Happy Thanksgiving! (And Here’s Some Turkey Art From Kingsfield Elementary Kids)

November 26, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving! Here is some turkey art to enjoy from students at Kingsfield Elementary School.

This Prison Inmate Asked For The Death Penalty After Murdering His Cellmate. The Judge Obliged.

November 26, 2020

An inmate at Blackwater River Correctional Facility in Santa Rosa County has been sentenced to death for murdering his cellmate.

Thomas Fletcher killed his cellmate, 33-year old Kenneth Jeff Davis, on September 22, 2018, by choking him from behind while inside their prison cell.

“He confessed to the crime and admitted that he committed the murder in order to be sentenced to the death penalty,” State Attorney Bill Eddins said. “Fletcher pled guilty to the murder but could not waive
an evidentiary hearing on whether the death penalty should be imposed.”

Judge Scott Duncan imposed the death penalty this week.

Fletcher was sentenced to life in 1995 for a murder in Broward County.

AAA: Fewer Americans Forecast To Travel This Thanksgiving

November 26, 2020

AAA is forecasting that fewer Americans will travel for Thanksgiving this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Health concerns and unemployment are the key factors in what is expected to be the lowest Thanksgiving travel volume in four years, and the largest yearly decline since the Great Recession.

AAA projects 50 million Americans will travel this long Thanksgiving weekend. In Florida, the expectation is 2.8 million travelers. However, these figures could be even lower as Americans monitor the public health landscape, including rising COVID-19 positive case numbers, renewed quarantine restrictions and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) travel health notices.

“AAA acknowledges that the decision to travel is a personal one,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “The CDC says staying home is the best way to stop the spread of COVID-19. For those who still decide to travel, we urge you to take every precaution possible to protect yourself and others.”

Those who decide to travel are likely to drive shorter distances and reduce the number of days they are away. This makes road trips the dominant form of travel this Thanksgiving. Travel by automobile is projected to fall 4.3%, to 47.8 million travelers and account for 95% of all holiday travel.

AAA anticipates Thanksgiving air travel volume will be nearly half of last year – at 2.4 million Americans. This would be the largest one-year decrease on record. For these travelers, AAA notes holiday airfares are the lowest in three years. If flying, AAA reminds air travelers that in-flight amenities, including food and beverage services, may not be available. Also, as a precaution, wipe down your seat, armrest, belt buckle and tray table using disinfecting wipes.

Travel by “other modes” is forecast to hit record lows. This field – which includes buses, trains and cruises – is expected to decline 76%, to 353,000 travelers. The decline comes as cruise ships remain docked and more travelers opt for car trips instead of taking buses or trains.

Wednesday was expected to be the busiest travel day of the long weekend.

Over 3.6 Million Cubic Yards Of Hurricane Sally Debris Collected In Escambia; Final Pass Begins Next Week

November 25, 2020

Escambia County contractors have collected over 3.6 million cubic yards of Hurricane Sally debris, and the final collection pass begins next week.

That’s 70,040 loads, which equals 564 football fields piled three feet high or enough to fill over 78% of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.

The third and final Hurricane Sally debris collection pass will begin on December 1, with a goal to finish all collections by Christmas.

To help expedite the process, separate debris for service. Vegetative debris like tree limbs need to be separate from construction and demolition materials like drywall and carpet. Keep debris away from storm drains, low power lines, other utilities and mailboxes.

Curbside Residential Debris Pickup Instructions

Escambia County residents, that can safely do so, are asked to place any storm-generated debris on the public right of way (the area of residential property that extends from the street to the sidewalk, ditch, utility pole or easement).

  • Commercial-generated waste will not be accepted.
  • Businesses should contact their waste collection service provider or a debris removal contractor. Business and commercial material is not eligible to be removed curbside by Escambia County.
  • Nonprofits are allowed to place debris on public right of way for pickup.

Debris that was generated by Hurricane Sally should be placed and sorted on the area immediately adjoining the road in front of your home.

Residents are urged to separate the debris as follows:

  • Vegetative Debris - whole trees and large limbs should be cut into lengths of four feet or less, tree stumps, tree branches, tree trunks and other leafy material
  • Construction and Demolition Debris - damaged components of buildings and structures such lumber and wood, wall board, glass, metal, roofing materials, tile, furnishings and fixtures
  • Appliances and White Goods - refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners, heat pumps, ovens, ranges, washing machines, clothes dryers and water heaters
  • Electronic Waste - computers, televisions, office electronic equipment, etc.
  • Household Hazardous Waste - materials that are ignitable, reactive, toxic or corrosive such as paints, cleaners, pesticides, etc.
Only loose debris will be collected; bagged debris should not be placed on the public right of way. Make every attempt to avoid stacking debris below low hanging power or utility lines. Only debris placed on the public right of way will be eligible for collection until further notice.

Do not place debris within four feet of:

  • Mailboxes
  • Water meters
  • Fire hydrants, or any other above-ground utility

Escambia County contractors will make multiple passes through neighborhoods and along county right-of-way for debris removal. If your debris is not removed, please be patient. The crews will make additional passes along your road.

The county contractors have dedicated pieces of equipment for different debris streams (vegetation, C&D and stumps). Please understand that if vegetation is collected and C&D or stumps are left behind, they are not “missed,” but rather assigned to different trucks dedicated to that debris stream. Contractors cannot commingle debris streams in a single truck load.

Drop Off Instructions for Residential Vegetative Debris Drop Off Sites

In addition to curbside removal of debris for residents, residential drop off sites are accepting vegetative debris generated by Hurricane Sally. This is for private, residential use only, NO COMMERCIAL DEBRIS. Hurricane Sally debris drop off sites are open for Escambia County residents only and will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 a.m., until further notice. Residents need to bring ID and proof of residency.

