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Jay Pro Rodeo Is This Weekend

Jay Pro Rodeo Is This Weekend

It’s that time of the year again as the Ram Rodeo Series rides into Jay this Friday and Saturday nights at the Ted May arena. Get ready to see bucking bulls, clowns, barrel racing,  real life cowboys in action and much more. There will be calf and team roping, steer wrestling, barrel racing, and children’s activities that include a calf scramble and other activities. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children 12 and under. All proceeds benefit youth program though the Student Government Association at Jay High School and Ted May Arena. Ted May arena is a half mile east of the red light on Highway 4 in Jay. For more information, contact Fredrick Barrow at (850) 675-1646. The Jay Pro Rodeo is sponsored in part by NorthEscambia.com.  Read More →

April 23, 2014 | Read the story »

Scott Presents ‘Shine Award’ To Escambia County Teacher

Scott Presents ‘Shine Award’ To Escambia County Teacher

During a meeting of Florida Cabinet Tuesday, Gov. Rick Scott recognized an Escambia County teacher and two other educators for their contributions to learning with the Governor’s Shine Awards. The Shine Award is presented to Florida educators who have impacted the lives of students through the classroom. The teachers who were recognized during the Florida Cabinet meeting were recently named District Teachers of the Year for their respective counties. Governor Scott said, “These three county Teachers of the Year work hard to ensure each of their students has the opportunity to receive a high-quality education, and it is an honor to present them with the Shine Award. Teachers play a fundamental role in sculpting the minds of our youth, and Florida’s education system is one of the best in the nation thanks to the diligence and dedication of our teachers The Shine Award was presented to Jana Pavlus, teacher at Woodham Middle School.  Pavlus has served as a seventh grade science teacher at Woodham  for four years. She has been known for “capturing kids’ hearts” and making a difference in the lives of her students. In her relationship with her students, she has been open and honest about herself and her life. This has allowed the students to build a strong bond and grow deeper themselves. The awards were also presented to teachers from Walton and St. Johns counties. “These three county Teachers of the Year work hard to ensure each of their students has the opportunity to receive a high-quality education, and it is an honor to present them with the Shine Award. Teachers play a fundamental role in sculpting the minds of our youth, and Florida’s education system is one of the best in the nation thanks to the diligence and dedication of our teachers,” Scott said. Pictured top: Ag Commissioner Adam Putnam, Attorney General Pam Bondi, Senate President Don Gaetz, Jana Pavlus, Gov. Rick Scott, Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward, Rep. Mike Hill and CFO Jeff Atwater pose Tuesday in Tallahassee.  Photo for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.  Read More →

April 23, 2014 | Read the story »


Two Arrested In Escambia Homicide; Deputies Seek Seven For Questioning

Two people have been arrested in an April 14 murder, and Escambia County deputies are searching for as many seven other people for questioning. Taris Donice Tolliver, 21 has been charged with felony murder, and Jim Edward Williams, 22, has been charged with first degree murder in connection with the shooting death of Dequarius Frederick Durant. He was shot and killed in the 100 block of Emerald Avenue in what was described as a drug deal gone wrong. Durant tried to drive away as gunfire began, but he suffered multiple gunshot wounds before crashing into a house. “We are working with other state and federal agencies on promising leads which we believe will lead to the arrest of others,” the Escambia County Sheriff’s office said in a news release. The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office said the following individuals are wanted for questioning only in the homicide: Pierrie Arthur James Blankenship10/2/1990 Gerald Parson11/8/1994 James Grandison Jr 12/03/1990 Clarence Joseph Martin 4/5/1992 Reginald Lee Booker III 6/9/1990 Joeneal Stallworth12/07/1976 Javon Galloway 3/12/1992  Read More →

April 23, 2014 | Read the story »


Florida Lawmakers Take Aim At Insurers Over Guns

With supporters pointing to Second Amendment rights, the Florida House on Tuesday gave final approval to a bill that seeks to prevent insurers from denying coverage or increasing rates based on customers owning guns or ammunition. But critics questioned the need for the bill, saying there is little evidence insurers take into account gun ownership. “I don’t see any kind of quote-unquote discrimination going on in the marketplace,” said Rep. Kevin Rader, a Delray Beach Democrat who also described the bill as a “waste of time.” But bill sponsor Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, said Floridians have a constitutional right to bear arms, and even one case of insurers taking action because of gun ownership is “too much.” “How much discrimination based on the exercise of a constitutional right is tolerable?” Gaetz asked. House members voted 74-44, along party lines, to approve the bill (SB 424). The Senate also passed the National Rifle Association-backed bill last month, meaning the measure is ready to go to Gov. Rick Scott. The bill would apply to property and automobile insurers and add language to part of state law that deals with “unfair discrimination” As an example, the bill would seek to block insurers from refusing to issue policies because of customers’ lawful ownership or possession of firearms. Similarly, it would bar them from charging “unfairly discriminatory” rates based on gun ownership or possession. But much of the debate Tuesday focused on whether problems exist with insurers considering customers’ gun ownership. Rader and Rep. Richard Stark, D-Weston, said they are longtime insurance agents and have not seen insurers asking about firearms. But Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, questioned why they were arguing so heavily against the bill if that is the case. “This is just a good, sound statement for freedom that we’re going to stand behind your constitutional rights,” Baxley said by Jim Saunders, The News Service of Florida  Read More →

April 23, 2014 | Read the story »


Celebrate Earth Day With Escambia’s Dump Dash 5K & Trash-A-Thon

On Saturday,  Escambia County residents can celebrate Earth Day by participating in the 2014 Dump Dash 5K & Trash-A-Thon and help bring awareness to recycling and solid waste issues on a cross-country road with hills and trails. Held at the Perdido Landfill located at 13009 Beulah Road, funds from this family friendly event will raise money for The United Way of Escambia County and The Environmental Education Fund. Prizes will be awarded to the top male and top female runners and walkers in various age categories, best race costume made from recyclables and a team competition will also take place. Race day is Saturday 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. at the Perdido Landfill. Day of race registration is $15 for teams, $20 for individuals. A post-race cookout and an Earth Day Activities will take place immediately following the event.  Guided nature walks on the Perdido Riverwalk and tours of the Perdido Landfill will also be available.  All are welcome to celebrate Earth Day.  Read More →

