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Operation Lifesaver 40 City Anniversary Tour Visits Atmore

Operation Lifesaver 40 City Anniversary Tour Visits Atmore

“If we can save just one life, it’s worth all the effort.” Those were the words of Nancy Hudson, Operation Lifesaver Alabama Executive Director. Operation Lifesaver  is a nonprofit public safety education and awareness organization dedicated to reducing collisions, fatalities and injuries at highway-rail crossings and trespassing on or near railroad tracks. This year is the 40th anniversary of the program in Alabama, and Operation Lifesaver is on a 40-city tour across the state to spread their safety message. Monday, the tour stopped in Atmore where the group presented a program to senior citizens, public safety employees and the media. The Atmore City Council also heard from Hudson and Stephen Curlee, manager of community affairs and safety for CSX as they proclaimed Monday as “Rail Safety Tour Day” in Atmore. “We want everyone to think train when they see tracks and be careful,” Hudson said. Pictured top: Operation Lifesaver Alabama Executive Director Nancy Hudson addresses the Atmore City Council Monday afternoon. Pictured inset: CSX Manager of Community Affairs and Safety Stephen Curlee explains crossing safety to the council. Pictured below: Atmore Police Chief Chuck Brooks, Fire Chief Ronald Peebles, Curlee, Mayor Jim Staff and Hudson address the media about Operation Lifesaver’s 40-city anniversary tour. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.  Read More →

July 26, 2016 | Read the story »

Powerball Jackpot Soars To $422 Million For Wednesday’s Drawing

Powerball Jackpot Soars To $422 Million For Wednesday’s Drawing

The Powerball jackpot has soared to an to an estimated $422 million for Wednesday night’s drawing. The Powerball jackpot has rolled 22 times since the May 11 drawing. Jackpot prizes are paid in 30 annual installments or as a one-time, lump-sum payment. Jackpot prizes must be claimed within 60 days after the draw to receive the cash option of an estimated $291 million. Winners have 180 days from the applicable drawing to claim their prize. Pictured: A billboard on North Century Boulevard in Century teases drivers Monday a fternoon with a $422 million Powerball drawing set for Saturday night. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.  Read More →

July 26, 2016 | Read the story »

More Rain Than Usual For Today

More Rain Than Usual For Today

Pictured: Rain clouds as seen Monday afternoon from Gobbler Road in Walnut Hill. NorthEscambia.com photo. Here is your official North Escambia area forecast: Tuesday: Showers and thunderstorms likely. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 87. Southeast wind 5 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. Tuesday Night: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly before 1am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 74. South wind 5 to 10 mph. Wednesday: Showers and thunderstorms likely. Partly sunny, with a high near 91. South wind 5 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. Wednesday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before 1am. Partly cloudy, with a low around 73. South wind 5 to 10 mph. Thursday: A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 90. South wind around 5 mph. Thursday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 73. South wind around 5 mph becoming calm after midnight. Friday: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 92. Calm wind becoming south around 5 mph in the afternoon. Friday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 74. South wind around 5 mph becoming calm after midnight. Saturday: A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 91. Saturday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 74. Sunday: A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 91. Sunday Night: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 74. Monday: A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 92.  Read More →

July 26, 2016 | Read the story »

Tate Aggie Jake Henry Commits To Appalachian State

Tate Aggie Jake Henry Commits To Appalachian State

Tate High School Aggie wide receiver Jake Henry has committed to play for Appalachian State of the Sunbelt Conference. Submitted photo for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.  Read More →

July 26, 2016 | Read the story »

Bernie Sanders Lauds Hillary Clinton As Convention Opens

Bernie Sanders Lauds Hillary Clinton As Convention Opens

PHILADELPHIA — After last week’s raucous and divisive Republican National Convention, Democrats opened their convention Monday looking to present a striking contrast in unity as they prepare to nominate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for president. There’s always Day 2. Between suspected Russian hackers and renegade delegates committed to U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia often looked at least as rowdy as last week’s proceedings in Cleveland. The soon-to-be nominee’s name drew boos on the convention floor. The outgoing Democratic Party chairwoman was jeered in front of her home-state delegation, leading to a late decision to strike her from the main program to avoid a repeat in front of a larger audience. At least one delegate had taken a “Stronger Together” sign, scratched out the last word and wrote in its place: “with Bernie.” All of that was bracketed by complaints about logistics that undermined Democrats’ attempt to be the steady convention. Not that they didn’t try. Sanders himself touted Clinton twice in the space of a day — once during a boisterous event with his delegates and again before the full convention. In his late-night speech at the Wells Fargo Center, Sanders gave perhaps his most full-throated endorsement of Clinton so far. He noted how this year’s Democratic platform was, in his view, the most progressive the party has ever produced. “Our job now is to see that strong Democratic platform implemented by a Democratically-controlled Senate, by a Democratic House and a Hillary Clinton presidency. … Hillary Clinton will make an outstanding president, and I am proud to stand with her tonight,” Sanders said. Even before he took the stage, Sanders was pushing his supporters to line up behind Clinton. In an email to delegates after some of the booing early in the day, Sanders scolded those who had taken part. “The political revolution is not about one election or one candidate. … Our credibility as a movement will be damaged by booing, turning of backs, walking out or other similar displays. That’s what the corporate media wants. That’s what Donald Trump wants,” he wrote. But even Sanders drew boos on some of the occasions when he praised Clinton. Sanders had also told a group of supporters earlier in the day that supporting Clinton was important in her November election against the Republican nominee Trump. “We have got to elect Hillary Clinton and (vice presidential candidate) Tim Kaine,” he said as some delegates cheered and many booed. “This is the real world that we live in.” The party also rolled out other popular or Sanders-friendly public figures to try to patch over differences between Clinton and the opponent she defeated in the primaries after a grueling, months-long battle. Paul Simon played “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” Sarah Silverman, a comedian who backed Sanders in the primary, put the message most succinctly and most bluntly. “To the ‘Bernie or Bust’ people: You’re being ridiculous,” she said. First Lady Michelle Obama, who is wildly popular among the Democratic base, also implicitly drew a comparison between diehard Sanders delegates and Clinton, who responded to a primary loss to President Barack Obama in 2008 by joining his Cabinet. “Hillary did not pack up and go home, because as a true public servant, Hillary knows that this is so much bigger than her own desires and disappointments,” Michelle Obama said. The day started out on a discordant note; outgoing Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, someone viewed with disdain by Sanders supporters, was jeered at a breakfast for delegates from Florida, where she serves as a congresswoman. “It is so wonderful to be able to be here with my home state,” Wasserman Schultz said, as a cascade of boos and heckling began. “All right, everybody. Now, settle down.” The appearance came less than 24 hours after Wasserman Schultz announced she would step down as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee at the conclusion of this week’s convention. Wasserman Schultz was tripped up after leaked internal party emails raised questions about her impartiality in the presidential primary between Clinton and Sanders. The emails are believed to have been obtained by Russian hackers. Some Sanders supporters Monday shouted “Shame on you!” at Wasserman Schultz, while her supporters chanted her first name. The congresswoman tried to put a brave face on the intense interest surrounding her decision to resign as party chair, reportedly under pressure. Despite his overtures to Clinton, though, Sanders showed no signs of sadness Monday about Wasserman Schultz’s departure. At a rally for his delegates, the crowd roared when Sanders brought up Wasserman Schultz’s departure. “Her resignation opens up the possibility of new leadership at the top of the Democratic Party that will stand with working people and that will open the doors of the party to those people who want real change,” Sanders said. by Brandon Larrabee, The News Service of Florida  Read More →

