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

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

Humanitarian and activist Dr. Feride Rushiti from Kosovo is visiting Pensacola this week, hosted by the Gulf Coast Citizen Diplomacy Council.

Dr. Rushiti is one of ten women to receive the U.S. State Department’s International Women of Courage Award.

In Washington D.C. Friday, First Lady Melania Trump delivered special remarks at a ceremony in their honor.

Courtesty of University of West Florida

The University of West Florida is adding to its history as a military-friendly school by establishing the formation of a new Office of Military Engagement.

Additionally, retired Navy Capt. Chris Middleton has been tapped to serve as military liaison to the university president.

Danielle Laatsch

More than 500,000 teens and adults are expected to rally in Washington, DC, this weekend at the March for Our Lives, a national protest against gun violence.

A Pensacola woman is among the multitudes planning to attend.

Danielle Laatsch is a military spouse, who is well-traveled and previously lived and worked in the Washington D. C. area.

University of West Florida

Walker Wiggle will make his debut at this weekend’s Ciclovia event in downtown Pensacola.

Walker the dog is the main character of the new children’s book promoting physical activity among pre-school children. The title is Walker Finds His Wiggle.

“My name is Walker Wiggle and I live next to this park,” the story begins. “I’ve learned a way to meet new friends, just wag my tail and bark.”

A recent study shows that childhood obesity continues to increase across the country. With few exceptions, the rate of obesity among children is also on the rise at the state and local level.

The national study shows 35.1 percent of children in the U.S. were overweight in 2016. That’s a 4.7 percent increase compared to 2014. Overall, the statistics reflect continuation of a three decades rise in obesity among youth from age 2 to 19.

Locally, there’s reason for optimism if you consider the obesity rate among children in the 2-5 year age range.

National Institute of Health

The University of West Florida is now conducting its first-ever clinical trial as part of a nationwide research study on Alzheimer’s disease.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

The inaugural Gulf Coast Science Festival, presented by the Pensacola MESS Hall, is now underway.

The nine-day event provides a fun way to share science and technology with the community, while also highlighting some of the real-world science that’s taking place locally.

On any given day, you’ll find kids from across the region having fun with science-related activities at the MESS Hall. MESS is an acronym for Mathematics, Engineering, Science and Stuff.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

One of the worst chapters in the history of The University of West Florida closed last week with the execution of Eric Branch for the 1993 murder of student Susan Morris.

In the years since, active shooter incidents since have forced changes in university safety practices, but it was Morris’ death that triggered the first major reform of campus security.

At the time, some 25 years ago, UWF was still early in its development, with about 6,700 degree-seeking students and lots of green space.

Office of U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz

As a member of the Florida legislature, Matt Gaetz was instrumental in the legalization of medical marijuana in the state.

Now, Congressman Gaetz is leading the charge for federal reform, trying to come up with legislation that his constituents and colleagues can support.

UWF Historic Trust

Reverend H. K. Matthews, who recently turned 90 years old, was a trailblazer of the civil rights movement in the Pensacola area. In observance of Black History Month, WUWF looks back at his lifelong fight for social justice, which is ongoing.

He was born Hawthorne Konrad Matthews on February 7, 1928 in Snow Hill, Alabama, which is part of the state’s agricultural Black Belt region. He believes the seeds of his political activism were rooted within him at an early age, having experienced racism as a child raised by his grandmother.

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Each year on February 7, there is a nationwide effort to increase HIV education, testing, community involvement, and treatment among African Americans. 

For communities like Escambia County, the annual observance of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day takes on added significance.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

The EscaRosa Coalition on the Homeless recently conducted its 2018 Point-in-Time survey. The effort, required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), was conducted on January 24.

Staff and volunteers visited local shelters, encampments, and street corners in an effort to determine the number of sheltered and unsheltered homeless individuals in the area and identify service needs.

In honor of Black History Month, Pensacola State College presents a production of two short plays about some of the most well-known figures in the fight for freedom and equal rights for blacks.

The evening features a one-woman performance of Harriet, about former slave and abolitionist Harriett Tubman. Also, there will be a one-man performance of MLK and Mandela.

Lawrence Gamell, Jr. is acting and directing.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

Florida’s First Congressional District has one of the highest concentrations of military veterans in the country. Improving veterans’ health care is a top priority here and it was the focus of a recent town hall in Pensacola.

Rebecca and Rick Winkler traveled from Crestview to attended the town hall featuring Northwest Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

The 2018 Point-in-Time (PIT) survey of homeless people living in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties was conducted Wednesday, January 24.

Data from the count is important. Beyond that data, local officials have commissioned the University of West Florida to conduct a study on the cost of homelessness, which they plan to use to help determine their next steps in addressing the problem.

The last PIT survey in 2017 showed 758 homeless people living in the two-county area. Of those, 539 were men, 117 were veterans, and 135 were chronically homeless.

Escarosa Coalition on the Homeless

The 2018 Point-in-Time count of homeless persons soon will take place in communities across the country.

Conducted on a cold night in January, the annual survey is required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development or HUD.

Florida Highway Patrol

The Florida Highway Patrol is working to address its current shortage of troopers throughout the state. Much of what they’re doing is aimed directly at the northwest region, which is one of the areas with the greatest need.

A series of recruitment videos is available on YouTube. The videos highlight the fast cars, motorcycles, military-style vehicles, and planes used for enforcement and show male and female troopers in action; making arrests, working traffic stops and wrecks, and firing off rounds during weapons training.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

As the 2017 calendar year drew to a close, flu activity levels in Florida continued to increase sharply for the fourth week in a row, including a spike locally. For public health officials, it’s a good time to remind residents to protect themselves from the flu by getting vaccinated.

Institute for Women In Politics of Northwest Florida

As of 2017, women hold about 20 percent of all 535 seats in the U.S. Congress. According to Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, the number is 84 in the United States House of Representatives and 21 in the U.S. Senate.

Local and state level statistics on average aren’t much different. But, efforts are underway to increase the number of women in politics.

alz.org / Alzheimer's Association

There are more than 5 million people living with Alzheimer’s disease in the U.S. and that number is projected to reach 16 million by 2050.

Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s and it is the only leading cause of death that cannot be prevented, slowed, or cured.

However, thanks to national and international awareness efforts, a lot more is known about the disease and momentum has been building in the field study.

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