$5 Blowout Book Sale Today

January 30, 2016

The West Florida Public Library will hold a $5 Blowout Book Sale today.

Attendees can pay $5 for a brown paper bag and stuff it will all the books that will fit. There’s no limit to the number of bags that can be purchased.

Contributions will be used to support the West Florida Public Library’s efforts to build community and improve literacy.

The sale will be Saturday, January 30 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the West Florida Public Library Main Branch at 239 North Spring Street.

Tate High Drama To Present ‘Brigadoon’ Saturday And Sunday

January 30, 2016

The Tate High School Drama Department will present the popular musical Brigadoon  in the school cafetorium Saturday at 7:00 p.m.and Sunday at 2:30 p.m.  Tickets are $7 at the door.

Brigadoon tells the story of  American tourists Tommy and Jeff who get lost on vacation in Scotland and stumble into Brigadoon, a mythical village that appears for only one day every 100 years. No outsider can stay in Brigadoon unless they fall in love, and no resident can ever leave or the village will vanish forever.

But when Tommy falls for a village girl, he is forced to choose between returning to the world that he knows—or taking a chance on life and love in the mysterious Brigadoon.

The stage play became a popular MGM movie starring Gene Kelly, Van Johnson, and Cyd Charisse.  The Tate Drama Department is presenting a full-staged musical for the 19th straight season.

Photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Blue Angels To Fly Over 2016 Super Bowl

January 30, 2016

The Blue Angels are slated to perform a flyover of the 2016 Super Bowl at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, Feb. 7.

The Blue Angels will open the football game with their signature six-jet Delta formation, immediately following the national anthem.

The football game is set to pit the National Football League’s Denver Broncos against the Carolina Panthers. More than 70,000 spectators are expected to attend the football game, which draws more than 114 million viewers worldwide.

The Blue Angels are currently training in California for the 2016 air show season and are scheduled to fly 65 demonstrations at 33 locations throughout North America in 2016, which is the Blue Angels 70th anniversary year.

The mission of the Blue Angels is to showcase the pride and professionalism of the United States Navy and Marine Corps by inspiring a culture of excellence and service to country through flight demonstrations and community outreach.

NorthEscambia.com file photo, click to enlarge.

Patchy Fog, Cloudy But Warm Sunday

January 30, 2016

Here is your official North Escambia area forecast:

Tonight: Patchy fog after 10pm. Otherwise, partly cloudy, with a low around 49. Southeast wind 5 to 10 mph.

Sunday: Patchy fog before 9am. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a high near 73. South wind 5 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.

Sunday Night: Patchy fog after midnight. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a low around 56. South wind 5 to 10 mph.

Monday: A 20 percent chance of showers after 9am. Patchy fog before 9am. Otherwise, partly sunny, with a high near 75. South wind 5 to 10 mph.

Monday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 60. Southeast wind 5 to 10 mph.

Tuesday: A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 9am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 74. South wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.

Tuesday Night: Showers and thunderstorms. Low around 61. South wind 5 to 15 mph becoming west after midnight. Chance of precipitation is 80%.

Wednesday: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 64. West wind 5 to 10 mph becoming north in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 50%.

Wednesday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 43. North wind 5 to 10 mph.

Thursday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 56.

Thursday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 35.

Friday: Scattered showers. Sunny, with a high near 55. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Friday Night: Scattered showers. Mostly clear, with a low around 33. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Saturday: Scattered showers. Sunny, with a high near 57. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Science And Engineering Fair Results

January 30, 2016

The results of the 2016 West Panhandle Science and Engineering Fair were announced his week an awards ceremony held at University of West Florida. The annual Science and Engineering Fair is a partnership of the College of Science and Engineering and the Escambia and Santa Rosa County School Districts.

Students who qualified to compete at the Florida State Science Fair will have an asterisk  by their name. Grand winners (two senior winners) are eligible to compete at the International Science and Engineering Fair, May 8-13 in Phoenix, AZ, and won $6000 scholarships from the University of West Florida. Junior Grand winners are eligible to compete at State.