July 26, 2016 | Read the story »

ECSO ‘Clean Sweeps’ 9½ Mile Road Area

ECSO ‘Clean Sweeps’ 9½ Mile Road Area

The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office has released the results of an Operation Clean Sweep last week in the 9½ Mile Road area. Monday, the Sheriff’s Office said they attempted to serve five warrants, three arrests were made, 10 traffic citations were issued, the addresses of seven sex offenders were verified and Escambia County Code Enforcement issued 20 citations. The next Operation Clean Sweep will be held in the Montclair Neighborhood on August 18. Pictured: An Operation Clean Sweep conduction by the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office in 9½ Mile Road area. the Courtesy images for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.  Read More →

July 26, 2016 | Read the story »

Barry Discusses Issues At District 5 Town Hall Meeting

Barry Discusses Issues At District 5 Town Hall Meeting

Escambia County District 5 Commissioner Steven Barry held a town hall meeting Monday evening at the Langley Bell 4-H Center in Cantonment. Barry discussed growth, traffic, drainage and more with citizens. Pictured above: Barry’s addresses residents during hall meeting Monday evening in Cantonment. Pictured inset: Barry discusses issues with local residents. Pictured below: Citizens discuss issues with Public Works Director Wes Moreno and Administrator Jack Brown. Photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.  Read More →

July 26, 2016 | Read the story »

FWC Offering Hunter Safety Internet Completion Class In Molino

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is offering a free hunter safety internet-completion course this month in Molino. The course will be held July 27 from 6-10 p.m. and July 30 from 7-10 a.m. at the Molino Community Center at 6450 Highway 95A in Molino. Students who have taken the online course and wish to complete the classroom portion must bring the online-completion report with them. All firearms, ammunition and materials are provided free of charge. Students should bring a pen or pencil and paper. An adult must accompany children younger than 16 at all times. Anyone born on or after June 1, 1975, must pass an approved hunter safety course and have a hunting license to hunt alone (unsupervised). The FWC course satisfies hunter-safety training requirements for all other states and Canadian provinces. Those interested in attending a course can register online and obtain information about future hunter safety classes at MyFWC.com/HunterSafety or by calling the FWC’s regional office in Panama City at (850) 265-3676.  Read More →

July 25, 2016 | Read the story »

Shuckers Shutout Blue Wahoos

Despite managing only two hits Sunday, the Pensacola Blue Wahoos still had a chance to tie or win the game in the ninth inning, trailing the Biloxi Shuckers by one run. However, after Pensacola catcher Chad Wallach hit a leadoff double to start the ninth, Biloxi closer Stephen Kohlscheen set the next three batters down in order for his 12th save to nail down the Shuckers, 1-0, victory. It was the least Kohlscheen could do after Brandon Woodruff gave the sellout Blue Wahoos crowd of 5,038 a gutty performance. He missed his last start because his brother, Blake, died in an ATV accident Friday, July 15. Woodruff improved to 5-6 with a 3.65 ERA by allowing one hit and striking out nine in six innings. He started the game by striking out the side and had a perfect game until Pensacola right fielder Sebastian Elizalde got a hit to lead off the fifth inning. Pensacola starter Barrett Astin set down 15 of the 16 batters he faced in five innings of work. The only hit he gave up was a two-out solo shot belted by — who else? — Woodruff on a “cutter that didn’t cut.” It was Woodruff’s first professional home run. “I’ve known Woody for six or seven years now,” said Astin, who has now gone14.2 innings without giving up a walk. “The Milwaukee Brewers couldn’t ask more out of him. He was probably high on adrenalin. That was good to see.” In his sixth spot starts this season, Astin is 2-2 with a 3.96 ERA. Pensacola manager Pat Kelly was well aware that Woodruff was pitching just after his brother died. His brother’s last tweet was about Brandon’s season-high 10 strikeout game July 13 that earned him the Southern League’s Pitcher of the Week honor. “That’s an amazing thing for me that he was pitching with a heavy heart,” Kelly said. “It was a really incredible feat.” Woodruff has now given up four hits in 13 innings to Pensacola and struck out 19. Biloxi manager Mike Guerrero said Woodruff was begging to pitch the seventh but was replaced with Shuckers reliever Steve Peterson. During both of Pensacola’s losses in this five-game series to Biloxi, the Blue Wahoos earned only two hits each game and combined for 28 strikeouts. “He has got great stuff — a 97-mile-per-hour fastball, a really good slider and a changeup,” Kelly said. “I want to know what he’s doing in this league.” Pensacola, though, won its second straight series at home in the second half and have now won nine of 10 this season. It is 15-15 in the second half and 56-44 overall. The Blue Wahoos ended up winning 11 of 15 home games against the Shuckers this season.  Read More →

July 25, 2016 | Read the story »

Democratic National Committee Chair Stepping Down

After months of controversy about her role in the party’s presidential primaries, Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced Sunday she will step down as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee. Wasserman Schultz’s resignation is effective after the Democratic National Convention, which starts Monday in Philadelphia. The announcement came after the disclosure Friday by WikiLeaks of internal party emails that added new fuel to criticism that Wasserman Schultz aided ultimate nominee Hillary Clinton in the presidential primaries against U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. In a statement that splashed Sunday across national and state media websites, Wasserman Schultz said she would open and close the convention and address delegates about “the stakes involved in this election not only for Democrats, but for all Americans.” “We have planned a great and unified convention this week and I hope and expect that the DNC team that has worked so hard to get us to this point will have the strong support of all Democrats in making sure this is the best convention we have ever had,” she said in the statement. Luis Miranda, a spokesman for the Democratic National Committee, said on Twitter that party Vice Chairwoman Donna Brazile, a longtime Democratic leader and operative, will serve as interim chair through the election. Sanders, who is scheduled to speak Monday night at the convention, posted a statement on Twitter saying Wasserman Schultz had “made the right decision for the future of the Democratic Party” by resigning. “While she deserves thanks for her years of service, the party now needs new leadership that will open the doors of the party and welcome in working people and young people,” Sanders said in the statement. “The party leadership must also always remain impartial in the presidential nominating process, something which did not occur in the 2016 race.” Clinton also issued a statement saying Wasserman Schultz will serve as “honorary chair of my campaign’s 50-state program to gain ground and elect Democrats in every part of the country and will continue to serve as a surrogate for my campaign nationally, in Florida and in other key states.” Wasserman Schultz, who is from the Broward County city of Weston, has been a fixture in state Democratic politics for more than two decades and became chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee in 2011. She faces an Aug. 30 primary-election challenge for her congressional seat from Tim Canova, who has been backed by Sanders. Clinton indicated in her statement that she will try to help Wasserman Schultz fend off the challenge in Congressional District 23. “I look forward to campaigning with Debbie in Florida and helping her in her re-election bid — because as president, I will need fighters like Debbie in Congress who are ready on day one to get to work for the American people,” Clinton said in the statement. by Jim Saunders, The News Service of Florida  Read More →

