Healthy Florida Summer Series: Plant A Summer Garden

June 30, 2013

The following article from our  “Healthy Summer Series”, in cooperation with the Florida Department of Health, takes a look  the healthy benefits of planting your own garden. It’s much easier and more beneficial than you might think. Not only is it a great way to get outside and soak up some  vitamin D, it provides you and your family with a wider range of food choices that are just as rich in flavor as they are in health benefits.

Good summer crops in Florida must produce and thrive in muggy, humid and extremely warm weather. When considering a summer garden, it is important to research which fruits and vegetables yield the best results. The following list of fruits and vegetables can be grown during the summer in Florida:

Lima Beans

Recommended varieties: Fordhook 242, Henderson, Jackson Wonder, Dixie (Speckled) Butterpea, Early Thorogreen
When: plant through the summer until September


Recommended varieties: Black Beauty, Dusky, Long, Ichiban, Cloud Nine
When: plant until August

Lima Beans

Recommended varieties: Clemson Spineless, Emerald, Annie Oakley II, Cajun Delight
When: plant until August

Southern Peas (Field Peas, Cow Peas)

Recommended varieties: California Blackeye No. 5, Pinkeye Purple Hull, Texas Cream
When: plant through the summer until September


Recommended varieties: Bell: California Wonder, Red Knight; Sweet: Sweet Banana, Mariachi, Cubanelle; Hot: Jalapeño M, Cherry Bomb, Hungarian Hot Wax, Long Cayenne, Habañero
When: Plant starting in July

Sweet Potatoes

Recommended varieties: Centennial, Beauregard, Vardaman
When: plant until July


Recommended varieties: Jubilee (Florida Giant), Crimson Sweet, Sugar Baby, Mickey Lee
When: Plant starting in July

Before planting, do some research on how long it will take your vegetables or fruit to actually grow. It’s best to create a garden plan that includes the name, location, and planting date of each plant. Make a list of supplies and order or purchase your seeds early.

Most Florida soils benefit from the addition of organic matter, such as animal manure, rotted leaves, compost or commercial soil mixes. If you choose not to include organic matter in your soil, adding fertilizer is your best alternative. The amount of fertilizer you should use depends on the type of plant, as well as the soil, so be sure to consult an expert first. Be careful not to add too much fertilizer, as this can result in excess salt accumulation and may damage your plants. Pests ruin perfectly beautiful gardens every day, especially as summer welcomes insects not normally be seen in the fall and spring seasons. These pests include weeds, mites, worms, nematodes and even animals such as raccoons and birds. Though pests, aptly named, are pesky, remember that pesticides aren’t always a smart solution.  They can be harmful to people, pets and the natural environment. Some organisms are actually beneficial to your garden, so think twice before you pick up a potentially hazardous pesticide.

The following are several natural alternatives to pesticides:

  • Manually pick weeds.
  • Monitor each plant carefully twice a week and record observations.
  • Plant flowers in your vegetable garden, as they provide nectar and pollen which attracts beneficial insects.
  • Learn to identify beneficial insects (praying mantis, spiders, big-eyed bugs/assassin bugs, lady beetles, and all wasps).
  • Manually remove larger insects and place them in soapy water to drown.
  • Harvest crops such as peppers, squash and beans as soon as they are ripe. Allowing over-ripe fruits to remain on the plants often results in additional insect problems.

In the scorching Florida heat, it is important to always wear sunscreen and stay hydrated while gardening outside for a long period of time.’s  “Healthy Summer Series”, in cooperation with the Florida Department of Health, will take a weekly look at issues aimed at keeping your Florida summer safe and healthy. Information from this article also provided by UF/IFAS Extension.

No Serious Injuries In Three Vehicle Crash

June 29, 2013

There were no serious injuries reported in a three vehicle crash Saturday morning on Nine Mile Road near Old Palafox.  Two people reportedly received minor injuries.

The accident remains under investigation by the Florida Highway Patrol; further details were not available.  The Ensley and Ferry Pass stations of Escambia Fire Rescue and Escambia County EMS also responded to the crash.

Pictured: A three  vehicle crash Saturday morning on Nine Mile Road near Old Palafox. photos by Kristi Smith, click to enlarge.

Fire At Hadji Shrine Temple On Nine Mile Causes Minor Damage

June 29, 2013

There was no major damage reported from a fire at the Hadji Shrine Temple on Nine Mile Road early this morning.

The fire was reportedly contained to a transformer unit outside the building, but a portion of the building did fill with smoke. There were no injuries during the fire, which was reported just before 3 a.m.

Fire stations from across the county responded to the two-alarm incident, including Ensley, Beulah, Ferry Pass, Myrtle Grove, Osceola, Cantonment and Molino. Escambia County EMS and the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office also responded.

