Dave Dunwoody

Assistant News Director

Dave came to WUWF in September, 2002, after 14 years as News Director at the Alabama Radio Network in Montgomery, Mobile and Birmingham and a total of 27 years in commercial radio. During that time, he also served as Alabama Bureau Chief for United Press International.

The Trion, Georgia native was news director at stations in Anniston, Scottsboro and Fort Payne in Alabama, where he also broadcast football, basketball and baseball play-by-play. Dave also “spun the hits” at rock and country music stations in Lafayette, Albany and Rome, Georgia and in Burlington, North Carolina.

During his time at WUWF, Dave has earned a B.A. in Communication Arts/Journalism at the University of West Florida (Class of 2012).  He’s married to the former Linda Shiell, a Pensacola native, and they live in Pensacola with their cat Callie. Dave is also a passionate fan of Georgia Bulldogs and Atlanta Falcons football; the Atlanta Braves, Pensacola Blue Wahoos and Pensacola Ice Flyers. His hobbies include comedy writing, guitar and computer sports games.

Santa Rosa Island Authority

After a decade on the job, Buck Lee retired earlier this month as Executive Director of the Santa Rosa Island Authority. He recently sat down with WUWF’s Dave Dunwoody to look back, and to look forward.

Did the takeovers of the Santa Rosa Island Authority’s Public Works and Public Safety Departments hasten your decision to step down?

Photo via Flickr// Thomas Hawk / https://flic.kr/p/gYYzoZ

Escambia County officials are working on ways to prevent any increase in the number of inmate deaths at the county jail and to find and alleviate the causes as much as possible.

That’s part of an overall revamping of the jail’s medical facilities.

Twenty four inmates have died while in custody since 2007: 11 since control of the lockup was shifted from the Sheriff’s Office to the County, and seven of those since last November. Director Michael Tidwell was fired in December, with Assistant County Administrator Chip Simmons taking over.

Sheriffs’ offices in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties are among the agencies teaming up to form the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program that serves the Gulf Coast.

HIDTA is a federally-funded operation that provides resources to link together local, state, and federal law enforcement to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking. Chris Canova, the acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, says there are only 28 such programs nationwide.

Photo via Flickr// Marc West / https://flic.kr/p/9HbSJi

If you’re up a little before dawn over the next month, you may want to go outside and view another celestial treat, compliments of most of the solar system.

Five planets will span the sky together in the early morning hours: Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars, and Jupiter will all be visible to the naked eye from January 20 to February 20.

Photo via Flickr// Bart van Maarseveen / https://flic.kr/p/28ZDjA

The Florida Institute for Child Welfare is giving a $60,000 grant, aimed at enhancing the work of Early Childhood Court Teams serving Escambia and Okaloosa Counties.

ECCT’s goal is to improve the overall well-being of children from birth to three years old, who have been removed from their homes due to maltreatment.

“There has to be a verified finding of abuse, neglect or abandonment,” said Program Facilitator Margot Doelker. “And in order to be eligible to be in an early childhood court team, it has to be a removal from both parents.”

Photo via Flickr//Ben Ferenchak

Aspiring lifeguards should mark Saturday, January 30 on their calendars, for tryouts to work at Pensacola Beach.

Senior Lifeguard Alex Johnson is making the call to join him at 6:30 that morning at the University of West Florida Aquatic Center. But he warns that the requirements for employment will be challenging.

Michael Spooneybarger/ CREO

Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump took to the podium Wednesday night at the Pensacola Bay Center. The visit signals a shift from the initial primaries to Florida in a few weeks.

While Trump has a comfortable lead in New Hampshire according to a new Monmouth University poll, a new Quinnipiac survey has him leading Ted Cruz by only 31-29% percent in Iowa, a dead heat within the margin of error. Trump has shifted the “birther card” from President Obama to Cruz, who was born in Calgary, Alberta to a Cuban father and a mother from Delaware.

Michael Spooneybarger/ CREO

Republican presidential front runner Donald Trump took to the podium Wednesday night at the Pensacola Bay Center.

The businessman and reality TV star made a rock-star type entrance, to the joy of an overflow crowd estimated at more than 11,000. Another 5,000 were reportedly turned away. During a wide-ranging address of just over an hour, Trump re-hashed his ongoing attacks against the media and President Obama. He then had thoughts about this week’s deal with Iran to release ten U.S. sailors. 

On an 8-1 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday struck down Florida’s system of allowing judges, and not juries, to decide whether convicted murderers get the death penalty.

The ruling is based on the case of Timothy Lee Hurst, who murdered his manager at a Popeye’s restaurant in Pensacola in 1998. Hurst’s jury voted 7-5 in favor of the death penalty and the judge imposed the sentence. The high court has ordered a new sentencing hearing for Hurst.

Gov. Rick Scott delivered his sixth State of the State speech as the legislative session kicked off Tuesday morning. It was focused almost entirely on creating jobs and cutting taxes.

Both of Scott’s campaigns and all five of his previous State of the State speeches have centered on job creation, a point so noted in his prepared remarks.

Florida lawmakers are kicking off the 2016 session Tuesday hoping to avoid the chaos of 2015, when the House and Senate had a tough time agreeing on anything. State Sen. Don Gaetz (R-Niceville) is term limited and serving in his final session.

Ethics Reform at the Grassroots:

Photo via Flickr// Alberto G. / https://flic.kr/p/9UnRWS

On a 6-1 vote this week, the Florida Board of Education approved Education Commissioner Pam Stewart’s test score and school grade proposals. But other proposals are expected to be introduced in the upcoming legislative session.

Board members considered where to set two critical benchmarks of the state's education accountability system: "cut scores" that determine the levels of achievement students get based on their performances on standardized tests, and the school grades tied to how well students do on those tests. Stewart calls it the “right approach and right balance.”

Photo via Flickr// Mike Mozart / https://flic.kr/p/nPpf9p

Santa Rosa County’s gas tax doubled on New Year’s Day: from $0.06 to the maximum $0.12 per gallon.  The hike is expected to bring in millions for county road projects, which may not be enough.

County Commissioners approved the levy on two votes in September. The first for a five-cent local option gas tax increase and the second for a penny raise, called the “ninth cent.”

Calls are going out from the EscaRosa Coalition on the Homeless, for volunteers to take part in the annual count of the homeless on January 27-28.

“Point in Time” allows agencies that provide services to the homeless to get a handle on the overall population in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties, and how to tailor those services to help move them out of homelessness.

“We actually dispersed teams out on the street and in areas where the homeless normally gather: Alfred Washburn Center, Salvation Army, places like that,” said Alison Griffith, the program’s coordinator.

Photo via Flickr// Allan Chatto / https://flic.kr/p/9PBUZ3

High School graduation rates in Florida for the class of 2015 were the highest in 12 years, according to figures released by the state Department of Education.

That 77.8% statewide graduation mark is up more than 18 points since the 2003-04 school year, and nearly two percent higher than last year. The Escambia County district's 2014-15 graduation rate came in at 72.7%, up from 66.1% in 2013-14, and 15 points from 2010-11.