July 25, 2016 | Read the story »

Unidentified Pedestrian Struck Twice, Dies

FOR AN UPDATE TO THIS STORY, CLICK HERE. A pedestrian struck twice on Willard Norris Road in Santa Rosa County early Sunday morning is dead, and authorities are searching for his identify. The Florida Highway Patrol said the pedestrian was already lying in the roadway from a previous collision when he was struck a second time by a 1991 Ford Bronco driven y 18-year old Tyler Watson Shook of Jay about 12:20 Sunday morning. Shook was uninjured and does not face any charges. The FHP said all attempts to identify the pedestrian have been unsuccessful. The FHP said the victim was a white male, about 5-foot, 8-inches tall. Anyone with information on the crash causing the pedestrian’s initial injuries or the pedestrian’s identity is asked to contact Corporal Jane Watts at donnawatts@flhsmv.gov or call (850) 471-6928.  Read More →

July 24, 2016 | Read the story »

Man Shot In Cantonment Dies; ECSO Names Homicide Suspect

The victim in a shooting Saturday night in Cantonment has died, and the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office has named a suspect. Escambia County EMS responded to a gunshot victim in the yard of a residence in the 200 block of Sheppard Street just after 9 p.m.  Alphonso Leon Griffin, 29, was discovered with a gunshot would to his shoulder. He was transported by ambulance to Sacred Heart Hospital where he later passed away. Sgt. Andrew Hobbs, spokesperson for the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office said 19-year old Marquis Derrell Bryant (pictured) is wanted for homicide in connection with the shooting. Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to call the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office at (850) 436-9620 or Crime Stoppers at (850) 433-STOP. NorthEscambia.com file photo.  Read More →

July 24, 2016 | Read the story »

FDOT: Weekly Traffic Alerts

Drivers will encounter traffic disruptions on the following state roads in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties as crews perform construction and maintenance activities. Escambia County: Interstate 10 (I-10) Widening – The outside east and westbound lane, near Exit 17 (U.S. 90/Scenic Highway) will be closed from 7 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. the week of Sunday, July 24. In addition, traffic in the inside lane will be slowed by the Florida Highway Patrol from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. in a “pacing operation.” The lane closures and pacing operations will allow construction crews to paint the Scenic Highway overpass. Nine Mile Road (State Road (S.R.) 10)- Lane restrictions east of Guidy Lane as crews construct a new eastbound, right and westbound, left turn lane for the shopping center  Sunday, July 24 through Thursday, July 28.  Lane closures will be in effect from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Texar Drive  (S.R. 752) Pedestrian Overpass– Access to the pedestrian bridge is closed for approximately one month.  Eastbound ECAT bus stops located at the pedestrian bridge will be temporarily relocated during construction to just west of N Miller Street. Airport Road (S.R. 750) Resurfacing- Intermittent lane restrictions from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. as crews perform paving operations between U.S. 29 and County Road 95A (North Palafox Street). Santa Rosa County: I-10 Widening – Alternating lane closures, between the Escambia Bay Bridge and S.R. 281 (Avalon Boulevard/Exit 22), Sunday, July 24 through Thursday, July 28 from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. as crews continue widening work. In addition, there will be alternating lane closures on Avalon Boulevard near the I-10 interchange for bridge work. S.R. 87 and S.R. 89 from S.R. 4 to the Alabama line – Intermittent and alternating lane closures and slow moving operations from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. continuing through Sunday, July 31 as crews perform striping operations. I-10- Intermittent east and westbound lane closures between Santa Rosa County line and U.S. 90 (Nine Mile Road) from 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 26 to 5 a.m. Wednesday, July 27 as crews repair highway lighting. I-110- Intermittent north and southbound lane closures between Chance Street and I-10 from 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 28 to 5 a.m. Thursday, July 29 as crews repair highway lighting. S.R. 281 (Avalon Boulevard)- Intermittent lane closures and slow moving operations from U.S. 98 to the toll bridge from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. continuing through Thursday, July 28 as crews perform striping operations. There will be no work performed Friday through Sunday. U.S. 98 – Crews will perform striping operations and install raised pavement markers (RPMs) from the Pensacola Bay Bridge to Central Parkway (approximately nine miles) Sunday through Thursday nights through Sunday, July 31. Motorists may encounter minor traffic delays from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. All activities are weather dependent and may be delayed or re-scheduled in the event of inclement weather. Drivers are reminded to use caution, especially at night, when traveling in a work zone and to watch for construction workers and equipment entering and exiting the roadway.  Read More →

July 24, 2016 | Read the story »

