Sandra Averhart

News Director

Sandra Averhart has been News Director at WUWF since 1996. Her first job in broadcasting was with (then) Pensacola radio station WOWW107-FM, where she worked 11 years.  Sandra, who is a native of Pensacola, earned her B.S. in Communication from Florida State University.

For several years, Sandra was co-host of “Inside UWF” on WUWF TV. Also, she has partnered with WSRE TV to serve as co-host of their “Rally” candidate forums, most recently in 2012. Sandra also lends her voice to the University of West Florida athletics program.  She has worked as public address announcer for Men’s and Women’s Basketball, and continues to “work the mic” at UWF Volleyball and Softball games. Along the way, she has been P-A announcer for four NCAA Division II national championships, to include two each in volleyball and softball.

In her spare time, Sandra continues to enjoy playing softball. She lives in Milton with her husband Charles and two dogs, Beau and Mollie.

Ways to Connect

Fictional characters help tell the story of actual events in the Pensacola area before and during the Civil War in a new book titled Blackwater Betrayal: The Ruthless Treatment of Milton and Pensacola by the Confederacy. It was written by Milton native Richard Kyle Smith.

Smith is a retired certified public accountant, but says he’s always been a lover of words and local history. And those two passions have come together in his first literary effort.

WUWF Public Media

There are six candidates vying to become the next sheriff of Escambia County. Four of them, including the incumbent, will square off in the Republican Primary on Tuesday, August 30.

There is well over a century of law enforcement experience in the Escambia Sheriff’s race.

David Morgan has held the office for the last eight years, and has more than 30 years in the field, starting as a patrolman in the Air Force.

 

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper talks about how unexpectedly strong housing numbers are bolstering the third-quarter GDP outlook for the U.S.

 

Housing starts rose 2.1 percent in July, far exceeding expectations. However, Harper said the bump didn’t affect all areas of the country.

 

“The Northeast dropped off very substantially,” Harper said. “But, we saw increases in the South and West.”

 

WUWF Public Media

There’s a crowded field of  candidates in the race for the Republican nomination for the Florida House of Representatives District 4, which covers the vast majority of Okaloosa County. They are seeking to replace incumbent Matt Gaetz, who won the seat in 2010, but is now running for Congress.

The two candidates with the most name recognition are two-term Okaloosa County Commissioner Wayne Harris, a 27 year Air Force veteran, and former Destin Mayor and businessman Mel Ponder.

USA Track and Field

Pensacola’s Justin Gatlin won the silver medal in the Men’s 100 meter sprint at the Olympic Games in Rio Sunday night.  The 2004 Olympic champion in Athens, Gatlin fell short of his quest to reclaim the title as “world’s fastest man,” losing to Jamaica’s Usain Bolt by just .08 seconds.

During the race, Gatlin got off to a great start, but at about the 60-meter mark, Bolt accelerated past the competition to win in 9.81 seconds. Gatlin finished second in 9.89. They posted the fastest times posted during the 2016 Olympics.

  The Pensacola area has two athletes to watch at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Bubba Watson is participating in his first ever Olympic Games. The men’s golf competition began Thursday. This is the third Olympics for track and field star Justin Gatlin. 

Gatlin is going into the Olympics on a high, as the best sprinter in the U.S. He’s proven that consistently in the last few years. And, he proved it again last month in the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon, winning both the 100 and 200 meter races.

Bubba Watson

The 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro are underway, with much of the focus during this first week of competition on swimming and gymnastics. Two local athletes are among those competing for Gold.

Justin Gatlin, a graduate of Pensacola’s Woodham High School, is back in Track & Field. And, Bubba Watson, a Milton High grad, is making his Olympic debut.

Watson will represent the U.S. Men’s Golf Team, along with Ricky Fowler, Matt Kuchar, and Patrick Reed. 

Diane Lea

 

Diane Lea grew up in Pace and began planning a 2,500 mile journey about two years ago, as she was approaching her next big birthday.

"And I thought, you know, when I turn 50 it’s time for me to do something for somebody else. It’s time for me to give back."

But, she had to figure out what she could actually do that would have some impact. She’d participated in a few charity bike rides around Pensacola, so thought, 'okay, that’s it. I can ride a bicycle.'

    

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper talks about an unexpected boost in the latest jobs numbers, an uptick in consumer spending, what sales tax means to Florida and the problematic state of tobacco use in our area.

The ADP Research Institute’s job report for July was released this week and showed strong growth yet again for the month.

University of West Florida

The University of West Florida is wrapping up its 2016 Summer Archaeology Field School.

In addition to their work exploring the Luna shipwrecks at Emanuel Point, UWF staff and students have spent the past 10 weeks looking for more clues about the recently discovered 1559 Luna Settlement site. Earlier this month, WUWF checked in to see how the project was progressing.

 

  In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the Federal Reserve’s decision to once again hold interest rates.

The Federal Reserve met this week and, based on their projections, decided once again not to raise interest rates.

“It’s now five meetings ago (December 2015) since the Federal Open Market Committee raised the key overnight lending rate by 25 basis points – that is a quarter of a percent. And so, now we have short-term rates hovering in that region,” Harper said.

Sandra Averhart

  Bubba Watson has officially cut the ribbon for his new downtown Pensacola candy and ice cream shop, which began operating earlier this month.  Bubba’s Sweet Spot is Watson’s latest investment in the community he calls home. 

Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office

Okaloosa County officials are trying to reassure residents following the arrest of two former EMS paramedics for using their cell phones to take “selfies” and videos with patients in their ambulances.

24-year-old Kayla Dubois of Navarre and 33-year-old Christopher Wimmer of Crestview were arrested Thursday after a two-month investigation by the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office.

   In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the recent grant awarded to the University of West Florida’s Haas Center to develop an economic development strategic plan through Florida’s Great Northwest.

Through a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Adjustment Assistance, the University of West Florida’s Haas Center for Business Research and Economic Development will take a major role in creating an economic development strategic plan for Florida’s Northwest region.

  The debate over the long-standing practice of opening local government meetings with an invocation has intensified recently after the Pensacola City Council allowed a representative of a local satanic group to offer the prayer.

The issue got national attention. But, locals are also watching closely and candidates for the Santa Rosa County Commission had to deal with it at a recent political forum.

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