Walnut Hill VFD Fish Fry Is Saturday

November 6, 2014

The Walnut Hill Volunteer Fire Department’s 45th Annual Fish Fry will be held Saturday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Walnut Hill Fire Station on Highway 97.

Plates will be $7 each with your choice of catfish fillets or grilled chicken, plus baked beans, cole slaw, hush puppies, homemade bread and cake. There will also be drawing for door prizes beginning at 1 p.m. and a live auction.

Funds raised by the event area used to help fire victims.

The Northwest Florida Blood Center Bloodmobile will also be on hand for a blood drive.

NorthEscambia.com file photo, click to enlarge.

Photo: A Politician Sweeps Around His Own Door

November 6, 2014

A photo we first published Tuesday on Facebook only went viral on a local scale, so we wanted to share it here on NorthEscambia.com.

On election day, we actually found a politician that sweeps around his own door — literally. Our camera caught Atmore, AL, Mayor Jim Staff sweeping outside the main entrance to the Atmore City Hall. Amidst all the negative flip-flopping of the all those TV election ads, we thought it was a bright moment in politics.

Staff explained that his momma taught him how to use a broom, and he’s not a afraid of a little work. He was not on Tuesday’s ballot.

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NorthEscambia.com photo, click to enlarge.

2015 Tate High Chaparrals Named

November 6, 2014

The 12 members of the 2015 Tate High School Chaparrals winter guard have been named.

They are: Katie Dupre, Celina Dyess, Breanna Langley, Megan Leonard, Katy Luebke, Jo Jo O’Steen, Michaela Overbey, Madison Philley, Brenn Repine, Kelsey Strength, Virginia Vaughn and Savannah VonStein.

The Chaparrals are the oldest competitive scholastic winter guard in the nation and former world champions. They begin competing in late January and conclude their season on March 28.

Pictured: The 2015 Tate High School Chaparrals are (front, kneeling, L-R) Madison Philley, Celina Dyess, Jo Jo O’Steen, Virginia Vaughn, (back, standing) Breanna Langley, Michaela Overbey, Megan Leonard, Savannah VonStein, Katy Luebke, Kelsey Strength and Brenn Repine. Not pictured is Katie Dupre. Photo for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

High School Marine Programs Working To Protect Local Environment

November 5, 2014

Instructors and students from four Escambia Marine Science Education  programs teamed up recently to fry hundreds of pounds of mullet  and to educate the community about the four high school programs and their ongoing research projects.

One of the projects, Bringing Back the Bayous, involves students from Washington, West Florida, Escambia  and Pensacola high schools collecting water samples. The samples are taken from Bayou Texar, Bayou Chico, Bayou Grande and Perdido Bay. The samples are transported to Washington High where biology and chemistry students measure the levels of chlorophyll and other nutrients such as phosphates and nitrogen in the local water.

“When these levels get too high, the water ways experience algal blooms that kill fish and damage local ecosystems,” explained Allie Fuller,  Washington High senior and president of Washington’s Marine Science Academy. As a senior, she has had a variety of research opportunities in her four years in the program.  She and classmates have collected water samples, planted sea grass, replenished the shorelines, and collected sea life in seine nets. They have learned how to properly test the water’s quality and how to report numbers of local species in diversity studies.

Fuller was a pioneer in Washington High’s program and she believes Pensacola needs more scientists so they can educate the public about the causes of local water pollution and how to avoid making things worse. “We have learned how to help by cleaning out the baffle boxes to keep big trash from washing into the bay. We also have added oyster shells and plant life to help reduce run-off and prevent erosion.”

Kevin Turner, a marine science instructor at Washington High School, says his wish is to teach his students how they can help clean up our local waterways. “We work with three other schools so water samples can be collected at more locations. All of the schools send their samples to us for testing. The reagents we need for the testing process are expensive. That’s why we decided to hold this fish fry, to raise money.”

Around $4000 was raised to help the Bayou project.

