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Molino’s Cunningham Shows Champion Steer At Fair

Molino’s Cunningham Shows Champion Steer At Fair

Austin Cunningham of Molino showed his champion steer last week at the Pensacola Interstate Fair, winning several awards. He was awarded Reserve Grand Champion, FFA Grand Champion, and Grand Champion for a homegrown steer. The Northview High School senior also received second in Senior Showmanship. Cunningham sold his 1,250 pound steer “Heisenberg” to Dave Howell Tires for $5.50 per pound, or $6,875. Submitted photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.  Read More →

October 30, 2014 | Read the story »


Dixie Group Issues Earnings Report, Continues Atmore Masland Changes

The Dixie Group has issued its third quarter earnings report as the company continues to make changes at its Masland plant in Atmore. The company announced an overall loss Wednesday despite increased sales. During the quarter, the company shutdown both the yard and carpet dyeing operations in Atmore and transferred those products to a combination of internal operations and external suppliers. The company will also continue to decommission a waste water treatment plant in Atmore. For the quarter, the Company had sales of $109,359,000 and a loss from continuing operations of $166,000, or $0.01 per diluted share, compared with sales of $90,210,000 and income from continuing operations of $1,432,000, or $0.11 per diluted share for the third quarter of 2013. Income from continuing operations, excluding manufacturing integration, facility consolidation, equipment impairment, and acquisition related expenses, after-tax, was $1,326,000 (non-GAAP adjusted income from continuing operations), or $0.08 per diluted share for the period. The Company had $2,579,000 in facility consolidation, equipment impairment and acquisition related expenses during the period as it implements its previously announced plans to expand capacity, integrate acquisitions and streamline operations.  Read More →

October 30, 2014 | Read the story »


Breezy Today, Colder Tonight

Here is your official North Escambia are forecast: Thursday Sunny, with a high near 73. North wind 5 to 10 mph. Thursday Night Clear, with a low around 43. Northwest wind around 5 mph becoming calm. Friday Sunny, with a high near 77. Light west wind becoming northwest 10 to 15 mph in the morning. Winds could gust as high as 20 mph. Friday Night Mostly clear, with a low around 37. Northwest wind around 10 mph. Saturday Sunny, with a high near 60. Northwest wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Saturday Night Mostly clear, with a low around 36. Northwest wind 5 to 10 mph becoming light and variable after midnight. Sunday Sunny, with a high near 66. Northeast wind around 5 mph. Sunday Night Partly cloudy, with a low around 41. East wind around 5 mph. Monday Mostly sunny, with a high near 71. Monday Night Partly cloudy, with a low around 48. Tuesday A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 75. Tuesday Night A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 55. Wednesday A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 75.  Read More →

October 30, 2014 | Read the story »


State To Offer More Citizens Insurance Policies To Private Firms

More than 182,000 policies now in the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp. will be available to be picked up by nine private carriers after the start of the new year. The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation announced Wednesday that up to 2,527 commercial residential policies will be made available on January 6, and a week later 180,040 personal residential policies will become available. Typically the number of policies actually moved in the “takeout” process is far smaller than what is offered to the private firms. The private companies are able to cherry-pick the least-risky policies and often go after many of the same customers. Policyholders targeted for takeout also have the option to remain covered by Citizens. For 2014, the state insurance office approved 1.1 million policies for private “takeout,” yet as of September 18, the number moved out of Citizens was 127,550. Citizens, which two years ago had 1.47 million policies, was down to 930,385 policies as of September 30.  Read More →

October 30, 2014 | Read the story »

Register Now For Century’s Land To Lake Lighted Boat Christmas Parade

Register Now For Century’s Land To Lake Lighted Boat Christmas Parade

The Century Christmas Land To Lake Lighted Boat Parade will be held again this year. The event is scheduled for Saturday, December 6 with line-up at 5 p.m. and floats rolling out at dark from Industrial Boulevard to Lake Stone. The entry fee is $10 per boat or float, with checks made payable to the Century Area Chamber of Commerce. For more information and a printable registration form, click here. The parade is sponsored in part by NorthEscambia.com. Pictured above: One of the floats/boats in last year’s Century Christmas Land To Lake Lighted Boat Parade. NorthEscambia.com file photo.  Read More →

October 30, 2014 | Read the story »

Authorities Searching For Stolen $4,000 Dog

Authorities Searching For Stolen $4,000 Dog

Local authorities are looking for a stolen dog — a $4,000 stolen dog — taken from a local pet store early this week. The incident occurred at Petland on North on North Davis Highway on Tuesday. The suspect reportedly entered the business and began talking with a store employee. When she said she had recently lost a French bulldog, the store employee said they had one in stock. The employee then brought the dog to a petting room and handed it to the suspect. After a couple of minutes, the employee left the pet enclosure to go to another part of the store. Once he returned, he realized the suspect and puppy were gone. The female French bulldog is approximately three months old, cream colored with black markings on its face and is valued at approximately $4,000, according to Pensacola Police. The female suspect was heavyset with short hair and was wearing a gray shirt, shorts and a baseball cap. She appeared to have tattoos on one or both of her forearms in addition to tattoos on her calves. She also may have one or more facial piercings. Anyone with information on the suspect or the dog’s location is asked to contact Detective Chad Willhite at (850) 435-1972, the Pensacola Police Department at (850) 435-1900 or Crime Stoppers at (850) 433-STOP.  Read More →

