BayBears Power Past Wahoos 9-4 In Season Opener

April 6, 2018

The Mobile BayBears spoiled the Blue Wahoos encore to their Southern League Championship with a 9-4 win over Pensacola on Opening Day at Hank Aaron Stadium on Thursday night.

Daniel Wright suffered the shortest outing of his professional career as the Wahoos lost on Opening Day for just the second time in team history.

After a clean opening inning for Wright and the Blue Wahoos, things quickly turned south in the second.

The BayBears opened the scoring early in the inning. Double-A debutant, Michael Barash, homered off the first pitch he saw in the second to give the hosts a 1-0 lead. Connor Justus and Zach Gibbons fired back-to-back singles before Bo Way doubled Mobile’s advantage with an RBI groundout.

With two outs, the BayBears rallied for five additional runs thanks to a pair of BayBear hits and a pair of Blue Wahoos errors. Wright had a chance to end the second when Thaiss hit a weak grounder towards first but Wright’s flip to Gavin LaValley sailed over the first baseman’s head allowing Brennon Lund to score.

Two batters later Hutton Moyer made the Blue Wahoos pay when he crushed his first home run of the season to make it 7-0.

Pensacola tried to climb back into the game when they plated a pair of runs in the third. LaValley’s two-run single gave the Blue Wahoos a brief surge of momentum.

The BayBears proved to be relentless as they answered Pensacola’s two runs with two of their own in the bottom of the inning.

There were several bright spots that could be extracted from Thursday’s contest. Nick Longhi, in his first game since injuring his elbow, went 3-for-4. LaValley and Gabriel Guerrero both reached base twice.

The bullpen also turned in a solid effort after the seven-run rally. Brennan Bernardino, in his second season with the Blue Wahoos, pitched two near-perfect innings while newcomer Jose Rafael De Paula did not allow a run over his two innings of work.

Pensacola will put this game behind them and get ready for tomorrow when RHP Keury Mella gets the ball for the Blue Wahoos opposite RHP Luis Pena.

Our View: Problems With Library’s Reasons For Cutting Out North Escambia

September 27, 2012

The West Florida Library announced that hours are being cut at library branches across the county — most dramatically in North Escambia.

Part of the cuts will essentially reduce the Century Branch Library to a part-time library sharing employees and resources with the new Molino Library. The Molino Library will open next month, robbing Peter to pay Paul with staff from Century. The Molino Library will be full of used furniture, taken from the Main Branch which is being replaced with a new building and new furniture, perhaps a wise reuse of taxpayer property. Most of the books on the Molino Library shelves will be duplicates from other branches, donations from citizens and books culled away from an upcoming Friends of the Library book sale. The phrase about a red headed stepchild comes to mind.

In tough budget times, sacrifices are necessary. But wait…the library has increased expenses almost 12 percent in a year. According to Escambia County Administrator Randy Oliver, the county has eliminated about 150 positions and cut expenses by 8.6 percent from 2012 and almost 16 percent since 2009. But not the library.

Escambia County contributes about 70 percent of the library’s funding, while the City of Pensacola kicks in the rest. The county, however, has no say in how their millions are spent by the library. So who gets the shaft from the library? The unincorporated areas of North Escambia.

But the library’s management had reasoning why Molino and Century were cut. But fact checking the reason given to the Escambia County Commission Tuesday night finds the reasoning has more holes than a good Swiss cheese.

“But since Century and Molino are not so far apart from each other, we had to reduce Century’s hours in order to open Molino’s hours. So that the staff that works at Century would pick up their hours at the Molino Library when that opened,”  Darlene Howell, acting library administrator told the commission.

Libraries are a great place to do a little research before making such a statement before the board that provides 70 percent of your funding.

The library locations in Century and Molino are not “not so far apart from each other”.  From Google maps, we found these distances between library branches. For the Century to Molino distance, we double checked that we had the most direct route, and did not even include any dirt roads.

  • Century Branch to Molino Branch — 19.7 miles
  • Main Library to Tyron Branch  — 6.2 miles
  • Main Library to Southwest Branch — 14.5 miles
  • Main Library to Westside Branch — 1.3 miles
  • Tryon Branch to Westside Branch — 7.1 miles
  • Tryon Branch to Southwest — 21.2 miles

Looks like several of the libraries are even more “not so far apart from each other”.  Don’t take us wrong…this is not a call to shutdown the very valuable Southwest and Tryon branches. They are a reasonable distance from the main library and serve very important roles in their communities.  And, from our experiences, the Tryon Branch is a library and employees in which to take pride.

