Ernest Ward Middle Names Students Of The Month

November 24, 2014

Ernest Ward Middle School has named Students of the Month for September and October. They are (pictured L-R) October – Crystal Douglas, 8th grade, and Savannah Spence, 7th grade; September – Liby Pugh. Not pictured is Abenia Diggs, 6th grade, October. Submitted photo for, click to enlarge.

Turkey Time: Extension Service Offers Thawing Tips

November 24, 2014

It’s Thanksgiving week, 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 how to make sure your turkey is properly thawed with tips from Dorthy Lee, Family and Consumer Sciences Agent for the Escambia County Extension Office.

Following four simple food-handling practices—clean, separate, cook, chill—will ensure a delicious and safe meal.

Frozen turkeys should be thawed—at a safe temperature— prior to cooking. There are three safe ways to thaw a turkey — in the refrigerator at 40°F or less; in cold water; and in the microwave.

Frozen Turkeys

Allow 1 pound of turkey per person.
Keep frozen until you’re ready to thaw it.
Turkeys kept frozen in the freezer should be cooked within one year for best quality.

Thawing Your Turkey

In the Refrigerator (40°F or below)

Keep the turkey in its original wrapper. Place it on a tray or in a pan to catch any juices that may leak. A thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days. If necessary, a turkey that has been properly thawed in the refrigerator may be refrozen. When thawing in the refrigerator, allow 24 hours thawing time for every 5 pounds of turkey.

4 to 12 pounds = 1 to 3 days
12 to 16 pounds = 3 to 4 days
16 to 20 pounds = 4 to 5 days
20 to 24 pounds = 5 to 6 days

In Cold Water

When thawing in cold water, allow 30 minutes per pound and change the water every 30 minutes until the turkey is thawed. Wrap your turkey securely, making sure the water is not able to leak through the wrapping. Submerge your wrapped turkey in cold tap water. Change the water every 30 minutes. Cook the turkey immediately after it is thawed. Do not refreeze. Allow approximately 30 minutes per pound.

4 to 12 pounds = 2 to 6 hours
12 to 16 pounds = 6 to 8 hours
16 to 20 pounds = 8 to 10 hours
20 to 24 pounds = 10 to 12 hours

In the Microwave

When thawing in the microwave, follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and plan to cook the turkey immediately after thawing because some areas of the turkey may become warm and begin to cook during microwave thawing.

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

Former Principal’s Wooden Santas On Display At Molino Library

November 24, 2014

Hand-carved wooden Santas created by a former principal are on display this month at the Molino Branch Library.

Dale Cooey was principal of Molino Elementary School and Molino Park Elementary School from 1997-2007, and was also principal at Barrineau Park Elementary school during the consolidation into Molino Park.  He apprenticed under his uncle was a master wood carver.

Through a one year grant from the Florida Folk Art Association, Cooey and his uncle  began showing their carvings and received several blue ribbons.  The “Santa with the Tree” carving included in the display case won a blue ribbon this year at the Pensacola State Fair. His carvings are made from cypress knees and bass wood.

Pictured: Wooden Santas on display at the Molino Branch Library. Courtesy photo for, click to enlarge.

Firefighters Hold Annual Toy Drive For Needy Kids

November 23, 2014

The Atmore Fire Department held their annual toy drive Saturday in Atmore, collecting Christmas toys for needy children in the Atmore area. photos, click to enlarge.

Weekend Gardening: What To Do Before November’s End

November 23, 2014

Here is your November gardening calendar from the University of Florida/IFAS Extension:

What to Plant

  • Bedding Plants: Create a display of fall colors with cool season plants. Some to try are pansy, viola, and chrysanthemum.
  • Bulbs: Bulbs to plant this month include amaryllis, crinum, and daylily. Plant Lycoris (spider lily) in partial shade. Plants will produce foliage in winter and beautiful red flowers emerge in late summer.
  • Herbs: Continue planting herbs from seeds or plants. A wide variety of herbs like cooler, dryer weather, including cilantro, dill, fennel, parsley, sage, and thyme.
  • Vegetables: Continue planting cool season crops such as beet, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, kale, and lettuce.

What to Do

  • Citrus: If freezing temperatures are predicted, protect small citrus trees by watering  well at least a day before the freeze. You may also use covers that extend to the
  • ground for protection.
  • Scale on ornamental plants: Now that temperatures are lower, use dormant oil sprays to control scale insects on trees and shrubs.
  • Irrigation: Plants need less supplemental watering in cooler weather. Turn off  systems and water only if needed.
  • Flowering Trees: Taiwan cherry is an ornamental cherry suitable for north Florida. Late winter will bring pink buds so consider planting one now.
  • Birds: As you prune your plants during the cooler months, make a small brush pile in the back of the yard for birds.
  • Camellias: Add some of the new cultivars for bright spots of color in winter. Disbudding, or removing some buds now, will insure larger blooms later.

What to Do Every Month

  • Adjust irrigation based on rainfall.
  • Deadhead flowers to encourage new blooms.
  • Monitor the garden for insects and disease.
  • Plant trees, shrubs, and perennials and water until established.