Vote 2016: Q&A With District 5 Commission Candidates

The Greater Pensacola Chamber sent an online questionnaire to local candidates running for Escambia County Commission. Questions focus on issues affecting the business community. Below are the unedited responses from incumbent Stephen Barry and Danny Smillie, candidates for Escambia County Commission District 5. Q1: Rate the regulatory climate for business in Escambia County. Is it good, fair or bad? Explain your answer. Steven Barry: I would describe the business climate of Escambia County as fair, not in an equitable sense of fairness, but in the sense of the climate being better than it has been in the past, but we still need a lot of work to be a great environment for business. Danny Smillie: Fair. So many complications, permits, and restrictions to start business. You have to have so much money and insurance to start a business. Many are going out of town because its easier to start a business. Q2: Provide any examples of how regulations have affected the lives of county residents in a positive or negative way. Steven Barry: One example of the impact of regulations on the community is what the Wedgewood community is dealing with today. There were decades of little or no regulation, and even when there were regulations, the enforcement was lax. Addressing the issue appropriately is taking us years. Danny Smillie: Negative. When a family gets permit to setup a mobile home on family property who has a terminally ill family member is revoked before person dies.  Try to get a carport installed and is given the run around. Sent to many offices about permits and drawings and other complicated items. Q3: Name the top 3 specific county ordinances/regulations you would like to see eliminated. Explain why they should be eliminated. Steven Barry: The BCC passed a new land development code earlier in 2016, with approximately 2/3 of the aggregate code volume being removed. The rewrite process was a very tedious, slow, six to seven year process. I have not heard much feedback about remaining issues the board needs to eliminate, but I am open to the idea. I want Escambia County to be a place where people and businesses attempting to invest their private capital into our community are treated as an asset, and the county senior staff leadership helps them work through their development. Private capital continuing to grow our tax base, as an aggregate figure, is absolutely integral to keeping property tax rates low. Danny Smillie: N/A Q4: Should Escambia County have a Human Rights Ordinance? Explain why or why not. Steven Barry: I noticed discussion earlier this year related to the Pensacola City Council and discussing the Human Rights Ordinance, but it is not an issue which we have discussed, even in passing. Danny Smillie: N/A Q5: Do you see any overlap or duplication of services between the county and the city? If so, what services should be consolidated? How could these services be consolidated? Steven Barry: I am not particularly familiar with the City of Pensacola governmental structure. However, if there is an opportunity to truly share the cost of services for some of the tax payers we both have a fiduciary responsibility to serve, then I am open to the idea. I would only support the consolidation of clearly duplicative services themselves, not the consolidation, or merger of the entities, Escambia County and Pensacola respectively. Danny Smillie: No Q6: How will you work to build a more collaborative environment among our elected officials? How can the county commission better work with other local and state officials to further business interests in Escambia County? Steven Barry: I believe all of our elected representatives, regardless of the size or scope of the entity they represent, should make every effort possible to have a pleasant working relationship with each other. Many of us share common tax payers, rate payers, and constituents. I have been very supportive of joint meetings between the county and any of the other elected boards each time the issue has been up for discussion. The joint meetings require spending time with each other, and give you the opportunity to build healthy working relationships with your elected colleagues. Danny Smillie: Have quarterly meetings.  Find a way to reduce permits and the cost of the permits. Q7: Do you believe the county allocates sufficient resources for infrastructure projects? How would you prioritize these projects and fund them? Steven Barry: With the voters extending another term of the local option sales tax, Escambia County will have a very healthy amount of annual revenue to devote to capital projects, 35 + million. It’s important to me that our priority setting of the resources take place on the dais, with each commissioner passionately pitching for the respective needs of their district, and for their opinion of the needs of the entire county. Danny Smillie: No. Build Escambia County new jail which will save millions of dollars being sent to Santa Rosa County. Make sure bridges, roads and evacuation routes for hurricanes are in top shape. Redistribute money, stop waste of money and make roads safe. Q8: What would your five-year plan for Escambia County look like? Steven Barry: Generally, a five-year plan to me means that Escambia County will be a better place to live, work, play, and raise a family than it is today. I hope to continue to have a positive impact on that vision. Specifically, in five years there are a number of infrastructure projects in District 5 I hope to see completed, or at least nearly completed: 1. Four-laning of Nine Mile Road 2. Major improvements on Muscogee Road from Highway 29 to the Alabama state line 3. Major improvements on Old Chemstrand Road from Ascend to Highway 29 4. Major improvements on Quintette Road from Highway 29 to the Santa Rosa County line, and the  realignment of the intersection of Highway 95A and Quintette Road Danny Smillie: More local business, cleaner county, less crime and better roadways. Q9: What role should county government take in attracting new businesses to the area? Be specific. Steven Barry: I agree Escambia County BCC has a responsibility in attracting new business to our area, but we also have a responsibility to allow the businesses which are already here, making payrolls, paying taxes, etc., to thrive. Our major responsibility related to this is to manage the financial affairs of the county in a prudent way, so that we keep taxes and fees low. We also have a responsibility for good, healthy leadership, meaning as five representatives of 300,000 citizens we should be expected to be behave well. Danny Smillie: Be business friendly. Give exceptions on ordinances to let the business grow. As a result, the business will grow and hire more employees. Steven Barry: OLF-8 represents tremendous potential as an economic development project. I am, and have been, very supportive of the project. Now that we have a signed agreement with the Navy related to the eventual land swap I hope we will begin to develop a master plan for exactly what it will be, in terms of the development infrastructure on the ground. Danny Smillie: [No answer] Q11: What should the county do with excess properties that it owns? Be specific. Steven Barry: All the vacant or undeveloped property the county owns should fall into only two categories; First, a memorialized written intent or rationale exists, so there is a clear use or need for the parcel. Alternatively, there is no defined intent for the parcel now, or in the near future, and we should divest the parcel. Danny Smillie: Keep the property if it can be used for county improvements. Sell the property if it can not be used for a good purpose. Q12: Tourism is an integral part of Escambia County’s economy. In what ways can the county commission support tourism in Escambia County? Be specific. Steven Barry: Tourism is certainly important, and from the TDT figures, the tourism industry seems very healthy. We have many instances of issues not working perfectly, so as this is going well, then I support maintaining the current system. Danny Smillie: Make sure tourists feel safe while here. Make law enforcement visual so they will feel safe. More lighting to brighten up the city. Improve and clean roadways. Q13: What can the county commission do to support and attract more manufacturing jobs to Escambia County? Steven Barry: The BCC can certainly indirectly attract more manufacturing industry by being good stewards of the resources we have, keeping tax rates low, continuing to be very supportive of all of the economic incentives which are in place currently, and again, behaving well and presenting an image of the type of community where anyone would want to live, work, play, and raise a family. Danny Smillie: Show that we are a strong, growing county.  Read More →

July 24, 2016 | Read the story »

Powerball Rolls Over Again To $422 Million

There were no winners in Saturday night’s $390 million Powerball drawing. The Powerball jackpot has now rolled over 22 times since the May 11 drawing. The Powerball jackpot for Wednesday night is now estimated at $422 million. Saturday’s numbers were 39, 5, 35, 7, 23. The Powerball was 11. Saturday’s jackpot was the ninth largest in the game’s history. The jackpot has been won only 3 times this year compared to a dozen times in 2015.  Read More →

July 24, 2016 | Read the story »

EREC Installs Solar Project As Educational Tool

Due to members’ growing interest in renewable energy sources – particularly solar –  EREC has completed construction of an on-site solar demonstration project. The solar array is for informational purposes designed to demonstrate objective and actual data for a typical, residential-sized solar installation. The 40-panel, roof-mount solar array at EREC’s headquarters in Jay has a generating capacity of 10.6 kW and an estimated annual output of 14,600 kWh. This solar installation is sized to demonstrate the output needed to run the average member’s home – minus climate control during seasonal peaks. “We chose to do the solar demonstration project because we want to be an information source for our members,” said EREC General Manager and CEO Clay Campbell. “We’re not opposed to renewables such as solar, but we want our members to be able to make informed decisions based on actual facts in regard to the cost and benefits of solar installation.” The solar demonstration project is owned and operated by PowerSouth EnergyCooperative, the generation and transmission facility for EREC. Members are invited to call EREC to schedule a visit to view the solar demonstration to get actual operational data to make an informed decision if they are considering solar panel installation on their property. Pictured: An solar demonstration project installed at EREC headquarters in Jay. Photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.  Read More →

July 24, 2016 | Read the story »