April 23, 2014 | Read the story »

Chiefs Advance To District Championship Game

Chiefs Advance To District Championship Game

The Northview Chiefs are headed to the District 3-1A championship game Thursday night. The Chiefs beat Holmes County 6-3 Tuesday night to advance to the finals at Chipley. The varsity Chiefs finished the regular season at 15-5, 7-3 in the district. Chipley shut out the Jay Royals Tuesday night, 4-0. NorthEscambia.com photos by Ramona Preston, click to enlarge.  Read More →

April 23, 2014 | Read the story »

Suns Down Wahoos

Suns Down Wahoos

The Jacksonville Suns and the Pensacola Blue Wahoos went back-and-forth Tuesday night at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville, but in the end, it was the Suns that prevailed 6-5 to assure the series win with a game to play. Travis Mattair put the Wahoos in front with his first home run of the year, a solo shot in the seventh, but the Suns answered with two runs in the bottom of the frame to move ahead for good. Mattair’s home run snapped a 4-4 tie, but the lead was short lived. The Suns capitalized on a leadoff walk and a hit batsman to move in front. Brady Shoemaker, who reached on the walk, scored on a wild pitch with the bases loaded. Shortly after, J.T. Realmuto scored from third on a ground out to short giving the Suns all they needed for the win. Pensacola had the tying run at second with one out in the eight but couldn’t score, and left the tying run at first in the ninth after a two-out single. The Blue Wahoos had three two-hit games. Mattair led the way with a 2-for-5 night. He scored twice and drove in two runs. Rey Navarro (2-for-5, R, RBI) and Bryan Anderson (2-for-4, 2 RBI) had the other multi-hit games. Jon Moscot started but didn’t get a decision. He logged 6.0 innings allowing 4R/3ER on six hits. He walked four and fanned three. Mikey O’Brien (L, 0-1) was tagged with the Suns runs in the seventh, thus getting charged with the loss. The Blue Wahoos chased Suns starter Justin Nicolino from the game after just 4.2 innings. He was charged with 4R/ER on seven hits with two walks and just one strikeout.  Despite allowing Mattair’s go-ahead home run in the seventh, Edgar Olmos (W, 1-0) picked up the win in just one inning out of the bullpen. Grant Dayton (S, 2) held the Wahoos off over the last two innings to pick up the save. The series concludes on Wednesday when the Blue Wahoos send RHP Michael Lorenzen (2-1, 1.45) to the mound against Suns RHP Jose Urena (1-2, 6.28). First pitch is set for 12:05 p.m. CT from the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. by Tommy Thrall  Read More →

April 23, 2014 | Read the story »

U.S. Supreme Court Turns Down Scott On Worker Drug Testing

In a blow to Gov. Rick Scott, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday said it would not take up his appeal of a ruling that blocked across-the-board drug testing for state employees. The Supreme Court did not give a reason for its decision, which was included in a list of dozens of other cases it declined to hear. Justices receive thousands of appeals a year but decide to hear arguments in only about 100. Scott issued an executive order in 2011 seeking drug testing for state workers but quickly faced a legal challenge from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida. They contended that the policy violated the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches and seizures. Attorneys for Scott pointed, in part, to drug testing that is common in the private sector. But opponents argued that “suspicionless” drug testing by government is unconstitutional. “Every court that has heard Gov. Scott’s argument agrees: Without a threat to public safety or suspicion of drug use, people can’t be required to sacrifice their constitutional rights in order to serve the people of Florida,” Shalini Goel Agarwal, the ACLU’s lead attorney in the case, said in a prepared statement Monday. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last year that drug tests could not be justified constitutionally for many of the 85,000 workers who would be subject to Scott’s policy and sent the case back to a district court to determine which workers could be tested. That prompted Scott to file a petition in January asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the appeals-court ruling. The Supreme Court’s decision, however, does not end litigation in the case. The two sides continue to carry out a painstaking process of looking at different categories of workers to determine whether some could be subject to drug testing — a process stemming from the appeals court ruling. In it decision, for example, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said drug testing could be justified in “safety sensitive” positions, such as for employees who operate heavy machinery. A document filed April 11 in federal court in Miami indicates that the process of determining which employees are subject to drug-testing could take months and lead to clashes between the two sides. Scott issued a statement Monday indicating he hasn’t budged on the need for drug testing. “State employees should have the right to work in a safe and drug free environment, just like in any other business,” Scott said. “The merits of this case are still being deliberated in the U.S. Southern District Court, and we will continue to fight to make sure all state employees, who are paid by taxpayer funds, can work in a safe, drug free workplace.” by Jim Saunders, The News Service of Florida  Read More →

April 23, 2014 | Read the story »

Escambia Man Sentenced To Life For 2012 Murder

An Escambia County man was sentenced to life in prison for an Escambia County murder. Circuit Judge Terry Terrell sentenced 19-year old Bennie Louis Robbins III to life in state prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years. Robbins was convicted of first degree felony murder, grand theft auto and possession of controlled substance by an Escambia  County jury in January of this year. On July 27, 2012, 19-year old Matthew Cox was shot and killed by Robbins in the Montclair community. Just prior to midnight, Robbins approached Cox outside of  his home, displayed a firearm and demanded money. After Cox gave his money to  Robbins, Cox fled. Robbins chased after Cox and fired the fatal shots. DNA found at the scene identified Robbins as a suspect. Additionally, during a traffic stop three weeks later the murder weapon was found in the vehicle Robbins was driving.  Read More →

