Cause Of Death Released For Body Found Off Hwy 29

January 30, 2013

Preliminary autopsy results released this afternoon show that Melisa Midori Thownsend died from multiple stab wounds.

Her body was found last Friday afternoon in an area behind a business in 6900 block of Pensacola Boulevard, near Kenmore Boulevard. Deputies said it appeared the body had been in the field for several days.

Investigators are not releasing how many wounds Townsend received or what she was stabbed with.

The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office is looking to speak to anyone that may have seen Townsend in the last couple of weeks. She was known to frequent the areas of Davis Highway, Brent Lane, Pensacola Boulevard, Olive Road and Burgess Road.

Anyone with information about Townsend during the last two weeks is asked to call the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office at (850) 436-9620 or Gulf Coast Crime Stoppers at (850) 433-STOP.

High Winds Send Pole Crashing Into Parking Lot

January 30, 2013

High winds sent a light pole crashing down into the parking lot an Atmore shopping center Wednesday morning. The pole came to rest just outside the Subway restaurant on Lindberg Avenue. There were no injuries reported.

Here are some wind gusts recorded at weather stations across the area on Wednesday:

Atmore — 54 mph
Jay — 48 mph
Bratt — 44 mph
Molino — 40 mph
Cantonment — 41 mph

If you see news or weather damage, email your photos to

Pictured top: This light pole came crashing down in an Atmore shopping center parking lot during high winds Wednesday morning. Reader submitted photo by Casey Hare for, click to enlarge.

Ernest Ward Middle Power, Phones Restored

January 30, 2013

Power and phones have been restored at Ernest Ward Middle School in Walnut Hill.

EWMS was without power for a large portion of the morning, and without power, the school’s phone system was no longer functioning.

The school was not on lock down, and school officials had telephone communications out of the school in the event of an emergency during the outage.

Shots Fired At Couple Picking Up Cans Along Highway 164

January 30, 2013

The search for a suspect is underway after someone opened fire near an older couple alongside a highway in the Christian Home community Tuesday afternoon. The incident happened just before 4 p.m. on Highway 164 just a few yards east of the North Pine Barren Road intersection.

Escambia  County Sheriff’s Office investigators said a husband and wife were picking up cans from the shoulder of the road when a white pickup truck stopped and a black male exited  armed with a semi automatic rifle.

The unidentified black male then confronted the couple, demanding that they return his property. He then fired multiple shots into the ground near the couple with the semi-automatic rifle before fleeing the scene in the white pickup truck. No one was struck by the gunfire, and there were no injuries.

The couple then drove about six miles to their home before calling for help. Deputies recovered multiple shell casings alongside Highway 164, consistent with the couple’s story.

Sgt. Mike Ward, spokesman for the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, said the incident is believed to be drug related.

The the older couple was not suspected of any crime. Further details have not been released.

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

Pictured: An Escambia County Sheriff’s Office investigator at the scene of a shots fired incident along Highway 164 near Pine Barren Road. photos, click to enlarge.

Several Century Streets To Be Repaved Beginning This Week

January 30, 2013

Work to resurface several Century streets is set to begin this week.

Roads, Inc., under a contract rate established with Escambia County, will pave the following:

  • Maple Street, $10,090.05
  • Nadine McCaw Park, $4,356.55
  • Front Street, $25,022.55
  • Jefferson Avenue, $41,764.45
  • Salters Lake Road, $17,522.30
  • Ivy Street (near Hwy 29), $2,000

Century has previously completed paving projects totaling about $308,000  on Freedom Road, Old Flomaton Road, Hecker Road, Elm Street, Hilltop Road, West Cottage Street, Academy Street, Pleasant Hill Road, Ramar Street, Bonwell Lane, Gifford Lane, Barnwell Lane, Field Road and Sellars Road.

The projects began with a priority list created by the Century Town Council back in 2010.

Pictured: Field Road (top) and Sellers Street (below) were among the most recently resurfaced streets in Century. file photos, click to enlarge.

Burglary, Copper Theft At Town Owned Industrial Building

January 30, 2013

A burglary and copper theft at a vacant town-owned industrial building in Century is under investigation.

Someone busted out a window at the former Van Nevel Helicopters building on Industrial Boulevard in Century. Several small items appeared to have been removed from the building, but the most damage done in the crime was outside the  40,000 square foot building.

The suspect forcibly removed sections of industrial size copper tubing leading from multiple air conditioning units into the building, town officials said. The units themselves were not opened or damaged.

Town employees believe the thefts occurred sometime between Friday and Tuesday morning when the broken window was discovered.

The Van Nevel Helicopters building has been empty for years after the business owner apparently fled the county amidst financial difficulties. The Town of Century foreclosed on the property in August 2009. The heating and cooling systems in the building were replaced with new, energy efficient units in 2011.

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

Pictured top: An Escambia County Sheriff’s Office crime scene technician dusts a broken window for fingerprints at the former Van Nevel Helicopters building in Century. Pictured inset: The crime scene tech photographs damage to an air conditioning unit. Pictured below: The vacant town owned building was burglarized some time between Friday and Tuesday. photos, click to enlarge.

