City of Pensacola

After three years on the job, Eric Olson has stepped down as Pensacola City Administrator. The announcement was made late Friday afternoon, four months before the end of the Ashton Hayward administration. 

The written statement from Hayward gives no details; calls to the Mayor and to Olson seeking comment have not been returned.

Hired as an assistant administrator upon his retirement from the Navy – Olson was named administrator in 2015 – the third person to hold that job in the Hayward administration, after Tamara Fountain and Colleen Castille.

Bliss Quarterly (January) 34 / Pensacola Historical Society

In this week’s Gulf Stories Moment, Dr. John Bratten, chair and associate professor of anthropology at the University of West Florida, discusses the shipwreck known as the Catharine.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

In our final visit with candidates for Mayor of Pensacola, WUWF’s Dave Dunwoody speaks with broadcasting executive David Mayo.

While this is Mayo’s first attempt at public office, he’s a familiar face with a number of civic organizations – and as General Manager of WHBR TV33 since the station went on the air in 1986.

“There’s just, I suppose, an insatiable desire to serve, and try to make a difference in each life I can come across,” said Mayo. “Help them overcome their life’s’ challenges and their adversities, which we all have.”

Florida’s 17th back-to-school holiday is now underway. As of 12:01 Friday morning, eligible items will be exempt from sales tax until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday.

“It’s probably one of the [bills] that passes 116-0 or 114-0; hard to imagine somebody voting against this bill, when these tax holidays come up, especially back to school. Anything that gives some broad relief to families is a big deal.”  said outgoing state Rep. Clay Ingram, who’s also President and CEO of the Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce.

A proposed constitutional amendment to ban greyhound racing in Florida is no longer on the November 6 ballot.

Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers sided with greyhound owners and breeders, who argue that the impact of Amendment-13 from the Constitutional Revision Commission would go far beyond the description given to voters.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

The wide-open race for Florida House of Representatives District 1, which covers most of Escambia County, features two Democrats and three Republicans. WUWF recently invited GOP candidate Rebekah Bydlak to discuss her bid for the seat.

As a ninth generation native of the community, Bydlak’s run for House District 1 is personal, as she notes with a bit of family trivia.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

In our next visit with those running for Pensacola Mayor, WUWF’s Dave Dunwoody sat down with City Councilman Brian Spencer – the sixth and final piece of the candidate puzzle.

Spencer announced his decision in mid-June not to run for re-election to the Council’s District-6 seat after serving for eight years. Ten days later, he qualified for the Mayor’s race, which was thrown open by Ashton Hayward’s decision not to seek a third term.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

With incumbent Clay Ingram unable to run for reelection due to term limits, the District 1 seat in the Florida House of Representatives is up for grabs. There are five candidates vying for the office.

Mike Hill, one of three Republicans in the race, is seeking to return to the state legislature.

An Air Force veteran and local businessman, Hill served three years in the Florida House.

He won a special election in 2013 following the death of then Dist. 2 Rep. Clay Ford.  In 2016, he lost a contentious race for the state senate.

Bob Barrett / WUWF News

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School will take their “Road To Change” Tour to Pensacola Monday. The students will be at the University of West Florida for the final stop on their month long bus tour of the state.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam brought his run for governor to Pensacola on Friday.

Putnam met with supporters at a packed Scenic 90 Cafe,  repeating his “Florida First” mantra and reminding everyone of the differences between him and his challenger for the Republican nomination, Cong. Ron DeSantis – who’s a frequent guest on Fox News Channel.

Florida Department of Transportation

The Florida Department of Transportation took time out this week to address the many questions and concerns that have arisen following news of cracks in the concrete of the new Pensacola Bay Bridge.


I’ve talked before about the value of reading obituaries, still very much the province of newspapers, either in print or online. As John Maynard Keynes famously noted, in the long run we are all dead. So rich or poor, famous or obscure, good or bad, the obit is our shared legacy.

Chris King/Facebook

One of the major Democratic candidates to enter the Florida governor’s race is hoping to parlay his run into becoming the first in his party to occupy that chair in two decades.

Thirty-nine-year-old Chris King is an Orlando native and entrepreneur. For the last dozen years, he’s been involved with an organization he founded -- Elevation Financial Group – which provides affordable housing to seniors and families.

That, in turn, led to his decision to run for governor.


A Pensacola based researcher has been honored as the year’s outstanding young scientist. Dr. Dawn Kernagis, a research scientist at the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, was given the Young Scientist Award from the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society. The award is for scientists age 40 or younger. "That was an incredible honor because I've known a lot of those people for a very long time. They've (helped) usher me through my career and my transition from being a full time diver to being a full time researcher."

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

Jonathan Green is the second-youngest in the six-member field for Pensacola Mayor, and one of two African-Americans seeking the post. WUWF’s Dave Dunwoody recently spoke with Green about his candidacy.

Jonathan Green is wearing many hats at 31 years of age; educator, social worker, activist, and a law school graduate.

“I do have a law degree; I don’t have the license to actually practice law, but that was intentional as I went to law school,” says Green. “To learn the legal system so that way, I could see how to best help people and apply it on more of a practical level.”

City of Pensacola

Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward has the green light to begin talks with a Washington State-based firm, to set up shop at the Port of Pensacola.

Incoa Performance Minerals of Walla Walla is a mining, manufacturing and logistics company, offering a full lineup of calcium carbonate products. The firm wants to move into Warehouses nine and 10 at the Port, and acquire six and a half acres of adjacent land for development.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

Former Miami Beach Mayor and gubernatorial candidate Philip Levine was in Pensacola Thursday, speaking to the Escambia County Democratic Women’s Club. Before that, he sat down with WUWF’s Dave Dunwoody.

An entrepreneur, Levine started Onboard Media -- a port-marketing program for the cruise industry, which eventually expanded to 85 stateroom magazines and television. Onboard merged with Starboard Cruise Services before Levine sold it in 2000. Then he went into politics, running for mayor of Miami Beach.