Page 1

Flexibility and Compassion: Teaching + Learning Amid Crisis

Studer Community Institute Build a Brain, Build a Life, Build a Community.


Also in This issue:



A Real Estate Section



Exciting Books for Kids + Adults





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Adjusting to a new way of working isn’t easy, but we’re here to help you keep business moving. With tools for working together, even when you’re apart, and dedicated 24/7 support, we’ll help make this new way of working work better for you. To learn more about our resources for making it work, visit coxbusiness.com/working or call (877) 984-0167. Not all services are available everywhere. Learn more at coxbusiness.com. © 2020 Cox Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Editor’s Note It’s the end of Gov. Ron DeSantis Stay-at-Home order. He is allowing stores and restaurants to reopen in a limited capacity. The county commissioners have voted to reopen the beach, and the mayor has launched phase one of the City’s plan to reopen Pensacola. Although the City and the governor still urges us to practice social distancing and keep groups to fewer than 10 people, some normalcy is being restored in Pensacola. I’ve been thinking a lot about how future history books will record this pandemic. Will it be labeled as the biggest hoax in history, or will historians mock us for having a higher death toll than the second wave of the Spanish Flu? We’re living in history, and gosh, do I wish I had a time machine. Whether you take the virus seriously or are skeptical, continue to practice social distancing and washing your hands. It’s better to be safe than sorry. This issue of Pensacola Magazine was supposed to be our annual parenting issue, but we decided to expand our scope to include some important stories relating to COVID-19. We spoke with medical staff from Pensacola’s three local hospitals, Baptist Health Care, Ascension Medical Group


Sacred Heart and West Florida Hospital, about their roles in handling COVID-19. We also spoke to several nonprofits in the area that are serving the communities vulnerable populations like the homeless and the elderly. You can read both of these articles in this issue. Escambia County schools are shut down for the remainder of the school years due to COVID-19. We spoke with the superintendent, teachers and parents about the transition to virtual learning and the bumps along the way. We’ve also included a summer reading list with books for all ages. In Business Climate’s Special Section, we’re investigating how the cancelations of annual events due to COVID-19 will affect our area’s economy and tourism. As I’m sure you’ve all noticed, our Executive Editor Kelly Oden isn’t writing this Editor’s Note. We ask that you keep Kelly in your thoughts, and welcome her when she comes back next month. Gina Castro Associate Editor


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Escambia County parents and teachers discuss the transition to online schooling.



Summer is the best time of year to dig into a new book. A few recommendations for all ages and genres.





STUDER COMMUNITY INSTITUTE 18 Bulid a brain, build a life, build a community.

VULNERABLE POPULATIONS: NONPROFITS SERVING THOSE IN NEED 21 Local nonprofits share how COVID-19 has affected them and those they serve.

HEALTHCARE WORKERS ON THE FRONT LINE 24 Pensacola healthcare workers share how they've adapted and innovated against the COVID-19 virus.

SPECIAL SECTIONS Business Climate On the Market

33 41

ON THE COVER: Member of the Baptist Hospital Healthcare Team. Patient care doesn’t always lend itself to the social distancing required outside a health care setting. Health care workers are trained infection prevention protocols because their jobs require them to be up close and personal. photo by Guy Stevens

8 Pensacola Magazine



MAY 2020 Owners Malcolm & Glenys Ballinger Publisher Malcolm Ballinger malcolm@ballingerpublishing.com Executive Editor Kelly Oden kelly@ballingerpublishing.com Art Director Guy Stevens guy@ballingerpublishing.com Graphic Designer/Ad Coordinator Garrett Hallbauer garrett@ballingerpublishing.com Editor Gina Castro ginac@ballingerpublishing.com Assistant Editor Dakota Parks dakota@ballingerpublishing.com Contributing Writers DeeDee Davis Shannon Nickinson Editorial Interns Joshua McGovern Sean Williams Sales & Marketing Paula Rode, Account Executive ext. 28 paula@ballingerpublishing.com


Geneva Strange, Account Executive ext. 21 geneva@ballingerpublishing.com Becky Hildebrand, Account Executive ext. 31 becky@ballingerpublishing.com

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PAGE 10 with DeeDee Davis

At the time of this writing, it is almost May and we are still prisoners to the Covid-19 virus. Our only physical social interaction, and I can hardly believe I am calling it that, comes from the check out at Lowe’s and Publix. And, I cannot remember the last time that the highlight of an evening was getting in front of the television to see two families act like complete idiots. Yes, instead of maximizing the extra time I spend at home, I have become a Family Feud junkie. No doubt, excessive wine helps, though nothing numbs the pain of possibly having no college football season. I suppose if this is what I must whine about, I am one of the lucky ones. There are a lot of important lessons and observations that have come out of all of this. If you don’t have good health, you have nothing. Money loses its sex appeal when you are on a ventilator. If there are ways to improve your overall health, don’t wait until after this is under control to get started. Not every single person who suffered from the virus was obese, but a great majority of them were. Almost every daily miserable report on those affected made note of the vulnerability associated with obesity. Nothing good comes from all those extra pounds. And since your life depends on it, start a program now to get this under control. We have learned who is really important in the world during times of crisis, and it is not necessarily celebrities and politicians. Nurses, doctors, grocery store check out clerks, teachers, gas station attendants. Thank God for all of them. This is not to say that all celebrities and politicians haven’t stepped up. Cheers 10 Pensacola Magazine

What good is cheap gas when there is nowhere to go? This has actually been one positive result of the virus. Major cities have clean air for the first time in decades.

to the ones who used their status to do something worthy during this. Human contact is so important, like hugging the ones you love. It’s horrible to be looked at as a potential “carrier” and, therefore, kept at distance. Granted, handshaking probably isn’t the smartest custom and maybe this one should go away. Let’s bring back the colonial practice of a slight nod of the head instead. Handshaking is said to have begun as a way to show peaceful intentions and the lack of a hidden weapon. Surely, we can do better than this now. Homeschooling, for the most part, is a form of torture both for parents and for kids. Leave it to the professionals! Send praises and gifts to teachers when the schools finally open. And maybe the school systems will get an overhaul after all this. Operating forever on the antiquated agricultural calendar has been a hard habit to break. Options of online courses utilizing modern technology may become mainstream and is long overdue. It might be time to send a note to all of those in services that are important to you. I haven’t stood in any line for toilet paper, but you can bet your emery boards that I will be line to get into my nail salon. Additionally, most of us have taken to scissors and hair coloring and it isn’t pretty.

“Essential services” is a very fluid concept and I would love to know who put the list together. Don’t get me wrong, I am very grateful that the decision makers had the wisdom to put liquor stores on the list. I just wish they had considered a way to keep gyms open. The best way to ever fight sickness is to stay strong. In times of crisis, most of us lose what little common sense we ever had. Normal people become hoarders and germophobes. We turn into sheep and willingly hand over our ability to reason. Even the health care professionals have not been totally consistent in their messages about Covid-19, so why would we ever believe a politician on a subject this important. We have brains that should be used to consider multiple news sources and evaluation the information. Instead, our “intelligence” says “everyone has on a mask, therefore I need one as well.” And advice about injecting bleach? Could it be that we are really that stupid? Cleanliness is good. Always. I have friends who will probably develop respiratory illness, not because of the virus, but because of overusing and over-inhaling strong cleaning chemicals. Common sense! There will probably always be flu strains around and none of them are fun. If we routinely exercise half of the precautions that we have during Covid-19, we should be a very healthy world.



Pet Haven Cemetery

Cute as a Fox

a final restin

g place

an interview the caregiver with Juniper the of fox


A New Trail to Healing

A guide to pet friendly Pensacola

at the Leaning Post Ranch

page 28

Also In This

Rescue Me!


Business Climate


How marketers are selling Pens acola in the Big Appl e

On The Market

adorab adoptablele & pet


A real estat e section

JULY 2019

• www.pens acoLa

maga zine.c om

Kids Run the Market

Pensacola is gearing up for the first ever Children's Business Fair

Animal Encounters get up Local spots to close & personal with wildlife


For Toddlers, Tweens & Teens

Summer Camps




Summer Camps 2019




may 2019 | PensaCoLamagazine.C

The Angle r's Paintbru sh

an intervie w with alan Woolfo rd

Advent on the Beures premier adv ach ent ure park offe rs som new and ething different

Underw Escapes ater

From the gulf of mexico to pensacola escambia Bay, underwateris rich with adventures ALSO IN








Happy Trails

Explore the Best of Florida's Kayaking, Northwest Birding and Walking Trails august

On the Market a real estate section

+Business CliMate

2019 | pen




The official parade of homes guide Floor plans + maps inside

JUNE 2019 • pensacola




We miss our communal activities as much as you do... Soon, we’ll be together again. Until then, stay safe. If you are 60 or older and need help during this time, call us at (850) 432-1475.

