News

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

Almost a year after a rally in Pensacola, a resumption of passenger rail service along the Gulf Coast remains on the table, with some progress reported.

Amtrak’s “Inspection Train” pulled into the Pensacola depot last February, originating from New Orleans with stops along the Panhandle before ending in Jacksonville. Along with a host of VIPs, officials with Amtrak and CSX were aboard, checking both the infrastructure and the public’s desire to resume service which was ended by Hurricane Katrina 11 years ago.

DKellerPublicity

Fans of NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me will be getting an early holiday gift this year as Paula Poundstone comes to the Saenger Theater in Downtown Pensacola for a night of stand-up. 

Paula Poundstone has been touring the U.S. since the early 80s and continues to find new places to come and, as she says, "tell her little jokes". She spoke with WUWF's Bob Barrett. Here are some of the highlights of their talk (but seriously, you really should listen...it's pretty funny stuff!)

In 2015, smoking among adults in Florida dropped to 15.8 percent, the lowest it has ever been. State health officials are celebrating the decline and giving much of the credit to passage of a constitutional amendment ten years ago.

In the late 1990's, Florida was one of just four states to craft its own multi-billion dollar settlement with the nation’s big tobacco companies. About a decade later, Florida voters approved a ballot measure mandating that the state use part of that money to provide a dedicated funding source for smoking prevention education.

After years of work, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission members have passed an imperiled species management plan. Regan McCarthy has more.

The imperiled species management plan addresses the conservation needs of 57 Florida species, including the Sherman Fox Squirrel, one of commission chair Brian Yablonski’s favorites.

 

FL Department of Economic Opportunity

Florida’s unemployment rate moved the wrong way from September to last month. State officials on Friday announced the state's jobless rate was 4.8 percent in October, compared to 4.9 in September, remaining slightly lower than the national jobless rate of 4.9 percent. The rate has hovered around that for much of this year.

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper looks at the unexpected boost in retail sales, the underestimated Chinese/U.S. trade relationship, how uncertainty is affecting Florida’s budget, and growth on Nine Mile Road.

U.S. retail sales rose .08 percent in October, which was better than anticipated. But Harper said that there was other good news that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Google Maps

After years of neglect and pollution, work is underway to restore Carpenter Creek. Organizers are looking for a little help from their friends, and others.

Originating from a spring north of I-10, the creek meanders through Pensacola, especially the northeast portion, and empties into Bayou Texar. It’s been the victim of neglect for decades, but one local official wants to change that.

Pensacola City Councilwoman Sherri Myers says today, Carpenter Creek is considered an impaired body of water.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

In 2010, Addison Russell led Pace High School to the Class 5A state baseball championship. Just six years later, he helped the Chicago Cubs win the World Series for the first time in over 100 years.

The high school plans to honor Russell on November 29. On Tuesday, he was presented with the key to the city of Pensacola.

Webster PR

At this year’s Country Music Association awards ceremony, Dolly Parton was presented a lifetime achievement award. She has already been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Songwriters hall of Fame. After the CMA’s she talked about her career. "I love what I do and I hope to be doing it from now on and I hope they don't think that because they gave me a Lifetime Achievement Award that they thought I was done!"

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

Escambia County Commissioner Grover Robinson announced Wednesday he will not seek re-election when his current term expires in 2018.

First elected to District-4 in 2006, Robinson recently stepped down from his second stint as chairman when Commissioner Doug Underhill took over in the rotation. So, why announce two years in advance?

“I’d like as much time as possible for good people in District-4 Escambia County to be able to figure out whether they want to seek election in two years,” said Robinson.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

In the run up to Election Day, most political pundits and pollsters were not projecting victory for Donald Trump in the U.S. presidential race.

Prior to this year, the forecasting project PollyVote accurately predicted the winner in each presidential election dating back to 1992.

One week after the General Election, WUWF called on University of West Florida political science professor Alfred Cuzan, co-founder of PollyVote, to see how it performed this time around.

Since the election of Donald Trump as president, there are reports, and increasing concerns, that the number of hate crimes across the nation may increase. But what are “hate crimes” and how are they handled? 

As of Tuesday, more than 400 incidents of harassment or intimidation since the election have been reported  by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Michael Spooneybarger/CREO

The diversity of the human form inspires Emily Teets.

Her ceramics feature the figure whether it’s in three-dimensional form, such as legs, feet or arms emerging from a vase, or in two-dimensional form, such as a nude figure carved into a clay slab.

Teets, a senior who will graduate from the University of West Florida next month with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts, will feature her ceramics in “Synthesis: A Group BFA Exit Exhibition” at The Art Gallery in the Center for Fine and Performing Arts.

IHMC

As an old editorial writer, I’m accustomed to offering criticism. But the necessary flip side of criticism is to offer praise when you think something is done properly. Anyway, some time ago I offered the opinion that planners working on fixing decades-old traffic problems on Pensacola Beach were stuck in the mud. They avoided addressing the fundamental problems by tinkering ineffectively around the edges.

Northwest Florida State College

Dr. Martha Saunders is not the only new institution of higher learning president on the panhandle. Earlier this month the Northwest Florida State College Board of Trustees selected Dr. Devin Stephenson as the fourth president in the college’s 53-year history. He spoke with WUWF's Bob Barrett about his new position.

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