One Injured In Hwy 29 Crash

July 3, 2015

One person was injured in a two vehicle crash about 9:00 Friday morning on Highway 29 north of Kingsfield Road. A newborn baby in the pictured vehicle was properly restrained and uninjured. Further information has not been released by the Florida Highway Patrol. NorthEscambia.com photo by Kristi Price, click to enlarge.

Northview’s FFA Named One Of Florida’s Finest; Places Second In Advocacy Program

July 3, 2015

The Northview High School FFA was named as one of Florida’s Finest FFA Chapters, and the chapter’s “Fresh From Florida Advocacy Program” was named the second best program in the state during the FFA state convention this week in Orlando.

The selection of Florida’s Finest FFA Chapters is based upon the completion of the National Chapter Award program application. These chapters have excelled in the areas of student, chapter and community development and have worked hard to fulfill the mission of the FFA. Northview’s FFA chapter will represent Florida at the national level in the National Chapter Award Program later his year in Louisville, KY.

Formerly known the Food for America program, the Fresh from Florida Advocacy Program  is designed to encourage FFA members to participate in agricultural literacy and awareness projects on the local level. The annual program, conducted by the Northview FFA in March, gave over 1,000 students a chance to learn about agriculture firsthand as they got up close and personal with farm animals, farm equipment and more.  The students even had the opportunity to make their own butter and enjoy it on crackers.

In addition to their second place state award this year, the Northview High School FFA “Fresh From Florida” program was previously honored as the best in Florida for three consecutive years.

Pictured above and below: The Fresh from Florida program last March at Northview High School. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge. Pictured inset: The Fresh from Florida Advocacy Awards at the state FFA convention in Orlando on Thursday.

Four Cantonment Residents Injured In Five-Vehicle Interstate Crash

July 3, 2015

Two Cantonment residents received minor injures in a five-vehicle pileup on I-10 Thursday.

The Florida Highway Patrol said 47-year old Guy Richard Patrick Malonzo of Pensacola was eastbound on I-10 near the Highway 29 exit when he failed to stop his 2005 semi-truck before hitting a 2010 Ford F150 that was slowed for traffic. After Malonzo struck the F150, it caused the multi-vehicle pileup.

The driver of the F150, 41-year old Carol Tyler Allen of Cantonment,  and passengers – 10-year old Brady Allen, eight-year old Gavin Gay, and eight-year old Mallory Gay, all of Cantonment – were transported to Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola with minor injuries. Malzon0 and the persons involved in the crash were uninjured.

Malzono was cited for careless driving. Another driver involved in the crash, 17-year old Perla Ortiz-Cruz, was cited for no driver’s license.

The 9:58 crash closed I-10 for most of an hour, according to the FHP.

Pictured: Traffic cameras partially show a five-vehicle crash and traffic backup Thursday on I-10 at Highway 29. Courtesy images for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Florida Gets $3 Billion In BP Settlement; Escambia To See $58 Million In RESTORE Funds

July 3, 2015

Florida will land about $3.25 billion as part of a multi-state federal settlement with BP over widespread damages caused by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Florida stands to receive $2 billion for economic damages, the most of any Gulf Coast state, and $680 million for restoration projects. The deadly explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and ensuing massive spill affected the environment, tourism and the fishing industry along the Gulf of Mexico but its effects rippled throughout the state.

Florida is also in line for $572 million as part of the 2012 Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States (RESTORE) Act, with that figure potentially growing to $1.25 billion.  Escambia County is expected to receive at least $58 million in RESTORE funds over the next several years. That money is in addition to the $10.5 million Escambia County was already set to receive.

The deal announced Thursday requires London-based BP to pay $18.5 billion in economic and natural resources damages to the five Gulf Coast states affected by the disaster, which pumped at least 3.9 million gallons of oil off the coastlines of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

Sen. Don Gaetz, who as Senate president pushed for the creation of a consortium to oversee the bulk of the settlement funds, said the money will help boost economic development throughout the Panhandle, now largely reliant on tourism and the military industry.

“This could be game changer,” said Gaetz, a Republican from Niceville. “Just as the Deepwater Horizon was the worst economic disaster to befall our area, this settlement could be the best economic opportunity in our times. This kind of money allows you to build out our current economy in northwest Florida, as well as being able to development entire economic sectors that don’t exist today.”

