Molino Park Elementary Students Raise $1,303 To Help Hurricane Victims

November 13, 2018

Molino Park Elementary School’s enrichment class recently headed a fundraiser to support the Escambia County Schools  District’s Operation: Helping Our Neighbors’ Schools. Molino Park students raised $1,303.31 to help students at schools impacted by Hurricane Michael. Photo for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Moody To Succeed Bondi As Florida Attorney General

November 7, 2018

Former Hillsborough County Circuit Judge Ashley Moody will replace her friend, term-limited Attorney General Pam Bondi, as the state’s next top lawyer.

Moody on Tuesday defeated state Rep. Sean Shaw, a Tampa Democrat whose father was the first black chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court, in the contest for attorney general.

She called the outcome “an honor” while standing Tuesday night with her family and Bondi before supporters at the Renaissance Tampa International Plaza Hotel in Tampa.

“The preparation for this role really began a long time ago, beginning with my father, a judge who taught me that the strength and resilience of our society hinges on a fair judicial system,” the Republican said. “Not only a fair judicial system, but one that is perceived as fair. And I will work towards that end every day as the attorney general.”

Moody, 43, outspent Shaw $8.8 million to $4.1 million through their campaign accounts and affiliated political committees.

Despite the race garnering the most attention among the three Cabinet-level positions, voters got little chance to hear Moody and Shaw debate their differences. They held a single debate, which was only available to cable viewers in Tampa and Orlando.

Moody campaigned on a platform to build on Bondi’s work, which means expanding the state’s battle against the opioid epidemic and continuing a fight against the federal Affordable Care Act.

It remains to be seen how the Moody-led office will defend a state gun law enacted after the Feb. 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County.

Moody agrees with parts of the new law but has said she wouldn’t have backed it because of a provision that raised the minimum age to buy rifles and other long guns from 18 to 21. The National Rifle Association has filed a federal lawsuit challenging that provision, with Bondi’s office defending the law.

Shaw fully supported the law and said he wanted to work with the Legislature on further “common sense gun-reform.”

As she did in her Republican primary, Moody stressed her prosecutorial experience in the race.

She also has called for keeping crime labs updated with the latest technological advances and opposed Amendment 4 — which called for automatic restoration of voting rights for most felons who have served their sentences. Voters approved Amendment 4 on Tuesday night.

Shaw, 40, campaigned on a pledge to aggressively take on fraud in Florida, as well as policies of the Republican-led Legislature and even President Donald Trump.

A former state insurance consumer advocate, Shaw backed the Affordable Care Act, which is being challenged legally by Bondi and Republican leaders of other states. He also supports abortion rights and said he would push lawmakers to carry out constitutional amendments on land preservation and medical marijuana as voters intended.

Shaw told supporters Tuesday night “we came so close,” but he said Democrats will have to review how they engaged with voters, particularly about Trump.

“Something is weird, and we have to figure that out,” Shaw said. “The voters aren’t wrong. You’re wrong in talking to them, or we didn’t do a good enough job convincing. Democrats around Florida, we’re going to figure this out.”

by Jim Turner, The News Service of Florida

Republican Patronis Wins Full Term As Florida CFO

November 7, 2018

After being appointed as state chief financial officer last year by Gov. Rick Scott, Republican Jimmy Patronis on Tuesday won a four-year term in the Cabinet post.

Patronis, whose focus during the final weeks of the campaign was diverted to his hometown of Panama City after Hurricane Michael hit, defeated former state Sen. Jeremy Ring, a Broward County Democrat.

The contest was noted for acrimony between Patronis and Ring, who never met on stage to debate. Instead, the candidates drew more attention as they sniped over Ring’s resume at the internet company Yahoo!, Patronis’ crash of a state-issued car while driving to a meeting with a political consultant and Patronis’ ties to Scott.

Ring congratulated Patronis in a phone call late Tuesday, with Patronis noting that Ring “wished me well.”

Patronis, 46, is part of a family that operates the half-century-old Captain Anderson’s Restaurant in Panama City, where he held a campaign watch party on Tuesday.

Panama City sustained major damage in Hurricane Michael, which made landfall Oct. 10 in nearby Mexico Beach. Patronis was clearly shaken by the storm and its damage to such things as health-care facilities.

“The way the storm hit, we’re going to have approximately 10 hospitals that are going to have to be evacuated,” Patronis said the day after the hurricane. “Gulf Coast (Regional) Medical Center where my kids were born, Bay Medical Center where I was born, they’re empty, because they can’t support their mission.”.

Patronis outspent Ring $6.8 million to $1.6 million through their campaign accounts and affiliated political committees.

