Roof Fire At Nine Mile Road Chili’s Restaurant

July 30, 2015

Chili’s on Nine Mile Road was evacuated Wednesday afternoon after the roof caught fire. Firefighters said there was a roofing  crew working on the building when the fire started. There were no injuries. There was no word on the extent of the damage, but the restaurant was already reopen. photos by Kristi Price, click to enlarge.

Rep. Jeff Miller Won’t Seek Rubio’s Senate Seat

July 30, 2015

Rep. Jeff Miller of Chumuckla said Wednesday he won’t seek the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Marco Rubio.

“Yesterday, my VA Accountability Act passed the House of Representatives under the shadow of a veto threat from the President. It became clear to me that this Administration is not committed to reforming the VA. My personal commitment to the veterans of this country is greater than my desire to seek higher office.

“I have made the determination that I can best serve veterans as Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs and the member from the First District of Florida. I have decided to forgo my candidacy for the U.S. Senate in 2016 and instead continue my efforts to reform the toxic culture within the VA.

“Vicki and I have prayed about this for weeks, and we feel that we have come to the best decision. We appreciate the outpouring of support from our family, friends, and supporters from all across the great State of Florida and throughout the Nation.”

Rubio is stepping down from the Senate seat to run for president.

Pictured: Rep. Jeff Miller addresses a group in Century. file photo, click to enlarge.

Century Suffers Water Meter Woes After Company Goes Bankrupt

July 30, 2015

The Town of Century has been forced back to manually reading water meters, abandoning the automated reading capability of nearly 1,000 meters.

In 2010, Century purchased 941 water meters and associated software and equipment from Datamatic, Ltd. for $137,386. Company officials said the town was provided with $140,000 in discounts because a previously installed system sold by the company did not work as promised.

In a meeting with town officials, the company touted the accuracy of the new system, which they said would result in the town recouping most of the purchase price in additional billings due to increased meter efficiency.

Datamatic has now filed for bankruptcy, according to Mayor Freddie McCall, leaving Century with an automated meter system that does not work properly, and leaving Century without 40 meters that were at the company for repair.

McCall said that by returning to manually readings on the meters mistakes in the automated system have been eliminated, actually resulting in an increased profit for the water system.

Rain Chance At 60% Tonight

July 30, 2015

Here is your official North Escambia area forecast:

Tonight: Showers and thunderstorms likely, mainly before 7pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 74. North wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the evening. Chance of precipitation is 60%.

Friday: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 93. Calm wind becoming northeast around 5 mph.

Friday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 70. Northwest wind around 5 mph becoming calm.

Saturday: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 94. Calm wind becoming northeast around 5 mph.

Saturday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 74. Calm wind.

Sunday: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 93. Calm wind becoming east around 5 mph in the afternoon.

Sunday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 74. South wind around 5 mph becoming calm after midnight.

Monday: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 94. Calm wind becoming south around 5 mph in the afternoon.

Monday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 75. South wind around 5 mph becoming calm after midnight.

Tuesday: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 93.

Tuesday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 75.

Wednesday: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 93.

Wednesday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 75.

Thursday: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 92.

Republicans Prepare To Run In The Panhandle

July 30, 2015

Niceville Republican Armand Izzo opened a campaign account last week to run for a House seat that will be vacated next year by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, according to the state Division of Elections website. Izzo joins Crestview Republican Wayne Harris in running in Okaloosa County’s House District 4. Gaetz is running in 2016 to try to succeed his father, Niceville Republican Don Gaetz, in a Senate seat. Also, earlier this month, Pensacola Republican Jantzen Craine opened a campaign account to try to succeed Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker, in 2018 in Senate District 2, which includes Escambia, Santa Rosa and part of Okaloosa counties. Craine is the only candidate with an open campaign account for the race.

by The News Service of Florida

Free School Supplies, Groceries, Haircuts And More Saturday In Molino

July 30, 2015

Free school supplies, groceries and even a back to school haircut will be available Saturday in Molino.

