Chance Of Showers Tonight

September 29, 2014

Here is your official North Escambia area forecast:

  • Monday Night A 30 percent chance of showers, mainly before 7pm. Patchy fog after 3am. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a low around 67. Northeast wind around 5 mph.
  • Tuesday Mostly sunny, with a high near 88. Calm wind becoming east around 5 mph in the morning.
  • Tuesday Night Partly cloudy, with a low around 67. Calm wind.
  • Wednesday Partly sunny, with a high near 88. Calm wind becoming southeast around 5 mph in the afternoon.
  • Wednesday Night A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 68. South wind around 5 mph becoming east after midnight.
  • Thursday A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 87. East wind around 5 mph becoming south in the afternoon.
  • Thursday Night A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 70. South wind around 5 mph.
  • Friday A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 85.
  • Friday Night A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 60.
  • Saturday Sunny, with a high near 80.
  • Saturday Night Mostly clear, with a low around 51.
  • Sunday Sunny, with a high near 80.

Exoskelton Created In Escambia County To Be Featured On Discovery Channel

September 29, 2014

An upcoming segment of The Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet program will feature a new exercise exoskeleton developed by researchers at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) in Pensacola.

Called the Grasshopper, or Hopper, the device was designed, built and tested as part of a NASA-funded project exploring the use of robotic exoskeletons for microgravity exercise. Because the Hopper uses motors instead of gravity to create the load on the user, the device is suited for use on space missions. Exercise in zero-gravity conditions is critical to maintain muscle strength and bone mass.

The Hopper is designed to replicate the effect of squat exercise with free weights, and its associated loading on the body. To test this claim, the Hopper was brought to EXOS, a leader in integrated performance training, nutrition and physical therapy for professional and elite athletes, the military and innovative corporations.

The IHMC team is led by Senior Research Scientist Peter Neuhaus. Members include Research Associate Nick Payton and student interns Travis Craig and Jeremy Gines. Noraxon, a company specializing in evidence-based biomechanics, provided sensors  and technical analysis to compare exercise using the Hopper versus use of free weights.

The Daily Planet segment was filmed at IHMC and the EXOS center in Gulf Breeze. The shows host, Lucas Cochran, was instrumented with the Noraxon sensors and coached by an EXOS specialist on how to properly perform the squat motion, both with free weights and while strapped into the Hopper. The data showed that his muscles and heart responded in very similar fashion while using either the Hopper or the free weights. In addition, Cochran reported that the Hopper was more comfortable than free weights for a similar weight.

The Daily Planet segment will air late October 2014.

Pictured top: IHMC Senior Research Scientists Peter Neuhaus, right, works with Lucas Cochran, left, during testing of the IHMC exoskeleton Grasshopper during filming of the Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet program. Pictured inset:  Cochran works out in the IHMC exoskeleton Grasshopper. At left is Stefan Underwood from EXOS, Photos for, click to enlarge.

Florida Dept. Of Corrections Targets Problems With Inmate Health Care

September 29, 2014

Department of Corrections Secretary Mike Crews is threatening to stop payments to a Missouri-based company that won a five-year, $1.2 billion contract to provide health care to the majority of the state’s prisoners, accusing Corizon of failing to provide adequate treatment. Corizon provides medical care for inmates in North and Central Florida, including prisons in Century and Santa Rosa County.

Crews sent a letter to Corizon CEO Woodrow Meyers on Friday saying that the company has failed to follow through after audits revealed shortcomings in multiple areas, including medical care, nursing and administration.

“All too often, we are finding that these corrective action plans are not being carried out and that the level of care continues to fall below the contractually required standard,” Crews wrote. “As of this date, many of the most critical expectations including complete and full staffing, responding to DOC concerns and reducing the number of grievance(s) are often not being met.”

Crews said he has had concerns about the contract since the privatization effort was launched in September 2013.

“When we met in person on December 18, 2013, I expressed concern about issues that appeared to be developing during the first two months of our partnership. At that time, we specifically discussed patient care issues, utilization management, and communication. All three of these areas continue to be cause for concern,” he wrote Friday.

The secretary threatened to withhold payments at any institution that fails to meet 80 percent of auditing standards and keep the hold in place until applicable standards for care are met. Crews also warned that he would remove prisons from Corizon’s contract if the institutions fail consecutive audits or have “exceptionally high levels of non-compliance.”

Corizon started providing inmate medical care last year after a long-running legal dispute over a decision by state lawmakers in 2011 to approve prison health privatization in budget fine print, known as “proviso” language. Wexford Health Sources is being paid $240 million over five years to provide health services to nine prisons in South Florida.

Both companies have come under fire for deficient care to prisoners in Florida and other states. Disability Rights Florida sued Crews and Wexford Health Systems earlier this month, alleging that torture and abuse of prisoners had been ignored for years.