An early supporter of Scott’s first gubernatorial run in 2010, Patronis served eight years in the Florida House and was chairman of the House Economic Affairs Committee. Scott appointed Patronis to the Florida Public Service Commission before choosing him to succeed Jeff Atwater as CFO in 2017 after Atwater resigned to take a job at Florida Atlantic University.

In campaign ads, Patronis highlighted support during this year’s legislative session for a new workers’ compensation insurance law designed to assist first responders who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Patronis said he’d like to work with lawmakers to bring down the state corporate income-tax rate as a response to a federal tax package approved in December.

Ring, 48, spent five years with Yahoo!, coming aboard in 1996 as the company’s first sales chief, four years after he graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in advertising.

Patronis’ political committee Treasure Florida accused Ring in an ad of falsely claiming to be a founder of Yahoo!, but the sources for the claim were three media reports in which the writers affixed the “founder” label.

Ring served in the state Senate from 2006 to 2016, where he focused on issues involving venture capital, insurance and pensions. Widely viewed as a moderate Democrat, he pushed to create the State Office of Technology and helped establish the Florida Growth Fund through a bill that encouraged the State Board of Administration to invest a portion of state retirement money in “high-growth” homegrown tech companies.

by Jim Turner, The News Service of Florida

Benjamin D. Boutwell

November 5, 2018

The following is a response to a candidate questionnaire sent to all four candidates for two seats on the Century Town Council. Responses have not been edited.

Candidate: Benjamin D. Boutwell

  • Current occupation: DoD USAF Retired – Asst Baseball Coach Coastal Alabama
  • Previous occupations: DoD USAF Civil Service
  • Civic, church and other community involvement? Lions Club; Escambia County Community Action Board Member; President Century Community Redevelopment Agency
  • Education: 3+ years college
  • Previous offices held, previously sought: Century Town Council Seat 3; Competed for Mayor 2016
  • Why are you running for Century Town Council? To effect a positive change both economically and culturally in our Town.
  • What makes you the most qualified candidate for a town council seat? My military career taught me the invaluable skills of leadership, supervision and communication. All of these are vital when serving the community.
  • What are the three most important issues facing the Century Town Council? Getting our Gas Dept in a fiscally sound position. Put our community in a position to entice new business growth. Nurture a community mentality.
  • Do you support Home Rule? Yes
  • Do you support the provisions of the Sunshine Law? Should Century’s government become more transparent; and, if so, how? All forms of government must be transparent to ensure the support and trust of the citizens. As an elected official, I work FOR the citizens of Century.
  • How can the Town of Century solve current town government financial issues? What do you see as the biggest issue?  Of course our Gas Department. Due to a lack of effective metering, we have not been able to properly track usage nor bill properly, leading to a significant deficit.
  • Are there any ordinances/regulations in Century you would like to see added?  Our town Charter is in dire need of being reviewed and updated in the immediate future and on a semi-annual basis afterwards.
  • Are there any additional ordinances/regulations in Century you would like to see eliminated? N/A
  • How can Century better work with the county and state? By becoming more active in County led initiatives that directly impact Century. By being a positive presence to spread the word about our town and its needs.
  • Are there are services Century should consolidate with the county? Escambia County provides us with Police, Fire Dept and other services that are financially not feasible for us to assume. All others should stay the Towns responsibility.
  • How does Century attract additional businesses and/or jobs?  ow does Century work to support/grow additional businesses Cleaning up our town, presenting a positive environment that appeals to the over 10,000 cars that travel Hwy 29 daily; aggressively advertise our Industrial Park properties.  I’m of the opinion we don’t do enough. We need an aggressive Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Committee working with County resources to promote our town.
  • What should Century do about the vacant Alger-Sullivan property? How? There are numerous environmental issues associated with this property that must be addressed before any advancements can be made.
  • What should be done with the “Helicopter Technology” building in the Industrial Park? It needs to be brought to code ASAP. We always have interests expressed in leasing the building, but by brining it to code it will make it more appealing to those businesses.
  • How does Century solve the gas department financial issues? Due to a lack of effective metering, we have not been able to properly track usage nor bill properly. The problems have been identified and are currently being rectified.
  • What changes, if any, should be made to the Town Charter? Our town Charter is in dire need of being reviewed and updated in the immediate future and on a semi-annual basis afterwards.
  • How does Century improve its public image? Century citizens MUST become leaders in our community. Each of us MUST be a direct reflection of the image we want others to see in this town. The more positive we bring into our lives and our neighborhoods, the more likely we are to weed out the negative.
  • Summarize your four year term of office plan for Century: I have continually worked to clean up Our Town through community and personal efforts. As President of the Community Redevelopment Agency, I am aggressively working with our Town Planner and County and State representatives to pursue positive growth. I will continue to promote our Town. Its time to make forward progress.

