Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative
AU G U S T 2017
Experience of a Lifetime
Savannah Gardner, left, and Savanah Parker, both of Deane Bozeman School, represented Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative in June as part of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Youth Tour, visiting dozens of historic sites. Behind them is the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool and, in the far distance, the U.S. Capitol. Read about their experiences on the trip on pages 4 and 12.
Teachers Get an Energy Education PAGE 7â€‚ â€‚ A Summer Lesson in Safety PAGE 8 n
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August 2017 Vol. 6, No. 10
A Patriotic Pilgrimage 12 The nation’s history comes alive for Florida high school students on the Rural Electric Youth Tour. Also In This Issue Side Roads 10 In the Kitchen 16 Great Picture Hunt 18
Travel Journal 20 Festival Roundup 22 Parting Shot 30
Your utility pages: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 25, 26, 28, 29, 32
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Youth Tour 2017
Experience of a Lifetime In June, Savannah Gardner and Savanah Parker traveled to Washington, D.C., for the weeklong National Rural Electric Youth Tour. Both are rising seniors at Deane Bozeman School in Panama City. The two were winners of Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative’s Youth Tour contest. Each year, the cooperative sponsors the contest for 11th-graders whose parents or guardians are members of GCEC. Contestants are interviewed by a panel of three judges from the electric cooperative industry. Two winners are chosen to travel on the all-expenses-paid trip, joining 1,800 students representing electric cooperatives from around the country. “We were proud to have Savannah
Reflections by Savannah Gardner The Youth Tour experience changed my life. It was everything I dreamed of and more. The sense of patriotism I now have for my country, the treasured friendships, my appreciation for electric cooperatives and the knowledge about our country’s capital will stay with me forever. Observing the document that demanded independence from Great Britain was an indescribable feeling. I remember thinking to myself how grateful I was that a group of brave men came together and decided to stand up for freedom. At Arlington National Cemetery, the spirit and the overwhelming sight of all those who fought so bravely for me and all Americans was overpowering. We had the opportunity to view the changing of the soldiers who guard the Tomb of the Unknowns. This experience changed how I look up to our nation’s military personnel. These men are not ordinary. They are strong, brave and are without a doubt my heroes for doing all they do for this great nation. The memorials and monuments were phenomenal. My heart was touched with each statue and quote. The key figures from our history that these monuments represented did something for our country and helped shape it into what it is now. I am so grateful. The Vietnam War Memorial really touched me. It was by far one of the simplest memorials, but the underlying meaning and overall appeal left me speechless. Veterans who look into the wall see 4
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and Savanah representing Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative in Washington,” said GCEC Vice President of Marketing & Communications Kristin Evans. “Over and over again, the Youth Tour trip has been referred to as ‘the trip of a lifetime,’ and we hope that it truly was for these exceptional students.” The Youth Tour program started in 1957 when co-ops sent students to Washington, D.C., to work during the summer. By 1964, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association began coordinating the effort. Thousands of young people have experienced this opportunity to visit our nation’s capital and learn about our government. n
their reflection. There was also a statue of three young soldiers staring off toward the wall. They were searching for their brothers in battle. The average soldier was below 20 years old. They were so young, yet bravely stood firm and strong for the United States of America. Those sacrifices are the reason we now enjoy freedom and the ability to reside peacefully in this amazing country. Another critical thing Youth Tour taught me was the importance of electric cooperatives. The ability to turn on our lights or charge our phones is a privilege most Americans take for granted. I will never again take the power that comes to my home for granted. The Holocaust Museum made me once again realize how beyond blessed we are here in the U.S. I took with me the knowledge that we live in the greatest country across the entire world, and I am beyond proud to be an American. I can’t express how much my patriotism for the United States and respect for electric cooperatives grew, not to mention how close the 31 of us from Florida got. Those friendships I gained will last a lifetime, and I will treasure those people forever. More than anything, Washington, D.C., taught me that freedom is not free. The ability to reside peacefully with all Americans is a privilege that is not available across the world, and this right is one I will never ever take for granted. This trip was without a doubt the experience of a lifetime, and I will forever be grateful to Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative for granting me this amazing opportunity. n
Left, Rep. Neal Dunn on the steps of the U.S. Capitol with Savannah Gardner, left, and Savanah Parker.
Above, the close-knit Florida delegation gets in a group hug as students head home after Youth Tour. Opposite page, Savannah Gardner, left, and Savanah Parker in front of the White House.
Reflections by Savanah Parker Before the trip started, I had heard it would be the trip of a lifetime. I did not understand how close I would get with the other recipients from Florida, or how greatly my appreciation would change and grow for this amazing country that we live in. At the National Archives, I was able to get as close as one can to the founding principles of our country. Words cannot describe the thoughts going through my head as I was face to face with the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. We rode the bus to the Jefferson Memorial. I was in shock of the sheer size of the structure, and the amount of detail put into just one memorial. Our next stop was the World War II Memorial. The day we were there, lots of veterans were visiting the memorial. Lucky for us, they were more than willing to take pictures with us and share some of their stories from the war. The second day of the trip we walked Arlington National Cemetery, the African American Museum, FDR, MLK, Lincoln, Korean and Vietnam memorials. Seeing the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier left the biggest impression on me that day, and perhaps throughout the rest of the trip. Before we knew it, it was day three. By this time we had made great friends, which made the trip even more enjoyable. We met for the Youth Day program. After hearing several speakers, it really hit me just how special this trip is and how much of an impact the
cooperatives have on the nation. Hands down, the Holocaust Museum was my favorite stop of the day. It was incredibly heartbreaking to see everything that happened, without the sugarcoating of the textbooks. As the day drew to an end, we headed to the boat cruise that night and made friends with so many other people from all over the country. Then it was day four. It was remarkable to see the very house George Washington lived in. Everything looked original and authentic and it made you feel like you were back in the 1700s. Later that night, we got to watch the Marine Corps Sunset Parade. Everything that was performed was precise and it made me wonder just how many hours of practice it took to make this whole performance look effortless. Finally it was day five. We knew this would be our last full day together in D.C. Despite the sad vibes coming from all of the kids, we had an amazing day visiting the Capitol and the National Mall. Later that night, we had an amazing dance. It was a great chance to meet new people before we had to leave. I would do anything to go back on the trip with all of the amazing people that represented Florida. The trip in itself was great, but honestly, it was the fellow representatives from Florida that I went with that made it so enjoyable. Everyone was so welcoming and it truly set the trip over the top. It was the trip of a lifetime, and I am so grateful to Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative for giving me this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. n AU G U S T 2 0 1 7
Where Does Electricity Come From? I give a number of civic club presentations. I call them my “Rotary Club talks.” I start each presentation by picking an unsuspecting victim and asking, “Where does electricity come from?” The answers vary, but the most common answer I get—about 30 percent of the time—is, “out of the wall” or “the switch.” I always follow up those responses with, “So how did it get into the wall?” The answers become more logical as the victims think more about power lines and where the lines come from. However, about three years ago, a Rotarian responded, “They put it in there when they built the house.” In elementary and high school, we were taught that electricity came from hydroelectric dams. I grew up in north Mississippi about 15 miles from Pickwick Lake— one of the lakes and dams the Tennessee Valley Authority built to electrify the South. Pickwick Dam, with its locks and gates, was huge. I assumed it produced enough electricity to supply all of Mississippi. I didn’t think any more about electricity than your average Rotarian. I should not have been surprised a couple of years ago when Christi Scruggs from our communications department stopped me in the lobby to tell me her son was being taught that coal and natural gas had provided cheap electricity for years, but they were 6
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Commentary By Gary Smith President and CEO
now ruining the environment. In the future, electricity would be provided by solar and wind generation. If I grew up thinking all electricity came from Pickwick Dam and a Rotarian thinks it comes out of the wall, it is not a stretch for teachers to believe all electricity in the future will come from renewables. For many decades, electricity has been generated by coal and, for a number of years, natural gas. Electricity from fossil fuels has been cheap and the primary driver of our economy. Cheap fossil fuel-generated electricity has allowed all Americans to greatly improve their quality of life and enjoy the benefits
of a modern society. Abundant and affordable electricity has allowed America to separate itself from the rest of the world and become a global superpower. Even the average Rotarian should know fossil fuel-generated electricity has provided more benefit than harm. The people who write textbooks guided by the Common Core education curriculum are more political than the average Rotarian. Therefore, our young people are taught that all electricity in the future will come from renewables. They are not taught where energy really comes from today—not just electricity, but all energy in the electric sector, the manufacturing sector, the transportation sector, the heating sector and all other energy uses. The numbers will be surprising to our children, but more than 80 percent of the energy used in the world today comes from fossil fuels, about 9 percent comes from nuclear and the rest comes from different sources, including renewables. My teachers would be pleased to know hydroelectric power makes up the largest portion of renewable production. To help the public understand the huge gap between where we are in energy use and what our children are taught, a few of PowerSouth’s trustees encouraged us to start an energy education
program for teachers in our service area. We engaged the National Energy Education Development Project, which was founded by scientists and educators who believe school-aged children should be better informed about the realities of energy sources and production. NEED is founded upon real science, not just political motivations. The program is not anti-climate change or anti-renewables. It is not slanted toward fossil fuels. It is just the truth about energy and the cost of energy, today and into the future. We just completed the first energy education session. We hosted 284 Alabama and Florida schoolteachers for two full days. The NEED staff did an outstanding job explaining the basics of energy use and production, covering the different sources, uses and costs of energy in detail. Teachers were given materials to use in their classrooms to provide their students the real picture of energy today. The intent is not to arbitrarily promote the use of energy for political agendas. We merely want our children—who will be the leaders of tomorrow—to be knowledgeable about energy and its use, production and cost so they can make informed decisions in the future. Also, we would like for them to be smarter than the average Rotarian. n
Twenty teachers from schools served by Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative participated in the inaugural Empower Energy Education Workshop.
