University Of Florida Study: Peanut Butter Sniff Test Could Diagnose Alzheimer’s

July 27, 2014

Detecting early stage Alzheimer’s disease may be as easy as sniffing a dollop of peanut butter.

Researchers at the University of Florida’s McKnight Brain Institute Center for Smell and Taste came up with the idea to test smell sensitivity because it can be “one of the first things to be affected in cognitive decline.” Also, the ability to smell is associated with the first cranial nerve.

Jennifer Stamps, a graduate student at the University of Florida came up with the idea for using peanut butter because it is a “pure odorant” that is only detected by the olfactory nerve and is easy to access.

In the study, test subjects sat down with a clinician, 14 grams of peanut butter — which equals about one tablespoon — and a metric ruler. The patient closed his or her eyes and mouth and blocked one nostril. The clinician opened the peanut butter container and held the ruler next to the open nostril while the patient breathed normally. The clinician then moved the peanut butter up the ruler one centimeter at a time during the patient’s exhale until the person could detect an odor. The distance was recorded and the procedure repeated on the other nostril after a 90-second delay.

The clinicians running the test did not know the patients’ diagnoses, which were not usually confirmed until weeks after the initial clinical testing.

The scientists found that patients in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease had a dramatic difference in detecting odor between the left and right nostril — the left nostril was impaired and did not detect the smell until it was an average of 10 centimeters closer to the nose than the right nostril had made the detection in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. This was not the case in patients with other kinds of dementia; instead, these patients had either no differences in odor detection between nostrils or the right nostril was worse at detecting odor than the left one.

Of the 24 patients tested who had mild cognitive impairment, which sometimes signals Alzheimer’s disease and sometimes turns out to be something else, about 10 patients showed a left nostril impairment and 14 patients did not. The researchers said more studies must be conducted to fully understand the implications.

“At the moment, we can use this test to confirm diagnosis,” Stamps said. “But we plan to study patients with mild cognitive impairment to see if this test might be used to predict which patients are going to get Alzheimer’s disease.”


Rolfe Completes Basic Military Training

July 27, 2014

Air Force Air National Guard Airman 1st Class Alec D. Rolfe graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas.

The airman completed an intensive, eight-week program that included training in military discipline and studies, Air Force core values, physical fitness, and basic warfare principles and skills.

Airmen who complete basic training earn four credits toward an associate in applied science degree through the Community College of the Air Force.

Rolfe is the son of Daniel L. and Nicole R. Rolfe of Cantonment.

He is a 2013 graduate of Pensacola Christian Academy.

Weekend Gardening: Distinctly Southern Hydrangeas

July 26, 2014

by Santa Rosa County Extension

Nothing defines a southern landscape more than hydrangeas.

These 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.

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Lacecap hydrangea

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.

Back To School: Supply Lists

July 26, 2014

School starts Monday, August 18 in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. Here are printable school supply lists from each elementary school and middle school in Escambia County, plus the North Escambia area schools in Santa Rosa County and Escambia County, AL.

(High schools typically do not have a general supply list. Students are advised of their supply needs in each class.)

North Escambia Area Schools:

Complete Escambia County Lists:




Registration Event Scheduled For Danceworks Classes

July 25, 2014

Registration is underway for Heather Leonard’s Danceworks, and a registration event will be held Tuesday in Byrneville.

The registration will be from 5:30 until 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Byrneville Community Center. Or students can register by mail; click here for a form.

Ballet, tap and jazz classes will be taught by Heather Leonard beginning the week of August 18 for girls ages 3 and up, including a class for teens and a hip hop class for those 10 and up. Leonard has taught dance to hundreds of girls from North Escambia and surrounding areas. She is also the coach for the Northview High School Dance Team.

For a printable information sheet, schedule and registration form, click here. For further information, contact Heather Leonard at (850) 529-1358 or email

Pictured: The Heather Leonard’s Danceworks Spring 2014 recital at Northview High School. file photos, click to enlarge.

Greater Escambia Relay For Life Needs Volunteers Now

July 25, 2014

The Relay For Life of Greater Escambia is seeking volunteers – community leaders, cancer survivors, caregivers, and all others – to join the 2015 Event Leadership Committee. Event Leadership Committee members are essential to the planning and implementation of the event.

The committee is made up of local volunteers that want to help the American  Cancer Society fight cancer. Committee members have the opportunity to take on a variety of  roles, including team or sponsor recruitment, fundraising, survivor and caregiver recognition, publicity, mission education, and more. The committee meets throughout the Relay season to plan all aspects of the event and coordinate a unique and special community experience.

