Cantonment Man Charged With Homicide Of Elderly Woman, Stealing Her Vehicle

December 31, 2021

A Cantonment man was arrested Thursday night for the homicide of an elderly woman earlier in the day.

Lukas Mackenzie Snelson, 24, is charged with homicide, vehicle theft, and resisting officers.  He was booked into the Escambia County jail where he is being held without bond.

According to the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, Snelson killed the elderly woman before stealing her vehicle and fleeing the scene at the end of Candy Lane in Cantonment.

The ECSO has not released the victim’s name or if there was any previous connection between Snelson and the victim.

Photos for, click to enlarge.

Bratt House Fire Marked By 18th Red Bulb In Keep The Wreath Green Campaign

December 31, 2021

A fire in Bratt Wednesday is represented by the 18th red bulb on the wreath in Escambia County’s Keep the Wreath Green fire safety campaign.

The blaze began as a grease fire in the kitchen, according to Escambia Fire Rescue.

Firefighters were quickly able to contain the fire inside the 2,500 square foot brick home on Ashcraft Road. There were no injuries.

Each time in December that Escambia County firefighters respond to a residential fire with damage, a green bulb is replaced with a red one of the “Keep the Wreath” green wreaths on display at county fire stations and other public buildings. photos, click to enlarge.

Fireworks Are Legal For New Year’s In Florida; Escambia Fire Urging Caution

December 31, 2021

Fireworks are legal in Florida for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, and Escambia County Fire Rescue is reminding residents to be safe.

In April 2020, 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.

Between 2017 and 2021, Escambia County experienced six residential structure fires caused by fireworks. Four of those fires were caused by fireworks that were improperly disposed of after their use.

Each year, there are hundreds of serious injuries caused by the misuse of fireworks,” said Escambia County Fire and Life Specialist Ray Melton. “Fireworks should be used under adult supervision, and most fireworks should never be held in your hand. Sparklers reach a temperature of 2,000 degrees, and can cause serious injuries and cause fires. You should have a bucket of water to place used fireworks to make sure they are out. Some fireworks can smolder, which can cause fires in trash cans and homes.”

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

Man Dies Week After Couple’s Vehicle Hit By Suspect Fleeing From Atmore Police

December 31, 2021

One of the two people injured when their vehicle was hit by a man fleeing from police in Atmore has passed away.

Family members said 62-year old Andy Moye of Flomaton died Thursday at a Pensacola Hospital. His wife, 48-year old Donna Theresa Moye, is continuing to recover.

On December 23, Atmore Police attempted a traffic stop on a vehicle occupied by a man allegedly involved in a theft at Walmart. Officers pursued the white Chevrolet Avalanche south on Main Street but terminated the pursuit at Howard Street.

The suspect, later identified as 33-year old Joseph A. Weese — continued south on Main Street for about half a mile to Church Street where he collided with a Ford Ranger by the Moyes. Both were airlifted to Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola.

Weese fled on foot but was captured a short distance away.

Weese was initially charged with felony first degree assault, but additional charges are expected to be forthcoming. He remained in the Escambia County (AL) Detention Center in Brewton Friday morning without bond.

Photo for, click to enlarge.

One More Time Tonight For Christmas Lights, Hayride, Goats In Pajamas At Bratt Ranch

December 31, 2021

There’s one more chance Friday night to see tens of thousands of Christmas lights at Runamuck Ranch in Bratt.

And see the goats in pajamas.

The lights festival will be open Friday, December 31 from 5:30 until 9 p.m. The gate closes at 8:30 p.m., and the last hayride is at 8:15 p.m.

For a photo gallery, click here.

Nestled on three or four acres in the woods off Rigby Road, the display is walk-through (not a drive-through). Admission and parking are free, but donations are accepted.

Visitors walk a short distance from the parking lot down a lighted path and cross a small foot bridge into the Christmas wonderland. It’s in an open, park-like setting with lots of lights, inflatables, and animated displays.

Concessions are available — hot cocoa, popcorn, cotton candy, hot tea, bottled water and more are mostly $1 each. A S’mores kit will set you back just $3. Only cash is accepted. There are picnic tables and lounge chairs, and propane patio heaters if it’s cold.

Runamuck Ranch is located at 4951 Rigby Road in Bratt (about 1.5 miles from Bratt Elementary). Take Still Road south off West Highway 4 turn left on Rigby Road and look for the signs. Don’t expect to see a lot of lights from the road; it’s a driveway back to the parking lot. (We found that Google Maps was a bit off on the location; click here for a map to the driveway.)

For a photo gallery, click here.

Pictured: The Christmas lights festival at Runamuck Ranch in Bratt. photos, click to enlarge.

Warm Today; Weekend Rain Marks Return Of Winter

December 31, 2021

Here is your official North Escambia area forecast:

Friday: Mostly cloudy, with a high near 83. Southwest wind 5 to 10 mph.

