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In our third installment of “1968: Year of Discontent,” just two months after the slaying of Martin Luther King, there’s another murder of an iconic American figure during his run for the White House.

On March 16, 1968 – U.S. Sen. Robert Kennedy of New York made it official, announcing his entry into the race.

“I run because I am convinced that this country is on a perilous course, and because I have such strong feelings about what must be done, and I feel that I’m obliged to do all that I can.”

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

The 2018 Atlantic hurricane season is now officially underway. The six-month season runs from June 1 to November 30.

This year, emergency managers across Florida didn’t have to wait until June to deal with a tropical event as Subtropical Storm Alberto showered much of the state with rain as it tracked toward the Pensacola area for several days before drifting eastward and making a Monday landfall in Panama City.

UWF

Santa Rosa Island Authority

Three weeks into the 2018 season, the first sea turtle nests soon will begin to appear on area beaches.

Locally, Gulf Islands National Seashore is responsible for protecting and managing nests within the seashore and on Pensacola Beach. This year, GINS is implementing new sea turtle nesting protocols that limit human interaction.

Sacred Heart Pediatrics

A new study from The Centers for Disease Control shows more children than ever are being diagnosed with autism. As recently as 2002, the CDC reported the number of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder was one in 150. Since then, the number has been growing and in a new report issued in April, the number of children with autism at age 8 has reached one in 59.

Pensacola SOS/Facebook

There’s no shortage of historic buildings in Pensacola, and a newly-formed group wants to make sure it stays that way.

SOS – Save Our Structures – has its roots in the razing of the John Sunday House, which was built in 1901 by John Sunday -- a prominent African-American leader and architect in Pensacola. It was razed in 2016, says SOS co-founder Teniade Broughton, despite its historical, architectural, and cultural importance.

NextEra Energy

Florida Power and Light’s footprint across Florida could be getting bigger, through a proposed deal in which its parent firm would buy Pensacola-based Gulf Power Company as part of a $6.5 billion package.

Jim Robo, Chairman and CEO of NextEra Energy, spoke with shareholders on Monday.

“NextEra has agreed to acquire Gulf Power; Florida City Gas, and ownerships stakes in the Oleander and Stanton natural as power plants,” Robo said in a conference call.

NextEra will acquire 100 percent of the Oleander plant near Cocoa, and 65 percent of Stanton near Orlando.

In a major move in the state’s utility industry, the parent company of Florida Power and Light is acquiring Gulf Power Company as part of a $6.5 billion dollar deal.

NextEra Energy plans to buy Gulf Power, along with ownership interests in two Southern Company power plants – Oleander near Cocoa, and Stanton Energy Center near Orlando. NextEra wants to buy a 100 percent interest in Plant Oleander, and 65 percent of Stanton.

Florida City Gas rounds out the package. It serves about 110 thousand natural-gas customers in Miami-Dade, Brevard, St. Lucie and Indian River counties.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is out with its 2017 Boating Accident Statistical Report, in time for National Safe Boating Week, which runs through Saturday.

Florida had 766 boating accidents last year, a seven percent rise from 2016, but there was no jump in fatalities -- 67 as with the previous year. Operator’s inattention was the leading cause of the 261 reported collisions among other accidents, and drowning was the most prevalent cause of death.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

It began as the annual hurricane drill by Gulf Power Company Wednesday morning. But participants were thrown a curveball that a major league pitcher would have been proud of.

The original scenario: Hurricane Irma-2, a Category-3 storm, is bearing down on the Gulf Coast.

“When we got into the briefing room, we found out that the hurricane had made a [sic] easterly turn and was going out into the Atlantic,” said Gulf Power spokesman Jeff Rogers. “However, at four a.m. this morning, as part of the drill, we had a cyberattack. And so everyone had to shift gears.”

Michael Spooneybarger/ Division of Research and Strategic Innovation

Derek Brauneis had little automotive experience before he helped design and build the first off-road race car that will represent the University of West Florida at an international competition held in Pittsburg, Kansas, May 17-20.

“As far as working on cars, I haven’t done anything other than change my oil, inflate my tires,” said Brauneis, who just graduated from UWF with a degree in mechanical engineering.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

Second grade students from four Escambia County elementary schools were invited to the University of West Florida Aquatic Center recently to get a lesson in basic water safety skills.

What they learned could potentially save their life or someone else’s.

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In this week’s Gulf Stories Moment, Dr. Alex Janosik, assistant professor from the Department of Biology at the University of West Florida, discusses using DNA metabarcoding to identify fish communities in the Gulf of Mexico.

National Hurricane Center

The 2018 hurricane season could be getting a two-week head start. Forecasters are watching a system in the southeastern Gulf of Mexico.

Among those keeping tabs is Don Shephard, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Mobile. He describes it as a non-tropical, weak area over the Gulf.

Epilepsy Foundation of Florida

A big crowd is expected to put in some miles and raise some money this Saturday during the annual Walk for Epilepsy. The event will support the local chapter of the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida. The foundation sponsors fund raising walks all over the state, and the local event will be held this Saturday, May 19 at Community Maritime Park in Pensacola. Cecily Chundrlek, an advancement and development specialist with the local chapter of the foundation says the money raised locally helps fund some medical help for their clients.

Western Gate Chapter, FTA

Two centuries after Andrew Jackson’s march into northwest Florida, a local historical group plans to re-trace his steps next weekend.

Jackson’s march through the Panhandle in May of 1818, near the end of the First Seminole War, is now the 17-mile Andrew Jackson Red Ground Trail in the Blackwater River State Forest.

“There had been numerous skirmishes that were along the border of Alabama, Georgia and Florida between Indians and the settlers,” said Helen Wigersma, who chairs the Western Gate Chapter of the Florida Trail Association.

Michael Spooneybarger/ Division of Research and Strategic Innovation

 With 2018 midterms looming, Escambia County Supervisor of Elections David Stafford said his office has invested considerable time and resources to make sure they are prepared to thwart possible cyberattacks. 

Those efforts include working with the University of West Florida Center for Cybersecurity.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

Organizations across the United States are banding together this week to increase awareness of jobs and career development programs that enhance local economic impact. Florida West is among them.

This is National Economic Development Week, with the spotlight on just what such agencies do in their community or region. It’s the third annual observance, which was begun by the International Economic Development Council -- the largest professional membership organization for economic developers.

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