Motorcyclist Killed In Highway 29 Crash

June 30, 2019

A 28-year old Alabama man was killed in a motorcycle crash Sunday morning on Highway 29.

The motorcyclist was traveling north on Highway 29 near Milstead Street at a high rate of speed, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. At the same time, 22-year old Chantelle Francine Wright began to make a turn from a motel onto Highway 29 but was unable to see the motorcyclist approaching quickly, troopers said.

The motorcyclist, whose name has not been release pending notification of next of kin, noticed the impending collision and laid the bike down. The Elberta man was unable to stop in time.

The bike rider was pronounced deceased at Sacred Heart Hospital. Wright was not injured.

FHP said any charges in the crash are pending. file photo.

Century Mom’s Baby Logan Is Sacred Heart’s Tiniest Miracle

June 30, 2019

At six months pregnant, Talisa Jackson of Century faced every expectant mother’s worst nightmare.

Following an excruciating night of pain and spotting, Jackson was told she was miscarrying her baby girl, and there was nothing her doctors could do for her.

Jackson was rushed to Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola, where she underwent an emergency Cesarean section.

Upon waking, Jackson was in for two surprises. Though premature, her baby was very much alive. And she had a boy.

On January 26, at just 24 weeks, Omaurian “Logan” Allen was born at 12 ounces and 10 inches long. He is likely the smallest surviving baby in Sacred Heart’s 100-year history.

“When I woke up three days later and got to see him for the first time, I cried,” said Jackson. “He was so little and surrounded by all these tubes. I remember thinking, ‘Why me?’ ”

Doctors prepared Jackson for the worst, but she told them: “Do everything you can for my baby, because I’m not giving up on him.”

For the next several months, neither would the doctors and nurses at Studer Family Children’s Hospital as they continue to prepare him to head home.

“We had two episodes where Logan died and stopped breathing,” Jackson said. “For a while, I went into a depression. I blamed myself because I had pre-eclampsia.”

But doctors helped her realize that pre-eclampsia, a type of pregnancy complication influenced by high-blood pressure, was common and beyond her control. Jackson said she met some “amazing people” while bonding with other NICU mothers and nurses, forming a unique support system that helped her through the darkest days.

“I love my nurses,” she said. “If I was busy with my other two girls at home, they would reassure me that they had Logan, and he wasn’t going anywhere. If they ever thought something might be wrong when I came to see Logan, they would ask if I needed to talk. They became my family. They went through this with me, and I was never alone.”

When the new Children’s Hospital opened on May 4, Jackson and Logan were transferred from Sacred Heart’s old Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to the new Level III NICU, where each family receives their own private room. There, Jackson was able to enjoy more solitude and peace with her son, and learn all about his “big” personality.

“You’ve got to be on time with that bottle, or he’s going to let you have it,” Jackson laughed. “He may be little, but he’s loud. He knows he has his nurses and mom wrapped around his finger.”

But when he quiets down, gazes into his mother’s loving eyes, Jackson is steadfast with their mantra.

“Every night, I tell him he’s my champion,” she said. “I tell him, ‘You are strong. You are smart. You’re a soldier, you’re victorious, you’re my miracle.’”

Jackson promises Logan he will grow up to be successful, able to do anything and everything he could want.

“As soon as I start telling him, he looks up with a smile, because he knows.”

Alabama Moves Forward With Plans To Build Three Prisons, Close Others

June 30, 2019

Alabama will plans to break ground on the first of three new prisons by mid-2020, but exactly where they will be built still remains to be seen.  The stakes are high for towns like Atmore that already have prisons because many of the current prisons in the state will be closed.

The ADOC is looking for companies to build the prisons and then lease them back to the state for up to $78 million a year. The estimated total costs of the prisons is $900 million.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s administration has taken the next step in the plan, formally issuing a request for proposals to identify companies that will bid on the new prisons later in 2019.`

The locations of the new prisons have not been announced and remain open based upon the proposals from the private companies that will build them. The proposal request posted by the ADOC, however, indicates there is no chance the largest facility would be built in Atmore.

The largest prison will have 3,960 beds with about 1.1 million square feet on an estimated 216 acres. According to documents posted by the corrections department, it will be located somewhere in the central part of the state because it will house centralized services such as medical, mental health, aged care and inmate reception. That would rule out Atmore.

