UPDATE: Missing Century Teen Has Been Located

June 30, 2017

UPDATE 6/30/2017: Missing teen Laurel McCann has been located, according to the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office.

The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help in finding a missing habitual runaway from Century.

Laurel Aurora McCann, 16, was last seen on June 24th, fleeing from her house, located in Century, into the woods after having an argument with a family member. Laurel, 16, was last seen wearing blue skinny jeans, a blue T-shirt with a black tank top underneath, and white and blue water shoes.

If you have any information on Laurel’s whereabouts contact the ECSO at  (850) 436-9620.

Convicted Sex Offender Enters Plea In Naomi Jones Murder

June 30, 2017

The convicted sex offender charged with killing a 12-year old girl has entered a not guilty plea, despite an earlier admission to investigators.

The written plea and waiver of appearance were filed in court by the public defender for 38-year old Robert Letroy Howard. With the entry, Howard will not appear in court Friday for a scheduled arraignment hearing.

Prosecutors say Howard kidnapped, murdered and dumped the body of 12-year old Naomi Jones. He remains in the Escambia County Jail without bond charged with first degree premeditated murder. He is also charged with failure to register as a sex offender in the State of Florida.

Authorities say Howard was living with his girlfriend in the same apartment complex in which Jones lived in the 1400 block of East Johnson Avenue. He lived in a nearly adjacent apartment to Jones. She was last seen May 31 in that apartment complex.

Jones likely died within 24 to 36 hours after her May 31 disappearance, Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said. Her body was then later dumped into Eight Mile Creek, some 4-5 miles away, where it was found days later by two men looking for a fishing location.

According to court documents, Howard admitted to being at the apartment complex the day Jones went missing and having contact with her at his apartment. He became extremely angry and committed “a violent act” against  Jones causing her death. He then placed her body in the backseat of his Nissan Altima and traveled to multiple locations, including Brewton, AL, before returning to Pensacola and throwing Jones’ body into the creek.

Slight Chance Of Rain Tonight

June 30, 2017

Here is your official North Escambia area forecast:

Tonight: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 74. South wind around 5 mph. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.

Saturday: A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 88. Southwest wind around 5 mph.

Saturday Night: A 10 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 75. Southwest wind around 5 mph.

Sunday: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 89. West wind around 5 mph.

Sunday Night: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 73. West wind around 5 mph.

Monday: A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 91. Northwest wind around 5 mph.

Monday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 74. Calm wind becoming southwest around 5 mph.

Independence Day: A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 90. Calm wind becoming southwest around 5 mph.

Tuesday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 74. Southwest wind around 5 mph.

Wednesday: A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 90.

Wednesday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 73.

Thursday: A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 89.

Thursday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 73.

Friday: Showers and thunderstorms likely. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 87. Chance of precipitation is 60%.

Interstate Accident Claims Life Of Gulf Breeze Man

June 30, 2017

A Gulf Breeze man was killed in a single vehicle accident Thursday afternoon on I-10.

The Florida Highway Patrol said 26-year old Michael Portillo was traveling east on the entrance ramp to I-10 attempting to merge into traffic from Pine Forest Road. His 2004 Toyota Tacoma began to rotate, traveling into the wood line and striking a tree about 1:40 p.m.

Portillo, who was wearing a seat belt, was transported to Sacred Heart Hospital where he was pronounced deceased.

NorthEscambia.com photos by Kristi Barbour, click to enlarge.

Board Votes To Close, Consolidate A.C. Moore Elementary In Atmore

June 30, 2017

The Escambia County (AL) Board of Education voted 5-1 Thursday to move forward with the closure and consolidation of A.C. Moore Elementary School in Atmore.

A.C. Moore served about 20 Pre-K students, plus about 265 third and fourth graders from the Atmore area.

The Pre-K and third grade students from A.C. Moore will be transferred to Rachel Patterson Elementary in Atmore, while fourth graders will be moved to Escambia County Middle School in Atmore.

The district will also work to consolidate personnel, school programs and services such as transportation.

The consolidation will be complete by the start of the upcoming school year.

There’s no plan in place for the future of the A.C. Moore campus.

School board member David Nolin voted against the closure and consolidation, instead asking that the board study the situation. He said he feels smaller schools are better, and he express concerns over moving fourth grade students to middle school.

Pictured: A.C. Moore Elementary School in Atmore as seen Thursday afternoon. The campus will remain empty this fall after the board of education voted to close and consolidate the school. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.

