Altha Correne Walker

April 30, 2016

Altha Correne Walker, 98, of Atmore, passed away Thursday, April 28, 2016, in Atmore. She was a homemaker. She was born in Frisco City, AL, on July 31, 1917, to the late Alton and Annie Bailey Byrd. She was a member of Calvary Baptist Church.

She is preceded in death by her husband, C.E.Walker; son, Sylvester Chavers; daughter, Dorothy Joiner; and grandsons, Lee Graves and Tony Joiner.

Survivors include one son, James (Nell) Walker of Gulf Port, MS; two daughters, Doris Graves of Range, AL and Loyce (Bill) Parker of Chelan, Washington; one sister, Laverne (Ray) Digmon of Atmore; three grandchildren, Sonny, Dorie and Tammy; four great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

Services were held Saturday, April 30, 2016, at the Johnson-Quimby Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. C.L. Langford officiating.

Interment was in Oak Hill Cemetery.

Active pallbearers were Butch Lee, Ricky Crook, Daniel White, David Langford, Jimmy Langford, and Carlos Albritton.

A special thanks to the Atmore Nursing Home for their special care given Mrs. Walker.

Johnson-Quimby Funeral Home is in charge of all arrangements.

Florida Gov’t Weekly Roundup: In Conclusion

April 30, 2016

Several things seemed to be winding down in Florida government this week.

At the Capitol, two of the highest-ranking Republicans in the state finally managed to resolve their differences over a hiring decision. Neither man walked away with a complete victory, but that didn’t mean that it didn’t further the idea that one of the participants — Gov. Rick Scott — was losing a little bit of his pull., the Florida Supreme Court and an administrative law judge handed down a couple of high-profile rulings, one with a potentially wide-ranging impact on the state’s businesses and another touching on a particularly hot-button social issue.

There were signs that some of the fights that have shaped politics in 2016 would rage on; Democratic Congresswoman Corrine Brown notified a federal court that she would appeal its ruling in a contentious redistricting case to the U.S. Supreme Court. But resolution seemed to be the name of the game, even if it was just to clear the decks for the inevitable battles that lie ahead.


The “lame duck” whispers around Scott had already ticked up to a dull roar by the time the Legislature was done giving him few pieces of his legislative agenda during the session that ended in March. Now, it seems that Scott can’t even corral Republican members of the Cabinet to go along with him.

The governor spent the week locked in a continuing showdown with Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater over the state’s next insurance commissioner. And while Atwater didn’t get his first choice for the position, neither did Scott.

The difficulty arose because of a difference between the two men, who have to jointly recommend the head of the Office of Insurance Regulation to Atwater’s two colleagues on the Cabinet: Attorney General Pam Bondi and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.

For their parts, Bondi and Putnam tried to stay away from the contretemps.

“Just like on criminal matters, I seem to feel you listen to me,” Bondi said Tuesday. “I would hope that when you two gentlemen come to an agreement — unless I believe someone is woefully inadequate, which I hope I won’t, based on the two of you and your great experience in this field — but hopefully I’ll be able to back your candidate. But I think the two of you need to come to an agreement first.”

Scott backed Jeffrey Bragg, a Palm Harbor resident and former executive director of a U.S. Department of the Treasury terrorism-risk insurance program. After an awkward silence in which his motion Tuesday to hire Bragg for $150,000 a year didn’t get a second, the governor suggested holding a meeting Friday.

Meanwhile, Scott and Atwater also disagreed about how long current Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty could stay on the job. McCarty was originally scheduled to step down May 2, but announced as the split between Scott and Atwater persisted that he would be willing to remain another 45 days.

Scott’s office said McCarty couldn’t do that without a specific vote by the Cabinet. In a memo, Scott lawyer William Spicola said the governor and the Cabinet accepted McCarty’s resignation during a January Cabinet meeting.

“McCarty cannot unilaterally extend his appointment after he, the governor and the Cabinet all mutually agreed that his last day would be on May 2nd,” Spicola wrote.

Atwater issued a statement Wednesday disagreeing.

“I am disappointed that in its eagerness to replace Commissioner McCarty, the governor’s office has chosen to quibble about his resignation letter,” Atwater said in a release. “We should take full advantage of Commissioner McCarty’s gracious offer to continue to provide consistent and knowledgeable leadership during this period, thereby affording the Cabinet the opportunity for a thorough and well considered hiring process.”

But things were resolved by essentially listening to advice from Vanessa Williams: Sometimes the very thing you’re looking for is the one thing you can’t see. Scott and Atwater finally agreed during a special meeting Friday to promote from within, tapping Deputy Commissioner David Altmaier for the job.

As commissioner, Altmaier, who a decade ago was working as a high-school math teacher and track coach in Kentucky, will see his salary increase from $115,000 a year to $165,000 a year.

