Rain Moves Into Forecast

March 29, 2012

Here is your official North Escambia area forecast:

    • Today: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Areas of dense fog before 10am. Otherwise, partly sunny, with a high near 81. Calm wind becoming south around 5 mph.
    • Tonight: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 1am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 61. South wind around 5 mph becoming calm.
    • Friday: Showers and thunderstorms likely. Partly sunny, with a high near 79. Calm wind becoming southwest between 5 and 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%.
    • Friday Night: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 62. South wind between 5 and 10 mph becoming calm.
    • Saturday: A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 83. Calm wind becoming west around 5 mph.
    • Saturday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 61. South wind around 5 mph becoming calm.
    • Sunday: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 85. Calm wind becoming south between 5 and 10 mph.
    • Sunday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 63. South wind between 5 and 10 mph becoming calm.
    • Monday: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 84. Calm wind becoming south between 10 and 15 mph. Winds could gust as high as 20 mph.
    • Monday Night: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 65.
    • Tuesday: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 80.
    • Tuesday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 52.
    • Wednesday: Sunny, with a high near 78.

      Crude Oil Transfer Station Could Mean 30 New Jobs For Walnut Hill

      March 29, 2012

      A new crude oil transfer station in Walnut Hill could mean about 30 new high paying jobs.

      Genesis Rail Systems, LLC wants to build the facility on 20 acres off Corley Road, near Arthur Brown Road. The property was chosen because it is at the intersection of an existing crude oil pipeline and the Alabama & Gulf Coast Railway.

      Crude oil will be shipped in rail tanker cars from the north — including oil fields in Monroe and Escambia counties in Alabama — and be offloaded at the Walnut Hill facility into a 100,000 barrel storage tank before being injected into the existing Genesis pipeline for transport to refineries along the Gulf Coast.

      According to project plans, the facility will create 25-30 or more well paying full time jobs in the community, plus positive economic impacts from constructions and ongoing expenditures.

      Plan drawings for the facility show that the large crude oil storage tank will be surrounded by a lined containment area designed to catch storm water runoff and, in a worse case scenario, any leak, preventing any contamination to the surrounding area. The facility will also include the pumping equipment, a 1,500 square foot administration building and a 45-space gravel parking lot.

      To support the planned oil transfer station, the Alabama & Gulf Coast Railway is currently constructing an additional rail spur parallel to tracks that run along Corley Road from Arthur Brown Road.

      The construction project must receive final approval from Escambia County before construction can begin.

      Pictured above: Property off Corley Road in Walnut Hill were a company wants to build a crude oil transfer station. Pictured inset: Alabama & Gulf Coast Railway is already working to install new track. Pictured below: Plans for the facility. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.

      Jay Company Awarded Court Judgment Against Former Century Lumber And Land

      March 29, 2012

      A Jay company has been awarded an $11,770 default judgment against the former Century Lumber and Land.

      C&C Land Clearing of Jay filed suit against Century Lumber and Land, LLC for land clearing work around the former Alger-Sullivan Lumber Company property in Century. C&C was awarded a default judgment against Century Lumber and Land by Judge Pat Kinsey.

      Century Lumber and Land held a ribbon cutting back in October 2010 for a group of new businesses that planned to locate in Century’s vacant Alger Sullivan Lumber Company property and bring up to 500 jobs to the struggling town. According to property records, Century Lumber and Land did not own the property at the time of the ribbon cutting.

      Those jobs never materialized, with manager James Leonard Craft indicted in Alabama on charges stemming from an Alabama Securities Commission investigation. He is awaiting trial on those charges.

      Pictured: Crews from C&C Land Clearing of Jay work to clear the former Alger-Sullivan Lumber Company site on October 22, 2010. NorthEscambia.com file photos, click to enlarge.

      Supreme Court Justices Ponder Obama Health Care Law

      March 29, 2012

      The U.S. Supreme Court grappled with a complex question Wednesday in the Florida-led challenge to the 2010 federal health overhaul: If the so-called “individual mandate” is unconstitutional, should the rest of the law also be thrown out?

      The 2,700-page law deals with wide-ranging issues, such as expanding Medicaid eligibility and creating insurance exchanges for people to buy health coverage.

      But the lightning-rod issue is whether it is constitutional to require almost all Americans to have coverage in 2014 or pay a penalty — a requirement that has become known as the individual mandate.

      Paul Clement, an attorney for Florida and other opponents, argued Wednesday that other major parts of the law are connected to the mandate and that justices should reject the entire Affordable Care Act if the coverage requirement is unconstitutional.

      Justice Antonin Scalia backed Clement’s argument and also said it would be hard for the Supreme Court to determine which parts of the law should be allowed to continue.

      “Is this not totally unrealistic?” Scalia asked at one point, according to a transcript of the hearing. “That we are going to go through this enormous bill item by item and decide each one?”

      But more-liberal justices said parts of the law could stand, even if the individual mandate is found unconstitutional. In questioning Clement, they said Congress — not the Supreme Court — should be responsible for deciding whether to make changes to other pieces of the law.

