Escambia Native Serving Aboard Nuclear Powered Submarine

May 30, 2016

A 2008 West Florida High School graduate and Escambia County Florida native is serving in the U.S. Navy as part of a crew working aboard one of the world’s most advanced nuclear-powered fast attack submarines, USS City of Corpus Christi.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Leeroy Ybarra is a machinist’s mate (auxiliary) serving aboard the Pearl Harbor-based submarine, one of 40 Los Angeles-class submarines making it the backbone of the submarine force.

A Navy machinist’s mate is responsible for maintaining pnuematic systems, atmospheric purification, diesel engine maintenance, hydraulics and oxygen generation aboard a submarine.

“I enjoy working with the wide variety of people you meet in the Navy, and I like the different ports that we pull into,” said Ybarra. “Singapore is very nice, Guam is always a great time, and Yokosuka [Japan] is also great!”

With a crew of 130, this submarine is 360 feet long and weighs approximately 6,900 tons. A nuclear-powered propulsion system helps push the submarine through the water at more than 25 mph.

Attack submarines are designed to hunt down and destroy enemy submarines and surface ships; strike targets ashore with cruise missiles; carry and deliver Navy SEALs; carry out intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions; and engage in mine warfare. Their primary tactical advantage is stealth, operating undetected under the sea for long periods of time.

“Submarine sailors never cease to amaze me with their ability to complete complex missions in the world’s most challenging environments,” said Rear Adm. Fritz Roegge, Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet. “Continued U.S. undersea superiority is not possible without their dedication, expertise and professionalism.”

According to Navy officials, because of the demanding environment aboard submarines, personnel are accepted only after rigorous testing and observation. Submariners are some of the most highly trained and skilled people in the Navy. The training is highly technical and each crew has to be able to operate, maintain, and repair every system or piece of equipment on board. Regardless of their specialty, everyone also has to learn how everything on the ship works and how to respond in emergencies to become “qualified in submarines” and earn the right to wear the coveted gold or silver dolphins on their uniform.

“The Corpus Christi is a 33-year old boat, and keeping her out to sea and operational is a challenge. I like that aspect,” said Ybarra.

Challenging submarine living conditions actually build strong fellowship among the elite crew, Navy officials explained. The crews are highly motivated, and quickly adapt to changing conditions. It is a busy life of specialized work, watches, and drills.

“I have a great sense of pride knowing that I’m protecting our country, and knowing that makes me feel that I have earned the right to all the great benefits the military provides,” Ybarra added.

by U.S. Navy Chief Mass Communication Specialist Bill Steele, Navy Office of Community Outreach Public Affairs

DCF Offers Tips For Parents Selecting A Summer Camp

May 30, 2016

With school out for the summer, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) reminds parents and caregivers about precautions they can take to ensure their child has fun in a safe summer camp program.

“It’s important for children to stay active and social over summer break, and it’s equally important for parents to ensure their child’s wellbeing by checking the safety standards of all summer camp choices,” said Secretary Mike Carroll. “We encourage caregivers to look into their summer camp selections and to ask important questions before enrolling their child in a program.”

Florida law requires all camp owners, operators, employees and volunteers to submit to background screenings for state and federal criminal histories. DCF publishes a self-reported list of summer camps that have acknowledged state screening requirements on the department’s website. Though the department is not authorized to license or inspect camps, DCF investigates complaints and concerns related to background screenings.

Parents and caregivers are advised to take time to research and learn about any summer camp programs they are considering for their children. In addition to the summer camp listing, DCF has a recommended checklist of questions to ask when selecting a program. Tips include checking:

  • The program’s health and safety policies and procedures
  • Staff to child ratios and adequate facility settings
  • Staff qualifications, training, experience and education
  • The program’s license or accreditation

A list of screened camps and the complete summer camp checklist are available at

Slight Chance Of Isolated Showers

May 30, 2016

Here is your official North Escambia area forecast on this Memorial Day:

Tonight: Isolated showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 68. Southwest wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the evening. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Tuesday: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 1pm. Mostly sunny, with a high near 92. West wind around 5 mph becoming south in the afternoon.

Tuesday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 69. South wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the evening.

Wednesday: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 1pm. Mostly sunny, with a high near 90. Calm wind becoming south around 5 mph in the afternoon.

Wednesday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 69. South wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the evening.

Thursday: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 90. Calm wind becoming south around 5 mph in the afternoon.

Thursday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 68. South wind 5 to 10 mph becoming light southwest in the evening.

