December 4, 2013
State utility regulators accepted a settlement agreement Tuesday that increases base electric rates for customers of Gulf Power Company for the utility’s largest-ever construction program.
The residential bill in January 2014 for 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity is currently slated to be $127.94. That same bill will increase $4.06, an increase of about 3.2 percent. In addition, in January 2015, the price will increase an additional $2.42 per 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity. Originally, Gulf Power filed a request that would have increased the cost for a residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity $10.93 per month by the end of 2015.
“We’re pleased with the PSC’s decision because it will help us continue to deliver long-term, reliable service throughout Northwest Florida,” said Stan Connally, Gulf Power President & CEO. “Our focus will continue to be on maintaining high reliability and high customer satisfaction. They are the heart of our business.”
The Gulf Power increase was part of settlement between the utility and representatives of consumers, business interests including the retailer Wal-Mart Stores East, LP, and federal agencies that represent military bases in the Panhandle. PSC Chairman Ronald Brisé called the agreement “solid give and take.”
The deal is expected to provide 42 months of rate stability for Gulf’s more than 430,000 customers.
The hike allows Gulf Power to increase its revenue through base rates by $35 million in January, with another $20 million boost in 2015.
The money will be used to pay for 15 transmission projects, both new and upgrades, Stone said. The work is considered the largest ever to be undertaken by the investor-owned utility, said attorney Jeff Stone, representing Gulf Power.
Another significant part of this settlement includes new job creation incentives. These incentives will reduce the amount the business pays for electricity by a certain percentage for four years if the business meets certain eligibility requirements.
“Some businesses could apply for incentives for relocating to Northwest Florida or for expanding their existing business in Northwest Florida,” said Connally. “This is another important element in the growing portfolio of economic development programs and activities Gulf Power can use to help draw businesses and jobs to the region.”
Examples of the planned Gulf Power infrastructure investments include:
- Substations are being added and improved to continue to provide reliable service to our customers. In Pensacola, a substation on Devilliers Street has been rebuilt. On Allison Avenue in Panama City, a new substation has been built.
- Seventy miles of 70-year-old transmission line is being rebuilt from Panama City to Holmes County.
- An existing transmission line between Highland City and Holmes Creek substations in the Panama City area is being upgraded to maintain reliability for our customers.
- A new 38-mile line is being added that begins in the Pensacola area and goes to the Florida-Alabama state line. This project is necessary for mandatory federal environmental compliance.
Originally, the utility had sought to increase base rates by $74.4 million, along with the potential for a further $16.4 million in 2015. Those increases would have pushed the typical monthly bill to $138.87 by the end of 2015.
The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.
Pictured inset: Gulf Power crews making upgrades to a distribution line. Submitted photo for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.
December 4, 2013
The Town of Century has approved a $17,000 upgrade to their water, sewer and gas billing software.
The town last upgraded their inHANCE Utility Solutions Software an estimated 10-12 years ago. According to Mayor Freddie McCall, the upgrade price would have increased 30-40 percent if the town waited until after December 31 for the upgrade.
Harris, the company that makes the inHANCE software, currently has 6,500 utility customers and is considered a market leader in utility billing software.
December 4, 2013
A Cantonment woman is facing a child abuse charge after her daughter showed up at her elementary school with plastic bag of cocaine in her backpack.
Students tipped off administrators at R.C. Lipscomb Elementary School that a student had a suspicious bag of white powder in her backpack. The student told school officials and deputies that Beck and a friend were in their car the night before when they dropped the baggie and began a frantic search for it. The student said the baggie must have fallen into her open backpack, according to an Escambia County Sheriff’s Office report.
The white powder in the bag field tested positive for cocaine. The Department of Children and Family Services is also investigating the incident.
December 4, 2013
An Escambia County man has been charged with a traffic death in Santa Rosa County.
Dakota Crank, 23, was charged with leaving the scene of a crash involving death after 20-year old Eric W. Young passed away at Sacred Heart Hospital from injuries received in a November 26 wreck at East Gate Road at Munson Highway.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Crank was traveling east at a high rate of speed on East Gate Road when he struck two vehicles stopped at a stop sign, including a 2006 Kia driven by Young. Crank fled the scene and was later apprehended in Pensacola.
Young’s passenger, 30-year old Kimberly D. Apperson was critically injured in the crash.
December 4, 2013
For the first time in modern Florida history, a nativity scene depicting the birth of Jesus Christ will be on display in the state Capitol throughout December. Religious leaders and schoolchildren prayed and sang Christmas carols at the unveiling on the first floor of the Capitol rotunda Tuesday.
Event organizer Pam Olsen, president of the Florida Prayer Network, said the display does not reflect a state-sponsored religion, since it was funded with private money. She also noted a Jewish menorah about 20 feet away.
