Receive Emergency Notices From ‘Alert Escambia’ Service

February 19, 2015

The new Alert Escambia Emergency Notification System allows citizens to receive alert notifications about community emergencies in Escambia County. Participants will receive time-sensitive messages at home, work, mobile or business phones, email addresses, text messages and more.

Escambia County’s EMA has found it necessary to replace its previous mass notification system that allowed it to communicate with the public and other agencies and entities during emergencies. The Escambia County Commission approved the system subscription last year with funding from Escambia County Emergency Management, the Escambia County Health Department, ECUA, International Paper , Ascend Performance Materials and Gulf Power Company.

The agencies will share the cost of the system on a prorated basis through June 30, and then each agency will contribute an equal $11,229.16 for the July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016,  time period for a total yearly cost of $67,375. Escambia County will utilize federal grant funds to pay for its share of the total subscription cost.

These messages will include emergency information regarding potential protective measures required to protect local citizens during an emergency situation such as evacuation notices or shelter in place instructions.

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Century Resident Celebrates Her 103rd Birthday

February 19, 2015

Della Godwin of Century celebrated her 103rd birthday Thursday.

Godwin was born in Jay back in 1912, one of 12 children born to her parents Annie and William Griffis. She has two younger surviving siblings -  Jean Clark and Veda Welch. She raised two sons, one of which is deceased, and has four grandchildren.

She was raised in the Mount Carmel community of Santa Rosa County. In her early years, she spent most of time in the cotton fields, but she was always in church on Sundays.

Godwin attributes her long life to hard work and faith. Those who know her will say that she was always caring for and helping others. She always put family first, even if it meant she had to do without the things she needed.

Godwin is longtime resident of the Century area and is the oldest resident at the Century Health and Rehabilitation Center.

Pictured top: Century resident Della Godwin turns 103 years old Thursday. photos, click to enlarge.

Updated: Wanted Man Behind Bars

February 19, 2015

UPDATE: Pete Anthony Jimenez is in custody in the Covington County Jail in Andalusia, AL.

The Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office is looking for a man on outstanding warrants that has been seen in the North Escambia area.

Pete Anthony Jimenez is wanted on seven outstanding warrants in Santa Rosa County including multiple felony grand theft charges and fleeing law enforcement. According to the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office, he has been seen in northern Santa Rosa County and in the Atmore area.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call Santa Rosa County Crime Stoppers at (850) 437-STOP or their local law enforcement agency.

Pensacola Beach Named One Of The Best In The USA

February 19, 2015

TripAdvisor has named Pensacola Beach as one of the top five beaches in the United States.

Travelers’ Choice award-winning beaches were determined based on the quantity and quality of traveler reviews and ratings for beaches on TripAdvisor gathered over a 12-month period.

“Travelers visiting this Emerald Coast beach will experience miles of powdery-sanded coastline and a destination ideal for relaxation. The Pensacola Beach Pier offers fishing and unparalleled views of the ocean, while nearby beachfront restaurants serve mouthwatering gulf seafood,” TripAdvisor said in their review of Pensacola Beach.

Trip Advisor’s other top  five beaches in the U.S. were Siesta Beach in Siesta Key, FL, followed by St. Pete Beach in Florida,  Ka’anapali Beach in Hawaii and Wai’anapanapa State Park in Hawaii.

Pictured top and inset: A sunny winter day on Pensacola Beach. Pictured below: Looking back at Pensacola Beach from the end of the Pensacola Beach Fishing Pier. photos, click to enlarge.

Water Project Wishlist Includes $126K For Century, $26 Million in Escambia, Santa Rosa

February 18, 2015

Water-related projects totaling nearly $1.2 billion have been proposed as state lawmakers decide how to carve up a pot of money that voters want for land and water conservation and management.

The list of 475 requested water projects across the state includes almost $26.7 million in local projects in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties:

  • Lime additional facilities at the Century wastewater treatment plant, $126,000.
  • Flood improvement project for the Institute for Machine and Human Cognition, $550,000.
  • Innerarity water and sewer upgrade in Escambia County, $1,020,000.
  • Milton beneficial effluent reuse project, $349,115.
  • East Milton water reclamation and effluent disposal facility, $15,000,000
  • Santa Rosa County Navarre Beach wastewater treatment plant relocation, $9,650,000.

The East Milton project is among the largest requests in the state, which range from $96.8 million for phase two of the Yankee Lake Surface Water Plant in Seminole County to $15,000 for the replacement of sewage flowmeters in Miami-Dade County.

The House Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee panel is working to define the intent of the ballot initiative, which was known as Amendment 1 and was approved by 75 percent of voters.

“There is going to be somebody, somewhere, that isn’t happy with the way the funds are distributed,” subcommittee Chairman Ben Albritton, R-Wauchula, said. “It’s going to happen, because there are so many people and so many perspectives.”

