Friday Night Football Finals

October 22, 2016

Here are final football scores from around the North Escambia area.


  • Northview 12, Walton 10
  • Tate 63, Choctaw 42
  • Jay 50, Rocky Bayou 0
  • West Florida 19, Arnold 0
  • Niceville 27, Pine Forest 14
  • Catholic 38 Washington 22
  • Mosley 31, PHS 30
  • Baker 69, Lighthouse Academy 7
  • Freeport 42, Bozeman 8
  • OFF: Escambia, Milton, Pace, Gulf Breeze


  • W.S. Neal 32, Escambia County (Atmore) 20
  • Autauga Academy 41, Escambia Academy 34
  • Bayside 44,  Flomaton 24
  • T.R. Miller 49 Clarke Co. 35

Pictured top: Luke Ward scores a Northview touchdown against Walton Friday night. photo, click to enlarge.

No Injuries In Midday Cantonment Crash

October 21, 2016

There were no injuries in a two vehicle collision at Highway 297A and Country Road 97 in Cantonment about noon Friday.  Both drivers refused medical treatment. The accident is under investigation by the Florida Highway Patrol. photos by Kristi Barbour, click to enlarge.

Volunteers Returning To Rebuild Tornado Damaged Homes In Century Area

October 21, 2016

World Renew-Disaster Response Services is returning to the Century area to assist in restoring homes for tornado survivors.

World Renew will be partnering with the Escambia County Long Term Recovery Group (LTRG), made up of organizations that have been assisting low income survivors in their recovery since an EF-3 destroyed and damaged over 140 homes in February 2016.

World Renew will provide skilled volunteer labor to construct replacement homes and make repairs on others that were damaged.  World Renew teams, made up of an average of 18-20 volunteers, will be working in coordination with the Pensacola Habitat for Humanity and the Florida Recovery Team on recovery reconstruction beginning on October 24, 2016.  The volunteers commit to serve for three weeks per team rotation.

The group’s very first project on Monday will be the completion of two properties in Flomaton before they turn their full focus on Century.

Anita Totten of BRACE said the group already has a list of properties that need assistance from the Town of Century’s leadership, Escambia County’s Neighborhood Enterprise Division and a disaster case management team. But if anyone feels they need tornado recovery help but may not be on the list, they should call United Way of Escambia County at 211 or (850) 595-5905.

The recovery work of the Escambia Long Term Recovery Group is supported by State Housing Initiative Partnership (SHIP) funds and donations to the United Way Disaster Fund.

The World Renew reconstruction volunteer teams will complement the work of community recovery partners that include the Escambia County Board of County Commissioners, Town of Century, Escambia County Housing Finance Authority, Northwest Florida Community Housing Development Corporation and over a dozen non-profit and faith-based organizations including Catholic Charities, Florida Baptist Disaster Relief, Legal Services of North Florida, Pensacola Habitat for Humanity, St. Vincent de Paul, United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), United Way and over a dozen more organizations, many of which have been assisting survivors since the night of the tornado.

Greg Strader, executive director of BRACE said, “The Escambia Long Term Recovery Group is thrilled that World Renew has returned to our community”.  World Renew-DRS deployed 349 volunteers to aid low income survivors following our 2014 flood.  Those volunteers provided over 39,000 hours of service in our community”.

In addition, the “green shirts” as World Renew volunteers are affectionately known, served in Escambia County for over two years following Hurricane Ivan. file photo, click to enlarge.

Century Deals With 500 Gallon Sewage Spill On West Highway 4

October 21, 2016

About 500 gallons of sewage spilled into a ditch on West Highway 4 in Century on Thursday.

About 8:30 a.m., a town street crew discovered the approximate 500 gallon wastewater spill in the ditch at about 30 West Highway 4, just west of the Century Woods Apartments. The sewer department applied lime to the ditch and area surrounding the force main break.

At last report Thursday, the town was in the process of repairing the pipe. The affected area was isolated with caution tape and lime was applied.

