All Star Football Game Is Friday At Wahoos Stadium

December 14, 2016

Friday, the best seniors from Escambia, Santa Rosa, and Okaloosa Counties will play in the 13th annual Subway High School All-Star Football Game.  For the first time the game will be held at the Blue Wahoos Stadium.

Gates will open at 6 p.m. for a 7 p.m. kickoff. Tickets to the game are $11 at the gate, $9 with a canned food item for Manna Food Bank

This year’s roster and coaches are:

2016 East Football Roster
Head Coach: Kent Smith

Catholic – AJ Yates – WR
Catholic – Grant Wood – OL
Catholic – Blake Brazwell – OL
Escambia – Z’Khari Blocker – QB
Escambia – Martin McGhee – RB
Escambia – Tre Lewis – DB
Escambia – Jaylen Pant – LB
Escambia – Amarquez Moore – LB
Escambia – Chris Olshefskie – OL
Escambia – Justin Brown – OL
Escambia – Thomas Wright – OL
Escambia – Shountrell Hills – DL
Northview – Luke Ward – WR
Northview – Ohijie Elliot – LB
Pensacola – Ashton Stephens – QB
Pensacola – Walter Granderson – WR
Pensacola – Anton Brown – DB
Pensacola – Nehemiah Jones – DB
Pensacola – Robert Reeves – LB
Pensacola – Troy Davis – LB
Pensacola – Reggie Wade – DL
Pensacola – Terrell Lightening-Hall – DL
Pine Forest – Mohamed Kader – K
Pine Forest – Chris Williams – DB
Pine Forest – Travis Peacock – WR
Pine Forest – Jaden Gardner – RB
Pine Forest – James Howard – DB
Pine Forest – Xavier Saulsberry – RB
Pine Forest – Wesley Philpot – LB
Pine Forest – Chris Tubbs – OL
Pine Forest – Clarence Hicks – DL
Pine Forest – Jaiveon Gardner – DL
Tate – Rodriquez Smith – WR
Tate – Evan Legassey – K
Tate – Jake Henry – QB
Tate – Raymond Freeman – TE/LS
Tate – Jared Bethea – OL
Tate – Caleb Campbell – DL
Washington – Desmond Bettis – OL
Washington – Marsalis Jackson – TE
West Florida – Da’Quaris Gaines – DB
West Florida – Antonio Moultrie – DL
West Florida – Vidal Scott – DL

2016 West Football Roster
Head Coach: Jerry Pollard

Baker – Josh Springle – K
Baker – Logan Rickmon – WR
Baker – DiNick Thomas – DL
Choctaw – Isaac Smith – WR
Choctaw – Alex Ward – TE/Snapper
Choctaw – Graylon Johnson – DL
Crestview – Yo Fredrick – WR
Crestview – Walter Amos – OL
Crestview – Mike Robinson – DL
FWB – Evan Mitchell – WR/S
FWB – John Quitugua – DB
FWB – Ajani Huyghue – FB/SB
Gulf Breeze – Matt DeMahy – DB
Gulf Breeze – Parker Baynes – WR/RB
Jay – Matthew Saylor – LB/FB
Milton – Tristan Saterfield – LB/P
Milton – Cody Hanks – OL
Milton – Keith Waitman – OL
Navarre – Jordan Williams – WR
Navarre – Caine Adamson – QB
Navarre – Lee Jones – DB
Navarre – Xavier Fernandez – LB
Navarre – Bo Hering – LB
Navarre – A.J Neal – OL
Navarre – Lamarcus Smith – OL
Navarre – Mark-Ryan Struck – DL
Niceville – Jeff Toney – QB
Niceville – Justin Veras – DB
Niceville – Braijon Carr – DB
Niceville – Jordan Tinder – RB
Niceville – Blake McCrae – LB
Niceville – Jake Nihill – OL
Niceville – Seth Witt – DE/LB
Pace – Nate Ramirez – WR
Pace – Tony Gibson – DB
Pace – Anthony Johnson – RB
Pace – Jaxon Adams – DE/HB
Pace – Layne Plant – LB
Pace – Logan Pitts – OL
Rocky Bayou – Colton Norris – K

Sweet Christmas Treat: Students Build Gingerbread Houses

December 14, 2016

Students at Molino Park Elementary School recently created their own custom gingerbread houses.