Teachers Get an Energy Education Nearly 300 teachers from across Alabama and northwest Florida became the students at an energy education workshop co-hosted by Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative in June. The first Empower Energy Education Workshop provided fun, engaging, fast-paced activities about electric generation and distribution with a focus on energy education. Attendees received tools and curriculum to integrate the activities into their K-12 classrooms. Materials include handson activities designed to teach tomorrow’s leaders about all energy sources, from fossil fuels to renewables. “It was a great three days, full of information and activities,” said Amanda Adams, a third-grade science and math teacher at Kate Smith Elementary School in Chipley. “Thanks so much for the opportunity. I also met some great people along the way!” The conference allowed attendees to network with other teachers, share ideas and build lifelong connections. The Empower Energy Education Workshop is part of an initiative to promote a balanced approach to energy education in the classroom. By equipping teachers to fully explore all forms of electricity generation, students are more likely to receive a realitybased education and become better decision-makers as adults. “One of our founding principles as a cooperative is providing education and learning to our members,” says Kristin Evans, GCEC’s vice president of marketing and communications.
Becki Franklin, seated in the center, a science teacher at Kate Smith Elementary School in Chipley, works with other teachers on a project to demonstrate the difference insulation makes in a home’s interior temperature.
“This conference was an opportunity for us to reach our youth in ways we never imagined before. By providing educators with the tools they need to present energy information to their students in a balanced and memorable way, we are investing in the future of our cooperative, our state and our nation.” n AU G U S T 2 0 1 7
Using Safety City, Kristin Evans, vice president of marketing and communications for Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative, explains the dangers of behaving recklessly around electricity.
A Summer Lesson in Safety Presentation stresses what not to do around electricity
AU G U S T 2 0 1 7
vehicle that has made conGulf Coast Electric tact with overhead power Cooperative recently took lines if the occupants are participants in the Bay in danger and must exit. County Public Library’s In addition to the summer reading program Safety City demonstrato Safety City. tion, students saw actual Kristin Evans, vice line technician gear to gain president of marketing an understanding of what and communications for co-op workers must wear GCEC, demonstrated the to be in compliance with dangers of behaving irresafety laws while working sponsibly around electricon power lines. Students ity, using the energized saw an electric meter and model of a city, complete learned how meters record with a house, fencing, Students in the summer reading program ask questions. information cooperative overhead power lines, an employees use to calculate electric bills. underground transformer box, people and vehicles. “The Safety City demonstration gives us an Main points during the presentation included not opportunity to teach students not only how electricflying a kite near overhead power lines, not playing ity travels, but also the dangers of electricity if not on or around underground transformer boxes, not used properly,” says Kristin. “By using the Safety City climbing trees that have branches that may come in model, students are taught to respect electricity.” n contact with overhead power lines and not exiting a vehicle that has come in contact with overhead If you are interested in having a cooperative representative visit power lines unless absolutely necessary. your school with the Safety City demonstration board, please Students were taught the proper way to exit a call the cooperative at 265-3631, 639-2216 or 481-1188..
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Discoveries Off the Beaten Path
A Promise to Never Forget Firefighter pays tribute to those who died on September 11 with annual stair climb By Carol Watson
For Panama City Beach Fire Captain Terry Parris, the events of September 11, 2001, were a defining moment. A fireman since 1991, Terry watched the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center along with millions of other Americans, and promised himself the lives of the 343 firemen who died that day would not be forgotten. In 2011, he fulfilled that promise. “A few years after 9/11, I read an article about firefighters in Denver who climbed 110 stories to honor the first responders who died at Ground Zero,” says Terry. “That climb helped to support the mission of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, and I felt that a similar event here in Panama City Beach would be well-received. It took a lot of time and effort
Postcards From Florida
m Photo by Pa
Wooden lobster traps are stacked along the shore across from the Keys Fisheries Marina in Marathon. Florida’s two-day mini lobster season is the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday in July. The regular season is August 6 through March 31. 10
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Two Pensacola firefighters climb some of the 110 flights of stairs during a past Panama City Beach Memorial Stair Climb. Photo courtesy of the Panama City Beach News Herald
from a lot of caring people, and on September 11, 2011, the first Panama City Beach Memorial Stair Climb took place.” Initially held at the 22-story Laketown Wharf Condos in Panama City Beach, participants climbed up and down the height of the condos five times—the equivalent of the 110 stories of the World Trade Center. This year’s event is at the Edgewater Beach and Golf Resort, with activities beginning Thursday, September 7. The climb is Saturday, September 9. The event is open to anyone who wants to climb. More than half the participants come from out of state. Last year, 545 people climbed. Firefighter Cody Cothran of Hoover, Alabama, is one of them. “I was a senior in high school on 9/1l and saw the attacks on the World Trade Center from a classroom,” says Cody. “For the next few months, I volunteered at the local fire department, and after graduation, I passed the firefighter exam.” He has worked in fire service for 14 years, the past five in Hoover. Cody has participated in the Panama City Beach Stair Climb since its inception. He drives 250-plus miles south to climb in honor of fallen 9/11 firefighter Lt. Michael Quilty, who was in Tower 2 when the first plane hit. A member of Ladder 11 of Brooklyn’s Borough Park firehouse, Quilty had been a firefighter for 20 years. He earned two unit citations, including the Fire Marshals’ Benevolent Association Medal in 1997. In an odd twist of fate, Quilty once visited Panama City Beach. “In the late ’90s, Michael Quilty and his son were taking scuba diving lessons during a family vacation in Panama City Beach when a woman on her first dive panicked and began to ascend too rapidly,” says Cody. “Despite having known this woman for less than 10 minutes, he didn’t hesitate to risk his life and bring her to the surface. It was the same type of selfless act that would be repeated over and over again at Ground Zero.”