October 30, 2014 | Read the story »

Morgan Invites Residents To Learn About Neighborhood Watch Programs

Morgan Invites Residents To Learn About Neighborhood Watch Programs

Sheriff David Morgan is inviting the public to a Neighborhood Watch Academy class taking place November 18 at the  Sheriff’s Main Administration Building at  1700 West Leonard Street. Morgan said the Neighborhood Watch Program is one of the best means of eliminating and preventing criminal activity in your neighborhood. Attendees of the class will learn how to organize a successful neighborhood watch program and prevent crime in their homes and neighborhoods. Topics to be covered in this one evening seminar include: The history of the neighborhood watch program How to make an effective call for a police response without fear of retribution How to become less likely to be a victim or crime For information or to register for the class email win@escambiaso.com or call Community Services Coordinator David Craig at (850) 436-9281. For more information on the Neighborhood Watch program or to find a Neighborhood Watch in your area, visit escambiaso.com. Pictured: Members of the Molino Neighborhood Watch during a meeting with Sheriff David Morgan. NorthEscambia.com file photos, click to enlarge.  Read More →

October 30, 2014 | Read the story »

CareerSource Escarosa Offering Skills Assessment Testing In Century

An employment skills assessment test will be offered Thursday in Century. All Escambia County residents who are seeking employment, looking to further their career, or enhance their skills and education, are urged to participate in this free program. Through partnership with local government and a consortium of community organizations, CareerSource Escarosa will offer Skill Assessment Tests to Escambia County residents as part of the Escarosa Community Occupational Talent Search, a targeted workforce development initiative. E-COTS participants will have access to a variety of no-cost programs and services offered through CareerSource Escarosa which include; educational workshops, career training and guidance, tuition assistance, skill enhancement sessions, and more. Testing sessions will be available at 9:30 a.m. at 1:30 p.m. at the Carver Community Center, 7040 Jefferson Avenue in Century. A basic skill assessment is required for program participation. To register, call (850) 607-8750 or visit careersourceescarosa.com/ECOTS.  Read More →

October 29, 2014 | Read the story »

Kids House Receives $50K Donation Thanks To Local Felons

Thanks to local felons, the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office made a $50,000 contribution Tuesday afternoon toward the expansion of the Gulf Coast Kids House. The donation was funded from the State Law Enforcement Trust Fund. The law allows law enforcement to use funds from contraband seized during the commission of felonies to be used in the community. The expansion will help the nonprofit organization better serve victims of child abuse in Escambia County and will be completed in 2015. The donated funds will be used for a new medical examination room in the Advocacy and Education wing of Gulf Coast Kids House. Pictured: Sheriff David Morgan (center) presents a $50,000 donation to representatives of the Gulf Coast Kids House, Pam Schwartz, board chair; Debbie Ritchie and Stan Connally, co-chairs of Captial Expansion; and Stacey Kostevicki, executive director. Courtesy photo for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.  Read More →

October 29, 2014 | Read the story »

