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.

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WUWF Public Media

There’s a crowded field of  candidates in the race for the Republican nomination for the Florida House of Representatives District 4, which covers the vast majority of Okaloosa County. They are seeking to replace incumbent Matt Gaetz, who won the seat in 2010, but is now running for Congress.

The two candidates with the most name recognition are two-term Okaloosa County Commissioner Wayne Harris, a 27 year Air Force veteran, and former Destin Mayor and businessman Mel Ponder.

USA Track and Field

Pensacola’s Justin Gatlin won the silver medal in the Men’s 100 meter sprint at the Olympic Games in Rio Sunday night.  The 2004 Olympic champion in Athens, Gatlin fell short of his quest to reclaim the title as “world’s fastest man,” losing to Jamaica’s Usain Bolt by just .08 seconds.

During the race, Gatlin got off to a great start, but at about the 60-meter mark, Bolt accelerated past the competition to win in 9.81 seconds. Gatlin finished second in 9.89. They posted the fastest times posted during the 2016 Olympics.

  The Pensacola area has two athletes to watch at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Bubba Watson is participating in his first ever Olympic Games. The men’s golf competition began Thursday. This is the third Olympics for track and field star Justin Gatlin. 

Gatlin is going into the Olympics on a high, as the best sprinter in the U.S. He’s proven that consistently in the last few years. And, he proved it again last month in the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon, winning both the 100 and 200 meter races.

Bubba Watson

The 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro are underway, with much of the focus during this first week of competition on swimming and gymnastics. Two local athletes are among those competing for Gold.

Justin Gatlin, a graduate of Pensacola’s Woodham High School, is back in Track & Field. And, Bubba Watson, a Milton High grad, is making his Olympic debut.

Watson will represent the U.S. Men’s Golf Team, along with Ricky Fowler, Matt Kuchar, and Patrick Reed. 

Diane Lea

 

Diane Lea grew up in Pace and began planning a 2,500 mile journey about two years ago, as she was approaching her next big birthday.

"And I thought, you know, when I turn 50 it’s time for me to do something for somebody else. It’s time for me to give back."

But, she had to figure out what she could actually do that would have some impact. She’d participated in a few charity bike rides around Pensacola, so thought, 'okay, that’s it. I can ride a bicycle.'

    

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper talks about an unexpected boost in the latest jobs numbers, an uptick in consumer spending, what sales tax means to Florida and the problematic state of tobacco use in our area.

The ADP Research Institute’s job report for July was released this week and showed strong growth yet again for the month.

University of West Florida

The University of West Florida is wrapping up its 2016 Summer Archaeology Field School.

In addition to their work exploring the Luna shipwrecks at Emanuel Point, UWF staff and students have spent the past 10 weeks looking for more clues about the recently discovered 1559 Luna Settlement site. Earlier this month, WUWF checked in to see how the project was progressing.

 

  In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the Federal Reserve’s decision to once again hold interest rates.

The Federal Reserve met this week and, based on their projections, decided once again not to raise interest rates.

“It’s now five meetings ago (December 2015) since the Federal Open Market Committee raised the key overnight lending rate by 25 basis points – that is a quarter of a percent. And so, now we have short-term rates hovering in that region,” Harper said.

Sandra Averhart

  Bubba Watson has officially cut the ribbon for his new downtown Pensacola candy and ice cream shop, which began operating earlier this month.  Bubba’s Sweet Spot is Watson’s latest investment in the community he calls home. 

Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office

Okaloosa County officials are trying to reassure residents following the arrest of two former EMS paramedics for using their cell phones to take “selfies” and videos with patients in their ambulances.

24-year-old Kayla Dubois of Navarre and 33-year-old Christopher Wimmer of Crestview were arrested Thursday after a two-month investigation by the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office.

   In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the recent grant awarded to the University of West Florida’s Haas Center to develop an economic development strategic plan through Florida’s Great Northwest.

Through a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Adjustment Assistance, the University of West Florida’s Haas Center for Business Research and Economic Development will take a major role in creating an economic development strategic plan for Florida’s Northwest region.

  The debate over the long-standing practice of opening local government meetings with an invocation has intensified recently after the Pensacola City Council allowed a representative of a local satanic group to offer the prayer.

The issue got national attention. But, locals are also watching closely and candidates for the Santa Rosa County Commission had to deal with it at a recent political forum.

Sandra Averhart

 

The Blue Angels are presenting their annual air show over Pensacola Beach this weekend, part of Red, White and Blues Week.  The team is ready to go and looking forward to performing their first home town show since tragedy struck last month.

Sandra Averhart

Santa Rosa County voters are being asked again to approve a sales tax to fund construction of a new judicial center. The referendum will appear on the August 30 Primary Election ballot. It has been the subject of continued debate among current Santa Rosa Commissioners and is one of the issues facing the candidates seeking election to the board. 

U.S. Navy Blue Angels

Navy Commander Frank Weisser has been tapped to return to the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, to serve as their new Blue Angel #6 Opposing Solo pilot for the remainder of the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

Weisser previously served with the Blue Angels from 2008 to 2010 and performed duties including Narrator, Key Influencer and VIP Pilot, Opposing Solo and Lead Solo.

He replaces Captain Jeff Kuss, who passed away June 2nd during practice for an airshow in Smyrna, Tennessee.

 

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the aftermath of the Brexit vote and the first-quarter revision of the GDP. Also, Northwest Florida’s economy is booming with Fourth of July on the horizon.

If you’re in the UK, the economic temperature is cooling, Harper said.

Bay County

When the dust settled after qualifying closed on Friday, June 24, a number of candidates won their races unopposed. Leading the way is Republican Bay County Commissioner George Gainer, who’s now set to take over the new State Senate District 2 seat.

With incumbent Don Gaetz unable to seek reelection due to term limits, the stage was set for a battle over the newly reapportioned District 2 seat between Gainer and Gaetz’ son, Matt Gaetz.

Santa Rosa County

   Jayer Williamson has resigned from the Santa Rosa County Board of Commissioners, effective immediately. The move, announced Thursday, was necessary to move ahead with his plans to run for State House of Representatives District 3, but came a bit earlier than anticipated.

Also, it leaves the county commission with just four members, pending the election or appointment of a replacement by Gov. Rick Scott.

University of West Florida

As the University of West Florida looks to its 50th anniversary, it’s also considering its future. UWF has begun to lay the groundwork for the challenging task of achieving ‘emerging preeminent’ status as one of the top research institutions in the state and nation.

U.S. Navy Blue Angels

The Blue Angels have restarted training flights in preparation to resume their air show season schedule.

"We are back, Blue Angels Fans!" were the words beginning a Twitter post Thursday. "Today the team returns to the skies after our operational pause."

The U.S. Navy’s Flight Demonstration  Squadron flew its first training flight in a "Big V" formation, with five aircraft, over the Pensacola area Thursday Morning.  The flight took place at about 9:30 a.m. and was visible over downtown Pensacola, Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key.

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