Camp Fire Century Campers Make Solar S’mores

June 15, 2019

Summer campers at the Camp Fire Century Youth Learning Century have been busy with several activities, including making “solar s’mores”, designing an obstacle course and a trip to the Century splash pad. Photos for, click to enlarge.

Here’s What We Found When We Visited The Escambia County Animal Shelter

June 14, 2019

We recently paid a visit to the Escambia County Animal Shelter, and here’s what we found.

It was a bittersweet trip, a few weeks after the passing of our almost 14-year old Harley, a oversized Maine Coon kitty that when healthy weighed about 18 pounds.

Animal shelter staff had no idea they were speaking to anyone from, and nothing was mentioned during our visit to give them any reason to think they should try to impress. But impress they did.

They were busy on a Saturday afternoon not long before closing time. But we were greeted quickly after entering the bright, friendly lobby. We explained we were looking for a cat, and we inquired about Roscoe (we later dropped the “e” in the spelling, so we’ll call him Rosco for the rest of this story).

We’d found Rosco using the online search linked from the county website. He caught our eye because he was a pretty big guy, about 12 pounds, and because he had been at the shelter over two months, longer than any other kitty as of that day. Also, he is three years old…past that wild kitten tearing up the couch stage.

“Oh! You’re here about Rosco,” the animal shelter staffer said. “I think he’s still here, but I’ll go look.”

In the meantime, staff explained the two areas with kitties. One, a couple of rooms off the main lobby, held felines in their kennels. Many were not yet ready for adoption, on medical holds or waiting out their time for someone to claim them. If the cat was available for adoption, it could be removed from the kennel for a play session. Visitors were playing, well trying to catch up with, a fast little fluffy grey kitten. He was going home today.

We looked around, playing with a few and reading the info cards posted on each kennel. The room and the kennel were well kept and very clean. No scary smells.

The staffer returned.

“Rosco is still here. He’s in the Catnip Cafe,” she said with a smile. Well more of a grin.

The Catnip Cafe? Had Starbucks expanded their empire to the animal shelter? Little grande catnip fraps, perhaps?

The Catnip Cafe (pictured top) was another room where the kitties had their kennels for private space but were free to roam and play. Behind the bright pink door, there were plenty of toys and lots for a kitty to do. Climbing shelves on the walls, cat towers and even toy fish tanks for entertainment. There was also an enclosed outdoor patio for the outdoor types. Again, it was all bright, clean and free of odors.

There in the middle of the room, sitting alone on the benches for people to sit and visit, was Rosco, a big guy that seemed to be in charge.

I sat down next to Rosco and started petting him. He purred, kind of loudly. Three strokes later, he bit me. My wife petted him. And he bit her.

We played with the other cats in the room, and my wife fell for Oreo. A handsome black and white in color fellow that’s five years old. He enjoyed being held like a baby. Total opposite of Rosco.

But there was just something about Rosco I just liked.

My hand had stopped bleeding, so I decided to sit down next to him and try again. He purred. And bit me again.

“Oh you found Rosco! He has been here awhile,” the staffer said when she returned. And she began to tell his story.

Turns out Rosco was a tough guy with plenty of street cred around the shelter. We were told he suffered from overstimulation aggression. That’s vet lingo for pet him and at any moment he will turn and bite or scratch when he’s had enough. Tough guy.

My wife really wanted Oreo, and I liked something about Rosco. We decided to adopt them both.

We let shelter staff know, and excited word begin to spread that Rosco was going home. All the staff knew him.

Animal shelter employee Aleisha Blair took care of the adoption paperwork, and had plenty of Rosco stories. “He can get pretty aggressive,” she said. “He would always make a good barn cat if things don’t work out as an inside cat.”

She showed us pictures of Rosco on her phone. It was obvious that Aleisha cares a lot about shelter animals, as did everyone that we met. We just can’t say enough nice things about the shelter, staff and volunteers.

Rosco and Oreo have been at their new furever home for about three weeks now. Both have fit in well and have become an important part of our family, and the family (they are even learning that certain sounds on the fire scanner mean dad is going somewhere).