For Madison Meyer, a junior from Escambia High School, the recent event was a chance to tell more people about the Turtle T.H.I.S. (Teens Helping In the Seashore) project and to ask everyone to remember the negative effect bright lights can have along the coast for sea turtles. “People who live by the water need to shade their lights so the light can go where they need it, but not go where it’s not needed, because it affects turtles. If you need to use a flashlight, you should always use a red light.”

Meyer’s involvement in this project has also introduced her to a possible future employer, the National Parks. “I want to go into marine biology, and I plan to work for the park service, because you can go anywhere.”

“The people of Pensacola have become complacent,” said Jennifer Sublett, a junior at West Florida High School, when she was asked why it was important for her to be there talking to the public. Last spring, WFHS students collected tar patties from local beaches as part of Project G.O.O. (Gulf Oil Observers). The students learned the proper protocol for collecting the tar samples and then sent 40 patties to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute to have them analyzed.

“Twenty six of our samples had the same composition as the tar from the BP Deep Water Horizon oil spill. This is important to know, because it tells us we still have a lot of oil out there from the spill,” Sublett said. This year, WFHS students will continue this work as part of Project G.O.O. II.

While Meyer and Fuller now know this experience is just a beginning in their interest in working in a scientific field (Meyer in the park system and Fuller in the nature cinemagraphic field), Sublett isn’t so sure just yet. But, she said that isn’t important, because she has already learned from her WFHS instructor, Shawn Walker, that anyone can be a citizen scientist.

“If you learn the right way to help, you can collect samples and help someone (a scientist) with their research,” explained Sublett.

Pictured top: Pictured inset:  Jennifer Sublett, a junior marine science student at West Florida High School, explains the process and protocols used to collect sample tar balls from local beaches by students working with Project GOO (Gulf Oil Observers). Madison Meyer, Escambia High junior, explains what she has learned about turtles to Rayeko McCartan. Pictured  below: Allie Fuller, Washington’s Marine Science Academy president and senior, and Kevin Turner, a Marine Science instructor at Washington High, presented information about  the marine science program. Photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Want To Operate A Successful Cottage Food Business?

November 4, 2014

Santa Rosa County Extension will host a “Operating a Successful Cottage Food Business” program for those that wish to sell food made in their homes.

The program will cover pricing, taxes and marketing. It will also include a time for questions and answers with the Extension Service Small Farms and FCS Staff. Farms or individuals interested or currently marketing processed foods are encouraged to attend.

Cottage foods by definition are foods made in the home for resale that do not require refrigeration. These include but are not limited to jams, jellies, preserves, honey, cakes and pies.

Two identical programs will be held — November 7 from 10 a.m. until noon and November 20 from 6-8 p.m. at the Santa Rosa County Extension Service at 6263 Dogwood Drive in Milton. The cost is $10.

For more information or to register, call Extension Family and Consumer Sciences Agent Ginny Hinton at (850) 623-3868 or email ginnyh@santarosa.fl.gov.

NorthEscambia.com file photos, click to enlarge.

Veterans Programs Planned For Ransom, Ernest Ward, Bratt, Northview And Century

November 3, 2014

Several programs are planned over the next week to honor veterans in advance of Veterans Day on November 11. Veterans and the public are invited to the following events:

Ransom Middle School will host a Patriotic Program honoring active military and veterans on Wednesday, November 5 with assemblies at 2:25 and 3:15 p.m. Music will be provided by the Ransom band, orchestra and chorus. Students from the Ransom History Club and Student Leadership Team will announce and help lead the program. The Tate High School JROTC Honor Guard will give the Presentation of the Colors. Speakers include a MIA presentation, a veteran story and acknowledgement of veterans. The programs are open to the public. Veterans are encouraged to attend.

Ernest Ward Middle School will hold their annual Veterans Day Program on Thursday, November 6 at 2 p.m. in the school gym. The program will include patriotic music performed by the school’s band and chorus, a special student presentation and special performances. The guest speaker will be retired Navy Capt. Frank Smith. All veterans are welcome to attend. Veterans unable to walk long distance should park in front of the gym. All other guests should park behind the gym or football field due to construction.

