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7A: Niceville Tops Tate

7A: Niceville Tops Tate

The Tate High School’s  playoff run came to an end Friday night as the Aggies lost to Niceville 35-0 in the Region 1-7A semifinal. The Aggies finished the year at 9-3. Niceville will be Oakleaf next Friday night in the regional finals. For more photos, click here. Photos by Jennifer Repine for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge. -  Read More →

November 22, 2014 | Read the story »

Stormy Sunday On Tap

Stormy Sunday On Tap

Here is your official North Escambia area forecast: Saturday Night Showers and possibly a thunderstorm. Some of the storms could produce heavy rainfall. Low around 59. East wind 5 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. Sunday Showers and thunderstorms before noon, then a chance of showers between noon and 3pm. Some of the storms could be severe and produce heavy rainfall. High near 75. Breezy, with a south wind 15 to 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. Sunday Night Partly cloudy, with a low around 61. South wind around 10 mph. Monday Mostly sunny, with a high near 73. West wind around 10 mph. Monday Night Partly cloudy, with a low around 43. Northwest wind around 5 mph. Tuesday Mostly sunny, with a high near 61. North wind 5 to 10 mph. Tuesday Night Mostly clear, with a low around 37. Northwest wind around 5 mph. Wednesday Sunny, with a high near 57. Wednesday Night Mostly clear, with a low around 35. Thanksgiving Day Sunny, with a high near 59. Thursday Night Mostly clear, with a low around 33. Friday Sunny, with a high near 57.  Read More →

November 22, 2014 | Read the story »

Florida State ‘Coming Back Together’ After Library Shooting

Florida State ‘Coming Back Together’ After Library Shooting

The trustees of Florida State University on Friday stood to applaud the campus police chief and prayed for two victims — one critically injured — as the school tries to recover from a shooting incident early Thursday that left three people wounded and the gunman dead. FSU President John Thrasher told the university’s board of trustees that students were back in class and that Strozier Library, where the tragedy occurred, had re-opened Friday morning. “The campus in my opinion is coming back together,” said Thrasher, who has been in his job less than two weeks. “We all hurt for the folks that are in the hospital, and we are trying to be diligent in our efforts to help them and support them, without being intrusive into the privacy that they expect.” The board led a standing ovation for university Police Chief David Perry, whose officers arrived on the scene of the shooting in less than five minutes. Officers exchanged more than 30 rounds with the gunman, FSU graduate Myron May, who died outside the library after failing to penetrate its security. “I tell thousands of parents and students at orientation that we are the ones that run toward the danger when everyone else is running the opposite direction,” said Perry, who hadn’t slept in 52 hours. “So when I got that first call, I was just as emotional as everyone else, but I knew that we had a job to do, and I knew that we were going to rely on our training to get the job done.” University and Tallahassee police officers rushed to the library after May, a 31-year-old attorney, showed up with a semi-automatic handgun. He shot one student in the lobby and then went outside, where he shot a university employee and another student. Tallahassee police late Friday afternoon released the names of the three victims. Police said one of the victims, Farhan Ahmed, 21, was being treated at a local hospital and that his family had asked for privacy. University employee Nathan Scott, 30, was shot in the leg and was being treated at a hospital. The third victim, Elijah Velez, 18, suffered what police called a “grazing” wound and was treated and released. The trustees saw a video of a Thursday night vigil on Landis Green, where students lifted candles and sang “Amazing Grace.” During the trustees meeting, Chairman Allan Bense also led a silent prayer for the victims and their families, with whom he’d been spending time. Thrasher, whose selection as president had drawn protests from some students and faculty members, said the university had come together. “Normalcy is a funny word, and I don’t know that we’ll get back to it or ever forget,” he said. “But at least I think from a standpoint of some of the things that went on yesterday, I think our campus is alive and well and working toward the goals of being a great university.” On Friday morning, Thrasher and FSU Provost Garnett Stokes — along with law enforcement — welcomed students at the library doors. With them was Dean of University Libraries Julia Zimmerman, whose security measures kept May from getting past the lobby of Strozier, where 450 students were studying at the time. “We’re ready to get back to work,” Zimmerman said. “This is a busy time for the library, as exams are coming up. Our building is going to be packed to the gills for the next two to three weeks with students, and we are ready to work with them.” About 100 students lined up at the library doors, saying they, too, were ready to pick up where they’d left off — more or less. “It shocked a lot of people and it rocked a lot of people, but we’ll get back to normal pretty soon,” said Joe Pelt, a freshman biology major from Tallahassee. “It’s going to be in the back of our minds going in and out of Strozier and being around campus for a while, but we’ll bounce back. It’s what we do.” Also Friday, the FBI intercepted a package May had sent to a friend in Texas. Other packages to other friends are expected. On Thursday, Tallahassee Police Chief Michael DeLeo described May as having been “in crisis,” and the investigation into his actions is continuing. by Margie Menzel, The News Service of Florida  Read More →

