NWE Eagles Soar Past Century 15-2

May 31, 2008

The NWE First National Bank Eagles defeated Century Gafford 15-2 in recent play.

Reid Bell hit a two run homer in the first inning, and the Eagles never looked back.

Jordan Coon pitched five innings with five outs. Hitters for the NWE First National Bank Eagles were: L. Purvis 1-4, Vaughan 4-4, Bell 3-3, Coon 2-3, Aliff 1-3, Reyes 2-3, Bodiford 1-3.

Submitted by David Bell.

Exclusive: Jim Paul And Top Staff Meet With Carver/Century Supporters

May 30, 2008


Escambia School Superintendent Jim Paul and top members of his staff met Friday morning with Carver/Century K-8 School supporters to discuss the school’s future.

Paul began by telling the Carver/Century supporters that “this is not a decision making meeting,” and said again at the end of the meeting that his mind about a recommendation to close Carver/Century is not made up.

“I want to do what is right for the children of Century, Paul told Century Mayor Freddie Mcall; Blue Ribbon Committee members Laura Nelson, Rev. Willie Carter, Rev. Irvin Stallworth and Brenda Spencer; and Century resident Lina Showalter.

Facing millions in budget cuts, Paul said that the district must look at efficiency and the cost per student at every school. He said that with a principal, assistant principal, a curriculum coordinator and a declining enrollment, Carver/Century is expensive to operate.

“I’ve always been reluctant to close Carver/Century even though the numbers said to close it,” Paul said. “I continued to keep Carver/Century off the closure list. But when the first grades came out about a month ago, it now became a matter of what is best for the children.” Carver/Century’s FCAT Writing+ score released about a month ago were the worst in the county.

“There are members on the school board that feel strongly that the school should close,” he said. “The school board cannot shut down a school without my recommendation. My staff is recommending that I recommend that the school close. I am here to hear what you have to say before I decide.”

Paul said he basically has three options: recommend the closure of the school before the next school year begins, recommend closure in a year for the 2009-2010 school year, or simply do nothing.

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Paul Fetsko said he had worked with Carver/Century for the past 25 years both as an assistant superintendent and as a special education coordinator. He said the school has more technology, more supplies and more resources per student that any other school in the county.

“The resources available to the students is phenomenal,” he said. But he said the “more capable students” had fled to the charter Byrneville Elementary School when it opened in 2002.

Laura Nelson said that Carver/Century is more than just numbers. She related the story of a bus driver who keeps a box with extra clothes and toothbrushes on her bus. “Parents will sometimes put the kids on the bus still in their pajamas.”

“There is a need here. They need us,” she said. “I know numbers, but sometimes you have to go forth with what is best for the kids.”

To make a change at Carver/Century, the group needs more time than just a year, Barbara Spencer said.

“I ask that you do allow us as a group to do these things that we need to do,” she said. “You can’t change these things in just a year. We are at a point now where we have reached the bottom; we can only pull ourselves up.”

“Why not close another school? This is the newest school,” Century resident Lina Showalter said. “Why not bring children from older schools to Carver/Century? Has Ernest Ward been condemned?”

“No, it has not,” Assistant Superintendent for Operations Shawn Dennis responded.

“All the kids ends up here together at Northview High School, Associate Superintendent for Public and Interagency Affairs Ronnie Arnold said. “And it seems to be working here at Northview.”

Showalter proposed that students in Pre-K to second grades be sent to Bratt Elementary, students in third to fifth grades be sent to Carver/Century and students in grades six to eight be sent to Ernest Ward Middle School.”

“Failure is not an option when it comes to our children,” Rev. Irvin Stallworth said.

As for closing Ernest Ward Middle School and moving those students to Carver/Century, parents could simply use school choice laws to immediately transfer their students away from the “F” school at Carver/Century, said Director of Elementary Education Wayne Odom. He added that while some have complained about the distance that Carver/Century students would be bused to Bratt or Ernest Ward, many Bratt and Ernest Ward students are already bused a greater distance every school day because it is a large rural area.

“Mr. Garthwaite (the principal) and the others there are super,” Century Mayor Freddie McCall said. ” I am begging for at least one more year to turn Carver/Century around.”

