Tree giveaway

Friday, February 27, 2009

From Terry Thrash:

Normally you receive e-mails concerning local and regional tennis events. This e-mail is different.

My "REAL JOB" is with Woerner Landscape Source, a wholesale / retail landscape supply center. We are currently expanding our product line and business model on Creighton Road. We have doubled our land mass to 7.5 acres and will be selling everything for your yard and patio. These products will be a unique mixture of bulk landscape material, natural stone, hardscape products, different types of water features, plants, pottery, outdoor furniture, patio fire pits, wind chimes, bird houses/feeders; just to name a few.

We are currently under construction, but we are open for business. In honor of Arbor Day, we are giving away Cathedral Water Oak trees. These trees are about 3 ft. tall and are very healthy. As you may know, Escambia County lost 30% of our trees after Hurricane Ivan; this is a great way to start rebuilding our tree population...let WLS help YOU make a difference !!

I invite you to come by and see us; check out the show lot and pick up your free tree!!
Look forward to seeing you there.


FDOT response to my letter

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Florida Department has sent the following response to the letter I sent about resurfacing Bayou Boulevard:

-----Original Message-----
From: Greg Vickery
Sent: Thursday, February 26, 2009 8:28 AM
To: Larry B. Johnson
Cc: Al Coby; Al Garza; Regina Battles; Stephen Hunt; Greg Vickery
Subject: Your Inquiry on 2/26/2009 to Florida Department of Transportation

Thank you for your recent inquiry submitted to the Florida Department of Transportation.

Date Received: 2/26/2009
Inquiry Submitted Via: MAIL
Summary: Request for special consideration from emergency funding to mill and resurface the segment of Bayou Boulevard from 12th Avenue to Firestone Boulevard

Please note we are currently researching your request. Be assured, a member of our staff will respond to you as soon as possible. Meanwhile, if you have any questions regarding the status of your inquiry, please feel free to contact me using the information provided below.

Greg Vickery
District Communications Coordinator
FDOT District 3 Office
Post Office Box 607, Chipley, FL 32428

Reference: FDOT Tracking Number 09-01797


More on Earth Day

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Press Release:

Earth Day Pensacola Festival to be held April 18 at Bayview Park
University of West Florida Hosts Earth Day Symposium on April 22

The University of West Florida will host an Environmental Symposium as part of this year’s Earth Day Pensacola celebrations. The Symposia will be held on Earth Day, April 22 from 4 to 6 p.m. in the University Commons Auditorium. Admission is free and open to the public. The Environmental Symposium is in addition to the Earth Day Pensacola Festival, which will be celebrated on April 18 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Bayview Community Center and Park.

Earth Day Pensacola’s mission is to bring together the community with local, state, and federal agencies; environmental and educational non-profits; and local businesses to take stock of the remaining resources of Mother Earth, to evaluate progress made during the past year in conserving and enhancing the health of the environment, and to set goals for the future of our Planet Earth.

The symposium at UWF is titled “Climate Change, Facts and Opinions” The symposium this year will be a panel discussion on climate change by professionals from a variety of fields. The symposium will be held in a town hall meeting fashion, the public is welcome and encouraged to attend and participate.

Festival activities on April 18 at Bayview Community Center and Park will include a wide variety of foods, yoga, dance, a climbing wall, bouncers and a live animal exhibit. Music will be held on the pier this year. We will also have our community music session at noon; everyone is encouraged to bring drums and other instruments and join in; children are especially encouraged to participate. Local farmers will be offered free booth space to sell their goods to the community and to raise public awareness.

Earth Day Pensacola is a non-profit organization and is made possible by many generous sponsors, including City of Pensacola Parks and Recreation, Escambia County Department of Solid Waste Management, Ever’man Natural Foods, Artist Steve Blair, Energy Services of Pensacola and more. If you would like to help sponsor this event you can get your logo on the billboard and t-shirts if we confirm your sponsorship by February 20, 2009.

For more information contact Earth Day Pensacola Director, Chasidy Hobbs at (850) 474-2735 or e-mail or visit


Jazz Meets the Wounded Warriors

From Kitt Lough:

On Thursday Feb. 26th, 6:30 - 9pm at Will Call on Palafox, my trio will be appearing at a fundraiser for a very worthy cause. Please visit for all the details, but here is the gist:

The Independence Fund was established to help US soldiers severely wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan regain their independence and dignity. These are people who've lost legs and arms or had traumatic brain injury and need things like iBot wheelchairs, special hand crank bikes, specially equipped vehicles, prosthetics, and other devices to help them live more independent lives. The fundraiser next week will help bring these Wounded Warriors to Pensacola for a weekend of bike racing, a motorcycle rally, a concert by wounded veteran and rising singing star Stephen Cochran (and possibly yours truly singing rock 'n' roll with Tim Spencer!) and panel appearances by best-selling authors and wounded vets themselves.