Wahoos Beat Biloxi 7-3

Blue Wahoos down Shuckers, 7-3, to clinch series. Pensacola right fielder Sebastian Elizalde has struggled at the plate in the second half but Saturday he looked like his old self, smashing a two-run homer over the right field fence in the first inning. Elizalde also finished the game with four RBIs, while starting pitcher Sal Romano limited Biloxi to three hits to lead Pensacola to a 7-3 victory Saturday in front of its 23rd sellout of 5,038 this at Blue Wahoos Stadium. The former Mexican League player now has four homers and 30 RBIs and saw his batting average reverse its steady fall and go up four points to .270 in his first season in Double-A for Pensacola. He was 2-4 with two runs scored and it was his third game this season that he’s knocked in four runs. “I always say baseball is the same everywhere,” Elizalde said. “A lot from Mexico come to states. We have a chance. We have to just try to enjoy it.” The 24-year-old Elizalde signed with the Cincinnati Reds organization in 2013 and is playing in his third season in the minors. He started his baseball career with four seasons in the Mexican League for the Sultanes de Monterrey. In bottom of first inning, Elizalde got all of a fastball rocketing it over the right field wall for a two-out, two-run homer. His fourth dinger of the season also scored Alex Blandino who singled on a ground ball to left field. Blue Wahoos shortstop Zach Vincej then drove in the third run of the first inning on a line drive that bounced off the left field wall, allowing Pensacola third baseman Taylor Sparks to score from first and give the team a 3-0 lead. Elizalde hit a line drive to the wall in the left center gap for a stand up double in the third inning that drove in left fielder Jeff Gelalich to put Pensacola up, 4-0. Sparks then clobbered a grounder past the third baseman to score Elizalde to make the score, 5-0. Elizalde came through one more time in the seventh inning when his ground out to second base scored Blandino to give Pensacola a 7-1 lead. Pensacola manager Pat Kelly said Elizalde has always played well on offense and worked hard to improve his fielding. He said he could see Elizalde playing one of the corner outfield spots for the Reds one day. “To me, he has always hit wherever he’s gone,” Kelly said. Part of that, Elizalde said, is being able to clown around with his teammates to stay relaxed. “We have to have fun and enjoy it, ‘cause baseball is a game,” he said. “There’s no pressure. It’s a game. Enjoy it.” Elizalde also gave kudos to Pensacola starting pitcher Sal Romano. In 11 starts, Romano, the Cincinnati Reds’ 23rd round draft pick in 2011, lost nine games before blanking Biloxi over seven innings for his second win of the season on July 12. He picked up his third win of the season (3-10, 4.25) by limiting Biloxi to one unearned run on three hits and two walks, while striking out three in 5.2 innings. His three strikeouts gave him 100 for the season in 103.2 innings, making him the first Southern League pitcher to reach the mark. Romano gave way to Pensacola relief pitcher Abel De Los Santos, who earned a save in his first Blue Wahoos appearance, with the bases loaded in the sixth. De Los Santos blew two fastballs in the low-90s past catcher Rene Garcia and then caught him looking on a 76 mph fastball. “Those are two power arms right there,” Kelly said about Romano and De Los Santos. “When you have a breaking ball that good (like De Los Santos) and a 94 mph fastball you have a little bit of escapeability.” Kelly said, too, that Romano has been a better pitcher than the one in the first half. “He’s changed his pregame preparation and we’ve seen a big change in the second half,” Kelly said. Pensacola improved to 15-14 in the second half and the first half South Division champions are 56-43 overall. Biloxi fell to 10-18 in the second half and 50-49 on the season.  Read More →

July 24, 2016 | Read the story »

Scott: Pensacola Area Employment Ticks Upward

Governor Rick Scott announced today that the Pensacola area added 1,700 new private-sector jobs over the year in June. The area’s unemployment rate was 5.1 percent, dropping by 0.4 percentage point in the last year. Governor Scott said, “Florida is laser focused on creating the best environment for businesses and families to succeed, and I am proud to announce today that the Pensacola area added 1,700 new jobs over the year. We will continue to do all we can to cut taxes and encourage business growth so Florida can be first for jobs.” The industry with the most job growth in the Pensacola area over the year was education and health services with 600 new jobs. The Pensacola area had 4,620 job openings in June, of which 1,234 were openings for high-wage, high-skill STEM occupations.  Read More →

July 23, 2016 | Read the story »

District 5 Commissioner To Hold Town Hall Meeting

Escambia County District 5 Commissioner Steven Barry will host a town hall meeting on Monday at 5:30 p.m. at the Langley Bell 4-H Youth Center  at 3730 Stefani Road in Cantonment. The open forum meeting will provide residents an opportunity to get updated information about community issues and voice their concerns or questions.  Read More →

July 23, 2016 | Read the story »

Florida Gov’t Weekly Roundup: Not Exactly A ‘Conventional Convention’

It wasn’t exactly a scripted lovefest. Unless the scripting was done by the folks who put on professional wrestling matches. The Republican National Convention this week offered drama, shouting, villains and even a little suspected skullduggery. But in the end, Donald Trump was still standing. Now, Trump faces the challenge of pulling together enough voters to wrest Florida and other critical states away from Democrat Hillary Clinton — who, it almost goes without saying, was the villain of all villains during the convention in Cleveland. If there is anything that unites Republicans this year, it is a desire to keep Clinton out of the White House. “There’s only two people on the ballot: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. … The party needs to unify. Everybody needs to support Donald Trump, and we need to have a big win in November,” Scott told reporters in Cleveland. But Clinton isn’t backing away from the fight. As Democrats prepare to hold their convention next week in Philadelphia, Clinton traveled Friday to Orlando and Tampa to try to rally support in Florida’s crucial “I-4 corridor.” Just moments after taking the stage for a rally in Tampa, she drew laughter and cheers when she noted all the attention she got during the GOP convention. “It was kind of perversely flattering,” she quipped. CRUZ MISSILE The Trump campaign has roiled Republican politics for the past year. Some GOP leaders, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, couldn’t bring themselves to go to Cleveland and support the billionaire businessman. Of course, it didn’t help that Trump demolished Bush and the rest of the field in the presidential primaries. But any hopes that the convention would go smoothly didn’t last long. On Monday afternoon, the first day of the gathering, the question of whether the convention would approve rules on a voice vote or through a roll call vote — the outcome was not really in doubt — led to a boisterous scene on the floor. Delegates traded chants over the fight, and the convention essentially ground to a standstill at one point for 10 minutes. The highlight of the first day for Trump’s campaign seemed to be a speech by his wife, Melania, meant to highlight the softer side of Trump. But within hours, allegations were bubbling up that portions of the speech appeared to have been lifted from a similar convention address by First Lady Michelle Obama. As might be expected, Democratic leaders were gleeful. “Day 1 of the Republican convention was a mess on so many levels,” said Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Florida congresswoman. “We heard a lot of anger, a lot of yelling, but no substance — just empty rhetoric and divisive language.” GOP leaders tried to brush off the initial problems. Asked Tuesday about the situation, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam reacted with exasperation. “You guys can’t have it both ways,” he told reporters. “You know, you bemoan the sterile, scripted conventions and then you get a very unscripted moment yesterday, and you’re complaining about that. This is anything but a conventional convention.” The idea of a conventional convention, however, largely evaporated Wednesday night when Texas Sen. Ted Cruz — another of Trump’s vanquished primary opponents — refused to explicitly endorse the GOP nominee during a prime-time speech. Cruz’s move drew heavy booing from the convention floor and led to him being vilified by many delegates. Other Republican candidates who lost to Trump, including U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, backed the nominee during convention speeches. “There was a sharp contrast between our senator from the great state of Florida, Marco Rubio, and the comments made by the senator from Texas,” Florida GOP Chairman Blaise Ingoglia said Thursday. Ingoglia, who is also a state House member from Spring Hill, said Cruz’s comments were “unfortunate” and suggested the implied snub of Trump and the reaction to it might have been what Cruz had in mind. “I don’t know if that was intended,” Ingoglia said. “But if that was what was intended, I would say that it was extremely unstatesmanlike.” FLORIDA IN FOCUS Clinton’s trip Friday to Orlando and Tampa reinforced Florida’s critical role in the November election. It was her chance to quickly fire back after the GOP convention and to try to gain momentum before the Democratic convention. But Trump enjoys enthusiastic backing from Scott and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, both of whom received speaking slots Wednesday night at the convention. At least in part, they followed Trump’s line of attack against Clinton and President Barack Obama. Scott, for example, cast in stark terms the stakes of the choice between Trump and Clinton. “But this election is not actually about Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton,” he said. “In fact, it’s not the election of you or me. This election is about the very survival of the American Dream.” Bondi, in part, touched on the future of the U.S. Supreme Court, something aimed at rallying social conservatives behind Trump. The next president could fill a seat left vacant by the death of conservative stalwart Antonin Scalia and likely will replace some other current justices on the court. “Hillary will stack the Supreme Court with liberal justices who will allow government to continue its rampage against our individual rights, with utter contempt for our Second Amendment,” Bondi said. “I know Donald, and I am proud to know Donald. He will appoint conservative justices who will defend rather than rewrite our Constitution.” Not all of the Florida politicking at the convention, however, involved Trump’s bid for the White House. Speculation also swirled about the futures of other Florida political figures such as Putnam, who is widely expected to run for governor in 2018. Former Republican Congressman Allen West addressed Putnam’s future when he stepped to the podium for the opening prayer at a delegation breakfast Tuesday. West began by talking about how Putnam got him an opportunity to speak before the U.S. House GOP caucus when West was considering a run for Congress. “I want to tell you right now, when you decide to run for governor, I’ll be right there supporting you,” West told Putnam, setting off applause from the crowd. Putnam, however, was hardly the only GOP official weighing his future. Scott is reportedly thinking about a campaign for a U.S. Senate seat in 2018. And potential down-ballot candidates are also starting to consider what to do. Outgoing House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, said Tuesday he would make a decision “over the next several months” about what his future in public office might be — with one likely option being a run to replace Putnam as agriculture commissioner. Crisafulli comes from a family with deep roots in the state’s citrus industry. For now, Crisafulli said he’s looking to finish his administrative duties as speaker before leaving office in November. “I’ll have that opportunity to go home and speak more with my family about it,” he said of a future run. “There’s no secret that the commissioner of agriculture position is something that I’ve taken some interest in just because of my family background and history.” QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Everyone knows that we are the most important swing state in the nation. And you’re seeing that not only in the speakers that are here, the speakers that are on the main stage, but how the state of Florida is being treated.” — Republican Party of Florida Chairman Blaise Ingoglia. by Jim Saunders, The News Service of Florida  Read More →

