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In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the importance of the Fourth of July holiday weekend to local beach tourism and his latest viewpoint on wage growth.

First, visitors and locals alike will be celebrating Independence Day across the gulf coast this weekend.

According to Harper, the forward looking indicators are very strong.

“We’re seeing low gas prices, lowest they’ve been really in about five years,” he said. “We’re also seeing job growth.”

Many Americans will celebrate the nation’s 239th birthday this weekend with two holiday staples: cookouts and fireworks. Officials are urging everyone to use caution around both.

Dorothy Lee with the Escambia County Extension Service says keeping it safe at that summer cookout begins with the basics.

“Making sure that your hands are clean, all utensils are clean, cooking surfaces are clean,” said Lee. “Bacteria multiplies rapidly at room temperature, and most food-borne illness-causing bacteria cannot grow at temperatures below 40 degrees, or above 140 degrees.”

Danielle Freeman

Americans will be celebrating the nation’s 239th birthday this weekend; many will be headed to the beach. The Okaloosa Beach Safety Unit shared some tips on how to enjoy the sun, sand and surf in a safe way.

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center / https://flic.kr/p/7Zja6s

Five Gulf Coast states, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas, will share $18.7 billion from BP in the largest court settlement in U.S. history. If approved, this would end years of litigation over the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

University of West Florida

  The University of West Florida officially announced a new partnership Quint and Rishy Studer to bring a new business incubator to Pensacola. 

Photo via Flickr// Karen Dorsett / https://flic.kr/p/6Hf7Pj

The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office is hosting a special conference Thursday, on “Security in the Place of Worship.”

In the wake of the shooting that killed nine worshipers inside Emanuel AME Church, fires at six other churches with African-American ties have been reported in the Carolinas, Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida.

Bob Barrett / WUWF News

If you’re heading to the beach this holiday weekend, remember you’re not just sharing the shoreline with friends, family and fish. Take the time to watch out for shore birds.

Photo via Flickr// haljackey / https://flic.kr/p/9ykzJ8

The number of  Americans hitting the road this Independence Day weekend is expected to be up 0.07% compared to last year, according to AAA.

The auto club projects 41.9 million people will travel 50 miles or more from their homes during the holiday weekend, which runs from Wednesday July 1 to Sunday July 5. AAA’s Mark Jenkins says 85%, or about 35 million travelers, will drive to their destinations.

Three firms seeking to develop Hawkshaw, a two-acre vacant lot in downtown Pensacola, will pitch their ideas to the City Council on July 1st. The Council will be acting as the Community Redevelopment Agency.

The three finalists are the ITEX Group from Port Arthur, Texas and two local companies: Granger Development and Whitesell-Green/H+H Building Group. The CRA issued a request for proposals (an RFP) last year for plans and bids for purchase. The three firms are offering between $1 million and $1.3 million to buy the property, which has been appraised at $1.8 million.

Governor Rick Scott last week cut $461 million in spending from the new budget that takes effect on Wednesday, including $82 million for the Panhandle. But there’s still a substantial chunk of change heading this way.

Northwest Florida will get an estimated $678 million for projects in areas such as transportation, economic development, the environment, the arts, and education.

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