November 22, 2014 | Read the story »


High School Playoff Finals

Here are Friday night’s high school football finals from around the area: FLORIDA 7A — Niceville 34 Tate 0 [Read more...] 6A –Choctaw 35, Navarre 14 5A — Tallahassee Godby 41, West Florida 6 1A — Vernon 30, Baker 14 – FINAL ALABAMA 2A — Washington County 60, Flomaton 0 AAA-AISA STATE CHAMPIONS Escambia Academy 35, Bessemer 0 [Read more...]  Read More →

November 22, 2014 | Read the story »


Basketball: Tate Beats Pace In OT

The Tate High School Aggiest beat Pace in overtime Friday night 74-72. With the win Friday night and a season-opening win last Tuesday over Milton, the Aggies are now 2-0. The Aggies will host Gulf Breeze Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.  Read More →

November 22, 2014 | Read the story »

Authorities Searching For Alabama Pharmacy Armed Robbery Suspect

Authorities Searching For Alabama Pharmacy Armed Robbery Suspect

Authorities across the Gulf Coast are on alert for 27-year old  man wanted in connection with an armed robbery Thursday in Baldwin County, AL. William “Jake” McMillian of  Bay Minette was identified on surveillance video  as the  suspect who  robbed  the  Lillian Pharmacy  at gunpoint,  demanding all of  the  store’s hydrocodone. The  suspect fled  the store in  charcoal gray  Ford  pickup truck  after getting 1,700 hydrocodone pills  during the robbery. A  short time before the robbery, he allegedly took an  undisclosed amount of cash from a register and  safe  from  his  workplace, the Las Vegas Discount Golf & Tennis at Tanger Outlets in Foley. McMillian is  wanted for  first degree armed robbery and theft. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office at (251) 937-0202 or their nearest law enforcement agency.  Read More →

November 22, 2014 | Read the story »

Saturday: Molino Fire Station Open House, Live Burn Demonstrations

Saturday: Molino Fire Station Open House, Live Burn Demonstrations

The Molino Station of Escambia Fire Rescue will hold an open house, lunch and live fire hoiday demonstrations on Saturday. The event begins will an open house and hamburger and hot dog lunch from 11:30 until 1:00. The holiday safety, arson K-9 and live fire demonstrations will follow from 1:00 until  1:30. The Molino Volunteer Fire Department is actively seeking volunteers for emergency and non-emergency operations.  Applications are accepted from persons age 16 and older. The Molino Fire Station is part of Escambia Fire Rescue and provides emergency services to the Molino community. Positions needed include clerical assistance,  medical first responders, apparatus operators and firefighters. Free training is provided and includes junior firefighters 16 to 18 who can earn valuable credit for Bright Futures Scholarships through volunteer service and training. Numerous members of the Molino Fire Station have moved on to paid firefighter, EMT and paramedic careers over the years. Officers and firefighters will be on hand during the open house to answer questions and assist with new applications.  If you are interested in volunteering but cannot attend the open house, contact Molino  Fire Chief Kenny Ashcraft at molinovfd@gmail.com.  Read More →

November 22, 2014 | Read the story »

Grand Send-Off For Escambia Academy Cougars

The Escambia Academy Cougars won the AISA Class AAA state championship  tonight in Troy, AL, being Bessemer Academy 35-28. Earlier Story: A grand send-off was held Friday afternoon for the Escambia Academy Cougar football team as they left Canoe, AL, and headed through Atmore on their way to the AISA Class AAA state championship game tonight in Troy, AL. Fans lined the highways to wave and wish good luck to the Cougars. Escambia Academy will play Bessemer Academy at 7 p.m. at Troy’s Veterans Memorial Stadium, home of the Troy State Trojans. Pictured: A celebratory send-off for the Escambia Academy Cougars Friday afternoon in Canoe, AL, as they head to the AISA state championship game in Troy, AL. NorthEscambia.com photos by Ditto Gorme, click to enlarge.  Read More →

November 21, 2014 | Read the story »