But while we are talking “not so far apart from each other” — what’s the deal with the Westside Library? Which politician’s pet project what this? If it is as necessary as library management says to cut hours and “share resources”, why is there a branch that is currently operating 60 hours per week (compared to a current 40 hours in Century) just 1.3 miles from the full-featured Main Library? Why are we not sharing resources or closing the Westside Branch just 1.3 miles away rather than Century and Molino at 19.7 miles away?

The Westside Library, if something must be cut, is just a short ECAT bus ride away from the Main Library, or a quick 2-3 minute trip by car. We fail to see how that would be as inconvenient as 19.7 miles — about 40-45 minutes and a couple of expensive gallons of gas round trip.

Westside will see hours of operation cut to 44, while Century will be cut to 24 hours per week. Still not seeing the fairness factor.

Oh wait…the Westside Branch is in the City of Pensacola. And Century…well, Century is just that place where the high school was closed, the middle and elementary schools were closed, the tax collector’s office was closed, the health department was closed….hmm, it’s just the Century Branch Library. And I bet those people in Molino won’t notice if we shaft them either…just a bunch of country folks that probably won’t use the library anyway.

The West Florida Library needs to take notice that North Escambia residents are taxpayers too. The West Florida Library need to take notice that 70 percent of their funding is from Escambia County, and note that the Century and Molino communities are part of Escambia County.

If Escambia County is going to fund 70 percent of the library system budget, Escambia County needs a 70 percent say in how the system is operated.

For an earlier story about the library cutbacks, click here.

Blog: Where Were You That September Morning?

September 11, 2012

September 11, 2001. It’s been 11 years.

Life, at least when that morning began, seemed good. I’ve always been a work at home dad, so I was home with my two girls. The youngest was almost four months old, and the oldest was approaching her fourth birthday. It was a normal morning. The little one was asleep, “fat and happy” as we used to say, after a morning bottle. The oldest was in the living room just a few feet from my office watching PBS Kids on the TV as I worked on a project for a client.

Then this arrived in my inbox:

Subject: CNN Breaking News
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 08:52am

– World trade center damaged; unconfirmed reports say a plane has
crashed into tower. Details to come.

I got up, walked to the living room and flipped the TV to CNN. They were talking about how a pilot could make such an error, hitting such a large building. They were speculating that it was just a small plane. But then as the TV news helicopters zoomed their cameras in closer, the anchors were beginning to notice what I had already thought….those holes the tower were to big to have been a small plane.

I called my wife at work in Atmore. She had seen the breaking news email, and had tried to visit the CNN website to see the story. If you remember trying to use the internet that morning, it was near impossible to get a news website to load; they were all overloaded. She was unable to see the pictures. I was describing what I saw on the TV to her.

I managed to grab a picture from CNN via my web server and then download and email it to her. We were speculating about how it could happen when the second one hit.

I remember saying “wait, hold on, wait…”. I told her what I just watched on the TV. The second plane had hit the other tower. We quickly decided that we were at war as the anchors on TV speculated again that perhaps there was a problem with some navigational system, causing jetliners on a beautiful, clear morning in New York to fly into some of the tallest structures in the world.

Another breaking news email arrived:

Subject: CNN Breaking News
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 09:21am

– Second plane crashes into World Trade Center.

She and I began to speculate ourselves that we were at war. What would we do? What should we do? What about the kids? It was not panic, understand, but just that protective momma and daddy instinct, I suppose. Prayer. That was a good idea. Maybe go to the bank and get out a little cash. That seemed like a good idea. How would you prep for a war on American soil? We were not sure.

I continued to relay information about what I was seeing on TV to my wife at work, who, in turn, would relay the information to her coworkers. They had a TV, but no cable service or antenna. They ended up fashioning a homemade antenna to see a fuzzy picture.

Meanwhile, the breaking news emails kept arriving…

Subject: CNN Breaking News
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 09:32am

– Sources tell CNN one of two planes that crashed into World Trade
Center was an American Airlines 767.

Subject: CNN Breaking News
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 09:42am

– President Bush calls plane crashes at World Trade Center a
terrorist act.

Subject: CNN Breaking News
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 09:45am

– Significant fire at the Pentagon. Details to come.

Subject: CNN Breaking News
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 09:46am

– White House evactuated. Details to come.

The Pentagon on fire? The White House evacuated? Notice that in CNN’s email they were in such a hurry that they misspelled “evacuated”. One sentence at a time, the situation became more grave.

Subject: CNN Breaking News
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 09:55am

– CNN confirms a plane hit the Pentagon

Subject: CNN Breaking News
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 10:03am

– One of World Trade Center towers collapses; fire forces
evacuation of State Department

Subject: CNN Breaking News
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 10:30am

– Second World Trade Center tower collapses in Manhattan

Over and over, we watched those towers collapse on TV, and we watched our Pentagon burn.

