News

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.

 

Laura Bogan, City of Pensacola

“BIGS with Badges” has landed in Pensacola – it’s part of a nationwide partnership between Big Brothers-Big Sisters and first responders.

The idea is to recruit first responders as mentors, which supporters contend will pay off for the kids, the mentors, and the community as a whole. Participating agencies include the Pensacola Police and Fire Departments, and the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office.

Lindsay Myers

On the heels of Donald Trump’s inauguration, hundreds of thousands of people gathered on the National Mall Saturday for the Women’s March on Washington. The event was organized as a grassroots movement to stand against Trump and for women’s rights and a variety of other causes.

In solidarity, “sister marches” were held in cities across the country, including Pensacola.

Picking up on Hillary Clinton’s campaign mantras, chants of “More love, less hate” and “Love trumps hate” filled the air as the marchers proceeded through downtown Pensacola.

Bob Barrett / WUWF News

Do you find air travel stressful? Travelers at Pensacola International Airport have been getting a little stress relief from some four legged volunteers. "These [dogs] are the Pensacola Pup Patrol, they are airport ambassadors." said Connie Flemming, one of a trio of dog owners who were volunteering their time last week at Pensacola International Airport.  The Pup Patrol has been visiting the airport two days a week since last May. "We come here to the airport to provide comfort to passengers coming and going.

University of West Florida

The University of West Florida on Friday announced a $1 million gift from one of its own.

Marketing and Economics professor Bob Kimball is giving the money to establish the Bill and Ellie Kimball Memorial Undergraduate Scholarship Award in memory of his parents.

“Bob Kimball has, over the course of his lifetime at UWF, given two million dollars,” said Brendan Kelly, UWF Foundation President. “Investing all of that in scholarships for students. And today, we get to add to that.”

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper looks at a recent uptick of economic development in the local area and a new solar project for local military facilities.

Two new upscale hotels, an Aloft and an Element, both Starwood brands, are planned downtown between 9th Avenue and Salamanca Street.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

January is usually the midway point of the flu season in Florida. The state Department of Health reports that levels of the disease remained elevated overall for a second consecutive week.

Mild influenza activity was reported in 51 counties, including Escambia and Santa Rosa, during the week of January 1-7, the latest available figures. Ten counties reported moderate influenza activity, and six reported no activity.

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