ECAT Announces New Routes Beginning Next Week

March 24, 2016

Escambia County Area Transit (ECAT) has announced new routes beginning April 1. Effecting Routes 41 and 42, updates include improvements like increased frequency, new service areas and more buses. Changes are as follows:

•         Route 41 will be split into 2 Routes, and will become 31 and 41.

o   Route 31: bi-directional service between Downtown and Pensacola State College along 12th Avenue and Bayou Blvd, with added service to Target, Winn-Dixie and Sacred Heart Hospital.

o   Route 41: service to Summit Blvd, and a portion of Scenic Highway.

•         Route 42 will be split into 2 Routes, and will become 32 and 52.

o   Route 32: bi-directional service between Downtown and ECAT Rosa Parks Transit Center on Fairfield Drive.

o   Route 52: service to Cordova Mall via Pensacola State College along 9th Avenue, with increased frequency during peak hours.

“We are excited to introduce these new and improved routes to the community,” said Tonya Ellis, Director of Marketing and Community Relations for ECAT. “By listening to rider feedback, recommendations from recent transportation plans, and continually striving to make strategic improvements, our team is always working to meet customer needs and improve public transportation for the people of Escambia County.”

Bush Tosses Support To Cruz in GOP Race

March 24, 2016

After repeatedly clashing with Republican front-runner Donald Trump during the campaign, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Wednesday endorsed Ted Cruz in the battle for the GOP presidential nomination.

Bush made the announcement a little more than a month after dropping his bid for the presidency and about a week after Trump won 66 of the 67 counties in Florida’s Republican primary. The support for Cruz, a Texas senator, came as party leaders frantically try to head off the billionaire Trump, whose controversial outsider campaign has drawn support across the country among GOP voters.

In a prepared statement, Bush described Cruz as “a consistent, principled conservative who has demonstrated the ability to appeal to voters and win primary contests.”

But Bush also pointedly raised the concern of many party leaders that Trump would turn off general-election voters and keep a Democrat in the White House.

“For the sake of our party and country, we must move to overcome the divisiveness and vulgarity Donald Trump has brought into the political arena, or we will certainly lose our chance to defeat the Democratic nominee and reverse President Obama’s failed policies,” Bush said. “To win, Republicans need to make this election about proposing solutions to the many challenges we face, and I believe that we should vote for Ted as he will do just that.”

Bush was widely seen as the establishment favorite for the nomination, piling up endorsements and contributions. But he fared poorly in early states and dropped out of the race Feb. 20.

The two-term Florida governor was the frequent target of Trump’s attacks. Perhaps most notably, Trump described Bush as “low energy,” a description that got widespread attention and dogged Bush, who appeared more comfortable discussing policy issues than getting dragged into the noisy back-and-forth arguments that have played a major role in the GOP campaign.

Wednesday’s announcement came the morning after Trump won the Arizona primary and Cruz won the Utah caucus. As another example of how Republican leaders have lined up against Trump, 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney announced last week that he would vote for Cruz in the Utah caucus. Also, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who dropped out of this year’s presidential race and then supported Bush, said he would back Cruz.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich also remains in the Republican race but is far behind Trump and Cruz in delegates. Bush’s statement did not mention Kasich.

Cruz said he was “truly honored” to have Bush’s backing.

“His endorsement today is further evidence that Republicans are continuing to unite behind our campaign to nominate a proven conservative to defeat Hillary Clinton in November, take back the White House, and ensure a freer and more prosperous America for future generations,” Cruz said in a prepared statement.

by Jim Saunders, The News Service of Florida

Free Storm Recovery Legal Assistance Offered

March 24, 2016

Representatives of Legal Service of Northwest Florida were at the Century Town Hall Wednesday providing free property related legal assistance for tornado victims.

Tornado victims must ensure that property titles and deeds, homestead exemptions and back taxes are in order before applying for any damage aid that may become available.

For more information or assistance, call Legal Services of North Florida at (850) 432-8222.

Missing 83-Year Old Found Safe

March 23, 2016

UPDATE: A missing 83-year old man from Atmore was located Wednesday night at the Pace Assembly of God by a Santa Rosa County deputy. The man was in good physical condition. and family member were called to take him home.


Authorities are asking for the public’s help in finding a missing elderly man with dementia that may have been traveling from Atmore to Pensacola.

George Haley is an 83-year old black male with brown eyes and gray hair. He was last seen at his residence on Freemanville Drive north of Atmore about 5:00 a.m. Wednesday. He may be traveling in a 2002 white Dodge Dakota with Al8785AH6 . If anyone has any information regarding the whereabouts of George Haley,  contact the Escambia County (AL) Sheriff’s Department at (251) 867-0304 or call 911.

Man Allegedly Beat With Logging Chain After Petting Dog; One Charged

March 23, 2016

A Century man has been charged with allegedly beating a man with a logging chain after he petted his dog.

Sim Brown III, 21, was charged with felony aggravated battery causing bodily harm. The victim told Escambia County Sheriff’s deputies that he met with Brown on Bonwell Street in Century about selling some vehicle speakers. When he arrived at Brown’s residence, the victim said he reached down and petted a dog that chained in the front yard. Brown then told the victim not to touch his dog, leading to a verbal altercation that turned physical, according to an arrest report.

Brown then allegedly struck the victim with a logging chain in the head, back and arms. Several unknown black males also jumped on the victim before Brown wrapped the chain around his fist and punched him in the mouth, rendering the victim unconscious.

The victim was later treated at Jay Hospital for his injuries.

Brown was released from the Escambia County Jail on a $50,000 bond.

