Senate Prez Doesn’t Like School Grades Decision

July 31, 2013

Raising concerns about parents not getting accurate evaluations of their children’s schools, Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, said he was not a “big fan” of a state decision to prevent schools from dropping more than one letter grade this year.

Six Escambia County schools benefit from the one letter grade drop protection: Ernest Ward,  C.A. Weis, McArthur,  Montclair, Navy Point and   O. J. Semmes.

“I don’t think you’re really kidding anybody when you say, ‘Well, we’ve got a C school that really dropped to an F school, but we’re just going to give it a D and hope that everybody sort of figures out that this is a school that’s not done so well,’ ” Gaetz said during an appearance this week on The Florida Channel’s “Florida Face to Face” interview show.

Gaetz, a former Okaloosa County schools superintendent, added, “I think when you get an F, you get an F. When you get an A, you get an A. And I think we ought to be honest with parents.”

Gaetz made the comments about two weeks after the state Board of Education voted 4-3 to prevent drops of more than one letter grade. That move came after school superintendents said they feared steep drops this year in the closely watched grades. Superintendents pointed, at least in part, to repeated changes in the state’s school-accountability system — 13 this year alone — which they say have made it harder to meet standards and have created uncertainty.

Gaetz acknowledged during the interview that changes had complicated the grading system.

For the 2013 school grade for every Escambia County elementary and middle school, click here. High school grades won’t be released until later this year.

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.

Northview Schedules 9th Grade, New Student Orientation

July 31, 2013

Northview High School will host 9th grade and new student student orientation on Thursday, August 15, from 8-11 a.m..

Students will report directly to the theater. Signs and guides will be available to direct students to the correct area.  Parents should arrange for transportation to pickup their child from the school promptly at 11:00.

Current 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students can pick up schedules, get their textbooks any time between 9 a.m. and noon on August 14.  Upon arriving on campus, students should report directly to the attendance window to pick up schedules before proceeding to the media center for textbooks.

Parents can find bus transportation information on the school website.

Counselors will not be available for schedule changes at this time but students may pick up a change of schedule form.  Offices will be closed from noon until 1 p.m.

James Rheam

July 31, 2013

Early on July 29, 2013, we released our father, our friend, James Rheam, 87, of Jay, into the hands of Jesus. He was the son of David S. and Jessie A (Hassinger) Rheam of Pennsylvania. His wife of 51 years, Elizabeth (Wise) Rheam, precedes him in death.

He is survived by his brother, Robert B. (Janet) Rheam; sister, Shirley J. Henry; brother-in-law, Charles Zook; and sister-in-law, Mary Rheam all of Pennsylvania; his children, Damaris (Michael) Byler of Jay, Jesse (Dawn) Rheam of Milton, Rebecca (David) Halteman and Seth (Dawn) Rheam all of Newburg, PA; grandchildren, Mary Byler (Woody) Jackson, Sharon Byler (Dusty) Mayo, Paul David Byler, Hannah (Justin) Gingerich, Josiah (Maggie) Kemp, Nathan (Hope) Kemp, Micah Kemp, Summer Wilhour, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John Halteman, and Rachel, Andrew, Joelle, Adria, and Joanna Rheam; his great-grandchildren, Joel, Jesiah, and Jude Jackson, Lucas Newby, Emma Mayo, Gabriel Gingerich; and many nieces and nephews.

Our lives have been shaped by his Godly example. Dad was a faithful follower of our Lord Jesus as he ministered to all he met. He has finished his course and has won the Crown of Life. Praise be to Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith!

We are planning a celebration of Dad’s home going, on the evening of July 31 from 5:30-8:30 pm come visit with us at Cornerstone Christian Church, Jay, Fl.

Thursday, August 1 at 2 p.m. at Cornerstone Christian Church, Jay, we will share worship to our Father who does all things well, after which, we will lay his body in it’s final resting place, (awaiting that glorious resurrection) at Cobbtown Mennonite Church.

We will then share food and fellowship at the Jay Civic Center as we encourage one another to carry the torch of faith to all people.

In leiu of flowers we will be setting up a scholarship fund at Cobbtown Christian Academy. May many young lives be challenged to carry the Gospel into all the world.

Jay Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Mentha Brown Gandy Martin

July 31, 2013

Mrs. Mentha Brown Gandy Martin, 99, of Roby Street, died Friday, July 26, 2013, in a Century nursing facility after a brief illness. She was a native of Greenville, and a life long resident of East Brewton. She was a member of the East Brewton First United Methodist Church and retired from Judy Bond with 25 years of service.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Otis Martin and daughter, Laura Faye Joyner.

