Locals Cut Their Own Christmas Tree At Davisville Tree Farm

December 26, 2007


Many area residents enjoyed Christmas tradition this year with a fresh, locally grown Christmas tree.. The Country Pine Christmas Tree Farm in the Davisville community was open everyday until Christmas.

“You come here for the old time experience,” said farm owner Andy Bogdan. “This is so much more than just a plastic tree.”

treefarm20.jpgVisitors to the Christmas tree farm stroll around the trees, which are located in an “L” shape field around a scenic pond with a fountain and ducks. Once the perfect tree is found, visitors can cut their own tree with a supplied saw, or have Bogdan cut it down.

The tree is then shaken to remove any loose needles (and bugs), then it’s ready to head home or it can be bagged for easier transport.

During the “experience”, visitors can also enjoy free cookies, apple juice, candy canes for the kids and lots of Christmas music. “The kids can run and play, and have the time of their lives looking for just the right tree,” Bogdan said.

Tree varieties include Virginia Pines, Leylend Cypress and Carolina Sapphires. If you have allergies, he said the Leylend Cypress is the perfect tree. It will not drop needles and has virtually no smell. The Carolina Sapphire has an intriguing aroma that is a mix of lemon, lime and mint. The Virginia Pine has that classic pine Christmas tree smell.

True fresh cut trees cut on the farm will last from before Thanksgiving until well after Christmas, Bogdan said.

Country Pine Christmas Tree Farm is one of the few remaining Christmas tree farms in Northwest Florida or South Alabama, and is the only one in the immediate area. There were a few more prior to hurricane Ivan and Dennis, Bogdan said, but most did not survive.

“You had the direct damage from the wind,” he said. “Then you have the delayed die back from damage to the trees. Exotic bugs and fungus that were not here before were blown in, and trees around here had no resistance.”

“That stress really made the drought this summer even worse,” he added. But the trees have had good growth since the hurricane. An average seven or eight foot tall Christmas tree will grow from a seedling in about four years. “They grow much faster here in the South than they do up north,” he said.

With a little straightening and tender loving car, Bogdan’s trees post-hurricane are ready for a living room and a visit from Santa. Prices vary depending on the variety of tree and height.

Bogdan and his wife moved to the Davisville area from Miami after he retired from Eastern Airlines. He was looking for a little something to do in his retirement and settled on Christmas tree farmer about 10 years ago.

“I’d never farmed before, but ended up with a Christmas tree farm,” he said. “But it’s a nice business. It’s not like being a doctor or a lawyer where people you deal with are not happy. At a Christmas tree farm, everybody is happy when they come here.”

For more photos from the Christmas tree farm, click here.Pictured top: A few of the trees at the Country Pine Christmas Tree Farm in Davisville. Pictured middle: At the Christmas tree farm, you can use one of their saws to cut your own tree. Pictured below: The Country Pine Christmas Tree Farm stand with tree accessories plus goodies like free apple juice, cookies and candy canes for the kids. Click to enlarge. NorthEscambia.com photos.


FHP To Look For New Year’s Holiday Offenders

December 26, 2007

Colonel John Czernis, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol, announced the FHP’s statewide traffic enforcement plans upcoming New Year’s holiday. FHP will use zero tolerance enforcement strategies to target aggressive and hazardous violators throughout the state.

Troopers will place special emphasis on aggressive driving, D.U.I, speeding, and safety restraint violations. The Patrol reminds the public of the risks of walking and bicycling in close proximity to traffic. Motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians who comply with our state’s traffic laws and use sound judgment can help prevent many of the deaths that occur each year on Florida roadways.

The New Year’s holiday enforcement period will begin at 00:01 hours on Saturday, December 29, 2007, and end at midnight, Tuesday, January 1, 2008. This year’s Christmas holiday enforcement period ran from 00:01 hours on Saturday, December 22, 2007, to midnight, Tuesday, December 25, 2007.

