Webster, Helton United In Marriage

January 19, 2014

Robinsonville Baptist Church was the setting for the ceremony uniting Ms. Susan Elaine Webster and Mr. Clay Clyde Helton in marriage on December 22, 2013 at 3:30 pm. Officiating the double ring ceremony was their pastor Mark Jones.  The church and fellowship hall was beautifully decorated for Christmas in ivory and gold. Added to the beauty were red poinsettias, deer antlers, mason jars filled with gold and red ornaments and tied with antique lace,  a rustic Christmas tree, burlap and lace. The pew bows and other bows throughout the sanctuary were made from burlap and lace from the brides mothers dress.

Programs designed with burlap, lace and double horseshoes were given out to guests. Photos of the couple in dark wood frames were placed in the foyer and fellowship hall.  The sign in table was simple with antique lace and a monogram picture in a frame made of antique wood that was a handmade gift from Mrs. Traci Cummings.

The bride is the daughter of the late Mr. Robert Webster and Mrs. Gail Webster of Atmore. The groom is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Clyde Helton of Robinsonville.

Candles adorned with antique lace were lit in memory of the brides father Robert Webster  and grandmother Dorothy ONeal and the grooms grandfather FM Helton, aunt Willie Marshall and nephew Randal Helton.

The bride descended the aisle in a floor length ivory lace and beaded  gown with a lace trimmed v neck and fitted bodice with scalloped lace edging all around the hem. Her shoes were ivory flats adorned with beading. The necklace and bracelet of silver and crystal the bride wore were borrowed from her sister Audrey Long of Colfax, Indiana.   The bride carried a bouquet of ivory and red roses pulled together with burlap, trimmed with ivory lace from her mothers wedding dress and pinned with her great grandmothers antique brooch.   As the bride reached the front of the church, she took a moment to give her mother and mother in law each a single red rose tied with burlap and lace and an embroidered, lace trimmed hanky.

Attending the bride as maid of honor was the brides daughter Miss Karen Eiland of Atmore. Karen wore a knee length chocolate chiffon dress with a fitted waist and  v neck and brown leather slip on wedges. She carried a single long stem red rose wrapped with burlap and tied with lace from her grandmothers wedding dress.

Mr. CC Helton, son of the groom served as best man. He was dressed in a chocolate pearl snap button down shirt, jeans and boots. The groom wore an ivory pearl snap button down shirt with a chocolate tweed western coat, jeans, boots and his Stetson hat. Father and son both wore a single red rose boutonnière  wrapped in burlap and twine.

The wedding rings were displayed at the front of the church on an antique hitching post picked together by the bride and groom from the Helton family farm.  A simple horseshoe adorned with ivory satin ribbons hung on the post with the rings tied by smaller satin ribbons to the center bow.

Prelude musical selections were God Gave Me You by Blake Shelton and This Ring by T. Carter. During lighting of the unity candle, soloist Mrs. Lori Nesmith and pianist Mrs. Shae Johnson  performed one of the couples favorite hymns, How Great Thou Art.  The recessional selection was Fall In Love by Kenney Chesney.
The bride surprised the groom by reading a heart felt letter which included a quote from Ecclesiastes 4:9-12.

A reception was held in the festive and beautifully decorated fellowship hall of their church. The three tier cake, made by Mrs. Kathy Martin,was homemade butter pecan adorned  with three red rose buds and topped with a Montana Silversmiths cake topper of a bride and groom on a tractor. The lace covering the cake table was the brides grandmothers tablecloth.  The couple made their own cake stand out of old timber and covered it with burlap and antique lace.  The toasting glasses were mason jars adorned with antique lace tied with twine.  Mrs. Caroline Singleton graciously cut the cake for the guests.   Everyone enjoyed a catered array of delicious meats, cheeses,  hors d’oeuvres,  fruits, vegetables, dips and desserts. Mrs. Jean Pennington made her wonderful divinity for the occasion. Guests were each treated to a special gift from the couple.

(Submitted for NorthEscambia.com)

Weekend Gardening: Tips for January

January 18, 2014

Here are gardening tips for the month of January from the IFAS Extension Service:


  • Refrigerated bulbs such as tulip, daffodil and hyacinth should be planted in prepared beds.
  • Start seeds of warm season flowers late this month in order to have transplants in March.
  • There’s still time to transplant some cool season annuals such as carnations, foxglove, pansies, petunias and snapdragons.
  • Re-fertilize cool season flowerbeds, using a liquid or dry form of fertilizer. Be careful not to apply excessive amounts and keep granules away from the base of stems.
  • Finish dividing crowded perennials. Don’t wait until spring for this job.
  • Plant bare root roses immediately after they are purchased.

