May 21, 2013
Deputies say a carjacking in Escambia County came to a quick end because the suspects were unable to drive a stick.
The incident happened near the intersection of North 50th Avenue and Carey Street. The victim said she was driving through the area when she was flagged down by three young white females who were looking for a ride.
The victim stated that as she got out of her vehicle to offer help, an unknown black male approached her from the side and pointed what appeared to be a gun at her. The suspect then told her that this was their vehicle now and jumped into the driver’s seat of the vehicle. The victim ran away and contacted the Sheriff’s Office.
Another individual on a bicycle told the victim that her car was still sitting on Carey Street. The victim later stated that she believes the suspects did not take her vehicle because they could not drive a stick shift.
Arriving deputies soon located two of the females on foot in the area of 49th Avenue and Jackson Street. One of the juveniles told deputies they had jumped into the car with the black male suspect, known by the street name of “Chief Keef”, but that he didn’t know how to drive a stick so he ordered everybody out of the vehicle at which time they fled on foot.
“Chief Keef” is described as a black male with medium length dreads, approximately 5’9” to 6’ tall with a stocky build and a gap between his two front teeth. He is believed to have also been involved in a previous vehicle theft that had taken place near Jackson and “W” Street.
The juveniles were released to the custody of their parents with possible charges forthcoming. Anyone with any information on the identity or whereabouts of “Chief Keef” should contact Crime Stoppers at (850) 433-STOP.
May 21, 2013
The annual Special Olympics Florida’s Summer Games were held over the weekend in Orlando, marking the end of the 2013 Law Enforcement Torch Run that started in Century in March.
The state run began at the Florida/Alabama state line back on Monday, March 25. Employees from Century Correctional Institution and the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office escorted the torch down Highway 29 through Century. The run continued over 1500 miles in segments across the state, ending in Orlando.
At the Special Olympics in Orlando, deputies Jeff Cutaio and Jeremiah Weeks represented the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office in the opening ceremonies.
Pictured top and bottom. The 2013 Law Enforcement Torch Run for Florida Special Olympics began March 25 in Century. Pictured inset: The run ended at the Summer Games in Orlando this weekend, with Deputies Jeff Cutaio (left) and Jeremiah Weeks representing the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office. NorthEscambia.com and courtesy photo, click to enlarge.
May 21, 2013
The Florida Department of Corrections will enter the 2013-14 fiscal year with a budget deficit, after lawmakers did not fully cover a shortfall from the current year, Gov. Rick Scott said in a written budget message Monday.
Scott said the department will have to use “upwards of $45 million” in 2013-14 funds to cover the 2012-13 deficit.
“This unfortunate reality will require strong fiscal management during the next year,” Scott’s message said. Scott took issue with budget fine print, known as proviso language, that seeks to make sure public work squads will be maintained during the fiscal year that starts July 1.
He wrote that the “ability of the department to reduce expenditures and responsibly manage its budget is severely limited by this proviso language.”
by The News Service of Florida
May 21, 2013
Heather Thomason Tate High School has received an Academic Excellence Scholarship from Alabama Southern Community College in Monroeville, Ala. She is the daughter of Pat and Kim Thomason.
To date, the college has awarded more than $2.2 million in scholarships to this year’s high school seniors within the ASCC community.
May 21, 2013
Monday night, Century Mayor Freddie McCall presented the town’s Relay for Life donation to Sally Cary of the American Cancer Society. The town council voted earlier this year to donate $1,000 to the Cancer Society. NorthEscambia.com photo, click to enlarge.
May 21, 2013
Gov. Rick Scott on Monday sliced a rafter of turkeys and plenty of other projects out of the formerly $74.5 billion budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, bringing an end to speculation about what the governor would do with the heftiest spending plan in state history.
In all, Scott cut just shy of $368 million in funding from the budget (SB 1500), bringing its overall total down to $74.1 billion. That’s still the largest that Florida lawmakers have ever approved, but the governor’s office says it’s one of the smallest since 2000 when population and inflation are factored in.
“We made strategic investments in this budget, while holding the line on spending that does not give Florida taxpayers a positive return on investment,” Scott wrote in a letter accompanying his vetoes. “In order to ensure all taxpayer funds are well spent, I have vetoed special legislative projects totaling $368 million.”
Scott announced by email that he had signed the budget and followed up with a brief press conference outside the Florida Department of Emergency Management’s headquarters in Tallahassee. It marked another striking contrast with Scott’s history — his first budget signing, in The Villages, resembled a political rally, while he spoke about his decisions last year at an elementary school in St. Johns County.
Scott also signed 16 budget-related bills, among them an economic development bill (SB 406) that includes a sales-tax holiday for clothing and school supplies from Aug. 2 through Aug. 4.
The largest item vetoed by Scott was a $50 million trail for bikers and pedestrians cutting across the state from St. Petersburg to Titusville, filling in gaps in existing paths. While pointing out that he and Budget Director Jerry McDaniel like to ride bikes, Scott told reporters that he felt state agencies should handle which projects get funded through normal channels.
“We’re doing projects like that out of the Department of Transportation,” Scott said. “That’s the way we should be doing that, rather than have a project like that.”
The governor also vetoed a 3 percent tuition increase at state colleges and universities, removing $26.4 million in funding for colleges and almost $18.5 million for universities, as well as $1.2 million for workforce education programs.
Scott, who has for months pressed for lower higher education costs, brushed away suggestions that he was meddling in universities for political reasons.
“This is not a political decision; this is the decision for Florida families,” he said. “Tuition cannot continue to go up the way it’s been going up.”
The proposed tuition increases were in budget fine print known as proviso language. While vetoing the proviso language could be legally dubious, Scott said he didn’t expect a court challenge.
