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Woman Gets Probation For Allegedly Tossing Brick Into Vehicle With Husband, His Girlfriend

Woman Gets Probation For Allegedly Tossing Brick Into Vehicle With Husband, His Girlfriend

A Century woman that allegedly chased down her estranged husband and his new girlfriend and tossed a brick through his car windows has been sentenced to probation. Judge Michael Allen placed 29-year Tasia Valenta McCall on probation for 36 months while withholding adjudication on criminal mischief and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charges.  Additional charges of deadly missile and aggravated assault were dropped. McCall was also ordered to pay $718 in fees and court costs. The victim told deputies he and his girlfriend were driving along Highway 29 south of Century when McCall began to follow them and attempted to maintain contact. When they arrived at their destination on Hilltop Road, McCall followed them down a long driveway. Before they could exit the vehicle, McCall began cussing and yelling at them before tossing a brick though the rear window of the occupied vehicle, according to an Escambia County Sheriff’s Office arrest report. There were no injuries.  Read More →

July 31, 2014 | Read the story »


Seasonal Help Job Fair Today In Jay

A job fair for the 2014 peanut season will be held today in Jay. The job fair will take place at the Jay Community Center from  8 a.m. until 4 p.m. Positions are available for seasonal help in Jay or Allentown. Attendees should bring two forms of identification and be prepared to stay for an interview.  Read More →

July 31, 2014 | Read the story »


‘Pot Trucks’ Coming To Florida?

Florida pot dispensers could truck their product to patients, under a revised rule proposed by health regulators in advance of a workshop Friday about the state’s move to a limited type of medical marijuana. The latest plan also would loosen restrictions on who could own the dispensing organizations. Nurseries with only one-quarter ownership of pot distribution businesses would be eligible for licenses, according to the draft rule released late Tuesday by the state Department of Health’s Office of Compassionate Use. Despite numerous complaints expressed by nursery owners, lobbyists and others at a rule-making workshop earlier this month, health officials aren’t backing away from a lottery-based system to choose the recipients of five licenses, a competition drawing operators and investors from around the world. The state has until Jan 1. to come up with the regulations regarding a strain of marijuana, authorized by the Republican-dominated Legislature and approved by Gov. Rick Scott earlier this year, that purportedly does not get users high but can alleviate life-threatening seizures in children with severe epilepsy. Under the new law, patients who suffer from severe muscle spasms or cancer would also be eligible to get cannabis that is low in euphoria-inducing tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and high in cannabadiol, or CBD, if their doctors order it. The law restricts dispensary applicants — who would grow, process and distribute the low-THC product, usually a paste or oil — to nurseries that have done business in Florida for at least 30 years and grow 400,000 plants or more. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has identified at least 55 nurseries that currently meet the criteria. Nursery owners have been bombarded by offers from investors and operators eager to cash in on the state’s newest regulated industry. Rumors are rampant about nurseries that are demanding millions from potential partners or growers who are being offered money to stay on the sidelines. Many of those interested in “Charlotte’s Web,” a low-THC strain named after a Colorado girl, are hoping to get started in the pot business now with an eye on a proposed constitutional amendment going before voters in November that would allow doctors to order “traditional” medical marijuana for certain patients. In the meantime, eligible nursery operators are pairing up with lobbyists and lawyers as they wade into turf unfamiliar to even the most sophisticated regulatory experts. The law allows one dispensing organization in each of five regions around the state. It also allows the dispensing organizations to have “an infrastructure reasonably located to dispense low-THC cannabis to registered patients statewide or regionally as determined by the department.” At the rule-making workshop earlier this month, health officials heard that just five locations would be inadequate to meet patients’ needs. The new draft rule would allow dispensing organizations to deliver 30-day supplies of the medical marijuana derivative directly to patients. Potential operators are divided on the transportation issue. “An infrastructure cannot be a truck. An infrastructure is a place,” said Louis Rotundo, a lobbyist who represents the Florida Medical Cannabis Association, a coalition of growers, investors and others interested in the pot business. The proposed rule may also mean that dispensing organizations can transport their product statewide. Giving dispensers the ability to distribute statewide as the law permits is critical, said Ron Watson, a lobbyist who is consulting for a group of former pharmaceutical executives who want one of the five licenses. “A regional distribution system has no checks and balances and will punish the patient through cost and availability. A patient should be able to choose the best medicine regardless of where it is grown,” said Watson, who also represents the Florida Medical Cannabis Association. The proposed rule also would restrict dispensaries from opening near schools, day-care centers, churches and public parks, which Rotundo said is too far-reaching. “Why should they not be allowed to open as if they were any other drug store in the jurisdiction? They’re dispensing a medicine and certainly a medicine much less dangerous than every pharmacy carries. I’m not following the logic of this,” said Rotundo, who also represents several municipalities. The latest version of the rule also restricts nurseries to applying in only one region, meaning that at least five nurseries would be able to participate in the industry. Growers are forging partnerships in some areas of the state. And the proposed rule also addressed some concerns that potential owners expressed earlier this month regarding a lack of clarity about a $5 million performance bond required by the law. Under the draft rule, a condition of the bond would be that the money would be used to destroy all of a dispensing organization’s pot if the dispensary loses its license or chooses not to renew it. The condition of the bond may help potential businesses secure funding from investors or even banks. Rep. Katie Edwards, a Plantation Democrat who was instrumental in getting the low-THC measure passed, said she was pleased that health officials took some of the concerns expressed at the last meeting into consideration. But Edwards said the “million dollar question” regarding pot’s future in Florida remains unresolved — how the original plants, seeds or tissue culture will get into the hands of growers. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law. University of Florida scientists recently revealed the school would not participate in research — the law contains $1 million for the university to study the effect of low-THC, high-CBD marijuana on epileptic children — because it could lose millions of dollars in federal grants. “I equate it to the ‘what came first the chicken or the egg’ question. In Florida, we are trying to figure out what comes first —the low-THC cannabis plant or the Charlotte’s Web medicine?” Edwards said. Kerry Herndon, owner of Kerry’s Nursery in Apopka, blasted health officials for keeping the lottery provision in the proposed rule. “It’s a disaster for the patient population. You’re making medicine for sick children. So it’s like anybody at random within the pool and not the most qualified? Really?” said Herndon, whose nursery is eligible for one of the licenses and who is interested in pursuing one. Health officials are doing the best they can to meet “a very aggressive timeline” set by the Legislature, said Sen. Rob Bradley, one of the bill’s sponsors. “We have told them that they need to produce a rule by Jan. 1, 2015, and they need to come up with a system whereby we can get this in the hands of the parents of the suffering children. I trust the department to come up with a practical way to get Charlotte’s Web in the hands of these suffering families,” Bradley, R-Fleming Island, said. by Dara Kim, The News Service of Florida  Read More →

