Pensacola, Florida
Saturday August 24th 2019

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The Buzz 8/8/19

Youth Recognized Escambia County’s Youth Employment Program gave 89 local youth the opportunity to gain paid work experience over the summer in various county departments.

The Youth Employment Program gave 16- to 24-year-olds the opportunity to get paid work experience in various county departments, including Public Works, Public Safety, Escambia County Area Transit, West Florida Public Libraries and more.

Through the program, youth worked up to 30 hours a week at minimum wage, gaining valuable experience all summer while learning workforce etiquette such as professional dress, timeliness and respect.

Youth Employment Program participants also received job readiness training and post-employment briefings, which provided them with feedback about their job performance. The youth workers were recognized by District 3 Commissioner Lumon May and Neighborhood & Human Services staff at a ceremony Friday, July 26.

Information about future cycles of the Escambia County Youth Employment Program will be posted at myescambia.com/youthemployment.

Transformational Studer Quint Studer has made the Top 10 list for the 2019 John C. Maxwell Transformational Leadership Award, which recognizes “leaders who are making a difference, doing something that makes a difference, with people who make a difference, at a time when it makes a difference.”

“I certainly agree with Mr. Maxwell’s points on what transformational leadership is—doing something that makes a difference with the right people at the right time,” said Studer. “Over my 40-year career, I’ve learned that a good idea that didn’t work out once can be resurfaced and it will work next time.”

Studer credited his many relationships for his success. He said, “As for working with people who make a difference, I am truly grateful to have been able to join forces with so many wonderful community and business leaders throughout my career. They have been my teachers and mentors. And I continue to be blessed with fantastic partners.”

Downtown Utility Work Gulf Power crews are working on Palafox Street between Garden and Romana streets for the next three months. The work to upgrade the underground energy grid network will now be from 10 p.m. until 10 a.m. from Sunday through Wednesday nights. No work is planned during the weekend to avoid downtown activities.

“We worked with local businesses, the Downtown Improvement Board and the City of Pensacola to shift the work hours,” said Rick Byars, Gulf Power regional manager for external affairs. “This means less time that a traffic lane will be closed when most of the businesses are open.”

The project is a five-year, $86 million plan that will modernize the 70-year-old network delivering energy to homes and businesses in the area. Launched in March 2018, the downtown Pensacola underground project will improve reliability and resiliency for current and future customers. The entire project is expected to be completed by 2022.

Free Meals Escambia County School District has 37 public schools and seven alternative education centers that will participate in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) for the following sites for the 2019-2020 school year. All students will be served breakfast and lunch at no charge at the following sites:

Elementary Schools—Bellview, Bratt, Brentwood, C.A. Weis, Ensley, Ferry Pass, Global Learning Academy, Holm, Jim Allen, Lincoln Park, Lipscomb, Longleaf, McArthur, Molino Park, Montclair, Myrtle Grove, Navy Point, Oakcrest, Pine Meadow, Pleasant Grove, Scenic Heights, O.J. Semmes, Sherwood, Warrington and West Pensacola.

Middle Schools—Bellview, Beulah, Ernest Ward, Ferry Pass, Jim Bailey, Warrington and Workman.

High Schools—Escambia, Northview, Pensacola, Pine Forest and Washington.

Alternative Education Centers—Byrneville Charter, Camelot, Capstone, Escambia Westgate Center, Jacqueline Harris Preparatory Academy, Success Academy and Lakeview Center.

Assess Athletic Field Chemicals The city of Pensacola’s Environmental Advisory Board will be looking into exactly what chemicals are used to care for municipal athletic fields and parks. A request to explore the subject came from Pensacola City Councilwoman Sherri Myers.

Speaking to the EAB during the board’s Aug. 1 meeting, the councilwoman said that she did not want the question to center only on ascertaining if the chemicals being used were being used according to regulations. She wants to know if the chemicals being used are dangerous to the community.

“This issue is much broader than the law that regulates the application of these chemicals,” Myers told board members, explaining that harmful chemicals could be used within regulation and still be harmful. “That does not mean they do not have environmental consequences and health consequences.”

