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As pleasant as it is to walk the beach in shorts and barefoot in January, I’m one who really likes winter. It brings, or at least used to bring, relief from the smothering humidity that blankets Northwest Florida’s summers. Not to mention the insects.

'Outdoors' most of the year means the beach or our creeks and rivers; hiking the woods and wet prairies is best left to the crisp, dry days of fall and winter, which this year have been few and far between. I’ve heard many complaints from hunters sweating in their blinds, not the outdoor experience they sought.

ebaptisthealthcare.org

Baptist Cancer Institute’s Infusion Center is getting an infusion of its own: a $100,000 gift from Pensacola businessman and former Baptist Hospital President Quint Studer, and his wife Rishy.

“We were sitting one day and I said ‘Let’s give something to Baptist Healthcare,’” said Studer. “[Rishy] said OK and I said ‘What do you think we should give?’ and she said ‘What if we do $100,000?’”

With that, the Studers contacted Baptist President and CEO Mark Faulkner about their planned gift, and asked Faulkner if he could come up with the best use for it.

Bob Barrett / WUWF News

The University of West Florida Historic Trust hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for Museum Plaza, an open air, historic preservation and education project behind the T. T. Wentworth Museum in downtown Pensacola. New UWF President Dr. Martha Saunders stood in the sun and addressed a few dozen people Tuesday morning as she announced the university’s latest downtown project. "This plaza will offer a covered pavilion, a children's play area and outdoor historical exhibits.

Michael Spooneybarger/ CREO

STEAM2017 is a five-week program of exhibitions, lectures, workshops and talks with artists and scientists at the University of West Florida that explores how art can be added to the disciplines of science, technology, engineering and math to explore issues related to water and the preservation of a clean environment.

Sandra Averhart

The EscaRosa Coalition on the Homeless (ECOH) conducted its annual Point In Time (PIT) count of homeless people in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties last week. Again this year, the count was capped off with their U-Count Homeless Resource Day, which serves as an expo for agencies offering services to the homeless.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

One week after the rupture of a digester at International Paper in Cantonment, plant officials continue working to restore the surrounding area and keep residents informed about their efforts.

Over the weekend, a Community Open House was held for residents and businesses in the affected area. Also, representatives of the Unified Command gave the media a first-hand look at the cleanup.

Gulf Power Company

Florida’s Public Service Commission received input from a number of angles, during a public hearing on Gulf Power Company’s proposed rate increase Thursday night.

The vast majority of the nearly 60 speakers at Pensacola State College were against the $107 million increase in base rates. Among them was Steve Smith, the Executive Director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

NAS Whiting Field

Naval Air Station Whiting Field is participating in “Solid Curtain-Citadel Shield” kicking off Monday and going through February 10.

The annual Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection (or ATFP) Exercise consists of around 300 field-training events on and off Navy installations across the continental United States. SC-CS17 is a two-part exercise conducted by Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces and Commander, Navy Installations Command.

“This is a standard drill, we do it every year. It’s not in response to anything particular,” said Whiting Field spokesman Jay Cope.

Facing a proposed ten percent budget cut, Florida’s 12 state universities and their leaders are pledging to soften that blow as much as possible for students.

Rep. Larry Ahern, who chairs the Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee, says the 10 percent target reductions for each school are aimed at a projected $1.7 billion shortfall.

“Agencies are precluded from submitting across-the-board reductions,” said Ahern. “So what you will be listening for today is how each of these entities would make specific decisions to meet the target.”

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper looks at a temporary reduction in the deficit, an unexpected drop in existing home sales and how the high cost of textbooks affects access to higher education.

This week, the Congressional Budget Office projected a slight drop in the U.S. budget deficit.

Bob Barrett / WUWF News

The University of West Florida unveiled their spring sports season at a luncheon for the media on Wednesday.  Players and coaches from the UWF men’s and women’s tennis and golf teams spoke at the event, as well as the baseball and softball programs.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

The EscaRosa Coalition on the Homeless, which serves Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties, is conducting its annual “Point in Time” count of the homeless.

On a bright sunny Wednesday morning the courtyard at the Alfred Washburn Center, complete with picnic tables and a serving area for food and drink, is abuzz with activity. Volunteers are mingling with Washburn clients, taking surveys. Also with a clipboard is the Coalition’s Executive Director, John Johnson.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

Federal, state, and local officials working on the aftermath of Sunday’s explosion at International Paper in Cantonment gathered there Tuesday, to discuss the accident and subsequent cleanup.

Plant Manager Brett DeJong dispelled rumors the past couple of days that the accident could lead to the closing of the facility, after 75 years in Cantonment.

Escambia Co. Jail

One suspect is in jail, as the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office looks for more alleged victims in a complex cyber-stalking case.

Thirty-one-year-old Sean Michael Vest is charged with 15 counts of aggravated stalking and cyber-stalking. The alleged harassment occurred between December 16 of last year and last Friday, when Vest was arrested.

Michael Spooneybarger/CREO

 

Police body-worn cameras are becoming more widely used by departments to document interactions between law enforcement and the public across the United States.  

In 2015, Dr. Matthew Crow, chair of the UWF Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, and Dr. Jamie Snyder, assistant professor, along with colleagues from Florida Atlantic University, published a study of law enforcement leadership’s perceptions of body cam use in their work.

 

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