Deputies Investigate Overnight Shooting

July 31, 2015

The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office is investigating an early morning shooting.

About 1:15 a.m., deputies responded to a Shell gas station at Old Corry Field Road and Navy Boulevard for a reported shooting victim.

The victim, described by authorities only as a 34-year old black male, told deputies that he was shot during a drug transaction at the Moreno Court apartments on Old Corry Field Road.

He was transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries. There were no arrests reported.

Free School Supplies Available Saturday In Century

July 31, 2015

Free school supplies will be available to those in need this Saturday in Century.

The supplies will be distributed in memory of Dedria Robinson, who was killed in 2005  in an automobile accident at age 11. Organizers of the “Dedria’s Gift” program said the school supplies are available to children from Escambia County in both Florida and Alabama.

The giveaway begins at 10 a.m. Saturday in the Nadine McCaw Park (Roadside Park) on North Century Boulevard and continues until the school supplies are gone.

Blood Centers Announce Merger

July 31, 2015

OneBlood, Inc. which includes the local area blood bank, is merging effective July 31 with The Blood Alliance, Inc.

The newly formed organization will distribute more than one million blood products annually, serve over 210 hospitals throughout most of Florida, parts of Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina and employ more than 2,400 people.

“The landscape of the blood industry is rapidly changing and it demands that we continue to evolve and diversify to meet the needs of our hospital partners and their patients,” said Don Doddridge, President and Chief Executive Officer of OneBlood. “We are confident that the merger will have a positive impact in further defining the new template for the future of our industry and ensuring our communities have a progressive, forward-thinking local blood center that is here to serve for years to come,” said Doddridge.

More stringent transfusion protocols, health care reform and advances in medical science are all helping shape a new era of blood banking.

“Bringing the two organizations together is the right thing to do for our communities,” said Dr. Marsha Bertholf, Medical Director of The Blood Alliance. “We can no longer rely on the business models of the past to take us where we need to go in the future.  Hospitals want larger scale blood centers to serve their multiple locations and the merger will allow us to accommodate their needs and still keep the hometown connection,” said Bertholf.

In addition to mitigating cost to hospitals and patients, the merger is expected to bring additional operational efficiencies and further stabilize the blood supply, especially in times of natural disasters such as hurricanes and enhance donor outreach initiatives.

OneBlood CEO, Don Doddridge, who began his blood banking career in Jacksonville, will lead the newly merged organization and an 11 member board of directors will provide oversight, governance and guidance.

Integration of the two organizations will begin immediately.  In addition, The Blood Alliance will undergo a rebranding phase in the coming months and transition to the OneBlood brand.

OneBlood is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) community asset responsible for providing safe, available and affordable blood to more than 200 hospital partners and their patients throughout most of Florida and into parts of southern Georgia and Alabama.

OneBlood was established on January 27, 2012 when three of Florida’s independent, not-for-profit blood centers merged, including the Northwest Florida Blood Center. Together, OneBlood brings more than 100 years of lifesaving experience to the community. OneBlood distributes nearly one million blood products annually, employs more than 2,000 people, operates more than 70 donor centers and deploys nearly 200 of its signature Big Red Buses throughout its service area for blood drives.  T

Pictured: The OneBlood “Big Red Bus” at the Walnut Hill Volunteer Fire Department. file photo, click to enlarge.

Wahoos Fall In Pitcher’s Duel

July 31, 2015

The Pensacola Blue Wahoos (18-15, 43-57) were stymied at the plate in a 3-0 loss to the Chattanooga Lookouts (13-18, 56-43) Thursday night at AT&T Field.

Wahoos starter Josh Smith (5-4) earned the loss despite a solid effort at the mound, throwing all eight innings and allowing three runs on eight hits.

The game would be won by Chattanooga’s Jason Wheeler (2-2), who threw 8.0 shutout innings while only allowing three hits. J.T. Chargois would relieve him in the ninth to earn his eighth save of the season.

Yovan Gonzalez, a player known more for his behind-the-plate prowess than his offensive ability, led Pensacola at the dish. He went 2-3 and was the only Wahoo with multiple hits on the evening.

The Wahoos threatened in the top of the third as Juan Perez and Yovan Gonzalez opened the frame with a pair of singles. However, Wheeler retired three straight batters to keep avoid damage.

The Lookouts got the scoring started in the bottom of the third as Aderlin Mejia was brought to the plate on a sacrifice fly from Heiker Meneses. They added another run on a solo blast over the right field wall from Max Kepler to make it 2-0.

The Wahoos would load the bases with three consecutive two-out singles from Gonzalez, Amaral and Zach Vincej, but they were unable to capitalize as a grounder ended the frame. Before those hits, Wheeler had retired 17 straight Wahoo batters.