The councilwoman requested that the EAB run down the chemicals currently being used by the city on its fields and parks—something that will involve talking to both city departments and individual contractors—as well as details on their ingredients, including inert ingredients, which she said were sometimes more dangerous but unlisted.

“There is a movement in this country among soccer moms to address this,” Myers said, suggesting the board research how other communities were addressing the use of chemicals on fields on which youth play sports.

EAB member Dr. Gloria Horning said that maybe the city could consider employing more environmentally- and health-friendly practices when it comes to maintaining fields.

“They don’t give us the lush green everyone wants to see,” Horning said, “but between lush green and cancer, we can pick a weed or two.”

Digging into the Tree Ordinance Also during its Aug. 1 meeting, the EAB began its discussion regarding a revision of the city’s tree ordinance, which outlines which trees are protected and the penalties for removing them, among other things. A proposed revision was presented to city council in July and now will be reviewed and amended by the EAB.

The EAB’s preliminary discussion just skimmed the surface of the proposed ordinance. Board members didn’t talk in concrete specifics but did express a desire to focus on areas of the ordinance that stressed the importance of a healthy tree canopy and that offered developers incentives to leave trees in place.

The board also discussed the need to address an exemption in the ordinance which allows developments related to healthcare to remove trees with considerably less consequence. In making a case for changing the exemption, members pointed to how “Sacred Heart is clear cutting the whole city.”

“Baptist will do the same thing when they build their new hospital,” predicted EAB Chairman Neil Richards.

Richards also talked about how the board needed to consider municipal outreach efforts, contending that the city needs to inform people why it’s important to maintain a healthy tree canopy in the city. He said, “We have an obligation, the EAB and the city, to educate.”

In addition to the city of Pensacola, Escambia County is also embarking on a revision of its tree ordinance. Horning said that perhaps the city and county should be working together, coming up with one tree ordinance that covered both. She asked, “Why can’t we bring these two together?”

Myers showed no interest in this, pointing out how the city and county ordinances varied wildly. For example, whereas the city’s proposed revision brings the diameter of protected ‘heritage’ trees down from 34 inches to 14 inches, the county’s current ordinance lists that diameter as 60 inches.

“Well, you know,” Myers said, “our tree ordinance is much more advanced than anything they have at the county.”

Pensacola Entrepreneur Initiative The Studer Family of Companies is examining how the community can take Pensacola’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem to the next level. The Pensacola Entrepreneur Initiative (PEI) plans to bring more structure and galvanize Pensacola’s entrepreneurial ecosystem to not only make it work more efficiently for local entrepreneurs but to create a system that operates well enough to attract outside entrepreneurs into making Pensacola their small business home.

“We have a variety of organizations that assist people in entrepreneurship. We also have some gaps. We have come a long way, and that is now making it evident that we have to maximize our progress to go even further,” said Quint Studer, the founder of the Studer Community Institute and the Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of West Florida.

“To do so, it became apparent we need to do an in-depth assessment for the resources for businesses in this area and create a structure to build a world-class entrepreneurial ecosystem. In meeting with others in the community, it is evident we needed to find a person to lead this effort,” he added. “To do so, I have asked D.C. Reeves in his role with SFOC to focus on the Pensacola Entrepreneurial Initiative.”

Reeves, 35, opened his own business, Perfect Plain Brewing Company, in downtown Pensacola in 2017. PPBC has quickly emerged as one of the top microbreweries in Florida. Reeves is detailing his experience and processes and tips to his start in a book, The Microbrewery Handbook, published by Wiley & Sons Publishing, that will be released in November.

The first step will include benchmarking best practices in world-renowned entrepreneurial ecosystems nationwide. Reeves has visited Asheville, N.C., and will head to Madison, Wisc., this month. Additionally, meetings and collaboration are needed with existing community entrepreneurial programs and organization leadership as well as a host of local small business owners to gather their thoughts on what is working well, what’s missing and what needs improvement.