Our almost four year old asked a lot of questions. “Were people hurt? Did they need a Band-aid?” The magnitude of the event was lost on a four year old. Looking back at those first few hours, I think the magnitude of the event was lost on all of us.

Like many Americans, I sat glued to the TV that day, continuing to watch the video of the towers falling. Our almost four year old asked if another building fell down or if it was the same one. It was time to change the channel on the TV.

You might remember that many of the entertainment TV stations ran network news feeds. Others just simply ran screens about the day’s events. There was no USA network, no ESPN, no MTV. But on PBS, we found children’s programming at a time it was not normally on. For a little while, sitting in the living room floor holding my kids, the world stopped turning that September day, as we watched Big Bird and the Cookie Monster.

Country artist Alan Jackson later wrote a song “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning?”.

Some of those lyrics:

Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day
Out in the yard with your wife and children
Working on some stage in LA
Did you stand there in shock at the site of
That black smoke rising against that blue sky
Did you shout out in anger
In fear for your neighbor
Or did you just sit down and cry

Did you weep for the children
Who lost their dear loved ones
And pray for the ones who don’t know
Did you rejoice for the people who walked from the rubble
And sob for the ones left below

But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith hope and love are some good things He gave us
And the greatest is love

Where where you when the world stopped turning that September day? Your comments are welcome below.

Election Day Live Blog

August 14, 2012

This is an archive of our Live Election Blog from today. No further updates will be posted to this story.

7:15 p.m. — Results posted here…

7:00 p.m. — Polls are now closed. Live Election Results Coming Up Soon on NorthEscambia.com!

5:20 p.m — Weather has become a factor in voting in North Escambia this afternoon with strong storms slowing the lines at the polls. We are now in what is typically the busiest two hours of voting of the afternoon on an election day. Candidates and supporters and continuing to stand outside polling locations making a last minute push, like sheriff candidate John Powell (pictured) at Precinct 110 at Pensacola Christian College. (Do you have photos to share? Email them to news@northescambia.com.)

4:35 p.m. – Special weather statement issued for strong storms moving into Escambia County. Polls remain open until 7 p.m.

4:05 p.m. — Strong storms are developing north and west of Escambia County around Atmore and Mobile. The storms are moving toward the east; if they hold together expect rain at the polls. But you can beat the rain, and the late after rush, by heading out now.

3:15 p.m. — Don’t forget that a photo and signature ID is required for all voters – if you do not present an approved form of ID, you may vote a provisional ballot. A driver’s license is safe bet.  Many precincts still reporting a light turnout so far.

2:00 p.m. – Five hours until the polls close at 7:00. Things usually get busy after about 4:30.  Candidates and supporters are out waving signs at polling places, like Ernest Ward student Mitchell Singleton (pictured top) showing his support for District Escambia County Commission candidate Jim Taylor at the precinct at  Barrineau Park Community Center.

1:25 p.m. – A quick lunch…the number of voters increased during the lunch hour at many precincts in District 5. That’s a usual occurrence on election day as people vote during their lunch break or when they are back with their spouse around lunch. Voter turnout around the area is still being reported as low to moderate. Surprising, considering that we are voting on a commissioner and sheriff. Those offices usually bring people out to the polls.

12:10 p.m. — Turnout is reported to be generally light around the area…easy in, easy out at most precincts. Still have an absentee ballot that you did not cast?  You can return it unvoted to your precinct, have it cancelled and vote there. If it’s a voted ballot, it can’t be returned at the precinct…it must be returned to the Elections Office downtown by 7 p.m.

11:35 a.m. — Coming up on the llunch hour. Voting usually picks up during this time . No major problems reported at any of the area precincts. A few showers reported in the Gonzalez and East Nine Mile Road area.

11:00 a.m. — In Escambia County, 6,685 voters had already cast their ballot before today. More than 1 million primary votes were cast in early voting or turned in by absentee ballots this year across Florida, state officials said Tuesday as Election Day primary voting got underway. The total is up 350,000 over 2008, despite five fewer days of early voting. With just one statewide race on the ballot – the U.S. Senate seat – turnout was expected to be low across the state, as it typically is in primaries. The primary in 2010 drew 22 percent of voters and 2008 brought out just 18 percent.

10:35 a.m. — Don’t forget NorthEscambia.com is the place to be tonight to get all of the election results from Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. As soon as the results are in after 7 p.m., they will be posted here on NorthEscambia.com. This is the place to be tonight for all the election results.

