Today’s The Deadline To Save On Your Escambia Property Tax Bill

February 29, 2012

Today is the last chance to save one percent on your property tax bill.

A one percent discount when you pay your real estate and tangible personal property taxes ends on Wednesday, February 29, according to Janet Holley, Escambia County tax collector. Over $38 million — about 18 percent — of the tax roll remains unpaid.

In addition, payments will receive the one percent discount if:

  • mailed with a postmark of February 28
  • left in a 24-hour drop box available at all tax collector offices by midnight February 28
  • made on the tax collector web site by midnight February 28
  • made on the tax collector after-hours automated telephone (800) 601‑1055 by midnight February 28

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

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. TTY users for the hearing impaired call (850) 472-0031.

Escambia County’s Driver License Office Closes

February 29, 2012

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles closed its Driver License Office at 100 Stumpfield Road in Pensacola on Wednesday. The Escambia County Tax Collector will now be the sole provider of driver license services in Escambia County.

Four tax collector offices in Escambia County will continue to issue driver licenses and identification cards:

  • 470 South Highway 29, Cantonment
  • 6451 North W Street 32505
  • 507 N. Navy Boulevard 32507
  • 213 Palafox Place 32502

Drivers who receive notices that they must appear in person at a county tax collector’s office to renew a license, must make an appointment in Escambia County by visiting or by calling 850‑438‑6500.

Many customers can skip the trip to an office and renew driver licenses, ID cards, and vehicle tags, as well as conduct other driving-related business online at Customers who renew online will be required to visit a county tax collector’s office for the next renewal. The Department does not charge a fee for using the Internet service.

Margaret Louise Levins

February 29, 2012

Mrs. Margaret Louise Levins, age 75 of Byrneville, passed away on Friday, February 24, 2012. at her home.

Mrs. Levins was born in Mobile and had been a member of the Byrneville and Century communities for 47 years coming from Pensacola. She was a member of the Brewton American Legion, the Eastern Stars and was retired from Monsanto as a lab technician.

Mrs. Levins is survived by her husband, Wilbur Levins of Byrneville; son, Dennis (Lisa) Medlock of Cantonment; daughters, Karen (Jerry) Hayes of Byrneville and Sybrina Medlock of Orlando; sister, Joyce (James) Byrd of Monroeville; 10 grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

Visitation will be held on Monday evening, February 27, 2012, at Flomaton Funeral Home Chapel from 6 until 8 p.m.

Funeral services will be Tuesday, February 28, at 10 a.m. at the Flomaton Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. John Fillingim officiating. Interment will follow in Byrneville United Methodist Cemetery in Byrneville.

Pallbearers will be Chris Medlock, Rico Padilla, Dennis Mathis, Jesse Hayes, Vince Killam, Trevor Mathis.

Joseph “Joey” David Smith

February 29, 2012

Joseph “Joey” David Smith walked into the arms of Jesus on Thursday, February 23, 2012. He was born Jean Claude Mack on June 21, 1979, and became the special son of J.V. and Ethel Smith.

He is survived by his seven brothers and sisters, Sharon, Karen, Donell, Marian, Johnell, James and Trisha.

Funeral services will be held on Sunday, February 26, 2012, at 2 p.m. with a visitation one hour prior to service time at Faith Chapel Funeral Home North with Brother Chip Barbas officiating. Interment will follow at First Baptist Church of Cottage Hill Cemetery.

Faith Chapel Funeral Home North in Cantonment is in charge of all arrangements.

Jeffery Leonard Jackson

February 29, 2012

Mr. Jeffery Leonard Jackson, age 47 of Jay passed away suddenly on Thursday, February 23, 2012.

Mr. Jackson was a native of Brewton and had been a resident of Bay Minette for two years coming from Jay. During his working years, Mr. Jackson worked as a roustabout in the construction industry. He was of the Protestant faith.

Mr. Jackson is survived by his mother, Eloise (Eddie) Muse of Century; sons, Jeffery Lynn Jackson of Foley, and Curtis Jackson of Bay Minette; brothers, Kenneth Jackson of Bay Minette and Randy Jackson of Gulf Breeze; sister, Sylvia Graves of Brewton; and one grandchild.

Visitation will be held Tuesday evening, February 28, 2012, at Flomaton Funeral Home Chapel from 6 until 9 p.m.

Funeral services will be Wednesday, February 29 at 2 p.m. at the Flomaton Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Jeff Dwenger officiating.

Interment will be in Jay Cemetery.

Pallbearers will be Tim Bauldree, Jeffery Lacy, Shannon Phillips, Tony Williamson, Tim Lee and Billy Byrd. Honorary pallbearers will be Wayne Lacy, Gary Don Lacy and Jerry L. Lacy.