ECUA Sanitation Pickup Schedule Change For July 4

June 30, 2017

If you have ECUA residential sanitation service in the North Escambia area with a Tuesday pickup, you need to plan to place your trash and recycling cans out Sunday night due to the July 4 holiday.

ECUA Escambia County residential sanitation customers will experience a schedule change to their collection during the Independence Day holiday. The collection scheduled for Tuesday, July 4, 2017, will be made on Monday, July 3, 2017. There are no changes to scheduled ECUA collections in Santa Rosa County.

Commercial (dumpster service) collections during the Independence Day holiday, which are scheduled on Tuesday, July 4, 2017, will be made on Wednesday, July 5, 2017.

Saturday Is Deadline To Apply For $100K In IP Grants

June 30, 2017

International Paper Pensacola Mill will award $100,000 in IP Foundation Grants in 2017. The deadline for all 2017 grant applications is July 1, 2017.

Grants are awarded through the International Paper Foundation. International Paper’s Foundation supports sustainable investments to address critical needs in the communities where IP team members live and work.

Signature causes are:

Education – Priority given to literacy programs from birth through third grade.

Hunger – Community programs that provide access to food for those in need or provide solutions to alleviate hunger.

Health & Wellness – Programs that promote basic health and human needs.

Disaster Relief – Programs that reduce suffering or saves lives as a result of a natural disaster.

For more information about the Foundation and/or to apply online, interested applicants should visit www.ipgiving.com.

Florida’s Hard-Fought Budget Finally Takes Effect

June 30, 2017

It took an extension to the regular session and a special session on top of that to finally get a state spending plan for the new fiscal year, but the budget that tied up lawmakers for months finally takes effect Saturday.

All told, the state will spend between $83 billion and $84 billion, scattered around several bills that have been signed by Gov. Rick Scott. The money can be found in the actual budget (SB 2500) and in other bills, such as a controversial public education proposal (HB 7069) linked to the budget, along with legislation passed during the special session (HB 1A and 3A) that amended the state spending plan.

The legislation that passed during the regular session, which ended May 8, did so after lawmakers were forced to extend the session because negotiations took too long. The special session in June used funding from Scott’s line-item vetoes to pour additional money into public education, tourism marketing and infrastructure projects aimed at drawing businesses to the state.

Lawmakers also used the session to restore about $60 million in higher-education projects that Scott had vetoed.

Here are some of the highlights of the spending plan as it stands after the maneuvering and multiple sessions:


The main funding formula for K-12 schools in Florida, known as the Florida Education Finance Program, ended up with $20.6 billion overall, including nearly $11.7 billion from the state. Local property taxes that are sent to the state to help fund education will be held flat again, at the insistence of the House. On a per-student basis, funding will rise by $100, or about 1.4 percent.

At the same time, another $419 million is included in HB 7069, a sweeping measure that touches everything from teacher bonuses and charter schools to standardized testing and mandatory recess. Much of the money will be used on provisions meant to encourage charter schools to move in close to academically struggling traditional public schools, to provides services to help children at those traditional schools, and to provide bonuses for teachers.


Some parents and students will likely appreciate the nearly $152 million provided to help cover fees and books for the 45,000 top-performing students, known as academic scholars. The book allowance will amount to $300 per semester. Other sources of student aid will also see increases.

However, Scott vetoed a bill that would have made the new scholarship funding permanent, meaning lawmakers could have to revisit the issue in next year’s session, which begins in January.


Despite an effort by the Senate to soften the blow during the special session, hospitals will face a $521 million cut in Medicaid payments. Sen. Anitere Flores, a Miami Republican who chairs the chamber’s health-care budget committee, proposed legislation (SB 4A) in the special session that would have provided $100 million in state money, which when matched with federal money would have knocked out about half the cut. But the House didn’t even introduce a hospital funding bill, and the issue died.


It looked for a long time like Scott wouldn’t get the money he wanted for job promotion and tourism marketing in the state. He feuded for months with House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’ Lakes — but, in the end, the governor got at least some of what he wanted.

The Florida Job Growth Grant Fund will provide $85 million for things like infrastructure projects to help land economic-development deals — but won’t include the kind of direct incentives to businesses that Scott prefers. Another $76 million will be devoted to Visit Florida, an agency that markets Florida tourism.

by Brandon Larrabee, The News Service of Florida

FHP, Police Team Up On Pensacola Traffic Crackdown

June 30, 2017

The Pensacola Police Department and Florida Highway Patrol are joining forces to crack down on reckless drivers and traffic crashes within te city limits.