Greater Escambia’s 2014 event was held at Tate High School on April 25 and raised more than $80,000. Plans for 2015 are underway, and the 2015 committee will hold its first meeting in early September.

Relay For Life is the signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, with events in more than 5,200 communities and 20 countries. Every year, the Relay For Life movement raises more than $400 million which helps fund groundbreaking research and free information and services  for cancer patients and their caregivers.

For more information about joining the fight against cancer with Relay For Life, contact Event  Chair Pat Clements at (850) 776-2944 or Shane Carter with the American Cancer Society at (850) 266-2290.

Pictured: The 2014 Greater Escambia  Relay for Life at Tate High School. file photos, click to enlarge.

Manna To Resume Feeding Hungry

July 23, 2014

After losing all its food to recent flooding, Manna Food Pantries’ main facility is partially restocked and the grassroots organization will be providing emergency food on a limited basis beginning July 28.

Because of Manna’s limited capacity to store and distribute food, the organization has temporarily set up an appointment-only schedule at the main pantry.

“We’re excited that we’ve gotten to a point where we can resume service to the hungry, although we’re still very limited right now,” said DeDe Flounlacker, executive director. “We continue to be amazed by the generosity of this community and how they’ve come together to help Manna get back on its feet. But the need is still great — we ask that the community continue to give — right now we’ve got a very limited supply of food.”

Manna staff will be helping people with appointments in temporary trailers set up in Manna’s parking lot. However, the staff and board of directors are actively looking for a new permanent home away from the flood-prone area.

“We’re committed to finding a more suitable location to serve the hungry in the community and are evaluating our options with a piece of land under contract with the Escambia School Board,” said Flounlacker. “Together, with the community’s help, we can rebuild Manna to make sure no one is left unfed.”

Limited service to the community

  • The Main Pantry will re-open Monday, July 28. Because of Manna’s limited capacity to store good, distribute food and see clients, the organization is now scheduling appointments. To schedule an appointment, call (8500 432-2053 Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • The Cantonment, Milton and Jay pantries have resumed limited service on a first come, first serve basis. Appointment not necessary.
  • All clients must present a picture I.D. and social security card for adults in the family, and social security card, birth certificates or shot records for children under 18.
  • Manna is no longer providing USDA food, which is what the organization distributed if people did not have a picture I.D. and Social Security card.

Last year, Manna Food Pantries distributed 800,000 pounds of food to the hungry, serving more than 42,000 people. The non-profit has been serving the community since 1983.

Go to to find out how you can make a donation or volunteer to help.

Blue Angels Announce 2015 Team Members

July 23, 2014

The Blue Angels have announced the officers selected for the 2015. The squadron selected an executive officer, three F/A-18 demonstration pilots, an events coordination officer, two C-130 demonstration pilots, a flight surgeon, and a supply officer to join the 2015 team.

Many highly-qualified Navy and Marine Corps officers submit applications to join the Blue Angels each year.

“We remain committed to selecting the most talented and qualified individuals to join the Blue Angels,” said Cmdr. Tom Frosch, flight leader and commanding officer for the team. “Once again, a significant number of extremely talented, experienced Sailors and Marines applied this year, and we are proud of those we have chosen to join the 2015 team. They are excellent representatives of the skilled service members defending our freedom around the world.”

The Blue Angels select finalists to interview at the Blue Angels’ home base at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., during the week of the Pensacola Beach Air Show. The team makes selections at the conclusion of the interview week.

“All of our finalists this year are incredible examples of some of the finest officers in the Navy and Marine Corps, from both the aviation community and the fleet,” said Lt. Cmdr. John Hiltz, Right Wing pilot and the applications officer for the 2014 team. “What was most important for us — regardless of anything else — was to select the most qualified individuals for the team to represent the more than 540,000 Sailors and Marines deployed around the world, around the clock. And I’m happy to say that we’ve done that.”

The newly-selected 2015 team members include:

Executive officer:
Navy Cmdr. Bob Flynn, 45, of Moorestown, N.J., is a S-3B Viking naval flight officer and is currently assigned to the Naval War College. He is a 1992 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md.

F/A-18 demonstration pilots:
Navy Lt. Matt Suyderhoud, 31, of Honolulu, is currently assigned to Training Squadron 22 (VT-22) at Naval Air Station Kingsville, Texas. He is a 2005 graduate of Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Mo.

Navy Lt. Andrew Talbott, 31, of Sedan, Kan., is currently assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 106 (VFA-106) at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, Va. He is a 2005 graduate of Kansas State University, Salina, Kan.

Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss, 30, of Durango, Colo., is currently assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 312 (VMFA-312) Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C. He is a 2006 graduate of Fort Lewis College, Durango, Colo.

