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Independent News | February 16, 2017 | Volume 18| Number 7 | inweekly.net

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winners & losers

buzz

outtakes

4

8

5

It was eight years stepping forward, now it's 70 years back.

cover story

a&e

11

15

publisher Rick Outzen

art director Richard Humphreys

contact us info@inweekly.net

editor & creative director Joani Delezen

contributing writers Duwayne Escobedo, Jennifer Leigh, Chuck Shepherd, Shelby Smithey

calendar 20

Independent News is published by Inweekly Media, Inc., P.O. Box 12082, Pensacola, FL 32591. (850)438-8115. All materials published in Independent News are copyrighted. © 2015 Inweekly Media, Inc. All rights reserved.

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February 16, 2017

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winners & losers

WSRE PRESENTS

ELLEN PRAGER SEX, DRUGS AND SEA SLIME! Marine scientist and author Dr. Ellen Prager presents a fun and compelling talk about the wealth of life in the sea and the need to protect it. Book signing to follow.

Adrian Lowndes

Malcolm Thomas

winners ADRIAN LOWNDES The Santa Rosa

Board of County Commissioners selected Adrian Lowndes of the Information Technology/GIS Department as its employee of the year for 2016. He has the honor of being the very first recipient of this award. Lowndes has written more than 30 custom in-house software apps for the county's various departments, saving taxpayers more than $2 million in software expenditures and maintenance costs.

Thurs, Feb 23 7pm Doors open at 6:30pm WSRE Jean & Paul Amos Performance Studio

JONATHAN CLARK To support music

Admission is free! RSVP: wsre.org/speakers WSRE is a service of Pensacola State College. 19182-0117 WSRE Public Square Prager INWeekly ad.indd 1

1/11/17 2:28 PM

education and to celebrate local educators who excel, the Blues Angel Music Foundation announced the awarding of its inaugural Music Educator of the Year prize to Jonathan Clark. Clark is a team leader and strings instructor at several schools in the Escambia County School District. He is the founder of the Fifth Grade Strings Program that teaches more than 400 students per week. He is also the director of the Emerald Coast Honors Orchestra, a performance-based string orchestra comprised of local students.

UWF HISTORIC TRUST The University of West Florida Historic Trust has joined "Museums for All," a signature access program of the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Association of Children's Museums. "Museums for All" enables up to four people, with a presentation of an Electronic Benefits Transfer card and a valid form of identification, to visit all Historic Pensacola museums and the Pensacola Museum of Art at no charge.

losers MALCOLM THOMAS When Pensacola

Police arrested a student for possession of a handgun on the campus of Booker T. Washington High School, Superintendent Thomas and the school administration tried to keep the news away from the parents, teachers, and students. Parents received only a robocall for the school's principal saying the student had been arrested for possession of an "illegal item." The lack of transparency fed rumors and misinformation that made the situation worse. Other school districts send out emails, hold meetings with the faculty and even have assemblies to dispel rumors but not Escambia County.

CITY ENGINEERING Several weeks ago, a

tall wooden pole was erected on Baylen Street, one block north of The M.C. Blanchard Judicial Building. According to the City of Pensacola's public information officer, Vernon Stewart, the city's engineering department approved AT&T installing the pole. Currently, city officials are working with the carrier to have the pole relocated. Oops.

ESCAMBIA COUNTY STAFF County staff released a draft of the traffic study regarding the possible closure of Rawson Lane to Pensacola Christian College before making the report available to the public on the county's website. The County admitted the report was released to the college prior to posting it online for the public before the Feb. 7 workshop. County Commissioner Lumon May said that PCC getting the study earlier than everyone else "disappointed" him.

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outtakes

by Rick Outzen

BLOWN OPPORTUNITY Parents dread hearing a classmate had a gun at their child's school. Where was the student apprehended? What kind of gun was it? Was their child ever in any danger? School officials understand this. The good ones quickly communicate with the parents to reassure them. In Kentucky, the principals have a template to follow. The email opens with the purpose of the communication, such as a student was arrested for having a gun on campus. The principal describes the situation and what was done, such as law enforcement was notified and handled the situation appropriately. The principal asks parents to discuss the incident with their children and explain the law regarding weapons on campus. He also leaves a phone number or email address for parents to get more information. In Escambia County, principals don't follow such procedures. When a Booker T. Washington High School student with a loaded semi-automatic handgun in his backpack was arrested on Feb. 7, the parents received an automated phone message from the principal. He said, "This is Dr. Roberts calling from Booker T. Washington High School to inform all parents and students that today we had an incident at campus in which a student was found to be in possession of an illegal item."

Many parents didn't know a gun was the "illegal item" until I reported it on my blog. Under the Virginia Model School Crisis Plan, principals are instructed to hold a brief faculty meeting to give accurate, updated information about the situation itself and to review with staff procedures for the day. The plan recommends one in the morning and another after school to address misinformation or rumors before staff members go home or into the community. School Superintendent Malcolm Thomas and Dr. Roberts didn't do that either. Teachers didn't know the facts the day after the arrest. The Virginia Department of Education understands people are going to talk about an emergency and, when accurate information is not available, rumors begin. Because of the lack of information coming from the Escambia County School District, rumors were rampant. Parents wanted to know if their child was in any class with an armed student. They wanted to know what had law enforcement done to make sure that was the only gun on campus. They wanted to know specifically what was done to protect their children. The most effective strategy for combating rumors is to provide facts as soon as possible. Thomas and Dr. Roberts did not do that. Trust was broken, and parents lost the opportunity for a valuable teaching moment with their children. {in} rick@inweekly.net

The most effective strategy for combating rumors is to provide facts as soon as possible.

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GULF POWER RATE CONTROVERSY By Duwayne Escobedo Northwest Florida residents who oppose a proposed Gulf Power Company rate increase claim it would harm low-income customers, hurt efforts to conserve energy and reduce the motivation to employ renewable energy options. Gulf Power wants to rely less on usage by its 450,000 customers and more on the base rate. The company has proposed to increase base rates from its current $18 to $48. One of Gulf Power's harshest critics is the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. "The attempt by Gulf Power to restructure rates and increase the fixed charge by 155 percent on families in its service territory is unprecedented in Florida," the Nashvillebased environmental group said. Gulf Power Chairman, President, and CEO Stan Connally admitted in an August letter to the Florida Public Service Commission that the power company's customer growth has been slower than it forecasted and noted usage per customer has dropped. "An increase in our base rate revenues is now necessary to maintain a reliable electric system and to preserve our financial integrity, which is in the long-term best interest of our customers," Connally said. The power company, which roughly delivers power from Pensacola to Panama City, stands to earn about $106.8 million more in revenues if the PSC approves the Gulf Power plan in May. Want another stat to put the proposed rate increase into perspective? The monthly price for the average residential power customers would increase 10.3 percent, rising from $144.01 to $158.86. If allowed, Gulf Power would implement the new pricing July 1. Christian Wagley, chairman of the local environmental group 350 Pensacola, maintained that more opposition exists to this Gulf Power increase than one in 2013. He called the hike "dramatic" and predicted low-income residents would be hurt the most. He added that those trying to conserve energy by turning off lights, adjusting their thermostats and adding insulation to their homes would be penalized. Meanwhile, Wagley said that those who use the most energy would be rewarded. He has put in screens to increase ventilation in his home and shades to keep his home cooler. Wagley calculated that about 16,000 customers, like him, would see their electric bills increase by about 40 percent, despite those initiatives. "Conserving energy is ingrained," Wagley said. "I live very simply and have worked very hard to do things." 66

However, Gulf Power spokeswoman Natalie C. Smith disagreed with Wagley. She pointed out that to offset the rate hike and pricing packages, Gulf Power plans to offer a $21 discount to low-income customers, who qualify for SNAP or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which is more commonly known as food stamps. An estimated 35,000 Northwest Florida homes would be eligible for the discount. "Some people are saying that Gulf Power's rate restructuring request would dis-incentivize energy conservation," she said. "But, we're actually including two additional rate options in the pricing package for those who want to take greater control of their energy consumption and conserve energy and save money. These new choices can benefit customers who shift the majority of their energy use to off-peak times or those who already offset their usage through rooftop solar." Smith said the company plans to invest in the long-term reliability of its energy grid and to ensure it produces a more balanced energy mix.

Since 2010, Gulf Power has increased its reliability by 40 percent. The rate hike would allow the energy company to do "infrastructure hardening, reliability and smart grid improvements," according to Smith. Those improvements include upgrading its distribution system, installing automation to control energy transmission remotely and replacing aging equipment and facilities, such as transformers and fiber-optic cable. Smith reported that the rate increase ensures Gulf Power can use multiple energy sources, such as wind, solar, natural gas and clean coal. Gulf Power currently relies more than 90 percent on fossil fuels. "This also helps protect customers from fuel price fluctuations that can cause price increases," Smith said. "Simply put, we're not putting all of our eggs in one energy basket. Instead, we're using an all-ofthe-above approach to generating energy." Dan Gardner, a co-founder of Compass Solar Energy, sees no benefit to consumers and strongly opposes the new proposed rate structure. He said the rate hike would

only strengthen the utility's monopoly, and he argued it would discourage future innovations in the energy market, such as the possibility of using batteries to power subdivisions for up to 30 years. "The only way to protect its monopoly is to shift its revenue stream away from consumers being able to control it," Gardener said. "Once that happens, it will happen again, again and again. To me, it is critical that we don't allow that to happen. We can't allow Gulf Power to set this precedence." Studer Properties President Andrew Rothfeder said the Gulf Power rate hike worries him. He said some of the smaller, energy-efficient apartments in the 258-unit Southtowne development located downtown would experience power bills that would balloon by $10 to $20 per month. "Our units will be negatively affected," Rothfeder said. "It's concerning to us because people are and have been making living decisions for a while based on living costs, including utility bills. We want to make sure it's affordable to live here and live downtown." {in}

Gulf Power Company's Proposed Residential Class Rate Structure Bill Impacts Annual Energy Usage

Number of Customers Per Group

Percent of Total Customers

< 2K 2K-4K 4K-6K 6K-8K 8K-10K 10K-12K 12K-14K 14K-16K 16K-18K 18K-20K 20K-22K 22K-24K 24K-26K 26K-28K 28K-30K 30K-32K 32K-34K 34K-36K 36K-38K 38K +

18,748 16,669 20,877 16,669 64,559 70,795 37,496 27,063 22,905 37,496 16,669 12,512 16,669 2,079 6,236 4,157 2,079 0 4,157 2,079

4.7% 4.2% 5.2% 4.2% 16.2% 17.7% 9.4% 6.8% 5.7% 9.4% 4.2% 3.1% 4.2% .5% 1.6% 1.0% .5% 0 1.0% .5%

