Alabama ATV Crash Claims Life Of Cantonment Teen

April 30, 2017

An ATV accident in Alabama claimed the life of a teenage girl from Cantonment Saturday afternoon.

The single vehicle crash occurred at 2:45 p.m. Saturday, according to Alabama State Troopers, on Old Castleberry Road about 1.5 miles north of Brewton.

The 16-year old from Cantonment was killed when the 2004 Polaris ATV she was operating crash.

The teen, who was not wearing a helmet, was transported to D.W. McMillan Memorial Hospital in Brewton, where she died from injuries received in the crash.

Alabama State Troopers have not released the teenage girl’s name.

Showers, Thunderstorms Becoming Likely; Heavy Rain Tonight

April 30, 2017

Here is your official North Escambia area forecast:

Today: A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 1pm. Cloudy, with a high near 82. Windy, with a south wind around 25 mph, with gusts as high as 35 mph. New rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.

Tonight: Showers and thunderstorms. Some of the storms could be severe and produce heavy rainfall. Low around 61. Breezy, with a south wind 15 to 20 mph becoming west 5 to 10 mph after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New rainfall amounts between 1 and 2 inches possible.

Monday: A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before 10am. Mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming sunny, with a high near 78. West wind 5 to 10 mph.

Monday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 57. West wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the evening.

Tuesday: Sunny, with a high near 84. Calm wind becoming southeast around 5 mph in the afternoon.

Tuesday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 60. South wind around 5 mph.

Wednesday: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 83. South wind 5 to 10 mph.

Wednesday Night: Showers and thunderstorms likely. Cloudy, with a low around 66. South wind 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%.

Thursday: Showers and thunderstorms likely. Cloudy, with a high near 76. Southwest wind 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%.

Thursday Night: A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 58.

Friday: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 70.

Friday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 51.

Saturday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 74.

Eight Navy Personnel Hit By Drunk Driver On Perdido Key

April 30, 2017

Eight Navy personnel from NAS Pensacola were injured — some with life threatening injuries — when they were struck by a vehicle Saturday night on Perdido Key in Escambia County.

The Florida Highway Patrol has arrested 56-year old Eric Duncan Watt of Pensacola for DUI in connection with the crash. He was released from the Escambia County Jail on a $40,000 bond  about 8:50 Sunday morning. The FHP said additional charges could be forthcoming as their investigation continues.

The FHP said Watt was westbound on Perdido Key Drive east of River Road in a 2003 Infiniti M45 when he hit the eight pedestrians.

The injured have been identified as Jordan Lo with critical injuries; Kevin Park, Steven Parsons, Brandon Nunez, Travis Hehman and Jerome Wallar with serious injuries; Christian Martinez with minor injuries; and Christopher Martinez with no injuries.

Multiple Injuries In Crash Near Flomaton

April 30, 2017

There were no serious injuries  in a two vehicle crash Saturday afternoon about 2:00 on Upper Creek Road near Wolf Log Road north of Flomaton. The Flomaton Fire Department, Century Station of Escambia Fire Rescue, Escambia County (FL) EMS and Atmore Ambulance were among the responding agencies. The accident is under investigation by Alabama State Troopers. Courtesy photos for, click to enlarge.

Lawmakers Reach Agreement On Higher Ed Changes

April 30, 2017

House and Senate negotiators reached agreement Saturday on the major portions of a higher-education budget that will dramatically expand student financial aid, boost university funding and bring significant policy changes for universities and state colleges.

The deal announced by Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, and Rep. Larry Ahern, R-Seminole, who lead their chambers’ higher-education budget committees, includes a $180 million increase for the Bright Futures merit-scholarship program.

The increase will cover full tuition and fees for the top-performing Bright Futures students, known as “academic scholars.” It will also provide them with $300 per semester to cover books and will allow them to attend summer classes.

Equally significant was a record increase in programs helping students with financial need. It includes a $121 million boost in the Florida “student assistance grants,” the largest state needs-based aid program.

The agreement will also double a “first generation in college” program to more than $10 million, with the state providing a 2-to-1 match for the scholarship funding.

Another $500,000 will create a scholarship program to help students from farmworker families.

Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, has made raising the status of the state university system one of his top priorities. Negron toured the 12 university campuses last spring gathering information to develop his proposal.

As part of an agreement on the outline of a roughly $83 billion state budget, the House accepted Negron’s higher-education package, while the Senate agreed to support initiatives by House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’ Lakes, in the kindergarten through 12th-grade system.