Events coordination officer:
Marine Capt. Corrie Mays, 34, of Marstons Mills, Mass., is currently assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (All Weather) 225 (VMFA(AW)-225) at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, San Diego. She is a 2003 graduate of the University of Georgia, Athens, Ga.

C-130 demonstration pilots:
Marine Maj. Mark Hamilton, 36, of Becker, Minn., is currently assigned to Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252 (VMGR-252) at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C. He is a 2000 graduate of Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind.

Marine Capt. Katie Higgins, 27, of Annapolis, Md., is currently assigned to Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252 (VMGR-252) at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C. She is a 2008 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md.

Flight surgeon:
Navy Lt. Joe Schwartz, 34, of Arlington, Va., is currently assigned to Electronic Attack Squadron 132 (VAQ-132) at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Oak Harbor, Wash. He is a 2002 graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Ind.

Supply officer:
Navy Lt. Gregory Bollinger, Jr., 31, of Carbondale, Ill., is currently assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 9 (VX-9) at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, Calif. He is a 2006 graduate of the University of Maryland University College, Adelphi, Md.

Expected to return for the 2015 season are:

F/A-18 demonstration pilots:
Navy Cmdr. Tom Frosch, 44, of Clinton Township, Mich.
Navy Lt. Cmdr. Nate Barton, 33, of Hummelstown, Pa.
Navy Lt. Mark Tedrow, 31, of Charleroi, Pa.
Navy Lt. Ryan Chamberlain, 29, of Bloomington, Ill.

C-130 demonstration pilots:
Marine Capt. Dusty Cook, 32, of East Bernard, Texas.

Maintenance officer:
Navy Lt. Cmdr. Declan Hartney, 44, of Limerick, Ireland.

Administration officer:
Navy Lt. j.g. Phillip Harper, 33, of Chicago.

Public affairs officer:
Navy Lt. j.g. Amber Lynn Daniel, 33, of Ramona, Calif.

The mission of the Blue Angels is to showcase the pride and professionalism of the United States Navy and Marine Corps by inspiring a culture of excellence and service to country through flight demonstrations and community outreach.

Since its inception in 1946, the Blue Angels have performed for more than 484 million fans.

Ascend Volunteers Pitch In To Help Panhandle Equine Rescue

July 22, 2014

A group of volunteers from Ascend Performance Materials went up against the heat and humidity Monday to make some much needed improvements around the Cantonment home of Panhandle Equine Rescue.

“Despite the heat, 17 men came out, tore down an old stall that was rotting and built a new one,” said PER President Diane Lowery. “They also did fencing and painting. We appreciate large corporations who help non-profits since they have the manpower and resources that can be so difficult for organizations who depend on volunteers and donations.”

Ascend donated materials, in addition to the labor needed, for Monday’s improvements. Panhandle Equine Rescue is a non-profit organization that rescues and rehabilitates abused or neglected horses.

As part of their orientation program, new hires at Ascend participate in a community volunteer project.

Northview Grad Deploys To Afghanistan As Black Hawk Medevac Pilot

July 20, 2014

A Northview High School graduate is among a group of soldiers to be deployed Tuesday from Fort Bragg to Afghanistan.

Casey B. Wilcoxon is a Black Hawk medevac pilot with Company C, 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade.

The air ambulance crews and their support personnel, who also go by the nickname All American Dustoff, are deploying for the first time since 2012, when they covered an area in eastern Afghanistan roughly the size of Virginia with their UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters.

Wilcoxon completed the Initial Entry Rotary Wing Aviator Course and was graduated as a pilot from the US Army Aviation Center of Excellence at Fort Rucker, AL, last September. He has been in the Army for seven years, formerly as a UH 60 Black Hawk mechanic, having achieved the rank of Sergeant prior to being commissioned as a Warrant Officer.

This is his third time in Afghanistan, his first as a pilot.  His previous deployments were as an enlisted member of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR). He also had two deployments to Iraq with the 160th before becoming a pilot.

A 2006 graduate of Northview High School, Wilcoxon is the son of the late William B. Wilcoxon of Century and Erbie and Pamela Pritchett, also of Century and is the grandson of the late John Wilcoxon and Grace Wilcoxon of Century and James and Mildred Lambeth of Flomaton.

Editor’s note: The unit was originally set to deploy on Saturday, but the departure was delayed until Tuesday due to weather.

Pictured top: Casey Wilcoxon, right, embraces his wife, Kelley (also a Northview gradudate), and two daughters, Kami and Kali Saturday at Fort Bragg. Photo courtesy Abbi O’Leary/Fayetteville Observer for, click to enlarge. Pictured inset: Casey Wilcoxon.  Submitted photo for, click to enlarge.

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