“Freedom doesn’t mean just freedom for me as a Christian, or freedom for Jewish people as Jews, or any other groups,” Olsen said. “It’s freedom for all. Isn’t that what’s awesome about America?”
But Howard Simon, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, said no religious symbols, including a menorah, should be displayed in government buildings.
“And I’m not sure the people who manage the state Capitol fully appreciate the door that they have opened,” he said. “They’re not going to be able to say ‘no’ to the group that they don’t favor and ‘yes’ to today’s group that they obviously do favor.”
Olsen said a nativity scene is also on display in the Illinois Capitol this year, and that her group hopes to expand to more capitals next Christmas season.
by The News Service of Florida
Pictured top: A Christian nativity scene is displayed in the first floor rotunda of the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee. Photo by Tom Urban, NSF, for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.
December 4, 2013
Encouraging kids to get creative in the kitchen is a fun way to make great memories, meals and moments together.
Last year’s top entries ranged from a sweet and spicy sandwich to satisfying snacks and dreamy desserts. Inspire your family with these delicious recipes.
The most recent champ, 9-year-old Jacob C., impressed the judges with his savory Mexican-inspired sandwich using chocolate flavored hazelnut spread.
Magnificent Mole Chicken Torta
Makes: 1 Sandwich
Crisco(r) Original No-Stick Cooking spray
2 tablespoons minced onion
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons Jif(r) Chocolate Flavored Hazelnut Spread
1/3 cup condensed tomato soup
Juice of half a lime (about 2 tablespoons)
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried cilantro
1/4 cup chopped green chili peppers
3/4 cup pulled rotisserie chicken, heated
1 bolillo roll, sliced lengthwise
1 slice Monterey Jack cheese, halved
3 avocado slices
1/2 cup thinly sliced lettuce
1/8 cup chopped tomato
Dollop of sour cream (optional)
1. SPRAY small sauce pot generously with no-stick cooking spray; sauté minced onion and garlic over medium-high heat until tender.
2. STIR in spread, tomato soup, lime juice, cumin, cilantro and green chili peppers. Bring to a boil and simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. REMOVE sauce from heat. Toss half the sauce with pulled chicken; place mixture on bottom half of roll.
4. TOP with cheese slices and place sandwich open-faced under toaster oven or broiler for 2 to 3 minutes until cheese melts. Remove sandwich from oven, and place sliced avocado on top of melted cheese.
5. ADD lettuce, tomatoes, dollop of sour cream (optional) and top half of roll. Use remaining sauce as extra or to make another sandwich.
Peanut Butter Pear-ot
Makes: 2 Sandwiches
2 tablespoons Jif Natural Creamy Peanut Butter
1 pear, shredded
1 medium carrot, shredded
1 celery stalk, sliced thin
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 whole wheat flatbread wraps
2 tablespoons Jif Chocolate Flavored Hazelnut Spread
1 teaspoon chopped dry roasted peanuts
1. MIX peanut butter, pear, carrot, celery and dried cranberries in medium bowl.
2. DIVIDE mixture between two flatbread wraps. Wrap snugly. Cut each wrap in half.
3. SPREAD hazelnut spread on cut halves of wraps, and sprinkle on chopped peanuts.
4. PREPARE to delight your taste buds. Don’t forget to share with a friend.
Apple Fries Peanut Butter Surprise
Makes: 1 Sandwich
1 8-inch flour tortilla
3 tablespoons Jif Creamy Peanut Butter, divided
1 tablespoon granola (small chunks)
1 tablespoon mini chocolate chips
1 large apple
1. LAY tortilla flat on plate. Spread 2 tablespoons peanut butter in 4-inch circle in top center of tortilla (start about 2 inches down from top).
2. SPRINKLE 1 tablespoon of granola and 1 tablespoon of mini chocolate chips on top of peanut butter. Lightly press in.
3. CUT one apple to look like French fries. Lay apple fries vertically on top of the peanut butter circle. Place all apple fries on top of peanut butter; stack if necessary.
4. SPREAD remaining 1 tablespoon peanut butter to line edges of entire bottom half of tortilla.
5. FOLD up bottom half of tortilla to cover half of apple fries. Take right side of tortilla and fold in. Take left side and fold in as well, overlapping the right side. Dab some peanut butter to “glue” sides together.
6. TO EAT: Pull out apple fries one by one, and/or eat like a sandwich.
Bananas Foster PB & B
Makes: 1 Sandwich
4 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 thick slices of bread
2 tablespoons Jif Creamy Peanut Butter
Crispy cooked bacon
1. MELT butter in pan over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. Peel and slice bananas in half, then slice again lengthwise. Once it begins to bubble, put in slices of banana and cook until bananas are warm, about 2 to 3 minutes.