The Hadji Shrine Temple is home to the Pensacola Shriners. The 54,000 square foot, two-story  building was constructed in 1969.

Pictured: A fire burns on the outside of the Hadji Shrine Temple building on Nine Mile Road early Saturday morning. photos by Kristi Smith, click to enlarge.

Scientists Discover New Fish Species In Escambia, Perdido Rivers

June 29, 2013

Scientists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have uncovered a new species of black bass in area waters, including the Escambia and Perdido rivers.

FWC scientists first noted a DNA profile that did not belong to any recognized species while testing a bass specimen from the Chipola River in 2007, as part of a broader genetic study of bass.

“We didn’t set out to find a new species,” said Mike Tringali, who heads the genetics laboratory at the FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute. “It found us.”

After confirming the initial discovery, scientists searched for the DNA profile in bass caught in nearby rivers to determine the species’ range. They found that the Choctaw bass inhabits coastal river systems in Alabama and along the western Florida panhandle.  The Choctaw bass has been confirmed in the  Escambia, Perdido, Conecuh, Choctawhatchee, Yellow and Blackwater rivers.

“We chose the name ‘Choctaw bass’ because the species’ range overlaps the historic range of the Choctaw Indians,” said Tringali. “As for our recommended scientific name, Micropterus haiaka, ‘haiaka’ is a Choctaw word that means ‘revealed’.” The American Fisheries Society must approve the suggested scientific name for it to take effect.

The Choctaw bass is very similar in appearance to its relative, the spotted bass. The physical differences between the two species are not easily seen with the naked eye, one reason they had never before been distinguished despite decades of bass studies in the region.

Now that this native bass is known, scientists want to ensure the population remains healthy by implementing the best possible conservation management practices. Ironically, the biggest conservation threat to the Choctaw bass may come from its cousins, spotted bass and Alabama bass.

Typically, Choctaw bass have been found in the upper reaches of rivers and streams where sediment accumulates, avoiding stream headwaters and tidal zones found closer to the coast. As of late 2012, everywhere Choctaw bass had been collected, spotted bass and Alabama bass were absent.

Courtesy images for, click to enlarge.

Rain Possible For Saturday Afternoon

June 29, 2013

Here is your official North Escambia are forecast:

  • This Afternoon: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 1pm. Partly sunny, with a high near 93. Light west wind increasing to 5 to 10 mph.
  • Tonight: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before 1am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 71. Southwest wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the evening.
  • Sunday: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before 1pm. Mostly sunny, with a high near 92. Calm wind becoming west around 5 mph in the afternoon.
  • Sunday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 67. Northwest wind around 5 mph becoming calm.
  • Monday: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 1pm. Mostly sunny, with a high near 91. Calm wind becoming southwest around 5 mph.
  • Monday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 71. Calm wind.
  • Tuesday: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 89. Light west wind becoming south 5 to 10 mph in the morning.
  • Tuesday Night: A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 68. South wind around 5 mph.
  • Wednesday: A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 88. South wind 5 to 10 mph.
  • Wednesday Night: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 69.
  • Independence Day: A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 88.
  • Thursday Night: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 70.
  • Friday: A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 89.

Scott Signs Bill To Restrict Mentally Ill From Buying Guns

June 29, 2013

Gov. Rick Scott defended his support for the Second Amendment as he signed a narrowly-focused firearms bill into law Friday, making it harder for the mentally ill to buy guns.

The measure, which has gotten caught in a cross-fire among gun rights groups, was one of 46 bills signed into law on Friday. The bill (HB 1355) blocks firearms purchases by some people who voluntarily admit themselves for mental-health treatment.

In a letter accompanying the bill signing, Scott noted that the measure was the product of mental health and second amendment advocates, while he also highlighted his history of support for gun rights.

“During the 2012 GOP Convention, I was asked to issue a temporary executive order to override laws that allow people to carry concealed weapons, which I denied because it was unclear how disarming law-abiding citizens would better protect them from the damages and threats posed by those who would flout the law,” Scott wrote. “Additionally, I’ve signed legislation protecting the privacy of firearm owners and stopping local governments from overreaching in the regulation of firearms.”

For a governor who has struggled with approval rating, how the move will play with thousands of individuals who have sent in opposition to the law remains to be seen.

The bill was crafted in the wake of 20 children and six adults being gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

A Rasmussen poll released on Dec. 19, 2012, the week after the shooting, found 48 percent of Americans believed more action to treat mental health issues would do the most to prevent such shootings, with 27 percent saying stricter gun control laws would do the most.

The bill, backed by the National Rifle Association and Unified Sportsmen of Florida, moved through the Legislature with little opposition. Only one legislator voted against the proposal.