Bills Under Bills Under Pro- Proposed Rate Current Rate posed Rate Structure Structure Structure Impact Bills

$28.41 $48.60 $70.06 $92.77 $110.20 $131.67 $152.38 $171.46 $190.77 $209.52 $227.55 $250.59 $268.18 $284.67 $304.16 $331.83 $349.79 NA $385.39 $405.64

$53.05 $68.21 $85.53 $104.28 $118.80 $136.76 $154.15 $170.19 $186.45 $202.25 $217.44 $236.88 $251.72 $265.65 $282.10 $305.47 $320.65 NA $350.72 $367.83

$24.64 $19.61 $15.47 $11.51 $8.60 $5.09 $1.77 -$1.27 -$4.32 -$7.27 -$10.11 -$13.71 -$16.46 -$19.02 -$22.06 -$26.36 -$29.14 NA -$34.67 -$37.81

Proposed Rate Structure Bill Impact-Percent

87% 40% 22% 12% 8% 4% 1% -1% -2% -3% -4% -5% -6% -7% -7% -8% -8% 0 -9% -9%

Source: Gulf's response to Request for Production of Documents, No. 30 and analysis of the response inweekly.net


FLORIDA MEDICAL MARIJUANA SCARCE

By Duwayne Escobedo The Florida law that legalized medical marijuana took effect July 1, 2014. Thirty-one months later only seven facilities hold state licenses to cultivate, process, and distribute the drug. Few shops sell medical cannabis in the state. Furthermore, a mere 538 physicians and 2,997 patients are qualified to prescribe and use marijuana to treat epilepsy, cancer, chronic seizures, chronic muscle spasms and terminal conditions. Looking for Florida-grown medical marijuana to cure your child's epilepsy seizures or to ease your pain? Good luck with that, said Bobby Loehr, vice president of the Pensacolabased Ray of Hope dispensing organization. Loehr's company is battling the state for a license after being passed over. He said the seven current licensed facilities already cannot meet demand from Florida's five regions. Loehr claimed many patients who could benefit from medical marijuana have turned to using "Charlotte's Web" marijuana, a strain grown in Colorado by the Stanley Brothers. Plus, Florida growers have a difficult time producing a consistent level of medical marijuana high in cannabidiol (CBD) and low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — below 0.3 percent, Loehr reported. It is THC in marijuana that creates the "high" users experience. "It's creating a chilling effect on doctors and patients," Loehr said. "Physicians want to start people on the medication, but they want to be able to continue on it. No attention was paid by the state to fact versus fantasy. It's very frustrating to watch." February 16, 2017

Ray of Hope teamed with Colorado's Stanley Brothers and Loop's Nursery & Greenhouses in Jacksonville. It was one of 28 applicants to apply for a state license. Loop's, which has about 20 greenhouses, built a brand new 34,000-square-foot building for growing marijuana. "We had a well-planned, well-financed business," Loehr said. "However, we apparently forgot to raise money for well-placed politicians." The Florida Department of Health issued licenses to CHT Medical, which is affiliated with Chestnut Hill Tree Farm; The Green Solution affiliated with San Felasco Nurseries; Trulieve affiliated with Hackney Farms; Surterra Therapeutics affiliated with Alpha Foliage; Modern Health Concepts affiliated with Costa Nursery Farms; Knox Medical affiliated with Knox Nursery; and GrowHealthy affiliated with McRory's Sunny Hill Nursery. Loehr pointed out that only four of the licensed businesses have produced legally grown, state-manufactured pot, so far. One of those that has failed to produce any cannabis, Loehr said, is the Chestnut Hill Tree Farm backed by Jay Odom, a Destin developer who was convicted of a felony election offense in 2013. Odom admitted to funneling $23,000 to former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee through employees' families and friends and served a six-month federal sentence. Chestnut Hill has an approximately 6,000-square foot greenhouse, significantly less space than Loop’s Nursery had available. "(DOH) gave a huge monopoly to very politically connected folks," Loehr alleged. "They haven't shown any dedication to treating sick children."

With little fanfare, the Pensacola City Council unanimously approved on Feb. 9 to allow brick-and-mortar medical stores to sell medical marijuana in locations zoned for commercial use, or C-1 sites. But the seven facilities allowed to grow medical marijuana face obstacles in more than 60 communities across the state that have enacted moratoriums on stores selling legal marijuana to the public. Other governmental entities are drawing up laws to regulate the dispensaries. Not only that but Amendment 2, which passed in November with 76 percent of the vote statewide, is expected to expand medical marijuana use in Florida and put an even bigger strain on state-licensed marijuana manufacturers. Amendment 2 approves "full strength" pot for anyone with debilitating conditions, such as cancer, AIDS, epilepsy, PTSD, Parkinson’s disease, and more. The amendment is expected to make medical marijuana a profitable industry, serving 400,000 Florida residents and generating $1 billion. Many political observers expect hot debates in Tallahassee by lawmakers in the upcoming session on how to implement Amendment 2. One proposal by Sen. Rob Bradley (R-Fleming Island) would allow three more state-licensed growers once 250,000 Florida residents qualify and allow another five licensees at 300,000 and 350,000 medical marijuana users. Eventually the state would have 20 licensed dispensaries total. Another bill pushed by Sen. Jeff Brandes (RSt. Petersburg) would eliminate restrictions on the number of growers, creating a free enterprise market for medical marijuana. Unlike the 2014 medical marijuana act that took nearly three years to structure, the amendment gives the state roughly six months to come up with regulations. Florida trial attorney and entrepreneur John Morgan, the primary supporter and most vocal advocate for Amendment 2, recently visited Pensacola to speak to the Tiger Bay Club. Morgan said he expected "dispensaries" to become as common as bars. Loehr, however, disagreed. He maintained 30 to 50 growers will be needed to meet future demand and to allow law enforcement authorities to ensure state law is followed. He pointed out in Colorado, more than 650 companies grow and sell marijuana. "It doesn't make sense to get there with seven nurseries," Loehr said. "We don't want 1,500 either. It's important Florida have enough people in business to have an adequate supply. We're not recommending we turn into the Wild West." He added: "I don't envision a high-volume thing like CVS where everybody is going in to buy their pot. That is just not going to happen. Some reasonable regulations make sense." {in}

FLORIDA APPROVED DISPENSING ORGANIZATIONS •CHT Medical affiliated with Chestnut Hill Tree Farm (Alachua County) •The Green Solution affiliated with San Felasco Nurseries (Alachua County) •Trulieve affiliated with Hackney Farms (Gadsden County) •Surterra Therapeutics affiliated with Alpha Foliage (Hillsborough County) •Modern Health Concepts affiliated with Costa Nursery Farms (Miami-Dade County) •Knox Medical affiliated with Knox Nursery (Orange County) •GrowHealthy affiliated with McRory’s Sunny Hill Nursery (Polk County) Source: Florida Department of Health Office of Compassionate Use

HOW DO PATIENTS QUALIFY FOR MEDICAL MARIJUANA? Florida law has several requirements for patients to be eligible to receive low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis. •A patient must have been diagnosed with a qualifying condition. •A patient must be a Florida resident. •If under the age of 18, a patient must have a second physician agree to the use of lowTHC cannabis or medical cannabis in order to obtain an order from a qualified physician. •A patient must have tried other treatments without success. •An ordering physician must determine the risks of using low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis are reasonable in light of the benefit to the patient. •A patient must be registered with the Compassionate Use Registry by their ordering physician. Florida law has several requirements for patients to be eligible to receive low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis.  •A patient must have been diagnosed with a qualifying condition. •A patient must be a Florida resident. •If under the age of 18, a patient must have a second physician agree to the use of lowTHC cannabis or medical cannabis in order to obtain an order from a qualified physician. •A patient must have tried other treatments without success. •An ordering physician must determine the risks of using low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis are reasonable in light of the benefit to the patient. •A patient must be registered with the Compassionate Use Registry by their ordering physician 7


son and K'yone Johnson will talk about the challenges of adult identity formation while simultaneously dealing with the effects of racism. The topic, "Millennials Discuss Forming an Identity in the Face of Racism," is part of a public series of discussions on racial tensions in Pensacola presented by the UWF Department of Social Work. The event will be held from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 16, at Earl J. Bowden Building, 120 Church St. The students will speak for about 20 minutes each, followed by discussion and questions.

RAWSON LANE CLOSURE DEBATED

Congressman Matt Gaetz / Courtesy Photo GAETZ EXPLAINS Congressman Matt Gaetz took to Facebook to explain his bill that would abolish the Environmental Protection Agency. "I am a conservationist at heart," he said in a video on his Facebook page. "I think that as a conservative every once in a while you should want to conserve something." The freshman congressman touted his record as a state legislator, stating he had voted to secure more than a billion dollars in funding for our Everglades. He believes states do a better job of protecting the environment than the federal agency. "For six years in the (state) legislature, I had a front row seat to the failures of the federal government in protecting the environment," said Gaetz. "The question isn't whether to protect the environment. The question is who is better equipped to actually do that." His proposed bill doesn't abolish the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. The enforcement of those laws would fall to state and local governments. He claimed that local officials in Northwest Florida told them they don't need the EPA because they manage and enforce a lot of those things locally. Gaetz said the state's brownfield program has been more successful in cleaning up environmental catastrophes than the EPA's Superfund program. 88

"What's significant about that is that we're able to get projects funded and then they ultimately turn into great community assets, public parks, schools, mixed-use areas that improve vibrancy in neighborhoods," he said. "It's an example of state programs succeeding where the federal government has in fact not been able to be so successful." According to the congressman, the federal agency's $8 billion budget would be better spent on the local level. "Imagine all the good we could do if we could downstream those resources to communities that actually really would put their environmental priorities first and foremost and ensure that they are being reflected in a community's own set of circumstances," said Gaetz. He also criticized the EPA for stretching its reach. Gaetz said, "I give an example of one of my constituents who simply went to widen his stock pond for his cattle on a cattle farm and just by virtue of increasing the size of his pond all of a sudden had EPA regulators all over him, all over his property." He added, "This truly conforms to the limited government principle that the government that's closest to people will do the best job for them. I hope that answers some of the questions."