Panama City Beach Fire Captain Terry Parris addresses participants at the 2016 opening ceremony and the blessing of the helmets. Photo courtesy of Joseph Mandeville/Sandy Scenes Photography
Hundreds of courageous acts were performed on 9/11 by first responders and civilians alike. Many of their stories will never be told. They were silenced forever when the twin towers fell. The horrific death toll that day—2,606 in the World Trade Center, 265 on the four planes and 125 at the Pentagon—continues to increase 16 years after the attack due to the toxic dust spread and inhaled as the towers fell to the ground. Just days after the attacks, firefighters, EMTs and civilians began arriving at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital with severe respiratory problems. “The symptoms these patients had were terrifying,” says Dr. Michael Crane, director of the hospital’s World Trade Center Health Program. “They would suddenly wake up and find they couldn’t breathe. Although we will never know the exact composition of the cloud of dust they inhaled, what we do know is that it had all kinds of god-awful things in it including jet fuel, plastics, metal, fiberglass and asbestos.” In addition to respiratory problems, those who inhaled the toxic dust have suffered a number of other debilitating illnesses, including cancer. In 2014, an FDNY study revealed that cancer
incidence among New York City firefighters at Ground Zero had increased by nearly 20 percent compared to firefighters who were not exposed. The World Trade Center Health Program was reauthorized for an additional 75 years December 18, 2015. “We must remember that the events of 9/11 have continued to exact a toll on every firefighter and first responder who was at Ground Zero that day, as well as the families of the 343 firefighters who died when the twin towers collapsed,” says Terry. “That is why we are committed to continuing the Memorial Stair Climb. Last year, nearly $30,000 was raised and submitted to the National Firefighters Foundation and First Responder projects from donations and climb registration fees. “The incredible courage of the New York Fire Department in the performance of their duties on 9/11 is the reason the Panama City Beach Memorial Stair Climb began and the reason it will continue. Our goal is to ensure that the sacrifices these individuals made on that day will never be forgotten.” n To register for the 2017 Panama City Beach Memorial Stair Climb, visit www.pcbstairclimb.com. AU G U S T 2 0 1 7
A Patriotic Pilgrimage The nation’s history comes alive for Florida high school students on Youth Tour By Pam Blair
Andrew-Paul “AP” Griffis reaches down and grips the hand of the wheelchair-bound veteran. “Thank you for your service,” the athletic 16-yearold says, locking eyes with the frail Honor Flight veteran from Philadelphia. Both were visiting the World War II Memorial on a hot and humid Saturday afternoon in June. AP and other Florida high school students greet veteran after veteran with genuine gratitude and sincerity—young thanking old with a few meaningful words and a handshake. “I was reminded how much they gave and how much we have to be thankful for,” says AP, who was in the nation’s capital as a representative of Clay Electric Cooperative. “Military is more than putting on a uniform. It’s saying you will give up everything for your family and country.” That was the tone-setting first day of a weeklong adventure in Washington, D.C., for Florida’s Rural Electric Youth Tour delegation, which joined a record-setting 1,800 students from around the country for sightseeing, immersion in history and a lesson in the cooperative business model. The patriotic scene at the World War II Memorial lasted nearly an hour, as Florida students who were apprehensive about traveling with people they did
From left, Coleman Tadrowski, Bryce Puckett and Andrew-Paul Griffis thank a wheelchairbound Honor Flight veteran for his service during a visit to the World War II Memorial. Photo by Pam Blair
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not know immediately bonded with each other while talking with the veterans. Students even came together to learn and dance the Charleston. The veterans smiled with delight as their past came to life through the young people. “Without them we would not be here today,” Coleman Tadrowski of Clay Electric Cooperative says. “I have a newfound appreciation for just how much a simple thank you can mean to a veteran.” A Busy Week of Sightseeing Started 53 years ago, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s Youth Tour program exposes teenagers from rural areas to a world they often have only read about in textbooks and challenges them to stretch outside their comfort zones. Participating electric cooperatives select students who, typically, have just completed their junior year of high school for the all-expense-paid, awe-inspiring, life-changing trip of a lifetime. Each state develops its own itinerary, but students come together for Youth Day and a Potomac River cruise, exchanging state pins and keepsakes with fellow delegates and making lifelong friends with people who were strangers the day before. Students see the roots of American history in visits to Arlington National Cemetery, the U.S. Marine Corps Iwo Jima War Memorial, the World War II Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial. They visit the National Archives, Mount Vernon, the Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Washington National Cathedral and the Smithsonian museums. They tour the U.S. Capitol and meet with representatives and senators, witness the U.S. Marine Corps Sunset Parade, and learn about electric cooperatives and grassroots advocacy. While students cover a lot of ground, the trip is about more than sightseeing and patriotism. It is about building relationships, gaining historical perspective and opening students up to a future many had never before considered. “Hands down, this has been the best week of my life,” says Melanie Clark of Talquin Electric. “I have experienced so many fun things and have met incredible people I am lucky to call my family now.” “This trip surrounded me with individuals who are leaders in their communities and work hard
Florida U.S. House Representatives Neal Dunn, left, and Matt Gaetz high-five Florida students on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. Photo by Kaitlynn Culpepper
Abby Hamm reads the story of a Holocaust victim in the museum identification card. Photo by Pam Blair
to love others,” adds Abby Hamm of Peace River Electric Cooperative. “The people I was with pushed me to be a better version of myself.” Experiencing the Holocaust Horror At the Holocaust Memorial Museum, visitors receive identification cards of real people who experienced that gruesome period of history—men, women and children from all regions of the world. As they move through history from one floor to the next, visitors learn more about the person whose identity they have assumed. Some live. Others die. “Not only did I hear about her death and the bad ways she was treated, I learned she was a teacher, a mother and a wife,” Whitney Hodge of Central Florida Electric Cooperative says of the woman on her card. “Although her story is different than everyone that suffered, knowing these personal facts moved me in a way a textbook never could have.” Sofia Cooley of West Florida Electric Cooperative says in history class “it was just pictures and stories. When I went into the museum and saw the artifacts,
The Florida delegation does a cheer during Youth Day. Front row from left, Brandon Ludwig, Savannah Gardner, Savanah Parker, Abby Hamm and Marcy Rubio. Photo by Mike Teegarden AU G U S T 2 0 1 7
offer insights into the harsh realities of life. “Throughout our years in school, we are taught about the events of the Holocaust, slavery and segregation, and the challenges these groups of people faced, but I never really understood just how much pain and devastation the people who lived during these events went through until I toured the museums and saw up close and personal just what the lives of these individuals were like,” Drew says.
At an intersection pointing to the JFK gravesite and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Timmy Locklin of Escambia River Electric Cooperative pauses to photograph both the Washington Monument and the marble headstones at Arlington National Cemetery. Photos by Pam Blair
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and was able to connect faces to the stories I read, it took on a new meaning.” Timmy Locklin of Escambia River Electric Cooperative read “The Diary of a Young Girl” in ninth grade, “but that single book cannot do justice to the thousands of victims of the genocide,” he says. “In history class, they do not go in depth about the gruesome tragedies of the Holocaust, but in the museum nothing was sugar-coated,” explains Savanah Parker of Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative. “The museum reminds me of one of my favorite quotes: ‘If you do not learn from history, you’re doomed to repeat it.’ That is why it is important to have museums like this one.” Savannah Gardner, also of Gulf Coast Electric, says she was emotional walking through the museum. “I couldn’t deny that humans could ever be that evil anymore,” she says. “This museum is a statement to the world, to every human being. It will forever be impressed on my heart.” AP says he will never forget the wall of pictures. “It was men, women, boys and girls who didn’t survive,” he says. “They all looked happy, young and vibrant—their lives cut short by this tragedy. We can never allow them to be forgotten.” Drew Willis of West Florida Electric saw parallels between the Holocaust and African-American museums in how they pay tribute to victims and
Memorials Inspire Gratitude Seeing the names of soldiers on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall really hit home for Sofia, who has a brother serving in the military. Another brother was shot, but recovered, while deployed to Afghanistan. “That awful loss could have happened to us,” she says. “Seeing all of the men and women who gave their lives for America gave me an even greater sense of appreciation.” Two of Timmy’s great-grandparents served in the war. One piloted a plane in the Pacific. The other was a captain in the U.S. Army. “Uncommon valor was a common virtue,” he says, reciting words on the Iwo Jima Memorial. “This quote really reflects all service branches during that war, including both my great-grandparents.” AP was overwhelmed by graves as far as the eye could see at Arlington National Cemetery. “It reminded me of our mortality,” he says, “but also of the immortality of the ideals these men fought to protect: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Savannah says she tried to count the number of graves in a single row, but could not keep track because there were so many. “It made me realize that the freedom we now enjoy and most often take for granted was not free of charge,” she says. “Hundreds of thousands of people made the ultimate sacrifice so that we may be free today. My freedom is priceless.” Abby also was reminded that freedom is not free. “Never in all of history has freedom been attained without sacrifice,” she says. For Timmy, “knowing each one of those marble headstones is someone who paid the ultimate price for our freedom gives you a strong sense of gratitude.” “It puts in perspective what it means to be an American, and how we should always stop and thank someone who served or is serving,” adds Jackson Flowers of Escambia River Electric. Jacob Kitchen of Chelco says he has “a heightened respect for all those who have served and a reality of how much they truly sacrificed. I have a new realization of how real war is, and how much soldiers need our patriotic support.”