Scott Ready To Take Action On Stack Of Bills

March 23, 2016

It’s time for Gov. Rick Scott to have his say.

Scott during the next four days will take action on more than 100 bills passed during this year’s legislative session, including a proposal to expand regulations on abortion clinics and a measure that would allow terminally ill patients to have access to medical marijuana.

The vast majority of the bills are likely safe from Scott’s veto pen, as they focus on relatively non-controversial issues. As an example, about two dozen of the bills deal with local issues for specific communities or counties — bills that typically draw little discussion from lawmakers.

But Scott, who can sign, veto or let bills become law without his signature, will make other decisions that will spark debate. Perhaps the highest-profile decision will focus on a bill (HB 1411) that would increase abortion-clinic regulations and bar public funding for organizations affiliated with abortion clinics, such as Planned Parenthood.

Opponents of the bill delivered thousands of petitions to Scott’s office last week calling on him to veto the bill. They argue, at least in part, that it is an attempt to limit the ability of women to have abortions. But supporters of the bill say increased clinic regulations are needed and that tax dollars should not go to groups such as Planned Parenthood. Supporters have urged Scott to sign the measure by a Saturday deadline.

The session ended March 11, and legislative leaders formally send bills to Scott in batches. The bills due for action this week were sent to him in the final days of the session, and he had 15 days to consider them. He faces a Wednesday deadline for nine bills; a Thursday deadline for 34 bills; a Friday deadline for 21 bills; and a Saturday deadline for 48 bills, according to a list on the governor’s website.

Along wither the abortion bill, another high-profile measure (HB 307) would allow people with terminal illnesses to have access to medical marijuana and also would make changes in a 2014 law aimed at allowing some patients to use non-euphoric forms of cannabis. Scott is required to take action on that bill by a Friday deadline.

He also will take action this week on a heavily lobbied bill (HB 819) that could ultimately lead to changes in the way dental services are provided to children in the state’s Medicaid program. Scott faces a Thursday deadline on the bill, which is opposed by the managed-care industry.

Other pending bills drew headlines during the legislative session, though they were approved by large margins. For instance, Scott has a Wednesday deadline on a bill (SB 242) that would allow the creation of a pilot needle-exchange program in Miami-Dade County and a bill (SB 636) that would seek to speed up DNA testing in suspected rape cases.

On Thursday, meanwhile, Scott has a deadline for a bill (HB 93) that would require law-enforcement agencies to set policies if they use body cameras. Two days later, he is required to take action on a measure (HB 1061) that seeks to allow nurses to practice across state lines.

by The News Service of Florida

Gulf Power Warns Of Continuing Scam Against Customers

March 23, 2016

Scammers continue to target Gulf Power customers in a scheme where business owners and residential customers receive calls from a person claiming to represent Gulf Power and demanding payment — or their electric service will be cut off.

Gulf Power continues to work with law enforcement in reporting these incidents, but the company has received an escalated amount of calls from customers reporting fraudulent calls in recent months. Customers are being told their electric bill is past due and that their electricity will be cut off if the customer does not provide a credit card payment or other forms of immediate payment.

Gulf Power advises customers that:

Gulf Power employees will never call a customer at home seeking any personal information, including credit card numbers.
Gulf Power representatives will never ask a customer for money when they visit a residence.
• All Gulf Power representatives carry badges with picture identification that includes the employee’s name and the company’s name and logo.

Customers should call Gulf Power at 1-800-225-5797 if they have any questions about the identity of anyone representing Gulf Power.

Gulf Power is working with local law enforcement agencies to identify the perpetrators. If anyone has been victimized by one of these schemes, or has any information about suspects, they are asked to call local law enforcement and to contact Gulf Power at 1-800-225-5797.

Justices To Hear Open-Carry Gun Case In June

March 23, 2016

The Florida Supreme Court will hear arguments June 8 in a challenge to a state law that bars people from openly carrying firearms.

Justices issued an order Monday scheduling the arguments in the challenge filed by Dale Norman, who was arrested in 2012 in Fort Pierce while openly carrying a gun in a holster. After a jury found Norman guilty of a misdemeanor charge, the 4th District Court of Appeal upheld the state law, ruling it does not violate constitutional rights to bear arms.

Norman then appealed to the Supreme Court, which said in October that it would take up the case.

During the legislative session that ended this month, lawmakers considered proposals that would have allowed people with concealed-weapons licenses to openly carry guns. But the measures did not pass.

Escambia County To Pave Hicks Street In Cantonment

March 23, 2016

Escambia County is set to pave Hicks Street in Cantonment.

The project consists of the design and paving of Hicks Street from Muscogee Road to the west end of Hicks. The project will also address drainage upgrades necessary to prevent roadway flooding, plus restoration of disturbed areas with sodding.

Contractor for the Local Option Sales Tax funded project is Panhandle Grading & Paving.

Pictured: Hicks Street in Cantonment. Photo courtesy Escambia County for, click to enlarge.

Century Native Watson Named USA South Athlete Of Week

March 23, 2016

Huntingdon College’s Zack Watson was named an USA South Athlete of the Week on Monday.

The Century native earned Baseball Pitcher of the Week honors for his performance in Game 1 against No. 14 ranked Piedmont College.

Watson threw a complete-game three-hitter in Friday’s 14-1 win over the Lions. Watson improved to 4-2 on the season with the win and struck out seven, walked four and allowed one run in nine innings. After giving up two singles, two walks and a run in the first inning, Watson held Piedmont hitless in seven of the final eight innings.

A senior at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Watson lettered in baseball for Flomaton High School. He is the son of Billy and Dianne Watson and is majoring biochemistry.

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