Daily Archives: February 14, 2016

Medical marijuana back on the ballot in Florida

By Kelsi Gately

Staff Writer

 California was the first state to allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Graphic courtesy of Stonerthings.com

California was the first state to allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
Graphic courtesy of Stonerthings.com





Map from Weiss Law Group

Come November, Florida voters will not just be voting in the local elections for the next President of the United States. They also will have the chance to vote on the legalization of medical marijuana.

Last December, Congress lifted the national ban on medical marijuana when passing the federal spending measure. Shortly after, some states and the District of Columbia legalized the use of medical marijuana. Florida, who did not pass the law in 2014, will have a second chance to legalize it in November. United for Care has made it their mission to make medical marijuana legal for all citizens. In 2014, a similar bill was on the ballot, but only had 58.8 percent of the 60 percent approval needed to be passed. This year, lawmakers believe it is more likely to pass because young voters tend only to vote during presidential election years.

“I believe medical marijuana should be legal because of all the positive feedback it has received from treating different diseases,” said Bianca Salvador, junior international studies major. “It has been proven many times that the proper use of medical marijuana has controlled general physical pain, weak immune systems, migraines, vomiting, some eating disorders and even cancer.”

According to the United for Care website, marijuana has helped patients dealing with medical conditions including: AIDS, Hepatitis C, glaucoma, cancer, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, chronic pain, and other injuries. It claims marijuana has proven to have less side effects than nausea and pain medications that are currently on the market for doctors to prescribe.

“If there is something out there that has been proven to help with the health of those who need it, it should be taken into consideration,” Salvador said.

Legalizing medical marijuana can also bring in additional income for states. Colorado, which has legalized recreational marijuana as well, brought in more than $60 million in marijuana taxes last year. Colorado has designated a total 15 percent of marijuana revenue to go to improving schools and the education of its students.

“I support the legalization of medical marijuana,” said Colleen Puchalski, junior international studies major. “I believe that the state can produce a great amount of revenue off the sale and taxes. Also, it has scientific medicinal purposes, and depriving the sick of a potential alleviation of symptoms is cruel and unjust simply because some people have preconceived judgments.”

The entire text of the 2016 proposed amendment can be read here. The Miami Herald also published the differences between the 2014 and the 2016 proposals in an article.

Tweet me @kelsi_gately what you think about the 2016 proposal and if you are going to #VoteYESon2.



The food truck debate rages on: Council votes down ordinance once again

Tom Moore

Contributing Writer

 Food trucks were voted down again at Thursday’s City Council meeting. Some food trucks, including Nomadic Eats, were temporarily allowed at City Hall on weekends during the month of January. Photo courtesy of Nomadic Eats Facebook Page.

Food trucks were voted down again at Thursday’s City Council meeting. Some food trucks, including Nomadic Eats, were temporarily allowed at City Hall on weekends during the month of January.
Photo courtesy of Nomadic Eats Facebook Page.

The war rages on. The City Council continues to debate. The community holds its collective breath, and at least 50 local entrepreneurs wait to purchase their licenses to open shop and start hawking their respective wares. Now in its third year, the debate about food trucks in Pensacola is still a hot topic.

Thursday night’s City Council 4-4 stalemate vote did nothing to alleviate the tensions between the proponents and opponents to what has turned into one of the hottest, longest-running, most controversial ordinances in the Pensacola City Council.

Randy Russell, the owner of food truck Nomadic Eats that operates at Pensacola State College, said, “This is really a hard business. On a very good day I do $300 to $400 dollars of business. That’s me being busy and working really hard.”

The last time the Pensacola City Council voted in January, it approved the ordinance on its first reading. It needed only to approve it once more in a final vote for the ordinance to be passed. However, the council could not muster the five votes needed.

Many community leaders have weighed in on issue, including University of West Florida’s Vice President for University Advancement Brendan Kelly.

