Escambia County Surpasses 500 COVID-19 Cases

April 30, 2020

Escambia County has surpassed 500 COVID-19 cases as of the Thursday report from the Florida Department of Health.

Escambia County cases were up 10 to 506, and Santa Rosa was up one to 154. There have been 11 deaths in Escambia County, with eight of those in long-term care facilities. Santa Rosa County has had seven deaths with none in long-term care centers.

Statewide, there were 33,690 cases including 32,801 Florida residents. There have been 5,589 hospitalizations and 1,268 deaths.

  • Total cases — 506 (+10 since Wednesday)
  • Pensacola — 383
  • Cantonment — 37
  • Bellview — 6
  • Perdido Key — 1
  • McDavid/Walnut Hill — 1
  • Molino – 4
  • Century — 2
  • Hospitalizations:  43*
  • Deaths — 11
  • Male — 195
  • Female — 240
  • Youngest — 0
  • Oldest — 100

Santa Rosa County cases:

  • Total cases — 154 (+1 since Wednesday)
  • Milton — 83
  • Navarre — 31
  • Gulf Breeze — 24
  • Pace — 13
  • Jay — 2
  • Residents: 129
  • Nonresidents — 1
  • Hospitalizations — 22*
  • Deaths — 7
  • Male — 105
  • Female — 48
  • Youngest — 2 months
  • Oldest — 94

Florida cases:

  • Total cases — 33,690
  • Florida residents — 32,801
  • Deaths — 1.268
  • Hospitalizations — 5,589*

*“Hospitalizations” is a count of all laboratory confirmed cases in which an inpatient hospitalization occurred at any time during the course of illness. These people may no longer be hospitalized. This number does not represent the number of COVID-19 positive persons currently hospitalized. The FDOH does not provide a count of patients currently hospitalized.

COVID-19 Testing Site Saturday At UWF With No Pre-screening Required

April 30, 2020

A new mobile testing site with no pre-screening required will be open to Escambia and Santa Rosa County residents Saturday at the University of West Florida and continue for two weeks.

The drive-through test site will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily at the SP2 parking lot, which is on the east side of campus near the East Sports Complex. Individuals are asked to remain in their vehicles. The National Guard will be there to assist.

“We want to thank the Governor’s Office for initiating this testing site at the University of West Florida for Escambia and Santa Rosa County residents,” said Escambia County Board Chairman Steven Barry. “I’d also like to thank Dr. Martha Saunders and the University of West Florida for the use of their campus to accommodate residents from both counties in such a central location. Furthermore, this site will provide residents the opportunity to be tested, both for their own peace of mind and for the overall health of our community.”

The site is is being opened at the request of the Governor’s Office under the direction of the Florida Department of Health in conjunction with both Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.

Santa Rosa County Chairman Don Salter added, “We appreciate the governor bringing these much needed resources to our part of the state. Increased testing capacity is the key to safely reopening the Florida panhandle.”

“We are happy to provide the opportunity for this much needed testing site,” said UWF President Martha Saunders. “UWF will always do its part to protect the health and safety of our community.”

The site will be open for first responders only on Friday, May 1.

Photo for, click to enlarge.

A Mom Remembers A Daughter Lost As Search Continues For Molino Woman’s Killer

April 30, 2020

“April 30, 2017, our lives were forever altered. You see, our youngest daughter was taken out of this world; someone took her life. She breathed her last breath as a wicked and vile person left her lying, alone on the side of the road. God, in His Mercy and Grace and compassionate Love, whisked her to Heaven.  She is with Him, safe with her Savior and Lord.”

Those are the words of Sue Brown as she remembered her daughter Anna Louise Brown.  Thursday marked three years since Anna was found shot and killed on Gibson Road off Crabtree Church Road in Molino. Her family is hoping for closure and the arrest of a suspect.

Brown, 38, was pronounced deceased at the scene; her body was discovered face down by the roadway.

Investigators believe the murder was not a random act of violence, and they believe Brown knew the person that killed her. No suspect has been named by the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office.

“We miss her; her children miss her.  Her family, friends, relatives and co-workers mourn her loss. A loving and free spirited young woman was taken before her time. In the prime and beauty of her life, when the world and her family needed her, she was gone.  We know and understand we will see her again; we will embrace and have a joyous reunion one day when the Lord calls His people home,” Sue Brown said.

When Anna joined a class at Hamilton Baptist Church in Robertsdale before her death, she as asked to write down something about her life.

“I am …doing life as a working, blessed Mom of two amazing children,” Anna wrote. “I love being a mom! There are moments and days and situations that are tough and rough and painful and challenging and hard; but the joy of loving and having the privilege to nurture and teach my kids is a gift. I know they are each God’s first, and that helps me worry less when they are away,” Anna wrote. “I work as a Physical Therapist Assistant …I love doing therapy!”