Zach Karpinski says seeing Arlington National Cemetery gave him a new respect for the country. “My thoughts on pride and patriotism have been greatly reinforced as I’ve learned what our nation is all about,” says the Talquin Electric representative. Savannah notes it is important to remember that the names of the soldiers engraved on the walls of the memorials and into headstones were not just names, but human beings who “faced the adversary so that every American can be free today.” “It is a debt that can never be repaid,” she says. “I’ll never forget the men who died who granted me my freedom. They are my heroes.” A Lasting Impression Abby, Marcy Rubio of Glades Electric Cooperative and Macie Porter of Chelco were just getting to know each other when they timidly approached an Honor Flight veteran on day one, unsure of what to ask. “Where did you serve?” Abby asked. The veteran seized the opportunity, captivating the trio with stories about his service, thoughts about the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall and an inspirational message that had a lasting effect. “The conversation had me in tears,” says Marcy. “The veteran told my friends and me how a young Chinese woman designed the memorial. He went on to say we could be anything we wanted to be. “When I witnessed the memorial for myself, I was left speechless. It is so simple, yet so chillingly beautiful. My favorite part of the memorial is how visitors, particularly veterans, can see their reflections.” Seeing all of the names on the wall “gave me chills and took my breath away,” Macie says. Abby says her love for her country grew as a result of all she saw and felt on the trip. “The broken world we live in is filled with such turmoil and hatred that it is occasionally difficult for me to truly love the country I live in,” Abby admits. “I have always been patriotic, but on this trip, it was a relief to see justice in action and the unity that came after the tragic events in Alexandria. “As I solemnly walked the streets of D.C., I found a re-energized sense of loyalty. This grew from the thankfulness I have toward those who have laid down their lives on my behalf. Some of their bodies are buried in Arlington and the memorials bear the names of those that paid the ultimate sacrifice. “Our country is broken, but I love my country in spite of it. As I passed protestors demanding jobs and posters demanding equal rights, I was reassured that those who died did not pass in vain. I did not have to agree with the protestors to be thankful that I, too, have freedom of speech.” n
Edie Beiner is sandwiched between best friends Savanah Parker, left, and Savannah Gardner, who both represented Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative in June.
Appreciating Their Experienced Guide to Change Visiting Washington, D.C., is a new experience for many Youth Tour students. Thankfully, they are led by someone who has been there before and is dedicated to making the trip a life-changing experience for them. Edie Beiner, director of statewide services for the Florida Electric Cooperatives Association, is the longest-serving Youth Tour director in the nation. She has coordinated the trip for 35 years. “The main thing I’m concerned about is the kids are learning and having fun,” says Edie, who leads quietly, gently and compassionately. While Edie downplays her contributions, students and chaperones know and appreciate the hard work she puts in year after year. “As a 2015 alumnus, Youth Tour was a turning point, giving me the motivation to create change in my own life,” says Cale McCall. “The sticker on my car says ‘Future president of the United States.’ ” Youth Tour occurs at a time when students are still finding their true selves and their calling, and uncovering their passions, he says. “At the center of any great program is a person developing, sharing and inspiring people with the message of change,” says Cale, who is studying public relations. “For the Florida Youth Tour program, that is Mrs. Edie.” Kaitlynn Culpepper, community relations specialist for Tri-County Electric Cooperative, made her first Youth Tour trip in June. Candace Croft, communications and public relations coordinator for West Florida Electric Cooperative, has chaperoned many Youth Tour trips. Sabrina Owens, manager of marketing for Escambia River Electric Cooperative, also has chaperoned. All commend Edie for the countless hours she invests to make sure students will never forget their Youth Tour experience. “Even in the midst of the chaos that is Youth Tour—the last-minute schedule changes, lost cellphones, hot, humid weather and more—Edie works through each challenge with grace and is extremely patient with the students,” adds occasional chaperone Mark Sellers, communications coordinator for Peace River Electric Cooperative. “Thanks to Edie’s dedication, more than a thousand students have experienced the trip of a lifetime,” says Kristin Evans, vice president of marketing and communications for Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative. n
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In the Kitchen
Recipes That Satisfy
Savor the Flavors of Summer Nectarine Shortcake 2 cups flour 2/3 cup sugar, divided 3 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 2/3 cup milk 1/3 cup vegetable oil 2 cups sliced nectarines Raspberries, optional Whipped cream
Mix flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Add milk and oil. Stir with a fork until mixture forms a ball. Turn onto waxed paper. Pat out to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut with a flared biscuit cutter and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 450 F for 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Break each biscuit in half while hot. Place bottom half in a dessert dish. Combine nectarines with remaining sugar; mix well. Spoon nectarines and raspberries over bottom half of biscuit. Top with other half of biscuit. Serve with whipped cream. Source: Washington State Fruit Commission
Sweet Cherry Sorbet 4 cups sweet cherries, pitted and halved 1/2 cup sugar 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 cup club soda
Puree cherries, sugar and lemon juice in a food processor or blender. Pour into a 2-quart saucepan; bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes. Cool thoroughly. Stir in club soda. Pour into a shallow 8-inch baking pan; freeze 11/2 hours or until edges are solid but center is slushy. Spoon frozen mixture into food processor or blender; process to a coarse 16
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Traditional shortcake takes a twist with nectarines and raspberries. Photo courtesy of Washington State Fruit Commission
texture. Freeze 11/2 hours or until edges are solid but center is slushy. Repeat processing step. Freeze 6 hours or longer. Source: Northwest Cherry Growers
Triple Berry Banana Boats 4 bananas 4 tablespoons caramel dip 4 strawberries, sliced 32 mini marshmallows 24 blueberries 8 blackberries
Heat oven to 350 F. Lay each banana
curve side down on a 12-inch piece of aluminum foil. Wrap foil around each banana, leaving tops exposed. Arrange bananas in a single layer in a 13-inch-by9-inch baking dish. Cut banana peels lengthwise about ½-inch deep, leaving ½ inch at both ends. Drizzle with caramel dip. Arrange strawberries, marshmallows, blueberries and blackberries on top. Bake 10 to 15 minutes, or until bananas begin to blacken and marshmallows melt. Source: Produce for Kids
Bartlett Pear and Oat Crisp 4 cups fresh pears, medium dice 4 tablespoons mango-seasoned rice vinegar 3/4 cup quick oats 2/3 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon cinnamon 6 tablespoons butter, diced into 1/4-inch squares Vanilla ice cream
Heat oven to 375 F. Toss pears in rice vinegar and set in a lightly greased foil pouch. Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl. Use two forks to combine ingredients until mixture becomes crumbly. Pour mixture evenly over pears, seal pouch and bake for 20 minutes. Open the top of the foil and bake another 10 minutes, or until crisp and golden. For a crispier crust, refrigerate crumbly mixture 30 minutes before baking. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Source: Nakano
Apple Honey Crisp 2 pounds apples, quartered and sliced 3/4 cup honey, divided 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 1 cup flour 1/4 cup butter, softened Warm cream or ice cream
Heat oven to 350 F. In a bowl, toss apples with 1/2 cup honey, cinnamon and nutmeg. Turn into a 2-quart baking dish. To make the topping, beat flour with butter and remaining honey until crumbly; sprinkle over apples. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until apples are tender and topping is golden. Serve with warm cream or ice cream. Courtesy of National Honey Board
Baked pears and an oatmeal crumble are topped with a scoop of ice cream to make a summery treat. Photos courtesy of Nakano
Peach and Cinnamon Caramel Ice Cream 3 cups coconut cream, divided 3 peaches 4 tablespoons coconut oil, divided 2 cups sugar, divided 2 teaspoons cinnamon 1/4 cup coconut milk
Pour 2 cups coconut cream into the bowl of a standing mixer. Place in the refrigerator or freezer to chill. In a medium sauté pan, combine 2 tablespoons coconut oil, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup coconut cream. Cook while stirring over medium-low heat until it is thick and bubbly, about 10 minutes. Let cool slightly. Slice the peaches and add them to the bowl of a food processor. Puree until you have a fine pulp. Add the warm coconut caramel mixture to the peaches and puree to combine. Let the combination cool; refrigerate to speed the process. In the same pan, add 2 tablespoons coconut oil, 1 cup sugar and cinnamon. Let the sugar start to melt; stir with a wooden spoon. When the caramel is hot
and the sugar has melted, add the milk. It will bubble up and splutter a bit. Keep stirring and lower the heat to keep it from bubbling over. Unlike normal caramel where you do not want it to seize up, with this you do. Look for crunchy caramel granules, not smooth caramel sauce. As soon as the coconut milk has either absorbed into the mixture or cooked off, remove the pan from the heat. Stir every so often so it doesn’t stick to the pan. Whip the chilled coconut cream to stiff peaks. Fold in the chilled peach mixture to the whipped coconut cream. Ice cream maker instructions: Add this mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions, adding the caramel crunch in the last few minutes. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze at least a few hours before serving. Without ice cream maker: Pour the ice cream base into a metal loaf pan or cake pan. Gently stir in the caramel crumbles. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze at least 10 hours before serving. Source: Heather Cristo and Washington State Fruit Commission
