Second Alleged Police Impersonator Arrested

October 20, 2015

A second man has been charged with impersonating a law enforcement officer. The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office says when accused police impersonator  Joshua Lynam pulled over an undercover deputy last week, he was being aided by 21-year old Ryan Philip Ramsdell.

Lynam told investigators that he was watching drivers on I-10 and I-110 and would pull them over when he thought they were speeding. He would allegedly tell them they would be pulled over again to receive their citation, or the citation would be delivered in the mail.

Lynam, 24, was charged with impersonating a police officer after he performed a traffic stop on an Escambia County deputy on I-110 at Airport Boulevard earlier this month.  Investigators said the entire incident was caught on video by a camera Lynam had in his truck — he capture his own arrest on video. That video also shows Ramsdell walking up to the undercover deputy’s car, but backing down and removing his vest, stashing it in the truck.

Lynam, 24, is charged with multiple counts of impersonating a police officer after he performed a traffic stop on an Escambia County deputy on I-110 at Airport Boulevard. He is now being held in the Escambia County Jail without bond

Ramsdell is also charged with impersonating a police officer and remains in jail without bond.

Anyone that believes they may have been a victim of Lynam or Ramsdell during a suspicious traffic stop is asked to call the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office at (850) 436-9620.

Courtesy photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Mosquito Borne Illness Alert: Two More West Nile Cases Confirmed

October 20, 2015

A mosquito-borne illness alert for Escambia County continues after two more West Nile virus cases were recently confirmed in the county. That brings the total number of confirmed in Escambia County to four this year

There have been nine confirmed human cases of West Nile in Florida in 2015.

“Residents and visitors should take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes and to limit exposure to mosquito-borne illnesses,” says FDOH-Escambia Director, Dr. John J. Lanza. The Escambia County Mosquito Control Division and FDOH-Escambia continue surveillance and prevention efforts. There is heightened concern that other Escambia County residents and visitors may become ill from being bitten by an infected mosquito.

To protect yourself from mosquitoes, the health department recommends that practice of  “Drain and Cover”:

Drain standing water.

  • Drain water from garbage cans, house gutters, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, flower pots or any other containers where sprinkler or rain water has collected.
  • Discard old tires, bottles, pots, broken appliances and other items not being used.
  • Empty and clean birdbaths and pets’ water bowls at least twice a week.
  • Protect boats and vehicles from rain with tarps that do not accumulate water.
  • Maintain swimming pools in good condition and chlorinated. Empty plastic swimming pools when not in use.

Cover skin with clothing or repellent and cover doors and windows.

  • Wear shoes, socks, long pants and long sleeves when mosquitoes are most prevalent.
  • Apply mosquito repellent to bare skin and clothing.
  • Always use repellents according to the label. Repellents with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, and IR3535 are effective.
  • Re-apply mosquito repellent as often as needed to prevent mosquito landings and bites.
  • Use mosquito netting to protect children younger than 2 months old.
  • When using repellent on children, apply to your hands first and then rub on their arms and legs.
  • Place screens on windows, doors, porches, and patios. Always repair broken screens.

Century Accepts Ceremonial Check For New $50K Splash Pad

October 20, 2015

As previously reported on NorthEscambia.com, Century received a $50,000 grant from the Florida Recreation Development Assistance Program to install a splash pad at Showalter Park.

Monday night, the town was presented a ceremonial check from the state .

More than $5.4 million was announced by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection  for 110 recreational development projects in local communities across the state. Century’s splash pad project was the only grant recipient in Escambia County. The competitive grant program provides state funds to develop lands for public outdoor recreational use, such as building or renovating sports facilities or playgrounds.

Pictured top: Century Mayor Freddie McCall accepts a ceremonial $50,000 check for a new splash pad at Showalter Park from Geoffrey Davidson, a manager for Florida State Parks. NorthEscambia.com photo, click to enlarge.

Senate Agrees To Remove Confederate Flag From Seal

October 20, 2015

Without a formal vote, the Florida Senate on Monday agreed to strip the Confederate battle flag from its official seal, removing one of the few remaining vestiges of the infamous icon in state government.

