Escambia Sheriff’s K-9’s Compete To Be Top Dog

March 24, 2014

The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, along with the Pensacola Police Department played host to 49 K-9 units from throughout the south last week during the USPCA Region 1 K9 Trials.

Members of the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office K-9 unit and their awards are as follows:

  • Kelly Hall (Drago)
  • John Zabelle (Ivan)
  • Kevin Biggs (Argo)
  • Chris Collier (Baro)
  • Jason Land (Edo, 18th overall)
  • Patrick Crossley (Dasty, Top Dual Dog, Top Over-All Narcotics, 3rd in 4 Man Team)
  • Mike Carr (Iwan, 3rd in 4 Man Team)
  • Mark Smith (Jeck, 17th overall, 3rd in 4 Man Team)
  • Wayne Gulsby (Caleb, 1st in Overall Search)
  • Mike Milstead (Mink, 3rd in 4 Man Team)
  • Jason Potts (Askon, 4th Overall Search, 14th overall)

Pictured top: K-9 Edo. Pictured below. Deputy Wayne Gulsby (left) and K-9 Caleb, and Deputy Jason Land with Edo. Pictured bottom: Escambia County K-9 officers. Reader submitted and courtesy photos by Kim Carr, Dellaina Jordan and Jason Bondurant for, click to enlarge.

Preschoolers Celebrate 104 Years Of Camp Fire USA

March 24, 2014

The preschoolers at the Camp Fire USA Child Development Center in Century recently held a celebration of the 104th birthday of the Camp Fire program. They formed the number “104″ (pictured below) and celebrated with birthday cupcakes). They also learned to count all the way to 100. Photos for, click to enlarge

BealuhFest Entertains Thousands, Benefits Local Charities

March 23, 2014

The two-day Beulahfest wrapped up Saturday night at the Pensacola Fairgrounds with thousands in attendance.

Headliner acts Saturday were The Charlie Daniels Band and Lynyrd Skynyrd,  along with local acts that included The Dusty Sanderson Band. Friday’s entertainment included local favorite Chloe Channel of America’s Got Talent fame, and county star Rodney Atkins.

The festival featured not only great music, but plenty of fun, rides, and of course those delicious sausages.  Beulahfest attracts thousands each year, with proceeds benefiting the Beulah Volunteer Fire Department and other local charities.

Pictured top: Lynyrd Skynyrd performs Saturday night at Beulahfest. Pictured inset above: Charlie Daniels. Pictured below: Saturday night crowds at Beulahfest, Lynyrd Skynyrd performs, Rodney Atkins Friday night, Tate graduate Dusty Sanderson and (bottom) Chloe Channell. photos by Kristi Smith, click to enlarge.

Weekend Gardening: March Tips

March 23, 2014

Here are gardening tips for the month of March from the University of Florida IFAS Extension office:


  • Annual flowers that can be planted in March include:  ageratum, alyssum, amaranthus, asters, baby’s breath, begonia, calendula, celosia, cosmos, dahlia, dusty miller, gaillardia, geranium, hollyhock, impatiens, marigold, nicotiana, ornamental pepper, pentas, phlox, rudbeckia, salvia, sweet Williams, torenia, verbena, vinca and zinnia.
  • Caladium bulbs are extremely sensitive to cold soil.  There is no advantage to planting early.  Purchase caladiums while there is a good selection, but wait until late March or April before planting them in shady beds.

Trees and Shrubs

  • Finish pruning summer flowering shrubs such as althea, hibiscus, abelia, oakleaf hydrangea and oleander.
  • Delay the pruning of azaleas, camellias, spiraeas, gardenias and other spring flowering shrubs until after flowering is complete.
  • Prune any cold weather-damaged plants after new growth appears.
  • If needed, fertilize shrubs and small trees  with a slow release fertilizer.  A good general-purpose landscape fertilizer is a 15-0-15.
  • Mature palms should receive an application of granular fertilizer. Use a special palm fertilizer that has an 8-2-12 +4Mg (magnesium) with micronutrients formulation.  Apply one pound of fertilizer per 100 sqft of canopy area or landscape area.
  • Last opportunity to spray shrubs with dormant horticultural oil.
  • Pick up all fallen camellia blossoms and remove them from your property.  This practice helps to prevent petal blight next season.
  • Prune ornamental grasses.
  • If you are in the market for specific colors of azaleas, visit the local nurseries and garden centers this month.  Though this is not the most ideal planting time you are assured of the right flower color without having to wait until next blooming season.

Fruits and Nuts

  • Time to finish planting bare-root fruit trees.