Flexibility and Compassion: Teaching + Learning Amid Crisis by Gina Castro

Due to COVID-19, students all across the country are spending more time at home. Students have transitioned from face-

to-face learning to online learning and after school programs have been canceled. For many students who are used to being in school Monday through Friday for six hours a day, this change in routine can be a tricky one. Pensacola Magazine spoke with parents and teachers within the Escambia County School District, during the first week of online schooling, for information on how to make this transition as stress free as possible for all involved.

Escambia County Superintendent Malcom Thomas explained that this transition has had its hiccups. For one, they had to make sure that approximately 40,000 students in the county had a district issued Chromebook. Students in kindergarten through second grade had to be issued computers for the first time ever. After crossing that hurdle, Thomas said that the district had to create alternatives for students who didn’t have access to wifi, such as flash drives with workbooks on them. Thomas explained that a persistent issue during this process has been trying to contact parents to inform them about the transition to online. There are still about 4 percent 12 Pensacola Magazine

of the students who the district hasn’t been able to reach. Thomas said that he and the school district are very aware of how challenging dealing with this pandemic has been for the parents and students. “We've told our teachers that we expect two things: flexibility and compassion,” Thomas said. “Meaning, we try to meet the needs and accommodate the families as best as we can.” To help bridge the gap of communication between parents and teachers, the district created Google Voice numbers for each teacher and instructed that the teachers respond to emails and calls within 24 hours.

Teachers have found creative ways to connect and teach their students. Madeline Pisani, a third grade teacher at West Pensacola Elementary, uses Google Classroom and does her best to replicate her class’s learning routine. “My approach was that if I'm on there at the same time everyday, then, eventually, the children will catch on,” Pisani said. “I try to keep it as close to what we were doing face to face as possible.” Since elementary students in Escambia County have a single teacher, Pisani teaches all of the core subjects to her students. Every two weeks, Pisani uploads the class’s classroom calendar, which has all of the lessons the students are expected to complete each day, so that parents and students can keep track. Pisani has her students log on to their computers from 9 am to 11 am to work on their math and reading on I-Ready. Pisani then does a live lecture with the students at 11 am,

which typically lasts between 30 minutes to an hour depending on the number of questions. After a lunch break, the students work on science and social studies from 1 pm to 2 pm. At 2 pm, the students tune into a live lecture with Pisani and then the school day is done. “The hardest part was getting everything set up so that the parents knew what to do and when to do it,” Pisani said. Pisani has a total of 17 students, but she typically has only 10 students show up for her online lectures, but she has had some lectures with as much as 16 students. Pisani explained that she has some students she has to do one-on-one lessons with because their parent’s work schedule doesn’t work with the online school schedule. “My number one goal is to keep them motivated so they still keep learning even though we're not there to push them,” Pisani said.

“We've told our teachers that we expect two things: flexibility and compassion. Meaning, we try to meet the needs and accommodate the families as best as we can.” – Malcolm Thomas

Thomas explained that the priority during this time is to have one graded assignment for each core assignment per week. “I cannot expect teachers to have the volume of assignments they would have face-to-face,” Thomas said. “The elementary teachers will be focused on reading, math, science and social studies. We are not going to worry about grades in music or art.” Although elementary students will not be expected to do assignments in art or music, Montclair Elementary art teacher Megan Brees created a YouTube channel, Making Art a Brees, to show her students art they can create within their own backyard or home. “I want to give them an artistic release to get their minds off of the fear and the uncertainty and not put pressure on them,” Brees said. “I know that a lot of these kids are just trying to

survive at this point and trying to get their school work done.” The online school process for middle school and high school are similar. Each course the student is enrolled in will have one graded assignment submitted per week. Thomas explained that teachers’ grading during this time will be more liberal as part of that compassion element. “If a student were passing before we had to shut down, we do not want the online learning to be the element that causes the student to have their grades drop,” Thomas said. “Students that were struggling and failing before the break, they are going to continue to struggle and fail online because the bulk of the year was already in the books before we had to shut down.” For parents like Becky Hildebrand, whose daughter Mallory McCutchen is a sixth grader at Ferry Pass Middle School, that news that her overall grades will not be affected by this transition is like a breath of fresh air. McCutchen makes great grades face-toface but is struggling with the change in routine. “Mallory definitely does better in a structured environment. She has trouble staying on task and prioritizing,” Hildebrand said. Hildebrand explained that her daughter doesn’t have any student-teacher interaction other than communicating via email. “Mallory probably is not receiving a decent education at this point. I feel sorry for the kids who struggle in school and do not have a parent home with them during this time,”

Escambia County students continuing their studies v irtually.

Hildebrand said. “I do feel that everyone, adults and children are struggling right now and doing the best they can under our current circumstances.” Katie Cuson, an algebra 1 and 2 teacher at Escambia High School, said that the teachers were given a schedule of what subjects to publish Monday through Friday. Then the assignments are due at midnight the day before that subject’s next week of assignments are due. So, on Mondays, Cuson along with the whole math department publish their assignments onto Canvas. Cuson’s strategy for teaching her students is to upload screencasts of her doing the math problem on a whiteboard app while she narrates each step. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended all state tests, which includes EOC’s and AP exams. “It's unfortunate, but it is what it is,” Cuson said. “We’re not going to be able to get through all of the curriculum, and then we're going into summer and kids are going to lose what they barely knew.”

“If we are able to return to school, we are not going to give our district semester exams because they didn’t master the content. None of us believe we can be as effective during this month as we would have been face-to-face.” Thomas explained. “We are not going to be punitive to a student and give them a test that they possibly did not cover.” As for parents of seniors like Paula Rode, whose triplets are graduating top 10 in their class this May, they are upset about much more than testing being canceled. “As far as being fair, none of this is fair for seniors. They’ve missed the prom, graduation and all the fun things seniors should be going through,” Rode said. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a challenging and frustrating time for everyone. Thomas urges that if your student is struggling with his or her assignments, reach out to your student’s teacher.

May '20




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Did you know there’s a Japanese word—Tsundoku— for collecting books, but letting them pile up in your home without reading them? I’m guilty of this too. I even

have a separate bookshelf in my home for unread books. Sure, we’ll read them eventually, but sometimes buying them is a guilty pleasure of its own. If you’re a bibliophile or an avid reader, summer is the perfect time of the year to catch up on those books piling up on your shelf—and the perfect time to add some new reads to the pile. Whether you’re spending time at home in quarantine or looking for some books to read while enjoying the summer weather, we’ve gathered a few recommendations across age groups and genres.

KIDS Pete the Cat and the Perfect Pizza Party James Dean and Kimberly Dean (ages 3-6) Do you have a kid? Do you have a cat? Why do they both seem to be getting into mischief when they get quiet? Pete the Cat is always getting into something—pizza dough, cupcakes, learning to skateboard, scuba dive and even going to outer space. You know what they say about curiosity in cats—it teaches kids to read! His antics have been on-going since 2008, and now there are nearly 60+ books, so if your kid— or your cat— start to love the stories, you can collect them all.


There was a Black Hole that Swallowed the Universe - Chris Ferrie (ages 4-8) Author of Quantum Physics for Babies, Rocket Science for Babies—and the on-going Science for Babies books, Ferrie makes learning science a fun adventure for the whole family. In this tale, a black hole is swallowing the entire universe, but not before illustrating the compounds that make up the universe from cells, molecules, atoms and neutrons. It sounds quite dismal: a black hole swallowing life as we know it? But, hey, it’s a party in that black hole’s belly. Ferrie’s books are great for introducing science at an early age and for breaking down tough concepts for older kids too.

May '20


2020SUMMER READINGLIST The Girl who Drank the Moon - Kelly Barnhill (ages 10-14) There’s something about middle school readers and fantasy/magic books. Perhaps that’s the age where we all wish we had magical powers. Often compared to Harry Potter, Barnhill’s book features two female protagonists deeply entwined in magic and sorcery. A forest witch, Xan, and her newly magical daughter Luna navigate the world with blossoming powers. When Luna reaches the age of 13, her powers begin to emerge. Soon, she will have to use her powers to save her mother from a witch hunter from Protectorate. In many ways, The Girl who Drank the Moon is a coming-of-age story about power and sacrifice entwined in a magical setting with a swamp monster named Glerk and a tiny dragon named Fyrian.

YOUNGADULT Dead Astronauts - Jeff Vandermeer Florida author Jeff Vandermeer is a dedicated environmentalist and bender of reality, and his most recent book Dead Astronauts shows just that. The plot is deeply saturated in the byproducts of climate change and a seemingly post-apocalyptic world—one that is overrun by an omnipotent “Company.” With shapeshifting characters fighting against a giant corporation, and a blue fox that transcends time and space, Vandermeer’s novel stretches the limit of reality and language. In parts, the novel reads less like fiction and adopts a poetic narrative. If there is anything that stands out the most in this book, it is the looming impact and footprint humans have on the natural world.

