Pensacola, Florida
Thursday August 21st 2014

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The Buzz 12.9

PRESCRIPTION DRUG OVERDOSES The IN reported last year on the rise of prescription drug abuse and how, because these drugs are prescribed by doctors, the danger involved is often dismissed (Independent News, “America’s White-Collar Junkies,” Aug. 13, 2009). The problem hasn’t gone away.

Prescription drug overdoses killed nearly 1,270 people statewide during the first half of this, according to the 2010 Medical Examiners Commission Interim Drug Report which was released last week. Of those deaths, 69 were handled by the Pensacola Medical Examiner’s Office.

METHADONE: 15 deaths
Methadone is a pain killer commonly associated with heroin detoxification and maintenance programs, but it is also prescribed to treat severe pain. It has been increasingly prescribed in place of oxycodone for pain management. Dolophine is one form of methadone.
ALPRAZOLAM: 15 deaths
Alprazolam, brand name Xanax, is a drug used to treat anxiety disorders and panic attacks.
HYDROCODONE: 13 deaths
Vicodin and Lortab are two common drugs containing hydrocodone.
OXYCODONE: 7 deaths
The pain killer OxyContin is one form of this drug and goes by the street name “OC”. Percocet, Percodan, Roxicet, Tylox, and Roxicodone also contain oxycodone.
COCAINE: 8 deaths
DIAZEPAM: 6 deaths
Diazepam, brand name Valium, is used to relieve anxiety, muscle spasms, and seizures and to control agitation caused by alcohol withdrawal.
MORPHINE: 4 deaths
PROPOXYPHENE: 1 death
This synthetic narcotic analgesic, brand names Darvon and Darvocet, is used for mild to moderate pain.

GRITS A YA YA IN DC Chef Jim Shirley of The Fish House  joined two other of Florida’s finest seafood chefs to show off their talents to Capitol Hill and promote to Congress and the nation that Florida seafood is safe to eat. The three chefs prepared their best dishes for the Florida Seafood Celebration at Florida House in Washington, D.C.

Shirley prepared “Grits a Ya Ya”. Chef Josh Butler, executive chef for Florida’s Governor’s Mansion, made “Dog Island Grouper Sliders”. Chef Dean James Max of 3030 Ocean and winner of the Great American Seafood Cook-Off, prepared “Sebastian Inlet Clams BBLT”.

The dinner, which was sponsored in part by Visit Florida, is one of many to show Florida’s commitment to recovery after the oil spill.

SOMEBODY NEEDS TO CHECK Although the EBO (Equal Business Opportunity) Committee didn’t pursue the issue at its Dec. 2 committee meeting, Community Maritime Park Associates needs to look into the agreement between Heaton Brothers and Williams Brothers, its new minority subcontractor, for site work at the maritime park.

Heaton Brothers representatives said at the meeting that Williams never had a contract more than $7,000-$10,000, but that they now have a $1.1-$1.3 million contract. When Greg Green, who was the original subcontractor for Heaton, and others questioned how Williams could be paid about $1.1 million for hauling dirt, it was pointed out in the course of the discussion that the dirt was being bought from Heaton Brothers and being included in the Williams’ contract.

George Hawthorne, who drafted the Equal Business Opportunity agreement used by Maritime Park Development Partners, claimed in his statements to the EBO Committee on the behalf of Green that Heaton Brothers’ trucks were hauling the dirt for Williams.

If all these statements are true and Williams has a $1.1 million contract with Heaton Brothers but has to buy the dirt from Heaton and use Heaton’s trucks and employees to haul it, how can MPDP and the EBO program director, Tony McCray and the Escambia-Pensacola Human Relations Commission, call the contract valid minority participation?

COUNCIL POWER MOVES The debate among the Pensacola City Council members over creating a new council staff isn’t just about certain members wanting to build a power base. It’s about coming up with a way for certain council members to justify increasing their salaries.

The reality is that the council has fewer responsibilities under the new charter. They may not even need all of their current committees. They can debate most issues under the Committee of the Whole and the CRA. Heck, they may need to hold only one regular meeting a month, like the School Board.

This pay increase issue may be what decides who will be the first council president. That election appears to be shaping up between Sam Hall and Maren DeWeese. DeWeese made it clear at yesterday’s workshop that she will not support a pay increase for council members. It may cost her the spot.

BODIES FOUND On Nov. 29, the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office found the bodies of two women in a wooded area just south of Nine Mile Road, off Jernigan Road.

The bodies of Jamie Broxson and Debra Ann Jones had been dumped in the lot within the last week to 10 days. Based upon the condition of the bodies, it is believed that one has been in the lot for 72 hours or less, and the other from seven to 10 days. The ECSO isn’t revealing many details since it’s an active investigation. However, investigators suspect foul play. Details concerning the specific causes of death will not be released until determined by the medical examiner.

There were fears the deaths may signal a serial killer on the loose, but ECSO investigators and dog teams didn’t find any other bodies on the site which has a Gulf Power substation. They also haven’t found any connections between the two victims.

COUNTY SHAKEUP
The hottest buzz item on Rick’s Blog last week concerned rumors that one of the commissioners is considering resignation. Escambia County Complex insiders were tight-lipped, but confirmed that it is more than a water cooler rumor.

However, as the week progressed, Commissioners Grover Robinson, Kevin White, Wilson Robertson and Gene Valentino contacted the IN to make it clear that they had no plans to resign, leaving Marie Young with the one holdout.
Don’t worry; Commissioner Young will complete her term, just to spite the IN.