Trees and Shrubs

  • Plant trees and shrubs. This is an ideal time of year for transplanting larger specimens.
  • Plant bare root plants such as deciduous ornamental shrubs and trees.
  • Prune dormant shade trees, if needed.
  • Stick hardwood cuttings of fig, grape, honeysuckle, Althea, Catalpa, Forsythia and Wisteria.

Fruits and Nuts

  • Apply dormant oil spray to peach, plum, nectarine and other deciduous fruit trees. This practice is necessary when growing the stone fruits in locations along the Gulf Coast. Note: This applies to the flowering peaches and cherries since they are susceptible to the same pests as their fruiting cousins.
  • Plant bare root deciduous fruit trees
  • Prune dormant fruit trees if needed

Vegetable Garden

  • Start seeds of warm season vegetables late this month in order to have transplants in March.
  • Lime (if needed), and begin preparing vegetable gardens for the spring planting.
  • Cool season vegetables that can still be planted in the garden are: beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, Chinese cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, leek, mustard, bunching onions, parsley, English peas, Irish potatoes, radishes and turnips.
  • Irish potatoes can be started from January through March by planting seed pieces 3 to 4 inches deep in rows. Always purchase certified seed potatoes.


  • Check soil moisture during winter and water as needed.

Century Correctional Helps Byrneville Elementary Celebrate Literacy

January 17, 2014

Byrneville Elementary School took part in “Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida!” this week with a little help from Century Correctional Institution.

Several Century Correctional staff  members volunteered their own time to read to the students this week because they realize that reading to young children is a great activity to stimulate language and cognitive skills while building motivation for reading, curiosity and memory.

The CCI staff members stressed the importance of learning to read and good education to the Byrneville students.

Pictured top: Assistant Warden Hutchins with Byrneville Elementary students. Pictured below: Warden Doug Sloan reads to students. Courtesy photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Northview Grad Dixon Completes Military Basic Training

January 16, 2014

Air Force Airman Quadry D. Dixon 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.

Dixon is the son of Bonnie Ewing of Flomaton and Jimmy Dixon of Brewton.

He is a 2012 graduate of Northview High School.

Arbor Day Celebration and Tree Giveaway Planned For Molino

January 16, 2014

Escambia County Extension will host an Arbor Day celebration and tree giveaway event on Friday, January 24, from 10 a.m until noon at the Molino Community Center, 6450 Highway 95A North.

To obtain a free tree, residents must participate in a 10 minute tree-based educational session that will include site selection, proper planting, watering and general care and maintenance. Two tree species will be offered, mayhaw and willow oak, in one gallon containers. The giveaway is limited to one tree per client.

Pictured: Leaves of the willow oak tree. Courtesy photo for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Sea Turtles Rescued From Cold Released Again

January 15, 2014

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and several partners returned approximately 50 sea turtles to the wild Tuesday in the Gulf of Mexico off Cape San Blas after the animals were rescued from last week’s cold water temperatures.

“It is very satisfying to be able to release these turtles following the exhaustive effort put in by rescuers last week,” said Dr. Allen Foley, FWC sea turtle biologist. “Our staff, partners and volunteers spent many hours braving cold conditions to search for and rescue these cold-stunned turtles.”

The sea turtles were rescued between Jan. 7 and Jan. 9, when water temperatures dipped below 50 degrees, causing cold-stunning. Cold-stunned turtles may float listlessly in the water or wash ashore, largely unable to move. In this state, they are susceptible to further effects from the weather, and to attacks by gulls that often involve eye injuries. Many of these turtles would die without human intervention.

Many of the turtles were rescued near Crooked Island and in Big Lagoon in Escambia County. The rescued turtles were all taken to Gulf World Marine Park in Panama City to allow them to recover from exposure to the unusually low water temperatures.

A water-temperature-monitoring buoy in St. Joseph Bay allows biologists to predict when sea turtle cold-stunning may occur. Thanks to this, responders were ready with a plan of action for this event. There is no forecast of cold-stunning conditions returning to the area in the near future.

