Wahoos Drop First Half Finale To The Mobile BayBears

June 18, 2018

The BayBears rallied from behind to win the first-half finale 6-4 over Pensacola on a warm Sunday afternoon at Blue Wahoos Stadium.

Vladimir Gutierrez was excellent again today for the Blue Wahoos. He went six innings and allowed two runs on three hits. Those two runs were courtesy of Zach Houchin’s two-run home run in the fourth. Outside of that mistake, the Cuban right-hander was exceptional as he finished his outing with a season-high eight strikeouts and only one walk allowed.

The Wahoos rallied for runs in the fourth and fifth inning to tie the game at 2-2. In this sixth, after back-to-back hits from Nick Longhi and Brian O’Grady, the Wahoos scored on a wild pitch from Samil De Los Santos. Gavin LaValley later lifted a sac fly to center to score O’Grady to give Pensacola a 4-2 edge.

Wyatt Strahan (L, 5-6) entered the game in the eighth and struggled. He allowed a run in the eighth after Luis Rengifo tripled and later scored on Brennon Lund’s groundout. In the ninth he surrendered a leadoff single to Hutton Moyer who scored on Brendon Sanger’s game-tying double. In extras with a runner beginning on second base, Wade Wass homered on the first pitch he saw, which gave Mobile a 6-4 edge.

Jesus Castillo started the first three innings for Mobile. After that the BayBears used six different relievers for the final seven innings of the game, which included two position players in Bo Way and Jared Walsh. The Wahoos loaded the bases in the tenth but Dario Beltre worked around trouble to pick up the win (1-0).

The second-half starts on the road in Jackson when the Wahoos open up a six-game series against the Generals after the All-Star break. Four Wahoos will be participating for the South Division this year in Birmingham, AL. The Wahoos return to Blue Wahoos Stadium on June 28 when they host the Mississippi Braves. T

Portion Of Beulah Road To Have Nightly Detours And Closures

June 18, 2018

Beulah Road between Mobile Highway and Beulah Church Road will experience nightly detours and closures beginning Tuesday, June 19 at 7 p.m. Traffic will be detoured along Beulah Church Road and Rebel Road.

The road closure is expected to remain in effect for approximately four days between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m. each day. Every effort will be made to expedite construction to reopen the road before Saturday, June 23.

Construction will consist of upgrading the existing cross drains through the area as part of a Florida Department of Transportation project.

If other lane or roadway closures are necessary beyond the anticipated time periods, another notice will be issued.

Fiery Quintette Road Wreck Claims Two Lives

June 17, 2018

A horrific two vehicle crash on Quintette Road late Saturday night claimed two lives.

The Florida Highway Patrol said a 2011 Dodge Charger was westbound on Quintette Road west of Wallace Lake in Santa Rosa County about 11:35 p.m.  when the driver veered into the eastbound lane and collided with a  2018 Harley motorcycle driven by 34-year old Steven Bailey of Milton. Bailey was ejected from the motorcycle.

After the collision, the Charger caught fire and struck a tree.

Both drivers were pronounced deceased at the scene. The name of the Charger driver has not yet been released as the FHP works to notify next of kin.

Bailey was a 2002 Northview High School graduate.

The Florida Highway Patrol is continuing their investigation and is expected to release further details. Emergency personnel from Escambia and Santa Rosa counties responded to the wreck.

NorthEscambia.com is withholding additional information and photos until after next of kind are notified.

NorthEscambia.com photos by Kristi Barbour, click to enlarge.


Out Of Reach: The High Cost Of Rental Housing In Escambia County

June 17, 2018

A new report shows affordable housing is simply out of reach for many Escambia County residents.

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), a minimum wage worker in Escambia County must work 80 hours per week to afford a two bedroom apartment at fair market value.

Florida’s minimum wage is $8.25, and Escambia County’s fair market rent for a modest two bedroom rental is $846. According to the NLIHC, workers need to earn $33,840 to afford that apartment — the equivalent of two full time jobs at minimum wage.

The numbers are based on a renter spending 30 percent of his or her income on housing costs, and fair market rent provides an estimate of what a family moving today can expect to pay for a modestly priced rental  in a given area.

In order the afford a two bedroom apartment in Escambia County, the report says a worker needs to earn $16.27 per hour. There are 46,096 renter households — about 40 percent of all households — in Escambia County. Those household earn an estimate average wage of $15.12.

“Florida has the nation’s third-highest homeless population, including veterans and families with children. More than 950,000 low income hardworking families, elders and disabled Floridians living on fixed incomes pay more than 50 percent of their incomes for housing,” said Jaimie Ross, president of the Florida Housing Coalition. “Florida’s housing crisis is real; we have a dedicated revenue source to address this crisis.”

NorthEscambia.com graphic.