In an interview Thursday with WEAR-TV Channel Three reporter Jackalyn Kovac, Kelly said he would like to see the city adopt a system echoing what other cities with historic cities have done. “Part of the investments we’ve made in downtown Pensacola and our mission as a historic trust, is to preserve what makes the fabric of a historic district special. And that is to have a place that doesn’t have all the trappings of modern day life associated with it.”

Kelly is not alone in his opposition. Many others, including local business owners, oppose the food trucks, because they believe the trucks will cause unsightly traffic in the downtown area.

“If the trucks proliferate, they will damage the brick and mortar, property tax-paying restaurants and be a blight on the great streetscape and charming ambiance we now have,” said Wilmer Mitchell, president of Seville Quarter.

“Those of us who have worked for years developing the area and taken the financial risks necessary to buy the land and build the buildings, and who pay major property taxes and license fees every year, should never have to face an ordinance which would permit competitors with little stake in the game to drive up, park near us and compete with us from a free space on the streets we helped make popular.”

In defense of food truck operators, Russell said, “I don’t think we pose much of a threat to the brick and mortars. Not at $300 to $500 a day.”

“I don’t like any hasty decisions and sometimes important decisions take time,” Kelly told the Pensacola News Journal. “So whatever time it takes to make the right policies for this city and where we are trying to go makes the most sense to me.” (Taken from a PNJ story on Feb. 11, 2016.)

Councilwoman Sherri Myers did not go along with the views of the opponents. She was particularly opposed to the idea that local business owners and residents somehow needed “protection” from the food trucks.

“I don’t think that it’s the role of the government to guarantee businesses success,” Myers said.

Johnson and Myers both also called out the University of West Florida Historic Trust for its last-minute objections to the ordinance.

“As much as this has been in the press, it concerns me,” Myers said, referring to the concerns raised only last week by UWF officials.

“I don’t think anyone is opposed to the business per se,” said Mike Guildy, who lives in the historic district downtown near Seville. “I think the ultimate goal of the council should be to find a place for the food trucks to operate and dedicate that place where they want to come.”

No Valentine? No Worries! There are plenty of fish on campus

By Kaitlin Lott

Staff Writer


Graphic courtesy of dreamstime.com.



Valentine’s Day appeared in full force this year, with giant teddy bears, bouquets of flowers and massive candy aisles at the grocery store.

While many students will be indulging in the traditions of Valentine’s Day, a select group will be waiting until midnight to stock up on the massive candy sale.

Fortunately, while waiting around for midnight, students can explore their love lives on dating sites or apps. Before the social media revolution, dating websites targeted a more mature crowd, but as social media has expanded over time, online dating has become more prominent for young adults looking for the love of their life.

Lauren Burroughs, a graduating psychology major at UWF, explained how a dating app led to her finding her one true valentine.

“Steven and I met on Plenty of Fish (POF),” Burroughs said. POF is a free online dating site that connects individuals looking to find love or simply friendship through descriptions of themselves, hobbies and who they are interested in.

“Anytime I’m thinking about wanting to get back out there or dating I use POF, because it’s free and you can get a feel for people before actually going on a date with them,” Burroughs said.

Burroughs said using a dating app is an easier way to find love in 2016. “I feel like we are in a time now where it is difficult for anyone to meet people they can have long-term relationships with,” Burroughs said.

However, Burroughs’ fiancé used POF for a different reason.

“I went on POF looking for friends, because I just moved to the area and did not know anyone,” said Steven DiMartino, a military cyber security trainer.

Besides POF, many other dating sites exist, such as Match, Zoosk, Christian Mingle, Black People Meet and more. However, unlike POF, these sites require upgrades in order to experience the site in its entirety, which costs money.

DiMartino had used eHarmony, and said it “was horrible, and it was a paid website so I thought it would be better.”

The process of making friends and establishing relationships from preschool through high school is basically set up by itself due to circumstances. As time progresses, dating and meeting friends becomes harder because dating in the workplace is discouraged, and dating on college campuses can be intimidating.