Red Rising (series) Pierce Brown Red Rising is another cli-fy (climate fiction) inspired read; it’s a 5-book series set in a dystopian future on Mars. It follows Darrow, a Helldiver in the mines below Mars drilling for Hellium-3—the byproduct necessary to form other planets. The first book intertwines classrelations and rebellion, and a little bit of Hunger Games vibes. When Darrow’s wife is executed for singing a forbidden song, it sets the catalyst for the discovery that the government has been lying to them, keeping them below ground hidden from the truth of the mining. Darrow will eventually face a last-man-standing Colosseum style match for his rebellions. As the series unfolds, Darrow will infiltrate the ranks of the government elites.

Tell the Wolves I’m Home - Carol Rifka Brunt This novel popped up on summer reading lists a few years ago, but it remains a staple recommendation. Set in 1987 Westchester, NY, the novel follows 14-year old June Elbus through the death of her gay uncle, Finn, during the AIDs crisis. Finn is a famous artist, and before his death, the family commissions a portrait of June and her sister Greta. The family will soon find out the power and overwhelming prestige of his artwork, but not before June befriends her uncle’s boyfriend Toby. Brunt navigates family trauma, grief, and the social backlash of a relatively new and unknown virus. The novel is both a story about the budding friendship between two grieving people and a story about struggling to fit in amidst social outcast. 16 Pensacola Magazine


Lord of the Butterflies Andrea Gibson

Trump Sky Alpha Mark Doten This political satire is rib-splittingly funny and one of those novels that readers will either love or hate. At the end of the day, it is a satire, so just remember to laugh. Doten embraces the crazy genre of magical realism with an uncanny resemblance to a David Foster Wallace-esque narrative. Sentences that drag on for entire chapters and lobsters that smash out of their tanks on the renamed Air Force One plane, “Trump Sky Alpha” are minimal plot motivators. In this narrative, Trump pioneers his fleet of aircraft as the world descends into nuclear war. The protagonist, a journalist named Rachel, must weed through internet memes at the end of the world and work to restart the New York Times to find her wife and daughter and uncover an internet terrorist group at the heart of the attacks.

A reading list isn’t complete without a good poetry collection. Andrea Gibson’s latest collection is a rollercoaster of emotions that is bound to either make you cry or want to kick back in a hammock on the beach with a margarita—maybe both. The collection beautifully intertwines poetry about family, drug addiction, mental health, gender identity, internet dating and heart break. Gibson has mastered the art of slam poetry and tours the country performing poetry readings. Gibson’s work reverberates off the page as well and is equally compelling to listen to; it can be found on Spotify and YouTube.

Little Fires Everywhere Celeste Ng American Dirt Jeanine Cummins A recent 2020 release, American Dirt has stirred up controversy and received some major backlash for its portrayal of Mexican citizens. Despite the controversy, Cummins’ novel puts the reader in the shoes of migrant families and within the heart of the immigration crisis. The main character Lydia Quixano Pérez owns a bookstore in Acapulco, Mexico, with her husband, Sebastián, and her eight-year-old son, Luca. When a customer in the bookstore turns out to be a cartel leader, her husband, a journalist, publishes a piece revealing his crimes. The cartel reacts with violence and forces Lydia and her son to flee Mexico and enter the U.S. as undocumented immigrants.

Set in idyllic Ohio, Little Fires Everywhere, opens on the scene of a house fire suspected of arson and works backwards through the novel. Mia Warren, an artist, and her teenage daughter, Pearl rent a home from the Richardson family— a picture-perfect, wealthy white family. As the two families become entangled, secrets are discovered and unearthed. At the heart of the novel is the power of motherhood and the disastrous consequences of uncovering familial secrets. Ng’s novel has also been released as a Hulu series that is now streaming.

May '20


Studer Community Institute By Shannon Nickinson

Build a brain, build a life, build a community.

That’s been Studer Community Institute’s fouryear mission, building a vibrant community by investing in our children—and their parents. Now, we see the dial is turning. The goal is to raise the kindergarten readiness rate in Escambia County—which stands at 47 percent for 2019, up from 45 percent in 2018 and 2017. SCI launched a series of projects to boost that school readiness rate based on data that show children who start school without the basic skills they need to build early reading and math skills are likely to struggle to keep up all throughout school. In Escambia County, about 1,300 children show up to kindergarten each year behind in those basic skills. “Some of those children will catch up to their classmates, but many won’t, and that means they won’t reach their full human potential,” says SCI’s founder Quint Studer. More than 85 percent of the brain develops by age 3; 90-95 percent by age 5.

Domonique Murry reads over the information she received with her "Brain Bag"

and emotional bonds that children will use all the rest of their lives. Research shows that children who have a more language-rich first three years have stronger early language skills than children who don’t. “As a community, we can’t afford to keep leaving so many of our children behind,” Studer says. “The toll that takes on our teachers, our schools and our community will hold all of us back as we try to build a vibrant place for everyone to live, work and play.” Since 2016, SCI has worked on projects in three layers — in hospitals and healthcare settings, in person and in schools — all with the aim of helping parents be better first teachers of their young children. BRAIN BAGS Since 2017, more than 13,500 families have received these early literacy gift bags before they leave Baptist, Sacred Heart or West Florida hospital with a new baby.

What fuels that growing brain? The amount of time parents and family members spend talking, reading, singing and playing with children in those first three years.

The bags include a storybook, a developmental guide and lots of other resources to help parents start talking and reading early and often with their children.

Face-to-face interaction literally wires a child’s brain — and builds the basis of language skills, family connection

It comes with a quick lesson delivered in person by a nurse or volunteer.

18 Pensacola Magazine

The Brain Bag survey to ask moms two questions: On a scale of 1-10, rate your knowledge of how parent talk influences early brain development before the Brain Bag, and then rate it after. Here is how the responses breakdown by hospital for 2019. West Florida...........6.5 to 9.5 Baptist....................7.4 to 9.5 Sacred Heart .........7.9 to 9.8 Overall ..................7.2 to 9.6 Now the Brain Bag comes with a video lesson that helps reinforce the message. The video began as a research partnership between SCI and the TMW Center for Early Learning and Public Health at the University of Chicago to test if a video lesson could be an effective teaching tool. More than 1,300 Pensacola area women were part of the study, which ended in mid-2019. And they helped show that the lesson did work and could boost what they knew about how to build their baby’s brain. A shorter video—inspired by the original and produced by SCI—has been in use locally since that research project ended. Community partners including Healthy Start Coalition, Alpha Center, Community Drug and Alcohol Council, Children’s Home Society, and Families

First Network, also are using the video lesson with their clients. That is important in reinforcing the message with families who might need a little more support to put those practices in place. PARENT OUTREACH SCI’s parent outreach work has targeted families in high-need neighborhoods to give them coaching and support to talk more with their babies. SCI has led weekly parent outreach classes in three housing campuses for parents with children under 4. The Moreno Court group began meeting in July 2017; Attucks Court began meeting in August 2017. Oakwood Terrace started in February of 2018. “As long as you are breathing, there is hope,” says Reggie Dogan, program manager for SCI. “Many of our parents have needed their hope restored in their ability to do right by their children. That is the way, I believe, that we can change our community’s path. One parent, one child, one family at a time.”

“I was very excited to see how the tenants showed interest in the program,” said Shirley Henderson, deputy director of Area Housing Commission. “This is a first for some of our tenants. I was very impressed with the different programs that they planned for the tenants.” SCI’s newest project, begun in spring 2020, is being a local affiliate of the Boston Basics Network founded at the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University. The Basics are five, fun and simple ways that every family can benefit children from all backgrounds. The aim is to teach parents “the basics” of healthy brain building: 1. Maximize love; minimize stress. 2. Talk, sing and point. 3. Count, group and compare. 4. Explore through movement and play. 5. Read and discuss stories.

The curriculum includes 16 weeks of lessons on the importance of parent talk and interaction in healthy brain development and school readiness. It then adds lessons in financial literacy, self-sufficiency and building parenting capacity in families.

The Basics uses video lessons and text messaging around a curriculum to reach parents where they are and help them learn and use these concepts to boost the time and the quality of the interaction they have with their children.

Since July 2017:

“Our goal is to reach 1,000 families through the texting platform to pilot the project,” Dogan says.

240: mothers, fathers and grandparents served through parents outreach programs. 80: parents earned certificate of completion awards in parent outreach. 64: parents completed LENA Start parenting program. 43: parents found gainful employment since joining parent outreach program. 4: parents enrolled at Pensacola State College. 6: parents enrolled in GED classes.

SIBLING BRAIN BUILDERS Siblings can have an influence on academic success. This is due to something called the “sibling spillover effect” found in a 2014 study. Findings suggest that siblings can be a vital resource for teachers looking to build links between school- and home-based literacy practices. Launched in Escambia County elementary and middle schools in 2019, SCI Sibling Brain Builders has two tracks:

At Montclair Elementary, fourth-grade teachers have assigned a classroom of students to be Buddy Readers with a 4-year-old in a VPK class at the school. The Montclair fourth-graders who are Buddy Readers averaged a 38 percent increase in their reading fluency scores from August to December.