2. TOAST bread. Spread 1 tablespoon peanut butter (or more, if desired) on each piece of toast.
3. PLACE bacon slices on one side of toast.
4. GENTLY place warm banana slices on top of other piece of toast.
5. CLOSE sandwich and slice in half.
Banutter Cream Sandwiches
Makes: 4 Sandwiches
2 ripe bananas
4 tablespoons Jif Creamy Peanut Butter
1 teaspoon honey
8 chocolate graham crackers
1. PEEL 2 ripe bananas and cut into 1-inch slices. Freeze bananas for at least 1 hour, then remove from freezer and put into blender.
2. ADD 4 rounded tablespoons of peanut butter, 1 teaspoon of honey, and blend well.
3. SPOON mixture onto graham cracker and place another graham cracker on top (should make 4 sandwiches).
4. PUT sandwiches in freezer until mixture is frozen solid.
December 4, 2013
After surveillance photos were posted by NorthEscambia.com, two suspects were identified — 25-year old Clarence Kemp and 25-year old Montrelle William Fisher, both of Atmore. Officers were able to interview both suspects and obtain felony warrants for their arrests. Both were charged with burglary of a vehicle, second degree theft of property and fraudulent use of a credit card.
Fisher turned himself into the Escambia County Detention Center in Brewton, but authorities are still looking for Kemp. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call their local law enforcement agency.
The victim reported that her billfold was stolen from her vehicle at a local gas station on November 6. The suspects were driving what was believed to be a newer model Dodge Charger that was yellow or light orange in color with chrome wheels, sunroof and a prominent black stripe on the sides.
December 3, 2013
A Navy training helicopter from Whiting Field made an emergency landing Tuesday afternoon in Walnut Hill.
A warning light in the aircraft prompted the pilot to make a controlled landing about 3 p.m. in a field at the corner of Highway 97 and Arthur Brown Road, directly across the intersection from Ernest Ward Middle School. There were no injuries to the three people on the helicopter.
A witness said the helicopter made what appeared to be an ordinary, controlled approach and landing in the field.
A truck and trailer from Whiting Field was dispatched to retrieve the aircraft and the personnel.
NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.
December 3, 2013
After weeks of back and forth discussion on a barnyard animal ban, the Century Town Council started over with a new ordinance Monday night.
The ordinance will make it illegal to keep a horse, mule, donkey, goat, sheep, or cow within the town limits except in areas that are zoned agricultural or rural residential. Hogs are already prohibited in all areas of the town.
One horse will be allowed for every two acres, one donkey per acre and one goat per one-half acre. The animals and their pens must be 200 feet or greater from a dwelling or property line.
Anyone with horses, donkey or goats (but not mules, sheep or cows) in an area not zoned agricultural or rural residential within the town limits, must register theirl animals at the Century Town Hall within 60 days of the adoption of ordinance.
Anyone with nonconforming animals must apply for and be granted a variance from the town council within six months or get rid of their animals.
The council held a first reading of the new ordinance Monday night. They also voted to schedule a special meeting at 6 p.m. on Monday, December 23 for public comment and for a final council vote.
The new ordinance shortens the time noncomplying residents have to request a variance or remove their animals from 18 to six months. The council also removed a previous discussed requirement that any barnyard animals approved under a variance be implanted with a tracking microchip.
Pictured: (L-R) Century Mayor Freddie McCall and council members Gary Riley, Ann Brooks, Sandra McMurray Jackson and Jacke Johnston at Monday night’s meeting of the Century Town Council. Council members Annie Savage was absent. NorthEscambia.com photo, click to enlarge.
December 3, 2013
A McDavid man is facing several felony charges after allegedly threatening to kill his mother over the Thanksgiving weekend.
Haden Brock Howard, 19, was booked into the Escambia County Jail on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, felony battery by strangulation, aggravated battery using a deadly weapon and battery. He was released from the Escambia County Jail Sunday afternoon on a $3,500 bond.
The 42-year old victim told deputies that Howard, her son, had taken her vehicle without permission. She was able to locate it alongside Highway 97. As she was driving home, the victim said Howard suddenly sat up from the backseat, became enraged and put a knife against her right temple and was saying he was going to kill her, according to an arrest report.
The victim pulled off the road in the 7200 block of Highway 97 in Walnut Hill. She told deputies that Howard dropped the knife, then attempted to strangle her before grabbing some sort of handsaw. She escaped the car, with Howard attempting to run over her, an arrest report states, before crashing through a fence and speeding off on Highway 97.
Deputies made contact with Howard by phone and he said he had no idea what was going on and that he had not seen his mother in two or three days. Deputies convinced Howard to exit his grandparents’ home on Green Village Road, at which time he was taken into custody. He continued to insist that he had not had any contact with his mother.
The victim’s car was located in the grandparents’ backyard, with what appeared to be a bloody fixed blade knife inside, according to the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office report.