Recipe: Florida Beef Tenderloin With Grilled Vegetables And Herb-Citrus Butter

June 17, 2018

Ingredients:

Florida beef tenderloin, 4 each (4-6 ounces)
2 Florida zucchinis, sliced
2 Florida yellow squash, sliced
12 Florida grape tomatoes
4-6 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 teaspoon citrus zest, finely chopped
1 tablespoon seasoning blend (your favorite)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

Preparation:

Preheat charcoal or gas grill to medium-high.
In a small bowl combine the butter, chopped rosemary and citrus zest. Lightly season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Place on a sheet of wax paper and evenly roll it up to form a tube, place in the refrigerator to harden. When firm, slice into discs.
Add all the sliced vegetables to a mixing bowl, drizzle with olive oil and seasoning blend, stir to coat. Season each side of the beef tenderloin with salt and pepper. Carefully place the seasoned vegetables and tenderloins on the hot grill. The vegetables will cook quickly, but still be crisp-tender when cooked. Grill the tenderloins for 2 to 4 minutes on each side. When the desired doneness is reached, remove all food from the grill. Serve warm and garnish with the sliced herb-citrus butter.

Work Continues On Barrineau Park Road Bridge Replacement

June 17, 2018

Work is continuing on a new bridge on Barrineau Park Road (Hwy. 196) over Jacks Branch in Molino.  The old bridge has been removed and crews are constructing a replacement bridge over Jacks Branch, adding new guardrail and reconstructing the approach slabs.

Barrineau Park Road remains closed, and traffic is being detoured via Highway 29, Molino Road (Hwy. 182), and  Highway  95A.  The $1.97 million project is anticipated to be completed in the fall.

NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.

Florida Gov’t Weekly Roundup: Debates From Nasty To Nice

June 17, 2018

Two debates, two days apart — between the same candidates — may have left many viewers wondering what happened.

On Saturday night, four feisty Democrats vying to replace Gov. Rick Scott tore into each other’s records, hammering on a range of issues that included the minimum wage, coal-fired power plants, and Syrian refugees.

But 48 hours later, the boxing gloves were on the shelf and the kid gloves were back on.

http://www.northescambia.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/floridaweeklly.jpgFormer Congresswoman Gwen Graham, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and Orlando-area entrepreneur Chris King barely even grazed one another at the third of four planned debates before the Aug. 28 primary election, showing little separation on nearly every issue important to base Democrats.

While it may have made for boring viewing for political insiders, Florida Atlantic University political science professor Kevin Wagner said the lack of fireworks between the Democrats isn’t a surprise.

“There are so many undecided at this point that I don’t think anyone wants to alienate potential voters,” Wagner said in a recent interview. “The energy in the Democratic Party is the progressive base, and that’s typically not an audience that likes to hear negative campaigning.”

The Dems are taking a departure from the Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em Robots-style attacks lobbed by U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam on the GOP side of the race.

DeSantis shredded Putnam following a report of a year-long lapse in background screenings for concealed-weapons licenses that resulted in revocation of 291 of the licenses. The two men are in a heated Republican primary for governor.

“Republican primary voters are more supportive of candidates that are principled and stand their ground rather than ‘compromise’ candidates,” Wagner said. “At the end of the day, the argument goes that the one who’s going to compromise is the weak one.”

GUN SNAFU KEEPS PUTNAM IN THE CROSSHAIRS

A week after the Tampa Bay Times reported that a former employee of Putnam’s department failed for a year to conduct screenings of applicants for concealed-weapons licenses, the lapse continued to dog the agriculture commissioner.

Putnam, the frontrunner in the GOP primary, maintains that he ordered an inspector-general investigation into the issue, fired the employee who neglected to do her job and initiated new procedures to prevent a similar problem from occurring again.

He spent 20 minutes fielding reporters’ questions on Saturday and again faced the television cameras and notepads following a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

Although his department issued concealed-weapons licenses to 291 applicants who should have been disqualified, Putnam reiterated the breakdown has been corrected and there was no threat to Floridians.

“Public safety was not at risk,” Putnam told reporters after the Cabinet meeting. “Two-hundred and ninety-one people who should not have gotten a license to carry a concealed weapon did so, but they were revoked as a result of the processes that we put in place.”

Democrats have targeted Putnam on the issue, calling for him to resign and drop his gubernatorial bid.

Putnam — who’s facing off against DeSantis, a darling of the far-right and President Donald Trump — took to social media to blast Dems’ demands as well as press coverage of the issue, calling it “fake news.”

“The liberal media is pushing a fake narrative and not presenting the facts that disagree with their agenda. Thank you @FoxEbenBrown for letting me set the record straight,” Putnam tweeted, referring to a Fox News radio host on whose show he appeared.

But DeSantis, hardly a member of the liberal media, also hit Putnam on the issue.