“Carver/Century is very important to me,” Paul said. “I have not yet made up my mind what I am going to do. It is going to be a long weekend for you and me while we think about this.”

Others in attendance at Friday’s meeting were Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Business Services Barbara Linker and Deputy Superintendent Norm Ross.

NorthEscambia.com was the only media at the meeting. The meeting was not a public, or “town hall” meeting, but an invitation only meeting.

Pictured above: Rev. Irvin Stallworth listens as Escambia County School Superintendent Jim Paul speaks. Pictured below (L-R): Century Mayor Freddie McCall, Brenda Spencer, Lina Showalter and Rev. Willie Carter listen to Paul. NorthEscambia.com exclusive photos, click to enlarge.


Carver/Century Class of 2008 Graduates Amid Uncertain Future For School

May 30, 2008


The eighth grade students at Carver/Century K-8 School graduated with a bit of uncertainty Thursday night, not knowing if they would be the last class ever to complete middle school at Carver/Century.

“We are going through some hard times right now,” Century Mayor Freddie McCall said about the fight to keep the school open. The Escambia County School Board has discussed closing the school, possibly as early as this fall.

” You can continue to support this school,” McCall told the graduates as he encouraged them to help invited back students that have left Carver/Century for other schools.

McCall, a 1959 graduate of Century High School, also offered the students words of encouragement as they move forward from Carver/Century.

“The groundwork has been laid in this school,” the mayor said, “and you can succeed in whatever you make up your mind to do.”

“We are the graduating class of 2008 from Carver/Century,” honor student Melanie Foust told her fellow students with pride as she reminded them of the good times they have had as Blackcats. “All of my teachers have taught me things that I’ll use for years to come.”

Assistant Principal Andy Gott presented a picture of Student of the Year Logan Brown to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Charlie Brown. “They were going to take him out (of Carver/Century) and put him in another school, but they didn’t,” Gott said.

Carver/Century Principal Jeff Garthwaite was unable to attend Thursday night’s eight grade graduation because he was attending his own daughter’s high school graduation,” Gott said.

Click here for a complete NorthEscambia.com photo gallery from the graduation.

The Carver/Century Middle School Class of 2008 includes:

  • Marquita Allen
  • Logan Brown
  • Shantia Brown
  • Sim Brown
  • Mariah Burt
  • Na’Keetric Davison
  • Andrew Farrow
  • Melanie Foust
  • Ann Galvan
  • Brandon Harigel
  • Jessica Hedgepeth
  • Talisa Jackson
  • Cory King
  • Sean Knight
  • Montaio Mitchell
  • Talisa Presley
  • Jacob Sims
  • Breanah Taylor
  • Nathan Therrell

Pictured above: Honor Student Melanie Foust addresses the Carver/Century Class of 2008 Thursday night. Pictured below: Graduates presented a single rose to their parents or guardians. NorthEscambia.com exclusive photos, click to enlarge.

Ouch! Almost $4.00 Gallon

May 30, 2008


The price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas in North Escambia hit nearly $4.00 a gallon at one station on Thursday.

At the station pictured above in Century, a gallon of regular unleaded gas was at $3.96 Thursday evening, up 17 cents in two weeks. On the opposite steet corner, that same gallon of gas was $3.89.

The Tom Thumb in Molino, traditionally one of the cheapest gas stations in North Escambia, was selling a gallon of regular unleaded for $3.89 late Monday afternoon. That’s up 15 cents from two weeks ago.

At the lone station in Davisville, the price of a gallon of regular unleaded was $3.93 Thursday afternoon.

The current state average is $3.95, up from $3.64 a month ago.

Farm Tour Shows Importance Of North Escambia Agriculture

May 29, 2008


The third Escambia County Farm Tour took to the roads of North Escambia Thursday. Over 100 county, city and state leaders joined leaders from the agricultural community on a tour of agricultural locations across the area.

Participants visited the Langley Bell 4-H Center and Emerald Coast Growers in Pensacola; the Touchable Blueberry Farm, the Barrineau Park Community Center and Bayer Cropscience Research Station in Molino; and the Walnut Hill Community Center, Steve’s Sweet Corn, a wheat field and Escambia Grain in Walnut Hill.