“I would never date at UWF,” Burroughs said. “UWF guys are immature, they’re not someone to expect anything more out of for the future. Now if they are almost done with school and have their head on straight, I’m not going to tell anybody to segregate themselves from a good person.”

On the other side of the fence, Ashley O’Brien, a single, graduating social work major, does not agree that UWF’s dating scene has lost its touch.

“I usually meet people through groups of friends, which is how I met my past two boyfriends,” O’Brien said.

But online dating is not completely out of the question for O’Brien.

“If I was out of the college scene, I would consider online dating,” O’Brien said. “I think there are a lot of opportunities for relationships with people on campus.”

Ashleigh Moss, administration major at Pensacola State College, offered some advice to eager singles. “A big part of dating in college and work is finding people who are into the same thing you are, even if that’s a class,” Moss said. “Join clubs that interest you, find events on campus that you may like, and be social! You can’t find love without getting to know someone.”

Whether looking for a serious relationship or a friend to Netflix and chill with, remember that true love can be found around campus, in the office or online.

For those looking to the internet for new relationships, check a dating website — you never know what fish you may catch.


de Paula twins travel more than 4,000 miles to make a splash at UWF

By Grier Wellborn

Sports Editor

 Mariana de Paula, left, and Ana are one of three sets of siblings on the UWF Swim and Dive teams. Photo courtesy Mariana de Paula.

Mariana de Paula, left, and Ana are one of three sets of siblings on the UWF Swim and Dive teams.
Photo courtesy Mariana de Paula.

Most siblings are accustomed to sharing clothes. But for a few student athletes at the University of West Florida, sharing a uniform also has become routine.

UWF is home to 15 different sports teams, and a few have pairs of siblings who have excelled at a shared sport. These athletes owe their success in sports not only to their parents, but to their siblings who may have had the greatest influence on their achievements in sports.

The women’s swimming and diving team has three sets of siblings. Mariah and Marissa Constantakos are freshmen divers from Tate High School. Julia and Karisa Kostecki are now in their junior year on the swim team from Lithia, Florida. Lastly, juniors Ana Christina and Mariana de Paula are twin sisters who came all the way to Pensacola from Santos, Brazil.

For the de Paula twins, coming to the United States together meant everything for their swimming careers. They began swimming together when they were 11 years old and have not separated since. The sisters attended the Colegio Universitas in Santos where they excelled on the swim team.

After a stellar high school swimming career, they knew they wanted to pursue swimming even further for a university in the United States. The twins knew that if they wanted to reach college coaches in not only another country, but another continent, it would be up to them to contact coaches. They sent more than 100 emails to college coaches that included their times, their strengths, and often a short video.

Their freshman year of college was spent at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. After their first year at UNF, the twins heard about the new swimming program at UWF, a program that would be able to offer them more scholarship money.

They contacted Head Coach Andrew Hancock, but he was only able to offer one spot on the team. But the de Paulas were a package deal and refused to split up. Luckily for them, a second spot opened up on the team and they were able to come to UWF as a pair.

“We have a lot of strength from coming to the United States together,” Ana Christina said. “It is not like I came here by myself, I came with family.”

They explained that while being more than 4,000 miles away from their family is hard, having each other makes it all worthwhile.

While Mariana’s strengths are in freestyle sprints and relays, Ana is best at backstroke and breaststroke distance.

“We get asked a lot about which one is better, stronger – even though we swim completely different events,” Mariana said. “That in itself is a funny aspect, because we have the same body type and went through the same conditions of training our whole lives, and still, race in very different events. But I believe that, as an athlete, you will be successful in whatever you dedicate yourself to.”

While some siblings have their own individualities such as the events they prefer to swim, they also embrace their depiction as a “dynamic duo.”

Next week, read about Jason and Josh Laatch, two brothers from Birmingham, who are both spending their collegiate basketball careers at UWF.