Friday: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 89. West wind around 5 mph becoming south in the afternoon.

Friday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 70. South wind around 5 mph.

Saturday: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 88.

Saturday Night: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 71.

Sunday: Showers and thunderstorms likely. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 86. Chance of precipitation is 60%.

Sunday Night: A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 70.

Monday: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 86

Escambia County Seeks Appointees For Housing Finance Authority

May 30, 2016

The Escambia County Board of County Commissioners is seeking Escambia County residents interested in volunteering to be considered for an appointment to the Escambia County Housing Finance Authority. Appointees serve without compensation. Escambia residents interested in serving on the Escambia County Housing Finance Authority are asked to submit a resume and letter indicating their desire to serve by 5 p.m. Friday, June 2. Resumes should be submitted to Judy Witterstaeter, Program Coordinator, Board of County Commissioners, P.O. Box 1591, Pensacola, Florida 32502.

The Escambia County Housing Finance Authority was established in accordance with Florida law. The authority’s duties are to assist in eliminating shortages of adequate housing, stop re-occurrence of slum conditions and stimulate employment and commerce. Knowledge in the area of labor, finance or commerce required. Authority members serve a four-year term of office. Financial disclosure is required.


  • The authority’s regular meetings are held the second Tuesday of every month and typically last between one to two hours (i.e. 24 hours annually). Board members are also required to attend special meetings that are occasionally called on an “as needed” basis in connection with proposed multi- and single-family financings.
  • Board members must review various documents (official statements, trust statements, loan agreements, etc.) prior to each monthly meeting. Preparation time generally ranges from one hour for a normal meeting, to four to six hours if there is a substantial item on the agenda.
  • Board members are also required to be available for any bond issue closings that occur during the year and to also make time during the month to consult with the Executive Director (and/or be available to sign documents, checks, etc.) as needed in connection with routine authority business.
  • Board members are also strongly encouraged to participate in various educational workshops and conferences sponsored by the National and Florida Associations of Local Housing Finance Authorities (approximately two a year) in an effort to stay abreast of emerging trends and changes to all the various laws and regulations in the housing finance and municipal finance industries (i.e. such as their due diligence responsibilities before approving a bond issue, SEC/MSRB regulations, disclosure responsibilities, etc.) that impact the authority’s mission of providing safe, decent and affordable housing.

Appeals Court Rules In Escambia Case: Only One Parent Must Sign Off On Medical Procedures

May 30, 2016

In what could be first-of-its-kind case in Florida, an appeals court  rejected arguments that both parents need to sign off before a child can undergo surgery.

The ruling, by a three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal, upheld an Escambia County circuit judge’s decision in a case in which parents had separated and the mother gave consent for a 3-year-old child to have adenoid and ear-tube surgery.

The father, Imad S. Angeli, had objected to the child undergoing surgery and filed a lawsuit against physician Evelyn Kluka and the Nemours Children’s Clinic, alleging battery and intentional interference with a parent-child relationship, the ruling said.

But the appeals-court panel found that state law only requires the consent of one parent and pointed to a potentially “untenable” situation if medical providers had to navigate disputes between parents about performing procedures.

“We conclude, just as the trial court did, that Florida law does not require health care providers to assume the burden of refereeing or going to court to resolve disputes between parents, so long as at least one legally authorized person provides consent,” said the nine-page ruling, written by Judge Susan Kelsey and joined by Judge T. Kent Wetherell and Associate Judge Angela Dempsey. “One would hope that parents committed to successful co-parenting, as they should be, would resolve these disputes between themselves or with the informal assistance of counselors or advisors. Failing that, a parent seeking to prevent the rendition of medical care or treatment to which the other parent has consented can go to court to seek an injunction and resolve the dispute.”

The Escambia County circuit judge, Ross M. Goodman, noted that the dispute appeared to be a case of “first impression” — meaning a first-of-its-kind case in Florida, the ruling said. The appeals court also pointed to “limited analogous case law” and cited one decade-old article in a legal publication about the issue.

Angeli, who the ruling said was formerly known as Imad S. Girgis, was going through divorce proceedings with his wife and had equal custody rights to their two children. The mother, who is not identified in the ruling, initially scheduled adenoid surgery for both children, but the procedures were canceled after the father called the doctor and objected.

The mother rescheduled surgery for the younger child about three months later. The father said he informed a member of the surgeon’s staff that he did not consent to the surgery, which was performed with the approval of the mother, according to the ruling. The surgeon noted in a medical chart that a nurse had informed her before the surgery that the parents had reached agreement on the procedure — though Angeli alleged the mother had misrepresented his position.