Jonathan Plotnick, an inmate at Lake Correctional Institution, recently sued Crews and Corizon because health care workers at the prison refused to allow Plotnick to see a surgeon about a hernia operation even though they were aware that extreme pain prevented him from functioning normally. During a hearing in federal court earlier this month, Corizon officials agreed to allow Plotnick to consult with a surgeon, and he has since had the procedure. Plotnick’s lawyer Randall Berg said he knows of 10 other inmates who were also refused the surgery.

The struggle over the privatized health care is the latest woe for the embattled prisons agency, which houses more than 100,000 inmates. State and federal officials are investigating inmate deaths and corruption at a number of Florida prisons, including Franklin Correctional Institution, where inmate Randall Jordan-Aparo was gassed to death in 2010.

Crews has been on a crusade to purge the department of corrupt and abusive guards since The Miami Herald reported earlier this year about mentally ill inmate Darren Rainey, who died at Dade Correctional Institution after guards allegedly forced him to shower in scalding hot water as punishment two years ago.

In the past two months, Crews has fired 45 guards for a variety of reasons, including for having a role in the deaths or beatings of inmates.

Four investigators sued the department earlier this year after Gov. Rick Scott’s inspector general refused to grant them whistleblower protection. The investigators were concerned about retaliation after exposing Jordan-Aparo’s death. The investigators accused Scott’s chief Inspector General Melinda Miguel of ignoring complaints about the inmate’s gassing.

And the department is grappling with a growing gang population, often aided by rogue guards. Two former Taylor Correctional Institution sergeants are awaiting trial after being accused earlier this year of ordering an inmate to be killed to protect the guards’ role as kingpins of an institution-wide gang operation.

by Dara Kam, The News Service of Florida

Pictured: Inmate medical facilities inside the Century Correctional Institution. file photos, click to enlarge.

Northview Homecoming Parade Entry Deadline Is Tuesday; Homecoming Meal Available

September 29, 2014

The sixth annual Northview High School Homecoming Parade is Friday, and the deadline for entries is tomorrow.

The parade will line up at noon and travel from Bratt Elementary School to Northview High.  Entries are being accepted now; there is no cost to enter. For a printable entry form, click here. Entries are due by Tuesday.

Contact Perry Byars at (850) 327-6681 ext. 248 for more information.

A homecoming meal will available Friday from 10 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. from the football concession stand to support the Tommy Weaver Scholarship Fund. The $7 meal will include a BBQ pork sandwich, chips, dessert and drink. Call in large orders by Wednesday to Perry Byars at (850) 327-6681 ext. 248 if 10 or more meals are desired. Meal prepared by Archie’s Catering Services.

The Northview Chief’s homecoming game will kickoff at 7 p.m. on October 3 against the Jay Royals.

Pictured: The 2013 Northview High School Homecoming Parade. file photos, click to enlarge.

Learn More About Proposed Tax, New Santa Rosa Judicial Center At Jay Meeting

September 29, 2014

Residents in northern Santa Rosa County will have the chance Tuesday to learn more about a possible new judicial center.

On the November general election ballot voters in Santa Rosa County will have the opportunity to decide if a proposed countywide one cent local option sales tax should be adopted to fund a new judicial center and if approved, where the new facility will be located through four ballot measures.

A public meeting will he held Tuesday night at 6:00 at the Jay Community Center at 5259 Booker Street.

The current Santa Rosa County Courthouse is located in downtown Milton. Built in 1927, the building size is no longer sufficient for all the necessary courthouse functions and the design of the building creates security issues for the public and staff. The parking, heating and cooling system, and telephone and computer network infrastructure are also no longer adequate for daily operations. Officials say a  new facility that can serve the county today, and up to 75 years in the future, is needed.

Voters will be asked if they support a one percent local option sales tax for five years. Often referred to as a “one cent”sales tax, it would increase sales tax by one percent. If approved, the sales tax will be limited to five years.

Voters will also have the opportunity to voice their preference for where a possible new judicial facility should be built. In three non-binding referendum items, voters have the option of voting yes or no for each of the three possible locations for a new facility:

  • approximately seven acres next to the current courthouse in downtown Milton
  • In excess of 15 acres on U.S. Highway 90 southwest of the Peter Prince Airport
  • 22.46 acres on Hwy. 90 in Pea Ridge.

Jerry D. Statham

September 29, 2014

Jerry D. Statham, 71, from Molino, passed away on Saturday, September 27, 2014.

Jerry was born in Albertville, AL but moved to the Pensacola area in 1970 due to Navy deployment. Jerry loved everything about the area, including the military, the hunting and fishing and church involvement, enough to call it his permanent home. Jerry proudly served 20 years in the US Navy and then continued to work in Navy contract maintenance with the Northrop, Raytheon and L3 as an aviation electrician.

