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.

Florida Gov’t Weekly Roundup: Celebration And Tragedy In Tallahassee

November 23, 2014

A week that began with scripted formality ended with an event for which no one can write a script.

Monday and Tuesday brought a sort of celebration to Tallahassee, as members of the House and Senate gathered to officially elect their leaders and set in motion the next two-year term of the Legislature. Well, at least Republicans were celebrating, as they moved to formally swear in a two-thirds majority in the House and prepare for the inauguration of Gov. Rick Scott for a second term.

http://www.northescambia.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/floridaweeklly.jpgIf there was any positive feeling on the Democratic side of the aisle, it might have been relief. Senate Democrats dodged the fate of their House counterparts, clinging to enough seats to avoid irrelevance. And nothing more than battered feelings ultimately came of a threatened rebellion against House Minority Leader Mark Pafford, D-West Palm Beach.

Then came the early hours of Thursday, when an attorney who graduated from Florida State University in 2005 opened fire at the campus library, injuring three people, including one critically, before he was killed by police. Classes reopened a day later, but it was a solemn and shocking end to the week.


House Democrats were set up for a showdown Monday, after Rep. Dwayne Taylor of Daytona Beach had threatened to challenge Pafford for the right to lead the minority caucus during the 2015 and 2016 legislative sessions. Taylor based his case on the loss of six Democratic seats in this month’s elections, giving the GOP a free hand in how it runs the House for the next two years.

But after some strong pushback, including a comment by Democratic Party Chairwoman Allison Tant that those backing Taylor were “bed-wetters” who “need to shut up,” Taylor announced he wouldn’t run because he couldn’t work with the party’s leadership.

That set the stage for a less-gripping if still-tense caucus meeting Monday evening. Despite the infighting, Democrats tried to say they had come together.

“We have many differences amongst us,” said Rep. Barbara Watson, D-Miami Gardens. “But we are united behind Mark Pafford this evening.”

Signs of division still remained, including in a speech by Rep. Darryl Rouson of St. Petersburg — himself pushed out as Democratic leader after a fundraising clash with Tant — that took a not-so-subtle swipe at the state party chairwoman.

“We were not elected to come here and be told to shut up,” Rouson said.

A Republican vote, and the full chamber vote that followed Tuesday, were less dramatic. Rep. Steve Crisafulli, a Merritt Island Republican who rose to be in line for the top spot after a surprise election loss in 2012 by former Rep. Chris Dorworth, was officially named House speaker.

Crisafulli promised to respect all members equally, regardless of their party, but also tried to take an early stand against any Democratic shenanigans.

“I absolutely welcome robust debate on the issues between the majority and the minority parties,” he said. “But I expect honesty and respectful discourse. We can all agree on so many of the issues that come before us in this chamber. So let’s not play games and score political points; let’s get it done for the constituents that elected us to represent them.”

Across the way, Republican Sen. Andy Gardiner of Orlando was officially tapped for the Senate presidency.

Gardiner, a triathlete and father of three, was lauded by outgoing Senate Minority Leader Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale, as a “servant leader” who will be able to unite Republicans and Democrats in the GOP-dominated chamber as lawmakers grapple with health care, education spending and other high-profile issues during the legislative session that begins in March.

“The Senate is in really good hands, folks. The state of Florida is in incredible hands because Sen. Gardiner will put families first before politics, and that’s what we need in the Senate and the state of Florida,” said Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah.

Gardiner, first elected to the House in 2000 and to the Senate in 2008, said he intends to shrink Senate committees, meaning senators will have fewer committee assignments.

“What I really envision is for (committees) to be smaller so that there will be close votes. I think that that’s good. It empowers the minority. You may have a committee where it’s a 5-4 vote,” Gardiner told reporters. “The ideal thing would be for members to be on five or six committees and they know that they really have the opportunity to participate and really become a leader on them.”


The rest of the week was supposed to be relatively calm in Tallahassee, with lawmakers leaving until early 2015 and the holidays right around the corner. But that was before a shooter who police identified as Myron May showed up at Florida State University’s Strozier Library shortly after midnight and opened fire.

May died after being shot by university and Tallahassee police who responded to the scene, according to Tallahassee police chief Michael DeLeo.

“Mr. May was in a state of crisis,” DeLeo said. “We have not found any information at this time to indicate why he chose this morning to act, or why he chose the Strozier Library as the place for his actions. Based on all our evidence at this time, we continue to believe that Mr. May acted alone, and there is no further threat to the students, the university, the workers or the community.”

The story did reach into the Legislature, sometimes in unexpected ways. Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Fort Walton Beach Republican and Florida State graduate, said on Twitter that May was an FSU student senator in 2002.

“Shocked that Myron May has been identified as the FSU shooter,” Gaetz tweeted. “I knew him in undergrad. He was so kind. This is just awful for everyone.”

Meanwhile, former Sen. John Thrasher was confronted with the crisis not long after taking the job as FSU’s president.