Get your folk on with Grizfolk at Vinyl Music Hall this Thursday

By Mackenzie Kees

Opinions Editor

 Alternative band Grizfolk, whose name is based on Adam Roth’s nickname (“Griz Adams”), saw success on the Internet after their demo for the song “The Struggle” went viral. Photo courtesy of Grizfolk’s Official Twitter Account (@grizfolk)

Alternative band Grizfolk, whose name is based on Adam Roth’s nickname (“Griz Adams”), saw success on the Internet after their demo for the song “The Struggle” went viral.
Photo courtesy of Grizfolk’s official website.

Vinyl Music Hall in downtown Pensacola showcases a diverse assortment of talented bands from all genres of music, and this week it will provide music lovers with an exceptionally gifted array of musical geniuses.

At 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18, Grizfolk, a band that defies traditional genres, is set to perform at Vinyl. The show is for all ages and tickets are on sale now for $15.

Grizfolk has produced many songs in its three-year-long career, but online buzz really started to surge after “The Struggle” was released in 2013, increasing their renown early on. The California-based band consists of five members – singer Adam Roth, bassist Brendan Willing James, keyboardist Sebastian Fritze, drummer Bill Delia and guitarist Fredrik Eriksson – who hail from all corners of the globe.

Fritze describes their music as “folk, not as a genre, but as in the idea of a community of people working together.” The laid-back quintet prides itself on being able to produce songs successfully by combining several divergent musical styles.

“It started off as a fun experiment to see how we could bring in different musical styles and make something that we all love,” Eriksson said. “But then it worked within the first few songs, so we kept going with it.”

Fellow labelmate Knox Hamilton announced that they would be accompanying Grizfolk on their Troublemaker Tour. Knox Hamilton is an indie pop rock band from Little Rock, Arkansas, best known for its title track “Work It Out,” from their debut EP “How’s Your Mind.” The band consists of brothers Boots and Cobo Copeland, the band’s lead vocalist and drummer, respectively, Brad Pierce on the keyboards and guitarist Drew Buffington.

The show’s venue, Vinyl Music Hall, dubbed simply “Vinyl” by locals, offers a unique experience for those who enjoy being up close to the band. Built in 1897 as the Escambia Masonic Lodge No. 15, this three-story building in the heart of downtown Pensacola is the perfect spot for today’s clubbers.

“I like attending shows at The Vinyl, because the venue is small enough to allow the band to provide a more intimate performance,” said Nadeem Moukaddam, a UWF senior majoring in business management.

“You’ll always have a good view and it’s connected to a bar,” said Nadine Barragan, a Pensacola State senior majoring in hospitality. “The Vinyl has a different vibe than the other bars I usually frequent, and I like that about it. The Vinyl’s a breath of fresh air.”

See Grizfolk, featuring Knox Hamilton, Dinosaur Daze and Young Natives, at 7 p.m. Thursday. Follow this link for more information on Vinyl Music Hall and its upcoming schedule. Follow these links for additional information on Grizfolk, Knox Hamilton, Dinosaur Daze and Young Natives.

Watch Grizfolk’s video “The Struggle” here.

Find out more about Knox Hamilton in their introductory video here.

‘Oklahoma!’ comes sweeping into UWF theater


 Oklahoma! will be the first production the Department of Theater will put on this semester. The second, “On the Verge” will open in April. Photo courtesy of UWF.edu/music

Oklahoma! will be the first production the Department of Theater will put on this semester. The second, “On the Verge” will open in April. Photo courtesy of UWF.edu/music

By Sydney O’Gwynn
Staff Writer

The University of West Florida’s Department of Theater is kicking off its 2016 season with “Oklahoma!” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb 19, at the Mainstage Theater in the Center for Fine and Performing Arts.

The show features an all-student cast and is directed by Sara Schoch, assistant professor of Musical Theater. Schoch performed in regional theaters across the nation before joining the department in the fall of 2015.