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The Great Picture Hunt
Photo Tips from David LaBelle
A Visual Love Letter For 50 years, I have dreamed about photographing God. In the past, I even kidded that when I died, I wanted my family to place a Nikon F camera loaded with 100 ASA film in the casket with me. I figure I won’t need a fast film with a high ISO because there will be plenty of light, and I’d sure like to be the first to photograph heaven. Indirectly, from the first days I picked up a camera, I have tried to photograph God by photographing His creation—be it the natural wonders of the world or the wonders of human creations. Just as we photograph stunning rock formations in Utah, Arizona, Colorado or South Dakota—whose majestic cliffs have been shaped by countless years of breathing winds—we photograph an invisible God by photographing the influence of His Spirit on His creation. Each of us carries the genetics—the DNA of our father. I realize I must walk softly and carefully with this subject, and do so with sensitivity, recognizing there are many who do not share my beliefs. Please accept that this column
is not meant to be a sermon, but a personal observation and ambition. I do not mind admitting that when I witness humbling acts of altruism and love, my throat tightens and my eyes fill. In these quiet acts of compassion, I see my God every bit as much as when I I watch for small, quiet moments that speak to the goodness of man and individual character rather than loud, decorated “religious” acts often performed to be seen. This tender scene of a behold a beautiful young man walking two elderly women to their cars from a restaurant is such a moment. sunrise or sunset. Photo by David LaBelle I have always been drawn to these genuine, promoting the opposite. present 25 years ago. not performed, moments. In For me, life looks very difI am forever reminded and them I see the goodness of ferent at 65 than it did at 25. keep this passage from Psalm mankind and the loving influ- I’m confident it is a natural 90 on the sleeve of my heart: ence of God. In these mini thing as we age to grow more “Teach us to number our stories, I feel the greatest joy introspective and more delibdays, that we might apply our and hope for humanity. erate with what time we have hearts to wisdom.” While some are drawn to left. In my youth, life was a I photograph God when photographing action sports, smorgasbord and, like most, I I record the golden mornportraits or nature, I am drawn wanted to sample everything. ing light raking across the to quiet relationship scenes of I have loved many types of red earth or prairie grass of love and compassion—things photography—from sports to Oklahoma, or when evening I often lack in my own life, but nature, breaking news, celebri- clouds turn from white to yelcontinually aspire to own. ties and even some fashion— low to crimson. I photograph My wife and I try to make but lately, more than ever, my God when I see birds drink pictures that reinforce the heart seeks to capture and the dew of the leaves or eat beauty and love of God on share positive pictures that the crumbs left by man. His creation, and try to avoid reinforce love and goodness Mostly, I photograph God and encourage hope, while when I see His Spirit working glorifying our Creator. in the lives of His children. David LaBelle is an internationally known It isn’t that I have not I don’t always love as I photographer, teacher, author and lecturer. He always tried to do this from should, but often what I see has worked for newspapers and magazines across the United States and taught at three universities. the time I picked up a camthrough my lens challenges He applies many of the lessons he learned during era, but now with the acute me to love more purely. his magical boyhood years in rural California to recognition of the limited I wish every photograph I photography. For more information, visit www. time I have left on this earth, make to be a visual love letter greatpicturehunt.com. there is an urgency not to my God. n
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B Bu igg tt er on s
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IMPORTANT CONSUMER INFORMATION: Jitterbug is owned by GreatCall, Inc.Your invoices will come from GreatCall. 1Monthly fees do not include government taxes or assessment surcharges and are subject to change. Plans and services may require purchase of a Jitterbug Flip and a one-time setup fee of $35. Coverage is not available everywhere. 5Star or 9-1-1 calls can only be made when cellular service is available. 5Star Service will be able to track an approximate location when your device is turned on, but we cannot guarantee an exact location. 2We will refund the full price of the Jitterbug phone and the activation fee (or setup fee) if it is returned within 30 days of purchase in like-new condition. We will also refund your first monthly service charge if you have less than 30 minutes of usage. If you have more than 30 minutes of usage, a per minute charge of 35 cents will be deducted from your refund for each minute over 30 minutes. You will be charged a $10 restocking fee. The shipping charges are not refundable. There are no additional fees to call GreatCall’s U.S.-based customer service. However, for calls to a Personal Operator in which a service is completed, you will be charged 99 cents per call, and minutes will be deducted from your monthly rate plan balance equal to the length of the call and any call connected by the Personal Operator. Jitterbug, GreatCall and 5Star are registered trademarks of GreatCall, Inc. Copyright ©2017 GreatCall, Inc. ©2017 firstSTREET for Boomers and Beyond, Inc.
Satisfying the Appetite for Wanderlust
Turtles to the Sea
August is a busy month for turtles in Florida. It’s a time when hatchling loggerhead, green and leatherback sea turtles continue to make their way to the ocean and begin their lives of adventure. Organizations such as the free-admission, nonprofit Loggerhead Marinelife Center (www.marinelife.org) in Palm Beach County are dedicated to educating the public about sea turtles, protecting and rehabilitating them, and furthering sea turtle and ocean conservation. As part of its mission, Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s staff monitors 9.5 miles of beach along the Atlantic, offers behind-the-scenes programs for the public, and operates a hospital for injured or sick sea turtles, nursing them to health until they can be released back into the wild. Florida’s beaches are natural habitats for sea turtles. During nesting season, they are protected by federal law from human interference except by permitted professionals in centers across the country. You can learn about sea turtles by visiting other statepermitted facilities. Options include The Turtle Hospital in Marathon
A Loggerhead Marinelife Center staff member holds a baby loggerhead. Guests are not permitted to hold hatchlings. Photo courtesy of Loggerhead Marinelife Center
(www.turtlehospital.org), the Sea Turtle Preservation Society in Indialantic (www. seaturtlespacecoast.org) and Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratories in Panacea (www.gulfspecimen.org). For additional listings of permitted facilities, see myfwc. com/education/wildlife/ sea-turtle/where-to-view. “Loggerhead Marinelife Center is adjacent to one of the most densely populated sea turtle nesting beaches on our planet,” says Hannah Deadman, the center’s public relations and communications coordinator. “We encourage people to visit the center to learn about sea turtle and ocean conservation, and learn
Florida native Pamela A. Keene is a freelance journalist who specializes in travel, gardening, personality and feature writing. The avid traveler also is a photographer and accomplished sailor. Her website is www.pamelakeene.com.
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how simple steps—such as opting for reusable bags or water bottles—have the power to make a difference for our world ocean.” Out of this World WeAreGoFl.com lists the latest launch information from Florida’s Space Coast. On August 3, a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket will deploy a communications and data-relay satellite for NASA. On August 31, the alliance is sending up another Atlas V with a classified spacecraft payload. United Launch Alliance is a 50/50 joint venture between Lockheed Martin and The Boeing Company. WeAreGoFl.com offers mobile apps for iPhone and Android that show the best locations to view launches. The app is part of the Space Coast’s program to promote
space-related tourists—also known as Vacationauts. Be An Airport Insider Hungry in the airport? Want to know real-time security waits? Check out these free mobile apps. • GateGuru (www.gate guru.com) helps you find shops, places to eat and airport amenities. It also can keep your personal travel statistics. • MIFlight (gomiflight. com) gives crowd-sourced real-time information about security waits in more than 50 airports around the world. • LoungeBuddy (www. loungebuddy.com/mobile) connects you with information and reviews about airline lounges near you. • FlySmart (flysmartapp. com) keeps you posted about flight delays and offers reviews about shops, restaurants and other amenities. n
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Things to See and Do
Include Your Upcoming Event Want to share a family-friendly event with the readers of Florida Currents? Please send details to info@florida currents.com. Include the date, town, times and a way for readers to register or get more information. Please submit the item at least 60 days before the event (due to press deadline). If you own rights to a print-quality photo promoting your event— perhaps from a past year—please include it along with photo credit information. Thank you.