She continued, “I have a great family. I have wonderful parents and I have a growing relationship with my Creator, my Lord, my salvation, my strength, provider, comforter and friend. With my natural family and my church family, I am never alone or separated. I receive love and support and physical, tangible help when it’s needed. That support and encouragement makes single parenting not so single! Yay!”

Anyone with information on the murder is asked to contact the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office at (850) 436-9620 or call Gulf Coast Crime Stoppers at (850) 433-STOP.

Below: photos, click to enlarge.

Walnut Hill Man Charged In Shots Fired Incident On West Highway 4 In Bratt

April 30, 2020

A Walnut Hill hill man is facing felony charges after allegedly shooting at houses Monday on West Highway 4 about a mile from Northview High School.

Rudy Matthew Lamar Marquardt, 26, was charged with three counts of felony aggravated assault. He remained in the Escambia County Jail Thursday with bond set at $20,000.

About 2:30 p.m. Monday, the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office arrived in the 3000 block of West Highway 4 to find Marquardt sitting on the porch. He was detained and placed in a patrol vehicle. As deputies cleared the house, they found several .22 caliber rifle shells throughout the house and found a mirror and cabinet “which had been shot up”, according to their report. Outside the residence, the reported finding a “sign and other stuff that had been shot up”.

They also located a .22 caliber pistol tied to a bamboo stick inside a concrete block, the report states, along with three .22 caliber hollow point pistol cartridges and a spent shell cartridge.

A neighbor reported that Marquardt walked over to his porch, pointed the gun toward his house and shot one time, according to the ECSO. Another neighbor told deputies she was watching Marquardt through binoculars and “he was acting weird and then he shot a gun at the house,” the report states.

The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office responded to the house about 7:20 Sunday night after a caller told the ECSO that shots had been fired at their residence by a relative. An individual was taken into custody without incident under Florida’s Baker Act, which allows someone to be transported to a mental health facility. Due to HIPAA, the federal medical privacy law, the ESCO was unable to confirm the individual’s name from the Sunday night incident.

Low Around 50 Tonight, More Sunshine Through The Weekend

April 30, 2020

Here is your official North Escambia area forecast:

Tonight: Clear, with a low around 51. Northwest wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the evening.0

Friday: Sunny, with a high near 80. Calm wind becoming west around 5 mph.

Friday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 55. Southwest wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the evening.

Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 84. Light and variable wind becoming south 5 to 10 mph in the morning.

Saturday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 60. South wind 5 to 10 mph becoming light after midnight.

Sunday: Sunny, with a high near 83. Light and variable wind becoming south 10 to 15 mph in the afternoon.

Sunday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 63. South wind 10 to 15 mph becoming light southwest after midnight.

Monday: Sunny, with a high near 86. Light west wind becoming southwest 5 to 10 mph in the morning.

Monday Night: Clear, with a low around 66. Southwest wind 5 to 15 mph.

Tuesday: Sunny, with a high near 86.

Tuesday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 68.

Wednesday: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 87.

Wednesday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 61.

Thursday: Sunny, with a high near 84.

Pensacola Beach Reopening: Here’s How The Cashless Tolls Work

April 30, 2020

[Updated] Headed to Pensacola Beach after it reopens Friday? Don’t forget the new all-electronic tolling system on Bob Sikes Bridge to Pensacola Beach went live on March 20, which was earlier than anticipated to adhere to social distancing for toll booth workers.

The toll remains $1, but cash and coins are no longer accepted. Revenues from the toll are currently being used to pay for the 2020 bridge rehabilitation project  and the bond payment for the widening of Via De Luna Lane through 2031. Revenues will also go toward a replacement bridge needed in approximately 15 years.

All tolls will be collected electronically. Motorists will use either SunPass, another interoperable transponder or be billed utilizing the toll-by-plate system. Toll-by-plate customers will be charged a $1 toll, plus a monthly $2.50 administrative fee and will receive a bill by mail. Cash can be used at SunPass kiosks to replenish and pay toll-by-plate invoices.

There are many ways to get to Pensacola Beach. Transponders are available at the Santa Rosa Island Authority and any retailer where SunPass and E-Pass are available. Other options for passes include the NC Quick PassPeach Pass and tolling apps such as PayTollo.


With SunPass, the $1 toll will automatically deduct from your prepaid account when you pass through the Bob Sikes toll plaza.

Simply drive through without slowing down.

Without Sunpass, tThe toll will still be $1 each time you pass through the toll plaza, plus a $2.50 administrative fee that is charged each billing cycle. No matter the number of trips you take to the beach, you will only be charged the administration fee once per billing cycle.