And The Survey Says: All About Escambia Parks, Community Centers

Escambia County recently asked residents to complete an online survey to gauge residents’ thoughts and ideas about parks and community centers. Results were as follows: Envision Escambia 2028: Parks & Community Centers Question #1: In which area of Escambia County do you currently live? Nearly 25 percent of respondents to our Parks & Community Centers survey live north of Nine Mile Road. Another 21 percent came from the extreme southern portion of the County on Pensacola Beach. More than 3 percent of respondents were from Perdido Key, 15 percent represented the neighborhoods in the area East of Palafox, South of Brent Lane/Bayou Boulevard to the Escambia Bay on the East and Pensacola Bay on the South and another 12  percent lives West of Palafox, East of New Warrington Road, South of Fairfield Drive, North of Pensacola Bay. No area of Escambia County was unrepresented in this survey. Question #2: By the end of 2017, Escambia County will have spent $41 million to support the development and enhancement of more than 100 neighborhood, athletic and marine parks, as well as 16 community centers, throughout the County. Please tell us how strongly you agree or disagree with the following statements. Well maintained parks, community centers and open spaces: Provide economic benefits (e.g.: enhanced property values) to residents: 42  percent strongly agree; 36 percent agree; 8 percent neither disagree nor agree; 3 disagree; 5.5 percent strongly disagree Improve a community’s quality of life: 60 percent strongly agree; 0 percent disagree or strongly disagree Improve air and water quality: 40 percent strongly agree; 22.86 percent agree Brings a community together: 43 percent strongly agree; 34 agree Question #3: How often do you or members of your family visit a County park? The majority of survey participants visit County parks (28.5 percent) weekly; 14 pecent visit biweekly and 11.5 percent of those polled visit a County park once per month. Question #4: Why do you visit Escambia County parks? Relaxation: 15 percent Exercise: 10 percent Athletics/sports: 5 percent Spend time with family/friends: 20 percent Enjoy nature/wildlife/outdoors: 15 percent All of the above: 10 percent Other: 25 percent Question #5: Please choose any/all reasons you may have for not using County parks and/or facilities: The facilities or equipment we are looking for is not available: 4 percent Security is inefficient: 8 percent Hours of operation are not convenient: 8 percent Location of facilities is not close to my home: 28 percent Facilities are not well maintained: 16 percent Members of my household use facilities from other organizations: 8 percent We are too busy or not interested: 16 percent All (or) most of the above: 4 percent Question #6: Please rate the availability of facilities at Escambia County parks: Shelter/pavilions: 33 percent feel there are enough and 48.5 percent believe more are needed Benches and bleachers: 26 percent said there are enough, while 52 percent think more should be added Play equipment: 32 percent said there are enough and 45 percent think more are needed Lighting: 23 percent said there is enough lighting, while 63 percent said more lighting is needed Drinking fountains: 18 percent believe there are enough and 58 percent said more are needed Question #7: If $100 were available for parks and community center facilities, how would you allocate the funds among the categories listed below? (Please make sure your total adds up to $100.) The highest number of “funds” voters would allocate for if given $100 would go toward: Improving maintenance to existing parks/community centers Addition of walking trails More playgrounds for children Development of special facilities (dog parks, water playgrounds, boat ramps, etc.) Improved ADA access Land acquisition for new facilities Construction of new athletic facilities (baseball, soccer, basketball, tennis) Question #8: What type of programming would you like to see in a County park or community center? After school programs: 59 percent Summer recreation programs: 74 percent Adult education programs (GED, job training): 44.5 percent Youth sports leagues: 63 percent Adult sports leagues: 52 percent Special events (festivals, concerts): 74 percent Comments included: “Exercise programs, like yoga.” “Just a nice, safe green park with plenty of benches, lots of trees, perhaps a water feature, for ADA and aging to enjoy in safety.” Question #9: What is your overall opinion of the quality and condition of Escambia County parks and community centers? Excellent: 6.25 percent Very good: 12.5 percent Good: 44 percent Fair: 29 percent Poor: 0 percent No opinion: 19 percent Question #10: Do you have comments related to a specific park or community center? A full list of our parks and community centers is available on MyEscambia.com. Comments include: “Some of the parks aren’t well lit. As a single woman, I don’t feel safe using them for exercise after work.” “Regional parks are great. Why are there so many pocket parks?” ”I wish more parks could be like Perdido Kids park. I think we need to invest more in the current parks we have. We need more swings, walking paths, kids playground equipment, basketball goals, also at some of the parks I have been to the ants were insane and I was afraid for my children to stand still. Example Avondale park around the track, the ants were insane.” Question #11: Do you have any additional questions, comments or concerns? Comments include: “No. We are happy the park was built in Beulah. It is nice to be able to take our child to the park and not have to drive across town.” “Spend more resources on maintaining what we have.” “Consider new or improvements to recreational/activity facilities (walking trails, playground equipment) that can help address high obesity rates related to areas with little/no access to facilities for physical activity (and/or improve safety, lighting etc. to encourage more utilization). Map areas of ‘recreation deserts’ related to population as first targets. Pursue interlocal agreements with school district for use of school facilities (even if only playground) during non-school hours.” Pictured: The playground at the Molino Community Complex. NorthEscambia.com photo, click to enlarge.  Read More →

October 29, 2014 | Read the story »

Tate Fall Comedy ‘Saturday The 14th’ On Stage Through Saturday

Get ready for “Saturday the 14th” — a parody of the “Friday the 13th movies” nightly through Saturday at Tate High School. It made all the headlines 30 years ago. Only one camp counselor was found alive the next morning, and she hasn’t spoken a word since. They closed Camp Slippery Floors. Everybody wanted to forget what happened that night… except Mason. Mason never forgets! Now Camp Slippery Floors in going to open again and Mason is waiting in “Saturday the 14th”. The comedy will be presented through Saturday at 7:00 each evening in the Tate High Cafeteria. Tickets are $7 at the door. Pictured: The Tate High School production of “Saturday the 14th”. Photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.  Read More →

October 29, 2014 | Read the story »

UF: Floridian’s Consumer Confidence Falls Slightly

Consumer confidence among Floridians dropped a point in October to 82, the first decline in the index since May, according to a monthly University of Florida survey. “This decline is not likely indicative of a trend,” said Chris McCarty, director of UF’s Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research, which conducts the survey. “Given that the stock market has improved late in the month and the decline was only a point, we don’t view the drop as significant.” Of the five components used in the survey — three declined, one increased, and one stayed the same. Survey-takers’ overall perception whether their personal finances are better now than a year ago fell four points to 71, while their expectations of being better off financially one year from now fell one point to 82. The survey shows that confidence in the national economy over the coming year fell one point to 78, but it rose a point to 82 when respondents were asked to consider U.S. economic conditions over the next five years. Finally, respondents’ perception as to whether it is a good time to buy big-ticket item, such as a washing machine, stayed the same at 96.  Read More →

October 29, 2014 | Read the story »

Two Shot In Escambia County

Two people were shot off Massachusetts Avenue in Escambia Count last night. Just after 10 p.m., the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office responded to the 1200 block of Rio Grande Circle. They found two males with apparent gunshot wounds — one in a yard and the other inside a vehicle. Both were transported to the hospital as trauma alerts. The investigation is continuing and further details have not been released.  Read More →

