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wfsu.org

In part two of our series on the local fight against human trafficking, Dave Dunwoody looks at getting such cases into the legal system.

In 2013, the Florida Legislature passed a bill making human trafficking a first-degree felony carrying a maximum 15-year prison sentence upon conviction.

transgenderlawcenter.org

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month nationwide. Locally, the City of Pensacola and NAS Pensacola joined forces (Tuesday) in issuing a proclamation and recognize first responders.

Pensacola Fire Station Number-1 hosted the second annual observance, with Fire Chief David Allen greeting the visitors.

“We’re so excited to have everyone here,” said Allen. ”It’s evidenced by those people in the crowd in attendance today, just how important this issue is to the citizens and to the government here in Pensacola.”

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

In a somewhat-anticipated move, an outgoing Escambia County Commissioner is seeking the Pensacola mayor’s office in 2018.

Grover Robinson announced eleven months ago that his fourth term on the Commission would be his last. While he had no concrete plans at the time, he did say that he wasn’t ready to give up on public service.

Florida Legislature Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability

A coalition of groups, including the Pensacola Bay Area League of Women Voters, is presenting the eighth program in their series of “Pipeline to Prison” community forums Monday evening at Franco’s Italian Restaurant on Gregory Street.

In this week’s Gulf Stories Moment, Dr. Bill Huth, a distinguished university professor with the University of West Florida, discusses the possibility of using food trucks to promote the consumption of invasive lionfish, which are pervasive in the Gulf of Mexico.   

fbi.gov

Child advocates and law enforcement officials in Santa Rosa County have organized a task force on human trafficking. 

CAUTION: Some of this story may be disturbing to some readers.

“I was 13 when I met my boyfriend. He said I was beautiful, and I believed him,” said a human trafficking victim in a public service announcement in Florida.

“He said I could be a model, and I believed him; he made me feel so good about myself,” said the unidentified female. “It was my real-life fairy tale, and I believed all of it.”

The NPR podcast Serial became a sensation a few years ago, followed by S-Town. But you don’t have to look nationally to find a podcast telling a fascinating true story. MISTORY, a podcast featuring true crimes in Pensacola's history is produced at the University of West Florida. 

scouting.org

Beginning next year, girls will have the opportunity to join the Cub Scouts, and a new program for older girls will be established using current Boy Scout curriculum.

Wednesday’s announcement follows months of outreach by the BSA to discuss the possibility of expanding girls’ participation beyond existing programs, such as Venturing and Sea Scouts.

Visit Florida

A new plan from Pensacola’s Downtown Improvement Board offers, among other things , a bicycle share program scheduled to take effect next spring.

South Carolina-based Gotcha Bikes Company will provide the two-wheelers. DIB Executive Director Curt Morse says the program will be similar to what they provide at several universities.

“Auburn, Clemson, Ole Miss; lots of universities not only here in the South but across the country,” Morse said. “And now they’ve branched out into some of the smaller municipalities. Certainly, Pensacola kind of falls under that.”

In this week’s Gulf Stories Moment, Dr. Bill Huth, a distinguished university professor with the

University of West Florida, discusses Florida’s artificial reef system, including the sunken ships that draw divers and fishermen.

UWF Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program

Military veterans who are interested in starting their own businesses are invited to take part in the Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program, which is presenting a series of workshops through January.

The next session locally will be held this Saturday morning at the University of West Florida Conference Center.

Guillermo Fesser is a journalist from Spain who has been living in the U.S. for about a decade. He had been looking for stories to tell about Spanish speaking heroes for young Latinos living in the states. "Suddenly I found, 2 years ago, that someone was trying to hang a painting (of a Hispanic general on Capitol Hill, who helped George )Washington win the Revolutionary War against the British.

WUWF Public Media

Damage assessments are underway at Gulf Islands National Seashore in both Florida and Mississippi after Hurricane Nate. The park’s Florida portion remains closed for the next several days.

Here’s what we know, from park spokesman Brent Everitt:

“We did get a significant impact from the hurricane, and now they’re trying to evaluate what that exact damage is, and how it’s going to take us to get back up and running,” said Everitt.

Emerald Coast Utilities Authority

About 100,000 gallons of partially-treated effluent that discharged into Santa Rosa Sound is being considered some of Hurricane Nate’s handiwork.

“We talk about it being ‘the beach plant’ but we actually have two plants located there, side-by-side,” said ECUA spokeswoman Nathalie Bowers. “To serve as redundancy should we have any issues at the plant.”

The release -- from Plant Number-1 at the utility’s Pensacola Beach Water Reclamation Facility -- involved water that had undergone secondary level treatment,

  

Speeding north-northwest through the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Nate is expected to make landfall late [Saturday] evening. Preparations are underway in northwest Florida for come what may.

Packing 90 mile an hour winds, Nate is moving toward land at a breakneck 26 miles an hour.

“The [National] Hurricane center is tracking it right into the coastline tonight, and then probably by late evening coming ashore along the Mississippi Gulf Coast,” said Meteorologist Jeff Huffman with F-PREN – the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

For a second consecutive day, Gov. Rick Scott told residents in the western Panhandle to prepare for whatever Tropical Storm or Hurricane Nate throws their way. There’s a state of emergency for 29 counties in Florida – including those the western Panhandle.

Speaking again from the Escambia County Emergency Operations Center, the Governor quoted the National Hurricane Center’s forecast of Nate turning into a hurricane after it moves into the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday. That could mean tropical storm-force winds in the Panhandle this weekend.

Escambia County

When a gunman opened fire on a country music festival in Las Vegas Sunday night, at least 58 people were killed and nearly 500 injured.  It was the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history and overwhelmed first responders and hospitals in the area.

In the wake of the tragedy, WUWF sought to find out about local preparation and experience dealing in with a Mass Casualty Incident.

theadvocate.org

After Hurricane Irma slammed into south Florida last month, local governments across the Southeast rushed in people and equipment to begin the rebuild. Among them was a team from Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties in northwest Florida.

Irma was also the most intense Atlantic hurricane to strike the United States since Katrina in 2005, and the first major hurricane to make landfall in Florida since Wilma that same year.

FPREN

  

Governor Rick Scott was in Pensacola Thursday morning for a briefing and to update the media on Tropical Storm Nate. "Based on current forecasts from the National Hurricane Center, we expect the storm to continue its northward track as it moves into the Gulf of Mexico this weekend" said Scott after he emerged from the briefing surrounded by local officials at the Escambia County Emergency Operations center. "The storm has the potential to become a hurricane and impact the Florida Panhandle this weekend and families must be ready."

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