School Advisory Council: Vote For Tate Members, Northview And Ransom Seek Volunteers

September 29, 2022

Each school in Escambia County has a School Advisory Council.  Northview High School and Ransom Middle School are currently looking for volunteers, and Tate High School parents ar being e asked to vote on SAC members.

Northview High School

Northview High School is seeking volunteers for its 2022-2023 School Advisory Council. The council meets four times each year after school.  Interested parents and community members should call (850) 761-6000.

Tate High School

Tate High School currently has four open parent/guardian positions on their School Advisory Council. Tate parents/guardians are ask to vote four parents to join the 2022-2023 SAC. The online ballot closed at 6 p.m. on Friday, September 30. Parents, grandparents, and guardians of Tate students are allowed to vote.

Ransom Middle School

School Advisory Council applications are currently being accepted at Ransom Middle School. Applications are due by October 28.

Local Students Gather For ‘See You At The Pole’

September 29, 2022

Students across the area took part in the annual See You at the Pole event Wednesday.

Students gathered as school began to pray in the non-denominational event. See You at the Pole is a national student-initiated, student organized, and student-led event. Students prayed for their school, friends, teachers, government and the nation.

At Tate High School, the SYATP is sponsored by First Priority and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

About 50 students gathered for the First Priority STATP at Beulah Middle School where they prayed for the community, the nation and its leaders, the school, teachers, peers, parents and friends.

For a photo gallery, click or tap here.

Pictured top: See You at the Pole at Northview High School (top), Tate High School (below) and a unique view (pictured bottom) of SYATP at Beulah Middle School student Harrison Vernier, publicist for the First Priority Group. Photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Florida Disaster Fund Activated For Hurricane Ian Victims; Here’s How To Help

September 29, 2022

The Florida Disaster Fund has been activated to support Florida’s communities impacted by Hurricane Ian.

The Florida Disaster Fund is the State of Florida’s official private fund established to provide financial assistance to our communities as they respond to and recover from times of emergency or disaster. In partnership with public, private, and other non-governmental organizations, the Florida Disaster Fund supports response and recovery activities. To contribute, visit www.FloridaDisasterFund.org or text DISASTER to 20222.

“The Governor and I are thankful for the graciousness of those looking to assist Florida’s communities in their time of need,” said First Lady Casey DeSantis. “I am pleased to announce that Volunteer Florida has activated the Florida Disaster Fund so that people can donate directly to those affected by Hurricane Ian. We greatly appreciate the kindness and generosity of organizations and individuals from across the country looking to support Floridians, thank you.”

Donations to the Florida Disaster Fund are made to the Volunteer Florida Foundation, 501(c)(3) charitable organization, and are tax-deductible.

Donations may be made by credit card on the secure website www.FloridaDisasterFund.org or by check to the below address. Checks should be made payable to the Volunteer Florida Foundation and should include “Florida Disaster Fund” in the memo line.

Volunteer Florida Foundation
Attention: Florida Disaster Fund
1545 Raymond Diehl Road Suite 250
Tallahassee, FL 32308

ECUA Approves Water, Sewer And Sanitation Rate Increase, Plus Extra Sanitation Fee

September 28, 2022

The Emerald Coast Utilities Authority (ECUA) on Tuesday formally approved rate increase for sanitation, water and wastewater services, plus an additional sanitation fee that will all go into effect on October 1.

Sanitation Rate Increase And Fee

ECUA approved a sanitation (garbage) rate increase of 6% plus the addition of a $1 per month fee to fund the construction of a new sanitation transfer station on Pine Forest Road. Customers will continue to pay the $1 per month until the transfer station is paid off, which is currently projected to be in 2043.

ECUA Executive Director Bruce Woody said Tuesday that ECUA customers may not be completely on the hook for the cost of the transfer station. He said ECUA will ask the local state legislative delegation to seek a $3 million appropriation toward the total cost that would eliminate several years of the $1 per month fee payment for customers. Exact calculations on the cost are not yet complete.

The rate increase applies to the collection fee. For the average family with one 90-gallon container, the monthly rate will increase from $26.39 to $27.67, plus the $1 fee for the transfer station. The transfer station location is the current ECUA complex at Godwin Lane and Pine Forest Road.