Nevertheless, the appeals court said no state law requires medical providers to get consent from both parents.

“The bottom line is that health care providers are not required to referee parental disputes about medical care for their minor children, and may render medical care or treatment upon the consent of only one parent,” the ruling said.

by Jim Saunders, The News Service of Florida

Escambia Extension Urges Smart Grilling For Food Safety

May 30, 2016


by Escambia County Extension Service

Safety is an important consideration when operating a grill. Improper use can cause a fire or explosion. Keep the area around a lighted grill clear of combustible materials, and never use a grill in an enclosed area such as a sheltered patio or a garage. Avoid wearing loose-fitting clothing that may catch fire. The cooking grids should be cleaned after every cookout. The last thing you want to do is cause someone to become ill due to improper cleaning or unsafe food preparation practices.

Wash your hands with hot soapy water for at least 20 seconds before starting to prepare any foods, and wash your hands again if you do anything else—change a diaper, pet an animal, or blow your nose, for example. Cover any cuts or sores on your hands with a bandage, or use plastic gloves. If you sneeze or cough while preparing foods, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue and turn your face away, or cough into your sleeve. Always wash your hands afterwards.

Bacteria multiply rapidly at room temperature. Most food-borne illness-causing bacteria cannot grow well at temperatures below 40°F or above 140°F. Thaw foods in the refrigerator or in the microwave. Never leave foods out at room temperature.

Keep everything that touches food clean. Bacteria can hitch rides around your kitchen on all sorts of things—plates and cutting boards, dirty utensils, dish rags and sponges, unwashed hands.

Never chop fresh vegetables or salad ingredients on a cutting board that was used for raw meat without properly cleaning it first. If possible, keep a separate cutting board just for the preparation of raw meat, poultry, and fish.

Wash cutting boards thoroughly with hot soapy water, and then sanitize with a solution of household bleach and water.

Keep raw meat, poultry, fish, and their juices from coming into contact with other foods during preparation, especially foods that will not be cooked. Wash all utensils and your hands with hot soapy water after contact with raw meat.

Marinate meat, poultry and seafood in the refrigerator in a covered, non-metal container. Throw away any leftover marinade.

Grill food to a safe internal temperature. Use a meat thermometer to assure correct doneness of the food being grilled.

Safe minimum internal temperatures:

  • Poultry (whole, ground, and breasts): 165°F
  • Hamburgers, beef: 160°F
  • Beef, veal, and lamb (steaks, roasts and chops):
  • Medium rare: 145°F
  • Medium: 160°F.
  • All cuts of pork: 160°F.

Hold meat at 140°F until served. Use a clean platter for transferring cooked meat from grill to serving table.

Summer is the time for getting together with friends and family and cooking outdoors. Make your outdoor grilling experience safe and enjoyable.

For further information regarding food safety and other related topics, go to the University of Florida’s Solutions for Your Life website:

By the Escambia County Extension Service. Reference: Safe Food Handling Fact Sheet, United States Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Series.

Dixon Smashes Two Homers In Wahoos Win

May 30, 2016

Brandon Dixon hit a grand slam over the left field wall in the bottom of the first inning to give the Pensacola Blue Wahoos a lead it would never relinquished.

With one swing off of Birmingham lefty Blair Walters, Dixon gave Pensacola a, 4-3, lead and added another solo shot in the fifth inning to left center as the Blue Wahoos defeated Birmingham, 12-5, Sunday in front of its third straight sellout of 5,038 at Blue Wahoos Stadium. Pensacola is now 5-for-5 in five-game series at home, beating Birmingham 4-1.

Blue Wahoos southpaw Amir Garrett uncharacteristically walked four batters in a row in the first inning, after getting the first two outs of the game on three pitches. After 35 pitches he finally got out of the inning giving up three runs to the Birmingham Barons.

Dixon was hitting .163 against left-handed pitchers entering the game. But he ended up with two homers for the second time in his minor league career. He had a career-high six RBIs. The second baseman now is tied with Pensacola outfielder Phillip Ervin with five home runs, leads the team with 25 RBIs and is batting .277 on the year.

In its franchise history dating back to 2012, the Blue Wahoos have hit 10 grand slams total.

“It definitely was one of my best games for sure,” the soft-spoke Dixon said. “I was looking for something up over the plate. I’ve struggled against lefties this year.”