“Adam has spent years campaigning for governor, basically, in this position and the report was very concerning because it seemed like he wasn’t minding the store when we needed him to be there,” DeSantis said.

The issue began in February 2016 when a Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services employee stopped logging into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System to see if applicants seeking state licenses to carry concealed weapons or firearms should be “flagged” for issues like drug abuse, involuntary mental confinements, dishonorable military discharges or undocumented immigrant status.

The problem wasn’t discovered until March 2017 when an investigation began that revealed 365 applications merited further review, leading the department to revoke the 291 licenses. The employee who failed to carry out the background reviews was fired.

Putnam said there is no indication that any of the disqualified people who received concealed-weapons licenses were involved in criminal activity while they had the permits.

“Any time that anyone who has a concealed weapon license is arrested we are made aware of that. That reporting occurs on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, depending on the arresting agency,” Putnam said.

Although information is slower coming from arrests made outside of Florida, Putnam said there were “no flags” on the people who should not have been licensed. “We have not received information on any of the 291,” he said.

SIMPLY ‘HORRIBLE’

Levine and other critics have accused Putnam of throwing the former worker under the bus regarding the background checks, and the former mayor of Miami Beach also blamed the agriculture commissioner for the citrus industry’s collapse.

But Mother Nature certainly played the major role in the latest round of devastating news: Florida’s embattled citrus industry experienced its worst growing season since World War II as the hurricane-battered harvest is now essentially complete.

The latest forecast numbers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture showed no change in the past month for orange production, which is off 34.7 percent from the prior growing season. Meanwhile, grapefruit production has fallen another 1.8 percent from a May forecast, coming in at half of what was picked in the prior growing season and at its lowest level in nearly a century.

Putnam called the season, which included devastation from Hurricane Irma and continued battles with deadly citrus greening disease, “horrible.”

“It’s important to remember that the industry is still recovering from Hurricane Irma’s unprecedented damage last year,” Putnam said in a statement.

Irma, which tore through the Sunshine State in September, also wreaked havoc to the tune of nearly $10 billion in insured losses, according to the latest estimates from the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.

The insurance loss estimates hit $9.7 billion, up by more than $1 billion since April, and the number of claims has reached nearly 1 million, an increase of more than 54,000 from the last update in April.

Officials said they expected claims to be made for more than a year after the storm, as property owners are able to get complete assessments of the damages.

But the latest figures also contained some bright news.

Erin VanSickle, deputy chief of staff at the Office of Insurance Regulation, said that, as far as the agency knows, no insurer has indicated difficulty with paying claims.

STORY OF THE WEEK: Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, a Republican running for governor in a heated primary against U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, continued to defend his agency’s handling of a year-long lapse in background checks on applications for concealed-weapons licenses.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “It was the dumbest thing in the world. It happens to anybody with a computer. She emailed IT (information technology) and said my password isn’t working. And they emailed her back with instructions on how to fix the problem.” — Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, explaining how a lapse in the background checks occurred.

by Dara Kam, The News Service of Florida

Woman Faces 50 Years For Stealing From Woman, Defrauding A Veteran

June 17, 2018

A woman is facing up to 50 years in prison after stealing a checkbook and credit cards from a woman and defrauding a veteran in Escambia County.

Javon Lasha Harris, 35, pleaded no contest before the court to two counts of grand theft, four counts of uttering forged bills, three counts of forging bank bills, checks, drafts,or promissory note, three counts of theft of a credit card, and one count of petit theft.

In March, a victim was sitting on her porch when she was approached by Harris. She told a victim that she had just been released from the hospital and needed money to buy her prescription medicine. The victim told Harris that she did not have any money but she had a prescription discount card that she could use. When the victim went inside to retrieve the card, the defendant asked to use the restroom. When Harris returned from the restroom, she stated she needed to turn her car off because she didn’t have much gas. Instead, the defendant drove  off. The victim checked her purse and realized the defendant had stolen her checkbook and credit cards.

In April, Harris used the checks to pay for court fees for her boyfriend and dental work. She also defrauded a retired veteran by giving him two checks, totaling $500 and two used $50 gift cards.

Harris faces a maximum of 50 years in state prison when she is sentenced at a later date from Circuit Judge Gary Bergosh.

BayBears Sink Wahoos 4-1

June 17, 2018

Pensacola fell short of completing their first four-game winning streak of the season as the BayBears won Saturday night’s sellout at Blue Wahoos Stadium 4-1.

The Wahoos pitchers all struggled to settle into the game during their outings. Victor Payano, Jose Rafael De Paula and Alejandro Chacin (L, 0-1) totaled seven walks, six hits, and despite 11 strikeouts, allowed four runs over the course of the game. Jesus Reyes pitched only one inning in the top of the ninth and did not allow the BayBears to do any more damage.