      “So why should we say it’s a choice between a wrecking operation, which is what you (Clement) are requesting, or a salvage job?” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg asked. “And the more conservative approach would be salvage rather than throwing out everything.”

      The arguments came on the third day of the landmark arguments about the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.

      The final session Wednesday afternoon centered on part of the law that would expand Medicaid eligibility. Justices heard arguments Tuesday about the individual mandate.

      By The News Service of Florida

      Northview Music Program To Hold 10 Hours Music Marathon

      March 29, 2012

      The Northview High School band and fine arts music programs will hold a 10 hour music marathon on Saturday.

      It is the Fine Arts Department’s fund raiser for a spring trip to Atlanta. The students are looking for sponsors by the hour; for 10 straight hours, some sort of music will be happening at all times.

      “We’ll use part of the time for rehearsal and part of the time for fun music activities and games,” program director Elaine Holk said.

      To donate, contact any Northview music program student or drop your donation by the school. Checks should be made payable to the NHS Band Boosters.

      U.S. Marshals Nab Fugitive At The Barber, Another At The Beach

      March 29, 2012

      U.S. Marshals nabbed two fugitives in Escambia County Wednesday — a Mississippi home invasion suspect getting a haircut and a Louisiana escapee on the beach

      Mississippi Fugitive

      A fugitive wanted by law enforcement in Mississippi was arrested by the U.S. Marshals Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force in Escambia County Wednesday afternoon while seated in a barber’s chair getting a haircut. The Task Force started working this case over a week ago when they received information from Oxford City Police Department in Mississippi that Richard OKelley was believed to be in the Pensacola area.

      At about 3 p.m. Wednesday the Task Force and along with Escambia Patrol and their TAC Unit caught up with OKelley at a barber shop in the New Warrington area. OKelley, 28, was wanted by the Oxford Police for armed robbery of a residence with a gun and aggravated assault.

      The warrant for his arrest was issued in Oxford on March 6 of this year. Reports from Oxford indicated that OKelley along with another person took part in a home invasion and shot the homeowner. A struggle then ensued with the homeowner and the other robber when his gun went off and shot OKelley. When the Task Force found OKelley one of his calves had what appeared to be a bullet wound.

      OKelley was transported to the Escambia County Jail where he will be arraigned before an Escambia County judge on Thursday before ever being extradited back to Mississippi.

      Louisiana Fugitive

      A man who escaped from authorities in Louisiana Tuesday  morning was caught by the U.S. Marshals Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force in Pensacola and Escambia Patrol deputies in the parking lot of Casino Beach around 11 p.m. Tuesday.

      Shawn Jolivette had walked away from a jail road crew work detail at about 10 a.m. Tuesday. Task Force Officers from Escambia, Santa Rosa and Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Offices and agents from FDLE converged on Jolivette when he stepped outside of a business and was walked out into the parking lot.

      The 33-year old Jolivette was arrested without incident; however a stolen vehicle from Lafayette was recovered from the parking lot that had a loaded 9mm handgun under the front seat. At the time of his arrest, Jolivette was only charged with the car theft and not the gun. Escambia Crime Scene Unit on scene seized the weapon for further processing. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were also notified and are looking into pursuing charges against Jolivette for a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

      At the time of his escape, Jolivette was incarcerated at the Avoyelles Parish Sheriff’s Office Jail in in Louisiana on several state charges of parole violation. There were also federal detainers lodged against Jolivette on federal firearms charges of which he had already been sentenced to 63 months in jail. It is unsure how Jolivette was assigned to a work detail while there was were federal detainers on him. Jolivette will remain in Escambia County Jail  to face the local charges before being sent back to Louisiana.

      Second Man Wanted In Homicide

      March 29, 2012

      Escambia County Sheriff’s Office investigators are searching for a second man wanted for the murder of Fredric Ortiz.

      Rico Cordale Roberson is wanted for his involvement in the March 20 fatal shooting. Ortiz was found gunned down on Hayworth Avenue, just off Highway 29 near I-10.

      Roberson’s accomplice, Bryan Hines, was arrested over the weekend at the Pensacola International Airport as he tried to use his pass card to get to work. Hines is being held at the Escambia County Jail under a $250,000 bond.

      Roberson is described as being 5-foot 10-inches tall and weighing 205 pounds. He was last known to be driving a newer model white Dodge Charger that may be displaying a Louisiana tag. Roberson is known to frequent the Ensley and Lincoln Park areas, according to investigators. Roberson is considered armed and dangerous.

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

      Century Correctional Citizens Advisory Committee Meets

      March 29, 2012

      Century Correctional Institution is turning to a citizens group for advice on how the prison can better serve the community.

      An organization meeting for the Century CI Citizens Advisory Committee was held Thursday morning at the prison with a group of community members that are involved with the facility in one form or another. Advisory Committee members include local school principals, government officials, law enforcement representatives and others — many of which utilize work crews from CCI.