July 31, 2014 | Read the story »


Sex Offender Gets Life Without Parole

A man was sentenced Wednesday to spend the rest of his life in prison for a kidnapping and sexual attack. Bret Randall May was sentenced by Judge Linda Nobles to life without parole for one count of kidnapping and two concurrent life sentences without  parole for two counts of sexual battery. The charges stemmed from allegations that in the early morning hours of August 25, 2013, May forced an intoxicated woman into his car, transported her to a secluded area of Pensacola Beach and sexually battered her. Witnesses notified law enforcement who located the defendant’s vehicle and witnessed the attack. May is a registered sexual predator having been convicted previously of three sexually related offenses in Alabama. In one of the Alabama cases, May’s victim was a nine year old female.  Read More →

July 31, 2014 | Read the story »

Northview Mini Cheer Camp Set For Next Week

Northview Mini Cheer Camp Set For Next Week

The Northview High School cheerleaders will host their annual mini-cheerleading camp next week. The camp will be held August 5 from 4-6 p.m. and August 6 from 1-3 p.m. Registration is $25 for the camp or $35 for the camp and a shirt. The camp is open to anyone age three through the eighth grade. Mini-cheerleaders will admitted into the first Northview football home game for free and cheer the entire first quarter with the varsity NHS cheerleaders.  Read More →

July 31, 2014 | Read the story »

Wahoos Win In Extra Innings

Wahoos Win In Extra Innings

The Pensacola Blue Wahoos (15-25, 46-64) won the series finale in extra innings, 1-0, over the Mississippi Braves (22-18, 61-48). With the win in the 10th inning, the Wahoos snapped their four-game losing streak to the Braves. The Wahoos finally broke the scoreless tie in the 10th inning. Devin Lohman walked to begin the inning and Ray Chang laid down a sacrifice bunt to move him to second. After a wild pitch moved Lohman to third base, Yorman Rodriguez singled sharply up the middle to give Pensacola the lead. Rodriguez and Kyle Waldrop had multi-hit games for the Wahoos. In the bottom of the 10th inning, Braves’ left fielder Mycal Jones began the inning with a walk. The Braves had successfully used the running game all series long, but for the second time in the game, Wahoos’ catcher Chris Berset threw out a runner at second. The Braves put together a couple of singles, but Shane Dyer was able to get Barrett Kleinknecht to ground into a double play to end the game. RHP Michael Lorenzen had a terrific start for the Wahoos; he went 5.0 innings and allowed no runs on three hits. LHP Scott Maine, RHP Tim Adleman and RHP Carlos Gonzalez put together four straight scoreless innings before the game was sent to extra-innings. The trio struck out four batters and allowed just two hits. Gonzalez moved to 3-0 on the season with the win and Dyer earned his 12th save of the season. RHP Mitch Atkins produced a fantastic start for the Braves. He went 7.0 innings and surrendered six hits while striking out four batters. RHP Jorge Reyes fell for the first time this season for the Braves. Pensacola continues along their 10-game road trip as they head to Kodak, Tenn. RHP Ben Lively (0-5, 3.68) is set to start game one for the Wahoos. The Tennessee Smokies will send RHP Matt Loosen (4-5, 5.69) to the mound. by Joey Truncale  Read More →

July 31, 2014 | Read the story »

Many Retailers Counting On School Sales Tax Holiday For Bump In Sales

The Florida Retail Federation fully supports the upcoming three-day sales tax “holiday” on back-to-school items, with stores expecting to see a 30 percent increase in sales for the weekend. However, the retail-industry lobbying group would have preferred the holiday period to be, as Gov. Rick Scott requested, at least a week longer. The three-day period begins at 12:01 a.m. Friday. “Not everybody gets paid on the same schedule,” said John Fleming, a spokesman for the group. “The people who get paid at the end of the month, they’ll be fine. But there are people on that two-week cycle of paychecks. And we have always thought if you extend it to two weekends in a row you’d get more people to take advantage.” Still, even at one weekend — the same length lawmakers set the previous four years — retailers should see an increase in shoppers from 2013 because of a couple of changes, according to state economists. The first change raises the tax-free bar on clothing, bags and backpacks from a maximum of $75 per item to $100. The second waives the collection of sales taxes on the first $750 of computers and related gear, regardless of the overall price of the electronics. Last year, when computer equipment was first introduced into the discount period, items had to cost less than $750. “I do think it’s going to allow (electronics retailers) to sell more of their product line,” Fleming said. “This expands the ability for people to buy what they need.” During the discount period, the collection of sales taxes will also be eliminated on certain school supplies costing less than $15 each, such as notebooks, pens and lunch boxes. Florida economists have projected the “holiday” period will reduce state revenue by $32.3 million and local revenue to the tune of $7.3 million. The projections are a jump from 2013, when a similar three-day “holiday” hit state revenue by $28.3 million and local government income by $6.4 million. The projected increase this year is in part due to a higher demand for electronics. The changes were included as part of the wide-ranging “patchwork of awesomeness” tax package approved by state lawmakers this spring. When combined with a rollback in vehicle-registration fees, the package gave Scott his election-year request for $500 million in cuts to taxes and fees. The patchwork (HB 5601), so named by one of its chief architects House Finance & Tax Chairman Ritch Workman, R-Melbourne, offered a wide array of tax cuts. They included two other sales-tax holidays: discounts from May 31 to June 8 on hurricane supplies and another tax-free period that will run from Sept. 19 to Sept. 21 on the first $1,500 of the sales price of new Energy Star and WaterSense products. by Jim Turner, The News Service of Florida  Read More →

July 30, 2014 | Read the story »

Seniors Can Earn Income As Foster Grandparents, Senior Companions

The Council on Aging of West Florida is seeking individuals 55 and older in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties who are interested in earning a tax-free stipend and additional benefits while sharing their wisdom, time and talents as a participant in its Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion programs. Benefits include: a monthly stipend set by federal guidelines at $2.65 per hour; an annual physical; transportation provided or reimbursed at .445 cents per mile; insurance coverage for on-the-job injuries, and on-going training. Opportunities are available to both men and women. To qualify for participation, individuals must: be age 55 or older; earn an annual income of no more than 200% above federal poverty guidelines; possess a sincere ability to work with others; be physically capable of working a minimum of 20 hours per week, and pass required background screenings. Bilingual participants are encouraged to enroll in both programs. Foster grandparents work with children in schools, HeadStart programs and child care centers. Activities may include helping with classwork, reinforcing values and caring for children with disabilities. Foster grandparents generally work four hours per day, Monday through Friday. Senior companions help their less mobile peers live independently in their own homes by providing friendship and assistance. Activities may include helping with meals, socialization and providing respite to family caregivers. The Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion programs are national programs of Senior Corps, funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service. The programs are sponsored in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties by Council on Aging of West Florida. For more information, please call Robin Stevens at (850) 432-1475 ext. 605 or visit www.coawfla.org.  Read More →