October 28, 2014 | Read the story »

Critical Need For Blood Donations

There is a currently a critical need for O Negative, B Negative and A Negative blood types, according to Betty Roberts of OneBlood. Donors are encouraged to visit the blood centers at 1999 East Nine Mile Road and 2209 North 9th Avenue, or a an upcoming Bloodmobile stop. North Escambia area Bloodmobile Drives are scheduled as follows: Thursday, October 30 — Ascend Materials, 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. Sunday, November 2 — Hillcrest Baptist Church, 8 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. Saturday, November 8 — Walnut Hill VFD Fish Fry, 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.  Read More →

October 28, 2014 | Read the story »

Wednesday Is Deadline To Request A Mailed Absentee Ballot

Wednesday is the deadline for voters who wish to be mailed an absentee ballot for the November 4 General Election to make their request, according to Escambia County Supervisor of Elections David Stafford. Voters can make their request by contacting the Supervisor of Elections by mail, phone (850-595-3900), fax (850-595-3914), e-mail (absentee@escambiavotes.com), or by using the online form at EscambiaVotes.com. Requests must include the voter’s date of birth and address. Absentee voters may track the status of  their ballot by clicking Track My Ballot at EscambiaVotes.com. After Wednesday, a voter may still pick up an absentee ballot in person from the Elections Office through Monday, November 3. Voted absentee ballots must be received in the Elections Office (not at a polling location) no later than 7:00 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, November 4. In addition, early voting is being offered daily through Saturday at seven area locations: Molino Community Center,  6450 Highway 95A North, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Escambia County Extension Service, 3740 Stefani Road, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Genealogy Branch Library, 5740 N. 9th Avenue, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Main Library, 239 N. Spring Street, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Bellview/Saufley Early Vote Site, 4607 Saufley Field Road, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Supervisor of Elections Main Office, 213 Palafox Place, Second Floor, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Southwest Branch Library, 12248 Gulf Beach Highway, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. A third option for voters is to cast a ballot at their precinct on Election Day – polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. Voters are encouraged to be sure to know where to vote on Election Day by checking their Voter Information Card, sample ballot, the precinct finder at EscambiaVotes.com, or by contacting the Supervisor of Elections Office  by phone or email prior to Election Day. Voters  who need to change their address should contact the elections office prior to Election Day.  Read More →

October 28, 2014 | Read the story »

Libraries Offer Spooky Fun, Other Halloween And Fall Events Scheduled

The Molino Branch Library will offer a little spooky fun  this week, as will the Century Health and Rehab Center. And local churches will hold fall festivals, including events in Cantonment and Molino. Molino Branch Library The Molino Branch Library will present “It Happened One Night at the Molino Museum” at 6 p.m. Friday. Kids and enjoy a night of skits, spooky stories and trick or treating — and visit the spooky Molino Museum if they dare. Century Halloween Carnival And Haunted House The Century Health and Rehab Center  at 6020 Industrial Blvd in Century, will hold a Halloween Carnival and Haunted House, Thursday, October 30, from 3 until 5 p.m. for a scary kids program and 5 until 7 p.m. for a  terrifying kids program. Lots of food, games and prizes. Call (850) 256-1540 for more information. Pine Forest Assembly/Cantonment Fall Festival The Pine Forest Assembly of God Church at 3125 Pine Forest Road in Cantonment will hold a Fall Festival on Friday from 6-8 p.m. with free food, games, prizes and lots of fun. Molino Community Fall Festival A community wide fall festival will be held Friday  at Victory Assembly of God church in Molino from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. There will be lots of food, fun, games, trunk-or treat, and a hayride. The event is sponsored by Highland Baptist Church, Victory Assemby of God, Crossfaith Church and Molino First Assembly of God. The event is free and everyone is invited. Bratt Assembly Fall Festival A Fall Festival will be held at Bratt Assembly of God on Friday beginning at 6 p.m. NorthEscambia.com file photo.  Read More →

October 28, 2014 | Read the story »

Charges Dropped Against Cantonment Burglary Suspect

Charges have been dropped against  Flomaton man arrested after his girlfriend posted a “selfie” Facebook photo that the victims believed to show stolen goods in the background. All charges in the case were dropped against Colby Wayne Satterwhite, 22, according to the State Attorney’s Office. at the request of the victims. Residents of a home in the 300 block of Jacks Branch Road reported that their home had been burglarized sometime during a two day period in which they were gone. They returned home to find a exterior door pushed open, and missing items including $200 in cash, a large collection of collectable coins, a camera, a Mossberg shotgun in a tan case and ammunition. The total estimated value of missing items was $15,060. Acting on a tip, the burglary victims checked the Facebook page of Satterwhite’s girlfriend and spotted what they believed to be her shotgun case in the background of one of the girlfriend’s “selfie” photographs. But now, the State Attorney’s Office said, the victims no longer believe Satterwhite was involved in the crime. They have instead raised allegations against another individual who has not been charged.  Read More →

October 28, 2014 | Read the story »

