Ex-Employee Sentenced For Stealing From Cantonment Business

June 27, 2017

The former employee of a Cantonment business has been sentenced for stealing equipment and then pawning it.

Michael Anthony Patterson, 44, was sentenced to 48 months probation for  felony providing false owner information on pawned items, and grand theft. He was also ordered to pay court costs and restitution to the victim.

Patterson was arrested for stealing two Honda generators valued at $2,000 from that garage of  A-1 Small Engines on Highway 29 while he was employed at the business. He then pawned both generators for $310 total at a Pensacola pawn shop, according to an Escambia County Sheriff’s Office report. The business owner was able to pay the $310 and recover the generators after they were identified by serial numbers and unique markings.

He is also charged with stealing and pawning additional items, including plasma cutters and welding equipment. A-1 was able to buy back most of the items at pawn, except for one plasma cutter.

Summer Reading Program Events This Week At Your Library

June 27, 2017

Here’s a look at Summer Reading programs this week at your local branch library:

Summer STEAM: Different Ways of Flying

  • Tuesday, June 27, 2 p.m. – Century Branch Library
  • Wednesday, June 28, 10:30 a.m.  – Tryon Branch Library
  • Thursday, June 29, 2 p.m. – Westside Branch Library

Don’t have wings? Not lighter than air? No worries; there are lots of ways to fly. Come make paper airplanes that don’t come down (as long as the power is on…), balloons that are solar powered (kind of), and other wonky ways of using science, technology, engineering arts and math to wing it.

Pensacola Symphony Orchestra Instrument Petting Zoo

  • Tuesday, June 27, 11 a.m. – Southwest Branch Library (Held at Big Lagoon State Park)
  • Wednesday, June 28, 11 a.m. – Century Branch Library
  • Wednesday, June 28 , 3 p.m. – Pensacola Library
  • Thursday, June 29, 11 a.m. – Molino Branch Library
  • Thursday, June 29, 3 p.m. – Tryon Branch Library

Animals aren’t the only things that can make sounds. Come see, hear and touch different musical instruments. Don’t worry, they won’t bite.

Tate Aggie Cheerleaders Earn Top Awards At Camp

June 27, 2017

The Tate High School Cheerleaders attended the the UCA Camp held June 23-26 at Florida State University.

For a photo gallery, click here.

Each individual team was awarded Spirit Sticks throughout the weekend and all teams earned multiple Superior ribbons during evaluations.

The Team Program won:
Overall Game Day Traditions
Top Banana Award for team Spirit
3 Pin-it Forward Winners
5 All- American Cheerleader Winners

Overall GameDay Champion Freshman Division
Overall Extreme Routine Champion Freshman Divison

Award for earning Superior evaluations all weekend
Award for Most Improved

Overall Champion Game Day Elite Co-ed
2nd Place for Extreme Routine Elite Co-ed

“I am so proud of the efforts, strength and resiliency of each athlete in this program. Tate High School has always held a special place in my heart and it’s exciting to be part of such a great program. We have some amazing athletes and I’m so excited to show the Aggie Nation what we have learned this weekend at UCA Camp,” Head Coach Morgan White said. White serves as the varsity coach, while Karen Potter is freshman coach and Annie Wiggens is junior varsity coach.

For a photo gallery, click here.

Photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Gov. Scott Applauds New Pensacola Bay Bridge Construction

June 27, 2017

Monday, Gov. Rick Scott celebrated the kick off of construction on the new Pensacola Bay Bridge, the largest transportation infrastructure project in Northwest Florida history.

The State of Florida is investing $398.5 million in the new bridge. The new bridge is expected to be completed in 2019 and will temporarily transition four lanes of traffic onto the structure. This will allow for demolition of the existing bridge and completion of the second and final bridge in 2020.

“I was proud to join

Northwest Florida leaders and community members to celebrate the kick off of the new Pensacola Bay Bridge project today. This investment will help increase safety and efficiency for the many families and visitors that travel through this beautiful community each day and will also help support the creation of thousands of jobs. Thanks to our

commitment to making record transportation investments, critical projects like the Pensacola Bay Bridge replacement will help ensure Florida’s transportation infrastructure remains a national leader for generations to come,” Scott said.

The new bridge will consist of two parallel structures, each with three 12-foot travel lanes, two 10-foot shoulders, and a 10-foot multi-use path for pedestrians, joggers, and bicyclists.

The project’s design-build contractor, Skanska USA Civil Southeast, Inc., estimates they will directly employ more than 500 workers to construct the new bridge. Additionally, estimates from the University of West Florida’s Haas Center for Business Research and Economic Development indicate the project will help create and sustain approximately 4,200 jobs in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties, along with an additional 600 jobs throughout Florida.