The state expects to execute an agreement on the largest facility by the end of 2019. Contracts for the other two facilities with about 3,072 beds each will be executed in six-month intervals in 2020.

The state will not consider awarding all three contracts to the same developer.

All three should be located, according to the ADOC, near population centers that ensure an adequate present and future employment base with an average commute of about 45 minutes. The criteria also provides locations should be within a 45 minutes average commute of existing corrections employee locations.

The third major location criteria for the two smaller prisons is access to a Level 3 trauma center in addition to other inpatient and outpatient services within 30 minute

The construction plans came after the U.S. Department of Justice found conditions in Alabama men’s prisons violate the constitution. The DOJ concluded that there is reasonable cause to believe that the men’s prisons fail to protect prisoners from prisoner-on-prisoner violence and prisoner-on-prisoner sexual abuse, and fail to provide prisoners with safe conditions.

Pictured: Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore. file photo.

BOCC To Select OLF 8 Master Plan Firm Monday

June 30, 2019

The Escambia County Commission will hold a special meeting on Monday to decide between three ranked firms to create the master plan for the OLF 8 site on Nine Mile Road. The finalist list was selected  by a joint Escambia County – Navy Federal committee.

The top three firms are, in the order ranked by the committee, are:

  1. DPZ CoDESIGN of Miami,
  2. Associated Space Design dba ASD|SKY of Atlanta.
  3. Pensacola office of Atkins North America.

During the 9 a.m. meeting Monday, the winning firm will be selected based upon the following criteria:

  • Strategy for addressing Plan Objectives – 15 Points;
  • Approach for conducting the Existing Conditions Analysis and Technical Analysis – 15 Points;
  • Approach for conducting Economic Impact Analysis – 20 Points;
  • Demonstration of innovative methods for soliciting, assessing and using community input, comments and suggestions during project development and for working with diverse stakeholders to achieve plan objective – 20 Points;
  • Demonstration of successfully implementing other similar master plan – 15 Points; and
  • Strategy for implementing the OLF-8 Master Plan – 15 Points.

The Firms

DPZ CoDESIGN’s accomplishments include the Perdido Key Corridor Master Plan, Pensacola Community Redevelopment Area Form Based Code, the Orange County Code and Comprehensive Plan, Reinvent Phoenix (AZ) and the Southtowne Apartments in Pensacola.

ASD/SKY’s accomplishments include the Navy Federal Heritage Oaks Campus, the Navy Federal Recreation Facility, Southtown Mixed Use Residential Project in Pensacola, the Lulu (GA) Master Plan and Hacienda Pinilla in Costa Rica.

Atkins North America’s list included the Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU) Site, Babcock Ranch Economic Impact Study in Lee County, Crestview Community Redevelopment Agency Master Plan, Glenwood Park Atlanta,Grand Turk Master Plan Development Services Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Island.

OLF -8

In January Escambia County acquired the 636 acre OLF-8 in a land swap with the U.S. Navy for property in Santa Rosa County. The land exchange provided Escambia County with property that can accommodate a wide variety of residential and light industrial development options. file photo.

Take Our Quick Four Question Fourth Of July Survey

June 30, 2019


How do you spend the Fourth of July? Who has the best local fireworks show?

Those are two of the four questions in the Fourth of July Survey. Click here to take the survey, and look for the results in an upcoming story on photo.

New Texting, Vaping And Firefighter Cancer Laws Go Into Effect July 1

June 30, 2019

Several new laws will go into effect Monday, July 1 in Florida.

Texting and Driving

The one will impact the most people is a new law that makes texting and driving a primary offense, meaning an office can pull you over if they see you texting on your phone while your vehicle is in motion. There are also increase penalties forr texting and driving in school zones and construction zones.

Vaping Ban

A new vaping law goes into effect, banning vaping and e-cigarettes in indoor workplaces. The vaping ban is an extension of the Florida Clean Indoor Air Act, which was passed to protect people from secondhand smoke.

Firefighter Cancer Benefits

Firefighters  that are diagnosed with certain types of cancer will benefit from the new law. While treatment for cancer is often covered already existing health plans, the new law requires the firefighter’s employer to cover out-of-pocket expenses such as copays and deductibles.