The turtles were tagged before their release to allow researchers to individually identify them if any are encountered again in the future. Biologists chose to release the turtles into the Gulf at Cape Palms Park on Cape San Blas because the water is warmer and turtles released in the area in the past have returned to St. Joseph Bay, which is a known feeding area.

Courtesy photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Library To Uncover “The History Of Molino”

January 14, 2014

The West Florida Library will present “The History of Molino” in a special program later this month.

The event will be hosted by Lil King, president of the Molino Mid-County Historical Society at the Molino Branch Library, 6450 Highway 95A, on Saturday, January 25.

With its location just 25 miles north of Pensacola,  the Molino area, including the old town of Molino, played a vital role in the area’s settlement and development. From its start as a Spanish mission in the 1700s, an important mill town during the Industrial Revolution and into the modern era, Molino’s history is the story of life in rural Florida and how it has changed over the years.

The event is a part of the Explore Pensacola History lecture series. For more information, call the Main Library at (850) 436-5060.

Pictured top: Work to uncover evidence of The Mission San Joseph De Escambe along the Escambia River in Molino by the University of West Florida Archaeological Field School. Pictured below:  An unusual glass necklace bead found in Molino, believe to possibly be an 18th-century “melon bead” with a translucent cobalt blue color. NorthEscambia.com file photos, click to enlarge.

It’s Celebrate Literacy Week At Area Elementary Schools

January 13, 2014

It’s “Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida!”, and North Escambia elementary schools will celebrate a variety of activities this week.

The goal of the week is to promote literacy by raising awareness of programs and projects offered by the Florida Department of Education and partner groups, and to promote the enjoyment of reading for adults and children of all ages.

The following events are planned at North Escambia elementary schools this week:

  • Bratt Elementary — An AR test, “Reading Rocks” with funny socks, student designed bookmarks, wear a hat and wear favorite team gear.
  • Byrneville Elementary — Teacher swap day, buddy reading, community guest readers, family literacy night and vocabulary day.
  • Molino Park Elementary — Used book sale, human bookwork, camo day, buddy read, guest readers, poster contest.
  • Jim Allen Elementary — Guest readers, buddy readers and author studies.
  • Lipscomb Elementary — guest readers, buddy reading, teacher swap, door contest.
  • McArthur Elementary –  20 minutes reading period, awesome author’s day, cold hard facts day, fantastic fiction and pajama and poetry day.
  • Pine Meadow Elementary — door decorating, buddy reading, sunglasses, pajama day to cuddle up and read.

Pictured top: Jacke Johnston’s fifth grade class at Byrneville Elementary School celebrated literacy with a guest reader last January. NorthEscambia.com file photo, click to enlarge.

Atmore Native Serving Up Authentic Air Force BBQ

January 12, 2014

When some people think of barbecue, they may imagine a simple hamburger thrown on a grill slathered in sauce on the Fourth of July. But for others, authentic barbecue is an extensive process that involves imported wood, secret ingredients, exact temperatures and up to 20 hours – all in hopes of perfecting the combined flavors of smoke, meat juices, spices and rub.

For Tech. Sgt. Sheldon Mason, 341st Maintenance Operations Squadron mechanical pneudraulics section assistant NCO in charge, perfecting barbecue is what the Atmore native does best.

“I started cooking when I was really young because my grandmother was a chef,” Mason said. “She didn’t really do barbecue as opposed to other cuisines, but I took to cooking at a young age.”

Mason has always been accustomed to large family gatherings of more than 100 people. But it wasn’t until his teenage years during these get-togethers when he learned “whole hog cooking,” that his love for barbecue took off.

“It’s just one of those things I’ve always wanted to do,” Mason said. “Within the past five years I’ve been able to get all the equipment I need to actually pursue this one day because barbecuing is really where my heart lies.”

Although Mason hails from the south in a place where barbecued pork is the food of choice, his specialty is beef brisket.

“It’s funny because I’m a southern guy and I cook brisket, which is very popular in Texas,” he said. “It’s a little different to cook something that’s not from where you’re from, but I figured once I mastered brisket, which is one of the hardest things to cook, I felt like I could take on anything.”

Today, Mason uses a gravity-fed smoker for low and slow cooking, which can cook up to 200 pounds of meat. Through trial and error, he has perfected his sauces, cooking time and wood type in the past decade.