April 22, 2014 | Read the story »

Hunter Jumper Horse Show This Weekend At Equestrian Center

The James C. Robinson Escambia County Equestrian Center will host the Pensacola Hunter Jumper Association Horse Show this weekend, Saturday, April 26, and Sunday, April 27. Classes begin each day at 8:30 a.m. and run until everyone competes. As Pensacola’s only Hunter Jumper club, 200 participants are expected to compete in the show and travel to Escambia County from surrounding states. This event is free to spectators and there is a full service concession stand on site. The James C. Robinson Escambia County Equestrian Facility is a multi-use facility that hosts horse and dog shows, rodeos, concerts, festivals and more.  The facility is located at 7750 Mobile Highway, Pensacola.  Read More →

April 22, 2014 | Read the story »

Scott Administration Wants More Restrictions On Marijuana Proposal

Gov. Rick Scott and his surgeon general are balking at a proposal headed to the House floor that would open the door for a strain of marijuana that doesn’t get users high but is believed to dramatically reduce seizures in children with a rare form of epilepsy. Instead, Scott wants a more limited approach that would put children with “intractable” epilepsy, as well as children and adults with other diseases, into clinical trials for the drug. The trials would require cooperation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or drug companies. A plan approved by the House Judiciary Committee on Monday includes language proposed by Scott that would create an “Office of Compassionate Use” within the Department of Health that would “enhance access to investigational new drugs for Florida patients through approved clinical treatment plans or studies.” “Investigational new drug” studies are the first step in laboratory testing of drugs not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Florida Surgeon General John Armstrong told the House committee Monday that he has concerns about other areas of the bill but that his approach is “patient-centered and provides access to medications of known content and dose” and could be operational within months. But Armstrong raised questions about the measure’s “plant-focused system … without quality assurance for the precise chemical composition and protection from impurity.” The strain of marijuana, which is high in cannabidiol (CBD) and low in euphoria-inducing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), would have “variable and unknown content,” Armstrong said. “The safety is unknown and the time to establish such a (distribution system) structure is unknown, likely more than 18 months and subject to rule challenges,” he went on.”Your Department of Health is committed to helping children and their families managing refractory epilepsy safely. We support access to investigational new drugs with known composition and a regulated risk profile. We must be wary of unintended consequences and remember that first we must do no harm.” Armstrong also pointed to a drug called Epidiolex, a synthetic form of marijuana high in CBD but with no THC. The University of California, San Francisco, started clinical trails on the drug, manufactured by GW Pharmaceuticals, earlier this year. Under Scott’s plan, the “Office of Compassionate Use” could create a network of state universities and medical centers and apply to the FDA or a drug manufacturer for a study. The House measure also includes $1 million for the clinical studies. “We have concerns with the bill as it is, but have proposed language to ensure safeguards that support the compassionate use through investigational treatments and ensures those suffering get access to treatments in the fastest possible way,” Scott spokeswoman Jackie Schutz said. House sponsor Matt Gaetz said that the clinical trials preferred by Scott are a good addition to his bill but an inadequate substitute for allowing anyone whose physician deems they would benefit from the low-THC treatment to get it. “The governor’s suggestions are good. We’ve taken those suggestions but we’re thinking a little bolder,” Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, said Monday evening. “I would like to do that and have little kids who can’t get into a clinical trial still have their lives saved.” Apart from the language proposed by Scott, the House proposal (HB 843) adopted Monday edged closer to the Senate’s approach (SB 1030) to the issue. Parents of children with intractable epilepsy, which does not respond to other treatments, believe a strain of the marijuana produced in Colorado and known as “Charlotte’s Web” is their best hope of reducing the hundreds of seizures, some of them fatal, affected children can experience each day. Like the Senate plan (SB 1070), the House proposal now on its way to the floor would create a “vertical” distribution system where the same company must grow, produce and dispense the product. The House measure would allow for four distribution centers spread out across the state. The Senate proposal would allow from one to four distribution centers. The House and Senate bills would create a statewide “compassionate use” registry for anyone who receives the drug, allow doctors to order the low-THC marijuana and require doctors to submit treatment plans for patients to the University of Florida College of Pharmacy quarterly. The Senate version would limit use of the drug to individuals with seizure disorders. The House measure would also require any doctor who orders the medical marijuana to undergo eight hours of training provided by the Florida Medical Association, which supports the bill. Many of the elements of the House bill could be used as a blueprint for how the state would handle medical marijuana if voters approve a constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would allow doctors to order the drug for their patients. Although the low-THC proposal has the support of many GOP lawmakers, including Senate President Don Gaetz, some Republicans remain unconvinced. House Judiciary Chairman Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, was one of three “no’s” in the 15-3 vote Monday, objecting that the issue was “a little too edgy” for his approval. “This is the push-off point. Are we starting an avalanche?” Baxley said. “I just don’t feel that we’re safe there as a policy yet.” by Dara Kim, The News Service of Florida  Read More →

April 22, 2014 | Read the story »

Ernest Ward Middle Names April Students Of The Month

Ernest Ward Middle School has named Students of the Month for April. They (L-R) Savannah Spence, 6th grade; Conner Riley, 8th grade; and Shelby Sloan, 7th grade. Photo for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.  Read More →

April 22, 2014 | Read the story »

