Local Lawmakers, Except Evers, Receive High Marks From Education Group

June 30, 2013

The Foundation for Florida’s Future has  released it’s annual evaluation grading Florida’s lawmakers on their efforts to improve the quality of education in the Sunshine State.

A not-for-profit organization aimed at keeping K-12 education in Florida a model for the nation, the Foundation chaired by former Gov. Jeb Bush works to advance reforms that allow each child to achieve his or her God-given potential and prepare all students to succeed in the 21st century. The Foundation’s 2013 reform agenda focused on empowering parents, preparing students for success, supporting teachers, transforming education with technology, establishing equality and equity in school choice and funding student achievement.

Among local lawmakers, Rep. Clay Ingram, Rep. Doug Broxson and Sen Don Gaetz received A grades of 100. Sen Greg Evers received a C grade with a score of 78.

The Foundation measures reforms based on seven core principles: rigorous academic standards, standardized measurement, data-driven accountability, effective teachers and leaders, outcome-based funding, school choice and digital Learning. Report Card grades were assigned based on scores of 0 – 100, established through each lawmaker’s voting record along with demonstrated leadership.

Pictured: Rep. Clay Ingram.

Almost 200 New Laws Take Effect Monday

June 30, 2013

The state’s $74.1 billion budget, which will fund 114,481 positions, 3,955 more than in the current fiscal year, kicks in on Monday. At the same time, nearly 200 new laws approved by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Rick Scott hit the books.

The bills range from a limit on the law enforcement use of drones, to a bill spelling out how money is raised to build nuclear power plants to new rules for Citizens Property Insurance Corp. There also will be, come Monday, a crackdown on “cyberbullying,” conversion of low speed vehicles into golf carts and a prohibition on the sale of bongs.

A new law against texting while driving (SB 52) doesn’t take effect until October 1, while changes to campaign fundraising (HB 7013) go into place next year.

Here are highlights of some of the laws taking effect July 1:


HB 21: Requires the Department of Education to conduct background screening for non-instructional contractors that will be on school grounds, and creates a statewide identification badge for the contractors.

HB 209: Changes the name of Lake Sumer Community College to Lake Sumter State College.

SB 284: Allows private schools to be notified by first responders about emergencies and makes sure public schools spell out which agencies are supposed to contact them.

HB 609: Cracks down on “cyberbullying” in public schools by expanding what school districts are allowed to punish at school and when children are not at school — if the non-school bullying affects education.

HB 801: Changes guidance counselors to certified school counselors.

SB 1664: Requires that at least 50 percent of a classroom teacher’s or school administrator’s performance evaluation be based on the growth or achievement of the students under their charge. The other half would be based on district-determined plans. Teachers with less than three years experience would only be judged on 40 percent of their students’ performance.


HB 655: Aimed at Orange County where a 2014 referendum was planned, the law locks local governments from requiring employers to offer paid sick leave to workers. The law also creates an Employer-Sponsored Benefits Study Task Force, which is directed to analyze employment benefits.


HB 55: Could help head off lawsuits alleging that auto dealers have engaged in deceptive and unfair practices by requiring customers to provide a demand letter before they can sue auto dealers. If dealers pay the claims and related surcharges within 30 days, they could not be sued.

SB 62: Allows street-legal, “low-speed vehicles” to be reclassified as golf carts, a move to reduce registration and insurance costs.

HB 93: Let’s people voluntarily contribute to the homeless when renewing a driver’s license.

SB 606: Creates the Northeast Florida Regional Transportation Commission for Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau, Putnam, and St. Johns Counties.

HB 4001: Abolishes the state law requiring most gasoline to include nearly 10 percent ethanol by repealing the 2008 Renewable Fuel Standard Act. Because of federal ethanol mandates the state action is mostly symbolic.

HB 7125: An omnibus transportation package that: prevents ticketing motorists as long as vehicles come to a stop, even after crossing the stop line, before making legal right turns on red; creates specialty license plates for the American Legion, Big Brothers Big Sisters and Lauren’s Kids, which is a program aimed at preventing sexual abuse of children; and bars left-lane drivers from going more than 10 mph below the speed limit if they know they are being overtaken from behind by faster-moving vehicles.