The amendment, which directs 33 percent of the proceeds from a real-estate tax to land and water projects, is expected to provide $757 million for the efforts during the fiscal year that starts July 1.

Jim Turner, The News Service of Florida, contributed to this report.

Molino Man Charged With Tom Thumb Robbery

February 18, 2015

A Molino man has been arrested for robbing a Tom Thumb on Saufley Field Road.

Acoya Kenneth Wright, age 19, was charged with robbery with a firearm and committing a felony with a mask or hood.

According to the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, Wright robbed the Tom Thumb at 5450 Saufley Field Road at 2:36 a.m. on February 5. He was reportedly wearing all-black clothing with his face concealed by a scarf and carrying a long item wrapped in black clothing in a manner that would indicate that it was rifle. He fled the store on foot with less than $40 in cash.

Wright was developed as a suspect in the crime after relatives contacted the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office with their suspicions.

When interviewed deputies, Wright said he was very drunk and had to be carried home the night of the robbery, therefore he was not responsible for the holdup, according to an arrest report.

Friends told investigators that Wright had been looking to trade his .22 rifle for a pistol because he planned on robbing the Tom Thumb because he needed $20,000 — $5,000 of which would be for his little sister to get braces and $12,000 for his little brother, the report states.

Wright remained in the Escambia County Jail Wednesday morning with bond set at $50,000.

Justices Halt Florida Execution Amid Questions About Lethal Injection Drug

February 18, 2015

Saying it must “err on the side of extreme caution” or risk threatening the “viability of Florida’s entire death penalty scheme,” the Florida Supreme Court on Tuesday halted the Feb. 26 execution of a convicted killer until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on a lethal injection drug.

The U.S. Supreme Court has temporarily put on hold executions in Oklahoma while it considers whether a relatively new lethal-injection drug violates constitutional protections against cruel and unusual punishment.

Because Florida’s lethal injection protocol is virtually identical to Oklahoma’s, the execution next week of Jerry William Correll needs to be delayed until the U.S. Supreme Court makes a decision, Florida Chief Justice Jorge Labarga wrote for the majority in a 5-2 decision Tuesday.

“Without a stay of execution in this case, Florida risks the unconstitutional execution of Correll, for which there is no remedy. In contrast, a stay pending determination of the issue in the United States Supreme Court will not prejudice the state and, more importantly, will ensure that Florida does not risk an unconstitutional execution, a risk that would threaten the viability of Florida’s entire death penalty scheme,” Labarga wrote. “For all these reasons — the most significant being the pending Supreme Court review of a protocol for which review had been denied in the past — this court must err on the side of extreme caution and grant a stay of execution for Correll.”

The decision overturned a circuit judge’s order last week denying Correll — convicted for the 1985 stabbing deaths of his ex-wife, daughter and two others in Orlando — a stay of execution pending the U.S. Supreme Court decision.

In the Oklahoma case, the high court is considering arguments about whether the disputed drug, midazolam hydrochloride, does not effectively sedate inmates during the execution process and subjects them to pain that violates the U.S. Constitution’s Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

Florida and other states began using the sedative as the first step in a three-drug execution cocktail in 2013, after previously using a drug called pentobarbital sodium. The states switched because Danish-based manufacturer Lundbeck refused to sell pentobarbital sodium directly to corrections agencies for use in executions and ordered its distributors to also stop supplying the drug for lethal-injection purposes.

Correll filed an emergency petition with the Florida Supreme Court on Jan. 30, seeking a stay of his execution while the U.S Supreme Court considers the matter. The Florida court returned the case to Orange County Circuit Judge Jenifer Davis, who last week rejected Correll’s arguments. Gov. Rick Scott signed Correll’s death warrant earlier in January.

In ruling against Correll, Davis pointed to past Florida Supreme Court and federal-court decisions that upheld the use of midazolam hydrochloride.

But on Tuesday, Labarga wrote that, since the U.S. Supreme Court has put on hold executions in Oklahoma while considering the issue, Florida should do the same.

“‘Death is different,’” Labarga wrote, quoting from a previous U.S. Supreme Court decision.”When the execution of a death-sentenced individual is at issue, heightened care must be taken, and none more so than when, as here, the method of execution has a reasonable and realistic chance of being declared to be cruel and unusual punishment by the United States Supreme Court.”

But in a 10-page dissent, Justice Charles Canady argued that the Supreme Court temporarily halted Oklahoma executions because state officials there requested the stays. Canady also objected that, although the drug protocols are similar, a decision about the constitutionality of Oklahoma’s use of midazolam may not have any impact on Florida’s lethal injection process.

The Florida Supreme Court has repeatedly signed off on the use of the drug in previous cases, Canady, joined by Justice Ricky Polston, wrote.