“I’ve asked our troop commanders to ensure that all available personnel are assigned to either routine patrol duties or specific enforcement operations throughout both holiday periods,” Colonel Czernis stressed, “which includes all personnel normally assigned to administrative duties.” In addition, our Auxiliary and Reserve troopers will be volunteering their time to assist regular troopers during the heightened holiday enforcements.

“I am excited at the prospect of having FHP Auxiliary and Reserve troopers participating in more of our special enforcement programs, holiday enforcement efforts, and general patrol activities,.” said Colonel Czernis, “The more troopers working the road, assisting the public, and enforcing the laws, the better we are able to achieve our vision of a Safer Florida!”

Motorists are urged to contact the FHP or local law enforcement officials when reporting an impaired, aggressive, or dangerous driver by dialing *FHP (*347) from their cell phones. Callers may remain anonymous.

Motorists who experience car trouble on the highway or otherwise need assistance from the FHP are also encouraged to use *FHP. For real-time traffic and road condition reports as well as maps and other safety tips, the public is urged to use our Live Traffic Crash service on the FHP website at www.fhp.state.fl.us.

Occie Phillips Road Closed

December 26, 2007

Occie Phillips Road is scheduled to be closed until December 31 for bridge repairs.

Occie Phillips Road is a dirt road that runs from County Road 97A to South Pineville Road west of Walnut Hill.

Blog: Merry Christmas Meanderings And Other Toy Package Nightmares

December 25, 2007

I’m not working today, but just taking a break from twist ties and trying to free toys from packages. It should not take 30 minutes to get on Cabbage Patch doll out of a package. Nor should it take stitches. I don’t think any of the wounds are serious enough to require medical attention, but I need need counseling from the emotional trauma of a six year old that just wants her Cabbage Patch YESTERDAY. I’m ready to get out the power tools (think “Tim the Tool Man Taylor”, if you ever saw the show “Home Improvement” years ago). My wife does not think power tools are such a good idea at this point (1) because emergency rooms are not well staffed on Christmas, (2) something about a circular saw near the neck of a doll could scar the children. Go figure.

The shopping was done on time this year. No more searching for something around the house to re-gift at the last moment. I made over three gallons of chocolate sauce to give to family and friends this year; I probably gained three pounds just standing over it on the stove and inhaling. It’s become really popular…just must sell the stuff next year.

Church on Sunday morning, family gifts Sunday afternoon. Monday was a trip to out of town parents. We missed getting to attend a Christmas Eve church service in person, but listened to the live internet streaming from one in Pensacola. “Let your light shine” was his theme, and the music was great. They let their camera guys have the night off (at least for the 11 pm service), so the video with the service was of the security camera in the parking lot scanning back at forth. You could see Davis Highway. There were still way too many people on the road for 12:15 Christmas morning.

Santa arrived at our house about 1:30 Christmas morning. I tried to get some pictures to post here on NorthEscambia.com for you to see, but he was just too lively and quick. It was not a lot this year, but the kids were happy. There’s nothing like the smile on the face of a child.

Christmas day was with family locally. Turkey is good. Chocolate covered nuts. Those are better, at least when consumed in bulk.

I hope you had a Merry Christmas. No “Happy Holidays” here. What’s up with that? Reminds me of a story somebody emailed us this week:

She made it just in time to see Amy’s kindergarten class walk out on stage to sing their song, “Christmas Love”. The children had rehearsed for weeks and those in the front row had practiced holding up large letters, one by one, to spell out the title of the song. As the class would sing “C is for Christmas” a child would hold up the letter C. Then “H is for Happy” and on and on until each child holding up his letter had presented the complete message, “Christmas Love”. The performance was going smoothly, until Amy held up her letter M upside down. She was totally unaware that her letter M appeared as a W. Some of the older children began to snicker at Amy’s mistake, but she had no idea there were laughing at her. So she stood tall, proudly holding her W. Teachers tried to quiet the children’s laughter, but could not. Finally a hush came over the audience when the last letter was raised. Amy’s mother smiled as her eyes filled with tears. In that instant, everyone understood the reason they were there and why we celebrate Christmas. When the last letter was held high, the message read loud and clear: CHRISTWAS LOVE!

