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Lady Anglers Set Their Sights On the Biggest and Best At the Pensacola Ladies Billfish Tournament
By: Kelly Woodard

Girls grab your rods and reels because it’s your time to shine at the 36
th Annual Pensacola Ladies Billfish Tournament presented by the Pensacola Big Game Fishing Club Friday, August 7th through Sunday, August 9th at the WCI Lost Key Marina and Yacht Club, located at 10045 Sinton Dr. on the west side of Pensacola.
Since its inception in 1970, the Pensacola Big Game Fishing Club has been the host to the country’s largest billfish tournaments. The annual competitions are filled with the best in fishing, sizable crowds and memorable award celebrations of cash and prizes.
The Pensacola Big Game Fishing Club’s goal with this tournament is to demonstrate the recreational facilities and the abundance of big game fish off and near the coast of Pensacola, Florida and to advertise, publicize and promote Pensacola as a recreational attraction and as a big game fishing area as well as to encourage and promote the conservation and study of game fishes while collecting important scientific data that can determine the future health of our waters.
The event kicks off on Friday, August 7
th at 6:30 pm with a special Captain’s Meeting where at least one angler from each boat must attend. There, all tournament rules and important information will be given, and any questions or issues may be resolved. The tournament officially begins after the Captain’s Meeting, when boats can leave any tournament designated pass. Overnight fishing is permitted for all anglers.
Anglers will have two full days, Saturday and Sunday, to complete their fishing and head back to the dock. Tournament scales will be located at the WCI Lost Key Marina, located on Grand Lagoon west of the Pensacola Naval Air Station. Scales will open from 3-7 pm on Saturday and from 3-5 pm on Sunday.
Then at 7 pm on Sunday, the awards ceremony begins with cash and prizes worth over $50,000. Awards will be given for Swordfish, Top Boat, Top Catch & Release Boat, and Top Catch & Release Angler. There will also be awards given for the 1
st, 2nd, and 3rd place Tuna, Wahoo, and Dolphin.
Eligible Species include:
Blue Marlin – 104” Minimum Length
Boardbill Swordfish – 60” Minimum Length
White Marlin – Catch & Release Only
Sailfish – Catch & Release Only
The Pensacola International Billfish Tournament follows and adheres to the rules of The International Game Fish Association. It is the angler’s responsibility to be familiar with these rules and to abide by them. Any deviation from these rules will subject the entrant to disqualification. No fish will be weighed in unless they meet all tournament and IGFA regulations.
Registration will be held between August 1
st through August 8th and registration fees will be $165 Per Angler is $306.96 + 23.04 Tax = $330.00. Additional anglers will be $150 per angler. Minimum 2 anglers per boat.
For more information about the tournament or to register call 850-453-4638 or visit
www.pbgfc.com/tournaments/ladies-billfish.
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Local Man Dies After Contracting “Flesh Eating” Bacteria In Local Waters
By: Kelly Woodard

State health officials have confirmed that Vibrio vulnificus, a bacteria found in seawater, is to blame for the death of an Escambia County man bringing Florida’s confirmed case count to 19 resulting in 10 deaths this year alone. With a confirmed case in Santa Rosa County earlier this year and now a confirmed death in Escambia County, health officials are warning residents to exercise caution.
People can get infected with Vibrio vulnificus in one of two ways – by eating contaminated raw shellfish or through exposure to contaminated water by swimming with open wounds. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains on its website that consumption of contaminated shellfish or open-wound exposure among immunocompromised people, “particularly those with chronic liver disease can infect the bloodstream”, can cause a severe and life-threatening illness characterized by fever and chills, decreased blood pressure, and blistering skin lesions.
When open wounds come in contact with Vibrio vulnificus, the CDC says infections that arise “may lead to skin breakdown and ulceration.” When that breakdown of skin tissue occurs, it’s caused by a serious complication, known as Necrotizing Fasciitis. It’s that complication that gives rise to the “flesh-eating” moniker.
Vulnificus is usually found in warm, shallow, coastal salt water in temperate climates throughout most of the world. It can be found in the Gulf of Mexico, along most of the East Coast of the United States, and along all of the West Coast of the United States. V vulnificus can be found in water, sediment, plankton, and shellfish, such as oysters, clams, and can cause flesh eating infections.
V vulnificus infections are commonly fatal, and the prognosis is directly linked to the speed and accuracy of diagnosis and treatment. When treatment was delayed by as little as 24 hours in patients with septicemia, mortality rates increased from 33 to 53 percent. Mortality rates increased to 100 percent in patients who were not treated within 72 hours.
The Escambia County Health Department has not released any details regarding the local man’s death, but did say that it is believed that the victim had recently been in Perdido Bay waters. A wound culture confirmed the presence of V vulnificus, but more tests and information is being gathered before releasing any further information about the case to the public.
To avoid infection, the health department recommends the following:
    Health officials say that if you have been exposed to an area that may contain this bacteria and you have any symptoms including fever, chills, decreased blood pressure or blistering skin lesions, seek medical attention immediately. The faster you seek medical assistance, the greater your chances for survival.
    For more information about Vibrio vulnificus, please contact the Florida Department of Health in Escambia County at 850-595-6683 or visit www.EscambiaHealth.com.
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    “Confed Lives Don’t Matter”: Pensacola’s Confederate Memorial Vandalized
    By: Kelly Woodard

