The New Ernest Ward: Where To Park, And Where Is The Front Door?

July 29, 2015

As the new Ernest Ward Middle School nears completion, and the new school year nears the first day, here’s a look at where to park and how to find the not-so-obvious front door.

Since students moved into the school back in February, parents and visitors have used a side parking lot and door to enter the school.  That side door is now locked on a regular basis, and that parking lot is for employees and will be closed to the public.

Parents and the public should enter and exit from the northernmost gate on Highway 97. That’s the one farthest away, not actually in front of the school, all the way up near the fire department (pictured above).

The other Highway 97 gate, located in front of the school, is closest to the front door. But it’s the wrong way in. This gate (pictured above) is only for buses to exit and is marked “Do Not Enter”.

Back to that northernmost gate for the public, up near the fire department. After driving through the gate(pictured above), it’s still hard to even see the front door. But it’s there. Just keep driving and find the parking spaces, which, by the way, still are not in front of the front door.

The awning, and the driveway the loops around to the right of the above photo the student drop-off and pick-up line. The parking lot is to the the left (look for the arrow to the left of the picture). It’s still very hard to see and find the front door from here, but it’s there.

From the public parking lot the front of the school looks like this. Over on the bottom left of the photos, at the end of the awning, is the elusive front door of Ernest Ward Middle School. The awning, and the driveway that loops around by the front door, is the student drop-off and pick-up line for parents.

And finally, here are the front doors — the only doors that will be unlocked for the rest of the summer and during the school  year for the public to use.

There are plans to install signage to help those entering the campus, but those signs may not be completed in time for the first day of school.

Local National Guard Unit Deploys

July 27, 2015

A deployment ceremony was held Sunday morning in Pensacola for the Florida Army National Guard’s 1st Squadron, 153rd Cavalry Regiment. Almost 100 members of the squadron are deploying to the Horn of Africa in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Gov. Rick Scott was on hand to wish the troops well, along with families, friends, dignitaries and military leaders from the Florida National Guard.

After leaving Pensacola Sunday, the soldier traveled to Ft. Bliss TX, for additional training prior to the overseas deployment for the estimated year-long mission.

Photos for, click to enlarge.

Storytime Held Each Week At The Local Library

July 26, 2015

The West Florida Public Library offers Story Time for children five and younger each week. Story Time programs introduce young children to books, rhymes, music and other fun activities. The events incorporate the early literacy skills that children must master before they can learn to read.

Story Time is held:

Main Library

  • Weekly on Wednesday, 10:30 a.m.

Century Branch

  • Weekly on Thursday, 4 p.m.

Southwest Branch

  • Weekly on Tuesday, 10:30 a.m.

Tryon Branch

  • Mommy & Me Lap-sit Story Time for Babies Weekly on Tuesday, 10:30 a.m.
  • Preschool Story Time - Weekly on Thursday, 10:30 a.m.

Molino Branch

  • Weekly on Wednesday, 10:30 a.m.

Westside Branch

  • Weekly on Thursday, 11:30 a.m.

For more information call (850) 436-5060 or visit The events are always free of charge.

Council On Aging Needs Fans, Air Conditioners For Seniors

July 26, 2015

The Council on Aging of West Florida is in need of donations to help senior clients stay cool during the hot summer months.

Many clients are in need of fans and air conditioners. Donations, which must be new in the box with a standard 120 volt plug, can be dropped off at the Council on Aging Office at 875 Royce Street in Pensacola.

Donations towards fans and air conditioners can also be made by calling (850) 432-1475.

Pictured top: The Association of Monsanto Solutia Retirees recently donated $1,000 to the Council on Aging of West Florida to purchase air conditioners for needy seniors. Courtesy photo for, click to enlarge

Weekend Gardening: Distinctly Southern Hydrangeas

July 25, 2015

by Santa Rosa County Extension

Nothing defines a southern landscape more than hydrangeas.

These beautiful, large flowering shrubs fill gardens with their green, leafy foliage and incredible blooms during the warm months.

