Pensacola, Florida
Monday September 16th 2019

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The Buzz 4/11/19

Earthquakes Raise Questions What caused the series of earthquakes along the Alabama-Florida border last month? Researchers with the United States Geological Survey aren’t sure, but they hope to learn more soon.

“It’s fairly unusual to have events in this location,” noted Elizabeth Cochran, Ph.D., a research geophysicist with the USGS’s Earthquake Science Center in Pasadena, Calif.

The series of five earthquakes began March 6 with a 3.1 magnitude quake registering a few miles northeast of Flomaton, Ala. Another low-magnitude tremor occurred March 11, this time near the town of Century in Florida, with two more following in the region March 13.

The last quake, a 2.7 magnitude tremor registering east of Century, happened March 24. That was just a couple of days before USGS installing sensors in the area to better gather data about the local activity.

“We’re just sort of playing the waiting game right now,” said Cochran, explaining that four new sensors have been installed in the region and should provide researchers with additional data points the next time an earthquake registers.

Cochran works on the USGS’s Induced Seismicity Project. The project’s team studies the relationship between oil and gas extraction and the spike in low-level earthquakes in the U.S. since around 2014.

From 1973 to 2008, the USGS reports that there was an average of 25 earthquakes of magnitude three or larger in the central and eastern U.S. In 2014, that spiked to 600 such events and then jumped to more than a 1,000 in 2015. By 2017, that number had fallen to 364, which is still significantly higher than historical data suggests is normal.

Much of this uptick in activity has occurred in locations like Oklahoma. In such Midwest locales, Cochran said, the events have often been linked to oil and gas exploration activity in the area. Such events are labeled “induced” earthquakes.

Although such low-level earthquakes are popularly associated with hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the events are more commonly linked to the disposal of wastewater from such processes.

“You have to get rid of that fluid. The easiest way to get rid of it is to inject it underground,” Cochran said, explaining that the fluid can in turn cause plates beneath the surface to slip more easily.

A map produced by the USGS in 2015 highlighted 21 areas impacted by induced earthquakes, as well as noting the proximity of injection wells.  Brewton, Ala. is one of the locations identified on the map.
It is unclear whether these most recent earthquakes are related to oil and gas exploration efforts in the area. That’s what USGS researchers are hoping to learn with the installation of the four new sensors in the region.

“We are aware there are oil wells, injection wells and saltwater disposal wells in this immediate area,” said Sandy Ebersole, Ph.D., Geologic Investigations Program director with USGS in Alabama. “However, an interpretation of causation based solely on location is not scientific.”

Ebersole said the sensors would collect seismic data for three to six months. Once that information is obtained, researchers may be able to get a better idea about the cause of this recent series of local quakes.

“The question of whether an earthquake is induced or not can be answered scientifically only after review of all the data is complete,” Ebersole stressed.

Founders Week For the second year, the University of West Florida will hold its annual Founders Week April 13-18. Founders Week is a weeklong celebration that serves as an opportunity to bring the UWF family together, welcome alumni and visitors to campus and give back to the community.

“Founders Week is a young but valuable tradition at UWF, as it calls on students, alumni and friends to celebrate and reflect on their legacy as Argonauts,” said President Martha D. Saunders. “We hope everyone enjoys the week’s events and joins us in celebrating UWF in fine style.”

Founders Week will get underway with Day of Play at UWF on Saturday, April 13. Beginning at 11 a.m., members of the community are invited to the UWF Sports Complex for a day of fun-filled activities including the Little Mile and Argo Mile races, bounce houses, laser tag, video games, karaoke, vendor booths and yard games. At 1 p.m., UWF’s softball and baseball teams will play Lee University at Jim Spooner Field and the UWF Softball Complex.

UWF’s Day of Giving, a 24-hour fundraising event, will be held on Thursday, April 18. Alumni, students, parents, faculty, staff and friends are invited to make gifts online at dayofgiving.uwf.edu or on campus, directing their contributions to any of the 14 featured funds. Last year’s inaugural Day of Giving raised more than $113,000 from over 1,200 people. For more information, visit uwf.edu/foundersweek.