Insurance and banking

HB 157: Allows insurers to electronically transmit insurance policy to the insured.

HB 223: Lets property and casualty insurance policies and endorsements be made available on an insurer’s Internet website rather than being mailed, if agreed to by the customer.

SB 468: Exempts medical malpractice insurance from the state rate filing and approval process for some facilities and practitioners and continues the exemption of med mal insurance from the CAT Fund assessment program.

SB 1770: The Citizens Property Insurance Corp. overhaul, less imposing than initially proposed, still prevents coverage for new homes in high-risk, environmentally sensitive coastal areas, creates an internal inspector general position, and a clearinghouse intended to shift at least 200,000 policies into the private market.

Environmental and agriculture

SB 336: Allows tourist development tax dollars to be used for the benefit of certain not-for-profit run museums or aquariums.

SB 444: Requires six utilities in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties to end the practice of dumping treated wastewater into the ocean by Dec. 31, 2025.

SB 674: Requires animal shelters and animal control agencies keep more records on euthanasia and make them available to the public.

SB 948: Expands the role of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services with local utilities in water supply planning.

Law enforcement

HB 49: The “bong ban” prohibits the sale of metal, wooden, acrylic, glass, stone, plastic, or ceramic smoking pipes, chillums or bongs.

SB 92: Restricts the use of unmanned aerial drones by law enforcement unless a judge issues a warrant, there is a “high risk of terrorist attack” or officials fear someone is in imminent danger.

HB 95: Declares that money given to charities by Ponzi schemers wouldn’t have to be later returned to victimized investors if it was accepted in good faith.

SB 390: Prohibits organizations from holding themselves out as veterans service organizations if they’re not.

SB 454: Allows police departments at state colleges to enter into mutual aid agreements with local law enforcement.

HB 489: Requires railroads to cover cost of continuing education for railroad police officers and adds penalties for assaulting the officers.


SB 56: Replaces the concept of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) with Sudden Unexplained Infant Death, while altering requirements for training first responders and protocols for medical examiners.

SB 160: Requires the Department of Health waive certain licensure fees for veterans.

HB 239: Allows optometrists to prescribe certain types of drugs.

HB 365: Allows pharmacists to offer certain types of complex drugs known as “biologics” for illnesses such as cancer.

SB 662: Allows doctors to charge 112.5 percent of drugs’ average wholesale prices — a measuring stick in the pharmaceutical industry — and $8 dispensing fees. Those amounts are higher than what pharmacies can charge for providing medications to workers-compensation patients.

HB 1129: Intends to protect infants born alive after attempted abortions by requiring health-care professionals to “humanely exercise the same degree of professional skill, care and diligence to preserve the life and health of the infant” as would be the case in a natural birth. It also requires that infants born alive after attempted abortions be immediately taken to hospitals.

SB 1844: Is intended to bolster the Florida Health Choices program, a long-planned online health marketplace, by increasing funding and eligibility standards.


HB 77: The “Florida Residential Landlord and Tenant Act” allows a landlord to accept partial rent without waiving the right to evict, clarifies that weekends and holidays do not stay a sheriff’s 24-hour eviction notice, and prohibits landlords from retaliating against a tenant who lawfully pays a landlord’s association dues or complains of a fair housing violation.

HB 179: Allows certain interest on deposits collected in eminent domain proceedings to go to property owners rather than the government.

HB 217: Requires check-cashing companies to report checks worth $1,000 or more to a new state online database. The check cashing database, intended to prevent workers’ compensation fraud, is not expected to be funded until 2014.

SB 342: Allows someone with a homestead exemption to rent their property out for 30 days without losing their homestead exemption.


SB 186: Clarifies that foreign judgments issued by United States territories are entitled to full faith and credit in this state under the Florida Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act.

SB 286: Allows a design professional, such as an architect, geologist or engineer, to be immune from tort liability for damages occurring within the course and scope of the performance of a professional services contract under certain circumstances.

SB 1792: The medical-malpractice bill requires that expert witnesses have the same specialties as the physicians who are defendants in medical-negligence cases.