The motion approving the sanitation rate increase and the $1 fee passed 4-0 with board member Louis Benson absent.

Proposed Water And Wastewater Rate Increase

The ECUA board also approved a 5% rate increase for water and wastewater. For an average customer using 6,000 gallons, the increase will be less than $1 per month for water and about $2 for wastewater.

The rate increase for water and wastewater passed 4-0 with board member Louis Benson absent.

Formal Felony Fraud Charge Filed Against Contractor Matthew Banks

September 28, 2022

A felony fraud charge has been formally filed against contractor Matthew Banks.

Banks was arrested back in August in Okaloosa County on a larceny charge from the Pensacola Police Department for failing to provide a refund. Now, the State Attorney’s Office has formally charged Banks with felony fraud.

A Pensacola resident paid Banks $6,740 by check for a renovation on North G Street in Pensacola. Banks, according to police, never started work and would not provide a refund despite the homeowner’s demand.

It is the only known formal criminal charge against Banks. However, the contractor oversight boards in both Escambia and Santa Rosa counties have taken multiple actions against him and ordered him to pay well over $1 million in restitution.

State officials have said they expect additional criminal charges will be filed against Banks as an investigation continues.

Blue Wahoos Still Alive In Championship Series After 7-1 Win Over Smokies

September 28, 2022

The Pensacola Blue Wahoos forced a winner-take-all Game Three of the Southern League Championship Series on Tuesday night, defeating the Tennessee Smokies by a score of 7-1.

Trailing 1-0 in the sixth inning with two outs, the Blue Wahoos exploded for seven runs against the Tennessee bullpen. The win sets up a decisive game in Tennessee on Wednesday with the Southern League Championship on the line.

Patrick Monteverde (W, 1-0) was sharp for Pensacola, delivering 5.0 solid innings, though he surrendered an RBI double to Yonathan Perlaza in the third to give the Smokies a 1-0 lead.

Tennessee starter Riley Thompson was even better, tossing 5.0 scoreless frames for the Smokies, but was failed by his bullpen. Will Banfield led off the sixth with a double against Dalton Stambaugh, and Cobie Fletcher-Vance tied the game with a two-out RBI single against Michael McAvene (L, 0-1). Things snowballed on McAvene in his Double-A debut, as Davis Bradshaw and Marcus Chiu singled to load the bases before Thomas Jones drew a walk to force in the go-ahead run.

Demetrius Sims followed with a chopper to deep third that was thrown into foul territory, scoring two more runs to extend the lead to 4-1. RBI singles from Banfield and Norel González capped the seven-run outburst, putting the Blue Wahoos ahead for good.

Cody Mincey and Andrew McInvale worked the final four innings in relief of Monteverde to close out the win.

Game three of the Southern League Championship Series from Smokies Stadium takes place Wednesday evening.

by Erik Bremer, Pensacola Blue Wahoos

FHP Seeks Driver After Fatal Motorcycle Hit And Run In Santa Rosa County

September 27, 2022

The Florida Highway Patrol is looking for a hit and run driver that killed a motorcyclist Monday night in Santa Rosa County.

About 9:40 p.m. a red Ford Focus turned left from Oakleaf Drive onto Hamilton Bridge Road, directly into the path of an oncoming motorcycle operated by a 29-year old Utica, Mississippi, man. The motorcyclist was transported to Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola where he later died.

FHP said the driver of the Ford Focus fled the scene on foot. He was described as a white male, about 6-feet tall, with a large build and blondish hair.

Anyone with information is asked to contact troopers by calling *FHP or Crime Stoppers.

Northview Teacher, School Board Chair Call For Review Of Over 100 ‘Obscene’ Books; School Board To Address Book Policy

September 27, 2022

The Language Arts Department chair at Northview High School and the chairman of the Escambia County School Board are calling for the immediate removal of over 115 books from school libraries until they can be reviewed.

Both are clear they are not out to randomly ban books.

