blue angels

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the importance of the Fourth of July holiday weekend to local beach tourism and his latest viewpoint on wage growth.

First, visitors and locals alike will be celebrating Independence Day across the gulf coast this weekend.

According to Harper, the forward looking indicators are very strong.

“We’re seeing low gas prices, lowest they’ve been really in about five years,” he said. “We’re also seeing job growth.”

U.S. Navy

The Blue Angels announced the commanding officer for the 2016 and 2017 seasons on Monday. And he’s coming to the team from both the cockpit and the classroom.

“I’m still very overwhelmed and humbled by the news I just received, and I’m absolutely thrilled by this opportunity,” said Commander Ryan Bernacchi.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses significant local happenings, including Pensacola’s new 12-day fall cultural event, the Foo Foo Festival.

The Blue Angels will celebrate homecoming and the end of the 2014 performance season this weekend, with a first-ever three-day event at Sherman Field aboard NAS Pensacola.

This is the first homecoming in two years, thanks to sequester – the across-the-board federal budget cuts that grounded the Navy flight squadron. Blue Angels commander, Capt. Tom Frosch says the biggest challenge was how to keep the team intact for 2014.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper reflects on Blue Angels weekend on Pensacola Beach. ‘Red, White and Blues Week’ follows the Fourth of July holiday weekend, which provides a critical boost to the local tourism industry over a stretch of about a week-and-a-half.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the importance of the month of July to Northwest Florida’s tourism industry.

“In our climate zone, July is far and away the biggest month. It’s the month in which hoteliers and restaurateurs are able to charge top dollar, keep the place full. That’s when they pack away the profits they’ll need to make their lease or mortgage payments throughout the rest of the year,” says Harper, who adds that there are indications that it’s a good July this year.

Blue Angels

Final preparations are being made on Santa Rosa Island, for next weekend’s Blue Angels air show, the first since 2012. 

For Buck Lee, Executive Director of the Santa Rosa Island Authority, what a difference a year makes. He says the cancelation of most of the flight demonstration team’s 2013 season now has many of their fans viewing them in a new light.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Michael Lindsey/Released

For the first time in nearly 50 years, the Pensacola Naval Air Station has a new aircraft on display at the main gate. As part of a series of events to celebrate the base’s 100 year anniversary, a special ceremony was held Tuesday to unveil the new plane: partial coverings were removed, revealing special details on the plane,  which was painted in the Blue Angels blue and gold.

Photo via Flickr//Ken Mist

A former Blue Angels commander has been found guilty of violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice, by failing to stop obvious and repeated instances of sexual harassment. Capt. Gregory McWherter was given a non-judicial punitive letter of reprimand, a usually career-ending outcome.

Steve Cooke//Flickr Steve Cooke-SRAviation

There was a familiar sight in the air over El Centro, California on Saturday as the Blue Angels, the Navy's flight demonstration team began the 2014 season before a crowd of over 30,000. After spending most of 2013 on the ground, the Blue Angels made it back in the air this past weekend to start the 2014 show schedule.