After some hesitation when the change first came up, senators — back in Tallahassee for a redistricting special session — agreed without objection to adopt a new rule removing the controversial emblem from the chamber’s insignia. Approving the change without objection avoided the need for even a voice vote on the emotional issue.

Under the rule approved Monday, the seal would still include other non-American flags that flew over Florida, including the 1513 Spanish flag, the 1564 French flag and the 1763 flag of Great Britain. The United States flag would also remain, while the Florida state flag would replace the Confederate banner on the marker.

Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, and Senate Minority Leader Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, requested in June that the Senate Rules Committee consider whether to change the seal amid a national backlash against Confederate symbols after a man with white supremacist views opened fire at an African-American church in Charleston, S.C., killing nine people.

Since then, Southern states, including Florida, have wrestled with how to reconcile past commemorations of “the lost cause” with shifting feelings about race and the meaning of the Civil War.

While many Southerners view displays of the Confederate banner as recognition of their ancestors’ military service and sacrifice, blacks and others interpret government use of the flag as an endorsement of the brutal, slave-driven economy that was a central issue in the war, which raged from 1860 to 1865.

“I’m glad that we are taking it down and recognizing the Confederate flag for what it is,” Sen. Oscar Braynon, a black Democrat from Miami Gardens, said after the session. “What it is, is a symbol of a time when this country went to war to keep my ancestors in slavery.”

Senate Rules Committee Chairman David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, defended the proposal on the floor of the Senate by pointing to U.S. Supreme Court rulings rejecting the legality of the decision by 11 Southern states to secede from the Union during the conflict.

“The flags on the current seal appear to presume to represent sovereign nations. However, our research established that the Confederacy was never legally a sovereign nation,” Simmons said.

No one openly objected to the change of the Senate seal during the debate. However, Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, said he wasn’t aware that the chamber was going to take up the issue during the special redistricting session.

Bradley also raised questions about whether the Senate should look at other options for the seal, including an overhaul of the symbol that goes beyond simply replacing one flag.

“If you look at all the flags on the seal, I think you would find that there were things that occurred in the name of some of those flags that history has now looked upon as being abhorrent and terrible,” he said.

But Gardiner defended moving forward with the changes now, saying it would take time to remove the old seal from various places around the Capitol. Bradley’s concerns, and questions from other senators, initially caused Senate leaders to pull back from the change before moving ahead with it later in the day.

Perhaps because of that, Gardiner told reporters after Monday’s session that the seal could be altered again.

“I think the understanding working with Senator Simmons is, he’s going to work with the members, and the seal may change some more,” Gardiner said.

by Brnadon Larrabee, The News Service of Florida

Work Continues To Replace 75 Year Old Highway 97 Bridge

October 19, 2015

Construction is continuing on the replacement of a 75-year old Highway 97 bridge over Little Pine Barren Creek in Walnut Hill.

Work at the site began back in March, with traffic moved to a temporary bridge in July. Workers have completed removal of the old bridge, and they have recently completed the process of driving pilings to support the new structure.

The work is part of a $2.5 million contract which consists of replacing the existing structurally deficient bridge, including roadway reconstruction, milling and resurfacing, guardrail, drainage, new signs and pavement markings.  Drivers will utilize a temporary roadway and bridge during construction of the new bridge. Work is anticipated to be completed in the spring of 2016.  No overweight loads will be permitted onto the temporary bridge (loads weighing over 88-thousand pounds).

The bridge is located at the intersection of Wiggins Lake Road, about one mile north of Ernest Ward Middle School.  The bridge being replaced was constructed in 1940.

Pictured: Traffic on Highway 97 is detoured onto a temporary bridge in Walnut Hill as a 75-year old bridge is reconstructed.  NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.


Impact 100 Announces 10 $106,000 Community Grants

October 19, 2015

IMPACT 100 Pensacola Bay Area, a local women’s philanthropy group, awarded 10 grants Sunday worth $106,000 each to community groups.