Man Charged With Kidnapping, Armed Robbery, Battery Of Woman

An Escambia County man who kidnapped and sexually battered a woman Thursday has been arrested. Kyheem Scott, 26,  was charged with kidnapping, sexual battery and armed robbery. The incident occurred between 3 and 4 a.m. in a vacant lot on North C Street. The 44-year-old woman told Detective Shannan Briarton she was walking home from her mother’s house when the suspect approached her and offered to walk with her. The woman declined, but as she walked away, the suspect followed. In an attempt to avoid him, the woman walked onto several streets but Scott ran toward her and told her he had a gun, which she believed he placed on her neck. She then was forced into the vacant lot where he ordered her to remove items from her pockets and to perform oral sex on him. The man then fled the area and the woman called police. Scott was identified during the investigation, and had the victim’s cell phone in his possession when arrested Thursday afternoon.  Read More →

November 21, 2014 | Read the story »

ECUA Sells Main Street Property For $5.2 Million, Elects Officers

The Emerald Coast Utilities Authority approved the sale of the former Main Street sewage treatment plant property at their Thursday yearly organizational  meeting. The 19-acre site is being purchased by Quint and Rishy Studer for $5.2 million. The property has been  vacant since 2011 when the sewer plant — known as “Old Stinky” — was demolished in 2011 after it was replaced by the Central Water Reclamation Facility in Cantonment. The plant was first constructed in 1937 and underwent several expansions. Studer’s offer was less ECUA’s asking price for the property at $8.9 million, and about $2 million less than was offered to a Texas-based developer in a deal that went nowhere in 2013. Studer will reportedly work to add athletic fields, concession areas, restrooms and parking to the property. Also at Thurday’s meeting, the ECUA board elected officers and made appointments for the upcoming year. District 2 representative Lois Benson was elected as chairman and District 5 member Larry Walker was elected vice-chair. Elvin McCorvey of District 3 was elected chairman of the Citizens’ Advisory Committee, and Vicki Campbell of District 1 was elected vice-chairman.  Deborah Benn, Charles Green, Chuck Kimball,  Hurey Smith,  Tim Common, Kelley Thompson, and Louise Ritz  were unanimously re-appointed to serve as members of the Citizens’ Advisory Committee.  Read More →

November 21, 2014 | Read the story »

Escambia Man Indicted For Insurance Fraud Scheme

An Escambia County man has been indicted on federal charges for an insurance fraud scheme. Kevin D. Webster, 44, was indicted for 11 felony counts of wire fraud. The indictment alleges that Webster, an insurance agent licensed in Florida and other states, defrauded high profile clients and their financial advisors by falsely representing to them via email that he had secured umbrella insurance policies for them when, in fact, he had not.  According to the indictment, between 2008 and 2011, Webster accepted approximately $140,000  meant for umbrella insurance policy premiums for policies that Webster never secured or even attempted to secure. Webster pled not guilty, and his trial is scheduled for Monday, January 12, 2015, before Senior United States District Judge Roger Vinson. The charges result from an investigation by the Florida Department of Financial Services and the FBI.  Read More →

November 21, 2014 | Read the story »

Escambia Heath Department Encourages Flu Vaccine For Residents

The Florida Department of Health in Escambia County is encouraging residents to get vaccinated against the flu. Seasonal flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness and can sometimes lead to death. The flu season usually begins in early October and lasts until May, peaking in January and February in Escambia County. Pregnant women are especially encouraged to get vaccinated. Pregnancy’s effect on the immune system can cause a more severe infection leading to poor outcomes for both mother and baby. Others who should get vaccinated include caregivers of infants younger than 6 months, infants and children older than 6 months, and adults 65 and older. It is also important for those with chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and heart or lung disease to get vaccinated. Flu vaccine may be given as a shot or a nasal spray. The flu shot is approved for use in people 6 months of age and older, including people with chronic medical conditions and pregnant women. The nasal spray is approved for use in people 2 through 49 years of age who do not have underlying medical conditions and are not pregnant. Flu vaccines are available at many physicians’ offices, clinics, and local pharmacies. The vaccine takes approximately two weeks to become fully effective. Symptoms of the flu may include cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue, and fever. Some people may also experience diarrhea and vomiting. Health officials advise individuals who are at risk of complications from influenza to contact their physician immediately if flu symptoms appear. Individuals should see a physician early, as antiviral medications may be effective in reducing the severity of symptoms or the length of the illness. Individuals can protect themselves and their families from the flu by practicing preventive behaviors. While the best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated every year, frequent hand washing is another important key to prevention. Other healthy behaviors such as avoiding close contact with those who are sick, getting plenty of sleep, being physically active, and eating nutritious food can also help to prevent getting the flu. Individuals can spread the flu to others before they even know they are sick. The most effective ways to avoid spreading the flu are by covering coughs and sneezes with the elbow rather than the hand and by staying home when sick.  Read More →

November 21, 2014 | Read the story »