RACE & RECONCILIATION University of West Florida students Kesley Richard-

For the second time since July 2010, Pensacola Christian College asked for Escambia County to close Rawson Lane that borders its east side. To enhance its student safety and to expand the college, PCC argued the county should close the street that connects Brent Lane and Airport Boulevard used by Norwood and Hancock neighborhood residents and as a shortcut by other drivers. Escambia County Board of County Commissioners held a public workshop on Feb. 7 at Brentwood Elementary School cafeteria where hundreds of residents reviewed various stations set up to explain the $26,350 traffic study by EPR. Everyone was asked to fill out a survey for the Escambia County Commission to consider when it decides the issue at a public hearing scheduled for April 6. Residents displayed strong feelings for and against the road closure. Traffic would be diverted to Palafox Street or to the Interstate-110 exit that runs between Airport and Brent. Hilda Johnson, an 83-year-old retired elementary teacher, moved into the Norwood neighborhood in 1976 or 40 years ago. "It's absurd that this is constantly studied," she said. "I oppose (closure) because it's going to cause inconveniences for people in our neighborhood." The 55-year-old Randall Whitehead, who grew up on Rawson Lane, also is against the street closing. He uses the road all the time and said closing the road would make it hard to get in and out of his home. Plus, he has another reason. "I hate PCC, and you can print that, I don't care," he said. But Gary Mitchell, who works for construction consulting company, BE-CI, said the closure of Rawson Lane is needed for public safety reasons and to allow PCC to expand. "It's like dodge ball down there," Mitchell said. "It's just a monster to get through there."

County staff said it shared a draft report with the college before posting it online for the public before last Tuesday's workshop. County Commissioner Lumon May said PCC getting the study earlier than everyone else "disappointed" him. "My special interest is the citizens of Escambia County," May said. "I've never voted against the public interest of the citizens." Residents who missed the workshop can view the study and traffic research on the Escambia County website. They also can take a survey until March 1 on whether they support or oppose the closure and make a comment.

FUTURE OF TRIUMPH The House Select Committee on Triumph Gulf Coast has released a draft of the committee bill that will establish the process for how the BP oil settlement funds ($300M) will be appropriated. Committee chair Rep. Jay Trumbull (RPanama City) appeared on "Pensacola Speaks" last week to discuss the draft. "What we really want to do is to create this process where we get a lot of public input," he said. "This is not Tallahassee's money. This is our Northwest Florida money, and so I want to create a process that allows folks the opportunity to come to us with ideas about where they think the money should go and how that process looks." Rep. Trumbull said the draft bill sets up a trust fund for the money and establishes a process for final approval of any expenditure to go through the Legislature. If the bill is passed, the Triumph Gulf Coast board will remain to vet projects. "But at the end of the day, we have set up a plan to where there are multiple steps to where we're ensuring that these dollars are spent in the fashion that is the best for all of the Panhandle, not just a select few," he said. One concern has been that Northwest Florida may suffer cuts in other state funding because of the BP settlement dollars. Trumbull dispelled that concern. "I have heard a significant amount of that same concern," he said. "The reality is, and I've had this conversation with the Speaker in the past, the way funding for a myriad of things, whether it be water projects or DOT's work plan or the education funding, there is a process set in place that it would be so difficult to unwind that to be able to take some of the Panhandle's money out, that this just would not happen." How soon will we see projects funded with the Triumph dollars? "One of the proposals says that the existing Triumph Committee is supposed to give the inweekly.net


Clint Smith / Courtesy Photo legislative budget committee a spending plan by December 30 of this year," said Trumbull. "That doesn't say that that's the day it has to be in. That's just, that's the date that it's late if you will. It can happen in May or middle of the summer or something like that. The purpose of this is to make sure that we get the dollars in the hands of the Panhandle as quickly as possible and not have wait another year or even two."

BLUE WAHOOS GET ALL-STAR GAME

In 1962, Pensacola hosted its last all-star game when it showcased the best players from the Class-D Alabama-Florida League at Admiral Mason Ballpark. This summer – 55 years later – Pensacola will host the Southern League All-Star Game. Jonathan Griffith, Pensacola Blue Wahoos president, said the all-star game will showcase Pensacola to about 1.1 million fans in the nine other Southern League markets. "We're really excited," Griffith said. "This is one of those things that happens so infrequently that it's a big deal. It's another step in the right direction." The Wind Creek Casino in Atmore will be the premier sponsor of the All-Star Game that features two days of festivities and will cost about $250,000. Wind Creek has sponsored the Blue Wahoos since its first season in 2012. Tim Ramer, Wind Creek Atmore property manager, said he and his three sons attend about two games a month. "We are a baseball family," Ramer said. "To be able to see future stars who may one day play in the World Series is exciting." Planned festivities for about 10,000 expected visitors include a Fan Fest, which will include autograph sessions with the players, a Home Run Derby, and other fun, interactive activities. February 16, 2017

NATIONAL POETRY SLAM CHAMPION COMING The University of West

Florida Office of Equity and Diversity will host renowned poet Clint Smith as the keynote speaker for Black History Month. The lecture will take place at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23 in the University Commons Auditorium, Building 22, on the UWF Pensacola Campus. Smith is a writer, acclaimed spoken word poet, award-winning teacher and doctoral candidate in education at Harvard University. His two TED Talks, "The Danger of Silence," and "How to Raise a Black Son in America," have been viewed more than 4 million times. In 2014, he earned the spotlight as the National Poetry Slam Champion and Individual World Poetry Slam finalist. "We are incredibly excited to bring Clint Smith to UWF," said Dr. Doug Thompson, assistant dean for equity and diversity. "Clint is a nationally recognized poet who passionately shares stories of justice, education, and community. I am expecting this to be a powerful evening and an amazing experience for our campus." Smith is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and was named the 2013 Christine D. Sarbanes Teacher of the Year by the Maryland Humanities Council. His work has appeared in "The New Yorker," "The American Poetry Review," "The Guardian," "Harvard Educational Review," and "Boston Review," among others. Write Bloody Publishing released his debut poetry collection, “Counting Descent,” in September. Smith is also a finalist for a NAACP Image Award. The lecture is a free event, open to the public and will conclude with a book signing. For more information, visit uwf.edu/ respect. {in} 9


The Road to America’s First

Early Learning City

America’s First Early Learning City is making sure parents and children have access to the resources that are available in the county.

The Thirty Million Words Initiative

We are fortunate to have Dana Suskind, M.D. and John A. List, Ph.D., in Pensacola as we move one step closer to creating America’s First Early Learning City.

ABOUT John A. List, Ph.D.

I

• Chairman, Department of Economics, University of Chicago. • Chief Economist, Uber – The world’s largest online transportation network company. • One of the world’s leading experts on experimental economics. • Has served as senior economist on the President’s Council of Economic Advisers for Environmental and Resource Economics. • He is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, a research fellow at the Institute for the Study of Labor, and in 2015 received an honorary doctorate from Tilburg University in the Netherlands.

n early 2016, research by the Studer Community Institute (SCI ) pointed to the fact that Pensacola suffered economically because only 66 percent of the children are ready for kindergarten. To confirm how important kindergarten readiness is, SCI did a national search on the importance of early learning in the success of a child. This search led them to Dr. Dana Suskind of the University of Chicago and the founder and director of the Thirty Million Words Initiative. This initiative is based on research that shows the critical importance of early language exposure on a developing child. In March 2016, Dana Suskind came to Pensacola to spend the day with community members. In the summer, representatives of the Studer Community Institute visited the University of Chicago and spent time with Suskind and John A. List, the chairman of the University of Chicago Department of Economics.

The discussion led to this: Could Pensacola be the first project site for the University of Chicago to bring its programming to a community? This investment by the University of Chicago would make Escambia County a research site focused on how to help communities make sure their children are kindergarten ready. The first step is to make sure that every new mother in a hospital in Escambia County leaves the hospital fully understanding the importance of early learning and how best to develop her child’s brain. This project has the potential to change Escambia County’s economic condition by leading to more children being ready for kindergarten. That means more high school graduates, leading to less crime, and a reduction in teenage pregnancies and poverty. The TMW Newborn Initiative will make Escambia County better, but ultimately, it has the potential to change the nation.

His work focuses on microeconomic issues, and includes more than 150 academic publications.

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By the numbers

#

Number of Nobel Prize Laureate have been affiliated with University of Chicago, the fourth most of any institution in the world.

U.S. News and World Report 2017 Ranking of U.S. Colleges: 1. Princeton University 2. Harvard University 3. University of Chicago (tie) Yale University

BOARD OF DIRECTORS • Blaise Adams • Cindi Bear Bonner • Becca Boles • Patrick Elebash • Randy Hammer • Chad Henderson • Gail Husbands • Stacy Keller Williams • Jerry Maygarden 010 1

3

• Jean Pierre N’dione • Lisa Nellessen-Lara • Mort O’Sullivan III • Janet Pilcher • Scott Remington • Martha Saunders • Julie Sheppard • Josh Sitton

$390 million Dollars spent by the University of Chicago on scientific research in 2014.

49

Number of Rhodes Scholars in University of Chicago’s history.

ABOUT Dana Suskind, M.D. • Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics, University of Chicago • Director, Pediatric Cochlear Implantation Program • Founder and Director, Thirty Million Words Initiative PRACTICE LOCATIONS • University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital, Chicago • Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine, Chicago YEAR STARTED PRACTICE: 1992 BOARD CERTIFICATION: Otolaryngology MEDICAL SCHOOL: University of Missouri School of Medicine INTERNSHIP AND RESIDENCY: University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia FELLOWSHIP: Washington University Children’s Hospital, St. Louis MEMBERSHIPS: American Academy of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION: American Society of Pediatric Otolaryngology

1

Pensacola is the first city in the world, outside of Chicago, to partner with the University of Chicago and its Thirty Million Words Initiative.

/StuderInstitute /StuderInstitute

VISIT STUDERI.ORG

EMAIL rdogan@studeri.org inweekly.net


The African Presence in "America's First Settlement" By C. S. Satterwhite

"The history of the new world began when Spanish and African people settled in the Caribbean Islands. The history of Pensacola began when Spanish and African people settled in Pensacola." So begins Georgia McCorvey Smith's "Ebony Tales of Pensacola," one of the few published works to recognize the early contribution and presence of Africans in what Pensacolians call "America's First Settlement."