Vegetable Garden

  • This is the month for establishing a spring vegetable garden.  Early March plantings have about an even chance of avoiding a late frost.
  • The warm season vegetables that can be planted this month are: bush beans, pole beans, lima beans, cantaloupes, sweet corn, cucumbers, eggplant, okra, southern peas, peppers, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, summer squash, winter squash, tomatoes and watermelon.
  • The cool season vegetables that can be planted this month are: beets, carrots, celery, collards, endive, kohlrabi, leek, lettuce, mustard, bunching onions, parsley, English peas, Irish potatoes, radish and turnips.
  • More conservative gardeners might wish to wait until the middle to latter part of the month to risk tender plants such as tomatoes and peppers.


  • Remove excessive accumulation of leaves from the lawn.  This will increase the effectiveness of fertilizers and pesticides applied to the lawn.
  • If a preemergence lawn herbicide is needed to control summer  weeds, it should be applied in early March.  Make certain to choose one that is safe on your kind of grass.
  • Keep lawn herbicides away from the root zones of desirable flower, shrubs and other plants.
  • Fertilize the lawn only after the danger of frost has passed and when the grass has greened up.  Fertilize using a complete fertilizer applied at 0.5 lbs nitrogen per 1000 sqft containing 50% soluble and 50% slow-release nitrogen.
  • Service the lawn mower: include a sharpening of the blade and adjusting of the cutting height for your type of grass.
  • Anyone considering establishment of centipedegrass from seed should hold off until the soil warms up and stabilizes above 70°F. Add Item Here…

Northview Grad Moretz Assigned To Sea Duty On USS Kearsarge

March 23, 2014

Machinist Mate Fireman Jonathan A. Moretz, a 2013 Northview graduate and former NJROTC cadet,  is headed to his first sea duty assignment onboard USS Kearsarge (LHD-3) home ported in Norfolk, VA. Aboard Kearsarge, he will be assigned to the ship’s main propulsion division.

MMFN Moretz graduated from basic training at the Navy’s Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, IL, on October 4, 2013. He then attended Basic Engineering Common Core and Machinist Mate Strand training at Naval Station Great Lakes, where he graduated second in his class on March 12, 2014.

At Northview, MMFN Moretz was the cadet commander for the school’s NJROTC  program during his senior year. Having successfully completed four years of NJROTC, newly enlisted sailors, like Moretz, are advanced to E-3 upon completion of basic training. Advanced pay grade awards former cadets for their NJROTC experience, which places them 18 months ahead of their peers in advancement progression.

He is  the son of James and Lisa Moretz of McDavid.

Impact 100 To Make Over $1 Million In Grants To Non-Profits

March 22, 2014

IMPACT 100 Pensacola Bay Area, a local women’s philanthropy group, is pleased to announce that its 2014 Membership Drive has successfully concluded with 1025 members. The organization will give back to the community by awarding 10 grants of $102,500 each to non-profit agencies in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties in October.

This will be the 11th year that IMPACT 100 will award grants to local non-profit agencies. Since the inception of IMPACT 100 Pensacola Bay Area in 2004, the organization has awarded 47 grants to 39 different non-profit agencies for a total of $5.151 million.

“We are thrilled to have such a tremendous response from our community and we can’t wait to see what innovative projects the non-profit agencies submit this year,” said Holly Jurnovoy, president of IMPACT 100. “Thanks to every one of our members, the Pensacola Bay Area shines once again as the largest Impact 100 organization in the world.”

Two grants will be awarded in each of the following five focus areas: Arts & Culture; Education; Environment, Recreation & Preservation; Family; and Health & Wellness.

Non-profit organizations interested in applying for a grant are invited to attend this year’s Nonprofit Education Workshop: “Million Dollar Impact – Got Grants?” at First Baptist Church, 500 N. Palafox St. on April 22nd. All non-profit organizations in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties are invited to learn about the grant process, get tips to writing a more successful grant, be inspired to dream big and create a winning project. Letters of Intent to Apply for a grant are due April 30th. Grant Applications must be submitted by June 27th.

Additional information is available on the IMPACT 100 website at

Local Corpsman Receives Silver Star

March 20, 2014

“I didn’t think, I just reacted,” said HM3 Zackery Penner, a corpsman with Naval Hospital Pensacola, when recalling the events of June 22 and 23, 2012, while serving with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Marines in Afghanistan.

For his actions on those two days, Penner was awarded the Silver Star, the third highest military decoration for valor, Wednesday.

On June 22, 2012, with approximately 30 days left in country, Penner’s platoon encountered Afghan insurgents on the first day of a seven-day operation, and a Marine was severely wounded on a nearby rooftop. Without hesitation, Penner ran to the Marine while exposing himself to enemy fire that was only 50 meters away.