She is survived by a son, Tony Martin of East Brewton; a daughter, Gloria Martin Fleming Dyal of East Brewton; six grandchildren, Mark Joyner, Jeffery (Tiffany) Joyner, Tammy (Jon) Pence, Adam (Christy) Joyner, Greg (Cindy) Fleming and Larry Fleming; 10 great-grandchildren, Drew Pence, Megan Pence, Crystal (Jacob) Scott, Talyia Joyner, Lauren Joyner, Timothy Joyner, Shan Fleming, Mercedes Fleming, Jayden Joyner and Adryan Joyner; and one great-great-grandchild, Thomas Floyd Scott.

Funeral services were held Tuesday, July 30, 2013, at Williams Memorial Chapel Funeral Home with the Rev. Steve McCoy and speaker Bernie Raines officiating.

Burial followed in Weaver Cemetery.

Williams Memorial Chapel Funeral Home directing.

Homicide Victim Found In Motel Room

July 31, 2013

The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the homicide of a man found in Pensacola motel room on Monday.

The body of 57-year old Robert Jeffrey Weber was found in room at the Homestay Lodge on Mobile Highway about 7:15 Monday morning. Weber’s body was discovered by a hotel employee after he did not answer his door.

Tuesday morning, the Sheriff’s Office said their preliminary investigation had determined that the death was a homicide. Further details have not been released.

The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone with information about Weber or his death to call them at (850) 436-9620 or Crime Stoppers at (850) 433-STOP.

Hazel Etheridge Phillips Gibson

July 31, 2013

Hazel Etheridge Phillips Gibson, 74, of Bay Minette, passed away Wednesday, July 31, 2013, in Acadia, LA. She was a beautician, born in Uriah, to the late John and Ethel Wilson Etheridge.

Survivors include her son, Wayland Phillips; her daughter, Sherry Rossi; two brothers, Roan Etheridge, and Steve Etheridge; two sisters, Thelma Phillips and Margie Bohr; and two grandchildren, Adam Phillips and Torin Rossi.

Services will be Saturday, August 3, 2013, at 11 a.m. from Johnson-Quimby Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. C.L. Langford officiating. Interment will follow in Pine Level Primitive Baptist Cemetery.

Family will receive friends Saturday, August 03, 2013 at Johnson-Quimby Funeral Home from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m.

Johnson-Quimby Funeral Home, Inc is in charge of all arrangements.

Pit Bulls Attack Road Crew, Deputy Shoots Dogs In Self-Defense

July 30, 2013

Two pit bulls attacked a road crew and were later shot and killed by an Escambia County deputy Tuesday morning in the Grand Oaks Subdivision in Cantonment near Tate High School.

The incident began just after 7:00 a.m in the 900 block of Brandemill Drive where two pit bull terriers attempted to attack residents that were able to retreat to safety in their homes, according to the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office.

The dogs were next seen near the entrance to the subdivision where they attacked and bit two road construction crew members. The crew was able to fend off the attack by striking the dogs with hand tools.

The dogs retreated back into the subdivision where a resident who observed the attacks armed himself with a gun. He went searching for the dogs in his truck and came into contact with them at the intersection of Brandemill and Grand Oak drives where a man was walking his dog. The pit bulls became aggressive towards the man and his dog, prompting the resident to fire his gun into the air and scare off the pit bulls.

A deputy located the dogs in the 900 block of Brandemill Drive. As the deputy exited his vehicle, the dogs charged him from a nearby porch. The deputy discharged his shotgun once in self-defense striking and fatally wounded both dogs, according to the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office.

The road crew workers sustained minor wounds and were treated and released.

The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office and Escambia County Animal Control are investigating the incident.

Pictured: A road crew back at work Tuesday morning after a dog attack in Cantonment.  Photos by Christina Leavenworth, WEAR 3, for, click to enlarge.

911 Transcript: Burglary Call Leads To Man Being Shot By Deputies

July 30, 2013

911 Transcription
Reported 2:38 a.m.
July 27, 2013

Dispatch:  Sheriff’s 911 what is your emergency?

Caller:  Yeah, I’m, um, 218 Shadow Lawn Lane somebody is trying to steal my neighbor’s car.

Dispatch:  O.K., they are not trying to break in, they are trying to actually steal the car?

Caller:  Yes.  They’re actually already in the car, trying to hotwire it.

