Hot, Humid End To July

July 30, 2011

After a hot, mostly dry Saturday, rain chances will increase for Sunday.

Here is your official North Escambia area forecast:

  • Tonight…Partly cloudy. Lows in the lower 70s. Northwest winds around 5 mph in the evening becoming light.
  • Sunday…Mostly sunny in the morning becoming mostly cloudy. Scattered showers and thunderstorms in the morning…then numerous showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. Highs in the mid 90s. Northwest winds around 5 mph. Chance of precipitation 70 percent. Highest heat index readings 105 to 107 in the afternoon.
  • Sunday Night…Mostly cloudy. Scattered showers and thunderstorms in the evening…then isolated showers and thunderstorms after midnight. Lows in the mid 70s. West winds around 5 mph in the evening becoming light. Chance of precipitation 40 percent.
  • Monday…Mostly cloudy. Numerous showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the mid 90s. Northwest winds around 5 mph becoming south in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation 60 percent.
  • Monday Night…Mostly cloudy. Scattered showers and thunderstorms in the evening…then isolated showers and thunderstorms after midnight. Lows in the mid 70s. South winds around 5 mph in the evening becoming light. Chance of precipitation 30 percent.
  • Tuesday…Mostly sunny in the morning becoming mostly cloudy. Scattered showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the mid 90s. Chance of precipitation 40 percent.
  • Tuesday Night…Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 70s.
  • Wednesday…Mostly sunny. Scattered showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the mid 90s. Chance of precipitation 30 percent.
  • Wednesday Night…Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 70s.
  • Thursday…Mostly sunny. Isolated showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. Highs in the upper 90s. Chance of precipitation 20 percent.
  • Thursday Night…Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 70s.
  • Friday…Mostly sunny in the morning becoming mostly cloudy. Scattered showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the mid 90s. Chance of precipitation 30 percent.
  • Friday Night…Mostly cloudy. Lows in the mid 70s.
  • Saturday…Mostly sunny. Scattered showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the mid 90s. Chance of precipitation 30 percent.

Today Is Final Day To Register For Football, Cheerleading At NWE And Cantonment

July 30, 2011

Today is the final scheduled opportunity to register for fall football and cheerleading for the Cantonment Cowboys and Northwest Escambia.

NWE Football Registration

Registration for Northwest Escambia football will be held today 10 a.m. until noon at the Ernest Ward field. The first practice for NWE is August 8. For more information, contact Charles at (850) 327-4603.

Cantonment Football Registration

Football and cheerleading registration for the Cantonment Cowboys will be held today from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Cantonment sports complex. For more information, call (850) 292-1775.

Man Caught At Traffic Stop Swallows Cocaine, Pot

July 30, 2011

An Escambia County man was hospitalized Friday after deputies said he tried to hide bags of cocaine and marijuana by swallowing them.

Kenya Parker, 34, is charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of marijuana, tampering with evidence and traffic charges including driving without a driver’s license.

Around 2:10 a.m., Escambia County Deputy Chad Roop observed a silver Toyota Corolla traveling on I-110 near Airport Blvd. Roop reported that the driver was weaving in and out of traffic lanes.

Roop initiated a traffic stop to investigate for impaired driving. During the stop Roop noticed an odor of marijuana coming from the stopped vehicle.

“Deputy Roop had Mr. Parker exit the vehicle during this investigation,” said Sheriff’s Office spokesman Deputy Chris Welborn. “As Mr. Parker was standing near the deputy’s cruiser, he began to regurgitate bags of cocaine and marijuana he had swallowed earlier.”

Deputies said that Parker regurgitated four plastic bags of cocaine, one bag of marijuana and an empty bag that appeared to have ruptured.

Upon seeing the ruptured bag deputies called EMS to respond and transport Parker to Sacred Heart Hospital for observation.

“The ingestion of the amount of cocaine contained in that bag can be lethal,” said Welborn.

Parker will be held on a $22,000 bond once he is released from the hospital.

Hightower Prefiles For Escambia School Board

July 30, 2011

Incumbent Escambia County School Board member Patty Hightower prefiled Friday for re-election in 2012.

“Escambia County Schools have shown tremendous improvement in the past few years. While the credit goes to our great teachers, I hope I have contributed as a school board member to higher standards and higher goals during my time on the board,” Hightower said. “Experience counts in education – not only in the classroom but also on the school board.”