State Asks Court To Continue Gay Marriage Ban

Attorney General Pam Bondi this week asked a federal appeals court to at least temporarily keep in place Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage, pointing in part to another court’s decision that upheld similar bans in four states. Bondi’s request to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals came about three months after U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle ruled in two combined cases that Florida’s ban was unconstitutional. Hinkle, however, placed a stay on his ruling to allow time for an appeal. That stay is scheduled to expire January 5. Bondi asked the appeals court this week to keep the stay in place until appeals are complete. “This court should extend the stay because, on balance, it is in the public’s best interest to wait for an appellate decision before implementing an order of this significance,” Bondi argued in a document filed this week. Several appeals courts have struck down bans on same-sex marriage, and the U.S. Supreme Court has declined to take up appeals of those rulings. But Bondi pointed to a decision this month by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that upheld bans in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. She said appeals of that decision have been filed in the Supreme Court.  Read More →

November 21, 2014 | Read the story »

Grand Jury Finds Insufficient Evidence Of Any Criminal Wrongdoing In Jail Explosion

An Escambia County Grand Jury has found that there was insufficient evidence to establish an criminal charges in connection with the April 2014 explosion at the Escambia County Jail. According to the grand jury’s findings, gas clothes dryers are seen on  video pulling away from a wall in the flooded basement of the jail. At about the same time, natural gas records show a substantial spike in the amount of natural gas flowing into the Central Booking and Detention Center. The spike continued through the day and night of April 30. During this time, both jail staff and inmates reported the smell of natural gas to jails supervisors and maintenance employees. A maintenance employee located what he thought was a leak at a propane tank farm located north of the facility. He cut off a valve which he believed stopped the leak. But reading taken from the tanks show the same level of propane before and after the flood; the grand jury found that the propane tanks were in no way responsible for the odor of gas within the jail. At 11:15 p.m. on April 3, a spark from an unknown source ignited the natural gas causing an explosion. Two inmates were killed and hundreds of staff and inmates were injured in the blast. The grand jury recommended that: The Central Booking and Detention Center and the main jail be returned to the supervision of  the sheriff for the most efficient operation of the facilities. The corrections facilities are currently under the control of the Escambia County Commission. No future jail be built on the current site of the Central Booking and Detention Center. Improvements be made in safety procedures. Employees believed they were limited in making emergency reports only to their immediate supervisors. It was recommended that a safety officer be appointed or designated on each shift. The basement area of the Central Booking and Detention Center should have never been rebuilt following a 2012 flood. “We recommend that Escambia County make a full disclosure as to how this decision was made,” the grand jury’s report states. Escambia County concentrate on storm water control measures, first on county owned facilities, then on Escambia County as a whole. Pensacola Energy should review and locate any cut-off valves so that they are located outside flood prone areas. In addition, main gas lines should be marked to allow immediate access in case of an emergency. The grand jury report concluded by commending the corrections officers and staff of the Central Booking and Detention Center for the outstanding job they did during the flood and subsequent explosion.  Read More →

November 21, 2014 | Read the story »

West All-Stars Beat The East In All-Star Volleyball

The West All-Stars defeated the East in the Subway High School All-Star Volleyball game Thursday night at the University of West Florida Field House. Under the leadership of Heach Coach Erika Burkett of Tate High School, the West took the series in seven games 25-16, 23-25, 23-25, 23-25, 25-16, 25-17 and 15-9. The West All-Star included the top seniors from Escambia County, while the East was comprised of the top senior players from Santa Rosa and Okaloosa counties. Team members were (with North Escambia area players in bold): WEST Head Coach: Erika Burkett, Tate Assistant Coach: Kelly Comerford, Washington Sina Faulk — Catholic Emily Emmons — Catholic Tru Viray — Escambia Emily Enriquez — Escambia Kyndall Hall — Northview Elisabeth Larson — PCA Yenny Wu — Pensacola Anna Legassey — Pine Forest Olivia Veith — Pine Forest Regine Simmons — Tate Jordan White — Tate Carissa Carroll — Tate Mallory Lurate — Washington Morgan Pearson — Washington Lauren Childers — Washington Sydney Barrow — Washington Melisa Izonritei — West Florida Isabelle Strohl — West Florida EAST Head Coach: Waynn Sellers, Gulf Breeze Assistant Coach: Amy Walls, Navarre Hartley Moate — Baker Brittney Amey — Central Maya Smith — FWB Emily Radcliffe — Gulf Breeze Kathrin Hess — Gulf Breeze Kassie Oldham — Gulf Breeze Emily Russell — Jay Bridget Zessin — Laurel Hill Monica Foster — Navarre Sheila Faris — Navarre Abbey McLelland — Navarre Sami Mims — Niceville Michaela Dunn — Pace Emili McClure — Pace Laini Vermillion — Pace Caroline Mayne — Pace Pictured top: Tate Aggie players Regine Simmons, Carissa Carroll and Jordan White, and Coach Erika Burkett of Tate High School on the West All-Star volleyball team. Photo for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.  Read More →

