Inweekly Feb. 23 2023 Issue

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Peeling Back the Layers of The Celestine Bed

FREE ▶ Independent News | February 23, 2023 | Volume 24 | Number 8 | Mary
Christian /
Washington, Deborah Robinson, Cornelia Marie Robinson Edwards & Lois
Photo by Natalie Allgyer
and Breakfast
2 2 winners & losers 4 outtakes 5 news 6, 7 publisher Rick Outzen edi tor & creative director Joani Delezen graphic designer Tim Bednarczyk, Kellie Coatney co ntributing writers Savannah Evanoff, Jennifer Leigh , Jeremy Morrison, Dakota Parks, C.S. Satterwhite, Tom St. Myer contact us 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. © 2023 Inweekly Media, Inc. All rights reserved. It was like we spoke the same language. buzz 8 feature story 11 a&e 15 hire an expert for the same no fee no cost unless you win. board certified civil trial attorney *Board Certification by the Florida Bar Association and the National Board Of Trial Advocacy. Statistical information current as of November 2021. zarzaur • (855) hire joe • pensacola, fl
3 February 23, 2023

winners & losers

winners losers

ANGIE GILLETTE The Pensacola native was recently awarded the Military Excellence Award. Seaman Recruit Angie Gillette graduated as the top sailor from Recruit Training Command on Friday, Feb. 10. The Navy Club of the United States Military Excellence Award is the top award presented to the recruit that best exemplifies the qualities of enthusiasm, devotion to duty, military bearing and teamwork. The award places her at the pinnacle of today's newest sailors. Gillette earned a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from Texas Women's University, which she attended on an athletic soccer scholarship.


HHMM sponsored its first stateside patient operation in January at the Andrews Institute Surgery Center. Orthopaedic surgeons Drs. Steven Kronlage and Chris O'Grady, who are the co-presidents of HHMM, performed the life-changing procedure on 2-year-old Nassir Andrew from Grenada. Kronlage and O'Grady also perform specialized surgical interventions in Ecuador and other underserved populations worldwide who would not otherwise have access to care. The physicians will return to Ecuador again this fall. To support their cause, visit

KAREN CODY The Algebra I teacher at Navarre High School has been named the Santa Rosa County Teacher of the Year. Before becoming a teacher, Cody was an ESE paraprofessional at Navarre High School for 15 years. She is Santa Rosa's nominee for the Florida Department of Education Teacher of the Year 2024. The Florida Teacher of the Year will be selected in May and serve as Florida's National Teacher of the Year nominee, to be announced in January 2024.

HDR Earlier this month, HDR delivered the All Kids Bike Kindergarten PE Program to Sherwood Elementary as part of the All Kids Bike initiative to teach every child in America how to ride a bike in kindergarten PE class. HDR donated $150,000 to All Kids Bike, designating $12,000 to two schools in Pensacola—Sherwood Elementary and Warrington Elementary. HDR provides engineering, architecture, environmental and construction services with 200 locations worldwide, including Pensacola.


It's bad enough that Gov. Ron DeSantis stacked the board with trustees who agreed to remake the liberal arts college to fit his agenda, fired the college president and hired his buddy Richard Corcoran. But DeSantis' cronies are paying the governor's former commissioner of education more than twice his predecessor. The board last week approved paying Corcoran a $699,000 base salary. Former New College President Patricia Okker's base salary was $305,000. New College has less than 700 students, so Corcoran is being paid about $1,000 per student. Ben Sasse is paid $1 million to be the president of the University of Florida, which has 52,367 students. That works to be $19 per student. It pays well to be DeSantis' lackey.


The King's Singers have revealed that their concert scheduled at Pensacola Christian College was canceled after a "flood of correspondence from students and members of the public." The ensemble posted on its Twitter account, "We are deeply saddened that our concert at Pensacola Christian College was canceled at two hours' notice on Saturday, February 11th. The school gave its reasons for cancellation as 'Concerns' expressed about the 'lifestyle' of members of our group." The King's Singers had performed at PCC before and said that it entered the contract knowing that it was a fundamentalist Christian institution. "Our belief is that music can build a common language that allows people with different views and perspectives to come together." Locals don't seem nearly as shocked as the national media.


Plaintiff attorneys are in for two very tough years under the Florida Senate and House leadership. Last week, Gov. Ron DeSantis and legislative leaders made it clear they want to tip the scales of justice in favor of corporations and insurance companies. The proposed House bill limits fees paid to plaintiffs' attorneys, changes what are known as "bad faith" laws and helps defendants avoid paying damages when they are only partially at fault.

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Angie Gillette / Photo Courtesy of U.S. Navy



Four years ago, a lot of effort was put into making people believe that the county's purchase of OLF 8 in Beulah was a boondoggle. Today, the county appears to be on the receiving side of a bidding war that could net the taxpayers a profit of more than $20 million while still meeting the goals for the site.

In 2019, some residents in the area demanded the county use the 500 acres for a town center and other amenities. The consultant hired to put together a master plan wanted most of it used for residential and retail, arguing that it would give the county the quickest return on its investment. A developer offered to bail out the county for $16 million.

Four commissioners—Steven Barry, Robert Bender, Jeff Bergosh and Lumon May—held out and stuck with the original intent for the project, which was to create more high-paying jobs. The once-daily local newspaper vilified them, others called for restructuring county government under an all-powerful county mayor and challengers attacked the quartet for short-sightedness during the subsequent election cycles.

All four were re-elected by significant margins, and now the county is entertaining offers north of $38 million for the site.

Twenty-six years ago, Escambia County Commission and the Pensacola Chamber joined forces to find where to build a commerce park. The chamber had an ideal spot— a training field where Navy helicopter pilots practiced night landings in the rural Beulah area off the first I-10 exit into Florida. The drawback was that the county would have to work out a land swap with the Navy for the property, which was unprecedented.

To test their idea, the chamber encouraged the county to buy 68 acres of 4-H land for $1 million to develop the Bell Heritage Oaks Commerce Park next to OLF 8 in 2001. A Navy Federal Credit Union call center would be the park's first tenant, but soon the financial institution saw bigger possibilities at the site and bought the entire park, pledging to hire 1,700 workers in 10 years.

And Navy Federal still wanted to expand more. With the OLF 8 land swap stalled by the Navy's bureaucracy, the chamber, led by banker Blaise Adams, helped the credit union purchase the Langley Bell 4-H Center for $3.6 million. The following year, Navy Federal announced it would increase its labor force to 10,000 employees by 2026. The credit union would receive $26.75 million from the Florida Incentives Quick Action Closing Fund in yearly installments if it met its annual new employment goals.

OLF 8 continued to sit vacate, while subdivisions and retail began to pop up near Navy Federal's Beulah campus. However, the county didn't stop calling the Pentagon. Finally, the Navy announced in 2013 it was ready to talk about swapping OLF 8 for land near Whiting Field. The county bought 601 acres, 11 miles south of Whiting Field, to make the deal happen.

On Jan. 30, 2019, the Navy and county officially completed the land swap for OLF 8— which was about the same time that Hemmer Consulting LLC and 68 Ventures LLC offered to buy 400 acres of OLF 8 for $16 million, leaving only 80 acres for commerce park and 50 for public use.

County Commission Chairman Robert Bender negotiated a mixed-use development plan that satisfied residents and kept job creation at the forefront. The approved OLF 8 Master Plan allocated 271 acres to commerce and industrial uses, 61 acres to residential, 47 acres to residential mixed with retail and office uses and 45 acres to public amenities. Last December, Triumph Gulf Coast gave the county a $14.2 million grant to build infrastructure for the industrial portions of OLF 8 with the condition that funds would be tied to job creation.

While the current county commission is expected to receive several offers for OLF 8, the board wants to ensure the buyer follows the OLF 8 Master Plan and honors the Triumph Gulf Coast grant conditions. Having multiple suitors offering all cash purchases gives the board room to negotiate.

OLF 8 is no longer a boondoggle.


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The county bought 601 acres, 11 miles south of Whiting Field, to make the deal happen.


model will then be presented to the community with an invitation to bid instead of a request for proposal.

who have developmental delays, behavioral health issues," Greer said. "It kind of touches on mental

There are children being born

missteps finally resulted in the Escambia Children's Trust awarding millions of taxpayer dollars to agencies establishing new out-of-school programs for children.

The Trust board awarded over $5.1 million in funding to 19 local children's services agencies earlier this month. Each of the six board members in attendance approved the recommendation to award the grants. The Board planned to award the grants in December but decided to send the top 29 proposals back to the selection committee for reconsideration after the public voiced its displeasure with the flawed process.

"I'm super excited we finally got out our first big grant," said Stephanie White, who chaired the board for the past two years before passing on the seat to Tori Woods. "Special thanks to the grant committee. They spent a lot of time on this. They came up one time, and we sent them back for four meetings to get everything correct, and they did this time, so we appreciate all their hard work."

Each awarded program will be funded on a one-year contract that will expand to three years assuming their annual audit meets the threshold. Executive Director Tammy Greer said the Trust will monitor providers fiscally and programmatically to track their spending and outcomes.