For more photos, click here. photos by Kristi Barbour, click to enlarge.

Williams Ditch Road Area Boil Water Notice Lifted

December 14, 2016

UPDATE 12/14  12:10 pm — This boil water notice has been rescinded by the water company. Testing shows the water to be safe to drink.

Cottage Hill Water Works has issued a precautionary boil water notice for Williams Ditch Road and all the side streets connected to Williams Ditch Road. The notice was issued after a water main break at 230 Williams Ditch Road.

As a precaution, it is  advised that all water used for drinking, cooking, making ice, brushing teeth, or washing dishes be boiled. A rolling boil of  one minute is sufficient.  A s an alternative, bottled water may be used. Residents are also advised to take precautions when bathing, especiallly immunocompromised individuals, infants, or the elderly.

A loss in system pressure could cause the entry of contaminants, such as E. Coli bacteria, into the water system. water containing E. Coli  bacteria can be considered safe for drinking and cooking after vigorously boiling the water. Disease symptoms caused by these  bacteria may include diarrhea, cramps, nausea, and possibly jaundice, and any associated headache and fatigue. The EPA has set an enforceable drinking water standard for E. Coli to reduce the risk of these adverse health effects. Under this standard all drinking water must be free of these bacteria.

The water system is currently collecting samples to determine if the presence of e.coli bacteria exists within the water system. This precautionary boil water notice will remain in effect until the problem has been corrected and a bacteriological survey shows that the water is safe to drink.

For more information, call (850) 968-5485.

Florida Lawmakers Look At Next Steps For Medical Marijuana

December 14, 2016

A Senate panel Tuesday began exploring issues surrounding medical marijuana as lawmakers prepare to carry out a constitutional amendment overwhelmingly approved by voters in November.

The Senate Health Policy Committee heard from a cannabis vendor, patient advocates, doctors and opponents of Amendment 2, which legalized medical marijuana for a broad swath of patients and set Florida in position to become one of the largest pot markets in the nation.

“The voters have spoken. It is our duty as their elected representatives to implement this amendment appropriately,” committee Chairwoman Dana Young, R-Tampa, said at the onset of the two-hour meeting.

One of the biggest issues facing the Legislature is whether to expand the number of businesses authorized by the state to grow, process and distribute marijuana to an estimated 500,000 patients who would be eligible for the treatment when the amendment goes into effect in January.

Florida lawmakers first approved non-euphoric medical marijuana for a limited number of patients in 2014 and expanded the law to include full-strength pot for terminally ill patients early this year.

The Florida Department of Health has issued licenses to six “dispensing organizations” and could issue three more, once the number of patients in a statewide registry reaches 250,000. The Legislature added the provision for the additional licenses during the spring session in anticipation that the constitutional amendment would pass.

But Ben Pollara, campaign manager for the “United for Care” political committee that backed the initiative, told the Senate panel on Tuesday that the current number of licenses would not meet the expectations of voters or the language of the amendment, which requires health officials to issue “reasonable” regulations regarding medical marijuana.

Since the initiative received more than 70 percent approval in November, “it is more than a fair assessment to say that a vote for Amendment 2 was a vote to expand the market here,” Pollara said.

The six dispensing organizations now authorized to sell medical marijuana were supposed to provide products to an estimated 100,000 patients, Pollara said.

To expect those businesses to serve a consumer base five times greater than anticipated “simply doesn’t make sense,” he added.

But Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers, the head of the first company to start distributing medical marijuana in Florida, told the committee that her organization now has the capacity to serve 72,000 patients and would soon be able to provide products to 650,000 patients.

About 1,300 patients eligible for medical marijuana under the laws passed in 2014 and early this year are registered in a statewide database, and 240 doctors have received the training required to order the treatment, state Office of Compassionate Use Director Christian Bax said Tuesday.

Those numbers are expected to escalate after the amendment goes into effect next month, Bax predicted.

“As a state, we will be watched to ensure we have a robust regulatory system,” he said.

Law enforcement officials and opponents of the amendment asked lawmakers to consider imposing restrictions on the kinds of products that can be sold, including candy, and want local governments to have the discretion to regulate issues such as zoning and signage.

“We are not here to be obstructionists. We are here to be honest brokers in dealing with this matter, trying to provide a law enforcement perspective that is a value add to this. The people have spoken. It is clear,” Walton County Sheriff Michael Adkinson, Jr., said.