Lutz Hits For Cycle In Wahoos Historic 17-1 Win

Donald Lutz hit for the first cycle in Blue Wahoos franchise history on a night where the team set records for runs (17) and hits (21) in a 17-1 win over the Jacksonville Suns at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. The Blue Wahoos also snapped a five-game losing streak in the process. The Wahoos jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in the first inning and never looked back. Yorman Rodriguez launched the first of three Wahoos homers on the night, a two-run shot in the first inning.  The game got carried away when Pensacola, already leading 6-1, plated five runs in the sixth inning to move in front 11-1. The Blue Wahoos went on to plate six more runs over the next two innings. Besides Lutz, Wahoos starting pitcher Robert Stephenson (W, 2-1) also had a remarkable night with what he did on the mound and at the plate. Stephenson fanned seven while allowing just 1 R/ER over 5.0 innings, but he also went 2-for-4 at the plate with three RBI. He was one of three Wahoos to drive in three runs. The others were Rey Navarro (3-for-7, 2 R, 2B, HR, 3 RBI) and Juan Duran (2-for-5, 2B, R, 3 RBI). Everybody in the starting lineup collected at least one hit, and seven Wahoos starters had multi-hit games. Lutz finished the game 5-for-6 with two doubles, two RBI, four runs scored, a triple and a mammoth solo home run in the cycle. He waited until his final at bat for the triple. With nobody out and a runner at first, he drove a ball off the wall in right-center field, and it caromed away from the Suns centerfield Isaac Galloway, allowing Lutz to coast into third for the third cycle of his career (other cycles: 7/21/11 w/Dayton, 7/10/09 w/ GCL Reds). He later scored to set the team record for runs in a game. The previous record was 16 scored on August 2, 2013 in Birmingham. That same game the Wahoos set the previous hit record with 17. Stephenson ended up earning the win, his second, with Suns starter Angel Sanchez (L, 0-4) taking the loss. Sanchez was charged with 5R/4ER over 3.1 innings. He allowed seven hits, two walks with three strikeouts. The Blue Wahoos look to stay hot and even the series on Tuesday against the Suns. Pensacola will send RHP Jon Moscot (0-1, 2.20) to the mound against Suns LHP Justin Nicolino (1-2, 3.38). First pitch from the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville is set for 6:05 p.m. CT. by Tommy Thrall  Read More →

April 22, 2014 | Read the story »

Sunday Night Shooting Under Investigation; Friday Night Victim’s Name Released

Today, the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a Sunday night shooting, just as they have released the name of a the victim in a Friday night incident. At about 9:00 Sunday night, deputies responded to the 700 block of Smiley Avenue in reference to a shooting victim.  The black male victim was found on a porch with apparent gunshot wounds. He was transported to a local hospital. His name and condition have not been released. About 10:30 Friday night, deputies responded to the area of Edgewater Drive and Chaseville Stree to assist Florida Highway Patrol after a vehicle crashed into a wooden fence and a male driver, 27 year old Daishawn Willis, was found in the driver’s seat bleeding from the head. He was transported to a local hospital where he later passed away. Further details were not released. Anyone with information on either incident should contact Crime Stoppers at (850) 436-STOP.  Read More →

April 21, 2014 | Read the story »

MADD At Odds Over DUI Proposal

Mothers Against Drunk Driving is objecting to an abstinence-based proposal that would let judges order twice-daily breath tests instead of ignition interlock devices for repeat DUI offenders. But the head of the National Sheriffs’ Association says the “24/7 Sobriety” model is a better way of keeping drunken drivers off the road for good. MADD National Director Jan Withers on Friday asked Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, to reject the plan, which was approved by a House committee last week and is known elsewhere as “24/7 Sobriety.” “MADD believes that amendments allowing for twice a day testing or 24/7 sobriety programs are okay, but these programs should never replace the use of ignition interlock for a convicted drunk driver,” Withers wrote. Instead, MADD wants Florida lawmakers to expand the use of the interlock devices, which keep vehicles from starting if a driver is drunk, to first-time offenders whose blood-alcohol content is above .08. Current state law requires the devices for second- and third-time offenders as well as for those with a blood-alcohol content of .15 or greater. In a letter to Weatherford, Withers pointed out that 17,224 Florida residents were convicted in 2012 for driving with suspended licenses that were revoked because of previous DUIs, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. “MADD believes Florida needs … a new approach to handle persons arrested for drunk driving as license suspension alone is no longer practical,” Withers wrote. But on Thursday, Sheriff Mike Leidholt of Hughes County, S.D., wrote that he is “wholeheartedly in support” of the proposal (HB 7005), approved last week by the Florida House Economic Affairs Committee. The proposal would allow judges to place drivers with more than one DUI into a 24/7 program instead of or in addition to requiring interlock devices. Leidholt, who is also president of the National Sheriffs’ Association, helped implement one of the nation’s first 24/7 sobriety programs, now in use statewide in South Dakota and two other states. “Of all the wonderful programs that sheriffs are initiating, I have not seen one that is as successful in reducing recidivism, managing corrections populations, and reducing alcohol related crashes as the 24/7 Sobriety Program,” Leidholt wrote. Interlock devices are now in use by more than 10,000 Florida drivers, and the industry generates about $10 million a year. by The News Service of Florida  Read More →

April 21, 2014 | Read the story »

Summer Dance Workshop Offered At Byrneville Community Center

A Summer Dance Workshop will be offered at the Byrneville Community Center June 9-13. Classes will be offered as follows: 8:30 – 9 am — Pre-ballet (ages 3-4) 9:15 – 10:15 am — Ballet I (ages 5-7) 10:30 – noon  — Ballet II and Jazz (ages 8-10) 0-3 years dance experience 12:30 – 2 p.m. — Ballet III and Jazz (ages 9-teen) 4 or more years dance experience Proper dancewear and dance shoes are required. An optional Summer Dance Workship t-shirt will be available for $15 at registration time. The registration deadline is June 2. Contact Heather Leonard’s Danceworks by email at hldanceworks@gmail.com or on Facebook.  Read More →

April 21, 2014 | Read the story »

Flomaton FFA String Band, Floriculture Teams Place At Districts

The Flomaton High School FFA recently competed at a district competition in Enterprise, AL. The Flomaton FFA string band placed fourth; members were Nik Shivers, Stone Lehmann, Jose Escobedo, and Logan Hendricks. The Floriculture team placed third and will compete at the state competition. Members of the Flomaton Floriculture team were Haley White, Kristin Fillmore, Toni Simmons and Tiffany Hardy. Pictured top: (L-R) String band members Nik Shivers, Stone Lehmann, Jose Escobedo, and Logan Hendricks; Floriculture team members Haley White, Kristin Fillmore, Toni Simmons and Tiffany Hardy. Submitted photo for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge. There names are listed in the order they are standing  Read More →

