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The Firecracker 5K Helps Keep Families Comfortable When Times Get Tough
By: Kelly Woodard

Hit the pavement to send hard times for families with sick children on the run as the Northwest Florida’s Ronald McDonald House presents the annual Firecracker 5K next Saturday, July 4
th at Seville Quarter in downtown Pensacola.
All proceeds will benefit the Northwest Florida’s Ronald McDonald House, located at 5200 Bayou Blvd, helps house families with sick children a home away from home while referred to Pensacola for life saving care. In-hospital treatment may last one day, one year, or even longer. The House provides a comfortable, supportive alternative to costly hotels or unforgiving hospital chairs.
It serves as a temporary residence near the four local hospitals and rehab centers that treat children with life-threatening or rare illnesses offering family members a place to sleep, eat, relax and find support with other families in similar situations.
The race begins at 7:30 am at 130 East Government Street and will continue on throughout the historic downtown streets. Free food and beverages will be provided for all participants, and the first 1000 to register will receive a commemorative Firecracker 5K t-shirt and the first 500 registered will also receive a commemorative tote bag.
Awards will be given for top runners, walkers, and wheelchair racers overall and in each age division. Divisions will include Overall Male and Female, Master Male and Female (40+), Grandmaster Male and Female (50+), Senior Grandmaster Male and Female (60+), and the top three runners, walkers, and wheelchair participants in each age category.
Wear your favorite patriotic gear or get your team in the spirit of Independence Day! There will be awards for the most patriotic, most creative, and best team costumes.
After the race, join Ronald McDonald House in the courtyard at Seville Quarter for a party with music, refreshments, prize give aways, and more!
Entry fees are $27 per runner until July 2nd and go up to $32 on race day. Get a team of 10+ together and each person receives $5 off the entry fee. To register, visit www.active.com and fill out the electronic registration form, or register the morning of the race (July 4th) at Seville Quarter between 6 and 7 am.
After the race, there will be a ‘Rock Our Socks’ kids fun run, where even the little ones can get in on the fun! The ‘Rock Our Socks’ fun run is free, although you are encouraged to purchase the special red & white socks for the ‘Rock Our Socks Fun Run; to raise more money for the NWF Ronald McDonald House charity. For more information on how to purchase these commemorative socks, please visit www.werunwild.com.
As a non-profit organization, the Ronald McDonald House needs your donations to provide for these children and families in need. Volunteers and donations are always appreciated. For more information on the Firecracker 5K or how to get involved or donate, visit
www. rmhc-nwfl.org.
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Community Is Outraged After Police Dog Dies In Hot Car, No Charges Filed
By: Kelly Woodard

People all over the gulf coast are outraged after news that a Gulf Shores Police Department facility dog died after his handler left him in a hot vehicle.
Corporal Josh Coleman of the Gulf Shores Police Department said he left the dog, named Mason, in his vehicle during a hurricane preparation conference although witnesses say that Mason was at one point inside the building. Coleman says he walked to his patrol car, returned to the conference and then “forgot” that Mason was in the car.
While Mason was not an enforcement K-9, he did serve as the Community Relations dog for Gulf Shores Police. Police say because of this, his handler's car wasn't equipped with heat alarms, water bowls and other protective measures that would exist in a K-9 handler's vehicle.
Coleman and the Gulf Shores Police Department are not discussing how long Mason was left in the vehicle before the officer returned to find him in extreme distress. Coleman said he rushed Mason to a local vet and was then transferred to an advanced facility in Pensacola where police say he was treated aggressively for his condition.
Police said there were hopeful signs of improvement Friday morning, but his condition started to deteriorate that evening. At 11:00 pm Friday night, Mason passed away after going into respiratory failure.
While the Gulf Shores Police Department said it plans to take sanctions against Coleman, the department and District Attorney's office agrees there will be no criminal charges filed. Gulf Shores police spokesman Sgt. Jason Woodruff sympathized with Coleman, saying in a statement, “This situation has been devastating for Cpl. Coleman and his family and we hope that they are able to work through their understandable emotions. This is a tragic occurrence that has left the entire organization mourning a terrible loss.”
Word of Mason’s death quickly made national news, and many are outraged that Coleman will not face criminal charges.
Jamie McDonald of Orange Beach said of the Gulf Shores Police Department’s stance on the incident, “If this was a citizen who was not protected behind a badge, it would likely not be considered a “tragic occurrence” deserving of sympathy, but a criminal occurrence partnered with animal cruelty charges. He should, at the very least, be terminated immediately.”
Erin Davies of Gulf Shores agreed, saying, “Any normal person would be charged with animal cruelty, even if the animal survived. Why is Officer Coleman any different? The bottom line is, Mason is gone, and it’s 100% his responsibility.”
Jeffrey Peterson of Perdido Key said that, while the department will relieve Coleman of criminal charges, he also feels that his duties as a police officer in the area should be over. “I just don’t see how anyone can be so careless as to “forget” a child or an animal in the car. Especially when we are talking about a police officer. We don’t need careless officers like that. They are supposed to be responsible enough to “protect and serve”, but Coleman didn’t even protect his partner. Mason depended on him, and he caused him to die a slow, painful, unnecessary death.”
Woodruff went on to say in the statement, “It also illustrates how easy it is to become distracted, and how quickly heat can affect those that we love that are particularly vulnerable to it. Please keep this in mind when transporting children, pets, or the elderly.”
Sadly, this is not an isolated incident regarding police and service animals. In 2007, Miami-Dade police Sgt. Allen Cockfield was charged with animal cruelty after prosecutors determined a kick he administered to his German shepherd Duke during a training session was a fatal blow. Cockfield was later acquitted at trail.
Then in March 2008, another officer in the same department, Rondal Brown, was arrested and charged with animal cruelty after his bloodhound Dynasty starved to death. Brown was allowed to leave the force on his own and agreed to serve probation.
Then just several weeks ago, 13-year veteran of the police force in Miami-Dade County, Officer Nelson Enriquez, killed two police dogs in his care by leaving them locked in his SUV for 5 hours in the midday sun. He offered no explaination, and so far no criminal charges have been filed against him.
As for Coleman, Woodruff said he will be dealt with privately within the department, and hopes that this is an eye-opener to everyone about the dangerous effects of the summer heat.
Peterson said, “This is just another example of when a crime is committed behind the thin blue line, it is a “tragic accident” that no one pays for but the victim. Mason deserved a long happy life. The least they could do is serve justice in his name.”
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Donald Trump's Circus Act
Making Sense by Michael Reagan

