Celebrate Freedom 5K, One Mile Fun Run Planned For July 4 In Jay

July 1, 2014

The 15th Annual Celebrate Freedom 5K will be held Friday, July 4 in Jay.

The race starts and finishes at the Jay City Park.  It is a scenic course through the neighboring countryside and looping around the  Jay Elementary and Jay High school campuses. The last half of the course is run on a paved road that splits cotton and peanut fields on both sides. The course is basically flat and makes for fast times.

Trophies will be awarded to the top three finishers in each of 32 age groups. Overall awards will be given to the top male/female open runners, master runners, grand master runners, and senior grand master runners. There will be awards for the top three male/female walkers and wheelchair participants in the 5K and mile runs. T-shirts are guaranteed to the first 70 runners who register.

After the race, watermelon and refreshments will be served to all participants.

Race day is Friday, July 4 at 8 a.m. at the Jay City Park, 5259 Booker Lane. Entry fee is $20 in advance, $25 day of race. The One Mile Fun Run entry fee is $10. Late registration and pick-up will begin at 6:30 a.m. on race day at Jay City Park.

To register online click here. Or for a printable registration form, click here. Proceeds go towards next year’s race.

For directions or more information, contact Matt Dobson at (850) 217-2603 or (850) 675-6474 or email rmdobson@liberty.edu.

Bizarre Play Helps Jacksonville Down Pensacola’s Blue Wahoos

July 1, 2014

Pensacola Blue Wahoos catcher and clean up hitter Ross Perez hit .356 in June. Lead off hitter Yorman Rodriguez is batting .356 in the past 12 games.

And the five position players called up from High-A Bakersfield after the June 17 Southern League All-Star break (Kyle Waldrop, Seth Mejias-Brean, Marquez Smith, Jesse Winker and Ryan Wright) were a combined 10 for 22, a .454 clip Monday night.

“Our offense this year in my mind has played good,” Wahoos manager DeShields said. “We’ve scored runs and at one point we were hitting the highest in the league. Those things don’t go together. We’ve played a lot better than our record.”

Still, despite collecting 16 hits and six runs the Wahoos dropped their second straight game to the Jacksonville Suns Monday night, losing 8-6.

One could only wonder what would have happened, if not for a bizzare ruling by the umpire crew in the sixth inning.

Wahoos pinch hitter Juan Duran hit a rocket in the air that appeared to glance off pitcher Jay Rogers’ ankle and ricochet into Jacksonville third baseman Terrence Dayleg’s glove – never touching the ground. Dayleg threw Duran out at first to complete the play and Pensacola’s Jesse Winker scored from third, cutting the Jacksonville lead, 8-4. Third base umpire J.J. January ruled Penacola’s Ryan Wright safe at third and the play was dead.

But then the umpires reconvened and homeplate umpire Matt Pridemore, who was filling in for Jeremy Riggs who suffered a concussion Sunday from a foul ball off his mask, decided instead that Dayleg caught the ball in the air. So, he called Winker out after the Suns threw the ball to third base during the umpires’ discussion. The over turning of the call from a run scored and two out to a double play that took a Wahoos run off the scoreboard, ended the inning and stopping Pensacola from adding one run or more. Jacksonville remained ahead, 8-3.

DeShields was thrown out of the game for arguing the reversed call and threw his helmet on the ground in anger. He was still seething after the game and said he had never seen a call like it before.

“I don’t get real aggravated most of the time but I had had enough,” he explained. “It was a messed up play.”

DeShields argued the play was dead and the Pensacola runners should have been allowed to return to second and third base with two out.

Perez called the umpire’s over ruling “really weird.”

“That was a big situation for us,” said Perez, who scored two runs, doubled and knocked in a run. “If the ball goes through there two runs could have scored. I think we’ll be good at the end of the season.”

Perez said he is more confident than ever at bat and credits his coaches after his hot-hitting June.

“I’ve never felt like I’m feeling right now,” he said. “I’m very comfortable at home plate. When you work hard good things come out.”

The third game of the five-game series with Miami Marlins Double-A affiliate the Jacksonville Suns gets underway at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. RHP Michael Lorenzen (4-4, 2.63) takes the mound for the Wahoos and is scheduled to be opposed by the Suns LHP Justin Nicolino (7-2, 3.07).

by Tommy Thrall

Two Of Three Convenience Store Murder Suspects Arrested

June 30, 2014

Two of three suspects have been arrested in connection with the June 22 murder of  31-year old Tabius Cardell Huff.

Trent Baker was arrested June 24 and charged with third degree felony murder.

And then on Sunday moring, Jarrod Blackmon, 23, was arrested by the Linden (Ala.) Police Department. Blackmon. He was wanted in Escambia County for the first degree premeditated murder .

Deputies are still looking for Jimmy Bonner for third degree felony murder.

Anyone having information concerning the whereabouts of Jimmy Jermaine Bonner is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at (850) 433-STOP.
Huff was shot about 10 p.m. June 22 outside a convenience store in the 5300 block of  Jackson Street near Edgewood Circle.  Huff was pronounced deceased at the scene by Escambia County EMS.

