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

Courtesy, The Oplontis Project

Dr. Kristina Killgrove, a researcher from the University of West Florida, is preparing for the trip of a lifetime. She’s heading to Italy soon to study skeletal remains of victims of the 79 A.D. Mount Vesuvius volcano eruption.  

Killgrove is a biological anthropologist and assistant professor in UWF’s Anthropology Department. Her classes include Intro to Anthropology, Bioarchaeology, and Human Osteology.

School districts across Florida have turned out their latest crop of graduates. When it comes to graduation rates, the Escambia County School District has been working to catch up to the state and neighboring counties. For an update on how the district is doing, WUWF recently caught up with Superintendent Malcolm Thomas.

UWF

Despite the loss of $3 million in budget vetoes, the University of West Florida appears to be on solid footing heading into next fiscal year.

The 2017 legislative process was the first for UWF with Dr. Martha Saunders at the helm. After the dust settled from last week’s Special Session, WUWF invited President Saunders to discuss how the university fared.

Escambia County Sheriff's Office

The search for 12-year-old Naomi Jones has now shifted into a homicide investigation, following the discovery of her body Monday afternoon in Eight-Mile Creek.

Naomi’s body was located in the water around 4 p.m. by two local fishermen scouting a place to fish in the creek near the intersection of Detroit Boulevard and Ashland Avenue. The location was approximately four miles from her home at Aspen Village Apartments on East Johnson Avenue and one mile outside the main search area, which was a radius of 3 miles.

Michael Spooneybarger/ CREO

The highlight of the legislative session for Northwest Florida was agreement on a plan for distributing oil-spill settlement funds by Triumph Gulf Coast to the eight most affected counties. Phyllis Pooley, director of special projects with the University of West Florida’s Office of Economic Development and Engagement, has been reviewing the list of requirements for proposed projects and how they’ll be applied. She discussed them with WUWF’s Sandra Averhart.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

The Pensacola-Tallahassee Catholic Diocese is getting a new Bishop. Pope Francis has appointed Bishop-elect William Wack to the position.

Bishop-elect Wack comes to the local diocese from Austin, TX, where he has been pastor of St. Ignatius Martyr Parish for the last eight years. He replaces Bishop Gregory Parkes, who was installed as Bishop of St. Petersburg in January of this year. 

Before a room of diocese administrators gathered at the Pastoral Center in Pensacola, Msgr. James Flaherty shared the news.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

Memorial Day Observance Features Newest Names On Wall South Vietnam War Memorial

Pensacola’s annual Memorial Day observance was held Sunday at Veterans Memorial Park in downtown. The ceremony featured a keynote speech by a former Blue Angels pilot and was highlighted by the unveiling of the newest names to be added to the Wall South Vietnam War Memorial.

UWF Athletic Communications

Update Monday, May 29:

UWF SOFTBALL:

Since this story was first reported, the No. 10 University of West Florida softball team ended its season on Saturday afternoon with a 1-0 loss to West Virginia Wesleyan in the NCAA Championships in Salem.

The Argonauts’ ended their season with a record of 46-15, giving the program its most wins and highest winning percentage (.754) since 2005, and UWF’s 88 wins over the last two years are the most in a two-year span since 2005-06.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

Opponents of offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico are mobilizing to fight the most recent threat. In Northwest Florida, it’s about protecting military training in the Gulf and preventing future disasters like the like the one caused the 2010 BP/Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

Standing at the water’s edge, with arms raised, about three dozen people take part in the culmination of the annual ‘Hands Across the Sand’ event Saturday on Pensacola Beach.

“I’ve been doing this drilling issue ever since the BP Oil Spill,” said Monie Russo. “I’ve been out here religiously.”

Florida lawmakers wrapped up the 2017 legislative session last week, three days behind schedule. This week, WUWF caught up with some legislators from Northwest Florida to get their impressions, as they wait to see what the governor will do and if they’ll be called back for a special session to deal with medical marijuana regulations.

Courtesy of Tobacco Free Florida

As part of Tobacco Free Florida Week, the Florida Department of Health is encouraging residents to ‘kick the habit’ by focusing on the ‘cost of smoking,’ both physically and financially, to help make their point, the Health Department’s Tobacco Free Florida education and prevention program is out with a public service announcement that invites viewers to “step into The Smoker’s Store,” where one can see the true cost of smoking.

Sandra Averhart

Recently, the University of West Florida’s Haas Center conducted a survey of Santa Rosa County residents about replacing the county’s courthouse. Whether to replace the building and how to replace it has been a persistent debate over the last few years.

Phyllis Pooley, director of special projects with the UWF Office of Economic Development and Engagement, which works closely with the Haas Center, joined Sandra Averhart to discuss the findings.

Santa Rosa County did not order or fund the survey.

The study focused on two main issues: location and funding.

EOD Warrior Foundation

Military bomb-disposal technicians who’ve been killed in the line of duty will be honored during a ceremony Saturday at Eglin Air Force.

This will be the 48th Annual EOD Memorial Ceremony, which is held every year on the first Saturday in May.

The Florida House and Senate have unanimously passed legislation that ensures funds from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon/BP oil-spill settlement will remain in Northwest Florida.

Lawmakers approved HB 7077  and the Senate version SB 364, establishing the Gulf Coast Economic Corridor for eight most disproportionately affected counties.

The votes ended months of debate and guaranteed that the bulk of Florida’s $2 billion dollar share of the BP Settlement money would come to the western Panhandle.

350 Pensacola

Just one week after the international March for Science, the People’s Climate Movement is taking center stage with its own march.

On Saturday, residents in Northwest Florida will be adding their voices to those in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere in calling for action on climate change, to include a faster transition to clean renewable energy.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

In 2007, Baptist Health Care teamed with renowned orthopaedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews to establish the Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine in Gulf Breeze. This month, the institute is marking its ten year anniversary while also looking ahead to its next ten.

Courtesy of Earth Day Pensacola

The 47th annual Earth Day Celebration is taking place Saturday. Locally, there will be a number of events, including the Earth Day Pensacola Festival, and cleanups in Santa Rosa and Okaloosa counties. And, added to the mix for 2017 is the March for Science.

Again this year, the theme for the Earth Day Pensacola Festival is “Energy, Transportation & Sustainability.”

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

In celebration of the 8th Annual National Robotics Week, the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition is hosting two local events.

A Robotics Open House will be held at IHMC on Friday. Then, researchers will ‘take their show on the road’ for an event Saturday at the National Museum of Naval Aviation.

Sandra Averhart / W

Twelve companies will compete for more than $250,000 in cash and prizes this week at the 2017 Innovation Awards.

The event will be held Wednesday and Thursday, April 12 and 13, at the Hilton Pensacola Beach, 12 Via De Luna Dr.

Innovation Coast is putting the competition for the second time since their inaugural event in 2014.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

Again this year, the Gulf Coast Citizen Diplomacy Council hosted a recipient of the U.S. Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award.

April is Child Abuse Awareness Month. Coincidentally, Saadet Özkan, the honoree who visited Pensacola this week is working to fight child sex abuse in her homeland of Turkey.

This year marks the eleventh anniversary of the IWOC Award, for which 100 women have been recognized.

For 2017, Özkan is one of 13 recipients from places including Batswana, Columbia, Iraq, Peru, Syria and Vietnam.

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