Poor Jeb.

He's Donald Trump's first Republican victim, but he won't be his last.

On Monday Bush officially declared he was a Republican candidate for president, something everyone knew was coming.

Jeb gave a serious, by-the-book announcement speech, explaining his many qualifications, making his claim that he's a true conservative and promising to make America great again.

It was boringly Bush, and maybe a little too moderate for hardline conservatives. But it was mature and dignified. Presidential even.

The mainstream media gave Jeb token coverage for about a day. Some were especially impressed by his fluency in Spanish.

But then on Tuesday the one-man, one-ring, Donald Trump circus rolled into Republican town.

The Donald wasted no time proving to everyone why he should not be president. He also proved why he's going to spell trouble for the GOP primary process.

Winging it without a written speech or a Teleprompter, Trump mangled lots of facts about the economy, attacked Republicans Jeb and Marco Rubio, offended the Mexican nation and admitted proudly that he was absurdly rich and ready to spend millions electing himself.

Entertaining and scary at the same time, Trump was a speeding political train wreck before he got a chance to leave the station.

He said horrible and untrue things about illegal Mexican immigrants, saying they were mostly criminals and murderers while admitting only "some of them may be good people."

Yet Trump surely hit some nerves when he said we've become a country of losers because our leaders are a bunch of losers who can't get it right in Iraq, Iran, Washington or anywhere else.

And who's going to argue with the Donald when he says the Chinese are winning every trade deal we make with them? Or that we're stuck with crumbling Third World airports like LAX and LaGuardia.

It was Trump in all his self-powered glory.

The media began bashing and mocking him immediately, mainly by merely repeating some of the dumb or outlandish things he blurted.

Trump is not the Ross Perot of 2016. Perot was a serious businessman who wanted to fix the economy and balance the federal budget.

Trump is a vanity candidate. He's also the wild-and-crazy GOP guy the liberal media have been praying for.

Jon Stewart — whose progressive shtick on the "Daily Show" usually reflects the worst ideas and values of the Democrat faithful — thanked the heavens for Trump's decision to run.

The Donald is a gift that will keep Hollywood's comedy sector supplied with a steady stream of material guaranteed to get laughs and always reflect poorly on Republicans.

Another thing. When Trump's on the stage, he becomes the center of attention and sucks the air out of the room with his wild and crazy personality. 

Trump might actually possess some right answers for dealing with the legacy of problems the Obama gang will leave behind.

But he will not be able to get anything done because to fix things in government, you have to know how to work with other people.

Trump doesn't. He's a solo act, an ego in chief, an order-giving business exec. He isn't used to negotiating or working with others.

Everyone knows Trump can't win. He knows it too. He's a dangerous distraction and a stain on the GOP brand, but conservatives stuck with him.