Middle School At Bellview Middle School, lesson plans are built around a children’s book that the Sibling Brain Builders read at home with their little brother or sister, ages 0 to 5. The lesson plans are then used in class to review concepts important to the language arts skill-building of the middle schoolers. We have 21 students in the first group of Brain Builders. Elementary At four Title I schools, (Montclair, Weis, Semmes and Lincoln Park elementary schools), librarians provide pupils with books and reading materials to take home to share and read with their younger siblings. Students use Reading Logs to track the number of minutes they read with a younger sibling at home and return those forms weekly. Students who meet the minimum monthly reading minutes threshold get a free book. Through March 13, 2020, 120 students participated, logging about 501 hours of reading. At two schools—Montclair and Lincoln Park—fourth-grade teachers have assigned a classroom of students to be Buddy Readers with a 4-yearold in a VPK class at the school. The Montclair fourth-graders who are Buddy Readers averaged a 38 percent increase in their reading fluency scores from August to December.

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Vulnerable Populations: Nonprofits Serving Those in Need by Gina Castro When you watch the news, go on social media or talk to a neighbor, it’s almost impossible to not mention COVID-19. It’s affected us all in so many ways whether your job shut down, your loved one got sick or you simply miss a warm hug. Many of us have been blessed with good health, full bellies and a warm bed. Others have not. As of April 29, 2 million people have applied for unemployment in Florida. But before all of this, families and individuals were struggling to get food on their plates, pay their bills and care for their health. These vulnerable populations and the nonprofits who serve them have been hit harder than ever before. FamiliesFirst Network of Lakeview, Inc. (FFN) and Gulf Coast Kids House (GCKH) explained that during times of financial crisis, there is an increase in child abuse and domestic violence, but because of social distancing, fewer people will be able to witness or report the abuse. “We know from a long history of watching trends that when children are isolated from the community and families are under stress, child abuse rates go up,” Jenn Petion, M.A., A.P.R., FFN Director of Administration and External Affairs, said. “Right now, the number of calls to the child abuse hotline are down, but we are preparing for the fact that once children are visible and the economic impact starts to really take hold, we are likely to see a prolonged increase of child abuse rates.” Based out of the Baptist Healthcare Lakeview Center, FFN works closely with families,

law enforcement, the judicial system, the Florida Department of Children and Families and other organizations. FFN is the lead agency for child welfare services. “During the BP oil spill, we saw a dramatic increase in child abuse, but it showed up about a month to three months later because people are dealing with the crisis right then,” Stacey Kostevicki, GCKH Executive Director, said. “I think one of our biggest concerns with this is that not only does stress increase physical abuse but access increases sexual abuse as well. We expect to see an increase in both physical and sexual child abuse within the next couple of months.” GCKH is a child advocacy center for the Pensacola and Escambia County area. This center focuses on the intervention, investigation and prosecution of child abuse cases.

Waterfront is able to continue serving its homeless guests daily, including meals, shelter, handwashing stations, clothing, showers, and restrooms.

Children within the foster care system are also facing challenges due to COVID-19 related restrictions. FFN explained that since the Supreme Court has suspended all court cases until the end of May, foster children’s transition to permanent homes and the reunifications of families have been postponed. “Normally, we have 20 to 30 adoptions finalizing a month, and we have reunifications happening every month,” Petion said. “Right now, we really are restricted on our ability to get kids through the legal system to permanency.”

FFN and GCKH are in need of help from the community. FFN is in need of foster parents and donations to support foster families in need. Visit www.elakeviewcenter.org/ FamiliesFirstNetwork for more information. GCKH has had to postpone its biggest fundraiser of the year, Brunch and Bubbles, to October, so this agency is in need of financial support. To make a donation or purchase an item from its wish list, visit gulfcoastkidshouse. org. You can help your community by reporting child abuse to 1-800-96ABUSE.

However, FFN said that most of the services parents need to complete to be reunified with their children, such as substance abuse treatment and counseling, are still available through telemedicine. GCKH said that children and families are able to continue their counseling online as well.

Waterfront Rescue Mission and Manna Food Pantry are two nonprofits that serve anyone in need, including the homeless and low income individuals and families. Waterfront has had to stop its recovery program, a 12 month program to help recovering drug addicts, and limit its space to 50 people due to COVID-19. The President of Waterfront May '20


Devin Simmons said that on a typical day, the Pensacola location has 100 or more people coming in need of resources.

waterfrontmission.org and donating food, shampoo, soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste to Opening Doors website openingdoorsnwfl.org.

“The one thing that's great about our location is that it's big. The bad thing is there are a lot of people densely compacted with a high health risk in one location,” Simmons explained. “It’s almost like the worst petri dish you can create because it's a bunch of high risk individuals that we may or may not know anything about their background or susceptibility.” Before the governor’s stay home order, Simmons said that he and his staff had to ask all guests who were using the space for shelter to stay with family or friends. For those who didn’t have anywhere to go, Waterfront worked with partner agencies to get them rental money for local motels. “I hate to make it sound like we were trying not to have anybody. That’s not the goal,” Simmons said. “If one person gets sick in a building with no walls, everybody is going to get sick.” However, people at the Hope House, a shelter used for the last six months of the recovery program, are able to stay where they are. Manna has had to shut down its three food pantries located in Pensacola, Milton and Jay due to COVID-19. Normally, a person in need is able to make an appointment and visit the pantry the very next day, but now, Manna is distributing to its partners only. Manna has a lengthy list of programs and organizations it supports, such as the School Resource Officer Food Program in partnership with the Pensacola Police Department and Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, clients of Gulf Coast Kids’ House and Santa Rosa Kids’ House, Community Health Northwest Florida and Salvation Army. 22 Pensacola Magazine

FamiliesFirst Network employees continue serving those in need.

The Gulf Coast Kid's House Facility.

“The output is actually greater despite the fact that we’ve closed our pantries. It’s greater than what it would typically be for March and April,” Kerri Smayda, Manna Development Director, said. “A lot of folks we serve are primarily low income, so those folks were struggling to begin with, and this crisis is certainly an added burden for them.” Even though Manna’s food output has increased by double, Manna’s volunteer workforce has decreased by 87 percent. Manna went from having between 85 to 100 volunteers to 11. “That has certainly required us to make adjustments in the way that we pack food bags and distribute them,” Smayda said. “Those 11 volunteers are making it happen, and we are very fortunate that there are folks like them to help us.”

Waterfront has also had to adapt to functioning with a smaller staff. All eight of its stores have had to close, so Simmons said that everyone is either furloughed or their pay, including his, has been suspended. Waterfront has furloughed 248 employees out of 320. This reduction in staff has affected the donations Waterfront is able to accept at this time. “We want our stores to open jobs and opportunities for people, but we can’t do it if people leave it at our stores and the items get ruined,” Simmons explained. So, if you have items you would like to donate to Waterfront, hold onto them until Waterfront stores reopen. Simmons said that the community can help Waterfront by donating on its website

Since food donations could potentially be compromised by the virus, Manna is accepting only monetary donations at this time. Manna is in dire need of donations since events like its National Association of Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive, which brought in more than 80,000 pounds of food last year, have been postponed. You can donate to the Manna Cares Campaign fundraiser at www.mannahelps.org. For the clients at Council on Aging of West Florida, many of them have been affected mentally and emotionally. “For decades, we have been preaching the importance of close, personal, social interaction, and now, we are having to find new ways to deliver that,” Josh Newby, Marketing Communications Director of Council on Aging, said. “We hear from clients who are lonely, who miss their grandkids, who miss their friends, and it’s exacting a very harsh mental toll on them.” Newby said that Council on Aging is in need of volunteers for its Meals on Wheels program and donations to purchase roughly $25,000 in shelf-stable meals. Visit www.coawfla. org for more information. Although the majority of these nonprofits are in need of financial support from the community, our city is in a financial crisis. So, if you are not able to make a donation, you can still help by sharing this story on social media. There are helpers everywhere. We just need to spread the word.

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Across America, healthcare workers have been on the front line of the fight against the COVID-19 virus—working day and night on 10 to 12hour shifts. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), healthcare is the fastest-growing sector of the U.S. economy, employing over 18 million workers. Healthcare workers are also at the highest risk of any industry sector for occupational injury and illness. As of April 15, around 9,000 U.S. health workers have contracted COVID-19.