Winners of specific events in the high school and middle school categories were:

Animal Sciences

1st place – Skyler Flynn & Chase Creech – WFHS *

2nd place – Serena Green, Grace Menzies & Kayla Lycus – BTWHS

Behavioral & Social Studies

GRAND – 1st Place – Patricia McAuley, Holley Meany & Lauren Beall – PHS *

2nd Place – Lillian Wiggins & Virginia Beall – PHS *

3rd Place – Delaney McCall & Carly Fraser – PHS

Biomedical & Health Sciences

1st Place – Eva DeSoi – PHS *

2nd Place – Wesley Delware – EHS

3rd Place – Ariana Evans – BTWHS

Cellular/Molecular Biology & Biochemistry

1st Place – Sohail Mirza – PHS *

2nd Place – Kinan Alsheikh & Carla Dias – PHS *

HM – MacKenzie Sutt & Elizabeth Teets – BTWHS


1st Place – John Dixon & Justin Liu – PHS *

2nd Place – Daniel Duong – BTWHS (* Senior Alternate)

3rd Place – April Mendez – BTWHS

HM – Raymond Brown – EHS

HM – Rebecca Weatherspoon – BTWHS

Earth & Environmental Sciences

1st Place – Kelly Wu – PHS *

2nd Place – Jonathan Billingslea – PHS *

3rd Place – Reid Harwell – PHS

HM – Alexis Evans & Miya May – BTWHS


GRAND 1st Place – Alexander Pope – PHS *

2nd Place – Matthew Arellano, Teri Laird & Sarah Quinlan – EHS

3rd Place – Dakota Davison & Bailey Wilson – EHS

Environmental Engineering

1st Place – Elleon Forty & Jeffrey Sutherland – PHS *

Intelligent Machines, Robotics & System Software

1st Place – Geneva Anderson – WFHS *

2nd Place Dina Razek, Drew Jimenez & Kareem Bataineh – PHS *

HM – Olivia Stanhope – WFHS

Mathematics & Computational Sciences

1st Place – Omari Harris – BTWHS

HM – Henry Kimberi – WFHS


1st Place – Greer Coffey  & Emily Dawson– BTWHS

2nd Place – Jennifer Dean & Heidi Neumann – PHS

Physics & Astronomy

1st Place – Xuan Ho & Joseph McCormack – PHS *

2nd Place – Jacob Ferris – PHS (* Senior alternate)

3rd Place – Rachael Chase & Samantha Cherry – EHS (* Senior Alternative)

HM – Amy Peterson – BTWHS

Plant Sciences

2nd Place – Ashlyn Whittington – BTWHS

3rd Place – Kyndall Rideau – BTWHS

Animal Sciences

1st Place – Dana Amin – Saint Paul *

2nd Place – Sarah Hamilton – Saint Paul (*Junior Alternate)

3rd Place – Mariah Mack – Bellview Middle

3rd Place – Cody Thomas – Ernest Ward Middle

HM – Kyla Brewer – Holley Navarre

Behavioral & Social Sciences

1st Place – Hannah Meyers – Saint Paul *

2nd Place – Emily Wentzel, Hope Fell & Lauren Lacour – Saint John’s *

3rd Place – Gisel Martinez – Holley Navarre

HM – Seth Menzer – Holley Navarre

Biomedical & Health Sciences

1st Place – Kaylee McDonald – Holley Navarre

2nd Place – Madeline Mauzy – Holley Navarre

3rd Place – Olivia Coleman – Holley Navarre

HM – Zhikembria Williams – Bellview Middle

HM – Mya Clegg – Bellview Middle

HM – Darah Schumpert – Holley navarre

Cellular/Molecular Biology & Biochemistry

1st Place – Brooke Rayborn – Holley Navarre *

2nd Place – Zachary Oestmann – Holley Navarre *

HM – Logan Wallace – Holley Navarre

HM – Lauren Miller – Holley Navarre


1st Place – Mary Beloat – Holley Navarre *

2nd Place – John Middleton – Saint Paul

3rd Place – Emily White – Saint John’s

HM – Jessica Olson – Holley Navarre

HM – Jasmine Galvez – Saint Paul

Earth & Environmental Sciences

1st Place – Chase Turner – Holley Navarre *

2nd Place – Darcy Sullivan – Saint Paul *

3rd Place – Meghan McGilley – Saint Paul

HM – Peter Mougey – Saint Paul


1st Place – Quin Baker, Jr. – Saint Paul *

2nd Place – Katherine Fey – Holley Navarre (* Junior Aternate)