“Here at UWF we have some of the nicest, kindest, most hardworking young people in the industry,” Schoch said. “They are very open to the creative process, they are kind, they are generous in their performing, and they like to have a lot of fun, and it makes the production all the better because of it. We have an enormous amount of talent here at UWF.”

“Oklahoma!” follows cowboy Curly McClain and his love interest, Laurey Williams. It is set in Oklahoma territory in the year 1906.

Schoch, who has bachelor’s degree of fine arts in theater from the State University of New York at Fredonia and a master’s degree of fine arts in acting from Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass, said she loved this musical in particular and believes it is one of the best love stories ever created.

“This show is so unbelievably American,” she said. “It is the story of us. A lot of people consider this musical to be old; I consider it to be timeless.”

Jerre Brisky, director of the CFPA, said this production is important because the release of “Oklahoma!” was a milestone in the world of musical theater.

“‘Oklahoma!’ was really the first show within musical theater where the songs helped advance the plot and helped advance the story,” Brisky said. “It’s not often that you get to see what was probably one of the greatest influences on the history of musical theater.”

Schoch said she thinks there are a lot of challenges performers face because the production is a musical.

“I think the challenges in musicals are to create real characters – real characters who happen to be larger than life,” she said. “I think that is a challenge for any young actor, how we make these people believable and relatable at the same time.”

Schoch also said that the actors in the production range from freshman to senior students.

“We have people who have had many years of experience on the stage, and we have people who have not much experience on the stage,” she said. “So we have all levels, and they are all so enthusiastic and the show, in my opinion, is really beautiful.”

She said the people working behind the scenes- controlling the lighting, changing wardrobes and setting props –are just as vital to the production as the actors, and that the whole department works together in preparation for the production.

“We have all kinds of people,” Schoch said. “It’s not just the 22 actors on stage, it’s a hundred people that touch this production.”

Charles Houghton, chair of the Department of Theater, is in charge of lighting and scenic design for the production. He said he feels optimistic about the production from what he has seen in rehearsals.

“The show is going really well,” Houghton said. “It’s a very great energy with the cast. It’s going to be a fantastic production.”

He also said that Schoch is doing well with the actors and said he sees this production as the “complete package.”

“It’s one of those shows that, if you like musical theater, you are going to love this show,” he said. “If you haven’t been to see a show at UWF, I think it would be a great one for you to come and see what amazing talent we have here with our students.”

Brisky said he believes it is important for fellow students to come show their support for the student performers because of all the hard work they do.

“Seeing live shows is a completely different experience than going to a movie,” he said. “Students may or may not have ever seen a show before, this is a great introduction.”

Schoch echoes Brisky’s thinking about theater performances, calling what is done in the theater “magical.”

“Live theater is incredible. It’s an experience that hundreds of people share at one time, and I think that’s really rare,” she said. “It will never happen that way again, those people will never be in that room at that moment ever again.”

Tickets for current UWF students are free when they present their Nautilus card either at the Service Desk and Ticketing Center in the University Commons, or at the CFPA box office between the hours of 1 and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Tickets for the general public can be purchased at both locations for $16 for adults, $12 for senior citizens/active military, $10 for faculty/staff and non-UWF students, and $5 for youth. The production will run Feb. 19-21 and Feb. 26-28.

For more information, or to see the department’s full spring schedule, visit the website.



Biting off more than we can chew: Chartwells partners with Argo Pantry to reduce food waste

By Kenny Detwyler

Contributing Writer

 Project Clean Plate aims to reduce food waste in Nautilus Market. Graphic courtesy of Chartwells.

Project Clean Plate aims to reduce food waste in Nautilus Market.
Graphic courtesy of Chartwells.

 The Nautilus Market, located in the University Commons, is no doubt the largest provider of food for students, faculty and staff on campus. And now, the Nautilus Market, operated by Chartwells, is introducing a new initiative to curb the amount of food being wasted in the establishment.