July 30, 2014 | Read the story »

Mississippi Downs Blue Wahoos

The Pensacola Blue Wahoos dropped their fourth straight to the Mississippi Braves, 4-3, on Tuesday night at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Miss. Robert Stephenson (L, 5-7) was plagued by seven walks over his 4.2 innings of work despite striking out six Braves hitters. Mississippi scored their first run on a passed ball to match the Blue Wahoos first-inning run and tie the game early. Pensacola re-claimed the lead with a run in the third when Ryan Wright scored from second on a hustle double into shallow centerfield by Travis Mattair. The Braves did the lion’s share of their damage in the fifth. Robert Stephenson fought his control with three walks in the fifth inning and he allowed just one single before exiting with the bases loaded and two outs and the game tied at two. James Walczak allowed a single to the first batter he faced, Braeden Schlehuber, which scored two runs and gave the Braves all they needed. Stephenson allowed 4 R/3 ER over his 4.2 inning and matched his season high with seven walks to go with six strikeouts. He surrendered just three hits in the losing effort. Braves starter Ryan Weber (W, 4-4) picked up the win after allowing just 3 R/ER on eight hits over 6.0 innings. Ryan Kelly (S, 2)came in to work a scoreless ninth for his second save of the year. The Blue Wahoos will try to stop the skid on Wednesday with RHP Michael Lorenzen (4-5, 2.70) on the mound against Braves RHP Mitch Atkins (5-0, 4.65). First pitch is slated for 7:00 p.m. from Trustmark Park. by Tommy Thrall  Read More →

July 30, 2014 | Read the story »

Field Corn Variety Tour Held

A Field Corn Variety Tour was held Tuesday at the UF/IFAS West Florida Research and Education Center near Jay. During the tour, producers and ag officials from across the region had a chance to learn about about 20 different varieties of corn, including heirloom varieties, plus crop and weed management. The event was a joint project of UF/IFAS, the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service, and Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. Pictured top and bottom: The Field Corn Variety Tour Tuesday at the UF/IFAS West Florida Research and Education Center near Jay. Pictured inset: A tall heirloom variety of corn. Photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.  Read More →

July 30, 2014 | Read the story »

Poll: Overwhelming Support For Medical Marijuana In Florida

Young and old Floridians overwhelmingly support letting sick patients get high for medical reasons, according to the latest poll on the issue, but getting voters to put medical marijuana into the state constitution is still not a guarantee. A poll released Monday found that almost 90 percent of Florida voters want doctors to be able to order marijuana for patients. The poll by Quinnipiac University found widespread support for medical marijuana. Eighty-eight percent of Florida voters — including 83 percent of voters age 65 and older and 95 percent of those between 18 and 29 — approve of medical marijuana “Even though a proposal to legalize medical marijuana, on the ballot this November, must meet a 60 percent threshold, these numbers make a strong bet the referendum is likely to pass,” Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University poll, said in a prepared statement accompanying the results. But even supporters of the proposed constitutional amendment acknowledged that the poll results may overestimate Floridians’ support. “The poll is just another demonstration that support for this is broad,” said Ben Pollara, executive director of United We Care, the group responsible for getting the proposal on the November ballot and working to get it passed. The poll shows “that the vast majority of Floridians support the general concept of medical marijuana,” Pollara said. Critics of the proposal, who’ve pumped at least $3 million into efforts to kill it and are prepared to spend more, blasted the semantics of the poll, as well as its findings. The proposal that will appear before voters in November, bankrolled by Orlando trial lawyer John Morgan, would allow doctors to decide whether patients who have debilitating medical conditions could receive medical marijuana. Doctors could not “prescribe” the substance, which would be distributed by state-licensed operators. “This poll has been, and continues to be, a complete outlier in support of medical marijuana because it asks a question that won’t be on the ballot. Amendment 2 doesn’t require a doctor’s prescription,” said Sarah Bascom, spokeswoman for the “Vote No on 2″ campaign. Connecticut-based Quinnipiac University, which frequently conducts polls in Florida and other states, found bipartisan support for legalizing medical marijuana, with an 80-19 percent split among Republicans — whose level of support was the lowest of any subgroup. “Forget the stereotypes of stodgy old folks living out their golden years playing canasta and golf,” Brown said. “Almost nine in 10 Floridians favor legalizing medical marijuana and a small majority says adults should be able to possess small amounts of the drug for recreational purposes.” The groundswell of support, mirrored in other polls, gave cause for cheer to backers of the proposed constitutional amendment. Experts estimate that both campaigns might spend up to $20 million on the issue. “This poll clearly shows that the disingenuous arguments being put forth by organizations like Drug Free Florida and the Florida Sheriffs Association are not fooling Florida’s voters,” Pollara said. “Floridians understand this is an issue of compassion, and they are ready to put these kinds of health care decisions where they belong: in the hands of patients and their doctors, not politicians.” Opponents are likely to rely on polling showing weakened support for the issue when linked to adolescents’ use of medical marijuana. GOP legislative leaders and other Republicans who oppose legalization of medical marijuana signed off this spring on a form of marijuana that purportedly does not get users high but is believed to relieve seizures in children with a rare form of epilepsy. The Department of Health is in the process of creating rules for the new law, which authorizes strains of marijuana that are low in euphoria-inducing tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and high in cannabadiol, or CBD. The law also allows patients who suffer from severe muscle spasms or cancer to be put on a “compassionate use registry” for the low-THC product as long as their doctors approve. Under the law, doctors who order the substance for their patients must also file their treatment plans with the University of Florida pharmacy school. The university would also be eligible for $1 million in grants to study the efficacy of the low-THC treatment for children with severe forms of epilepsy. But university officials say that participating in that research could cost them millions more in federal grants for other programs. “Federal law prohibits possession, cultivation, manufacturing and distribution of marijuana. Violating federal law threatens the federal funding UF receives. As a state agency, UF is required to comply with the law. An outside counsel review of the laws reached the same conclusion,” University of Florida spokeswoman Janine Sikes said Monday. The university may in the future find a researcher who could evaluate the effectiveness of the low-THC, Sikes said in an e-mail. That research would only pertain to “outcomes measurement of patient care — not a drug or plant study,” Sikes said. Rep. Katie Edwards, a Plantation Democrat who has gathered reams of research on the topic and was instrumental in passage of the low-THC legislation, had hoped that the University of Florida would be the conduit into the state for medical marijuana. She said she was disappointed in the university’s position but remained hopeful “that another entity that fits the criteria laid out in the statute will step up and assist the many patients who are desperately seeking this treatment.” The Department of Health is holding a second rule-making workshop on the low-THC issue Friday in Tallahassee. Edwards, like others, remains concerned that federal laws making marijuana illegal could pose problems getting the substance into the state to kick-start the low-THC program. “Very quietly,” Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Fort Walton Beach Republican lawyer who sponsored the legislation, said at the last rule-making workshop when asked how authorized growers will obtain seeds or plants. “But I know a few parents of children with intractable epilepsy who will be happy to go get it for you.” But Edwards, also a lawyer, indicated that the state needs to come up with a better plan. “I would never counsel a client to break the law and turn a blind eye,” Edwards. “That’s why I’m trying to find a solution that will work. The poll released Monday also showed that Florida voters support allowing recreational marijuana by a 55 percent to 41 percent margin, but men and women are split on the issue, the poll found. Men support allowing Floridians “to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use” by 61 percent to 36 percent while women are more skeptical, with 49 percent approving and 45 percent opposed. Young voters support the idea by a 72 percent to 25 percent margin, while voters 65 and older are opposed by a margin of 59 percent to 36 percent. Seventy-one percent of voters also would support having a medical marijuana dispensary in the town where they live. The lowest level of support for having a dispensary in their neighborhoods comes from voters over age 65, with 57 percent in favor and 37 percent opposed. “No ‘Not in My Backyard’ mentality here. By an almost 3-to-1 majority, Florida voters would allow a medical marijuana dispensary near where they live,” Brown said. And the poll found that 44 percent of Florida voters say they have tried pot, including 51 percent of men, 39 percent of women and 48 percent of voters ages 18 to 29. Just 23 percent of voters over 65 say they’ve tried marijuana. The poll was conducted from July 17 to July 21. It surveyed 1,251 registered Florida voters with a margin of error of 2.8 percentage points. by Dara Kim,  The News Service of Florida  Read More →