April 21, 2014 | Read the story »

Photos: Our Easter Egg Find

While hiding Easter eggs of the plastic variety around NorthEscambia.com Sunday, we made an Easter egg discovery. We found three mockingbird eggs in a nest nestled deep within the fronds of a sago palm. Hopefully, we’ll share baby bird pictures within a couple of weeks. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.  Read More →

April 21, 2014 | Read the story »

Suns Hand Wahoos Fifth Straight Loss

The Pensacola Blue Wahoos rallied back from three runs down to tie the game at four in the top of the ninth Sunday afternoon at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville, only to have the Suns respond with the game-winning run in the bottom of the inning. The Wahoos have now dropped five straight. Rich Poythress singled home J.T. Realmuto from third with two outs in the ninth handing the Suns the 5-4 win. His game-winning hit marked the second day in a row Poythress has delivered a big hit against the Wahoos. He delivered a three-run home run on Saturday night. Travis Mattair came up with a clutch two-out two-strike two-run double down the left field line to pull the Blue Wahoos within one in the top of the ninth. A batter later, Juan Duran’s infield single scored Yorman Rodriguez from third to even the game. The Suns were in control early with three runs over the first five innings behind Marlins No. 1 prospect Andrew Heaney. Pensacola got to him for a run in the third when Rey Navarro singled home Brodie Greene, but the lefty retired the final 13 batters he faced. He was finished after 7.0 innings allowing just the 1R/ER while matching his career high with nine strikeouts. Daniel Corcino started strong for Pensacola striking out the side in order to open the game. He then labored through his 4.2 innings. He walked and struck out five and surrendered 3R/ER on five hits. Drew Hayes took the loss allowing 2R/ER over 1.2 innings despite three strikeouts. Though he only faced and retired one batter in the top of the ninth, Greg Nappo earned the win for Jacksonville. The three game-tying runs were charged to Suns closer Nick Wittgren. He gave up 3R/ER on five hits in just 0.2 innings. Navarro and Rodriguez led the Wahoos offensively with two-hit games in the losing effort. Pensacola will look to get back in the win column on Monday with RHP Robert Stephenson (1-1, 5.56) on the mound against Suns RHP Angel Sanchez (0-3, 4.20). First pitch is set for 6:05 p.m. CT from the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.  Read More →

April 21, 2014 | Read the story »

Extension Service To Present ‘Tomatoes At Twilight’

Escambia County Extension, Santa Rosa County Extension and the University of Florida/IFAS Extension will present the “Tomatoes at Twilight” workshop next week. The event is a workshop for farmers interested in learning about small farm tomato production. This hands-on workshop is scheduled for Thursday, April 24 at Santa Rosa Extension, 4253 Extension Road, Highway 182 in Jay from 4-6 p.m. Discussion topics will include: General tomato production High tunnel tomato production Heirloom tomatoes Water and nutrient management Disease Control Registration for the workshop is $10 per person. To register visit twilight-tomatoes.eventbrit.com. For more information, contact Libbie Johnson, Escambia County Extension at (850) 475-5230 or email libbiej@ufl.edu.  Read More →

April 21, 2014 | Read the story »

Missing Escambia County Man Found Safe

An missing Escambia County man for which a Florida Silver Alert had been issued has found. Gary Nickerson, 67,was located safe Sunday evening, according to the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office.  He had been reported missing earlier after he was last seen in the 3100 block of Rothschild Drive off Scenic Highway on Saturday.  Read More →

April 20, 2014 | Read the story »

FWC Law Enforcement Report

Florida FWC Division of Law Enforcement reported the following activity during the weekend ending April 10: ESCAMBIA COUNTY Officer Pettey was patrolling along the Perdido River inspecting fishermen.  While checking a subject bream fishing along the river, Officer Pettey asked the man how many fish he had.  The subject appeared to be over the bag limit.  He commented he didn’t know because he wasn’t counting.  Officer Pettey counted 55 bream.  Officer Pettey issued the subject a notice to appear citation for over the bag limit of bream. Officer Manning received information that two individuals were attempting to sell sheepshead (fish) without the proper license.  Officer Manning contacted the FWC Investigations Section for assistance with purchasing the fish.  Two individuals sold eight sheepshead to an investigator.  Officer Manning issued the individuals citations for the violations. SANTA ROSA COUNTY Officer Arnette responded from his residence to a search and rescue call after receiving information of some overdue boaters.  He arrived on scene a short time later in the area of the Blackwater River where the subjects were supposed to be.  After searching the area, he later located five subjects stranded on a sandbar. The subjects were wet and cold and all were safely returned to their vehicle. Officer Lewis was patrolling near the Blackwater State Park when he observed a parked vehicle near a camping area.  He recognized that it belonged to a man who had been camping there for longer than the allotted time.  He also observed another vehicle parked near it that belonged to a woman who had a protection order against the man.  He located the man’s camp and observed the man and woman together on the other side of the river, in violation of the protection order.  He contacted the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office for assistance.  Officers Johnson and Hutchinson went to the scene to assist with a small vessel.  The man was arrested by the responding deputy.  The officers assisted the woman in removing the camp and transporting her belongings across the river to her vehicle. Shortly afterward, Officer Hutchinson was leaving the area and observed a woman flagging him down on Highway 90 just west of Harold.  As he slowed to stop, he observed a badly burned man with a sheet wrapped around him.  He called for EMS and examined the man’s burns.  The skin was hanging from his legs and it appeared to be a chemical burn.  After EMS arrived on scene and transported the man, Officer Hutchinson questioned the woman about how the man was burnt.  He was originally told that the man was working under a truck and smoking a cigarette when some gasoline ignited.  When he asked to see the scene, the woman was evasive and deceptive.  Officer Hutchinson determined that the man had been taken to his mother’s home just before being transported to the highway intersection.  After speaking with the mother, he learned that a friend had dropped him off there.  He went to the friend’s residence and observed a fire burning in the backyard.  He called the fire department and Sheriff’s Office for assistance.  Upon their arrival, they discovered a meth lab and the scene where the man had been burnt.  A woman at the residence was immediately arrested for possession of methamphetamine.  The lab was turned over to the sheriff’s office for investigation. 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.  Read More →