“I think everybody has gained a better appreciation for agriculture in this county, from food to clothing,” said Libbie Johnson from the Escambia County Extension Service. “I hope they will go back and share their experiences with others.”

At Escambia Grain in Walnut Hill, farm tour participants learned that the grain elevator company will process 500 to 600 thousand bushels of wheat this year, enough to make about 25 million loaves of bread according to manager Ed Knowlin. That will pump from $3.5 to $5 million into the local economy, he said.

The wheat harvesting in the area will first go to Escambia Grain for processing. It will then be trucked to the Port of Mobile, where most will head to the Caribbean.

“This is a terrific opportunity for the people from the south part of the county to learn what goes on up here,” District 5 Escambia County Commissioner Kevin White said. “They get a chance to see that there is more to Escambia County than just the city.

Commissioners Grover Robinson and Gene Valentino were also along for the ride on the farm tour, along with State Representative Dave Murzin and Pensacola City Councilman P.C. Wu. Numerous candidates for Escambia County offices were also on hand.

At Steve’s Sweet Corn in Walnut Hill, owner Steve Hiebert said the changing economy had forced his farm to evolve over the years. Rather than traditional crops, he will plant 20 acres of sweet corn and 30 acres of other vegetables like peas and butter beans this years, and he has opened the farm’s catfish ponds to public fishing. He said the price of his catfish feed has gone up about 50 percent in just one year.

“The reason we have had to switch from regular row crops to vegetables is the dwindling market,” Hiebert said. “Ninety-five percent of what we sell is retail out of our shop here.”

The tour was organized by the Escambia County Extension Service, USDA Farm Services Agency, Escambia Soil and Water Conservation, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Florida Division of Forestry and the Escambia County Farm Bureau Federation. It was sponsored by Atmore Truckers, Bayer CropScience Research, Chuck Stevens Chevrolet, Escambia Grain Corp., Escambia River Electric Cooperative, Farm Credit of NW Florida, Florida Peanut Producers Association, FNB & Trust, Frank Currie Gin, Helena Chemical Company, International Paper, J.W. Renfroe Pecan Company, Resource Management Services, Smith Tractors, Tri-County Peanut Company, United Bank and West Florida Gin.

For a photo gallery from the 2008 Farm Tour, click here.

Pictured above: Farm Tour participants learn about no-till planting at a field behind the Walnut Hill Community Center. Pictured below: The farm tour stops at a wheat field being harvested along South Highway 99. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.


ECUA Board Member To Continue Crusade Against Allied Waste

May 29, 2008

Emerald Coast Utilities Authority board member Larry Walker will continue his personal crusade against Allied Waste at an ECUA board meeting this afternoon.

He is slated to present “Lid List 7″, the seventh list of defective Allied cans he has located in North Escambia. The list contains 89 addresses with defective cans.

“This information has to do with the quality of service provided, with the acquiescence of the ECUA board, by the second-largest solid-waste corporation in the world,” Walker said in a memo to be presented to the board this afternoon.

“Allied’s service to many customers, by failing to provide them with sound containers, fails to meet industry standards. Allied’s abuse of its customers has been and remains unacceptable—except to the ECUA board,” Walker wrote in the memo obtained by NorthEscambia.com ” I am embarrassed by Allied’s poor service to many residents of my district, and I offer my personal apology to those residents for the ECUA board’s failure to protect them.”

The total number of addresses with defective cans presented to the board stands at 183 as of this afternoon. During that time, he said, he observed just two defective ECUA cans that were promptly replaced and none in the City of Pensacola. He also said he took a 26 mile trip through Lexington, Kentucky, over two days and spotted no defective containers.

Allied Waste holds the solid waste collection franchise until 2010 for North Escambia, except for inside the Town of Century, from ECUA. Allied does pickup trash in Century, but it is under an agreement with the town.

Walker has repeatedly called for ECUA to revoke that franchise. The board has purchased 11,000 residential waste containers and trucks to possibly take over the franchise, but it has failed to vote to do so.

Walker represents North Escambia as the District 5 representative on the ECUA board.

ECUA meets at 3:00 this afternoon in the ECUA board room, 9250 Hamman Street in the Ellyson Industrial Park in Pensacola.