In the Nautilus Market, guests have the option of selecting food from several different stations, including a salad bar, sandwich station and dessert counter. The portion size of the food is determined by the market staff, but guests are welcome to get as much food as they want during their visit. This may be great for starving college students, but issues arise when a person’s eyes get a little bigger than their stomach.

“It adds up through each meal period, when students go around to three or four stations in the Market and get a meal at each one, because they’re really hungry at the time,” Chartwells’ marketing manager Danielle Rudd said. “They get through a little bit of their food, then they throw the rest out. So they’re just throwing away a ton of food, and we’re trying to make the students more aware of what they’re doing.”

The initiative being used to combat food waste is known as “Project Clean Plate.” This is an attempt by Chartwells to make guests more aware of what happens when they send uneaten food down the conveyor belt. Signs are posted at each food station to give students tips for eating responsibly in the Market. One of those tips is to “Eat with your stomach and not your eyes,” something that Chartwells is trying to stress at the Nautilus Market.

According to Rudd, the Market normally averages 225 pounds of thrown away food at the end of a given day. On Feb. 2, the amount of waste reached a staggering 264 pounds but went down 214 pounds just two days later, and shot back up to 223 in the next tally. The measurements are done on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which the staff said are their busiest days.

Food is scraped manually into plastic containers by the dishwashing staff. Those containers are then weighed at the end of the day. The weight of the wasted food is charted on a graph located next to the dish return, visible to students as they make the decision to throw away their food.

Even given the large amounts of food that are being wasted, the Nautilus Market does not plan to cut down on the amount of food being prepared.

Chartwells is instead opting to train the staff on how to serve correct portions. “We’re training our associates to be a little bit more aware of serving sizes. There’s different utensils that we have for different foods,” Rudd said. For example, the spoon used for rice may be considerably smaller than the one used for corn, in order to control the portions.

“We’re not trying to detract students from not eating, that’s what they pay for; but be more conscious of how much food you get at one time and pace yourselves,” Rudd said.

As part of Project Clean Plate, the Market now is pledging to donate food to UWF’s Argo Pantry whenever they reach their target of 211 pounds, which equals a 20 percent waste decrease.

The Argo Pantry, located in Building 21, exists for students who are in need of food or personal hygiene products. “We’re excited about the potential of what this partnership can generate,” said Lusharon Wiley, director of the Argo Pantry. “Of course being that this is the first time we’ve partnered in this manner, it’ll be hard to know until we see what the outcome will be, but we’re certainly excited about the opportunity.”

Wiley also expressed her gratitude to the Nautilus Market managers for their support of the Argo Pantry through this initiative.

Chartwells is planning to bring “Project Clean Plate” to some of its other campus dining facilities, should the program at the Nautilus Market prove successful. That would bode well for the Argo Pantry.

“We’re excited about the message it can send to students, in terms of the amount of waste we Americans produce,” Wiley said. “I think this will send a message, not only about our Argo Pantry, but about our need as Americans to be more mindful about what we do with our food.”

For more information regarding UWF dining or “Project Clean Plate” visit their website found here. Also, for information on how you can donate to or visit the Argo Pantry, visit their website found here.


Zika fever has several people concerned

By Sara Agans

Staff Writer


 Photo courtesy of http://www.hearttoheart.org/

Photo courtesy of http://www.hearttoheart.org/

Zika fever is a disease caused by a virus that is spread mostly through mosquito bites. There are fewer than 1,000 U.S. cases per year, according a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) health alert, but nine cases have been reported in Florida – one in Santa Rosa County.

In most cases, the illness is mild with symptoms lasting less than a week. There is still ongoing investigation of a possible connection between Zika virus infection in pregnant women and subsequent birth defects.

The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are rash, fever, joint pain and red eyes. There is no vaccine, cure or specific treatment for the disease, but symptoms can be relieved with rehydration, rest or medications for pain and fever.

