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

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper looks at a temporary reduction in the deficit, an unexpected drop in existing home sales and how the high cost of textbooks affects access to higher education.

This week, the Congressional Budget Office projected a slight drop in the U.S. budget deficit.

Lindsay Myers

On the heels of Donald Trump’s inauguration, hundreds of thousands of people gathered on the National Mall Saturday for the Women’s March on Washington. The event was organized as a grassroots movement to stand against Trump and for women’s rights and a variety of other causes.

In solidarity, “sister marches” were held in cities across the country, including Pensacola.

Picking up on Hillary Clinton’s campaign mantras, chants of “More love, less hate” and “Love trumps hate” filled the air as the marchers proceeded through downtown Pensacola.

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper looks at a recent uptick of economic development in the local area and a new solar project for local military facilities.

Two new upscale hotels, an Aloft and an Element, both Starwood brands, are planned downtown between 9th Avenue and Salamanca Street.

 Entrepreneurs can take their business ideas from inception to commercialization by participating in the Innovation Awards contest, one of the most lucrative business plan competitions in Florida. Tech and knowledge-based companies that have a promising product or service that can create local jobs can compete for cash prizes ranging from $5,000 to $100,000.

 

Michael Spooneybarger/ CREO

The pesticide DDT has been found in sediment samples from the Escambia River and its adjacent wetlands, a post-doctoral research associate at the University of West Florida has discovered.

Dr. Geoffrey Marchal, who was hired in April to begin the research, is now testing those sediment samples to see how readily available the pollutant is to the many diverse species that inhabit the bay.

“That’s the big concern,” Marchal said. “If the DDT in the sediment is bioavailable and can go through the food chain, then we have an issue.”

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper looks at the recent rise in unemployment numbers and what they mean in the long term, why job openings have risen and what Obamacare’s repeal could mean for Florida’s economy.

Weekly applications for unemployment benefits rose by 10,000 last week. But looking at historical data, the numbers are nothing to worry about, Harper said.

Sandra Averhart

Florida’s constitutional amendment expanding the scope of medical marijuana in the state took effect last week. Lawmakers now have six months to come up new rules for governing the industry.

In the meantime, local governments across Northwest Florida are taking a variety of approaches as to the establishment of medical marijuana dispensaries and many are considering temporary moratoriums.

Courtesy of EscaRosa Coalition on the Homeless.

The EscaRosa Coalition on the Homeless is gearing up for their annual "point in time" survey to take place on January 25 in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.

ECOH Marketing Director Serene Keiek and Housing Director Dianna Moore recently stopped by WUWF to talk with Sandra Averhart about the purpose and importance of the homeless count. Also, they’re seeking volunteers to help conduct the survey and to assist with their U-Count Homeless Resource Day event to follow.

Below is a transcript of their conversation.

 

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper looks at Florida’s 2017 economic outlook.

A recent University of Florida consumer survey found that a majority of people in the state are feeling very positive about their economic future.

“The overall index was up almost seven points to a value of 97. That’s a pretty strong increase,” Harper said. “The components that make up the index uniformly increased – from people’s perception of their possibility of financial health in the future and their perception of today’s financial health.”

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the Fed’s recent rate hike and projections of three more hikes in the coming year. He also talks about what the hike means for consumers.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

Since his diagnosis of early on-set Alzheimer’s in 2014, Brian LeBlanc of Pensacola has been sharing his personal journey with the disease. In the past two years, his local advocacy has reached an international level. 

“Alzheimer’s Advocacy is, is my, my job,” said LeBlanc after last month’s Covenant Care “Walk For Alzheimer’s in Pensacola. “It’s the best job I’ve ever had that I don’t get paid for.”

LeBlanc was one of the featured speakers, and was set to do the same thing at an event in Niceville the next day, his ninth such event of the year.

Michael Spooneybarger/CREO

 

Coffee table books are the perfect solution for hard-to-buy-for people on anyone’s holiday gift list. Why? Because titles cater to specific interests, and they are packed with history, facts, trivia, photographs, illustrations, graphics, lists and bibliographies that lead to even more sources of fun and enlightening information.  Other advantages of big books as gifts? If you pick the right title for the right person, size isn’t a problem, and books are guaranteed for year-round use.  Here are some of the stand-out choices for the 2016 shopping season.

Joe Vinson

A memorial service will be held Sunday in Pensacola for activist Susan Watson, who died Friday, December 2, after a brief illness. She was 62 years old.

At the time of her death, Watson was executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama. But, her life and activism were rooted here in Northwest Florida.

Watson grew up in Pensacola, where her father, who was in the Navy, settled the family when she was 10 years old.

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper looks at the latest ADP report on job growth, talks about potential tax cuts in the Trump administration and what those reductions could mean for Northwest Florida.

Harper said the report from the ADP, the nation’s largest payroll processor, which comes out two days before the federal statistics on jobs that are released on the first Friday of every month, yielded “surprisingly good” results.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

A year ago we were introduced to Brian LeBlanc. The Pensacola resident was diagnosed with early on-set Alzheimer’s in 2014 and he’s been sharing his story in hopes of raising awareness about the disease.

LeBlanc has been pretty busy lately, especially in November, which is National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.

On Saturday, November 12, LeBlanc drove himself to Seville Square in downtown Pensacola, where he and others in the community gathered for Covenant Care’s annual Walk for Alzheimer’s.

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