News

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.

Escambia County residents have until July 19 to weigh in on how the more than $8 million in RESTORE Act money should be spent.

The 45-day public comment period is mandated under U.S. Treasury Department rules, in regard to ten projects that have been culled from the 124 submitted to the County Commission.

LIVE: Comey Hearing

Jun 8, 2017

House photo by Mark Foley

As the Florida Legislature prepares for a three-day special session beginning Wednesday, Governor Rick Scott is defending his record-setting budget vetoes.

Wielding the veto pen, the Governor cut out almost $12 billion from the new state budget, as part of a deal with House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Senate President Joe Negron to fund two of Scott’s pet projects.

Escambia County Sheriff's Office

The search for 12-year-old Naomi Jones has now shifted into a homicide investigation, following the discovery of her body Monday afternoon in Eight-Mile Creek.

Naomi’s body was located in the water around 4 p.m. by two local fishermen scouting a place to fish in the creek near the intersection of Detroit Boulevard and Ashland Avenue. The location was approximately four miles from her home at Aspen Village Apartments on East Johnson Avenue and one mile outside the main search area, which was a radius of 3 miles.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

Governor Rick Scott Monday held a pair of ceremonial signings, for legislation he signed for real last week to allow Triumph Gulf Coast to receive its first payment,$300 million, from the $1.5 billion BP oil spill settlement.

Gulf Power Company President Stan Connally kicked off the ceremony at Pensacola International Airport, after the event was moved from the VT-MAE construction site because of inclement weather.

Bob Barrett / WUWF News

There are a number of programs in place to help children with autism, both in schools and out. For adults, finding help gets tougher, especially for senior citizens.  However there is a program in Pensacola that caters to elders with developmental disabilities. "This (program) is unique. It was unique 30 years ago when it started and it remains unique" said Janet McIndewar, the Program Manager of the ARC Gateway Senior Adult Program. She says that in her travels around the state she has never come across a program for seniors with developmental disabilities like the one at ARC Gateway.

Michael Spooneybarger/ CREO

The highlight of the legislative session for Northwest Florida was agreement on a plan for distributing oil-spill settlement funds by Triumph Gulf Coast to the eight most affected counties. Phyllis Pooley, director of special projects with the University of West Florida’s Office of Economic Development and Engagement, has been reviewing the list of requirements for proposed projects and how they’ll be applied. She discussed them with WUWF’s Sandra Averhart.

Pat Bonish / Pat Bonish Photography

Last season’s storm surge in Cedar Key from Hurricane Hermine ranked in the top five, despite the category one storm staying more than 100 miles offshore. Even though winds never reached hurricane strength, life-threatening storm surge flooding still occurred.

Hurricane Specialist Jamie Rhome believes this is why the National Hurricane Center needed to create a new warning. It will be a Wireless Emergency Alert from the department of Homeland Security.

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