With rounds impacting all around him, he treated and evacuated the Marine. Though the Marine did not survive from the wounds he sustained, Penner’s actions reflected the relationship and camaraderie shared between Marines and corpsmen.

“Marines love their corpsmen, and I love being with Marines,” said Penner, who enlisted in the Navy immediately after graduating high school in Sacramento, Calif. “I wanted to be a corpsman because I wanted to help Marines.”

Penner got to help a Marine again the very next day.

While on a partnered patrol with Afghan soldiers, insurgents attacked his squad with machine guns and precision fire weapons.

When two members of the patrol sustained injuries, a Marine and an Afghan soldier, Penner ran more than 100 meters through enemy fire to reach the casualties and quickly established a casualty collection point behind a wall. When the squad began receiving enemy fire from the rear, Penner shielded the casualties from enemy fire with his own body until the evacuation aircraft arrived. Both casualties would ultimately not survive, but Penner again sustained no injuries despite putting himself in harm’s way.

“It never crossed my mind that I wouldn’t be hurt,” said Penner. “It’s actually hard to remember the events of those two days in detail now because I just reacted.”

After returning from the seven-day operation, Penner immediately contacted his wife.

“I couldn’t tell her what happened because of [operational security], but I wanted her to know I was OK,” said Penner, whose grandfather served in the Navy during World War II.

Penner also called the Marine’s family that he evacuated from the rooftop.

“He was my best friend, and I wanted to talk to them,” said Penner before trailing off.

The relationship between Marines and their corpsmen was further demonstrated as a large number of Marines attended the ceremony including Maj. Gen. Raymond Fox, commanding general, II Marine Expeditionary Force.

“The relationship the Marine Corps has had with corpsmen for a long time is what saves a lot of Marines, and [Marines] cherish that relationship incredibly,” said Fox. “Every one of us should aspire to do what he did when called upon.”

After returning from Afghanistan, Penner received orders to NHP where he currently works in the emergency department. Initially, Penner planned on fulfilling his current enlistment and then leaving the Navy, but being stateside has given him a new perspective.

“The stress of working in the emergency room does not compare to the stress of combat,” said Penner. “Being stationed at a hospital stateside is a lot calmer.”

Penner is currently taking college classes and is now planning on continuing his career in the Navy. He is considering the Medical Enlisted Commissioning Program and hopes to eventually receive orders to a naval hospital in California to be closer to his family.

When asked about how he felt about receiving the Silver Star, Penner replied, “It’s humbling. I was in the right place at the wrong time, but any of the Marines would have done the same thing.”

Pictured: HM3 Zackery Penner, a corpsman with Naval Hospital Pensacola, was awarded the Silver Star Wednesday for actions while serving with 1st Battalion, 8th Marines in Afghanistan in the summer of 2012. Maj. Gen. Raymond Fox, commanding general, II Marine Expeditionary Force, presented the medal to Penner at the hospital. Photos for, click to enlarge.

ECUA Curbside Recycling: The Proper Way

March 17, 2014

Recycling is one of the best ways to have a positive impact on the community, and recycling is important to the natural environment, according to ECUA.

The ECUA Curbside Recycling Program was launched in January 2009, as part of the regular ECUA residential sanitation service. This simple, voluntary and cost-effective program is being utilized by 65 percent of ECUA customers and continues to grow. A  voluntary program assures all participants are willing partners in the recycling process and serves to minimize the contamination of the collected materials, ECUA said.

ECUA’s program uses a convenient single stream recycling system, which means no sorting is required, and commingled recyclables are sorted at a processing facility. Although sorting is not required, it is very important that only recyclable items be placed in the ECUA-provided recycling container to avoid contamination of the recyclables. In  some cases, customers will unknowingly introduce unaccepted and/or tainted items into the recycling process. This reduces the value and potential usability of recyclable materials, and jeopardizes the effectiveness of the ECUA Recycling Program.

ECUA Recycling Coordinator Amanda Handrahan offers these tips to successful recycling: “Make sure all items placed in the recycling container are safe, clean and ready for the recycling process. We don’t accept plastic grocery bags, but we do  appreciate when you use them to bag small, lightweight items, to keep them contained within the can. Also, it’s important to remove liquids that can damage paper products, and remove leftover food from take-out containers before placing them in the recycling can.” She adds, “This seems basic but in our busy, everyday lives, it’s always good to have a quick reminder of how to best avoid the possibility of contamination.”

