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IHMC

If local officials need any more indication of just how much people crave a pedestrian-friendly downtown, the recent Ciclovia provided it.
Ciclovia shut down five miles of downtown to automobiles, opening the streets to bike riders and pedestrians. I rode my bike down from East Hill to check it out.
I found thousands of people frolicking on asphalt usually devoted to automobiles. There’s something about a downtown street that has been closed to cars and opened to people that draws a crowd.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

Forty-two years after the end of the Vietnam War, the names of 140 Americans who died in that conflict are being placed on the Wall South in downtown Pensacola.

An employee with GLMCO Memorials in DeFuniak Springs, dressed in a protective hood and work gloves, began the final part of the project at the half-size replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday. Company president Larry Mathews said the etching would be done in just a few hours.

Matt De La Pena dot com

An award winning author is headlining a new literary event celebrating the beauty of books at the University of West Florida. "On April 29, we are going to sponsor a Pensacola Literary Symposium" said Dr. Kathleen Heubach, Associate Professor of Teacher Education and the Director of the Institute of Community Learning at the UWF. She says that while the event, which will be held at the university's conference center will be open to everyone, it will be aimed primarily at teachers.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute are out with their 2017 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps report.

First released in 2011, the report, shows that where you live really matters to your health.

“So your zip code is the best predictor of how long and how well you’ll live,” said Jan O’Neill, Associate Researcher and Community Coach with the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps. “And the other key message here is that good health is so much more than just seeing a doctor.”

It’s time for the Pensacola Symphony’s annual Russian Spectacular concert, which will take place this Saturday April 1 at 7:30 p.m. on the stage of the Saenger Theatre.  Guest conductor William Eddins will lead works by Borodin, Rimsky-Korsakov, and Tchaikovsky.  PSO Music director Peter Rubardt caught up with Eddins on the phone late last week to talk about Russian music, the fifth symphony of Tchaikovsky, and what it’s like to be a guest conductor. 

Hundreds of people received free dental care in Pensacola last Friday and Saturday at the Florida Dental Association’s Mission of Mercy event in Pensacola. "It was absolutely crazy!" said Pensacola dentist Beau Biggs trying to describe the scene as a hundred dentists and chairs filled the gym floor at Woodham Middle School.

People started lining up as early as Wednesday evening to make sure they had a spot in one of those chairs. "We saw over 1,800 patients and did over $1.4 million worth of dental services. So it was pretty incredible."

www.defense.gov

Officials across military-friendly northwest Florida are watching the Pentagon closely once again, now that there’s renewed talk about another round of base closures and mission realignments.

Appearing before the House Armed Services Committee last month, several top military officials supported another round of BRAC: Base Realignment and Closure. Among them was General Stephen Wilson, Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force.

FL Department of Economic Opportunity

Florida’s unemployment rate remains at five percent even -- unchanged from January to February. But the numbers appear to be at loggerheads when it comes to actual jobs.

The jobless figure remains constant, despite the loss of five thousand jobs last month – which may be an indication that Florida’s economic recovery is losing some steam. At the Department of Economic Opportunity, Director Cissy Proctor says they’re looking at the big picture.

Military veterans and their families will be the focus of an event being held this Saturday at the UWF Conference Center.

The Greater Pensacola Veteran and Family Symposium & Expo will be a day-long affair, featuring speakers and more than 40 veteran service organizations. It’s is the first such event to be presented by the Veterans Coalition of Northwest Florida.

Courtesy of Ron Finley

It’s officially spring and that means you might have thought about starting your garden. Or maybe you’ve never grown anything. Either way the University of West Florida invites you to meet Ron Finley, the activist “Gangsta Gardener,” when he is in town this week for a series of lectures and panels.

“Basically I’m going to talk about life and community and people and food and health and love, and you know, and air, how it all goes together. And beauty, and design and growing your own food and being a gangsta for mother nature,” he said.

senate.gov

Supporters of LGBT rights are applauding the first federal hate crime conviction involving the murder of a transgender woman in the final days of the Obama administration. But they’re also concerned about the future of such prosecutions under Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

As a U.S. Senator, Jeff Sessions called a federal hate crime law passed in 2009 “overly broad,” and said there was no need to add protections for gay and transgender people.

IHMC

I was at an outdoor music party at a house way up in the woods of Santa Rosa County recently when I ran into an old friend. We sat down in the backyard with a couple of cigars and caught up. He said something that resonated with me, especially since over the last few years I have come to accept the inevitable: I’m getting older.

Courtesy of Aisha Fukushima

As part of Women’s History Month observance, the University of West Florida is hosting internationally renowned speaker, singer and rap activist Aisha Fukushima. The performance lecture will take place this Wednesday evening at 6:00 in the University Commons Conference Center.

Earlier in the day, Fukushima stopped by the WUWF studios.

Her greeting was in multiple languages, including Arabic and French.

Dave Dunwoody: "You had your first “Open Gaetz Day” last month in Santa Rosa County, and the next – for Escambia County – is set for next month."

Council on Aging

Meals on Wheels, a program that feeds about two and a half million older citizens nationwide, faces a funding cut in President Trump’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2018.

Almost 130,000 meals are delivered to 500 residents in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties each year, through the Council on Aging of West Florida, an independent, 501(c) (3) not-for-profit, where John Clark is President and CEO.

Florida Public Archaeology Network

The Florida Public Archaeology Network is celebrating Archaeology Month in Florida, with a focus on the prehistoric Mississippian Period.

The observance also includes an exhibit on the impact of sea level rise and the local launch of a new volunteer monitoring program to track changes to at-risk sites in the state.

This year, Florida Archaeology Month, which continues throughout March, wraps up a series on prehistoric periods from Paleoindian to Archaic and Woodland.

Ciclovia means 'bikeway' is Spanish and 'bike path' in Portuguese. It also means a lot of people will be out biking and walking and skating through a five miles of road in downtown Pensacola Saturday. Sally Rosendalh is one of the co-founders of Pensacola Open Streets, the people bringing Ciclovia to Pensacola.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward could face his biggest political challenge, if he decides to seek a third term next year. That’s according to a recent survey commissioned by the Independent News.

The poll of 506 most likely voters conducted by Political Matrix shows Hayward on top with just under 28 percent. Two Escambia County Commissioners,Grover Robinson are Lumon May, are second and third at 20 and 18 percent, respectively.

Lindsay Myers

Brian LeBlanc of Pensacola was first diagnosed with early on-set Alzheimer’s in 2014, when he was just 54 years old. When WUWF last checked in, LeBlanc shared the fear and anxiety he felt in the past month, when he temporarily lost his ability to speak. Now, we have more of Sandra Averhart’s recent conversation with LeBlanc and UWF Biology professor Dr. Rodney Guttmann, focusing on the medical aspect of the incident and how it relates to Alzheimer’s.

Gulf Power Company goes before the Florida Public Service Commission in Tallahassee on Monday, seeking a $107 million increase in base rates.

If the PSC approves the hike, residential customers would pay an extra 10%, or about $14 per month. Average power bills would go from $144-$158.

“It’s never a good time to ask for an increase in prices, but it’s one of those things that we need to continue to invest in the long-term reliability of our energy infrastructure,” said Gulf Power spokesman Rick De La Haya.

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