Northview Grad’s Team Wins Regional Robotics Competition

April 28, 2015

Northview High School graduate Colton Sims was a member of a team that won the recent 2015 SoutheastCon Hardware Competition in Fort Lauderdale. Sims is currently a senior at the University of South Alabama and will graduate in May with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering.

Over 50 engineering colleges across the Southeastern U.S. participated in this year’s competition.

Sims and his fellow students began work on their robot – lovingly named “Betsy” – when competition rules were announced in October 2014. Their autonomous robot had to run through a maze and complete four retro-themed tasks: play Simon Says for 15-seconds, rotate a Rubik’s Cube section 180 degrees, write “IEEE” on an Etch a Sketch, and remove the top card of the deck. The robot had to drive itself up to each game, physically manipulate the game correctly, and complete all four in five minutes.

Each team had three attempts at the maze and points were awarded for each task and for the time of each run. The University of South Alabama was the only team to achieve three perfect runs – successfully completing all four tasks each time.

”I knew the students were up to something good when they showed me the working Etch-a-Sketch in February,” said faculty advisor Dr. Russ. “So I was hoping they would be competitive. But first place? That is superb! I wish I could take more credit, but they did all the work themselves – very impressive!”

The team left Mobile the Friday of the conference driving 12 hours straight to the competition location. They faced a few glitches with their robot upon arrival and worked through the night getting “Betsy” ready for the next day. Sims and the four other USA students did not sleep until the competition was over Saturday afternoon.

One of the most impressive things about this win was the meager $1,500 budget the team had to work with to build the robot itself – compared to the several thousand dollars some of the other leading teams had. Team Captain Andrew Braun gives high praise to the College of Engineering.

Pictured top: University of South Alabama students accepting their trophy at the 2015 IEEE SoutheastCon Awards Banquet. From left, Northview graduate Colton Sims and fellow students Jan Hellmich, Andrew Braun, SoutheastCon Representative, Nicholas Carroll, and Kenneth Leggett. Pictured inset: The team’s robot “Betsy”. Courtesy photos for, click to enlarge.

Prayer And WD-40: 106-Year Old Hattie Schneider Passes Away

April 27, 2015

One of the North Escambia area’s oldest residents has passed way. Hattie Schneider of Molino turn 106 last March, giving credit for her long life to “prayer and WD-40″, and her trust in the Lord.

She is survived by several grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren. Her husband passed away in 1989.

Her family and friends said they thank God everyday for blessing them with her, and she was a true inspiration to everyone.

Visitation for Hattie Gay Schneider will be this Wednesday, April 29, from 10-11 a.m. at Highland Baptist Church in Molino, with funeral services set for 11 a.m.

Reimagine Century To Return Next Month

April 26, 2015

In just a few short weeks, the faithful will reach out during Reimagine Century to touch the hearts and lives of area residents in need.

“Reimagine Century is going to be better than last year. It’s going to be an event where businesses, the community, agencies, industries and churches come together to not only bless the impoverished, but to unite and serve each other,” said organizer Linda English.

She said the volunteers are on a mission to serve those less fortunate — both  their physical and spiritual needs.

“We do this first and foremost to emphasize that we are one body of Christ. We have lots of denominations, we have racial division, so for one day come together and all that racial division falls down, all that denomination differences fall down, and we just serve Jesus, the one thing we have in common,” she said. “As we do that, we get the benefit of doing what the Bible says, which is to love on each other and love on the poor.”

“It’s honor to serve those individuals that are in need,” English said.

The event will include a wide variety of activities, including a 15,000 pound food giveaway, health screenings, AIDS testing, diabetes information, live music, fishing lessons from Mission Fishin’, free manicures, information from community agencies, a clothing giveaway, free lunch, free haircuts, youth and teen activities and sports, a diaper giveaway and more.

Reimagine Century 2015 will be held Saturday, May 16 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the old Century High School at 440 Hecker Road.

For more information or to become a part of Reimagine Century, call Linda English at (850) 454-5280 or Greg English (850) 712-8397.

Reimagine Century is sponsored in part by numerous organizations, including

Pictured: The first Reimagine Century event last September. photos, click to enlarge.

Escambia County Honors Longtime Firefighter KC Fehl

April 25, 2015

The Escambia County Commission has issued a proclamation in honor of longtime volunteer fireman K.C. Fehl upon his retirement.

Fehl retired from Escambia County Fire Rescue on April 1 after 28 years of service. He joined the Cantonment Volunteer Fire Department in January 1987 after his interest in fire service was sparked by a neighbor’s yard fire. He was promoted to the rank of lieutenant in late 1990 and then soon reached the rank captain.

He left the Cantonment VFD for a short time to serve with the Molino Volunteer Fire Department before returning to Cantonment.

