MIRA Awards Honor Creative High School Students

March 30, 2012

The Escambia County Public Schools Foundation hosted the 2012 Mira Creative Arts Awards program Thursday night. Sixty-nine of Escambia County’s most creative high school seniors were selected as recipients of the 2012 Mira Creative Arts Awards. They were honored at a dinner at New World Landing.

In 1987, a group of teachers at Tate High School created the Mira Awards to recognize talented and creative students in the arts and sciences. The following year, the committee approached the Foundation to bring the awards under its umbrella and to initiate county-wide student participation each year in the areas of writing, performing and visual arts, and other disciplines. The term “Mira” is Latin for the name of the brightest star in the constellation Cetus.

Winners received engraved medallions, a book scholarship from Pensacola State College, and memberships from the Pensacola Museum of Art and Artel Gallery.

This year’s Mira Creative Arts Awards winners are:

Northview High School: Jacob Baldwin, Instrumental Music; Joseph Baldwin, Instrumental Music; Josie Doucette, Journalism; Alissa Fiellin, Graphic Art; Cory King, Instrumental Music; Melissa Jayne Moretz, Instrumental Music; Kiani Okahashi, Visual Art; Chelsea Parham, Theatre; Justin Purvis, Theatre; Darwin Eugene (D.J.) Robinson, II, Graphic Arts.

Tate High School: Amber Baker, Drama; Tabetha Champitto, Chorus; Katelyn Clairain, Photography; Jacob Dearrington, Instrumental Music; Adam DiMercurio, Debate; Angela Howard, Chorus; Amanda Alzira Medeiros, Visual Art; Matthew Perez-Rex, Pottery; Chris Snyder, Instrumental Music; Victoria Veith, TV Production.

West Florida High School: Kelli Brock, Instrumental Music; Lexi Buker, Journalism; T. J. Grier, Journalism; Katherine Ledbetter, Visual Art; Coral Elizabeth Molchanoff, Theatre;
Michaela Rodriguez, Instrumental Music; Julia L. Spear, Multimedia/Broadcasting; Hunter Sport, Journalism; Jessica Brooke Touchstone, Drama; Jerrad Dusan Vunovich, Visual Art.

Escambia High: Megan Beebe, Web Design, Instrumental Music; Nike Evers, Visual Arts; Stephen French, Instrumental Music; Brittany Horton, Vocal Music; Laura Krauss, Instrumental Music; Abigail Lord, Journalism; Monique Queen-Smith, Theatre; Andria Quinlan, Digital Multimedia; Morgan Sasser, Theatre; Andrea Marie Ulm, Culinary Art.

Pensacola High School: R. J. Burns, Instrumental Music; Tiffany Chiang, Visual Art; Jessica Grandrup, Instrumental Music; Rachel Hovell, Creative Achievement; Alys Mead, Drama’ Jisung Moon, Creative Writing; Sara Omlor, Visual Art; Aaron Rogers, Instrumental Music; Carson Schmidt, Drama; Danielle K. Telhiard, Photography.

Pine Forest High School: Meagan Desirae Jean Evans, Visual Art; Giselle Collie, Orchestra; Kevin Fails, Instrumental Music; Alexander Daniel Gueits, Journalism; Catherine M. Hobbs, Culinary Arts; Anastasia Larkins, Instrumental Music; Jeremy Nelson, Theatre; Ramel Price, Orchestra; Sara Thomas, Visual Art.

Washington High School: Nicholas C. Bridges, Vocal Music; Chelsey Domschke, Photography; Luke Evans, Drama; Gabriel Friedman, Drama; Gerard Gunner, Instrumental Music; Lindsay Riddle, Drama; Brandon Spencer, Instrumental Music; Luke C. Vest, Visual Art; Marie Videau, Drama; Joycelyn Woods, Instrumental and Vocal Music.

Fire Heavily Damages School Bus; 12 Students Escape Injury

March 30, 2012

Fire heavily damaged an Escambia County school bus that had a dozen elementary students on board this morning.

The fire  erupted about 6:50 a.m. in bus 2-99 on Thompson Road near Crary Road, just south of Century. The fire destroyed the dash and driver’s area of the bus and caused heavy smoke and heat damage throughout.

All 12 Byrneville Elementary School students on the bus and the driver escaped without injury.

“That’s why we practice; they know how to get out,” Byrneville Principal Dee Wolfe-Sullivan said.  “Procedures were followed and everybody was safe. I’ve very thankful to God for that.”

The Century and McDavid stations of Escambia Fire Rescue responded to the blaze.

Pictured: Fire heavily damaged this school bus Friday morning near Century. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.

