Jay Woman Charged With Felony Child Abuse

December 30, 2022

A Jay woman was charged after allegedly causing physical injuries to an elementary age child.

Sierra Daniele Chapman, 27, was charged with one felony child abuse without great bodily harm.

Chapman allegedly caused injuries to the elementary age child multiple times, dating back to August 2022.

In August, the child arrived at her elementary school with an abrasion to her elbow. The child claimed the injury was a rug burn caused by Chapman throwing her to the floor, according to an arrest report.

In September, the child complained of leg pain and told the school nurse she was spanked with a spatula and a belt. The school nurse and principal believed the bruising to be excessive, the report states.

The school resource officer was contacted both times, and the child was examined by an advanced pediatric registered nurse from Gulf Coast Kids Houses. According to the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office, the nurse indicated that there were positive signs of physical abuse.

In November, the SRSO  responded to Santa Rosa Kids House where the child had been examined for injuries caused when Chapman allegedly hit her with a belt, the report states.

Chapman’s statements to the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office were redacted from the report obtained from the State Attorney’s Office. Her exact relationship to the child was also redacted.

$4.7 Million Highway 29 Reconstruction Safety Project In Century Begins On Tuesday

December 30, 2022

Work is set to begin Tuesday on a $4.7 million safety project to resurface Highway 29 in Century.

FDOT plans a major reconstruction and realignment of Highway 29 from just south of East Highway 4 to the Alabama state line.

The project includes reconstructing a 700-foot curved segment of Highway 29 from north of Henry Street to Cottage Street; the curve has been the site of several truck accidents in recent years.

FDOT will also upgrade traffic signals, drainage structures, pavement markings, and driveways, while also improving curb ramps and sidewalks to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.

During construction, drivers may encounter temporary traffic shifts and daytime and nighttime intermittent lane closures. Access to adjacent businesses and other properties will be maintained at all times.

FDOT estimates the project will be completed in late 2024.

All activities are weather-dependent and may be delayed or rescheduled in the event of inclement weather.

The current state budget signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis included $3,278,228 toward the total cost of the project.

Pictured: Looking south into Florida on Highway 29 in Century. Pictured inset: Part of a Highway 29 safety improvement project will include the realignment of this curve. Graphics below show project details. NorthEscambia.com file photos, click to enlarge.

‘Some Bunny Special’ Is Now Home From The Molino Post Office

December 30, 2022

A little good news update — “Some Bunny Special” has made it home from the Molino Post Office.

Just before Christmas, we told readers that he was accidently separated from its family at the post office.

The owners of the very special bunny saw the NorthEscambia.com post. We are happy to report that the bunny was picked up from the post office on Thursday and is now back home with his child friend.

Photo for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Severe Storms, Flooding Possible Into Friday Night

December 30, 2022

A few strong to severe storms will be possible Friday through early Friday evening over most of the North Escambia area.

The main threats with any of the stronger storms that develop include damaging wind gusts. Although, a tornado or two cannot be ruled out.

Forecasters say 1-3 inches of rain is possible with locally higher amounts where storms repeatedly move over the same areas Localized flooding is possible, especially for low-lying and urban areas.

Here is your official North Escambia area forecast:

This Afternoon: Showers and possibly a thunderstorm. Temperature falling to around 64 by 5pm. Southeast wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New rainfall amounts between 1 and 2 inches possible.

Tonight: Showers and possibly a thunderstorm. Patchy fog after 3am. Low around 62. Southeast wind 5 to 10 mph becoming south after midnight. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.

Saturday: A 30 percent chance of showers before noon. Patchy fog before 9am. Otherwise, cloudy, then gradually becoming mostly sunny, with a high near 72. Southwest wind 5 to 10 mph.

Saturday Night: Patchy dense fog after midnight. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a low around 53. Calm wind becoming southwest around 5 mph.

New Year’s Day: Patchy dense fog before 9am. Otherwise, mostly sunny, with a high near 72. Calm wind becoming south around 5 mph.