    Pensacola officially became part of a nationwide controversy when the Confederate monument in Lee Square at Palafox and Gadsden Street was vandalized over the weekend. Pensacola Police say the words “Confed lives don't matter” were found painted early Friday on one side of the memorial.
    The monument, erected nearly 120 years ago in downtown Pensacola, was named after Confederate hero Robert E. Lee to honor those who fought and died for the Confederacy. With the inscription, “Uncrowned Heroes of the Southern Confederacy, whose joy was to suffer and die for a cause they believed to be just”, the monument has been an important part of Pensacola’s rich history.
    Stewardship of the park was turned over to the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1903 and was for many decades home to an annual Confederate Memorial Day (or "Decoration Day") observance on April 26. Over the years the park has been reduced in size to accommodate the increased traffic on Palafox Street, and events memorializing the Confederacy have become intermittent.
    Pensacola Chief of Police David Alexander III said in a written statement, “We are investigating this as possible felony criminal mischief because of the extent of damage.” According to city officials, the damage has been estimated to be around $1,000.
    Pensacola resident Jeremy Holter said after seeing the vandalized memorial, “I think it is just tragic. Whether you agree with the statue or not, it is here to memorialize people who gave their lives for what they believed in. It’s also a piece of Pensacola history. There are better ways to vent your frustrations.”
    Peter Williamson of Pensacola agreed, adding, “I just wish people would pick up a history book and find out what this monument really stands for. People want to make it about hate and racism, but it wasn’t put here to represent that. It’s a shame that ignorant people think this is the answer. It only fuels more hatred.”
    The vandalism of the Confederate memorial comes on the heels of Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward’s decision to have the First National Flag of the Confederacy removed from the city's Five Flag displays representing the five governments that have controlled the region. They were replaced with Florida's state flag.
    Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call the Pensacola Police Department at 435-1900 or Crime Stoppers at 433-STOP.
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    Dumb as Trump
    Making Sense by Michael Reagan

    Trump can't help being Trump.

    He says outrageous or dumb things about immigrants or his fellow Republican primary candidates five times a day.

    But no one — not even the liberals of the mainstream media — really takes Donald Trump or what he spews seriously.

    No one thinks the billionaire's mix of egotistical bloviating and off-the-cuff policy positions represents the Republican Party or conservatism.

    Mike Huckebee and Rick Perry are a whole other story.

    They're not clowns. They're ex-governors. They're supposed to be serious candidates for the Republican nomination for president.

    Yet last week, they each said something dumb as Trump.

    Perry's statement, at least, was made, more or less, in defense of the Second Amendment.

    But in the wake of last week's theater shooting in Lafayette, La., he said that the way to prevent future shootings would be to encourage moviegoers to take their guns into the theaters.

    I'm a fervent Second Amendment guy. And I agree with Perry that gun-free zones are always a bad idea because they attract the well-armed crazies who want to commit mass murders.

    But even I wouldn't want to go into a movie theater where everyone was packing — especially a John Wayne or Clint Eastwood movie.

    Especially in West Texas.

    Gov. Perry should have held his Texas tongue. All he did was make himself — and by extension the GOP — look like he was exploiting a tragedy to make a political point about gun rights.

    Then there's Mike Huckabee.

    What he said about the effect the Obama administration's nuclear deal with Iran was going to have on the state of Israel caused a national political hissy fit.

    Huckabee was right on target when he charged that the president's foreign policy "is the most feckless in American history" and that trusting the Iranians was "naive."

    Where he got himself in trouble was when he said the Iran deal was so bad it "will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven."

    Huckabee's Holocaust reference was not the real problem.

    As the leaders of some Jewish American groups protested, the real problem was his premise that the state of Israel is a weakling that can't defend itself from Iran.

    Israel counts on our support, but it can take care of itself if it has to. It has a strong government, a strong leader and a strong military, not to mention lots of tanks, jet planes and scores of nukes.

    Israel's leaders also have something else -- courage.

    They're not afraid to act decisively or preemptively when their nation is threatened, as they proved 35 years ago when their jets bombed Iraq's nuclear research facility.

    Huckabee's Holocaust rhetoric was tut-tutted by some other Republican candidates who thought it was too strong.

    Hillary Clinton and other phony Democrats, plus the usual liberal crybabies in the media, made faces and agreed that it was "offensive" and "out of line."