“I thank Governor Scott, the Florida Legislature and local officials for making this vital investment for Northwest Florida families and businesses. Governor Scott’s policies have led an economic revival across the state. We are at a nearly 10-year-low in unemployment and we are seeing 1,000 people move to the state each day. That’s why our transportation improvements, like the new Pensacola Bay Bridge, are critical to meeting the challenges of growth,” Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Mike Dew said.

Pictured above and below: Gov. Rick Scott marks the construction kick off of the new Pensacola Bay Bridge in Pensacola late Monday morning. Pictured bottom: A computer generated image of the new bridge. Photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Scott Signs Economic Development And School Funding Bills

June 27, 2017

Gov. Rick Scott signed 29 bills late Monday, including measures boosting spending on education, tourism marketing and economic development.

By signing the bills, and vetoing five more, Scott essentially closed the books on this year’s regular and special legislative sessions.

The bills Scott approved included perhaps one of the hardest-fought wins of his time as governor: a measure (HB 1A) that provided $76 million for the tourism-marketing agency Visit Florida; established an $85 million fund to pay for infrastructure improvements and job training to help draw businesses; and set aside $50 million in repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dike along Lake Okeechobee.

That legislation was approved in this month’s special session, after the House refused to approve direct business incentives that Scott prefers and gave him far less for Visit Florida than he had requested during the regular session, which ended in May.

“With this legislation, we can promote public infrastructure projects and job training projects to continue to grow jobs for families in every community of our state,” Scott said in a statement issued by his office. “We know that for Florida to be competitive in domestic and international markets, we need as many tools as possible to attract growing businesses to our state.”

Scott also signed another bill from the special session (HB 3A) boosting per-student spending in the state’s main formula for funding public education by $100. The budget for public schools had originally only increased spending by $24 a student, leading to charges from critics that it was too stingy and prompting a rare veto by Scott.

The governor hailed the increase Monday.

“Our students are the future of our state and I’m incredibly proud to sign legislation today to ensure they have every opportunity for success,” he said.

During the special session, some Democrats had complained that the increase wouldn’t offset what they said would be the negative impact of HB 7069, a controversial and wide-ranging education bill Scott approved shortly after the special session as part of a rumored deal with House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’ Lakes.

“It’s an increase — but at what cost?” asked Rep. Cynthia Stafford, a Miami Democrat who pointed out that funding for education is still short of pre-recession levels when inflation is factored in. “The state has recovered, but education funding has not.”

Scott also signed several other education bills Monday, including a measure (HB 15) expanding eligibility for a program that helps pay for educational services for students with disabilities and boosting the size of voucher-like tax credit scholarships that help parents pay for private school tuition.

In addition, the governor approved HB 989, which overhauls the state’s policy on instructional materials to allow any county resident — not just parents — to challenge materials used at schools.

In all, Scott signed 230 of the bills lawmakers approved during this year’s regular legislative session, while vetoing 11. He signed all four bills that passed during the special session.

by Brandon Larrabee, The News Service of Florida

Scott Appoints Jimmy Patronis As Florida CFO

June 27, 2017

Florida’s next chief financial officer will be one of Gov. Rick Scott’s original political allies.

Scott on Monday turned to former state Rep. Jimmy Patronis, 45, to complete the term of Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, who will leave the elected Cabinet office Friday for a job at Florida Atlantic University.

Scott said he wanted someone who could “step in and do a really good job.”

“He’s got a breadth of knowledge about a lot of things,” Scott said during an appearance at Patronis’ family-owned Capt. Anderson’s Restaurant in Panama City.

A Florida State University graduate, Patronis will be sworn in Friday to the $128,972-a-year job, joining Attorney General Pam Bondi and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam on the Cabinet.

The move was Scott’s third major appointment of Patronis, who served in the state House for eight years.

Scott appointed Patronis in 2014 to the Florida Public Service Commission. Patronis submitted his resignation Sunday from the $131,036-a-year position on the utility regulatory panel.

In March, Patronis was among a number of political loyalists the governor appointed to the state Constitution Revision Commission.

Patronis, a Republican from Panama City, was an early political supporter of Scott in 2010, when the governor was a largely unknown multi-millionaire from Naples who was challenging Republican establishment favorite Bill McCollum in a GOP primary.

Atwater, who was elected CFO in 2010 and re-elected in 2014, quickly offered support for Scott’s selection of Patronis.

“He’s a dedicated public servant with a proven record, an esteemed entrepreneur and a great man,” Atwater said in a statement. “And he’s just accepted the best job in the state of Florida!”

The move gives Scott another firm ally on the Cabinet. And while Patronis wouldn’t commit to running for a full term as chief financial officer, Scott could have a potential friend on the campaign trail in 2018 if, as widely expected, Scott runs for U.S. Senate.

