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“Wine” About the Weekend At the 7th Annual Perdido Key Wine and Art Festival
By: Kelly Woodard

With Spring weekends in full swing, celebrate the occasion in true island style at the 7
th Annual Perdido Key Wine and Art Festival next Friday and Saturday, May 13th and 14th. Held at the Villagio Town Center (13700 Perdido Key Drive), this spectacular event is fast becoming one of the area’s most popular festivals, featuring live music, works by local artists and craftsmen and unique shopping and dining. Organized by Perdido Key Events, this fun filled weekend in the sun will serve as a fundraiser for the Perdido Key Chamber of Commerce.
Browse the endless rows of one of a kind art from local, regional, and national vendors, or wet your palate with some of the best wines a grape can muster at the wine tasting event. Casual wine drinkers and seasoned connoisseurs alike will enjoy meeting the wine representatives, asking detailed questions and learning about the origins of favorite wines.
Kicking off the festival on Friday, May 13th from 5:30-8:30 pm will be the “Taste of Perdido”, an event that will feature some of the signature dishes from local Perdido Key restaurants paired with the perfect wine. Live music by Pat McCann will keep you entertained while you browse the one-of-a-kind glass, mosaic and jewelry pieces of featured artist Jeff Spade. Jeff is a resident of Pensacola and the owner of ACEART. His artistic mediums are one-of-a-kind acrylic paintings on canvas and reclaimed windows.
Tickets for Friday will be $30 per person, and are expected to sell out quickly, so buy yours today!
On Saturday, May 14
th from noon to 5 pm, the festival features several local restaurants serving samples of their signature dishes paired with tasty wines, live entertainment, and much more. Tickets are available at the Perdido Key Visitors Center, by visiting www.visitperdido.com, or at the festival for $15, which includes a collectible wine glass and five tasting tickets. Additional tasting tickets will be available for $2, and all wines poured will be available for purchase by the bottle or case. Guests will be able to taste eight new and different wines daily – four red and four white.
Restaurants participating in the 7
th Annual Perdido Key Wine and Art Festival include Legends Bar and Grill, Fisherman’s Corner, Flora-Bama Yacht Club, Jellyfish Restaurant, The Sports Bar of Perdido Key, Ronin Sushi, and many more.
Vendors this year include Yvecourt Rose – France, Ceviche Sauvignon Blanc – California, Duct Tape Chardonnay – Uruguay, Resurrection Moscato – California, Fruit and Vine Peach Chardonnay – California, 99 Vines Pinot Noic – California, VS Reserve Sarrall – France, Heavyweight Cabernet – California, Zellerback Estate Merlot – California, Arabella Pinotage - South Africa, and many more.
The Saturday event will feature live entertainment by local favorites Justin Fobes, John Joiner and John Hart beginning at noon.
The 2015 Wine & Art Festival attracted an estimated 1,250 attendees – up 43% from 2014’s event and this year’s event is expected to be bigger and better than ever! Get your tickets now!
For information regarding special packages including lodging and tickets, please contact the event’s Lodging Sponsor, Meyer Vacation Rentals.
For more information or to purchase tickets, please go to www.visitperdido.com or the Perdido Key Wine & Art Facebook page or call Tina Morrison at 850-377-5603.
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2nd Annual Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day Offers Fishing Fun While Saving Our Ecosystem
By: Kelly Woodard