Oh, and as for Roco’s big bad aggression problem, the picture below tells the story. With a happy home away from the shelter, he’s become a big baby that loves attention and loves to sleep.

For information on the Escambia County Animal Shelter, click here. Adoption fees include spay or neuter, microchip, heartworm tests, basic vaccinations including rabies, and other veterinary care as needed while at the shelter. photos, click to enlarge.

ECUA Helps Prep Local 4-H Students Headed To Legislative Program

June 13, 2019

Escambia County 4-H members were busy this week preparing for a mock legislative program in Tallahassee.

Annually, 4-H high schools members from Escambia County join other 4-H members in Tallahassee to develop their debating, analyzing legislation, and public speaking skills through a mock legislature program at the state capitol. This year’s program is scheduled for June 24-28.

This civic education event allows students to write bills, act as lobbyists, pass the bills through various committees and debate the potential laws on the state house and/or senate floor as acting representatives and senators. This exercise provides the 4-H’ers an opportunity to debate issues and experience the legislative process firsthand.

In preparation for the week of mock legislature, the Emerald Coast Utilities Authority (ECUA) hosted the students on Tuesday, June 11, in the ECUA board room, allowing the students to practice their legislative skills in a governmental chamber environment. The training prepared the students for the upcoming 4-H Legislature and gain an understanding of board proceedings similar to legislative committees that are conducted in organizations in all forms of government and private corporate enterprise.

The local students have participated in an intensive five-part training program, which was directed by 4-H agents and adult volunteers, who contributed their knowledge of parliamentary procedure, research, debate, the art of persuasion, and formal presentation in committee and chamber sessions.

Photos for, click to enlarge.

Bratt Elementary Collects 65 Pounds Of Pop Tabs For Ronald McDonald House

June 11, 2019

The students at Bratt Elementary School collected 65 pounds of pop tabs -those little pull tabs off the tops of aluminum drink cans — to benefit the Ronald McDonald House of Northwest Florida.

The school collected 65 pounds, or about 82,355 tabs.

The money from recycling the tabs are used by the Ronald McDonald House to help pay their water bill.

Pictured: Bratt Elementary school secretary Heather Roley and her daughter Makinzi (pictured) dropped off the school’s 65 pound pop tab donation at the Ronald McDonald House. Courtesy photo for, click to enlarge.

Kids Enjoy Moon Rocks And Meals At Carver Park

June 10, 2019

Kids at Carver Park in Cantonment has the chance recently to check out real moon rocks and enjoy a free meal.

The West Florida Library presented the special program with the moon rocks and meteorite samples that are on loan from NASA.

Volunteers from the Ascend Cares Foundation helped serve meals in the Summer Breakspot program. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services partners with schools and organizations to provide free meals to kids and teens from low-income areas.

North Escambia BreakSpot sites include:

  • West Florida Library, 7991 N. Century Blvd, Century
  • Camp Fire Century Youth Learning Center, 6031 Industrial, Century
  • West Florida Library, 6450 Highway 95A N STE A, Molino
  • Quintette Community Park, 2490 Quintette Lane, Cantonment
  • Carver Park Resource Center, 208 Webb Street, Cantonment
  • Tate High School, 1771 Tate Road, Cantonment
  • McArthur Summer Day Camp, 330 E Ten Mile Road, Pensacola

For hours of operation and other locations, click here.

Photos for North, click to enlarge.

Summer Breakspots Offer Free Meals Across North Escambia Area

June 4, 2019

To help ensure that Florida children have access to wholesome meals during summer break, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services partners with schools and organizations to provide free meals to kids and teens from low-income areas.

The Summer BreakSpot Program provides meals at no cost to children 18 and under, while schools are closed for the summer. Last summer, more than 4,000 sites helped serve nearly 15 million meals to children across Florida.