“This court has reviewed an exhaustive amount of litigation in a number of cases regarding the efficacy of midazolam in Florida’s lethal injection protocol, and we have not had concerns about its ability to produce an execution that comports with the Eighth Amendment. Perhaps the Supreme Court is concerned with the ‘botched’ executions of Dennis McGuire in Ohio, Joseph Wood in Arizona, and Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma; but none of those executions used midazolam in the same manner or dosage as it is used in Florida’s protocol,” he wrote.

by Dara Kam, The News Service of Florida

Florida TaxWatch Supports Cable, Cell Phone Tax Cuts

February 18, 2015

Easing the tax burden for Florida families and businesses would also attract business investment, create Florida jobs and grow the state’s information-based economy, according the latest Florida TaxWatch Economic Commentary. The report highlights the state’s Communications Services Tax, which is the fourth highest in the nation.

The Communications Services Tax is levied on cell phone, cable and satellite television and non-residential landline phone service, and can be as high as 22.59 percent for Floridians. The tax differs across the state, and is comprised of a standard federal fee, a uniform statewide tax and a varying local tax.

However, Florida taxpayers may soon have lower bills if the Governor’s proposal to reduce the state’s communications services tax is accepted by the Legislature. Governor Rick Scott plans to reduce the state portion of the tax to 5.57 percent from 9.17 percent. The 3.6 percent reduction would result in $470.9 million in annual savings for taxpayers.

“I applaud the Governor for his leadership and commitment to reducing taxes for all Floridians, especially those families, seniors and residents on very modest incomes,” said Dominic M. Calabro, President and CEO of Florida TaxWatch. “For years we have recommended that the Legislature reduce this highly burdensome and regressive tax on consumers and businesses. Florida’s unfairly high Communications Services Tax is punitive and makes the state less attractive to businesses the state is trying to recruit to provide high-skill, high-wage jobs to its residents.”

The Communications Services Tax is more than twice the highest state and local general sales tax rate in Florida. This year, it is expected to bring more than $2.1 billion in revenue to Florida’s state and local governments.

Orientation Workshop Set For Century Business Challenge

February 18, 2015

The University of West Florida Haas Center and the Florida SBDC at UWF have set dates for orientation and workshops for the upcoming Century Business Challenge.

The business challenge is a business plan competition in which the winning company will receive a prize package valued at more than $25,000. The Pensacola-based Studer Institute and the Haas Center are sponsoring the competition in partnership with the Florida SBDC at UWF, which is providing business planning software and conducting orientation and workshop sessions for participants.

“I am very excited about our involvement with the Century Business Challenge,” said Kelly Massey, regional director of the Florida SBDC at UWF. “Growth business consultant Carl Quesinberry is leading our team on this project. We have assisted competitors in many business plan competitions before.”

The first orientation session will be open to the public on Tuesday, March 3 at 6 p.m. at the Century Community Center on West Highway 4 at Industrial Boulevard. The meeting is an orientation for anyone wising to compete in the Century Business Challenge.

The next public meeting will be a business concept workshop on Tuesday, March 17. Additional workshops, closed to the public, will be held for participants on April 7, 8 and 9.

“The Florida SBDC and UWF are seeking to make our services more convenient and accessible for those in Century and the surrounding area,” Massey said. “We will provide three training sessions and mentoring services for the competitors at no cost. The Century Business Challenge is a win for everyone.”

Those interested in participating in the business challenge must apply by the end of March. Applications and more information about the business challenge can be found at its website,

Prizes for the winner of the Century Business Challenge include space at the Century Business Center on Pond Street at a lease rate of $1 per year, with the possibility of an extension of that rate for two more years based on the company’s performance.

Pensacola philanthropists Quint and Rishy Studer will donate $25,000 in financial support to the winner of the competition.

The Century Business Challenge is part of an economic development partnership of the Haas Center, the Town of Century and the Studer Institute.

Those interested in attending orientation or the workshops are encouraged to RSVP by emailing Allison Tyler at

Private Applicator Pesticide License Class To Be Held In Walnut Hill

February 18, 2015

A class to obtain a Private Applicator Pesticide License will be held February 25 at the Walnut Hill Community Center.

Attendees will learn the basics of applying pesticides correctly and will be able to take the exams necessary to become certified private applicators (Applicator and Core) by FDACS. The class will be 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with a cost of$10 per person including lunch.

WHO NEEDS A LICENSE? Anyone using or supervising the use of restricted use pesticides on agricultural or related sites in Florida needs a restricted use pesticide license. Agricultural and related sites include but are not limited to the following areas: farms, plant nurseries, livestock, forests, ornamentals and turf not associated with structures.
A “private applicator” is an individual licensed by FDACS to use or supervise the use of any restricted use pesticide for purposes of producing any agricultural commodity on property owned or rented by the licensed person or that person’s employer. This license is for farm, ranch, grove, nursery, sod farm applications, etc.
Attendees must pre-register to ensure the correct number of exams will be available.
To preregister, contact Libbie Johnson at (850) 475-5230,; or Lynn Moore at (850) 623-3868,

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