Rain Or Shine: Cantonment Food Giveaways Continue

July 8, 2020

For four months now, the volunteers of the Cantonment Improvement Committee have distributed food weekly to those in need. And Tuesday was no different, despite a steady rain.

Hundreds upon hundreds of families have been served, including 276 in need last week.

The CIC accepts food donations each Monday at 3 p.m. for distribution at 3 p.m. Tuesdays at Carver Park, 208 Webb Street in Cantonment.

Photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Local Earns Wings Of Gold At Whiting Field

July 5, 2020

Lt.j.g. Lucas J. Zalar earned his wings of gold at Naval Air Station Whiting Field recently.

“Growing up in Pensacola definitely had an influence on me,” Zalar recalls.

“Between the Blue Angels shows, and the TH-57s that would fly low over Pensacola Beach, it would always make me think about how cool it would be to fly for a living.”

While the influence of his hometown was apparent, Zalar had even more influence at home. “My father who is still active duty was prior enlisted in the Air Force then became a Navy officer. Therefore, growing up I always had a strong affiliation and appreciation for the military.”

Being able to observe the opportunities and camaraderie that come from military service in his father all but assured his own desire to serve. While Zalar knew he wanted to serve, he went back and forth about whether naval aviation was right for him. In the end, he remarks that he was “lucky enough” to be selected as a student naval aviator (SNA) and given the chance to earn his wings of gold as a Navy pilot.

Zalar enrolled in the U.S. Naval Academy, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in quantitative economics, graduating and commissioning in 2018. His days of being a student would be far from over, however, because after commissioning Zalar went to NAS Pensacola for Aviation Preflight Indoctrination (API). API is an intensive ground-school portion of flight training that takes place prior to SNA’s getting inside the cockpit of military aircraft.

Following API, Zalar began primary flight training in Training Squadron Six (VT-6), flying the T-6B Texan II onboard NAS Whiting Field. Zalar continued his training at NAS Whiting Field after being selected for helicopter advanced training, flying the TH-57 Sea Ranger in Helicopter Training Squadron Eighteen (HT-18).

“The experiences that we are able to participate in during flight school and the Navy in general are things that many people dream of doing but never will in their lifetime,” Zalar stated. 2

“Whether it be flying aerobatics in primary, using night vision goggles to fly your own route in advanced, traveling, and the friendships that I have made, these experiences are hard to find in any other occupation. Though these opportunities require a lot of training and are not just given to us, they make the hard work worth it,” he said.

Zalar is headed to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 2 (HSC-2), the “Fleet Angels,” to learn to fly the MH-60S.

“I am excited to be able to use the skills I have been developing as a pilot to actually complete the missions we train for in support of our nation’s goals,” Zalar remarked on his future in the Fleet.

Zalar plans on making a career for himself in the Navy, but one thing that he has become accustomed to in aviation training is the necessity to adapt when life throws curveballs. “Whether it be the flight schedule, a flight plan, or weekend plans, things are constantly changing on short notice and you need to be prepared and adapt.”

While some aspects of the future may be cloudy, there are some certainties for Zalar. “At the end of the day, I just hope to be the best officer and Navy pilot I can be so whenever I walk away from the service, I will leave it knowing I made a positive impact,” he commented.

LEO Wives Hang ‘Hearts For Heroes’ At Escambia, Santa Rosa Sheriff’s Offices

July 4, 2020

The Northwest Florida LEO Wives hung “hearts for heroes” at the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office and the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office to show their support and appreciation. Photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Photo Archive: Local Fireworks Shows

July 4, 2020

Happy Fourth of July!

Since most public fireworks shows in the area are canceled or postponed, we decided to share a little fireworks show of our own from the NorthEscambia.com photo archives for you to enjoy.

Here’s a look back at several local fireworks shows:

Century/Flomaton 2018

Century/Flomaton 2017

Century/Flomaton 2016

Jay 2016

Century/Flomaton 2015.

Century/Flomaton 2014.

NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.


United Way ‘Born Learning Trail’ Opens In Jay. The Next One Will Be In Century.

July 3, 2020

The first of five Born Learning Trails was opened this week in Jay at the newly renovated Bray-Hendricks Park.. The next one will be in Century.

The Jay Born Learning Trail was made possible through a partnership between the early Learning Coalition, International Paper, the Town of Jay and the United Way of West Florida.

The Born Learning Trail, a United Way Worldwide initiative since 2005, is a series of 10 signs with activities painted on a park trail that offer fun, interactive learning activities for young children and their families. It helps parents, caregivers, and communities create quality engagement opportunities when out on a stroll or while playing at a park.


The next local Born Learning Trail will be installed at Showalter Park in Century, according to Naomi Kjer, market manager for the United Way of West Florida. She said the plans are confirmed and approved. The installation was delayed due to COVID-19, but should happen in near future.

After Century, three more trails will be announced for locations in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.

Photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Cantonment Improvement And Pensacola MESS Hall Team Up For Food, Science Kit Distribution

July 2, 2020

For four months now, the volunteers of the Cantonment Improvement Committee have distributed food weekly to those in need.