Chattanooga added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth with another solo home run for Kepler, this time on a line drive for his sixth of the season. Smith had retired 10 straight before the homer.

In the ninth, the Wahoos put two men on with a Marquez Smith walk and a Sean Buckley single, but the Wahoos came up empty once again.

The scoreless effort marked the first time that the Wahoos had been shut out since a 1-0 defeat in Mississippi on June 26th.

Seth Mejias-Brean did not reach base for the Wahoos, bringing an end to a streak of 23 consecutive road games.

The Blue Wahoos are on a 10-day road trip against the Chattanooga Lookouts and Jacksonville Suns

Republicans Prepare To Run In The Panhandle

July 30, 2015

Niceville Republican Armand Izzo opened a campaign account last week to run for a House seat that will be vacated next year by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, according to the state Division of Elections website. Izzo joins Crestview Republican Wayne Harris in running in Okaloosa County’s House District 4. Gaetz is running in 2016 to try to succeed his father, Niceville Republican Don Gaetz, in a Senate seat. Also, earlier this month, Pensacola Republican Jantzen Craine opened a campaign account to try to succeed Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker, in 2018 in Senate District 2, which includes Escambia, Santa Rosa and part of Okaloosa counties. Craine is the only candidate with an open campaign account for the race.

by The News Service of Florida

Free School Supplies, Groceries, Haircuts And More Saturday In Molino

July 30, 2015

Free school supplies, groceries and even a back to school haircut will be available Saturday in Molino.

A free Day of Hope will be held Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Victory Assembly of God at 1895 Victory Road,  just south of Barrineau Park Road on Highway 29.  The event will offer free groceries, haircuts, backpacks, school supplies, a kids zone and a hot lunch. Items are available while supplies last, rain or shine. No identification is required, but children must be present to receive school supplies.

For more information, call Victory Assembly of God at (850) 5587-2295.

Pictured top: A young lady receives a back to school haircut during last year’s Day of Hope at Victory Assembly of God. file photo, click to enlarge.

Gambling Regulators Make Concession Impacting Poarch Creek’s Gretna Racing

July 30, 2015

Gambling regulators have backed down on a number of proposed changes to the state’s pari-mutuel rules after a legislative oversight panel and industry representatives challenged the Department of Business and Professional Regulations’ authority to issue the mandates.

The agency’s Division of Pari-mutuel Wagering on Tuesday published the latest modifications, which deal with issues such as jockey requirements and track sizes. The division folded on a number of issues raised by industry operators at a hearing last week.

But the proposal may not go far enough to prevent legal challenges.

The proposed rule changes were originally published last month, but the revised version includes a number of concessions to the controversial barrel-racing industry. Gambling regulators in 2011 granted a pari-mutuel license to Gretna Racing in Gadsden County for the rodeo-style matches, which, in turn, allowed the facility open a more lucrative card room. An appeals court later ruled that the state erred in granting the barrel-racing license — the first of its kind in the nation. The state and Gretna Racing entered a settlement agreement authorizing “flag drop” races in which two riders compete against each other but without any obstacles in the arena.

Gretna is managed and operated by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians in Atmore..

Tuesday’s changes do away with a requirement in the original proposed rule that would have forced all tracks to have starting gates, an expensive addition that Donna Blanton, a lawyer for the association representing the barrel racers, at last week’s meeting said was too cumbersome.

The proposed rule would still ban obstacles, including barrels, on race courses.

Regulators also scrapped a proposed regulation that would have limited jockeys to 135 pounds, which also would have had an adverse impact on the rhinestone-studded barrel racers. Instead, Tuesday’s revised plan would require that jockey weights take into account “the humane treatment of the racing animal” and be published in the racing program.

The revision also eliminates a proposed requirement for “secured wagering” areas, which also could have affected the Gretna facility, where workers take bets from the window of a trailer located near the arena’s bleachers.

The latest version of the proposed rule also would make changes to the required lengths of horse tracks and lower the minimum number of entrants in a race from six to five, still more than the two riders that historically participated in the Gretna races.

And the new proposal also drops a potential requirement that tracks have “break-away rails,” something nearly all operators complained would be too costly and possibly dangerous for horses and jockeys.

Regulators also appear to have taken into consideration some of the objections regarding the publishing of horses’ qualifications.

The original proposal would have required that at least three published past performances were available to the public prior to a race.

That wouldn’t give bettors enough information, Tom Ventura, president of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company, said last week. Tracks or owners can “pick and choose” the data they want published, he said.

Tuesday’s amended proposal would require the track’s racing secretary to make available to the public a horse’s three most-recent published outings, whether in races or workouts, and include at least one from within the past 45 days.

by Dara Kam, The News Service of Florida

Ernest Ward Cheerleaders Attend Summer Camp; Five Named ‘All American’

July 30, 2015

The 2015-2016 Ernest Ward Middle School Cheerleaders attended a three-day Universal Cheerleaders Association camp at the school this week, learning new cheers, stunts, chants and dances for the upcoming year.