In order to ensure consistent and reliable blooms, these shrubs must be cared for correctly. In addition to proper site location, fertilizer and moisture conditions, hydrangeas may require pruning. Proper pruning includes correct timing.

Hydrangea aficionados are constantly debating pruning techniques. There are many different types of hydrangeas and pruning differs according to the type. It is a big genus of plants and so it’s important to know what type of hydrangeas you may have and on what type of wood they bloom on.

Blooms on old wood, prune after flowering

The bigleaf hydrangeas, known scientifically as Hydrangea macrophylla, are what most people think of when you mention hydrangeas. Most gardeners will know these as mopheads (also called hortensias) and lacecaps. Many of these blooms will be blue or pink although other colors now are available.

Many large colonies of bigleaf hydrangeas have existed around old homes for decades, surviving and blooming in spite of neglect.  This tells us that it is not necessary to prune bigleaf hydrangeas.

However, if you want to keep these shrubs within a defined boundary, control their height or rejuvenate old shrubs, it will be necessary to prune them.

Bigleaf hydrangeas can be reduced in size immediately after flowering.  A general rule of thumb is that you may remove up to a third of the shrub’s height.  Be sure to complete your pruning before August.  This is critical because next year flower blooms start to form in August.  Pruning after August will remove next year’s blooms.

There now is a small group of bigleaf hydrangeas that are everblooming or remontant.  Endless Summer® is one well-known brand.  According to the developers of these reblooming hydrangeas, remove spent flowers to encourage rebloom.  They are quite forgiving and will not suffer if left unpruned or pruned at the wrong time because these cultivars bloom on both old and new growth.

Our native oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) is a large, deciduous shrub that can grow up to six feet tall.  It has deeply lobed, oak-like leaves which turn bronze in the fall.   This plant does not usually need pruning. If reshaping or size-reduction is necessary, prune after blooms begin to fade.

Article Continues Below Photo

Lacecap hydrangea

Blooms on new wood, prune in early spring

Smooth hydrangea (H. arborescens) is the other U.S. native. The most common cultivar, ‘Annabelle’, produces rounded inflorescences that may reach up to a foot in diameter.

The panicle hydrangea (H. paniculata) is more of an upright type.  It is typically a 10 to 15-foot large shrub or low-branched tree.

Panicle and smooth hydrangeas flower on current year’s growth and can be pruned anytime from late summer until early spring. If pruning these two species in the spring, try to prune before leaves appear.

Winter pruning

Established bigleaf, panicle, oakleaf and smooth hydrangea plants can often benefit from rejuvenation pruning. Remove about one-third of the oldest stems each year.  The result is a fuller, healthier plant. This type of pruning is easiest to do in winter, since the absence of leaves makes it easier to see and reach inside plants.

Hydrangeas offer a wide variety of plants which can make the timing of pruning difficult to remember.  Just keep in mind, if in doubt, either don’t prune at all or prune after flowering.

Escambia Schools Summer Class Of 2015 Graduates (With List)

July 24, 2015

The Escambia County School District held their Summer Commencement Exercises today for 47 members of the Class of 2015.

They were commended by Superintendent Malcolm Thomas for their determination to “hang in there and not give up until you could walk out of here with a diploma in your hand.”

Thomas spoke to the graduates about Walt Disney and Elvis Presley  who were each told they didn’t have what it would take to be successful. But they didn’t give up. Thomas also thanked everyone in the room who had supported the students in their efforts to complete high school and reminded the students that “none of those people control your next step. You made the choice to be here today. There is always a way to find success, if you don’t give up.”

