North Escambia’s Top 10 Stories Of 2017

December 31, 2017

Here our picks for the Top 10 North Escambia Stories of 2017. The list was compiled to include those stories that were “big news”, had a great influence on the North Escambia area, had the most views on or our social media sites during 2017.

10. The Sun Also Rises

There’s nothing like a North Escambia sunrise or sunset…we have some of the most amazing displays in the world. That was evidenced in 2017 by the tremendous traffic generated by simple sunrise and sunset photos we published on, on Facebook and Twitter. One of our favorites — a November sunrise at Lake Stone near Century is pictured above.

9. Traffic Accidents

Numerous traffic accidents topped the headlines in 2017, but not received quite the attention of James Nevels’ mid-December accident on Highway 29 in Molino . Nevels was in his Ford F-150 as he rear-ended the logs on the back of the 18-wheeler on Highway 29 just south of Barrineau Park Road. The pictures published by were simply heart-stopping, showing multiple logs that completely penetrated the cab of the pickup, missing Nevels by mere inches. The truck was heavily damaged in the crash. Nevels was uninjured.

8. Snow In Florida

North Escambia actually made international news in December with a rare two to three inch Florida snowfall.  The winter weather wasn’t all fun and games, claiming one life in a traffic accident at an icy Highway 29 bridge in McDavid.

7. Century Government, Apartments

Newly elected Mayor Henry Hawkins took office in Century, saying he was doing businesses differently and was out to put a stop to the town losing money. Utility rates were raised as town officials pointed out serious infrastructure failures and shortcomings. Construction was underway on a $10 million, 50 unit apartment complex, the biggest economic project in Century in decades as the town began to battle developers over water and sewer fees.

6. Naomi Jones, Local Murders

Robert Letroy Howard was arrested for the murder of 12-year old Naomi Jone in June. Jones disappeared May 31 from an apartment complex on East Johnson Avenue; her body round in a creek.  The remains of missing private investigator Taylor Wright were found on the Cantonment family property of Ashley McArthur, who has been charged –  $34,000 of the victim’s money was allegedly spent before her death. And the hunt continues for the killer of Anna Louise Brown, also known as Anna Louise Brown Vega, whose body was found on Gibson Road (pictured above).

5. Tate Coach Sexual Assaults

Former Tate High football coach and church youth leader Charlie Maybern Hamrick was been found guilty on six counts of child sexual assault and sentenced to six life sentences. The abuse incidents occurred at a Cantonment church and in the Tate High School locker room.

4. There Goes The Sun

The North Escambia area came to a stop to view a solar eclipse in August, like the Northview High School students pictured above.

3. Billy Boyette, Mary Rice Manhunt

Four people were allegedly murdered by Billy Boyette and Mary Rice in 2017, putting the entire area on edge during a massive week-long manhunt. Boyette killed himself as law enforcement surrounded their hotel room in Georgia. Rice is awaiting trial.

2. Bridge Closures

The North Escambia area was plagued by bridge closures and detours in 2017, especially from Molino north. Several of the closures and construction projects were planned, such as the replacement of a bridge on Molino Road (pictured), while other closures were “emergencies” following state inspections that found the bridges to be failing.

1. International Paper Explosion and Cleanup

Sunday night, January 22, 2017, an explosion tore through  the International Paper facility in Cantonment, raining “black liquor” down on Highway 29 and surrounding neighborhoods.  Workers in hazmat geared cleaned and scrubbed neighborhoods for weeks in a remediation effort.  IP resumed full operations in early April. photos.


4 Responses to “North Escambia’s Top 10 Stories Of 2017”

  1. David Lamb on January 1st, 2018 7:07 pm

    North is the best place for an Escambia native to stay in touch with the local news
    One story in particular of my nieces murder is very important to me. i pray that 2018 will bring this murderer to justice.

  2. Honest John on January 1st, 2018 8:38 am

    Thanks for another year of keeping us informed of news and exceptional pictures. Happy New Year and may God bless.

  3. Angi B on December 31st, 2017 8:05 pm

    Thanks William and, I can depend on n you, for the news.

  4. Pine Top Resident on December 31st, 2017 4:51 pm

    Thank you News for your reporting!
    Great site and I check it a couple times a day for updates.