Santa Rosa County Hires Waste Pro To Replace ECUA; North End Residents To Pay More

July 11, 2020

Santa Rosa County has hired Waste Pro to replace ECUA as the sanitation provider in the north end of the county, and it’s going to cost resident more.

ECUA opted not to renew their contract to service the north end of Santa Rosa County after December 31.

This week, the Santa Rosa County Commission approved additional changes to the franchise agreement for Waste Pro to begin sanitation services to residents in the north end of the county beginning January 1, 2021.

The new contract will provide Santa Rosa County customers with weekly trash and yard waste pickup, on-demand bulk waste collection, and subscription-based recycling. On days that trash is collected, yard waste cans may be used as second trash can if needed. ECUA had collected waste twice per week, and recycling was free.

Resident customers will see their cost increase from about $66 per quarter to about $73.29 plus an additional fee if they choose to recycle.

The new Waste Pro agreement will offer recycling as a subscription service for an additional $27 per quarter for weekly recycling pickup if the customer elects to subscribe. Waste hauling rates are adjusted annually each January.

Community Health: 87 Take Advantage Of COVID-19 Testing Friday In Century

July 11, 2020

Community Health Northwest Florida brought their mobile COVID-19 testing to Century Friday morning.

Community Health tells NorthEscambia.com that 87 people were tested at the drive-thru and walk-up testing that did not require any prescreening.

The tests were available to anyone for any reason from age newborn and up regardless of symptoms. Those that were tested were advised to go home and self-isolate, wear a face covering and keep away from other people, including family members, until they receive their test results.

Friday was the second time that testing had been offered in Escambia County north of Cantonment. There were 55 people tested in Century during the last Community Health event in mid-May.

Pictured: COVID-19 testing in Century. NorthEscambia.com file photos, click to enlarge.

90 Escambia County Inmates Positive For COVID-19; First Road Prison Case Reported

July 10, 2020

At least 90 Escambia County inmates housed at three different locations have tested positive for COVID-19.

As of Thursday, 132 inmates have been tested at the Escambia County jail for COVID-19. There are 71 positive cases, 12 negative cases and 49 pending results. There are 18 Escambia County inmates housed at the Walton County Jail who also tested positive for COVID-19.

And on Thursday, the first positive case was reported at the road prison, which is now official named the Escambia County Work Annex.

Temperatures are taken as road crews depart and return to the facility each day. This inmate was identified with a temperature upon return earlier this weekand immediately was isolated away from others, according to a statement from Escambia County. As a result of contact tracing, two additional inmates and a correctional officer are being tested.

The county has suspended road crew operations that provide services throughout the county. The suspended services include include road crews , groundskeeping throughout the county and support to the landfill, animal services, code enforcement and fleet maintenance.

“The action to suspend operations of the road crews is taken to protect the inmates, the correctional officers, other county employees that supervise inmate details, as well as the citizens that are in and around some of the operations where we provide services,” Escambia County Corrections Chief Rich Powell said. “The inmate population will remain under observation for a period of 14 days to identify if any other inmates have become infected or present any medical concerns. Fortunately, medical staff advises that no inmates are presenting medical concerns at this time. We are continuing to clean more frequently to try to prevent further spread of COVID-19, and masks continue to be available for all inmates.”

Individuals can call the Escambia County Jail at (850) 436-9650 with questions about inmates.

Selection Committee Picks Their Top 10 Candidates For Escambia County Superintendent

July 10, 2020

The list of candidates to be the next Escambia County School superintendent was narrowed from 27 to 10 favorites Thursday night by the Superintendent Search Citizens Advisory Committee .

The 10, in the order in which they submitted their applications, are:

Click or tap any applicant’s name to load their resume.

Only one of the two local candidates remains on the search committee’s original list. Keith Leonard of Cantonment is the current assistant superintendent of Human Resource Services and spent 13 years as the Escambia County School District director of Human Resource Services.

The other local candidate, Claudia Williams of Pensacola, did not make the committee’s list. She worked for the Escambia County School District for about 32 years and is currently a guidance counselor at Judy Andrews/Success Academy. She is a former District 3 board member and campaigned unsuccessfully for superintendent in 2004, 2008 and 2012.