Summer Graduates Class of 2015:

Tate High School

  • Logan Taylor Ahl
  • Sheldon Wayne Biggs
  • Emmalie Desirae Earnest
  • Dalton Ray Flowers
  • Ashton Daniel Hand
  • Samuel Vernon Henke
  • Johnnie Randall Jarman
  • Keith Michael Maresca
  • Tara Grace Maresca
  • Savannah Graye Marron
  • Jacob Bryce Marsh
  • Quintin Dante McGhee
  • Dominick Anthony Mondello
  • Cory James Walker
  • Arkisha Lashae Williams

District Extended Program

  • Demondo Weathers

Pine Forest High School

  • Tatiana Janae Andrews
  • Stephen Brent Bodree
  • Amie Marie Bradley
  • Christopher Peter Jaycub Byrd
  • Nicholas Ryan Coon
  • Devin Austin Cushing
  • Rolence Dubois
  • Marcus Jermon Ephfrom
  • Samuel Miguel Fast
  • Wesley Shane Gainey
  • Paul Tyler Jesus Garcia
  • Michael Guadulupe Gonzalez Clark
  • Arthur Edward Hampton
  • Creay Tonetta Howard
  • Bruce Edward Lindsey
  • Cassandra Maxine Mayon
  • Dylan Ross McFadyen
  • Shaunderrick Ja’Marcus Jerome Purifoy
  • Christopher Jordan Rape
  • Steven Chappell Smith
  • Tanner G. Ward

Escambia High School

  • Matthew Budzinsky
  • Amanda Gelano
  • Ethan Griffith
  • Xavier Pope

Booker T. Washington High School

  • Cameron David Carr
  • Melody Chen
  • Robert Wade Fretland
  • Qudarius Timothy Sanders
  • Jacob Morgan Vincent
  • Logan Dakota Yancy

Escambia Virtual School

  • Kenthea Davis

Tate Freshmen: Don’t Miss ‘Aggie Day’ On Thursday

July 21, 2015

Tate High School is inviting all incoming freshmen to participate in “Aggie Day”on Thursday, hosted by Tate’s leadership clubs. During the event, ninth graders will divide into small groups and will attend a series of workshops. They will learn the campus, review school rules, discuss study habits and have the chance to make new friends.

Aggie Day will begin at 9 a.m., with freshmen to be dropped off at the “new gym” and picked up by noon. Lunch will not be provided, but students are encouraged to bring a snack and a bottle of water. If parents wish to stay on campus during the event, a parent waiting area will be provided in the administrative conference room.

Because this is the school’s first Aggie Day, freshmen are asked to RSVP by clicking here so that the number of workshops can be planned accordingly.

Student schedules will not be available at this event, which will be led by students unable to answer questions regarding specific student schedules.

K-9 Officer ‘Mink’ Retires

July 20, 2015

Escambia County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Mink retired from service last week. The German Shepherd and his handler, Deputy 1st Class Michael Milstead have been responsible for many suspect and narcotics finds throughout the last five years, according to the ECSO. Mink will spend his retirement with Milstead and his family. Courtesy photo for, click to enlarge.

That’s Cool: Molino’s Only Igloo Ready For A Week Of VBS

July 19, 2015

For a really cool Vacation Bible School during this hot summer, Aldersgate United Methodist Church members constructed an igloo. They collected over 1,000 gallon jugs for the project and spend days gluing together the self-supporting structure. With a forecast of a little fake snow by the end of Sunday, the igloo will be ready to Aldersgate’s Vacation Bible School this week.

“Camp Edge” VBS will be held each night, Monday – Friday, this week at Aldersgate United Methodist Church on Highway 29 just south of Highway 97 in Molino from 5:30 until 8:30 p.m. The VBS is for children age 3 to rising 5th graders. For more information, contact Sandra at (850) 587-2489.

Scroll through the photos below to watch the construction of Molino’s only igloo progress.

Submitted photos for, click to enlarge.

Council On Aging Needs Fans, Air Conditioners For Seniors

July 17, 2015

The Council on Aging of West Florida is in need of donations to help senior clients stay cool during the hot summer months.

Many clients are in need of fans and air conditioners. Donations, which must be new in the box with a standard 120 volt plug, can be dropped off at the Council on Aging Office at 875 Royce Street in Pensacola.

Online donations towards fans and air conditioners can also be made by calling (850) 432-1475.

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