News

Mayra Heitman/WUWF

Pensacola Blue Wahoos Partnering With FDOH To Offer COVID-19 Vaccines 

The Florida Department of Health in Escambia County (FDOH-Escambia), in partnership with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, will offer free COVID-19 vaccines to fans at Blue Wahoos games on Tuesday, May 11, Saturday, May 15, and Sunday, May 16.

Single-shot COVID-19 vaccines will be available to eligible fans ages 18 and up. 

No appointments will be necessary for fans attending the games. 500 vaccine doses will be available at the ballpark in first-come, first-serve fashion.

DeSantis Signs Bill On Gun Regulations

2 hours ago
News Service of Florida

Amid a legal battle that could be decided by the Florida Supreme Court, Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed a measure that will ratchet up a ban on local gun regulations.

DeSantis signed the bill (SB 1884) on Friday after the Republican-controlled Legislature passed it in party-line votes late last month. The bill, which will take effect July 1, will broaden a 2011 law that can make local governments pay as much as $100,000 in damages if they are sued for imposing gun regulations.

To fans of the zombie apocalypse, Michael Cudlitz, who is coming to Pensacon this month, will always be Sargent Abraham Ford on the show "The Walking Dead". Currently he is starring in the CBS series "Clarice", which is shot in Toronto. Cudlitz spoke with WUWF’s Bob Barrett about making a TV show during a pandemic.

Governor’s Office

As promised, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday signed an elections overhaul bill that was one of the most-contentious issues of the 2021 legislative session. Also as promised, the signing has prompted the almost-immediate filing of numerous court challenges.

JUST Pensacola

The faith-based organization JUST Pensacola has renewed its call for increased use of the Civil Citation program to reduce juvenile arrests in Escambia County.

For the second year in a row, hundreds of community members from a coalition of Pensacola-area congregations assembled to urge local leaders to take action regarding the high number of youth arrests. The meeting was held Monday via Zoom.

Aubrey Gemignan/NASA

Former Florida senator and new NASA Administrator Bill Nelson is hailing a "new day" for space exploration as the United States seeks to return to the Moon and to go beyond. 

Nelson, who flew aboard space shuttle Columbia in 1986, will become the agency’s 14th administrator. During his Senate confirmation hearing, he said there’s a lot of excitement going on at NASA, both from far away and close-up.

After the Florida Legislature adjourned its 2021 regular session last week, members are now gearing up for a special session on a gaming deal. 

Amid the hundreds of bills proposed each session, only one is a mandatory pass – the state budget. State Sen. Doug Broxson says as time progressed, things began looking better and better for the spending plan.

Pensacola Ice Flyers

After a truncated, out-of-the-ordinary regular season because of the coronavirus, it’s playoff time in the Southern Professional Hockey League, with the Pensacola Ice Flyers on the road for their opener Wednesday night.

Pensacola, which finished third in the five-team league’s 42-game regular season, visit the Knoxville Ice Bears in game one of the best-of-three. Ice Flyers owner Greg Harris says because Knoxville is the higher seed at number two, they’ll get the third game if necessary.

State Capitol Set To Reopen To The Public

May 4, 2021
News Service of Florida

After nearly 14 months of being closed to the public, the Florida Capitol will reopen this week ahead of a special legislative session on gambling.

Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, made the announcement Monday, but it’s not clear if other parts of state government will follow a public-health advisory by Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees to open back up as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Crist Launches Bid To Regain Governor's Mansion

May 4, 2021

More than a decade after walking away from the governor’s office, U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist launched a campaign Tuesday to try to unseat Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in 2022.

Crist, a St. Petersburg Democrat, was the first major candidate to formally enter the 2022 gubernatorial race. But DeSantis’ political committee has been piling up cash in anticipation of a re-election campaign, and Democratic Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and Democratic U.S. Rep. Val Demings of Orlando are widely expected to run.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

A lawman comes home. Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson announced the city’s new police chief during his weekly news conference at City Hall. Add to that the COVID numbers, the Bay Bridge and ferry service.

“With a tentative start date of June 14th, it’s going to be Chief Eric Randall,” said the mayor. “Eric is the individual who’s from Pensacola, who’s been in Newport News [VA], working there as an assistant chief.”

Pensacola Blue Wahoos

About 20 months after last taking the field, minor league baseball gets underway – albeit later than normal – this week. That includes the Pensacola Blue Wahoos and their Southern League brethren.

The Blue Wahoos are in Pearl, Mississippi to open their 9th season in the Southern League against the Braves this evening. Kevin Randel is the new manager, coming here after managing the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp — now Miami’s Triple-A club. Over Zoom, he said a season in the COVID-19 era will provide additional challenges, starting with pregame.

10 Dead Issues At The End Of Legislative Session

May 3, 2021
Flickr

From abortion restrictions to vacation rentals, many high-profile bills died Friday when the Florida legislative session ended. Here are 10 issues that did not make it through the Legislature:

ABORTION: The House overwhelmingly passed a bill that would have prevented doctors from providing abortions that women seek because of tests showing fetuses will have disabilities. The bill about so-called “disability abortions” threatened criminal penalties against doctors, but the Senate did not take it up.

Pexels

After a delay from earlier this year, the new 448 area code will arrive here in the Panhandle later this spring. And even if your phone number doesn’t change, the way you make calls will.

“Area Code 850 was introduced in 1997, when the 904 area code needed an area code relief due to substantial growth in demand for telephone numbers,” said Greg Fogleman, a public utilities supervisor with the Florida Public Service Commission with the Office of Industry Development and Market Analysis.

