Sidewalk, Pedestrian Improvements Underway Along Highway 29

November 30, 2015

Numerous pedestrian related improvements are underway over a 15-mile stretch of Highway 29 in North Escambia, most of them in Century.

The $893,000 project consists of guardrail upgrades, sidewalk replacement, pedestrian railing, ditch pavement, and signalized pedestrian crossings at various locations from north of Champion Drive in McDavid to the Alabama state line in Century.

In Century, the project will include “new sidewalk construction in areas where there is currently no sidewalk, removal and replacement of damaged sidewalk,  installation of handrails, curb ramps  for ADA, detectable warning ramps and replacement of pedestrian signal crossings,” Tanya Branton of the Florida Department of Transportation said recently.

Work is expected to be completed in about three months.

Pictured: Sidewalk work in Century. photos, click to enlarge.

FDOT: Weekly Traffic Alerts

November 30, 2015

Drivers will encounter traffic disruptions on the following state roads in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties this week as crews perform construction and maintenance activities.

Nine Mile Road from west of I-10 to Heritage Oaks Drive, Escambia County – Eastbound lane closures from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Friday, Dec. 4 through Tuesday, Dec. 8 as crews place the structural course on the eastbound shoulder and lanes of Nine Mile Road.

State Road 289 (9th Avenue), Escambia County- The week of Dec. 1 crews will perform paving operations at Airport Boulevard and Bayou Boulevard. Work is anticipated to take two to three days. When complete, crews will pave between Bayou Boulevard and Creighton Road. Lane closures will be in effect from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. for approximately two to three weeks. Motorists traveling between Bayou Boulevard and Cervantes Street will also encounter intermittent and alternating daytime lane closures the week of Dec. 1 as crews adjust manholes and valves.

I-110 Bridge Painting, Escambia County – Drivers may encounter intermittent daytime restrictions on city streets under I-110 between Maxwell and Garden Streets as crews clean the bridges. The $2.6 million rehabilitation project is anticipated to be complete summer 2016.

U.S. 98 Resurfacing, Santa Rosa County – U.S. 98 between Live Oaks Village shopping center and the Gulf Breeze Zoo in Santa Rosa County. Alternating lane closures from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. will begin Monday, Nov. 30 and continue through the end of the year as crews complete paving operations and work list items.

I-10 Six Lane, Santa Rosa County – Avalon Boulevard near the I-10 Interchange in Santa Rosa County will encounter alternating lane closures from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. beginning Monday, Nov. 30 as crews begin bridge work. The closures will continue Sunday through Thursday nights until the end of 2015. Alternating lane closuring will start back Monday, Nov. 30 on I-10 east and westbound between the Escambia Bay Bridge and S.R. 281 (Avalon Boulevard/ Exit 22). Lane restrictions will be in effect from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday nights until the end of 2015 as crews perform construction activities.

Drivers are reminded to use caution, especially at night, when traveling through a work zone. All planned construction activities are weather dependent and may be re-scheduled in the event of inclement weather.

North Escambia Man Killed In Wreck Near Atmore

November 30, 2015

A McDavid man was killed in a single motorcycle crash north of Atmore Sunday morning.

According to Alabama State Troopers, 42-year old Christopher George Robbins lost control of his 2012 Suzuki motorcycle and  struck a culvert on Robinsonville Road about 10:45 a.m. Robbins was pronounced deceased on the scene.

Further details have not been released as Alabama State Troopers continue their investigation.

Patchy Fog Tonight

November 30, 2015

Here is your official North Escambia area forecast:

Monday Night: Patchy fog after midnight. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a low around 59. South wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the evening.

Tuesday: Patchy fog before 8am. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a high near 77. Light southeast wind becoming south 5 to 10 mph in the morning.

Tuesday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 58. South wind around 5 mph becoming west after midnight.

Wednesday: A 30 percent chance of rain. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 64. West wind 5 to 10 mph becoming north in the afternoon.

Wednesday Night: A 30 percent chance of rain. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 47. North wind 5 to 10 mph.

Thursday: A 30 percent chance of rain. Partly sunny, with a high near 57. North wind 5 to 10 mph.

Thursday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 45. North wind around 5 mph.

Friday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 61.

Friday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 45.

Saturday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 61.

Saturday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 46.

Sunday: Partly sunny, with a high near 62.

Pictured: Sunday’s sunset as seen from Escambia Bay.  Photos by Kayla Bedell for, click to enlarge.

Last Chance To Order In Annual FFA Boxed Fruit Sale

November 30, 2015

Today is the final day of annual Northview High School FFA Fruit Sale.