November 21, 2014 | Read the story »

Driver Escapes Injury In Highway 29 McDavid Crash

An elderly female driver escaped injury when she lost control and ran into a wooded area on Highway 29 at Main Street in McDavid early Thursday afternoon. There were no other passengers or vehicles involved. The McDavid and Century stations of Escambia Fire Rescue, Escambia County EMS and the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office responded to the crash. Photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.  Read More →

November 20, 2014 | Read the story »

Florida Bill Would Toughen Texting While Driving Ban

A South Florida lawmaker Wednesday filed a proposal that would strengthen the state’s ban on texting while driving, giving police officers more power to pull over motorists for tapping messages while behind the wheel. The bill  filed by Rep. Richard Stark, D-Weston, will be considered by lawmakers during the 2015 session. Under current law, texting while driving is considered a “secondary” offense. That means drivers can only be cited if they are stopped by police for other reasons. But Stark’s bill would eliminate that restriction, giving police more authority to enforce the ban. Also, the bill would double fines for people caught texting while driving in school zones or at designated school crossings.  Read More →

November 20, 2014 | Read the story »

Thursday Is The Great American Smoke Out; Tobacco Free Florida Can Help

Thursday The Great American Smokeout, and the Florida Department of Health’s Tobacco Free Florida program is encouraging tobacco users across the state to quit  or at least make a quit plan. The Great American Smokeout, sponsored by the American Cancer Society, is currently in its 39th year. The observance raises awareness about the dangers of smoking and the many effective resources available to successfully quit. “Though the prevalence of adult and youth smoking in Florida continues to decline we must remain vigilant in our efforts to help Floridians end their use of cigarette products,” said State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong. “When you make the decision to quit you are taking a step in the right direction to improve health for yourself, your loved ones and your community.” While quitting tobacco is difficult, it is not impossible. There are more former smokers in Florida than there are current smokers.[i] Those who have tried to quit in the past but relapsed are encouraged to try again. Many former smokers make several attempts before quitting permanently. Tobacco Free Florida offers three “free and easy” ways to quit using tobacco: CALL: Call the Florida Quitline at 1-877-U-CAN-NOW to speak with a Quit Coach who will help assess a user’s addiction and help create a personalized quit plan. CLICK: Enroll in the Web Coach which will help to create a web-based quit plan unique to each individual user, visit https://www.quitnow.net/florida. COME IN: Visit AHEC’s website, http://ahectobacco.com, to locate a local AHEC and sign up for Quit Smoking Now group classes. The Department’s Tobacco Free Florida campaign is a statewide cessation and prevention campaign funded by Florida’s tobacco settlement fund. Tobacco users interested in quitting are encouraged to use one of the state’s three ways to quit. Since 2007, more than 93,400 Floridians have successfully quit using one of these free services.  Read More →

November 20, 2014 | Read the story »

Staged Reading: ‘The Things They Carried’

The Pensacola Little Theatre presented a staged reading of Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried”, a novel about the lasting impact of the Vietnam War, for Northview juniors and seniors Wednesday morning. The program was presented in association with The Big Read Grant,a program of the National Endowment for the Arts designed to revitalize the role of reading in American culture by exposing citizens to great works of literature and encouraging them to read for pleasure. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.  Read More →

November 20, 2014 | Read the story »

No Serious Injuries When Car Strikes Brick Home

There were no serious injuries reported when a car struck a house Wednesday afternoon in the 2300 block of Old Chemstrand Road. There did not appear to be any structural damage to the house, just damage to the exterior brick. The accident is under investigation by the Florida Highway Patrol. NorthEscambia.com photos by Kristi Price, click to enlarge.  Read More →

November 19, 2014 | Read the story »

Century Gas Leak Repair Project Nearing Completion

Work will be completed soon on 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”. The included large pipes bored under Highway 29 that will connect a new 4-inch pipe on west side of Highway 29 with a new 2-inch pipe to be installed on the east side of the highway, eliminating the need to install individual service lines under the road to service natural gas customers. Pipes were installed where existing easements exist or were obtained at no cost, otherwise, it was installed under existing sidewalks. R.A.W. Construction, LLC of Tallahassee is working 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. R.A.W. Construction will complete their portion of the project in the next couple of weeks, according to Mayor Freddie McCall.  Then city employees will complete the addition of individual taps and service lines. McCall praised the work done to date by R.A.W., and also applauded the company for hiring local workers to assist with the $393,500 project. Pictured: Gas line replacement work recently at North Century Boulevard at West Highway 4. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.  Read More →