Senate and House leaders this weekend are continuing to negotiate details of a budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1. The budget must be finished Tuesday for the annual legislative session to end on time Friday, because of a constitutionally required 72-hour “cooling off” period before lawmakers can vote on the spending plan.

The agreement on higher-education issues also will expand the state’s Benacquisto scholarships, which pay full tuition and costs for National Merit scholars, to include out-of-state students.

Meanwhile, state grants for students who attend private colleges and universities will increase by $300 to $3,300.

More broadly, the 12 state universities will receive an increase of more than $300 million in operational funding, including $245 million in performance-based funds, a $20 million increase.

The agreement provides $71 million to universities to attract top-level faculty and researchers, with another $50 million aimed at high-achieving medical, law and business schools.

Lawmakers’ decision to expand financial aid will benefit Florida’s 28 state colleges, but the system will face a $30 million reduction in remedial education funding under the budget agreement. The Senate, however, backed off a “suspension” of $30 million in performance funding for the colleges.

Universities and colleges also are expected to see major policy changes under a related bill (SB 374) that is part of the budget negotiations.

The bill would require universities to offer block tuition, where students pay a flat fee per semester rather than a credit-hour charge, by the fall of 2018. It would create a 13-member Board of Community Colleges to oversee the state college system, which is now under the Board of Education.

In addition, the legislation would cap enrollment for students pursuing four-year degrees at state colleges to no more than 15 percent of the total enrollment at each school.

A major unresolved issue is a House proposal that would prohibit university and state college foundations, known as direct-support organizations, from using public funds to pay for employees. The measure would also require the foundations to disclose most of their records and activities, with the exception of private donor names.

The Senate opposes the measure, which will now go to Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, and Rep. Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami, the two top budget chairmen.

Another issue still under negotiation is the $507 million Public Education Capital Outlay, or PECO, program, which pays for construction and maintenance projects for the higher-education and K-12 systems.

by Lloyd Dunkelberger, The News Service of Florida

NEP’s Show Stoppers Win 16U Tournament

April 30, 2017

The Northeast Pensacola’s 16u Show Stoppers won the recent Gulf Coast Girls Softball Association Mid-Season 16u “A” Division Tournament held in Pace.

The Show Stoppers went 4-0, winning two games Saturday and two games on Sunday to bring the title back to NEP ball park.  The girls played great defense and ran the bases aggressively in beating teams from Pace, Navarre, Perdido, and Gulf Breeze.  The Annual GCGSA tournament has teams from 16 area ballparks, with over 70 teams participating in this year’s tournament.  Next up for the association is three more weeks of friendship games and ending with the GCGSA All Star Tournament from June 2-4 at the Molino ballpark.

Pictured: (front, L-R) Savannah Marshall, Courtney Adams, Hannah Halfacre, Abbie Burks, Taylor Greene, (back row) Asst. Coach Greg Holland, Madison Holland, Brianna Folmar, Natasha Halfacre, Payten Showalter, Michayla Kent and Head Coach Eric Showalter. Not pictured: Asst. Coach Phillip Folmar and Mattie Cochran. Submitted photo for, click to enlarge.

Radio Control Plane, Quadcopter Demo Monday At Molino Library

April 30, 2017

The Northwest Florida Modelers will present some high-flying fun Monday morning at the Molino Branch Library. Members of the group will demonstrate their skill and expertise in operating radio controlled airplanes and quadcopters.

The free demonstration will take place at 10:30 a.m. Monday at the Molino Branch Library in the Molino Community Complex on Highway 95A.

Wahoos Falll To Biloxi In 15 Innings

April 30, 2017

The Pensacola Blue Wahoos loaded the bases in the 11th and 12th innings and had two runners in scoring position in the 14th inning but failed to get the winning run across the plate to break a 3-3 tie Saturday night at Blue Wahoos Stadium.

Meanwhile, the Biloxi Shuckers loaded the bases in the top of the 15th inning and scored twice to pull off a, 5-3, victory in 5 hours and 11 minutes in front of the Blue Wahoos sixth sellout of 5,038 this season. Biloxi has won the first three games to clinch the five-game series against Pensacola.

The 15-inning game tied the Pensacola franchise record for the longest extra inning game at home in team history. It was also the longest game of the season, surpassing the 4 hour, 46 minute 17-inning loss to Mobile last week.

Biloxi scored its winning runs when reliever Domingo Tapia loaded the bases on three walks. The big righty then gave up a two-out walk to Biloxi catcher Dustin Houle, which scored center fielder Michael Reed and gave the Shuckers a 4-3 lead. Pitcher Bubba Derby then slapped a line drive single to left field to drive in right fielder Clint Coulter to go ahead, 5-3.