The Town of Century will hold a Veterans Day Program on Friday, November 7 at 10 a.m. at the Veterans Wall at Nadine McCaw Park (the former Roadside Park) at the corner of North Century Boulevard and Hecker Road. Everyone, including all veterans, is invited to attend. Guest speaker will be Rep. Clay Ingram.

Bratt Elementary School will host a Veterans Day Event on Monday, November 10 at 9:00 a.m. The school’s fourth grade students will present “We Honor the Brave”. For more information, call (850) 327-6137.

Northview High School will host a Veterans Day Program on Monday, November 10 at 9:35 and 10:30 a.m. The guest speaker will be Major Michael Ray, United States Air Force, retired. Major Ray served 21 years before retiring in May 2014.  During his 21 years of service he flew the T-1, T-34, T-39, T-38, B-1 and F-15 aircraft. He served his final tour on active duty at NAS Pensacola as the Assistant Director of Operations for the Air Forces 451st Flying Training Squadron.  All veterans, their families and community members are invited to attend.

Pictured top: Members of the Ransom Middle School Band practices for their Veterans Day program on Wednesday, November 5. Photo for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

And The Survey Says: Down At The Library

November 3, 2014

Escambia County recently asked residents to complete an online survey to gauge residents’ thoughts and ideas about West Florida Public Library System facilities.

Results, as provided by Escambia County, were as follows:

Envision Escambia 2028: The West Florida Public Library System

Question #1: In which area of Escambia County do you currently live?

Nearly 51 percent of respondents to our West Florida Public Library System survey live north of Nine Mile Road. Another 3 percent came from the extreme southern portion of the County on Pensacola Beach. More than 6 percent of respondents were from Perdido Key, 8 percent represented the neighborhoods in the area East of Palafox, South of Brent Lane/Bayou Boulevard to the Escambia Bay on the East and Pensacola Bay on the South and another 3  percent lives West of Palafox, East of New Warrington Road, South of Fairfield Drive, North of Pensacola Bay. No area of Escambia County was unrepresented in this survey.

Question #2: Do you have a library card?

  • Yes: 86 percent
  • No: 14 percent

Question #3: How often do you visit the library?

  • Daily: 6 percent
  • Weekly: 28 percent
  • Monthly: 28 percent
  • Rarely: 23 percent
  • Never: 14 percent

Question #4: Why do you visit Escambia County libraries?

  • To check out materials (books, DVDs, music, etc.) for home use: 82 percent
  • For research or reference assistance: 8 percent
  • For computer access: 4 percent
  • For classes or programs: 6 percent

Comments included:

“Classes and programs for my kids.”

“Buy used books from Friends of Library.”

“Read periodicals.”


Question #5: Please choose any/all reasons you may have for not visiting the library. Choose as many as are applicable.

  • Hours of operation are not convenient: 29 percent
  • Location of facilities is not close to my home: 71 percent
  • Security is insufficient: 0 percent
  • Facilities are not well maintained: 5 percent
  • I don’t know where facilities are located: 10 percent
  • We are too busy or not interested: 33 percent

Comments included:

“Too many computers, not a wide enough selection of books.”

“Been years since I’ve been in a library and wouldn’t know what to do.”

“No reason. The internet has more and is convenient to all.”

“Haven’t had the need to go to the library lately. However, I am glad we have one in the north end of the county.

“My grandson has used the facility a couple of times.”

Question #6: More than $6.7 million of Local Option Sales Tax III funds has been used to build, upgrade and restore libraries throughout Escambia County. Please tell us how strongly you agree or disagree with the following statements. Well maintained libraries:

Are versatile community centers, offering access to reading materials, classes and computer access:

  • 73 percent strongly agree
  • 19 percent agree
  • 5 percent neither disagree nor agree
  • 0 percent disagree
  • 3 percent strongly disagree

Offers residents improved economic prospects and an enhanced quality of life:

  • 57 percent strongly agree
  • 25 percent agree
  • 10 percent neither disagree nor agree
  • 5 percent disagree
  • 3 percent strongly disagree

Contribute to safe, thriving neighborhoods:

  • 51 percent strongly agree
  • 32 percent agree
  • 9 percent neither disagree nor agree
  • 6 percent disagree
  • 3 percent strongly disagree

Foster learning and skills improvement:

  • 70 percent strongly agree
  • 22 percent agree
  • 6 percent neither disagree nor agree
  • 3 percent disagree
  • 0 percent strongly disagree

Question #7: How would you rate each of the following library services?