Man With Terrorism Book, Scooby Snacks Busted Searching For Power Plant

March 30, 2012

An Alabama man with a book on terrorism and Scoobie Snacks that said he was looking for Gulf Power’s Crist Plant was arrested in Century on a drug charge.

About 1:15 a.m. Wednesday, Escambia County Sheriff’s Office deputies conducted a traffic stop in Century on a 2001 Dodge truck occupied by Jason Corey Dykes, age 29, of Theodore. Ala.

When deputies asked Dykes where he was headed in a hurry, he told them he was looking for the Gulf Power Crist Plant, which is actually located about 35 miles south of Century. When Dykes was asked why he was looking for Gulf Power’s generating plant, he responded that he was unemployed but had once worked there.

Dykes consented to a search of his vehicle, which turned up a wooden pipes that Dykes said were used to smoke marijuana and a metal scale in the center console, according to an arrest report. Deputies also reported finding the book “The Newest Explosion of Terrorism”, a sealed and unopened disposable camera, a cigarette box containing four Scooby Snacks, potpouri/”spice” bags that were empty and a small bag containing unknown seeds.

According to deputies, Dykes said he was looking for the power plant to seek employment. He also said the terrorism book was purchased as a prank by his girlfriend at a Goodwill Store.

“Dykes advised that he was a not a terrorist and did not wish to blow anything up,” the arrest report states.

Dykes was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia and released from the Escambia County Jail on a $250 bond. He was also issued a traffic citation for no working tag lights.

Scott Signs Medicaid Bill; Escambia Could Lose $6 Million

March 30, 2012

Gov. Rick Scott signed a contentious Medicaid billing measure late Thursday, angering counties that will have to pay tens of millions of dollars in disputed health-care charges that have piled up for years.

The bill is expected to cost Escambia County about $6 million, while Santa Rosa Count is expected to be out over $600,000.

And the bill will also impact patients, limiting the number of times that non-pregnant adults on Medicaid can visit a hospital emergency room to six a year.

Scott said the Agency for Health Care Administration would work with counties to soften HB 5301.

But the most contentious part of the measure will require counties to pay back years of disputed Medicaid bills unless they can prove to an administrative judge that the bills were unwarranted.

Counties argue that the state should fix its bill system, which they say is plagued with errors, before using the withholding mechanism in the bill to force counties to pay 85 percent of bills that might or might not be valid. Lawmakers who supported the measure said they should have been paying their bills all along.

The counties would have three years to pay back the money, at a cost of about $77.5 million, according to the state; the Florida Association of Counties argues that the measure will cost governments nearly $155.6 million.

“I respectfully acknowledge the concern this provision may create for some counties,” Scott wrote in a letter announcing his signature. ” … To that end, I have pledged to the counties that AHCA and my staff will work diligently with them to certify that any billings for which counties are charged are accurate and valid.”

Scott also said AHCA officials will visit every county in the state to talk about problems with the billing system.

Even so, FAC President Doug Smith issued a statement blasting the move.

“While we appreciate the Governor’s commitment to certify accurate billings, the bottom line is that H.B. 5301 makes those errors the law of the land, leaving taxpayers on the hook for Tallahassee’s multi-million dollar accounting mess,” Smith said. “This bill represents the very worst in bureaucratic inefficiency and serves as a splendid example of what taxpayers resent about government.”

Smith said the counties were “considering all of our options” in responding to the law. He did not elaborate on what those options might include.

The bill also allows the children of state workers to get subsidized health care coverage through the KidCare system.

The News Service Florida contributed to this report.

Ready, Set, Go: Ernest Ward Begins Track Season (With Gallery)

March 30, 2012

Middle School track and field season got underway Thursday in Escambia County.

The Ernest Ward Middle School Eagles traveled to Pensacola to compete against Woodham, Warrington and Brown Barge middle schools. Results from the meet were not  immediately available from host school Woodham.

For a photo gallery from the meet, click here.

Pictured top:  Ernest Ward’s Jensyn Warner leads the pack in the girls 800 meter Thursday afternoon at Woodham Middle School in Pensacola. Pictured inset: Hadley Woodfin runs the girls 4×100 relay for the Eagles. Pictured: Ernest Ward competed in their first track meet of the season Thursday afternoon. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.

