Night: Clear, with a low around 40. North wind around 5 mph.
  • Monday: Sunny, with a high near 68.
  • Monday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 38.
  • Tuesday: Sunny, with a high near 68.
  • Tuesday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 43.
  • Wednesday: Mostly cloudy, with a high near 69.

Wash Your Hands: Health Dept. Records Increase In Stomach Bugs

February 29, 2012

Wash your hands — that’s the word from the Escambia County Health Department. They are seeing an increase in the number of contagious gastrointestinal infections in the county.

The health department says gastrointestinal infections can be highly contagious and are usually spread through contaminated food or drinking water, person to person contact with an infected person, or contact with contaminated surfaces. Symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, low to high grade fever and headache.

Frequent handwashing and proper food preparation safety are the key to preventing infections.

1 Dead, 3 Missing After Coast Guard Helicopter Crash

February 29, 2012

One crewmember is dead and three others are missing after a Coast Guard helicopter crash in Mobile Bay Tuesday night.

A massive search is underway after the three Coast Guard members went missing after the crash, which occurred while they were conducting a training flight in the vicinity of Point Clear, Ala.

One crewmember was found unresponsive by a boat crew and was later declared deceased.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the crewmembers during this difficult time,” said Capt. Don Rose, commander of Coast Guard Sector Mobile.  “We are working through the night to continue to conduct a robust search for the three crewmembers who are still missing and we appreciate the assistance of all of the agencies and personnel who are volunteering their time and resources to assist with the search and rescue efforts.”

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

Pictured: A Coast Guard MH-65C based out of New Orleans on public relations visit to Ernest Ward Middle School in Walnut Hill in November 2010. file photos, click to enlarge.

End Of A Era: The Last Day For WABB 97.5

February 29, 2012

Today marks the end of an era as the last day as a Top 40 station for WABB 97.5 FM.

(This is an archive story from Feb. 29, 2012)

WABB 97.5 — one of the oldest Top 40 radio stations in the country — was sold to not-for-profit  EMF (Educational Media Foundation) of Rocklin, CA. EMF will take over all programming and the format for the station on Thursday, switching to the Christian K-Love format.

We asked our Facebook fans what they thought of the end of WABB 97.5, and here’s what some had to say:

  • “I grew up listening to WABB and my kids have grown up listening. It’s just the end of an era!” — Chandra Rigby, Molino
  • “That was the first cool station I listened to and now my kids listen to it. Sad. — Jennifer Beck, Cantonment
  • “I love Qtip and have always listened to WABB! I don’t live there anymore but I have always loved them since the 70’s.” — Debbie Lewis, Stafford, VA
  • “I loved the five o’clock whistle on Fridays! The official start of the weekend on the Gulf Coast.” –  Tina Nabors, Montgomery
  • “QTip has always been my favorite part of the show– he needs to go country since that is where his heart is.” –  Wendy Ward, Molino
  • “So said….grew up with them and got my kids listening to it.” — Teresa Andress, Molino
  • “I will miss the history…I spent many a day blaring The Beastie Boys, with my dad yelling “Turn it DOWN!!!” over the noise, great times! LOVED WABB!!” — Janice Parham, Molino

WABB has been a family owned station for 52 years. Bernie Dittman bought WABB-AM in 1959 and put WABB-FM on the air in 1973 with a Top 40 format.  A legendary icon in the broadcasting industry, Dittman was devoted throughout his career to maintaining WABB as an independent, family owned station.  The family continued to operate the station after his death in 2006.

Despite the station’s success, the next generation of the family no longer resides in the Mobile area and, as a result, the family viewed the sale as a logical transition.

“This was a very difficult and emotional decision for our family,” said Judith Dittman, Bernie’s wife. “WABB-FM has enjoyed decades of success and being an integral part of the Mobile-Pensacola communities. But the time has come for us to move into another phase of life and spend more time together as a family.”

Molino Park Students Collect Over 200,000 Pop Tabs

February 29, 2012

Molino Park Elementary School students collected tens of thousands of pop tabs — those little pull tabs off the tops of aluminum drink cans — to benefit the Ronald McDonald House.

So far this year, students collected 149 pounds of the pop tabs that have been delivered to the Ronald McDonald House. The money from recycling the tabs are used by the facility to help pay their water bill.

According to the Ronald McDonald House, there are 1,430 tabs per pound — meaning Molino Park’s 149 pound donation would contain an estimated 213,000 tabs. Placed end to end, they would stretch nearly 3.5 miles.

Rachel Veneble’s first grade class collected the most pop tabs — 21 pounds.

Escambia (Ala.) GOP Holds Candidate Forum

February 29, 2012

Supporters turned out in force Monday night for a candidate forum in Flomaton hosted by the Escambia County (Ala.) Republican Party.

Over 50 interested voters attended the forum, which featured Republican candidates running for various federal, state and local offices.

Candidates attending included: Judge Charlie Graddick, candidate for Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court; Judge Tommy Bryan, candidate for Alabama Supreme Court, Place 1; Pete Riehm, candidate for U.S. Congress; Judge Emilie Mims, incumbent candidate for Escambia County Probate Judge; Becki Breckenridge, candidate for Escambia County Circuit Clerk; Patsy Jacks and Dr. Coleman Wallace, candidates for Escambia County School Board; and Brandon Smith, candidate for Escambia County Commission. In addition, representatives for the presidential campaigns of Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum spoke on behalf of their respective candidates.

“We are very excited to have so many of our Republican candidates with us here in Escambia County tonight. The size of this crowd is a great indicator of the excitement that GOP voters have for our 2012 slate of candidates. The prospects for the Republican Party, at all levels of government, are looking better and better every day,” Jeff Peacock, chairman of the Escambia County (Ala.) Republican Party.

The Escambia County GOP Primary Election will be held on Tuesday, March 13th.

Pictured top: Escambia Count (Ala.) Republicans gathered for a candidate forum Monday night in Flomaton. Pictured inset: Heath Jackson (foreground) takes notes as Judge Charlie Graddick, candidate for Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, addresses the group. Submitted photos for, click to enlarge.

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