Scott and Atwater also agreed that McCarty will remain with the state for 60 days beyond his planned departure date to assist in the transition — keeping him around as the hurricane season begins June 1.

“The dynamics of this office are so broad,” Atwater said after Altmaier was chosen. “If something were to come early, (Altmaier) has another set of eyes and ears (in McCarty) that he can be turning to for guidance. But mainly it was for the broad, broad range of responsibilities that he’s now taking on that he can have somebody nearby.”

Altmaier, who since March 2015 has overseen the agency’s Bureau of Property and Casualty Financial Oversight and Product Review, said he is aware of the “magnitude of the position” and he had no problem with two additional months working with McCarty.

“I have learned an incredible amount from Commissioner McCarty during my tenure working with him, and I would welcome 60 more days of learning from him as we transition,” Altmaier said.

Altmaier, who received a degree in mathematics from Western Kentucky University, briefly worked as a high school teacher before going to work for a private insurance agency in 2006. He joined the Office of Insurance Regulation in 2008, where he’s served in a number of positions, including as a reinsurance and financial specialist and as chief analyst.


While Scott and Atwater were tussling over the state’s insurance commissioner, the Florida Supreme Court was dealing with another area of state insurance law — one limiting attorney’s fees in workers-compensation cases.

In a 5-2 ruling, the court struck down the fee law, a victory for attorneys who represent injured workers — and a blow to business groups that have long argued legal fees drive up the costs of workers-compensation insurance. The fee issue will bounce back to the Legislature, where it could spark a fierce debate.

Justice Barbara Pariente, writing for the court’s majority, said the 2009 law is a violation of due-process rights under the Florida Constitution and the U.S. Constitution because it prevents challenges to the “reasonableness” of attorney’s fees awarded in workers-compensation cases. The ruling stemmed from a case in which an attorney was awarded the equivalent of $1.53 an hour in successfully pursuing a claim for benefits for a worker injured in Miami.

Pariente wrote that the goal of the workers-compensation system is to quickly provide benefits to get injured people back on the job at a reasonable cost to employers.

“This case, and many others like it, demonstrate that despite the stated goal, oftentimes the worker experiences delay and resistance either by the employer or the (insurance) carrier,” wrote Pariente, who was joined in the majority by Chief Justice Jorge Labarga and justices R. Fred Lewis, Peggy Quince and James E.C. Perry. “Without the likelihood of an adequate attorney’s fee award, there is little disincentive for a carrier to deny benefits or to raise multiple defenses, as was done here.”

But Justice Charles Canady wrote a dissent that said the law involves a “policy determination” by the Legislature that there should be a relationship between the amount of benefits obtained in workers-compensation cases and the amount of attorney’s fees awarded. The law includes a formula that links benefits and attorney’s fees.

“In reaching the conclusion that the statute violates due process, the majority fails to directly address the actual policy of the statute,” wrote Canady, who was joined in dissent by Justice Ricky Polston. “Instead, the majority assumes — without any reasoned explanation — that due process requires a particular definition of ‘reasonableness’ in the award of statutory attorney’s fees. The definition assumed by the majority categorically precludes the legislative policy requiring a reasonable relationship between the amount of a fee award and the amount of the recovery obtained by the efforts of the attorney. Certainly, this legislative policy may be subject to criticism. But there is no basis in our precedents or federal law for declaring it unconstitutional.”

Business groups weren’t shy about blasting the ruling. Florida Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Mark Wilson said in a prepared statement the “potential impact of the high court’s ruling could threaten Florida’s improving business climate. The Florida Chamber remains laser focused on ensuring workers’ comp rates are fair, and we will lead the effort before lawmakers and in the halls of justice to ensure the voices of job creators are heard.”


In a less-sweeping but nevertheless politically charged case, meanwhile, an administrative law judge Thursday rejected a state agency’s arguments that a Gainesville abortion clinic should be fined for performing second-trimester abortions without a proper license.

In a 25-page ruling, Judge Lawrence P. Stevenson concluded that the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration had failed to make its case against Bread & Roses Well Woman Care.

AHCA filed an administrative complaint against Bread and Roses in August, contending that the clinic, which is licensed to perform only first-trimester abortions, had performed five abortions on women who were in the second trimesters of pregnancies.

“AHCA presented no testimony or documentary evidence refuting the credible evidence presented by Bread & Roses that the sonograms show on their face that the pregnancies for each of the five procedures at issue were first trimester pregnancies and within the scope of Bread & Roses’ license,” Stevenson wrote.

The fines would have cost the clinic $500 for each of the five procedures, or $2,500.

Stevenson’s ruling Thursday is a recommended order, which, under administrative law, goes to the agency. The judge recommended that the agency dismiss the complaint against Bread & Roses.