Weekend Weather

March 30, 2012


Here is your official North Escambia area forecast:

  • Tonight: A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 60. Southwest wind between 5 and 10 mph.
  • Saturday: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 84. West wind between 5 and 10 mph.
  • Saturday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Patchy fog after 1am. Otherwise, partly cloudy, with a low around 58. Southwest wind between 5 and 10 mph.
  • Sunday: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 84. Southwest wind between 5 and 10 mph.
  • Sunday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 60. South wind between 5 and 10 mph.
  • Monday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 87. Calm wind becoming south between 5 and 10 mph.
  • Monday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 63. South wind between 5 and 10 mph.
  • Tuesday: A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 84. South wind between 5 and 10 mph.
  • Tuesday Night: A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 64. South wind between 5 and 10 mph.
  • Wednesday: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 80.
  • Wednesday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 53.
  • Thursday: Sunny, with a high near 77.
  • Thursday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 52.

Escambia Man Gets 25 Years For Drug Trafficking

March 30, 2012

An Escambia County man will spend a mandatory 25 years in prison and was hit with a half million dollar fine for trafficking in hydrocodone.

Roderick Jones receive the sentence this week from Judge Jan Shackelford. Under the sentence, he will receive no gain time and must serve the full 25 years, according to State Attorney Bill Eddins.
This defendant was part of the undercover “Operation Anything for a Buck”. The storefront was an eight month operation between the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, and other law enforcement agencies as well as the First Circuit State Attorneys Office. The operation recovered over 270 firearms, as well as drugs and stolen property ranging from jewelry, tools, cameras, and other electronic devices. A total of 75 people were arrested in connection with the undercover operation.

On July 18, 2011, Roderick Jones went into the undercover storefront and sold a trafficking amount of hydrocodone pills to undercover officers. Jones has 16 more cases pending in connection with this operation. These cases are currently set for trial on April 2, 2012. Of the pending cases, he faces multiple 25-year minimum mandatory sentences for drug trafficking charges.

Baseball, Softball: Northview, Tate, Jay, West Florida (With Gallery)

March 30, 2012

qHere’s a look at baseball and softball action from the North Escambia area Thursday:

Northview 14 — Central 3

The Northview Chiefs beat the Central High School Jaguars 14-3 in six innings Thursday on the road in Santa Rosa County. (Pictured above, left).

For a photo gallery from the game, click here.

The Chiefs will head across the state line Monday to take on the Flomaton Hurricanes. The junior varsity begins at 4:00, followed by the varsity at 6:00.

Northview 10 — Central 0 (JV)

The junior varsity Northview Chiefs also won on Thursday, shutting out Central 10-0 in five innings.

Tate 3 — Milton 1

The Tate Aggies baseball team improved to 14-1 and 7-0 in district play with a 3-1 road victory over the Milton Panthers on Thursday.

JT Granat collected the his fourt win of the season pitching four  innings. He allowed four hits and struck out four Blake Edgar picked up his first save of the season pitching three innings.

Offensively, the Aggies were lead by Cody Palmer (2-3, 3B,2 runs), Austin Quina (2-2), and Mac Seibert (2-3, 3 SB).

Tate plays host to Washington Friday to begin the second round of district play with a JV/varsity double header beginning at 4:30.


West Florida 8 — Northview 0

The West Florida Jaguars defeated the Northview Chiefs 8-0 Thursday at West Florida.  Misty Doran took the loss for the Chiefs, pitching six innings and striking out eight.

The Lady Chiefs will host the Freeport Bulldogs in varsity action Monday at 5:00 in Bratt.

Jay 12 — WS Neal 2

The Jay Lady Royals improved to 9-3 on the season Thursday with a win over WS Neal at Brewton. Sydney Lowery pitched the win for Jay, allowing four hits, two run, one error and striking out one. Jay hitters included: Becca Callaway 2-2, 2B, 3R, 2 RBI, 2 BB. Tessa Hendricks 2-4, 2B, 3B, 2R 3 RBI,; Sydney Lowery 3-4, 1R, 3 RBI. Michaela Stewart 1-2, 2 R.

Pictured top: The Northview Chiefs take on Central Thursday afternoon. Submitted photos by Taylor Rigby for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Great For The Kids: Free Open House At Turtle Point

March 30, 2012

There will be an open house Saturday at the Turtle Point Science Center in Flomaton.

The “Spring Fling” will feature Steve Trash, Reno’s Reptiles, and Raptor Trek from the Coosa River Science School. Six live birds of prey will be at Turtle Point on Saturday, with the opportunity to see hawks, owls, falcons and an American bald eagle up close and personal.

The event is free to the public from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Lunch and drinks will be available from the Flomaton High School Band Boosters.

The 3,000 square foot Turtle Point offers a touch tank for children and other hands-on exhibits. It boasts an extensive collection of wildlife specimens including many Alabama birds, nests, and eggs; a butterfly and living bee exhibit; live alligators, turtles, snakes, amphibians, and fish of the East Gulf Coastal Plain geophysical region. Also, plant lovers will find six teaching gardens and a wetland nature trail.