24 Pensacola Magazine

"Baptist Health Care workers at the forefront of the COVID-19 response. photo by Guy Stevens Many workers have taken extreme measures to protect themselves and their families from contracting the virus: staying in hotel rooms, isolating themselves to sections of their house away from their family or even sending their children away to stay with relatives. For Sheralyn Echevarria, RN at West Florida Hospital Perdido Bay ER her days end with changing clothes in the garage, keeping her shoes out of the house and cleaning both her and her husband’s uniforms daily in a Lysol laundry detergent sanitizer. As a prior Air Force medic and nurse at West Florida Hospital

for two years, Echevarria explained that she stays positive by seeing the community support for healthcare workers and the camaraderie of teamwork between her coworkers and hospital staff. “I absolutely love working in healthcare. I just feel that I was put on this Earth to help others, to help them heal and to help families. It's just my passion to be a part of someone's healing process—it’s my calling,” Echevarria said. Nurses and doctors have responded to this calling of healthcare by travelling to

guidelines, changing protocol, implementing new research information and innovating new testing facilities and personal protective equipment (PPE) sterilization procedures.

catch up with nine busy and incredible workers in the community to see how they’ve responded to COVID-19.

Our three local hospitals: Baptist Health Care, Ascension Medical Group Sacred Heart and West Florida Hospital have been leading the fight to minimize community spread. On March 16, Ascension Medical Group Sacred Heart pioneered and opened the first regional drivethrough testing center for COVID-19, which continues to provide a no-contact, limited exposure method for testing by allowing patients to remain in their vehicles. Each hospital was quick to deploy a no visitation policy with screenings at entrance doors and innovative ways for families to connect with loved ones being treated at the hospital via Facetime, Zoom and other video chat tools.

Sheralyn Echevarria, RN

hot-spot states like New York that needed an influx of workers. Those working in their primary hospitals and clinics have adapted their daily lives to treat patients and minimize the spread of the virus. Here in Pensacola, employees have worked around the clock following CDC

While the medical community has poured its heart into treating patients and keeping the community healthy in the wake of COVID-19, the community has responded with an outpour of support for healthcare workers. From sending thank you cards to holding prayer groups to flashing lights, clapping and holding signs during shift change in the hospital parking lots to local churches and restaurants donating meals, Girl Scout troops donating cookies, Boy Scout troops donating 3D printed ear guards to hold PPE masks and the outflux of handmade masks from across the community. It is evident that the entire community is grateful for the hard work of healthcare workers, and we at Pensacola Magazine had the chance to

Paul Glisson, D.O. Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Baptist Health Care

Currently serving as the Vice President of Medical Affairs and the Chief Medical Officer for Baptist Health Care, Dr. Glisson acts as a liaison between the medical staff and the administration of the hospital to ensure that both teams can function effectively. He also serves as a clinical consultant for making administrative decisions on how to deploy healthcare throughout the system. “On March 16, according to the numbers, we were on a path to destruction. We were headed towards doomsday—417 patients with 50 or so patients on a ventilator. Based on that, my next job was to look at the possibilities and help make a surge plan that had five stages,” Dr. Glisson said. “I sat down with a team of amazing leaders here at Baptist and said, ‘How do we figure out how to bed 600 people at the hospital? What do you do when the needs of the healthcare in the city exceeds the capabilities of the healthcare facilities?’”

As Dr. Glisson explained, stage zero was planning— at the time they had no COVID patients. Stage one would be when they had 0-10 patients. Stage two is when they exceeded 10-50 patients. Stage three would be if they exceeded one floor of the hospital. Stage four would be when the ICU exceeded the capability to take care of ventilated patients, leading them to grow the ICU elsewhere. Stage five would involve thinking outside the box and using the ambulatory surgery centers, including the Naval Hospital. “Our saying here is Earth 1.0 and Earth 2.0. In Earth 2.0, all the rules have changed. Tele-medicine has advanced 20 years overnight based on CMS guidelines and how we now view medicine,” Dr. Glisson said. “You don't have to put your sick relative in a wheelchair and get them to the doctor just to get their medicine refilled. So, I think medicine has evolved, and I hope those good changes continue.”

Heather Olmstead, BSN, RN Clinical Manager Baptist Hospital Emergency Trauma Center Department

Heather Olmstead has been a nurse for 15 years. After she got her RN, she started at the critical care unit at May '20


HEALTHCARE WORKERS ON THE FRONT LINE measures, the stroke program and the sepsis program.

The GCE Team at Baptist Hospital Baptist, then worked at another ICU for eight years. She came back to Baptist as an emergency department nurse in 2012 and is now the clinical manager for the Baptist emergency department. All of the staff report to her and she helps with making clinical decisions, training the staff, making schedules and working with the community. “I came from a long family of nurses. My mom, my sister, my aunts and my uncles were nurses, so that's kind of what drew me to this profession,” Olmstead said. “They worked for Baptist, so Baptist is like a home. It really is. Especially at a time like this, it's rewarding to be able to provide comfort to people at such a scary moment in their life. With family not being able to visit, we really become their person to help them and support them to get them through this. It really has reminded me why I became a nurse.”

Laurie Veve, MSN RN-BC

Director of Inpatient Nursing Baptist Hospital Laurie Veve has been a nurse for 44 years and has been with Baptist since 2008. She is currently the Director of Inpatient Nursing, which means that all acute care units are under her purview and report up to her including the med-surg units, OB surgical units and neuro units. Veve took the time to explain a day in the life of a nurse treating COVID-19 patients. “We work 12 hours shifts. The nurses receive report at the bedside. The thing that's different here is the level of PPE they wear, which is designated specially for this virus. They wear a gown,

26 Pensacola Magazine

gloves, masks, face shield and everything at the bedside reporting with the patient,” Veve explained. “From then on, it's just management of the patient and his or her symptoms and their care— medicating as appropriate, making sure they remain comfortable, monitoring them for any changes in condition and collaborating with the physician and the care team as to the next steps for the patient. We rely on the expertise of our nurses to recognize those subtle changes that are pointing towards, perhaps, a worsening condition that we need to act on quickly.”

Lavoie explained the procedures for potentially exposed employees. “Whenever a team member is potentially exposed, we interview the team member to find out what level of exposure they had and find out if they had their gown, gloves, mask and eye protection on at the time of incident. Sometimes its low exposure like being in a hallway when a patient is wheeled past. If it's a high exposure, those team members are asked to stay at home and not come to work for 14 days from their last exposure,” Lavoie said. She also dispelled some myths about PPE: “I want to help people understand that those cloth and surgical masks do a great job of keeping your germs to yourself. So, whenever you wear a mask, it means that if you happen to cough it's not going to get on the things around you. It also helps to keep you from touching your nose and mouth, which we

Lisa Lavoie DHSc, MPH, RN, CIC, CPPS Corporate Director, Clinical Excellence Baptist Health Care

Lisa Lavoie has been with Baptist Health Care since 2010. She started as an infection preventionist and subsequently became an infection prevention manager and then director. Her current oversight includes not only infection prevention but also public reporting of core

know is one of the ways this disease spreads. But it’s not protecting against respiratory infection— it doesn't help you to not breathe something in,” Lavoie said. “In contrast, an N95 mask that hospital workers use when working directly with potentially

contagious patients is really a respirator to protect them from breathing in the virus.”

Russ Schreiner Senior Operations Executive Global Connections to Employment

Russ Schreiner has been working at Global Connections to Employment (GCE), a division of Lakeview Center for around 32 years. Lakeview Center is an affiliate of Baptist Health Care. His job at GCE is to provide jobs for people with disabilities using different lines of business such as environmental services, food services, mail services,

as well as I.T. work to employ wounded warriors. In addition to a team of 87 people on the front line cleaning rooms at Gulf Breeze Hospital, Schreiner has been coordinating a route for mask sterilization for Baptist Health Care. “One of the support service team leaders at the hospital, John Porter, started using a technique that was developed by the University of Nebraska to use ultraviolet light to sanitize the masks,” Schreiner explained. “What they needed was a process to get masks from the Gulf Breeze Hospital so that they could be used multiple times. So, we got a

van from Lakeview and started a route,” Schreiner explained. Twice a day they pick up masks from different places around town and take them over to Baptist, wait for them to be cleaned and take them back. “Of course, the people that have the masks feel like they are giving up their wallets and want to make sure they get them back. So, they were a little nervous about just dropping them off,” Schreiner said. “So, they put their name on them, they go in a labeled dirty bag—once sterilized they’re put in a clean bag and delivered to the employee for their next shift. The sterilization involves what looks like a clothesline. They hang the masks and then they hit them for 30 minutes with high intensity ultraviolet light from both sides.”

Jenny Paige Ford MS-CLS, MLS(ASCP) Laboratory Quality Assurance and Compliance Specialist Ascension Medical Group Sacred Heart

Jenny Ford has been with Ascension Medical Group

Sacred Heart for around 10 years working as a medical laboratory scientist. She received her master’s degree in clinical laboratory science from Rutgers University in New Jersey. In her current position, she reviews laboratory policies and assures the quality of tests analyzed in the labs; she also manages labs outside the hospital in urgent care centers and clinics to make sure the labs are accurate and everything is documented properly. Ford was instrumental in creating the drive-through COVID-19 testing site at Sacred Heart Hospital. “Part of my job is to act as a liaison for all of the labs in our area and throughout the country. I got a call from one of my contacts at Quest Diagnostics and they had started doing COVID-19 testing. At that time, they were only doing testing at the Department of Health and their staff was very limited,” Ford explained. “I knew we had to do something for our patients because they were scared, and they want to be tested. We just had to find a safe way that wasn’t going to expose our entire Airport Medical Park to the virus.”