NHS Fellowship Of Christian Athletes Holds Community Worship Service

November 20, 2014

The Northview High School Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) sponsored a student led worship event Wednesday night in the school gymnasium.

Northview students joined with area churches to present the service which included music, student testimonies and a message from guest speaker Pastor Nathan Brown of Ray’s Chapel Baptist Church. photos, click to enlarge.

Operation Christmas Child Collections In Full Swing At FBC Bratt

November 20, 2014

Wednesday night, youth at the First Baptist Church of Bratt packed  shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child.

It’s National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child at the church. or the 21st year, the simple, gift-filled shoe boxes will bring Christmas joy and evangelistic materials to children in over 130 countries across the world.

The First Baptist  Church of Bratt is the official OCC Relay Center for the north end of Escambia County, FL, through next Monday. The FBC Bratt will also accept boxes from individuals, groups or churches in Escambia County, AL, again this year.

Remaining collection hours at the First Baptist Church of Bratt are:

  • Thursday, Nov. 20: 8 a.m. – noon
  • Friday, Nov. 21: 8 a.m. – noon
  • Saturday, Nov. 22: 8 a.m. – noon
  • Sunday, Nov. 23: 8 a.m. – noon, 4-6 p.m.
  • Monday, Nov. 24: 8 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Operation Christmas Child boxes should be packed in a specific manner, and there are changes this year. For more information, call Hawsey at the First Baptist Church of Bratt at (850) 327-6529, visit, or call (800) 353-5949. Resources are available for churches that wish to participate.

Pictured: Youth at the First  Baptist Church of Bratt packed Operation Christmas Child boxes Wednesday night. Photos by Marcella Wilson for, click to enlarge.

Great American Smoke Out; Tobacco Free Florida Can Help

November 20, 2014

Thursday was the Great American Smokeout, and the Florida Department of Health’s Tobacco Free Florida program is encouraging tobacco users across the state to quit  or at least make a quit plan.

The Great American Smokeout, sponsored by the American Cancer Society, is currently in its 39th year. The observance raises awareness about the dangers of smoking and the many effective resources available to successfully quit.

“Though the prevalence of adult and youth smoking in Florida continues to decline we must remain vigilant in our efforts to help Floridians end their use of cigarette products,” said State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong. “When you make the decision to quit you are taking a step in the right direction to improve health for yourself, your loved ones and your community.”

While quitting tobacco is difficult, it is not impossible. There are more former smokers in Florida than there are current smokers.[i] Those who have tried to quit in the past but relapsed are encouraged to try again. Many former smokers make several attempts before quitting permanently.

Tobacco Free Florida offers three “free and easy” ways to quit using tobacco:

  • CALL: Call the Florida Quitline at 1-877-U-CAN-NOW to speak with a Quit Coach who will help assess a user’s addiction and help create a personalized quit plan.
  • CLICK: Enroll in the Web Coach which will help to create a web-based quit plan unique to each individual user, visit
  • COME IN: Visit AHEC’s website,, to locate a local AHEC and sign up for Quit Smoking Now group classes.

The Department’s Tobacco Free Florida campaign is a statewide cessation and prevention campaign funded by Florida’s tobacco settlement fund. Tobacco users interested in quitting are encouraged to use one of the state’s three ways to quit. Since 2007, more than 93,400 Floridians have successfully quit using one of these free services.

Health Department, UWF ‘AIM’ To Reduce Escambia Infant Mortality

November 19, 2014

The Florida Department of Health in Escambia County and the University of West Florida are working to reduce infant mortality in Escambia County.

Attack Infant Mortality (AIM) Escambia is a collaboration of  the health department, UWF, and other community agencies dedicated to infant health. AIM Escambia’s primary objective is to reduce the rate of infant mortality in Escambia County, Florida.

An infant mortality occurs when a child dies before his or her first birthday. The infant mortality rate for 2011-2013 in Escambia County, Florida was 7.6 per 1,000 live births, which was above the state average.

Parental health, especially the mother’s health, affects the health of children in gestation and in infancy. AIM Escambia uses peer educators to encourage young adults to adopt lifestyle habits known to impact health in pregnancy and infancy. According to UWF Assistant Professor and AIM Escambia Program Manager, Dr. Erica Jordan, “If we truly want to save the lives of young infants, then we must begin long before they are actually conceived. Increasing healthy behaviors among young adults before they begin families will lead to healthier pregnancies and healthier infants.”

FDOH-Escambia Director, Dr. John Lanza agrees: “A mother’s health before pregnancy predicts later infant health. Healthier communities include healthier mothers who, in turn, have healthier infants.”

Both men and women are encouraged to become peer educators. Interested community members can learn more about volunteering at or by visiting AIM Escambia on Facebook or Twitter.

Just Nuts: Bratt Elementary Students Learn About Peanuts, Nutrition

November 19, 2014

Students at Bratt Elementary School learned about peanuts, farming and nutrition Tuesday morning during an Escambia Count Extension program. Pictured above: Local farmer Scott Walker shares his story about growing peanuts with Bratt Elementary School third graders. Pictured below: Making homemade peanut butter. Courtesy photos for, click to enlarge.

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