Bird watchers are encouraged to hike the nature trail boardwalk and enjoy the red-tailed hawk, great blue heron, great egret, pileated woodpecker, red-headed woodpecker, yellow-shafted flicker, yellow bellied sap sucker, eastern bluebird, wren, killdeer, green heron, barred owl, screech owl, and many other native birds and wildlife.

Turtle Point’s goal is to provide hands-on environmental education to students and adults in the South Alabama and Northwest Florida. Turtle Point is located at 20959 Highway 31 in Flomaton, near Hurricane Park and Flomaton High School. For more information, call (251) 296-3401.

Saturday’s schedule of events is as follows:

  • 9:15 — Raptor Trek, live birds of prey
  • 10:15 — Steve Trash, environmental magician
  • 11:15 — Reno’s Reptiles, exotic reptile show
  • 12:15 — Raptor Trek, live birds of prey
  • 1:15 — Reno’s Reptiles, exotic reptile show
  • 2:15 — Steve Trash, environmental mag

Pictured: The Turtle Point Science Center in Flomaton. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.

Photos: 21st Annual Century Sawmill Pageant Winners

March 30, 2012

The 21st Annual Century Sawmill Pageant was held recently in Century.

The event included pageants for numerous age groups for beauty, casual wear, and most photogenic. A record number of participants and crowds made it the Century Lions Club’s most successful fund raiser yet.

“The funds are used to assist children with the purchase of eye glasses and vision appointments,” said Don Sales, club secretary. “We organize and host this pageant with those kids in mind.”

Winners for each age category are detailed under each photograph below:

Miss (age 13+)  Winners: (L-R) 3rd Runner Up: Paige Smith;  2nd Runner Up: Sidnie McMorris;  Queen/Casual Wear Winner: Alayna Nicole Gordon; 1st Runner Up/Photogenic: Mallory Merchant; Miss Congeniality Runner Up: Brooklyn Shae Dortch.

Pre-Teen Winners (age  10-12): (L-R)  1st Runner Up: Joy Elizabeth Flanders; Queen: Kassidy Lynne Adams; 2nd Runner Up/Photogenic: Tori Knapp; 3rd Runner Up/Casual Wear Winner: Brittanie Grace Johnson.

Junior Miss (age 8-9):  (L-R) 3rd Runner Up/Casual Wear Winner: Sierra Madison Hutto; 1st Runner Up: Savannah Mercedes Blackburn; Queen: Maegan Mallett; 2nd Runner Up: Caroline Elizabeth Harp; and Photogenic: Sunny Alexis Maher.

Young Miss Winners (age 6-7): (L-R) 1st Runner Up-Laiken Marie King; Queen/Casual Wear Winner: Nevaeh Skye Brown; 2nd Runner Up/Photogenic: Emma Breanna Barrow; and 3rd Runner Up: Aleigh Thornton.

Little Miss (age 4-5): (L-R) Photogenic: Ji Ji Morrow; 2nd Runner Up: Morgan Hicks; Queen: Zakyla Tamia Smith; 1st Runner Up: Jordon Elizabeth Sanders;
3rd Runner Up: Cadee M’lynn Carroll.

Toddler Miss (age 2-3): (L-R)  2nd Runner Up: Lanie Kate Stephens; 3rd Runner Up/Miss Congeniality: Emilee Grace Braswell; Queen/Casual Wear Winner: Kailee Herndon;  1st Runner Up: Jamie Michelle Roberts and Photogenic: Katie Gatewood.

Baby Miss (age 12-23 months): (L-R, bottom row)  2nd Runner Up: Madelyn Grace Calloway; Queen/Casual Wear Winner: Braylynn Presley Turner; 1st Runner Up: Kiley Webb; (back row) Photogenic: Kaydence Makenzie Hadley; and 3rd Runner Up: Brailee Erin Hobbs.

Tiny Baby Miss (age 0-11 months): (L-R, bottom row) 3rd place-Adahline Grayce Burks; Queen/Photogenic/Casual Wear Winner: Mckenzie Brooke Griffis; 1st Runner Up: Brooklynnn Grace Higdon; (back row) 2nd Runner Up: Mackenzie Tagudor.

Other winners: (L-R) Overall Queen 6 & Up: Brittanie Grace Johnson; Little Miss Casual Wear Winner: Aliyah Lynn Neal; Overall Queen 0-5 Years: Kailee Herndon; Little Mr. King: Brody Turk.

Photos by Fischer for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

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