Bread & Roses has also figured in another recent abortion dispute. Last year, the clinic joined a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a state law requiring 24-hour waiting periods before women can have abortions. Last week, the Florida Supreme Court temporarily blocked the law and granted a stay of a lower court’s order allowing the law to take effect.

That allows women to get abortions without a waiting period for the time being, until the constitutional challenge finds its way through the courts.

The battle over abortion clinics, it seems, isn’t truly over just yet.

STORY OF THE WEEK: Gov. Rick Scott and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater agree to recommend Deputy Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier to take over the Office of Insurance Regulation, settling a weeks-long feud.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Under the original Constitution, African-Americans were considered to be three-fifths of a human being. We’ve moved beyond that point, (but) now our first African-American president only gets seven-eighths of a term.”—Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson, in a debate with Republican Congressman David Jolly, a fellow candidate for the U.S. Senate. The Senate’s GOP majority has refused to hold a hearing on Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s nominee, because of the upcoming November elections.

by Brandon Larrabee, The News Service of Florida

Melvin Carlos Hawthorne

April 30, 2016

Melvin Carlos Hawthorne, age 63 of Jay, went home to be with the Lord on Thursday, April 28, 2016. He retired from CSX Transportation. He had a love for fishing and spending time with his family and friends. He loved to sing, play the guitar, and watch classic movies. He also loved to watch his grandchildren play ball. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Melvin G. and Gussie Hawthorne; and stepson, Lee Thompson.

He is survived by his wife of 20 years, Debbie Hawthorne; daughters, Carlienne (Greg) Enfinger, Amanda (Josh) Kimmons, Denise (Alec) Dobson, and Misty (Bobby) Williamson; sisters, Betty Clark, Lorene Beal, Christine Ashcraft, Darlene (Richard) Caldwell, and Rena (Mike) Gandy; brothers, Earnest Preston (Sue) Hawthorne and Calvin (Cindy) Hawthorne; 15  grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be held on Sunday, May 1, 2016, at 2 p.m. at Jay Funeral Home with Bro. Earle Greene and Bro. Frederick Barrow officiating.

Active pallbearers will be his nephews, Timothy Clark, Johnny Hawthorne, David Wilson, Shane Dunsford, Michael Beal, and great-nephew, Travis Ashcraft.

Honorary pallbearers will be Steve Lunsford, Doug “Sonny” Franklin and Johnny Odom

Jay Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Sylvia Julia Hall Johnson

April 30, 2016

Sylvia Julia Hall Johnson, age 86, of Cantonment, passed away Wednesday, April 27, 2016. She was born in Atmore on December 29, 1929, to Martin and Katie Hall. Sylvia was a member of Oak Grove Baptist Church in Oak Grove. She was an avid traveler, traveling all over the U.S. with her husband in their fifth wheel. She loved to fish, garden, crochet, knit and quilt.

She is preceded in death by her loving husband of 38 years, Winfred C. Johnson; her daughter, Marsha Lugg; and her sister, Martiz Rutherford.

She is survived by her daughters, Judith Ann Helton and Donna Nell Mack; stepchildren, Curtis Johnson (Sandy), Renee Bain (Jerry), Zeida Houston (Pete), and Zilpah Sammarco; sisters, Jackie Brown of Bratt, Betty Well of Oak Grove, and Jerry Hall, of Walnut Hill. She is also survived by 12 great-grandchildren, nine step-grandchildren and 16 step-great-grandchildren.

The family would like to offer special thanks to Arcadia Health Center and Emerald Coast Hospice.

Services will be held at Pensacola Memorial Gardens on Tuesday, May 3, 2016, with a visitation from 10 a.m. until funeral services begin at 11 a.m.

Interment will follow in Pensacola Memorial Gardens.

Pensacola Memorial Gardens has been entrusted with all arrangements.

Sam Uebelsteadt

April 30, 2016

The racing community has lost one of their pioneers, Sam Uebelsteadt, 89, of Cantonment, who passed away Thursday, April 28, 2016. He was a successful car owner for two decades at Five Flags Speedway. His #12 Bobby Allison look alike cars were a fan favorite. He will be greatly missed.

He is preceded in death by his wife, Minnie Nell Uebelsteadt.

He is survived by his daughters, Linda Burkett (Jerry) and Joy Tomkins (Rick); sons, Paul Uebelsteadt (Marcia) and Gus Uebelsteadt (Susan); nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be held Tuesday, May 3, 2016, at Faith Chapel Funeral Home North from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m.

Funeral services will be held Wednesday, May 4, 2016, at Faith Chapel Funeral Home North at 10 a.m.

Interment will follow at Jordan Cemetery.

Faith Chapel Funeral Home North is in charge of arrangements.