Next up, the committee with further explore the work history, accomplishments and references for each of the 10 in preparation for their next meeting.

Technically, all 27 candidates remain until the Escambia County School Board officially cuts it to a list of finalists. They could overrule the actions of the advisory committee.

Walnut Hill Woman Thankful Tree Stopped Pickup Before It Hit Her Granddaughter’s Bedroom

July 10, 2020

A Walnut Hill woman is thankful that a driver is okay after slamming into a tree in her yard, and thankful the tree stopped the vehicle before it crashed into her home.

About 4:45 a.m. Thursday, a pickup truck left Highway 97 near Arthur Brown Road, traveled across a yard and slammed into an oak tree and a car parked in Luanne Henderson’s yard. Just feet away in the direction the vehicle was traveling is her house. The pickup truck wrapped around the tree and was deflected away from the house.

Her granddaughter, who turned 11 Friday, was asleep in the bedroom.

“I have so much to be thankful for, but this morning I am thankful for that tree, and the fact that the gentleman involved walked away! God is good…everyday,” Henderson said.

The driver of the pickup truck refused transport to the hospital following the crash. The Florida Highway Patrol investigated.

Photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Pensacola Council To Discuss Confederate Monument, Lee Square. Here’s How To Provide Input.

July 10, 2020

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On Tuesday July 14, 2020, the Pensacola City Council will hold a special meeting regarding the Confederate Monument located at Lee Square as well as the renaming of Lee Square.

The meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. with all public participation taking place remotely. The meeting will be live streamed at cityofpensacola.com/video.

The city provided the following information on how the public can take part:

There are several options to provide comments and participate in the meeting:

Speak during the meeting: Those wishing to participate can access the request to speak form here at https://www.cityofpensacola.com/ccinput, submissions will be accepted from 12:00 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. on July 14th . Those requesting to speak will then be called via the telephone number they provide; in the order the requests are received. You are asked to state your name and address for the record, and you will have two minutes to speak.

Send an email to City Council: Another option is to express your thoughts and have your voice be heard by emailing the Council Members or to Don Kraher at dkraher@cityofpensacola.com who will share your thoughts with all Council Members. These emails will be made part of the record of the meeting. Please be aware that all emails become public records and are subject to disclosure.

Send comments to be read during the meeting: A final option is to send your thoughts in written form to Don Kraher at dkraher@cityofpensacola.com and request those thoughts be read into the record at the meeting. Comments will be read as submitted, however no obscenities or curse words will be read. The reading into the record will be relegated to the same two minute time limit in place for the call-in speakers.

Blue Wahoos Stadium Named America’s Best Double-A Ballpark

July 10, 2020

Pensacola’s Blue Wahoos Stadium has been named the 2020 Ballpark Digest “Best of the Ballparks” champion at the Double-A level, earning the title through a national fan vote that attracted over 80,000 votes. The five-round competition featured all 30 Double-A Minor League Stadiums in a single-elimination bracket decided by fans. Pensacola won the title of Best Ballpark by besting “Hodgetown”, the ballpark of the Amarillo Sod Poodles, an affiliate of the San Diego Padres and the 2019 Best of the Ballparks champion, in the championship round.

“We’re very excited to bring the title of Best Ballpark back to Pensacola,” team president Jonathan Griffith said. “Our mission as an organization is to improve the quality of life in our community, so it’s an honor for us to bring this recognition to our city. While we’re proud to have a great ballpark, we’re even more proud to have such incredible fans who voted us to the title.”

Pensacola’s road to the title included a win over Bowie’s Prince George Stadium in the opening round, victories against Biloxi’s MGM Park and Montgomery’s Riverwalk Stadium, both Southern League opponents, in the second and third rounds, a tightly contest win against Corpus Christi’s Whataburger Field in the semi-finals, and a resounding 54%-46% win in the championship against Hodgetown.

“Despite all the bad news, the Blue Wahoos ownership and management have responded with verve and imagination, refusing to let down their fans,” Ballpark Digest publisher Kevin Reichard said in a release by the publication. “The win in the fan vote against such a tough foe really shows how loved the Blue Wahoos are in the community.