No Injuries In School Bus Crash, 46 Students On Board

February 28, 2012

No injuries were reported in a school bus crash in Cantonment Tuesday morning.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, an Escambia County School bus driven by Billie Jo Kaser, 41, of Cantonment was eastbound on Muscogee Road and stopped due to a red traffic light about 7:25 a.m.  That’s when, the FHP said, 24-year old Leah Danielle Hughes of Pensacola rear-ended the bus with her 2008 Suzuki car. Troopers said Hughes had turned her attention away from the roadway to her 2-year old child in the vehicle. Her car came to rest wedged under the bumper of the bus.

There were 46 students bound for Jim Allen Elementary School on the bus at the time of the crash.

There were no injuries.

Hughes was charged with careless driving.

4-H Kids To Decide $3.6 Million Sale Of Langley Bell To Navy Federal

February 28, 2012

Navy Federal has offered $3.6 million for the Langley Bell-H Center property in Beulah to expand, but the future of that sale could depend on the vote of a few dozen children ages 8 to 18.

The children make up the 4-H County Council. Under the property deed, the Council must approve any sale of the 240 acres.

Escambia County is willing to spend well over a  million from local option sales tax monies to build the 4-H’ers a new facility at the Escambia County Extension Office on Stefani Road in Cantonment. The facility would include a new building and pond on the 23-acre parcel.

Monday, member of the 4-H Council and their parents toured the land for the proposed facility at the Extension Office before a discussion meeting.

“They would be paying us to come here and build a building, and we wouldn’t be getting any more land,” 4-H Council member Eliza Eligio said. “We would not be benefiting from really from doing that.” She said that despite the jobs that might be at stake, she’s not convinced that the land sale to Navy Federal is good idea.

And that was the apparent sentiment among most of the 4-H Council members Monday as they participated in a question and answer session moderated by an attorney hired by the Pensacola Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s being used for what it needs to be used for, and I don’t really feel that any other lands can fulfill what it’s fulfilling right now,” 4-H member McKenzie Helmick (pictured left) said.

The 4-H Council, comprised of delegates from each of the county’s 20 plus 4-H Clubs, will vote on the proposed sale in March.

Navy Federal has said that if the sale is rejected, new jobs for the company in Escambia County would be difficult. The company is adding about 400 jobs per year, soon reaching capacity at their current 65-acre campus.

Escambia County Commissioners are trustees of the land, according to the deed. Commissioners could possible overrule the 4-H Council should they vote against the land sale, but that’s not totally clear.

4-H supporter Dr. M. Langley Bell, Jr. donated 400 acres to Escambia County for the Langley Bell 4-H Center. The center, which is now 240 of the original 400 acres, is used for events such as 4-H camps, retreats, timber projects, livestock projects, and as a meeting site for extension agents. The Langley Bell 4-H Center comprises about 240 acres of the original 400 acres. Four cabins, a kitchen, meeting hall, nature trails, forestry and livestock educational areas, barns, pastures, a 5-acre lake, and a campfire circle are part of the 4-H center’s learning environment.

Pictured top: Navy Federal wants to purchase the  The Langley Bell 4-H Center and their 240 acres in Beulah for $3.6 million. Pictured top inset: 4-H Council members tour the proposed 23-acre site of a new Langley Bell 4-H Center on the site of the Escambia County Extension Office in Cantonment. Photos courtesy WEAR 3 for, click to enlarge.

Northview Splits Baseball Games With Washington

February 28, 2012

The Northview Chiefs split a couple of baseball games with Washington High School Monday in Pensacola.

The junior varsity Northview Chiefs defeated Washington 8-5. The win ups the junior varsity’s record to 2-1 on the year.

In varsity action, Washington defeated Northview 6-1.

The varsity Chiefs will open district play Friday night as they travel to Chipley to take on the Tigers at 6 p.m.

State Trims Gulf Power Rate Hike, Allows No Increase For North Escambia Nuclear Plant

February 28, 2012

The Florida Public Service Commission on Monday approved a $64.1 million base-rate increase for Gulf Power Company but allowed no increase for the purchase of 4,000 acres of land for a possible nuclear power plant near McDavid.

The increase was less than the company sought — but more than attorneys for consumers and business groups said the Pensacola-based utility should receive.

Gulf Power oiginally requested a $93.5 million hike, but that number increased to $101.6 million because of accounting-related issues stemming from improvements to a power plant. The PSC on March 12 will determine how the increase will affect customers’ bills, with the changes expected to take effect April 11.

“We approved only the operating revenues needed for Gulf to provide its customers with reliable, safe electric service, which also reduced the potential financial impact on customer bills,” PSC Chairman Ronald Brise said in a prepared statement.