The NHS FFA is selling citrus in attractive 2/5, 1/2 or 4/5 bushel boxes perfect for gift wrapping. The Florida citrus is from RiverBrite in Vero Beach.

Orders must be made by Monday, November 30. The pickup date is Wednesday, December 16.

For an order form click here. Order forms and payment can be dropped off at the school office or returned to a FFA member. Fruits available include red apples, grapefruit, navel oranges, tangelos and Hamlin oranges. Mixed trio half bushels are also available.

For more information, call (850) 327-6681, ext. 248.

Final Day To Save 4 Percent On Your Property Taxes

November 30, 2015

Today is the final day to save four percent on your 2015 real estate and tangible personal property taxes is now underway.  This year’s  tax rolls include 176,000 accounts totaling $258 million, according to Janet Holley, Escambia County tax collector.

Bills were delivered to the post office on October 30 for mailing and should have arrived by November 10.  A four percent discount for early payment is good through November 30, 2015.

Other discount periods are as follows: December‑‑3%; January‑‑2%; February‑‑1%; and the gross amount is due in March 2016.  Taxes become delinquent April 1 and are assessed a 3% penalty.  When mailed, discounts are determined by postmark of payment.  When a discount period ends on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the discount period will be extended to the next business day for walk‑in customers only.

Tax revenue is generated for the various taxing authorities and is approximated as follows: District School Board, $117 million; Escambia County Board of County Commissioners, $112 million; City of Pensacola, $16 million; Sheriff MSTU, $7.1 million; Library MSTU, $5.3 million; Northwest Florida Water Management, $572,000; Downtown Improvement Board, $375,800; and Town of Century, $29,700.  Additionally, MSBU collections totaling $17 million include: County fire protection, $13.2 million; City Stormwater, $2.7 million; and various other MSBUs, $1.1 million.

Office are open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at:

  • Downtown – 213 Palafox Place
  • Marcus Pointe – 6451 North W Street
  • Molino – 6440 Highway 95-A North, Suite A
  • Warrington – 4051 Barrancas Avenue, Suite A

You may check the status of your taxes and pay on the website at  While paying online may be the most convenient, other options are available, such as payment by mail, by phone, or in person.  If you do not receive your tax bill by November 10, please call the tax collector’s office at 438‑6500, ext. 3252.

Hurricane Season Ends; Florida Dodges Hurricanes – Again

November 30, 2015

The Atlantic hurricane season is coming to a close for the 10th consecutive year without Florida taking a direct hit.

Going from June 1 to November 30 without a hurricane making landfall — even though hurricanes can form outside the designated “season” — is once again great news for residents and for the insurance industry.

But emergency-management officials say there isn’t time to rest.

Cloudy patches from other kinds of disasters — storm-related flooding and tornadoes — could be on the winter and spring horizon.

“Don’t let your guard down just because hurricane season is at an end. There is a potential escalated level from these storms this spring,” said Bryan Koon, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management. “That’s the downside of an El Nino. It’s good for us on the hurricane side, bad for us on the severe weather side.”

Also, disaster officials and the insurance industry say they continue to prepare for hurricanes because eventually Florida will get hit.

“Nobody thinks we’re going to be hurricane-free for another decade,” said Lynne McChristian of the Insurance Information Institute.

The state has doubled its previous record hurricane-free period — 1980 to 1984 — based on records going back to 1851.

The current streak is made even more remarkable since Florida, with its 1,260 miles of coastline, has accounted for about 40 percent of hurricane landfalls on U.S. shores in that recorded time period, according to the National Weather Service.

The last hurricane to make landfall in Florida was Wilma on October 24, 2005.

Since that time, the state has been hit by eight tropical storms, which have caused significant flooding in parts of the state.

Koon said those tropical storms are good tests.

“The smaller disasters we have, like the flooding in Pensacola, the Northwest Florida floods and tropical storms, keeps things greased and allows us to practice and make sure we’re ready to go,” Koon said. “Even things like Tropical Storm Erika this year, that didn’t impact the state at all, but for which we activated for a few days, all of that helps us moving forward.”

The state has also continued to adapt its plans by studying storms that have hit other parts of the nation, Koon said.

“The next time we do have one, we will be better than we were in 2004 and 2005,” Koon said. “We won’t have had the real-life practical experience of a hurricane in Florida, but the systems will be better, the process will be better, the training, the education, the outreach.”

Gov. Rick Scott has proposed nearly $10 million for efforts to further prepare Florida for storms.

Scott’s $79.3 billion budget proposal released on Monday includes $3.4 million for residential construction mitigation intended to improve the ability of Florida homes to withstand the force of disasters like hurricanes.

There is $3 million for state and local emergency-management activities related to special-needs facilities that would be used during disasters and other emergencies.