Others urged lawmakers to tread carefully with what some opponents deem a “gateway” to more hardcore drugs.

“If we don’t aggressively seek to limit the use and sale of marijuana, our country and state as we know it will never be the same. Florida will be trading our beautiful white, sandy beaches filled with vacationing families for a hazy, skunk-smelling coastline laden with unemployable, unmotivated homeless people,” said Teresa Miller, a drug prevention activist and founder of the “” website.

As the committee mulls imposing restrictions, some people in the pot business are asking legislators to loosen provisions in the current laws they contend are a barrier to treatment.

Rivers and Mark Hashim, a pain management physician, asked the Legislature to consider doing away with the requirement that doctor treats patient for at least three months before being able to order medical marijuana for them.

Hashim said he recently encountered a terminally ill patient who likely had less than two months to live, but he could not assist her because he had not treated her for 90 days. The patient was unable to access the marijuana treatment because her other doctors were not authorized to order it, Hashim said.

“I have to look her in the face and say, I have something that might help you but I can’t give it to you,” he said.

by Dara Kam, The News Service of Florida

Fire Adds Another Red Bulb To Safety Wreath

December 13, 2016

A fire on the 6300 block of North Blue Angel Parkway represents the fifth red bulb on the “Keep the Wreath Green” fire safety wreath. Escambia County Emergency Communications received multiple calls for the residential structure fire at 7:07 p.m. Monday, Dec. 12.

Crews arrived on scene to find a working fire of a single wide trailer. The fire was called under control at 7:40 p.m., with moderate damage to the residence. No one was injured in the fire, including the family’s six cats who were rescued by the firefighters. However, the two residents were displaced. Escambia Fire Rescue Stations 1, 2, 11, Ladder 12, Navy Fire Truck 34 and EMS responded.

The “Keep the Wreath Green” fire safety campaign is a collaborative initiative with the city of Pensacola to promote fire safety during the month of December. During the month-long campaign, five-foot wreaths are on display at 18 county fire stations and five city fire stations, with wreaths also placed outside Escambia County’s Ernie Lee Magaha Government Building downtown, the Escambia County Public Safety Building, Pensacola City Hall and Cordova Mall near the food court entrance. Each time firefighters respond to a residential fire with damage, a green light bulb will be replaced with a red one to remind citizens of the dangers posed by fires in residential home. For more tips on how to stay safe during the holiday season, visit

Guidy Lane Wreck Claims One Life

December 13, 2016

An Escambia County man died as the result of a single vehicle crash Tuesday morning.

The Florida Highway Patrol said 79-year old James Donald Crabtree was southbound on Guidy Lane when he ran off the roadway in his 2002 Chevrolet van and struck a fence and a tree near Grace Drive about 5:40 a.m. Crabtree was transported to West Florida Hospital where he was pronounced deceased at 6:34 a.m.

Walnut Hill Woman Charged With Attacking Her Elderly Mother With A Hammer

December 13, 2016

A Walnut Hill woman as been arrested for attacking her elderly mother with a hammer.

Shivoyer Monee English, 35, was charged with felony aggravated battery using a deadly weapon and felony battery on a person 65 years of age or older following the incident on Juniper Street on Sunday.

English’s mother told Escambia County Sheriff’s deputies that the two had been arguing about a vehicle over the weekend. She said the argument escalated, with English walking into her bedroom with a hammer. The mother said she was in the bed when English  hit her with the hammer, but she took action to avoid most of the force from the blow. After the mother grabbed the hammer, English punched her in the face multiple times and kicked her in the stomach, according to an arrest report.

The mother then left the home and walked to a neighbor’s house to call for help.

An arrest report detail injuries to the mother and states that she refused EMS transport to the hospital, saying that she would go to the hospital on her own.

English remained in the Escambia County Jail Tuesday with bond set at $50,000.

Ernest Ward To Hold School Advisory Council Meeting

December 13, 2016

Ernest Ward Middle School will hold  a School Advisory Council meeting at 8:00 am on Wednesday.  The meeting will be held in a meeting room located above the media center. The SAC  will discuss AdvancED School Accreditation, Chromebooks, and upcoming events.  Breakfast will be provided. The public is invited to attend.