“There will be plenty of time to talk about politics later,” Patronis said Monday. “Right now, I’m just focused on doing the best job that I can as CFO for the state.”

Patronis, who said Scott told him of the selection on Sunday, said he won’t work at the restaurant, which has often served as a campaign backdrop for Scott.

“The role is to be a full-time officer of the state of Florida,” Patronis said. “It’s impossible to put 40 hours, or 70 hours a week during the summer, here at Capt. Anderson’s Restaurant and take on the role of representing every citizen.”

Bay County Commissioner Griff Griffitts, who has known Patronis since the two were a year apart in elementary school, said the former legislator and his family have given back to the community, which should translate statewide.

“He brings lots of experience, not only in the state and in the public sector, but the private sector,” Griffitts said. “His experience in the Legislature, he’ll use that really well. And then his service in the restaurant industry, dealing with the public and the people every day, he will be a great CFO for the state. I don’t know if it will benefit Bay County more than it will any other county in the state, other than we’ve got our local boy that’s in this position. He will not show favoritism to anybody.”

But the Florida Democratic Party quickly blasted Scott’s selection of Patronis as “cronyism.”

“Floridians are facing rising insurance rates and stagnant wages, but Rick Scott is propping up yet another yes-man rather than prioritizing the needs of working Floridians,” Democratic spokeswoman Johanna Cervone said in a prepared statement. “This governor has stacked nearly every appointment with special interest lackeys rather than the most qualified candidates.”

Also, Pasco County Tax Collector Mike Fasano, a Republican who served in the Legislature with Patronis, tweeted Sunday: “Let’s not forget who voted as FL PSC Commissioner to increase Utility rates on every Duke Energy and FPL.”

Democrat Jeremy Ring, a former state senator from Parkland and former executive with the internet firm Yahoo, is the only candidate who has opened a campaign account to run for chief financial officer. Ring said Monday that Scott’s appointment of Patronis won’t sway his decision to run.

Atwater announced in February he was stepping down early to become a vice president at Florida Atlantic University managing finances and economic development. As chief financial officer, Atwater has overseen Florida’s finances, helped make Cabinet decisions on issues such as preserving land and played a number of other roles, such as serving as the state fire marshal.

Atwater teamed with Scott in 2012 to push legislation intended to reform the personal-injury protection portion of auto insurance coverage.

But Atwater’s support for Scott on Cabinet issues wavered in 2015 over the abrupt departure of Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey, whose exit was orchestrated by the governor’s office. Last year, Scott and Atwater also clashed in their joint appointment of a new insurance commissioner.

After Atwater announced he would leave the CFO post, numerous names were mentioned as possible replacements They included Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, former state Rep. Tom Grady of Naples, state Sens. Jeff Brandes of St. Petersburg, Tom Lee of Thonotosassa, Lizbeth Benacquisto of Fort Myers Jack Latvala of Clearwater, and state Rep. Joe Gruters of Sarasota.

by Jim Turner, The News Service of Florida

Pensacola Snaps Losing Streak To Chattanooga

June 27, 2017

In his first game back with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, right-hander Austin Ross picked up right where he left off.

Ross allowed one run in six innings on six hits and three walks while striking out six to help Pensacola snap a nine-game losing streak to the Chattanooga Lookouts with a, 6-1, victory Monday at AT&T Field.

Not only that but the Blue Wahoos snapped a seven-game losing streak with Ross’ strong outing. Ross struck out five hitters in the first four innings. His record remained a perfect 6-0 with Pensacola and he owns a 1.23 ERA.

The 28-year-old was called up May 30 to the Triple-A Louisville Bats where he started four of five games, going 2-2 with a 4.91 ERA.

Chattanooga loaded the bases in the first inning but scored only one run when DH Jon Rodriguez hit a sacrifice fly to score shortstop Nick Gordon, putting the Lookouts ahead, 1-0.

But the Blue Wahoos fought back to tie the game, 1-1, in the fifth inning when right fielder Aristides Aquino singled in left fielder Josh VanMeter, who smacked a leadoff triple.

Pensacola added two more runs in its next at bat in the sixth inning to go up, 3-1. Coming through again with two outs and runners in scoring position was — no surprise — VanMeter, who doubled to center to score third baseman Nick Senzel and first baseman Gavin LaValley. VanMeter is 13-31 (.419) in the situation and has 18 of his 31 RBIs on the season.

Blue Wahoos relievers Ismael Guillon and Carlos Gonzalez blanked Chattanooga over the last three innings.

LaValley hit a three-run homer on a blast to left field, putting Pensacola in control of the game in the eighth inning, 6-1.

The 22-year-old LaValley, who played his first five-game series in Double-A, shined. Called up from High-A Daytona Tortugas, the 6-foot-3 LaValley hit .353, going 6-17, with two doubles, two home runs and six RBIs.