Near Normal Hurricane Season AccuWeather forecasters have predicted 2019 will be a near- to slightly above-normal hurricane season with 12 to 14 storms. Of those storms, five to seven are forecast to become hurricanes, and two to four are predicted to become major hurricanes.

“This year, we think that there will be a few less tropical storms and lower numbers in hurricanes, but again, the old saying is ‘it only takes one,’” AccuWeather Atlantic Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski said.

Florida’s First & Future Last week, Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson announced a new tagline, “Florida’s First & Future,” and the official image for the City of Pensacola.

Instead of a ball surfing a wave, sometimes referred to as the “swave” or “surfing fetus,” the Robinson logo includes the new tagline and incorporates the seal of Pensacola.

“We want to remind people that Pensacola is where Florida’s history begins but also that we’re looking toward the future,” Mayor Robinson said. “I think as we get ready for 2021, which is 200 years of Florida being in the United States, we want to be ready and prepared to be part of the celebration.”

Mayor Robinson asked Bryan McCall of Duncan McCall to develop the logo using the city seal and the new tagline. McCall tapped the “Showcase Pensacola” team to create the image pro bono as part of their effort to support tourism and the community. Showcase Pensacola is a group of local advertising and marketing agencies made up of Appleyard Agency, EW Bullock, Southern Media, Inc. and Duncan McCall.

The new logo will be affixed to city property as items come up for replacement, according to the press release.

The previous logo and tagline, “Upside of Florida,” were designed by the Tallahassee-based The Zimmerman Agency (TZA) and unveiled with much fanfare in July 2012. New logos were developed for the Pensacola International Airport, Port of Pensacola and the renamed Pensacola Energy.

Public records showed the city paid TZA $484,789 through of July 2018 for the new brand and the “comprehensive marketing campaign.” Six months later, Mayor Hayward announced he would terminate the TZA contract. However, he kept the logos and tagline.

IHMC Open House IHMC celebrates National Robotics Week with an open house 3-8 p.m. Friday, April 12, in the Levin Center for IHMC Research, 40 S. Alcaniz St.

Scientists and engineers from the institute’s robotics lab will be on hand to give tours and talk about their work developing humanoid behaviors and advanced interface concepts that allow robots to do complex work.

Some of the robots that will be on display in the Levin Center for IHMC Research include IHMC’s exoskeleton, Boston Dynamics’ Atlas robot, NASA’s Valkyrie robot, FastRunner, HexRunner and IHMC’s high-mobility humanoid, Nadia.

In addition to hands-on activities, Pensacola MESS Hall and West Florida Public Library will have interactive demonstrations and games for kids of all ages.

Rooftop View of the Blues The National Flight Academy (NFA) is now offering rooftop viewing packages during the U.S. Navy Blue Angels practices most Tuesdays and Wednesdays this spring through fall.

A maximum of 43 total tickets is available each fly date, regardless of package type. Please note that if any fly date has fewer than five tickets sold, the viewing will be canceled, and refunds will be given. Tickets are available at the Naval Aviation Museum Giant Screen Theater Ticket Counter inside the museum. Tickets may be purchased up to 11 a.m. on each fly date.

Visitors will take an elevator to the fourth floor and will be required to take one flight of stairs to access the NFA rooftop. High-heeled shoes are not permitted on the NFA roof.

Three packages are offered—Alpha, $2, Blue Angel practice viewing, seating and a bottle of water;  Diamond, $35, Blue Angel practice viewing, seating, lunch including a Chick-fil-A sandwich, bag of chips and two bottles of water; and Delta, $45, Blue Angel practice viewing, seating, lunch including a Chick-fil-A sandwich, bag of chips and two bottles of water, plus an exclusive experience to fly the F-35 in the NFA simulators for 45 minutes. Delta tickets are only available when no students are onboard.

Plastic Bag Swap Keep Pensacola Beautiful is hosting a series of Plastic Bag Swaps in the Pensacola area in April as a part of their 12-week Great American Cleanup. The public is encouraged to bring 20 or more plastic bags to exchange for a reusable canvas grocery tote.