The Drive-Thru COVID-19 testing team at Ascension Medical Group Sacred Heart As Ford explained, the goal was to create a balance between keeping employee exposure minimum while keeping patients safe, yet still making testing convenient for them. While they had a lab to run the tests, they still needed to create a safe collection system—the drive-through. “We have a check point where we record your name and date of birth, and we verify that you called the pre-screen number and that you're good to be tested. Then you drive around and get your labels and biohazard bag. From there, you go straight up to the test collection center and we re-verify all patient info and perform the swab through the car window,” Ford said. “The swab goes deep—people say it feels almost like it's touching your brain. That's because the virus lives in what we call the nasopharyngeal spot in your sinuses—it’s basically where your throat and nasal cavity meets, so that’s why it feels like it’s going so deep.” May '20


HEALTHCARE WORKERS ON THE FRONT LINE use as much PPE, because the patient is probably sick from something else other than COVID-19. Getting results quickly also impacts the kind of treatment patients receive.”

Robin Armstrong, RN West Florida Hospital Intensive Care Unit

Jim Alberto using a biosafety cabinet at Sacred Heart Hospital to analyze COVID-19 tests.

Jim Alberto, Medical Lab Scientist Ascension Medical Group Sacred Heart

Jim Alberto attended the University of West Florida for clinical lab sciences. He graduated from the university in 2009 and completed his clinicals at Sacred Heart Hospital. He has been working for Sacred Heart for 11 years in the microbiology lab. Alberto explained that he handles specimens from the human body that include infections, bacteria, viruses and parasites. Once they identify the sample, they test it with a panel of drugs to see which drug will work for that specific strain. Starting on March 20, the lab switched gears and focused its efforts on COVID-19 testing. With only four people trained in the lab for running COVID-19 tests, each rotating shifts, Alberto explained that they can test around 200 COVID-19 samples a day. His lab serves Mobile, AL to Jacksonville, FL. 28 Pensacola Magazine

“Most people don’t know that my team exists, the lab that is, they assume the doctors and nurses they talk to are running these tests when its actually the lab personnel,” Alberto said. “Right now, we are able to perform about 200 tests a day, but those are only inpatient tests and ‘people under investigation’ tests. We are still sending tests to outside labs, but soon we’re hoping to get enough people trained to run all of our tests here, which would be around 1,000 tests a day.” Alberto also explained the benefit of getting patients results in a 24-hour period rather than 10-days or longer, which has been reported by several labs in Florida. “It means the difference between level of PPE supplies utilized in treatment and also the difference in severity of treatment,” Alberto said. “If an inpatient is positive, the providers must use all PPE equipment required by the CDC when in contact with the patient. But, if that patient is negative, they don’t need to

Robin Armstrong has been a nurse for a little over 12 years with the majority of his time spent in an ICU setting. Armstrong explained that within the ICU, he cares for critically ill patients, which have a wide spectrum of illnesses. The ICU is divided between two units: one is an open-heart area for surgical patients and the other is where medically sick patients are accepted. West Florida ICU has turned the medical portion into a quarantine unit for COVID patients. “It's a unit where we have the closed doors and we have specialized equipment inside. We have isolation rooms. We have negative pressure rooms where we can care for those patients who

have airborne infections,” Armstrong explained. “Since COVID-19 has really come to the forefront, I've spent most of my time in that unit. We’re doing everything we can in order help the patients get better and to make sure that we don't harm each other or the community at large by spreading the virus.” Just like others, Armstrong uses a change of clothing between work and home, showers using an outside shower and leaves his shoes in the garage. “I realized through the townhall meetings and medical community coordination that we were we were coming together as a community and working very effectively. That was a good perspective for me,” Armstrong said. “Not only did it reassure me, but it gave me hope that not only does Pensacola have a plan, but it's a good one and we are being proactive instead of reactive.”

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King Content ist creato rs

m agazine.co • pensacolam

Artists Working Together PENSACOLA’S CO-OP GALLERIES


Bare Hand Collective Creates A New Space For The Arts Community


EmErgin Artists g LOCAL ARTISTS

Learn more and find the full list of WUWF programs at wuwf.org/programs.









Ft. Pickens 3:20 am

explore Pen t in a Different ligh

Small Towns, Big Charm. re

Art · history · Cultu

+Receive. Rehab. Release. sanctuary

Also in : this issue



the Wildlife a of northwest Florid






MAY/JUN 2018




May 2020

35. Pensacola Loses Event-Based Revenue Due to COVID-19 Several local events share loss of potential revenue due to cancelations.


38. The Backbone of Florida: Tourism Amidst COVID-19

Amidst drastic losses to Florida tourism, one Gulf Breeze based company, Innisfree Hotels shares how they’ve responded to the COVID-19 crisis.

May '20


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Business Vacation Extended Stay HIGHPOINTE.COM 34 NWFL’s Business Climate

three years from 2017–2019, Ciclovía brought well over $1,000,000 in added expenditures to Pensacola,” Hicks said. “We were anticipating an even larger and more diverse crowd this year, and we thought we’d exceed $500,000.” Hicks explained that the number of visitors each year has steadily increased. According to the figures gathered by Majority Opinion Research, a marketing research firm, the 2017 Ciclovía had more than 10,000 attendees, and in 2019, the number jumped up to 15,000. In 2019, there were also more than 60 vendors at the event. photo by Guy Stevens

Pensacola Loses Event-Based Revenue Due to COVID-19 by Gina Castro

COVID-19 has caused far more than a surplus of health concerns. Government ordered closures of nonessential businesses across the U.S. has not only negatively affected the average employee’s pockets but also the U.S. economy, which could cause the potential collapse of said economy. Nearly 22 million Americans have applied for unemployment since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Goldman Sachs, the investment firm, estimates that unemployment claims could skyrocket to 37 million by the end of May. In compliance with CDC regulations and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ 30-day lockdown, dozens of Escambia County and Pensacola events have been canceled. These event cancelations directly impact the number of tourists coming to the area, which affects the amount of revenue local businesses can collect which then impacts the jobs and hours available for employees. According to Visit Pensacola’s website, tourism in Pensacola pays $427 million in wages and employs 24,081 people. Tourism is also directly responsible for 17 percent of Escambia County jobs. Business Climate reached out to several major events in the area to help gage

the economic impact of COVID-19 in the local area. Spring break leading into summer marks Pensacola’s largest tourist season. Spring festivities such as Ciclovía, Vegfest and the Gulf Coast Science Festival were set to occur March 28. These annual events along with the weekly Palafox Market were expected to bring dozens of locals and other visitors to downtown. Rand Hicks, chairman of Ciclovía Pensacola, said that he and his team were expecting this year’s Ciclovía to pull more revenue in and have more guests than the past few years have. “Last year, the five-hour Ciclovía event generated $362,538, and in the

Autism Pensacola, a nonprofit, had to cancel its Steps for Autism event, which plays a major role in the organization's awareness campaign and fundraising. Cate Merrill, President and CEO of Autism Pensacola, explained that teams of people compete against each other to fundraise the most money during the weeks leading up to the March 21 event. “We raised some money, but we certainly aren’t anywhere near our goal,” Merrill said. “With all of this going on, the teams fell off. Even though the event doesn’t raise the money, we didn’t see a lot of action happening with the teams. We haven’t made an announcement about how teams can still fundraise because now is a challenging time to ask for money.” Merrill said that the Autism Pensacola staff is applying for grants in order to supplement the monies they were unable to raise. Several events that were anticipated to occur in April and May have been canceled or postponed to a date later in the summer. The Pensacola Little Theatre’s Cabaret: Shaken Not Stirred was initially set for April 4, but it has been rescheduled to June 6. Bridget Middelton, Executive Director of Fiesta Pensacola, confirmed that Pensacola Crawfish Festival, which was set for May 8–10, has been postponed to June 12–14. You can see Fiesta Pensacola’s complete list of its rescheduled events at fiestapensacola.org. Palafox Market and Gallery Night, a monthly downtown event, have been canceled until further notice. Palafox Market showcases dozens of artists and merchants each Saturday. May '20


CANCELED EVENTS Alethia Flapjack 5K AWKO Justice Jog Battle of the Badges Bayou Hills Run Bayfront Wine Festival Bayview Multiple Sclerosis Walk Blues on the Bay Brits by the Bay Car Show Burger Battle by the Bay Ciclovia City of Pensacola Parks and Recreation Easter Egg Hunt Palafox Market didn’t respond to Business Climate’s inquiries. “Not being able to host our events due to COVID-19 is no doubt having a major impact on local business, not just brick-and-mortar but the vendors who help us make the event happen and the dozens of micro businesses like artists who rely on Gallery Night to reach the public,” Gallery Night Director Sydney Robinson said. “Before this health event, Gallery Night was gearing up for a busy and bigger-than-ever season including a 5k race and other engaging activities.” Each month, Gallery Night brings approximately 50 artist vendors, 40 plus merchants, a handful of food trucks and visitors from all over the panhandle. “Our events draw thousands of visitors. These visitors engage with downtown businesses during Gallery Night where they might otherwise not visit at all,” Robinson said. Pensacola Beach Pride Weekend, a major tourist attraction that occurs each Memorial Day Weekend, has also been canceled. The Majority Opinion Research estimates that the 2019 Pensacola Beach Pride Weekend attendees spent $20,496,322 in Escambia County, and the percentage of attendees who came to Pensacola specifically for this event spent $17,381,969 in Escambia County.