HB 7015: Imposes the more-restrictive “Daubert” standards for admitting expert witness testimony in lawsuits, taking into account whether the expert testimony is “based upon sufficient facts or data;” whether it is the “product of reliable principles and methods;” and whether a witness has “applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case.” The change will lead to Florida using the same standards as are used in federal courts.HB 7083: The “Timely Justice Act” that is intended to reduce final delays in carrying out the death penalty. The measure includes several changes in the death-penalty process. As an example, the act requires the clerk of the Florida Supreme Court to notify the governor when a Death Row inmate’s state and federal court appeals have been completed. The governor would then have 30 days to issue a death warrant if the executive clemency process has finished. The warrant would require that the execution be carried out within 180 days. Scott’s office has repeatedly contended that the law doesn’t “fast-track” the death penalty process.


HB 1083: Establishes a permitting process for natural gas to be injected underground and stored until it is needed.

SB 1472: Establishes new benchmarks for electric utilities that want to collect controversial fees while planning nuclear-power plants. The measure alters a 2006 law intended to encourage more nuclear power. Florida Power & Light and the former Progress Energy Florida – now Duke Energy – have used the law to collect hundreds of millions of dollars in pre-construction nuclear fees.


HB 347: Allows about 20 small craft distillers in Florida that annually produce less than 75,000 gallons of spirits to offer on-site sales. The bill imposes a two-bottle-per-customer annual cap for the purchases.

HB 623: Allows the sale of wine in 5.16 gallon canisters, which can be tapped like kegs, allowing easier sales of wine by the glass in restaurants and bars.


SB 142: The term “mental retardation” will be replaced by “intellectual disability”

SB 230: The Governor will be required to adopt flag display protocol on displaying the state flag and for the lowering of the state flag to half-staff.

With more than 50 bills still awaiting action by Scott, there are other potential new laws that would go into effect Monday if Scott signs them.


SB 1388: Allows school districts to create their own instructional material adoption process.

HB 7009: An omnibus education package that adds both new accountability measures and new flexibility for charter schools. High-performing charters would be allowed to boost their enrollment annually, and the Department of Education is charged with proposing a standard contract for charter schools. Allows school boards the ability to set up a public “Innovation School of Technology” that could get much of the same flexibility as charter schools get if they use new technology in instruction. And bars students from being taught by low-performing teachers in the same subject two years in a row, though parents could allow districts to ignore that rule in the case of extracurricular courses.HB 7165: Moves the state’s voluntary pre-kindergarten and school readiness programs to the Department of Education and tighten accountability.

Environment and agriculture

HB 203: Prohibits local governments from regulating or charging fees on certain farm land under certain circumstances.

SB 244: Allows water-management districts to enter into cooperative agreements.

Law enforcement

HB 875: Makes it a crime to impersonate a security officer and allows authorized security officers to detain trespassers in some cases.

HB 1355: Blocks gun sales to some people who voluntarily admit themselves for mental-health treatment.


HB 1285: Abolishes the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center Authority and transfer its assets and liabilities to Florida State University, with a provision that directs a division of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation to issue a special alcoholic-beverage license for the civic center.

HB 1421: Allows some hotels and motels in Madison County to get a special alcoholic beverage license.

By The News Service of Florida

Dump Your Kids At The Perdido Landfill For A Day Camp

June 30, 2013

The Escambia County Department of Solid Waste invites kids to participate in “Dump your Kids at the Perdido Landfill for a Day!” camp this summer.

This one-day excursion to the Perdido Landfill allows kids, ages 5-11, to participate in fun-filled activities designed to teach the importance of the reduction of generated waste through source reduction, recycling, reuse or composting. Activities include a tour of the Perdido Landfill, recycling education, household chemical waste education, hands-on recycling projects, arts and crafts with recycled materials, games that focus on recycling and reuse as well as an eco-walk on the Perdido Riverwalk Nature Trail.

The cost of the camp is the donation of one pair of new or gently used shoes to be donated to Soles4Souls. Campers will need to bring clothes that are appropriate to play in and be worn outside, a brown bag lunch, snacks, a reusable water bottle and drinks. (Campers should try to pack a zero waste lunch which means reusable containers.) One snack will be provided at the beginning of the day.