Built in 2012, Blue Wahoos Stadium has established itself as one of the nation’s premier facilities over the past decade, winning three Southern League Ballpark of the Year Awards and previously winning the Ballpark Digest Best of the Ballparks contest in 2016. A multi-use community ballpark, the stadium hosts over 200 events each year including Blue Wahoos games and University of West Florida football games.

Two Pedestrians Killed In Two Different Escambia County Crashes

July 9, 2020

Two pedestrians were killed in Escambia County in two separate crashes in two days.

Beverly Parkway Pedestrian Fatality

A pedestrian was killed about 3:45 a.m. Thursday on Beverly Parkway at Palm Court. The Florida Highway Patrol said the male was crossing Beverly Parkway and walked into the path of a car driven by a 27-year old Pensacola woman. The victim was thrown into the the path of a car driven by a 26-year old Louisiana man.

The age and and other information about the pedestrian was not yet known.

Miller Street Pedestrian Fatality

A 63-year old female was walking across Miller Street near Park Street  when she walked into the path of a car driven by a 36-year old Pensacola man at 5:49 p.m. Wednesday. The female did not survive.

The FHP no longer releases the name of anyone involved in a traffic crash.

43 Escambia County Employees Are Currently COVID-19 Positive, 90 More Awaiting Results

July 9, 2020

Escambia County reported an increase in the number of employees that are currently COVID-19 positive.

On Wednesday, there were 43 positive employees, or 2.15% of the workforce, up from 35 on Tuesday. Another 90 employees, 4.51%, of the county’s workforce of 1,997, were awaiting their test results.

The latest data shows 21 positive corrections employee out of a workforce of 574, one in Animal Services, two in ECAT, two in Human Resources and Risk Management, seven lifeguards, eight EMS workers and one in emergency dispatch. The numbers were current cases of Wednesday, not historical cumulative counts.

NorthEscambia.com file photo.

Century Looking To Lease Large Industrial Building

July 9, 2020

The Town of Century is seeking lease proposals for a 40,390 square foot building in the town’s industrial park.

Known as the Helicopter Technology Building — named for the defunct company that was based there — it has been empty since 2008.

The town is still footing the bill for utilities, insurance, maintenance and other costs for the vacant property, and they are looking to turn it into a positive cash flow and create jobs along the way.

Lease proposals will be accepted until 1 p.m. on Thursday, August 6. Proposal requirements include the proposed monthly lease fee, desired start day, and number of employees associated with the proposed lease. The town council will review the proposals and reserves the right to reject any or all of them. Click or tap here for the complete requirements and procedure (pdf).

In 2017, the building was appraised for $550,000 with a fair market rent of $80,000 per year ($6,667 per month). The office and warehouse space has full climate control, sprinkler system, new HVAC and energy efficient lighting.

Last Potential Lessor Was Rejected

The most recent company seeking to lease the building was rejected by the town council.

In May 2019, West Florida Gin Manager Robert Earl Godwin and businessman Larry Baxley, who were in the process of setting up North Escambia Warehouse and Storage, LLC, made a preliminary lease-to-own offer on the town-owned building  at $4,000 per month for five years, for a total of $240,000. The company offered an $8,000 deposit, pay the first month’s rent in advance, and pay for any upgrades to the building. At the end of the lease term, they would have had the opportunity to buy the building for $100. The building would have been used primarily for cotton storage.

A motion by then council member Ben Boutwell to proceed with negotiations and work on an agreement failed on a 3-2 vote with council members James Smith, Sandra McMurray-Jackson and Luis Gomez voting against. The dissenters expressed objections against the business because it would likely not create any jobs.

“I don’t see the benefit for us,” Smith said at the time. “Where’s the employment?”

Smith and Gomez expressed concerns at the May 2019 meeting that if the council were to lease the building below market value, the town would not have any available industrial space if another company wanted to located in Century with new jobs.

“Someday it could produce jobs, even it’s 10-15 jobs for Century,” Gomez said.

“Let’s talk about y’all’s track record and my track record,” Baxley said after pointing out that no company had seriously considered the building in the past decade but he had developed several similar properties.  “For 46 years now, I’ve been making payroll.”

NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.

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