Though they may be beautiful in your saltwater fish tanks, Lionfish have become a nuisance here on the Gulf Coast. Join the The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) for the 2
nd Annual Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day Festival and Tournament with the help of sponsors like Guy Harvey Magazine, Coast Watch Alliance, Escambia County Marine Resources, City of Pensacola Parks & Recreation, Visit Pensacola, and tournament host Gulf Coast Lionfish Coalition.
Lionfish are not native to the Gulf of Mexico. They originate from the Indo-Pacific, and it is believed that they spread into the Gulf after they were released by aquarium owners in South Florida. Lionfish began showing up in our area in 2010, and had fully infested most public reefs by late 2012.
The venomous, fast reproducing fish are aggressive eaters and will consume anything and everything, gorging so much they are actually getting liver disease. With no known predators, except human beings, they can wipe out 90% of a reef and endangering some of our most important local species.
Ecologist James Morris with the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science said that while this may not be the worst epidemic the Gulf of Mexico has faced, it does have the makings of a disaster. He said the lionfish has brought a "big change in biodiversity," and it is what he called "the most abundant top-level predator in the area”.
The tournament, which will be open to the public, will aim to educate the public by increasing awareness of the threats posed by the invasive lionfish to Gulf Coast fisheries and marine ecosystems along with ways to promote and facilitate the removal of lionfish by volunteer divers and encourage the consumption of lionfish by the public via restaurants and seafood markets.
The Gulf Coast Lionfish Coalition is comprised of concerned scientists, scuba divers, fishermen, gourmet cooks, and other stakeholders who have a passion for protecting and enjoying our natural resources. They believe with the help of local residents through participation in the 2015 Gulf Coast Lionfish Roundup we can control and protect our important aquatic species and their ecosystem.
The tournament will feature over $1,000 in cash prizes, including, $500 Most Lionfish 1
st, $300 Most Lionfish 2nd, $150 Most Lionfish 3rd, $150 Largest Lionfish, and $150 Smallest Lionfish.
There will be a non-refundable registration fees are $35.00 per participating person per event. All participants will receive a Derby T-Shirt and a GCLC sticker.
Those wishing to participate in the event will be allowed to register at the tournament.
In addition to the fishing tournament, there will be celebrity chef demonstrations, lionfish tastings, fillet demos, family-friendly activities such as games and a fountain to play in, and diving and conservation vendors.
In 2015, 2,975 lionfish were removed from local waters. Come out and do your part to save our ecosystem and have a great time.
For more information about the Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day Festival and Tournament or for a full list of rules, please visit
www.gulfcoastlionfish.com, www.reefrangers.com, or call 850-617-6919.
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Pensacola’s Tiny Treasures Are On the Hunt This Fiesta Family Weekend

By: Kelly Woodard


Fiesta Family Weekend is back and this time honored tradition mixes Pensacola’s rich history and culture with big family fun! Bring your little pirate out for a real treasure hunting adventure at the 2016 Cox and Fiesta Children’s Treasure Hunt Saturday, May 14
th at Bayview Park in East Hill.

Children 10 and under will hunt for treasures and receive toys. Children will enjoy searching for treasures in the park at each of the five flags that have flown over Pensacola. To acquire their treasure, each child must collect doubloons or coins.

In addition to hunting treasures, children can enjoy face painting, arts and crafts, musical entertainment, and will all be entered into a drawing for a special grand prize.

A free lunch will be served at 11:30 pm to all those participating in the hunt. Registration begins at 1 pm and the hunt starts promptly at 2 pm. Admission is free.

For more information, visit
www.fiestaoffiveflags.org or call 850-433-6515.
Making Sense by Michael Reagan
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Going for Broke with Obamacare

Everything about health insurance was confusing, stupid and horrible long before Obamacare came along.
Just hearing it was time again to choose your healthcare plan for the next calendar year made some business people I know so sick they had to see a doctor.
Not really.
We all know the ugly truth about the Affordable Care Act.
Its rules and regulations and subsidies and penalties and red tape and false promises and reinsurance programs have only made buying healthcare worse for consumers.
It's more confusing to sign up for, costs more than Obama promised it would and it's shredding the bottom lines of the already crippled companies that provide private health insurance.
Some say it's all part of Obama's grand plan to make health insurance and healthcare so expensive that private companies will get out of the business and voters will beg Washington for a mandated government program like like they have in England, Canada or Cuba.
If that's Obama's plan, it's working nicely.
Earlier this month UnitedHealthcare announced it was pulling out of most of the 34 state health insurance exchanges it was participating in under the Affordable Care Act.
UnitedHealthcare is the country's largest health insurer. It made $1.6 billion last year, so it's not exactly going broke. 
But it's not stupid. Thanks to higher healthcare costs and the increased number of sicker people who are signing up for Obamacare, it lost close to $1 billion operating in state insurance exchanges in the last two years.
UnitedHealthcare's CEO explained to reporters that the "smaller overall market size and shorter-term, higher-risk profile within this market segment continues to suggest we cannot broadly serve it on an effective and sustained basis."
That sounds to me like CEO speak for "the exchange business stinks to high heaven and government-run healthcare is such a mess we're bailing out now before we go bankrupt."
A very sharp commenter on the Wall Street Journal's web site named James Burke translated what the CEO really meant and, as a public service, added in the missing political spin:

- "Smaller overall market size" (Obamacare will never reach promised critical growth targets)

- "Shorter-term" (It's impossible to keep people paying premiums they don't have to pay) 