Royce Franklin Beasley

April 30, 2016

Bro. Royce Franklin Beasley, age 61, of Travis Road in Brewton, passed away Thursday, April 28, 2016, in a local hospital after a brief illness. He was a native and long time resident of Brewton and a former resident of Georgia before moving back to Brewton in 2003. Bro. Beasley was a faithful member of the Ridge Road Baptist Church and a former employee of T.R. Miller Mill Company with a number of years of service. He was the former Pastor of the Grace Baptist Church in East Brewton and he ministered weekly at a local nursing facility and other assisted living facilities. He loved and enjoyed the outdoors.

He is survived by his wife, Linda Wilson Beasley of Brewton; one son, Riley (Friend-Katie Glenn) Beasley of Flomaton; one daughter, Nicole Jordan of Brewton; two brothers, Russell (Gerald) Beasley of Wallace, AL  and Ronald (Teresa) Beasley of Callahan, FL; three sisters, Janice Beasley of Brewton, Sue (Lavon) Hodge of Brewton and Phillys (Earl) Fuqua of Brewton;
five grandchildren, Caleb Beasley, Madison Trehern, Jaxon Jordan, Joseph Glenn, John Glenn; and faithful dogs, Maggie and Jack.

Visitation will be held Monday, May 2, 2016, from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. at the Ridge Road Baptist Church in Brewton.

Funeral services are scheduled for Tuesday morning May 3, 2016, at 10 a.m. at the Ridge Road Baptist Church with Bro. Lee Cadenhead officiating.

Interment with will follow in Cooper Cemetery in Brewton.

Williams Memorial Chapel Funeral Home of Brewton is directing.

Jay Pro Rodeo Saturday Night

April 30, 2016

The 14th Annual Jay Pro Rodeo will be held Saturday at 8 p.m. at Ted May Arena in Jay.

The 3R Rodeo Company will entertain the crowd with rodeo action including pro bull riding, saddle broncing, calf and team roping, steer wrestling, and women’s breakaway and barrel racing.  For the little ones, there’s the calf scramble and more. There will also be plenty of great food available at the concession stand and from local vendors

Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. All proceeds benefit area youth program through the Jay High School SGA.

The arena is located a half mile east of the red light on Highway 4 in Jay. Parking is free. For more information, contact Fredrick Barrow at (850) 288-0634.

Century Man Charged With Stealing $22.7K From Jailed Man’s Account

April 29, 2016

A Century man has been charged in connection with the withdrawal of over $20,000 from a Century man’s bank account while he was in jail.

Cary Johnson, 52, is charged with grand theft and felony fraud. He remained in the Escambia County Jail Friday morning with bond set at $30,000.

Investigators said Johnson was along for the ride as 27-year old Lolita  Shantel Thomas went multiple times to a local credit union and withdrew a total of $22,700 without the account holder’s permission..

The victim, according to arrest report, is former jail bunkmate of Thomas’ boyfriend. Thomas was given permission to retrieve the victim’s vehicle from the county impound lot following his arrest, but she was not given permission to withdraw funds. Thomas was caught on credit union surveillance video with Johnson cashing checks at a drive-thru window.

Thomas was arrested about a month ago on similar charges and is awaiting trial.

The withdrawals were made over a period of two months in 2015.

Slight Chance Of Rain, Warm Today

April 29, 2016

Here is your official North Escambia area forecast:
Friday: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 11am. Partly sunny, with a high near 86. Southeast wind 5 to 10 mph.

Friday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before 8pm. Partly cloudy, with a low around 68. Southeast wind around 5 mph.

Saturday: Partly sunny, with a high near 84. Southeast wind 5 to 15 mph.

Saturday Night: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 8pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 69. South wind 5 to 10 mph.

Sunday: A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 81. South wind 5 to 10 mph.

Sunday Night: A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly before 8pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 67. South wind 5 to 10 mph.

Monday: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 83. Northeast wind around 5 mph becoming west in the afternoon.

Monday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 64. Southwest wind around 5 mph becoming north after midnight.

Tuesday: A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 8am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 78.

Tuesday Night: A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 59.

Wednesday: A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 77.

Wednesday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 57.

Thursday: Sunny, with a high near 79.

Job Fair Set For Today

April 29, 2016

CareerSource Escarosa will host its annual Spring Job Fair today from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Pensacola State College Jean & Paul Amos Performance Studio   (Bldg. 23) located at 1000 College Blvd. in Pensacola.

This event is open to the public and there is no charge to attend. Attendees will have the opportunity to network with more than 40 area employers who are actively seeking talented individuals to fill open positions.

Attending employers will be recruiting individuals to fill positions in manufacturing, healthcare, information technology, administration, hospitality, customer service and retail, communications, government, corrections, and more.

Job seekers are urged to dress professionally and bring plenty of resumes, as some employers may choose to conduct on-the-spot interviews.

For more information, visit or contact Morgan Cole at

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