Jason Strahan, UWF director of student health, said most people infected with Zika would not have any symptoms, and for those who do, symptoms are generally mild. “The biggest problem with the infection is if a pregnant woman becomes infected; it can cause a small head size in the baby,” Strahan said. Pregnant women can still live their normal day-to-day lives, while taking the same precautions as a non-pregnant person, such as wearing protection against mosquitos. The concern is more toward the unborn baby than it is for the pregnant woman herself.

According to Strahan, the mosquito carries the virus, but it is not just spread by mosquitos. “What happens is the mosquito bites a person and they’re infected, then another mosquito bites that infected person, and now the mosquito carries it. So if a person has gone to South America and they were bitten, they are now infected when they return to Florida. As long as they don’t get bitten by the types of mosquitos that can carry the Zika virus, which we do have in this area, then when the infection runs its course over a week or two, it is gone,” Strahan said.

Strahan also said that we have not yet seen any transmission of the virus from the United States, but we have had a number of cases, about 16, as of last week. In those cases, people received infection in another country such as Brazil, and then came back to the States and received diagnosis.

“I am very aware of the Zika virus and very concerned because I’m going on a cruise this summer with my family, and I’m sure that mosquito repellant is going to be the number one thing I take with me,” said Emmaya Yarbrough, a UWF junior majoring in psychology. “I’m also concerned about the case that was found near Escambia County. This virus affects more than just unborn babies – it affects everyone, and I feel that there should be a constant update on the virus and the number of cases resulting from it.”

According to the Florida Department of Health, there are six new reported cases of Zika associated with travel, with a total of nine reported cases in Florida, all associated with travel. One of these cases is in Santa Rosa County. So far, there are 36 cases confirmed in the U.S., with the majority being from people that have returned home after traveling to another country where there was a Zika outbreak.

Keilani Hernandez, a UWF senior majoring in archaeology, said she is aware of the Zika virus and is concerned. “A lot of people our age are getting married and eventually having kids, so I think it is important for our age group to be informed,” Hernandez said. “I don’t think we should freak out about the situation, but we should definitely be aware.”

UWF sent out an email on Feb. 5 that provided a lot of information about Zika from the CDC and the FDH, which Strahan looked over and confirmed that the information was accurate. In the email there is a link to the University’s Mosquito Control Program that gives further information for proper protection against mosquitos.

Whether you are traveling to another country that has a current outbreak of Zika, or just in your yard at home, make sure to take all the proper precautions of protecting yourself from mosquito bites.



Argos baseball wins home opener against Mobile

By Spenser Garber

Contributing Writer

 Ladeavon Matthews hit his Gulf South Conference-leading third home run of the season. Photo courtesy of UWF Athletic Communications.

Ladeavon Matthews hit his Gulf South Conference-leading third home run of the season.
Photo courtesy of UWF Athletic Communications.

The University of West Florida baseball team took on the University of Mobile Rams at home on Tuesday, Feb. 9. With 12 hits and 6 runs, the Argos dominated the game, beating Mobile 6-4.

Pitcher Troy Brown, a freshman at UWF, made his first collegiate start against Mobile. Brown started the game strong with three up and three down in the first inning. In the second inning, he gave up a single, and three consecutive walks followed shortly after, resulting in a run for Mobile. Jarrod Petree replaced Brown in the fourth inning.

“He’s got good stuff,” Head Coach Mike Jeffcoat said when asked about Brown’s performance. “He has pitched well in the fall and early January leading up to the season.” Jeffcoat said he believes the cold weather could have affected Troy’s game, as he comes from further south, in Lakeland.

The game started picking up for the Argos in the fifth inning when junior Ladeavon Matthews hit a three-run homer to give the Argos a 4-2 lead. This was followed by a two-run homerun by freshman Robert Lopez in the sixth inning, bringing the Argos’ lead up 6-2.

