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  Audiences can hear the University of West Florida’s Symphonic Band at the Music Department’s first spring concert. The free event is at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb, 23, at the Little Theatre in downtown Pensacola’s historic district. 

The 42-member ensemble will feature “Symphony No. 1 The Lord of the Rings” by Johan DeMeij. The five-movement work written for band is based on the J.R.R. Tolkien trilogy.

Students continue the rehearsals they started in January, and many of them appreciate the musical intricacies of the piece and have an appreciation for the composer. 

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In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses testimony by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on the state of the economy before the House of Representatives, the African-American job gap and how job growth has slowed locally.


Not surprisingly, Yellen, who spoke on Feb. 10, had to answer partisan economic questions from both sides of the aisle in this election year, according to Harper.


Okaloosa County

Regional Air Carrier GLO announced this week that they soon will be soaring into Northwest Florida, providing low-cost, non-stop service from New Orleans, LA and Little Rock, AR.  

For the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport, this is the second partnership with a new airline to be announced in less than a month.

Tracy Stage has been the Okaloosa County Airport’s Interim Director since October of 2015. His tenure has been short, but exciting.

In January, VPS added Allegiant Air with seasonal nonstop flights from Cincinnati, OH and St. Louis, MO.

My Florida Pre Paid

If you plan on saving for a loved one’s college education, time is running out to get started. The Florida Pre Paid College Program is winding down their current open enrollment period. Shannon Colavecchio is a spokesperson for Florida Pre Paid. She says the plan is a good way for a family to save for a child's education. "It allows you to (lock it tuition costs) at today's rate. And then you can start paying, most people do monthly, toward that ultimate tuition cost."

Michael Spooneybarger/ CREO

Police and public interactions have been under scrutiny as more departments across the country require video surveillance of officers, first with vehicle mounted dash-cams and more recently body worn cameras, or BWCs.

Three major bridge projects in the Pensacola area are underway, including replacement of the 56-year-old span linking Pensacola to Gulf Breeze.

Construction began last September on two of the projects. Ian Satter at the Florida Department of Transportation says one involves the widening of, and improvements to, the Escambia Bay Bridge on Interstate-10.

Pensacola City Administrator Eric Olson’s out with some details about two issues going on at City Hall. One involves the Fire Department, the other deals with personnel policy.

City Administrator Eric Olson says the issues are not related, despite some media reports to the contrary.

“I like to look at it like there are two boxes – one is a box labeled ‘Investigation,’ and another is a box labeled ‘HR Manual,’” said Olson. “But that doesn’t mean that they’re in anyway linked. They just arrived on the same day.”

Michael Spooneybarger/ CREO

Dozens of adults marched like soldiers, waddled like penguins and pretended to climb invisible ladders inside the Bayview Center during a recent Saturday morning.

Why such playfulness? They were preschool caregivers, and they were wiggling for University of West Florida professors Debra Vinci and Christopher Wirth. The official name of the program is “Let’s Wiggle With 5 2 1 0: Promoting Physical Activity and Healthy Eating in Childcare Settings.”

Needing the revenue it would generate, the Santa Rosa County Commission is looking at how to sell a one-cent sales tax increase to voters.

The sales tax in Santa Rosa County is currently 6.5%. The proposed increase would bump that to 7.5%, and help pay for a wish list that’s rather daunting such as a new judicial center to replace the current facility that opened in 1927.

The Gulf Breeze City Council is expected to discuss the prospect of term limits for themselves and the Mayor this week.

The proposal is to limit Council members to eight years, a pair of four-year terms, and the Mayor to four years, a couple of two-year terms. It’s the brainchild of Mayor Pro Tempore, Joe Henderson.

Photo via Flickr// CharlieBoy808 /

Old Man Winter’s expected to stick around at least until mid-week, and many residents are seeking ways to stay a bit warmer. The key is not just staying warm – but staying warm safely.

Each winter, there are a few days where northwest Florida chills out – literally. Dave Eversole at the National Weather Service in Mobile says at- or below-freezing temperatures and wind chills will be the norm over the next few nights, after temperatures plummeted late last week.


Mike Ensley loves talking about Pensacon. Going into its third year, the gathering of science fiction and comic books and cosplay and pop culture in general fans continues to exceed the organizer’s expectations. This year, a new venue has been added to the event. "We've always had the Pensacola Bay Center and the Crowne Plaza Hotel. We added the Saenger Theater last year and this year we the Rex Theater.

The return of winter weather the next few days is opening the doors to cold weather shelters across the Florida Panhandle.

Lows Friday evening are expected to drop to near freezing, and not much of a rise on Saturday night according to Dave Eversole at the National Weather Service in Mobile.

“We’re getting a really big chance in the Jet Stream pattern over the central and eastern United States,” says Eversole. “Which is allowing for surges of progressively colder air to move down into the region.”

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In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses a recent column by Haas Center Director Zach Jenkins, which looks at affordable housing for low-income families and what factors are affecting the rise in the cost of renting versus buying.


Harper said the issue is something the Haas Center has been following for quite some time and that Jenkins’ piece focuses on families who rent – and the findings are discouraging.


Photo via Flickr// Fairfax County /

Florida Governor Rick Scott addressed the media Thursday about the state’s response to the Zika virus.  One day after declaring a health emergency in four Florida counties, including Santa Rosa County, the governor, standing next to State Surgeon General Dr. John Armstrong, laid out the state’s plan to combat the virus, beginning with making sure there are enough kits available to test for active cases of the disease.