July 23, 2016 | Read the story »

Biloxi Beats The Wahoos

The Biloxi Shuckers got the better of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos lineup Friday, allowing just two hits in a 3-2 victory over Pensacola in front of 4,612 fans at Blue Wahoos Stadium. The Shuckers snapped a five-game losing streak with the win. The Blue Wahoos had the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth inning and were down by just one run with its leading home run hitter, Brandon Dixon, at the plate. However, he whiffed, and Pensacola was unable to extend its franchise record eight walk-offs to nine in the ninth inning, going down 1-2-3. Pensacola manager Pat Kelly said he had confidence Dixon would get a hit. “I’ll take my chances with Dixon and the bases loaded,” Kelly said. “The eighth inning was a huge chance to win the game.” But the best chance in the game to score for the Blue Wahoos, who earned just two hits in the game, was a missed opportunity. Dixon is now 1-7 with three strikeouts this season with the bases loaded. Pensacola dropped to 14-14 in the second half and the first half South Division champions are 55-43 overall. Biloxi starting lefty Wei-Chung Wang started the game by striking out the first five Blue Wahoos hitters he faced. He ended up striking out a career-high nine in 6.1 innings. He gave up just two hits and one walk and allowed one run on a solo blast by Pensacola catcher Joe Hudson. Wang has now won three of four games against Pensacola this season. The native of Taiwan improved to 5-5 in 17 starts for the Shuckers and lowered his ERA to 3.61. “He’s very deceptive,” Kelly said. “He changes speeds. His fastball ranges from 87-to-94 (mph). I don’t think he gets the credit for being very good. He has better stuff than people think.” Meanwhile, Jackson Stephens, who dropped to 6-9 this year, also threw a solid start. He gave up two solo homers among seven hits allowed, walked two and struck out four in six innings pitched. “Two solo home runs usually don’t beat you,” Kelly said. One of those homers was by center fielder Brett Phillips, who snapped a 0-27 skid Friday, by going 3-5 with a run scored, stolen base and two RBIs. He also hit a two-out single in the seventh to drive in left fielder Johnny Davis for Biloxi’s third run of the game. The other homer was hit by second baseman Tom Belza. “He’s a good hitter,” Kelly said about Phillips. “You’re not going to hold him down forever. He made some adjustments. He widened his stance with two strikes. Now, we have to make some adjustments to him.” Pensacola took advantage of four walks in the eighth inning. Blue Wahoos center fielder Beau Amaral drove in the only other run on a sacrifice fly near the warning track in center field with the bases loaded that scored right fielder Jeff Gelalich and advanced the other two runners on base.  Read More →

July 23, 2016 | Read the story »

FHP Searching For Driver That Hit 15-Year Old

The Florida Highway Patrol is looking for a hit and run drive that struck a juvenile pedestrian early this morning. Brianna Nicole Marks, 15, was crossing Pine Forest Road at Citation Drive about 4:25 a.m. when she was struck by a northbound vehicle that fled the scene. The vehicle should have extensive front end damage according to the Florida Highway Patrol. Marks was transported to Sacred Heart Hospital where she remained in critical condition.  The FHP has not said why Marks was out at 4:25 a.m. Anyone with information on the crash is asked to call the Florida Highway Patrol at (850) 484-5000.  Read More →

July 22, 2016 | Read the story »

Too Drunk To Run: Cantonment Man Charged With Attempted Stabbing

A Cantonment man too drunk to run from deputies is facing multiple felony charges after allegedly stealing a pack of cigarettes and trying to stab a man, according to the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office. Donnie Ivory Padgett, 68, was allegedly at a house on Robinson Street when he was asked by acquaintances to leave because he began “acting crazy because he can’t handle his liquor,” an arrest report states. He then allegedly stole a pack of Newport cigarettes, pulled out a long kitchen knife and ran toward the victim in an attempt to stab him. Responding deputies located Padgett at the intersection of Washington and Callaway streets. A deputy reported that Padgett attempted to run, but he stumbled and fell to the ground due to intoxicated state, according to the report.   Deputies found the Newports, the knife and a white rock that field tested positive for cocaine on Padgett’s person. Padgett was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, cocaine possession and possession of drug paraphernalia.  He remained in the Escambia County Jail Friday morning with bond set at $31,000.  Read More →

July 22, 2016 | Read the story »

Inmate Labor Saves Healthy Start $1,700

The Healthy Start Program in Century saved an estimated $1,700 by using inmate labor. The county-owned Healthy Start location on Church Street was damaged in the February 15 E-3 tornado that struck Century. The program was moved next door to another county-owned building, and now the original building has been restored. Over the last few days. five inmates from the Century Correctional Work Camp put together several desks and chairs and placed them in the repaired building. The also moved equipment and supplies from the temporary building back to the renovated building. Using the Florida Department of Corrections standard formula, the cost saving to Healthy Start was $1,724. The Century Healthy Start program will hold an open house next Thursday, July 28 from 9 a.m. until noon. NorthEscambia.com file photo, click to enlarge.  Read More →

July 22, 2016 | Read the story »