Get your SunPass® transponder:

  • Step one: Purchase online at or in person at the SRIA office, a tollbooth window or retail outlets including Publix, CVS Pharmacy and Walgreens. For a full list, visit
  • Step two: Activate at or by calling 888-865-5352.
  • Step three: Load funds into a prepaid account or enroll in the SunPass Automatic Easy Pay at, or by calling 888-865-5352 and using a credit or debit card. Customers may also replenish with cash by visiting any of thousands of retail locations statewide. For a complete list of locations, visit
  • Step four: Drive to Pensacola Beach!

Please note that a SunPass Mini transponder costs a one-time fee of about $5 and SunPass requires a minimum opening balance of $10 for a personal account. If your overall SunPass account balance decreases to $0 or below, your SunPass is no longer active and neither is your Annual Pass if you have one. You must carry at least a $10 balance on your overall SunPass account balance in order to purchase or renew an Annual Pass.

Pensacola Beach Annual Pass

The Pensacola Beach Annual Pass integrated with SunPass® provides frequent beach goers and Pensacola Beach residents a true 365-day pass for the Bob Sikes Bridge, providing unlimited passage for one full year from the date of purchase.

Need assistance or have questions? Contact Escambia County’s customer service office located in the Santa Rosa Island Authority office at 850-916-5421.

How to get your Pensacola Beach Annual Pass:

Step one: Purchase a SunPass transponder

Step two: Enroll in the Pensacola Beach Annual Pass program

  • Online
  • In person: Visit the Santa Rosa Island Authority office.

Note:  A SunPass transponder must be purchased and activated before participating in the Pensacola Beach Annual Pass program. Once the SunPass transponder has been purchased, it may take two to four hours before you are then able to purchase a Pensacola Beach Annual Pass. The Pensacola Beach Annual Pass is only valid for the Bob Sikes Bridge toll plaza.

How much is a Pensacola Beach Annual Pass?

  • Effective May 1, 2017 - Pensacola Beach Annual Passes are $20 per year for public annual passes and $70 per year for commercial annual passes (all vehicles displaying any commercial markings or advertising, including magnetic or rooftop signs, or vehicles owned by a commercial business).
  • Homestead residents are allowed up to two $5 Pensacola Beach Annual Passes, and you must visit the Santa Rosa Island Authority Office, located at 1 Via De Luna Drive on Pensacola Beach. To be a homestead resident, you must obtain the designation of your primary residence on Pensacola Beach from the Escambia County Property Appraiser’s Office. Beach residents must bring a proof of homestead exemption from the property tax office when going to purchase an annual pass. To be a homestead resident, you must live 50%+ of your time during a year at primary residence on Pensacola Beach. Please note, these passes are available for two-axle non-commercial vehicles only.

Drive-Thru COVID-19 Testing Offered In Jay, Chumuckla, Bagdad, Berrydale, Milton

April 30, 2020

Santa Rosa County is bringing drive-thru COVID-19 testing to locations across the county.

No pre-screening is required at the following sites:

  • Fri., May 1, 9 a.m. – Milton Community Center, 5629 Byrom St.
  • Fri., May 1, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. - Chumuckla Elementary, 2312 County Rd. 182
  • Sat., May 2, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. - Southern Raceway, 9359 Nichols Lake Rd. in East Milton
  • Sun., May 3, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. - Jay Community Center at the recreational park, 5259 Booker Ln.
  • Mon., May 4, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. – Berrydale Baptist Church, 6730 Highway 4

There will be a minimum of 100 tests available at each site, except the Milton Community Center which have at least 300 tests.

For more information, contact the Florida Department of Health Santa Rosa County at (850) 564-2307.

Exercise Science Students Stretch Innovation Beyond The Classroom

April 30, 2020

For Dr. Amy Crawley, who teaches in the exercise science program, stretching the boundaries of a traditional classroom environment is par for the course. When the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the University of West Florida to transition the entire campus to remote instruction for the last half of the Spring 2020 semester, she was prepared to rise to the challenge, testing her innovative teaching abilities even further.

Dr. Crawley teaches Aging and Physical Performance, a practicum course designed to assist exercise science majors in developing an understanding of the complex physiological and psychological changes which accompany advancing aging and subsequent physical behavior.

In addition to completing traditional written and practical exams, students gain hands-on experience by individually prescribing, supervising and evaluating an eight-week strength training program with a local volunteer over the age of 65.

