Even The Sidewalks Help Kids Learn At Cantonment Park

August 19, 2018

Even the sidewalks help children learn at Carver Park in Cantonment.

Decals placed on sidewalks in the park offer children a chance to play and learn.  The decals reinforce concepts that will be important for children when they start school. Skills like counting, letter naming, shape and color identification are built into the nine decal designs.

Partners in the project included  the Cantonment Rotary Club and the Studer Community Institute.

Cantonment Rotary President Bobby King said the project was a great match for Rotary’s commitment to community, education and improving the lives of children.

“Carver Park has been recently renovated through the efforts of Cantonment Improvement Community (CIC),” King said. “Their organization is dedicated to helping the children by improving this community. Their efforts and dedication has inspired us.  For us at Cantonment Rotary, this was an easy and clear decision to utilize our Rotarian grant for this project. It is a piece of the puzzle in making a difference.  Seeing the smile on a child’s face while learning and interacting with the decals is special.”

Carver Park is located at 208 Webb Street.  The play and picnic areas at the park are located under the largest natural oak canopy of any Escambia County park.

NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.

Century Woman Charged With Attacking Neighbor’s Porch, Clawing At Deputies

August 18, 2018

A Century woman was jailed after allegedly attacking her neighbor’s porch, threatening her with a pipe and clawing at Sheriff’s deputies.

Shirley Ann Knight, 62, was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, criminal mischief with property damage and resisting arrest.  She remained in the Escambia County Jail with bond set at $6,000.

Knight allegedly damaged two front porch columns at a home on Academy Street with a metal pipe before threatening the resident with the pipe.

After she was arrested and placed in a deputy’s vehicle, she managed to remove one hand from handcuffs and began hitting the center divider of the vehicle. As deputies tried to re-cuff Knight, she grabbed a deputies hand, scratching him. She then  attempted to claw two deputies and refused to get back in patrol vehicle, according to arrested report. Deputies picked her up and placed her inside the Tahoe. On the way to the jail, she starting spitting at the deputy and all over his vehicle, the report states.  The incidents were captured on video.

County Talks West Kingsfield Road Improvements, Realignment With Beulah Road

August 18, 2018

Escambia County is exploring options to improving West Kingsfield Road and possibly realign it with Beulah Road.

In 2017, an in-house safety study was performed for West Kingsfield Road from Highway 97 west to Beulah Road.

In the past two years, there have been more than $178,000 in roadway, drainage and signage improvements completed by the county in the area. Options are being explored to improve upon current areas with 90-degree curves. Those options would realign Kingsfield with a terminus further north on Beulah Road, likely near the entrance of the Escambia County Landfill.

Intermediate plans call  for the entire road to be resurfaced and restriped using about $1 million in Local Option Sales Tax money, once approved. Otherwise, the road is currently set for resurfacing in 2027-2028.

During the time period of January 2011 to December 2016, there were 18 reported traffic crashes on West Kingsfield. Of those, 12 were vehicles that ran off the road, four were vehicles that were side-swiped and one was head-on.

The commission will continue discussion on Kingsfield Road in the future. no plans have been finalized.

Pictured: This graphic depicts a possible route for realigning Kingsfield Road with Beulah Road to avoid several 90-degree curves. NorthEscambia.com graphic.

Local Unemployment Rate Dips

August 18, 2018

Escambia County’s unemployment rate s 3.9 percent, down 0.4 percentage point from a year ago, according to the latest numbers released Friday.

The industries with the highest growth over the year in Pensacola were construction, and leisure and hospitality. The Pensacola area had 4,643 job openings, including 1,286 openings for high-skill, high-wage STEM occupations.

Florida’s unemployment rate dipped in July, hitting an 11-year low of 3.7 percent, according to numbers posted Friday by the state Department of Economic Opportunity. The latest estimate represents 383,000 Floridians considered out of work — 4,000 fewer than in June — from a workforce of 10.2 million. The mark, the lowest for Florida since April 2007, kept the state below the national figure of 3.9 percent for July, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

18-Wheeler Overturns In Cantonment

August 17, 2018

An 18-wheeler overturned on Muscogee Road at Highway 29 in Cantonment Friday, causing traffic delays for over five hours.