Five of the girls were chosen as UCA All-American and will have the opportunity to to cheer in the Thanksgiving Day Parade at Disney’s Magic Kingdom in Orlando.

Award presented included:

  • Anna Adams- All American and Most Improved
  • Lexi Broadhead- All American
  • Jada Crabtree- All American
  • Ashlan Harigel- All American, Dancing Diva and Camp MVP
  • Cloe Smith- All American and Best Attitude

Pictured: Ernest Ward Middle School UCA All-American cheerleaders (L-R, standing) Cloe Smith, Ashlan Harigel, Lexi Broadhead, Jada Crabtree, and (kneeling) Anna Adams. Submitted photo for, click to enlarge.

Blue Wahoos Win In Extra Innings

July 30, 2015

It took 10 runs, 16 hits and seven pitchers, but the Pensacola Blue Wahoos (18-14, 43-57) got back into the win column after a 10-9 win over the Chattanooga Lookouts (12-18, 55-43) at AT&T Field Wednesday night.

With multi-hits from four different players, Pensacola registered season-highs in runs, hits and RBIs in the extra-inning game. Both Juan Perez and Beau Amaral went 3-5 with a run and three RBIs while Juan Duran went 3-5 with two runs and a RBI. Seth Mejias-Brean went 2-3 with two runs, an RBI and a walk.

The Blue Wahoos started the game by scoring two runs on three hits in the first inning for an early lead. After a leadoff single, Ryan Wright scored off of Duran’s RBI single. Duran later scored off of Perez’s single to shallow left field.

Starting pitcher Tim Adleman left the game in the second inning with an elbow injury after giving up one hit in 1.2 innings. RHP Jacob Johnson came into relief and threw 3.1 innings of work allowing two runs on five hits in his first appearance for the Blue Wahoos since being transferred back from Louisville.

With two-outs in the second inning, Pensacola added two more runs to the scoreboard as Duran got his second single of the game and Seth Mejias-Brean notched his 12th double of the season. Perez knocked them in with a double to the right field wall. Perez’s three RBIs are a season-high and the most since July 20, 2014 for the Bakersfield Blaze.

The Lookouts got on the board in the fourth inning as Stuart Turner was walked by Johnson and then advanced to second on a wild pitch. Levi Michael doubled on a line drive to right-center field to score Turner.

In the fifth inning, Marquez Smith was walked and advanced to third on a deep double to left field by Duran for his third hit of the night. Smith scored on a sacrifice fly by Mejias-Brean as the Blue Wahoos took a 5-1 lead.

Heiker Meneses scored for Chattanooga in the bottom of the fifth off of a RBI double by Max Kepler to make the game 5-2. LHP Joel Bender came into the game for the Wahoos in the sixth inning and gave up two runs on three hits to make it 5-4.

After a few quiet innings, the Lookouts went on a scoring rampage in the eighth. Meneses started the inning with a single. Patrick Shuster came in to replace Miguel Celestino on the mound. Celestino promptly gave up a home run to Kelpler. After a single, fielding error and two walks, Aderlin Mejia drove in two runs to take an 8-5 lead.

The Blue Wahoos began a comeback and tied the game 8-8 in the ninth inning. Beau Amaral hit a one-run single to score Ray Chang. Smith double to right field to drive in both Cam Maron and Amaral.

In the top of the 10th, the Blue Wahoos scored two runs on Amaral’s double to right field scoring both Mejias-Brean and Perez.

Zack Weiss, who came into the game in the ninth inning, registered his first career Double-A win going 2.0 innings recording three hits, one run, one walk and one strikeout.

The Blue Wahoos are on a 10-day road trip against the Chattanooga Lookouts and Jacksonville Suns.

Man Charged With Recording Women In Hospital Bathroom

July 29, 2015

An Alabama man has been charged with using his phone to record women in a bathroom at Atmore Community Hospital.

Atmore Police Chief Chuck Brooks told Tuesday night that 49-year old Curtis Overstreet of Jackson, AL, was a part-time employee at the hospital. He was charged with three counts of criminal surveillance and later released on bond.

Overstreet reportedly confessed to video recording three women in an employees-only bathroom inside the hospital in Atmore. He would allegedly leave his phone in the female employees’ bathroom where one employee reported finding the phone in record mode. The phone was traced to Overstreet, and a search warrant was served at his home in Jackson, AL, where no evidence of the alleged video recordings was found.

According to Infirmary Health, parent company of Atmore Community Hospital, Overstreet is no longer employed with Atmore Community Hospital.

Pictured top: Atmore Community Hospital, file photo. Pictured inset: No booking photo of Curtis Overstreet was available, but he is seen here in a Facebook photo.

Next Page »