The BayBears struck gold in the first inning on a Zach Houchins sac fly to center fielder Narciso Crook that scored Luis Rengifo to give Mobile the early 1-0 lead. With the game tied 1-1 in the top of the sixth inning, Rengifo doubled in the right-center alley, which scored Zach Gibbons and Riley Unroe. That gave Mobile a 3-1 lead. Bo Way tripled on a line drive to right field, which allowed Gibbons to score another run that increased the lead to 4-1.

Joe Gatto had an impressive outing for Mobile as he pitched 4.1 innings with one run on seven hits, and no walks with six strikeouts. Tyler Stevens (S, 3) is credited with the save as he retired the side in the ninth inning, which secured the victory for the BayBears.

Aristides Aquino scored the only run for the Wahoos with a solo homer in the bottom of the fourth, which was his ninth home run of the season.

The Wahoos will look to bounce back in Sunday afternoon’s first-half finale. Pensacola right-hander Vladimir Gutierrez (3-8, 5.86) will open the game for the Blue Wahoos will take the mound, and right-hander Jesus Castillo (4-4, 5.23) will take the hill for the BayBears.

Reaching To God: I Thought You Would Call Me ‘Father’

June 17, 2018

Today, NorthEscambia.com is introducing a new weekly column entitled “Reaching to God,” by R.A. Mathews. The Rev. Mathews is an attorney, columnist, and the author of “Reaching to God: Great Truths from the Bible.” The column runs in several large newspapers. NorthEscambia.com is the first online-only newspaper to publish the popular column.

I’m about to blow your socks off. If you want to hold onto your britches, pull them up tightly.

Here we go: God is all-powerful and all-knowing, but God doesn’t have everything He wants.

This is a great truth.

What God longs for most eludes Him—it has since the beginning of time. You see it in the Old Testament, the New Testament, and you see it today.

What is that?
Let me tell you a story. Two parents lost their boy somewhere in a crowded city. For three days and two nights they searched for him, obviously frantic.
Mary and Joseph finally find Jesus in the temple. Remember what Jesus says to them: “Didn’t you know I’d be in My Father’s house?”

And what do they say? “Ah, yes, we should have known.”

No, they don’t. Scripture says they don’t understand Jesus. Luke 2:51

Isn’t that odd? Mary and Joseph knew Jesus was conceived by God. On top of that, hadn’t the angels announced to them that Jesus was the Son of God?

Well, let’s look.

Joseph had four dreams about Jesus. In one, Jesus is referred to as God’s son. When Gabriel speaks to Mary, he says it twice: Jesus will be the “Son of God” and “Son of the Most High.”

So Mary and Joseph not only had the virgin birth, but also angelic pronouncements that God is the Father of Jesus. Apparently that’s not enough because they don’t understand their 12-year-old son when He says, “Didn’t you know I’d be in my Father’s house?”

Here’s why—for a Jew to refer to God as “my Father” was blasphemy. In fact, two decades later those words will get Jesus into big trouble. The Jews will burn with anger, seeking to kill Jesus for saying “my Father.” They’ll say He’s making “Himself equal with God.” John 5:18

Honestly, the first time I saw this blasphemy charge, I immediately turned to the Old Testament.

It didn’t make sense. Clearly Jews from Abraham to Jeremiah had called God “Father.” Right?

Wow—get ready for this.

According to Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, “Father” is used for God only 15 times in the Old Testament. You can count them on your fingers and toes.

Even worse, generally those passages are talking about God’s nature—only one person in the Old Testament actually speaks to God calling him, “Father.” That’s Isaiah, and he only does it twice.

I was surprised.
Obviously, this is not good and God knows it. Listen to His words as the Old Testament marches to a close. I’ll warn you, these words are painful. God says, “I thought you would call me ‘Father.’”Jeremiah 3:19

That verse always moves me deeply. It’s the yearning of a parent for the love of a child. The all-powerful, all-knowing God longs for His children, wants them to know Him intimately, to call Him “Father.”

Now do you see what I mean? Some 2,000 years have passed from Abraham to the birth of Christ, and God doesn’t have what He wants most.

So the New Testament opens, God becomes flesh, and the Gospels proclaim Jesus. But before that, I’m certain Father God in heaven spoke with Jesus.

“Make sure they know me,” God must have told Jesus. “Make sure they call me ‘Father.’”

What then happens?

Oh-ho. Jesus knocks that ball out of the park—Jesus calls God “Father” over 165 times!

See how important this is to God?

And I wish I could say Jesus settled the matter. But, no—to this day God longs to be called “Father”; He will forever want His children more than anything, seeking those who walk away, knowing
many will never love Him.

God doesn’t have what He wants most. And He never will.

This Father’s Day, pray with your children. Lead them to know God intimately, to call Him “Father.”

© 2017, 2018 R.A. Mathews The Rev. Mathews is an attorney, columnist, and the author of “Reaching to God: Great Truths from the Bible.”

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