There were no other vehicles involved in the 1:11 p.m. accident. The driver of the truck, 38-year old Darryl Harlow of Foley  was able to crawl out of the cab and was not injured.

The Florida Highway Patrol said Harlow failed to maintain control the semi as he turned let on Muscogee Road from Highway 29 northbound.

The truck was hauling paper and weighed over 70,000 pounds, according to the FHP.

Harlow was cited for careless driving.

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

Century Budget: Gas Department Facing Big Loss; Mayor Wants Employee Raises

August 17, 2018

Century’s gas department is expected to lose over $200,000 next fiscal year, and the mayor is proposing a 3 percent raise for employees.  Those were just two of the items discussed Thursday afternoon during a Town of Century budget workshop.

Gas Department Losses

The town’s gas tentative gas department budget is projecting a loss of $214,000 as the town works to figure out where the gas they purchase from their supplier is going because much of it is not being billed to customers.

Gas Superintendent Wally Kellett said it’s certain the gas is not leaking because that would be very obvious. The problem, he said, is either with customer meters, meter reading and billing,  or a discrepancy between the amount billed by the town’s supplier and the quantity actually delivered.

The town plans to install a “gate station” meter to measure and verify the amount of gas received from the supplier, and they are considering about $50,000 for new meters for all customers because current meters are decades old.  The system currently servers 498 customer accounts in and around the town. There were 520 gas customers just a few weeks ago.

“It’s hard to say how much of a difference it will make, but it will be tremendous,” Kellet said the increased revenue expectorated from new, more accurate gas meters.

About $160,000 in gas revenue was lost this year because, according to town officials, a meter reader was not properly reading meters. That meter reader is no longer employed by the town.

“The biggest unknown right now for the gas department is how much are we going to bill (next fiscal year),” accountant Robert Hudson said. “”We are seeing problems with the gas department as far as billing versus purchases.”

The proposed budget moves administrative salaries out of the gas department in order to curtail losses. The gas fund had typically paid a portion of the the salaries of the mayor, town council and administrative clerks. An $18,000 budgeted rent the gas department had paid the general fund has also been eliminated to improve the balance sheet.

Employee Raises

Mayor Henry Hawkins has requested a 3 percent cost of living adjustment (COLA)  across the board for employees. The current COLA as set by the Social Security Administration is 2 percent, according to Town Clerk Kim Godwin.

The town’s total personnel costs, including salaries and benefits, is budgeted at $1.045 million.

Not Final Yet

The budget discussed Thursday is not yet final and no formal actions were taken. A preliminary budget draft will be presented during a council workshop at 1 p.m. on Friday, August 24.

ECSO: Walnut Hill Man Burglarizes Neighbor, Caught With Items In His Vehicle

August 17, 2018

A Walnut Hill man was arrested for burglarizing his neighbor Tuesday after deputies caught him with the stolen items in his vehicle, according to the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office.

James Sean Brooks, 19, was charged with three felony counts of burglary, grand theft and criminal mischief with property damage. He was booked into the Escambia County Jail with bond set at $21,000.

A resident of Highway 97 near North Highway 99 reported a 55-inch television worth $800 missing from  a mother-in-law suite directly behind his home. Rods and reels valued at $2,800 and a $450 chainsaw were reported stolen from a storage shed, and the victim said cash from his wallet and Nexium pills were stolen from his truck.

The victim stated that he had located one of his custom saltwater fishing rods on the ground in front of his storage shed, a long with a fishing lure and weight that appeared to have been dropped as they items were being stolen from his shed.

The victim told deputies that he believed Brooks had taken the items.

As the victim was talking to deputies, a black Chevrolet Equinox drove by twice at a slow rate of speed, and the victim advised the vehicle belonged to Brooks.

A deputy followed the vehicle and could see fishing rods sticking up in the back of the Equinox and conducted a traffic stop on Highway 97 near Mason Road. During the traffic stop, multiple rods and reels were located matching those taken from the victim, along with a 55-inch television and a Roku.

A female with Brooks told deputies that he woke her up between 2:00 and 3:00 a.m. and told her he had found the items in his vehicle.

The female with Brooks was charged as a juvenile and transported to the Department of Juvenile Justice. Her name has not been released.