Fireworks Are Legal For New Year’s In Florida

December 31, 2020

Fireworks are now legal in Florida for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s day.

In April, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill that legalized fireworks in Florida on three holidays every year.

The full use of fireworks in Florida is now legal on Independence Day on July 4, New Year’s Eve on December 31 and New Year’s Day on January 1.

Sparklers, noisemakers and the like are legal all year. On the three holidays, people will be able to shoot real fireworks — the kind that explode or shoot in to the sky. photo.

Northwest Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz Gets Engaged

December 31, 2020

Northwest Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz is now engaged.

Gaetz, 38, got engaged Wednesday night to his 26-year old girlfriend, Ginger Luckey.

The moment (pictured above) was captured by Carly Ortiz-Lytl of the Washington Examiner.

Luckey is a financial analyst based in California for food company Apeel, which describes itself as reducing food waste. The company makes an edible “barrier” that reduce food spoilage. She is the sister of former Facebook executive Palmer Luckey, the founder of Oculus VR.

Escambia Family Cares Grant Program Has Distributed Final Check Payments

December 31, 2020

Escambia County says the Escambia CARES Family Assistance Grant program has ended with the last of the $3,000 checks issued to qualified residents.

In total, the grant program sent 5,500 payments of $3,000 directly to county residents. In all, the county directed $16.5 million to its citizens through Escambia CARES Family Assistance Grant program. Dozens of county employees worked hard to review nearly 10,000 applications.

In addition to the Family CARES grant, the county also delivered $7,500 to 428 businesses as a part of the Escambia CARES Business Grant program. A total of $3.2 million was distributed to area businesses through this program.

The county also assisted households impacted by COVID-19 who were late on rent, mortgage and utility bills through the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) offered through Florida Housing Finance Corporation. The county made 803 payments directly to accounts in arrears totaling $1.3 million for 389 income eligible households through the Rent and Mortgage assistance program.

With the conclusion of these programs, staff will no longer be responding to phone calls or emails in regard to the grants. To check the status of any Escambia CARES grant payments, view the county’s check registry online.

The Escambia County Family CARES Grant program is part of a larger federally funded stimulus package that was required to be spent by the Dec. 30, 2020 deadline. In total, there was a $57.3 million allocation for Escambia County.

Cantonment Man Charged With Shooting Man In The Head At Christmas Party

December 31, 2020

A Cantonment man is accused of shooting another man in the head during a Christmas Eve party at an Escambia County Home.

Terrell DeAngelo Hunter, 34, was charged with felony aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and criminal mischief with property damage.

A woman at the party told deputies that Hunter got into an argument with one of her old boyfriends on the porch. As the argument escalated, she tried to break it up.  She said the former boyfriend pulled a handgun, and she went inside.

After hearing two gunshots, she went back outside to find the former boyfriend face down with a gunshot wound to his head. She said Hunter was the only other person on the porch.

Deputies responded to the Baptist Hospital emergency room on Christmas Day after Hunter arrived with a gunshot wound to the leg. He told deputies he was at the party, but he had no idea who shot him, an arrest report states.

Hunter was charged with criminal mischief after allegedly throwing a small child’s tricycle through the window of another ex-girlfriend’s apartment window during an unrelated incident December 6.

Hunter remained in the Escambia County Jail Thursday with bond set at $201,000.

By The Numbers: Escambia County COVID-19 Hospitalizations Nearly Double In Last Month

December 31, 2020

The number of daily COVID-19 hospitalizations has nearly doubled in the past month in Escambia County.

On November 30, there were 130 people hospitalized due to COVID-19 in the county; that number was 205 on December 30.

The numbers in the graph indicate daily hospitalizations in Escambia County and are provided daily by Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital, Baptist Hospital and West Florida Hospital. The daily numbers are not cumulative.

Data source/graphic: City of Pensacola.

Frontier Customers In Walnut Hill, Bratt, Molino Atmore Without Phone Service For Days

December 31, 2020

Frontier Communications customers in Escambia counties in Florida and Alabama have been without telephone service for days.

Most, if not all, Frontier landline customers in the Walnut Hill, Bratt, Molino and Atmore exchanges lost phone service on Saturday. Some have had service restored, but most remained out Wednesday.

“We are aware of a service outage affecting customers in the area of Escambia County in Alabama and Florida,” Bob Elek, Frontier director of public relations for the south region, told “Frontier’s engineering and tech teams are working non-stop to resolve the issue and restore service as quickly as possible. We thank our customers for their patience.”

Elek said it was possible that a Christmas Day explosion outside a major AT&T hub in Nashville was to blame, but that he had not received any confirmation to that effect.

