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Pensacola State College

What do Pensacola, Boston, Anchorage, Mobile, and Oklahoma City have in common? They’re among 20 communities now added to a White House program to retrain workers for "Twenty-First Century" jobs.

President Obama in March of last year, rolled out TechHire, an initiative powered by Opportunity-at-Work, a nationwide community based movement.

Michael Spooneybarger/CREO

The Holiday shopping season is officially underway and economists are predicting an increase of 3.6 percent in spending this year. John Hartman, a research scientist with UWF’s Haas Center, said there are many factors contributing to this year’s crowded stores.

“Unemployment is low, especially in the state of Florida. We see disposable income is up; our labor force participation rate is higher than it’s been last year,” Hartman said. “Everything is looking really good, especially with Florida we’re seeing this job growth that’s been sustained for the past couple of years.”

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper looks at the latest ADP report on job growth, talks about potential tax cuts in the Trump administration and what those reductions could mean for Northwest Florida.

Harper said the report from the ADP, the nation’s largest payroll processor, which comes out two days before the federal statistics on jobs that are released on the first Friday of every month, yielded “surprisingly good” results.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

For many, Pensacola State College is the first step towards acquiring a higher education. As of Wednesday, they’re getting a six-figure boost from Pen Air Federal Credit Union.

While the $100,000 gift represents a nice, round figure, it has another significance for the school. When the next class graduates in a couple of weeks, the number of graduates will exceed 100,000 since opening in 1948 as Pensacola Junior College.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

A year ago we were introduced to Brian LeBlanc. The Pensacola resident was diagnosed with early on-set Alzheimer’s in 2014 and he’s been sharing his story in hopes of raising awareness about the disease.

LeBlanc has been pretty busy lately, especially in November, which is National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.

On Saturday, November 12, LeBlanc drove himself to Seville Square in downtown Pensacola, where he and others in the community gathered for Covenant Care’s annual Walk for Alzheimer’s.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

Almost a year after a rally in Pensacola, a resumption of passenger rail service along the Gulf Coast remains on the table, with some progress reported.

Amtrak’s “Inspection Train” pulled into the Pensacola depot last February, originating from New Orleans with stops along the Panhandle before ending in Jacksonville. Along with a host of VIPs, officials with Amtrak and CSX were aboard, checking both the infrastructure and the public’s desire to resume service which was ended by Hurricane Katrina 11 years ago.

DKellerPublicity

Fans of NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me will be getting an early holiday gift this year as Paula Poundstone comes to the Saenger Theater in Downtown Pensacola for a night of stand-up. 

Paula Poundstone has been touring the U.S. since the early 80s and continues to find new places to come and, as she says, "tell her little jokes". She spoke with WUWF's Bob Barrett. Here are some of the highlights of their talk (but seriously, you really should listen...it's pretty funny stuff!)

In 2015, smoking among adults in Florida dropped to 15.8 percent, the lowest it has ever been. State health officials are celebrating the decline and giving much of the credit to passage of a constitutional amendment ten years ago.

In the late 1990's, Florida was one of just four states to craft its own multi-billion dollar settlement with the nation’s big tobacco companies. About a decade later, Florida voters approved a ballot measure mandating that the state use part of that money to provide a dedicated funding source for smoking prevention education.

After years of work, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission members have passed an imperiled species management plan. Regan McCarthy has more.

The imperiled species management plan addresses the conservation needs of 57 Florida species, including the Sherman Fox Squirrel, one of commission chair Brian Yablonski’s favorites.

 

FL Department of Economic Opportunity

Florida’s unemployment rate moved the wrong way from September to last month. State officials on Friday announced the state's jobless rate was 4.8 percent in October, compared to 4.9 in September, remaining slightly lower than the national jobless rate of 4.9 percent. The rate has hovered around that for much of this year.

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper looks at the unexpected boost in retail sales, the underestimated Chinese/U.S. trade relationship, how uncertainty is affecting Florida’s budget, and growth on Nine Mile Road.

U.S. retail sales rose .08 percent in October, which was better than anticipated. But Harper said that there was other good news that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Google Maps

After years of neglect and pollution, work is underway to restore Carpenter Creek. Organizers are looking for a little help from their friends, and others.

Originating from a spring north of I-10, the creek meanders through Pensacola, especially the northeast portion, and empties into Bayou Texar. It’s been the victim of neglect for decades, but one local official wants to change that.

Pensacola City Councilwoman Sherri Myers says today, Carpenter Creek is considered an impaired body of water.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

In 2010, Addison Russell led Pace High School to the Class 5A state baseball championship. Just six years later, he helped the Chicago Cubs win the World Series for the first time in over 100 years.

The high school plans to honor Russell on November 29. On Tuesday, he was presented with the key to the city of Pensacola.

Webster PR

At this year’s Country Music Association awards ceremony, Dolly Parton was presented a lifetime achievement award. She has already been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Songwriters hall of Fame. After the CMA’s she talked about her career. "I love what I do and I hope to be doing it from now on and I hope they don't think that because they gave me a Lifetime Achievement Award that they thought I was done!"

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

Escambia County Commissioner Grover Robinson announced Wednesday he will not seek re-election when his current term expires in 2018.

First elected to District-4 in 2006, Robinson recently stepped down from his second stint as chairman when Commissioner Doug Underhill took over in the rotation. So, why announce two years in advance?

“I’d like as much time as possible for good people in District-4 Escambia County to be able to figure out whether they want to seek election in two years,” said Robinson.

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