Remaining camp dates are Thursday, July 11, Tuesday, July 16, Thursday, July 18, Tuesday, July 23, Thursday, July 25, Thursday, August 1, Tuesday, August 6 and Thursday, August 8  — each camp from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

For more information or to pre-register please contact Recycling Operations at 937-2160. Space is limited. The camp is sponsored by Escambia County Department of Solid Waste Management Waste Services.

Century Sets Council Agenda

June 30, 2013

The Town of Century has set their agenda for Monday night’s meeting, and it’s a business-as-usual plan.

The town will conduct ordinary business — approve previous meeting minutes, approve bills and hear from the mayor and council — and hear a request from the Northview High School Yearbook.

The Century Town Council meets the first and third Monday of each month at 7 p.m. All meetings are open to the public.

Bratt Basketball Camp Planned With Former NBA Coach

June 30, 2013

The First Baptist Church of Bratt will host a basketball camp  this month with a former NBA, college and high school coach.

The camp for children ages 8-14 will be held  July 22-26 from 9 a.m. until noon at the church. Coach Roger Dutremble of Global Sports Outreach will teach kids the fundamentals of basketball and Biblical awareness.

Dutremble is a a retired coach and member of the International Basketball Hall of Fame. He  career includes coaching at every level from high school to the NBA, and into international arenas, with a lifetime coaching record of 687-117 and seven national championships. He was selected “Coach of the Year” six times, and served as national team head coach to Belgium, Scotland, and Jordan. He was an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Lakers, serving under Paul Westhead and Pat Riley, from 1979-83 and helping the team to three NBA championships with players like Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

The cost is $35 per student with a limited number of scholarships available. For more information, contact Tim Hawsey at (850) 327-6529.

Pictured: Students that participated in last year’s basketball camp at the First Baptist Church of Bratt. NorthEscambia.com file photo, click to enlarge.

County Association Presents Robinson With Presidential Advocacy Award

June 30, 2013

The Florida Association of Counties (FAC) presented Escambia County Commissioner Grover Robinson with the Presidential Advocacy Award during the 2013 FAC Annual Conference & Exposition in Hillsborough County last week.

“I am proud to be part of an organization like FAC that has the Florida citizen’s best interest in mind,” said Robinson, IV.  “It is a great honor to be recognized for making a positive impact in Escambia County and I look forward to collaborating with other county commissioners to do the best work for the people.”

Commissioner Robinson was an invaluable asset to FAC during the Legislative Session and showed exceptional commitment to advancing public policy.  Robinson took time to educate legislators on FAC’s priority issues, specifically the State-County Cost Share of Medicaid.

“It is public servants like Commissioner Robinson that ensure our local communities have the authority to respond to the demands of their citizens,” said FAC Executive Director Chris Holley, “Commissioner Robinson’s support in our efforts to create an equitable and fair solution to Medicaid cost share was essential in getting rid of the cumbersome and erroneous billing system that has been in place for years.”

The Presidential Advocacy Award is given annually to those county commissioners from around the state who have shown exceptional leadership in partnering with FAC to advance the counties’ legislative agenda.

ECUA Golf Tourney Nets $9K For Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital

June 30, 2013

ECUA Employee’s Golf Tournament organizers recently presented a $9,000 check to the Sacred Heart Foundation. The donation was made possible through proceeds from the 2013 golf tournament held in April. Over the last 15 years, the golf tournament has contributed over $142,000 to the children’s hospital. Pictured: ECUA’s Bobby Rogers, Ron Doolittle, Carol Carlin from the Sacred Heart Hospital Foundation and Bill Ellis. Submitted photo for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Suns Outshine Wahoos 3-2

June 30, 2013

Noah Perio blasted his first homer of the year in the last of the seventh, snapping a 2-2 tie and sending the Jacksonville Suns to a 3-2 triumph over the Pensacola Blue Wahoos on Saturday night at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.

Perio’s first round-tripper since April 22, 2012 came out of the blue against Wahoo reliever Josh Ravin who had retired all five hitters he had faced out of the Pensacola bullpen. Ravin took the loss to fall to 1-3 on the year, giving up the run on one hit in two innings with a strikeout and a walk.