The Nashville explosion on Christmas day led to service disruptions across parts of Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky as battery backups failed. AT&T said Tuesday that almost all service had been restored.

Officials said 911 service continued to operate during the period for Frontier customers in both states. photo, click to enlarge.

Chance Of Severe Storms Through New Year’s Eve

December 31, 2020

A slight risk of severe storms exists across the North Escambia area today. Widespread showers and storms will develop late Thursday afternoon with a line of storms pushing across the area Thursday night into Friday morning. The main impacts will be damaging winds and a few tornadoes.

Here is your official North Escambia area forecast:

Thursday: Sshowers likely and possibly a thunderstorm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 74. Southeast wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.

Thursday Night: Showers and possibly a thunderstorm. Low around 65. Southeast wind around 15 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New rainfall amounts between 1 and 2 inches possible.

New Year’s Day: A chance of showers and thunderstorms before noon, then a slight chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 71. Southwest wind 5 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%.

Friday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers after midnight. Partly cloudy, with a low around 49. Southwest wind around 5 mph becoming northwest after midnight.

Saturday: A 30 percent chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 62. Northwest wind around 5 mph.

Saturday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 38. Northwest wind around 5 mph.

Sunday: Sunny, with a high near 56. Northwest wind 5 to 10 mph.

Sunday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 35. Northwest wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the evening.

Monday: Sunny, with a high near 60.

Monday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 38.

Tuesday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 63.

Tuesday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 41.

Wednesday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 64.

State Reports Five Additional COVID-19 Deaths, 365 New Cases in Escambia County

December 31, 2020


The Florida Department of Health reported five additional COVID-19 deaths and 365 new cases in Escambia County on Wednesday.

Here is the latest data:

Escambia County cases:

Total cases: 22,008 (+365)
Non-Florida residents: 2,402
Total deaths: 372 (+5)
Long-term care facility deaths : 165 (+2)
Current hospitalizations: 205 (+6)
Number of tests reported last day: 1,898
Percent positive reported last day: 14.3%
Percent positive reported last week: 13.6%

Escambia County cases by location*:

Pensacola: 16.090 (+217)
Cantonment: 1,895  (+41)
Century: 1,010 (+1)
—-including 774 Century prison inmates
Molino: 266
McDavid: 135 (+1)
Walnut Hill: 39
Bellview: 31
Perdido Key: 17
Gonzalez: 9

Santa Rosa County cases:

Total cases: 10,936 (+249)
Non-Florida residents: 134
Total deaths: 124 (+1)
Long-term care facility deaths: 24
Cumulative Hospitalizations: 551*
Number of tests reported day: 581
Percent positive reported last day: 29.7%

Santa Rosa County cases by location*:

Milton: 5,439 (+108)
Navarre: 2,104 (+44)
Gulf Breeze: 1,906 (+65)
Pace: 839 (+20)
Jay: 292
Bagdad: 25

Florida cases:

Total cases: 1,283,701
Florida residents: 1,283,701
Deaths: 21,546
Hospitalizations: 62,508*

*“Hospitalizations” in the statewide and Santa Rosa County totals is a count of all laboratory confirmed cases in which an inpatient hospitalization occurred at any time during the course of illness. Most of these people are longer be hospitalized. The FDOH does not provide a count of patients currently hospitalized. The Escambia County number is current data compiled each day from the local hospitals.

On cases by location, the city is based upon zip code and is not always received as part of the initial notification. There may be a delay in reporting locations as a result, and locations will not total the daily case increase as a result.

*The Florida Department of Health does not have a clear standard or definition of “recovered” and does not report a number of recovered individuals.

**Data Sources: Florida Department of Health, Escambia County, City of Pensacola, local hospitals.

Escambia Pedestrian Killed While Trying To Cross I-10 Near Pine Forest Road

December 31, 2020

An Escambia County man trying to walk across I-10 was killed Wednesday night.

The Florida Highway Patrol said the 59-year old man was attempting to cross the portion of I-10 just west of Pine Forest Road near the end of the entrance ramp.

The driver of a silver sedan was attempting to merge onto I-10 when he struck the pedestrian. After rendering aid, the driver contacted EMS and police, FHP said.

No names were released.

File photo.

William Carl Neal, Jr.

December 31, 2020

William Carl Neal, Jr. passed on Dec. 23, 2020 in Cantonment, Florida at the age of 65.

He was born in Pensacola, FL on March 10, 1955 to the late William Carl Neal, Sr. and Janice Parker Neal.

Services will be held at a later date.

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