Mary Hudson Bourgeois

November 5, 2018

The following is a response to a candidate questionnaire sent to all four candidates for two seats on the Century Town Council. Responses have not been edited.

Candidate: Mary Hudson Bourgeois

  • Current occupation: Self Employed Hudson’s Cafe and Antique Shop
  • Previous occupations: Release Estate and Antique Shop
  • Civic, church and other community involvement? Century Methodist Church, Community Redevelopment Association, Century Chamber of Commerce, Century Lions Club, Alger Sullivan Historical Society
  • Education: 2 years of College
  • Previous offices held, previously sought: President of the Century Chamber of Commerce (current) Vice President of the Century Chamber of Commerce (2 years)
  • Why are you running for Century Town Council?
  • What makes you the most qualified candidate for a town council seat? Without good leadership nothing gets accomplished! My business experience over the past 40 years qualifies me as a leader in budgeting, planning, policy and procedures required to run a successful business. Hiring qualified professionals that can work together to accomplish goals, customer relationships.
  • What are the three most important issues facing the Century Town Council? We have to have communication between the Mayor and Council, Transparency, and all the facts to make good Finance decisions and a solid plan for budgeting.
  • Do you support Home Rule? Home Rule is the ability to establish its form of government through its charter and to then enact ordinances, codes plans and resolutions without prior state approval. To further be able to enforce them “at home” and to make necessary changes as the Town of Century grows is a great reflection of the trust that citizens have in their respective Town Council members. Yes, with the understanding of how the governing body works. The Council is the governing body… and our mayor has to be forth coming and presents ALL problems and request to the council prior to action and not after the facts. Abiding by the Charter and presenting a complete financial assessment to the Council and Town Accountant. We have to work as a team.
  • Do you support the provisions of the Sunshine Law? Should Century’s government become more transparent; and, if so, how?  Yes, I do support the Sunshine Laws. If The Mayor and or Council members do not understand them, my thinking is that a course be given to understand basic laws. I highly recommend that we hire a Town Administrator or a Town Manager that is qualified and has prior local government experience and reports directly to the council.
  • How can the Town of Century solve current town government financial issues? What do you see as the biggest issue?  By reducing the number of personnel in the office and requiring team work. Similar Towns/Cities run their office with 2 or 3 persons. WE have to getting a billing system in place. The meters are not being read correctly and billing is a problem. Stop all over time!!! We have to have a plan to resolve some of the town’s finances and communication between the Council. Biggest issue is funding the gas department.
  • Are there any ordinances/regulations in Century you would like to see added?  The Town’s Sign Ordinance needs to be updates to improve the U.S. Highway 29 corridor Consideration should be given to posting stop littering signs, a fine if trash cans are not taken off streets.
  • The Town’s Sign Ordinance needs to be updates to improve the U>S> Highway 29 corridorConsideration should be given to posting stop littering signs, a fine if trash cans are not takenoff streets.
  • Are there any additional ordinances/regulations in Century you would like to see eliminated?  I would need to see a list of ordinances/regulations to make suggestions.
  • How can Century better work with the county and state? Economic Growth for Century
  • Are there are services Century should consolidate with the county? (no answer)
  • How does Century attract additional businesses and/or jobs?  How does Century work to support/grow additional businesses?  By working with the Town’s economic partners to include Florida West, The University of West Florida’s Hauss Center the Century Chamber.
  • What should Century do about the vacant Alger-Sullivan property? How? First, needs to be cleaned up. Work with owner to get companies to bid cleaning the site. Research redevelopment options/proposals and solicit citizens input/comments on plans for redevelopment.
  • What should be done with the “Helicopter Technology” building in the Industrial Park?  The town should come up with a plan to up-grade the building, install what is needed to put on the market for Industry, to help with Century’s growth for jobs.
  • How does Century solve the gas department financial issues? SHOULD SELL and move forward!!! Install the meter at the gate station that measures the  amount of gas purchased and out go. How many commercial customers? How many residential customers do we have in Century? Encourage competitive bids for materials and supplies by advertising a solicitation for bids.
  • What changes, if any, should be made to the Town Charter? Amend the Charter and adopt a procurement policy. Mayor/Town Clerk and Council needs to understand how the charter reads and abide by the charter.
  • How does Century improve its public image? Start solving problems within Council, Mayor and Town Accountant in a business forum not a blaming session. Bringing everything to the table so good honest discussion can be made which will benefit our town’s growth.
  • Summarize your four year term of office plan for Century: My four year plan while I am serving the Town of Century as your councilwoman, I will offere new ideas for a plan to rebuild Century. Quality of life also means qualify of jobs. I will create a better relationship with our town government and our community. Help cut spending and balance the budget. Help beautify promote tourism in Century. We have to have economic growth to raise our population which can bring schools back. Working together we can Rebuild Century.