Drop Off Locations:

  • Escambia County Equestrian Center at 7750 Mobile Highway
  • John R. Jones Athletic Complex at 555 East Nine Mile Road
  • Oak Grove Convenience Center at 745 North Highway 99
  • Baars Field at 13020 Sorrento Road
  • Lexington Terrace at 900 S Old Corry Field Road
  • Park East at 1233-1235 at Fort Pickens Road

If residents would like to drop off construction and demolition debris, they can do so at the following locations (ordinary fees apply):

  • Perdido Landfill (Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.)
  • Oak Grove Convenience Center (Fridays and Saturdays 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)

Pictured: Debris pick up on North Highway 99. NorthEscambia.com photo, click to enlarge.

Man Inappropriately Touched Girl While Vacationing Locally, FDLE Says

November 25, 2020

A Florida man has been charged with sending inappropriate messages and touching a teen girl while on vacation in Escambia County.

Agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement arrested Rame Thomas Baetens, 37, of New Port Richey, on one count of lewd and lascivious conduct on a person under 16 years of age, one count of online solicitation of a minor, four counts of transmission of material harmful to a minor and one count of illegal use of a two-way communications device, all felonies.

FDLE’s investigation began at the request of the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, who had been contacted by the victim. FDLE agents learned that Baetens had inappropriately touched the minor victim, who he personally knew, on multiple occasions while on vacation in Pensacola. Baetens had also sent numerous sexually suggestive images and messages to the victim via the Snapchat social media app.

Baetens was arrested and booked into the Escambia County Jail on $160,000 bond.

What’s The Cost Of A Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner? It’s A Little Cheaper This Year.

November 25, 2020

While Thanksgiving make look a little different this year for some, the tradition is continuing with the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual cost survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table.

Farm Bureau’s 35th annual survey indicates the average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving feast for 10 remains affordable at $46.90 or less than $5.00 per person. This is a $2.01 decrease from last year’s average of $48.91.

“The average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner is the lowest since 2010,” said AFBF Chief Economist Dr. John Newton. “Pricing whole turkeys as ‘loss leaders’ to entice shoppers and move product is a strategy we’re seeing retailers use that’s increasingly common the closer we get to the holiday,” he explained.

The centerpiece on most Thanksgiving tables – the turkey – costs less than last year, at $19.39 for a 16-pound bird. That’s roughly $1.21 per pound, down 7% from last year. The survey results show that retail turkey prices are the lowest since 2010.

The shopping list for Farm Bureau’s informal survey includes turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10 with plenty for leftovers.

In addition to turkey, foods that showed slight price declines include whipping cream and sweet potatoes. Foods showing modest increases this year included dinner rolls, cubed bread stuffing and pumpkin pie mix. After adjusting for inflation, the cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner is $18.01, down slightly from last year.

In recognition of changes in Thanksgiving dinner traditions, the Farm Bureau price survey also includes ham, potatoes and frozen green beans. Adding these foods to the classic Thanksgiving menu increased the overall cost by $13.21, to $60.11. This updated basket of foods also declined slightly in price (4%) compared to 2019.

Although it’s difficult to predict if panic purchasing will again become a concern due to the pandemic, “Turkeys – and other staples of the traditional Thanksgiving meal – are currently in ample supply at grocery stores in most areas of the country,” Newton said.

This year’s national average cost was calculated using surveys completed with pricing data from all 50 states. Farm Bureau volunteer shoppers were encouraged to check prices online using grocery store apps and websites due to the pandemic. They looked for the best possible prices without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals.

The AFBF Thanksgiving dinner survey was first conducted in 1986. The informal survey provides a record of comparative holiday meal costs over the years. Farm Bureau’s classic survey menu has remained unchanged since 1986 to allow for consistent price comparisons.

Northview High School Names November Students Of The Month

November 25, 2020

Northview High School has named their Students of the Month for November. They are Blake Yoder and Sarah Bailey, pictured with Principal Mike Sherrill. Photo for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Tate Softball’s Courtney Lundquist And Sophia Jones Commit To Northwest Florida State College

November 25, 2020

Tate High School Softball’s Courtney Lundquist and Sophia Jones have verbally committed to Northwest Florida State College.

“I am beyond blessed to receive this opportunity and I want to thank every coach, friend, and family member that has helped me reach this point in my life,” Lundquist posted in her announcement.

“I want to thank every coach, family member, and friend/teammate that have been here with me through my softball journey. I absolutely cannot wait to see what these years hold,” Jones posted.

Escambia Man Wins $1 Million Scratch Off Lottery Prize

November 25, 2020

An Escambia County man has claimed a $1 million prize from the Florida Lottery’s 200X THE CASH Scratch-Off game.

Felton Jackson chose to receive his winnings as a one-time, lump-sum payment of $890,000.

He purchased his winning ticket from Smart Fill, located at 7110 Pine Forest Road. The store will receive a $2,000 bonus commission for selling the $20 winning scratch off ticket.

Driver Crashes Into Utility Pole On Highway 95A In Cantonment

November 24, 2020

A driver crashed into a utility pole Tuesday night in Cantonment.

It happened just after 7 p.m. on Highway 95A near Neal Road. There were no serious injuries reported.

Gulf Power did not report that anyone lost power as a result of the crash, but the pole was damaged.

The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the crash.

NorthEscambbia.com photos by Kristi Barbour, click to enlarge.

Next Page »