Tate, Northview Softball And Baseball Games Rescheduled

February 21, 2017

All Northview and Tate high school softball and baseball games for today have been rescheduled

  • NHS softball rescheduled for Wednesday
  • NHS baseball rescheduled  to Thursday
  • Tate softball rescheduled to Wednesday, March 8
  • All Tate baseball games rescheduled for Wednesday, same sites and times.

FHP Seeks Century Hit And Run Driver

February 21, 2017

Update: The hit and run driver has been located. Further details have not been released.

Authorities were looking for a hit and run driver after crash at the Food Giant in Century this morning. The driver of red Nissan reportedly hit a speed limit sign and a concrete sign pedestal in front of the store just before 7 a.m. Anyone with information on the crash is asked to call the Florida Highway Patrol at (850) 484-5000 or *FHP from a cell phone. Submitted photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Florida Death Penalty Cases Allowed To Move Forward

February 21, 2017

that death penalty cases can proceed, even with an unconstitutional law still on the books.

The order came as the Legislature prepares to address a pair of Florida high court rulings last fall that struck down the state’s most recent death-penalty sentencing scheme as unconstitutional and effectively halted capital cases.

In a pair of October rulings, the state court ruled that a new law — passed in response to a U.S. Supreme Court decision in a case known as Hurst v. Florida — was unconstitutional because it only required 10 jurors to recommend death “as opposed to the constitutionally required unanimous, 12-member jury.”

The October majority opinion in the case of Larry Darnell Perry also found that the new law “cannot be applied to pending prosecutions.”

But in a reversal of that decision Monday, the majority ruled that capital cases can move forward, even before lawmakers fix the statute.

Attorney General Pam Bondi hailed the ruling, saying in a statement it “provides our courts with the clarification needed to proceed with murder cases in which the death penalty is sought.”

The majority in the 5-2 decision was comprised of Chief Justice Jorge Labarga and justices R. Fred Lewis, Charles Canady and Ricky Polston, along with newly seated Justice Alan Lawson, who joined the court at the end of December.

The ruling sent public defenders scrambling and prompted cheers from prosecutors.

A spate of death penalty-related rulings by the Florida court in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in January 2016 in Hurst “created a great deal of paralysis and uncertainty in the system,” House Judiciary Chairman Chris Sprowls, a former prosecutor, told The News Service of Florida in an interview Monday.

Monday’s decision in the consolidated cases of Patrick Albert Evans and Juan Rosario came as courts have been split on how to handle cases in which prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

A Pinellas County judge last fall wanted to move forward with Evans’ trial, while a judge in Rosario’s Orange County case decided that the state could not pursue the death penalty.

The majority on Monday decided that the new law can be applied to pending prosecutions — and is constitutional — “if 12 jurors unanimously determine that a defendant should be sentenced to death.”

But in her dissent, Justice Barbara Pariente argued that what could be a “temporary” fix, until lawmakers address the issue, could lead to more litigation.

“Such concerns are precisely why it is for the Legislature, not this (Supreme) Court, to enact legislation curing the act’s fatal 10-2 provisions, assuming the Legislature intends for the death penalty to continue to be imposed in Florida,” Pariente wrote in a dissent joined by Justice Peggy Quince.

But Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, said the decision “finally” tells lower courts they can proceed with capital cases.

“That is what I think people within the criminal justice system would expect. What they did not expect is to have a paralysis created and that’s what the court had done. Today they have alleviated that paralysis by at least allowing cases to proceed,” he said.

Defense lawyers, however, took a harsher view.

“As a society, we rely upon court precedent to determine how to interpret and apply the laws. The (Supreme) Court’s about-face within these opinions is confounding. They also seem incongruent with the court’s unanimous plea, in (a case known as) Steele, to the Legislature to fix what the court said it couldn’t,” 10th Judicial Circuit Assistant Public Defender Pete Mills, who also serves as chairman of the Florida Public Defenders Association Death Penalty Steering Committee, told The News Service.

Mills was referring to a 2005 opinion in State vs. Steele in which the court urged the Legislature to require a unanimous jury vote, rather than the previous simple majority vote, in capital-case proceedings.

While Monday’s opinion may have resolved questions about how the courts can proceed for now, it likely won’t slow down the Legislature’s rush to address the issue early in the session that begins March 7.

“We still want to move it rapidly, get it up and out to make sure there’s no question that this is what the statute says and that we have a working death penalty scheme in the state of Florida,” Sprowls said.

Sprowls’ committee is slated to consider a measure (HB 527) Tuesday that would do away with the 10-2 jury recommendations and instead require unanimity for death sentences to be imposed. A Senate panel will give a final vetting to a similar proposal the following day. The issue only deals with the sentencing phase of death-penalty cases, after jurors unanimously find defendants guilty of crimes.