"Every expense must be allocable, allowable and reasonable, as with any publicly funded program," Greer said. "We will require backup for every reimbursement request to verify that the expense meets all these criteria prior to issuing any checks."


Boys & Girls Club of Emerald Coast topped all applicants in score and funding amount. The

demic program for ages 5-18. The Club estimates 240 children will be served over a threeyear period.

Two other applicants received over $500,000. The Trust awarded $581,728 to the YMCA of Northwest Florida for its Together Achieving Change program and $540,041 to City of Pensacola Parks and Recreation for its free after-school program. Together Achieving Change is a year-round social and academic program for ages 5-10. The YMCA estimates 720 children will be served over three years. The after-school program is for ages 5-12 and will serve an estimated 705 children at E.S. Cobb Resource Center, Fricker Resource Center, Gulf Point Resource Center and Woodland Heights Resource Center. Maching grants are not required, but the applicant is expected to fund start-up costs and not rely solely on money awarded by the Trust. That caused some angst for the fourth-largest grant recipient. The Trust awarded the Urban Development Center $397,556 for the first year of its YouthFirst Century program. The program expects to establish a community center in Century and serve 750 children ages 11-18 over the three-year period. In its application, the nonprofit acknowledged a lack of funds to start up the program. The Trust voted in December to not advance funding for any providers. The Town of Century came to the rescue by distributing $61,925 for the nonprofit to purchase start-up items. The Urban Development Center will reimburse the town the nearly $62,000 at a yet-to-be-determined date.

"If a provider does not have the funding on hand to lay out to get started, the Trust will have nothing to reimburse," Greer said. "If services are not being provided and outcomes are not being met, we will notify our Board and they may exercise the option to rescind the grant."

plus million from last year.

they're even born. We've got to children earlier and get interventhe parents the tools they need and teach them how to use those ing the number of qualified early childhood educators to cut down on the waitlist of students. Early Learning Coalition operates with a budget of over $30 million. School readinesslion, but the money is primarily devoted to operating expenses for childcare facilities, not educator salaries. Executive Director Bruce Watson said the nonprofit is operating at only 76% capacity due to teacher shortages.

The number of entry-level teachers is steadily declining and for obvious reasons. Their $11-$15 an hour pay is not enough for housing and pales in comparison to what some fast-food restaurants pay their employees.

"I'm just happy we're able to do this," Greer said. "This is what will start to make the difference, to let the direct service providers do what they do."


The Trust finally ironed out the kinks and awarded millions of dollars for out-of-school programs. Next up is tackling mental health. The Trust staff are meeting with providers and parents to develop a scope of services based on Help Me Grow. Greer said phase one of Help Me Grow will entail hiring staff and will cost an estimated $250,000. She told the board that the national model returns $7.62 for every dollar invested.

Founded in 1997, Help Me Grow is a coordinated system of supports for children and families. Residents use their local 2-1-1 for resources that address concerns about health, development, behavior and learning. A care coordinator listens, provides support and assesses the needs of the child and family. Help Me Grow then offers free screenings to help provide insight on the child's developmental and behavioral skills. Referrals to local services and supports will be provided after the screenings.

Greer is meeting with Ascension Sacred Heart, Community Health and other health care providers to put a plan in place. She said the

To complicate matters further, their education requires some face-to-face classes. Board member Dave Peaden recommended the Trust ask Pensacola State College to move the entire curriculum into an online format. He said that as a state institution, PSC should pay the expenses to put the curriculum online, not the Trust. Greer agreed with Peaden that the faceto-face class requirement is a money-losing venture for the students and reduces the number of potential early childhood educators.

"Many of the people who work in this field are young mothers themselves," Greer said. "Not only are they having to pay for the course, but then they're having to lose money on top of that because they can't go to work because of when the classes are, or they take it at night after they've worked a full day and they've got small children at home so they're just not doing it. I'm afraid if we don't do something soon and get some folks in the pipeline that have the credentials they need to enter the classrooms, next fall we may not have as many (VPK) slots as we have now." {in}

6 6
"This is what will start to make the difference, to let the direct service providers do what they do."
Tammy Greer
"Many of the people who work in this field are young mothers themselves." Greer


For a few moments, everyone was yucking it up, listening to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell reminisce about "carpet farming" crack in Minneapolis, but the mood swerved into a dark, apocalyptic nightmare.

"So, what shall be the answer for the nations? For the unruly kings? For the heathens that rage?" screamed Pastor Hank Kunneman.

Kunneman wore a black suit that complimented his ink-black hair. His face contorted into masks of pious anguish and glistened wet with sweat. He had just read off a list of homerun prophesies and was now relaying an experience during which he was lifted by his hair, high above the Earth, and shown the future.

"Look, for you will see great shakings. For even now, this nation shall shake up on the East Coast, and in the middle and even in the place of D.C. and upon the West. Why is this happening?" Kunneman roared.

The question was near rhetorical for the crowd assembled inside the Brownsville Assembly of God Church. The great shakings are, of course, because the 2020 presidential election was stolen from God's preferred candidate.

"God anointed Donald Trump; that anointing is still upon him," Kunneman assured the crowd.

Behind him, beams of stage lighting illuminated on billowings from a fog machine and reflected off the brassy gaudiness of his watch and lapel pin. Beside him roost a carnival-barker collection of televangelists and a pillow salesman.

This is FlashPoint Live, a rally-style extension of the namesake's online and broadcast presence. After a handful of live events last year, FlashPoint kicked off 2023 on Thursday, Feb. 16, with a two-day stretch in Pensacola, aiming to spread its philosophy of Christian nationalism.


The line of attendees for FlashPoint's opening night in Pensacola snaked from the doors of the Brownsville Church into the depths of the campus's packed parking lots. They were there for the "prophetic perspective to what is happen

ing in our world" and had been promised "a dynamic, rally-style atmosphere" as well as "news and insights, hard truths and humor."

Taking on trappings of both revival and political rally, the FlashPoint event consists of a panel of personalities from the corresponding broadcast operation, like Kunneman and host Gene Bailey. The panelists' banter and presentations volley wildly between stand-up comedy routines and hellfire sermons.

FlashPoint—itself an extension of Kenneth Copeland Ministries—held its first rally in Tulsa, Okla., last year, which reportedly attracted 12,000 people, though Barry Tubbs, an associate minister with Kenneth Copeland Ministries, calls that "an anomaly."

"It's the first one we had done—you had the newness," Tubbs said, standing outside the Brownsville rally.

Following events in Atlanta and Phoenix attracted far less, but still in the thousands. And the Pensacola event was certainly bursting at the seams. The purpose of each is the same, "to inform people how to get more involved."

"We're interested in trying to have an effect on some of these issues that we see in our communities, whether it's race or poverty or CRT issues," Tubbs explained.

Later in the evening, FlashPoint panelist Lance Wallnau framed this for a crowd already attuned to phrases like "third great awakening" and "divine alignment." "We cannot be under the government of demonic influence; we have to see a change in government."

Like the other FlashPoint events, the Pensacola event featured two rally-revival nights and a collection of daytime flash-sessions—meetings designed to equip attendees to impact the varying strata of governance.

FlashPoint Live panelist Rick Green distilled the event's overall mission into a playful call and response. "Did anybody show up that would like to see a rival of the Biblical principles of Jesus Christ in the culture? Anybody? Alright, good. Anybody that also would like to see a restoration of constitutional jurisdictions of government and the proper role of government?"

"We're tired of just the philosophy," Green

told attendees. "It's time to actually put this to work, so we're going to put some meat on the bones. We're actually going to show you how your local community politics work, what you can do about your school board, your commissioners' court, your city council, your state legislature, and help us build that farm team."


The philosophy underpinning events such as FlashPoint Live is Christian nationalism, which Public Religion Research Institute CEO Melissa Deckman defined as "the idea that America was founded as a Christian nation and that we should continue to be governed by Christian values and conservative Christian philosophy."

The PRRI, in partnership with the Brookings Institution, released a report this month exploring America's relationship with Christian nationalism. The report cites the philosophy's "rising influence" in American politics, "threat to the health of our democracy," as well as a culture war between "a right animated by a Christian nationalist worldview and Americans who embrace the country's growing racial and religious diversity."

"This report was really an attempt to try to help quantify the extent to which Christian nationalist ideology is adhered to in the American public," Deckman said, "and to see, essentially, what sorts of things sort of intersect with those viewpoints, in terms of partisanship and race and antisemitism and patriarchal views and anti-immigrant views, authoritarianism, all those things together, unpacking really what makes up the different criteria of Christian nationalism."

While this report found that fewer than three in 10 Americans could be considered true believers of the philosophy, Deckman said, "We find that Republicans are much more likely to be Christian nationalists and white evangelical protestants are more likely to be Christian nationalists than other Americans. And currently, the base of the party is disproportionately made up of those individuals. That's where I think the concern is from the perspective of American democracy."

And why is Christian nationalism bad for our democracy?

"I think they're more likely, essentially, not to want to have a religiously pluralistic society and not to care as much about the norms of democracy as they are about making sure that Christian nationalist views are implemented by government," Deckman said.