November 19, 2014 | Read the story »

Nightly Lane Closures Planned For Nine Mile Road

East and westbound traffic on Nine Mile Road  between the Escambia River Bridge and Scenic Highway in Escambia County will encounter nightly lane closures from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Wednesday November 19 through Tuesday, November 25 as crews reconstruct the roadway to its original traffic pattern. Drivers can expect nighttime lane restrictions, narrowed travel lanes and a reduced speed limit; however, all lanes will be maintained during construction.  Motorists are reminded to use caution and to obey the posted speed limit when traveling through the work zone by the Florida Department of Transporation. Planned construction activities are weather dependent and may be re-scheduled.  Read More →

November 19, 2014 | Read the story »

Century Hires Wastewater Superintendent

About two months ago, the Town of Century announced it was in desperate need for waterwater treatment facility operator in order to fulfill state requirements. And now that new operator has been hired. April Conatser holds dual certifications in wastewater and water and was recommended for the job of wastewater treatment superintendent by Mayor Freddie McCall. Her hiring was approved by the town council. File photo.  Read More →

November 19, 2014 | Read the story »

Friday Is Deadline For Farmers, Ranchers To Apply For EQIP Funds

Florida farmers and ranchers can apply through Friday for financial assistance in fiscal year 2015 through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to improve soil, water, air, plants, animals and related resources. Through EQIP, the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) develops contracts with agricultural producers to help plan and implement conservation practices that address natural resource concerns. Eligible land includes cropland, rangeland, pastureland, private non-industrial forestland and other farm or ranch lands. The application process for conservation programs is continuous, but funding selections are typically made once a year. For more information, contact the Molino Field Office at (850) 587-5404 ext. 3, visit the office at 151 Highway 97 in Molino, or click here.  Read More →

November 19, 2014 | Read the story »

Gulf Power To Join Ascend, IP In Funding For Escambia County Mass Notification System

Gulf Power has joined other local companies and governmental agencies in contributing to the purchase of an emergency notification system. As NorthEscambia.com reported last month, Escambia County’s EMA has found it necessary to replace its current mass notification system that allows it to communicate with the public and other agencies and entities during emergencies. The Escambia County Commission approved the system subscription last month with funding from Escambia County Emergency Management, the Escambia County Health Department, ECUA, International Paper and Ascend Performance Materials After the initial agreement was approved and executed, Gulf Power Company agreed to provide equal funding for the purchase of the subscription. The agencies and companies will purchase of a new internet-based mass notification system subscription at a total cost of $67,375 for a July 1 to June 30 period. Each party will contribute equally toward the annual subscription price. The first subscription year will be prorated for eight months from November 1 to June 30, with each party contributing $7,486.00. Next year’s annual subscription will cost each party $11,229.16. Escambia County will utilize federal grant funds to pay for its share of the total subscription cost. The Escambia County Commission is expected to approve Gulf Power’s participation at their upcoming meeting on Thursday.  Read More →

November 19, 2014 | Read the story »

Health Department, UWF ‘AIM’ To Reduce Escambia Infant Mortality

The Florida Department of Health in Escambia County and the University of West Florida are working to reduce infant mortality in Escambia County. Attack Infant Mortality (AIM) Escambia is a collaboration of  the health department, UWF, and other community agencies dedicated to infant health. AIM Escambia’s primary objective is to reduce the rate of infant mortality in Escambia County, Florida. An infant mortality occurs when a child dies before his or her first birthday. The infant mortality rate for 2011-2013 in Escambia County, Florida was 7.6 per 1,000 live births, which was above the state average. Parental health, especially the mother’s health, affects the health of children in gestation and in infancy. AIM Escambia uses peer educators to encourage young adults to adopt lifestyle habits known to impact health in pregnancy and infancy. According to UWF Assistant Professor and AIM Escambia Program Manager, Dr. Erica Jordan, “If we truly want to save the lives of young infants, then we must begin long before they are actually conceived. Increasing healthy behaviors among young adults before they begin families will lead to healthier pregnancies and healthier infants.” FDOH-Escambia Director, Dr. John Lanza agrees: “A mother’s health before pregnancy predicts later infant health. Healthier communities include healthier mothers who, in turn, have healthier infants.” Both men and women are encouraged to become peer educators. Interested community members can learn more about volunteering at www.aimescambia.com or by visiting AIM Escambia on Facebook or Twitter.  Read More →

