News

SAFER Santa Rosa

Work is underway in Santa Rosa County to help residents with property damage from severe weather, but who are ineligible for government assistance.

The program is called SAFER, Support Alliance for Emergency Readiness, and in a broad sense is the next generation of the Santa Rosa Long Term Recovery Organization which developed after Hurricanes Ivan and Dennis.

Michael Spooneybarger/ CREO

In an ever-evolving digital age, members of the U.S. Congress are increasingly using technology to communicate with their constituents.

But are they also using virtual communication as a way to avoid face-to-face interaction with the public?

Dr. Jocelyn Evans, associate dean in the College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities at the University of West Florida and Jessica Hayden, a UWF graduate, address those issues in their book “Congressional Communication in the Digital Age.”

Although the news these days tends to be depressing, there is good news if you know where to look. And one of those items is the resurgence of the book, both the electronic version and the old-fashioned kind printed on paper.

Pensacola Ice Flyers

For a second consecutive off-season, the Pensacola Ice Flyers have the “Help Wanted” sign hanging behind the bench.

Team owner Greg Harris announced Monday that Rod Aldoff would not be returning for the 2017-18 season.

“I had a feeling it was going to happen, but I wasn’t too sure,” said Harris. “I know it took a little longer than we had wanted to, but I fully respect his decision. We both knew when he came back in mid-February that it was only for that three-months or so to finish off the season, and we would reassess in May and June.”

FDOT

Governor Rick Scott made a stop in Pensacola Monday morning to talk about building bridges-- literally. Scott, along with many state and local officials gathered at the north end of the 3 Mile Bridge to talk about the bridge replacement project and its impact on the area. "A 398 million dollar project. As you might expect you had a lot of people making sure this bridge was done right." 

Courtesy, The Oplontis Project

Dr. Kristina Killgrove, a researcher from the University of West Florida, is preparing for the trip of a lifetime. She’s heading to Italy soon to study skeletal remains of victims of the 79 A.D. Mount Vesuvius volcano eruption.  

Killgrove is a biological anthropologist and assistant professor in UWF’s Anthropology Department. Her classes include Intro to Anthropology, Bioarchaeology, and Human Osteology.

Gulf Islands National Seashore

Three areas in Gulf Islands National Seashore remain closed due to the impact of Tropical Storm Cindy.

The three areas on Santa Rosa Island, Ft. Pickens, Santa Rosa, and Okaloosa, are still heavily inundated by the significant amount rain that’s fallen over the last couple of days.

Park spokesman Brent Everitt says the high waves and tides continue to push water across the roadways, causing a lot of issues in those areas. One of the problems is 3-6 inches of standing water over a three-mile stretch of Fort Pickens Road.

National Hurricane Center

Torrential rain from Tropical Storm Cindy continues to soak the Florida Panhandle and south Alabama. 

Some areas could see as much as ten inches of rain or more, but there could be some light at the end of the tunnel.

“Thursday is going to more partly sunny, very humid, very breezy with some squalls moving through,” said Meteorologist Jeff Huffman with the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network. But he adds that Cindy’s calling card is still out there for now.

National Hurricane Center

Closings, detours and advisories are the results of torrential rain that’s pelting northwest Florida – part of the system that is Tropical Storm Cindy.

A flash flood warning is in effect until 6:00 this evening; a tornado watch goes until 7:00 p.m.

“The band of heavy rain continues to come ashore; some of the heaviest rain is now shifting back. After moving to the east, is now moving back a little to the west,” said Jeff Huffman at the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network (FPREN).

School districts across Florida have turned out their latest crop of graduates. When it comes to graduation rates, the Escambia County School District has been working to catch up to the state and neighboring counties. For an update on how the district is doing, WUWF recently caught up with Superintendent Malcolm Thomas.

Michael Spooneybarger/ CREO

As technology evolves, so do cybersecurity threats.