Deeper in the PRRI report, it gets darker, finding that adherents of Christian nationalism philosophy are more than twice as likely to entertain an appetite for political violence.

"You just have to look at what happened on Jan. 6, 2021," Deckman said. "You look at the sea of Trump supporters who were storming the Capitol; there's a lot of Christian flags and religious iconography. I guess it's the fusion of religion and partisanship, and those things together, that make it, I think, potentially a threat to our country and our democracy."

Christian nationalists don't usually use the label Christian nationalist because it tends to carry negative connotations. But along the once-fringes of the modern Republican party, some people do use the term. Georgia's Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who spoke at last summer's FlashPoint Live event in Atlanta, wears the label like a badge of honor.

"I am being attacked by the godless left because I said I'm a proud Christian Nationalist," Greene fumed in July.

A month earlier, Greene's counterpart in Colorado, Rep. Lauren Boebert, streamlined the essence of Christian nationalism into near-mono syllabic simplicity that could well be slapped on Tshirts and sold at a FlashPoint rally.

"I'm tired of this separation of church and state junk," Boebert quipped.

The FlashPoint Army in Pensacola can sympathize with such a sentiment. They, too, are tired of this separation-of-church-and-state junk. And they're learning how to do something about it.

"The lion is about to roar," Wallnau told them. "America is about to be shaken. And many of you are going to be instrumental in this next move." {in}

To read the full PRRI report on Christian nationalism in America, visit

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EGGFEST CRACKS RECORD More than doubling what organizers gave away in 2021, Pensacola EggFest saw record participation in 2022 to boost its infusion into the community. A record $113,500 is going to local charities as a result of this Pensacola foodie event. The event, whose motto is #goodfood for a #goodcause, creates a culinary mash-up of friendships, camaraderie and delicious food.

"There's a lot of love in our heart for the Pensacola area and for the charities that have been a part of Pensacola EggFest over the last 10 years," said co-founder Lisa Lyter. "When we total it all up, Pensacola EggFest has given more than $650,000 to local charities. Those charities are kids who won't go to bed hungry, kids fighting cancer who will get more research and families who will feel safer in our communities."

The recipients of the 2022 Pensacola EggFest donations include Pensacola's Finest Foundation, Manna, Rally Pensacola, Studer Community Institute, Hunting for Healing, Escambia County Fire Rescue, Escambia County Sheriff's Office Foundation and PACE Center for Girls.

Co-founder Doug Jolly said, "People are really starting to notice what Pensacola EggFest is doing throughout the year as much as our November event. Our cook teams mobilize to serve thousands of meals to thousands of deserving people—volunteers working for a local cause, businesses who lost everything in a storm, families in need."

Pensacola EggFest, sponsored by Kia Pensacola, has become a destination event. The economic impact to Pensacola has been verified at over $200,000 for just the main event. Cook teams, judges and visitors come from Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Iowa, Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina and Louisiana.

To learn more about Pensacola EggFest, visit the Facebook page or

OFFERS POURING IN The Escambia County Commission may have the luxury of picking from several suitors interested in buying and developing Outlying Landing Field 8, next to Navy

Federal Credit Union's Pensacola campus in the Beulah area.

The county spent two decades acquiring OLF 8 from the Navy in exchange for 600 acres around NAS Whiting Field in Santa Rosa County, with the help of the Greater Pensacola Chamber and FloridaWest. In 2019, the Board of County Commissioners approved the OLF 8 Master Plan that allocated 271 acres of the site to commerce and industrial; 61 acres to residential, including duplexes, townhomes and multifamily; 47 acres to mixed-use centers, such as residential over retail and office over retail; and 45 acres to trails and public amenities.

In December, Triumph Gulf Coast awarded the county $14.2 million to build infrastructure for the industrial portions of OLF 8, with Escambia County fronting the first $3 million of the $14.2 million. According to the grant application, the county has a potential tenant, under the name "Operation Sapphire," that will invest $40 million in its facility. The county must repay all or a portion of the Triumph grant if Project Sapphire doesn't create 338 new jobs.

In 2019, the county rejected a $16 million offer for 400 acres of OLF 8. The new round of offers started with a letter of intent for $33 million from D.R. Horton, one of the nation's largest homebuilders. The board received another proposal before the BCC's morning meeting on Thursday, Feb. 16.

County Commissioner Jeff Bergosh announced on WCOA, "It's a $35 million all-cash offer from a giant national firm, Breland Companies, that does mixed-use development." said Bergosh, adding that Breland wanted to close within six months, a half-year ahead of D.R. Horton's proposed closing deadline.

He said, "And most importantly, they intend to work within the existing master plan."

Before the BCC met at 9 a.m. on Thursday, D.R. Horton raised its offer to $38 million. The commissioners instructed staff to negotiate with all the prospective buyers and bring back the best offer to the board.

For Bergosh, the final agreement must honor the OLF 8 Master Plan. "There is no need in go -

ing backwards from the master plan that we all worked so hard to negotiate. I intend to honor my word by vote and that compromise, which is encapsulated in the master plan."

On Friday, Feb. 17, Bergosh appeared on WCOA again with more breaking news. "We've got three additional interested parties. Now, none of them have pressed an offer across the table yet, but there's one from the Midwest, one from out West and another from a local. So, my fingers are crossed, but in the next couple of days, additional offers could come in. It's very exciting, and it's a big win for this community and for the county."

in the same Grade) to reflect this increase from Oct. 1. Employees that received no raise on Oct. 1 shall receive an additional $1.21 to their base hourly rate, which will be retroactive to July 1, 2022. More details are available on the school district's website.

The agreed settlement will go to ratification for all members of the Education Staff Professionals bargaining unit to vote. If ratified, the proposed raise will likely be placed on the agenda for approval by the school board on March 21.


On Wednesday, Feb. 15, the Pensacola City Council held a special meeting to discuss short-term rentals, such as Airbnb, inside the city limits. Several shortterm rental landlords showed up worried that the council might regulate their income and interfere with their business model, but before the council makes any ordinance changes, more data is needed.

Councilwoman Jennifer Brahier told Inweekly, "The studies are really difficult because it's estimated that less than 10% of short-term rental owners voluntarily register, and there are hundreds of platforms on which they could be renting their properties. So it's very, very difficult to get a hand on exactly how many there are within our area, but it's growing exponentially."

Brahier said the conservative estimate is about 1,200 short-term rental units within the city limits, and not all of them are collecting sale taxes on their rentals. She added local owners can make a difference in ensuring renters understand local codes.

"A lot of the complaints that you see are because people are not familiar with the area, so they come in, set up within a neighborhood, and they do things differently than we do," said Brahier. "And so you get a lot of code enforcement or police calls, but if the owner is onsite, you tend to not have that kind of conflict. So there is a big difference between local owners and people stepping in from out of state, buying the properties here and essentially running quasi-hotels within neighborhoods. It's complicated."

PAY RAISES On Feb. 9, the Escambia County School District of Escambia County and the Union of Education Staff Professionals reached an agreement on the raises of its employees for the 2022-2023 fiscal year. Both parties have worked to best address the compression generated by new legislation that increased all Florida public schools' minimum wage to $15 per hour last October.

A new salary schedule will be created to reflect $15 as the entry-level hourly rate for Grade 9, Step 1. This new schedule will reflect Step increases of no less than 1.5%. All bargaining unit employees shall receive no less than a $1.21 per hour raise.

Employees that have already received this amount due to the $15 per hour implementation will be placed on the appropriate step (with -

STUDER'S NEW PARTNER Quint Studer's new company, Healthcare Plus Solutions Group, has become an exclusive partner with Aramark Healthcare+.

Aramark (NYSE: ARMK) is a publicly held company that provides food, facilities and uniform services to millions of people in 19 countries around the world. Its Aramark Healthcare+ focuses on process improvements for healthcare systems.

Studer and Dan Collard, a senior leader at Studer Group for 13 years, founded Healthcare Plus Solutions Group last year to focus on leadership development solutions for health care organizations.

According to Aramark's announcement, Healthcare Plus Solutions Group will develop coaching and training to build skills for patient interaction that gives Aramark Healthcare+ managers and front-line associates the expertise to support nursing units and help improve patient care.

Studer told Inweekly that a key to the partnership was his relationship with Bart Kaericher, Aramark Healthcare+ CEO and president. "About two years ago, I got a call from Bart when he took over as president of Aramark Healthcare+. He said he would like to create something really, really special and reimagine the food service and housekeeping services that they provide to hospitals because they believe they have a clinical outcome. Would I be interested in working with them?"

Healthcare Plus Solutions Group did some pilot programs, which led to the partnership agreement. Studer said, "They basically are outsourcing two things that they've done internally to my new company—how do you train and develop managers and the whole patient experience."

BROTHER FOX'S WINGS Darian Hernandez, the chef at Lily Hall's Brother Fox restaurant, shared what makes his chicken wings so unique with Inweekly publisher Rick Outzen on WCOA's "Real News with Rick Outzen." Hernandez recently won the "Blind Date" competition on the Food Network's "Chopped."

