Bob Barrett

News Anchor/Reporter

Bob Barrett has been a radio broadcaster since the mid 1970s and has worked at stations from northern New York to south Florida and, oddly, has been able to make a living that way. He began work in public radio in 2001. Over the years he has produced nationally syndicated programs such as The Environment Show and The Health Show for Northeast Public Radio's National Productions. As well as reporting news and hosting afternoons for WUWF, Bob is the producer and host of The Best Of Our Knowledge, a syndicated program about education ... and produces podcasts for the medical journal Clinical Chemistry. He lives in Gulf Breeze with his family and is currently devising methods of keeping the squirrels off his bird feeders.

Associated Press

Crews from Gulf Power are en route to help restore power to customers in Texas as a major ice storm moves across the region. According to Accuweather.com the ice storm could be the worst to hit the US in years and has the potential to leave millions across the southern plains without power.  Gulf Power Spokesman Jeff Rogers says they have crews ready to go and help with the restoration efforts.

The crews from Gulf Power are heading out to the Dallas area to aid crews from Oncor, the utility that serves about 10 million customers in northeast and west central Texas.

The number of reported cases of flu in the area have been increasing in recent weeks, but this is by no means a banner year for the flu.  There have been cases reported since late September.  Dr. John Lanza, director of the Florida Department of Health in Escambia County, points out the cases that have been reported are a strain of the flu  called H1N1.

Gulf Power Company

Gulf Power has reached a settlement that will increase its base rates for the next two years.

The Florida Public Service Commission voted Tuesday and approved a settlement between Gulf Power and a mixture of business groups and government agencies that will result in a rate hike beginning in January of 2014.  The utility had proposed a rate hike of just over $74 million for next year and another 16 and change for 2015.  The settlement which was filed last Friday calls for a hike of $35 million for 2014 and an additional $20 million in 2015. 

United Way of Escambia County

Now that we are into December it's time to start getting ready for everyone's favorite time of the year - tax time.  The Escambia County United Way is getting ready by signing up Volunteers for its VITA program...Volunteer Income Tax Assistance.  WUWF's Bob Barrett sat down with Andrea Kreiger, the President and CEO of the Escambia County United Way to talk about what the VITA program is and who it serves.
 

Manna Food Pantry

The Mayflower has landed in Pensacola as a local nonprofit looks to feed the hungry.  The Mayflower in question is actually three Mayflower moving vans.  They are set up in the parking lot of the Cordova Mall in Pensacola to collect food for Manna Food Pantries.  It's the annual Fill The Mayflower promotion to help restock Mann's larder.

Jay Bradshaw is President of Pensacola Moving and Storage and also Chairman of the Board for Manna Food Pantries.  He says that they are hoping for a wide variety of food items nutritious food items like canned meats and vegetables.

Department of Homeland Security

More than two dozen areas businesses and organizations will experience what it's like to have a killer invade them on Wednesday. The killer will be a disgruntled former employee with a gun.  Actually, it will be a digital disgruntled former employee with a gun.  It's part of an exercise designed to help companies develop a plan in the event of a real emergency.  Chris Floyd, with the Disaster Assistance Communities Group says almost 30 companies have signed up to participate in the exercise so far. 

According to the Associated Press, there are 4,460 people confirmed dead in the Philippines in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Haiyan.  There are some efforts in the Filipino community in the Pensacola area to help aid the survivors.  

Your holiday road trip will cost a bit less this year.  Anyone who has filled up a gas tank over the past couple of weeks has noticed that the price per gallon of gas has been going down slowly but surely.  And it looks like that trend will continue over the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday weekend, with prices at the pump about 25 cents less per gallon than last year.  Jessica Brady, a spokesperson for AAA says gas prices hit their high point for the year in the late spring and have been coming down ever since.  Brady says we're doing better this year than last.

At a time when you'd expect the flu to become a problem, a different viral infection that feels like a cold or the flu is making the rounds in the region.  Dr. John Lanza, the Director of the Florida Department of Health in Escambia County, says that the region is seeing an unusually large number of cases of the Respiratory Syncytial Virus...an infection that causes symptoms that feel like a cold or the flu but last much longer .

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