North Escambia BreakSpot sites include:

  • West Florida Library, 7991 N. Century Blvd, Century
  • Camp Fire Century Youth Learning Center, 6031 Industrial, Century
  • West Florida Library, 6450 Highway 95A N STE A, Molino
  • Quintette Community Park, 2490 Quintette Lane, Cantonment
  • Carver Park Resource Center, 208 Webb Street, Cantonment
  • Tate High School, 1771 Tate Road, Cantonment
  • McArthur Summer Day Camp, 330 E Ten Mile Road, Pensacola

For hours of operation and other locations, click here.

Meals are available on a first come, first served basis. Acceptance and participation are the same for all children. Summer BreakSpot is part of the National Summer Food Service Program, a federally-funded program operated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Pictured: The Summer BreakSpot at Carver Park in Cantonment on Monday. Courtesy photos for, click to enlarge.

Northview 4-H Volunteers At Panhandle Equine Rescue

June 2, 2019

The Northview 4-H Club recently volunteered at Panhandle Equine Rescue. Nine students and four adults did various barn chores around the equire rescue as a community service project. Photos for, click to enlarge.

ECSD Names School Age Child Care Director of the Year From McArthur Elementary

June 1, 2019

Angela James, McArthur Elementary School’s school age child care director has been recognized as Escambia School District’s Outstanding Child Care Director of the Year.

“This was my first year that I had some of my kindergartners go into the fifth grade and leave,” James (pictured above in blue) explained. “Getting down to the last couple of weeks, I said, ‘Wow, you were with me when I first came here and now you are getting ready to leave me,’ and it was very emotional because I have watched them go from kindergarten to fifth grade. It’s hard to see them go.”

Last year, James started a summer program on McArthur’s campus because she listened to the parents and heard a need. “I scouted out this area for affordable childcare, and there wasn’t a program.” So, she took her proposal to Aisha Adkison, ECSD Workforce Education’s School-Age Child Care Administrator.

James praises the ECSD Workforce Department for allowing them to start the summer program, and her staff for their integral part in the success of the program. “They love the kids just like I do and all I can say is, I have been blessed with a staff that will go above and beyond with me.”

Summer participant, McKynleigh Montano will tell you that all of the staff members are, “really nice. We go outside a lot and we go outside on Fridays for water days, and that’s really fun.” When asked about the award presented to James, Montano said, “I am really happy for her and I’m shocked because she does the best!. And I never knew that this day would come. She is nice to all of us and I am just so happy to have her.”

A bonus staff member is Jason Lewis. Jason attended McArthur Elementary School and he was one of James’ after-school kids. Now, he is about to start high school and this summer he is back helping the staff in a variety of ways. When asked what he is learning from this experience, he explained that he is “learning how to take care of things, to be like them (indicating the staff), and leadership.”

The staff plans indoor and outdoor activities including crafts. This year they are adding field trips to go bowling, skating, to a bounce house and the park.

And, James did her homework. She found out that if she and her staff completed annual training with Feeding the Gulf Coast, her students could get lunch and an afternoon snack.

“It is awesome that we can provide this here,” said James. The program operates Monday through Friday from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. She currently has room for ten more students. During the summer, they are not restricted to McArthur students the way they are during the school year.

“James works with her principal, district staff, PTA and community organizations to achieve this feat,” explained Adkison. “Angela and her staff members go above and beyond to ensure her children at McArthur experience a high-quality child care program during the school year, as well as this summer program.”

Additional attributes that her supervisors praise James for are, her outstanding record keeping, inspirational leadership abilities, and for following all process requirements.

“Even better than all of that is that she can do all of that and also be so loved by the students and their parents,” Adkison added.

Photo Gallery: Northview High Class Of 2019 Graduation

May 23, 2019

The Northview High School Class of 2019 graduated last Saturday.

For a photo gallery, click here. (Editor’s note: This Facebook photo gallery is provided as a public service. Feel free to *share* or tag the posts, but do not download and post the copyrighted photos.)

For an earlier story with a list of all graduates, click here. photos, click to enlarge.

Bratt Elementary Celebrates Reading With Superhero Party

May 21, 2019

Monday, Bratt Elementary School held a superhero themed Accelerated Reader party for students that met their reading goals for the year.

For a photo gallery, click here. photos, click to enlarge.

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