"We do a twist on smokey sticky wings," Chef Hernandez said. "We have a beer brine—seasoned with lots of peppercorns and aromatic spices—and we poach the wings in that first. So you're gonna get a lot of those flavors. And then from there, we throw them on the grill, and we have a barbecue sauce made with sorghum syrup and tons of spices."

He laughed, "You're gonna have to taste. It's definitely messy, but it's one of those fun dishes."

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Photo Courtesy of EggFest

WOODEN SHIP TOURS As Pensacola attempts to position itself as a player in the world of sailing, locals will have an opportunity to have an up-close look at a notable sailing ship docked at the municipal dock downtown.

During mid-March, a vessel with the nonprofit Sailing Ships of Maine will be docked in Pensacola on the final week of a 65-day ocean-classroom expedition. In exchange for the city of Pensacola waiving docking fees, the organization will offer free tours to the general public and local students.

In a request to the city, Sailing Ships of Maine Port Captain Pamela Coughlin requested the waiver and relayed the organization's mission to "provide hands-on educational opportunities for people of all ages to learn about teamwork, leadership, marine science and maritime history."

As the Community Redevelopment Agency, the Pensacola City Council approved Sailing Ships of Maine's request to waive the dockage fees Monday with a unanimous vote. The vessel will be docked in Pensacola overnight on Feb. 26, then for 10 days in March, from March 17-27. The cost estimate of the fees is $689.78.

The schooner Harvey Gamage was launched in 1973. She is a wooden, 131-foot gaff-rigged topsail schooner with bunk space for 39 people. The ship's home port is in Portland, Maine.

Over the last couple of years, Harvey Gamage has sailed from Maine to Alabama, completing two semesters at sea, as well as a collection of shorter educational voyages with a variety of youth groups. Typically, the vessel sails with nine professional crew and 22 youth trainees.

As it passes through Pensacola this year, Harvey Gamage will carry 19 students from the Naval Sea Cadet Core. Prior to the city's waiving of the docking fees, the NSCC's Scott Boyd made the case that the sailing organization was a beneficial program that could use a break on local fees.

The free tours will be offered during the schooner's 10-day stay in March. The public tours will be provided on March 19 and 26, while the city will determine the scheduling of school tours. For more information, visit

SUNBELT BASKETBALL RETURNS Pensacola once again will host both the men's and women's Sun Belt Basketball Championship Tournaments at the Pensacola Bay Center from Feb. 28-March 6. This is the third consecutive year the city has hosted the tournaments.

Visit Pensacola CEO Darien Schaefer talked with Inweekly about the tournament's impact on the local economy.

"A tournament like this that pulls fans from 14 different communities and elsewhere, bringing them down into Pensacola for the first time," said Schaefer. "We see a lot of those folks coming back year after year as a new tradition. Last year, we had $1.6 million in spending, 4,400 room nights generated, and 6,500 unique individuals came out and attended the games."

He continued, "So we're definitely looking to build on that this year, and we really think the

third year, we're gonna see those numbers really drive upwards."

To learn more about the tournament, visit



At its Feb. 16 meeting, the Escambia County Commission discussed proposed infrastructure repair projects in Escambia County as part of the Rebuild Florida Infrastructure Repair Program. Led by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity's Office of LongTerm Resiliency, the program is designed to fund infrastructure restoration and hardening projects in communities impacted by Hurricane Sally.

The board has selected five projects to prioritize as part of the program. The projects include energy-efficient Escambia County Transit Center and solar-powered bus shelters with ADA upgrades; Upgrades to the Pensacola Bay Center; Indoor multi-use facility at Ashton Brosnaham Park; Beach Haven stormwater and septic-to-sewer projects; and 11 stormwater projects in Escambia County.

The board values citizen and stakeholder engagement and will provide a reasonable opportunity of at least 30 days for citizen comment and ongoing citizen access to information about the use of these grant funds. During the development of the grant applications, the county will consult with disaster-affected citizens, stakeholders, local government, public housing authorities and other affected parties in the surrounding geographic area. The public comment period for these projects is open until Monday, March 20. All public comments can be emailed to sallyrecoverygrant@myescambia. com. For more information about these projects and other proposed Rebuild Florida programs, visit

EARLY 5K REGISTRATION Whether you run or walk, the Gulf Coast is invited to participate in the 2023 Navy Federal 5K at 8 a.m. on Saturday, April 1, at Seville Quarter, 130 E. Government St.

Early registration is now open at a discounted rate of $18 for adults and $15 for youth ages 5-13. Children 6 and under can also participate in the Sammie Sprint, a free quarter-mile race around Plaza Ferdinand. Participation in this event benefits the Escambia County Public Schools Foundation, which funds projects and programs, including Grants for Excellence and employee appreciation programs. This event will also benefit the Santa Rosa Education Foundation, and its mission is to enhance and raise awareness of public education.

The early registration discount is available through March 18. However, registration will remain open until the start of the race. Registration is required for all participants and includes a race shirt.

This race is designed to be fun for runners and walkers of all ages and abilities. Awards are given for top male/female/hand cyclist or wheelchair user overall finishers and top three male/female users in each age group. After the race, there will be refreshments and entertainment. {in}

9 February 23, 2023
10 10

Well do."

It's the phrase Cornelia Marie Robinson Edwards surmises her great-grandmother, Celestine, might say if she were alive to see the terracotta orange bed and breakfast on Baylen Street named in her honor.

"Well do," "Lord have mercy," or some other "Oh my" expression of sorts that says without actually saying it—"All this for me?" Because the best people always question it.

There is no question whether Celestine Elizabeth Tolliver Harrison was deserving of the recognition by Cornelia, her brother, Gerald Robinson II, and her husband, Bronson Edwards, who brought the B&B to life. Born in Pensacola in 1908, Celestine was the matriarch of a family proud of its roots and heritage.

The B&B is also a tribute to Celestine's husband, Vandybilt, their five children—Jean, Lois, James, Mary and Horace—and every generation before and after, sharing with her the liquid thicker than water—stronger and more indelible, too.

A retired antique piano immediately greets guests as they walk into the B&B—an homage to the one in Celestine's home; hers had shelves filled to the brim with family photos. All the bedrooms are named after Celestine's children and personalized accordingly. Even the logo is Celestine's authentic signature that Cornelia sourced from the back of one of Mary's school report cards.

Family reinforces every wall—figuratively and literally.

Easily everyone's favorite feature is the custom wallpaper along the stairwell that Cornelia carefully curated over the course of a year and a half (sans installation). In addition to handdrawn illustrations of family photos, the wallpaper also features an image of the B&B, a tree still growing in the center of Seville Square, the clock outside the current Artel Gallery (formerly at the courthouse), the Bayfront Auditorium that used to reside at the end of Palafox Street and clippings from the Pensacola News Journal reporting the opening of Sacred Heart Hospital and 1960s

Peeling Back the Layers of The Celestine Bed and Breakfast

sit-ins opposing segregation. On it is also the tree from Celestine's former home on H Street.

"When we talk about family, family roots, family tree, limbs, branches, the leaves and creating something for somebody that you'll never necessarily get a chance to see, to experience, to appreciate, that's what (Celestine) did," Cornelia said.

Hardly a detail in the entire B&B escaped Cornelia and her family during the renovation and design process. Perfectionism may or may not be to blame. But that's kind of the point— they don't do missed opportunities.

"(If) you think about it in Pensacola, my aunt Mary, who's still living, my grandmother, who is still alive, my parents, who are still alive, they couldn't even go downtown to a department store and spend their hard-earned money; that was not a possibility for them," Cornelia said. "If opportunities are afforded to me because of them, why would I not take every advantage and walk through every door possible, even when I'm uncomfortable at times? … Ul -

timately, for me, that's what it's about, honoring the past and reflecting on where we are, and then moving forward and trying to do my part."

She still has more doors to walk through.

Pensacola Roots

If people are right, and it truly takes a village, Cornelia and Gerald certainly had one.

They grew up in a small-town version of Pensacola where everybody—no hyperbole— knew everybody.

Their immediate family lived on B Street first, then E Street next, with great-grandparents on H Street, a great-aunt and uncle on G Street, and grandparents on their father's side on I Street. And her parents might summon anyone in their alphabet soup to chauffeur them to their next ballet rehearsal or sports practice.

The proximity served them in support, always besting other students with the biggest— sometimes loudest—cheering section at concerts, games and graduations.

"There's also the time where you're like,

11 February 23, 2023
Cornelia Marie Robinson Edwards & Bronson Edwards / Photos by Natalie Allgyer

As a family unit, they're spiritual, celebratory, and there's always food, Cornelia said.

"Everyone is really generous, warm, caring; people work together," Cornelia said. "There's no, 'This is me. This is mine. And that's yours.' If one family member has, everybody has. If one family member's crying, we're all crying … it's like a co-op."

Cornelia's grandmother, Lois, 91, believes faith is the backbone.

"We're all God's children, and we love each and every one," Lois said. "We have no problems with our family. Maybe one or two go astray, but they'll come back."

Their family and Pensacola grew up together. Cornelia can trace her Pensacola roots back to at least her fourth great-grandmother.