Matthews is a transfer from Lawson State Community College in Birmingham. He was an all-star at LSCC who led the team in at bats, runs, hits, doubles, triples, RBI, stolen bases, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. “This (UWF) is the most talented team I’ve ever been on,” Matthews said. “It just makes me want to compete even more.”

The eighth inning saw two runs from the Rams, but ultimately did not affect the outcome of the game. The game ended with a 6-4 win for the Argos, bringing the home win-loss total to 73-13 over the past 3 seasons.

For the complete season schedule, visit the UWF baseball team’s website.



Lead prosecutor in Bundy trial gives lecture at UWF

By Claudia Carlson

Staff Writer

 George R. Dekle Sr. discussed the investigation, prosecution and execution of the serial killer Ted Bundy on Wednesday. Photo by Claudia Carlson.

George R. Dekle Sr. discussed the investigation, prosecution and execution of the serial killer Ted Bundy on Wednesday.
Photo by Claudia Carlson.

On Wednesday, Feb. 10, the lead prosecutor in the Ted Bundy murder trial spoke at the Center for Fine and Performing Arts at the University of West Florida about the trial and his experience.  The audience nearly filled the 309-seat Music Hall.

George R. Dekle Sr. worked for the State Attorney’s Office of the Third Judicial Circuit of Florida, where he served as an assistant state attorney from 1975 through 2005. After he retired in 2006, he became a legal skills professor for the University of Florida.

UWF senior Maura Little, a communications major, was ready to hear about the Ted Bundy trial. “I’m in a newspaper reporting class this semester, and I am here because I think this case is a very interesting part of Pensacola history,” Little said.

Dekle used PowerPoint to take his audience on a journey 38 years in the past. In the presentation, he used a timeline to describe the events that transpired and led to the investigation, prosecution and execution of Ted Bundy.

Bundy escaped from jail twice before heading to Florida to be near the water and in warmer weather. He killed two young women at the Florida State University who were living in the Chi Omega sorority house.

“I was a student at FSU in 1978 when Bundy terrorized our campus,” said Jack Williams of Pensacola. “He had previously been seen at this local bar that I regularly went to, which is something I still have not been able to process. What Bundy did while at FSU was unimaginable and horrific.”

Bundy stole a white FSU van and headed to Jacksonville, where he attempted to kidnap 14-year-old Leslie Paramenter, but was unsuccessful when her brother interrupted their conversation. This led Bundy to Lake City where he abducted 12-year-old Kim Leach, who descriptively could have been Paramenter’s twin sister. Bundy raped and killed the girl, leaving her body in the Suwannee State Park under a makeshift covering. She was reported missing for seven weeks until her body was found by investigators.

Bundy then headed to Pensacola in a stolen orange Volkswagen. Pensacola police officer David Lee pulled Bundy over around 1 a.m. when a “wants and warrants” check showed the car was stolen. Bundy made for a difficult arrest, kicking Lee and running away. At the time, the Police Department did not know with whom they were dealing, due to Bundy giving them a false name. Bundy’s true identity finally came to light when the student, whose identity Bundy had been using, reported it.

Authorities started putting pieces together when they realized the white van Bundy stole from FSU had been left around the area the Volkswagen was stolen, and also where Leach was abducted.

The two vehicles were filled with evidence that helped prosecute Bundy. Once Leach’s body was finally located, the fibers found in the carpet of the white van and on Leach’s clothes made it an evidence gold mine. A blood stain in the carpet of the van also matched Leach’s blood type.

In 1979 Bundy was convicted guilty of his crimes and sentenced to death.

Dekle said his job was not done until he saw the case all the way through. “You don’t win the case until the defendant is led into the death chambers and is executed,” Dekle said. “It’s a long haul, not a pleasant path, but you must be invested in it the whole way through.”

Bundy admitted to murdering 30 young women from 1974 through 1978, but Dekle said he believes the number to be much higher.

The now-retired Pensacola police officer Lee was in the crowd, where he received a standing ovation for his work in arresting Bundy and potentially saving more lives here in Pensacola.