Sunday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 57. Calm wind becoming southeast around 5 mph in the evening.

Monday: A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after noon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 76. Southeast wind 5 to 10 mph.

Monday Night: Showers and thunderstorms likely. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 65. Southeast wind around 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%.

Tuesday: Showers and thunderstorms. High near 73. South wind around 10 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%.

Tuesday Night: Showers and thunderstorms before midnight, then showers and possibly a thunderstorm after midnight. Low around 61. Chance of precipitation is 80%.

Wednesday: A 40 percent chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 69.

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

Thursday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 60.

Highland Baptist Church Welcoming New Senior Pastor

December 30, 2022

Highland Baptist Church in Molino will welcome their new senior pastor this Sunday, January 1.

Bro. Josh Helton, along with his wife Aly and their children are excited to join the family at Highland. He was called by Highland on December 4 and affirmed by a unanimous vote of the church body.

“We can’t wait to meet and get to know the people of Molino and the surrounding areas. We are looking forward to what God is going to do through His people at Highland Baptist Church to reach this community,” Helton said.

Helton was raised in Holley Pond, Alabama, and saved at the East Hanceville Baptist Church in 2004. After high school he attended Snead State Community College and the University of South Alabama. It was during his time at
South Alabama that Josh felt called into ministry in 2007. After that calling, he transferred to and graduated from Athens State University in 2011 with a bachelor of science in mathematics and a minor in religion. He obtained a master of arts in Christiaan education from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in May 2020.

Helton has wife Aly have served at various churches in Alabama and Florida in over 15 years of ministry.

According to Highland, the Heltons “both strongly desire to serve the Lord through being relational with others. Bro. Josh believes that the best way to reach people is to do life with them and that true life change happens when we allow God to change the hearts and lives of others through relationships with believers”.

Nathan Alexander “Nate” Weeks

December 30, 2022

Nathan Alexander Weeks, born September 3, 1992 in Pensacola, Florida, passed away early Friday morning on December 23, 2022 after being struck by a motorist and suffering fatal injuries as a result. Nathan, known to most as “Nate”, leaves behind his father, Michael Weeks; his mother, Terri Scherf; his brother, Douglas; his sisters, Amanda “Nae”, Lauren, RC, and Dana; and a host of family and friends. Nathan was a graduate of Pine Forest High School and was a correctional officer at a private facility in Florida.

Nathan had a passion for riding his motorcycle and playing pool in a league with his “second family” as he called them. His love for his family and friends showed his big heart and love of life.

Nathan left us too soon. He is the light of all our hearts. Your time with us just wasn’t enough.

A memorial service will be held at Faith Chapel Funeral Home North, 1000 Highway 29 S, Cantonment, Florida 32533, Wednesday, January 4, 2023 at 3:00 p.m.

Operation Santa Provided For Over 1,400 Children In Welfare System

December 30, 2022

Over 1,400 children in the child welfare system from Escambia to Walton County experienced the magic of Christmas thanks to the support of donors to Operation Santa.

Organized through FamiliesFirst Network, Operation Santa is an annual donation drive helping children who have experienced abuse, neglect or trauma enjoy the magic of Christmas. Caregivers were invited to submit wish lists so that gifts could be personalized to each child. Donors sponsor a child and shop for their Christmas wishes or give a monetary gift so the team could shop for them.

“We are fortunate to benefit from several area toy drives, as well as ‘angel trees’ organized by local churches and businesses. But we also use donations to help our teens, as well as young adults aging out of the foster care system,” said Mark Jones, president of FamiliesFirst Network. “Without the generosity of our donors and community partners, many of these children in our care would not receive any gifts during the holidays. I am so thankful to our area businesses, faith community and volunteer network who put countless hours into this project. They have truly spread the magic of Christmas to those who need it most.”

More than 110 donors contributed to Operation Santa this year including WEAR Communities Caring at Christmas, Olive Baptist Church, Liberty Church, Cokesbury United Methodist Church, Victory Assembly of God, and Alyssa’s.