As a kid, she remembers buying a frozen cup from someone selling them for a quarter, stopping for a Krispy Kreme doughnut at a mere 35 cents, or grabbing a rainbow or smiley face cupcake from J's Bakery and Café—which still looks the same, she said.

Cornelia graduated from Booker T. Washington High School, majored in English at Spelman College (a women's HBCU in Atlanta) and went to law school at Vanderbilt University. She's lived in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Seattle.

The pandemic brought her home.

"There was almost this feeling of 'Why am I here?'" Cornelia said. "My family is on the East

at the same time in Atlanta; he went to Morehouse College.

"It was like we spoke the same language," Bronson said.

The first "big thing" at the bed and breakfast property was their wedding in October 2022.

"I'm new to the family, in a sense, but I don't feel like it," Bronson said. "It started at the top with her grandparents and great-grandparents, and they fed into now (with) her parents and now her and her brother. They've all opened their doors, literally, to the community. The word steward comes up."

They later celebrated Grandma Lois' 90th birthday on the B&B porch with a pandemic-appropriate drive-by party—Bronson leading the procession via motorcycle.

"She said, 'I've never had anything this nice. It's like a parade in my honor,'" Cornelia said.

The Bed & Breakfast

Cornelia and Gerald birthed the concept together.

Bronson wouldn't hesitate to use the word "birthed," because he's been talking about the thing like it's a baby, he said.

They purchased the property two-and-a-half years ago, opened it for guests in December of 2022 and spent every second in between renovating what Cornelia describes as a Victorian home that had been stripped of character—not unlike

name), the Leonard house (uncle), the History house (a great-great-uncle's name is, in fact, History) and several more.

Their company goes by an address instead of a name, 117 Barcelona. It's the first known record of their family's homeownership in Pensacola. No home exists there today.

They didn't set out to open a bed and breakfast.

"It almost feels like we were guided to the creation of this vision," Cornelia said. "This property came on the market. My brother and I saw it sight unseen. I said, 'Hey, I want to look at that place. It could be a great bed and breakfast.'"

And the rest is (so much) history.

Who Is She?

So who was Celestine?

The answer is, of course, a lot of things. An only child. A checker at Gulf Cleaners in the Belmont-DeVilliers neighborhood. A server at Baptist Hospital. A kitchen stewardess and cashier at Escambia General Hospital. At night, an in-home care provider to children in the North Hill neighborhood.

Perhaps the most accurate, overarching label, though, is a giver.

Mary recalls a story in which a stranger knocked on the door, asking for appropriate attire to go to church. Celestine went inside with no hesitation, returning with one of Vandybilt's suits.

only two suits."

Celestine often invited people from church over for dinner or welcomed overnight guests who needed a place to sleep. She'd shop sales all year long to make sure every loved one in her life had a present with his or her name on it come Christmastime.

Gerald, who only knew her as Grandma Harrison, describes her as a light to those she came in contact with.

"Her home was a place to congregate from sunup to sundown with delicious food, great conversations and a game show or two—and don't forget the 6 p.m. Channel 3 news," Gerald said. "There was never a dull moment or a hungry stomach in the house. She was welcoming of all people from various walks of life. Through her, I learned to accept people for who they are. We hope to replicate a similar experience at the Celestine Bed and Breakfast."

Mary, who thinks of Cornelia and Gerald as her own children, is elated they named the B&B after her mother.

"I can't really put into words what this means to me and to other members of the family," Mary said. "My mom and dad didn't have a lot, but they always wanted property, to have their own house. They didn't have any college education or even finish high school; they didn't have the opportunity. But they were very smart. They taught us all to own a piece of

12 12
Deborah Robinson, Lois Christian & Mary Washington

property, and here they are carrying that lesson into today."

When Mary first saw the custom wallpaper, she was screaming—and she's not a screamer.

"I was so taken aback with the beauty, time and thoughtfulness put into this whole thing," Mary said. "I said, 'I wish my mom and my dad could see it.' Somehow, I just believe their spirits are shouting joy."

"I was shocked," Lois said. "But then I wasn't. I know my granddaughter. From a little girl, whatever she set her heart to do, she'll do it 100%."

It meant a lot to Cornelia's and Gerald's mother, Deborah, too.

"My grandmother was the apple of my eye," Deborah said. "It embodies many of the characteristics she possesses. It has a warm and kind feeling that she also had."

House of History

What sets The Celestine B&B apart are the details, Bronson said.

They worked with family members and local antique dealers to procure every carefully thoughtout interior piece carried through the doorway.

In the downstairs Vandybilt room are bookshelves adorned with books from the old Washington High School and Pine Forest High School, Cornelia's grandmother's degree from Spelman College (who she's named after), Sherman's diploma from Booker T. Washington High School (he later went on to be the principal and deputy school superintendent).

Another shelf holds a glass jar with the letter "R" on it that Cornelia's parents got when they married. Inside are antique matchbooks from some Pensacola restaurants that no longer exist, such as Skopelos when it was on the bay.

There's also an edition of "The Negro Motorist Green Book" on the shelf. A lot of people don't know what that is, Cornelia said.

"The concept with the Green Book was it told you where you were safe to go when you were on a road trip," Cornelia said. "You could look at the Green Book and say, 'OK, we can stop it this hotel or this motel, or eat at this restaurant. We're gonna be safe.'"

Nearby is a book to help children understand Green Books, too.

The room also boasts an 1885 map of Pensacola before the house was built in 1888 and chairs from the First Presbyterian Church. The original homeowner, James Simpson Reese, was a member of the church and a well-known banker, who went on to be president of The Citizen and Peoples National Bank of Pensacola and the Florida Bankers Association.

Intentionally next to Vandybilt's room is the Celestine room.

"One is masculine after my great-grandfather; this one is feminine," Cornelia said. "Those are pocket doors in between, so they actually work together. Both rooms work together, but they also stand on their own, just like our greatgrandparents did."

The Horace room is dedicated to the U.S. Air Force veteran who was not only the first Black male to graduate from Pensacola High School but also a participant of the downtown lunch counter sit-ins—subsequently landing in jail at 15, alongside Mary, then 17. He was also president of NAACP's Youth League.

"It's interesting because he was a really quiet guy," Cornelia said. "You would never know his level of involvement in the Civil Rights movement. He was a doer, not a talker. In his later years, when

February 23, 2023

I got a chance to know him, he was really kind, never met a stranger, really generous."

He loved to cook, too, Cornelia said. He'd come back with crab cakes from Biloxi and en sured their family gumbos were teeming with fresh fish.

Mary is one of the B&B's most popular rooms. She helped curate it herself.

"She was like, 'I want to stay in my room,'" Cornelia said.

And she did last weekend.

The James and Jean (J&J) suite is the largest.

"Jean lived to be 80," Cornelia said. "Even though she lived that long, she never in her entire life spent the night by herself in any house. It was only fitting we had a suite, so that James and Jean were together."

Deborah most loves the Lois room. Lois grad uated from what is now Florida A&M University and was a nurse at Baptist Hospital, specializing in wound care.

"She's the kind of person who's really fancy and likes things unique," Deborah said. "That's my favorite room, because when I look at the room, I say, 'That's definitely my mom all the way.' She's 91, but she doesn't look 91; she doesn't act 91. She's sassy."

A Curated Experience

Celestine Bed and Breakfast is a marriage of the old and new.

Although there are four rooms available to book, guests aren't just there for sleep, Cornelia and Bronson explained. "We curate experiences," Cornelia said.

She and Bronson have traveled the world to gether, stepping foot on every continent except Antarctica—and that's on the list. They've inte grated those cultures into their business model, starting with a welcome drink.

"At our favorite places in the world, when you arrive, you get a welcome drink," Cornelia said. "It's something small, but it makes people feel like, 'Oh, somebody really prepared for me to be here.'"

"The thing that's common among all folks, no matter where you are in the world, is food— cuisine—(and) music, it transcends," Bronson said. "So those are the types of things we've learned, and we want to ensure we create that experience here."

And don't sleep on the food. Cornelia puts a healthy amount of elbow grease into every meal, preparing many dishes from scratch.

"We take into account different things we've learned from different places, so it's a culinary gastronomic experience at times," Cornelia said. "Food is my love language … and the guests clean their plates."

But they tend to get more from their guests than they give. Is it any surprise that these two love a good story?

One could lose weeks peeling back the layers of Celestine Bed and Breakfast, but Cornelia miraculously sums up the space, via a sitting area situated in a corner at the top of the stairs.

Sitting there in the present, she sees one wall covered in wallpaper that makes her think about the past. Looking ahead, she sees a blank wall.

"We don't know what the future holds," Cornelia said. "All we can do is prepare the next generation to paint this." {in}

Celestine Bed and Breakfast

Lois Christian Celestine Bed and Breakfast's Custom Wallpaper

Arts & Entertainment

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

Pensacon Turns 10

Diaz noticed some guests fall into the trap of thinking there are only events at the Bay Center, but there are plenty of panels and entertainment all over downtown on Pensacon weekend. Even local restaurants and bars become unofficial venues, with drink specials and themed parties.