April 20, 2014 | Read the story »

Photos; Egg Hunting With The Camp Fire Kids

The children of the Camp Fire Century Youth Learning Center had a couple of big Easter egg hunts last week. The first was at the Century Center. For the second, the children walked over to the neighboring Century Care Center to hunts eggs with the residents. Courtesy photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.  Read More →

April 20, 2014 | Read the story »

Jacksonville Sunds Burn Wahoos 9-4 In Series Opener

The Pensacola Blue Wahoos battled back from four runs down to tie the series opener with the Jacksonville Suns in the sixth inning on Saturday night, but the Suns countered with a five-run rally to put away Pensacola 9-4 at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. With Pensacola trailing 4-1 in the top of the sixth, Sean Black singled in his first professional at bat to extend the inning for Juan Duran. He proceeded to blast his second homer of the season, a three-run shot to tie the game at four. The Suns answered with five runs in the bottom of the inning against Wahoos relievers Black and Fabian Williamson. The Suns used four hits, three were doubles, and two walks to build the rally. Brodie Greene broke out of his drought with a two-hit game including a double and a run scored. Yorman Rodriguez (3-for-4, RBI, R) and Duran (3-for-4, R, HR, 3 RBI) led the way offensively for the Wahoos. Daniel Renken got the start for Pensacola and went 3.0 innings allowing 4R/3ER on six hits with three strikeouts. Black took the loss after allowing 3 R/ER over 2.1 innings. Suns starter Anthony DeSclafani earned his third win of the year with 6.0 innings of work. He allowed eight hits, a walk and 4R/ER with six punchouts. The Blue Wahoos will look to snap their four-game skid on Easter Sunday with RHP Daniel Corcino (1-2, 3.92) going against LHP Andrew Heaney (2-0, 1.56). First pitch is set for 2:05 CT from the Baseball Grounds. by Tommy Thrall  Read More →

April 20, 2014 | Read the story »

Work Continues On Rockaway Creek Road Bridge

Work continued Saturday on the Rockaway Creek Road bridge over Rocky Branch on the Alabama/Florida state line. Work on the bridge, which was constructed in 1965, was originally due to be completed in late March. Pictured: Looking across the Rockaway Creek Road bridge from Alabama toward Florida Saturday morning. NorthEscambia.com photo, click to enlarge.  Read More →

April 20, 2014 | Read the story »

Wahoos Fall In Final Game Of Series

The Pensacola Blue Wahoos fell 3-1 to the Montgomery Biscuits in the final game of the series at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium. The Wahoos (7-8) drop below .500 for the first time this season. The Biscuits (9-6) have won three games in a row. RHP Michael Lorenzen pitched 5.0 innings and gave up 2 R/1ER while giving up six hits in his shortest start of the season. For the first time this season, Lorenzen did not record a strikeout. Reliever Mikey O’Brien pitched well in relief eating up 3.0 innings for the Wahoos and gave up no runs. O’Brien gave up three hits and made a great catch on a line drive back up the middle to end the top of the eighth. Designated hitter Yorman Rodriguez had a breakout game with four hits. Rodriguez’s four hits were the most by a Wahoo in a single game this season. Shortstop Devin Lohman had a two-out RBI in the fourth inning to cut the Biscuit lead to 2-1. Biscuits LHP Grayson Garvin was scheduled to go just 3.0 innings and did just that giving up no runs and striking out six Wahoo batters. RHP Matt Neil made his first appearance of the season in relief of Garvin and pitched 2.2 innings giving up just 1 R/ER on four hits. LHP Braulio Lara shut the door on the Wahoos over the final 2.1 innings of the game. Lara earned the save and gave up just one hit. First baseman Cameron Seitzer went 0-for-4 but had a sacrifice fly in the top of the first to give the Biscuits the lead. Right fielder Joey Rickard put the Biscuits up 2-0 with a sacrifice fly in the second inning. The Wahoos travel to Jacksonville next to take on the Suns in a five-game series. The Wahoos will send RHP Daniel Renken (0-0, 0.00) to the mound for the first game of the series on Saturday. Jacksonville will go with RHP Anthony Desclafani (2-1, 3.79). by Joey Truncale The Pensacola Blue Wahoos lost to the Montgomery Biscuits 3-1 at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium Friday night. Photos by Michael Spooneybarger/ Pensacola Blue Wahoos) for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.  Read More →

April 19, 2014 | Read the story »

Six Injured In Hwy 97, Hwy 29 Crash In Molino

Six people were injured in a two-vehicle crash Friday night at the intersection of Highway 29 and Highway 97 in Molino. Officials said 33-year old Erica Wright of Pensacola was attempting a left-hand turn in her Hyundai Elantra from northbound Highway 29 onto Highway 97 when she pulled into the path of a southbound Chrysler Town and Country van driven by 62-year old Linda Murray of Lillian, AL. Wright was not seriously injured in the crash.  Three passengers in Wright’s vehicle — Bobby Ray Smith, 39; Mamie Smith, 53; and Lucy Driver, 53 — were critically injured and transported as “trauma alerts” to Pensacola hospitals. Murray and a passenger were also critically injured and  transported to Pensacola hospitals as “trauma alerts”. A dog in Murray’s van escaped serious injury. Wright was cited for making an improper left turn. The accident remains under investigation by the Florida Highway patrol. The Molino Station of Escambia Fire Rescue, five Escambia County EMS units, Atmore Ambulance and the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office also responded to the crash. Escambia County and the Florida Department of Transportation are currently working on redesigning the Highway 29, Highway 97 and nearby Crabtree Church Road intersections and to install a red light. For more information, click here for an earlier NorthEscambia.com story. NorthEscambia.com photos.  Read More →