During July, officers from both agencies will work overtime to enforce traffic laws to supplement officers on patrol in an effort to reduce the number of traffic crashes.

“Our goal is to reduce traffic crashes by changing driving behaviors,” said PPD Chief Tommi Lyter. “Our partnership with the FHP will allow us to more than double our traffic enforcement efforts through increased manpower and assistance. We’re very grateful to the FHP for their participation.”

FHP Major Warren K. Fast, commander of Troop A, noted that traffic crashes have a  major impact on the lives of many in the Pensacola area. “It is our responsibility to do all we can to help reduce injury crashes and fatalities. This is an excellent initiative toward this end, and we are pleased to be a part of it,” Fast said.

Among the areas to be targeted during the crackdown are main corridors such as Ninth Avenue between Langley Avenue and Bayou Boulevard, Bayfront Parkway from 17th  Avenue to Spring Street, and Cervantes, Garden and Main streets.

Wahoos Win 2-1; Rain Suspends Second Game

June 30, 2017

Pensacola Blue Wahoos right-hander Deck McGuire struck out a season-high 10 in six innings of work Thursday in a game resumed after rain suspended Wednesday’s game after the first five outs of the game.

Behind McGuire, who hasn’t allowed a run in his last 14 innings, Pensacola won the first game of Thursday’s doubleheader with Montgomery, 2-1, at Blue Wahoos Stadium. McGuire, threw his third shutout in his past four appearances.

Over all four games — three of those starts — the 2010 first round pick, has allowed just two earned runs in 25 innings pitched.

Montgomery led Pensacola 4-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning when rain-delayed the second game 77 minutes Thursday before it was suspended. The Blue Wahoos had one out with runners on first and second. The seven-inning game will resume at 5 p.m. Friday and will be followed by a second nine inning game.

Pensacola manager Pat Kelly liked what he saw from McGuire, who improved to 7-5 on the year with a 2.98 ERA.

“That was outstanding,” Kelly said. “He had 10 punch outs in six innings. His breaking ball was very effective.”

In the first game, Pensacola scored two runs in the second inning off of Montgomery right-handed pitcher Benton Moss to go ahead, 2-0.

Blue Wahoos left fielder Josh VanMeter scored the first run of the game when Montgomery catcher Nick Ciuffo made a bad throw with the bases loaded trying to pick VanMeter off. Pensacola catcher Joe Hudson then hit a bouncer to third that brought right fielder Aristides Aquino home for the second score.

Montgomery’s only run came in the eighth inning when Pensacola reliever Carlos Gonzalez threw a two-out wild pitch that allowed Biscuits DH Justin O’Conner to score from third base.

In the second seven-inning game Thursday, Pensacola righty Alex Powers made the start, even though, he had never pitched more than 3.1 innings. He was making his first start in 145 appearances in his five-year professional career and first start in 174 pro and college appearances at Southern New Hampshire University.

He didn’t do so bad filling in while Pensacola seeks a fifth starter to complete its rotation. The 25-year-old Powers got four of the first six outs on Ks. Powers ended up throwing a career-high four innings and held Montgomery scoreless. Plus, he struck out a career-high six, while giving up two hits and a walk.

“He’s thrown well all year in all kinds of roles,” Kelly said. “I was hoping to get three innings out of him and he gave us four.”

That’s a far cry from his last outing Monday, Powers gave up four earned runs on six hits in three innings of relief against the Chattanooga Lookouts.

However, Powers was relieved by Geoff Broussard who blew Pensacola’s 2-0 lead. He gave up four runs, three earned, allowing Montgomery to take a 4-2 lead.

Broussard gave up one run in the fifth inning and gave up three more runs to the Biscuits in the sixth, failing to get an out against the first four batters he faced before being chased from the game.

The Blue Wahoos, which feature four new players from High-A Daytona Tortugas in the Southern League second half, have struggled at the plate. The first half champions have scored more than two runs just once in its first seven games after the All-Star break.

Plus, the team has had one game postponed on the road against the Chattanooga Lookouts and now two home games suspended in a row because of rain against the Montgomery Biscuits.

Rain, rain go away, said Kelly. “Baseball is a game of routine. It’s tough to get into any kind of rhythm,” he said.

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