November 19, 2014 | Read the story »

Just Nuts: Bratt Elementary Students Learn About Peanuts, Nutrition

Students at Bratt Elementary School learned about peanuts, farming and nutrition Tuesday morning during an Escambia Count Extension program. Pictured above: Local farmer Scott Walker shares his story about growing peanuts with Bratt Elementary School third graders. Pictured below: Making homemade peanut butter. Courtesy photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.  Read More →

November 19, 2014 | Read the story »

Volleyball: Tate’s Jordan White Signs With Mississippi College

Jordan White, a senior at Tate High School, recently signed a letter of intent to play volleyball for Mississippi College in Clinton, MS. Mississippi College is a NCAA Division 2 school that competes in the Gulf South Conference. White played varsity volleyball for three years for the Aggies and was team captain her senior year. She also plays club volleyball for the West Florida Waves. Submitted photo for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.  Read More →

November 19, 2014 | Read the story »

Florida Elections Results Certified

The results of the state’s November 4 general election, which included the re-election of Gov. Rick Scott and each member of the state Cabinet, were quickly certified Tuesday by a substitute lineup of the Elections Canvassing Commission. The commission certifying the results consisted of outgoing Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville; Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island; and Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland. Normally the commission consists of Scott and two members of the Cabinet, but each selected a replacement. “Some of the principals that were on the ballot decided it might be better, less any kind of conflict, to actually excuse themselves,” Secretary of State Ken Detzner said. “I thought it went very well.” by The News Service of Florida  Read More →

November 19, 2014 | Read the story »

Florida House Organizes For Interesting Session

A Republican speaker who was not originally supposed to lead the chamber took over a House already down two members Tuesday, while a Democratic leader emerged from months of party infighting to try to maneuver with a diminished minority. Ahead of the real session opening in March, 118 members of the chamber held a one-day organization session Tuesday to go through the motions of setting up how the House will work for the next two years. They elected a speaker and rejected the credentials of one would-be member. Rep. Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, was formally named to lead the House after taking an unconventional route to the speaker’s chair. Crisafulli was tapped as speaker-in-waiting after the man who was originally scheduled to get the job, former GOP Rep. Chris Dorworth, lost a bid for re-election in 2012. “Because of how he’s handled himself while here in Tallahassee, the position came to him,” said Rep. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton. In remarks to the House, Crisafulli — whose unfamiliarity was the subject of some gentle teasing at last year’s Capitol Press Skits — laid out his leadership style as one that would hear out Democratic complaints as long as they were constructive. “I am not the Republican speaker; I’m the speaker of the Florida House,” Crisafulli said. “All members will be treated with the same dignity and respect, regardless of their party.” Leading a party that has a two-thirds supermajority and could easily steamroll the minority Democrats if it so chooses, Crisafulli instead called for the GOP to be “humble” in its use of power. “I absolutely welcome robust debate on the issues between the majority and the minority parties,” he said. “But I expect honesty and respectful discourse. We can all agree on so many of the issues that come before us in this chamber. So let’s not play games and score political points; let’s get it done for the constituents that elected us to represent them.” For now, at least, Republicans hold a 80-38 edge, though that number will fluctuate in the coming months. The House on Tuesday voted to reject the results of an election involving Rep. James Grant, R-Tampa. The incumbent easily won this fall, but the election has been the subject of a court battle. The results have been called into question because of a long-running legal dispute that centers on write-in candidate Daniel John Matthews. The 1st District Court of Appeal last month overturned a lower-court ruling that said Matthews couldn’t run for the seat. With Tuesday’s vote, a vacancy can be declared and Gov. Rick Scott can call a special election. Crisafulli said the move by the House — which the Florida Constitution recognizes as the sole authority over its own membership — was meant to break the logjam between the courts and Secretary of State Ken Detzner. “We felt just based on that alone that we would work to try to actually speed the process by having a special election,” he told reporters. “That actually speeds up the process versus going through a court (battle) that could go on for several weeks, months, even longer.” Two more members of the chamber — Rep. Ronald “Doc” Renuart, R-Ponte Vedra Beach, and Rep. Travis Hutson, R-Elkton — will leave in the spring in an effort to win a Senate seat vacated by new Florida State University President John Thrasher. And former Rep. Reggie Fullwood, D-Jacksonville, will run against primary and general-election challengers after a paperwork snafu left his name off the November ballot. Despite their lower numbers, Democrats seemed ready to try to make some headway on what has long been a top priority: an expansion of Medicaid eligibility that has been repeatedly rebuffed by House leadership. In brief remarks for the House, new Minority Leader Mark Pafford, D-West Palm Beach, called for the chamber to reconsider the idea. “All we want’s a free and open vote,” Pafford said. “I have no doubt that there are great Republicans in this chamber, there are great Democrats in this chamber, that could pass Medicaid. I’d love to see that up for an open vote.” Like Crisafulli, Pafford was not originally intended to lead Democrats — but took over after the party deposed Rep. Darryl Rouson of St. Petersburg after a fundraising dispute with Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Allison Tant. Pafford recently fought off a challenge to his leadership after the party lost six seats in this month’s elections. Crisafulli, who has said water issues will be his main priority in the session, didn’t rule out the idea of taking up a Medicaid expansion. But he made it clear that a change of heart wasn’t likely. “I’ll say it now, and I’ll say it again: All options are on the table,” he said. “Obviously, we in the House Republican caucus still stand firm where we did last year and the year before, but there’s always an opportunity to have a conversation, and we’ll continue to have conversations moving forward.” by Brandon Larrabee, The News Service of Florida  Read More →

