December 23, 2013
The Northview High School NJROTC Unit has adopted a portion of Highway 29 from Bogia to McDavid, taking part in the state’s Adopt-A-Highway partnership to remove litter. Recently, 19 cadets collected about 110 pounds of trash. Submitted photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.
December 23, 2013
The holidays are a time when a lot of people head into the kitchen to cook for family and friends. You just can’t go wrong with a red velvet cake. We also have a couple of dip recipes just in time for your Christmas entertaining — a black bean dip and a hot cream cheese dip.
Red Velvet Cake
by Shirley Boone
- 1 ½ cups oil
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 2 ½ cups cake flour
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp. cocoa
- 1 oz bottle red food coloring
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. cider vinegar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
Mix oil and sugar together. Add eggs and beat well. Add food coloring. Add vinegar to buttermilk and pour into oil mixture. Add vanilla. In small bowl combine cake flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Mix with other ingredients until well blended. Pour into 9 inch greased and floured pans. Bake at 350 degrees. Two pans bake for 30-35 minutes, three pans bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes and wrap in plastic wrap until cool.
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1 box confectioners sugar
- 1 stick Parkay margarine, softened
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1 tsp. vanilla
Mix all together until creamed. Spread on cooled cake.
Black Bean Dip
by Mona Brown
- 2 cans black beans, drained
- 2 cans shoe peg corn, drained
- ½ bunch green onions, chopped
- Sprinkle of garlic powder
- Mix ½ cup olive oil, ½ cup apple cider vinegar and ½ cup sugar.
Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix together. Marinate for 24 hours. Drain and add 8 ounces of feta cheese. Serve with Scoops.
Hot Cream Cheese Dip
from the Molino Homemakers Club
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 8 oz sour cream
- 1 cup cooked crumbled bacon
- 3 stalks green onion diced
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Mix all ingredients and pour into a 9×9 glass pan or pie plate. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve warm with Chicken in a Biscuit crackers.
December 23, 2013
Have you ever wondered just how much it costs to light up your house and tree for the holidays? Probably less than you think, according to Gulf Power. The utility says it costs about $1.40 to run a string of 200 miniature holiday lights for about five hours a day for 30 days.
To save money, the company recommends the purchase of LED Christmas lights — the cost to power 200 LED bulbs five hours a day is only about 19 cents for a month. According to the Alliance to Save Energy, each LED bulb uses only about one-tenth of the energy used by traditional mini-lights. And, LED lights last a long time and don’t produce heat, which helps eliminate fire hazards.
December 22, 2013
Beulahfest has announced their headliners for the annual two-day event in March — The Charlie Daniels Band and country star Rodney Atkins.
The 28th Annual Beulahfest will have a new home this year. The event has been held for the past few years at the Escambia County Equestrian Center, but the March 21-22, 2014, festival will be held at the Pensacola Interstate Fairgrounds.
Pictured top: Country star Randy Houser performs at the 2012 Beulahfest. NorthEscambia.com file photo, click to enlarge.
December 22, 2013
The passage of a domestic-partnership registry ordinance in Pensacola has gay rights advocates cheering.
But some social conservatives say the registries mean little in a state where a ban on gay marriage is enshrined in the constitution.
The Pensacola City Council approved the domestic partnership registry by an 8-1 vote last week after hearing from dozens of gay residents who tearfully shared tales of being denied hospital privileges for their loved ones and of drawn-out legal battles after their long-term partners died.
The city joined more than a dozen local governments in Florida, most of them in the more liberal southeastern portion of the state, with similar ordinances giving gay and straight couples who live together but aren’t married the right to make decisions about funerals, visit partners in the hospital or in prisons and be involved in dependents’ schooling.
The ordinance “has tremendous significance,” said Pensacola Councilman Larry Johnson, who sponsored the proposal.
“It does make a statement that Pensacola is a progressive, welcoming, open-minded, accepting, reasonable city,” he said.
With an active LGBT community, the city of Pensacola is decidedly more progressive than the rest of Escambia County. The city is included in a district represented by Republican Rep. Mike Hill, a tea party favorite and rising star in the GOP-controlled Legislature.
But the city’s overwhelming approval of the domestic registry signifies a cultural shift in attitudes toward gay rights, said Rep. Joe Saunders, an Orlando Democrat who is one of the first openly gay members of the Legislature.
“There’s something viral happening,” Saunders, who works for a division of the gay rights organization Equality Florida, said. “What you’re seeing is places like Pensacola and cities and counties acknowledging that there are gay and lesbian couples who are contributing members of the community who deserve protections that the federal and state governments won’t give them yet. …It is a sign of progress.”
Monroe County passed the first domestic partnership registry in 1998. Since then, at least 18 other local municipalities or counties have passed similar ordinances. Most of them give domiciled couples the rights to be notified in cases of emergency, make medical decisions about an incapacitated partner, be guaranteed health-care visitation, make decisions about funerals and burials, participate in dependents’ education and ensure visitation in correctional facilities.