Grant winners announced Sunday were:

ARTS & CULTURE

Ballet Pensacola, Inc.
Project:  Elevate – 21st Century Productions for Ballet Pensacola

Pensacola Museum of Art, Inc.
Project: Expanding and Protecting the Vaults for PMA’s Fine Art Collections

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EDUCATION

AMIkids Pensacola, Inc.
Project:  AMIkids Careers

Learn to Read of Northwest Florida, Inc.
Project:  Public Awareness Campaign – The Most Powerful Organization That Nobody’s Heard Of

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ENVIRONMENT, RECREATION & PRESERVATION

Coast Watch Alliance, Inc.
Project:  “Research to Restaurant”, Affecting a Sustainable Seafood Resource by Taming Lionfish

Veterans Memorial Park Foundation of Pensacola, Inc.
Project:  VMP Venue Enhancements and Infrastructure Improvements

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FAMILY

Children’s Home Society of Florida, Inc. collaborating with Escambia Community Clinics, Inc.
Project:   Weis Community School Family Playground

Lutheran Services Florida, Inc.
Project:  Transportation to Healing, Hope and Help

HEALTH & WELLNESS

Bay Area Food Bank
Project:  Northwest Florida Healthy Food Distribution and Milton Warehouse Expansion Project

Re-Entry Alliance Pensacola, Inc.
Project:  REAP’s Second Chance Re-Entry Program

“At the end of today, more than $7,236,000 has been distributed to non profits in Escambia and  Santa Rosa counties in the form of significant grants that make a lasting impact,” said Cyndi  Warren, President of IMPACT 100.

IMPACT 100 hopes to keep the momentum going into next year by increasing membership to more women in our 13th year of working with nonprofits in the community.

Courtesy photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

RESTORE Advisory Council Begins Project Review Process Tuesday

October 19, 2015

The Escambia County RESTORE Advisory Committee will meet Tuesday at 4 p.m. in the County Commission Chambers at 221 Palafox Place to discuss submitted projects and the next step in the process. The public is invited and encouraged to attend.

The County’s RESTORE project submission portal website launched on July 1 and closed on October 2, 2015. More than 120 projects were submitted for entry, with initiatives ranging from bayou restoration to coastal sediment management, a native path boardwalk, workforce development, stormwater projects, habitat restoration, community centers and more.

For more information or general questions about the RESTORE process, upcoming meetings or related topics, visit myescambia.com/restore

Woman Dies In Sunday Night Escambia Traffic Crash

October 19, 2015

An Escambia County woman died in a traffic crash Sunday night.

About 8:26 p.m., 29-year old Jessica Williams was traveling east on Bellview Avenue in a 2005 Scion when she failed to stop at a stop sign at Blue Angel Parkway, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. Her vehicle traveled into the path of a 1996 Honda Passport driven b y 47-year old Gina Gianino.

Williams, who was not wearing a seat belt, was transported by Escambia County EMS to Sacred Heart Hospital where she was pronounced deceased. Gianino, who was wearing a seat belt, received minor injuries.

File photo.

News FCSS President From Escambia District; Local Rep From Tate High

October 19, 2015

The Florida Council for the Social Studies Conference was held recently in Kssimmee where Cherie Arnette, Social Studies Curriculum Specialist K-12 for the Escambia County School District, was installed as state president.

Tate High School teacher Robin Blalock was honored with the J. R. Skretting Outstanding Leadership Award for her work on the conference committee and installed as District 1 Representative for FCSS.

Blalock and Ransom Middle School teacher Lauren Samoszenkeo presented a session entitled, “Couriers of Memory: Teaching the Holocaust Using Survivor Testimony.”

In addition, Christopher Harris of Washington High School, and Cyprienne Gryskiewicz, formerly of Woodham and current SS Instructional Coach for ECSD, were recognized as Escambia county’s Social Studies Teachers of the Year.

Arnette, along with colleagues Peggy Renihan of PAEC and Maureen Carter of Palm Beach County, presented a session entitled, “Upstanders and Bystanders: Investigating Modern Social Responsibility Using History” examining strategies and tools for teachers and students to make positive choices when faced with injustice.

Pictured: (L-R) Lauren Samoszenko, Chris Harris, Cherie Arnette, Robin Blalock and Cyprienne Gryskiewcz. Courtesy photo for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Let The Music Play: Jay, Northview Band Photo Gallery

October 19, 2015

For a photo gallery featuring the Northview and Jay bands from Friday night, click here.

For a football action story and photo gallery from the Northview at Jay game, click here.

NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.

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