Wreck Near Walnut Hill Claims Life Of Recent Northview Graduate

June 30, 2014

A recent Northview High School graduate was killed in a single vehicle accident Sunday afternoon near Walnut Hill.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, 18-year old Audra Elizabeth Martin of Century was traveling northbound on a dirt portion of Greenland Road when she veered to the left in her 2001 Chevrolet Impala,  over-corrected to the right, struck a ditch and overturned into a field.

Her passenger, 17-year old Tori Amber Jordan of Century,was ejected from the vehicle. Jordan, who was not wearing a seat belt, was pronounced deceased on the scene. She was a 2014 Northview High School graduate and would have celebrated her 18th birthday this week, according to family friends.

Martin was transported by Atmore Ambulance to Atmore Community Hospital with minor injuries. Charges against Martin, who also was not wearing a seat belt, will be pending further investigation, according to the FHP.

NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.

Fire Heavily Damages Jacks Branch Road Home

June 30, 2014

A Cantonment home received heavy fire and smoke damage Sunday night.

The fire was reported just after 9 p.m. in  single story residence in the  400 block of Jacks Branch Road, near Green Tree Circle. The first firefighters on scene reported heavy smoke coming from the house.

There were no injuries reported, and there was no immediate word in the cause of the blaze.

Pictured: Fire heavily damaged a home on Jacks Branch Road Sunday. NorthEscambia.com reader submitted photos by iHeather Murphy, click to enlarge.

Schedule Change For ECUA July Household Hazardous Waste Collection

June 30, 2014

Taking advantage of the ECUA’s Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Program is a great way to dispose of unwanted household hazardous materials in an environmentally responsible way.

HHW in landfills can leak or, if disposed of on the ground, can contaminate our drinking water supply or other water resources. And HHW disposed of in garbage containers can leak or react with other substances, possibly starting fires that may injure drivers and others nearby.

ECUA’s  HHW Program is a monthly service that is free to all ECUA residential sanitation customers.

Normally, ECUA’s HHW collection is on the first Saturday of the month.  For this July, the HHW pick-up will instead be scheduled on the second Saturday, July 12, because of the Independence Day holiday the previous week.

Some of the items accepted in the HHW Program pick-up list include swimming pool and household chemicals, paints, used cooking grease, lawn and garden chemicals, and used motor oils.   These materials are collected by ECUA crews at the customer’s doorstep, making it as easy and convenient as possible.

For more information, or to request a pick-up, ECUA sanitation customers may call the ECUA Customer Service line at 476-0480, or email customer.service@ecua.fl.gov.

Schools: Pick Up Individual Student FCAT Scores

June 30, 2014

Individual student FCAT scores are available for pick up at your child’s school. For schools not listed below, call the school office for summer hours.

  • Jim Allen Elementary: June 30, 7 a.m. – noon; July 21-24, 7 a.m. – 4 p.m.,; July 28-31, 7 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Bratt Elementary: June 30 – July 3,  July 7 – July 10, from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Byrneville Elementary: Everyday except Fridays July 1-24 from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.; everyday beginning July 28, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Molino Park Elementary: June 30 – July 3, or July 7 from 7:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. and July 8-10 from 7:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
  • Ernest Ward Middle: June 30 – July 2 from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. and again from July 7 from 7:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m., or July 8-10 from 7:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Parents should be prepared to show and identification and sign that they have received the report. Those not picked up during the summer will be sent home with the student in the fall.
  • Northview High School:  July 1 – 3 from 8 a.m. – 3:30  p.m. in the administrative office. Those not picked up during that period will be given to the student during orientation – August 13, 9 a.m. – noon for grades 10-12, or August 14, 8 – 9:30 a.m. for ninth grade.

Two Injured In Crash With Utility Pole

June 30, 2014

Two people were injured in a single vehicle rollover accident Sunday night near the intersection of Highway 196 and Highway 95A near Molino.

The driver apparently lost control, ran off the road and hit a utility pole just before 10 p.m. Both were transported by ambulance to Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola; neither injury was considered severe or life threatening.

The accident remains under investigation by the Florida Highway Patrol.

NorthEscambia.com photos by Kristi Smith, click to enlarge.

New Speciality Tags Will Soon Hit Florida’s Roads

June 30, 2014

As they did a year ago, Florida lawmakers this spring approved four new specialty license tags, also extending a self-imposed barrier that hasn’t slowed the program.

Starting October 1, sales will start on the four plates — Fallen Law Enforcement Officers, the Florida Sheriffs Association, the Keiser University, and the Moffitt Cancer Center — signed into law this year by Gov. Rick Scott.

Each plate raises money for the sponsoring organization. The fallen hero tag, which will feature the motto “A Hero Remembered Never Dies” across the bottom, will assist the Police and Kids Foundation, Inc.

The latest tags come despite a “moratorium” lawmakers imposed on new license plates in 2008. The moratorium was set to expire this year, but lawmakers extended it through mid-2016.