April 19, 2014 | Read the story »

Maintenance Work Planned For Several State Roads, Including Hwy 4

A Florida Department of Transportation maintenance contractor will be performing striping operations at various locations throughout Escambia County through  April 27. The slow moving operations will be performed at night from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. at the following locations: State Road 4 in Century from U.S. 29 to the Escambia River Bridge State Road 95 (Palafox Street) from Pinestead Road to Diamond Dairy Road. State Road 95 (Palafox Street) from U.S. 90 eastbound to Ten Mile Road. I-10 east and westbound from the Florida/Alabama state line to mile marker 2.3. State Road 750 (Airport Boulevard) from North 9th Avenue to North 12th Avenue. State Road 30 (Chase Street) from Palafox Street to North Jefferson Street. State Road 30 (Gregory Street) from Alcaniz to Palafox Streets. State Road 295 (New Warrington Road). State Road 292 (Perdido Key Drive/Sorrento Road). All activities are weather dependent and may be delayed or re-scheduled in the event of inclement weather. Motorists are reminded by FDOT to travel with care through the work zone and to watch for construction equipment and workers entering and exiting the roadway.  Read More →

April 19, 2014 | Read the story »

State Attorney Clears Public Records Complaint Against Valentino

The State Attorney’s Office has cleared a complaint against Escambia County Commissioner Gene Valentino that contended he did not respond to a public records request in a timely manner. The public records request was made by Douglas Underhill for emails related to the CMT show “Party Down South”. Valentino said, and provide written documentation from his company’s IT director, that a technical issue with his personal iPad may have caused a problem that led him to answer county business emails from his personal email — a violation of the county’s technology party. That, in turn, led to confusion in providing the records upon Underhill’s original request. “The failure to provide the records at the time of the original request was inadvertent, we will take no further action regarding this matter,” Chief Assistant State Attorney Greg Marcille wrote in a letter to Underhill. Click here for related documents.  Read More →

April 19, 2014 | Read the story »