Friday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers after 7pm. Patchy fog after 10pm. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a low around 71. South wind 5 to 10 mph.

New Year’s Day: A slight chance of showers before 7am, then a chance of showers and thunderstorms after 1pm. Patchy fog before 10am. Otherwise, partly sunny, with a high near 81. Breezy, with a south wind 10 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%.

Saturday Night: Showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 7pm. Low around 69. South wind around 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%.

Sunday: Showers and thunderstorms before 1pm, then a chance of showers. High near 72. Breezy, with a southwest wind 15 to 20 mph becoming northwest in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 30 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%.

Sunday Night: A 30 percent chance of showers before 7pm. Partly cloudy, with a low around 30. Northwest wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph.

Monday: Sunny, with a high near 51. North wind 5 to 10 mph.

Monday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 32. Northeast wind around 5 mph.

Tuesday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 59.

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

Wednesday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 69.

Wednesday Night: A 30 percent chance of showers. Partly cloudy, with a low around 50.

Thursday: A 30 percent chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 66.

Melissa Caldwell Named Escambia Westgate Teacher Of The Year

December 31, 2021

Melissa Caldwell was named the Escambia Westgate Teacher of the Year. She is the school’s speech language pathologist.

Here is how Escambia Westgate described Caldwell:

“Her smile is radiant and she is always eager to work with students. She is kind and patient with all students on a daily basis. She is an advocate for students and their voices being heard although the students are considered non-verbal. Non-speaking does not mean her students do not have a lot to say and Ms. Caldwell listens! She trials devices and uses multiple methodologies to improve communication for all students. She consistently works with teachers and parents to create communication partnerships to improve student performance and outcomes. Ms. Caldwell is one of a kind and we are truly blessed to have her on our team.”

Motorcycle Hit By Vehicle On River Annex Road

December 30, 2021

A motorcyclist was injured in a crash Thursday afternoon in Cantonment.

The collision happened on River Annex Road and Jacks Branch Road.

The injuries to the adult male on the motorcycle were not considered life threatening. The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating. photos by Kristi Barbour, click to enlarge.

Gulf Power Begins Transitioning To Florida Power & Light. Here’s What That Means For You.

December 30, 2021

Gulf Power is making the full transition to Florida Power & Light (FPL) tonight.

Gulf Power customers will be unable to manage their accounts, make a payment or report an outage on the website, mobile app or through the automated phone system. Customers can call (800) 487-6937 to report an outage.

“Rest assured, there will be no disconnections or adverse impacts to the status of customers’ accounts while our system is unavailable,” Sarah Gatewood, Gulf Power communications manager, said Wednesday in email.

Starting Jan. 3, 2022, customers can visit their new web experience at and log in with their existing username and password to manage their account. The FPL Mobile App will also be available for download to provide customers with instant, secure access to their account. In addition, customers will be able to report an outage through and the new FPL Mobile App,” Gatewood added.

NextEra purchased Gulf Power from the Southern Company in January 2019, but the companies were not immediately merged to operate as one. FPL is the largest electric utility in the state with about five million customers. Gulf Power has about 470,000 customers in eight Florida Panhandle counties, including Escambia and Santa Rosa.

Sacred Heart To Restart COVID-19 Drive-thru Testing Next Week

December 30, 2021

In response to an increase in coronavirus cases in the  area, Ascension Medical Group Sacred Heart will restart a drive-thru COVID-19 testing center on Tuesday, January 4.

The drive-through will be open Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 5192 Bayou Boulevard. No pre-registration or appointment is needed. The testing site will offer the traditional PCR swab test that will be sent to the hospital laboratory at Ascension Sacred Heart Pensacola. Lab results will be available in 24 hours.

Ascension Medical Group will bill a patient’s insurance if they have it, but the service will be provided with no out-of-pocket charges for the test. Those seeking a test should bring a valid form of identification and insurance card.

“We know the State of Florida is seeing unprecedented numbers of new COVID-19 cases and we expect the new Omicron variant will bring a rapid surge of cases into Northwest Florida in the weeks ahead,” said Justin Labrato, chief operating officer at Ascension Medical Group Sacred Heart. “Hospitalizations are starting to climb so we are responding again to a community need for more accessible testing. Testing can help to identify the virus early, slow the spread, and allow infected people to isolate and seek treatment as needed.”

Decisions about Ascension Sacred Heart’s testing beyond next week have not been made yet.

The Ascension Sacred Heart team was among the first in Florida to open a drive-through testing site when the coronavirus first arrived in Pensacola in March 2020. The site continued to operate for 54 consecutive weeks. After ceasing operations when cases dropped later in 2021, Sacred Heart resumed its drive-through when Pensacola had its third and worst surge of the coronavirus during August and early September. At the height of the summer surge, the drive-through staff provided swab tests to more than 500 people in only four hours. In total, the drive-thru center has tested approximately 100,000 people.

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