36 NWFL’s Business Climate

Another major tourist event, Foo Foo Festival has been canceled due to COVID-19 despite the fact that its annual event date is months away. The festival is set to resume Nov. 4–15, 2021. “Our board voted unanimously to suspend the Foo Foo Festival this year in light of the pandemic,” David Bear, trustee emeritus for Art, Culture and Entertainment, Inc. said. “The timing for committing financially for 2020 is now and we felt it would be irresponsible to begin our process during this uncertain and precarious time. We look forward to getting back to business as usual next year.” Haas Center, the University of West Florida’s center for market research, conducted a report on the 2019 Foo Foo Festival. The report found that the festival attracted approximately 69,349 unduplicated attendees. The total estimated spending for all visitors was $7,800,820. The report also found that the Foo Foo Festival visitors helped support 110 jobs, $9.4 million in sales and approximately $2.6 million in personal income. Although a chunk of Pensacola’s most profitable events have been canceled, Pensacola’s biggest attraction – the beach – may open soon. Visit Pensacola’s website states that 84 percent of visitors during the month of May came to the area for the beach.

Civitan Community Picnic Deluna Du Youth Duathlon Earth Day Pensacola East Hill Block Party East Hill Neighborhood Association Fish Fry Fiesta of Five Flags 5k Run First Baptist Church Picnic Food Truck Festival Foo Foo Festival Gallery Night Gateway Church Family Picnic Gulf Coast Science Festival Kids Fishing Clinic Krewe of Vixens 5k National Day of Prayer Event At City Hall Navy Federal 5k Run Palafox Market Paws on Palafox Pensacola Jazz Festival Pensacola Triathlon Smokin’ in the Square Vegfest

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Funded by business people who believe that ethics in business matters. info@nwfl.bbb.org | bbb.org/nwfl 850.429.0002


Orange Beach to Panama City. On April 13, Innisfree announced they would donate 6,300 room nights to frontline medical professionals leading the fight against COVID-19.

Tourism Amidst COVID-19

“Much of what we do in our company is based off humanitarian principles. We have a very unique culture in the industry. We give a large majority of our proceeds to charity every year through our program The Hive,” Ent said. “We believe in our communities, we believe in our people and we understand that the more we can do to make the places where we do business better places, in the end, will lead to better experiences and lives for our employees and guests.”

by Dakota Parks

photo by Guy Stevens

Innisfree, which manages five hotels and three restaurants on Pensacola Beach, has been following CDC guidelines to protect their guests and employees. They are enforcing social distancing, handing out face masks to guests that want them and supplying face masks for employees to wear at all times.

Tourism and hospitality are driving forces of the Florida economy. According to data from Visit Florida in 2017, tourism provided over 1.5 million jobs for Florida citizens and roughly $88 billion in economic spending. The Florida Chamber of Commerce estimates that tourism brings in more than $6 billion in state taxes and $5 billion in local taxes, which in turn helps fund schools, improve healthcare and support other government services. However, with the COVID-19 travel restrictions and statewide “stay at home” orders implemented at the beginning of April, Florida tourism has been one of the most affected industries. A recent study by WalletHub found that Florida tourism ranks 6th in states most affected by COVID-19. Data from Visit Florida shows the year-overyear change in hotel demand went from 4.6 percent on Feb 23 to -77.6 percent on April 5. Year-over-year hotel revenue went from $33.9 million on Feb 23 to $-343.2 million on April 5. 38 NWFL’s Business Climate

For Ted Ent, CEO and president of Innisfree Hotels, the numbers reflect a nationally devastated system in which hotels have laid off up to 80-90 percent of their employees and are operating on less than 10 percent occupancy. Innisfree Hotels is a hotel management and development company with 23 properties across the Gulf Coast from

“I think everybody is concerned about what the recovery is going to look like, and a lot of the recovery is going to be predicated by the decisions that our elected officials make. Even if we lift restrictions here for the beach and travel, if our feeder markets in Atlanta, Nashville, Dallas, Houston, Birmingham and New Orleans are still closed, those numbers aren’t going to budge,” Ent said. Innisfree which is used to an 80 percent or higher occupancy rate during spring break season went from an 89 percent occupancy on March 6 to around 10-13 percent in April. Ent explained that they’re focusing their efforts on nostalgic social media campaigns, finding innovative ways to help the community and waiting for their “dreamers” to be able to travel again. “We’re here for our medical workers and our business travelers, but we’re patiently awaiting the dreamers. We know people are out there dreaming about traveling again, because we can see it based on

I think everybody is concerned about what the recovery is going to look like, and a lot of the recovery is going to be predicated by the decisions that our elected officials make. Even if we lift restrictions here for the beach and travel, if our feeder markets in Atlanta, Nashville, Dallas, Houston, Birmingham and New Orleans are still closed, those numbers aren’t going to budge.” the way they interact with our website and social media. There are ‘dreamers’ as opposed to ‘bookers,’ based on how much time they spend on the website without actually booking anything,” Ent said. One way Innisfree has adapted to COVID-19 is by turning their graband-go café inside the Pensacola Beach Hilton into a gourmet butcher shop and pop-up grocery store. Locals can call in orders and pick them up to go. The idea came from the head chef when he realized the Hilton was fully stocked and ready to go for spring breakers that now wouldn’t be visiting the hotel. Their restaurants on the beach Red Fish Blue Fish and H20 Grill also remain open for take-out orders and daily meal specials.

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Innisfree is also staying in close communication with their laid off workers and is very eager to bring them back to work as soon as possible. “We’re willing to do anything we can do to help us all get back to normal. We haven't closed any of our hotels, and we're one of the few companies that has not done that. We want to be ready for everybody when restrictions are lifted and people are ready to travel,” Ent said.


TRACEY MCMACKIN Broker/Associate 850.516.6767



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ON THE A MARKET Real Estate Section In This Section By the Numbers: A Look at February's Market Highlights page 42 Upgrade your Outdoor Living Space page 44 Seasonal Home Supplies for Spring page 48 May '20



925 64

Monthly Sales

Avg. Days on Market

2050 $230k

Homes on Market

Median Sale Price

MARKET HIGHLIGHTS March sales were up 32% compared to February and 16% above March of last year.

1st Q sales were up 14% over the same period last year.

Median sale price was the highest on record for any month.

Combined Days on Market (DOM) remained virtually unchanged from February.

Pending sales slipped 6% compared to February yet were 3% ahead of the same month last year.

Information courtesy of Pensacola Association of Realtors

17 W. Cedar Street | Suite 2 Pensacola, FL, 32502 phone: 850.434.2244 fax: 850.434.8081 www.BHHSPenFed.com



4059 Sunshine Ridge Ct $620,000 | MLS #568957

East Hill

2604 Yates Ave $569,900 | MLS #567285

This could be your forever home! A beautiful move-in ready, country french style home on Five manicured acres. Three bedrooms(office/study could be a fourth bedroom) four baths. Every bedroom has a private bathroom. The master has a large sitting area that has french doors opening to screen porch. There is a large laundry/mudroom with separate outside entry and a private outside shower...great for summertime showering after working in the garden!

Nestled into the natural beauty of the Paradise Point neighborhood in north East Hill, this breathtaking Contemporary masterpiece awaits your next gathering of family and friends. Designed to bring the outside indoors, the wrap-around windows allow for refreshing views of the luxurious and unique landscaping. There are many more exciting attributes to this beauty, but the best impression awaits you when you come and take your private tour of your new home to be!!!

Lori Nunley • 850.261.5384 • Lori.nunley@penfedrealty.com

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Pensacola Beach

3 Portofino Dr - Unit # 703 $578,000 | MLS #570000


3212 Southfork Dr $359,900 | MLS #570104

There is no place on Pensacola Beach like Portofino Resort! Portofino is a Mediterranean inspired Resort that is made up of five condominium towers, Lifestyle Center, Rubico Tennis Court, Indoor Olympic size pool nestled on the Intercoastal Waterway. This unit has it all! Starting with the Magnificent views of the Gulf of Mexico and the Intercostal Waterway which are awe-inspiring from your private balcony. As you enter the unit you will immediately notice the 9 foot Ceilings as it gives the unit a feeling of openness.