He is preceded in death by his mother and father, J.B. and Lilla Mae Statham.

Jerry is survived by his wife of 52 years, Linda; his daughter and son-in-law, Sonya and Tim Doten; sister, Kathryn Naomi Cornelius; brothers-in-law, Gary Miller, Roger Miller and Kenneth Cornelius; and multiple cousins, nieces and nephews.

He was a member of Highland Baptist Church in Molino.

Services are scheduled for Thursday, October 2, 2014, at Faith Chapel North with Pastor Brian Calhoun officiating. Visitation will begin at 11 a.m. with services at to follow at 12 p.m.

Interment will be at 2 p.m. at Barrancas National Cemetery.

Pallbearers will be Harold Holder, Charles Barton, Jackie Cunningham, Charles Purvis, Ed Latham, and Bill Miller.

Honorary pallbearers will be members of Adult III Sunday School class and Highland Baptist Church.

Jean Findley

September 29, 2014

Mrs. Jean Findley, 85, passed away on Monday, September 29, 2014, in Century.

Mrs. Findley was a native of Florala, AL and a resident of Byrneville for most of her life. Mrs. Findley was a member of the Sew-in-Sew Club of McDavid and she attended the Poplar Dell Baptist Church. Her husband, L.B. “Shorty” Findley, precedes her in death.

Survivors include her son and daughter-in-law, Gene & Sharon (McKayla) Findley of Byrneville; one grandchild, Heather Ann Jordan of Pensacola; two great-grandchildren; two special families, Janae (Mike) Stillwell and children of Bratt and Karen Jones and children of Montgomery, AL.

Funeral services will be Wednesday, October 1, 2014, at 10 a.m. at the Petty-Eastside Chapel Funeral Home with Rev. Mitch Herring officiating.

Burial will follow at the Green Acres Cemetery.

Pallbearers will be Judson Carden, Mike Stillwell, Danny Findley, David Findley, Thad Riley and Carl Gandy.

Petty-Eastside Chapel Funeral Homes is in charge of all arrangements.

Lois Underwood Howell

September 29, 2014

Lois Underwood Howell, 87, of Pensacola, died Friday, September 26, 2014. She was born July 24, 1927, in Shawmut (Valley) AL and had been a resident of Pensacola the past 60 years. She worked at Monsanto Corporation and Montgomery Ward. Mrs. Howell was a member of Hillcrest Baptist Church where she enjoyed the Senior Adult Programs.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Henry Elton (Hank) Howell.

Lois is survived by her son, Larry E (Teresa) Howell of Cantonment; her daughter, Linda H (Tim) Witt of Pensacola; grandson, Brian L (Wendy) Howell of Milton; grandson, Eric H Howell of Tampa; her great-grandchildren, Shane Howell of Tallahassee and Lauren Howell of Milton; sister-in-law, Ann (Barry) Hooks of Opelika, AL; as well as loving nieces, nephews and friends.

A time of visitation will be held on Wednesday, October 1, 2014, from 12 p.m. until 1:30 p.m. at Hillcrest Baptist Church, 800 E Nine Mile Road, Pensacola, FL, with funeral services to follow at 1:30 p.m.

Burial will follow in Bayview Memorial Park.

The family would like to thank the staff of Grandview Assisted Living, Specialty Center and a very special thanks to Regency Hospice, especially Krystal, Lelanya and Mike.

Flowers will be accepted or memorial donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association , PO Box 96011, Washington, DC 20090-6011 or to Hillcrest Baptist Church.

Arrangements entrusted to Rose Lawn Funeral Home of Gulf Breeze.

High School Football District Standings, Schedules

September 29, 2014

Here is a look at local high school football district standings, scores from last week, and Friday night’s schedule for Florida schools:

AJ Yarbrough

September 29, 2014

AJ Yarbrough, age 80 of Milton, passed away on September 28, 2014. AJ enjoyed fishing and hunting in his spare time. He served in the United States Army and retired from the U.S. Postal Service. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather.

AJ is survived by his loving wife of 48 years “Bea”; children, Jim (Terry) Swager, Willie Swager, David Swager, Pete Swager, Kirk Swager, “Jimmy” Wayne Swager, and David (Jazzmin) Swager; grandchildren, BJ (Ashley) Swager, Timothy Swager, Robert (Britteny) Swager, and Sarah Swager; his great-grandchildren, Alexis Dawn, Matthew, Ethan, Logan, Jose, “Little David”, Lilee, Hayley, and Aria; and two sisters, Thelma Fletcher and Loretta (Frederick) Hargis.

A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, October 2, 2014, at Olivet Baptist Church with Brother Jim Lassiter officiating.

A graveside service will follow at 1:15 p.m. at Barrancas National Cemetery in Pensacola with military honors.

Jay Funeral Home is entrusted with arrangements.

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