Tate Names Malone, Heintz As October Students Of The Month

October 31, 2013

Tate High School has named their October Students of the Month. They are Haley Malone and Noah Heintz. Pictured above are Tate Principal Richard Shackle, Haley Malone, Noah Heintz, and Assistant  Principal  Laurie Bedford. Submitted photo for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Susan Helen Duthie

October 31, 2013

Mrs. Susan Helen Duthie, 50, of Atmore, passed away Monday, October 28, 2013, in Atmore. She was born October 14, 1963, in Braintree, Massachusetts to William M. and Marie E. Duthie. She attended Poarch Baptist Church and was pursuing a degree in nursing. She is preceded in death by her father, William M. Duthie and sister, Nancy Duthie.

She is survived by her son, Matthew K. Garrison; daughter, Logan Aundrea Garrison, both of Atmore; her mother, Marie E. Duthie of Atmore; four brothers, Lawrence (Susan) Duthie of New York, James Duthie of New Hampshire, Paul (Marylou) Duthie of Massachusetts and John (Christine) Duthie of Ohio; and numerous nieces, nephews and great-nephews.

Memorial services will be held Saturday, November 2, 2013, at 11 a.m. from the Johnson-Quimby Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Leo Luker and Rev. Lawrence Duthie officiating.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the American Diabetes or Heart Association.

Redevelopment Plan Finalized For ‘Blighted’ Areas Of Cantonment

October 30, 2013

A final review and comment meeting was held Tuesday night at Jim Allen Elementary School for the Cantonment Redevelopment Plan — a plan designed to address issues that need major improvement in a distressed area of Cantonment.

Just under 2,000 people live in the Cantonment Redevelopment Area in 533 family households.  The median household income is $28,291, far below the Escambia County median income of $43,707. Over half of the homes in the area are worth less than $50,000, and a significant number are in need of some sort of repair.

West of Highway 29, the blighted area is generally bordered by Heaton Road to the south, Nowak Road and Hicks Street to the west and Well Line Road to the north. East of Highway 29, the blighted area is generally bordered by Becks Lake Road, Virecent Road, and Eden Lane. The blighted area does not include all properties on the listed roads. (For a  detailed map in pdf format, click here.)

Crime and the perception of crime are major contributing factors to blight in the area.  In a five-year data period, total crimes in the Cantonment CRA exceed the crime rate in Escambia County as whole.  Residents and business owners in the Cantonment CRA are more likely to experience crime than the county average.

In four out of the five reporting years, citizens and businesses in the  Cantonment CRA were twice as likely to be the victim of a burglary that a citizen outside  of the CRA.

Through a series of workshops and public participation,  seven focus areas needing improvement in the area were identified: Housing, Community Facilities and Services, Health and Safety, Workforce and Jobs.

The CRA will be responsible for overseeing the implementation of the plan once it is approved by the Escambia County Commission.  The Cantonment Improvement Committee will play a major role in the implementation of  this plan, along with other neighborhood groups formed within this area. Other county agencies, such as Code Enforcement, will also be utilized.

The major needs identified in the Cantonment Redevelopment Plan were as follows:


Because over 50 percent of the homes within the redevelopment area are 45 years or older, there is a great need for housing repair or rehabilitation. Other identifiable needs included affordable mortgages and affordable rental homes and apartments.

The Community Redevelopment Agency will work with the Neighborhood Enterprise Foundation and other groups to assist residential property owners who need housing repairs and or rehabilitation assistance.  The CRA will encourage public/private initiatives to make affordable mortgages available.

Community Facilities and Services

Residents of the area identified the need for a community center, job training center, library, adult education center, center for tutoring, a senior citizens center, recreation center and housing center.

The Sidney W. Nelson Community Learning Center (formerly known as old Ransom High School) has been identified by the community to possibly be converted to a  community center. The CRA will collaborate with the Escambia  County School Board, Community Affairs, and other agencies to determine if this  is feasible and/or look at alternatives of building a new facility.  Such a community center could be utilized to meet most of the other community facilities needs identified in the plan.

Health and Safety

The top two health and safety issues identified by the community are street lights and health care facilities. Additionally mosquito control and vacant  and abandoned homes are important community issues as well as community policing and  disaster shelters ranked very closely. Although they are lower priorities, overgrown trees and bushes and noise at the paper mill were also major concerns.

