Bill Would Name Stretch Of Highway 4 The “Sen. Greg Evers Memorial Highway”

September 22, 2017

A 13-mile stretch of  Highway 4  that cuts through the Blackwater River State Forest would be named after the late former Sen. Greg Evers  under a measure filed Thursday by Rep. Jayer Williamson, R-Pace.

Under Williamson’s proposal (HB 171), State Road 4 would be designated the “Senator Greg Evers Memorial Highway” between Munson Highway and State Road 189 in Santa Rosa and Okaloosa counties.

Evers, 62, died Aug. 21 in a single-vehicle accident near his home in Okaloosa County. Evers, a Republican, served nine years in the Florida House before his election to the Senate in 2010. Evers left his Senate seat last year to make a bid for the U.S. House but lost the Republican primary to U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz.

Williamson’s bill is filed for the 2018 legislative session, which starts in January. If the bill passes and is signed by the governor, it would  take effect July 1, 2018.

by The News Service of Florida with contribution from

Century Library ‘Rocks’ Hide And Seek

September 22, 2017

The Century Branch Library held a “Hid and Seek” rock painting event Thursday night. Children had a chance to design and paint their own rocks to join their popular hide and seek craze. Photos by August Whorff for, click to enlarge.

Hurricane Irma Claims Filed Statewide – Including 83 Claims In Escambia County

September 22, 2017

In Hurricane Irma’s destructive wake, property insurance claims have been filed in all 67 Florida counties — including 83 damage claims filed in Escambia County.

The statewide claims range from a high of more than 55,000 claims in Miami-Dade County to half dozen in sparsely populated Liberty County, the state Office of Insurance Regulation reported Thursday.

Some 496,532 property insurance claims have been filed, representing just under $3.1 billion in potential losses caused by the hurricane.

Hurricane Irma struck the Florida Keys on Sept. 10 and then made a second landfall in Collier County, moving up the entire length of the state before exiting as a tropical storm on September 11. The insurance claims show the heaviest property losses appear to be in the southern portion of the state, where the storm was in its most powerful stages.

Of the 83 claims filed in Escambia County to date, 19 claims have been paid, five have been closed with no payment and 59 remain open.

Ernest Ward Powers Past Perdido (With Photo Gallery)

September 22, 2017

The Ernest Ward Middle School Eagles powered past the Perdido (AL) Raiders 36-6  Thursday night in Walnut Hill.

The two teams will face off again next week, as Perdido hosts the Eagles at the Poarch (AL) Athletic Complex at 6 p.m.

For a photo gallery, click here. photos, click to enlarge.

Bad News For Walnut Hill Drivers: Temp Bridge Weeks Away

September 22, 2017

Bad news for drivers in part of Walnut Hill…expect an emergency bridge detour to last for at least a month.

That’s the word from the Florida Department of Transportation, which Wednesday ordered the emergency closure of the Arthur Brown Road bridge over Boggy Creek. The bridge near the Walnut Hill Baptist Church  failed two inspections on Wednesday.

In July, work began at the location to construct a temporary road and bridge in order to construct a new permanent bridge. Thursday, FDOT officials reported that the it will take another 30 to 45 days to complete the temporary bridge. That means a minimum seven mile detour for local residents.

A new bridge, with 11-foot travel lanes, six-foot shoulders and a solid concrete barrier railing, is due to be completed next spring. photos, click to enlarge.

Byrneville Elementary Board Of Directors Plans Meeting

September 22, 2017

The Byrneville Elementary School Board of Directors will meet on Wednesday, September 27 at 3:30 at the school.

The charter school’s board of directors meetings are open to the public.

FWC Law Enforcement Report

September 22, 2017

The Florida FWC Division of Law Enforcement reported the following activity during the weekly period ending September 14 in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.


No report received for Escambia County.


Officer Hutchinson was patrolling the Blackwater State Forest when he observed a truck turn onto a dirt road next to where he was conducting a traffic stop. The truck began spinning the tires, throwing dirt and gravel in the roadway. While the truck continued along the dead-end dirt road, Officer Hutchinson could hear his engine accelerating as he was spinning out. After completing the traffic stop, he drove along the dirt road and observed several places in the roadway where the truck had spun out causing ruts and throwing mud in the roadway. Officer Hutchinson located the truck and observed it spinning its tires in a small mud hole. When asked why he was tearing up the roadway, the driver stated, “I just put new tires on my truck and wanted to see if they would spin out.” Officer Hutchinson charged the man with destruction of state lands by a motor vehicle.

Officer Hutchinson was on foot patrol within the Blackwater State Forest. While patrolling near a creek and a recreation area, he observed a large group of people recreating. He contacted the group and immediately observed a container, commonly used to conceal illegal narcotics, sitting on a chair. He located a plastic bag containing cannabis inside of it along with a marijuana smoking pipe. While continuing his search, he discovered a marijuana cigarette inside of an ice chest. Two men admitted ownership of the illegal items. Both men were issued the appropriate citations and given a court date.

Lieutenant Hahr was observing a man and woman on the bank of a small creek in the Blackwater State Forest when the man suddenly began walking towards him. Lieutenant Hahr greeted the man who apparently didn’t recognize him immediately. As the man attempted to walk past him, Lieutenant Hahr saw a burning clump of cannabis fall to the ground. The man immediately handed the remainder of his cannabis cigarette to Lieutenant Hahr and received a notice to appear for possession of not more than 20 grams of cannabis.

