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

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.

County Health Rankings

Local health advocates are going over details in the 2017 County Health Rankings, as part of determining their next moves in improving the collective health of their residents.  

Again this year, Santa Rosa and Okaloosa were among the healthiest counties in the state, while Escambia remained among the least healthy.

For 2017, Santa Rosa remained in the top 10 for the sixth year in a row. The county is now ranked as the seventh healthiest of Florida’s 67 counties, after moving up from its eighth place ranking last year.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute are out with their 2017 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps report.

First released in 2011, the report, shows that where you live really matters to your health.

“So your zip code is the best predictor of how long and how well you’ll live,” said Jan O’Neill, Associate Researcher and Community Coach with the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps. “And the other key message here is that good health is so much more than just seeing a doctor.”

Military veterans and their families will be the focus of an event being held this Saturday at the UWF Conference Center.

The Greater Pensacola Veteran and Family Symposium & Expo will be a day-long affair, featuring speakers and more than 40 veteran service organizations. It’s is the first such event to be presented by the Veterans Coalition of Northwest Florida.

Courtesy of Aisha Fukushima

As part of Women’s History Month observance, the University of West Florida is hosting internationally renowned speaker, singer and rap activist Aisha Fukushima. The performance lecture will take place this Wednesday evening at 6:00 in the University Commons Conference Center.

Earlier in the day, Fukushima stopped by the WUWF studios.

Her greeting was in multiple languages, including Arabic and French.

Florida Public Archaeology Network

The Florida Public Archaeology Network is celebrating Archaeology Month in Florida, with a focus on the prehistoric Mississippian Period.

The observance also includes an exhibit on the impact of sea level rise and the local launch of a new volunteer monitoring program to track changes to at-risk sites in the state.

This year, Florida Archaeology Month, which continues throughout March, wraps up a series on prehistoric periods from Paleoindian to Archaic and Woodland.

Lindsay Myers

Brian LeBlanc of Pensacola was first diagnosed with early on-set Alzheimer’s in 2014, when he was just 54 years old. When WUWF last checked in, LeBlanc shared the fear and anxiety he felt in the past month, when he temporarily lost his ability to speak. Now, we have more of Sandra Averhart’s recent conversation with LeBlanc and UWF Biology professor Dr. Rodney Guttmann, focusing on the medical aspect of the incident and how it relates to Alzheimer’s.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

With Spring Break now underway for high school and college students across the country, area beaches are seeing an influx of visitors. But, it’s not all sun and fun.

A large group of "alternative spring breakers" recently visited the region to help Pensacola Habitat for Humanity complete a number of beautification projects in the city’s Westside Garden District.

The 2017 regular session of the Florida Legislature is in its second week. To get an early update, and to discuss some bills and projects of local interest, WUWF called on District 1 Republican Rep. Clay Ingram of Pensacola.

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