9:15 a.m. – Big races on the District 5 ballot — county commissioner, sheriff and more — are not translating to big turnout in the North Escambia area, according to reports from a few precincts with no line, no waiting.

8:45 a.m. – Don’t forget…your voting precinct and polling place may have changed (especially for folks in the 9 Mile Road area due to redistricting!). Check her sample ballot, voter info car, EscambiaVotes.com or call (850) 595-3900 to make sure you head to the right place to vote.

8:05 a.m. — Turnout was reported to be slow but steady at polling locations in North Escambia during the first hour of voting. Today is not just a Republican primary.  All registered voters, regardless of party affiliation, are eligible to vote in certain contests on the ballot, while other contests are restricted to voters in a specific political party or district — check your sample ballot to view the contests in which you can vote.

7:25  a.m. – The polls are open in Florida until 7 p.m. tonight. There is a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms by this afternoon. Get out and vote this morning if you want to avoid the possibility of rain later.

Our View: NHS Quarterback Sheets’ Suspension Just Isn’t Right

December 2, 2011

Tonight’s the biggest football game ever in Bratt, and certainly the big one for seniors like Brandon Sheets, starting quarterback and free safety.

But Brandon won’t play tonight, his suspension upheld Thursday by the Florida High School Athletic Association for taunting. Really? This is high school football. This is a sport for young men; this is not third grade kickball.

That said, there should have never been a flag on Sheets after his short touchdown late in the third. Video from two different angles clearly shows Sheets steeping across the goal line and stopping near immediately. There’s a Freeport defender wrapped around his legs. The tackle does not bring him down, but he stops until the Freeport player turns loose. Yes, he does look down, waiting to see when Mr. Freeport is going to let go. Then within a second, he turns and walks away with another Chief.

Plenty of “smart” armchair quarterbacks have read the reports on NorthEscambia and chimed in on how immature he was, how he should be taught a lesson, how the suspension was correct and lots of other uneducated comments. Some theorized that it was what he said that irked the referee. Most probably did not even see the game, blowing hot air behind their keyboards.

The videos clearly show he did not do anything wrong. But, most importantly to me, I did not see anything wrong. I’m not playing armchair quarterback or making that call from the perspective of a fan in the stands. I’m saying that as the person standing closer to the play than anyone else in the stadium except for other players. I was just feet away on the edge of end zone, closer than any referee. If he said anything wrong, I certainly did not hear it, and it would have been impossible for any referee to hear.

I never saw a second flag against Sheets. No one caught it on video. In fact, I can’t find anyone that saw the second flag, even among us media types on the field. There was never a clear signal from a ref that Sheets was ejected.

If Brandon Sheets did run back on the field clapping, then sorry Mr. Referee, he wasn’t making fun of you (again, this is not third grade kickball and no one’s out to get you). He was encouraging his team. That’s what Brandon Sheets does play after play, game after game. That’s leadership, not taunting.

After the game, Wheatley told me, and told other reporters in separate interviews, that Sheets was not ejected. Wheatley said he pulled him from the rest of the game, allowing backup quarterback Kevin Vaughan excellent playtime in the QB slot.

But somewhere between Friday night and Monday morning, an official from the Miracle Strip Association, decided and reported to the Florida High School Athletic Association that Sheets was ejected.

That’s another interesting issue. The Miracle Strip Association that provided the officials  is based in Shalimar, about 30 miles from Freeport, with officials from across that area. They are, just to make the note, the likely officials for the Northview vs. Chipley game. Chipley is a short 75 miles from Freeport.

Ejections have their place in high school sports. Throwing punches, spitting, attacking an official physically, throwing a sissy fit — those are valid reasons for ejections. Ejections have been issued overturned on appeal this year in our area for players involved in fights and players that were arrested.

But what’s done is done, as wrong as it may be. Brandon Sheets will sit out Friday night’s game. He will hold his head high knowing his team, his fans and most of Escambia County are behind him.

Junior Kevin Vaughan will step and he will lead the Chiefs on the field tonight. Rest assured, his team is behind him, and they are ready to “Do it with Dewey”, as he is called by those that know him. The fans will pack the stands; those that can’t be there will follow our score updates on their computers and smartphones. We all have your back Kevin, and we are supporting you and each of the players fully.

Win or lose, we won’t be making excuses come Saturday morning, even though we know the suspension was wrong. The entire area will stand tall behind the Boys from Bratt. Most of us are already checking the couch cushions for gas money for Orlando. (Can you say Road Trip?!?)

Go Chiefs!

William Reynolds, Publisher
NorthEscambia.com

Blog: Where Were You That September Morning?

