13-Time Convicted Felon From Cantonment Charged With Drugs, Weapons Offense

December 31, 2022

A 13-time convicted felon from Cantonment is facing drugs and weapons charges.

Martin Joseph Shaughnessy, 38, was charged with possession of ammunition by a convicted felon and possession of a controlled substance without a prescription.

The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office responded to Old Chemstrand Road in reference to a court order. According to an arrest report, Shaughnessy was in possession of a single round of .243 rifle ammunition and a bag containing methamphetamine in his pockets.

According to court records, Shaughnessy has 13 prior felony convictions, the most recent of which was in February 2020.

Deadline Is Today For Discount On Real Estate, Tangible Property Taxes

December 31, 2022

A 3% discount on payment of real estate and tangible personal property taxes ends Saturday, December 31, according to Escambia County Tax Collector Scott Lunsford.

To receive the 3% discount, payments must be:

  • mailed with a December postmark;
  • left by midnight, December 31 in a 24-hour drop box available at all locations; or
  • made online by midnight, December 31, at EscambiaTaxCollector.com.

Taxpayers are encouraged to visit the virtual office at EscambiaTaxCollector.com to pay online 24 hours a day. Online services allow customers to pay their taxes, search records, print receipts, renew vehicle and vessel registrations and many other services. There is no additional fee to pay current taxes by eCheck. Customers who decide to visit tax collector offices can drop off their payment in the drive thru or in a drop box.

To check the status of your taxes, pay online or print a receipt, visit the payment center at EscambiaTaxCollector.com. Taxpayers are encouraged to contact the tax collector’s office by email ectc@EscambiaTaxCollector.com or by phone with any questions.

Pictured: The Escambia County Tax Collector Office in Molino. NorthEscambia.com file photo.

FPL Donates $45,000 To Council On Aging

December 31, 2022

Florida Power & Light Company recently donated $45,000 to the Council on Aging of West Florida to support seniors in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. The donation will help fund programs for the roughly 2,200 vulnerable elders served by the agency.

The Council on Aging is a nonprofit organization that provides home and community-based services like Meals on Wheels, congregate dining sites, case management, and caregiver respite for older adults. The services aim to keep seniors living safely and independently in their homes where they are most comfortable.

“This generous donation is unrestricted, which means we can use it to draw down matched federal funds, and every dollar we raise in the community allows us to access another nine dollars from that funding,” says Josh Newby, president/CEO of the Council on Aging. “That means this donation will have an impact of almost half a million dollars for our area seniors.”

The agency also focuses on seasonal community needs by collecting air conditioners and fans in the summer and heaters in the cooler months. Currently, Council on Aging is collecting and distributing heater donations to keep area seniors warm and comfortable through the winter.

“We are honored to continue to support the Council on Aging of West Florida and the important work that they do to help protect some of the most vulnerable in our community,” said J.T. Young, vice president and general manager for Northwest Florida for FPL. “We are happy our donation will go to the areas of greatest need, especially as we enter the holiday and winter season. At FPL, we’re committed to making the communities that we serve even better places to live.”

Weekend Dries Out; Rain Returns Next Week

December 31, 2022


Here is your official North Escambia area forecast:

Saturday: A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before noon. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a high near 71. South wind 5 to 15 mph becoming west in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 20 mph.

Saturday Night: Patchy dense fog after 11pm. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a low around 54. Southwest wind around 5 mph.

New Year’s Day: Patchy fog before 7am. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming sunny, with a high near 71. South wind around 5 mph.

Sunday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 56. Southeast wind around 5 mph.

Monday: A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after noon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 74. Southeast wind 5 to 10 mph.

Monday Night: Showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 64. South wind around 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%.

Tuesday: Showers and thunderstorms. High near 73. South wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%.

Tuesday Night: Showers and possibly a thunderstorm. Low around 61. South wind around 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%.

Wednesday: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 70. Chance of precipitation is 50%.

Wednesday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 48.

Thursday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 61.

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

Friday: Sunny, with a high near 56.

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

December 31, 2022

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.

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.

“ECFR experiences several fires related to fireworks each year,” said ECFR Fire and Life Specialist Ray Melton. “The causes are mainly due to throwing used fireworks in plastic trash containers, resulting in trash fires and house fires if the cans are near the home. We recommend that fireworks be placed in a bucket of water to complete remove of any smoldering. We also recommend that juveniles be supervised by an adult when using any type of fireworks, and do not hold sparklers near clothing or skin as the temperature of a lit sparkler can reach 1,500 degrees and cause severe burns. Do not use fireworks in or near a home, and airborne firework should never be shot off in the direction of any structure or person.”

In April 2020,  Florida legalized consumer fireworks on New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and Independence Day. 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.

NorthEscambia.com photo.

Portion Of Fowler Avenue Closed Next Week

December 31, 2022

A portion of Fowler Avenue will be closed beginning Tuesday.

Fowler will be closed between 9 1/2 Mile Road and McKinnon Lane for construction of two storm drain crossings. Work is expected to be completed by Friday, January 6. Traffic can detour on Highway 29 or Cove Avenue.

File photo.

FHP Remains Out In Force For Holiday Season

December 31, 2022

Florida High Patrol Troopers are out in force through January 1 for the National Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement campaign.

In December 2021, there were 35,859 crashes on Florida roadways that took the lives of 325 people and injured 1,524. In more than 28% of those crashes, the driver action reported for at least one of the drivers involved was operating a motor vehicle in a careless or negligent manner.

“Tragic crashes are unfortunately all too common, and often caused by someone who chose to not follow the law,” said FLHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes. “We see the heartbreak these crashes cause to families, friends, and communities; but seldom do we hear of the many crashes that are prevented by motorists who are courteous, sober, and focused on the road and their surroundings. These are the drivers that keep us safe and the type of driver all motorists should aspire to be this holiday season and into the new year.”