“Length [to cook] depends on what the meat is and the size,” Mason said. “Ribs can take anywhere from four to six hours and pulled pork and brisket can take upwards of 12 to 16 hours; but each one is temperamental so I just have to go by the feel and the color. It’s not an exact science – it’s something I’ve learned based on experienced.”

Mason says he aims to satisfy the taste buds of all barbecue lovers from various regions in the U.S.

“I try to cater to everyone,” Mason said. “I don’t have one particular style of barbecue but I put my own spin on it to try to hit all the regions. From the east coast, to the west coast, to the Carolinas and Kansas City, every region has a different flavor of barbecue sauce and specialty meat.”

As an NCO who’s spent 14 years at Montana’s Malmstrom Air Force Base in various maintenance sections, Mason is accustomed to working with and supervising Airmen of different backgrounds. Mason’s vision to stay true to regional barbecue calls for importing wood directly from various states.

“The wood infuses different flavors into the meat,” Mason said. “Wood reacts with the different types of rubs and the different meat used. In order to cook true barbecue, I import all of the wood – from California to Georgia to Washington to stay true to that type of barbecue.”

For hopeful or avid lovers of making their own barbecue, Mason has a few suggestions.

“As far as wood, never use pine,” he said. “Fruit woods add a sweet flavor to the meat; whereas woods like hickory and oak infuse strong flavors, so it’s important to be careful. Mixing those with sugars can create a very robust flavor. Some people don’t know that they don’t need as much smoke as they may think they need. Although [the meat] is smoked, it doesn’t need 12 to 15 hours of straight smoke because it’ll darken the meat too much. Depending on the kind of meat – pork, ribs or brisket – it needs just enough smoke to give it that smoked flavor because the heat is what gives it the true smoke flavor.”

Although Mason typically barbecues for 10 to 50 people, he hopes to one days cook for the masses.

“I’ve done squadron functions, going-aways, retirements – I’ve done a little bit of everything,” he said. “Anyone that requests barbecue usually comes to me. It doesn’t really matter what the occasion is; the more the merrier.”

While Mason intends to pursue barbecuing as a full-time career in the future, his current life as an active-duty Airman continues to be his number one priority.

“I currently plan on retiring at 20 years to pursue this venture, but anything could happen,” Mason said, adding that he plans to open a barbecue place in Great Falls, Montana.

Although creating a business is Mason’s ultimate goal, he finds satisfaction in simply bringing friends, family and Airmen together on the principles he was raised on.

“Honestly, I think food is what brings people together,” he said. “Food, to me, is something everyone can relate to because everyone has to eat. The time it takes to barbecue is something a lot of people don’t understand because it takes such a long time to make this sort of food. It’s a simple food, but it’s not a simple science. Not a lot of people do this because it’s very time consuming and I’m very particular about how I make it. But I really enjoy doing it and that’s why I truly do it; that’s the passion I have.”

Pictured top: Tech. Sgt. Sheldon Mason of Atmore, 341st Maintenance Operations Squadron, pours barbecue sauce on ribs  during an office lunch on Montanta’s Malmstrom Air Force Base. Pictured inset: Mason seasons his barbecue ribs. Photos by Senior Airman Katrina Heikkinen for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Cantonment Teacher Is Finalist For Trip To Mars

January 11, 2014

A Cantonment teacher is among 1,058 hopefuls that have been selected from 200,000 applicants as candidates to begin human life on Mars in 2025.

Louis O’Rear, a 49-year old science teacher at Ransom Middle School, is hoping for that ticket to ride from the Mars One program.

“I want my students to know that it’s important not what your dream is but to have a dream. And I’ve always wanted to explore space, always,” the father of two said.

“After all, the universe is the best classroom,” the teacher of 20-plus years said.

“The next several selection phases in 2014 and 2015 will include rigorous simulations, many in team settings, with focus on testing the physical and emotional capabilities of our remaining candidates. We expect to begin understanding what is motivating our candidates to take this giant leap for humankind. This is where it really gets exciting for Mars One, our applicants, and the communities they’re a part of,” said Norbert Kraft, M.D.

Details of the 2014 selection phases have not been agreed upon due to ongoing negotiations with media companies for the rights to televise the selection processes. Expect further information to be released in early 2014. Lansdorp says, “We fully anticipate our remaining candidates to become celebrities in their towns, cities, and in many cases, countries. It’s about to get very interesting.”

O’Rear’s application video for the Mars One program is below.

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