    What Huckabee said didn't hurt his already slimmer-than-slim chances, but he hurt the GOP team.

    He set up an easy layup for the Democrats so they could rise up in fake outrage and paint all the other Republicans as nuts as Trump.

    Perry and Huckabee are desperately trying to boost their low poll numbers to qualify for next week's "Top 10" primary debate.

    They tried to out-trump Trump. But all they did was cause trouble in their own ranks and give Democrats a boatload of fodder that will be used against the GOP next fall.
    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

    It’s back to school time, which for me, usually doesn’t mean much. I’m done with college, I don’t have children of my own, and I don’t have any nieces or nephews to shop for. This week, I encountered a conversation with a woman at Target that got me thinking…..Why is it okay to blame the childless for what your child lacks?
    I needed some notebooks, pens, and markers for a project that I’m working on for an upcoming game night with my friends (both childless and parents). I thought I would go to Target for my supplies rather than Wal-Mart to avoid the craziness that lies within those toothless aisles, but little did I know, I was about to step into a middle class hornet’s nest.
    I reached for the same pack of pens as another woman, who looked to be a few years younger than me. “Oh, I’m sorry,” I said as I let her have the pack and reached for another. “It’s cool,” she said relishing in the fact that I had conceded. “What grade is your little one going into,” she asked. “Oh, I don’t have any kids, thank goodness. I’d rip my hair out at back to school time,” I answered, trying to be sympathetic to the plight of mother’s everywhere this time of year.
    Her polite demeanor instantly changed and she said, “Yes, people without kids will never understand the pressure we moms are under when school is about to start. It sure would be nice if the government required you guys to chip in for our kids school supplies.” I stood there baffled for a moment, then asked, “What do you mean?” At this point, I felt like I knew where this was going and I could feel my face getting hotter.
    “Well,” she said, “It wouldn’t kill people without kids to contribute. It should be everyone’s responsibility. That would make it much more affordable for families.”
    I knew that my next statement could make me famous with a “girl on girl brawl in Target” video, but I said it anyways. “Why is it my responsibility to help you pay for your kid?” Visibly angered, she snapped, “Because they are the future, and we need to support their education.”
    I told her I agree that we need to support education and the success of all children, but things went to another level when she added, “I just think it’s selfish of childless people to put the burden of our children’s educational needs all on the parents.”
    My patience had clearly gone out the window when I replied, “I go to work, I pay my taxes, and I pay my bills. I donate to ‘Cram the Van’ every year, and because I don’t have kids, you think I should be obligated to do more? Here’s the way I see it. People’s back to school budget isn’t my problem. Things are hard for lots of people. You just have to have your priorities straight.”
    She was clearly agitated and responded by saying, “I don’t expect you understand. You don’t know what a financial struggle it can be, and since you’re not a mom, you don’t know what love is yet. Maybe one day you’ll get it.”
    And maybe one day I’ll remember this moment and not judge people I don’t even know in a Target aisle. I just walked away.
    Now, I’m not saying that there aren’t really people out there that need help buying school supplies for their kids, but there are programs for that (For example…the aforementioned ‘Cram the Van’, which again, I donate to every year). What I am saying is that people who really need the assistance generally aren’t in Target adding school supplies to a cart full of non-essential decorative household items, wine glasses, and expensive makeup brushes.
    And if they are, then I stand by my former statement…..align your priorities and work harder.
    Being childless by choice has caused me to be called all kinds of things over the years from selfish, to weird, to clueless (okay, so maybe some of these are true), to smug, to worthy of pity for the one-way path to a life devoid of meaning I most certainly am on. I’ve been called names behind my back, I’ve been judged and I’ve been discriminated against at former jobs, being told that moms are just generally “more trustworthy”.
    I’ve been told that I would have to work pretty much every holiday from Easter to Christmas to, of course, Mother’s Day because it’s “more important for the mother’s to be with their children on the holidays. Newsflash people…..
    Childless people still have families, and yes, as unfinished, emotionally incomplete, and incapable of love as you think we are, we still find it in our tiny black hearts to want to spend time with them. I’m basically just like you, except I haven’t grown a human being yet.
    As for the Target lady’s stance on my need to pay for her school items, I refuse to be a scapegoat for other people’s life decisions. If life is hard for her financially, emotionally, or any other way for that matter, it has nothing to do with me. I made a conscious decision to be kid free and spend my free time and money on other things. If she wanted to do the same, she should have made different choices.
    I’ll help provide for needy kid’s school supplies, and I’ll do my part to make sure that teachers, who are already underpaid, don’t have to spend their own money to provide supplies in their classrooms. But what I won’t do is stand for being blamed for someone’s personal problems I didn’t create and being judged simply because I’m not a mom.
    Especially by those who don’t know how to do anything with their hands but hold them out and wait.
    Next time, I’ll just go to Wal-Mart.