Georgia Church Reaches The Needy in Century With Free Thanksgiving Lunch

November 28, 2014

They came from all walks of life Thursday in Century to enjoy a free Thanksgiving lunch spearheaded by a Georgia church.

From the unemployed, to the disabled, to folks just down on their luck, they came. And then there was the man who struggled against his emotions to explain that he had just found a job, but was not yet able to feed his family of seven a good, hot Thanksgiving lunch.

For Rivertown Church of Columbus, GA, it was the latest in several trips to Century.  It was their second year hosting a Century Thanksgiving lunch, and the church has reached out for a couple of years with volunteers painting and making improvements around the Carver Community Center in Century.

“We were looking around Pensacola for some outreach ministry opportunity where we could also maybe take our youth to the beach for a day,” Rivertown Senior Pastor David Rathel said Thursday. They spoke to ministry personnel at Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola.

“And they told us that there was this place we might not want to go called Century, FL,” Rathel said.  According to the American Community Survey from the U.S. Census Bureau,  Century is the 41st poorest place in America  and  the poorest place in the state of Florida. The median household income is just $17,188 — nearly half of all Century’s 1,698  residents live in poverty.

But Rathel and his Riverside flock soon learned that Century was rich in people, rich in spirit and rich in souls that needed comfort in the Lord.

“The Lord is doing good things here,” he said. “We love Century.”

Rivertown was not alone in their “Compel Century” outreach Thursday, with the Abundant Life Assembly of God in Century and the First Baptist Church of Flomaton also participating in the free Thanksgiving lunch with turkey and all the fixings.

“We had about 55 people here for lunch when we prayed,” Rathel said. “And they’ve just keep coming in.”

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

Northview Cheerleaders March In Macy’s New York City Parade

November 28, 2014

Two Northview High School varsity cheerleaders, Hanna Gibson and Morgan Ward, marched in Thursday’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. Pictured top: Gibson and Ward in their All-American Cheerleader uniforms after the parade. Pictured inset: Enjoying Times Square. Pictured below: The Sesame Street float travels down the Avenue of the America’s during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City Thursday morning. Photos for, click to enlarge.

Ernest Ward, Northview Cheerleaders March In Disney Thanksgiving Parade

November 28, 2014

Seven UCA All-American Cheerleaders from Ernest Ward Middle School and Northview High School marched Thursday in the Thanksgiving Day Parade at Disney World. Pictured above: (L-R) from Northview: Jerni Crabtree, Kayla Galvin and Hannah Nelson; from Ernest Ward: Jayda Crabtree, Gabrielle Kline, Nikoal Creamer and Madison Sherouse. Pictured inset: Kline was chosen to march on the front row. Pictured below: The girls pose with Mickey and Minne Mouse. Photos for, click to enlarge.

Photos: Camp Fire Kids Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feast

November 27, 2014

Camp Fire USA Century Youth Learning Center held a Thanksgiving feast this week for children and their parents. The daycare’s children, many dressed as Pilgrims or Native Americans, enjoyed a full Thanksgiving meal following a special Thanksgiving production on stage at the Century Community Center.

For a photo gallery from the event, click here.

Pictured: Children enjoy a Thanksgiving feast at the Camp Fire USA Century Youth Learning Center earlier this week. photos, click to enlarge.

From The Farm To The City: A Thanksgiving Bounty For The Needy (With Gallery)

November 25, 2014

About 200 students from schools in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties worked in fields near Jay Monday to harvest turnips and bag sweet potatoes that will feed hundreds of needy families later this week for Thanksgiving.

The event at the University of Florida’s West Florida Research and Education Center was part of Farm-City Week, bringing the bounty of the farm to the needy of the city.

The FFA students from Northview High School, Tate High School, Jay High School, Central School, King Middle School and Ernest Ward Middle School harvested about 1,200 bundle each of collard and turnip greens and sorted about a ton and half of donated sweet potatoes.

The greens were harvested in assembly line fashion — one student picking the greens, another bundling them with a rubber band and passed student to student to a waiting transport vehicle. Then teams of students worked to wash the greens.

Along the way, the students learned not only about teamwork, but also about the farming process.

The greens and sweet potatoes will be delivered Tuesday with the help of Tate High FFA students to about 600 families that were pre-qualified based upon need through the Waterfront Rescue Mission.

For more photos, click here.

Photos for, click to enlarge.

Tax Free Turkey? Florida TaxWatch Talks Thanksgiving Dinner

November 25, 2014

Floridians have another reason to be thankful this holiday season – Florida is not one of the 14 states in the nation that tax groceries, according to Florida TaxWatch, a statewide, non-profit, non-partisan research institute.

While most food that Florida residents prepare themselves for a Thanksgiving feast is exempt, some of the items on dinner tables may be subject to the state’s sales tax, ranging from six to 7.5 percent.

In Florida, groceries are generally exempt as long as they are not prepared in-store. For example, a raw turkey is tax exempt, but a prepared turkey is taxed. However, there are some nuances. Deli foods prepared off-site are not taxed as long as the grocer leaves them in their original sealed container. Bakery products are only taxed if items are sold for consumption at in-store dining facilities. Deli meats and cheeses are not taxed unless they are arranged and sold in party platters, and fruit and salad platters are exempt unless they are packaged with utensils.

“Understanding Florida’s tax laws can be very difficult for Florida shoppers, so Florida TaxWatch is helping taxpayers understand their tax obligations, and get a better sense of what they are buying this Thanksgiving,” said Dominic M. Calabro, President and CEO of Florida TaxWatch.

In nearby Alabama, tax on that Thanksgiving turkey can be as much as nine percent or more.

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.

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