Another $3.5 million is proposed to continue the development of an emergency statewide notification system, which would provide storm alerts and updates via text, email or phone calls.

The state put about $4.5 million into the program for the current year and hopes to start getting the program created and out to the public before the 2016 hurricane season.

Koon said the program, once fully active over the next few years, should also help property owners financially.

“As part of the National Flood Insurance Program, there is a component called the community ratings system, and by doing certain things to help prepare your community for a flood, you can take credit for it and reduce the flood insurance premiums that people are paying,” Koon said.

The insurance industry in Florida has already benefited from the hurricane lull.

The state-backed Citizens Property Insurance has shed hundreds of thousands of policies into the private market the past three years, while private insurers have been able to bulk up their coffers.

“The companies that have had 10 years to shore up the finances, 10 years to make sure they’ve adopted technology to monitor their exposures to risk, they’ve been able to get everything organized,” McChristian said. “But that doesn’t mean the Florida market is still not fragile.”

Florida has seen its population continue to explode, passing New York nearly a year ago to become the third most-populous state in the nation.

The population growth has spurred new waterfront developments that insurance industry officials say will mean the next storms will be more expensive than the last ones.

“Go down to South Florida. There are new high rises. That’s going to increase building costs, and there are more people living in some of those areas,” McChristian said. “The insurance industry is planning for losses being much larger than in the past.”

Even with such prognostication, the industry is expected to withstand at least the first major storm making landfall.

A month ago, the state Office of Insurance Regulation reported that the 112 property-insurance companies participating in an annual “catastrophe stress test” of financial resources could withstand a 1-in-100 year storm.

A 1-in-100-year storm is an event that has a 1 percent chance of occurring in any given year. A 1-in-50-year storm has a 2 percent change of happening.

Molino Christmas Parade Is Saturday; Register Now

November 30, 2015

The 13th Annual Molino Christmas Parade is set for 11 a.m. this Saturday, and there is still time to register to take part.

The parade route starts at the west end of Crabtree Church Road and ends and the Molino Ballpark were Santa Will be waiting to visit with all the good little boys and girls.

To participate in the parade, preregister at Jimmy’s Grill or register the day of the parade. Registration fees are $30 for floats; $20 for vehicles, motorcycles, tractors or golf carts; and $10 each for horses. No 4-wheelers or go-carts. All proceeds go directly back to the community to help children in need.

For more information, contact Charity at (850) 324-4463 or Jimmy’s Grill at (850) 754-0041. Donations such as toys and non-perishable foot items can be dropped off at Jimmy’s Grill.

The rain date will be Sunday, December 6 at 2:30 p.m.

Pictured: The 2014 Molino Christmas Parade. file photos, click to enlarge.

Car Race At Over 115 Mph Ends With Five Vehicle Crash

November 30, 2015

A 19-year old was arrested following a race that exceeded 115 mph on I-110 Saturday night that ended with a five-car pileup.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, all five vehicles were traveling southbound on I-110 just north of Cervantes Street. Prior to the crash, 19- Dequan Young was clocked traveling 117 mph in a 55 mph zone in his 2003 Mitsubishi Eclipse, along with a group of cars racing and driving recklessly.

The FHP said 24-year old Jonathan Hale in a 2011 Hyundai Genesis and 20-year old Christopher Reids were also involved in the racing.

Young lost control and collided with a concrete barrier wall on the shoulder of I-110 before colliding with Hale. Young’s vehicle bounced back onto I-110 and collided with Reids’ vehicle. The three-car collision caused traffic to come to a sudden stop, causing 33-year old Rebecca Digangi in a Hyundai Tiburon to collide with a fourth vehicle that fled the scene.

Young was arrested for causing the crash and charged with reckless driving resulting in property damage and racing on a highway. He was also cited for speeding.

Hale and Reids were given court dates for racing on a highway.

There were no serious injuries.

Single Vehicle Wreck Claims One Life In Cantonment

November 29, 2015

A single vehicle crash in Cantonment claimed the life of a Cantonment man Saturday night.

About 9:15 p.m., 25-year old Michael Justin Jarrell was westbound on Well Line Road approaching the intersection of Santa Rosa Road in his 1998 Ford Ranger pickup. He failed to negotiate a curve, entered the shoulder of Santa Rosa Road and struck a large tree.

Jarell was pronounced deceased at the scene of the crash by Escambia County EMS. There were no passengers in the vehicle.

The accident remains under investigation by the Florida Highway Patrol.

The Cantonment and Molino stations of Escambia Fire Rescue, Escambia County EMS and the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office also responded to the crash. file photo.

Next Page »