House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’ Lakes, and Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, told The News Service — before the court’s decision Monday — they wanted to send a death penalty measure requiring unanimous jury recommendations to Gov. Rick Scott by the end of the session’s first week.

“My position on it is that you have about 200 death penalty cases that are in abeyance right now, because of the Supreme Court’s ruling, and I can’t think of anything more important to the family of victims and also to a person charged with a capital felony that their cases proceed justly and with due process through the criminal justice system,” Negron said Wednesday. “To me, it’s our responsibility as legislators to make sure that the law is appropriately enforced. That would be a top priority.”

The cases “in abeyance” referred to more than half of Florida’s Death Row inmates who are eligible for new sentencing hearings under a separate state court ruling addressing retroactivity of the Hurst decision, which was predicated on a 2002 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a case known as Ring v. Arizona.

The legislation being considered by the House and Senate would not have any impact on retroactivity and would likely only affect future capital cases or those already underway.

by Dara Kam, The News Service of Florida

Good Day! It’s National FFA Week

February 21, 2017

It’s National FFA Week in the Escambia County School District, according to a proclamation issued by the Escambia County School Board.

“Escambia County FFA and the agriscience programs in the Escambia County School District are tremendously successful and extremely valuable in improving the quality of life for Escambia citizens,” the proclamation stated.

Photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Change To Minor Party Voter Registrations

February 21, 2017

The Escambia County Supervisor of Elections Office recently received notice  the  registration status of the Independent Party of Florida (INT) has been canceled.

As a result, local elections officials were  required to change the party affiliation of any voter registered in the Independent Party of Florida (INT) to No Party Affiliation (NPA). New voter information cards reflecting the change are being mailed to all impacted voters.

Voters can choose to remain registered as No Party Affiliation, or may choose to register with one of the ten political parties currently active and recognized by the Division of Elections, a list of which can be accessed at http://dos.myflorida.com/elections/candidates-committees/political-parties/ or at EscambiaVotes.com.  A party change can be made using a Florida Voter Registration Application or by submitting a signed, written notice to a voter registration official.

Tate Wrestling Team Places Third At Districts, Heads To Regionals

February 21, 2017

The Tate High School wrestling team placed third in the 2A District 1 competition held in Milton. Eight Aggie wrestlers placed and will advance to the regional competition in Tallahassee February 24-25.

Jacob Cochran — 106 pounds, 1st place
Noah Kryfka — 113 pounds, 4th place
Alex Porter — 120 pounds, 1st place
Matthew Blalock — 126 pounds, 2nd place
Kendall Townley — 138 pounds, 1st place
Juan Alvarez — 152 pounds, 2nd place
Jacob Neales — 195 pounds, 4th place
Jacob Nowling — 220 pounds, 3rd place

Pictured: (front L-R) Coach Reggie Allen, Kendall Townley, Jacob Cochran, Alex Porter, Asst. Coach Gavin McAnally, (back, L-R) Jacob Neales, Jacob Nowling, Noah Kryfka, Matthew Blalock and Juan Alvarez. Photo for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

JV Aggies Top Pace; Monroe Academy Spoils Northview Opener

February 21, 2017

Tate 4 Pace 2 (JV)

The JV Tate Aggies topped Pace 4-2 in their season opener Monday. The JV Aggies will host Milton at 7:30 Tuesday night.

Monroe Academy 11 Northview 0

The Northview Chiefs lost 11-0 on the road at Monroe Academy in Monroeville, AL, Monday.

Monroe Academy took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning. After scoring two runs in the the second, Monroe Academy added five runs in the third inning and three more in fourth.

John Chivington, Chandler Lowery and Bailey Wilson each one hit for the Northview Chiefs during their season opener.  The Chiefs will host Central Tuesday afternoon – JV at 4:00 followed by varsity at 6:30.

Florida House Seeks Online Registry For Animal Abusers

February 20, 2017

Names and mug shots of individuals convicted of animal abuse would have their names published online by the state, under a proposal filed Friday in the Florida House.

The measure, sponsored by Spring Hill Republican Rep. Blaise Ingoglia, would require the Department of Law Enforcement to post in an online registry information about people convicted of felony animal cruelty, animal fighting or sexual activities involving animals.

Each individual’s information would remain on the site for two years, unless they are convicted of another instance of animal abuse. The names would be kept on the site for five years for any secondary conviction of animal abuse.