“But if there is [one], we’re going to fight it,” he said.
Scott also slashed a $14 million building for science, technology, engineering and math at Gulf Coast State College, a project in the district of Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, that ballooned in size during budget negotiations between the House and Senate. Scott listed that and several other projects among those that weren’t on the list of construction projects requested by the Florida College System.
Gaetz was not alone; some projects in Pasco County, home to House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, also got the ax. Scott suggested he wasn’t overly concerned about nixing items that were close to home for legislative leaders.
“I’m responsible for 19.2 million people,” he said. “I’m not responsible for one region by itself. I want to take care of all Floridians.”
Scott’s vetoes in many instances tracked with the list of budget “turkeys” issued last week by Florida TaxWatch. The organization said Monday that more than two-thirds of the items it highlighted were sliced by Scott.
“It is clear from the high number of vetoed projects that the governor carefully scrutinized all of the budget turkeys TaxWatch identified, which is the intent of the Turkey Watch Report,” said Dominic Calabro, president and CEO of TaxWatch.
Reaction to the vetoes broke down largely along party lines. Gaetz, who had blasted TaxWatch’s list of turkeys on Thursday, was far more mild in his reaction to Scott’s decision to actual veto the items.
“While many will disagree with some of Governor Scott’s line item vetoes, that is his constitutional role as chief executive,” Gaetz said.
But Senate Minority Leader Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale, flayed Scott’s vetoes.
“His targets reveal a basic misunderstanding of the critical role local communities, and local community projects play in Florida,” Smith said. “Our economy hinges on many facets, and this funding was intended to infuse the areas that contribute to its struggling rebound.”
May 21, 2013
Mobile outfielder Keon Broxton blasted two two-out, two-run home runs and lead the BayBears past the Pensacola Blue Wahoos 4-2 on Monday night at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium. The win clinched the series for Mobile, who has won seven of the nine meetings between the two teams this season.
Broxton’s first homer came in the second inning against Josh Smith. It scored Brent Clevlen, who had reached on an error with one out. Both runs ended up being unearned as a result.
Two innings later, Raywilly Gomez walked with two outs and Broxton laced another one over the left field fence for his second homer of the contest, and third of the season.
Both round-trippers came off of Smith, who fell to 3-4 on the year. Despite the loss, it was one of the best outings of the year for Smith, who went seven innings, allowing four runs (two earned) on five base hits while striking out five.
Pensacola scored both of its runs in the last of the sixth. With runners at second and third and one out, Joe Mather brought home a run on a ground ball out while Travis Mattair followed with a single up the middle to halve the BayBears lead. The Wahoos had other chances to score in the game, but ground into three double plays, stranded seven runners, and went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
Devin Lohman saw his 16-game on-base streak come to an end with a 0-4 performance.
Michael Bolsinger picked up the win for Mobile in his first start since May 4. Bolsinger gave up two runs on eight hits in 5.2 innings.
Tuesday’s series finale wraps up the 10-game homestand for Pensacola.
story by Kevin Burke
May 20, 2013
An Escambia County deputy is lucky to be alive following an incident this morning where a suspect tried — and failed — to fire a gun at him twice.
While on patrol in the 700 block of Truman Avenue, Deputy Michael Runge made contact with a suspicious person at the Oakwood Terrace Apartments. The suspect, later identified as 25-year old Ryan Lewis Toler, attempted to flee at which time Runge pursued him on foot.
Toler turned around and aimed a 45-caliber semi-automatic pistol at Runge and attempted to fire twice; however, the gun jammed both times. Toler was apprehended a short time later on Michael Street. No shots were fired by deputies.
Toler was charged with first degree attempted homicide, possession of weapon by a convicted felon and resisting an officer with violence. He was booked into the Escambia County Jail with bond set at $1 million.
May 20, 2013
Escambia County deputies being a two-week crackdown today that is designed to increase seat belt use and decrease motor vehicle fatalities across the county. The 2013 national Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement campaign is designed to help save lives by cracking down on those who don’t buckle up.
Seat belt use saves thousands of lives across America each year. In fatal crashes during 2011, 77 percent of passenger vehicle occupants who were thrown from their vehicles were killed. However, only 1 percent of crash victims who were buckled up were totally ejected from their vehicles, compared to 31 percent of those who were unbelted.
NHTSA statistics show that in 2011 alone, seat belts saved an estimated 11,949 lives nationwide.
Escambia County deputies are joining state and local law enforcement agencies and highway safety groups in supporting an aggressive national Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement campaign from May 20 to June 2, 2013. Deputies will be ticketing unbelted vehicle occupants around the clock.
May 20, 2013
A toddler was airlifted to a Pensacola hospital Sunday afternoon after being pulled unresponsive from a pool in Byrneville.
The incident happened about 5:35 p.m. Sunday at a home in the 7600 block of Raines Road.
The homeowner told deputies that his 2-year old daughter wandered out of the house to play with other children during a birthday party. Another parent, Brittany Rogers, noticed the child sinking in the pool and pulled her out of the water.
The 2-year old, believed to have been in the water for less than five minutes, was unresponsive. Rogers carried the child into the residence and performed CPR prior to the arrival of first responders. The child was alert and breathing when Escambia County EMS arrived on a scene moments later.
She was transported by ambulance to the Escambia County EMS Post on Industrial Boulevard in Century and airlifted by LifeFlight to Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola.
As of Monday afternoon, the girl was listed in good condition.
Pictured: A toddler was airlifted from the Escambia County EMS Post in Century to Sacred Heart Hospital after a near-drowning incident in Byrneville Sunday afternoon. NorthEscambia.com photo, click to enlarge.