November 19, 2014 | Read the story »

Escambia Swears In New Commissioner; Barry Named New Chairman

A new Escambia County Commissioner was sworn in Tuesday morning. Doug Underhill now holds the District 2 seat after defeating two-term commissioner Gene Valentino.  And District 4 Commissioner Grover Robinson was sworn in for a second term. Also Tuesday morning, District 5 Commissioner Steven Barry was named the new chairman of the Escambia County Commission. Pictured top: Doug Underhill is sworn in as District 2 commissioner. Pictured inset: Commissioner Lumon May passes the chairman’s gavel to District 5 Commissioner Steven Barry. Pictured below: District 4 Commissioner Grover Robinson was sworn in for another term. Photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.  Read More →

November 18, 2014 | Read the story »

Arrest Made In $400K Jewelry Store Burglary; Five Arrested For Other Burglaries

Pensacola Police have arrested six people in connection with four burglaries in the past week, including a $400,000 jewelry store burglary and a Cantonment man for a vehicle burglary. On Friday, Lazaro R. Mesa, 24, of Miami was arrested by Detectives Chad Willhite and Lisa Alverson after their investigation into the October 5 burglary of Pensacola Jewelers, 7201 N. Ninth Ave. Willhite and Alverson drove to Miami last week where they interviewed and arrested Mesa. He was charged with burglary, grand theft and criminal mischief. Mesa and another burglar broke into Pensacola Jewelers after hours and stole more than $400,000 worth of jewelry, gemstones and watches. A warrant has been issued for the second suspect. The other recent burglary arrests were: Demontrae Allen, 18, of Cantonment was arrested early Sunday after a Pensacola Police officer saw him burglarizing a vehicle and stealing two wallets, a gold chain and money. He was charged with burglary, petit theft and falsely identifying himself to a law enforcement officer. Officer Bryan Lowry was in the 300 block of South Jefferson Street around 2:40 a.m. Sunday when he saw Allen standing beside a vehicle in a parking lot. Lowry saw Allen look around as if checking to see if anyone was watching, open the front passenger door of the vehicle and reach inside. Allen initially gave police a false name when he was taken into custody. The stolen items were recovered. Markeal Sanders, 16; Steven Gurganious, 20, and Treshawn Crocker, 16, all of Pensacola were arrested Saturday morning. Each was charged with two counts of criminal mischief, two counts of burglary, one count of grand theft, and one count of petit theft after an officer saw them burglarizing a vehicle. Detective Danny Harnett saw the three burglars grouped around a vehicle in a parking lot in the 200 block of East Intendencia Street around 1:30 a.m. Saturday One of the males  had his arm extended inside a broken passenger side window. The suspects fled and were apprehended at the intersection of Tarragona and Garden  streets. An investigation determined another vehicle near the first also had been  burglarized. Among the stolen items was a handgun and ammunition. The suspects had  BB guns, BBs and the stolen handgun and ammunition in their possession when arrested. Thomas H. Cobb, 34, of Pensacola was arrested Monday and charged with burglary, possession of burglary tools, grand theft of a firearm, possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, larceny, and resisting an officer without violence. Cobb was arrested shortly after 8 a.m. Monday after officers were dispatched to a residence in the 200 block of Datura Street on a report of a suspicious person outside the house. The suspect ran from the house after Officer Thomas Gamache arrived at the home and saw him in the carport. Gamache chased the burglar through the backyard jumping fences and apprehended him at Euclid and Clematis streets. Among items stolen from the home were a handgun, binoculars and three bottles of Bacardi. The stolen items were recovered.  Read More →

November 18, 2014 | Read the story »