The con provides a free trolley through downtown for all Pensacon attendees. All the convention's partner sites are walkable from the Bay Center, but for safety and to save time, the trolley is your best bet for boot scootin' on the convention route.


For the uninitiated—Pensacon celebrates pop culture in every form. If you're a fan of something in entertainment or pop culture— not just the so-called "nerdy" stuff— they have something for you.

"We have two Rock & Roll Hall of Fame drummers coming this year—Marky Ramone of The Ramones and Gina Schock of The Go-Go's," says Diaz. "We really cover all the bases of the type of celebrities you can meet."

The less obvious celebrities you'll see at Pensacon also include wrestlers like Jamie Hayter, AEW's reigning women's world champion, and Danhausen, one of AEW's most popular wrestlers. And perhaps the most obvious people you'll see at Pensacon are the actors.

Major highlights for this 10th edition of Pensacon include four reunion panels of actors from well-known movies and TV shows— "Doctor Who," the original "Scream" movie, Kevin Smith's "Clerks" movies and the Disney cult classic "Hocus Pocus."

2023 is the 60th anniversary of "Doctor Who," and to mark the milestone, Pensacon will have the biggest gathering of Doctors from the show ever held at a convention. The fifth (Peter Davison), sixth (Colin Baker), seventh (Sylvester McCoy), eighth (Paul McGann) and ninth (Christopher Eccleston) Doctors will be in attendance, along with many actors from the show. Eric Roberts, whose character The Master is one of the Doctor's top enemies, will be on hand as well.

Diaz says celebrity guests are why most people attend Pensacon, and while they're nothing to sniff at, the community that Pensacon creates is what keeps people coming back.

"Mystery Science Theater 3000" mocked the movie within an inch of its life in a 2018 episode, and at the 10th edition of Pensacon, Mystery Science's Jonah Ray will judge an adult costume contest at Seville Quarter's Phineas Phogg's.

"It's one of those neat, full-circle moments

frastructure for it yet.

To support the tourism windfall that Pensacon creates, they partner with businesses downtown to host panels and parties. Their newest partner is The Wright Place, on the campus of the First United Methodist Church.

"Being among like-minded fans creates a feeling of fellowship," says Diaz. "The environment is very friendly, and the people-watching is certainly some of the best you'll ever have in Pensacola."

Or anywhere, really. You can come in cosplay or jeans and a T-shirt, but, of course, costumes are encouraged. There are "how-to" cosplay panels,

places where you can repair your costume and, as we mentioned, a costume contest for adults and also one for kids.

Clearly, something is working for Pensacon.

Diaz says Visit Pensacola has reported that in nine years, their convention has created $25 million in economic impact for Pensacola.

It's happened because Pensacon is all about fun, games and play for all ages. That might sound frivolous to self-serious types, but it turns out those things are very important, even for adults. {in}


If you spend one, two or all three days at Pensacon, there are a few insider tips you should know to make the most of your experience.

PACE YOURSELF Don't feel like you need to rush to see and meet everyone right away. Pensacon's app has a schedule that's updated throughout the weekend and includes a festival map and trolley stops. It's available for Android or iPhone in their app stores.

STAY HYDRATED You're going to be on your feet a lot, so bring a bottle to stay hydrated, and you can even check out one of the many restaurants or food trucks downtown if you need a sip and nosh.

USE THE TROLLEYS There are Pensacon events happening all over downtown, so pick a spot in Pensacon's app, and take the trolley. If guests have wheelchair or ADA needs, look on the app for information about a vehicle provided by the convention that's equipped for people with special needs.

CATCH THE PENSACON VIBE Diaz suggested that people not attending the convention should still come downtown anyway and "soak up some of the spirit." And if the spirit moves you when you get there, remember that Pensacon sells single-day tickets.


WHEN: Friday, Feb. 24-Sunday, Feb. 26 COST: 3-Day passes are $85; SingleDay range from $35-45; VIP passes are $165. Kids 10 and under are free.


15 February 23, 2023
Photo Courtesy of Pensacon

a&e happenings



The Escambia-Santa Rosa Bar Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Escambia-Santa Rosa Bar Association, is currently accepting grant applications for 2023. Grants are awarded to organizations that successfully demonstrate how a proposed program aligns with one or more of the tenets of the mission of the Foundation, which are to foster greater accessibility to the judicial system, improvements to the overall quality of the administration of justice, law-related education and increased public awareness of the judicial system, and improved management and operation of the court system.

Grants awards are typically in the $500$1,500 range. For more information on the Foundation and to download an application form, visit


DRIVE The Gloria Green Caring & Sharing Ministry is attached to the Historic St Joseph Catholic Church, 140 W. Government St. On Tuesdays, the ministry feeds the homeless at 10:30 a.m. The ministry's food pantry opens at 11:30 a.m. and has clothing. Food donations needed are pop top canned goods, Beanie Weenies, Vienna sausage, potted meat, cans of tuna and chicken, and soups. Clothing donations needed include tennis shoes for men and women and sweatshirts and new underwear for men sized small, medium and large. Call DeeDee Green at (850) 723-3390 for details.


FESTIVAL Pensacola Habitat's annual Food Truck Festival is 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 25, and 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 26, with 30-plus food trucks and live music. Proceeds benefit Pensacola Habitat for Humanity. Tickets are $3 per day or $5 for the weekend for admission. Get tickets at


EVERYTHING BOURBON Cooking class is 7-9 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 23, at Pensacola Cooks, 4051 Barrancas Ave. Cost is $50 per student. Visit for details.

MILITARY INFLUENCE ON THE GULF COAST DINNER Pensacola Christian Women's Connection dinner, 6-8 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 23, at Pensacola Country Club, 1500 Bayshore Drive. Open to everyone. Cost is $30. For reservations, call or text 384-6941 or email

FIFTH-ANNUAL GIRL SCOUT COOKIES & CRAFT BEER PAIRING The Fifth Annual Craft Beer and Girl Scout Cookie pairing is 4-7 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 25, at Gary's Brewery & Biergarten, 208 Newman Ave. Participants receive four beers paired with four Girl Scout cookies to bring out the best flavors in both. Tickets are $16 in advance and $20 at the door. Visit for details and tickets.


Join Bodacious, 407-D S. Palafox, for an evening of red and white wine paired with red and whitebased pastas Tuesday, Feb. 28, at 6 p.m. Cost is $75. Visit for details.

ATLAS BEVERAGE CLASS: SCRATCH ANKLE DISTILLERY The next Atlas Beverage Class is Thursday, March 2, with classes at 5 and 7 p.m. Beverage tasting paired with appetizers. Cost is $25 per person. Reservations required. Make yours by calling (850) 287-0200 or emailing


WITH A ROUX Learn basic cooking skills, 6-8 p.m., Thursday, March 2, at Pensacola Cooks, 4051 Barrancas Ave. Cost is $50 per students (adults only). Visit for details and tickets.

ST. JOSEPH'S FISH FRY LUNCH Enjoy a fried fish basket with a side and dessert for $10 Fridays through Lent (March 31) at St. Joseph's Parish Hall, 140 W. Government St. Delivery available for orders of five or more. Call to place orders at (850) 449-4709, (850) 206-2410 or (850) 450-3257.

LADIES NIGHT OUT: FLAVORS OF THE BRITISH ISLES Learn to make shepherd's pie, Yorkshire pudding and more British favorites Friday, March 3, from 7-9 p.m., at Pensacola Cooks, 4051 Barrancas Ave. Cost is $50 per student. Bring your own beer or wine for free. Visit facebook. com/pensacolacooks for details and tickets.

SECOND TUESDAY THEMED TRIVIA Visit Perfect Plain Brewing Co., 50 E. Garden St., for themed trivia nights on the second Tuesday of the month from 7-9 p.m. Visit perfectplainbrewingco for details.


Gary's Brewery Trivia Night is back by popular demand. Thursdays from 7-9 p.m., test your trivia skills with a glass of beer or wine. Arrive early to grab a spot. Gary's Brewery is located at 208 Newman Ave. For more information, visit



HALL Event is 9 p.m.-2 a.m., Friday, Feb. 24, at Vinyl Music Hall. Visit for details.

TOWN MOUNTAIN Show is with Lines in the Levee and The New Cahoots at 7 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 25, at Vinyl Music Hall, 2 S. Palafox. Tickets are $20 and available at


VERDI REQUIEM The PSO concert will feature The Hattiesburg Choral Union. Show is at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 25, at the Saenger Theatre, 118 S. Palafox. Tickets start at $23. Visit for tickets.


Dr. Grier Williams School of Music will present the Dr. Grier Williams School of Music Opera Workshop in concert on Wednesday, March 1, at noon, at Old Christ Church, 405 S. Adams St. This event is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required for this event. For more information, call the Dr. Grier Williams School of Music office at (850) 474-2147.


The Choral Society of Pensacola presents the regional premiere of The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci by Jocelyn Hagen, a multimedia symphony for chorus, orchestra and video, 7:30 p.m., Saturday, March 4, at UWF Center for Fine and Performing Arts, University of West Florida, Bldg. 82. Tickets are $10-$20 in advance. Tickets are $5 more at the door. Visit for tickets.