Hundreds upon hundreds of families have been served, including last week when 230 cars went through the line as food was distributed to 815 people.

This week, the Pensacola MESS Hall joined in, distributing about 200 takeaway STEM (science, technology, engineer and mathematics) kits. The Mess Hall said it was “like a Happy Meal, but better”.

The CIC accepts food donations each Monday at 3 p.m. for distribution at 3 p.m. Tuesday at Carver Park, 208 Webb Street in Cantonment.

Photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Libraries Served 2,000 Free Meals For Kids Last Week. Here’s How The Program Works.

June 29, 2020

West Florida Libraries served just over 2,000 free curbside meals for youth 18 and under last week in conjunction with Feeding the Gulf Coast.

Meals are available for pickup at all WFPL library locations on Monday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Library locations are:

  • Molino Branch Library, 6450-A Highway 95A, Molino
  • Pensacola Library, 239 N. Spring St., Pensacola
  • Tryon Beach Library, 1200 Langley Ave., Pensacola
  • Genealogy Branch Library, 5740 N. 9th Ave., Pensacola
  • Southwest Branch Library, 12248 Gulf Beach Highway, Pensacola
  • Westside Branch Library, 1301 W. Gregory St., Pensacola
  • Century Branch Library, 7991 N. Century Blvd., Century

The meal includes lunch. Meals are available on a first come, first served basis. Youth ages 18 and under must be present to receive meals; food will not be given to adults.

“All of our employees have a passion for the community we serve and without feeding the body, a child cannot feed their mind,” Todd Humble, Library Services director said. “We are proud to have been recognized as the leading provider of meals in the Mississippi, Alabama and Florida Gulf Coast region that Feeding the Gulf Coast services.”

Council On Aging Seeks Volunteers For Expanded Meals On Wheels Program

June 25, 2020

In the past two weeks, Council on Aging of West Florida has enrolled more than 300 people in its pandemic-related Meals on Wheels expanded program. Now, the agency has a need for additional volunteers to deliver the hundreds of additional meals per week.

RELATED: Restaurants Partner With Meals On Wheels To Feed Seniors For Free

The onboarding process for new volunteers is quick and easy. First, a background check is performed on the prospective driver followed by an orientation and training so that expectations, procedures and rules can be fully outlined. Afterwards, the volunteer selects on which days and for how long he or she would like to deliver meals, then a route is provided along with meals, and they are sent on their way.

Council on Aging currently boasts nearly 500 volunteers throughout the agency, but as anxiety surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic continues, many have understandably temporarily suspended their volunteer status. Still, seniors are more in need of reliable nutrition than ever, and the agency provides personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves to all drivers.

“We certainly foresaw this level of need when we announced the expanded meals program,” said Council on Aging president/CEO John B. Clark. “However, as demand continues to grow, we predict an increased need for volunteers during this time. We and our clients would certainly be grateful for any help the community can provide—even just an hour or so a month.”

Those interested in volunteering should call Council on Aging volunteer manager Will Wirth at (850) 266-2518.

Photo for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Rotary Awards $5K To Manna Food Bank, Presents Grants To Other Groups

June 22, 2020

The Rotary Club of Pensacola has made a $5,000 donation to the Manna Food Bank to help provide food for those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic and the loss of their jobs.

Each year the club awards community grants by selecting several non-profits who submit applications for grants to help their organization with annual operating expenses. Applicants are chosen based on how they address the Rotary goals of improving the lives of people and the community.

A total of $15,000 was distributed to the following organizations: Thirty Million Words Sailing Regatta Pensacola Yacht Club Satori Foundation, Gulf Coast Kids House, AMI Kids, Rotary Youth Camp, ECARE, Ronald McDonald House, Council on Aging, YMCA NW FL, Emmaus Road Outreach, and Alfred Washburn Center.

Ribbon Cutting Held For Upgraded Fidelis Community Park

June 20, 2020

A ribbon cutting was held Friday morning at the Fidelis Community Center and Park in north Santa Rosa County.

The park at 13774 North Highway 87 underwent a major makeover to provide accessibility for all and to support growing sports program needs, including:

- Basketball court renovations
- Improved ADA parking
- ADA-accessible family restrooms
- All-inclusive playground improvements
- Baseball field renovations including bleachers, lighted two-lane batting cage and extended field
- Modifications and improvements to the tennis court
- Picnic facilities

The Fidelis Community Center and Park was originally constructed as a school house in 1925, with additions in the 1940-60s. In the mid-80s, the school closed and the building was converted into a community center. Over the years, the county has made a series of improvements to the 8.5-acre property, including the addition of three ball fields and playground equipment.

“After hearing ideas from the public, we were excited to revitalize Fidelis Community Center and Park so the current and future residents of northern Santa Rosa County have a beautiful park to use for recreation and sports,” said Santa Rosa County Commission Chairman Don Salter, District 3.

The upgrades were funded by the Local Option Sales Tax.

Many residents in the area have used the facility for receptions, anniversaries, reunions and showers. The cafeteria has re-opened for reservations and picnic pavilions are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

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