She said that she and the current school board work well together as a team with the superintendent.

“I believe during my next term I can continue to contribute my time and effort toward the goal of insuring our schools provide the best possible learning opportunities for our children,” Hightower said.

Hightower will appear on the August 28, 2012, ballot. She is the only candidate so far to prefile for the seat that she has held for term terms.

Governor: Make Currently Required PIP Auto Insurance Optional

July 30, 2011

Gov. Rick Scott said Friday that he would support making personal injury protection auto insurance coverage, or PIP, optional.

Scott made the remarks during a radio interview Friday, and a spokesman confirmed that Scott would support doing away with Florida’s requirement that motorists carry PIP coverage.

“He said he supports the idea of making PIP an option,” said the spokesman, Lane Wright. “Gov. Scott has always stressed the importance of having choice, when it comes to insurance.”

Wright said the administration hadn’t drafted any legislation, that Scott was merely stating a position on the requirement.

PIP has been a subject of ire for insurers for years because of heavy amounts of fraud. Florida law currently requires every motorist to carry $10,000 worth of PIP coverage to cover their medical costs if they’re in an accident. A motorist’s insurance company pays the medical bills for that motorist out of the PIP coverage no matter who is at fault in the accident, an arrangement known as a no-fault law.

Sam Miller, a spokesman for the industry group Florida Insurance Council, said he couldn’t comment in detail without a detailed proposal, but that in general insurers would welcome changes.

“We have to do something, because the fraud is out of control,” Miller said. “If the governor wants that to be part of the mix, we would look at the details. It’s good that the governor is getting involved in the debate.”

Insurers expect that auto insurance is likely to be a major issue for legislators in the coming year after a few years of focus on property insurance reforms.

By The News Service of Florida

Weekend Gardening: Distinctly Southern Hydrangeas

July 30, 2011

Photo by Mandy Fails of Atmore for, click to enlarge.

Nothing defines a southern landscape more than hydrangeas.

theresafriday.jpgThese beautiful, large flowering shrubs fill gardens with their green, leafy foliage and incredible blooms during the warm months.

In order to ensure consistent and reliable blooms, these shrubs must be cared for correctly. In addition to proper site location, fertilizer and moisture conditions, hydrangeas may require pruning. Proper pruning includes correct timing.

Hydrangea aficionados are constantly debating pruning techniques. There are many different types of hydrangeas and pruning differs according to the type. It is a big genus of plants and so it’s important to know what type of hydrangeas you may have and on what type of wood they bloom on.

Blooms on old wood, prune after flowering

The bigleaf hydrangeas, known scientifically as Hydrangea macrophylla, are what most people think of when you mention hydrangeas. Most gardeners will know these as mopheads (also called hortensias) and lacecaps. Many of these blooms will be blue or pink although other colors now are available.

Many large colonies of bigleaf hydrangeas have existed around old homes for decades, surviving and blooming in spite of neglect.  This tells us that it is not necessary to prune bigleaf hydrangeas.

However, if you want to keep these shrubs within a defined boundary, control their height or rejuvenate old shrubs, it will be necessary to prune them.

Bigleaf hydrangeas can be reduced in size immediately after flowering.  A general rule of thumb is that you may remove up to a third of the shrub’s height.  Be sure to complete your pruning before August.  This is critical because next year flower blooms start to form in August.  Pruning after August will remove next year’s blooms.

There now is a small group of bigleaf hydrangeas that are everblooming or remontant.  Endless Summer® is one well-known brand.  According to the developers of these reblooming hydrangeas, remove spent flowers to encourage rebloom.  They are quite forgiving and will not suffer if left unpruned or pruned at the wrong time because these cultivars bloom on both old and new growth.

Our native oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) is a large, deciduous shrub that can grow up to six feet tall.  It has deeply lobed, oak-like leaves which turn bronze in the fall.   This plant does not usually need pruning. If reshaping or size-reduction is necessary, prune after blooms begin to fade.

Article Continues Below Photo

Lacecap hydrangea Photo credit: Theresa Friday

Blooms on new wood, prune in early spring

Smooth hydrangea (H. arborescens) is the other U.S. native. The most common cultivar, ‘Annabelle’, produces rounded inflorescences that may reach up to a foot in diameter.

The panicle hydrangea (H. paniculata) is more of an upright type.  It is typically a 10 to 15-foot large shrub or low-branched tree.