3rd Place – Cameron Lange – Holley Navarre

HM – Mya Hamilton – Holley Navarre

Environmental Engineering

1st Place – Claire Han – Brown Barge Middle *

2nd Place – Kaleb Barrett – Holley Navarre

3rd Place – Nathaniel Merrill –Gulf Breeze

Intelligent Machines, Robotics & System Software

GRAND 1st Place – Regan Rudzki – Holley Navarre *

GRAND 1st Place – Ravi Raj – Brown Barge Middle *

3rd Place – Maddox DeMars – Holley Navarre

HM – D.Connor Vickery – Holley Navarre

Mathematics & Computational Sciences

1st Place – Chance Cunningham – Holley Navarre *

HM – Mikael Patriarca – Bellview Middle


1st Place – Payden Mouritsen – Brown Barge Middle *

2nd Place – Mary Galloway – Saint Paul *

3rd Place – Angelia Morris – Holley Navarre

HM – Olivia West – Saint Paul

HM – Callista Salazar – Holley Navarre

Physics & Astronomy

1st Place – Kori Vertz – Warrington Middle *

2nd Place – Timmy Hodges – Saint Paul *

3rd Place – Julianna Cannon – Holley Navarre

HM – Meredith McGhee – Ernest Ward Middle

Plant Sciences

1st Place – Isaiah Gurule-Rat – Saint John’s *

2nd Place – Lillian Sylvia – Holley Navarre (* Junior Alternate)

3rd Place – Austin Anderson – Holley Navarre

HM – Noah Buenaflor – Holley Navarre

Additional  Special Awards were also announced to include:

American Chemical Society–$100 to Sr. and $50 to Jr. Chemistry & Biochemistry for outstanding achievement in chemistry.  The winners for chemistry are Senior: team project of John Dixon & Justin Liu (PHS); junior, Mary Beloat (Holley Navarre). The winners for Biochemistry are senior, Sohail Mirza (PHS) and junior, Brooke Rayborn (Holley Navarre)

American Meteorological Society–A certificate of outstanding achievement in the field Meteorology is awarded to Jasiana Edwards (Holley Navarre), Miya May (BTWHS) and Alexis Evans (BTWHS).

American Psychological Association — The world’s largest association of psychologists, works to advance the creation, communication, and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people’s lives. A certificate for outstanding research in psychology is awarded to Patricia McAuley, Holley Meaney, and Lauren Beall (all PHS).

American Society of Civil Engineers/Pensacola Branch — Supporting this science fair for the first time this year, presented  with the following awards:

1st place Sr. Division: Alexander Pope- $50 gift card and medal (PHS)

2nd place Sr. Division: Jeffrey Sutherland & Elleon Forty – medals (PHS)

3rd place Sr. Division: Bailey Wilson & Dakota Davison – medals (EHS)

1st place Jr. Division: Claire Han-$50 gift card and medal (BBMS)

2nd place Jr. Division: Quin Baker – medal (St. Paul)

3rd place Jr. Dividsion: Ezra McKenna – medal  (Holley Navarre)

ASM Materials Education Foundation—Provided an award for the most outstanding exhibit in materials science. A certificate & a medallion for the best materials engineering project is awarded to Alexander Pope (PHS).

ASU Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives: Recognized two Sr. projects for striving to find innovative solutions to humanity’s most challenging problems.  Geneva Anderson (WFHS) and Kelly Wu (PHS)will receive a certificate and will be nominated to enter for the Grand Prize, a trip to Arizona for the 2016 Sustainability Solutions Festival.

Association for Women Geoscientists: Awarded a Certificate of Achievement to recognize a female student whose project exemplifies high standards of innovativeness and scientific excellence in the geosciences was presented to Darcy Sullivan (St. Paul).

Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International: Awarded projects for their excellence in the categories of EAEV, ENMS, IMRS, and PHYS.  Each of the top three projects will receive $15 iTunes Cards. Top 3 will compete for a $500 award for the best project from the Three Rivers, East Panhandle and West Panhandle regional fairs. The top projects: Alexander Pope (PHS), Geneva Anderson (WFHS), Jonathan Billingslea (PHS).  Additionally, five more projects earned certificates of merit. Certificates were presented to: Kareem Bataineh (PHS), Drew Jiminez (PHS), Dina Razek (PHS), Ezra McKenna (Holley Navarre), Regan Rudzki (Holley Navarre), Samantha Cherry (EHS), Rachael Chase (EHS), Maddox DeMars (Holley Navarre) .