“We are going to get back to normal tomorrow,” Thrasher promised during a Thursday news conference. “We’re moving ahead and continuing to pray for the victims and Florida State University, but we are going to get through this with the great family we have.”

May, 31, had returned to Florida in recent weeks from Texas, where he graduated from the law school at Texas Tech University in 2009 and practiced law. He’d shown up twice in FSU police records, Perry said, once on suspicion of using marijuana in 2002 and as the victim of a vehicle burglary in 2003.

But a journal May kept and his recent postings on Facebook showed that “Mr. May’s sense of being and place in our community was not what most people would refer to as a normal status,” DeLeo said. “He was in a sense of crisis, and he was searching for something.”

Students returned to class Friday. Thrasher and Provost Garnett Stokes welcomed students at the doors of Strozier Library, while Thrasher praised a prompt response that likely saved lives. That included praising Dean of University Libraries Julia Zimmerman, whose security measures prevented the gunman from getting past the lobby of Strozier, where 450 students were studying at the time.

STORY OF THE WEEK: A gunman injured three people, including one critically, before being killed by police officers at Strozier Library at Florida State University.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Normalcy is a funny word, and I don’t know that we’ll get back to it or ever forget. But at least I think from a standpoint of some of the things that went on yesterday, I think our campus is alive and well and working toward the goals of being a great university.”—Florida State University President John Thrasher.

by Brandon Larrabee, The News Service of Florida

Robbery Of Highway 97 Gas Station Under Investigation

November 22, 2014

The search for a suspect is continuing after the BP gas station on Highway 97 in Davisville was robbed Friday night.

The male suspect entered the store about 7:45 p.m. and demanded cash.  The clerk was extremely startled by the incident, but otherwise uninjured, according to Deputy Courtney Clanton, spokesperson for the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office.

The clerk was not immediately available to provide a good description of the suspect, but investigators were reviewing surveillance video in their effort to develop a suspect. He fled the store in an unknown type vehicle in an unknown direction of travel.

More information will be published when released by the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office.

Anyone with information on the robbery is asked to call the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office at (850) 436-9620 or Crime Stoppers at (850) 433-STOP.

Pictured: The BP station on Highway 97 in Davisville minutes after a Friday night robbery. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.

High School Playoff Finals

November 22, 2014

Here are Friday night’s high school football finals from around the area:


  • 7A — Niceville 34 Tate 0 [Read more...]
  • 6A –Choctaw 35, Navarre 14
  • 5A — Tallahassee Godby 41, West Florida 6
  • 1A — Vernon 30, Baker 14 – FINAL


  • 2A — Washington County 60, Flomaton 0
  • AAA-AISA STATE CHAMPIONS Escambia Academy 35, Bessemer 0 [Read more...]

7A: Niceville Tops Tate

November 22, 2014

The Tate High School’s  playoff run came to an end Friday night as the Aggies lost to Niceville 35-0 in the Region 1-7A semifinal. The Aggies finished the year at 9-3.

Niceville will be Oakleaf next Friday night in the regional finals.

For more photos, click here.

Photos by Jennifer Repine for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.


Florida State ‘Coming Back Together’ After Library Shooting

November 22, 2014

The trustees of Florida State University on Friday stood to applaud the campus police chief and prayed for two victims — one critically injured — as the school tries to recover from a shooting incident early Thursday that left three people wounded and the gunman dead.

FSU President John Thrasher told the university’s board of trustees that students were back in class and that Strozier Library, where the tragedy occurred, had re-opened Friday morning.

“The campus in my opinion is coming back together,” said Thrasher, who has been in his job less than two weeks. “We all hurt for the folks that are in the hospital, and we are trying to be diligent in our efforts to help them and support them, without being intrusive into the privacy that they expect.”

The board led a standing ovation for university Police Chief David Perry, whose officers arrived on the scene of the shooting in less than five minutes. Officers exchanged more than 30 rounds with the gunman, FSU graduate Myron May, who died outside the library after failing to penetrate its security.

“I tell thousands of parents and students at orientation that we are the ones that run toward the danger when everyone else is running the opposite direction,” said Perry, who hadn’t slept in 52 hours. “So when I got that first call, I was just as emotional as everyone else, but I knew that we had a job to do, and I knew that we were going to rely on our training to get the job done.”

University and Tallahassee police officers rushed to the library after May, a 31-year-old attorney, showed up with a semi-automatic handgun. He shot one student in the lobby and then went outside, where he shot a university employee and another student.

Tallahassee police late Friday afternoon released the names of the three victims. Police said one of the victims, Farhan Ahmed, 21, was being treated at a local hospital and that his family had asked for privacy. University employee Nathan Scott, 30, was shot in the leg and was being treated at a hospital. The third victim, Elijah Velez, 18, suffered what police called a “grazing” wound and was treated and released.