Elements of cover courtesy of UWF Historic Trust February 16, 2017

11


act as intermediaries between indigenous communities, as well as work within their trades. They were not used for slave labor. The Africans played this role. "There were maybe as many as a couple of hundred [Africans with the Luna expedition], but we don't know for sure." There is one reference to a free black man named Francisco, who enters the historical record buying items at auction from a deceased man aboard ship. "There's no other Early image of Don Tristan de Luna from the Codex Osuna / Courtesy of the Library of Congress reference to him From artists’ renditions of the expeor details about dition that hang in our museums to the him other than the description of ‘de color The story of Pensacola's settlement fantastical recreations by Pensacola's negro,'" said Worth. "But he must have truly begins in Mexico City. Fiesta of Five Flags celebration to the been free since he was purchasing goods In 1521, the Spanish established New recently completed downtown murals and for himself, and he's not described as a Spain as a colonial territory after the statues honoring conquistador Don Tristan slave, which would have been done had he conquest of the Aztec. To administer its de Luna and the city's Spanish heritage— been [enslaved]." growing empire, the Spanish crown estabthe African presence in the settlement is Most Africans with the Luna colony, howlished several viceroyalties throughout the largely ignored. ever, were enslaved and purchased either by region, including the Viceroy of New Spain The exclusion of Africans in the Luna individuals or owned by the Spanish crown— headquartered in the former Aztec capital colony narrative paints an inaccurate the latter considered government property. of Mexico City. picture of the settlement by omitting the There is no way to determine with In 1558, the Viceroy of New Spain existence of the first black population livcertainty where the Africans were from, chose a conquistador named Don Tristan ing continuously in what we now call the but most likely they originated from West de Luna to lead the expedition from United States. Africa near the modern-day countries of Mexico to the Gulf Coast. Luna's prior As we continue to mark the recent Nigeria, Benin, experience in various historic discoveries—most notably the 2015 Gabon, CamerMexican expeditions, discovery of the original colony—many oon, and Equahis work suppressing continue to view this history as solely Eutorial Guinea. a native insurrection ropean. This image is only part of the story, Once abducted in Oaxaca, and his as a great number of the people in the Luna in Africa, these personal wealth made colony were not Spanish, but African. people were the well-connected Without recognizing Pensacola's early eventually sold Spanish officer a good African presence, our city's origin story is in the Caribbean choice to lead the Gulf incomplete. and mainland of Coast expedition. Once established, Luna was Although historians know little the Americas. By the late 1550s, as Luna is to create a land route from the Gulf Coast to concrete information of this population, preparing his expedition, Mexico City held modern-day South Carolina. For the historic Africans were a sizable portion of the Luna an enormous enslaved African population. mission, Luna outfitted eleven ships to carry colony. Their roles were complex—most "Any slaves [on the Luna expedition] supplies with 1,500 people to serve as crew were enslaved but some free. Their fears that were owned by the Crown would have and passengers. were likely similar to that of the other colocome from Mexico," Worth continued. "The Luna colony was outfitted in nists, but their sorrows certainly greater "Privately-owned slaves would also have Mexico," said John Worth, a University of than were their non-African counterparts been resident in Mexico, though of course West Florida professor and lead archeolowho volunteered to accompany Luna and might have come from other areas when gist at the newly-discovered Luna site. "We were not abducted from their homelands originally purchased by their owners." had 550 [Spanish] soldiers… recruited from a to build the Spanish empire. Most Africans In the first modern census of Mexico, variety of locations," said Worth, "as well as had no choice but still played a large role in the African population outnumbered the equipment and supplies issued or purchased the colony. Spanish. In 1560, the Spanish government between Mexico City and Veracruz." While artistic renditions and fictional counted 15,609 Africans and 13,280 Span"Some of [the soldiers] were married historical recreations are quick to recognize iards. Not counting the Indian population, and brought families," also onboard were the European side to the Pensacola story, there were also 2, 425 mestizos. "a couple hundred Aztecs," said Worth. the African side of the city's origin remains As Luna created the rosters for his The Aztecs worked as soldiers and craftsignored over 450 years after Don Tristan expedition—including free and enslaved men, possibly in exchange for monetary De Luna and his colonists stepped foot on Africans—all of these people made his compensations and familial benefits back this sandy soil. crew, and ultimately the colony itself, very in Mexico. Luna hoped the Aztec would diverse. The Spanish, many of whom likely

"IT'S ACTUALLY A MEXICAN COLONY"

“African American history is generally overlooked by scholars unfamiliar with the subject.”

Teniade Broughton

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shared a long mixed ancestry with North Africans due to the Moorish presence in Spain, already held deep connections to Africa. Furthermore, the Spanish population in Mexico was also becoming multigenerational with a large multi-racial mestizo population rising—not to mention the strong presence of Aztec warriors and craftsmen on the expedition. Though the credit for the Pensacola settlement usually goes to Spain, "it's actually a Mexican colony, even with the Aztecs," said Worth. Luna's ships left modern-day Veracruz, Mexico, on June 11, 1559. According to "The Luna Papers 1559-1561," a collection of documents from Don Tristan de Luna's expedition, "the party consisted of five hundred soldiers, one thousand servants and colonists." Counted among Luna's "servants and colonists," in numbers not broken down by any demographics, "were women and children, negroes, and Indians." The expedition arrived in Pensacola Bay on August 14, 1559. Luna's crew offloaded the ships slowly over the coming weeks, as explorers moved inland to search for indigenous peoples. Unfortunately for Luna, a massive hurricane hit Pensacola Bay and destroyed all but three of Luna's ships. The wreckage of these ships are still being discovered in Pensacola Bay, one as recent as 2016. Luna stayed in the area for some time trying to establish the colony, despite the incredible loss of his supplies and fleet. Ultimately, Luna's attempts to establish a long-term colony are fruitless. He is replaced and, with the permission of the viceroy, leaves Pensacola in April 1561. From the settlement he founded in modern-day Pensacola, Luna travelled to Havana and then to Spain. He eventually made his way back to Mexico, where he died in relative poverty. Much of this story is covered in various biographies, histories, and historical novels about Don Tristan de Luna, but little is known about the others who made up the Luna colony, especially the "negro men and women servants," as they are described in the historic documents. These Africans were among the first non-natives to see the white sands of the Florida Gulf Coast, and the first people of African descent to live in what we now call Pensacola.

"UNDERSTUDIED ASPECTS OF THE LUNA EXPEDITION"

"African American history is generally overlooked by scholars unfamiliar with the subject," lamented Teniade Broughton, a local historian working with the John Sunday Society. Broughton manages the social media site Black Pensacola and writes frequently about Pensacola's AfricanAmerican heritage. Yet despite tremendous accomplishments by people of African descent in Pensacola, quite often their work goes unnoticed in the broader historical narratives of the city. Broughton describes this inattention to Pensacola's black history as a inweekly.net


"long history of exclusion," which includes the Africans in "America's First Settlement." "It's one of the understudied aspects of the Luna expedition," said Worth about the Africans with Luna. Despite Luna's major failures, the Pensacola community continues to honor the Spanish conquistador. In fact, history views Luna much better than his contemporaries did. While Luna's praise is understandable due to his role in the colony, the African presence was not insignificant, but still ignored. Still, the Africans with the Luna colony were not the first of their people in this region. "Blacks came to the Americas first as explorers, not as slaves," wrote Smith in "Ebony Tales." Spain and Northern Africa are geographically close, but also share a strong history stretching centuries prior to Columbus, linking the histories of Spain and Africa together during the century following the 1491 expulsion of the Moors from Spain and Columbus' famous journey the following year. A 1528 Spanish expedition to the Florida Gulf Coast, led by Panfilo de Narvaez, took an African man named Estevanico with them to establish a colony in Florida and search for the fabled Seven Cities of Gold. After the death of Narvaez, "Estevanico led the men [from the Gulf Coast] through present day Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico, where they continued [the] search," wrote Smith. Except for the brief stop by the African Estevanico, the Luna colony could boast the first continuous presence by Africans in what is now the United States of America. "I was trying to think of another place anywhere in the United States where Africans lived multiple years, and I think this is the earliest," said Worth. "Where actual large numbers lived in a single community, not wandering around for a couple of years, I think this would be the first place." The first task for the Africans, like everyone else in the colony, was survival. The land was hostile, supplies were scarce, and there was a lot of work to do. "In the Luna settlement," Broughton said, "it's safe to assume that whatever activities Spaniards did, Africans did as well." Most of the soldiers—Europeans, Aztecs, or Mestizo—likely didn't possess slaves, but "probably Luna and the higher ups had several servants, and potentially slaves," said Worth. Archaeologists are still learning about the day-to-day living situation within the colony. "During the expedition…probably the Aztecs hung out with each other…but the servants and slaves were probably with the households of their owners." Worth continued, "If they were royally owned, they were probably living with the officers or the officials of the expedition. They might've been housed by the stables, with the horses, or the warehouse, or in the treasurer's office. It's kind of hard to say." Where they lived, with whom they com-

municated, and what their daily lives were like are still mysteries, at least for now. "For one, we don't really know how many Africans were on the expedition. We just know there were some," Worth said. "We don't know what proportion of [the Africans] were free or were enslaved. Within the enslaved population, we don't know what proportion were royally owned versus privately owned." Sifting through numerous journal entries and documents, there is little specific information about the Africans who came with Luna on the expedition. There remains no exact numbers of people, little concrete information about their tasks, and virtually nothing about their lives either before or after Pensacola—with a few notable exceptions. Francisco is one, but there is another. "The Luna Papers" offer vague numbers and vague terms to describe who the African slaves were or what they did in the colony, but there is one specific allusion to a "negro woman," who left the settlement with Luna on a frigate headed for Havana. As far for names of enslaved Africans, "we have one, absolutely positively royally owned slave, who was sold or sold off after the expedition," said Worth. The woman was "named Guiomar from Biafara. That's all."

“It's safe to assume that whatever activities Spaniards did, Africans did as well..”

Broughton

February 16, 2017

GUIOMAR FROM BIAFARA

Guiomar is the only named African slave that we know of to date. What we know of her is from the records of her sale in Havana—"Guiomar de la Tierra de Biafara." The Spanish name Guiomar means "famous in battle," which may have been seen as complimentary or a warning for future buyers. More than likely, Guiomar

wasn't her original name, but was given by the Spanish. As her enslavement was early in the Atlantic Slave Trade, she was likely young enough to be seen as profitable but not too old to work. Biafara, or Biafra, was a part of modern-day Nigeria. A region now mostly known for the post-colonial Nigerian Civil War of the 1970s, the people of the region were no strangers to conflict, going back to the beginning of the Atlantic Slave Trade. By the height of the slave trade, villages, towns, and communities fought frequently with Europeans and other Africans to fend off the traders. As most slave traders sought the young, the long-term damage to the region was incalculable as Europeans carted away generations of men and women to become the forced labor that built the Americas at the expense of Africa. The main ethnic group of Guiomar's home in Biafara were the Igbo people. Europeans specifically targeted Guiomar's people during the slave trade as the Igbo were known for their strength. According to the first extended narrative written by an African in English, Olaudah Equiano described his Igbo people as "almost a nation of dancers, musicians, and poets." In his narrative, Equiano wrote "Our manners are simple, our luxuries are few… when our women are not employed with the men in tillage, their usual occupation is spinning and weaving cotton, which they afterward make into garments." Equiano also describes female work with the Igbo as manufacturing earthen vessels. In 2015, Tom Garner stumbled across shards of earthenware, similar to those made by the Igbo, allowing for a positive discovery of the Luna colony. "As to religion," Equiano wrote of his and Guiomar's people "the natives believe that there is one Creator of all things, and that he lives in the sun…They believe he governs events, especially our deaths or captivity."