In December 2021, there were 917 alcohol-confirmed crashes, 96 drug confirmed crashes, and 86 drug and alcohol confirmed crashes, for a total of 1,099 crashes involving alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both in Florida. Under Florida law, DUI is an offense, proved by impairment of normal faculties by any substance or unlawful blood alcohol or breath alcohol level of .08 or above. If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact local law enforcement or dial *FHP (*347) to potentially save a life.

“Please remember to drink responsibly and make good decisions this holiday season,” said Colonel Gene Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “Not only your life but the lives of others are in jeopardy if you decide to drink or use drugs and drive. FHP troopers will be aggressively enforcing impaired driving laws to ensure the safety of the citizens and visitors of Florida.”

To help ensure your safety, FHP will be out in force on the highways to aid motorists and remove dangerous drivers from the road. FHP Auxiliary Troopers will also volunteer to augment FHP during the holiday period. FHP’s increased presence throughout Florida helps to deter traffic violations and enhances services to motorists who need assistance while traveling.

James Kenneth Taylor

December 31, 2022

Mr. James Kenneth Taylor, age 73, passed away, Wednesday, December 28, 2022, in Birmingham, AL; with his family by his bedside. He resided in Brewton, AL; for 40 years before moving to Atmore, AL for the past 6 years. He was a member of First United Pentecostal Church of Monroeville, AL. He served Escambia County Alabama as the County Circuit Clerk for many years.

Mr. Taylor enjoyed spending time with his family. He enjoyed woodworking and making custom ink pens. He enjoyed planting a garden, cutting grass, and Archery. He loved going to church.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Austin (Callie Johnson) Taylor, two brothers, Richard “Teak” Taylor, and Albert “AB” Taylor.

He is survived by his loving wife of 51 years, Patsy English Taylor, of Atmore, AL; one son, Justin (Tiffany) Taylor, of Trussville, AL; two daughters, Jan (Brandon) Rivers, of Ponchatoula, LA; Jill Taylor, of Atmore, AL; one brother, Rodney “Rod” (JoAnn) Taylor, of Uriah, AL; one sister, Shelia (Steve) Pugh, of Walnut Hill, FL; five grandchildren, Wyatt Baker, Alexis Rivers, Olivia Rivers, Anna Taylor, Callie Taylor, two special nieces, Hannah Cooper, Abby Cooper, other relatives and friends.

Funeral service will be held Monday, January 2, 2023, at 2:00 PM at Petty-Eastside Chapel Funeral Home, LLC. with Rev. David Cooper officiating.

Burial will follow at Miller Cemetery.

Visitation will be held Monday, January 2, 2023 from 1:00 PM until service time at 2:00 PM at Petty-Eastside Chapel Funeral Home, LLC.

Pallbearers will be Josh Baggett, John English, Stevie Pugh, Clinton Pugh, Wyatt Baker, and Jason “Man” Taylor.

Percy Lee Heard

December 31, 2022

Percy Lee Heard, 65 of Pensacola, Florida passed away December18th, 2022. Percy was born December 6th, 1957, to Rev. Jasper C. Heard, and Josephine Heard. He Loved the Lord, and accepted Christ at an early age. He was united in Holy Matrimony in 1978 to Margie Carolyn Heard.

Percy graduated from Tate High School where he was a member of the basketball team. He proudly served his country in the United States Army where he received medals for Expert Rifle, and Government Conduct. Percy worked for several different construction companies after his tour in the Army. He loved his family dearly, and always made sure we knew he did. He had a passion for sports and world news.

He was preceded in death by his parents Rev. Jasper C. Heard, and Josephine Heard. His brother Ronald Heard, and his sister Lovely Heard.

He leaves to cherish his memories, his wife Margie Carolyn Heard, his son Shon Johnson, four brothers Donald Heard, Jasper Heard, Gregory Heard, and Victor Heard., three sisters Cheryl Williams, Melanie Curry, and Deidre Byrd, and a host of family, and friends.

Services will be held Saturday, January 7th, 2023, at 11:00a.m. at Faith Chapel North Funeral Home 1000 S. Hwy 29, Cantonment, FL. 32526

Molino Man Sentenced To Three Years In Prison On Child Porn Charges

December 30, 2022

A 78-year old Molino man was sentenced Thursday to three years in state prison on child porn charges.

William David Pettus was arrested in March by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement on 25 counts of possession of child sexual abuse material. He entered a plea to eight of the felony charges, receiving the prison sentence on one court and five years probation consecutively on seven counts. The remainder of the charges were dropped.

Judge John Simon designated Pettus as a sexual offender and ordered him not to have any device with internet access, including phones or computers, one he is released from prison.

The FDLE investigation began in August 2021 after agents identified child sexual abuse material being shared from a computer in Escambia County. Agents obtained and executed a search warrant at Pettus’ residence in February 2022. Forensic examinations of his electronic devices uncovered evidence of videos featuring children being abused, according to FDLE.

In documents obtained by NorthEscambia.com, a FDLE special agent said an IP address belonging to Pettus was used to share files of known pornography between August 3, 2021, and again between January 23 and January 24, 2022. A search warrant was served at Pettus’ home at 3101 Crabtree Church Road in March 2022.

“William Pettus identified the two desktop computers in his office were his and that his wife did not use computers”, an arrest warrant states.

According to FDLE, 25 child pornographic images of male and female children as young as three were recovered from Pettus’ desktop computer, CDs, and external hard drives.

The investigation was conducted by FDLE with assistance of the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office and U.S. Homeland Security Investigations.

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