- "Higher-risk profile"(This is not risk-based insurance, it's social welfare and redistribution)

- "Within this market segment continue to suggest" (nice word for this program is a failure) 

- "We cannot broadly serve it on an effective and sustained basis" (Neither us, or any other insurer, will ever make money on this ... here comes single payer) 

Mr. Burke might not agree, but the experts say UnitedHealthcare's decision is not going to wreck Obamacare's exchanges anytime soon because other healthcare companies are still in them and trying to make a profit. 
But with UnitedHealthcare heading for the hills and other major health insurers talking about merging in order to survive, consumers, as usual, will get the shaft. 
We will see fewer choices and less competition among insurance companies, especially in rural counties, where, because the federal government allows states to prevent health insurers from competing across state lines, millions of consumers will end up with only one "choice." 
Here's a safe prediction. 
Everything to do with healthcare will continue to get worse for Americans everywhere because of government meddling in the private sector.
Then the Hillarys and Bernies of the world will say since the free market can't provide healthcare we have to have "free" government healthcare provided by Washington. 
We've all seen this government movie before — and, spoiler alert, it doesn't have a happy ending.
Copyright ©2014 Michael Reagan. Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of "The New Reagan Revolution" (St. Martin's Press). He is the founder of the email service reagan.com and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Visit his websites at www.reagan.com and www.michaelereagan.com. Send comments to Reagan@caglecartoons.com. Follow @reaganworld on Twitter.
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Editorial By: Kelly Woodard

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This week as my parents continued to dig their way out of a sea of boxes from their recent move, I got the call I had been dreading. “You need to come over here and get all this crap from your wedding out of our garage.” I had put it out of my mind for nearly six years, but the time had come to figure out what to do with eight metal manzanita trees complete with tea light candles and endless bolsters of tulle and lace.
My brother offered to bring them to me, which I thought was a nice gesture until I realized this was my mother’s ploy to make sure they indeed made it to my house and out of her way. When he arrived, I must have been making a face that resembled that of someone smelling something stinky because he asked, “What is that face for?” I answered, “What the heck is that,” while staring at the metal trees adorned with hot glued fake flowers and crystals. “How am I supposed to know? Looks like a heap of ugly to me,” he replied.
He was right. As I stood there looking at this pile of twinkling garbage, I wondered what I could’ve been thinking back then. It sparked a feeling in me that suddenly made me very aware that I had lost not just days, but weeks of sanity and clarity during that stressful time of wedding planning.
At the time of my wedding planning, there wasn’t much inspiration to draw from when looking for ideas, especially if you are on a strict budget. Those were the days of tearing through page after page of Wedding magazines hoping to come up with a cheap alternative to all the beautiful weddings sprawled on the pages that we couldn’t afford.
Seriously…..what did women do before Pinterest?
I knew I had picked these ugly trees for some reason, and I felt horrible about just throwing them away after all the money I spent on them, so I did what any girl worth her salt in crafting would do….revamp.
I spent the next three hours stripping each metal branch of the dripping crystals and strange greenery, which even though now looked awful, somehow looked beautiful in my wedding photos. When I was done, I was left with something somewhat remarkable. The trees complete with the little candle holders were actually pretty. Why hadn’t I just left well enough alone and let them be simple? Then I remembered that at the time of my wedding I was going through a My Little Pony meets princess meets Liberace phase. Enough said. Glad I grew out of that…for the most part. This girl is still a sucker for some bling.
I plan on using the trees as centerpieces for dinner parties and holiday gatherings, but I’ve found that there really is no limit to what you can repurpose with a little imagination and a lot of help from a lady’s best friend…..that’s right. Pinterest again.
These kids today have it so easy. (Man, I sound old) They’ll never know what it’s like to spend hours upon hours cutting out pictures in magazines to make an “inspiration” board, or what it’s like to tackle fellow future brides at ten different dollar stores all over town because you need those square vases that only one place in the universe carries. Now, they just pull up the Pinterest app, click a button and buy it. And if you can’t buy it, those step by step instructions are right there in the blink of an eye.
I think on our 10 year anniversary, I want a re-do. Who knows what kind of crazy stuff they’ll have to make life easier for the do-it-yourselfer bride by then. I do know one thing that will probably still be around….those dang trees. I can’t seem to shake them. Better yet, I think on my 10 year re-do, I’ll just sit back, relax, and hire a wedding planner. There’s just some lessons in life you only have to learn once.