Judge Issues Split Decision In Horse Track Regulatory Fight

January 30, 2016

Gambling regulators overstepped their authority with a proposed rule that would require jockeys to wear white pants and protective garb such as helmets and boots specifically designed for horse racing, an administrative law judge decided Friday.

But regulators’ proposed rule requiring horse races to begin from a box or gate and establishing minimum lengths and widths for horse tracks should stand, Administrative Law Judge E. Gary Early ruled in a 33-page order.

The order came in a case involving Gretna Racing, a tiny Northwest Florida track operated by the Poarch Creek Indians of Atmore that received the nation’s first pari-mutuel permit for rodeo-style “barrel racing.”

The state Division of Pari-mutuel Wagering spent two years crafting the rules aimed at reining in barrel races, which were stopped by a different administrative law judge in 2013.

Regulators in 2011 granted a pari-mutuel license to Gretna Racing for the rodeo-style barrel racing, which, in turn, allowed the facility to open a more-lucrative card room. An appeals court later ruled that the state erred in granting the barrel-racing license. After the ruling, the state and Gretna Racing entered an agreement authorizing “flag drop” races in which two riders compete against each other but without any obstacles in the arena.

The proposed rules, published last summer, set up standards for track shapes and sizes and established new requirements for jockeys, aimed at barrel racers — mostly women — affiliated with the Gretna track.

The North Florida Horsemen’s Association — which represents about 200 owners, trainers and riders in the barrel racing industry linked with the Gadsden County facility — challenged the rules, resulting in Friday’s order.

The association’s lawyer, Donna Blanton, had questioned a proposal that would require all races to begin from a starting box or gate, which would put an end to “flag drop” races. The rule would impose a “significant adverse economic impact” on the riders, owners and breeders, Blanton wrote in the 44-page complaint filed last year.

The rule is designed to “appease industry participants who seek to have quarter horse racing defined in such a way that supports their form of quarter horse racing to the exclusion of all others,” Blanton argued. “The satisfaction of special interests cannot serve as a logical basis for the track rule.”

The proposed rule also established that each race must have at least five entrants with a minimum of two contestants.

Quarter horse breeders, owners and trainers affiliated with other tracks have complained about the barrel-racing and flag-drop races, which have also set the stage for the Gadsden County to potentially begin operating slot machines.

Early ruled that state law gave the agency authority “specifically tailored to the adoption of standards for racetracks, race meets, and races.”

“Without the ability to set track and race standards, the legislative authority in (the statute) would have little purpose or meaning,” he wrote.

In contrast, state law does not give the agency — a division of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation — the power to craft rules pertaining to jockeys, Early wrote.

The proposed rule required that jockeys demonstrate riding ability, including switching the riding crop from one hand to another while maintaining control of the horse in a stretch drive.

The proposed rule also required jockeys to wear white pants, “unique racing colors,” and protective vests, helmets and boots “which have been specifically designed for horse racing when riding in races or when exercising horses.”

But nothing in state law gives the agency the authority for that rule, Early wrote. Instead, the statute regarding occupational licenses only deals with information necessary to establish “the identity and good moral character of an applicant for an occupational license,” he wrote.

Representatives of the North Florida Horsemen’s Association could not immediately be reached for comment Friday.

Friday’s order is the latest in a series of rulings about state gambling regulations.

Last month, Administrative Law Judge Robert E. Meale ruled that the Division of Pari-mutuel Wagering overstepped its authority with rules that would have placed additional requirements on jai alai operators.

David Romanik, a lawyer who is a part-owner of the Gretna track, questioned Early’s decision upholding the track rule.

Romanik said that “everybody will be able to comply” with the track regulation, but he didn’t rule out an appeal.

“It’s not really the end-of-the-world type stuff. It was really more a matter of principle that, for the first time ever, the division is now starting to dictate policy to management as to how to run a private business, which is what these tracks are,” he said.

Regulators are entitled to establish rules regarding wagering, drugging of animals and the integrity of jockeys, Romanik said.