Dr. Jacob Shively, assistant professor of government at the University of West Florida, recently received a GROW Institute grant from the UWF Office of Research and Sponsored Programs to begin to look at the implications of technology and security policy.

“My larger area of interest is national security and foreign policy, so naturally cyber-issues have become more and more prominent,” Shively said. “I started doing a lot of reading and wrote a paper on the topic and have recently written a research grant proposal.”

wuwf.org

Plans for a land swap between Escambia County and the U.S. Navy are moving forward, after unanimous approval by the County Commission to continue the project. 

Initially, the Navy was to give the landing field near Navy Federal Credit Union to Escambia County. In turn, the county would spend $1.9 million to buy a 600-acre tract in Santa Rosa County near Ard Field Road.

Another five million was earmarked for getting that property up to speed as a landing field. That extra cost placed the deal in jeopardy, until Monday’s special meeting.

Moto Electric Vehicles

The plug has been pulled on a plan to use electric trolleys in downtown Pensacola this summer. But that’s not necessarily the end of the line.

A half-dozen shuttles borrowed from Gulf Islands National Seashore were to have served the 39-block downtown area.

“Since the ferry service has been delayed a year, until spring 2018, we didn’t want those trams to just sit there unutilized. So we did reach out to the City of Pensacola, to see if they might have a need or an interest,” said GINS Director Dan Brown.

UWF

Despite the loss of $3 million in budget vetoes, the University of West Florida appears to be on solid footing heading into next fiscal year.

The 2017 legislative process was the first for UWF with Dr. Martha Saunders at the helm. After the dust settled from last week’s Special Session, WUWF invited President Saunders to discuss how the university fared.

University of West Florida

Almost a year after becoming a part of the University of West Florida, the Pensacola Museum of Art now has a new leader. Amy Bowman-McElhone is the new Director and Chief Curator at the museum. "I thought it was a really exciting opportunity especially with the museum coming under the preview of the university. And museums that bridge the community and the university audiences are my bread and butter, that's the space [where] I like to operate. So I thought that this was just an opportunity that I couldn't pass up."   

Two related articles got me to thinking recently, something that these days can be hazardous to your mental health. But, generally, I think that thinking is a good thing, so I decided to follow my neural pathways and see where it led.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

International Paper is off the hook with the feds, over last January’s explosion at its Cantonment plant.

The company will not be fined or otherwise sanctioned by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. In a letter sent to International Paper, OSHA confirmed that the cause of the blast was a buildup of gases in a pulp digester, which took out the device along with a power house.

Plant Manager Brett DeJong said just after the incident that the rupture caused the release of a mixture of wood, wood chips and a liquid known as “black liquor.”

Pensacola Blue Wahoos

Some of the best young players in professional baseball will be showcased in Pensacola next week as the Southern League All-Star Game comes to Blue Wahoo Stadium. It's been a long time between all-star games. 55 years ago the Pensacola Senators hosted the Alabama-Florida League All-Star Game at Admiral Mason Ballpark. Now the Southern League All-Star Game comes to Pensacola for the first time at Blue Wahoo Stadium. 

escambia.floridahealth.gov

Beginning next month, kids from low-income families in the western Panhandle will get better access to medical and dental care.

Sacred Heart Health System’s Pediatric Care Center is moving from its Pensacola campus to the Florida Department of Health-Escambia’s main office on West Fairfield, to join in a new partnership with Escambia Community Clinics.

“We’ve partnered with Sacred Heart on a couple of venues with residency, one being internal medicine, and then the OB-GYN,” said ECC Executive Director Chandra Smiley.

Michael Spooneybarger/ CREO

According to the most recent figures from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1 in 52 adults, or 4.7 million people, are on probation in the United States. In the Pensacola area, that number is more than 8,000 people.

Two University of West Florida Criminal Justice professors, Dr. Andrew Denney and Dr. Natalie Goulette, are offering students in their Community Corrections course a chance to learn not only effective techniques for managing offender behavior, but a chance to explore probation from the other side.

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