Up until the 15th inning, Pensacola’s relief corps retired 15 of 16 Biloxi hitters, only giving up a bunt single to Shuckers pinch hitter Johnny Davis in the 11th inning.

Not only did Derby, knock in a run to help his cause he worked the last five innings and struck out five of the last six batters he faced. Derby picked up his first win (1-0) and has a 1.59 ERA.

But the Biloxi reliever looked shaky at first. He worked out of bases loaded jams in the 11th and 12th innings and prevented Pensacola from scoring a run in the 14th with men on second and third.

In the 12th inning, Pensacola loaded the bases with left fielder Leon Landry smashing a one-out triple to the right center gap but didn’t score. And in the 11th inning with one out and the bases loaded Derby got first baseman Eric Jagielo to strike out and third baseman Taylor Sparks to pop out to short left field.

Pensacola second baseman Josh VanMeter hit a double into the right center gap with two outs that drove in both Sparks and shortstop Blake Trahan for a 3-2 Pensacola lead in the fifth inning. Van Meter also lined a two-out single to right field in the third inning that scored catcher Joe Hudson from third base to tie the game, 1-1.

VanMeter was 3-3 at bat with two outs and 2-2 Saturday with runners in scoring position and two outs. On the season, the 25-year-old is hitting 7-14 or .500 in that situation and has driven in nine of his 12 RBIs. It’s by far the best average with the team collectively hitting .200 with RISP and two outs.

However, Biloxi came back in the top of the sixth inning to knot the game, 3-3. Shuckers pinch hitter Art Charles launched a deep fly ball to center field that easily scored Biloxi left fielder Victor Roache from third base.

With the scored tied, 3-3, with two outs and a Biloxi runner on second base, Kelly called for righty Ariel Hernandez. Hernandez’s last outing was Monday when he made his Major League debut for the Cincinnati Reds where he pitched two scoreless innings and struck out five. He joined two other Reds’ relievers who struck out five in their big league debuts from the bullpen.

His combination of a fastball that touches 100 mph and a curveball considered the best among Reds’ farmhands pitched two innings of scoreless relief allowing one hit, two walks and struck out two.

Biloxi scored first, going up 1-0, when catcher Dustin Houle singled to left field in the third inning and then scored when first baseman Dustin DeMuth walked with the bases loaded. A bank of lights right of home plate went out during Biloxi’s at bat in the inning and delayed the game 15 minutes.

Pensacola starter Keury Mella worked five innings, allowed five hits, gave up two runs, one earned, walked three and struck out three. He had pitched seven scoreless innings in his last outing against Mobile. In his first start against Biloxi, the righty lasted just 1.2 innings giving up five runs on six hits.

The Blue Wahoos have now lost six of its last seven games and three in a row to the Shuckers but remain in first place in the Southern League South Division with a 14-9 record.

Update: Suspect Arrested For Murder; Body Discovered Along Cantonment Dirt Road

April 29, 2017

UPDATE—-Cordarone Deon Gross, age 26 of Cantonment, has been charged with manslaughter for the death of 25-year old Donnie Lee Johnson. A second person of interest was questioned and released without being charged.


A man’s body was discovered next to a Cantonment road Saturday morning, and his death is currently being treated as a homicide, according to the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office.

The body of  25-year old Donnie Lee Johnson was discovered in the 200 block of River Annex Road off Muscogee Road, according to Maj. Andrew Hobbs. Johnson’s death is currently being treated as homicide.

Johnson’s body was discovered along the dirt road north of Adventures Unlimited, within a few hundred feet of the railroad crossing. A cause of death has not been released.

Two persons of interest are in custody and are being questioned in the death, Hobbs said. Charges were not immediately filed against either individual as the investigation continued. Hobb said no other suspects are at large.

More information will be posted as it become available in this developing story. photos by Kristi Barbour, click to enlarge.

Two Atmore Residents Killed In Friday Night Crash

April 29, 2017

Two people were killed in traffic crash Friday night near Atmore.

Alabama State Troopers said 37-year old Christopher Henry Lowe of Atmore was killed when his 1991 Chevrolet struck a 2005 Nissan driven by 22-year old Shalonda Trenee Rudolph of Atmore. Lowe and Rudolph were both pronounced deceased at the scene of the crash on Jack Springs Road, near Woods Road, about 9:45 p.m.

Rudolph’s three-year old passenger, who was not in a child restraint, was ejected and transported to North Baldwin Hospital in Bay Minette for treatment of injuries.

Alabama State Troopers are continuing to investigate the crash.

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