August 1, Key West Autism Society of the Keys Learn about resources available to your child from other families dealing with autism at 6:30 p.m. at Grace Lutheran Church, 2713 Flagler Ave. email@example.com; (305) 942-5172
August 4, Pensacola Movies in the Park Bring blankets, chairs and picnic baskets and spread out on the lawn at the Hunter Amphitheater at Community Maritime Park to watch a free, family-friendly movie, “The Lego Batman Movie,” at 7:40 p.m. Concessions are available. No pets or glass containers, please. www.pensacolacommunitymaritimepark.com; (850) 436-5670
August 4-5, Wausau 48th annual Fun Day and Possum Festival Royalty is crowned Friday night, with Saturday’s events including a pancake breakfast, 5K run, parade, sack races, live music, greasy pole contest and horseshoe pitching. Contests include hog calling, rooster crowing, cow lowing and crosscut sawing. The festival ends with an old-fashioned square dance at 8 p.m. www.wausaupossumfestival.com; (850) 638-1781
August 8, Marathon Autism Society of the Keys Learn about resources available to your child from other families dealing with autism at 6:30 p.m. at Courtyard Marriott Hotel, 2146 Overseas Highway. firstname.lastname@example.org; (305) 942-5172
August 9 and 16, Pensacola Blue Angels Practice Pilots will sign autographs in the National Naval Aviation Museum after their 11:30 a.m. practice. Follow signs to the outside viewing area on the museum flight line. Admission is free. www.navalaviationmuseum.org; (850) 452-3604
August 10-13, Key West 21st annual Lobsterfest: A Crustacean Celebration! To celebrate the start of the lobster season, enjoy a lobster boil, Duval Street pub crawl, street fair with lobster-inspired culinary creations, free concert and lobster brunch. www.keywestlobsterfest.com; (305) 744-9804
August 12, Chipley An Evening of Southern Gospel The Spanish Trail Playhouse features area musicians and singers at 7 p.m. Tickets are on sale at the playhouse box office, 680 2nd St. www.spanishtrailplayhouse.com; (850) 638-9113
August 12, Lake Placid 17th annual Grape Stomp Festival Festival attendees join together at the grape stomp tent at Henscratch Farms Vineyard and
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Winery to “do the Lucy” (stomp grapes) in an attempt to crush 2 tons of grapes. A Lucy looka-like contest is at 12:30 p.m. Admission is $6. Children 6 and younger get in free. www.henscratchfarms.com; (863) 699-2060
August 12, Cortez Soap-Making Class Learn how to make at least three different soaps to take home, customizing them with color, fragrance and herbs. The class is from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Florida Maritime Museum, 4415 119th St. W. The cost is $35. www.floridamaritimemuseum.org; (941) 708-6120
August 16, Islamorada Immerse Yourself! Learn about the Marathon Turtle Hospital from Bette Zirkelbach at a free presentation at 7 p.m. at the History of Diving Museum, MM 83. Museum exhibits are open late. www.divingmuseum.org; (305) 664-9737
August 18-19, Islamorada Grand Prix of the Sea Personal watercraft racers and P1 Panther race boats compete at speeds averaging 75 mph in the final round of the 2017 P1 SuperStock USA Championship, which heads to Islamorada for the first time for Powerboat P1 AquaX and Superstock races. The family-friendly event is free. www.p1aquax.com; (407) 985-1938
August 19, Cortez Pasta Making Learn to make, shape and cook three different types of pasta from scratch: ravioli, gnocchi and noodles that can be dried and later cooked at home. Please bring a rolling pin and a clean hand-size towel to class at the Florida Maritime Museum, 4415 119th St. W. The cost is $35. www.floridamaritimemuseum.org; (941) 708-6120
August 25, Nationwide National Park Service Birthday Celebration Visit a national park without paying entrance fees at any of 124 national parks, including Everglades National Park and Dry Tortugas National Park. www.nps.gov
August 26, Bradenton Mixon Farms Arts and Crafts Fair Artists and vendors display goods from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Mixon Fruit Farms. Admission is free. www.mixon.com; (941) 748-5829
August 31, Pensacola Heroes Among Us The veterans’ speaker series celebrates Marine Aviation Night at 6 p.m. at the Veterans Memorial Park and Wall South. The guest of honor is USMC Col. Chuck Lea, who served in Vietnam. www.veteransmemorialparkpensacola.com; (850) 434-6119
Spiegel Grove Exhibit Celebrate the 15th anniversary of the sinking of the USS Spiegel Grove and its becoming an artificial reef. See artifacts highlighting its history through September 4 at the History of Diving Museum, MM 83, Islamorada. Above, divers explore a portion of the artificial reef Spiegel Grove in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary off Key Largo. Photo by Stephen Frink, Florida Keys News Bureau
Repurposing a Mothballed Naval Ship
For 33 years, the U.S. Navy dock landing ship USS Spiegel Grove rushed troops The Spiegel Grove rolls over after it sunk prematurely in 2002. and equipment around the Photo by Sergio Garcia, Florida Keys News Bureau world during the Cold War. Decommissioned in miles offshore of Key Largo near Dixie 1989, it spent the next 12 years tethShoal. But it did not go as planned. eredâ€”mothballed and forgotten in The idea was to flood the hull so the Virginiaâ€™s James River. Spiegel Grove would sink to the botBut in June 2001, it began a journey tom of the sea, ending up on her keel to its final resting place in the Keys. so divers could explore the vessel in the shallow waters off Key Largo. However, Title to the vessel was transferred to the ship took on water much quicker the state of Florida Fish and Wildlife than expected. About six hours before Conservation Commission so the ship its intended sinking, the vessel sudcould be sunk as an artificial reef and a denly rolled on her starboard side. tourist attraction for divers. The crew safely abandoned ship, but On May 17, 2002, sinking of the 510-foot, eight-story Navy ship began 6 the vessel ended upside down on the
For details, see www. divingmuseum.org or call (305) 664-9737.
sea bottom, her bow protruding slightly out of the ocean. Three weeks later, a salvage crew fully sunk the ship, which ultimately came to rest on its starboard side 130 feet deep. The wreck soon opened for advanced divers, but the story does not end there. Underwater turbulence generated by Hurricane Dennis in July 2005 pushed the vessel upright into the position originally intended. At the time of its sinking, the Spiegel Grove was the largest ship ever intentionally sunk. Almost immediately after the sinking, the ship began to attract marine life, from large groupers to schools of shimmering smaller fish and colorful tropical fish. Marine scientists expect natural corals to eventually envelop the Spiegel Grove. n
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Enjoying the Natural World Around Us
Enjoy One of Nature’s Best Light Shows Sky watching is a favorite pastime, even while participating in other outdoor activities. That’s especially true this time of year, when there is more than just stars to observe. Mid-July to late August is the perfect time to marvel at one of the most spectacular astronomical events: the Perseid meteor shower. The Perseid meteor shower displays more and brighter meteors than other showers. It typically features 60 to 80 meteors an hour, but it has been known to display more than twice that many during a prolific year, such as 2016. This year’s optimal viewing time is the night of August 11 and early morning August 12. However, it can be seen at non-peak times, too, which are the other nights between July 17 and August 24. Here are four tips for enjoying this year’s Perseid meteor shower: • Watch between midnight and 4 a.m. Generally, those are the best viewing hours.