Shovels And Rope: Country Rock Duo With Local Ties On Letterman Tonight

January 30, 2013

A husband and wife country rock duo with local ties is scheduled to appear tonight on the Late Show With David Letterman on CBS. Shovels and Rope is Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst, based in Charleston, S.C.

Hearst is the daughter of Michael Hearst of Canoe, AL — a small community on the Alabama/Florida line just east of Atmore.

Formed in 2010, Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst sing harmony driven folk, rock and country songs using two old guitars, a kick drum, a snare, a few tambourines, harmonicas, and and maybe a little keyboard sometimes.  They tour constantly as a two piece, making as much noise as they can.

“I dare to match them (Shovels and Dirt) with the couple that set the standard for country duets, Johnny Cash and June Carter. Both couples share Southern roots and that music-from-the-back porch country sound, and all involved had solo careers first and showed their affection for each other onstage,” Val Haller wrote in the January 8 edition of the New York Times.

As for the name Shovels and Rope, the group’s website says: “The name Shovels & Rope comes from the title of a record by Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent called Shovels & Rope. It’s a pretty good record featuring several murder ballads where some characters were hanging and others were doing the burying, so the title seemed apt. It now serves as the official moniker of the band.”

Flomaton Drama Club To Present ‘All Shook Up’

January 30, 2013

The Flomaton High School Drama Club will present “All Shook Up” Thursday and Friday evenings at 7:00. Admission is $5.

“This musical is a lot of fun! If you can think of an Elvis song, it’s probably in this musical,” Jerry Aaron, Drama Club advisor said.

“All Shook Up” is inspired by and features the songs of Elvis Presley. The musical is described: Into a square little town in a square little state rides a guitar-playing roustabout who changes everything and everyone he meets in this hip-swiveling, lip-curling musical fantasy that’ll have you jumpin’ out of your blue suede shoes with such classics as “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Jailhouse Rock,” and “Don’t Be Cruel”.

Flomaton’s production stars Deston Taylor as Chad, the guitar playing roustabout, and Victoria Roe as Natalie Haller, the local female mechanic who is looking for some excitement. Tyler Dove plays the part of straight-laced military school student; Dean Hyde and Hannah Blair plays the girl who was raised on the wrong side of the tracks Lorraine.

“Both of our male leads are played by veterans of the Drama Club but our female leads are both freshman. These girls are very talented and have worked hard to get this show ready for the production,” Aaron said.

K. J. Head plays Lorraine’s mother Sylvia; Seth Harrison plays Natalie’s dad Jim. Of course the town has a nosey Mayor played by Dezare Turner.

“We have about 25 students involved in this production, and they have worked hard learning to dance and sing this great music. Olivia Singelton has done a great job with the chorography, I certainly could not have done it without her, “Aaron added.

Pictured top: (L-R) Travis Coleman, Tiffany Hardy, Olivia Singelton, Taylor Morris, Taylor Graves, Matt Ledford and Kerrie Kornegay. Deston Taylor kneeling. Pictured below:  Girls that love Chad. Pictured inset above: Chad played by junior Deston Taylor is just a roving roustabout, Natalie played by fresham Victoria Roe  loves Chad, and Dennis played by Senior Dan Condrey loves Natalie. Picture bottom: Cast members Back row – Seth Harrison, Trent Sutton, Grace Carrier, Trevor Reeves, Scarlett Carter, Kimberly Waldrop, Eric Bossard. Second
row – Dan Condrey, Tyler Dove, Madison Buffington, Kristen Dixon, Hannah Kaylor, Dezarae Turner.  Front row – Tiffany Paige, Chelsea Turner, Nickie Brittingham, Hannah Blair, K. J. Head, Alexis Williams, and Daniel Lambeth. Submitted photos for, click to enlarge.

Require CPR Training For All High School Grads?

January 30, 2013

Public school students would be trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation as part of their physical education under a measure filed Tuesday. The bill would require students to complete an accredited CPR course at least once before graduating from high school. The bill is sponsored by Clay Ford, R-Gulf Breeze. Class times vary, but CPR can be successfully taught in two to three hours.

Blood Drive Thursday At Tate High In Honor Of Senior Halee Boyd

January 30, 2013

A blood drive will be held tomorrow  at Tate High School in honor of student Halee Boyd.

Halee, a Tate senior, is battling a rare cancer and is currently in pediatric intensive care fighting a blood infection, according to Mardi Boyd, her mother.  Tuesday morning, Mardi Boyd appeared on Tate High’s in-house television morning show to appeal to students to give blood.

The blood drive will take place from 9 a.m. until 2:30 Thursday at the school for students, faculty and staff. All blood types are needed. Generally, healthy people age 16 or older who weigh at least 110 pounds can donate blood. Donors that are 16 must have parental consent.

Pictured: Mardi Boyd, mother of cancer patient Halee Boyd, appeared on Tate High School’s in-house morning show Tuesday morning to encourage students to give blood. Submitted photos for, click to enlarge.

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