BANDS ON THE BEACH Bands on the Beach is back starting Tuesday, April 4, with Reunion Band. The free weekly concert series will be held every Tuesday at the Gulfside Pavilion from 7-9 p.m.

EASY GOING DJ LAB Show is every Saturday, noon-4 p.m., at Easy Going Gallery, 701 N. V St. Visit for details.

RESPECT THE DECKS Monthly vinyl spinning night at Easy Going Gallery, 701 N. V St., at 8 p.m. $15 cover. The next date is Saturday, March 4. Visit for details.


Open mic night is hosted by Renee Amelia every other Wednesday at 6 p.m., located at Gary's Brewery & Biergarten, 208 Newman Ave. Visit for details.

GARY-OKE Sing your heart out at Gary's Brewery and Biergarten, 208 Newman Ave., every Wednesday from 6-10 p.m. Visit garysbrew for details.

JAZZ BY THE BOOK Joe Occhipinti performs at West Florida Public Libraries twice a month. The concerts are free. On Tuesday, Jan. 24, at 1 p.m., the concert is at Pensacola Library, 239 N. Spring St. Visit for details.

PENSACOLA PICK NIGHT AT ODD COLONY Music pickers of all levels are invited to play at Odd Colony, 260 N. Palafox, from 7-9 p.m. every last Monday of the month. Bring your acoustic instrument and jam. Visit facebook. com/oddcolony for details.


QUARTER Seville Quarter and the Blues Society of Northwest Florida bring the "Blues" back to the Seville Quarter Entertainment District, located at 130 E. Government St. every Monday night in End O' the Alley starting at 7 p.m. For more information, visit


QUARTER Enjoy smooth jazz with Melodious Allen and The Funk Heads every Tuesday night at Lili Marlene's in Seville Quarter, located at 130 E. Government St. Show starts at 6:30 p.m. Visit for more information.

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WHAT'S SHOWING AT PENSACOLA CINEMA ART PCA is located at the Studer Community Institute, 220 W. Garden St. Classic films are available for free through the PCA website. Visit for more information and the latest showtimes.

STUDIO SCENES Pensacola Opera's Jan Miller Studio Artists present scenes from five operas within an hour-long performance, 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 23, at Pensacola Opera, 75 S. Tarragona St. Tickets are $15. More information at


The next First City Art Center Hot Glass Cold Brew is Friday, Feb. 24. Prepaid members get in at 5 p.m. with $25 admission. Nonmembers get in at 5:30 p.m. with $35 admission. There will be live music, food trucks, live auction and more at 1060 N. Guillemard St. Visit for details.

GALLERY NIGHT: CELEBRATE "STEAMPUNK!" The next Gallery Night is Friday, Feb. 24, from 5-9 p.m., in downtown Pensacola. Gallery Night Pensacola calls all Sci-fi Enthusiasts, Comic Book Fanatics, and STEAMpunks! to join for an evening of festivities formed by a collision of genres while celebrating Pensacon weekend.

Local nonprofits featured at Gallery Night will be the IHMC, Institute for Human Machine Cognition, Pensacola Mess Hall, and more. Addi-

tionally, local artist Eniko Ujj will speak about the UWF Pensacola Museum of Art and the S.E.A. Makerspace STEAM exhibit, on view during Gallery Night from 5-7 pm.

Gallery Night's February Featured Artist is Caroline Erb. Erb is a graduate of the Alabama School of Fine Arts and is currently earning her BFA from the University of West Florida. For more information, visit

NINE: THE MUSICAL The UWF Center for Fine and Performing Arts presents this musical at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 24, and Saturday, Feb. 25, and 2:30 on Sunday, Feb. 26, at the Center for Fine and Performing Arts, 11000 University Parkway, Bldg. 82. Tickets are $18 and up. Visit uwf. edu/cfpa for details.

enger hunts. The Fish House and Atlas Deck, 600 S. Barracks St., will be decorated in Harry Potter and Star Trek décor, respectively, with drink specials and costume contests. O'Riley's Irish Pub, 321 S. Palafox, will have Game of Thrones décor and drink specials. Visit for details and a schedule of events.

Enjoy art, music, food, drinks and more. For more information, visit


The first YA Book Club meeting for Bodacious Bookstore's book club is at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 28, at the bookstore, 101 E. Intendencia St. The group will be discussing "A Cuban Girl's Guide to Tea and Tomorrow" by Laura Taylor Namey. Receive 15% off the book club pick when you mention the club.

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY Odd Colony is celebrating International Women's Day, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Sunday, March 5, with a special beer release, brunch with Chef Amy Potmesil, music from DJ Hale Morrissette, Craft and vintage market and live art installation with Mosshound Designs. Odd Colony is located at 260 N. Palafox. Visit



The 10th-annual pop culture convention takes over downtown Pensacola. The convention opens at 1 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 24, at Pensacola Bay Center, 201 W. Gregory St. The convention opens at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 25, and Sunday, Feb. 26. Participating bars will be hosting trivia nights, costume parties, drink specials and more. Perfect Plain Brewing Co., 50 E. Garden St., will have Star Wars events throughout the weekend, including galactic bingo, drink and draw, Star crawl, sand market and pupcon costume contest. Odd Colony, 260 N. Palafox, will have Lord of the Rings trivia, Bilbo's Birthday Party and a themed brunch. The 5 Barrel, 121 S. Palafox, is the official gaming sponsor with late-night gaming and scav-

GALLERY TALKS: CAROUSEL This performance and lecture program highlights the relationships between visual art, history and music surrounding the upcoming production. Join PMA, located at 407 S. Jefferson St., at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 1, to learn more about Rodgers & Hammerstein's "Carousel," including performances from the score by our Jan Miller Studio Artists, followed by a presentation by the Museum staff. This is a free community event, open to the public. Visit for details.

NIGHT ON THE TRACKS Join 309 Punk Project for a night in Old East Hill at the second Night on the Tracks, Saturday, March 4, beginning at 5 p.m. Local venues, Doc's Hop Shop, Waterboyz, End of the Line, 309 Punk Project, From the Ground Up Garden and more will be participating.

Take a lunch break with the opera. Brown Bag Opera is a free monthly performance featuring the Jan Miller Studio Artists at the Opera Center, 75 S. Tarragona St. Musical performances include a variety of beloved arias, timeless showtunes and stunning duets and trios. The next date is noon on Tuesday, March 21. Seating is first-come, first-served. Visit for details.


TOUR AND LUNCHEON Dine inside Pensacola's oldest and most haunted restaurant and investigate the spirits with actual paranormal equipment at Seville Quarter, 130 E. Government St. Tickets are $12 and include a voucher toward Seville Quarter's menu. Make an appointment by calling (850) 941-4321.

for more listings visit

17 February 23, 2023

free will astrology


ARIES (MARCH 21-APRIL 19): Philosopher John O'Donohue wrote a prayer not so much to God as to Life. It's perfect for your needs right now. He said, "May my mind come alive today to the invisible geography that invites me to new frontiers, to break the dead shell of yesterdays, to risk being disturbed and changed." I think you will generate an interesting onrush of healing, Aries, if you break the dead shell of yesterdays and risk being disturbed and changed. The new frontier is calling to you. To respond with alacrity, you must shed some baggage.

TAURUS (APRIL 20-MAY 20): Rightwing religious influencers are rambling amuck in the United States. In recent months, their repressive pressures have forced over 1,600 books to be banned in 138 school districts in 38 states. The forbidden books include some about heroes Nelson Mandela, Cesar Chavez and Rosa Parks. With this appalling trend as a motivational force, I encourage you Tauruses to take inventory of any tendencies you might have to censor the information you expose yourself to. According to my reading of the astrological omens, now is an excellent time to pry open your mind to consider ideas and facts you have shut out. Be eager to get educated and inspired by stimuli outside your usual scope.

GEMINI (MAY 21-JUNE 20): I think we can all agree that it’s really fun to fall in love. Those times when we feel a thrilling infatuation welling up within us are among the most pleasurable of all human experiences. Wouldn’t it be great if we could do it over and over again as the years go by? Just keep getting bowled over by fresh immersions in swooning adoration? Maybe we could drum up two or three bouts of mad love explosions every year. But alas, giving in to such a temptation might make it hard to build intimacy and trust with a committed, long-term partner. Here’s a possible alternative— instead of getting smitten with an endless series of new paramours, we could get swept away by novel teachings, revelatory meditations, lovable animals, sublime art or music, amazing landscapes or sanctuaries and exhilarating adventures. I hope you will be doing that in the coming weeks, Gemini.

CANCER (JUNE 21-JULY 22): The scientific method is an excellent approach for understand-

ing reality. It's not the only one and should not be used to the exclusion of other ways of knowing. But even if you're allergic to physics or never step into a chemistry lab, you are wise to use the scientific method in your daily life. The coming weeks will be an especially good time to enjoy its benefits. What would that mean, practically speaking? Set aside your subjective opinions and habitual responses. Instead, simply gather evidence. Treasure actual facts. Try to be as objective as you can in evaluating everything that happens. Be highly attuned to your feelings, but also be aware that they may not provide all facets of the truth.