Chad Rogers and Robert Morey dueled through five innings apiece to a 2-2 stalemate. Morey, starting for the first time since a complete game a week ago, held Pensacola hitless through 2.2 innings before Yorman Rodriguez singled home Brodie Greene, who had walked in the inning, with two outs in the third to give the Wahoos a 1-0 lead.

The lead didn’t last long, however, as Jacksonville came back with two runs in the last of the third against Rogers. Morey and Jake Marisnick walked to start the frame and each moved up a base on a sac bunt. Morey scored on a sacrifice fly by J.T. Realmuto while Marisnick came around on an RBI single by Zack Cox to put the Suns on top 2-1 after three innings.

The Wahoos knotted the game up at two in the fifth on a similar formula. Greene walked to lead off the frame, was sacrificed to second and scored easily on Rodriguez’s two-out double.

Both starters received no decisions in the contest. Rogers, in his second start back off the DL, went five innings, allowing two runs on two hits with three strikeouts and four walks. Morey matched him pitch-for-pitch, yielding two runs on four hits with three punch-outs and four walks in five frames.

Bryan Evans (1-3) picked up the win for the Suns with two scoreless innings of relief. Michael Brady picked up his 13th save of the year with a perfect ninth inning.

The five-game series continues with game two on Sunday afternoon at 2:05 p.m. CT. Tim Crabbe (3-6, 3.38) gets the ball for Pensacola.

by Kevin Burke

Helen Marie Brown

June 30, 2013

Helen Marie Brown was born on December 6, 1932, to the late Charlie and Viola Johnson in Buena Vista, AL.

She gracefully departed this life to be with God on June 25, 2013.  She had 13 sisters and brothers, six of whom, Lee, Ollie, Minnie, Willie Clyde, Robert and Lucille, preceded her in death.  She was a member of Ebenezer Lutheran Church in Atmore.

She was married to Hoover Brown for 57 years, and to this union, five children were born. Those who mourn her but cherish her memory are: devoted husband, Hoover Brown of Atmore; five children, DeVan Brown of Atlanta, Devon Brown of Atmore, Andre Brown (Katrinka) of Atmore, Renee Rowe (Wayne) of Atlanta and Eric Brown (Gwendolyn) of Birmingham; six brothers, Delloyd Johnson and O’Neill Johnson, both of Atmore, Woodrow (Elizabeth) Johnson of Chicago, Dewey Johnson of Jackson, Ala., Peter Johnson and Jessie Johnson, both of Los Angeles; one sister, Mary Alice (Charles) Reynolds of Atmore; a devoted sister-in-law, Viola Johnson of Atmore;  nine grandchildren; seven great grandchildren; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and other relatives and loving friends.

Funeral services will be held Monday, July 1 at 1 p.m. from Empowerment Tabernacle Christian Center. Burial will follow at Stallworth Cemetery. Family will receive friends Sunday, June 30 from 6 until 8 p.m. at Mayberry Funeral Home.

Mayberry Funeral Home in charge of all arrangements.

Lloyd Parker

June 30, 2013

Lloyd Parker, a native of Atmore, AL, and longtime resident of Pensacola, passed away June 21, 2013. He was a painter by profession. Lloyd was an avid University of Florida baseball fan.

He enjoyed hunting, fishing, and spending time with his family.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Talmadge  and Tennie Mae Parker; son, Ronald Ray Parker; two brothers, Bill Parker and Tommy Parker.

He is survived by his loving wife, Shirley Trawick Parker, son, Keith (Laura) Parker, daughter, Karen (Craig) Poche; stepdaughters, Sharon Dillon and Cheryl Pugh; stepson, Bobby Cook; brothers, Quinton (Virginia) Parker, Claude (Dianne) Parker and Danny (Christy) Parker; sisters, Carolyn Davis and Bonnie (Jim) Garrett; seven grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; several nieces, nephews and many friends.

Memorial Service was held at 10 a.m. , Saturday, June 29, 2013, at Beulah Baptist Church, 5805 Beulah Road with Sean Till and Deacon Thomas Frazier officiating.

Faith Chapel Funeral Home North was in charge of all arrangements.

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