      “It’s a community partnership,” Warden Richard Comerford told the group. “These prisons were brought into these communities years ago for two reasons — to create jobs and for us to reach back out into the community.”

      With an annual payroll of $17.3 million, plus about $1.8 million in operating expenses and about $1.2 million in food service allocations, the 1400-inmate Century CI has a significant impact on the Century-area economy, the warden said.

      The Century Correctional Institution Citizens Advisory Committee will continue to meet throughout the year.

      Pictured top: Century Correctional Institution Citizens Advisory Committee members and staff meet Thursday morning. Pictured inset: Warden Richard Comerford addresses the group. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.

      Go Inside Prison: Century Correctional Institution

      March 29, 2012

      Beginning Sunday on NorthEscambia.com, we’ll take you inside Century Correctional Institution.

      In our series, we’ll take you on a complete took inside the 40 acre world behind the razor wire, into the dorms to see how 1,400 prisoners live, into the medical unit and beyond with dozens of never before seen photographs. We’ll talk numbers and see how much it all costs, learn about life behind bars for prisoners and those that watch over them. And we’ll answer the age old question: Do they have air conditioning?

      Don’t miss it Sunday morning as we being our special series “Inside Prison: Century Correctional Institution” on NorthEscambia.com.

      Pictured below: The outside fence at Century Correctional Institution. Pictured below: A sneak peak inside the fence at Century CI. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.

      Stand Your Ground Law Clarification Needed

      March 29, 2012

      While there’s no consensus on whether the state’s “stand your ground” self defense law may apply in the Trayvon Martin case, and not everyone agrees on whether it’s bad or good law, a consensus is emerging that it may not be as clear as it could be as to what it allows and doesn’t.

      As the 2005 law has come under intense scrutiny in the wake of the Sanford shooting of the unarmed 17-year-old Martin, veteran lawmakers haven’t been able to agree even on what the measure allows, which, the bill’s sponsor acknowledges may point to a need for clarification.

      “There’s nothing in the statute that provides for any kind of aggressive action, in terms of pursuit and confront,” said Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, who sponsored the measure in 2005. “So I think that’s been some misapplication of this statute. If anything could come out of this very tragic circumstance, it could be some clarification of when this applies and how.

      It’s always hard to predict what lawmakers might do on a particular issue, but several members of the Legislature on both sides of the law – supporters and opponents – did say this week that it likely would come in for some clarification. And while there have been calls for repeal, particularly from a few black lawmakers, most said they thought some sort of change was more likely.

      “There’s a critical and urgent need to look at the law, and at least clarify it, or explain it,” said Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, one of several African-American legislators who have called for revisiting the statute either in a special session, or when lawmakers convene.

      The incoming Democratic leader in the House, Rep. Perry Thurston, D-Plantation, and also African-American, acknowledged that a full repeal of the law isn’t likely, but also referred to the general sense that prosecutors, police and even judges may not know exactly where the lines are in terms of self defense in a public setting.

      “The concern is that the application has not been fully explained, there’s some vagueness about some of the terms,” said Thurston. “We just need to make sure it’s being applied appropriately.”

      Supporters of the law, which allows the use of defensive lethal force in public without a duty to retreat first, say it’s not clear yet whether it would apply in the shooting death of Martin last month in Sanford. George Zimmerman, a community resident who had volunteered for the neighborhood crime watch, shot Martin in what he told police was self defense. The case has gained national attention but has also drawn new attention to the stand your ground law, which was first passed in Florida, but is now law in several other states. Zimmerman’s lawyer, Craig Sonner, said in a nationally televised interview, that the stand your ground defense probably would come into the case. Zimmerman hasn’t been arrested or charged with anything.

      The measure largely expanded common law doctrine about what people may do to defend themselves when attacked in their home or car – they have long been able to stand their ground and fight force with force in those places. Under the 2005 law, that also goes for people who feel threatened out in public, in a street, a business, or at a public event, for example.

      Meanwhile, the incoming Senate Democratic leader, Sen. Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale, again urged Gov. Rick Scott to let lawmakers look at the issue sooner rather than later, pleading for the governor to call a special session. Smith had asked earlier this week for a special session on the stand your ground law, but Scott said he wants to wait until a law enforcement investigation is complete and then have a task force meet make recommendations on what, if anything, to do about the state’s self defense law.

      “A preventable death is exactly what you’re risking now,” Smith responded in a second letter on Wednesday. “…We have more than enough evidence already on hand of the deadly confrontations and self defense claims to begin a closer examination of the law’s track record and whether changes are needed to stop its abuse. There is absolutely no reason the public should accept any delay when seven years of history already exist.”

      Rep. Dwight Bullard, a Miami Democrat, said earlier this week that many who don’t think the law works very well might be OK with a new measure that seeks to clarify how it should work – but said that at a minimum that had to happen.

      “If not, I can definitely look to see multiple offerings of repealing the law,” said Bullard.

      Lawmakers aren’t currently scheduled to return until next year and won’t file new legislation until after the November election.

      By The News Service Florida

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