Escambia County Recognizes Disability Employment Awareness Month

October 22, 2018

The Escambia County Commission has recognized October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month. The proclamation was presented by Commissioner Grover Robinson to members of the Escambia County Disability Awareness Committee. Photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Ernest Ward SGA Accepting Donations For Hurricane Michael Victims

October 16, 2018

The Ernest Ward Middle School SGA is hosting a drive for Hurricane Michael victims.

Donations can be made in EWMS front office, or sent with students through October 26.  Items accepted include:

Cleaning:

  • Mr. Clean Magic Erasers
  • Clorox
  • Windex
  • Pledge
  • Dawn Dish Soap
  • Detergent
  • Clorox Wipes

Food:

(nonperishable, most victims are without a microwave/heat source)

  • Canned Food
  • Can Openers
  • Gallons and bottles of water
  • Crackers
  • Trail Mix
  • Bread/Tortillas
  • Instant Grits
  • Peanut Butter & Jelly
  • Canned Nuts
  • Canned Meat and fish
  • Powdered Milk/Shelf Milk
  • Granola bars
  • Gatorade/Powerade
  • Instant Oatmeal
  • Instant Rice
  • Cereal

Entertainment:

  • Coloring Books
  • Crayons/Colored Pencils
  • Reading Books (all age
  • levels)
  • Board Games
  • Card Games
  • Dominos
  • Word Search/Crossword
  • Puzzles
  • Sudoku Books

Hygiene:

  • Deodorant
  • Toilet paper
  • Soap
  • Floss
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrushes
  • Face Wash
  • Lotion
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Ponytail Holders, Bobby Pins
  • Hair Brushes/Combs
  • Baby Wipes
  • Mosquito Repellent

FDLE Arrests Molino Man On Child Porn Charges

September 13, 2018

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has arrested a Molino man on multiple child pornography charges.

FDLE agents arrested Steven Ryan Godwin, 36, of 3512 Highway 97,  for 20 counts of possession of child pornography.

In August, FDLE agents received a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) that a suspect was uploading child porn to another user on Facebook. Authorities were able to trace the uploads to an address in Molino.

Agents obtained a search warrant that was served at his residence Wednesday. When the occupants of the home were exiting, Godwin continued to reach towards his waistband before dropping a LG cell phone, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.  The phone was seized and contained child pornography images featuring children under the age of 10, with multiple images including children younger than two years old, according to FDLE.

Godwin was arrested yesterday and booked into the Escambia County Jail with no bond. Additional charges are dependent upon completion of forensic exams.

The arrest affidavit does not indicate if FDLE believes any of the children are local.

Margie Ann Gross

August 24, 2018

Margie Ann Gross, 78 of Atmore, AL, passed away Wednesday, August 15, 2018 . She was a seamstress with Vanity Fair Mills, born in Escambia County, AL, on February 25, 1940, to the late John T. and Myrtle Conway McCullough.

She is preceded in death by her parents, husband, George “Buck” Edward Gross, stepfather Clark Singleton, sister Margaret Ann Lee, and grandchildren David Michael Gross and Trevan Patrick Gross.

Survivors are son, Larry (Laura) Gross of Bratt, FL; sister, Johnice Edwina (John) Danner of Montgomery, AL; three grandchildren, Haylee (Zack) Potts, Shelbee McBride, Keaton (Brianna) Gross; and two great-grandchildren Brooke and Carter.

Services will be Friday August 17, 2018, at 2:30 p.m. from Johnson-Quimby Funeral Home Chapel. Interment will follow in McCullough Cemetery.

Active pallbearers are, Keaton Gross, Sammy Lee, Scott Lee, Mark Peacock, Jim Mauldin, Tanner Norman, Chantz Ziglar and Colby Norman.

Family will receive friends, Friday August 17, 2018, at Johnson-Quimby Funeral Home from 1:30 p.m. until service time at 2:30 p.m.

Chris Hubert

July 20, 2018

Chris Hubert, a loving devoted father and friend to many, passed away at the young age of 58 on July 17, 2018. He was born in Atlanta, Georgia on December 17, 1959 to William Donald Hubert and Doris Louise Webster Hubert. Chris lived most of his life in Columbia, South Carolina but had spent the last 13 years in Cantonment, Florida. He worked at Bigham Construction Company.

He is preceded in death by his mother, Doris.

Chris is survived by his children, William Donald Hubert and Christina Lynnette Hubert Faulkner.

Next Page »