The swap locations are as follows—10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, April 13 at Ever’man Cooperative; 1-5 p.m. Sunday, April 14 at Perfect Plain Brewing Company; 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, April 20at the Earth Day Festival in downtown Pensacola; and 3-5 p.m. Saturday, April 20 at the From the Ground Up Slow Ride.

“In 2018, we hosted one Plastic Bag Swap event and collected over 10,000 plastic bags,” said Sigrid Solgard, the executive director of Keep Pensacola Beautiful. “We hope to triple that number this year and continue to recycle while also educating the public on the importance of switching to reusable items.”

While the number of plastic bags you can bring is not limited, Keep Pensacola Beautiful asks that only one canvas bag is taken per person. During the month of April, Keep Pensacola Beautiful will also be collecting plastic bags during business hours, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday, at its office, 9 W. Blount St.

IMPACT 100 Workshop In October, IMPACT 100 Pensacola Bay Area will award project grants of $106,000 each to 11 nonprofit organizations. To assist in preparing area nonprofit organizations to apply for a grant, IMPACT 100 is holding a workshop for area nonprofits that wish to learn about the 2019 grant process, get tips for writing a successful grant, and be inspired to create a winning project.

The workshop will be held 9 a.m.-12:15 p.m. on Tuesday, April 16, at the Brownsville Community Center, 3200 W. DeSoto St. Pre-registration is required and must be done by Friday, April 12, at impact100pensacola.org. Check-in begins at 8:30 a.m.

Following the workshop, attendees are invited to stay for a Nonprofit Social from 12:30-2 p.m. During the social, IMPACT 100 board members will facilitate small group discussion among the event attendees and offer an opportunity for participant networking. Lunch will be provided.

Letters of Intent to apply for a grant are due by noon on April 30. A Letter of Intent (LOI) must be submitted in order to apply for a grant; however, submitting an LOI does not obligate an organization to submit a grant application. Grant applications must be submitted by noon on June 12.

Playing for a Purpose The local teen leadership organization Chain Reaction will host its 14th annual Playing for a Purpose fundraising event 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 18, at the Pensacola Blue Wahoos stadium from 5:30- 7:30 p.m.

The event features life-sized interactive games and prizes, a silent auction, “chemistry” cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. All proceeds benefit Chain Reaction.

To attend the event, you must purchase an individual ticket or sponsor a game, table or teen. Various levels of sponsorship are available. Please contact info@mychainreaction.org for more information or to purchase tickets.

Girls in Aviation The National Flight Academy will host a STEM Saturday program 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Saturday, April 20, for 3rd–8th grade students. April’s STEM Saturday topic is “Girls in Aviation Day—Jets in Flight.”

All Girls in Aviation Day attendees will receive a free National Flight Academy tote bag, Girls in Aviation Day Magazine, Girls in Aviation Day fun patch and Girls in Aviation Day Visual Flight Rules (VFR) Sectional Chart Segment.

Like the National Flight Academy’s other programs, STEM Saturdays are designed to address the serious concerns of declining science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills in our country. Visit bit.ly/2UgxT0a to register, as space is limited for each session. Registration closes Monday, April 15 at 5 p.m. Registration is $30 per child and lunch is provided.

Mark Your Calendar The Escambia County Democratic Women’s Club meets 11:45 a.m. Thursday, April 11 at the Tryon Branch Library, 1200 Langley Ave. The speaker is Doug Landreth, co-founder and past president of Gay Grassroots of Northwest Florida.

DIB Parking & Traffic committee meets 4:30 p.m. Thursday, April 11 at the Bowden Building, Room #1, 120 Church St.

Ebonwood Homeowners Association hosts its 8th Annual Easter Egg Hunt noon-3 p.m. Friday, April 16 at the Ebonwood Community Center, 3511 W. Scott St.

Architectural Review Board will meet at 2 p.m. Thursday, April 18 in the Mason Conference Room, 2nd Floor, Pensacola City Hall.

City Councilwoman Jewel Cannada-Wynn will host a community meeting on the Fricker Resource Center design 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 18 at the Fricker Resource Center, 900 N. F St.