Dispatch:  O.K. ,  O.K….  What kind of vehicle is it?

Caller:  It’s a Cadillac.  It’s a white Cadillac.

Dispatch:  A white Cadillac.  Is it 2-door, 4 door?

Caller:  4 door.

Dispatch:  And the 218 Shadow Lawn is that your address?

Caller:  No ______ is my address 218 is my neighbor’s address.

Dispatch:  O.K… Can you tell, is it a male, female?

Caller:  It’s a black male.

Dispatch:  Can you tell what he’s wearing, or no?

Caller:  He’s wearing a tank top, uh, dark colored.

Dispatch:  Can you tell anything else?

Caller:  No, not really.

Dispatch:  O.K. and he’s still in the vehicle, right?

Caller:  Yes

Dispatch:  You said you heard him trying to crank it up?

Caller:  Uh, yes… He keeps ducking down underneath the dashboard, trying to reach for something.

Dispatch:  O.K., and you’ve never seen him before, right?

Caller:  No.

Dispatch:  What’s your name, sir?

Caller:  My name is ________.

Dispatch:  And your last name?

Caller:    ________.

Dispatch:  Aright.  Just stay on the phone with me.

Caller:  O.K.

Dispatch:  We’ve got several deputies enroute.  Do you want to speak to the deputies or no, do you just want them to get over there?

Caller:  Uh, just get ‘em over here.

Dispatch:  Alright.  I completely understand.  I just have to ask.  Um, do you  know if there’s any… did the guy come in a vehicle or did you just happen to walk outside and see him?

Caller:  I actually was closing my child’s blinds, um, and saw the light on in the car.

Dispatch:  O.K.

Caller:  So I came outside to check it out.

Dispatch:  Are your neighbor’s home?

Caller:  Yes.  They’re home.  They’re asleep.

Dispatch:  O.K…  You don’t see anybody else standing around or anything like that?

Caller:  No.  I’m actually standing out in the yard.  This guy doesn’t even notice me.

Dispatch:  Oh… Let me know if he does anything.  He still hasn’t gotten the car started, has he?

Caller:  No.

Dispatch:  O.K.

Caller:  Looks like he’s rifling through the center console right now.

Dispatch:  You should see the deputies any minute.

Caller:  Alright.

Dispatch:  He still has not noticed you?

Caller:  No… This is crazy.  I’m standing out here in the middle of the yard talking on the phone, and he’s hardly even noticed me.

Dispatch:  You should see a deputy on the street now.  Let me know if you see them… Do you still see him in the car?

Caller:  Yes.

Dispatch:  Do you see any deputies yet?

Caller:  Uh, yeah, I see them.

Dispatch:  You do, O.K.

Caller:  Yeah.  He parked just down the road.  Looks like he’s about to walk up.

Dispatch:  O.K.  I’m going to go ahead and get off the phone with you, O.K.?

Caller:  O.K.  There’s the other one.

Dispatch:  O.K.  Bye.

Caller:  Bye.

Century Plans Series Of Special Budget Workshop Meetings

July 30, 2013

The Century Town Council has scheduled a series of budget workshops next month to discuss the town’s fiscal year 2013-2014 budget.

The budget workshop meetings will be held Thursday, August 1; Thursday, August 22; and Thursday August 29. All meetings will be held at 2 p.m.  in the council chamber at the Century Town Hall at 7995 North Century Boulevard.

Trials Delayed In Lottery Store Murder, Robbery

July 30, 2013

Trial was set to begin Monday for one of the Alabama men that allegedly robbed and shot a Davisville lottery store owner last November. But now trials for both men accused of the murder have been delayed.

Jury selection was set for Monday morning  in the trial of Brent Dewayne Lambeth, 20, but a continuance was granted by Judge Linda Nobles until September.  A continuance until September was also granted earlier this month for Malcolm McGhee Jr., 24.

Lambeth and McGhee remain in the Escambia County Jail without bond, charged with first degree murder and robbery with a firearm for the shooting death of 74-year old Thomas “Tommy” Kroll during a robbery on November 6, 2012, at the State Line O’ Yes Lotto on Highway 97.

Investigators said McGhee and Lambeth targeted Kroll’s business because they had previous purchased “Spice” there and the duo intended on robbing the store of more of the synthetic marijuana.

Pictured top and bottom: The scene outside the State Line O’ Yes Lotto on Highway 97 following the murder of store owner Thomas Kroll on November 6, 2012. file photos, click to enlarge.

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