The Public Service Commission did not allow Gulf Power to pass along costs related to a potential nuclear-power plant site in North Escambia because the utility has not taken an initial step — known as getting a determination of need — for such a project.

The PSC also trimmed a company request to pay for new employees.

Company spokeswoman Sandy Sims said that Gulf Power  was pleased the PSC had approved most of its proposals. She also said the company has not had a base-rate increase in a decade. ”

This increase was very necessary because it has been 10 years since we last were able to increase our base prices,” Sims said. “Since then, we’ve seen significant increases in the price of materials we use to make and deliver electricity.”

As part of its decision, the commission also reduced the potential investor returns that Gulf had sought. It set a 10.25 percent return on equity — a closely watched measure of profitability — while Gulf requested an 11.7 percent return.

Pictured top: One of many house that now sit abandoned near McDavid where Gulf Power has purchased thousands of acres for a possible nuclear power plant. On of many Gulf Power “Posted” signs that line the roads in the area of the potential plant. photos, click to enlarge.

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.

Century Couple Details Allegations Against Flomaton Police Chief

February 28, 2012

A Century couple said Monday night that Flomaton’s police chief pulled his weapon and illegally searched their home in Florida, all part of multiple attacks against them by Flomaton’s top cop.

Their complaints have led to an ongoing investigation by the Florida State Attorney’s Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement into then-Flomaton Police Chief Geoff McGraw’s alleged actions in Florida.

McGraw was placed on an indefinite leave with pay Monday night. [Read more...]

Tracy Tedder and his wife Tabitha Tedder live in Century, near the Alabama line. As they spoke about their claims involving McGraw, they referred to him as “McGruff”.

“Chief McGruff drawed his gun on Florida property without Florida police department being involved and goes through our home,” Tabitha Tedder said. “He illegally arrested our son-in-law and transported him back to Alabama.”

“It’s a Florida matter; we can’t comment,” Flomaton Mayor Dewey Bondurant said about the allegations.

“It wouldn’t be a  Florida matter when he pulled me out of the car for an illegal arrest in Flomaton…said I was another ‘Tedder boy’, snatched my license, said it was an improper license, stolen license, stolen car, snatched me out of the car,” Tracy Tedder said. “This is brutal in front of all my friends.”

In addition to contacting Florida law enforcement about McGraw’s alleged actions, the Tedders said they intend on suing the Town of Flomaton.

“We’ve got two different lawyers that want to take the case,” Tracy Tedder said, ‘and we are coming after Alabama and McGruff and going further than that.”

“He illegally searched my car in Flomaton…just three months before,” he said. “He told me I was another ‘Tedder boy’, said my car was stolen, my license was a lost license…This has being going on and on and on. It ain’t going no more. This is federal things coming up.”

Tracy Tedder said he recently sold his car to his daughter and drove to Larry White Insurance in Flomaton, just north of the state line to change insurance on the car.

“I took it right across the tracks on the Florida side and was sitting there giving them (the purchasers of the vehicle) the paperwork,” he said. “He (McGraw) came across the tracks (into Florida), gave me a ticket for no insurance, blocking the highway.”

He said he explained the situation in court to Escambia County (Ala.) Judge David Jordan and and the ticket was dismissed.

“When he pulled me over, it was on the Florida side, and he did not chase me. This has been going on for six months. And then he runs up to my house and goes through my house. There is going to be lawsuits. He will not be a cop again.”

“We are upset because of the way he does things,” she said.

“We understand you being upset,” Flomaton Councilman Jim Johnson said. “With Florida investigating, they hadn’t told us anything yet. We know they are investigating.”

“These things are pending, and there is no way legally we can make any remarks on a pending case,” Councilman Buster Crapps added. “When it’s legal, we are out of it. It’s going to be in the courts…we can’t make any comments on anything like that.”

” That’s the problem. Everybody wants to cover up for McGruff; he’s not here to defend himself, ” Tracy Tedder said Monday night at a Flomaton Town Council meeting. “He don’t want to be in public eye, but why not? What’s he got to hide?…If he knows he didn’t do anything wrong, why isn’t he here to defend himself?”

“If the man ain’t guilty, he should be here,” she added. “The whole…town knows he’s doing wrong.”

“I do not have any comment at this time due to this being an ongoing investigation,” McGraw said January 26 when he learned that had knowledge of the investigation. McGraw has not made any public comment since that date.

Pictured top: Tabitha Tedder turns to the audience for support as her husband Tracy Tedder addresses the Flomaton Town Council Monday night. Pictured inset: Tracy and Tabitha Tedder. Pictured middle inset: Flomaton Mayor Dewey Bondurant. Pictured bottom inset: Councilman Buster Crapps. photos, click to enlarge.

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