September 11, 2011

September 11, 2001. It’s been 10 years.

Life, at least when that morning began, seemed good. I’ve always been a work at home dad, so I was home with my two girls. The youngest was almost four months old, and the oldest was approaching her fourth birthday. It was a normal morning. The little one was asleep, “fat and happy” as we used to say, after a morning bottle. The oldest was in the living room just a few feet from my office watching PBS Kids on the TV as I worked on a project for a client.

Then this arrived in my inbox:

Subject: CNN Breaking News
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 08:52am

– World trade center damaged; unconfirmed reports say a plane has
crashed into tower. Details to come.

I got up, walked to the living room and flipped the TV to CNN. They were talking about how a pilot could make such an error, hitting such a large building. They were speculating that it was just a small plane. But then as the TV news helicopters zoomed their cameras in closer, the anchors were beginning to notice what I had already thought….those holes the tower were to big to have been a small plane.

I called my wife at work in Atmore. She had seen the breaking news email, and had tried to visit the CNN website to see the story. If you remember trying to use the internet that morning, it was near impossible to get a news website to load; they were all overloaded. She was unable to see the pictures. I was describing what I saw on the TV to her.

I managed to grab a picture from CNN via my web server and then download and email it to her. We were speculating about how it could happen when the second one hit.

I remember saying “wait, hold on, wait…”. I told her what I just watched on the TV. The second plane had hit the other tower. We quickly decided that we were at war as the anchors on TV speculated again that perhaps there was a problem with some navigational system, causing jetliners on a beautiful, clear morning in New York to fly into some of the tallest structures in the world.

Another breaking news email arrived:

Subject: CNN Breaking News
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 09:21am

– Second plane crashes into World Trade Center.

She and I began to speculate ourselves that we were at war. What would we do? What should we do? What about the kids? It was not panic, understand, but just that protective momma and daddy instinct, I suppose. Prayer. That was a good idea. Maybe go to the bank and get out a little cash. That seemed like a good idea. How would you prep for a war on American soil? We were not sure.

I continued to relay information about what I was seeing on TV to my wife at work, who, in turn, would relay the information to her coworkers. They had a TV, but no cable service or antenna. They ended up fashioning a homemade antenna to see a fuzzy picture.

Meanwhile, the breaking news emails kept arriving…

Subject: CNN Breaking News
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 09:32am

– Sources tell CNN one of two planes that crashed into World Trade
Center was an American Airlines 767.

Subject: CNN Breaking News
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 09:42am

– President Bush calls plane crashes at World Trade Center a
terrorist act.

Subject: CNN Breaking News
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 09:45am

– Significant fire at the Pentagon. Details to come.

Subject: CNN Breaking News
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 09:46am

– White House evactuated. Details to come.

The Pentagon on fire? The White House evacuated? Notice that in CNN’s email they were in such a hurry that they misspelled “evacuated”. One sentence at a time, the situation became more grave.

Subject: CNN Breaking News
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 09:55am

– CNN confirms a plane hit the Pentagon

Subject: CNN Breaking News
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 10:03am

– One of World Trade Center towers collapses; fire forces
evacuation of State Department

Subject: CNN Breaking News
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 10:30am

– Second World Trade Center tower collapses in Manhattan

Over and over, we watched those towers collapse on TV, and we watched our Pentagon burn.

Our almost four year old asked a lot of questions. “Were people hurt? Did they need a Band-aid?” The magnitude of the event was lost on a four year old. Looking back at those first few hours, I think the magnitude of the event was lost on all of us.

Like many Americans, I sat glued to the TV that day, continuing to watch the video of the towers falling. Our almost four year old asked if another building fell down or if it was the same one. It was time to change the channel on the TV.

You might remember that many of the entertainment TV stations ran network news feeds. Others just simply ran screens about the day’s events. There was no USA network, no ESPN, no MTV. But on PBS, we found children’s programming at a time it was not normally on. For a little while, sitting in the living room floor holding my kids, the world stopped turning that September day, as we watched Big Bird and the Cookie Monster.

Country artist Alan Jackson later wrote a song “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning?”.

Some of those lyrics:

Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day
Out in the yard with your wife and children
Working on some stage in LA
Did you stand there in shock at the site of
That black smoke rising against that blue sky
Did you shout out in anger
In fear for your neighbor
Or did you just sit down and cry

Did you weep for the children
Who lost their dear loved ones
And pray for the ones who don’t know
Did you rejoice for the people who walked from the rubble
And sob for the ones left below

But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith hope and love are some good things He gave us
And the greatest is love

Where where you when the world stopped turning that September day? Your comments are welcome below.