  • Customer service:
    • Excellent: 45 percent
    • Good: 29 percent
    • Fair: 7 percent
    • Poor: 4 percent
    • Don’t know or not applicable: 15 percent
  • Collection (books, DVDs, music, newspapers, etc.):
    • Excellent: 20 percent
    • Good: 39 percent
    • Fair: 23 percent
    • Poor: 4 percent
    • Don’t know or not applicable: 15 percent
  • Children’s programs and classes:
    • Excellent: 19 percent
    • Good: 23 percent
    • Fair: 12 percent
    • Poor: 1 percent
    • Don’t know or not applicable: 45 percent
  • Adult programs and classes:
    • Excellent: 9 percent
    • Good: 29 percent
    • Fair: 13 percent
    • Poor: 3 percent
    • Don’t know or not applicable: 45 percent
  • Computers and printers:
    • Excellent: 19 percent
    • Good: 35 percent
    • Fair: 9 percent
    • Poor: 3 percent
    • Don’t know or not applicable: 35 percent
  • Internet access:
    • Excellent: 22 percent
    • Good: 30 percent
    • Fair: 10 percent
    • Poor: 3 percent
    • Don’t know or not applicable: 36 percent
  • Facilities:
    • Excellent: 39 percent
    • Good: 37 percent
    • Fair: 8 percent
    • Poor: 1 percent
    • Don’t know or not applicable: 15 percent
  • Hours of operation:
    • Excellent: 19 percent
    • Good: 34 percent
    • Fair: 28 percent
    • Poor: 7 percent
    • Don’t know or not applicable: 12 percent

Question #8: How important are each of the following library services to you?

  • Borrowing materials (books, DVDs, music, etc.):
    • 73 percent said very important
    • 16 percent said important
    • 3 percent said somewhat important
    • 7 percent said not important
    • 3 percent don’t know or not applicable
  • Reference assistance:
    • 30 percent said very important
    • 36 percent said important
    • 14 percent said somewhat important
    • 14 percent said not important
    • 5 percent don’t know or not applicable
  • Children’s programs (classes, storytimes, etc.):
    • 28 percent said very important
    • 18 percent said important
    • 19 percent said somewhat important
    • 14 percent said not important
    • 22 percent don’t know or not applicable
  • Adult programs (classes, training, book clubs, etc.:
    • 32 percent said very important
    • 22 percent said important
    • 16 percent said somewhat important
    • 17 percent said not important
    • 13 percent don’t know or not applicable
  • Computers, printers and internet access:
    • 33 percent said very important
    • 22 percent said important
    • 17 percent said somewhat important
    • 17 percent said not important
    • 10 percent don’t know or not applicable
  • Bookmobile:
    • 19 percent said very important
    • 22 percent said important
    • 14 percent said somewhat important
    • 28 percent said not important
    • 18 percent don’t know or not applicable
  • Genealogy research:
    • 17 percent said very important
    • 26 percent said important
    • 23 percent said somewhat important
    • 27 percent said not important
    • 8 percent don’t know or not applicable
  • Overall, how important is the library to you and your family?:
    • 57 percent said very important
    • 21 percent said important
    • 11 percent said somewhat important
    • 11 percent said not important
    • 1 percent don’t know or not applicable

Question #9: Do you have any suggestions regarding programming or services you would like to see at one or any of our branch libraries?

Comments included:

“More weekend hours, especially in the summer.”

“Don’t close at 4 p.m. on Friday’s.”

“Employment assistance.”

“Mobile library at the beach.”

“Online newspaper.”

Question #10: What is your overall opinion of the West Florida Public Library System branches? Answer as many as applicable.