Pensacola manager Pat Kelly said he saw Dixon play in the California League two years ago and admired his swing.

“He’s one of those guys who has a different sound coming off of his bat,” Kelly said. “He’s got raw power and he’s starting to harness it. He has really been swinging the bat well.”

The Blue Wahoos remained in first place in the Southern League South Division at 30-20 and improved to 18-7 at home.

Not only did Dixon hit two blasts, but Garrett settled down after his rough start.

Birmingham scored in that first inning when Garrett gave up a two-out bases loaded walk to catcher Jeremy Dowdy to score DH Eudy Pina. The next batter Nick Basto hit a two-out, line drive double down the third base line that scored both Barons left fielder Courtney Hawkins and third baseman Trey Michalczewski to put Birmingham on top, 3-0.

“In the past, (Garrett) has been really emotional and really hard on himself,” Kelly said. “He was terrific. He pitched a solid six innings.”

Garrett would then bear down and throw 58 pitches the rest of the way. He retired the last seven batters he faced, striking out the last four before giving way to Pensacola reliever Kyle McMyne in the seventh.

Garrett, who gave up a double in the first inning gave up one more hit the rest of the way – a bunt single to Birmingham right fielder Keenyn Walker. Garrett, the Cincinnati Reds No 3 prospect, worked six innings, giving up three runs on two hits and four walks and striking out seven.

He’s now 4-3 on the year with a 1.79 earned-run average and a 1.06 WHIP. His ERA is fourth in the Southern League and he moved into third in strikeouts with 61 on the year.

Entering Friday’s game, Garrett walked 17 in 54.1 innings or 2.81 per nine innings. He did throw a season high five walks against the Biloxi Shuckers May 8.

Dixon was happy to give Garrett a lift.

“That’s the name of the game,” Dixon said. “We’ve been doing it all year long. After that (grand slam) Amir was lights out.”

With two outs and the bases loaded in the first inning, Dixon walked to the plate and promptly jumped on the first pitch by Birmingham lefty Blair Walters to put Pensacola ahead, 4-3, for good with his first grand slam of the season.

Dixon then hit a bullet over the left center wall for a 10-3 Pensacola lead. His sixth and final RBI came when he doubled in the eighth inning to score DH Donald Lutz.

Birmingham committed five errors and gave up 13 hits to Pensacola.

Other than Dixon, Tony Renda led the way at the plate going 2-3 with a double and two runs scored and an RBI. Renda is now batting .308 on the season after going 11-22 against the Barons this series.

Escambia Pedestrian Killed

May 29, 2016

A pedestrian was struck and killed near an Escambia County Walmart Saturday night.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, 18-year old Haley G. Jennette was westbound on Mobile Highway at Tonawanda Drive when 49-year old Sonya Leona Henderson walked directly into the path of her vehicle.  Troopers the accident happened in a dark area of the roadway.

Henderson was pronounced deceased at the scene.

Jennette, who was not injured, was not charged.

Northview High School Class Of 2016 Graduates

May 29, 2016

The 109 members of the Northview High School Class of 2016 graduated Saturday.

Salutatorian Moriah McGahan thanked numerous people for helping the class achieve their goals, including parents and Northview faculty.

“Most importantly, however, I would like to thank my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ for setting the standard to strive for and for forgiving us when we fall short,” McGahan said. “I am thankful for the unique gifts and challenges he has given every one of us. And I am thankful for the opportunity he has given me to share these last four years with you.

“We have completed our run through high school,” Valedictorian Bethany Reynolds said, comparing life to a runner’s race and the encouragement of others in life to a refreshing cup of water.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and learn not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight,” she said, quoting a verse from Proverbs. “I recognize my limits of understanding and know that God has a deeper and greater will that will make all of my races end just as they should…I trust God and his plans for me…I hope that we remember not to let the world change and influence us into its mold, but rather to trust in God and follow Him through His wisdom for He will be our coach.”

“Other people will join our path as we continue to run and be there to encourage us. We always need to remember in our moments of weakness that someone will be there to help us. Therefore, also be someone else’s strength in their moment of weakness. We also need to consider giving back the same love and encouragement that we have received as we cross other people’s paths. Be someone’s cup of water in their moment of weakness.”

Editor’s note: Look for more photos, including individual graduate photos, next week on

School Superintendent Malcolm Thomas praised the Class of 2016 for their  numerous academic and athletic accomplishments, and for earning over $1.4 million dollars in scholarship money.