The CRA will work with Gulf Power and other departments to identify locations for street lights.  The CRA will also collaborate with Escambia County Health Department, Sacred
Heart, Baptist and West Florida Hospitals and other agencies to provide or  build a  medical facility that provides 24 hour health care services in the local area.

The use of community policing, neighborhood watch groups and use of other agencies will be encouraged. The CRA staff will work closely with Escambia County Code Enforcement  and
International Paper to ensure buffers is in place to reduce and control the paper mill noise.

Workforce and Jobs

Job training opportunities and more local jobs tied as  the highest priority in this category. Many participants at the public meetings noted the long drive required to job training centers and areas were most job opportunities are  available. Making job opportunities and training available locally will improve the lives of  residents in Cantonment. Providing job opportunities for ex-convicts and voluntary pre-kindergarten programs were also identified as needs in the community.

Transportation and Infrastructure

Improving roads and improving drainage and ditches were the two highest priority transportation and infrastructure need identified by the community. Other high priority issues were
improving Muscogee Road, adding sidewalks and bike paths, creating a roadway plan for  private roads, traffic calming and adding more bus stops and increasing bus frequency.
Opportunities identified by meeting participants included increasing transit and transport  jobs, training and elderly services.

Business Generation

Creating more small business and retail shopping received the highest priority by the community. Improving commercial infrastructure and developing a local farmers market were also needs that could be addressed. The community identified several ideas for improving business generation  opportunities: partner with major industries in the Cantonment and Greater Pensacola area to bring  jobs to the community as well as reusing the Sidney W. Nelson Community Learning Center as a job training center.

Cultural/Natural Resources and Recreation

In the cultural/natural resources and recreation category, Cantonment citizens identified the greatest needs as a community pool, sports programs and the lack of identified historic buildings. The Community Redevelopment Agency will work to address the needs.

Pictured top: Areas like Lakeview Avenue are under consideration as the Cantonment Community Redevelopment Area. Pictured top inset: A meeting on the plan held at Jim Allen Elementary School. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.

Sprint Launches 4G Data Service In Pensacola Metro

October 30, 2013

Sprint launched 4G LTE service in the Pensacola market on Tuesday, providing faster data speeds for customers using their mobile devices to access the internet, upload photos, watch videos and more.

“Today’s announcement means that we are continuing our nationwide network enhancements, tower by tower, to provide even more Sprint customers the speed and power of Sprint 4G LTE,”  Bob Azzi, senior vice president-Network, Sprint, said in a prepared release Tuesday.

Bratt Student Awarded In Symphony’s ‘Express Yourself’ Art Contest

October 30, 2013

A Bratt Elementary school fifth grader was a winner in a recent “Express Yourself” art contest held in conjunction with the Pensacola Symphony.

Amber Gilman placed third among fifth grade students in Escambia County and received a gift  basket and a $100 prize card from Pen Air Federal Credit Union. This was the third consecutive year that a Bratt student has placed in the contest.

Before attending a field trip to the Pensacola Symphony with music teacher Emily Pollard, fifth graders at Bratt listened to a piece entitled “Firebird: Kastcheir Dance” by Stravinsky. As they listened, the students created pieces of art that fit the mood of the music and the story line while they were in class with art teacher Meredeth Roberts.

On the field trip, students were able to see the winning art creations on display as they listened to the symphony performance.

Pictured: Megan Burke, Pensacola Symphony, Amber Gilman, and Meredith Roberts, Bratt Elementary art teacher. Submitted photo for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Second Flesh Eating Bacteria Case Confirmed In Escambia County

October 30, 2013

A second case of  the flesh-eating bacteria Vibrio vulnificus has been confirmed in Escambia County, bringing the total number of cases reported in Florida to 37.

Vibrio vulnificus is a bacterium that normally lives in warm, brackish seawater. Since it is naturally found in warm marine waters, people with open wounds can be exposed through direct contact with seawater and can cause disease in those who eat raw shellfish, according to the Florida Department of Health in Escambia County.

Symptoms of vibrio vulnificus can include vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Wound infection can lead to skin breakdown and blistering. In persons who have weakened immune systems, particularly those with chronic liver disease, vibrio vulnificus can invade the bloodstream, causing a severe and life-threatening illness with symptoms like fever, chills, decreased blood pressure (septic shock) and blistering skin lesions. Individuals experiencing these symptoms should contact a physician immediately for diagnosis and treatment. Individuals with wound infections should also seek care promptly.