“The affected area has been isolated with caution tape. No other areas were affected by the leak and there is no potential risk to the public health, safety or welfare,” according to a town statement. file photo, click to enlarge.

Truck Driver Sentenced To 15.5 Years On Federal Child Porn Charges

October 21, 2016

Andre M. Straughn, 40, of Milton,  was sentenced to 15.5 years in prison for receipt and transportation of child pornography, as well as making a false statement to a federal agent. After incarceration, Straughn will serve 10 years of supervised release and will be required to register as a sex offender.

In July 2015, law enforcement agents became aware of online child pornography files that were  linked to Straughn’s online activities. Law enforcement agents conducted an investigation and determined that Straughn was a truck driver who traveled to other states with his cellular device and laptop and used multiple electronic platforms to engage in online child pornography.

After Straughn returned home from a trip, agents searched Straughn’s residence. Straughn told law enforcement agents that he did not have an online storage account, did not use the social media application Kik, and could not remember the password to his cellular telephone. A forensic  review of Straughn’s electronic devices revealed that Straughn did maintain online storage  accounts and a Kik account. In total, Straughn’s online storage account, laptop, and other electronic devices revealed more than 50,000 images and videos of child pornography, dating back approximately 10 years. Straughn pled guilty on June 2, 2016.

“Protecting our children from exploitation is a top priority of my office and the Department of Justice,” said United States Attorney Canova. “I commend the hard work of our prosecutors and law enforcement professionals who protect our communities and bring child predators to justice.”

“Our communities are safer today now that this criminal will spend the next 15.5 years behind bars,” said Susan L. McCormick, special agent in charge of HSI Tampa. “HSI special agents will continue to relentlessly pursue those who want to do harm to our children.”

The case was investigated by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations, Pensacola Police Department, and the other agencies in the  North Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Assistant United States Attorney David L. Goldberg prosecuted the case.

FHSAA Seeks To Sack Lawsuit Over Football Game Prayer

October 21, 2016

The Florida High School Athletic Association is asking a federal judge to toss out a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a decision that prevented two Christian schools from using a loudspeaker for a prayer before a football championship game.

The association said it did not violate the rights of Tampa’s Cambridge Christian School, which filed the lawsuit last month. In a motion to dismiss the case, the association argued that Cambridge Christian and University Christian School of Jacksonville were free to pray before a December 2015 championship game — just not over the public-address system.

“Indeed, as the amended complaint (the Cambridge Christian lawsuit) makes clear, FHSAA has not denied the school’s athletic program the ability to express itself through prayer among themselves prior, during, or following the game, either in the locker room or outside on the athletic field,” said the motion, filed Tuesday in federal court in Tampa. “FHSAA also has not banned the school’s athletes and supporters from saying anything they wish to anyone they speak with, or from displaying any signage they wish to bring with them. But the law does not require — and for good and valid reason does not permit — the FHSAA to promote sectarian prayer through state-run public address systems.”

Cambridge Christian alleges that the association, the longtime governing body for high-school sports in Florida, violated the U.S. Constitution and the state Constitution in denying a request to use the public-address system at Orlando’s Camping World Stadium for a pre-game prayer. The lawsuit also seeks a preliminary injunction against the association continuing the policy for upcoming athletic events.

“By rejecting Cambridge Christian’s request for pre-game prayer over the loudspeaker on the basis of its religious character and viewpoint, the FHSAA unlawfully prohibited Cambridge Christian’s private religious speech and unreasonably burdened its right to freedom of speech and free exercise of religion,” the lawsuit said.

The case stems from the Division 2A football championship game on Dec. 4 between Cambridge Christian and University Christian. Three days before the game, the schools asked the association to be allowed to use the loudspeaker to lead a prayer, but the request was denied.

The teams prayed together at mid-field before the game, according to court documents filed by Cambridge Christian and the association.

In the motion to dismiss filed this week, the association said it uses a public-address “protocol” that includes policies about what announcers can say during games. As examples, that includes announcements about lineups, substitutions and timeouts and includes a script for promotional announcements, the motion said. The association said it does not allow “open access” to the public-address system.