For more information, contact the school at (850) 327-4283.

Byrneville Students Present Christmas Musical (With Gallery)

December 13, 2016

Byrneville Elementary School’s third, fourth and fifth graders presented their annual Christmas musical Monday night at Northview High School. Students in grades K-2 will present their Christmas musical Tuesday night at 6:30, also at Northview High School.

For more photos, click here. photos, click to enlarge.

Florida Worker’s Comp Rate Hike Continues Amid Legal Battle

December 13, 2016

A state appeals court Monday said an increase in workers’ compensation insurance rates will continue amid a legal battle about whether Florida’s Sunshine Law was violated during the ratemaking process.

The 1st District Court of Appeal approved a stay of a Nov. 23 ruling in which Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers said the 14.5 percent rate increase should be rejected because of Sunshine Law violations. The stay will remain in place while the appeals court considers appeals of Gievers’ Sunshine Law ruling.

With businesses gradually getting hit with the rate hikes starting Dec. 1, the appeals court said it will consider the appeal on an “expedited” basis. But it appears a ruling on the appeal will not come until February at the earliest, as the court set a Feb. 2 deadline for filing final briefs.

The state Office of Insurance Regulation and the National Council on Compensation Insurance, an organization that files rate proposals for workers’ compensation insurers, appealed Gievers’ ruling. The appeals court approved a temporary stay that allowed the rate hikes to take effect Dec. 1 and then followed up in Monday’s order to keep the stay in place.

A three-judge panel, made up of Chief Judge Clay Roberts and judges Brad Thomas and Lori Rowe, did not explain their reasoning for approving the stay.

In the Nov. 23 ruling, Gievers said, in part, that the National Council on Compensation Insurance, commonly known as NCCI, did not comply with legal requirements about holding public meetings during its deliberations on the hike. Also, she wrote that the organization held improper closed-door meetings with staff members of the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.

James F. Fee Jr., a Miami attorney who represents injured workers, filed the lawsuit Aug. 10, as insurance regulators were considering an NCCI proposal to raise rates by 19.6 percent. The Office of Insurance Regulation later required that the proposal be scaled back, and the 14.5 percent hike was approved in October.

NCCI issued a statement late Monday saying it was pleased with the appeals court’s decision to extend the stay while considering the Sunshine Law issues.

“We continue to believe that NCCI, (Insurance Commissioner David) Altmaier, and the Office of Insurance Regulation have fully complied with the law,” NCCI said in the statement. “NCCI looks forward to presenting its case to the appellate court.”

The rate hike stems largely from two Florida Supreme Court rulings this year that found parts of the workers’ compensation system unconstitutional. The most-prominent ruling rejected strict limits on fees that can be paid to attorneys who represent injured workers.

The rulings and the rate hike are expected to lead to workers’ compensation insurance being one of the biggest issues of the 2017 legislative session. A key battleground will be attorneys’ fees, with business groups arguing that fees drive up insurance costs. Meanwhile, attorneys for injured workers blame the insurance industry for higher rates.

Bill Herrle, executive director of the small-business group NFIB/Florida, said in a text Monday night that the appeals court’s decision on the stay clears the way for the broader legislative debate on the workers’ compensation system.

“Now we can get on with fixing the workers’ compensation crisis, and it looks like the trial lawyers can’t keep hidden from legislators the data from OIR and NCCI that shows just how outrageous attorneys’ fees are,” Herrle said.

But earlier Monday, Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, indicated he wants to take a broad look at the workers’ compensation insurance system — including looking at the fees paid to attorneys who represent insurance companies.

“I don’t know that I’ve ever heard anyone talk about defense fees, and it turns out they are actually significantly more than the claimants’ fees in the (workers’) comp system,” Negron said. “And then I want to have a focus not just on addressing or reacting to the Supreme Court ruling but looking at the entire system because my commitment (is) to business owners, to small business entrepreneurs, to others in the construction industry to make sure that the financial burden on them is at a level as it should be and not based on other outside forces.”

Negron also said he wants to look at how the 14.5 percent rate increase was reached and focus on premiums paid by business owners.

“In the Senate, we want to look at the whole system on how rates are determined and make sure that proposed rate increases are in fact justified and are being arrived at in a fair and appropriate manner,” Negron said.

by Jim Saunders, The News Service of Florida

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