July 29, 2014 | Read the story »

Local Forest Service Firefighters Deployed To Fight Western US Fires

Local area firefighters are among dozens being sent from the Florida Forest Service to help battle blazes in the western United States. There are six Florida Forest Service firefighters from the Blackwater District — which includes Escambia and Santa Rosa counties — that have been been deployed so far to various western states, according to Joe Zwierzchowski, spokesman. So far this season, the Florida Forest Service has deployed 52 wildland firefighters to western wildfires, including Oregon’s 396,000-acre Pine Creek wildfire and Washington’s 250,000-acre Carlton Complex of wildfires. “The Florida Forest Service will continue to fill requests for help as we receive them,” said Jim Karels, State Forester. “The experiences that our firefighters gain out West will build upon their first-class training and experience fighting wildfires here in Florida.” Deployed wildland firefighters will fill a variety of roles, including front-line firefighting, aviation, safety regulation, logging, heavy equipment management and more. “The Florida Forest Service is a talented group of some of the most skilled firefighters in the country,” said Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam. “Thanks to current low wildfire danger levels in Florida, we are able to lend support to other states for the protection of people, structures and natural resources.”  Read More →

July 29, 2014 | Read the story »

12 Elementary Schools To Add Extra Hour Due To Low Reading Scores

Due to low reading scores, a  dozen Escambia County elementary schools will have an extended school day when classes begin next month. The extra hour per day was mandated by the State of Florida for the 300 lowest scoring elementary schools. Students will spend the extra time each day working on reading and comprehension skills. The extra hour was mandated for Ensley Elementary, Holm Elementary, Montclair Elementary, Myrtle Grove Elementary, Navy Point Elementary, Oakcrest Elementary, O.J. Semmes Elementary, Sherwood Elementary, Warrington Elementary, West Pensacola Elementary, C. A. Weis Elementary and the Global Learning Academy. None of the elementary schools in North Escambia or District 5 will be required to have the extra hour, and for those schools it will be the normal school day when classes begin August 18.  Read More →

July 29, 2014 | Read the story »

Doctors Will Appeal ‘Docs Vs. Glocks’ Ruling

Doctors and gun-control advocates said Monday they will appeal to the full 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals a ruling that upheld Florida’s controversial “docs vs. glocks” law. A three-judge panel, in a 2-1 ruling last week, said the state Legislature had the right to pass the law, which includes provisions restricting doctors and other medical providers from asking questions about gun ownership during medical visits. The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which is helping represent Florida doctors fighting the law, announced the appeal Monday. “If the appellate court’s decision is allowed to stand, the corporate gun lobby and its political cronies will be given license to silence the medical community from speaking the truth to patients about the real risks of guns in the home, and any powerful industry will be able to dictate whether families get complete, honest information about the dangers posed by its products,” said Jonathan Lowy, director of the center’s Legal Action Project. Supporters of the 2011 law, which was backed by the National Rifle Association, say doctors might turn away patients who own guns or who don’t answer questions about gun ownership. Critics argue that doctors need to know what’s in a patient’s home so they can offer safety advice. by The News Service of Florida  Read More →

July 29, 2014 | Read the story »

Four Busted For Commerical Burglaries

Four people have  been arrested in connection with a series of commercial burglaries in Escambia County. Last Friday morning, the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office responded to multiple  burglaries and attempted  burglaries at local businesses. They first found a large commercial moving truck had been stolen from the Ellyson Field Industrial Park.  According to the truck’s GPS data, the vehicle was driven to other nearby businesses where deputies found that two other burglaries had occurred. A business in the 8000 block of Grow Road was burglarized with copper stolen, while a building in the 3000 block of a Bill Metzmer Lane was also burglarized. The vehicle was then driven to the area of Palafox Street and Brent Lane where deputies located another burglary and attempted burglary. GPS data showed the vehicle was driven to Attapulgus, GA, where it stopped for a period of time before traveling back to Quincy, FL Deputies in Quincy were notified, and they located the truck abandoned on the side of the road. Deputies in Decatur, GA, approached a house where the truck had stopped. They observed four males in a vehicle in the front yard. ECSO Investigators traveled to Georgia. Based upon interviews, forensic evidence and the recovery of stolen items, four arrests were made: Damarkus Larrell Mathis, 26, Bainbridge GA; Victor Lamar Bodison, 36, Bainbridge,  GA; Derrick Wilson Hill, 36, Orlando; amd Derrick Joseph Reaves, 24, Orlando. Investigators believe these suspects are responsible for additional burglaries across the Southeast, and the investigation is ongoing.  Read More →