A free Day of Hope will be held Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Victory Assembly of God at 1895 Victory Road,  just south of Barrineau Park Road on Highway 29.  The event will offer free groceries, haircuts, backpacks, school supplies, a kids zone and a hot lunch. Items are available while supplies last, rain or shine. No identification is required, but children must be present to receive school supplies.

For more information, call Victory Assembly of God at (850) 5587-2295.

Pictured top: A young lady receives a back to school haircut during last year’s Day of Hope at Victory Assembly of God. file photo, click to enlarge.

Teen Charged With Burning Home In Attempt To Kill Her Family

July 30, 2015

A 17-year old Escambia County, AL, teen is charged as an adult after authorities say she set fire to the family’s mobile home with four relatives inside.

Love Freedom Rutledge of Brewton is charged with four counts of attempted murder and one court of first degree arson. She remained in the Escambia County (AL) Detention Center Wednesday with bond set at $200,000.

The Appleton Volunteer Fire Department responded to a fully involved mobile home fire on McGougin Road northeast of Brewton about 1:00 Sunday morning. The mobile home was a total loss.

A man was transported to the University of South Alabama Medical Center Burn Center in Mobile, while three family members received injuries that were not serious.

After realizing Rutledge was missing, K-9 units, including one from the Century Correctional Institution, were called to the scene. Rutledge was located in a  wooded area a short distance away.

Authorities have not released a motive or other details in the incident as their investigation continues.

Gambling Regulators Make Concession Impacting Poarch Creek’s Gretna Racing

July 30, 2015

Gambling regulators have backed down on a number of proposed changes to the state’s pari-mutuel rules after a legislative oversight panel and industry representatives challenged the Department of Business and Professional Regulations’ authority to issue the mandates.

The agency’s Division of Pari-mutuel Wagering on Tuesday published the latest modifications, which deal with issues such as jockey requirements and track sizes. The division folded on a number of issues raised by industry operators at a hearing last week.

But the proposal may not go far enough to prevent legal challenges.

The proposed rule changes were originally published last month, but the revised version includes a number of concessions to the controversial barrel-racing industry. Gambling regulators in 2011 granted a pari-mutuel license to Gretna Racing in Gadsden County for the rodeo-style matches, which, in turn, allowed the facility open a more lucrative card room. An appeals court later ruled that the state erred in granting the barrel-racing license — the first of its kind in the nation. The state and Gretna Racing entered a settlement agreement authorizing “flag drop” races in which two riders compete against each other but without any obstacles in the arena.

Gretna is managed and operated by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians in Atmore..

Tuesday’s changes do away with a requirement in the original proposed rule that would have forced all tracks to have starting gates, an expensive addition that Donna Blanton, a lawyer for the association representing the barrel racers, at last week’s meeting said was too cumbersome.

The proposed rule would still ban obstacles, including barrels, on race courses.

Regulators also scrapped a proposed regulation that would have limited jockeys to 135 pounds, which also would have had an adverse impact on the rhinestone-studded barrel racers. Instead, Tuesday’s revised plan would require that jockey weights take into account “the humane treatment of the racing animal” and be published in the racing program.

The revision also eliminates a proposed requirement for “secured wagering” areas, which also could have affected the Gretna facility, where workers take bets from the window of a trailer located near the arena’s bleachers.

The latest version of the proposed rule also would make changes to the required lengths of horse tracks and lower the minimum number of entrants in a race from six to five, still more than the two riders that historically participated in the Gretna races.

And the new proposal also drops a potential requirement that tracks have “break-away rails,” something nearly all operators complained would be too costly and possibly dangerous for horses and jockeys.

Regulators also appear to have taken into consideration some of the objections regarding the publishing of horses’ qualifications.

The original proposal would have required that at least three published past performances were available to the public prior to a race.

That wouldn’t give bettors enough information, Tom Ventura, president of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company, said last week. Tracks or owners can “pick and choose” the data they want published, he said.