So for a suggested $100 tax-deductible donation, you can come hear one of your favorite jazz trios in a new setting, enjoy delicious hors d'oeuvres and alcohol to your heart's content, and support a very worthy cause.

We might not all agree with the politics that got these guys to Iraq and Afghanistan in the first place, but they served their country with honor and paid a heavy price, and now we are in a position to not only honor that service but provide very real support in keeping them active and involved in society and in life. Can't you just imagine the kind of physical and emotional hardships these people must endure?

So let me see as many of your faces as possible. Visit the website above, click on and print the invitation and show up next Thursday with your donation.

Thank you and bless you!


Letter to FDOT re Bayou Boulevard

Monday, February 23, 2009

Last week I sent the following letter to FDOT District 3 Secretary Larry Kelley:

Dear Secretary Kelley:

State Roadway No. 296 (Bayou Boulevard) from 12th Avenue to Firestone Boulevard located in the City of Pensacola is in desperate need of resurfacing. I am aware the project was originally scheduled for bid in the Fall of 2008, but because of budget constraints, it may be delayed until the Spring of 2010. While I understand and appreciate the financial difficulties the State of Florida is experiencing, it is little comfort to the thousands of motorists that travel on SR 296 each and every day and is one of the first impressions people arriving at Pensacola Gulf Coast Regional Airport have of Pensacola.

As the Pensacola City Council Member representing District 4 in which that portion of SR 296 falls, I urge you to give special consideration for emergency funding to mill and resurface that segment of Bayou Boulevard from 12th Avenue to Firestone Boulevard.

Should you or a member of your staff have specific questions, please have them contact Director of Public Works Al Garza at 850-435-1755.


Larry B. Johnson
City Council Member
District 4


Emerald Coastkeeper Gala

From Elizabeth McWilliams, Director of Development for Emerald Coastkeeper:

Dear Members and Friends:

In case you didn't know, Emerald Coastkeeper is celebrating our 10th Anniversary on Friday, March 13th, 2009. We are so excited to share an evening with all of us who are committed to protecting the waterways of the Emerald Coast.

We have an enormous array of auction items running the gamut from quail hunting trips to massages, a week in New York City to sailing off Santa Rosa Island. Whatever your fancy, we have something to tickle it! Delicious delights included.

We are also incredibly excited to be featuring the music of the fantastically talented "The Smart Brothers Musical Variety Show". This high energy duo sings, dances, and plays an army of musical instruments from around the globe. These brothers won first prize at the Annual Songwriter Shootout in Atlanta. Come dance away the evening to their original tunes.

We also wanted to remind you of our next few meetings. On Thursday, February 26th and March 5th we will be having our Gala Meetings in the back room at Dharma Blue. They start at 5. We still need volunteers for the date of the event. We hope to see you there.

We are still accepting donations for our auction. If you have something you would like to donate, please reply to this email or call me at our office (850) 429-8422. I will be happy to come pick it up at a time that is convenient for you.

Tickets are still on sale for the Gala. $50 a person, or $75 a couple- call or email to R.S.V.P. The event will be held at MySpayce at 212 East Garden Street in downtown Pensacola.
Thanks for your support, I look forward to seeing you at our Gala!

See also


Bayview Park tennis court fencing

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The City has installed new fencing at the Bayview Park tennis courts:


Researcher: Trees make for better lives

From UPI:

A U.S. scientist says people living on tree-lined streets are happier, healthier and less likely to be victims of crime.

Frances Kuo of the University of Illinois reviewed studies on the effect of trees, The Daily Telegraph said. She reported her findings to the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in Chicago.

"Nature calms people and it also helps them psychologically rejuvenate," she said. "They are better able to handle challenges which come their way." Kuo said study after study shows benefits from living near trees and grass. In Japan, researchers found that the elderly have higher life expectancy if they live within walking distance of a park.

Other studies have shown that greenery appears to help children with attention deficit order and that crime rates are lower when streets are planted with trees. "In our studies, people with less access to nature show relatively poor attention or cognitive function, poor management of major life issues, and poor impulse control," she said. "The relationship between crime and vegetation is very clear: the more trees, the fewer crimes."


Tennis mixer at UWF

From Tennis Pensacola:

Put this date on your calendar... more information will follow and be on the website, but here's some prelim info...