Florida Gov’t Weekly Roundup: Pondering Where Things Stand

The Capitol fell largely silent this week, as lawmakers, lobbyists and some reporters took time to relax after the opening month and a half of the legislative session. The sniping between Gov. Rick Scott and his chief Democratic opponent, former Gov. Charlie Crist, continued to generate emails and tweets. But for the most part, it was time to reflect on where the session’s major bills stand and where they could be going. Here are some top issues to watch as the final two weeks approach. TOP PRIORITY: BUDGET NEGOTIATIONS BEGIN Outside of once-a-decade redistricting sessions, lawmakers are fond of saying they have one constitutional duty every year: passing a balanced budget. This year, with the week of Passover and Easter falling just two weeks before the end of the session, hammering out a spending plan is going to be a sprint. That’s because House and Senate budget writers have a nine-day window to hammer out whatever differences might be left behind after leaders agree on “allocations” for different areas of the budget. There could be a few side deals (announced or not) that would take some of the big-ticket issues off the table. But the budget has to be done by sometime April 29 in order for lawmakers to wait the required 72 hours and approve the spending plan on May 2, the last day of session. The plan is likely to settle in around $75 billion and make room for Scott’s election-year promise of $500 million in tax and fee cuts. The Legislature has already decided to cut nearly $400 million in vehicle-registration fees, and the House and Senate are now arguing over how to divvy up another $100 million or so in tax cuts, with potential breaks on everything from back-to-school supplies to cement mixers. Leaders on both sides say the differences are small, with the Senate being more generous to higher education, while the House gives more to K-12 schools and education-construction projects. The two also differ about how much to spend on water projects and what kind of projects to fund. And there are items that account for slivers of the budget but have drawn public attention, like $13 million set aside in the Senate to allow Florida State University to start its own engineering college, independent of the program it now shares with Florida A&M University. One thing that’s unlikely to happen: the House and Senate conference committees agreeing to find a way to draw down federal funds intended to expand Medicaid, as House Minority Leader Perry Thurston, D-Fort Lauderdale, asked them to do in a letter Thursday. “In my view, what plainly will not be acceptable to most Floridians is the current legislative stance of ‘no thank you’ to an estimated $51 billion of available federal money over 10 years to address Florida’s health coverage crisis,” Thurston wrote. “Floridians expect and deserve that their federal tax dollars be put to work in our state.” GOP leaders say the federal government has proven to be an unreliable partner in funding for joint programs like Medicaid, and they’ve ruled out any Medicaid expansion. EDUCATION DEBATES: IMMIGRATION AND CHOICE One of the most closely watched non-budget bills of the session has been a measure that would grant in-state tuition rates to some illegal immigrants (SB 1400) and potentially help the Republican Party get a toehold in the rapidly growing bloc of Hispanic voters. Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, has led the charge to pass the bill after the House overwhelmingly approved a similar measure (HB 851). Just before the Legislature began its break for Passover and Easter, Latvala said enough senators had signed on to give him a majority that would support the bill. Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, sent a letter Thursday to supporters reiterating that he would not vote for the bill. Gaetz had suggested he would not block the bill if it would pass the Senate. “Though I am likely in the minority in the Legislature on this matter, I cannot support taxpayer subsidies in the form of tuition discounts for undocumented or illegal students,” Gaetz said. The prospects for the bill took a nose-dive later Thursday, when Senate Appropriations Chairman Joe Negron, R-Stuart, announced that he would not put the measure on the committee’s agenda. The bill was scheduled to make a final stop before that panel and then head to the floor. Meanwhile, House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, is still trying to push through a bill that would expand eligibility for the state’s de facto school-voucher system. But Gaetz sounded skeptical about the measure (HB 7167). “There is no accountability provision in the House bill, and I think I still want to be faithful to the understanding that Speaker Weatherford and I had, when we articulated our work plan, that we would try to expand school choice with accountability,” Gaetz said. SHOTS FIRED IN CULTURE WAR: GUNS AND ABORTION With the November elections only a few months away, Republicans are also looking for measures that will fire up socially conservative voters — such as restrictions on abortion and bills advancing Florida’s reputation as a gun-friendly state. The main flashpoint on abortion is a measure (HB 1047) that would largely bar the procedures if doctors determine that fetuses have reached viability. The bill passed the House and is scheduled to be heard Monday by the Senate Rules Committee. Under current law, abortions in most cases are barred during the third trimester of pregnancy. But the bills would require that physicians conduct examinations before performing abortions to determine if fetuses are viable. If viability is reached, abortions would generally not be allowed — a change that the bills’ supporters say could prevent abortions around the 20th week of pregnancy. It’s not clear whether the Senate companion (SB 918) can pass the full Senate, where moderate Republicans sometimes team with Democrats to try to block abortion restrictions. The culture wars could also emerge over legislation that would allow Floridians to carry concealed weapons without licenses during evacuations ordered by the governor. The House version (HB 209) has passed that chamber, and a counterpart (SB 296) could soon go to the floor. Rep. Neil Combee, R-Polk City, said the “last thing you need to worry about is being charged with a crime because you’re taking maybe one of your most valuable possession with you” when your house is damaged, the power lines are down and communications are out. But Rep. Jose Javier Rodriguez, D-Miami, argued against the bill by noting that part of the intent of the state’s concealed weapons licenses is so individuals are trained to carry. “Perhaps we can help encourage people that part of hurricane preparedness is that if you feel the need the carry a weapon on your person, if there is an emergency, get a conceal carry permit,” Rodriguez said. A PLETHORA OF OTHER ISSUES Lawmakers will grapple with dozens of other bills as they look to get out of Tallahassee in early May and start campaigning for the November elections. The issues range from industry fights, such as hospitals battling about new trauma centers, to quirky bills, such as creating the position of state poet laureate. But while the Capitol gets filled with political intrigue and lobbying battles at the end of each session, it’s important to remember that some legislation can have far-reaching effects. As an example, the House and Senate are still working on bills that would address gaps in Florida’s child-protection system after revelations in The Miami Herald about the deaths of children who had previously come to the attention of the state Department of Children and Families. And in an issue that affects state employees and other government workers, such as teachers, both chambers appear to be headed toward overhauling the state’s pension system. Broadly, the effort seeks to encourage more workers to join a 401(k)-style investment plan instead of the traditional pension system. While employee unions have objected to changes, Weatherford and other lawmakers say an overhaul is needed to ensure the long-term financial stability of the retirement system. STORY OF THE WEEK: Internet giant Amazon.com announced it will start collecting sales taxes on purchases made by Floridians as of May 1. QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Indeed, the capacity to become pregnant is one of the most significant and obvious distinctions between the female and male sexes.” Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente, writing for the majority in a case regarding whether pregnancy is covered under Florida’s Civil Rights Act. by Brandon Larrabee, The News Service of Florida  Read More →

April 19, 2014 | Read the story »

Century Gets Look At Future Economic Development Plan

The Century Town Council got a sneak peek at their Economic Development Strategic Plan during a special meeting Thursday afternoon with the Haas Center, the research and consulting arm of the University of West Florida, updating the council on their work over the past several months. Once finalized, the plan will lay out a vision, a road map of sorts, that will guide Century into their economic future. Ideas presented by the Haas Center’s Brice Harris included: promoting educational opportunities at locals schools, free financial literacy programs, skills training, anti-poverty initiatives , development of partnerships with organizations that aid low income households and dropout prevention. The plan also calls for identifying industrial opportunities, soliciting input from local businesses for marketing efforts, developing marketing, pursuit of a daycare program, partnerships with other local communities, improving Century’s “curb appeal”,  expanding available broadband Internet services, Internet subsidies for low income residents, identification of mass transit needs, exploring the benefits of expanding the town limits, and pursuing grants for low income residents. Also under the strategic plan, Century would work with business networks, provide support and training to local businesses, pursue grant funding to staff business incubator, offer small businesses classes, conduct a feasibility study for a local hotel, increase civic participation in local government, stream council meetings online, publish town council meeting minutes, utilize an online calendar, distribute a town newsletter and institute a youth leadership program. The town would also have an increase social media presence, organize more community events and work with area schools and churches to bring more youth-based activities and sports to Century. In addition to research, the Haas Center has solicited input from area businesses, residents and other economic development agencies in the region in developing the plan, funded by a $25,000 a Community Planning Technical Assistance Grant from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. Under the grant requirements, the Haas Center is developing an economic and demographic profile report, local and regional market area analysis, accepted input from local and regional stakeholders and soliciting input from a steering committee. The final draft of the strategic plan is  due to the town by April 30, with an implementation plan and funding matrix to be submitted by May 30. Pictured top: Brice Harris of the University of West Florida’s Haas Center provides a look at Century’s new Economic Development Strategic Plan during a Thursday afternoon meeting. NorthEscambia.com photo, click to enlarge.  Read More →

April 18, 2014 | Read the story »

Tate Lady Aggies Win District 1-7A Championship

The Tate High School Lady Aggies won the District 1-7A championship Thursday night with a 8-1 win over the Navarre Raiders. The Aggies will now host Tallahassee Chiles in the quarterfinals next Thursday. Photos by Timothy Dunsford for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.  Read More →

April 18, 2014 | Read the story »