Tuesday’s amended proposal would require the track’s racing secretary to make available to the public a horse’s three most-recent published outings, whether in races or workouts, and include at least one from within the past 45 days.

by Dara Kam, The News Service of Florida

Ernest Ward Cheerleaders Attend Summer Camp; Five Named ‘All American’

July 30, 2015

The 2015-2016 Ernest Ward Middle School Cheerleaders attended a three-day Universal Cheerleaders Association camp at the school this week, learning new cheers, stunts, chants and dances for the upcoming year.

Five of the girls were chosen as UCA All-American and will have the opportunity to to cheer in the Thanksgiving Day Parade at Disney’s Magic Kingdom in Orlando.

Award presented included:

  • Anna Adams- All American and Most Improved
  • Lexi Broadhead- All American
  • Jada Crabtree- All American
  • Ashlan Harigel- All American, Dancing Diva and Camp MVP
  • Cloe Smith- All American and Best Attitude

Pictured: Ernest Ward Middle School UCA All-American cheerleaders (L-R, standing) Cloe Smith, Ashlan Harigel, Lexi Broadhead, Jada Crabtree, and (kneeling) Anna Adams. Submitted photo for, click to enlarge.

Blue Wahoos Win In Extra Innings

July 30, 2015

It took 10 runs, 16 hits and seven pitchers, but the Pensacola Blue Wahoos (18-14, 43-57) got back into the win column after a 10-9 win over the Chattanooga Lookouts (12-18, 55-43) at AT&T Field Wednesday night.

With multi-hits from four different players, Pensacola registered season-highs in runs, hits and RBIs in the extra-inning game. Both Juan Perez and Beau Amaral went 3-5 with a run and three RBIs while Juan Duran went 3-5 with two runs and a RBI. Seth Mejias-Brean went 2-3 with two runs, an RBI and a walk.

The Blue Wahoos started the game by scoring two runs on three hits in the first inning for an early lead. After a leadoff single, Ryan Wright scored off of Duran’s RBI single. Duran later scored off of Perez’s single to shallow left field.

Starting pitcher Tim Adleman left the game in the second inning with an elbow injury after giving up one hit in 1.2 innings. RHP Jacob Johnson came into relief and threw 3.1 innings of work allowing two runs on five hits in his first appearance for the Blue Wahoos since being transferred back from Louisville.

With two-outs in the second inning, Pensacola added two more runs to the scoreboard as Duran got his second single of the game and Seth Mejias-Brean notched his 12th double of the season. Perez knocked them in with a double to the right field wall. Perez’s three RBIs are a season-high and the most since July 20, 2014 for the Bakersfield Blaze.

The Lookouts got on the board in the fourth inning as Stuart Turner was walked by Johnson and then advanced to second on a wild pitch. Levi Michael doubled on a line drive to right-center field to score Turner.

In the fifth inning, Marquez Smith was walked and advanced to third on a deep double to left field by Duran for his third hit of the night. Smith scored on a sacrifice fly by Mejias-Brean as the Blue Wahoos took a 5-1 lead.

Heiker Meneses scored for Chattanooga in the bottom of the fifth off of a RBI double by Max Kepler to make the game 5-2. LHP Joel Bender came into the game for the Wahoos in the sixth inning and gave up two runs on three hits to make it 5-4.

After a few quiet innings, the Lookouts went on a scoring rampage in the eighth. Meneses started the inning with a single. Patrick Shuster came in to replace Miguel Celestino on the mound. Celestino promptly gave up a home run to Kelpler. After a single, fielding error and two walks, Aderlin Mejia drove in two runs to take an 8-5 lead.

The Blue Wahoos began a comeback and tied the game 8-8 in the ninth inning. Beau Amaral hit a one-run single to score Ray Chang. Smith double to right field to drive in both Cam Maron and Amaral.

In the top of the 10th, the Blue Wahoos scored two runs on Amaral’s double to right field scoring both Mejias-Brean and Perez.

Zack Weiss, who came into the game in the ninth inning, registered his first career Double-A win going 2.0 innings recording three hits, one run, one walk and one strikeout.

The Blue Wahoos are on a 10-day road trip against the Chattanooga Lookouts and Jacksonville Suns.

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