Tips to stay healthy and safe

Thoroughly cook oysters, either by frying, stewing, or roasting to eliminate harmful bacteria and viruses in the meat. Consuming raw oysters that have undergone a post-harvest treatment process to eliminate the bacteria can also reduce the risk of illness. Avoiding exposure of open wounds to seawater and estuarine water reduces the risk of wound infections.

For more information, please contact the Florida Department of Health in Escambia County at (850) 595-6683 or visit www.EscambiaHealth.com.

Missing Man Located

October 30, 2013

Update:  The missing man has been in contact with police and is no longer considered missing or endangered. Pensacola Police detectives made contact with Cory Ray Young today and were told by Young that he is safe at a friend’s house.

Authorities are searching for a missing man that was last seen walking away from Sacred Heart Hospital over a week ago.

Cory Ray Young, age 26 of Pace, is considered endangered, according to information released Tuesday by the Pensacola Police Department.  He was last seen about 5 p.m. on Saturday, October 19 on foot as he left the hospital.

Young is described as a white male with brown hair and brown eyes.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call the Pensacola Police Department at (850) 435-1900 or Sgt. Kristin Brown at (850) 435-1911.

Century Care Goes Pink For Breast Cancer Awareness

October 30, 2013

In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the staff and Century Care Center wore pink. One of many CCC survivors, Angela Jackson, gave a short speech to residents and staff about the importance of early detection. Submitted photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Local Police Warn About Computer Virus

October 30, 2013

Authorities are warning local citizens to be aware of a new computer virus  that was first detected last month in Europe and has now been confirmed in Escambia County.

The first local case of the “CryptoLocker Ransomware” computer virus was reported to authorities on Tuesday. A local business was hit by the virus after an employee opened what
she thought was a legitimate file.

The attachment containing  the virus is an attached .ZIP file. The file itself may have many different names; some of the commonly used names used are, “voice message”, “UPS tracking information”, and “Resume”. In  each case, opening this .ZIP file will activate the virus and lock users our of their own files.

The virus, normally spread by email, will seek out a contact list and email it self to others.

According to a press release from the Pensacola Police Department, this virus is  extremely destructive because it securely encrypts all of the computer user’s personal files. Once these files are encrypted they can only be opened  with the use of a ” private key”. The  virus program gives the computer user information on how to purchase the private key over the internet by wiring money to an account. The amount of  money required varies between$100 and $300.

This virus is easily detected by commercially available virus protection software. The best way to protect data from this virus is to not open attachments from suspicious email addresses. Keep  important data backed up to a DVD or external hard drive. Once this virus infects a computer  the files that get encrypted cannot be recovered without the private key. Computers users are advised to keep their virus definitions updated.

Infections should be reported to  www.ic3.gov .

Bus Driver Saves 3-Year Old Wandering In Road; Two Arrested After Child Found Living In Squalor

October 29, 2013

[Updated 1 p.m.] An Escambia County School District bus driver is being credited with saving a young boy wandering along in the middle of Kingsfield Road Monday morning. And two people were arrested in connection with the incident after it was discovered the child had been living in squalor.

Bus driver Daisy Robinson, her bus 1-12 loaded with Ransom Middle School students, found the child in Kingsfield Road in the area of Pauline Street and the railroad tracks, just off Highway 95A. She managed to safely coach the 3-year old onto her bus and radio bus dispatch for help, according to Rob Doss, the Escambia County School District’s director of transportation.

After waiting for a short time period, she moved her bus to the parking lot of a nearby gas station to wait for the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office to arrive. The young boy was not injured.

Two people were arrested in connection with the incident.

Cynthia Faye Godwin, 36, and Michael Roy Godwin, 27, were both taken into custody and charged with child neglect. When booked into the county jail, Cynthia Godwin provided a home address on Pauline Street, a few hundred  feet from where the young boy was found.

At the child’s home, deputies found the Godwins outside searching for him, stating that he had walking about about 30 minutes before. Once inside the trailer, a responding deputy reported, “the smell was horrible and the conditions appeared even worse”, according to arrest report.

The deputy reported there were roaches crawling on the floor and counters. There were no drinks or food in the refrigerator or  freezer. The refrigerator contained dead roaches, according to the arrest report. The house was in a mess with clothing covering the floors. The three mattresses in the house for the child were very dirty and stained; one of these had dog feces on it.

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