Join NorthEscambia.com On Facebook (Including A Second, Brand New Page)

May 6, 2011

Join NorthEsambia.com on Facebook to stay connected on the latest news plus up to the minute breaking news updates. There are two Facebook pages you can join — the NorthEscambia.com Facebook Fan page (an upgrade from our previous page) and the brand new personal page of William, our publisher.

William’s personal Facebook page will, over time, include  behind-the-scenes information about stories that William has covered (or will cover)  and other information that you won’t find on the NorthEscambia.com fan page. Plus he will throw in some surprises from time to time.

The new NorthEscambia.com fan page will be just like our old Facebook site to include links to our latest stories, breaking news updates and discussion about the latest news topics. Join our over 3,000 Facebook fans today.

To become William’s Facebook friend, click here:

http://www.facebook.com/northescambiaWilliam

To become a NorthEscambia.com Facebook fan, click here:

http://www.facebook.com/NorthEscambia

Blog: Where Were You That September Morning?

May 2, 2011

We had several requests Sunday night for a blog  that we published back on September 11. With the announcement of the death of Osama bin Laden, we felt it an appropriate time to rerun this blog post from September 11. Your thoughts and comments are welcome below.

September 11, 2001. It’s been nine years. We’ll all ask each other, “where were you”. So here’s my story.

Life, at least when that morning began, seemed good. I’ve always been a work at home dad, so I was home with my two girls. The youngest was almost four months old, and the oldest was approaching her fourth birthday. It was a normal morning. The little one was asleep, “fat and happy” as we used to say, after a morning bottle. The oldest was in the living room just a few feet from my office watching PBS Kids on the TV as I worked on a project for a client.

Then this arrived in my inbox:

Subject: CNN Breaking News
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 08:52am

– World trade center damaged; unconfirmed reports say a plane has
crashed into tower. Details to come.

I got up, walked to the living room and flipped the TV to CNN. They were talking about how a pilot could make such an error, hitting such a large building. They were speculating that it was just a small plane. But then as the TV news helicopters zoomed their cameras in closer, the anchors were beginning to notice what I had already thought….those holes the tower were to big to have been a small plane.

I called my wife at work in Atmore. She had seen the breaking news email, and had tried to visit the CNN website to see the story. If you remember trying to use the internet that morning, it was near impossible to get a news website to load; they were all overloaded. She was unable to see the pictures. I was describing what I saw on the TV to her.

I managed to grab a picture from CNN via my web server and then download and email it to her. We were speculating about how it could happen when the second one hit.

I remember saying “wait, hold on, wait…”. I told her what I just watched on the TV. The second plane had hit the other tower. We quickly decided that we were at war as the anchors on TV speculated again that perhaps there was a problem with some navigational system, causing jetliners on a beautiful, clear morning in New York to fly into some of the tallest structures in the world.

Another breaking news email arrived:

Subject: CNN Breaking News
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 09:21am

– Second plane crashes into World Trade Center.

She and I began to speculate ourselves that we were at war. What would we do? What should we do? What about the kids? It was not panic, understand, but just that protective momma and daddy instinct, I suppose. Prayer. That was a good idea. Maybe go to the bank and get out a little cash. That seemed like a good idea. How would you prep for a war on American soil? We were not sure.

I continued to relay information about what I was seeing on TV to my wife at work, who, in turn, would relay the information to her coworkers. They had a TV, but no cable service or antenna. They ended up fashioning a homemade antenna to see a fuzzy picture.

Meanwhile, the breaking news emails kept arriving…

Subject: CNN Breaking News
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 09:32am

– Sources tell CNN one of two planes that crashed into World Trade
Center was an American Airlines 767.

Subject: CNN Breaking News
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 09:42am

– President Bush calls plane crashes at World Trade Center a
terrorist act.

Subject: CNN Breaking News
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 09:45am

– Significant fire at the Pentagon. Details to come.

Subject: CNN Breaking News
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 09:46am

– White House evactuated. Details to come.

The Pentagon on fire? The White House evacuated? Notice that in CNN’s email they were in such a hurry that they misspelled “evacuated”. One sentence at a time, the situation became more grave.

Subject: CNN Breaking News
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 09:55am

– CNN confirms a plane hit the Pentagon

Subject: CNN Breaking News
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 10:03am

– One of World Trade Center towers collapses; fire forces
evacuation of State Department

Subject: CNN Breaking News
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 10:30am

– Second World Trade Center tower collapses in Manhattan

Over and over, we watched those towers collapse on TV, and we watched our Pentagon burn.