The Perseid meteor shower is produced by Comet Swift-Tuttle. It is visible when bits of dust and debris created by the comet heat up as they enter Earth’s atmosphere. Most burn up completely. A few make it to Earth as small meteorites. Photo courtesy of NASA/JPL
• Avoid light pollution. Artificial light from houses, businesses and traffic can diminish sky-watching activities. • Watch from the shadows. The moon will reflect a lot of light August 11-12, obscuring many of the dimmer meteors. Find an observation spot where terrain or vegetation blocks the moon from view. That way, you will be able to see more of the meteor trails without the moon’s interference. • Enjoy the shower lying down. Sky watching is always more enjoyable on your back. Looking up for long periods of time while sitting or
Many of Curtis Condon’s fondest memories involve outdoor adventures with friends and family, whether fishing with old school buddies, backpacking in the mountains of the Northwest with his sons, or bird watching along the Gulf Coast with his wife. He feels fortunate having the opportunity to write about the outdoors and other subjects for more than 30 years.
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standing can be a pain in the neck—literally. Bring along a blanket. A cushion adds an extra level of comfort on rocky or uneven ground. Sometimes It Pays to Buck Conventional Wisdom Case in point: Most anglers fish deep when it’s hot because that’s where many of the fish have gone. Yet some of the biggest fish can still be found in the shallows. Plus, if you fish the shallows, there are no crowds to fight, and you have your pick of the best spots. This is only one example of how it sometimes pays to think outside the box. Don’t be afraid to experiment with others. Outdoor App of the Month: Sky Map Sky Map is a popular app for identifying planets, stars, constellations, and other astronomical bodies and events. It rates high among
users—50 million of them. Sky Map is only available for Android devices, but iOS users have similar options. One of them is Night Sky 4. Both apps are available in free versions. What’s So Special About August? August is Family Fun Month and National Catfish Month. August 4: U.S. Coast Guard Day. August 10: National S’mores Day. August 31: National Trail Mix Day. Show-and-Tell Time Send us your favorite outdoor tip, photo or story. If selected for publication, we will send you $25 for one-time use of the item. When sending a photo, identify people and pets, and tell us the story behind the picture. Email your submission to info@ floridacurrents.com.
Trading Post For Rent Horse barn with five stalls, paddock and about 4 acres of pasture in Wewahitchka, one block from the old courthouse. Lease by the stall, with discount for multiple horses. (740) 334-0341. Three-bedroom, two-bathroom home in Lynn Haven. Great room with open kitchen and a two-car garage. Large wooded lot in a quiet neighborhood. $1,265/month. (850) 271-0289.
For Sale Muscadines. Includes Bronze Bullace, Scuppernongs and Scupperdines. Great for snacking, jelly and wine-making. Season early to mid-August through mid-September. Please call for 722-4226 for price and availability. Miniature donkeys. Jacks and Jennys, black, brown, gray and paints. All ages. $300 and up. Make great pets. Also standard donkeys. Betty, (850) 899-7424. Quarter horses. Ride well on trails, gentle, good for lessons. (850) 773-1957. Rear-tine tiller, $200. (850) 814-7188. Two cast-iron tubs. Make great planters or watering troughs. $140 OBO. (850) 855-7690. Captain Anderson’s cookbook in good condition. $10. (850) 763-9909. New Pacific Headwear camo hat design with Panther Vision (low, high and power beam LEDs). Retails for $29.99 to $44.99 based on an internet search. I will take best offer. Leave your offer and message if no answer; will reply to all. (850) 773-1970.
Miscellaneous Home service installations: digital thermostats, TV mounts, surround sound, surveillance equipment, pet doors, shelving/organizers, whole-house water filters, washer/dryer hookups, showerheads, weather-stripping, child protection devices, curtain rods and blinds. Home maintenance: replace filters, clean A/C coils, flush water heater, clean dryer vent and drains. Lubricate hinges, locks and doors. Inspect fireplace, fire extinguisher, garage door opener/motor, well pump and sprinkler system. Free estimates. (850) 722-4619 or (850) 596-2788 or email@example.com.
Three-bedroom, two-bathroom doublewide on protected canal with access to the bay. At 6523 Sunrise Drive, Panama City Beach. (850) 832-2695. Lot located high and dry off the water with a view of Newman Bayou. Dead-end street, city water, driveway. 7331 Jefferson, Southport. (850) 691-3905. Ten 40’ x 100’ adjoining lots in northwest Calhoun County. $15,000 for all 10 lots with $5,000 down and owner financed. (850) 303-1460. Two-bedroom, one-and-a-half bath, fully furnished mobile home with washer and dryer; two storage buildings; carport; front and back covered porches. At 110 Brocket Road, Wewahitchka. (334) 208-6598.
Three-bedroom, one-bath 888-sq.-ft. home on two lots at 1234 7th St., Southport. $49,500. (317) 254-1984.
Two- or three-bedroom home at 205 Highroller Drive in Bryant’s Landing. Price is negotiable. (850) 832-1248.
FSBO. Two adjacent lots, about 2.5 acres on paved road, 10 miles north of Wewahitchka, 45 minutes from beaches. Borders the Chipola River and Cypress Creek. Cleared and ready to build. Quiet and peaceful; no neighbors. Deeded restrictions. Underground utilities, deep well and many fruit trees. $69,900. (850) 648-4214.
Three-bedroom, two-bathroom home at 297 Raven Lane, Wetappo Creek. Includes large, enclosed RV shed. $175,000. John, (850) 381-0788.
½-acre corner lot. (850) 639-2220.
Chipola River Campground. 16+ acres. Includes a two-bedroom house, apartment, four cabins, storage building, bathhouse, boat ramp, 32 RV sites and 18 mobile home sites. $498,000. (850) 814-7139.
Two- or three-bedroom cabin. About 1,200 sq. ft. with large screened porch. 150’ on West Arm Creek in Meeks subdivision. (850) 271-9040. Lots 48 and 49 at River Ranch Retreat gated community on Holmes Creek. Single-wide on one lot with private ramp and pavilion. (850) 832-2695.
Trading Post is a FREE service to members of Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative. GCEC reserves the right to edit or reject ads. PLEASE PRINT LEGIBLY OR TYPE. Please circle the category that applies:
Mail your ad to: The Trading Post; Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative; P.O. Box 8370; Southport, FL 32409; return with your electric payment; or email ad information to firstname.lastname@example.org. ** Due to press deadlines, please expect up to 60 days from submission for your advertisement to appear.
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Creamer Completes TVPPA Certification Training program teaches proper construction and safety procedures Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative employee Chad Creamer recently became certified through the Tennessee Valley Public Power Association by completing the Line Technician Apprenticeship Training Program. In addition to four correspondence courses and three climbing, construction and operations laboratories—on-site classes— the training consists of four years of on-the-job training under a lead line technician. The correspondence courses consist of independent study of math, electricity and alternating current fundamental principles that are the groundwork for understanding the hows and whys of the profession. Students learn the basic tools and equipment used in everyday operations, as well as applications such as stringing and sagging wire; underground distribution systems; transmission and distribution line maintenance; transformer connections; meter applications; substation operations; and phasing and measuring voltage and current. The three laboratories enable students to apply the knowledge learned from the correspondence units. Participants learn basic knots and safe climbing techniques, as well as pole-top rescue—skills necessary for overhead line construction. They build and frame lines according to
GCEC Presents Check to United Way of Northwest Florida Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative recently presented $2,400 as its 2017 corporate gift to the United Way of Northwest Florida. Kristin Evans, right, vice president of marketing and communications for GCEC, presented the check to Bryan Taylor, United Way of Northwest Florida president and CEO. “One of the four core values of Touchstone Energy Cooperatives is Commitment to Community,” said Evans. “As a Touchstone Energy Cooperative, Gulf Coast Electric strives to uphold this value and support our local community.” n
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GCEC Chief Operations Officer Francis Hinson, left, recognizes Chad Creamer for completing the TVPPA Line Technician Apprenticeship Training Program.
specifications, and learn grounding and preparation of stress cones for underground cable. Effective job briefing and basic troubleshooting steps for overhead and underground systems are demonstrated, as well as transformer banking, bucket truck pre-trip inspection and bucket truck rescue. Laboratories last one week each and were in north Alabama. Written and physical tests were required. Although not all electric cooperatives require their line technicians to be certified, GCEC management believes the training ensures the cooperative’s line technicians use proper construction techniques and follow safety procedures to prevent harm to themselves, co-workers and consumers. “Gulf Coast Electric lineworkers are not promoted to the line technician position title until they are certified,” said GCEC Chief Operations Officer Francis Hinson. “Certification enhances not only employee knowledge, but also safety practices.” n
SOON Church and Government uniting, will suppress “RELIGIOUS LIBERTY” enforcing a “NATIONAL SUNDAY LAW,” leading to the “MARK” OF THE BEAST.