Fehl left the fire department in 2003 to start his service as an Escambia County Sheriff’s Office reserve deputy where he served until 2010. He moved to the Cantonment VFD’s board of directors so he could spend more time with his son by coaching his baseball team. In December 2005, he switched to “line duty” with the VFD as a driver with his son Kenny, who is now a career firefighter. Fehl was soon, once again, promoted to lieutenant and then to assistant chief. He also served the Ferry Pass fire district for just over a year.

“With his retirement, Escambia County has lost an invaluable resource that will be impossible to replace,” the county’s proclamation stated.

Commissioners congratulated Fehl, and his wife, Susan Fehl, for their years of service.

Pictured top: Susan Fehl, K.C. Fehl and Escambia Commissioner Grover Robinson. Photo for, click to enlarge.

Jim Allen Elementary Students Take Part In 4-H Speech Contest

April 25, 2015

Fourth graders at Jim Allen Elementary School took participated in the Tropicana 4-H Speech Contest on Friday.

First place was awarded to Destiny Williams, second to Joshua Jones and third to Savannah Guilford.

Fifth graders will also take part in the contest later this school year.

Pictured top: Jim Allen Elementary Tropicana 4-H Speech Contest winners (L-R) Savannah Guilford, third place;  Joshua Jones, second; and Destiny Williams, first. Below: Fourth grade participants. Submitted photos for, click to enlarge.

Bratt First Graders Present ‘How Does Your Garden Grow’ (With Gallery)

April 24, 2015

First grade students at Bratt Elementary School presented the program “How Does Your Garden Grow” Thursday morning for the student body and an encore performance Thursday night for parents  and friends. Submitted photos for, click to enlarge.

Best Of The Class Of 2015 Honored

April 23, 2015

Ninety of Escambia County’s high school seniors were honored Thursday tonight at the 2015 Senior Academic Awards presented by the Escambia County Public Schools Foundation.

Honorees include the top five students in each graduating class, as well as one student from each of five disciplines.  Escambia County’s National Merit Finalists and National Achievement Finalists were also honored.

Escambia High School: TOP FIVE: Samantha Finklestine, Ryan Fournier, Macayla Gilbert, Tara Skipton, Brian Thompson, DISCIPLINES: Corey Percle, Career & Technology, Britiny Hope Vetitoe, English, Johnathan Pierce, Foreign Language, Jacob Paul Rook, Math, Megan Gillis, Science, Airamis Perez, Social Studies

Northview High School: TOP FIVE: Tristan Brown, Matthew Ryan Chavers, Kyndall Hall, Mallory Ryan, Samantha Sharpless, DISCIPLINES: Tristan Williams, Career & Technology, Austin Cunningham, English, Adriann Lee, Foreign Language, Shania Ward, Math, Joshua Borelli, Science, Charmayne Fountain, Social Studies

Pensacola High School: TOP FIVE: Tanogela Brown, Dacon Buchanan, Savannah Colby, Chloe Gillman, Heather L. Sartain, DISCIPLINES: Seyviana A. Johnson, Career & Technology, Njeri K. Nelms, English, Alberto Bretado, Foreign Language, Wen Wen Xu, Math, Anissa Brooks, Science, Andrew H. Huynh, Social Studies

Pensacola High School IB Program: TOP FIVE: *Jett Crowdis, Krisha Gupta, *Olivia Liseth, *Shayli Patel, *Nadia Razek, DISCIPLINES Lauren Pederson, Career & Technology, Sarah Haley Lenga, English, *Claire Escobedo, Foreign Language, Grace Tan, Math, *Caroline Sullivan, Science, *Laurel Rush, Social Studies, *Lauren Shumpert

*National Merit Finalist

Pine Forest High School: TOP FIVE: Kevin Chen, John Orleans Degraft-Hanson, Karin Marie Fazio, Aubrey Hagle, De’zhanae Marie McCall-Butler, DISCIPLINES Chase Holland, Career & Technology, Vamina Stevenson, English, Brittany Haines, Foreign Language, Alyssa Johnson, Math, Wenjun Ye, Science, Connor Irby, Social Studies

Tate High School: TOP FIVE: Kyle Capehart, Sarah Colburn, Taylor Ertel, *Hannah Philips, Emily Washler, DISCIPLINES Chandler Cotton, Career & Technology, Paxton Metcalf, English, Kristin Wheeler, Foreign Language, Kayla Dixon, Math, Brandon Launstein, Science, Hannah Hargett, Social Studies