More Of Same Summertime Weather Pattern

June 30, 2019

Here is your official North Escambia area forecast:

Sunday: A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 90. Calm wind becoming south around 5 mph in the afternoon. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.

Sunday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before 1am. Partly cloudy, with a low around 72. South wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the evening.

Monday: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 1pm. Mostly sunny, with a high near 92. Calm wind becoming southwest around 5 mph in the afternoon.

Monday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 73. Southwest wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the evening.

Tuesday: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 93. Calm wind becoming west around 5 mph.

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

Wednesday: A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 94. Northwest wind around 5 mph becoming calm.

Wednesday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 74. West wind around 5 mph becoming calm.

Independence Day: A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 94.

Thursday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 74.

Friday: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 95.

Friday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 74.

Saturday: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 93.

Pictured: Saturday sunset. photo, click to enlarge.

Navy Accepting Input On Advanced Helicopter Training Plan

June 30, 2019

The Navy has completed and released to the public a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for the replacement of the TH-57 Sea Ranger training helicopter system with the Advanced Helicopter Training System at Naval Air Station (NAS) Whiting Field.

The Navy proposes to modernize its rotary-wing and tilt-rotor pilot training program at Training Air Wing Five located at NAS Whiting Field and its respective helicopter training Navy Outlying Landing Fields.

The AHTS would involve the replacement of TH-57 Sea Ranger training helicopters, replacement of existing simulators, an increase in operational training tempo, changes in operational tactics based on a new curriculum, construction of temporary and permanent supporting facilities, and an increase in personnel.

The purpose of the Proposed Action is to address the capability and capacity gaps of the current aging TH-57 helicopter training system operated by Training Air Wing (TW) 5 at NAS Whiting Field. The AHTS would provide a newer, more capable, more reliable helicopter and training system to TW-5. The proposed AHTS would meet the advanced helicopter and intermediate tilt-rotor training requirements through 2050.

Interested parties may view a copy of the Draft EA at the website and at the following libraries:

CENTURY: Century Branch Library, 7991 N. Century Boulevard.

MOLINO: Molino Branch Library, 6450-A Highway 95A.

PENSACOLA: Pensacola Library, 239 N. Spring Street; Tryon Branch Library, 1200 Langley Avenue; Genealogy Branch Library, 5740 North Ninth Avenue; Southwest Branch Library, 12248 Gulf Beach Highway; Westside Branch Library, 1301 West Gregory Street.

PACE: Pace Library, 4750 Pace Patriot Boulevard.

MILTON: Milton Library, 5541 Alabama Street.

Public comments on the Draft EA must be postmarked or received online no later than July 19, 2019. Written comments may be submitted online at or mailed to:

AHTS EA Project Manager
Naval Facilities Engineering Command Atlantic
Attn: Code EV22TW
6506 Hampton Blvd.
Norfolk, VA 23508

Public comments on the Draft EA will be considered in the Final Environmental Assessment.

Pictured: TH-57 Sea Ranger helicopters from Training Air Wing 5 sit on the flightline at Naval Air Station Whiting Field. Photo for, click to enlarge.

Mechanic Testing Pickup Truck Flips It Into Cantonment Creek

June 29, 2019

A mechanic looking to test out a pickup truck flipped it into a Cantonment creek Saturday afternoon.

The Florida Highway Patrol said mechanic Craig Kittrell of Cantonment, 61, was driving the 1999 Chevrolet 1500 east on West Roberts Road near Stallion Road where he “allegedly accelerated to test the suspension and transmission. The action of the driver caused the rear tires of the vehicle to lose traction. The vehicle left the roadway, overturning into a creek.”

Kittrell and passenger Suzane Adams, age 38 of Cantonment, were both transported to Sacred Heart Hospital in serious condition by Escambia County EMS.

Any charges in the crash are pending, according to FHP. photos by Kristi Barbour, click to enlarge.

One Injured In Nine Mile, Pine Forest Crash

June 29, 2019

One person was injured in a two vehicle crash Saturday morning at the intersection Nine Mile and Pine Forest roads.

The male was transported by Escambia County EMS to an area hospital. Traffic was slowed in the area as the Florida Highway Patrol investigated the wreck. photos by Kristi Barbour, click to enlarge.

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