Meanwhile, VanMeter, who was chosen to the Southern League All-Star game, went 3-4 with a double and triple, scored a run and knocked in two.

Coughlin Named Escambia County Assistant County Administrator

June 26, 2017

Matthew Coughlin has been selected to fill the vacant Escambia County assistant county administrator position. His duties will include oversight of departments and their strategic plans, along with development of clear performance benchmarks to meet the commission’s objectives.

Coughlin joins current Assistant County Administrator Amy Lovoy, as the two most senior positions under County Administrator Jack Brown. Coughlin’s first day with the county will be Monday, July 24.

The opportunity to serve the community and impact the area’s quality of life was one of Coughlin’s main motivating factors for applying for the position.

“It is an honor to be selected,” Coughlin said. “I hope that my experience and enthusiasm to serve can help advance the county’s mission to enhance the quality of life for all its citizenry.”

When asked about what he brings to the position, he said he hopes one area where he will stand out is the importance he places on working together toward a common goal.

“I hope to focus on strengthening our community by reinforcing current relationships, finding common ground where no collaboration exists. Forming new partnerships is key to advocating and working successfully for the people of the county,” he said.

Currently the assistant director of the Pensacola International Airport, Coughlin is responsible for the daily management of the Small Hub FAA part 139 certified airport, with a $26 million budget. Prior to his time with the city, he had a successful 24-year career as a Naval officer and aviator.

His final tour was as Naval Air Station Whiting Field’s base commanding officer from 2011 to 2014. While there, he was well-known for his community involvement and support while successfully fulfilling a mission that included overseeing a workforce of more than 3,000 personnel, managing an infrastructure that encompasses over 13,000 acres of property and 4,500 nautical square miles of airspace and airfields that equated to 14 percent of all Naval flight hours flown worldwide. Additionally, NAS Whiting Field volunteered more than 60,000 hours in the local community under his leadership.

A native of Greenfield, Massachusetts, Coughlin holds a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from Western New England University, a Master of Science in management from the Naval Post Graduate School and a Master of Science in national resource strategy from the National Defense University.

Over 250 applications for the assistant county administrator position were received, and 10 people were interviewed. Coughlin was the unanimous choice of the selection committee.

Pensacola Traffic Crash Claims One Life

June 26, 2017

A Pensacola man was killed in a single vehicle crash Sunday night.

Officer Ronald Boutin said the crash occurred just before 11 p.m. near the intersection of Bayou Boulevard and Inverness Drive.

Boutin said a 2002 Chevrolet Avalanche driven by 38-year old Scott Baehr was northbound on Bayou Boulevard when he lost control in the curve near Inverness, over corrected and left the road. The truck then struck a parked excavator and rolled over.

Baehr, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was partially ejected and died at the scene, Boutin said.

Escambia 4-H Offering Tailgating, Sewing And CSI Day Camps

June 26, 2017

Escambia County 4-H is offering summer programs designed to give your child the opportunity to develop character, valuable life skills, make new friends and discover new interests.

A “Beginner Sewing Day Camp” and a “Breakfast Day Camp” have already been held.

The day camps are open to youth ages 8 (as of Sept. 1, 2016) to 18, unless otherwise noted. Still to come are:

Tailgate Day Camp
July 5-6; 9 a.m.- 3.p.m.
Ages: 11+, Limit 20 Youth; $10

This camp will allow youth the opportunity to learn about all aspects of meat, grilling, and food preparation. Youth will use a 14 inch charcoal grill to cook beef, pork, poultry, and seafood in an outdoor setting.

Intermediate Sewing Day Camp
July 18 and 20; 9 a.m.- 3.p.m.
Ages: 12+, Limit 15 Youth; $10

This intermediate level camp will allow youth to become proficient using a sewing machine. Youth will have the opportunity to make pillowcases, tote bags, and much more!

CSI Day Camp
July 17 9 a.m.- 3.p.m. or July 19; 9 a.m.- 3.p.m.
Ages: 11+, Limit 12 Youth per Day; $10

This camp will focus on crime scene investigation techniques, including using UV light, chromatography, fingerprint and handwriting ID, and much more. The same information will be presented both days.

Registration forms are available online at escambia.ifas.ufl.edu/4h/day-camps. Please note that space is limited and is offered on a first come, first served basis. Registration should be completed at least one week before the camp begins including payment of any fees. For more information, please contact Belinda Spann at 850-475-5230 or bspann@ufl.edu.

For more Sewing and Breakfast day camp photos, click here.

Pictured top: A Sewing Day Camp and (pictured inset) A Breakfast Day Camp held previously this summer by Escambia County 4-H. Courtesy photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

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