July 29, 2014 | Read the story »

Braves Claim Third Straight Win Over Wahoos

Make it three nights in a row that the Braves have claimed a 6-2 win over the Pensacola Blue Wahoos at Trustmark Park. The Braves used a five-run first inning on Monday night to put the Blue Wahoos away in the middle game of the five-game set. Jon Moscot (L, 5-10) was met with early adversity when he surrendered a three-run home run to Kyle Kubitza after starting the game with back to back walks. The Braves mounted a second rally in the first inning after two were out. Mississippi strung together four straight two-out hits to go up 5-0 before the first-inning ambush came to an end. Moscot settled down and retired the next seven batters he faced, and 10 of the next 12. The Blue Wahoos got on the board with a pair of runs in the fifth. Juan Duran’s triple started the threat against M-Braves starter Williams Perez (W, 4-6). Brodie Greene knocked him in with his second single of the game, and Greene came home on a base hit from Yorman Rodriguez. Those were the only runs the Wahoos could put on the board against Braves pitching. Greene was one of three Wahoos with a multi-hit contest. Duran and Travis Mattair had the other, and both finished 2-for-4. Moscot was saddled with the loss after going 6.0 innings. He gave up the 5 R/ER on eight hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Perez picked up the win for the Braves after allowing 2 R/ER on seven hits over 6.0 innings. Pensacola will try to snap their skid with RHP Robert Stephenson (5-6, 4.12) on the mound Tuesday night against RHP Ryan Weber (3-4, 4.54). First pitch is set for 7:00 p.m. from Trustmark Park in Pearl, Miss. by Tommy Thrall  Read More →

July 29, 2014 | Read the story »

Frontier Communications Internet Outage Repaired

Technicians from Frontier Communications have repaired a high speed internet outage. Frontier customers in the Walnut Hill, Bratt, Molino and Atmore areas lost their internet service from the company late Sunday afternoon. Some customers reported losing service as early as Saturday. By late Monday morning, technicians had repaired a splice in a fiber optic cable to restore service to most customers.  Read More →

July 28, 2014 | Read the story »

Day Of Hope: Free School Supplies, Backpacks, Groceries And More

Mark your calendars for August 16 — that’s when a free “Day of Hope” will offer  back to school supplies and more. The Day of Hope will be held from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Victory Assembly of God at 1895 Victory Road,  just south of Barrineau Park Road on Highway 29.  The event will offer free groceries, haircuts, backpacks, school supplies, a kids zone and a hot lunch. Items are available while supplies last, rain or shine. No identification is required.  Read More →

July 28, 2014 | Read the story »

Atmore Businessman Robert Faircloth Passes Away

Atmore businessman Robert Faircloth passed away Sunday morning. He was 84. Faircloth opened the Ponderosa Drive-In on South Main Street in Atmore in 1968. Popular with residents of South Alabama and Northwest Florida for decades with its “party burgers”, the Ponderosa was open until 1993 when Faircloth closed it and opened David’s Catfish House.  Faircloth later sold the landmark physical location that housed the Ponderosa and David’s to make room for a Walgreen’s store and reopened David’s Catfish in its present day location just north of Florida line. Funeral services for Robert Faircloth will be held Tuesday at 11 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church of Atmore.  Visitation will be held at the church prior to the service, from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m.  Read More →

July 28, 2014 | Read the story »

Two Injured In Flomaton Crash

Two people were injured in a two-vehicle crash Sunday afternoon in Flomaton. The accident happened near the intersecton of Highway 31 and Holt Street. Both of the injured persons were transported to D.W. McMillan Hospital in Brewton in stable condition. The Flomaton Fire Department, Escambia County (Fla.) EMS and the Flomaton Police Department were among the responding agencies.  Reader submitted photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.  Read More →

July 28, 2014 | Read the story »

Northview QB Club Reschedules Softball Tourney; Still Accepting Registrations

The Northview High School has rescheduled their double elimination coed softball tournament from August 2 to August 16. The tournament will be held from 8 a.m. until at  Showalter Park in Century, with proceeds benefiting the Northview Chiefs football program. For more information or to sign up a team, call Amy at (850) 516-8400 or Tony at (850) 516-5736.  Read More →

July 28, 2014 | Read the story »

Braves Win Second Straight Over Pensacola Blue Wahoos 6-2

For the second straight night, the Braves scored three late runs to take down the Blue Wahoos 6-2 at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Miss. Rich Poythress doubled home two in the eighth to put the game out of reach, before later scoring on a sac fly to give the Braves a four-run lead. Pensacola started the game struggling offensively. Braves right-handers J.R. Graham and Greg Ross (W, 4-1) combined to face the minimum over the first 5.1 innings of the game before Brodie Greene broke through with a base-hit. Ryan Wright immediately followed that up with a two-run home run to pull the Wahoos within one in the sixth inning. That would be all for the Wahoos offensively. Daniel Corcino (L, 9-9) allowed a pair of baserunners in the first inning before he settled down to retire the next eight batters he faced before he issued back to back walks to open the fourth inning. Both came home on a two-run triple from Daniel Castro, which was followed up by an RBI double from Mycal Jones. Corcino was charged with 3 R/ER on three hits over 3.1 innings with three walks and three strikeouts in the losing effort. Drew Hayes was tremendous in relief going 3.2 innings without allowing a run to keep Pensacola in the game. He allowed just one hit with a strikeout in the longest outing of his career. Much like the Braves seventh inning rally on Saturday night, Mississippi started their three-run eighth on Sunday with a bunt single. Mississippi used their speed effectively Sunday totaling seven steals including three in the eighth. Graham didn’t factor a decision after going two perfect innings with a strikeout in his start. The win went to Ross after he allowed just 2 R/ER on four hits over 5.0 innings. Pensacola will turn to RHP Jon Moscot (5-9, 3.18) against Braves RHP Williams Perez (3-6, 3.51) in the middle game of the five-game series on Monday. First pitch is slated for 7:00 from Trustmark Park in Mississippi. by Tommy Thrall  Read More →

July 28, 2014 | Read the story »

