Dave Dunwoody

Journalist/Producer

Dave came to WUWF in September, 2002, after 14 years as News Director at the Alabama Radio Network in Montgomery, Mobile and Birmingham and a total of 27 years in commercial radio. During that time, he also served as Alabama Bureau Chief for United Press International.

The Trion, Georgia native was news director at stations in Anniston, Scottsboro and Fort Payne in Alabama, where he also broadcast football, basketball and baseball play-by-play. Dave also “played the hits” at rock and country music stations in Lafayette, Albany and Rome, Georgia and in Burlington, North Carolina.

During his time at WUWF, Dave has earned a B.A. in Communication Arts/Journalism at the University of West Florida (Class of 2012).  He’s married to the former Linda Shiell, a Pensacola native, and they live in Pensacola with their cats Gigi, Lucy, and Zoe. Dave is also a passionate fan of Georgia Bulldogs, Atlanta Falcons, and West Florida Argonauts football; the Atlanta Braves, Pensacola Blue Wahoos, and Pensacola Ice Flyers.  His hobbies include comedy writing, guitar and computer sports games.

Jennie McKeon, WUWF Public Media

Hurricane Michael's footprint on the Florida Panhandle came into focus Thursday, as teams enter stricken areas to search for hundreds of people who may have tried to ride out the storm.  

Gov. Rick Scott toured the area by helicopter on Thursday, flying over Bristol, Chipley, St. George Island, Mexico Beach, Panama City, and Panama City Beach.

“What you see in Chipley and Bristol, it sort of looked like there was [sic] tornadoes,” the Governor said. “You would see spots where everything was down.”

npr.org

Thousands of National Guard troops, law enforcement officers and medical teams are working their way into damaged communities to search for survivors of Hurricane Michael. WUWF’s Dave Dunwoody reports that includes first responders from Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties.

Santa Rosa Sheriff Bob Johnson and a dozen members of his office left Wednesday night. Sgt. Rich Aloy says they took with them a “Command Bus” -- a mobile communications center set up like a fixed-building dispatch operation.

NOAA/National Weather Service

Hurricane Michael – considered the strongest storm to hit the Florida Panhandle since record-keeping began in 1851 -- roared ashore at midday Wednesday near Mexico Beach.

Michael made landfall with 155 mph sustained winds -- just one mile an hour shy of a Category-5 -- and reported gusts topping 175. It also brings in a life-threatening storm surge and heavy rainfall throughout the region.

Tropical storm force winds from the system are sweeping across the Pensacola area, churning up 15-foot waves in the Gulf.

National Hurricane Center

Hurricane Michael is approaching the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend as a Category-3 monster, with landfall expected (Wednesday). WUWF’s Dave Dunwoody reports last-minute preparations were being made Tuesday, including mandatory evacuations as far west as Pensacola.

The Escambia County Emergency Operations Center spent Tuesday at Level-2 – or partial activation – tracking Michael’s trek through the Gulf of Mexico.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

Hurricane Michael is approaching the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend as a Category-3 storm, with top winds of 110 miles an hour and landfall expected on Wednesday. Preparations are underway — including mandatory evacuations — as far west as Pensacola.

Residents in Escambia County’s Zone-A — Pensacola Beach, Perdido Key, and low-lying areas — were ordered out at noon Tuesday.

“If you’re under an evacuation order, listen to it – don’t wait,” said Gov. Rick Scott, speaking Monday at the Escambia Operations Center.

National Hurricane Center

As Hurricane Michael churns through the Gulf of Mexico, Gov. Rick Scott visited the Escambia County Emergency Operations Center on Monday, for a briefing on the storm. WUWF’s Dave Dunwoody reports Pensacola is under a hurricane warning by the National Hurricane Center.

The Governor was in Pensacola late Monday afternoon, after briefings in Southport and New Port Richey on the 13th named storm of the 2018 season. His repeated message: do whatever it takes to stay safe.

National Hurricane Center

Hurricane Michael is expected to strengthen into a Category-2 or 3 storm by the time it hits the Florida Gulf Coast by midweek. A hurricane watch is in effect for the entire Panhandle region.

As of midday Monday, Michael was a Category-1 storm, packing sustained winds of 75 mph about 20 miles southwest of the western tip of Cuba. Movement was to the North at seven mph.  Michael is expected to strengthen further -- with winds topping 111 mph by Tuesday night -- before hitting Florida's Panhandle or Big Bend.

Florida Attorney General's Office

The State of Florida is launching a criminal investigation into sexual abuse by Catholic priests and others. Past victims are urged to contact authorities and share their stories.

Speaking Thursday, Attorney General Pam Bondi said more than 15 victims of past abuse already have come forward and contacted her office.

“As far as how widespread this is, frankly we have no idea right now; we love the Catholic Church, we love youth organizations and we love schools. But abuse is abuse,” said Bondi.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

Four months after the launch of the ferry service between Pensacola, Pensacola Beach, and Gulf Islands National Seashore, the first numbers are in on ridership.