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Cooperative Welcomes New Employee Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative welcomes Melissa Rushing to its accounting department. Melissa is responsible for reconciling bank Melissa Rushing statements, inventory invoices and filing. She comes to Gulf Coast with 15 years of bookkeeping experience. Melissa has two children: Faith Owens, 20, stationed in Hawaii with the Army; and Hope Owens, 18, a student at the University of West Florida. Melissa has been married to Jay for eight years. “Everyone is friendly and helpful,” Melissa said. “I look forward to learning and growing in the company.” n
Right-of-Way Maintenance Ensures Safety, Reliability of the System Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative will clear rights-of-way in Crystal Lake and Fountain during August. GCEC has about 2,600 miles of distribution line. If vegetation comes into contact with power lines, it can interfere with your electric service and cause a dangerous situation. Vegetation must be cleared from power lines to provide reliable electric service and prevent a hazardous condition. When a person signs up to be a member of the cooperative, there is an agreement between the member and GCEC to allow right-of-way maintenance. The agreement gives GCEC the legal right to remove from the right-of-way anything that could interfere with the cooperative’s ability to ensure safe, reliable electric service for all members. If the right-of-way clearance was not maintained, tree limbs and other growth coming into contact with power lines would greatly increase the number of power outages experienced by members. The cooperative tries to work with each landowner to preserve landscaping
Trimming or removing trees near power lines helps the cooperative deliver safe, reliable electric service to members.
when maintaining rights-of-way. While most property owners regard trees as an asset, federal law requires GCEC to eliminate hazardous conditions. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work to bring you quality, reliable service. n
Help Reduce Demand for Electricity
Office numbers: Southport................(850) 265-3631 (800) 568-3667 Wewahitchka...........(850) 639-2216 (800) 333-9392 Panama City.............(850) 481-1188 28
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H2O Plus, a program available to you from Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative, has the potential to dramatically reduce the demand for electricity. We need your participation. Using energy wisely has never been easier. A device is installed on your electric water heater that allows our power supplier to cycle your unit for short periods. By managing energy use when demand is high—when you and your neighbors use the most electricity—our supplier can reduce demand when electricity is most expensive, delaying the need to build facilities to generate more power, alleviating or pushing those costs out to the future. An added benefit is reducing the amount of greenhouse gases, thereby helping the environment. You still will have enough hot water for showers and household chores. In fact, you shouldn’t even notice a difference in the amount of hot water available. For more information, please call GCEC Energy Services Representative Manuela Heyn. She will take down your information and, after ensuring the program is a good fit for your household, schedule an installer to visit your home and install the device at no cost to you. For your participation, we will make a one-time credit of $25 to your electric bill. We look forward to hearing from you soon. n
Move Over Legislation protecting emergency workers was expanded in 2014 to include utility vehicles
Utility crews work along a roadway. State law requires motorists to move over and give crews room to work.
All Florida drivers should be aware of the state’s “Move Over” law, enacted in 2002 and amended in 2014. The law states drivers approaching a law enforcement or emergency vehicle parked along the roadway must slow to a speed 20 miles per hour below the posted speed limit if traveling on a two-lane roadway. If traveling on a roadway with multiple lanes of traffic in the same direction, drivers must vacate the lane closest to the vehicle as soon as it is safe to do so. Drivers may not be aware of an amendment to the law that was effective July 1, 2014. As of this date, the law has been expanded to include sanitation and utility vehicles. The jobs of our line technicians are hazardous and can become even more dangerous when they work on the ground around traffic. Let’s work together to follow the law, pay attention, slow down, move over and stay safe. n
Specific Requirements On a two-lane roadway, you are required to slow to a speed that is 20 miles per hour less than the posted speed limit. If the speed limit is 20 miles per hour or less, you must slow down to 5 miles per hour. XX If driving on an interstate or roadway with multiple lanes of travel in the same direction, you must vacate the lane closest to that vehicle as soon as it is safe to do so. If you are not able to safely move over, you must slow down to 20 mph below the posted speed limit unless directed otherwise by a law enforcement officer. XX Violating the Move Over law can result in a fine and points on your license. XX XX
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Readers Share Their Special Photos
Leaping End to Summer
As students return to school, the wild fun of summer camps winds down. “We run a paddle camp for kids out of our business,” says Monica Woll of Florida Bay Outfitters. “Even though it is a kayak and paddleboard camp, we swim more than we paddle. “This photo was taken at a quarry in Tavernier. This ledge is about 8 feet high. At least once during the week—usually twice, due to popular demand—we stop at this quarry after a day of paddling so the kids can get another swim in. “It is our version of ye old swimmin’ hole. The kids love it.” —Monica Woll, Tavernier
Get the Muck
We always are looking for photos to feature in Parting Shot and Postcards From Florida. We pay $25 for one-time use. Please send your best shots (must be a minimum 1,000 KB file size), along with the story behind the photo and information about where it was taken. Include your name and mailing address (for payment purposes) and send to email@example.com.
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"I always had a good feeling about Outdoor Access and was very pleased with the service and the people who came out to my property. It's also great exposure for the landowner who is looking to profit from making their property available to others. I'm looking forward to another year with them." — GERALD C. 55 ACRES IN CAROLINE COUNTY, VA
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Offices 722 West Highway 22 P. O. Box 220 Wewahitchka, FL 32465 (850) 639-2216 or (800) 333-9392 9434 Highway 77 P. O. Box 8370 Southport, FL 32409 (850) 265-3631 or (800) 568-3667 6243 East Highway 98 Panama City, FL 32404 Phone: (850) 481-1188 www.gcec.com
CEO/General Manager John Bartley
Trustees President Waylon Graham Vice President Jimmy Black Secretary Eddie Jones Treasurer Rupert Brown Doug Birmingham Robert Byrd Gary Cox Kinneth Daniels Betty Moore Trustees normally meet the third Tuesday of each month at 12:30 p.m. CST. The board meets at the Wewahitchka office in even-numbered months (February, April, June, August, October and December) and the Southport office in odd-numbered months (January, March, May, July, September and November). The mission of GCEC: Fulfilling the changing needs of our membership and communities by providing cost effective, reliable and safe utility services through a dedicated and responsive workforce. 32
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GCEC President’s Message
Saving Starts With Heating and Cooling An energy-efficient home will keep you comfortable while saving you money. Whether you take simple steps or make larger investments to make your home more efficient, you will see lower energy bills. Over time, those savings typically pay for the cost of improvements. Your heating and cooling system is your largest energy expense, accounting for nearly half of your energy budget. To make the biggest difference in your energy bill, follow these simple energy strategies: • Adjust the thermostat. The simplest way to save money Waylon Graham on heating and cooling is to adjust your thermostat. You can save as much as 10 percent a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7 to 10 degrees from its normal setting for 8 hours a day. When you are home, we recommend your thermostat be set on 68˚F in the winter and 78˚F in the summer. For even more control of your home’s system, consider buying a programmable thermostat. Leave the thermostat’s fan switch on “auto” so the fan only runs when the unit runs. Setting the fan to “on” causes it to run all the time, whether or not heating or cooling is needed. • Seal cracks and gaps. Use caulk and weatherstripping around windows, doors and siding to prevent the loss of heated or cooled air. • Use fans. The breeze of a fan can make you feel cooler. Using an air conditioner and fan together means you can raise the thermostat and still stay comfortable. Just remember to turn them off when you leave. • Block the sun from overheating your home. Use shades, blinds and drapes inside and awnings, trees and shrubs outside. • Change your filter. A dirty filter makes your heating system work harder, using more energy. Simply replace your disposable filter or clean your washable one every month. Clean filters also cut down on dust. • Cut the heat. Operate your stove, oven, dishwasher and clothes dryer in the morning or evening when it is cooler outside. They add extra heat to your home and make your air conditioner work harder. • Don’t place lamps or televisions near your thermostat. Heat from these appliances can cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary. Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative works with members to maximize their energy dollars. For us, saving starts here. We value your membership. We value you. n