Gov. DeSantis Signs Bill To Suspend All COVID Emergency Orders

May 3, 2021

Governor Ron DeSantis suspended all local government coronavirus emergency orders on Monday, as he signed a bill that makes permanent his ban on COVID-19 vaccine passports.

While the governor’s executive order won’t block businesses from requiring customers to socially distance or wear face masks, DeSantis declared void local restrictions and said COVID-19-related fines cannot be collected by local governments.

Santa Rosa County School Board

The Santa Rosa County School Board this morning eased its mask policy and is now "recommending" that face coverings be worn.

The unanimous vote followed about 45 minutes of county residents objecting to the former policy, which mandated masks in county schools. Superintendent Dr. Karen Barber said the recommendation was based on an advisory Thursday from Surgeon General Scott Rivkees, lifting mask-wearing and social distancing guidelines.

Chad Davis/Flickr

More Americans getting the COVID-19 vaccinations means more Americans getting out of the house for the first time in more than a year. Those planning air travel need to know that scammers are lurking as you book your flight.

Reports of con artists creating fake airline ticket booking sites, or customer service numbers are said to be coming into Better Business Bureau offices.

Escambia County

“1821: A Pensacola Sampler” is a project that seeks to identify every person that lived in the community 200 years ago, when Florida became a U.S. Territory and Escambia County became one of its two original counties. Organizers of the Bicentennial Celebration are now calling for present day residents to take part in the online mosaic phase of the project.

May Skies Of The Gulf Coast

Apr 30, 2021
NASA

For May 2021, the last quarter moon passes south of Saturn on the morning of May 3, and then below Jupiter on May 4.  The new moon is on May 11.  The slender waxing crescent is beside of Venus just after sunset on May 12 (use binocs and clear western horizon 30 minutes after sunset), then next to Mercury on the 13; the two-day old moon will be beautiful with earthshine an hour after sunset — great photo op.  The waxing crescent passes close to Mars on May 15; from Europe, this will be an occultation of the Red Planet by the moon.  The first quarter moon is on May 19, and the Full Moon, the

Florida Republican Lawmakers Pass Elections Overhaul

Apr 29, 2021
Okaloosa County Supervisor of Elections

With time running out before the end of this year’s legislative session, Florida lawmakers signed off Thursday night on a controversial elections bill that would make it harder for voters to cast ballots by mail.

The coronavirus pandemic has had a major impact on businesses across the board, both in Northwest Florida and elsewhere. But when it comes to minority-owned firms, the hit is even more devastating. 

One year ago – before the pandemic shifted into high gear – the Pensacola area’s Black and other minority-owned businesses were looking very promising.

Preserve Navarre

A new effort to incorporate Navarre is in the works and seeking public input. 

Preserve Navarre is hosting an in-person meeting on Sunday, where the nonprofit will launch its web-based survey of 10 questions to help gauge interest and concerns about incorporating “Florida’s Most Relaxing Place.”

Resident Wes Siler started the efforts six months ago and founded the nonprofit which has four board members including Siler, director; Nancy Forester, vice director; Chuck Pohlmann, adviser relations; and Mike Matthews, treasurer. 

Sabai Thai/Courtesy Photo

The coronavirus pandemic has had a major negative impact on business and commerce nationwide – most acutely felt by companies owned by merchants of color. 

According to the Haas Business Center at the University of West Florida, there are about 58,000 businesses in Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton Counties.  Of those, about 3,200 – or roughly 5.5% – are owned by merchants of color.

Elvert Barnes/Flickr

Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of COVID-19. But you don’t have to be infected to be sick and tired of dealing with the coronavirus.

“We’re all ready for this to be over with,” said Allison Reynolds.

Like many of her fellow students, Reynolds, a senior marketing major at the University of West Florida, misses the normal college experience of in-person classes with lots of student interaction. But she says everyone is doing their best to keep the lines of communication open.

Florida Lawmakers Give Boost To Guns At Church

Apr 27, 2021
Pixabay

A proposal that would let people with concealed-weapons licenses pack heat at churches or other religious institutions that share properties with schools is heading to Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The Republican-controlled Senate on Tuesday voted 24-16 along party lines to give final approval to the measure (HB 259), which passed the House last month.

Florida Senate Moves Quickly On Policing Bill

Apr 27, 2021
News Service of Florida

A late-session push by the Florida House to require new training standards for police officers is ready to go to the Senate floor this week after unanimously passing the House.

The proposal (HB 7051), in part, would place restrictions on when police officers can use chokeholds and would require officers’ training to include “alternatives to use of force, including de-escalation techniques.”

As part of Florida's Territorial Bicentennial Celebration and Escambia County’s 200th Anniversary Celebration, organizers have embarked on a quest to identify every person who might have lived in the Pensacola area when it officially became a U.S. territory in 1821.

Jennie McKeon/WUWF Public Media

The months-long protests and counter-protests outside American Family Planning Clinic have come to an end, with businesses up and down Village Oaks Drive signing trespass orders. 

“We’re happy about this,” said Allison, who declined to give a last name. She is one of the counter-protesters who have been out nearly every weekend in front of the clinic to help shield clients from abortion protesters. 

United States Census Bureau

  

Florida is among states whose congressional delegations will grow in the next Congress, according to the first results from the Census Bureau’s 2020 head count.

The decennial survey of America’s population, is what Bureau Director Ron Jarmin calls the smallest shift in any decade in almost a century.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

An update on local COVID-19 numbers and what’s on tap for the remainder of his term. Those are among the topics in Mayor Grover Robinson’s weekly news conference at City Hall.

Reminiscent of Robert Frost’s “Miles to Go before I Sleep," the mayor — who announced he would not stand for re-election in 2022 — was asked if he was going to fast-track projects in the 18 months or so remaining in his term.

Pages