Hammer Heads Pound Molino Winn Dixie At Don Sutton Park

May 29, 2008


The NWE Hammer Heads recently downed Molino Winn Dixie by the score of 13 to 5 at Don Sutton Park in Molino. Devin Stabler and Zach Payne delivered 73 pitches from the mound and struck out seven batters.

For a photo gallery from the game, click here.

Ramona Preston photos from NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.


Carver/Century Kindergarten Students Head Under The Sea

May 29, 2008


The kindergarten class at Carver/Century K-8 school recently took a magical reading adventure in an ocean bubble to conclude a week of ocean adventures.

They students learned about lots of ocean creatures and where they live. The students even created ocean animals to put in their ocean bubble. The students enjoyed creating fish, turtles, a killer whale, jellyfish, a shark, a seal, an octopus, seaweed and few other ocean creatures.

Mrs. Foster’s first grade class helped the kindergarten students create the animals.

For a photo gallery, click here.

Submitted photos, click to enlarge.


Bergosh Reveals Contents Of Secret Envelope; Cuts Would Have Equaled Closing Carver/Century

May 28, 2008


Escambia County School Board member Jeff Bergosh has revealed the contents of “the envelope of doom”, an envelope that he waived at school board budget meetings saying it contained administrative cuts he would like to see in the district.

He had refused to share the contents of the envelope with other board members or anyone else. The board instead approved other cuts and continues to discuss the closure of Carver/Century K-8 School to save an estimated $680,000 a year.

“The roughly $700K in potential savings that could have been achieved through elimination of the below listed positions,” Bergosh says on his blog about the envelope’s contents, “ironically, equals roughly the same dollar amount as what will be saved if Carver Century is closed.”

“I’ve kept this list in a sealed envelope for a couple of weeks now, and I’ve waited for my counterparts on the board to bring their lists,” Bergosh wrote on the blog. “None were forthcoming.”

“Regardless, I know we need to keep looking at budget cuts. The choices are only going to continue to be more and more difficult; None of these savings measures will be pleasant, people will be angry, and everyone will be looking at everyone else to accept budget cuts. But we will have a balanced budget at the end of this process, I’m confident of that,” he wrote.

The top cut on Bergosh’s list is the position of Associate Superintendent for Public and Interagency Affairs, a job currently held by Ronnie Arnold.

The contents of the envelope and the positions he wanted to see cut to save $700,000, according to Bergosh’s blog:

1. Associate Superintendent for Public and Interagency Affairs (duties to be delegated to Admin. Secretary or Deputy Superintendent)
2. (1) Manager IV –Construction Projects
3. (1) Safety Officer 1 Protection Services
4. Admin Secretary II Protection Services

Note—Protection Services Division Chief and one Safety Officer 1 to fall under Risk Management at Garden Street.

5. (1) Auditor from office of Internal Auditor
6. (1) Computer Operator from IT
7. (1) Programmer/Analyst I from IT
8. (1) Director I-Elementary Education
9. (1) Director I-High School Education

Note—Combine duties of Director of Middle and High School Education into one position, (following retirement of Director of High School Education) into a “Director of Secondary Education” poition. Eliminate one director of Elementary Education,(One director retiring after this school year) leaving one director for Elementary Education.

10. (1) Subject Area Specialist—Social Studies.

Note—Duties of Social Studies Subject Area Specialist to be delegated to each school’s Principal.

Estimated Total Savings $700,000.00

The envelope’s contents were revealed by Bergosh on his blog after a public records request by the Independent News in Pensacola.

Pictured above: Jeff Bergosh at a recent School Board budget workshop. NorthEscambia.com photo.

Ernest Ward Middle School Names New Cheerleading Squad

May 28, 2008

Ernest Ward Middle School has named their 2008-2009 cheerleading squad.

The cheerleaders for the next school year are, pictured above:

Front Row, left to right: Raven Weaver, Ariel Holland, Madison Arrington, Mariah Albritton, Regan Bell, Katelyn Calloway, Jessica Lowery and Cheyenne Godwin.

Back Row, left to Right: Angel Mitchell, Ali Martin, Morgan Ward, Hannah Gibson, Lana Clayton, Paeton Hadley and Ashley Mooney.

Submitted photo for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

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