Register Now: Major Leaguer Caleb Gindl To Hold Baseball Clinic

Northview Baseball and Major Leaguer Caleb Gindl of the Milwaukee Brewers will present a fall baseball clinic for ages 9-17. Participants will receive professional instruction and on the field experience while supporting the Northview Chiefs baseball program. The clinic will be held Saturday, November 8 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Northview baseball complex. The cost is $40 per participant. Pre-register by November 1 for a free clinic t-shirt. For more information or to register, call the Northview Diamond Club at (850) 554-8594. Pictured: The Milwaukee Brewer’s Caleb Gindl hits during a baseball clinic last year at Northview High School in Bratt. NorthEscambia.com file photo, click to enlarge.  Read More →

October 28, 2014 | Read the story »

Argument Over A Dollar Lands Man Behind Bars

A dispute over a dollar payment that involved fake coins for cigarettes ended with an Escambia County man behind bars. John Henry Hardy, 73,  was charged with two counts of aggravated assault, one count of aggravated battery, and one count possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.The incident occurred around 8:30 a.m. at Attucks Court. Pensacola Police Lt. Chuck Mallett said two women, both aged 24, got into an argument this morning with Hardy after one of them bought a couple of  cigarettes from him Sunday night and paid for them with fake coins. This morning, Hardy saw the 24-year-old woman who had paid him with the fake money at a store, argued with her and then returned to his apartment where he retrieved a shotgun. As the  two 24-year-old women walked past his apartment, he confronted them again and one of the women gave him a real dollar in payment. Mallett said the women then realized Hardy had a shotgun and fled the scene. He fired one time, and a pellet grazed a 19-year-old bystander on the arm. She drove herself to a hospital for treatment. Hardy left the area in his car but turned himself in around 11 a.m. at police headquarters. He was booked into the Escambia County Jail with bond set at $15,000.  Read More →

October 28, 2014 | Read the story »

Scott, Crist Duel Over Past And Future Of Economy

Long before the flare-up over Charlie Crist’s fan earlier this month, Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s campaign had been dogged by an earlier debate moment — one from four years ago, when he was asked to elaborate on his promise to create 700,000 jobs in seven years. The moderator at the debate used the first question for Scott to point out that economists already expected Florida to add more than 700,000 jobs over the next seven years. After the usual opening greetings, Scott made it clear what his promise meant. “So, our plan is seven steps to 700,000 jobs,” Scott said. “And that plan is on top of what normal growth would be.” The moderator, Antonio Mora, pushed Scott a bit. Economists expected the state to add about a million jobs, so another 700,000 jobs would mean that Florida would have an additional 1.7 million openings over the next seven years, Mora noted, in a state where 1 million people were unemployed at the time. Scott didn’t correct Mora. “We’re going to grow the state,” he responded, then began ticking off the virtues of doing business in Florida. Even before this year’s campaign, when Scott’s biggest talking-point is his record of job creation, the exchange with Mora was repeatedly walked back after the governor settled into office. In a statement issued in October 2011, Scott said his promise was “the creation of 700,000 jobs over seven years regardless of what the economy might otherwise gain or lose” — a slight change in phrasing that altered the meaning of the promise. That is largely the definition his campaign is sticking by now — while adding in a dig at Crist, the former governor and Scott’s Democratic opponent, who oversaw a job market hammered by the economic downturn. “Normal growth under Charlie Crist, when Governor Scott was running, was negative. … The fact is, over the last 3.5 years, we have created over 640,000 private sector jobs. Normal growth under Charlie Crist was losing 832,000 jobs, so under that scenario, if Charlie hadn’t run away from his job as governor, we could have lost 2 million jobs,” spokeswoman Jackie Schutz said recently in an email. Scott’s focus on private sector jobs also omits a drop of about 29,000 government jobs from January 2011 to August 2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The economy might not be the dominant issue in this election that it was in 2010, when the state’s unemployment rate ballooned into double-digits and Scott ran almost exclusively on a promise of more jobs. Nowhere is that more clear than in Scott’s “Florida 2020 Plan,” released Monday, which packages the promises the governor has made over the last several months into what his campaign describers as a vision. That plan includes pledges on education funding, early learning and the environment in addition to economic items like $1 billion in tax reductions and investment in Florida’s infrastructure. In something that would have been almost unthinkable four years ago, Scott’s statement announcing the vision includes increasing employment as just one of the things the plan would promote. “I get to travel the state every day and talk to people all over Florida about what they want — they want to move our state forward,” Scott said. “The Florida 2020 plan is just that — a clear vision to move Florida forward, to continue building our state to be the best place in the country to find a great job, start a family, and give our kids a world-class education.” But the economy is still an issue, and the achievements Florida has seen under the 7-7-7 plan — or at least the parts of it that Scott has been able to push through the Legislature — are still likely to be on voters’ minds as they cast their ballots, either during the current early-voting period or on Nov. 4. Crist’s campaign, of course, tries to hold Scott to the higher numbers of 1.7 million jobs — and argues that, by that metric, Scott is on pace to fall short of his goal. “Rick Scott didn’t just move the goalpost to cheat Floridians, he pretended it was never there,” Kevin Cate, a spokesman for Crist, said in an email. In fact, the number of jobs in Florida is right around what a University of Central Florida center projected for Florida four years ago, if not a tick below. The July 2010 forecast called for the state to have 7.9 million non-farm jobs in 2014. According to the latest numbers from the state Department of Economic Opportunity, Florida had about 7.8 million non-farm jobs in September. In reality, said Sean Snaith — the director of the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Economic Competitiveness who is a high-profile forecaster and an economist frequently cited by the Scott campaign — it’s very difficult to tease out the effects of any governor’s policies on the state’s recovery. “The outcomes we observe in Florida’s economy are a combination of factors that mix together sort of like the ingredients in (an) omelet,” he said. Whether that matters to voters or not is another matter. In a poll in late August by the Bob Graham Center for Public Service at the University of Florida, the school’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research, the Tampa Bay Times and Bay News 9, 71 percent of the people polled said they believe the governor has a “great deal of control” over the economy. Further complicating the question of whether Scott is on track to add as many jobs as he promised is that many of the promises he made as part of the 7-7-7 plan are incomplete or seemingly dead. Scott said he would try to get a biennial budget through the Legislature instead of an annual spending plan, but lawmakers never went along and Schutz suggested it wouldn’t be a priority in a second term. “Governor Scott did propose a biennial budget during his first year, but the Legislature did not go along with it,” she said. Another goal of Scott’s appears far from reality. The governor had promised to phase out the corporate income tax over seven years, something that was estimated to be a $1.8 billion hit to the state budget, by reducing the rate. Instead, lawmakers have whittled away at the tax, increasing the exemption and costing the state tens of millions of dollars at a time. “The governor is committed to phasing (out) the corporate income tax and has made it a priority every year to get it reduced,” Schutz said. “And we have made great progress — more than 70% do not have to pay it now.” In the meantime, Crist has focused on his “Fair Shot Florida” plan, which Cate said “promises to refocus the state on growing the middle class. That includes lowering the cost of living, raising the minimum wage, and investing in local small businesses.” Crist has focused on increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour — something polls show is politically popular — but his plans also include a list of other ideas, from funding for business incubators to recreating an Office of Small Business Advocacy to expanding eligibility for the state’s Medicaid program. “People like Rick Scott are fine — it’s the middle class that is hurting because of low-wages and the high cost of living,” Cate said. But Crist has his own record to deal with. When he was governor, the state shed hundreds of thousands of jobs and saw unemployment jump from 3.5 percent in January 2007 to a high of 11.4 percent in 2010; it declined slightly and was at 11.1 percent in December 2010, Crist’s last full month in office. Crist has downplayed that, most recently at the third and final debate between himself and Scott. In response to a question from CNN anchor Jake Tapper, Crist said he doesn’t believe he was to blame for those job losses. “And what Rick Scott doesn’t get is the fact that, even though he talks about creating more than 600,000 jobs, I was not responsible for the global economic meltdown any more than Rick was responsible for the national economic recovery,” Crist said. by Brandon Larrabee, The News Service of Florida  Read More →