The proposal would also require the Florida Department of State to send letters to breeders’ associations urging members not to provide animals to people on the list. The measure also includes sanctions for pet dealers that sell to individuals on the registry. Pet dealers would face a second-degree misdemeanor for selling to an individual on the list. The charge would be increased to a first-degree misdemeanor on the second sale, and a third conviction would net the pet dealer three days in jail along with a $2,500 fine.

by The News Service of Florida

Gun Season Is Over, But There’s Week Left To Deer Hunt

February 20, 2017

by Tony Young, FWC

General gun season is now over, but the local Zone D’s muzzleloader season extends deer hunting opportunity.

“What I love most about using a muzzleloader is the extra challenge it provides – you only get one shot and you better make it count,” said Howard Tiller, retired high school teacher and Chipley, Florida, native. “The late muzzleloading season gives us Zone D hunters more opportunities to hunt deer while the rut is still going on after general gun season ends. Plus, there are fewer hunters in the woods during that time, which means less pressure.”

Tiller, who was introduced to hunting by his father at a young age, said he never misses hunting Zone D’s late muzzleloading gun season. The season, which only occurs in Zone D, extends deer hunting by a week after general gun ends and runs Feb. 20-26 on private lands. It was established to give hunters the chance to hunt the rut, which runs from mid-January through February in northwest Florida.

A $5 muzzleloading gun permit is required to hunt during this season. On private land, hunters have the choice of using a muzzleloader, bow or crossbow. Of course, they’ll also need a hunting license, which costs residents $17 for an annual one – or folks might opt to purchase the five-year license for only $79.

In Zone D wildlife management areas, this post-season is referred to as the archery/muzzleloading gun season. Specific dates vary by WMA, so consult each area’s brochure. Hunters can use bows or muzzleloaders, but no crossbows – unless they possess a disabled crossbow permit. Hunters who choose to hunt with a bow must have the $5 archery permit, and those using a muzzleloader need the $5 muzzleloading gun permit.

Legal to take; bag limits

Deer and wild hogs are most commonly hunted during this season. Only legal bucks may be taken (even if you use a bow), and south of Interstate 10 in Deer Management Unit D1, one antler must have at least two points. North of I-10 in DMU D2, all bucks must have at least three points on a side or have a main beam of at least 10 inches long to be legal to take.

If you’re hunting deer, make sure you have the $5 deer permit. On private land, the daily bag limit is two. Season dates, bag limits and antler regulations for deer on WMAs can differ, so consult the area brochure before you hunt.

On private lands, wild hogs can be taken year-round with no bag or size limits. On most WMAs, there’s also no bag or size limit, and hogs are legal to take during most hunting seasons except spring turkey. On selected WMAs, specific bag and size limits do apply, so again, check the area’s brochure to make sure.

Hunting regulations

During the late muzzleloader season on private lands and archery/muzzleloading gun season on WMAs, dogs may not be used to hunt deer. However, you may use a leashed one to track a wounded deer if necessary. And it’s important to note that no turkeys may be taken during this season.

Bows and crossbows must have minimum draw weights of 35 pounds. Hand-held releases on bows are permitted. Broadheads used in taking deer must have at least two sharpened edges with a minimum width of 7/8 inch.

During this late season, the only muzzleloaders allowed are those fired by wheel lock, flintlock, percussion cap or centerfire primer (including 209 primers) that cannot be loaded from the breech. For hunting deer, muzzleloading rifles must be at least .40-caliber, and muzzleloading shotguns must be 20-gauge or larger.

Legal shooting hours are between a half-hour before sunrise and a half-hour after sunset. You’re allowed to take deer and hogs over feeding stations on private land, but it is illegal to use such feed on WMAs.

Public hunting opportunity

Twelve of the WMAs in Zone D have a February archery/muzzleloading gun season, and if you plan to hunt any of them, you must have the $26 management area permit. Those areas are Apalachicola, Apalachicola River, Beaverdam Creek, Blackwater, Chipola River, Choctawhatchee River, Econfina Creek, Escambia River, Perdido River, Point Washington, Tate’s Hell and Yellow River.

You can get all of the licenses and permits you’ll need at any retail outlet that sells hunting and fishing supplies, by calling 888-HUNT-FLORIDA or by going online at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com.

Two Killed In I-65 Crash

February 20, 2017

Two South Alabama residents were killed in a single vehicle rollover crash Sunday afternoon on I-65 about eight miles north of Atmore.

Samuel Louis Brown, 34, and Eugene Sanders Jr., 53, were both pronounced deceased at the scene of teh crash at 62 mile marker. Brown and Sanders were passengers in a 2003 Mitsubishi SUV that overturned several times after leaving the roadway.

The driver of the Mitsubishi was transported to an area hospital.

Further details have not been released as Alabama troopers continue their investigation.

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