This Custom Craftsman home looks like a storybook illustration that came to life. Stylishly grand, yet classic and comfy, this House of 7 Gables is ready to be your happily ever after. Located in beautiful Southlake at Stonebrook Village, a gated community with all the amenities for an active Florida lifestyle. Crisp design lines and a neutral color palette are featured throughout the 4 bedroom/2.5 bath home, creating the fresh and clean aesthetic highly desired by today’s homebuyers.

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Upgrade Your Outdoor Living Space Home improvement projects aren't limited to indoors. In fact, not only can upgrades to areas outside the house expand your livable space, they can also increase your home’s value. Outdoor living projects account for almost one-third of renovation projects, according to a survey conducted by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. The findings echo trends reported by the National Kitchen and Bath Association, which found 43% of respondents said they designed outdoor kitchens in the past year and 41% expected an increase in outdoor projects in the coming year. “Our clients are asking for entertaining areas, which can be anything from a fully engineered cabana or a new paver patio with a pergola,” said Dave Garcia, owner of DPG Pavers and Design. “We love being creative with materials in our designs and installations. One of my personal favorites is an outdoor kitchen we wrapped in hardwood with a granite countertop. It has clean lines and a unique custom look.” Custom-built and prefabricated kitchens are also in high demand, Garcia 44 ON THE MARKET

said, along with recreation features like putting greens, bocce ball and basketball courts. Hardscape features that add function and ambiance top many homeowners’ lists, as well. Examples include fire pits and fire tables, as well as water features like fountains, waterfalls, basalt columns and bubbling urns. Understanding Landscaping Elements Creating the ideal outdoor living space requires thoughtful planning and a holistic approach to landscaping. Typically, when people consider landscaping, they think of plants and flowers. However, landscaping includes a wide range of elements in an outdoor design that can generally be grouped into two main categories: hardscape and softscape. Understanding the components and options within each category can help you create a cohesive design for maximum enjoyment. The hardscape encompasses the man-made elements that bring function and aesthetic appeal to the design. Examples include concrete pavers, natural stone features, seating and retaining walls, wood and composite decks, pergolas, fencing and synthetic lawns.

Softscape elements are the living components that add beauty and character to your outdoor space. These include the grass, shrubs, trees, flowers and plants. Your softscape may also include enhancements like mulch and an irrigation system to help care for the vegetation. Although the hardscape and softscape elements are distinct, an effective landscape design integrates both to create the look and feel you want for your outdoor living space. Getting Started Once you’ve considered the landscaping features necessary

to bring your vision to life, it's time to get your project in motion. Set a budget and consider whether you will need professional support to make your design ideas a reality. A remodeling expert can guide you on how to achieve the look you desire with your home's unique characteristics in mind, while helping manage your timeline and expenses. Find more remodeling advice and contractors in your community at remodelingdoneright.com. Content courtesy of DPG Pavers and Design

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Seasonal Home Supplies for Spring

Between spring cleaning and spending additional time outdoors (or both), the spring season can bring a lot of changes to your home. From insect prevention to rethinking home organization and adding style to your favorite spaces, it’s an opportunity to reimagine your living areas while planning ahead for potential problems. Combat Carpenter Bees with Early Prevention Don’t let carpenter bees get a foothold in your home where they can damage wood. One of the easiest ways to prevent carpenter bees from boring into your house is to capture them before they begin multiplying. Traps, like the TrapStik from Rescue!, lure in carpenter bees with appealing colors and patterns then trap them on a sticky surface. Just hang the weather-resistant, pesticide-free traps where carpenter bees are seen or holes can be found. Learn more at . Optimize Home Organization For many people, a major part of spring cleaning revolves around reorganization. By adding versatile, 48 ON THE MARKET

ventilated storage to pantries, laundry rooms, mudrooms or just about any space in the house, a solution like ClosetMaid’s multifunctional wire drawer organizer kits are perfect for small spaces. Available in 2-, 3- or 4-drawer sizes, the kits can help organize items from food to off-season holiday decorations to toiletries or cleaning supplies. Create a Classic Kitchen Spring is a perfect opportunity to update your kitchen – or create a look from yesteryear. Consider an option like Elmira Stove Works’ ranges. Available in seven colors and more than 1,000 custom hues with polished nickel or antique copper trim, the ranges complement styles such as farmhouse, Victorian, log cabin and even more contemporary settings. Full-size, self-cleaning ovens are available in electric, convection electric or gas. Complete the look with matching fridges, wall ovens, dishwashers and microwaves.

A Pleasant Patio Setting The warmer weather of spring often brings with it the desire to be outside and enjoying the season. You can spruce up the entertaining capabilities and comfort of your outdoor areas with patio furniture built to hold up against the weather. Keep it simple with two chairs and a small table or go all-in with loveseats, end tables and more. For added comfort, look for furniture with removable cushions that can be brought inside or stored away when not in use. Keep the Lawn Clean As the green grass begins to sprout and add beauty to your yard, so do weeds and other undesirable growth. Mowing the lawn regularly may take care of a majority of issues, but for those hard-to-reach areas, a string trimmer can help you clean up spots that simply can’t be mowed over. Available in gas, electric and battery-powered, a multitude of options means you can choose the right fit for your yard.


2 Paradise Realty

— Selling the Gulf Coast —

1660 Cross St, East Hill UNDER CONTRACT $334,900

Property Management Company has five openings for long term rental homes. We are a small, family owned company that serves a central geographic area of SW Pensacola and Perdido Key. We concentrate our business energies on limiting the amount of properties we oversee so that our owners are confident in knowing the homes are well taken care of.


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PREMIER COASTAL TEAM Jenn Cole 850-712-4084 Stephanie Harrington 850-816-6684

(850) 492-6972 13260 Sorrento Road Pensacola, FL 32507

Admin@2ParadiseRealty.com bemoved2paradise.com

Sydnee Johnson Sydnee Johnson Going above and beyond to find your next home.

Going above and beyond to find your next home. SYDNEE JOHNSON RealtorJOHNSON SYDNEE

22ARealtor Via DeLuna 4475 Bayou Blvd. Pensacola Beach, FL 32561 Pensacola, FLBlvd. 32503 22A Via DeLuna 4475 Bayou 4475 Bayou Blvd. sydneejohnson.cbintouch.com Pensacola Beach, FL 32561 Pensacola, FL32503 32503 Pensacola, FL (850) 712-6772 Cell sydneejohnson.cbintouch.com sydnee.johnson@floridamoves.com

(850) 712-6772 Cell Follow me on sydnee.johnson@floridamoves.com Follow me on

©2017 DBA. All Rights Reserved. DBA fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. Operated by a subsidiary of NRT LLC. Coldwell Banker and the Coldwell Banker Logo are registered service marks owned by Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC.

©2017 DBA. All Rights Reserved. DBA fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. Operated by a subsidiary of NRT LLC. Coldwell Banker and the Coldwell Banker Logo are registered service marks owned by Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC.


Broker/Owner Pennacle Properties Inc.


tani@pennacleproperties.com pennacleproperties.com

Pennacle Properties Residential & Investment

Real Estate



“Still the American Dream”

Diane Toepfer Owned by a subsidiary of Realogy Brokerage Group LLC.

Broker-Associate 1-850-501-3046 Cell

To those who serve the community in Healthcare, Grocery, Sanitation, Delivery, Post Office, Supply Chain, to the farmers, first responders, military service members and many others!


These hands once trembled with fear and uncertainty. Now, they’re holding on to brighter days.

We are a non-profit, faith-centered ministry offering food, addiction recovery services, housing, spiritual guidance and more to Escambia County’s most vulnerable and under-resourced residents.

850.912.8383 • BrightBridgeMinistries.org

1876 N Baylen St Pensacola, FL 32501


4 BD | 3 BA MLS # 555237

5580 Leesway Blvd Pensacola, FL 32504


LOT .23 Acres MLS # 567844

5 N Galvez Court $828,500 4BR/3BA 2,136 SF MLS# 568906 PENSACOLA BEACH

The Resort Property Specialist



pensacolahomelistings.com c 850.232.4001 o 850.932.4102

Over 30 Years Experience 509 Ft Pickens Rd. $775,000

1003 Maldonado Dr. $799,900

3BR/2.5BA 2,370 SF MLS# 541718 PENSACOLA BEACH

4BR/3.5BA 1,824 SF MLS# 569373 PENSACOLA BEACH

DREAM 1215 Ariola Drive $1,299,000


B-4 Boardwalk $450,000

2BR/2.5BA 1,420 SF MLS# 565184 PENSACOLA BEACH

1313 E Strong St $348,500 3BR/2BA 1,634 SF MLS# 569358 EAST HILL

1405 Ariola Drive $1,170,000 3BR/2.5BA 2,520 SF MLS# 560266 PENSACOLA BEACH

Regency Towers 203-E $319,900 1BR/1.5BA 921 SF MLS# 566310 PENSACOLA BEACH

May '20


Profile for Ballinger Publishing

Pensacola Magazine, May 2020  

Pensacola Magazine, May 2020