The ferries – “Turtle Runner” and “Pelican Perch” launched in June, amid much hoopla and after a year’s delay. Gulf Islands Superintendent Dan Brown hosted the kickoff and used a line from the movie “Field of Dreams” to issue an invitation and challenge to both visitors and residents.

nwf.org

Work to safeguard longleaf pine forests in northwest Florida is getting a boost from a number of organizations, including Gulf Power Company.

The nearly one million dollar grant will support conservation efforts on more than 115,000 acres, including the recovery of at-risk wildlife. The lion’s share – $920,000 – is going for work on lands covered by the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Plain Partnership.

UWF

Celebrating the past year’s successes and previewing the school’s future, University of West Florida President Martha Saunders delivered the annual State of the University Address on Friday.

Saunders began her remarks by declaring that the University is in fine shape, because faculty and staff are doing what they were put there to do.

“We’re providing high-quality undergraduate and graduate education; we’re doing teaching and research that serve the body of knowledge, and we’re serving the professions and society,” said Saunders.

Santa Rosa Economic Development

Santa Rosa County is offering more than $5 million in incentives, in hopes of luring a wholesale food distributor.

The blueprint for “Project Runner” would allow the firm to build on about 50 acres at Northwest Florida Industrial Park. The land is worth two and a half million dollars, with a ten-year property tax exemption totaling about the same. The county would also match $240,000 in state funds.

Animal Allies Florida

If you’re looking to make a forever home for a new furry best friend, you could find them this weekend at the Pensacola Interstate Fairgrounds.

More than 20 animal rescue and other organizations will have a menagerie of adoptable critters at the “Fall in Love” Mega Adoption event on Saturday from 10 am to 4 p.m. Organizer Sharyn Berg — the director of Animal Allies — says the goal is to get at least 100 animals adopted on that day.

Escambia Co. School District

Gov. Rick Scott’s call for the release of $58 million to beef up school safety appears to be falling on the deaf ears of one incoming legislative leader.

Meanwhile, some school districts are feeling the crunch.

“It leaves us where we were at the end of legislative session; we’re going to be about $300,000 to $400,000 short from what was allocated to take the armed security through the school year,” said Escambia County Superintendent Malcolm Thomas.

friendsofperdidobay.com

Two million dollars is coming from the Environmental Protection Agency, for the establishment of northwest Florida’s first-ever estuary program.

The program covers a pair of bays – Pensacola and Perdido. Darryl Boudreau, a watershed expert with the Nature Conservancy, says the money is the result of more than five years of work.

The tickets are set for the 2018 Florida Governor’s race, as both nominees made their selections ahead of the mandated deadline on Thursday.

Orlando businessman Chris King is joining nominee and former primary rival Andrew Gillum on the Democratic ticket. Gillum — the Mayor of Tallahassee — released a video welcoming King aboard.

“What the race is about is where we want to go as a state; not where we’ve been, but where we want to go,” said Gillum in the video. “We believe, collectively, that common sense; that optimism, that inspiration – all of that will win out.”

Rebuild Northwest Florida

As Tropical Storm Gordon enters the history books, at least one organization is hoping it will serve as a reminder to get their homes storm-ready.

Very little, if any, structural damage has been reported from Gordon, which brought heavy rain and gusty winds to the Panhandle and south Alabama prior to hitting near Pascagoula, Mississippi. At least one local organization believes Gordon should be a wakeup call for homeowners.

weather.com

While Tropical Storm Gordon has come and gone, it’s leaving behind a soggy legacy in northwest Florida and south Alabama for the next few days. WUWF’s Dave Dunwoody reports.

Gordon and his 70 mile an hour winds — just shy of hurricane strength — made landfall near Pascagoula, Mississippi late Tuesday.

“Most areas over there in the western Florida Panhandle from Pensacola eastward have received 5-8 inches just since the start [Tuesday] evening, and it’s still raining,” says Jack Cullen, a forecaster at the National Weather Service in Mobile.

National Hurricane Center

Escambia County officials are monitoring Tropical Storm Gordon, as it’s expected to move by northwest Florida en route to somewhere in Mississippi.

The watch is on for tropical storm-force winds, generally starting about 5:00 (Tuesday) evening and going onto about 9:00 [Tuesday night],” said Escambia County spokeswoman Joy Tsubooka. The big concern, she said, is the condition of bridges in the storm in high winds, and the safety of drivers trying to navigate them.

League of Women Voters-Florida

After a federal court ruling that struck down barriers on early voting locations on college campuses, the League of Women Voters wants them in place for the November 6 general election.

At issue is Sec. of State Ken Detzner’s advisory opinion in 2014, which claimed state law barred the University of Florida student union from being used as an early voting location. Judge Mark Walker said in July that the ban appeared to be a way to stop younger voters from casting ballots -- something he said “does not remotely serve the public interest.”

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