Century Continues Budget Setting Process

The Town of Century continued a series of budget workshops Thursday afternoon as they work toward preparing their fiscal year 2016-17 budget. The next budget workshop is scheduled for Thursday, July 28 with additional workshops to be scheduled. Pictured: (clockwise, from left) Council President Ben Boutwell; council members Sandra McMurray Jackson, Ann Brooks, Annie Savage; Clerk of Finance Kristina Wood; Town Clerk Leslie Gonzalez and accountant Robert Hudson. Century Mayor Freddie McCall was also present at the meeting. Pictured left: Hudson reviews financial documents. NorthEscambia.com photo, click to enlarge.  Read More →

July 22, 2016 | Read the story »

Trump Delivers Message: ‘I Am With You’

[Cleveland, OH] Accepting perhaps the most unlikely major-party nomination in American history, Donald Trump used his prime time address Thursday at the Republican National Convention to frame an alternately bleak and optimistic argument of where the nation is, and where it could go. Playing off of Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton’s “I’m With Her” catchphrase, the billionaire real-estate developer turned reality-television star promised to stand up for everyday Americans. “I am your voice,” Trump said. “So to every parent who dreams for their child, and every child who dreams for their future, I say these words to you tonight: I am with you, I will fight for you, and I will win for you.” Trump’s speech, which lasted about an hour and 15 minutes and closed the four-day convention in Cleveland, was largely devoid of the personal insults and wandering thoughts that helped draw attention during his charge to the GOP nomination. But he still lacerated President Barack Obama and Clinton, a former senator and secretary of state, for increasing the danger faced by Americans. Trump condemned policies supported by Clinton as sowing chaos in the Middle East, from the rise of the self-proclaimed Islamic State terrorist organization to turmoil in Egypt and Iraq. “This is the legacy of Hillary Clinton: death, destruction, terrorism and weakness,” Trump said. “But Hillary Clinton’s legacy does not have to be America’s legacy.” Trump didn’t unveil any completely new policies in his speech. He ripped existing free-trade agreements and promised to renegotiate them. Trump claimed the mantle of “the law and order candidate” and reiterated a relatively new idea to work to roll back restrictions on the political speech of tax-exempt organizations. The new nominee also repeated his pledge to build a border wall — though he didn’t promise that Mexico would pay for it, as he has before — and said the United States should temporarily suspend immigration from nations “compromised by terrorism.” That is a curtailed version of his proposal to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States. Trump also tried to soften the edges of his proposals, which have prompted Democrats and opponents to accuse him of racism and bigotry. “We will be a country of generosity and warmth,” Trump said. “But we will also be a country of law and order.” Trump also showed some of his famous disdain for political correctness. After talking about his proposal to block immigrants from some nations until vetting could be strengthened, he ad libbed: “We don’t want them in our country.” John Podesta, who chairs Clinton’s campaign, blasted Trump for his portrayal of the country and the prescriptions for its problems. “Tonight, Donald Trump painted a dark picture of an America in decline,” Podesta said. “And his answer — more fear, more division, more anger, more hate — was yet another reminder that he is temperamentally unfit and totally unqualified to be president of the United States.” Even before Trump delivered the speech, which was leaked to the media ahead of his appearance, other critics were accusing him of distorting the facts. The Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law said Trump was cherry-picking or exaggerating the statistics he used to argue that crime is on the rise. “Overall, crime rates remain at historic lows,” Ames Grawert, a counsel in the center’s justice program, said in a prepared statement. “Fear-inducing soundbites are counterproductive, and distract from nuanced, data-driven, and solution-oriented conversations on how to build a smarter criminal justice system in America.” Grawert said it’s “too early to say” whether an increase in homicides in some cities signifies a national trend. Trump’s speech capped off one of the more memorable political conventions in years. Peter Thiel, the co-founder of PayPal, became the first openly gay person to speak to a Republican convention. Other surprising moments, though, were chaotic. The first day of the event was dominated by an arcane fight over party rules and a speech by Trump’s wife, Melania, which was later revealed to have included some passages from a similar address by First Lady Michelle Obama. On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas — who was the strongest challenger to Trump in a bitter primary fight — was booed harshly when he refused to explicitly endorse Trump against Clinton. “It’s everything we expected and a lot of things that we didn’t want,” said Rico Petrocelli, Florida state committeeman for the Broward County GOP. Party leaders, though, tried to play down the idea that Trump’s rise and the convention had badly divided Republicans. Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich said this year’s gathering was “a very mild convention” when looked at against the fights of the 1960s and 1970s. Gingrich, though, conceded it was unique in an era when conventions have become televised set pieces. “The fact is he won the nomination by being very smart, using social media in a way that nobody ever had before,” Gingrich said. “And this is a genuine change. It’s a very dramatic change. Well, guess what? Very dramatic changes have very dramatic side effects.” And while Gingrich suggested Cruz shouldn’t have delivered the speech Wednesday without making an endorsement, he said the reaction showed how unified the party is. “It also proved … that this is a party which has now decided that Donald Trump is its leader and this is a party that wants to win the presidency,” he said. Republicans are hoping that the dynamics of a badly polarized electorate can help the party in the fall. Clinton long ago achieved a sort of arch-villain status among conservatives. Trump has vowed to appoint conservative justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, a key promise to social conservatives who had previously been wary of the thrice-married casino owner. The next president could have an opportunity to fill the vacancy created this year by the death of Antonin Scalia, and a handful of older current justices could also retire. Republican voters won’t want Clinton to name their replacements, Florida GOP Chairman Blaise Ingoglia said. “The prospect of not having a 7-2 liberal Supreme Court will be motivating factor enough. And then some,” said Ingoglia, who is also a state House member from Spring Hill. by Brandon Larrabee, The News Service of Florida  Read More →

July 22, 2016 | Read the story »

Reagan’s Former PAC Endorses Rebekah Bydlak For Congress

Congressional candidate Rebekah Bydlak of Cantonment announced that she has earned the endorsement of Citizens for the Republic, Ronald Reagan’s former PAC. Citizens for the Republic released the following statement with their endorsement: Bydlak’s work for the Coalition to Reduce Spending, an advocacy organization dedicated to reducing federal spending and debt, proves she is dedicated to the limited government principles advocated by our 40th president and all Americans who believe Washington has become too powerful and special interests too potent. Bydlak understands the people of Florida’s 1st Congressional District need an advocate in Washington who will fight for them and work for to ensure greater fiscal responsibility and root out the waste, fraud, and abuse in the government that burdens the American taxpayers. Diana Banister, Executive Director of CFTR, additionally added: “We have seen Rebekah in action and know she will fight for American taxpayers and those who cherish freedom in this country. Rebekah has witnessed first-hand how Washington is broken and has policy solutions that can reduce federal spending at its source, knowing we cannot tax, spend and regulate our way to a balanced budget. She will be a tremendous asset to the citizens of the 1st Congressional District in Florida and to the nation.” “Rebekah’s work ethic, principles, and leadership will serve the people of her home district well. We are proud to endorse a principled conservative candidate for U.S. Congress.” Bydlak offered the following comment in response: “The legacy of America’s greatest President lives on to this day, and I am proud to carry it forward. This endorsement illustrates my campaign’s growing momentum and my deep commitment to conservative principles.” NorthEscambia.com photo, click to enlarge.  Read More →

July 22, 2016 | Read the story »