Since the moratorium was passed, the number of tags on the road has grown from 113 to 122. Also, lawmakers have since established a 1,000-plate pre-order requirement before actual production of the plate begins.

The new plates also come despite warnings from Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, which oversees license plates, officials that the program may have reached a tipping point in terms of sales.

In November, Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Deputy Director Stephen Fielder told a House subcommittee that the market for specialty plates has become saturated.

The base of motorists spending extra for the specialty plates has remained stagnant over the past few years, Fielder said.

“When I had 30 plates, I had 30 organizations competing for 1 million (motorists),” Fielder told the panel. “I now have 120 plates competing for 1 million customers.” But a lobbyist for specialty plates said the state needs to make it easier for motorists to purchase them.

“There is a reason that many people aren’t able to buy them. The Department of Motor Vehicles will not put an option on the renewal form to go to the specialty plates,” said Susan Goldstein, who represents several associations with specialty plates as well as the Florida Association of Specialty License Plates. “You actually have to physically go to the tax collector or DMV to switch to a new plate.”

Asked about expanding the offerings for specialty tags online, department spokesman John Lucas responded in an email, “It’s strictly a technical reason due to additional fees that (are) involved in such a switch.”

The state sold and renewed 1.35 million specialty tags in 2013, up nearly 14,000 from 2012, but still noticeably off from 1.62 million purchased in 2009. Nearly half of the plates have attracted fewer than 5,000 buyers, including 18 with fewer than 1,000 in sales.

Private colleges are among the lowest sellers. Clearwater Christian College has ranked at the bottom of the sales with just 57 plates sold over the past two years.

Top sellers continue to be the University of Florida, Florida State University, Helping Sea Turtles Survive, Protect Wild Dolphins and Protect the Panther.

Goldstein noted that the number of specialty plates dropped after the fees for first time and renewals of specialty license plates were increased in 2009, when lawmakers were also hiking the cost of vehicle registration and other driver fees to close a budget shortfall.

“The person that wants to buy a new specialty plate has to pay $38 in fees to the state to make a $25 donation to the organization,” Goldstein said. “And we still did over $30 million last year.”

According to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, the $15 to $25 fee on specialty tags generates about $30 million a year, with about $8.6 million going to state revenue for processing fees and the rest divided among different sponsor organizations. Lawmaker support doesn’t guarantee the tag will hit the road, however.

Of the four tags approved for pre-sale starting July 1, 2013, Florida Freemasons and Lauren’s Kids — a non-profit group that helps survivors of childhood sexual abuse — surpassed the 1,000 mark and went on the road earlier this year.

Meanwhile, the American Legion and Big Brothers Big Sisters continue to struggle in the pre-sale world, with each organization selling about 100 plates as of June 2.

In addition to the new plates, production will begin this year on a new special use plate to recognize field medics who accompanied infantry into battle with a Combat Medical Badge plate. The state already offers Combat Action Badge and Combat Infantry Badge plates.

by Jim Turner, The News Service of Florida

Jacksonville Takes Opener 12-6 Over The Blue Wahoos

June 30, 2014

On Sunday at the Pensacola Blue Wahoos baseball game, fans had lots of fun for the first five innings.

Ryan Wright hit his first Double-A home run, which cleared the left field fence and put Pensacola ahead, 6-5, in the bottom of the fifth inning. It was also the second baseman’s first hit at home, after going hitless during his first five-game homestand at Pensacola. However, he’s hitting .300 (6-20) since then.

However, in Jacksonville’s very next at bat the Suns scored six runs off three Blue Wahoos pitchers to go ahead, 11-6, on their way to a 12-6 victory in the opener of a five-game series at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium. Alfredo Silverio led off the big inning for the Suns with a home run.

The big hitter Sunday, though, for Pensacola was first baseman Marquez Smith. Smith hit a two-run home run, doubled in another run and walked in four at bats. It was Smith’s first home run this season, too, in a Blue Wahoos uniform after getting called up from High-A Bakersfield.

Smith said the homer to deep right center felt good after starting his stint with two hits in his first 18 at bats.

“It’s definitely good to get on the right track,” Smith said. “I was glad today to get some hits.”

Delino DeShields said that he would like to get the same production from Smith that Bakersfield got in the first half of the season. There Smith hit .298 with 15 homers and 67 RBI in 68 games.

“I’m hoping he will produce for us while he’s here,” DeShields said. “He is an older player. It gets tougher when you get older.”

The 29-year-old Smith was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 2007 out of Clemson University and has played 737 games in the minors, including 2,615 at bats. He also has played 14 games in the Major Leagues, including 13 with the Cubs in 2011.

“I’ve been doing it for a long time and been lucky enough to still have a jersey on my back,” said Smith, who was born in Panama City down the coast from Pensacola. “I’m still having fun playing the game, so you can’t beat that.”

The second game of the five-game series with Miami Marlins Double-A affiliate the Jacksonville Suns gets underway at 6:30 p.m. Monday. RHP Jon Moscot (4-6, 2.83) takes the mound for the Wahoos and is scheduled to be opposed by the Suns RHP Jay Rogers (2-2, 4.81).

by Tommy Thrall

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