Century Ready To Make A Deal On Move-In Ready Industrial Building

It’s been about five years since the Town of Century re-acquired  the  former  Helicopter Technology building in the town’s industrial park, and the town still stands ready to make a deal with a future tenant for jobs. The town purchased the industrial building at public auction  for less than $1 out of pocket back in August 2009,  following the town’s foreclosure judgment against the now defunct Helicopter Technology. Century’s mayor, Freddie McCall, still has high hopes for the future growth of his town. And he sees the building as 40,000 square feet of space that would be just perfect for a company looking to locate and grow on the Gulf Coast. “It has a lot of office space up front,” he said. “It has a little kitchen here with a microwave.” He knows the real estate sales pitch on the building — “Immaculate 40,000 square foot office/warehouse building. Enterprise and free trade zone. All under climate control. Fully sprinkled. Eight HVAC units, 10 restrooms, two loading docks and three phase power. Priced to move.” “It’s ready to go,” McCall said of the building. “Fairly heavy duty electrical wiring. Air conditioning. Plenty of room. It has great potential.” The biggest potential of the building, according to the mayor, is the fact that it’s move-in ready. He said that would allow a company to become operational quickly, rather than waiting for permits and construction of a new facility. “Things are looking up in Century,” he said. “We are ready for a company to become part of the excitement.” Pictured top: Century Mayor Freddie McCall on the empty plant floor in the old Helicopter Technology Building in the Century Industrial Park. Pictured inset: McCall believes the building could be key to the grown of Century. Pictured below: The building, repurchased by the town at a foreclosure auction in August 2009, still sits empty. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.  Read More →

July 27, 2014 | Read the story »

FWC Law Enforcement Report

The Florida FWC Division of Law Enforcement reported the following activity during the two week period ending July 24. ESCAMBIA COUNTY Officer Manning and Officer Livesay conducted an offshore patrol in state waters focusing on the red snapper closed season. They seized several red Snapper, undersized king mackerel and greater amberjack. They wrote two resource citations, one boating safety citation and three resource warnings. . Officer Pineda and Lieutenant Lambert were patrolling Little Sabine.  Officer Pineda observed a vessel leave a sandbar and begin driving erratically.  Concerned for the safety of the people on board and others around, the officers made a vessel stop.  After further investigation, it was determined that the operator was boating under the influence of alcohol.  The operator was cited for BUI and transported to the Escambia County Jail. SANTA ROSA COUNTY Officer Lewis was on patrol in Blackwater River State Forest at Riley’s Bluff primitive area when, across the river, he observed a male rolling a cannabis cigarette.  The male subject smoked the cannabis cigarette and handed it to another male subject.  Officer Lewis made his presence known to the subjects and asked them to bring the cannabis cigarette and the rest of the drugs they had with them across the river.  The subjects complied.  There were seven children in and around the river.  After locating the children’s mother to care for the children, Officer Lewis issued the two male subjects misdemeanor citations for possession of not more than 20 grams of cannabis and possession of drug paraphernalia. The following day, Officer Lewis was at the Red Rock Primitive area when, across the river, he observed a man throw a bottle into the woods and discard a cardboard box onto the ground.  Officer Lewis waited for the man and the rest of his group to cross the river and leave the area before he made contact.  When the subjects were in the vehicle, Officer Lewis approached them just as the driver of the vehicle threw two soda cans out of the window.  The cans barely missed hitting Officer Lewis. Officer Lewis issued citations to the male and female subjects for littering. This report represents some events the FWC handled over the past week;however, it does not include all actions taken by the Division of Law Enforcement. Information provided by FWC.  Read More →

July 27, 2014 | Read the story »

University Of Florida Study: Peanut Butter Sniff Test Could Diagnose Alzheimer’s

Detecting early stage Alzheimer’s disease may be as easy as sniffing a dollop of peanut butter. Researchers at the University of Florida’s McKnight Brain Institute Center for Smell and Taste came up with the idea to test smell sensitivity because it can be “one of the first things to be affected in cognitive decline.” Also, the ability to smell is associated with the first cranial nerve. Jennifer Stamps, a graduate student at the University of Florida came up with the idea for using peanut butter because it is a “pure odorant” that is only detected by the olfactory nerve and is easy to access. In the study, test subjects sat down with a clinician, 14 grams of peanut butter — which equals about one tablespoon — and a metric ruler. The patient closed his or her eyes and mouth and blocked one nostril. The clinician opened the peanut butter container and held the ruler next to the open nostril while the patient breathed normally. The clinician then moved the peanut butter up the ruler one centimeter at a time during the patient’s exhale until the person could detect an odor. The distance was recorded and the procedure repeated on the other nostril after a 90-second delay. The clinicians running the test did not know the patients’ diagnoses, which were not usually confirmed until weeks after the initial clinical testing. The scientists found that patients in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease had a dramatic difference in detecting odor between the left and right nostril — the left nostril was impaired and did not detect the smell until it was an average of 10 centimeters closer to the nose than the right nostril had made the detection in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. This was not the case in patients with other kinds of dementia; instead, these patients had either no differences in odor detection between nostrils or the right nostril was worse at detecting odor than the left one. Of the 24 patients tested who had mild cognitive impairment, which sometimes signals Alzheimer’s disease and sometimes turns out to be something else, about 10 patients showed a left nostril impairment and 14 patients did not. The researchers said more studies must be conducted to fully understand the implications. “At the moment, we can use this test to confirm diagnosis,” Stamps said. “But we plan to study patients with mild cognitive impairment to see if this test might be used to predict which patients are going to get Alzheimer’s disease.” [VOA]  Read More →

July 27, 2014 | Read the story »

Rolfe Completes Basic Military Training

Air Force Air National Guard Airman 1st Class Alec D. Rolfe graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas. The airman completed an intensive, eight-week program that included training in military discipline and studies, Air Force core values, physical fitness, and basic warfare principles and skills. Airmen who complete basic training earn four credits toward an associate in applied science degree through the Community College of the Air Force. Rolfe is the son of Daniel L. and Nicole R. Rolfe of Cantonment. He is a 2013 graduate of Pensacola Christian Academy.  Read More →

July 27, 2014 | Read the story »