Vicki Baggett has taught for over 30 years, with the last two decades at Northview. She’s compiled a growing list of  116 books that she says are inappropriate in schools, mostly due to sexual language and graphic drawings that she believes actually violate Florida’s obscenity laws.

She provided NorthEscambia.com with 14 pages listing the books available in Escambia County middle and high school libraries and cited hundreds of graphic and sexually explicit references. To see the book list, click or tap here.

Editor’s note: The remainder of this story includes content that some readers may find offensive or may not be appropriate for all ages.

Many of the books books on her list contain graphic and descriptive sexual language, include pedophilia and bestiality. One book uses the F-word 116 times. The are numerous books containing underage sex, what she termed “alternate sexualties”, “explicit violent content”, self-mutilation, suicide, rape, racism, and graphic drawings.

“I have asked the superintendent to quarantine or remove from circulation the challenged books until a review consistent with state statute is conducted,” School Board Chairman Kevin Adams said of Baggett’s list.

So far, that has not happened.

“The School Board has the authority to remove books from its libraries; however, it cannot do so simply because it disagrees with the message of a book or it offends the personal morals of an individual,” School Board General Counsel Ellen Odom said in an emailed statement on Monday. “Through the review process, if the School Board determines that a particular book is pornographic or obscene, is not suited to student needs and their ability to comprehend the material presented, is inappropriate for the grade level and age group for which the material is used, or is factually inaccurate or misleading, it can direct the removal of such book.”

Adams and Baggett both said it’s not a matter of banning books based upon their personal beliefs; rather, it’s a matter of using tax money to purchase obscene material and taking away parental choice. Both said parents have the right to allow their children access to the books through the public library or bookstores.

Several of the books are winners of major literary awards and accolades, but both said the books need to be reviewed to determine if they are age-appropriate for middle or high school readers.

“The biggest thing is we have to ensure children cannot access age inappropriate material without parental approval,” Adams said. “We have to respect parental rights.”

Adams pointed out that every Escambia County school student receives a library card for the West Florida Public Libraries, and some of the books can be accessed at those public libraries. “Would I advocate that? No. But they can,” he said.

“We have a rating system for everything. We have a rating system for movies. We have a rating system for music. Why don’t we have a rating system for books? We can even do that in the library,” Baggett.

The Escambia County School Board has scheduled a special workshop for 8 a.m. on October 10 to discuss a revised school library collection development policy and educational media review policy to ensure consistency with a recently passed state law, HB 1467, which requires school districts to be transparent in the selection of instructional materials, including library and reading materials.

To see the book list, click or tap here.

NorthEscambia.com will continue to follow this story.

Escambia County Mounted Posse Holds Demonstration For Molino Neighborhood Watch Group

September 27, 2022

The Escambia County Mounted Posse held a demonstration Monday evening for the Molino Mid-County Neighborhood Watch. The group will meet next at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, October 24 at the Molino Community Center on Highway 95A. Courtesy photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Driver’s License Services, Vehicle Registration Available In Century On October 4

September 27, 2022

The Florida Licensing On Wheels (FLOW) mobile office will return to Century next month.

FLOW is a standalone mobile office with technology to provide most motorists’ needs. The mobile unit provides a convenient method to renew a driver license, obtain a replacement driver license, conversion/reciprocation of out-of-state license, change a name or address on a current driver license or identification card, and get a first-time identification card. In addition to licensing services, the mobile unit also provides an opportunity to renew or replace a vehicle registration and apply, renew or replace disabled parking placards. Written and driving tests are not available from the FLOW unit.

Vehicle registrations can be renewed up to three months and driver licenses up to 18 months in advance of expiration.

The FLOW mobile office will be at the Billy G. Ward Century Courthouse, 7500 North Century Boulevard on Tuesday, October 4 from 9 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.

Citizens using the FLOW services are encouraged to visit EscambiaTaxCollector.com and click the “What Do I Bring” button for information on what is needed for these services. Staff from the tax collector’s office will be on hand to answer all FLOW service questions and questions concerning all other tax collector services such as property tax, business tax receipts, concealed weapons licensing, etc.

Pictured: The Florida Licensing On Wheels (FLOW) mobile office at the courthouse in Century in June 2022. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.

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