For him the 2016 GOP primary is just another TV reality show. But this time it's a show with real consequences, domestically and internationally.

He'll create lots of late-night laughs. He might even force substantive candidates to address important subjects they'd prefer to dodge, like immigration reform.

But as long as Trump's in the race, he can only hurt the Republican cause, whether it's by making the party's primary process look like a clown convention or bumping someone smart and fiery like Carly Fiorina off the TV debate stage.

The Donald and his multi-billions have crashed the GOP's exclusive 2016 party for now. But in the long run, he'll be the joker who'll be trumped.
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

This week, unless you’ve been an ostrich with your head in the sand, you’ve heard about nothing but racism, gun control, and the South Carolina church shootings. Normally a debate I would rather stay away from, I found myself extremely passionate about the subject this week. Not because I agree with one side or another, but because I believe we are all missing the real point. Racism exist because of our society and guns and don’t kill people….psychos kill people.
Now, I’m not here to say that Dylann Roof wasn’t a racist or a foul human being for that matter, because he is. Anyone who can commit such a heinous crime fueled by hate is guilty of that. But instead of saying his act was purely based on race, pitting us against one another, let’s dig deeper.
It’s so easy for us to say that his act was caused by his radical views on race, but we need to remember where that comes from. A child isn’t born into this world a racist. We create them. We create them with our own bigoted ideas. We create them by ganging up on one another simply because of the color of our skin or because of an act like the Charleston massacre.
Instead of pointing fingers at each other and blaming the rage and hate that exist between different groups in this nation, take a look the people you know. Now take a look at yourself. I’ll admit….as I watch media coverage on these subjects whether it be riots, shootings, courtroom injustice, etc….it’s hard sometimes not to form an opinion.
When you see and hear people scorning, accusing, and implying something about you simply based on your race, your immediate reaction is to become defensive or even angry. I mean how can someone assume that I am part of the problem when they haven’t even met me? How can someone group me into such a disgusting group of people that I have nothing in common with other than the color of my skin? Frustration turns to anger, anger turns to hate, and voila….you have racism. To say that it doesn’t exist in every culture in America is false. Black, white, Asian, Latino….we are all guilty.
Now I’m not saying that everyone in whole wide world is a racist, I’m simply saying that racism exists in people of all ethnicities. And the reason it still exists today? Because we allow it to. Instead of taking that frustration and anger and directing it towards one group as a whole, start making assumptions based on the individuals you meet. If you meet five white people you dislike….well, maybe those five white people were just all jerks. It doesn’t mean ALL white people are jerks. Met five black people who you didn’t like….again, maybe those particular people just suck at life.
My point is, racism will exist until we start seeing people for who they are as individuals. It will exist until we let our anger go towards one another and start teaching our children to respect EVERYONE. It will exist until we stop using it as a scapegoat to segregate ourselves instead of coming together to stamp out the true evil in this world. Haven’t you heard “It takes a village to raise a child”? Well wake up people, because we are all the village and these are all our children to raise.
Dylann Roof, like so many other awful people out there, was a product of his environment. He wasn’t born with hatred in his heart. Someone put it there, because they had hate put into their heart, and so on and so on. It’s a vicious cycle that we ALL must make changes in order to stop.
As for gun control, I’ll touch on it briefly, but I won’t beat a dead horse. Here’s how I see it…..in this country you have two choices. You can own a gun if you want to, or you can not own a gun because you don’t like them. It’s your prerogative. But let’s be clear…..guns don’t kill people. People make a conscious choice to take someone’s life.
In a perfect world where you could eliminate every gun, gun control would work. But taking away the rights of law abiding citizens to own one won’t keep them out of the hands of criminals. We outlawed drugs, and you see how well that worked out.
And let’s not forget that even in a world without guns, murder will always occur. I mean, Cain killed Abel with a rock, so whatever works, right? We can’t go around banning every blunt object, (or sharp one for that matter), to eliminate crime. You have to put the blame where it belongs, the individual person behind the weapon.
We have become a society of finger pointing, overly-sensitive, whiners who would rather hate each other and take away rights and freedoms rather than do the work to come together and stop the real problems. To ask your children to be color-blind is stupid and unrealistic. Besides, our differences are what make us interesting. Instead, raise your children to embrace our differences and respect one another. Teach them the value of all living things. Bugs, plants, animals, and humans….we all have our place, and we are all important. Teach them to be gentle, compassionate, and instill the need to want to help others. This is how we keep another Ferguson or Charleston from happening.
Spewing more and more hate via the media is like throwing a billion gallons of gasoline on an already dangerous fire. A fire that, until it’s put out, will burn us all so badly that we won’t recognize what’s left of our once great nation.