The association’s legal arguments are based, at least in part, on what is known as the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.

“FHSAA was also upholding its obligations under the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause in not allowing what would amount to a state-sponsored prayer at a state-sponsored championship football game,” the motion said. “Cambridge Christian was not denied the opportunity for prayer — in fact, Cambridge Christian acknowledges that it was allowed to offer a pre-game prayer, which it did so, publicly, from mid-field. FHSAA did not infringe on Cambridge Christian’s right to exercise its religious freedom and free speech rights.”

But the school’s lawsuit pointed to other forms of speech allowed at the game, including messages from corporate sponsors on the stadium’s video screen and advertisements delivered by the public-address announcer. It also said Cambridge Christian’s cheerleading coach was allowed to play music over the loudspeaker while the school’s cheerleaders performed at halftime.

“The policy is not neutral; and, the policy is not generally applicable because it prohibits religious speech, and only religious speech, from being broadcast over the loudspeaker,” the lawsuit said. “The FHSAA’s denial of Cambridge Christian’s request for prayer over the loudspeaker, while allowing for secular messages to be delivered over the loudspeaker and other stadium communications media, constitutes content-based and viewpoint-based discrimination in contravention of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.”

by Jim Saunders, The News Service of Florida

Forest Service Issues Warning Not To Burn Outdoors

October 21, 2016

Officials with the Florida Forest Service’s Blackwater Forestry Center are urging residents of Escambia and Santa Rosa counties to refrain from any outdoor burning for the next several days.

The area is in the midst of an extended dry spell and a predicted cold front will bring higher winds and lower humidities. There is little no rain in the extended forecast. This combination has prompted an increase in the fire danger level for the district as well as an increase in the response level of Forest Service fire crews.

With these conditions, even well-intended backyard fires can be dangerous.

“The weather will be cooler and people will probably want to get some yard work done,” said David Smith, operations administrator for Blackwater. “Cleaning up is fine but we would recommend that folks not burn their yard debris until we see some relief.”

In addition to the warning to residents, Smith said authorizations for large piles and acreage burns will not be issued at this time. file photos, click to enlarge.

JV Football – West Florida Beats Northview

October 21, 2016

The West Florida Jaguars defeated the Northview Chiefs 50-8 Thursday night in junior varsity football action.

For more photos, click here. photos, click to enlarge.

Photo Gallery: Molino Park Students Celebrate 50th Day Of School

October 21, 2016

Molino Park Elementary School celebrated the 50th day of the school year Thursday with a 50’s Day.

For more photos, click here.

Photos for, click to enlarge.

Another Corrections Officer Assaulted At Holman Prison

October 20, 2016

The Alabama Department of Corrections is investigating an assault on a corrections lieutenant that was reported Thursday at the William C. Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore.

The assault occurred inside the prison at about 1 p.m. when the lieutenant was attempting to control the inmate who was making threatening remarks to other corrections officers.   The inmate assaulted the lieutenant with a makeshift weapon. Prison officials said that lieutenant was not stabbed, but received a minor cut about the eyelid during the assault.

The lieutenant was transported to a local hospital where he was listed in stable condition.  No other inmates or officers were involved in the incident.

Inmate Robert Washington, 27, is being charged with the assault.  Washington is serving a 20-year sentence on a 2010 first-degree robbery conviction out of Montgomery County.

This is the second assault on a corrections official at the prison since September.  Corrections Officer Kenneth Bettis was stabbed on Sept. 1. and later died of his injuries.

A Corrections Emergency Response Team (CERT) will remain at the facility to augment the prison’s security staff.   The prison is locked down while ADOC investigates the incident.

Corrections officials are not releasing the lieutenant’s name at this time.

Story updated at 4 pm to indicate from additional information from ADOC that the corrections officer was not stabbed, but cut.

Pictured top: Holman Prison in Atmore. photo, click to enlarge.

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