The trustees saw a video of a Thursday night vigil on Landis Green, where students lifted candles and sang “Amazing Grace.” During the trustees meeting, Chairman Allan Bense also led a silent prayer for the victims and their families, with whom he’d been spending time.

Thrasher, whose selection as president had drawn protests from some students and faculty members, said the university had come together.

“Normalcy is a funny word, and I don’t know that we’ll get back to it or ever forget,” he said. “But at least I think from a standpoint of some of the things that went on yesterday, I think our campus is alive and well and working toward the goals of being a great university.”

On Friday morning, Thrasher and FSU Provost Garnett Stokes — along with law enforcement — welcomed students at the library doors. With them was Dean of University Libraries Julia Zimmerman, whose security measures kept May from getting past the lobby of Strozier, where 450 students were studying at the time.

“We’re ready to get back to work,” Zimmerman said. “This is a busy time for the library, as exams are coming up. Our building is going to be packed to the gills for the next two to three weeks with students, and we are ready to work with them.”

About 100 students lined up at the library doors, saying they, too, were ready to pick up where they’d left off — more or less.

“It shocked a lot of people and it rocked a lot of people, but we’ll get back to normal pretty soon,” said Joe Pelt, a freshman biology major from Tallahassee. “It’s going to be in the back of our minds going in and out of Strozier and being around campus for a while, but we’ll bounce back. It’s what we do.”

Also Friday, the FBI intercepted a package May had sent to a friend in Texas. Other packages to other friends are expected. On Thursday, Tallahassee Police Chief Michael DeLeo described May as having been “in crisis,” and the investigation into his actions is continuing.

by Margie Menzel, The News Service of Florida

Basketball: Tate Beats Pace In OT

November 22, 2014

The Tate High School Aggiest beat Pace in overtime Friday night 74-72.

With the win Friday night and a season-opening win last Tuesday over Milton, the Aggies are now 2-0.

The Aggies will host Gulf Breeze Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

Grand Send-Off For Escambia Academy Cougars

November 21, 2014

The Escambia Academy Cougars won the AISA Class AAA state championship  tonight in Troy, AL, being Bessemer Academy 35-28.

Earlier Story:

A grand send-off was held Friday afternoon for the Escambia Academy Cougar football team as they left Canoe, AL, and headed through Atmore on their way to the AISA Class AAA state championship game tonight in Troy, AL.

Fans lined the highways to wave and wish good luck to the Cougars. Escambia Academy will play Bessemer Academy at 7 p.m. at Troy’s Veterans Memorial Stadium, home of the Troy State Trojans.

Pictured: A celebratory send-off for the Escambia Academy Cougars Friday afternoon in Canoe, AL, as they head to the AISA state championship game in Troy, AL. NorthEscambia.com photos by Ditto Gorme, click to enlarge.

Man Charged With Kidnapping, Armed Robbery, Battery Of Woman

November 21, 2014

An Escambia County man who kidnapped and sexually battered a woman Thursday has been arrested. Kyheem Scott, 26,  was charged with kidnapping, sexual battery and armed robbery.

The incident occurred between 3 and 4 a.m. in a vacant lot on North C Street. The 44-year-old woman told Detective Shannan Briarton she was walking home from her mother’s house when the suspect approached her and offered to walk with her.

The woman declined, but as she walked away, the suspect followed. In an attempt to avoid him, the woman walked onto several streets but Scott ran toward her and told her he had a gun, which she believed he placed on her neck. She then was forced into the vacant lot where he ordered her to remove items from her pockets and to perform oral sex on him.

The man then fled the area and the woman called police. Scott was identified during the investigation, and had the victim’s cell phone in his possession when arrested Thursday afternoon.

ECUA Sells Main Street Property For $5.2 Million, Elects Officers

November 21, 2014

The Emerald Coast Utilities Authority approved the sale of the former Main Street sewage treatment plant property at their Thursday yearly organizational  meeting. The 19-acre site is being purchased by Quint and Rishy Studer for $5.2 million.

The property has been  vacant since 2011 when the sewer plant — known as “Old Stinky” — was demolished in 2011 after it was replaced by the Central Water Reclamation Facility in Cantonment. The plant was first constructed in 1937 and underwent several expansions.

Studer’s offer was less ECUA’s asking price for the property at $8.9 million, and about $2 million less than was offered to a Texas-based developer in a deal that went nowhere in 2013. Studer will reportedly work to add athletic fields, concession areas, restrooms and parking to the property.

Also at Thurday’s meeting, the ECUA board elected officers and made appointments for the upcoming year.

District 2 representative Lois Benson was elected as chairman and District 5 member Larry Walker was elected vice-chair. Elvin McCorvey of District 3 was elected chairman of the Citizens’ Advisory Committee, and Vicki Campbell of District 1 was elected vice-chairman.  Deborah Benn, Charles Green, Chuck Kimball,  Hurey Smith,  Tim Common, Kelley Thompson, and Louise Ritz  were unanimously re-appointed to serve as members of the Citizens’ Advisory Committee.

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