Christ Was Love. Christ is Love. Enough said. Merry Christmas!

Young Farmers & Ranchers Contribute to Toys For Tots

December 23, 2007


EscaRosa Young Farmers and Ranchers, a non-profit organization comprised of agricultural producers from Escambia and Santa Rosa counties, chose toys for Tots for their 2008 charity. The EscaRosa YF&Rs collected farm-related toys to donate to the annual Toys for Tots drive. Pictured re EscaRosa YF&R chairman, Ben Ellison, and his wife Jamie and their two sons, Tristan and Bailey, with local Marines at the Pensacola Civic Center recently. Submitted photo.

Schedule Of Christmas Events At Area Churches

December 23, 2007


Many area churches have planned special events ranging from choir cantatas, to children’s plays to special services to celebrate the Christmas season.

The following list was provided by each church. If your church has Christmas events planned that are not listed, use our contact form to let us know.

Aldersgate United Methodist Church 6915 Highway 29 North, Molino

  • December 23 8:30 & 10:30 am: White Christmas Sunday
  • December 24 6:30 pm: Christmas Eve Candlelight Service with Communion
  • December 25 6:30 pm: Christmas Day Compline Service

Crossfaith Church 314 Molino Road, Molino

  • December 23 10:00 am: “Where is Christmas” with the Adult Choir, Youth and Children

First Baptist Church of Bratt 4570 West Highway 4, Bratt

  • December 23: 6:00 pm: “Yo! Christmas Tree” with the Youth Choir

Highland Baptist Church 6240 Highway 95A, Molino

  • December 23: 6:00 pm: Candlelight Service

Victory Assembly of God Highway 29, Molino

  • December 23: 10:00 am: “The King’s Christmas” with the Christmas Choir, Youth Drama Team and an illustrated sermon from Pastor Jeff McKee. Church-wide dinner to follow.

Walnut Hill Baptist Church 5741 Arthur Brown Road, Walnut Hill

  • December 23: 6:00 pm: “The Love of God at Christmas” with the Adult Choir, Youth and Children
  • December 24: 5:00 pm: Candlelight Service

Pictured above: The children of Aldersgate Methodist held their Christmas Play recently.

Christmas Holiday Closings; Trash Schedule

December 23, 2007

Allied Waste will pickup as usual on Christmas Eve Monday, and Tuesday routes will be picked up on Wednesday.

The following will be closed both Monday and Tuesday for the Christmas holiday:

  • All city, county, state and federal offices
  • All county schools
  • All area colleges
  • All libraries

ECAT routes will run as normal on Monday with routes 42, 45, 48 and 58 stopping early. There will be ECAT service on Tuesday.

The U.S. Postal Service will be open on Monday and closed on Tuesday. There will be no regular mail delivery on Tuesday.

NorthEscambia.com will be publishing only late breaking news on Monday and Tuesday.

Free Christmas Lock-In Held In Century

December 22, 2007

centurylockinflyer.jpgThere was a free Christmas Lock-In Saturday afternoon in Century at the old Century High School gym.

The event featured free toys, games, bikes, school supplies, pizza, hot dogs, chicken, drinks and “lots of fun”. There were gospel choirs, praise teams, gospel rappers and more, according to event organizers.

The lock-in was sponsored by the Modern Woodman of America Camp 16611, Truth for Youth, Inc., New Life Baptist Church of Century, and other local churches and businesses.

Contaminated Syringes Linked to Blood Infections in Area

December 21, 2007

Federal health officials and the Florida Department of Health are investigating cases of a rare bloodstream infection in at least three states that have been linked to heparin-filled medical syringes that were contaminated with bacteria at the manufacturing facility in North Carolina. As of Thursday, 13 people in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties have become ill with a rare bacterial infection suspected of being linked to the contaminated heparin syringes.

Investigation by the Health Department and local hospitals indicates that most of the people in Pensacola who developed the blood infections had used the heparin syringes as part of their home IV therapy.

