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

WUWF Public Media

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper talks about the economic issues discussed in the State of the Union address and discusses how important education will be for job development in the Pensacola area.

In his final State of the Union address, President Barrack Obama began by assuring Americans that the U.S. economy is the strongest and most durable in the world.

Brian LeBlanc

Since November of 2015, we’ve been getting to know Brian LeBlanc of Pensacola. He has been diagnosed with early on-set Alzheimer’s. Now in his mid-50's, he has known about his condition for a little over a year now. As we continue our conversation, we focus on how the disease has impacted his daily life and how he’s dealing with it.

“Being this is radio, you can’t see what I’m doing right now, but I’m holding up my cell phone,” said LeBlanc. “That’s my constant companion.”

According to LeBlanc, his phone tells him everything, even when to eat.

WUWF Public Media

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the recent Chinese stock market crisis and its possible lasting effects. Also, he predicts how the Pensacola-area economy will fare in 2016.

China’s stock market has had a rocky beginning to 2016, and that is feeding doubt among investors about the country’s economic stability.

“China is a source of great uncertainty right now,” Harper said. “We had the shortest trading day ever in China as a result of the market falling 7.3 percent in about half an hour, which led authorities to shut it down.”

WUWF Public Media

In 2015, the nation’s economic recovery continued its slow, steady improvement. And, now as the year comes to a close, we’re taking a look at some of the economic highlights during the past 12 months here in Northwest Florida.

“Actually, good news, of course, with unemployment,” said University of West Florida economist Rick Harper, referring to the 5.0 percent unemployment rate recorded in October of 2015 for the Pensacola Metro area, which includes Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.

Santa Rosa County

Hunter Walker is wrapping up work as Santa Rosa County Administrator. In a final conversation with WUWF before leaving the post, he looked back at his 20 years on the job.

“Twenty years is a long time; that’s a generation,” said Walker. “The county’s changed a lot. I turned 65 in October so it seemed time.”

Walker has seen a lot of changes in Santa Rosa County during the past two decades, noting that the population was approaching 100,000 in the mid 1990’s, when he arrived. Now, approximately 163,000 people live in Santa Rosa.

Michael Spooneybarger / CREO University of West Florida

Coffee table books are can’t-miss choices for the impossible-to-buy-for people on any holiday list. Titles cater to extremely specific interests. Whether you’re shopping for a James Bond movie poster collector or a connoisseur of wine from Slovenia, publishers provide.

  In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses what the slight rise in unemployment claims means for the economy and the possible changes to the state’s short sell mortgage laws.

 

The Dec. 5 unemployment claims are in, and the state’s initial claims have risen to their highest point in five months – up 13,000 to 282,000. But Harper says that’s no cause for alarm. Depending upon when the month ends, where Thanksgiving falls and where Christmas spending begins, the reports can be volatile from week to week.

 

Panhandle Warrior Project

The veterans’ services organization Panhandle Warrior Partnership is now headquartered in Pensacola. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Monday to celebrate the opening of their new office at 4300 Bayou Blvd. 

During a short program outside the office, Executive Director Danny Verda provided a quick snapshot of what the organization does.

 

  In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses what the increase in Thanksgiving weekend retail spending means for Florida, the possibility of increased short-term interest rates, and Gov. Rick Scott’s proposal to create an economic development war chest.

 

Holiday shopping has begun. Coming out of what is traditionally the biggest retail weekend of the year, spending saw an increase over last year, but a modest one, Harper said.

 

Southern Rail Commission

    

The Southern Rail Commission (SRC) will hold its next meeting in the Mobile, AL on Friday (Dec. 4). The panel will discuss the status of their efforts to restore passenger rail service to the Gulf Coast that could include stops in Atmore, Crestview, and Pensacola. 

It’s been about 10 years since Amtrak’s Sunset Limited line was operational in the Gulf States, running from New Orleans, Louisiana eastward to Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. But, that all changed after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

NOAA

The 2015 Atlantic Hurricane season has come to a close. The six-month period wrapped up on Monday, November 30.

As expected, it was a relatively quiet year.

In line with forecasts projecting a slightly below average season, there were 11 named storms, with four of those becoming hurricanes.  

Florida made it through the season without a storm making landfall in the state, but there were a couple of close calls.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

As part of National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, we are taking some time to get to know Brian LeBlanc of Pensacola, who was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease in October of last year.

Florida’s U.S. Senator Bill Nelson was in Pensacola Monday to meet with local business and civic leaders on issues important to the community. It was also an opportunity to provide an update from Washington, including the latest on issues related to Syria.

  In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the continuing boost in Florida’s tourism marketing and traffic, how the terrorist attacks in Paris may affect that traffic, and what’s ahead for holiday shopping.

Harper said Florida tourism has continued to grow in 2015 and should be on a pace to set a new record for the state.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

November is National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. According to the Alzheimer's Association, Alzheimer’s disease affects more than 5 million people in the U.S., and up to five percent of those have early-onset Alzheimer’s.

In the first of a series of reports, we’ll take a closer look at early-onset Alzheimer’s and we’ll meet a local man, who’s trying to raise awareness by sharing his own story of life with the disease.

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