Here’s a list of items accepted in the ECUA’s program, and those that are not:

  • Glass; any color
  • Newspaper & Inserts
  • Magazines & Catalogs
  • Junk Mail & Envelopes
  • Cardboard
  • Phone Books
  • Office and School Papers (colored paper)
  • Brown Paper Bags (grocery)
  • Boxboard (cereal, cake & cracker boxes, etc.)
  • Pizza Boxes
  • Plastic Produce Clamshells
  • Plastics No. 1 through 7
  • Plastic Milk Jugs; 2-Liters; bottles and containers
  • Plastic & Metal Hangers
  • Juice Boxes / Bags
  • Plastic Cups, Plates, Utensil
  • Aluminum Cans & Lids
  • Pet Food Cans and Dry Pet Food Bags
  • Aluminum Foil Baking Pans
  • Balls of Tin Foil; Foil Pie Tins
  • Tin and Steel Cans & Lids
  • Metal Pots, Pans & Cookie Sheets
  • Bubble Wrap
  • Cardboard Egg Cartons

Items Not Recyclable Include:

  • No Empty Plastic Bags
  • No Ice Cream Cartons
  • No Waxy/Paper Milk Cartons
  • No Styrofoam  products
  • No Aerosol Cans
  • No Garbage or Yard Waste
  • No Garden Hoses
  • No Window Blinds

Wearing Gold: The Blue Angels Return To The Skies

March 16, 2014

The Blue Angels — wearing “throwback” gold flight suits — commence their pre-flight walkdown at the first Blue Angel flight demonstration of the 2014 air show season Saturday at Naval Air Facility El Centro, Calif.  Throughout the Blue Angels’ history, the gold flight suit has been worn to commemorate special milestones for the Navy and Marine Corps’ premiere flight demonstration squadron. Today, the Blue Angels pilots and officers are wearing the commemorative gold flight suit to celebrate the team’s return to America’s skies. Photo by MC2 Andrea Perez for, click to enlarge.

Weekend Gardening: Daffodils Signal Spring

March 16, 2014

Few plants seem to signify the freshness of spring quite as well as daffodils. The name “daffodils” is derived from “addodell” a variant of Asphodel (a plant of the Asphodelus genus.) In historical documents and the common language of 16th century Europe, the term “daffodil” referred specifically to the wild daffodil, Narcissus pseudonarcissus.

The derivation of the Latin narcissus is unknown.  It is frequently linked to the Greek myth of Narcissus, who was rumored to be so obsessed with his own reflection that he died while gazing at himself in a pool of water.  From the location of his death sprang the narcissus plant.  Another Greek myth finds Persephone, daughter of the goddess Demeter, lured to her doom by the God Hades while picking a narcissus.  Therefore the plant is perceived as a symbol of vanity in some Western culture.

Others attribute the plants’ name to its narcotic properties.  One translation of the Greek name is “I grow numb!”  All narcissus species contain the alkaloid poison lycorine, mostly in the bulb but also in the leaves.  Members of the Amaryllidaceae family contain unique types of alkaloids.  They are responsible for the poisonous properties of a number of the species.  Of the 200 different chemical compounds found in this plant family, at least 79 of them can be found in narcissus.

Daffodils are a popular potted plant for cut flowers, but also make attractive naturalized ground covers in gardens and around trees, providing color from the end of winter through late spring.  If the narcissus blooms on Chinese New Year, it is said to bring wealth and good fortune throughout the year.  The flower color varies from white through pinks and yellows to deep reddish-orange with multiple petal forms. Hundreds of cultivars are available.

Planting dates vary according to geographical location, but bulbs are usually planted in the fall when the soil is cool.  Daffodils grow well in full sun or light shade, with the blooms lasting longer when protected from the noon day sun.  When selecting a location for planting, it should be noted that the individual flowers will face the sun.

Pre-chilled bulbs should be planted in 6-8” deep holes with a tablespoon of slow release fertilizer added to the soil directly under the bulb and with 4-5” of soil covering the bulb.  Watering throughout the winter will be necessary if rains are infrequent.  After flowering, the daffodils need to be fertilized and watering should continue.  The foliage will naturally turn yellow and die as stored food is restored to the bulb.

Division, transplanting and collection for forcing potted plants can be done after all the foliage has declined.  To force Daffodils to bloom at varied times in a container the dried bulbs will need to be stored at a 45° F temperature for 4-6 weeks prior to being placed in the sun to grow.

The bright, cheery Daffodil flowers are beginning to bloom now and will continue as Easter approaches, reminding us that spring really is coming.

Email Sheila Dunning at

Photos by Matthew Orwat for, click to enlarge.

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