“D.C. has a track record that makes him preeminently qualified to take on this initiative,” Studer said. “His work in the (City of Pensacola) Mayoral Transition report, his leadership in the SCAPE project on the downtown waterfront and creating his own small business is very similar to leading this effort.”

Reeves is also surveying local entrepreneurs on their experience with startup and entrepreneurial programs in Pensacola. If you have any feedback or suggestions, please reach out to him at dcreeves@quintstuder.com.

Scientists in Schools Escambia County science teachers will now have the chance to bring scientists into their classrooms as part of a new initiative led by the UF Thompson Earth Systems Institute called the “Scientist in Every Florida School” program.

In its first three years, the program aims to connect scientists with every K-12 public school in five target counties—Escambia, Alachua, Seminole, Lee and Palm Beach.

The Scientist in Every Florida School program was one of eight projects selected for UF’s “moonshot” initiative, a $17 million effort to solve some of society’s most urgent problems. Participating scientists must have a research focus related to Earth systems—air, water, land and life—which is in line with TESI’s mission to advance public understanding of environmental issues.

Because Escambia is a coastal county, the program can be a great way to bring issues like sea level change, saltwater intrusion, red tide and algae blooms into lesson plans. The idea is simple, says TESI K-12 Education and Outreach Coordinator Brian Abramowitz.

“Through scientist classroom visits, field trips and hands-on teacher professional development, we hope to better connect teachers to the latest science, improve student achievement and encourage students to explore STEM careers,” Abramowitz said. “We also hope to bridge the gap between the great research coming out of UF and K-12 classrooms.”

Sponsors Sought Sponsorship opportunities are available for the 43rd Annual Stepping Out in Style Fashion Show, presented by the Women’s Board of Baptist Health Care Foundation. The event is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17, at Skopelos at New World.

Proceeds will be used to create a new playground for the Autism Spectrum Disorder program at Lakeview Center. The new playground will allow children to put into practice the skills they are learning in a fun, therapeutic setting. More information is available at baptisthealthcarefoundation.org.

Doggie Bath-In Schedule The Pensacola Humane Society continues its 2019 Doggie Bathe-In season on Saturday, Aug. 17, from 9 a.m.-2 p.m., and proceeds will fund repairs to the adoption center’s fencing. Bathe-ins offer low-cost dog bathing and flea dips during the warm weather season.

Events are held the third Saturday of the month, April through October, and continue as follows: Saturday, Aug. 17; Saturday, Sept. 21; and Saturday, Oct. 19. Charges are based on the dog’s weight and range from $8-$11. Please bring your own towels, or you may rent a towel for a $1 donation.

Mark Your Calendars Community Health Northwest Florida celebrates National Health Center Week 2019 with “Summer Health Blast” from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 10, 2315 W. Jackson St. Medical, dental and vision screenings for adults and children offered.

Sacred Heart Health System will provide free heart-health screenings 9-11:30 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 10, at Macedonia Baptist Church, 3802 N. Ninth Ave., and 8:30-11 a.m., Tuesday, Aug. 13, at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, 6451 Park Ave., Milton.

DIB Finance Committee meets 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 13, Bowden Building, Room #2, 120 Church St.

The City of Pensacola Planning Board will meet at 2 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 13, in the Hagler-Mason Conference Room, 2nd Floor, City Hall.

Escambia County District 5 Commissioner Steven Barry will host a town hall meeting at 5:30 p.m., Monday, Aug. 12, at the Walnut Hill Community Center, 7850 Highway 97.

The Florida Department of Transportation will hold a public workshop regarding the U.S. 90 (West Cervantes Street) Pedestrian Safety Improvement project from 2-4 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 13, at the Fricker Community Center, 900 N. F St.

Pensacola Habitat for Humanity will hold its fifth annual Community Summit, entitled Cost of Home: Innovative Solutions for the Housing Crisis, at 1 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 14, at Sanders Beach-Corinne Jones Resource Center, 913 S. I St.