“The aging course is unique in that it already happens outside the boundaries of the traditional classroom,” Crawley said. “The educative growth and development in this course happens through the relationship developed between the student and their senior volunteer. The course has to be managed in a way that develops a student’s professional capacity, while providing a needed service to our local seniors. This experience is enhanced by the sense of community developed by the students and seniors as they become partners in learning and working towards a common goal.”

As the news of the University’s transition to remote instruction broke, students were just starting the strength training portion of the course, utilizing the weight room in the Health, Leisure and Sports Facility. Between training sessions, they were confronted with the reality that they would need to approach their training program in a new format, with new challenges.

“We didn’t know exactly how we would continue to deliver the training experience, but we did know we would try every virtual trick in the book to stay and on schedule and continue to provide this service,” Crawley said. “I asked students to transition their training to online but didn’t dictate how that would happen, as each senior volunteer might require a different approach to make it work. Some students have used email, YouTube videos, texting, and phone calls, while others have used Facetime, Skype, and Facebook Messenger. Each student did their best to keep their senior moving with our two-day-a-week schedule, and some even upped their senior’s training to four days a week. Many students have said they text or chat with their senior almost every day, knowing how important it is to have that social connection right now.”

Before this semester, senior exercise science major Georgia Spafford said she didn’t consider herself a “virtual fitness” person. She said her experience so far has changed her perspective on workouts outside of the gym, as she’s adapted to meet her senior volunteer’s needs.

“Getting the ball rolling was the hardest part,” she said. “The first day, I dropped off some equipment I had at home and scoped out what he already had so that I could build his workout plan accordingly. I’ve kept it simple so he can maneuver around it pretty easily, creating eight workouts on a basic chart. I didn’t think I would like this as much as I do, but it’s helped me relate so much more to professionals in our field who lead virtual workouts.”

Dr. Crawley said overall, the feedback she’s received from students has been enthusiastic, creative and caring.

“These students have demonstrated that to be an effective professional in exercise science they have to ‘care’ to ‘take care’ of the person they serve,” she said. “I couldn’t be more proud of how well they handled this virtual educative experience.”

Voting By Mail? The Return Postage Will Be Paid This Year.

April 30, 2020

Voting by mail this year? The return postage will be paid.

Escambia County Supervisor of Elections David Stafford announced Wednesday that due to the unprecedented nature of the 2020 election cycle, voters who wish to cast their ballot by mail will not be required to pay postage on the return of their ballot.

“While election officials across Florida are working diligently to plan for the August and November elections amid a pandemic, we recognize there is uncertainty and unease among voters. We are working with federal, state and local officials to ensure the elections will be conducted in the safest and most accessible way possible,” said Stafford.

Stafford continued, “Regardless of the environment we find ourselves in later this year, any registered voter in Escambia County can take one simple step today to ensure their voice will be heard at the polls: request a vote-by-mail ballot. In recognition of these uncertain times, return postage on vote-by-mail ballots for the 2020 primary and general elections will be covered by the elections office.”

To request a vote-by-mail ballot:

  • Complete the online form at
  • Call   (850) 595-3900
  • Send a signed, written request to: Supervisor of Elections, PO Box 12601, Pensacola, FL 32591

Voters are required to provide their date of birth and address when requesting a ballot.

Ballots are mailed to voters approximately five weeks before the election. After completing the ballot, the voter must sign and date the return envelope and return it by mail or deliver it to the elections office or an early voting site. Ballots must be received by the Supervisor of Elections no later than 7 p.m. on Election Day. All vote-by-mail ballots are verified prior to tabulation. Complete voter instructions are included in the vote-by-mail package.

James Edward Milstid

April 30, 2020

James Edward Milstid, 85, of Bay Minette, AL, passed away on April 25, 2020, in Bay Minette, AL. He was born in Perdido, AL on August 20, 1934. He served in the United States Marine Corps and was a retired mobile home mover.

He is preceded by his father Floyd Milstid, Sr. and Maggie Lee Whittington; brothers, Isaac Milstid, Junior Floyd Milstid, Charles Milstid, Tommie Misted, and one sister Valois Hall.

He is survived by four sons, Earl (Patricia) Milstid of Summerdale, AL, Rickey (Paula) Milstid of Foley, AL, Scott Milstid of Pensacola, FL and Donald Broussard of Long Beach, MS. He is also survived by a caretaker, Dolores Crosby and one brother, Guy (Faye) Milstid of Perdido, AL; four grandchildren, Jimmy, Michael, Jonathan, Maggie; and six great-grandchildren.

Graveside services were Thursday, April 30, 2020, at 2 PM at the Pine Grove Free Will Baptist Church Cemetery in Perdido, AL with Bro. Stoney Daw officiating.

Due to the current health care crisis it is asked of you to please use the social distancing requirements for the safety of the family and others.

Johnson-Quimby Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

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