No deaths have been reported in Pensacola, but some of those suspected of having the bacterial infection are hospitalized at Pensacola area hospitals.

Investigations are ongoing, with the hospitals awaiting the results of blood tests verify whether patients who used the pre-filled heparin syringes are positive for the bacterial infection. Symptoms of the bacterial infection, called Serratia marcescens, include flu-like symptoms such as fever, muscle aches and chills. While the infection can cause serious illness and is potentially deadly, it can be treated with antibiotics.

Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control said it was investigating cases where patients developed infections after receiving doses of contaminated heparin in Illinois and as many as four other states. The infections were first identified in Chicago and traced to heparin-filled syringes that patients used in home treatments for cancer and other ailments. Heparin is a blood thinner that is used to clear catheters and intravenous lines and to keep them from clotting.

Patients in the Pensacola area who received the heparin from the contaminated batch are being contacted by the local distributor of the product, which was manufactured by a company called Sierra Pre-Filled Inc. in North Carolina. Sacred Heart Hospital also is contacting home health patients who may have used the syringes. Sierra has announced a recall of the syringes and asked facilities that use the product to no longer distribute the suspected batch of heparin syringes.

Some home health patients obtained the syringes from a local infusion company. The home care agency also has contacted its patients who received syringes manufactured by Sierra to inform them of the recall, offer them follow-up care, and to tell them not to use the product. Sacred Heart also sent an alert yesterday to its physicians.

Patients who used a heparin-filled syringe from lot number 070926H should contact their local physician or supplier with concerns about getting a blood test, or if they are having symptoms, they should seek immediate medical care at a hospital Emergency Department.

The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta said the lot of contaminated heparin could have been given to patients in Illinois, Florida, Texas, Colorado and Pennsylvania.

For more information on the local investigation of the bacterial infections, please call the Escambia Health Department at 595-6555. For information on the statewide investigation, contact the Florida Department of Health Communications Office at (850) 245-4111.

Blog: Wow, What A Response

December 20, 2007

Wow. That’s all I can say about your response to the new NorthEscambia.com site.

Over the past few weeks, this site has been averaging over 10,000 page views per day, not including the photo gallery pages. Everywhere I go in the community, people are excited like you just would not believe about this site.

I’ve enjoyed reading all the comment emails and submissions from our contact form. Dozens upon dozens of you have taken the time to comment on the site, letting us know how much you appreciate it. I’ve tried to personally respond to each and every email, but there have been so many I may have missed a few. But rest assured I have read your comments and appreciate them.

It’s been a few weeks now since we quietly launched the site with an announcement at the Walnut Hill Volunteer Fire Department’s annual fish fry. We are grateful to them for letting us do that.

There have been a few stories over the past few weeks we had rather not covered. Two stories in particular…the death of an outstanding deputy in Walnut Hill and the death of a suspect in Century…were not the kind of news we hope to report.

Why do you cover such bad things? I’ve been asked that a couple of times. Simply because they happened here in our community. We’ve got to take the bad with the good. It’s much like that nasty medicine mom would pop into your mouth as a child, sometimes you’ve just got to deal with the bad to make things better.

But hopeful we have shown you what we are all about here at NorthEscambia.com. Most of the stories we cover have been the good, positive things that make our community such a great place to live. From community festivals, to school and church events, to Canadian geese hanging out here for the winter…we want to cover the good hometown things here where we live.

We want to know what’s going on in your community here in North Escambia. We can’t be everywhere all the time. Take the time to let us know what is going on.

How can we help? That’s a question I also hear a lot as I meet the good folks of North Escambia. Right now, you can help us in two ways. First, tell everyone you know about the site. It helps us get the word out. Second, as I mentioned before, tell us about things going on in your community, at your church, at your school.

And by the way…if you know of someone that can write, or take pictures, or both that might have the time to help us cover things, let us know. We can’t pay much, if anything, right now, but we’d love to talk.

Thanks again for visiting NorthEscambia.com!


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