Jay Elementary Teacher Named Discovery Education Program Champion

December 1, 2015

Jay Elementary School teacher Kristen Davis has been named a Discovery Education Program Champion for this school year.

Chosen through a competitive application process, Davis was selected based on her passion for science and exemplary use of Discovery Education’s programs. Davis joins 13 fellow Program Champions who will represent specific topic areas – including STEM, health and wellness, and social studies. These educators will share various resources and supporting programs – available at no cost from Discovery Education and its partners – with their colleagues and peers around the world. Champions will also represent Discovery Education and its partners at education events and virtual conferences, and help shape the development and implementation of future Discovery Education programs, to ensure optimal efficacy and classroom relevance. To kickoff this new initiative, Davis and the other Program Champions recently attended a two-day launch event at Discovery Education’s headquarters in Silver Spring, Md.

Davis will share her passion with others on the topic of science. Specifically, Davis will share information on The Good Egg Project: Education Station, an online destination offered by the American Egg Board and Discovery Education that teaches elementary and middle school students about the production process of fresh foods as well as sustainability concepts used on a working farm.

“Discovery Education’s programs have given my students many learning opportunities that they wouldn’t have had the chance to get otherwise,” said Davis. “I am so excited to share these resources with other educators in my district and I’m so thankful to be selected as a Program Champion!”

Century To Hold Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

December 1, 2015

The Century Town Council will hold a Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Nadine McCaw Park across from the Century Chamber of Commerce. The Byrneville Elementary School Chorus will lead Christmas carols during the event. Everyone is invited to attend. NorthEscambia.com file photo, click to enlarge.

Molino Christmas Parade Is Saturday; Register Now

November 30, 2015

The 13th Annual Molino Christmas Parade is set for 11 a.m. this Saturday, and there is still time to register to take part.

The parade route starts at the west end of Crabtree Church Road and ends and the Molino Ballpark were Santa Will be waiting to visit with all the good little boys and girls.

To participate in the parade, preregister at Jimmy’s Grill or register the day of the parade. Registration fees are $30 for floats; $20 for vehicles, motorcycles, tractors or golf carts; and $10 each for horses. No 4-wheelers or go-carts. All proceeds go directly back to the community to help children in need.

For more information, contact Charity at (850) 324-4463 or Jimmy’s Grill at (850) 754-0041. Donations such as toys and non-perishable foot items can be dropped off at Jimmy’s Grill.

The rain date will be Sunday, December 6 at 2:30 p.m.

Pictured: The 2014 Molino Christmas Parade. NorthEscambia.com file photos, click to enlarge.

Forest Service Does Battle With Invasive Cogongrass

November 29, 2015

Listed as one of the world’s worst weeds, cogongrass is throughout Escambia County and the Gulf Coast. County, state and private landowners are attempting to stop its spread. Information and programs are available to those who are willing to join in the fight.

Cogongrass is not the only invasive plant in our area, but it is arguably one of the worst. For instance, cogongrass can easily choke out native plants and grasses and prevent the establishment of trees. It also changes fire behavior making prescribed burning more difficult and wildfires burn much hotter. It reduces habitat for native wildlife and is not normally used as a food source by wildlife or livestock.

Many private landowners are treating cogongrass using herbicides, disking and planting other  vegetation. Some of these landowners have received treatment recommendations from a Florida Forest Service’s County Forester or other professional. Additionally, approximately  130 acres of cogongrass on private land was treated through state or federal cost sharing programs. Escambia County’s Division of Natural Resource Conservation recently received a grant to begin treating county rights of way. Florida Department of Transportation treats cogongrass on state rights of way.

Because of its aggressive, invasive nature, it is illegal to sell, transport or plant cogongrass.  It is spread by seed or rhizomes and readily invades disturbed sites, such as construction sites, timber harvests, crop fields or road edges.  In addition to natural means of dispersal, seeds and rhizomes are often unwittingly spread by equipment working in or driving through cogongrass.

Help prevent the spread of cogongrass by cleaning equipment before moving it to another location if it has been used in an infested area. Do not use cogongrass in landscaping and be careful about the source of fill dirt and mulch. Plant disturbed areas in native vegetation as  soon as possible. More information about cogongrass can be found at http://bit.ly/1GLFXy4 .

If you have cogongrass and need help fighting, the Florida Forest Service is taking applications for the Cogongrass Treatment Cost Share program. For more information on that program, call the Escambia County Forester at (850) 587-5237.

Cathy Hardin works for the Florida Forest Service as the Escambia County Forester. She has 11 years of experience with the state and a degree in Forest Resource Conservation from the University of Florida. This article is part of a quarterly series highlighting forestry practices and programs focused on our area.

#AGGIENATION: Graffiti Bridge Proclaims ‘Tate To State’

November 28, 2015

Pensacola’s iconic Graffiti Bridge was painted in support of the Tate High School Aggies early Saturday morning, following Tate’s 21-20 win over Niceville to claim the 6A Regional 1 championship.

We are told that a few Tate Showband of the South Color Guard painted the bridge to show their love and support for the Aggie football team as they are just two games away from a state  championship.

The bridge was painted with the hashtag #AGGIENATION, “Tate to State” and “Love, Your Showband”, along with numerous football player numbers.

(Editor’s note: If you are unfamiliar, it is an acceptable practice to paint the 17th Avenue Trestle, better known as Graffiti Bridge. Every day, there’s a new coat of paint and a new message. It’s been happening for years, and it’s considered a local landmark. It’s led to art exhibits and even a book project. It is Pensacola’s public canvas.)

Photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.


Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Up Slightly This Year

November 26, 2015

The American Farm Bureau Federation’s 30th annual informal price survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table indicates the average cost of this year’s feast for 10 is $50.11, a 70-cent increase from last year’s average of $49.41.

The big ticket item – a 16-pound turkey – came in at a total of $23.04 this year. That’s roughly $1.44 per pound, an increase of less than 9 cents per pound, or a total of $1.39 per whole turkey, compared to 2014.

“Retail prices seem to have stabilized quite a bit for turkey, which is the centerpiece of the meal in our marketbasket,” AFBF Deputy Chief Economist John Anderson said. “There were some production disruptions earlier this year due to the highly pathogenic Avian influenza outbreak in the Midwest. Turkey production is down this year but not dramatically. Our survey shows a modest increase in turkey prices compared to last year. But we’re now starting to see retailers feature turkeys aggressively for the holiday. According to USDA retail price reports, featured prices fell sharply just last week and were actually lower than last year,” he added.

The AFBF survey shopping list includes turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a relish tray of carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and beverages of coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10. There is also plenty for leftovers.

Foods showing the largest increases this year in addition to turkey were pumpkin pie mix, a dozen brown-n-serve rolls, cubed bread stuffing and pie shells. A 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix was $3.20; a 14-ounce package of cubed bread stuffing, $2.61; and two nine-inch pie shells, $2.47.

“Despite concerns earlier this fall about pumpkin production due to wet weather, the supply of canned product will be adequate for this holiday season,” Anderson said.

Items that declined modestly in price were mainly dairy items including one gallon of whole milk, $3.25; a combined group of miscellaneous items, including coffee and ingredients necessary to prepare the meal (butter, evaporated milk, onions, eggs, sugar and flour), $3.18; a half pint of whipping cream, $1.94; and 12 ounces of fresh cranberries, $2.29. A one-pound relish tray of carrots and celery (79 cents) and one pound of green peas ($1.52) also decreased slightly in price.

The average cost of the dinner has remained around $49 since 2011. This year’s survey totaled over $50 for the first time.

“America’s farmers and ranchers are able to provide a bounty of food for a classic Thanksgiving dinner that many of us look forward to all year,” Anderson said. “We are fortunate to be able to provide a special holiday meal for 10 people for just over $5 per serving.”

A Colorful Thanksgiving: Molino Library Coloring Contest

November 26, 2015

The Molino Branch Library held a Thanksgiving Coloring Contest  for children ages 11 and under. The winner of the 4-6 age bracket was Kierstyn, seen here with her colorful Thanksgiving turkey and prizes. Courtesy photo for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Turkey Time Cooking Tips

November 25, 2015

It’s Thanksgiving, time for family and friends to gather and give thanks. And time for cooks to ponder the correct way to prepare their turkey.

Today, we are taking a look at the proper way to cook your turkey with tips from Dorothy Lee, Family and Consumer Sciences Agent for the Escambia County Extension Office.


Begin every meal preparation with clean hands, and wash hands frequently to prevent any cross contamination. As a rule, hands that have come in contact with raw meat or poultry should be washed for twenty seconds in hot, soapy water.


Raw meat and poultry products may contain harmful bacteria, so make certain that the juices from those products do not come in contact with food that will be eaten without cooking, like the salad. Also, never place cooked food on an unwashed plate that previously held raw meat or poultry.

Use of food thermometer should be a standard operating procedure in your kitchen and, when used correctly, will ensure that your turkey is cooked to perfection. To be safe, the temperature of a whole turkey should reach 180°F between the breast and the innermost part of the thigh.

If you stuff your turkey, the center of the stuffing must reach 165°F. If the stuffing has not reached 165°F, then continue cooking the turkey until it does. Let the turkey stand twenty minutes after removal from the oven before carving.

This is another important step because food-borne bacteria can grow while food sits unrefrigerated. Refrigerate or freeze perishable leftovers within two hours of cooking. To prepare your leftovers, remove any remaining stuffing from the cavity and cut turkey into small pieces. Slice the breast meat. Wings and legs may be left whole. Refrigerate stuffing and turkey separately in shallow containers.

Use or freeze leftover turkey and stuffing within three to four days, gravy within one to two days. Reheat thoroughly to a temperature of 165°F, or until hot and steaming.

For more information, call the Escambia County Extension office, (850) 475-5230.

Have A ‘Fresh From Florida’ Thanksgiving (With Recipes)

November 24, 2015

Fresh From Florida recipes can be incorporated into holiday traditions. These recipes feature delicious products grown and harvested in Florida. Look for the products with the “Fresh From Florida” label at your local grocery store.

“For an authentic Florida Thanksgiving, enjoy Florida’s agricultural bounty and incorporate ‘Fresh From Florida’ products into your meal,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam. “This time of year, you can find cucumber, squash, tomatoes and many more products grown and harvested right here in Florida, just look for the ‘Fresh From Florida’ label when shopping.”

Stuffed Florida Zucchini and Yellow Squash Parmesan

Florida Snap Beans with Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms

Pan-Roasted Florida Vegetables

Florida Snap Bean and Sweet Pepper Sauté

Florida Squash and Tomato Gratin

Ernest Ward Middle Names Students Of The Month

November 23, 2015

Ernest Ward Middle School has named Students of the Month for November. They are (L-R) Katelyn Wilson, eighth grade; Danny Antrim, seventh grade; and Hannah Hassebrock, sixth grade. Photo for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

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