Assuming Guiomar's capture was similar to Equiano's description, either Europeans or Africans abducted her, brought her to a staging area with other captured Africans, and marched hundreds of men and women to the Atlantic Coast. Once aboard ship, the European slave traders chained the men and women beside each other to maximize capacity. From there, most travelled across the Atlantic under extremely inhumane conditions through what became known as Middle Passage— the long and arduous journey from Africa to the Americas. Prior to Africans, the Spanish enslaved the natives in the Americas, starting with Christopher Columbus not long after his 1492 arrival in the Caribbean. The brutality of Columbus' troops, along with the ravages of disease, decimated the native populations of nearly every Caribbean island in which the Europeans stepped foot. While resistance continued throughout conquest, within decades, native populations had virtually disappeared. After the deaths of thousands, if not millions, of indigenous peoples, the Spanish moved from Native American to African slaves at the suggestion of a Spanish priest named Bartolome de Las Casas. Horrified at the incredible loss of native life, Las Casas felt Africans may be better suited to the climate and intense labor forced upon the Indians. Las Casas grew to regret this suggestion, as the consequences were dire, but the trade only grew. In his 1857 study of the Spanish conquest of the Americas, Arthur Helps wrote, "It was noticed [by the Spanish] that negroes and oranges seemed to have found their natural soil" in the New World. Many Europeans, Helps wrote, went so far as to think the Africans "were nearly immortal, as for some time no one had seen a negro die, except by hanging." This assumption by the Spanish originally suggested to the crown by Las Casas, brought thousands of Africans into the Atlantic Slave Trade.

Artistic rendering of the landing of Don Tristan de Luna at Pensacola by Hubert Rudeen, 1559 / Courtesy of UWF Historic Trust 13


In 1517, the Spanish government allowed for the importation of four thousand Africans, as "the Indians of the islands were rapidly wasting away." Most were initially imported to Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and Hispaniola (modern-day Haiti and the Dominican Republic). The numbers rose dramatically over the years. The first major numbers of Africans came in 1523, with the Spanish crown's authorization of 4,000 males to be captured in Africa and brought to the Americas as slaves. In 1527, Spain authorized another thousand. The following year, Spain again authorized another 4,000 men and women. Before long, what started as a trickle of Africans forced from their homeland turned to a continuous flow draining West Africa of its youth to work in the sugar plantations of the Caribbean or the post-conquest reconstruction of Mexico, to name but a few forced occupations. Whenever the Spanish needed labor, slavery followed. This included Don Tristan de Luna's expedition that ultimately landed in Pensacola. Among the 1,500 Europeans, mestizos, Aztecs, and Africans who landed in modern-day Pensacola was an enslaved African woman named Guiomar. Besides her name and where in Africa she may have come from, we know little else. By contrast, we know Luna's background. Born to nobility in Borobia, Spain, he was the cousin of the Viceroy of New Spain (Mexico) and also the cousin of Hernan Cortes' wife, Maria Zuniga. We know he fought in Oaxaca, Mexico, and

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helped suppress a major indigenous uprising. We also know he had dreams, like many conquistadores, of discovery and wealth. We know that everything in his life, prior to 1559, brought him and his fleet to Pensacola. Though his dreams ended in failure, he was allowed to return to Havana and then home to Spain. By his own free will, he travelled back to Mexico and died there in 1573. Guiomar's path to Pensacola reads as more tragic. We know very little about her family, but only her people. We know the name given to her by the Spanish means "famous in battle," but we know nothing of her own struggles. We know, with a fair amount of certainty, that she did not leave West Africa on her own accord. What is also very unlikely is that she ever travelled home again. Phillis Wheatley, the first African woman to have a book of poetry published in the New World, offered a glimpse into her own abduction from her home as a young woman in West Africa:

That from a father seized his babe beloved: Such, such my case. As for Guiomar, we know nothing about her family or her "pangs excruciating," her thoughts, her hopes, her fears, or her nightmares except to speculate that she must have dreamt of her home in Biafra and longed for it continuously. But this is speculation. What we know is her Spanish name, her possible land of origin, and how much she sold for at auction. In fact, the only reason we even have her name is because she is listed on a bill of sale. To recoup losses from the failed expedition, "Guiomar from the land of Biafara" was sold in Havana. Her price—170 pesos. After that, she's lost to history. "Black history matters, just like everyone else's" If the presence of Africans in the Luna colony is no secret, but the question remains as to why is it so often ignored? "Any answer requires I explain, and hopefully convince people, why local African-American history is important," said Broughton. "Rephrase the questions replacing Black history with Spanish history or military history—no one would even ask those questions." Though certain aspects of Pensacola's

“Chattel slavery built the economy of the Americas. How do we stay connected to history without being chained to it, so to speak?” Broughton

"I, young in life, by seeming cruel fate Was snatched from Afric's fancied happy seat: What pangs excruciating must molest, What sorrows labor in my parent's breast! Steeled was that soul, and by no misery moved,

black history does receive attention—Chappie James, for instance—so much black history is absent from the city's narrative. This includes the story of the first AfricanAmerican communities living in what is now known as the United States. "The history of slavery is uncomfortable to a lot of people," said Broughton. "Chattel slavery built the economy of the Americas. How do we stay connected to history without being chained to it, so to speak?" Broughton asks. Her suggestion is simple: "Through education, inclusion and letting people tell their own stories." "Black history matters just like everyone else's and anyone who learns about its benefits in the same manner," said Broughton, "if not more because they'll know more." The exact number of free or enslaved Africans with Don Tristan de Luna is unknown, but we do have at least two names. What we don't know about these peoples is enormous, but what we do know is that the Luna settlement was made up of many peoples, and Africans clearly held a presence in America's first multi-year settlement. As archaeologists continue to sift through the sandy soil of Pensacola, the artifacts they uncover will most likely point to a very different narrative— a narrative in which the storytellers held darker complexions. Whether by force or free will, Africans were here since 1559. Their history— African history—is forever intertwined with the story of Don Tristan de Luna, and thus a strong chapter in the story of Pensacola, much of which from a book is waiting to be written. {in}

inweekly.net


WEEK OF FEBRUARY 16-23

Arts & Entertainment art, film, music, stage, books and other signs of civilization...

Pensacola Reminiscing with Dave Dondero by Shelby Smithey

probably wouldn't have ever gone forward with my music. Terry allowed for me to host a songwriter night on Sundays which really helped me get it together learning how to perform a set of solo songs. It was a great time and space to create and have the freedom to do it in that space. One of my favorite memories was playing downstairs at the old Sluggo's on Palafox. We'd move the jukebox into the fishbowl (the little room up front) and sing where the jukebox usually sat. One night the Drive by Truckers (before they were famous) played and the music went on until long past closing time. It was inspiring to see folks like Kent Stanton, Matt Lucas and Rymodee sing on a regular basis.

Dave Dondero / Courtesy Photos Influential singer-songwriter Dave Dondero got his start in the indie music scene in his band Sunbrain, before moving to Pensacola in 1996. That year he started playing drums for This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb, worked at Sluggo's and honed his songwriting skills playing there on Sundays when it was located on Palafox. Fast forward 20 years and Dondero has a handful of solo albums under his belt and has been called a "top living songwriter" by NPR. Ahead of his upcoming gig at The Handlebar, Inweekly spoke with Dondero about his new album "Inside the Cat's Eye," his thoughts on Donald Trump and how his time in Pensacola shaped him into the songwriter he is today. INWEEKLY: Tell me about your ties to Pensacola and your time in This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb. DONDERO: I moved to Pensacola in 1996 through '99 and then on and off until February 16, 2017

around 2001. Around 1993 my first band Sunbrain would come down to Pensacola from South Carolina to play shows at Handlebar and Sluggo's. We became friends with Woodenhorse and many folks in the music community. When Sunbrain broke up, I formed a band with the members of Woodenhorse called Flatwheelers and I played drums for This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb for about two years. The first time I really got to go on the road was with them and Operation Cliff Clavin. They taught me how to tour DIY. I used to live on Alcaniz and worked at Sluggo's. INWEEKLY: I imagine that Sluggo's and The Handlebar hold a lot of memories for you. Were you sad to hear of the closing of Sluggo's? DONDERO: I am sad to hear that. They have closed before for short times, so hopefully it's just a hiatus. But would be a shame if it's final. If it wasn't for Sluggo's, I

INWEEKLY: How often are you on the road and how do you keep yourself sane with such a busy touring schedule? DONDERO: Last year I was hardly on the road at all, but this year will be pretty busy because I have several new releases. I've decided to do a three week on /two week off music touring schedule. Three weeks is just about the point where I start to feel the grind and stop enjoying it as much. So it's about perfect that way. Then two weeks at home and I work independently doing historical restoration and our focus is on windows. My girlfriend has four goats and we spend a lot of time hanging out with them on the farm. Also, I love to go to the galleries of DC. Ride the trains. These things keep me sane.

life in March, and the album was delayed almost a year out of respect to John. The photo of the cat on the front cover was taken last February in Acapulco, Mexico. Above the cat, out of the picture frame, were photos of the missing 43 students (who were kidnapped in Iguala, Mexico in 2014 and never found) and the cat would come out and greet me in the morning. Almost like it was saying to me "See what happened, look" then the cat would run away and never let me pet it. I snapped the photo, and it seemed to fit. INWEEKLY: What experiences shape your songwriting the most? DONDERO: This album, in particular, was a personal struggle to stay alive, to find inspiration for wanting to be alive. To revive the shell of a human being which I had become. To drain the bottle and throw it

â&#x20AC;&#x153;One of my favorite memories was playing downstairs at the old Sluggo's on Palafox.â&#x20AC;? Dave Dondero

INWEEKLY: Can you tell me about your new album "Inside the Cat's Eye"? DONDERO: It was recorded in Oct. 2015 in Austin, Texas at the Cat's Eye Studio. Thus the title. We recorded it live to 1-inch tape as a rock n roll trio. Even the vocals were live. We rehearsed the day before and recorded most of them the next day. There were minimal overdubs of piano, vibraphone, trumpet, accordion, and tuba. The whole thing took three days. I have lived on and off through the years in Austin, and all the musicians on the album are friends of mine from Texas. Cully Symington played drums, Kullen Fuchs played vibes, trumpet and accordion. Tom Crail played Tuba, Adoniram Lipton played piano, and Doug Walseth recorded it. John Winsor played bass. Unfortunately, John took his own

against a rock. Clean the body from the inside out. Clean the brain and the emotions. To find simplicity and beauty and reflect it back. To crawl out from being at the rock bottom. I was there. To actually feel again. Hang on for a reason. A meal and the sun or even just a cup of tea. I wish John could have seen that. INWEEKLY: Do you have any other interests right now besides music? DONDERO: I'm interested in peace. I'm interested in a no sugar diet. I'm interested in life beyond the bottle. I'm interested in goats, snakes, birds, dogs, fox, deer and cats (all animals but those ones in particular). I'm interested in whether or not drinking goats' milk after they eat poisoned ivy will actually make you immune to poisoned ivy. I'm interested in fresh, unprocessed, natural food. I'm interested in preventative medicine. I'm interested in yoga and breathing deeply. I'm interested in visual art and videography. I'm interested in old 15


and The Refugee Empowerment Center. I raised $187 for Planned Parenthood, $187 for the Refugee Empowerment Center, and also $66 for the ACLU. That's for a day of digital music sales. It's not much but every little bit helps. I was happy and proud to have contributed.

films, particularly from 1965 through 1975. I'm interested in geography and plant life. I'm particularly interested in the orchids of Florida. I'm interested in the weather almost everyday (thunderstorms mostly) and I am obsessively interested in what might be around the next corner. INWEEKLY: I saw on Facebook you've made your entire catalogue available for purchase on Bandcamp on a name your price basis and are donating sales to Planned Parenthood, The Refugee Empowerment Center and the ACLU.

