News

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."

 The Pensacola Symphony will open its 92nd season this Saturday in the Saenger Theatre in downtown Pensacola.  The concert, which starts at 7:30, will feature Cuban pianist Santiago Rodriguez in a program of works by Strauss, Ravel, Saint-Saens, and Berlioz.  Music Director Peter Rubardt and UWF Distinguished Professor Dr. Hedi Salanki stopped by the WUWF studios to share some thoughts on the upcoming performance.

Pensacola High school plays host to a health fair next weekend, sponsored by Sacred Heart Health System, and aimed in part at giving residents a more permanent medical structure.

The event is part of a nationwide "Medical Mission at Home" by Sacred Heart’s parent firm, Indianapolis-based Ascension Health.

“I don’t like to think about it as a ‘health fair,’ but a ‘medical mission,’” said Susan Davis, Sacred Heart President and Chief Executive Officer.

In this week's episode of Gulf Stories Moments, Dr. John Bratten, chair and associate professor of anthropology at the University of West Florida, talks about the challenges associated with recovering and displaying artifacts from historic shipwrecks.

guyfrog.org

When Hurricane Maria slashed her way through the Caribbean, one Pensacola resident got an uncomfortably close-up view of the storm’s fury and the resulting destruction.

The powerful storm made landfall on the island nation of Dominica the night of September 18 as a Category-5 hurricane, with sustained winds at a record 160 miles an hour, according to the National Hurricane Center

uwf.edu

University of West Florida President Martha Saunders delivered her first “State of the University” address on Thursday.

UWF’s sixth president spoke for about 15 minutes, beginning her remarks with a bit of a history lesson, on how the school became known as the “Argonauts” – think “Jason and the Argonauts.” Then it was time to outline the achievements of the past year.

 One week after the celebration of Rosh Hashanah, the most solemn holiday on the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur, begins at sundown Friday and goes to nightfall on Saturday.  

As is Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur – the Day of Atonement – is a biblical holiday with all sorts of customs. Rabbi Joel Fleekop at Temple Beth-el in Pensacola says in the early days, there were special prayers and sacrifices that were offered.

Santa Rosa County

Santa Rosa County is now in the midst of closing on the purchase of a 19-acre parcel on Avalon Boulevard to be the future site of a new judicial center.

Commissioners were divided over the issue of location, but are now looking to move forward together.

Chairman Rob Williamson set the tone for the work ahead, before entertaining a motion for this month’s final vote to approve the purchase.

Autism Pensacola

Blue Wahoos Stadium will be alive with all sorts of heroes this weekend with the annual Steps For Autism event. "This is a fun, family event with lots of activities for the kids" said Susan Byrum, the President and CEO of Autism Pensacola. Steps For Autism is an event that raises money for Autism Pensacola. This is, in addition to the usual fund raising activities going on at the stadium that morning, Autism Pensacola will be honoring their local Hometown Heroes. "Because we appreciate everyone who puts themselves in harms way on our behalf.

northescambia.com

Ten months after work began, Pensacola’s Habitat for Humanity is winding up construction of 16 news homes in Century, replacing some that were leveled by a tornado in February, 2016.

When Habitat Director Tim Evans and his team first got to Century, the one prevailing question was – where to start?

“That is exactly it – it’s just heartbreaking when we first got to the community,” said Evans. “Seeing the amount of damage and so much total destruction on so many homes; it really was kind of tough deciding how to begin.”

In this week’s Gulf Stories Moment, Dr. John Bratten, chair and associate professor of anthropology at the University of West Florida, talks about the discovery of the Emanuel Point shipwrecks from Tristán de Luna y Arellano’s attempt in 1559 to establish a Spanish colony in Pensacola. Bratten also discusses local researchers’ efforts to find the Revolutionary War vessel HMS Mentor.   

strongtowns.org

Tuesday night kicks off “CivicCon” – an initiative by the Studer Community Institute aimed at collecting ideas about handling future growth in Pensacola.

CivicCon is short for “Civic Conversations.” Organizer Christian Wagley says a number of decisions regarding Pensacola are looming on the horizon.

Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee

Four months after getting the call, the new Bishop for the Pensacola-Tallahassee Catholic Diocese is on the job. WUWF’s Dave Dunwoody recently sat down with Bishop William Wack at the Diocese’s Pensacola Pastoral Center.

Back in May, Father Bill was at his parish – St. Ignatius in Austin, Texas – working on the building’s air conditioning system after a lightning strike. Then his phone rang.

That phone call would change his life.

Pages