Our almost four year old asked a lot of questions. “Were people hurt? Did they need a Band-aid?” The magnitude of the event was lost on a four year old. Looking back at those first few hours, I think the magnitude of the event was lost on all of us.

Like many Americans, I sat glued to the TV that day, continuing to watch the video of the towers falling. Our almost four year old asked if another building fell down or if it was the same one. It was time to change the channel on the TV.

You might remember that many of the entertainment TV stations ran network news feeds. Others just simply ran screens about the day’s events. There was no USA network, no ESPN, no MTV. But on PBS, we found children’s programming at a time it was not normally on. For a little while, sitting in the living room floor holding my kids, the world stopped turning that September day, as we watched Big Bird and the Cookie Monster.

Country artist Alan Jackson later wrote a song “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning?”.

Some of those lyrics:

Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day
Out in the yard with your wife and children
Working on some stage in LA
Did you stand there in shock at the site of
That black smoke rising against that blue sky
Did you shout out in anger
In fear for your neighbor
Or did you just sit down and cry

Did you weep for the children
Who lost their dear loved ones
And pray for the ones who don’t know
Did you rejoice for the people who walked from the rubble
And sob for the ones left below

But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith hope and love are some good things He gave us
And the greatest is love

Where where you when the world stopped turning that September day? Your comments are welcome below.


Blog: We Love Our Northview Chiefs!

December 4, 2010

While the Northview Chiefs fell short of their shot at a state championship game, fans rallied behind the team before, during and after Friday night’s loss to Trinity Christian in Jacksonville.

Prior to the game, the Chiefs were guests of honor at a huge sendoff pep rally (read more), and a large group of dedicated fans made the cross-state trip to Jacksonville for the game, including two “spirit buses” (read more.).  During the game, the visitor’s bleachers at Trinity Christian were near standing room only.

The Chiefs were not winners according to the scoreboard in Jacksonville. But the scoreboard is not the only measure of winning.

Their whole season stands as a testament to gridiron grit and determination. Blood. Sweat. And tears. They were not running backs, defensive linemen and quarterbacks. They were a team. It brings the Kenny Chesney “Boys of Fall” song to mind, “It’s I got your number, I got your back when your back’s against the wall…You mess with one man you got us all…The boys of fall.”

Two years ago, our Chiefs were 2-8. The fans were there. Granted, an extreme amount of spirit was hard to muster at times, but the fans were there. This year, at 11-2 and going to a playoff level never achieved by Northview the fans where there. And the spirit was obvious in the school, and in our communities.

Many fans never hear the post-game chant as the players, coaches and cheerleaders gather on the field after each game. It begins likes this:

“I’ll be a Chiefs, till the day I die…”

Fans are fans until the end. That’s school spirit. Sure, tears were shed after the loss and a win would have been great, but losing can be one of those life lessons. When boys become men and a team, cheerleaders, band, ROTC, fans, and a community become one.

It was when our Northview Chiefs earned the right to be called champions.

Within minutes of the game ending Friday night, our comments section and Facebook page became a testament to the fact that we are all proud to be part of the Northview Chief family. There was nothing negative, only praise for our champions. We wanted to share the thoughts of our Facebook fans, all posted within minutes of the game’s end:

  • Sharon Martin-Dudley — great job Northview!
  • Carl Emmons — WTG Northview Chiefs on an Awesome season !!!!!!
  • Deni Deron — Great job Northview! You guys are awesome!!
  • Gina Chandler Robbins — Awesome job our guy’s did playing this year..Go Northview!!!
  • Jenn Castor — Way to go on an AWESOME season, Chiefs — proud of ya!
  • Tammy Turner Amison — Great season Chiefs. Hold your head’s high!!!
  • Terry Emmons — So proud of all you guys. Proud to be a Chief. Go Chiefs!!!!
  • Brigitte Ward — Aww sad :( but good job NHS!
  • Ashley Bonner — So proud of the guys & to be a Northview Chief! Yall had an awesome season! Go Chiefs!
  • Kimberly Navarro Edmonson — Whether you won the last game or not ~You guys are Champs!!
  • Brad Johnson — Great season Chiefs!
  • Karen Driver — Proud of you Chiefs you had a great season.
  • Laura Ziglar Gross — Win or lose I’m still proud to say I’m from Bratt home of the Northview Chiefs!
  • NorthEscambia.com — We love our Northview Chiefs!

Hold your heads high. We are all proud of our Champion Northview Chiefs.

Blog: Where Were You That September Morning?

September 11, 2010

September 11, 2001. It’s been nine years. We’ll all ask each other, “where were you”. So here’s my story.