OneBlood To Begin Testing Blood Donations For Zika Virus

As of August 1, OneBlood will begin testing blood donations for the Zika virus. “With approval to begin using the investigational test granted, our immediate plan is to begin testing a portion of our collections for the Zika virus to allow hospitals to have access to Zika-screened blood products from unaffected areas to use with their high risk patients, such as pregnant women,” said Dr. Rita Reik, OneBlood’s chief medical officer.  “Hospitals that want Zika-screened products will request what they need on an on-demand basis.  We will expand our inventory of Zika-screened blood based on hospital usage.” Additional proactive steps OneBlood implemented earlier this year to protect the local blood supply from the Zika virus remain in effect including enacting additional donor deferral guidelines, updating the donor history questionnaire to include Zika specific questions and issuing educational materials to donors.  Read More →

July 22, 2016 | Read the story »

Wahoos Top Biloxi 3-0

Pensacola Blue Wahoos starting pitcher Rookie Davis blanked the Biloxi Shuckers for the second time in his last three starts since lasting just two innings against the Mobile BayBears. Davis pitched just one batter over the minimum in five scoreless innings helping Pensacola to a 3-0 victory Thursday over the Biloxi Shuckers in front of 4,448 fans at Blue Wahoos Stadium. Two of his last three starts have come at home against Biloxi, who Davis has shutout over 12 innings. In his last three starts, Davis has pitched 18 innings, allowing two earned runs and one walk, and striking out 18. “Anytime you pitch at home it’s awesome,” Davis said. “I’m trusting myself and trusting my stuff and pitching as well as I can.” Both Davis and Pensacola manager Pat Kelly said that he has finally 100 percent healthy. Davis improved to a team-leading 8-3 and lowered his ERA to 2.68. “It’s been a long year of tedious injuries, nagging injuries,” said Davis, who’s been bothered by hip and groin injuries and missed three starts. “It’s been frustrating for me.” Davis was taken out after five innings when he took a hard hit grounder by Biloxi right fielder Tyrone Taylor off his thumb on his glove hand in the fourth inning. “I think he’s finally healthy,” Kelly said about Davis. “His velocity is up and we’re seeing him use his legs a lot more.” Davis can thank first baseman Eric Jagielo for facing just 16 batters, despite giving up four hits. Jagielo caught two line drives and stepped on first for a double play twice. Biloxi’s Taylor singled in the first inning but then got caught stealing. In his start Thursday, Davis threw five innings allowed four hits, no walks and struck out four. Davis wasn’t the only one to turn in a good pitching performance. Making his Pensacola debut was reliever Abel De Los Santos, who the Cincinnati Reds claimed off of waivers from the Washington Nationals. He entered the game in the eighth inning and ended up pitching two scoreless innings, gave up one walk and struck out one. Biloxi, who is hitting a Southern League worst .233 on the season, is now 13 for 63 (.206) in the first two games against the Blue Wahoos. The Shuckers entered the series hitting .209 against Pensacola pitchers, who have a Southern League-leading 3.24 ERA. Tonight marked the eighth shutout for the season. Pensacola jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Blue Wahoos center fielder Beau Amaral and Alex Blandino led off with walks to start the game. Amaral scored when right fielder Sebastian Elizalde hit a ground ball to left field and Blandino came in on second baseman Brandon Dixon’s sacrifice fly near the warning track in center to go ahead, 2-0. Blue Wahoos shortstop Zach Vincej then hit a slow dribbler to third base for a single that drove in Elizalde to go up, 3-0. Biloxi starting pitcher Taylor Jungmann, who struck out 12 Pensacola hitters in 4.2 innings in his last start against them, combined with relievers Mitch Lambson and Tristan Archer to retire 13 Blue Wahoos in a row before Archer walked Pensacola catcher Chad Wallach in the seventh inning. The Shuckers’ Jungman, who started the year with the Milwaukee Brewers, worked five innings, giving up three hits, three walks and three earned runs, while striking out three. The Blue Wahoos improved to 14-13 in the second half and are one game back in third place in the Southern League South Division. The first half South Division champions are 55-42 overall. Kelly said the team is starting to play well together again. “We had such a tough grind over the last two weeks of the first half,” Kelly said. “Mentally it was a little tough. Plus, we played a couple of good clubs to start the second half.”  Read More →

July 22, 2016 | Read the story »

Northview Head Football, Baseball Coach Wheatley Resigns

Northview High School head football and baseball coach Sid Wheatley has resigned to accept a coaching position in his native Mississippi. Wheatley said he has accepted a coaching and teaching position at Kosciusko High School in Mississippi, not far from his son in Jackson and his parents in Philadelphia, MS. “It was  the toughest decision of my coaching and teaching career,” he said, “but it came down to a chance to return home to be near my family. My parents are only getting older.” Wheatley’s career at Northview spanned 11 years, with a 50-31 record as head football coach. But the numbers he will remember most are probably 42-21.  After losing out a couple of years at the state semi-final level, Wheatley led his Chiefs to a 42-21 Class 1A state championship victory in 2012 in Orlando. “I would not trade that win for anything,” he said. “I know there are many of his former players who will want to wish him well as he turns another page in his latest chapter of his life.  I know that I will miss him dearly,” Northview Principal Gayle Weaver said. “We thank Coach Wheatley for his years of service and we wish him well as he moves back home to be with family.” Weaver said the school will advertise a single job opening that will include the head football and baseball positions. She expects the position will be filled in a matter of weeks, prior to the start of the football season. “Northview has been a second home for me. I thank Mrs. Weaver, the teachers and staff, the community and the kids for the opportunity,” Wheatley said. “I will be Northview’s biggest fan in Mississippi.” Pictured top: Northview Head Coach Sid Wheatley. Pictured inset: Wheatley receives of a copy of the Congressional Record where the Chiefs were honored on the floor of the U.S. House and a flag that flew over the White House in their honor after winning a Class 1A state championship in 2012. Pictured below: Wheatley leads his Chiefs to a 2016 Spring Game win over Jay. Pictured bottom: Wheatley’s 2012 state championship team. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.  Read More →

July 21, 2016 | Read the story »

Powerball Rolls Over Again To $390 Million

There were no winners in Wednesday night’s $361 million Powerball drawing. The Powerball jackpot has now rolled over 21 times since the May 11 drawing. The $390 million Powerball jackpot for Saturday night is now estimated at $390 million. The winning Powerball numbers for Wednesday’s drawing are: 6, 25, 35, 58, 66, powerball 5, powerplay 2. The jackpot has been hit just three times this year. In 2015 it was captured in 12 different occasions.  Read More →

July 21, 2016 | Read the story »

State Senator Calls For All Corrections Buses To Be Halted For Brake Check

A state senator is calling for the Florida Department of Corrections to stop transporting inmate on prison system buses until each one is inspected. Sen. Greg Evers has asked Gov. Rick Scott to halt all Department of Corrections bus transportation until the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division of the Florida Highway Patrol can inspect the buses for safety and compliance. The request came Wednesday, the day after the brakes failed on a loaded FDOC bus near Crestview. Two corrections officers were transporting 50 inmates when the brakes malfunctioned on their bus when going down the I-10 off-ramp onto Highway 85. “The safety of our servicemen and women, inmates in our care, and innocent bystanders should always be a top priority,” Evers said. “The actions of our government to support our security and safety should always be a priority: Lives are at stake.”  Read More →

July 21, 2016 | Read the story »