  • Century Branch:
    • Excellent: 10 percent
    • Fair: 5 percent
    • Good: 6 percent
    • Poor: 3  percent
    • No opinion: 76 percent
  • Main Library:
    • Excellent: 33 percent
    • Fair: 18 percent
    • Good: 21 percent
    • Poor: 3  percent
    • No opinion: 24 percent
  • Molino Branch:
    • Excellent: 22 percent
    • Fair: 9 percent
    • Good: 7 percent
    • Poor: 0  percent
    • No opinion: 61 percent
  • Southwest Branch:
    • Excellent: 21 percent
    • Fair: 8 percent
    • Good: 17 percent
    • Poor: 2  percent
    • No opinion: 53 percent
  • Tryon Branch:
    • Excellent: 21 percent
    • Fair: 14 percent
    • Good: 23 percent
    • Poor: 0  percent
    • No opinion: 42 percent
  • Westside Branch:
    • Excellent: 5 percent
    • Fair: 8 percent
    • Good: 8 percent
    • Poor: 3  percent
    • No opinion: 75 percent
  • Bookmobile:
    • Excellent: 5 percent
    • Fair: 15 percent
    • Good: 5 percent
    • Poor: 6  percent
    • No opinion: 69 percent

Question #11: Do you have any additional questions, comments or concerns?

Comments included:

“Please build one in Cantonment!”

“Best part of my tax dollars.”

“Looking for bus service to and from the library.”

NorthEscambia.com file photo.

Bonus Gallery: Northview’s Zombie Band; Cheerleaders Show Support With Pink

November 3, 2014

The Northview High School cheerleaders and the Tribal Beat band showed their support for breast cancer awareness by going pink for their home game against Walton. And the band transformed into the Tribal Beat Zombie Band last Friday night at Baker for Halloween.

For those photos and more from the band, cheerleaders and dance team from the past couple of weeks, click here for a large photo gallery.

NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.

Thousands Attend Fall Festivals, Trunk Or Treats, Other Events

November 1, 2014

Thousands of North Escambia area residents braved the spooky Molino Museum, hit the streets trick or treating, took part in a trunk or treat, or visited a fall festival Friday night.

“We had an awesome time at the Pine Forest Assembly Fall Festival,” the church’s High Voltage Kids director Heather Murphy said. “Thanks to Escambia Fire and Rescue for the spending the evening with us.”

Pictured: The Fall Festival Friday night at Pine Forest Assembly of God in Cantonment. Submitted photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Navy’s Fleet Fly-In Concludes

November 1, 2014

When pilots and aircrew from about 20 different helicopters boarded their aircraft and departed NAS Whiting Field Friday morning, it marked the completion of another successful Fleet Fly-In for Training  Air Wing FIVE.

The annual event is one of the most anticipated events on the calendar for the installation and 2014 marked another memorable occasion. For about three days, the skies above NAS Whiting Field were peppered with gray and black aircraft amidst the orange and black training aircraft that continually fly above the base and its 13 outlying fields. With flights to outlying fields in Brewton and Evergreen, the different helicopters were sometimes spotted from the North Escambia area.

Helicopter Training Squadron EIGHT coordinated the function, and HT-8 Commanding Officer Cmdr. Rob Sinram was pleased with how the Fly-In turned out.

“This year’s Fleet Fly-In was a big success,” he said. “We got the fleet turnout we were hoping for and students got a lot of flight time and interaction with the fleet crews.”

While the Naval Helicopter Association Fleet Fly-In encompasses a variety of panel discussions on large scale aviation issues, detailer presentations on future assignments, and industry displays showcasing helicopter technologies; the thrilling part is for the TRAWING-5 flight students having an opportunity to touch, ride in, and potentially fly Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard fleet helicopters. More than 300 future aviators received such flights during the open flight periods Wednesday and Thursday.

Picture top: Student Naval aviators and pilots of a Navy MH-60R Seahawk brief before a demonstration flight at the Fleet Fly-In. Pictured below: Multiple MH-60R and MH-60S parked on the ramp at South Field shortly after sunrise. Photos by Jay Cope for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

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