Officer Lewis was working in the Blackwater State Forest when he observed a large group of campers along Juniper Creek. Upon contacting the campers, he immediately discovered one of them in possession of cannabis and drug paraphernalia. The man was issued a notice to appear for the violations.

Officer Mullins received a call of a derelict vessel in the Peterson Point area. Officer Mullins worked the investigation and identified and located the last registered owner for the vessel, met the subject and provided him information regarding his derelict vessel. The subject was issued a citation for leaving a vessel in derelict condition.

Officer Mullins was on patrol in Yellow River Wildlife Management Area (WMA) when he observed a subject fishing in a creek. Officer Mullins began checking the subject and spoke with another subject standing by a vehicle. Officer Hutchinson arrived on scene to assist. During the inspection, the officers discovered that the subjects were in possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), drug paraphernalia and cannabis. The subjects were placed under arrest and booked into the Santa Rosa County Jail.

Officers Hoomes and Roberson were loading their patrol vessel from a local boat ramp when they observed two subjects seated in a vehicle in the parking area. The officers observed one subject continually attempting to light a pipe. As the officers approached, the subject attempted to conceal the pipe. The officers determined the pipe contained cannabis. An additional bag of cannabis and other drug paraphernalia were in the vehicle. Both subjects were issued the appropriate citations.

Officers Cushing, Pettey and Land worked multiple days offshore in the Gulf of Mexico while aboard the NW Fincat. They were enforcing both state and federal marine fisheries regulations during the trips during Labor Day weekend. The crew conducted 45 offshore marine fisheries inspections, in which 16 different vessels were found to be in violation of federal rules. The vessel captains were cited for being in possession of gray triggerfish during a closed season. Additionally, a Florida state charter vessel captain was cited for operating a charter trip in federal waters without the proper federal permit.

Officers Cushing and Pettey responded to the report of a capsized vessel 30 miles offshore of Pensacola while aboard the NW Fincat. When they arrived on scene, the three subjects had already been picked up by a Good Samaritan vessel without injury. A report of the accident was taken.

Officers Lugg and Ramos teamed up with local FWC Bear Biologist Green with a canvassing effort in an area where there have been ongoing bear issues. The officers issued five notices of non-compliance to residents with egregious trash violations and educated those who were following good bear awareness practices. Bear-proof trash can retrofit kits were issued to every house in the area at no cost to help alleviate the ongoing bear and trash can issues.

This report represents some events the FWC handled over the past week; however, it does not include all actions taken by the Division of Law Enforcement. Information provided by FWC. photo.

Surveillance Images Released In Armed Robbery Of Atmore Walgreens

September 21, 2017

Atmore Police are investigating an armed robbery at Walgreens on South Main Street.

About 9:55 p.m. Tuesday, the Atmore Police Department was contacted by Walgreens corporate security about a robbery in progress at the store.

Atmore Police arrived and made contact with two employees who stated several armed subjects entered the store shortly before closing and forced them into an office. The suspects were wearing all dark clothes and masks. The suspects took money and prescription pills and then fled the store.

The employees were not injured but were visibly shaken and upset, according to police in a statement released Thursday morning.

Anyone with information on the robbery is asked to call the Atmore Police Department at (251) 368-9141.

Pictured: Images from a five-second surveillance video released Friday by Atmore Police. images, click to enlarge.

Work Begins Monday On $5.2 Million Hwy 29 Resurfacing From Nine Mile To Muscogee

September 21, 2017

Construction will begin next week on a $5.2 million project to resurface Highway 29 from north of Nine Mile Road to Muscogee Road.

Other improvements will include safety and drainage upgrades and installation of new mast-arm mounted traffic signals at the West Ten Mile Road and East Kingsfield Road intersections.

Routine lane closures will be restricted to 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. At least one travel lane in each direction will remain open at all times.  Access to adjacent properties will be maintained throughout the construction period.

The entire project is currently scheduled for completion in the spring 2018.

Pictured: A Florida Department of Transportation provided map showing the paving project.

Church Outside Century Needs Town’s Blessing – And Land – To Expand

September 21, 2017

The Poplar Dell Baptist Church is located nearly four miles outside Century, but the town may hold the key to the construction of new fellowship hall.

“Our church is starting to grow, and we’ve run out of room,” Pastor Mitch Herring said.

For years, the church has cut the grass and maintained a lot about one acre in size behind their sanctuary and cemetery on Highway 168 in the Gandyville community. And they had eyed the lot to build their new fellowship hall. But the learned the property actually belongs to the Town of Century. Century’s gas department maintains a “natural gas gate station” — a connection between the town’s gas system and supplier — on one end of the property next to Poplar Dell Road. The remainder of the property is  large grassy lot.

Now, the church wants to buy the lot from the town, minus the area of the  gas station and any required pipeline easements.

Century Mayor Henry Hawkins has instructed the church to stake out the area where they want to build, and the the town will look at easements and regulations involving the natural gas gate station to determine if the sale is feasible. photos, click to enlarge.

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