The first round of tests for the new Florida Standards has started and things are not going smoothly. Escambia County School Superintendent Malcolm Thomas is dealing with a lot of frustrated students and teachers.

"The last few days have been very traumatic for students trying to take the Florida Standards Writing Assessment". 

And he’s not alone. School districts across the state are having trouble logging in to the new state testing system for students.
Photo via Flickr// Sarah Gilbert

An outbreak of a nasty stomach bug has health officials getting the word out about basic hygiene. Dr. John Lanza, the Director of the Florida Department of Health in Escambia County, recently issued a release about a spike in the number of gastrointestinal infections reported in Escambia County.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is pushing for more tax cuts, more money for schools and lower state university tuition in his annual State of the State Address delivered on Tuesday.

Speaking on the opening of the 2015 legislative session, the Governor told the 160 state lawmakers that they agree on more than they disagree on. He then laid out his goals in the first year of his second term. Those include cutting taxes, spending more money on K-through-12, and making higher education more affordable.

There was a nice cheer from the crowd that was left at the Pensacola Bay Center late Sunday afternoon, as the Mike Ensley, the chairman of Pensacon announced the dates and the first confirmed guests for next year’s edition of the fan convention. 

Ensley says the fan convention will return next year on February 19 through the 21 to the Pensacola Bay Center, the Crowne Plaza Hotel and, hopefully, The Saenger Theater. The first announced guests are Peter Mayhew and David Prowse, who play Chewbacca the Wookie and Darth Vader on Star Wars.

After “Star Trek the Next Generation” had been off the air for over a year and “Deep Space Nine” was in the middle of its run, the powers that be at Paramount wanted another Trek show that was set on astarship. That show was called “Star Trek – Voyager” and debuted in January of 1995. Actor Garrett Wang played Ensign Harry Kim for all seven season of the show. Wang was in Pensacola this weekend for Pensacon.

If you became a fan of pro wrestling in the late 1980s you know the name Hacksaw Jim Duggan.

He joined what was then called the WWF in 1987 and two years later rose to become the federation’s champion. In 2011 he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. He still has fun interacting with fans.

He finds it reassuring that the WWE is bringing back their classic performers and honoring them. Duggan says it's "opened them up to a whole new generation of kids, and after 35 years in wrestling it's nice to be remembered".

Pensacon has brought a lot of famous faces to Pensacola this weekend. One of those faces belongs to veteran character actor Carel Struycken, whose face and size have kept him on the big and small screen for years.

Three local men have been arrested on child pornography charges in the past two weeks, the latest in more than a dozen such cases in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties over the past year and a half.  WUWF’s Dave Dunwoody reports on the legalities and the mindset regarding child porn.

In separate arrests, Keith Shaffer of Pace, Warren Lindsley of Pensacola and Samuel Yates of Milton are charged with possession of child pornography, which is a third-degree felony. Lindsley is also charged with promoting the sexual performance by a child, which is second-degree.

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

The threat of wildfire has gone down a bit because of the recent wet weather, but land and homeowners still need to get authorization for many controlled burns on their property.

Last week a fire from a residential burn pit sparked a grassfire that eventually left a family on Quiet Creek Road in Milton homeless. Joe Zwierzchowski, the Wildfire Mitigation Specialist for the Florida Forest Service Blackwater District, reminds people that fires can have very real consequences.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses early childhood learning, which is the subject of the third and final installment of the Studer Community Institute’s three part series on education in the Pensacola Metro area.

Harper is director of the Institute, in addition to his role as director of the University of West Florida Office of Economic Development and Engagement.