News

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

Students whose families live in the Navy Federal area of Escambia County are gearing up to attend two brand new schools in the Beulah community.

Members of the media gathered at the school’s main lobby area on Wednesday, taking in that “new school smell.”

The school is 205,000 square feet under one roof  and cost $45 million, funded by the Local Option Sales Tax. Eventual student capacity will be around 1,200.

The first stop on the tour – led by Assistant Principal Marietta McCaskill – was a state-of-the art gymnasium for the Beulah Bears.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

Forty years after the first vision and about five years of preparation and delays, Pensacola’s ferry system is ready to shove off on Friday. The launch ceremony was held at Fort Pickens on Wednesday.

Dan Brown, Superintendent of Gulf Islands National Seashore, served as master of ceremonies.

“Today is proof that all the stars can align and dreams can come true,” said Brown. GINS is one of the three stops the two, 145-passenger ferries – Turtle Runner and Pelican Perch – will make on their triangular 45-minute voyages for pedestrians and bicycles.

WUWF Public Media

That proposed arena to replace the Pensacola Bay Center appears to be dead in the water for now. Proponents are setting their sights a bit lower, while others are considering another direction.

The 6,500 portion of the $80 million project was scuttled last week when the Escambia County Commission’s Committee of the Whole failed to get the needed votes to begin the application process to TRIUMPH – which is doling out BP oil spill money to selected projects.

Bob Barrett / WUWF News

It’s been four months since 17 people were killed and another 17 injured at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Since then, some students from that school have been traveling around the country asking for stronger gun laws and registering young people to vote.

UWF Innovation Institute

The University of West Florida is now offering its newest massive open online course (MOOC), Cross-Cultural Competency.

The nationwide course tackles sensitive subjects and helps participants learn how to navigate diverse people and environments encountered in their daily lives.

UWF

In this week's Gulf Stories Moment, Dr. Scott Keller, professor of marketing, supply chain logistics and economics at the University of West Florida, discusses how ports compete with each other along the Gulf of Mexico.

WUWF Public Media

On a 7-0 vote, the Pensacola City Council has approved a contract with Emerald Coast Utilities Authority, for the processing of recyclables.

City Council approval is but the first step. The proposal is scheduled to go before the ECUA Board on June 28. If approved, it would take effect on July 2, ending a nine-month period of no recycling service in Pensacola.

Jason Mahon / myflorida.com

Alex Hill was visiting Key West when he noticed droves of beachgoers drinking fresh coconut water straight from the source.

“The thing that really got my attention the most was how happy everybody was when they got them,” Hill said of Florida’s green coconuts. “You could just see their faces light up like a kid in a candy store.”

Hill, a junior at the University of West Florida, eventually decided to bring the Florida coconuts to the Panhandle, opening up a mobile kiosk in Harbor Walk Village in Destin and selling more than 1,000 coconuts in the just the first month.

waterfrontrescuemission.org

While most of us take a good pair of shoes for granted, for many others it’s a godsend. To that end, there’s a nationwide effort – including in Pensacola -- to provide shoes to the homeless.

From June 15 through July 16, Waterfront Rescue Mission is on “A Sole Mission.” All seven Waterfront thrift stores – along with numerous churches and businesses – are collecting footwear across northwest Florida and south Alabama.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

State and local officials have unveiled plans to improve safety along Cervantes Street in Pensacola. The first step is the installation of new lighting along the roadway.

“And, today we’re making the announcement that a two-and-a-half mile stretch is going to be lighted with 72 lights and it started today,” declared state Senator Doug Broxson of Gulf Breeze.

He made the announcement at a news conference Tuesday morning at the Brownsville Community Center as dozens of neighborhood children looked on.

"We have 400 thousand Brits who live in Florida" says David Prodger, who was appointed the British Consul General to the state in 2014, and is the senior UK official in the Consulate General, which is a subordinate office to the Embassy and is located in Miami. He is traveling the state talking about the special relationship between the UK and the Sunshine State, including here in the panhandle.

api.org

Despite repeated assurances that Florida waters will be exempt from a White House plan to expand oil and gas, proponents of drilling off the state’s coastline aren’t giving up.

“Explore Offshore” is a multi-state coalition that’s been formed by the Washington-based American Petroleum Institute. Its aim is to support the Trump administration’s plan to open parts of the now-protected Atlantic Ocean and eastern Gulf of Mexico.

Downtown Improvement Board

Three months after the start of a new parking system in downtown Pensacola, the Downtown Improvement Board’s Executive Director is stepping down.

Curt Morse announced his resignation at Tuesday's DIB meeting but gave no reason why. Chairman John Peacock says Morse actually submitted his resignation on June 6 and was placed on administrative leave for his final month on the job.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

Pensacola native Daniel “Chappie” James, Jr. rose to become the nation’s first African American four-star general. Now, the property where he grew up is now home to a museum and flight academy honoring his legacy.

bbb.org

Sweepstakes, lottery and prize schemes are targeting victims financially and emotionally with a number of methods that continue to evolve. That’s according to a new study by the Better Business Bureau.

Such scams took $117 billion out of the pockets of a half-million Americans and Canadians in 2017 – the actual totals are likely much higher. Tammy Ward at the BBB office in Pensacola says the scams’ origins are generally Jamaica, Costa Rica and Nigeria. More than 95% of reported fraud in Jamaica involves lottery or sweepstakes scams.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

After a year and a half of construction and years of talks and preparation before that, local officials and those from Singapore-based ST Engineering Aerospace celebrated the opening of the VT-MAE facility on Friday.

Ground was broken in October, 2016 at the on a 19 acre tract adjacent to Pensacola International Airport. Friday’s grand opening ceremony was held inside the 174,000 square foot hangar near its first customer -- a Boeing 757 from United Parcel Service.

Downtown Improvement Board

First, it was Spanish foodways, highlighting the discovery of the 1559 Luna Settlement.

This year’s Pensacola Repast dinner, held last month by the Downtown Improvement Board, explored the multicultural influences of what was cooking here two centuries ago, during the Early American period in the 1800’s.

Bob Barrett / WUWF News

Jersey Dees is a second grader at R.C. Lipscomb Elementary school, and one of the winners of the Global Corners annual essay contest. She read her winning entry to an audience of about 100 at the Global Corner’s Explorers Luncheon Tuesday at the Pensacola Yacht Club. The luncheon is a fund raiser and a way to mark the end of the school year.

University of West Florida

One of the ways Pensacola’s cultural heritage is celebrated is through the individual people who lived here generations ago.

A recent event highlighted the city’s culinary history through the lives of four unique and diverse women who made Pensacola their home in the early 1800’s.

We’re getting to know Victoire Le Sassier, Marianna Bonifay, Dorothy Walton, and Genevieve Ham. Their stories were featured during the 2018 Pensacola Repast event held May 6, downtown. 

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