Photo for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

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

December 29, 2022

There’s one more chance Thursday night to see tens of thousands of Christmas lights at Run-a-muck Ranch in Bratt.

And see the goats in pajamas.

The lights festival will be open Thursday, December 29 from 5:30 until 8:30 p.m.

Run-a-muck 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.)

Forecasted rain will prevent them from opening Friday or Saturday nights.

Our previous story:

Skip and Kristy Geiser opened the Christmas display two years ago, and it’s even bigger this year.

For a photo gallery, click here.

On our recent visit, children were running and giggling, stopping to stare in awe at the displays. A fire crackled in a fire pit, making it smell like Christmas as marshmallows roasted for s’mores.

The horses were a favorite stop, but there were more “oohs and awes” over the goats in pajamas — Princess, Black Beauty and friends.

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. If it’s rained recently, remember appropriate footwear because it may be muddy. It’s in an open, park-like setting with lots of lights, inflatables, animated display and an old-fashioned hayride down a lighted trail.

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 for the cold.

For a photo gallery, click here.

Pictured: A recent night at the Christmas lights festival at Run-a-muck Ranch in Bratt. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.

Double Stabbing Suspect Arrested In Escambia County

December 29, 2022

A double stabbing suspect was arrested Thursday morning in Escambia County.

Tamondo Derell Reuben, 48, was booked into the Escambia County Jail without bond. He is charged with two counts of attempted murder, grand theft, kidnapping, robbery with a weapon and a probation violation. He was taken into custody without incident at the Rosa L. Parks Transit Complex on Fairfield Drive, not far from the jail.

The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office said he stabbed his girlfriend in the chest and stabbed her son 15 times on Monday.

Reuben stabbed his 47-year old girlfriend at a cemetery they were visiting with her son on Massachusetts Avenue on Monday, according to the ECSO.

He then drove to a vacant lot on Fairfield Drive, took their phones and told them they “were going to die today”, Sheriff Chip Simmons said. The woman then pepper-sprayed him while telling her 18-year old son to run. Reuben chased him, Simmons said, ultimately stabbing him 15 times in the chest, neck, arms and legs.

“Momma and son both fought like hell and continue to fight for their lives,” the sheriff said. “How horrible a person, how brutal, how vicious do you have to be to try and stab not one, but two people to death? This is the kind of individual that we are dealing with.”

At last report, both victims were being treated at a local hospital for serious injuries.

Three Arrested Shortly After Allegedly Stealing Utility Trailer Near Ernest Ward Middle

December 29, 2022

Three people were arrested shortly after stealing a utility trailer from a home near Ernest Ward Middle School.

Miranda Faye Cardwell, age 36 of Cantonment; James Allen Casey, age 43 of Cantonment; and Clovis Clyde McClellan, age 38, were each charged with grand theft from a person age 65 or older and burglary of an occupied structure. McClellan was also charged with providing a false name to law enforcement.

Tuesday, the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office was called about a utility trailer that has just been stolen from a home in the 4000 block of Highway 99A, near Ernest Ward Middle School. The victim told deputies that someone rang her doorbell, and then she saw  a white Jeep drive away with her utility trailer that had been under a covered shop. It was later discovered that a grill and propane bottle were also missing.

A responding deputy spotted the Jeep and trailer in a driveway on Highway 97 north of Gibson Road and held all three suspects at gunpoint until backup arrived, according to an arrest report.

At the time of his arrest, McClellan provided another name, but a fingerprint check at the jail revealed his actual name, the report states.

The trailer, grill and propane bottle, valued at $1,950 total, were returned to the owner.

All three suspects remained in the Escambia County Jail Thursday morning.

Deputies also reported finding 14 unopened pieces of U.S. Mail belonging to four other individuals on Highway 97 in the passenger seat of the vehicle. One of the owners of the mail stated that he wished to pursue charges, Deputies were not able to immediately determine who had stolen the mail and no charges were filed.

Pictured top: (L-R) Suspects Casey, Cardwell, and McClellan.

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