How much money did you raise and why did you decide to do this? DONDERO: I did this because I felt it was the right thing to do in a time when I was feeling powerless and frustrated with the current events. I've been going to protests, but I feel these folks (specifically refugees from the Middle East and Mexican immigrants) need help with legal representation and we've got to channel money to help them. Bandcamp announced they were having a day in which they would give all of their profits to the ACLU, so I decided to give my share to Planned Parenthood

INWEEKLY: I know I probably don't even need to ask, but what's your take on Trump, the Muslim ban and the wall? DONDERO: It was eight years stepping forward, now it's 70 years back. When I woke up the morning of Nov. 9, I almost had a heart attack. Have you ever seen the movie "My Bodyguard?" It seems like the bully usually loses in the end. It just won't be that fun to watch this movie. It's going to be a bombastic melodrama and the script has already devolved into cave-man broken English. It's hard to understand. I'm fervently opposed to a ban of any religion. It defies what this country is all about. The wall is a ridiculous symbol of arrogance and idiocy. Mostly it's a distraction of what they're really doing. Imagine how much we could do with that money to help with our schools and our healthcare? INWEEKLY: Last time we interviewed you, you said that being named NPR's Top 10 Living Songwriters a few years ago made you cringe. Do you still feel that way? DONDERO: I don't really believe in top 10 lists because everybody

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has their own opinion. But I don't cringe anymore and I'm thankful for any positive press that comes my way. It's a lot better than being on the top 10 shittiest songwriters list (though I'm sure I'm on that list in some people's opinion). Here's my opinion of a top 10 living songwriters list:* 1. Neil Diamond 2. Willie Nelson 3. John Prine 4. Neil Diamond 5. Tom Petty 6. Joni Mitchell 7. Neil Diamond of Brooklyn, NY 8. Tom Petty of Gainesville, FL 9. Neil "fuckin" Diamond 10. N. Diamond Honorable Mention: Neil Diamond, John Darnielle, Darren Hanlon, Billy Bragg, David Bazan, Simon Joyner, Kent Stanton, Rymodee, last name "Diamond" first name "Neil" and so many more. *In no particular order and that's this week, but what's next week? {in}

DAVE DONDERO

WHAT: Dave Dondero with Kent Stanton, P//hutchnsuch and Marona WHEN: 9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16 WHERE: The Handlebar, 319 N. Tarragona St. COST: $10 DETAILS: davedondero.com

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THE PRINCESS OF PENSACON

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ast year was a rough one for fans when it came to the deaths of icons. One of the hardest blows was the death of Carrie Fisher who passed away on Dec. 27. Fisher, of course, was famous for her role as Princess Leia in "Star Wars," a role she reprised in 2015 with "The Force Awakens." Her other movie credits include "The Blues Brothers," "When Harry Met Sally," and "Hannah and her Sisters." She was also a prolific writer and mental health advocate. "She was ‘our princess,'" said LaVonne French, Parjai Squad Leader of the local 501st Legion, a Star Wars cosplay organization. "Fisher's portrayal of this iconic character was of a strong, no nonsense, kick-butt, female. Indeed, she was seen as a role model for many." In recent months, the character of Princess Leia has been used in protest signs and social media memes. As French said, the character put her personal tragedies aside to focus on serving the Rebellion. "A sign of a true leader," French said. The same is true of Fisher, who used her personal struggles with drug addiction and mental health illnesses to help others cope. She spoke openly about her diagnosis of bipolar disorder and therapy on talk shows, in books and even on Twitter. "Fisher will be remembered not only for her brilliant writing and wonderful sense of humor, but she will also be remembered for showing incredible strength in her personal life," French said. "Especially with her struggle with mental health issues. She was very open and honest about this—she did not hide it from the public." For years, the Parjai Squad has been donating their time to local organizations, bringing a little bit of the Dark Side to charity events and showcasing the costuming talents of the group. It's only fitting that the organization would find some way to honor Fisher. So they came up with a silent auction to benefit the Hotel for Dogs and

Carrie Fisher with Gary

By Jennifer Leigh

Cats, a non-profit no-kill shelter. Any fan of Fisher knows she would approve of this choice. "As we all know, Ms. Fisher had a constant companion, Gary, her beloved French bulldog," French explained. "Gary accompanied her everywhere—events, lectures, television appearances, movie premieres. He was family. Who among us doesn't consider their four-legged companions as family? My husband and I adopted our Oliver from the hotel several years ago, so I can speak from experience that this is a wonderful organization." The Parjai Squad will be holding a silent auction of a custom carded Gary action figure, with all of the proceeds going to Hotel for Dogs and Cats. You can stop by the 501st booth on the vendor floor at Pensacon. "The maker of this figure was thrilled that an animal rescue organization would benefit from money raised through this fundraiser," French said. "This silent auction will be going on through the duration of the convention, Feb. 17 through Feb. 19." And because it's Pensacon, the Rebel Legion is planning a Princess Leia cosplay shoot for Sunday, Feb. 19 at 11:30 a.m. open to anyone attending Pensacon in Leia costume (she does wear more than the gold bikini, FYI). "It's our way of honoring the life of this very special woman, and the role that she will always be remembered for," French said. {in}

PRINCESS LEIA COSPLAY PHOTO SHOOT AT PENSACON

WHEN: 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 19 WHERE: Poseidon’s Bay Grassy Area (located in the rear parking lot of the Pensacola Bay Center)

WHAT NOT TO MISS Pensacon is a sensory overload of sights and sounds from all of your favorite characters. It can be easy to get overwhelmed by the packed schedule of panels and events, but here’s a few picks you should not miss. To create your own personalized schedule, download the Pensacon app in the App Store or Google Play. 818 1

NOISE COMPLAINT

The cosplay tap dancing group Noise Complaint is always a must-see at Pensacon. Tap dancing to modern music as characters from video games, cartoons and more, the Jacksonville-

based group brings a lot of joy and energy to every performance space. WHEN: 8:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17, 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 18, 11 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 19 WHERE: Rex Theatre Main Stage (Friday), Poseidon’s Bay Stage (Saturday and Sunday)

PENSACON SHORT FILM FESTIVAL

Pensacola Little Theatre is hosting the third annual Pensacon Short Film Festival, featuring a selection of science fiction, horror, fantasy, comic books and animation. WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17 WHERE: Pensacola Little Theatre Main Stage

inweekly.net


Henry Winkler

from the show discuss the series. No mouth breathers allowed. WHEN: 2:15 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 19 WHERE: Saenger Theatre Main Stage

PENSACON AFTER HOURS

VOLTAIRE AND THE TOMB OF NICK CAGE HENRY WINKLER

Yes, the Fonz is at Pensacon. Listen to Henry Winkler discuss his long and diverse career in movies and TV during his panel. WHEN: 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 18 WHERE: Saenger Theatre Main Stage

STAR WARS CAST PANEL

There’s no such thing as small parts. Hear “Star Wars” cast members such as Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett), Tim Rose (Admiral Ackbar), Angus MacInnes (Gold Leader) and David Ankrum (Wedge) discuss being a part of the George Lucas film. WHEN: 3:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 18 WHERE: Pensacola Little Theatre Main Stage

PENSACON COSPLAY CONTEST

See all of the best cosplays of Pensacon parade down the Saenger Theatre stage. Last year, the Saenger was full so be sure to get there early for a good seat. WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18 WHERE: Saenger Theatre Main Stage

WHAT: Official Pensacon concert featuring Voltaire and Tomb of Nick Cage WHEN: 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18 WHERE: Vinyl Music Hall, 2 S. Palafox COST: Free for 21 and up, $5 for under 21 DETAILS: vinylmusichall.com

ALL WEEKEND LONG The party doesn’t stop when the convention closes. Head downtown to these participating bars and restaurants and get immersed in your favorite fandom with themed parties, special drinks and menu items.

HOGWARTS SCHOOL OF WITCHCRAFT & WIZARDRY

WHERE: The Fish House, 600 S. Barracks St.

STAR TREK SCENES

WHERE: Atlas Oyster House, 600 S. Barracks St.

STAR WARS CANTINA

WHERE: The Deck Bar, 600 S. Barracks St.

I WENT TO HOPJACKS AND THINGS GOT STRANGE

WHERE: Hopjacks Pizza Kitchen & Taproom, 10 S. Palafox

THE TIN COW: I WANT TO BELIEVE WHERE: The Tin Cow, 102 S. Palafox

SUICIDE SQUAD: GOTHAM STYLE Caleb McLaughlin of Stranger Things

STRANGER THINGS CAST PANEL

As you anxiously wait for season two of “Stranger Things,” hear some of the stars

WHERE: Beef O’Brady’s, 22 S. Palafox

THE BIG TWO: VILLIAN & ANTI-HERO WHERE: Hub Stacey’s, 312 E. Government St.

PENSACON 2017

WHEN: 1 p.m.-12 a.m. Friday, Feb. 17, 9 a.m.-12 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 18 and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 19 WHERE: Pensacola Bay Center, 201 E. Gregory St. COST: $35-$45 for day passes, $75 for weekend pass DETAILS: pensacon.com

February 16, 2017

19


calendar

A Survivor's Voice is Heard By Shelby Smithey

A SURVIVOR’S VOICE IS HEARD

In anticipation of the Florida premiere of Jake Heggie's opera "Dead Man Walking," Pensacola Opera continues its 14-week series of town hall meetings related to the topic of capital punishment. On Feb. 22 the Opera will host Cecilia McAdams, the survivor of a brutal attack, who witnessed the execution of her husband Gary's murderer, and Chip Simmons, the Chief Deputy for Operations of the Escambia County Sheriff 's Office. In 1993, Johnny Shane Kormondy and two accomplices broke into the McAdams' Pensacola home after the couple returned from a high school reunion, shot her husband in the kitchen, and repeatedly sexually assaulted Cecilia in the next room. In 2015, McAdams finally got to witness the lethal injection of Kormondy, more than 20 years after the night that changed her life forever. This one-hour meeting will focus on the effects of capital crime on victims' families, the survivors of capital crime, and the effect of all crime in our community and our quality of life. All of the town halls are on Wednesdays and are free and open to the public. Dead Man Walking: A Community Discussion is made possible by a $30,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and OPERA America: The Opera Fund.