“But how big your track is and how many horses should be in the race? What does the Division of Pari-mutuel Wagering know about that? They know nothing. That’s why they’ve never regulated it before,” he said. “To me, that’s the biggest error in this ruling — now allowing the division to start regulating into an area of someone else’s private business.”

The Florida Supreme Court, meanwhile, is poised to decide whether slot machines should be allowed at the Gretna track in a case that could have wide-reaching implications.

The Supreme Court accepted jurisdiction in the Gretna Racing case after a split appellate court ruled in October that Gretna Racing cannot have slot machines without the authorization of the Legislature, even though voters in the county approved slots in a referendum.

The Supreme Court’s decision also will likely affect gambling operations in at least five other counties — Brevard, Hamilton, Lee, Palm Beach and Washington — where voters have approved authorizing slots at local pari-mutuels.

Man Charged With Online Solicitation

January 30, 2016

Agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, along with investigators from the Escambia and Okaloosa County sheriff’s offices today arrested William Burton Allen, 42, of 6774 Murphy Cassidy Road, Milton,  on one count of computer pornography online solicitation of a parent, one count of transmitting harmful material to a minor and one count of unlawful use of a two way communications device.

Allen  was arrested after soliciting an undercover FDLE agent, who he believed was the mother of a 14-year old female juvenile, for sex. Allen had been communicating with the undercover agent by email and text messages since October 2015.

Anyone with information concerning this investigation is urged to contact the FDLE Pensacola Regional Operations Center at (800) 226-8574.

Allen is being held in the Escambia County Jail with bond. The case will be prosecuted by the Office of the State Attorney, 1st Judicial Circuit.

Cantonment Man Charged With Multiple Burglaries

January 29, 2016

A Cantonment man has been charged in connection with burglaries from Cantonment to Beulah.

Jon Edward Berry, 29, remained in the Escambia County Jail with bond set at $15,000.

Berry was charged with grand theft and dealing in stolen property for allegedly stealing aluminum machinery components and industrial steel paper components from a business on Stone Boulevard in Cantonment. He then allegedly sold thousands of pounds of the components as scrap, receiving over $2,500 from two recycling businesses.

A search warrant was executed last week at Berry’s residence on Cottage Hill Road in reference to multiple burglaries that occurred on Huntington Creek Circle in Beulah.  A boat and trailer stolen from Vantage Road was located the property, according to  the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office. Barry was charged with grand theft for the boat and trailer valued at $20,000.

Berry was also charged with an additional count of grand theft after the search warrant turned up a whirlpool bathtub valued at $3,000 and light fixtures worth $2,500. The items were allegedly stolen from a home under construction on Huntington Creek Circle in Beulah.

Hecker Road Railroad Crossing Opens, Numerous Crossings To Close In February

January 29, 2016

The Hecker Road railroad crossing in Century reopened Wednesday afternoon after a two-day closure for maintenance.

CSX will close numerous other North Escambia a crossing as part of its network-wide crossing maintenance program beginning February 9. Work is expected to be completed in one week.

CSX engineering crews will be laying new rail ties, resurfacing crossings and repaving them with asphalt. CSX has worked closely with local officials to coordinate the crossing closures to minimize disruption to the community and is communicating directly with residents where there are dead-end roads or no-outlet situations.

Traffic will experience temporary closures to the following road crossings during the operations period:

  • Cottage Street
  • McCurdy Road
  • State Road 4
  • Hecker Road
  • Front Street
  • East Pond Street
  • Jefferson Avenue
  • Salters Lake Road
  • Bluff Springs Road
  • Courtney Road
  • Mystic Springs Road
  • East Bogia Road
  • Cotton Lake Road

The roads listed above will be temporarily closed at different times throughout the week of February 9 depending on the  maintenance schedule, according to CSX.

All activities are weather dependent and may be delayed or rescheduled in the event of inclement weather. Motorists are reminded to travel with care through the work zone and to watch for construction equipment and workers entering and exiting the roadway.

Pictured: Workers wrapped up a railroad crossing replacement on Hecker Road in Century on Thursday. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.

FDOT Palm Trees Welcome Drivers To Florida And Century

January 29, 2016

A Florida Department of Transportation Gateway Beautification project is underway in Century on Highway 29 at the Alabama/Florida state line. The project includes numerous palm trees and other plants. We’ll show you the final results when the project is complete. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.

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