Triumph Gulf Coast Inc., a non-profit corporation created by the Legislature in 2013, will manage 75 percent of the economic damages money. Triumph, set up to help the eight Panhandle counties most economically impacted by the spill, is expected to award the money over 30 years for recovery efforts. The legislature will distribute the remaining 25 percent.

“This agreement will help Florida implement key projects and invest in environmental priorities to keep our state beautiful,” Gov. Rick Scott said in a release.

Under the agreement, Florida will receive an initial payment of $400 million next year, with subsequent disbursements of about $100 million annually through 2033.

The governor’s office and other state environmental agencies deferred to the attorney general’s office when asked how the state would use the money.

“We will be working closely with our partner agencies to determine the next steps moving forward,” Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokeswoman Katie Purcell said.

Attorney General Pam Bondi announced the settlement during a press conference at the Port of Tampa Bay on Thursday.

Environmentalists, still reeling from how the Legislature divvied up voter-approved water and land conservation money for the new budget year, are hopeful that the BP cash will be used appropriately as it’s slowly dispersed over the next two decades.

With $2 billion earmarked for economic recovery efforts, Audubon Florida Executive Director Eric Draper said that the remainder of the spending should be steered toward environmental projects.

“Although Florida wasn’t impacted by that much oil, we have significant amount of environmental degradation associated with water quality problems and even lack of fresh water flow,” Draper said. “This money could be spent anywhere from the Caloosahatchee River all the way to the Panhandle.”

The agreement — potentially the largest environmental settlement in U.S. history — is “an unprecedented opportunity to accelerate and expand the response to the devastating harm caused by the spill, and to build lasting resilience into the essential ecosystems of the Gulf,” a group of national and local environmental organizations said in a joint press release.

“While we await key details, one thing is clear: As soon as the settlement is final, it will be time to put that money to work,” the statement from the Environmental Defense Fund, National Wildlife Federation, National Audubon Society, Ocean Conservancy, The Nature Conservancy, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation said.

Business lobbying groups also hailed the settlement.

“Five years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, we still do not know the extent of the damage done to the Gulf, however this is a first step in making our industry whole,” Carol Dover, president and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, said in a press release.

BP, which has spent more than $20 billion responding to the spill and claims, saw its value drop by a third after the maritime disaster.

The agreement is “a path to closure for BP and the Gulf,” BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg said in a statement.

“It resolves the company’s largest remaining legal exposures, provides clarity on costs and creates certainty of payment for all parties involved,” Svanberg said. “In deciding to follow this path, (BP) has balanced the risks, timing and consequences associated with many years of litigation against its wish for the company to be able to set a clear course for the future.”

In April 2013, Bondi filed a lawsuit against BP Exploration & Production Inc., BP America Production Co., and Halliburton Energy Services, Inc., seeking $5.48 billion for lost revenue — past and future — from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The lawsuit sought actual and potential lost tax revenue caused by the spill. Bondi filed the lawsuit after the company ignored a settlement offer.

Thursday’s announced settlement with BP doesn’t end the state’s lawsuits against rig owner TransOcean and contractor Haliburton Energy Services. The agreement also doesn’t help those who opted out of a 2012 class action settlement to pursue individual property damage and medical claims.

The portion of the settlement dealing with the economic loss claims still requires final approval from all of the parties involved, and a consent decree dealing with natural resources damages and Clean Water Act claims will require court approval.

by Jim Turner, The News Service of Florida. NorthEscambia.com also contributed to this report.

Pictured top and insets: Oil on Pensacola Beach. Pictured below: Protective oil boom in Pensacola Bay. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.

Seaplane Stuck During Nicholas Cage Film Shoot: Breaks Apart During Salvage

July 3, 2015

A World War II seaplane was beached in Escambia County for three days on the set of a Nicholas Cage movie being shot in Orange Beach.

The PBY Catalina was being filmed for the movie “USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage” when the seaplane began to take on water due to a mechanical problem. It was pulled closer to the shore, where it remained, slightly nose-down with landing gear stuck in the sand. During attempts to move it out of the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday, the plane “broke apart”, according to officials.