THURSDAY 2.16

WORK ON FLORIDA TRAIL 8 a.m. Regular meet up of Western Gate Florida Trail Association to work on National Scenic Trail and side trail. Meet at Blackwater River Forestry Center, 11650 Munson Highway. meetup.com/ftawesterngate WINE TASTING AT AWM 5 p.m. Aragon Wine Market, 27 S. 9th Ave. aragonwinemarket.com PARROTHEADS PARTY WITH A PURPOSE 6 p.m. Apple Annie’s, Seville Quarter, 130 E. Government St. sevillequarter.com OFFICIAL PENSACON KICK-OFF PARTY

6-8 p.m. The Fish House and Atlas Oyster House, 600 Barracks St. greatsouthernrestaurants.com 020 2

WHAT: Dead Man Walking: A Community Discussion WHEN: 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22 WHERE: Pensacola Opera Center, 75 S. Tarragona St. COST: Free DETAILS: pensacolaopera.com

REMAINING TOWN HALL MEETINGS March 8, 5:30 p.m., Pensacola Opera Center - Meet the Cast of Dead Man Walking  March 18, 11:30 a.m., Basilica of St. Michael the Archangel - Audience Talk-Back with Performers & Creators March 22, 5:30 p.m., Pensacola Opera Center - Dead Man Walking - What Did You Think?  March 29, 5:30 p.m., Artel Gallery - Art & Opera as a Catalyst for Social Change April 5, 5:30 p.m., Pensacola Opera Center - Reading of The Exonerated April 12, 5:30 p.m., Pensacola Opera Center - Dead Man Walking, Would You See It Again? 

HEALTHY SOUTHERN COOKING: CAJUN FLAVORS 6 p.m. $35. Pensacola Cooks

Kitchen, 3670 Barrancas Ave. cookingschoolsofamerica.com/pensacolacooks LATIN DANCE LESSONS AND PARTY 6:30-9 p.m. $10. Salsa, Cha Cha, Bachata and more. DanceCraft, 8618 Pensacola Blvd. 503-1123. $10. dancecraftfl.com MARC BROUSSARD 7 p.m. $30-$35. Vinyl Music Hall, 2 S. Palafox. vinylmusichall.com PSC WIND AND JAZZ ENSEMBLES 7 p.m. Free. Pensacola State College Ashmore Fine Arts Center, 1000 College Blvd. pensacolastate.edu DAVID DONDERO 9 p.m. $10. The Handlebar, 319 Tarragona St. davedondero.com

FRIDAY 2.17

PENSACON 1 p.m.-12 a.m. $35-$75. Pensacola Bay Center, 201 E. Gregory St. pensacon.com PILATES MAT WITH BARBARA1:30-2:30 p.m. Free. Ever’man Educational Center, 327 W. Garden St. everman.org WINE TASTING 5-7 p.m. Free. City Grocery, 2050 N. 12th Ave. GALLERY NIGHT 5-9 p.m. S. Palafox, downtown Pensacola. HAPPY HOUR COOK OUTS 5 p.m. Drink specials, free cookout. Seville Quarter, 130 E. Government St. sevillequarter.com VINYASA YOGA FLOW 6-7p.m. Free. Ever’man Educational Center, 327 W. Garden St. everman.org DATE NIGHT DANCING 6:30-8 p.m. $15. Learn the basics of several romantic ballroom and country dance styles in unique group classes that keeps partners together. DanceCraft, 8618 Pensacola Blvd. 503-1123. dancecraftfl.com COUPLES COOK: CUPID IN THE KITCHEN

Free. Ever’man Educational Center, 327 W. Garden St. everman.org CRAWFISH FOR A CURE 2-7 p.m. $20-$25. Proceeds benefit Pensacola Childhood Cancer Advocacy. Seville Quarter, 130 E. Government St. sevillequarter.com IF WALLS COULD TALK 2:30 and 7 p.m. $20. Gospel comedy. Pensacola High School, 500 W. Maxwell St. pcaraonline.com PENSACON CONCERT: VOLTAIRE, TOMB OF NICK CAGE 7 p.m. Free. Vinyl Music Hall, 2

S. Palafox. vinylmusichall.com EVITA 7:30 p.m. $5-$16. Free for UWF students. University of West Florida Mainstage Theatre, 11000 University Parkway. uwf.edu

SUNDAY 2.19

WAKE UP HIKE 7 a.m. Meet at Bay Bluffs Park, Scenic Highway at Summit Ave., for a brisk one to two-hour walk with brunch to follow at an area restaurant. BIRDING WITH FM WESTON AUDUBON SOCIETY 9-11 a.m. Free. 447 Creary St. For

7 p.m. $50 per couple. Pensacola Cooks Kitchen, 3670 Barrancas Ave. cookingschoolsofamerica.com/pensacolacooks OPEN MIC 7-11 p.m. Single Fin Cafe, 380 N. 9th Ave. facebook.com/singlefincafe

more information, contact lloydjanet06@ gmail.com. PENSACON 10 a.m.-6 p.m. $35-$75. Pensacola Bay Center, 201 E. Gregory St. pensacon.com

Palafox. vinylmusichall.com EVITA 7:30 p.m. $5-$16. Free for UWF students. University of West Florida Mainstage Theatre, 11000 University Parkway. uwf.edu AFTER GAME SKATE 9:30 p.m. $9-$12. Pensacola Bay Center, 201 E. Gregory St. pensacolabaycenter.com

Manna Food Pantries. Pensacola Parade People, 331 W. Government St. mannafoodpantries.org EVITA 2:30 p.m. $5-$16. Free for UWF students. University of West Florida Mainstage Theatre, 11000 University Parkway. uwf.edu TRANSGENDER ALLIANCE 4-6 p.m. Free. Ever’man Educational Center, 327 W. Garden St. everman.org FULL MOON MEDITATION 6:15-7:30 p.m. Free. Ever’man Educational Center, 327 W. Garden St. everman.org PENNY& SPARROW 7 p.m. $12-$20. Vinyl Music Hall, 2 S. Palafox. vinylmusichall.com

BAD GIRLS OF BURLESQUE PENSACON EDITION 8 p.m. $15-$60. Vinyl Music Hall, 2 S.

SATURDAY 2.18

SANTA ROSA FARMERS MARKET 8 a.m.-1 p.m.

Fresh local produce, honey, baked goods and live music. Pace Presbyterian Church, Woodbine Road, Pace. CLEAN UP WITH OCEAN HOUR 8:45 a.m. All supplies are provided. Meet at Project Greenshores at the Three Mile Bridge and Bayfront Parkway. Buckets, grabbers, gloves and trash bags supplied. Buckets, grabbers, gloves and trash bags will be supplied. For more information, contact oceanhourfl@gmail.com. PALAFOX MARKET 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Fresh produce, live plants, baked goods, fine art and antiques are just a few of the items offered at the weekly Palafox Market. Items originate directly from participating vendors, including dozens of local farmers, home gardeners and area artists. Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza, N. Palafox. palafoxmarket.com COOKING DEMONSTRATIONS 9 a.m.-2 p.m. "Eat with the Seasons." Palafox Market. Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza, N. Palafox. palafoxmarket.com LEAPS 10-11:30 a.m. Free. Ever’man Educational Center, 327 W. Garden St. everman.org PENSACON 10 a.m.-12 a.m. $35-$75. Pensacola Bay Center, 201 E. Gregory St. pensacon.com JACKSONIAN GUARD COLORS CEREMONY

12 p.m. Plaza Ferdinand, Palafox St.

FOURTH ANNUAL ALL KREWE FOOD DRIVE CHALLENGE 1-5 p.m. Food drive to benefit

MONDAY 2.20

PILATES MAT WITH NADINE 1:30 -2:30 p.m. Free. Ever’man Educational Center, 327 W. Garden St. everman.org SEVILLE QUARTER MILERS 5:30 p.m. Runners meet in front of Seville Quarter for a run around downtown Pensacola. Free pasta and drink specials after the run at Fast Eddie's. Seville Quarter, 130 E. Government St. sevillequarter.com

PUBLIC SCREENING OF RISE AGAIN: THE JUSTIN GATLIN STORY 6 p.m. $5. Pensacola

Little Theatre, 400 S. Jefferson St. pensacolalittletheatre.com SUPER JAZZ GUMBO 6:30 p.m. $20. Jazz Pensacola fundraiser. Phineas Phogg’s in Seville Quarter, 130 E. Government St. sevillequarter.com

BANGIN’ SHRIMP AND HOT CHICKEN DINNER CLASS 5:30-6:45 p.m. $35. SoGourmet, 407-D

S. Palafox. sogourmetpensacola.com

ONE POT WONDERS 6-8 p.m. $10-$15.

Ever’man Educational Center, 327 W. Garden St. everman.org for more listings visit inweekly.net

AROMATHERAPY BASICS II 1-2:30 p.m. inweekly.net


music

by Shelby Smithey

Save(ing) Ferris

Save Ferris / Courtesy Photo During the height of the ska scene in the mid-nineties, Orange County-based band Save Ferris reached mainstream success with their hit ‘Come on Eileen'— the peppy, fun Dexys Midnight Runners cover featuring vocalist Monique Powell's unmistakable croon—that became a ska anthem. After two albums however, the band slowly started to dismantle. After the departure of guitarist Brian Mashburn in 2003, Save Ferris went on an indefinite hiatus. Fast-forward to 2013 and Save Ferris, now led by Powell, played two sold out shows in Orange County and Los Angeles. Encouraged by the shows, Powell decided that she wanted to release new Save Ferris material, but it would have to wait.