October 28, 2014 | Read the story »

Florida Wants To Make Case Again On Childrens’ Health Care

Pointing to a new managed-care system and changes stemming from the Affordable Care Act, attorneys for the state are asking a federal judge to dig back into whether Florida properly provides care to children in the Medicaid program. The Agency for Health Care Administration, the Department of Health and the Department of Children and Families last week filed court documents asking federal judge Adalberto Jordan to consider new evidence in a nearly decade-old case that centers on the adequacy of care provided to low-income children through Medicaid. Jordan has not ruled in the case, which was filed in 2005 and has been spearheaded by the Florida Pediatric Society. But the court documents filed last week indicate that Jordan could issue his findings soon. In two motions filed Thursday, the state agencies contend that the Medicaid program has undergone significant changes since evidence was presented in 2012. In part, that is because the state this year finished putting in place a new system that requires almost all Medicaid beneficiaries to enroll in HMOs or other types of managed-care plans. In one of the motions, the Agency for Health Care Administration and the Department of Health argued that managed-care plans are required to have adequate networks of physicians and other types of service providers. In the past, a longstanding complaint about the Medicaid program was that beneficiaries often had problems finding health-care providers, such as specialists, who would treat them. A key issue in the lawsuit is whether care has been hampered by low Medicaid payment rates to physicians. “Since the trial there have been a multitude of significant changes to the Florida Medicaid service delivery system that affect the issues in this case, and that render the existing record on liability stale,” attorneys for the two agencies wrote in the motion. But in July, Jordan rejected a request by the state to declare the case moot — a request that focused, in part, on the shift to statewide managed care. At the time, Jordan wrote that the managed-care system would not be in “full swing” until Oct. 1. “At this time nobody knows whether or not the new managed care system will alleviate or solve the issues that the plaintiffs have been complaining about for years,” Jordan wrote. “Without a developed factual record on how the managed care system is working (or not working), it is impossible to declare any part of this case moot.” The new motion by AHCA and the Department of Health asked that the case be reopened to provide more evidence, not that the case be determined moot. But the Department of Children and Families raised the possibility that part of the lawsuit could be declared moot. That part deals with the department’s determination of Medicaid eligibility for children. The department cited a new computer system and other changes that were an outgrowth of the federal Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. While Gov. Rick Scott and the Republican-controlled Legislature opposed the controversial health law, the department said in last week’s motion that the state has made important changes in how Medicaid eligibility determinations are performed and that the changes were “driven largely” by the federal measure. by Jim Saunders, The News Service of Florida  Read More →