There will be a cookout and tennis mixer at UWF on Saturday February 28th from 10 am until 3 pm. We will be firing up the grill at noon for hamburgers and hot dogs and will have limited adult drinks. Brian will be mixing players all day for fun social tennis. Money raised will go to the PRC pros that were not paid when the club closed. A minimum donation of $10 is requested. Advanced sign up is not required but will help us plan for food purchases. Bring the hubby and/or wife and/or kids.


Earth Day 2009

From Chasidy Hobbs, Director of Earthday Pensacola:

Hello Earth Day Family! I have attached the registration form for the 2009 Earth Day Festival, the website should be updated with new information soon. We are at Bayview Park again on Saturday April 18th. A few changes this year:

  1. You will notice a new layout. I have removed some less desirable spaces and added others. I was a bit lazy and simply removed numbers, rather than change all of them, so you will see some booth numbers missing.
  2. We will be using the beautiful pier for music and other entertainment this year. There is a fabulous grassy area to sit and watch which creates a natural amphitheater feeling
  3. Electricity will be available only indoors this year. And, of course, we still ask that you do not use it if you do not have to, we would like to reduce our footprint as much as possible.
  4. The dog park will be closed the day of the festival and no pets are allowed. I know this is very disappointing to many of you (myself included), but it is based on a city ordinance and beyond my control. I have been told that some folks are looking to get a waiver option to allow dogs into some festivals, if anything changes before the festival I will let you know.

We will also have the Earth Day Environmental Symposium on April 22nd at UWF from 4-6pm. This will be a town hall like panel discussion on Climate change. If you are interested in sitting on the panel, or know of any professionals who could contribute to the discussion please let me know.

The Greater Good Music, Art and Children’s Festival is being held at Adventures Unlimited this year March 6th – 8th. For details visit: I have offered to be the volunteer coordinator this year. Volunteers are key to running the festival, in fact we value your efforts so much we offer a weekend pass to all volunteers. There is a wide variety of ways to help, for example: Set Up Thursday, Security / Trash, Parking, Ticket Gate, Shuttle / Runner, Hospitality, children’s area and Clean Up on Monday. If you would like to volunteer let me know ASAP.


Tree Inventory for Escambia County

The Escambia County Natural Resources Division is working with the University of Florida (UF) collecting tree inventory data. The inventory data will show quantifiable benefits and value to Escambia County’s urban trees based on the Forest Service Urban Forestry Effects Model (UFORE).

Among other things the inventory should reveal current tree cover, diversity of species, air pollution removal, and the percent of air quality improvement throughout a year. Preliminary results should be available in the Spring of 2009.

The inventory is part of a larger UF study for Florida Hurricane Adaptation of the Storm Damage Assessment Protocol (SDAP) used in the northeastern states for ice damage events. Once the study is complete, the protocol should have the potential to increase the reliability of hurricane tree debris and cost estimates to provide useful information for FEMA reimbursement requirements. The grant is funded with UF through the US Forest Service and Florida Division of Forestry.


Trees absorb one-fifth of CO2 gas

From TerraDaily:

Trees absorb nearly one-fifth of humanity's climate-change emissions, a 40-year British university study finds.

The University of Leeds study is being hailed by environmentalists as the most compelling evidence yet supporting an end to the logging or burning of trees in forested areas. Previous studies on the value of the rainforests had concentrated on South America and Asia. But the Leeds research included tropical forests in Africa and found trees absorb 4.8 billion tons of carbon dioxide a year, or 18 percent of the greenhouse gas added to the atmosphere each year from burning fossil fuels.

"We are receiving a free subsidy from nature," with trees "substantially buffering the rate of climate change," said study author and Leeds geography Professor Simon Lewis, a research fellow at the Royal Society of London for the Improvement of Natural Knowledge. But if carbon emissions continue to increase, forests will die or even burn out, causing a "feedback" effect that will accelerate climate change, Lewis told The Daily Telegraph. Greenpeace UK forest campaigner David Ritter said the study showed "the case for forest protection has never been stronger, but we must not allow our politicians to use this as an excuse to avoid sweeping emissions cuts."

The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates human activity creates 32 billion tons of carbon dioxide a year with 15 billion tons staying in the atmosphere and adding to climate change. The Leeds research shows where some of the remaining 17 billion tons each year is going, the researchers said.


District 4 street resurfacing

Friday, February 20, 2009

On Monday at City Council committee meetings, the Neighborhood Services committee, on which I serve, will discuss the list of streets scheduled to be resurfaced in FY2009. At right is a map marking the streets in District 4 currently scheduled to be resurfaced.

As I wrote earlier this week I have requested that the resurfacing of Bayou Boulevard be moved up from FY2010 to this year.