Life, at least when that morning began, seemed good. I’ve always been a work at home dad, so I was home with my two girls. The youngest was almost four months old, and the oldest was approaching her fourth birthday. It was a normal morning. The little one was asleep, “fat and happy” as we used to say, after a morning bottle. The oldest was in the living room just a few feet from my office watching PBS Kids on the TV as I worked on a project for a client.

Then this arrived in my inbox:

Subject: CNN Breaking News
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 08:52am

– World trade center damaged; unconfirmed reports say a plane has
crashed into tower. Details to come.

I got up, walked to the living room and flipped the TV to CNN. They were talking about how a pilot could make such an error, hitting such a large building. They were speculating that it was just a small plane. But then as the TV news helicopters zoomed their cameras in closer, the anchors were beginning to notice what I had already thought….those holes the tower were to big to have been a small plane.

I called my wife at work in Atmore. She had seen the breaking news email, and had tried to visit the CNN website to see the story. If you remember trying to use the internet that morning, it was near impossible to get a news website to load; they were all overloaded. She was unable to see the pictures. I was describing what I saw on the TV to her.

I managed to grab a picture from CNN via my web server and then download and email it to her. We were speculating about how it could happen when the second one hit.

I remember saying “wait, hold on, wait…”. I told her what I just watched on the TV. The second plane had hit the other tower. We quickly decided that we were at war as the anchors on TV speculated again that perhaps there was a problem with some navigational system, causing jetliners on a beautiful, clear morning in New York to fly into some of the tallest structures in the world.

Another breaking news email arrived:

Subject: CNN Breaking News
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 09:21am

– Second plane crashes into World Trade Center.

She and I began to speculate ourselves that we were at war. What would we do? What should we do? What about the kids? It was not panic, understand, but just that protective momma and daddy instinct, I suppose. Prayer. That was a good idea. Maybe go to the bank and get out a little cash. That seemed like a good idea. How would you prep for a war on American soil? We were not sure.

I continued to relay information about what I was seeing on TV to my wife at work, who, in turn, would relay the information to her coworkers. They had a TV, but no cable service or antenna. They ended up fashioning a homemade antenna to see a fuzzy picture.

Meanwhile, the breaking news emails kept arriving…

Subject: CNN Breaking News
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 09:32am

– Sources tell CNN one of two planes that crashed into World Trade
Center was an American Airlines 767.

Subject: CNN Breaking News
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 09:42am

– President Bush calls plane crashes at World Trade Center a
terrorist act.

Subject: CNN Breaking News
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 09:45am

– Significant fire at the Pentagon. Details to come.

Subject: CNN Breaking News
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 09:46am

– White House evactuated. Details to come.

The Pentagon on fire? The White House evacuated? Notice that in CNN’s email they were in such a hurry that they misspelled “evacuated”. One sentence at a time, the situation became more grave.

Subject: CNN Breaking News
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 09:55am

– CNN confirms a plane hit the Pentagon

Subject: CNN Breaking News
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 10:03am

– One of World Trade Center towers collapses; fire forces
evacuation of State Department

Subject: CNN Breaking News
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 10:30am

– Second World Trade Center tower collapses in Manhattan

Over and over, we watched those towers collapse on TV, and we watched our Pentagon burn.

Our almost four year old asked a lot of questions. “Were people hurt? Did they need a Band-aid?” The magnitude of the event was lost on a four year old. Looking back at those first few hours, I think the magnitude of the event was lost on all of us.

Like many Americans, I sat glued to the TV that day, continuing to watch the video of the towers falling. Our almost four year old asked if another building fell down or if it was the same one. It was time to change the channel on the TV.

You might remember that many of the entertainment TV stations ran network news feeds. Others just simply ran screens about the day’s events. There was no USA network, no ESPN, no MTV. But on PBS, we found children’s programming at a time it was not normally on. For a little while, sitting in the living room floor holding my kids, the world stopped turning that September day, as we watched Big Bird and the Cookie Monster.

Country artist Alan Jackson later wrote a song “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning?”.

Some of those lyrics:

Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day
Out in the yard with your wife and children
Working on some stage in LA
Did you stand there in shock at the site of
That black smoke rising against that blue sky
Did you shout out in anger
In fear for your neighbor
Or did you just sit down and cry

Did you weep for the children
Who lost their dear loved ones
And pray for the ones who don’t know
Did you rejoice for the people who walked from the rubble
And sob for the ones left below

But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith hope and love are some good things He gave us
And the greatest is love

Where where you when the world stopped turning that September day? Your comments are welcome below.

(We ran this blog last year on September 11 and by popular demand reprinted it today.)

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