Panicle and smooth hydrangeas flower on current year’s growth and can be pruned anytime from late summer until early spring. If pruning these two species in the spring, try to prune before leaves appear.

Winter pruning

Established bigleaf, panicle, oakleaf and smooth hydrangea plants can often benefit from rejuvenation pruning. Remove about one-third of the oldest stems each year.  The result is a fuller, healthier plant. This type of pruning is easiest to do in winter, since the absence of leaves makes it easier to see and reach inside plants.

Hydrangeas offer a wide variety of plants which can make the timing of pruning difficult to remember.  Just keep in mind, if in doubt, either don’t prune at all or prune after flowering.

Theresa Friday is the Residential Horticulture Extension Agent for Santa Rosa County.

Learn To Preserve Fresh Fruits And Vegetables At Workshop

July 30, 2011

Due to an overwhelming response, Escambia County Extension and the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences present another “Preserving the Essence of Summer Food Preservation Workshop.”

The workshop is on Saturday, August 20, 10 a.m. until noon, at the Langley Bell 4-H Center, 4810 W. Nine Mile Road.

Organizers say it is easy to preserve your juicy, ripe, fresh fruits and vegetables, and home canning is a wonderful way to preserve fresh fruits and vegetables from your garden or the local farmers’ market.

The workshop will teach the simple ways to save the season’s bountiful harvest and capture the fresh flavors of summer. The cost is only $5, but you must pre-register to ensure adequate supplies.

To register or get more information, please contact Colethia Lewis, Escambia Extension, at (850) 475-5230 or

Dianne Salter

July 30, 2011

Dianne Salter age 55, of Jay, Florida, died July 28, 2011, in Jay.

Dianne was a member of the Pine Level Baptist Church. She was retired from the Escambia County School Board of Florida and co-owner of Fleet Maintenance and GKS Trucking.

She was preceded in death by her brother, Troy Gandy; grandparents, M.E. and Ruth Gandy and Rufus and Katie Campbell.

She is survived by by her loving husband, Kenny Salter.

She was the world’s greatest mom with four children, Kennedy Salter, Patrick (Cara) Salter, Carlyn (Wesley) Salter, and Megan (Anthony) Golden; grandchildren, Emily, Rebekah, Trinity, Joshua Salter, Jacklyn and Weston Salter and Landon Golden, all of Jay, Florida. Her parents, Louise Gandy of Molino and Carl (Polly) Gandy of Century; two siblings, Robert (Yvette) Gandy, and Adie (Roger) Burkett of Century. Many loving aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and dear friends.

Funeral services will be held at Jay Funeral on Sunday, July 31, 2011, at 3:00 p.m., Bro. Robert Gandy officiating services. Burial will follow at Pine Level Cemetery. A Visitation will be held on Sunday from 1:00 until 3:00 p.m.

Ecclesiastes 3L A Time for Everything There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, A time to get, and a time to lose.

If Dianne were a season- we would call her Spring for she bloomed with courage, love, life, and hope.

Jay Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Nitric Acid Spill In Cantonment

July 29, 2011

Emergency crews responded to a hazardous materials spill on Old Chemstrand Road this afternoon.

A tanker truck on Old Chemstrand Road near Pauline Street was apparently spilling nitric acid on the roadway as it traveled eastbound toward Ascend Performance Materials.

Firefighters on the scene said the spill did not pose any threat to nearby residents. A fire crew on the scene said the acid will be cleaned up by diluting it with water.

Family Says Men Wrongly Attempt To Pick Up Child In Molino

July 29, 2011

A Molino family says someone wrongly claiming to be from a local church tried to pick up a 5-year old child today on Chance Road.

Family members said that three men in an older gold-colored car  asked for the 5-year old by name, saying that they were there to give him a ride to Vacation Bible School at Highland Baptist Church. They vehicle was reportedly in their driveway when the family arrived home.

But the family said they were aware that Vacation Bible School is not going on this week at Highland Baptist. Before leaving the area, the boy’s family said the men went to four different houses in the neighborhood.

Brian Calhoun, pastor at Highland Baptist Church, confirmed that the church does not have any children’s activities going on Friday and that no one from the church tried to pick up the child.

“We don’t just stop by houses and pick up children without the parents knowing in advance,” he said.

There was no further description available of the vehicle or the three men.

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