October 2023


PCB Highway Construction Takes Off

 By Ed Offley The orange traffic signs are up everywhere on the Panama City Beach “island.” Don’t expect their removal anytime soon. From Clara Avenue to the Lake Powell Bridge in unincorporated Bay County, the Panama City Beach Parkway (US 98) this month has turned into a ten-mile construction zone as the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) launches a multi-year widening of the roadway from four to six lanes in addition to interim road improvements west of SR 79. Meanwhile, the Panama City Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) has begun work to elevate and improve Alf Coleman Road between the parkway and Hutchinson Boulevard which will result in the closure of the street to through traffic for the next ten months. For both FDOT and the CRA, this is only the tip of the iceberg. City and state highway officials are beginning what promises to be at least a decade of disruption and traffic congestion throughout the “island” as they carry out a multi-million-dollar series of projects aimed at curing the area’s worsening gridlock. Designed for a capacity of 45,000 vehicles each day, the four-lane parkway linking Walton County and Panama City regularly experiences daily peak traffic exceeding 80,000 vehicles. “We needed this project five or more years ago,” Mayor Mark Sheldon told PCB Life earlier this year. “Panama City Beach Parkway is over its capacity, and it has been for some time. Two additional lanes are desperately needed to enable traffic to keep flowing.” The initial phase of the... Read More

Let’s Get Growing with Julie: Florida Master Gardener Volunteers 

 By Julie McConnell, UF/IFAS Extension The title “Florida Master Gardener” is not just a catchy name for someone who knows a lot about gardening; this designation is a hard-earned certification with annual investment of time by each dedicated volunteer. To become a UF/IFAS Extension Master Gardener Volunteer each person must apply for the program when recruitment is open in their home county. The application process includes a background check, competitive selection process, and an interview. If accepted as a trainee, the recruit will attend over 50 hours of volunteer training, then volunteer 75 hours in the first year to certify as a Master Gardener Volunteer. To maintain this certification the volunteer must meet minimum volunteer and continuing education requirements every year. Involvement in this program takes a great deal of commitment on behalf of the volunteers, faculty and staff. Santa Rosa County Master Gardener Volunteer Sally Mank Recognized For 35 Years Of Service UF/IFAS Extension Master Gardener Volunteers have dedicated thousands of hours to learning about Florida Friendly Landscaping Practices and sharing that knowledge with Florida residents and visitors. These specially trained volunteers help the Horticulture Agent tremendously by providing one-on-one consultations, teaching to groups, and participating in youth development activities on behalf of the University of Florida. Bay County Master Gardener Volunteers Steve Bates And Janet Psikogios Honored For 25 Years Of Service On September 27, Master Gardener Volunteers from the Florida Panhandle attended the Northwest District Regional Master Gardener Volunteer continuing education conference in Panama City. During this... Read More

The Chilling Symphony: Creating Scary Music

 Music has the power to evoke a wide range of emotions, from joy and sadness to excitement and fear. One of the most intriguing and spine-tingling aspects of music is its ability to send shivers down our spines and make our hearts race. Scary music has a unique ability to tap into our deepest fears and transport us to a world of suspense. Let’s explore the world of scary music and delve into how certain note combinations are masterfully crafted to create a bone-chilling sound. Music often relies on dissonant note combinations to create an unsettling and ominous atmosphere. Dissonance is the clash between two or more notes which makes listeners feel uneasy or on edge. The use of dissonance is a fundamental technique that composers employ to send shivers down the spines of their audiences. One of the most famous examples of dissonance is the tritone. The tritone is a distance between two notes known for its unsettling and diabolical sound such as the piano’s white key notes of F to B (known as the augmented 4th). Composers such as Richard Wagner and Igor Stravinsky used the tritone to great effect in their compositions, infusing their music with a sense of dread and foreboding. Another essential element is the use of minor keys which evoke feelings of sadness, melancholy, or fear. The use of minor chords and dissonant intervals can create a haunting and chilling sound that lingers in the listener’s mind. One of the most iconic examples is... Read More

Surfside Middle School Academy

 By Matt Pitts, Principal of Surfside A need has been met for many Panama City Beach families with the opening of the Surfside Middle School Academy! The Academy consists of four classrooms of students with intellectual disabilities from kindergarten to age 22. Many of these students previously attended Margaret K. Lewis School in Millville. Students were spending one to two hours per day on the bus to get to school, and the district knew they needed a solution. Principal Matt Pitts of Surfside Middle School heard about the need and graciously offered a portion of his campus. The campus allows for new experiences for our students with disabilities where they can be integrated with middle school students. Surfside is the first school in Bay County to start the Best Buddies program. Best Buddies is a club where our middle school students are matched and have frequent opportunities to spend time with an SMS Academy student in order to build a culture of acceptance on campus and help with social skills. Students who have joined this nationally known club in the past have created lifelong friendships and some even find a career path in Special Education. The post Surfside Middle School Academy appeared first on PCB Life | Panama City Beach News, Events and Community Information.  Read More

A Minister’s Message: Why did Jesus Teach in Parables?

 By Dr. Kerry Knight, Emerald Beach Church of Christ Even the disciples of Jesus posed the question as to why He chose to teach the masses in parables rather than just teaching a direct and clear message. His answer sounds a little odd on the surface, but He makes it clear. To His inquiring disciples He said, “To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that seeing they may not see, And hearing they may not understand” (Luke 8:10). In short, what He is saying has to do with having the right heart. The Pharisees and the Scribes had ulterior motives for following Jesus as He taught. They were looking to find any possible way to discredit Him or catch Him in some critical words regarding Rome or the Sanhedrin. They weren’t listening to his message, and that’s why Jesus said, “Let who has ears to hear, let HIM hear.” The meaning of the word “parable” is from the Greek word, parabole, which means to lay or cast a well-known action, person, or part of nature, beside a truth. A parable is a story that engages the listener and brings them to understand a deeper truth. A good example would be the parable of the sower. Everyone is well acquainted with growing a crop. The main points would be the sower, the seed, and the different conditions of the soil. Jesus tells the story... Read More

Community Contributions Can Help PCB Schools Thrive

 By Mark McQueen, Bay District Schools Superintendent It’s no secret that parental involvement is one of the key indicators of student success. And it gives me great pleasure to note that our beach schools enjoy extraordinary parental support. While everyone is busy, and it’s tough to find even five extra minutes some days, parents/guardians can support our schools in so many simple ways. With this in mind, I want to take a few minutes this month to talk about a few of those. Elevate Bay/Take Stock Mentors: Elevate Bay and Take Stock in Children are always looking for mentors who work one-on-one, or in small groups, with students who need just a little extra guidance. If you’re interested in either of those programs, please call us at (850) 767-4100 and ask for either program. While both programs have similar goals, Elevate Bay mentors primarily work with our elementary and early middle school students. Take Stock in Children, coordinated by the Bay Education Foundation, focuses more on high school students preparing for college. Classroom Volunteers: Our schools are always looking for classroom volunteers and those who would like to volunteer at school-sponsored events like Book Fairs, Fall Festivals, and other celebrations. If you’re interested in volunteering in one of these capacities, please contact your child’s principal or the school principal closest to your place of employment or your home. Even an hour a week can make a HUGE difference. Chaperones: Field trips and special events often need additional chaperones, and we’d... Read More