“Gov. Scott obviously understands, and has read, the bill,” Marion Hammer, the lobbyist for the NRA and Unified Sportsmen, told the Tampa Bay Times. “The bill will prevent dangerous people with mental illness from being able to buy guns. Everyone should support that, and thank the governor for caring.”

The public opposition came through the efforts of two out-of-state groups, the Colorado-based National Association for Gun Rights and the Gun Owners of America.

“Gov. Scott has shown his disregard for law abiding gun owners and their second amendment rights by signing this bill,” Danielle Thompson, press secretary for the National Association for Gun Rights, said after the bill was signed.

She added the signing may “overshadow” Scott’s prior actions in support of gun rights, but was unsure how this could impact his 2014 re-election.

“It depends upon what initiatives come next,” she said.

A number of people urging a veto of HB 1355 have already also questioned Scott’s conservative credentials due to his suspension of Liberty County Sheriff Nick Finch. FDLE investigators said the sheriff destroyed documents tied to the arrest of a man charged with illegally carrying a concealed firearm.

Other critics of the new law, which goes into effect Monday, have said it will discourage people with mental illnesses from seeking treatment.

“I believe it will, if it becomes law, actually discourage people from seeking psychological/psychiatric treatment,” wrote Edward Robbeloth of Fort Walton Beach to Scott on Friday.

Even after the NRA’s Hammer, one of the best-known gun-rights advocates in the country, requested members voice their support for the bill, the impassioned pleas for a veto continued to dominate the comments on the issue that have come into Scott’s state “Sunburst” email inbox since the end of the regular session.

A number of those who wanted the measure vetoed said they may have a hard time voting again for Scott.

“I’m very concerned that the government is getting too involved in everything we do in life and that is our right as a US citizen!!!” Lucille Ewing of Davie wrote on Friday.

By Jim Turner, The News Service of Florida

Escambia Man Accused Of Assaulting Teens

June 29, 2013

An Escambia County man is behind bars for allegedly sexually assaulting two teens.

Jorge Jesus Ziesk, 22, was charged with felony sexual battery and battery. He is being held in the Escambia County Jail on a $177, 500 bond.  He is also wanted on an outstanding aggravated sexual assault warrant from Texas.

Ziesk allegedly sexually assaulted an 18-year old girl while she was sleeping and touched a 17-year old male inappropriately, according to officials. Ziesk denied the allegations.

Florida Developing Plan For BP Disaster Money

June 29, 2013

Florida has moved a step closer to determining how to spread around money it gets from the federal fines imposed on BP for the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed a memorandum of understanding with the Gulf Consortium to create the process for developing Florida’s spending plan for its share of money from the 2012 Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States (RESTORE) Act.

“This agreement with the Governor provides us with the opportunity to fully coordinate the collective efforts of all levels of government to restore and protect Florida’s gulf waters,” said Grover Robinson, Escambia County Commissioner and Gulf Consortium Chairman. “The Gulf Consortium is ready to get to work on a transparent plan that will best enhance the economic and environmental recovery of our coastal communities and the state of Florida.”

“Development of a comprehensive and thoughtful plan will ensure that Florida moves towards environmental and economic recovery of the Gulf,” Scott said in a statement.

The June 2012 Act directs up to $21 billion from fines imposed on BP to the five Gulf Coast states. The consortium is comprised of the 23 Gulf Coast counties, including Escambia and Santa Rosa.

Court Lifts Stay On Execution

June 29, 2013

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta has lifted its stay on the planned execution of Marshall Lee Gore, who was a month ago found by a state panel competent to be put to death.

The federal court ruled that the request by Gore’s attorney failed to meet the merits for the stay. Gore was to have been put to death by lethal injection on Monday. The Governor’s Office has set the new execution date for Wednesday, July 10.

Gore, 49, was convicted in the 1988 murders of two women in Miami-Dade and Columbia counties. The execution was scheduled for the murder of Robyn Novick, whose body was found in rural Miami-Dade County after being last seen leaving the parking lot of a tavern, according to a summary in a 2009 Florida Supreme Court ruling. Gov.

Rick Scott initially signed the death warrant on May 13, but at the request of Gore’s attorney put a temporary stay in effect on May 22 so a panel of psychiatrists could consider whether Gore was sane enough to be executed. The panel was asked to determine whether Gore understood the nature and effect of the death penalty and why it was to be imposed upon him. Scott’s stay was lifted May 31 following the psychiatric review.

New Law Guarantees The Public’s Right To Speak At Meetings

June 29, 2013

Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill Friday guaranteeing members of the public the right to speak at public meetings. While most government meetings in Florida must be open to the public, courts have found that, under current law, there is no guarantee that citizens get to speak at those meetings. The measure signed by Scott exempts emergency meetings from the requirement and allows for time and decorum limits.

The Century Town Council, pictured above, already allows holds a public forum at the end of each regular meeting. file photo, click to enlarge.

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