(article continues below photo)

The Northview High School Class of 2016 graduates were:

Summa Cum Laude 4.0 and above
1. Bethany Cheyenne Reynolds -Valedictorian
2. Moriah Renee’ McGahan – Salutatorian
3. Jessica Kathryn Amerson
4. David Franklin Thorpe
5. Madison Paige Weber
6. Bradley Andrew Van Pelt
7. Abbie Elizabeth Johnson
8. Haylee Alease Weaver
9. Harmoni Faith Till
10. Savanna Brianne Roux
11. Jada Mona Tucker
12. Trevor Dale Levins
13. Courtney Bryce Weekley
14. Tyler Ray Houston
15. Jordan Caroline Taylor
16. Jason Andrew Perritt
17. Christopher Gavin Grant
18. Benjamin Tate Preston
19. Jadlyn Skye Agerton
20. Leah Grace Fischer
21. Lawrence C W Douglas
Magna Cum Laude 3.85 and above
22. Jacob Wade Dunsford
Cum Laude 3.50 and above
23. Jewel Regina Garner
24. Trevor James Lassiter
25. Jordan Noelle Helmken
26. Katelyn Michelle Born
27. Jensyn Lillian Warner
28. Carly Marie Ward
Alpha Order
29. Austin Payne Adams
30. Lillie Kathryn Allen
31. James Austin Ates
32. Shnala O’Daija Banks
33. Lauren Breanna Barnes
34. Jessica Renee Barrows
35. Tamara Lee Barrows
36. Wykeyiah Sinclair Barton
37. Olivia Antoinette Bellamy
38. Tyler Christophe Berry
39. Rheanna Lee Black
40. Brittany Ann Brooks
41. Zachary Thomas Calloway
42. Breanna Charmaine Campbell
43. Johna Monae Carter
44. Raymond Wayne Clark
45. Ureil Neil Codrington Jr.
46. Christopher Noah Coker
47. Gavin Aubrey Coon
48. Kasey Ray Dorch
49. Sarah Elizabeth Dutton
50. Jonathan Anton Elliott
51. Kody Tommel Fountain
52. Amber Renee’ Freeman
53. Ramsey Wade Gafford
54. Nathan Anthony Galvan
55. Jamie Ray Garrett
56. Hanna Nicole Ging
57. David Lane Godwin
58. Cheyenne Raven Gray
59. Dariane Breeze Guy
60. Michela Francis Hall
61. Zachary Tyler Holland
62. Beverly Ann Hughes
63. Ivory Ladell Johnson
64. Tonie Breanna Johnson
65. Daniel Eugene Kelly Jr.
66. Shelby Joe Kiser Jr.
67. Kaitlyn Nicole Kleinatland
68. Logan Lambeth
69. Roman Dee Manning
70. Jessica Ashlynn McCall
71. Sykeema Anastasia McConnico
72. Bethany Anne Merchant
73. Kerri Cheyanne Merchant
74. Thomas Monroe Moore
75. Dezmine Sirpatrick Moorer
76. Taylor Danielle Morris
77. Jessica Ann Mullins
78. April Gail Payne
79. Joshua Nicholas Poston
80. Laurie Elaine Purdy
81. John Triston Reaves
82. Courtney Nicole Reid
83. Grady Bryant Rigby
84. Danielle Chanel Robinson
85. Elizabeth Anne Sanders
86. Julian Carter Satterwhite
87. Dustin William Shaw
88. Nathan James Singleton
89. Dylan Jacob Siu
90. Lexy Marie Small
91. Jamilia Nicole Smiley-Knight
92. Kyle David Smith
93. Levi Godwin Solomon
94. Sharnice Labraishia Spears
95. O’Neshia Kuiana Spencer
96. Bronica Lynn Spruill
97. Zachary Thomas Steele-Reich
98. Christopher Allen-Ray Stevens
99. Destiny Kathy Stevens
100. Brianna Monique Taylor
101. Ladarrius Deante Thames
102. Joshua Edward Thomas
103. Jared Elijah Townley
104. William McDonald Walker
105. Emily Brooke Walston
106. Chelsea Ann Waters
107. Brianna Letricia Weaden
108. Morgan Cheyenne Wiggins
109. Autumn Marie Wilbanks

Is Your Church Having VBS?

May 29, 2016

Now is the time to submit your Vacation Bible School announcements to so that we can include them on our events page and let everyone know.

Email your VBS event details to:

Please try to submit your information as far in advance as possible.

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