Populous Palm Beach, Broward and Orange counties are among the localities with the registries, meaning that more than half of Floridians now live in communities where they can enroll.
“If we can have a domestic partnership registry here, I would like to say that the rest of the state should be thinking about it as well,” said ACLU of Florida Northwest Regional Director Sara Latshaw, who approached Saunders about the ordinance and organized support for it.
Social conservatives discount the significance of the registries, saying they provide rights already granted with the proper legal back-up.
But the steady creep of the local ordinances could provide fodder for courts to overturn the ban on gay marriage, said Florida Family Policy Council President John Stemberger, an Orlando lawyer who spearheaded the Florida Marriage Protection Act put into the constitution by more than 60 percent of voters in 2008.
“I’m very concerned because the issue has nothing to do with these arrangements. It has to do with collective schemes being used as a whole by courts to advance homosexual marriage and other special gay rights. These arrangements are really just completely unnecessary and the crocodile tears shed at these meetings are without merit,” Stemberger said.
Despite the growing support of local governments for domestic partnerships, there’s little chance that the Republican- controlled Legislature will soon follow suit.
A domestic-partnership registry proposal sponsored by Sen. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood, received its first vetting in the state Senate this year. The 5-4 committee vote approving the measure, which later went nowhere, was considered a victory.
Saunders sponsored a proposal that would ban discrimination against gay employees. The bill never received a hearing but was co-sponsored by six Republicans. Saunders views that, too, as a win, and said it will be hard for state lawmakers to vote against policies supported by their local communities.
“I don’t think as entrenched as they are they can ignore this shift. Pensacola is the best example we have of the momentum. It doesn’t matter what party you’re in any more. …Eventually the leadership in Tallahassee is going to have to pay attention,” Saunders said.
In a historic June ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the federal Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, injecting new enthusiasm into the gay marriage movement throughout the country. In Florida, gay rights activists postponed pursuing an effort to put on the November 2014 ballot an initiative that would undo the ban on gay marriage. But they haven’t ruled out a legal challenge to the constitutional ban such as those being fought in other states.
The courts are “counting these ordinances around the country,” Stemberger said. “It’s a piece of the puzzle of what a court does to make decisions they don’t have a basis for in law.
Stemberger argues that the ordinances may mislead gay couples into believing they have rights they aren’t entitled to without proper estate planning or durable powers of attorney.
“I do think it’s harmful to them in a weird sort of way,” he said.
Social conservatives may have stayed mostly on the sidelines about the Pensacola ordinance — no one spoke against the proposal at two public hearings on the issue — but they won’t remain mum about gay marriage or an anti-discrimination law.
The registry “isn’t something to get into a yelling match over,” said Tampa Bay evangelical radio host Bill Bunkley, president of the Florida Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.
“The moment you start talking about an active campaign to change the Florida marriage amendment in the constitution as opposed to this registry I suggest you would see all of the robust opposition on the right from social conservatives. There is a distinct difference,” he said.
Stemberger said his organization and others are “going to spend a lot of time and money opposing” anti-gay discrimination laws like the one Saunders is pushing. The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled this summer that a photographer could be liable for refusing to provide service to a gay couple for their same-sex commitment ceremony.
“If I refuse to facilitate as a landlord what I consider to be immoral conduct …I am then faced with a lawsuit because I can’t practice my faith. There’s enormous encroachment upon a private enterprise, a private property,” he said. “It’s one thing to prevent them from doing it. It’s another thing to force them to engage in commerce.”
by Dara Kam, The News Service of Florida
December 21, 2013
The Friendship Freewill Baptist Church celebrated the season with a live Nativity scene on Highway 31 east of Flomaton near the Country Pine Furniture Store.Courtesy photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.
December 20, 2013
Santa made a special visit to the Century Branch Library Thursday afternoon, hearing those special last minute requests for items like tablet computers, video games, dolls, clothes and more.
The event also included a Christmas story, a craft, a gift from an elf and more.
Pictured: The annual Christmas program at the Century Branch Library Thursday afternoon included a visit from Santa Claus. Submitted photos by August Whorff for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.
December 18, 2013
This house on Highway 29 near Cross Faith Church is decorated for Christmas. Submitted photo by Charles Crumpton for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.
Share your Christmas lights or other Christmas photos. Email the photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
December 18, 2013
“Thanks to all,” said Mae Hildreth, the facility’s activities director. “You help make Christmas wonderful, magical for our residents.”
Submitted photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.
December 15, 2013
It was the 13th annual toy ride organized by the LA Bikers.
Dozens of children received new bicycles and helmets, clothes, shoes and lots of toys. About 75 bikers took part in the event with stops at Bratt Elementary,the Flomaton Fire Department and Atmore City Hall.
Pictured: Children receive Christmas gifts Saturday morning in Atmore (top), Flomaton (below) and Bratt (bottom). Pictured inset: A parent thanks Santa Claus and the LA Bikers for providing Christmas presents. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.