Florida Gov’t Weekly Roundup: Different Speeds For Justice, Politics

The justice system tends to move very slowly, and this week it seemed to be struggling to keep up with politics. A circuit judge in Leon County pondered whether to try to redraw a flawed congressional redistricting plan with an election looming. Another judge in Monroe County grappled with his own decision that same-sex marriages should be allowed in Florida — keeping that ruling on hold even as the newest Republican member of the state’s congressional delegation supported allowing gay couples to wed. Other things moved more quickly. The state announced that a “hurricane tax” that has cost Floridians almost $3 billion in recent years will end 18 months ahead of schedule. And Libertarian Adrian Wyllie, now included in the Quinnipiac University Poll that occasionally checks in on the Florida governor’s race, showed that figuring out who will win the state’s top office in November could be more complicated than originally thought. STATUS QUO Even Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis expected that his decision striking down congressional districts approved by state lawmakers in 2012 would be appealed. Now that the Legislature is willing to go along with Lewis’ opinion — at least for now — a new question has emerged about whether the state can use the current map in the November elections. Attorneys for the state say yes. Their argument: It would be too complicated to try to redraw the map in time for the general election, much less the August primaries, in which some members of the armed forces stationed overseas have already voted. “The fundamental problem is, we could have a new map tomorrow, and we still don’t have time to make it for this election, because people have already returned their ballots and voted,” Raoul Cantero, a former state Supreme Court justice representing the Senate in the case, told Lewis at a hearing Thursday. But the voting-rights groups and voters who successfully challenged the map in court had a different spin on things: The map violates the anti-gerrymandering standards approved by voters in 2010, meaning it can’t be used. “The other side has an amazing tolerance for the fact that 18,800,000 Floridians are facing an election with an unconstitutional map,” said David King, a lawyer for the organizations. “They don’t seem to care very much about that.” For now, Lewis looks cautious in considering the challengers’ most-radical ideas, including pushing back the date of the November elections or holding a separate, special election early next year under a new map. “I have to tell you, I’m extremely skeptical that I can do what the plaintiffs want me to do,” Lewis said near the conclusion of an almost three-hour hearing. Lewis said he would try to issue a ruling by the end of next week. SLOWING DOWN THE MOVE TO MARRIAGE One case the state is appealing: Monroe County Circuit Judge Luis Garcia’s ruling that gay couples should be allowed to marry in Florida. But same-sex couples in the Keys can’t get married quite yet. Siding with Attorney General Pam Bondi and courts in other states, Garcia on Monday refused to lift a stay on his ruling. The automatic stay was prompted by Bondi’s appeal, filed almost immediately after Garcia issued his initial ruling that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. Lawyers for Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones, two Key West bartenders who sued Monroe County Clerk of Court Amy Heavilin for refusing to grant them a marriage license, asked Garcia to order Heavilin to start issuing marriage licenses because the state has little chance of winning its appeal. But Bondi’s lawyers asked Garcia to “maintain the status quo” as other courts have done throughout the country. Both sides anticipate that the U.S. Supreme Court will ultimately decide the fate of same-sex marriage bans. Meanwhile, newly minted Republican Congressman David Jolly was on the defensive after being quoted supporting Garcia’s ruling to allow gay marriage. On Wednesday night, Jolly issued a 1,509-word long statement explaining how, Jolly said, he’s never changed his position on same-sex marriage. As a Christian, Jolly said he personally supports traditional marriage between a man and a woman. “But as a matter of constitutional principle, I believe in a form of limited government that protects personal liberty, and therefore I believe all individuals, all couples should be allowed to determine the sanctity of their marriage by their own faith or their own beliefs of marriage,” Jolly wrote. HURRICANE TAX SEASON ENDING Instead of a court-ordered delay, insurance policyholders in Florida will get a quick resolution with regard to an extra charge on property-insurance and auto-insurance policies to cover claims paid for the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons. The Office of Insurance Regulation formally issued orders Tuesday for insurance companies to move up by 18 months the end of a 1.3 percent “emergency assessment” for the state-run Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, which provides backup coverage to insurers. The levy will now end Jan. 1. The assessment has hit policyholders for $2.9 billion, which has gone to reimburse insurance companies for claims from the eight hurricanes that hit Florida in 2004 and 2005, the last time a hurricane made landfall in Florida. “It’s been nine years since (Hurricane) Wilma,” said Sam Miller, executive vice president of the Florida Insurance Council. “If anything, the assessment helps us remember how devastating these storms may be.” The orders make official a decision Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet made last month to end the assessment, Amy Bogner, a spokeswoman for the Office of Insurance Regulation, said in an email. Scott has tried to turn lowering the cost of living in Florida into a campaign weapon, also calling this week for the state to make permanent the temporary lifting of a sales tax on the purchase of manufacturing machinery. The governor pushed a three-year cut through the Legislature in 2013, but wants the charge gone forever. FLORIDIANS WANT A CEASEFIRE? But the race between Scott and his Republican predecessor turned Democratic challenger, former Gov. Charlie Crist, is already moving even more steadily toward a media war. Scott has spent millions to define Crist (and soften his own image), and Crist hit back this week with his second ad, going directly after Scott on education. The new television ad points out the state currently spends less per student in public schools than it did during the best budget year of Crist’s administration and has seen a reduction in the number of Bright Futures scholarships awarded to Florida students. “When I was governor, we brought both parties together to open the doors of opportunity, not close them,” Crist says in the ad. Sen. John Thrasher, a St. Augustine Republican who also chairs Scott’s re-election bid, instead highlighted Crist’s decision to cut school spending amid a recession at the end of the former governor’s term. “Rick Scott has cleaned up his predecessor’s mess, funding schools $370 more per student in state funds than Crist’s last budget,” Thrasher said. “Charlie Crist’s fuzzy math won’t fool Floridians.” The back-and-forth came despite a warning from Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac poll, that Libertarian candidate Wyllie was pulling 9 percent in the governor’s race, in part because of the drumbeat of attacks that has for months defined the race between Scott and Crist. “That is almost certainly a reflection of some unhappiness in the electorate with the tone of the campaign,” Brown told reporters. “There’s an old maxim in politics, which is you can’t throw mud without getting some on yourself. And that seems to be what’s happening to Mr. Crist and Mr. Scott.” STORY OF THE WEEK: The Legislature and voting-rights organizations squabbled over whether to wait until after the November elections to redraw the state’s congressional districts after they were found unconstitutional. QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “The decline in my net worth is forcing me to make economies. I’m afraid I will have to cancel some newspaper subscriptions.”—Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, who is worth $26 million despite reporting a $140,000 drop in his fortune in 2013. by Brandon Larrabee, The News Service of Florida  Read More →

July 27, 2014 | Read the story »