October 28, 2014 | Read the story »

New Traffic Signal On Nine Mile Road At New Federal Way

A new traffic signal on Nine Mile Road at Navy Federal Way is now active. The signal was in a flash mode for the past week to acquaint motorists with the location. The new signal is mounted on strain poles with signal heads in the vertical position, according to the Florida Department of Transportation. Drivers are urged to use caution when approaching the intersection.  Read More →

October 27, 2014 | Read the story »

One Airlifted To Hospital After Being Overcome By Gas Near Flomaton

One person was airlifted to a Pensacola hospital this morning after being overcome by a  dangerous gas near Flomaton. The man was cleaning the inside of a tanker truck when he came in contact with hydrogen sulfide (commonly called H2S gas) as a facility on Pecan Leaf Lane. According to Flomaton Fire Chief Steve Stanton, the man was able to get out of the tank on his own. He was transported by Escambia County (FL) EMS to their post in Century and then flown by LifeFlight to a Pensacola hospital where he was expected to recover. The tanker truck was used to transport salt water between oil facilities, Stanton said, and it apparently contained a residual amount of H2S gas. NorthEscambia.com file photo, click to enlarge.  Read More →

October 27, 2014 | Read the story »

Escambia County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Team Tops National Competition

An Escambia County Sheriff’s Office K-9 team has been named one of the very best in the country. The ECSO team won first place in the four-man team competition at the United States Police Canine Association Police Dog Trials this past week in Wilson, NC. Team members are Mark Smith with his K-9 Jeck, Wayne Gulsby with his K-9 Caleb  Carlos Lizarraga and his K-9 Saban, and Jason Land with his K-9 Edo. Lizarraga is employed by the Foley Police Department, but trains with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office. Pensacola Police K-9 Handler Bruce Harris and his partner Enio finished third overall in the competition. There were 104 K-9 teams from 15 states that took part in the event. They also had the top obedience score and were in the top five in criminal apprehension. Pictured top: Mark Smith, Wayne Gulsby, Carlos Lizarraga, and Jason Land with their award. Pictured below: (L-R)  Land with K-9 Edo, Gulsby with K-9 Caleb and Smith with K-9 Jeck during the national police trials in Wilson, NC. Pictured bottom: K-9 Edo. Photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.  Read More →

October 27, 2014 | Read the story »

Emergency Road Work Begins Today On A Portion Of Nine Mile

Emergency repairs are scheduled this week on Nine Mile Road between the Escambia River Bridge and Scenic Highway. Crews will begin constructing the temporary diversion to maintain and shift traffic as they complete the necessary repair work.  Drivers can expect nighttime lane restrictions, narrowed travel lanes and a reduced speed limit daily from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. through Wednesday. Traffic will be shift to the temporary diversion on Thursday as crews begin repairs to the westbound outside right lane and shoulder.  Drivers will experience narrowed lanes and a reduced speed limited for approximately one month. Motorists are reminded to use caution and to obey the posted speed limit when traveling through the work zone. Planned construction activities are weather dependent and may be re-scheduled.  Read More →

October 27, 2014 | Read the story »

Elderly Cantonment Couple Injured In Hospital Pond Wreck

An elderly Cantonment couple received minor injuries in an accident that left their vehicle in a hospital pond Sunday night. The Florida Highway Patrol said 90-year old John J. Durnil made a left turn from the West Florida Hospital driveway onto University Parkway about 10:20 p.m. He continued to make the left hand turn in his 2010 Mazda car until he circled back onto the curb, then onto the shoulder of University Parkway and into trees, bushes and eventually a pond near the hospital’s emergency room. The vehicle came rest in just a few feet of water. Durnil and his passenger, 86-year old Ruth Durnil, also of Cantonment, were transported into the West Florida emergency room with minor injuries. Charges in the crash are pending investigation, the FHP said.  Read More →

October 27, 2014 | Read the story »

Northview To Host Junior, Senior Parent Info Night Tuesday

Northview High School will hold a Junior/Senior Parent Info Night Tuesday from 6-7 p.m. in the school. Students and parents can receive information regarding graduation requirements, Bright Futures eligibility, NCAA/NAIA athletic eligibility, scholarships, and financial aid. Northview will also host two additional parent/student nights this year: College/Career Fair, November 13, 6-7 p.m. Receive information and speak to representatives from local colleges and businesses about job opportunities for high school graduates. Seniors – Bright Futures Application Night,  December 2 5-7 p.m. Seniors can receive assistance in completing the Florida Student Financial Aid application, which is required for Bright Futures eligibility. Computers will be available with assistance from counseling staff to submit the Bright Futures application.  Read More →

October 27, 2014 | Read the story »