LIBRA (SEPT. 23-OCT. 22): Are you aimless, impassive and stuck, floundering as you try to preserve and maintain? Or are you fiercely and joyfully in quest of vigorous and dynamic success? What you do in the coming weeks will determine which of these two forks in your destiny will be your path for the rest of 2023. I'll be rooting for the second option. Here is a tip to help you be strong and bold. Learn the distinctions between your own soulful definition of success and the superficial, irrelevant, meaningless definitions of success that our culture celebrates. Then swear an oath to love, honor and serve your soulful definition.

Beatrice Straight got an Oscar for her role in the movie “Network,” though she appeared for less than six minutes. I expect a similar phenomenon in your world, Capricorn. A seemingly small pivot will lead to a vivid turning point. A modest seed will sprout into a prismatic bloom. A cameo performance will generate long-term ripples. Be alert for the signs.

LEO (JULY 23-AUG. 22): Is there anything in your psychological makeup that would help you do some detective work? How are your skills as a researcher? Are you willing to be cagey and strategic as you investigate what’s going on behind the scenes? If so, I invite you to carry out any or all of these four tasks in the coming weeks—1. Try to become aware of shrouded half-truths. 2. Be alert for shadowy stuff lurking in bright, shiny environments. 3. Uncover secret agendas and unacknowledged evidence. 4. Explore stories and situations that no one else seems curious about.

VIRGO (AUG. 23-SEPT. 22): The country of Nepal, which has strong Virgo qualities, is divided into seven provinces. One is simply called “Province No.1,” while the others are Sudurpashchim, Karnali, Gandaki, Lumbini, Bagmati and Janakpur. I advise Nepal to give Province No. 1 a decent name very soon. I also recommend that you Virgos extend a similar outreach to some of the unnamed beauty in your sphere. Have fun with it. Give names to your phone, your computer, your bed, your hairdryer, and your lamps, as well as your favorite trees, houseplants and clouds. You may find that the gift of naming helps make the world a more welcoming place with which you have a more intimate relationship. And that would be an artful response to current cosmic rhythms.

SCORPIO (OCT. 23-NOV. 21) : The next four weeks will be a time of germination, metaphorically analogous to the beginning of a pregnancy. The attitudes and feelings that predominate during this time will put a strong imprint on the seeds that will mature into full ripeness by late 2023. What do you want to give birth to in 40 weeks or so, Scorpio? Choose wisely! And make sure that in this early, impressionable part of the process, you provide your growing creations with positive, nurturing influences.

AQUARIUS (JAN. 20-FEB. 18): Most of us are constantly skirmishing with time, doing our best to coax it or compel it to give us more slack. But lately, you Aquarians have slipped into a more intense conflict. And from what I’ve been able to determine, time is kicking your ass. What can you do to relieve the pressure? Maybe you could edit your priority list—eliminate two mildly interesting pursuits to make more room for a fascinating one. You might also consider reading a book to help you with time management and organizational strategies, like these—1. “Getting Things Done” by David Allen. 2. “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey. 3. “15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management” by Kevin Kruse.

SAGITTARIUS (NOV. 22-DEC. 21) : I recommend you set up Designated Arguing Summits (DAT). These will be short periods when you and your allies get disputes out in the open. Disagreements must be confined to these intervals. You are not allowed to squabble at any other time. Why do I make this recommendation? I believe that many positive accomplishments are possible for you in the coming weeks, and it would be counterproductive to expend more than the minimal necessary amount on sparring. Your glorious assignment—be emotionally available and eager to embrace the budding opportunities.

CAPRICORN (DEC. 22-JAN. 19): Actor Judi Dench won an Oscar for her role as Queen Elizabeth in the film "Shakespeare in Love"—even though she was onscreen for just eight minutes.

PISCES (FEB. 19-MARCH 20): "What is originality?" asked philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Here’s how he answered: "to see something that has no name as yet, and hence cannot be mentioned though it stares us all in the face." Got that, Pisces? I hope so, because your fun assignments in the coming days include the following—1. to make a shimmering dream coalesce into a concrete reality; 2. to cause a figment of the imagination to materialize into a useful accessory; 3. to coax an unborn truth to sprout into a galvanizing insight.

THIS WEEK'S HOMEWORK: What’s something you would love to do but were told never to do by someone you loved? {in}

18 18
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Treasure actual facts. Try to be as objective as you can in evaluating everything that happens. A cameo performance will generate long-term ripples. Be alert

news of the weird

FAMILY VALUES Tony Toto and his wife, Frances, of Allentown, Pennsylvania, are celebrating 57 years of marriage, WFMZ-TV reported in a feel-good Valentine's Day story. "We have been blessed that we had all these years," Tony said, noting "that one time when we had a rough time." Yeah, that was the time in 1983 when Frances hired teenaged hitmen five times to kill Tony. "I don't think I was thinking straight," Frances said. "It was like it was a love-hate kind of a thing." Of course, the murder attempts weren't successful, and Frances and the young hitmen were arrested. She spent four years in prison, but their love never wavered. A feature film called "I Love You to Death" was made about their troubles, and they became minor celebrities, traveling to movie premieres and giving interviews. Tony and Frances got counseling and committed to better communication, and decades later, have a long marriage to show for their efforts.

THE ARISTOCRATS On Feb. 11, during an intermission at the Hannover State Opera House in Hannover, Germany, ballet director Marco Goecke shocked even himself when he approached the dance critic from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, Wiebke Huester, and smeared animal feces on her face. The Associated Press reported that Goecke was unhappy with a recent review of a production he staged in The Hague. Following the incident, he took off through the crowded theater lobby. But strangely, Goecke seemed to justify his actions in a later interview, saying that after having his work "soiled for years ... Once a certain point has been reached, I disagree." The opera house suspended and banned him from the facility until further notice.

WEIRD SCIENCE People who suffer from chronic constipation now have a high-tech treatment option: a vibrating pill that stimulates the colon, CNN reported. The Vibrant capsule, prescribed by a doctor, is taken at bedtime and reaches the large intestine about 14 hours later. Vibrations cause the gut to contract, moving food along. Eventually, the capsule is eliminated and makes its way to a sewage treatment plant, where it's sifted out and sent to a landfill. Dr. Eamonn Quigley of Houston Methodist Hospital helped test the new technology. He said most people couldn't feel it working. "A minority could feel it. None of them felt it was being uncomfortable." But we're uncomfortable just reading this.

IT'S COME TO THIS In what prosecutor Owen Beale called an "organized criminal matter," Joby Pool, 32, pleaded guilty to theft and criminal damage in Kidderminster, England, magistrates court, The Guardian reported. His crime? Pool broke into a warehouse on Feb. 11 and towed away a trailer with about 200,000 Cadbury Creme Eggs, valued at about $37,000. He didn't get very far; when police stopped him, he "walked toward (them) with his hands up." "This

clearly wasn't spur-of-the-moment offending," Beale said. "You don't just happen to learn about a trailer with that kind of value being available." The "Easter bunny," as police dubbed him, will be sentenced in March to about two years in jail.

UNCONVENTIONAL WEAPONRY Christopher Gaddis, 41, was holding a cat in his arms when he was approached by Metro Nashville Police officers on Feb. 8, WSMV-TV reported. Gaddis had two outstanding warrants, and officers were trying to arrest him when he shoved the cat into the face of one of them, leaving several cuts on the officer's hands. Gaddis also kicked the officer. After being treated for his own injuries from the cat, Gaddis was charged with resisting arrest and assaulting an officer.

SUSPICIONS CONFIRMED Police in Santa Cruz, California, are warning locals not to "engage" with the Cookie Monster, KION-TV reported on Feb. 15. A man named Adam Sandler (not the actor), known to dress up as "Sesame Street" characters and harass people, has surfaced in Santa Cruz. Resident Sarah Jones said he entices people "to want to take a photo with him," but as soon as they approach, he flips up his costume head and starts yelling. "Based on how dirty his costume was I knew it wasn't going in the right direction," she said. Sandler has not been charged with any crimes.


In the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia, one gas station is employing a dramatic tactic to try to keep people experiencing homelessness away: blasting opera music over its outdoor speakers. WPVI-TV reported that neighbors aren't fans: "I heard all this music, I couldn't tell where it was coming from. Loud, it was unbelievable that time of night," said Clinton Barnes, who lives close by. "I don't think it's a deterrent," said Karen Clark. "They have to find something else." One neighbor said it was as loud as if someone had "cranked the volume all the way up" on the TV inside their home. Gas station employees refused to comment.

•Austin Bristoe, 26, of Bloomington, Indiana, was sick and tired of people breaking into his 1998 Buick and stealing stuff, Fox59-TV reported. On Feb. 12, when police responded to a car fire, they found Bristoe just standing next to his burning vehicle, and he told them he set it on fire to stop the thefts. "If there was nothing left of the vehicle, then there would be nothing left to steal," Bristoe's logic went. As it burned, the fire caused a small explosion, and Bristoe commented, "I hoped the explosions would be bigger." After arresting him for arson, they searched him, finding several packed syringes and benzodiazepine. {in}

19 February 23, 2023
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