Wahoos Drop Opener To Braves

Ben Lively (L, 0-5) was solid in the series opener against the Mississippi Braves on Saturday night at Trustmark Park, but he was still unable to earn his first Double-A win. The Braves put the game out of reach with a three-run seventh inning to snap Pensacola’s four-game winning streak with a 6-2 win over the Blue Wahoos. Lively ran into early trouble in the first inning, but limited the damage to just two runs. He allowed three hits and a walk while facing seven batters to open the game. He settled down went on to retire nine Braves in a row. The right-hander was finished after allowing just 3 R/2 ER over 6.0 innings. Lively allowed just four hits with three walks and five strikeouts in the losing effort. Kyle Waldrop was the bright spot offensively for Pensacola. He had the Blue Wahoos only multi-hit game of the night with a triple and a home run. The Blue Wahoos only had one hit outside of Waldrop’s contributions. His seventh inning homer pulled the Wahoos within one before the Braves opened the game up with their three runs in the bottom of the inning. Pensacola used two walks and a Ben Lively single to score their only run of the night off Braves starter Jason Hursh (W, 9-6). He matched Lively’s 6.0 innings allowing just the 1 R/ER on only two hits. He fanned four and walked two for the win. Jorge Reyes (S, 1) finished the game off over the final three innings for Mississippi to earn his first save of the year. Pensacola will try to rebound on Sunday evening with RHP Daniel Corcino (9-8, 4.33) against Braves RHP J.R. Graham (1-5, 5.61). First pitch is set for 5:00 from Trustmark Park. by Tommy Thrall  Read More →

July 27, 2014 | Read the story »

Florida’s Back To School Sales Tax Holiday Is Next Weekend

Florida’s back to school sales tax holiday is coming up next weekend. The tax holiday will run Friday through Sunday, August 1 to August 3, and will allow Floridians to buy clothes, school supplies and personal computers without paying sales taxes. The back to school holiday expands a discount introduced last year on computers and raises the tax-free bar from $75 to $100 on the prices of clothing, bags and backpacks. Last year, sales taxes weren’t collected on personal computers and related gear worth under $750. This year, no sales taxes will be collected on the first $750 of any computer and related gear, regardless of the overall cost of the piece of electronics. After the back to school holiday, shoppers from September 19 through September 21 will be able to avoid sales taxes on the first $1,500 of the price of new Energy Star and WaterSense products, as part of an energy conservation proposal from Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.  Read More →

July 27, 2014 | Read the story »

Repairs Begins Monday On ‘Major Public Safety Issue’ Gas Leak Under Hwy 29

Preliminary work begins Monday to repair a leaking section of natural gas pipe under Highway 29 in Century, three and a half years since the leak was publicly revealed as a “major public safety issue”. R.A.W. Construction, LLC of Tallahassee will go to work Monday to install the new natural gas lines along the right-of-way of Highway 29 (North Century Boulevard) from about McCurdy Lane to West Highway 4 near the courthouse.  Actual construction will begin on Monday August 11. R.A.W. Construction has 120 days to complete construction, with the project due to be completed by November 25. About 6,515 feet of 4-inch steel natural gas line was buried beneath the southbound lanes of Highway 29 when the road was widened to four lanes. Now, nearly 50 years since the almost 1.25 mile long pipe was first put into the ground, the town believes the steel is corroding and leaking somewhere between West Highway 4 and McCurdy Street. A new 4-inch pipe will be placed on the west side of Highway 29, while a new 2-inch pipe will be installed on the east side of the highway, eliminating the need to install pipes under the road to service natural gas customers. The pipe will be installed where existing easements exist or can be obtained at no cost, otherwise, it will be installed under existing sidewalks. The R.A.W. Construction bid was for the project was $393,500. Two other bids were received on the project — one for $795,700.75 from Utility Service Company  and one for $897,000 from Roberson Excavation, Inc. of Milton. Town Engineer Dale Long said due to the significantly lower  bid from R.A.W, he verified the company’s references and verified the bid was correct. He said the company was lower because they are primarily a gas contractor, while the other two companies are primarily water and sewer contractors. Century actually went through the paperwork process of the project twice.  In April 2012, Century signed off on a $1.4 million USDA Rural Development loan to cover the cost of replacing the pipe. But, according to town officials, the town received the wrong form from the USDA, and as a result advertised the meetings incorrectly. Pictured above and below: Natural gas is leaking somewhere under Highway 29 in Century. Pictured inset: Century Mayor Freddie McCall signs documents in April 2012 for a $1.401 million USDA Rural Development loan to repair the leaky gas lines. The loan was later invalidated by the USDA due to  an incorrect form.  NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.  Read More →

July 26, 2014 | Read the story »

Federal Appeals Court Upholds ‘Docs Vs. Glocks’ Bill

A federal appeals court has upheld the state’s controversial “docs vs. glocks” bill, overturning an earlier court ruling that had blocked part of the law from being enforced. In a 2-1 ruling, a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the state Legislature had the right to pass the law, which includes provisions restricting doctors and other medical providers from asking questions about gun ownership during medical visits. “In order to protect patients, physicians have for millennia been subject to codes of conduct that define the practice of good medicine and affirm the responsibility physicians bear,” Judge Gerald Tjoflat wrote. “In keeping with these traditional codes of conduct — which almost universally mandate respect for patient privacy — the Act simply acknowledges that the practice of good medicine does not require interrogation about irrelevant, private matters.” The majority found that the National Rifle Association-backed law, known as the Firearm Owners’ Privacy Act, “has only an incidental effect on physicians’ speech.” The appeals court rejected a decision by U.S. District Court Judge Marcia Cooke, who ruled last year that the law was built largely on anecdotal evidence, and that legislators couldn’t prove that gun rights would be jeopardized or that patients who own firearms might face discrimination. Supporters of the 2011 law say doctors might turn away patients who own guns or who wouldn’t answer questions about whether they did. Critics argue that doctors need to know what’s in a patient’s home so they can offer safety advice. In a sharp dissent significantly longer than the majority opinion, Circuit Judge Charles Wilson said the law was an unconstitutional “gag order” that infringes on doctors’ rights. “The holding reached today is unprecedented, as it essentially says that all licensed professionals have no First Amendment rights when they are speaking to their clients or patients in private,” Wilson said. “This in turn says that patients have no First Amendment right to receive information from licensed professionals — a frightening prospect.” Howard Simon, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, which filed a friend-of-the-court brief opposing the law, said in a statement that his organization was “astounded” by the ruling. “Today’s decision will keep doctors from asking reasonable questions and providing advice that could very well save lives,” Simon said. “We expect the doctors who filed this case to appeal this decision and that this decision will ultimately be overturned.” The doctors could seek a full appellate court review or appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. by Brandon Larrabee, The News Service of Florida  Read More →

July 26, 2014 | Read the story »