Escambia Elections: 8,337 Ballots Cast During First Week Of Early Voting

Week one of early voting ended Sunday with 8.337  votes cast in Escambia County. Week two of early voting continues through Saturday. During the first week of early voting, 485 ballots were cast in Molino, and 1,310 were cast in Cantonment. Early voting continues at seven locations until Saturday November 1: Molino Community Center,  6450 Highway 95A North, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Escambia County Extension Service, 3740 Stefani Road, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Genealogy Branch Library, 5740 N. 9th Avenue, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Main Library, 239 N. Spring Street, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Bellview/Saufley Early Vote Site, 4607 Saufley Field Road, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Supervisor of Elections Main Office, 213 Palafox Place, Second Floor, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Southwest Branch Library, 12248 Gulf Beach Highway, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Read More →

October 27, 2014 | Read the story »

Spooky Trail Offers Students A Thrilling Literacy Adventure

Escambia Westgate teachers, staff and many volunteers created a Spooky Trail last week for the students of Escambia Westgate, and McArthur Elementary School’s Special Education students, as a fun way to teach literacy. The mile-long trail through the woods behind the schools was decorated with giant eyeballs, witch’s hats, monsters, spider webs and skeletons. Stations along the way featured a magician, a team of storytellers, a monster sing-along, and even a fortune teller. University of West Florida Honor students volunteered along with students from Booker T. Washington High School’s Jayettes and NJROTC students from Tate High School. Many of the student volunteers are already planning to be back in January for the Winter Trail. Hannah Mizell, UWF Honor student, said the day was extra special for her because she has autism. “I feel sort of a connection to the kids. I kind of know what they are going through. I come from a small town where this would never happen.” “Westgate is my favorite organization the honor students volunteer with,” explained Megan Adams, co-chair of the Honors Program Service Committee. “We take the students to three service projects a month. They will be back to help this spring with the Arbor Day trail and with Westgate’s prom.” “Madam Ziree,” the Spooky Trail’s resident Fortune Teller (AKA Mrs. Desiree Rowe, Speech and Language Pathologist) said that last year she read a story to the children about a fortune teller. “This year I decided to play the part. The teachers gave me tips about their students such as their favorite foods, the name of their pet, or who plays on the Miracle League. Their eyes got big when Madam Ziree knew something special about them.” Overseeing the day’s events were Judge Lacey Collier and Joe Denmon. It would be hard to find two men prouder of Escambia Westgate and what is done there for the children and teens they teach. Denmon discovered Escambia Westgate years ago when he was helping his sister transport some of the students. “The story is that one day I drove that bus out here, got off the bus and never left.” Collier is especially proud of the Center’s Snoezelen Facility, a project that has his name on it. “He has taken us into his heart,” explains Susie Watson, curriculum coordinator for Escambia Westgate. This was the fourth year for the Spooky Trail and everyone agreed that the credit goes to Catherine Born, who was on the trail at dawn putting up decorations and setting up for the volunteers. But she won’t take the credit, she quickly boasts about everyone who helped, the art teacher, the music teacher, the volunteers, etc. She is especially thankful for the Ascend volunteers who were out on the October 10, 2014, United Way Day of Caring to clear the pathways and lay out fresh mulch. Pictured top: University of West Florida Honors program students created their own costumes and put on skits based on children’s books. This skit explained why the Old Lady Swallowed Some Leaves (a Halloween spoof of the Old Lady Who Swallowed the Fly). Pictured top inset:  Charlotte Tucker, High School ESE Reading teacher at Escambia Westgate,helps students experience green slime and slimey eyeballs. Pictured bottom inset:  Beau Bromall brings magic to the Spooky Trail. Pictured below: “Madam Ziree” played by Desiree Rowe helps a student look into her “crystal ball” to see his fortune. Pictured bottom: Judge Lacey Collier and Joe Denmon take a break to visit along The Spooky Trail. Photos by Kim Stefansson for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.  Read More →

October 27, 2014 | Read the story »

Ernest Ward FFA Fair Booth Wins Blue Ribbon

The Ernest Ward Middle School FFA won a blue ribbon with their booth this year at the Pensacola Interstate Fair. Photos by Jennifer Woodfin for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.  Read More →

October 27, 2014 | Read the story »

High School Football District Standings, Schedules

Here is a look at local high school football district standings, scores from last week, and Friday night’s schedule for Florida schools:  Read More →

October 27, 2014 | Read the story »

Scott, Crist Committees Funnel Big Bucks To Parties

Political committees that play key roles in the campaigns of Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Charlie Crist are continuing to pour millions of dollars into the state Republican and Democratic parties. Finance reports filed Friday show that a committee known as “Charlie Crist for Florida” sent $3.5 million to the Florida Democratic Party last week. Similarly, the Scott-supporting “Let’s Get to Work” political committee contributed $2.1 million to the Republican Party of Florida. Those contributions follow a pattern of the committees bringing in large chunks of money from contributors and passing it along to the parties, which can use it for such expenses as get-out-the vote efforts. The Crist committee raised $1,264,700 from October 11 to October 17, bringing its overall total to $26,715,356, according to the newly filed reports. It spent $3,888,153 during the week-long period and had spent an overall total of $24,673,158 as of October 17. Let’s Get to Work, meanwhile, received $1,585,000 during the reporting period, bringing its overall contribution total to $43,309,277. Almost all of the money received during the week-long period — $1.5 million — came from the Republican Governors Association. Let’s Get to Work spent $2,696,662 during the period and reported an overall expenditure total of $42,663,592. by The News Service of Florida  Read More →

October 27, 2014 | Read the story »