"I felt that Save Ferris had a lot more living to be done," Powell said. "And judging by the response of the fans since 2013, when we played our first show back, I think I was right." Powell dealt with a public battle with her ex-bandmates to keep the rights to record and tour under the Save Ferris moniker. The two-year litigation eventually led to a victory for Powell, with ASCAP amending the credits on the band's debut album, "It Means Everything," to confirm her songwriting contributions. "The battle was very difficult for me," Powell said. "There was a lot of abuse coming in from many angles and sometimes I felt like a punching bag. But the way I dealt with it was to try and remember who I am

my friends because it made me happy. And and not do anything that I was going to rethat happiness is what allowed me to start gret later. I wasn't going to play dirty no matter writing songs for the album." how badly I wanted to retaliate. In situations Powell said that each song on the EP like this it's important to think about who you has its own personality. want to be in the scope of your life." "I feel like Save Ferris is made up of a Powell ultimately won rights to tour and number of musical personalities," Powell said. record as Save Ferris in 2015, but the good "But specifically I was inspired by the first Save news didn't come without criticism. Ferris EP, which is my favorite one to date." "Well first of all after I joined Save Powell said that on this EP, it was imFerris, there were only two songwriters: portant to bring back the sound of old-school the guitar player, and myself" Powell said. Save Ferris in some way because there were "Coincidentally he is a man too. Now, to fans who remember them having a certain be fair, I wouldn't say I was just as responsound and she wanted that to be represented. sible for the songwriting as he was because "I like the idea of having a happy medium," admittedly I did not write as much as he she said. "That being said, the future and did. That being said, I can say definitively present Save Ferris also had to be represented that the Save Ferris sound would never which is what we did with ‘New Sound.'" have been what it was were it not for my The new single featuring ska icon Nevparticipation in the songwriting. I'm still not ille Staples of the Specials embraces both sure why those boys chose not to believe ska and dub roots. that I could write a song. Your guess is as "I've definitely grown up a lot over the good as mine." years," Powell said. "I've learned a lot of lesIn the aftermath of the court battle, sons. I definitely see things differently than I Powell launched a PledgeMusic campaign used to within the music industry because the to fund "Checkered Past," the first Save industry has changed so much. It's changed Ferris release in 18 years. On tour to supin my favor I think because 20 years ago if a port the new EP, Save Ferris will be playing 41-year-old woman walked into a record label at Vinyl Music Hall this Monday. and said she would like funding to release an "The process of writing the album bealbum they would've laughed her out the door. gan in a very slow and labored way," Powell It's definitely a lot of pressure. But the fact said. "I was extremely hurt and beaten that I've even gotten this far to me is a miracle, down from a lot of things that happened at so I'm happy with whatever I can get." {in} that time that I was dealing with businesswise, so it was not entirely easy to start creating." Powell said that after deciding that writing by herself wasn't as much fun as writing with others, WHAT: Save Ferris with Baby Baby and Operashe started scheduling writing tion Hennessey sessions with some of the guys that WHEN: 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 20 are now in the band. WHERE: Vinyl Music Hall, 2 S. Palafox "We really had a lot of fun," COST: $20 she said. "And the songs started to DETAILS: vinylmusichall.com grow from there. Even if we didn't

SAVE FERRIS

end up writing a note it was still great to be able to hang out with

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DIFFERENCE MAKERS

UWF ANNOUNCES MAJOR GIFT TO ENHANCE, NAME COLLEGE OF HEALTH University of West Florida President Martha Saunders announced recently a gift in excess of $5 million from Dr. Usha and Mahadeb Kundu to name the UWF College of Health. The college is slated to be named the Usha Kundu, MD College of Health in Dr. Kundu’s honor. This is the second college to be named after a donor in the institution’s history. Hal Marcus gifted $5 million in January 2016 to name the Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering. “This incredibly generous and forward-looking gift will enhance our ability to provide the very best health care education for years to come,” said Saunders. “I expect great things from the Usha Kundu, MD College of Health.” The gift will support academic excellence for students, including opportunities for active, engaged and experiential learning. Additionally, the gift will support equipment and instrumentation for use in the academic and research environment as well as academic excellence for faculty within the college. “The ability to use this gift to enhance our current programs and establish new opportunities ensures continued growth for the UWF College of Health,” said Dr. Ermalynn Kiehl, dean of the College of Health. “We are extremely appreciative of this significant gift and we will be good stewards.” Dr. Kundu grew up in rural Bihar, India, and graduated from the Rajendra Medical College at Ranchi University in 1969 before she immigrated to the United States to complete her residency in obstetrics and gynecology. Dr. Kundu opened her current private practice in Pensacola in 1983. She is a board-certified OB-GYN, a Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and a Diplomat of American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Kundu is affiliated with Sacred Heart Hospital, Baptist Hospital and West Florida Hospital. “I have been extremely passionate about medicine since I was a young child,” said Dr. Kundu. “We have lived in Pensacola for more than half of our lives and work hard for this community. Now is the time for us to give back to our community in a new way.” “We are thrilled with the opportunity to support the University of West Florida to provide better health education to the region. This gift will increase the development of a well-educated workforce that have the necessary skill sets for employment.” Her husband, Mahadeb Kundu, is a Fellow of American Society of Civil Engineers, Fellow of Institute of Engineers (India), charter member of Structural Engineering Institute and member of ASCE codes and Standard Activities Committee. Mahadeb Kundu earned his Master of Business Administration from UWF in 1992 and served as an adjunct professor for the University of West Florida from 1984-86. Their son, Sumit Kundu, is an M.D. and professional in the informatics field in New York. “The generosity of this gift exceeds our expectations and makes a statement on the value of the growing UWF College of Health,” said Dr. Brendan Kelly, vice president for university advancement. “Two Pensacola residents expressing their commitment at this level to advancing health care in the region through UWF is truly remarkable.” UWF is currently in the public phase of its 50th Anniversary Capital Campaign, with a fundraising goal of $50 million – the largest capital campaign in University history. With this gift from the Kundu family, the campaign will surpass $56 million. The UWF College of Health formed in 2015 after previously being part of the College of Science, Engineering and Health. The college houses seven departments: exercise science and community health, health sciences and administration, medical laboratory sciences, psychology, public health, the School of Nursing and the UWF/USF Doctor of Physical Therapy. Together these departments work with the health care community to strengthen interprofessional collaborative relationships and improve the health of the public. For more information about the College of Health, visit uwf.edu/coh.

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news of the weird THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN MOP San Francisco's best-paid janitor earned more than a quarter-million dollars cleaning stations for Bay Area Rapid Transit in 2015, according to a recent investigation by Oakland's KTVU. Liang Zhao Zhang cleared almost $58,000 in base pay and $162,000 in overtime, and other benefits ran his total income to $271,243. He worked at San Francisco's Powell Street station, a hangout for the homeless, who notoriously sullied the station 24/7 (urine, feces, and needles, especially), necessitating overtime hours that apparently only Zhang was interested in working. In one stretch during July 2015, he pulled 17-hour days for two and a half straight weeks. WRONG PLACE, WRONG TIME An Abbotsford, British Columbia, burglar was successful in his Feb. 7 break-in at a home, but his getaway was thwarted by a snowfall that blocked him in on a roadway. He eventually decided to ask a passerby for help—and inadvertently picked out a man (of the city's 140,000 residents) whose house he had just broken into (and who recognized him from reviewing his home's security camera footage). The victim called police, who arrested the man (and reported that it was the second residential break-in that night in which the snowfall had foiled a burglar's getaway.) EVERYDAY HAZARDS In Portland, Oregon, in January, Ashley Glawe, 17, a committed "goth" character with tattoos, piercings and earlobe holes ("gauges") was, she said, "hanging out" with Bart, her pet python, when he climbed into one of the lobes. She couldn't get him out, nor could firefighters, but with lubrication, hospital emergency workers did (thus avoiding an inevitable split lobe if Bart had kept squeezing his way through). GOVERNMENT ACTION Legislators in Iowa and Florida recently advanced bills giving women who receive legal abortions up to 10 years (or longer, in Iowa) to sue the doctor if the abortion winds up causing them "emotional distress." (Doctors in all states are already liable, of course, for actual "negligence" in their practice.) In the Iowa version (which the Des Moines Register reported would likely face amendments), even a signed consent form by the patient would not immunize the doctor (but might mitigate the amount of damages awarded). GREAT ART! German art collector Rik Reinking paid the equivalent of about $138,000 in 2008 for a resplendent, complex drawing by Belgian artist Wim Delvoye, but it was one created in ink on the skin of (the still-alive) tattoo parlor manager Tim Steiner—to be delivered only upon Steiner's death, when his skin will be displayed in Reinking's collection. (The deal also requires that, in the meantime, Steiner personally showcase his

by Chuck Shepherd

back at galleries three times a year, and BBC News recently caught his latest appearance.) MORE THINGS TO WORRY ABOUT Higher Math: The first robots to have survived journeys close to the "core" of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan (which melted down in a 2011 earthquake) returned a reading of 530 "sieverts" per hour. (Some scientists label just 4 Sieverts an hour fatal to half the people exposed to it.) Since the robots stopped short of the actual nuclear fuel, and since they only visited one of the three cores, the true danger of Fukushima remains unknown. (On a more optimistic note, scientists in February said they have developed a computer chip that would survive on the surface of Venus for 21 days, eclipsing the old record of two hours—long enough to send back meaningful data, including the temperature. The current estimated temperature is 878 degrees Fahrenheit.)

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PRIESTS GONE BAD Prominent Tallahassee, Florida, pastor O. Jermaine Simmons, a community leader who ministers to the homeless and downtrodden, was rescued by police on Jan. 17, naked and hiding behind a fence after making a run for it when the husband of his mistress found the two in bed. The husband, screaming, "I'm gonna kill him," ran for his handgun, and the mistress summoned police, but by Jan. 30, all involved had declined to press charges. Simmons, married with a son, is highly regarded for good deeds such as running a "cold night" shelter. WAIT, WHAT? In January, a New York City judge dismissed the original indictment of John Kennedy O'Hara, 55, who had been convicted in 1996 of the crime of "felony voting"—the only person convicted under that state law since Susan B. Anthony, who cast a ballot in 1872 even though females were barred from the polls. O'Hara was indicted for voting in 1992 and 1993 after registering in Brooklyn elections from a "bogus" address—a basement apartment that was considered uninhabitable. (A judge in 2017 determined that the apartment "could" have been habitable.) O'Hara paid $15,000 in fines and did 1,500 hours of community service. LEAST COMPETENT CRIMINALS Recurring Themes: Once again, in January, curiosity got the better of a perp. Adriana Salas, 26, allegedly stole a truck in Jonesboro, Arkansas, and drove it to Fort Smith, 260 miles away, but then could not resist stopping by the local sheriff's office to ask whether the truck had been reported stolen. (It had; deputies, taking a look outside, read Salas her Miranda rights.) {in}

From Universal Press Syndicate Chuck Shepherd’s News Of The Weird © 2015 Chuck Shepherd

Send your weird news to Chuck Shepherd, P.O. Box 18737, Tampa, Fla., 33679 or weirdnews@earthlink.net, or go to newsoftheweird.com February 16, 2017

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