I would appreciate it if District 4 residents would make me aware of any other streets in our district which need resurfacing, so that I can bring them up at Monday's committee meeting. You can comment on this post, email me at, or call me at (850) 449-1098.

If you'd like to view the list of streets currently scheduled to be resurfaced this year, see the committee agenda at the city web site: Neighborhood Services Committee Agenda.pdf


I-110 project

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

During my TPO orientation at the West Florida Regional Planning Council office, I asked Mr. Jim DeVries of the FDOT when the I-110 project would be complete. He assured me that the project would be 100% complete within 90 days. It has been assumed by many that the red clay that has entered our waterways has been as a result of this project. Archer-Western, the contractor, did improve erosion control at many of the work sites along this project. As a result, over the past several months, this discharge has minimized.


SBE workshop

City Council yesterday had a three-hour workshop on the Small Business Enterprise (SBE) study. The study was compiled by MGT, who the City of Pensacola contracted to study the awarding of contracts to local businesses. They determined that minorities were awarded only 1 percent of the total dollars expended by the City during the study period, about $2.9 million.

I'm optimistic that the new City Council will implement policies to improve on this very low percentage.


Saenger Theater

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

On Saturday, February 7, the Pensacola News Journal ran an article covering the delays in the Saenger Theater renovation. Because of the delays, the scheduled Bonnie Raitt concert will have to be moved to the Pensacola Civic Center. Soon after the article ran, I started receiving complaints and questions from my constituents about the delays. That afternoon I visited the Saenger work site and noticed only four of five workers working outside. I was, of course, unable to go inside, where most of the work was being done.

On Friday the 13th I met with Rusty Wells, the City Attorney and City Engineer Derrick Owens and was updated on the situation with the Saenger; I requested a site inspection of the Saenger and was able to visit again this past Monday. Although there are delays I have been assured that the contractor is making every effort to have Phase I done by the end of March, and Phase II done by the end of May. I will say that when the Saenger is completed, it will be a showpiece for the City of Pensacola.


Bayou Boulevard resurfacing

Today I participated in an orientation for the Florida-Alabama Transportation Planning Organization (TPO). It was well-attended; five City Council members including myself were present, along with TPO staff and Mr. Jim DeVries, the Urban Planning Manager for the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). It was a very infomative session, discussing the mission of the TPO.

I had the opportunity at the meeting to reiterate my desire that the FDOT move up the resurfacing of Bayou Boulevard on their list of priorities. Currently, the resurfacing is scheduled to happen in the summer of 2010. As many of you know, Bayou Boulevard from 12th Avenue to Firestone Boulevard is in bad shape, with potholes and patch-job repairs. Bayou Boulevard is a much-traveled road in East Pensacola and it is used by many who arrive at our airport and therefore is for some a first impression of our City. I've also voiced my desire to move up the project to the City Manager, Al Coby, and his staff, and at my first official Council meeting. Mr. Coby emailed me today to inform me that he will be sending a formal request to the FDO District Secretary, Larry Kelley. Mr. DeVries has also agreed to mention my request to Mr. Kelley.


Welcome to my blog

I'm Larry B. Johnson, the Pensacola City Council member for District 4. I was elected November 25, 2008. District 4 encompasses East Pensacola Heights, most of Cordova Park, and about half of East Hill (pretty much everything surrounding Bayou Texar). With this blog, I will be sharing all types of information that I feel is pertinent to my constituents and fellow Pensacolians.

As a member of City Council, I serve as the vice chair of the Enterprise Operations committee, and a member of the Neighbourhood Services committee. As a member of the Enterprise Operations committee, I also serve on the Florida-Alabama Transportation Planning Organization. I've recently been appointed as Council's representative on the Bay Area Resource Council and the Escambia County Tourist Development Council.

Other than my college years at Florida State, I've lived in Pensacola since 1965. I was an Air Force brat who father, Larry Sr., was stationed here as an Air Force recruiter. I learned how to swim in Bayou Texar under a summer program offered by the City of Pensacola, back when water quality allowed it. I'm a small business owner, and I also serve on the board of directors of Emerald Coastkeeper, Inc. I've been involved with many other community organizations and causes.

I was very pleased to be appointed to the Enerprise Operations committee vice-chairmanship by Mayor Wiggins. I'm very interested in the operations of the Pensacola Gulf Coast Regional Airport, which is owned by the City. I'm also interested in the other entities that fall under the purview of Enterprise Operations — the Port of Pensacola, Energy Services of Pensacola, the Saengar Theatre, and the West Florida Public Library.

I will try to update this as often as possible, so I encourage you to check back occasionally. I look forward to all input, ideas, and considerations. You can comment on any post at this blog, or contact me via email at or by phone at (850) 449-1098.


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