According to a statement release by film producers:

“We are thankful that no one was hurt. The pilot and co-pilot are well. And the entire cast and crew are safe and sound. The Vintage PBY being used by production met a tragic end at the hands of the sea yesterday, and the salvage company was unable to save the aircraft. The PBY will be immortalized in the film, as will the unfortunate events surrounding the USS Indianapolis and the rescue teams from the US Navy. God Bless America. Freedom isn’t free. With our collective respect and gratefulness, our heart shouts out for our military, and their families, in harm’s way. Happy July 4th and God Bless the USA.”

“USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage” is the harrowing true story of the crew of the USS Indianapolis, who were stranded in the Philippine Sea for five days after delivering the atomic weapons that would eventually end WWII. As they awaited rescue, they endured extreme thirst, hunger, and relentless shark attacks, according to IMDb.

The movie is expected to be released in 2016 and is being filmed mostly in the Mobile area.

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

About 125 Attend Sheriff’s Church Safety And Security Workshop

July 3, 2015

About 125 people attended a “Security in the Place of Worship” workshop presented Thursday night by the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office.

“Our places of worship should be regarded as safe havens where the community can worship and experience fellowship free from worries about violence, theft or unethical behavior,” said Sheriff David Morgan, “I encourage all citizens to arm themselves with the knowledge necessary to prevent fraud, theft and other crimes.”

The free workshop was designed to assist citizens in their efforts to reduce crime in our places of worship and in their communities.

Pictured: Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan (near far right at microphone) addresses a Security in the Place of Worship workshop Thursday evening at the department’s administration building. Pictured below: Attendees learn to secure their places of worship. Courtesy photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Century Sex Offender, Former Correctional Officer Back Behind Bars

July 2, 2015

A sex offender from Century is back behind bars for allegedly failing to comply with Florida’s registration laws.

Paul Edward Black, 48, was booked into the Santa Rosa County Jail where he was being held without bond for failure to report a residence change.

Black was sentenced to federal prison in August 2010 after being found guilty on one count of possession of child pornography. Following prison, he was remain under supervised release for eight years, participate in sexual offender treatment program and register as a sex offender.

In 2009, deputies seized a laptop computer, desktop computer and 56 CD’s from Black’s Century residence while he was at work as a correctional officer.. When sheriff’s investigators later interviewed Black , he admitted to searching the Internet for child pornography, according to federal court documents, and admitted to specific search terms that he used.

Bond Reduction Denied For Century Homicide Suspect

July 1, 2015

An Escambia County Circuit Clerk judge has refused to reduce bond for a Century man accused in a January 31 shooting death in Century.

Judge Jennie Kinsey ordered that 20-year Jaran Britt Myles remain in the Escambia County Jail with bond set at $215,000. He is charged negligent manslaughter and aggravated assault for the shooting death 20-year old Jonathan Wilson. Myles is due to appear in court again in September. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

NorthEscambia.com photos.

Ransom Middle Teacher Selected For National C-SPAN Educators Conference

July 1, 2015

Lauren Samoszenko, a social studies teacher at Ransom Middle School, is one of 30 educators from across the nation selected to attend C-SPAN Classroom’s 2015 Educators’ Conference to be held in Washington July 9-10.

The conference helps educators discover how to integrate C-SPAN’s programs and C-SPAN Classroom’s free web-based primary source materials into classroom activities to create engaging learning experiences for students. The conference brings together middle school teachers who specialize in social studies and/or technology. Samoszenko competed with applicants from across the country to secure a place at the conference. C-SPAN provides the roundtrip airfare, hotel accommodations and meals for all selected attendees.

“Over the course of the two day conference, we aim to equip teachers with a variety of strategies to incorporate C-SPAN’s primary source programs into their classrooms,” said Craig McAndrew, C-SPAN Manager of Education Relations. “Our free resources are geared toward aiding teachers in providing a clear understanding of how the federal government works, the issues affecting our country, and the history of the U.S.”

Throughout the event participants will learn more about C-SPAN, its online archive of primary source programs as well as a host of other free digital resources that can be implemented in the classroom. C-SPAN Political Editor Steve Scully will speak at the conference dinner about the 2016 presidential campaign season.

Submitted photo for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.