*National Merit Finalist

Washington High School: TOP FIVE Elizabeth Barbour, Grayson Evan Bell, Jessica Davis-Gunn, Mallory Lurate, Taylor Daniel Perkins, Michael D. Thompson, DISCIPLINES Mariah Bush, Career & Technology, Kayleigh Fails, English, Kayla Carter, Foreign Language, *Branch Robinson, Math, Jacob Michael Brown, Science, Bailey Elizabeth Porch, Social Studies

*National Achievement Finalist

West Florida High School: TOP FIVE Jamie Marie Butler, Devin Kelby McCormick, Amy Elizabeth Murph, Raleigh Elizabeth Nesbitt, Dane Theodore Stolsig, DISCIPLINES: Christopher “Chris” Manning, Career & Technology, Lauren Elaine Brown, English, Christian J. Gould, Foreign Language, Michael Allen Small, Math, Henry Aaron Windham Thompson, Science, Hydee Nguyen, Social Studies

Jay Pro Rodeo Friday And Saturday Nights

April 23, 2015

The 13th Annual Jay Pro Rodeo will be held Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. at Ted May Arena in Jay.

The 3R Rodeo Company will entertain the crowd with rodeo action including pro bull riding, saddle broncing, calf and team roping, steer wrestling, and women’s breakaway and barrel racing.  For the little ones, there’s the calf scramble, free bouncy area, and more. There will also be plenty of great food available at the concession stand.

Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. All proceeds benefit area youth program through the Jay High School SGA and Ted May Arena.

The arena is located a half mile east of the red light on Highway 4 in Jay. Parking is free. For more information, contact Fredrick Barrow at (850) 288-0634.

Three Molino Park Students Win Florida DEP Earth Day Poster Contest

April 22, 2015

The Molino Park Elementary School students were the winners of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Northwest District Earth Day Poster Contest. In celebration of Earth Day, the department invited fourth and fifth grade students from Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties to creatively illustrate the importance of protecting Florida’s beautiful natural environment: air, water, land and ecosystems.

Winners were:

Escambia County

  • First Place: Carolyn Wilbanks – Molino Park Elementary
  • Second Place: Cody Chavers – Molino Park Elementary
  • Third Place: Sarah Sconiers – Molino Park Elementary

Santa Rosa County

  • First Place: Gwyneth Jackson – Gulf Breeze Elementary
  • Second Place: Sean Johnson – Pea Ridge Elementary
  • Third Place: Lindsey Castor – Bagdad Elementary

Pictured top: DEP Escambia County Earth Day poster contest winners, all from Molino Park Elementary, are (L-R) Carolyn Wilbanks, first; Cody Chavers, second; and Sara Sconiers, third. Their posters are below. Courtesy photos for, click to enlarge.

First place Escambia County poster by Carlolyn Wilbanks (above).

Second place Escambia County poster by Cody Chavers (above).

Third place Escambia County poster by Sara Sconiers (above).

Fair Provides $30K In Educational Grants To Local Students

April 21, 2015

The Pensacola Interstate Fair, Inc. has given out a total of $30,000 for the 2014-2015 John E. Frenkel, Sr. Educational Grants.

This grant provides $1,000 each to 30 recipients, made payable to any accredited college.  Since the inception of the grant program in 1983, Pensacola Interstate Fair, Inc. has given over $1 million to local students.

These grants are restricted to graduating High School Seniors of Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties who, during their high school years, have participated in or volunteered at the Pensacola Interstate Fair.

The grant recipients for this year are:

  • Brandon H. Ingram, Central High School
  • Mark A. Reid, Escambia High School
  • Amanda S. Tanner, Escambia Virtual Academy
  • Sydney J. Ezelle, Gulf Breeze High School
  • Makenzie C. Bray, Jay High School
  • Kolby L. Copeland, Jay High School
  • Clayton T. Fischer, Jay High School
  • Tucker C. Harrington, Jay High School
  • Jeffery T. Kelley, Jay High School
  • Micah J. Kemp, Jay High School
  • Colby A. Odom, Jay High School
  • Tyler W. Odom, Jay High School
  • Alisa B. Roberts, Jay High School
  • Emily S. Russell, Jay High School
  • Kourtney P. Smith, Jay High School
  • Derrill S. Starling, Jay High School
  • Donald P. Cunningham, Pace High School
  • Elizabeth A. Parra, Pensacola High School (IB)
  • Erin B. Fairall, Pine Forest High School
  • Carissa J. Carroll, Tate High School
  • Tristan W. Fromm, Tate High School
  • Samantha Early, Washington High School
  • Amy K. Fellgren, Washington High School
  • Briahna D. McDavid, Washington High School
  • Christopher P. Searcy, Washington High School
  • Michaela A Tullius, Washington High School
  • Joshua L. McLamb, West Florida High School
  • Raleigh E. Nesbitt, West Florida High School
  • Hannah E. Power, West Florida High School
  • Josephine N. Venable, West Florida High School

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