News

Mayra Heitman/WUWF

Tuesday, May 26

769 cases in Escambia; death toll at 26

As of 2 p.m., Escambia County has had 769 positive COVID-19 cases.  The total number of COVID-19 related deaths in Escambia County residents is 26 individuals.

Seven more deaths in Florida

There are a total of 52,255 Florida cases with 2,259 deaths related to COVID-19.

Ronald McDonald House of Northwest Florida

The coronavirus pandemic is changing life for individuals, businesses and charities in Pensacola — the latter including Ronald McDonald House at Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital.

Opening in 1984 in a six-bedroom house, the facility has grown to a 26-bedroom complex that opened in 2010. Director of Development Summer Jimmerson says more than 10,000 families have been served.

“We have 26 bedrooms in the house, so anywhere from 55-70 people at any given time,” said Jimmerson, referring to normal conditions.

This week, we're joined once again by Jamin Wells, Assistant Professor with the History Department at UWF.  He gives us an overview of the history of Pensacola tourism.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

A free summer education program is now available to pre-kindergarten students in Escambia County.

The program is designed to help kids make up for lost learning due to the coronavirus and enhance their overall school readiness.

Let’s practice our letter sounds,” begins the “Mama Squirrel Letter Sound Song,” produced by the school-readiness program Waterford Upstart.

Dave Dunwoody/WUWF Public Media

With Memorial Day observances cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, we would like to offer an encore of the 2015 ceremony at Veterans Park in downtown Pensacola. WUWF’s Dave Dunwoody was there.

Hundreds of people turned out that Sunday for the Memorial Day ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park in downtown Pensacola.

Veterans Park Foundation President Butch Hansen served as Master of Ceremonies for the program, which was held under some clouds with gusty winds, along with typical late spring temperatures well into the 80s.

Mayra Heitman/WUWF

Sunday, May 24

Latest from Florida DOH

Food Giveaway in Navarre 

Saturday, May 23

Escambia to open drive-thru testing site

Jennie McKeon/WUWF Public Media

Memorial Day weekend is a big holiday at the Air Force Enlisted Village where residents are either retired service members or spouses of service members. 

And even as the coronavirus pandemic disrupts aspects of daily life, AFEV wasn’t going to let the military holiday go unnoticed. 

Saturday morning, residents in red, white and blue waved to a parade of vintage cars, motorcycles and first responders. Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” blared from a car speaker and the loop of resident halls and apartments were lined with American flags. 

Jennie McKeon/WUWF Public Meida

The Shark Gym owners, Suzy and Cozmo Digiano, remember the exact moment gyms were closed in Florida.

“March 20, 1:40 p.m.,” said Suzy.

It was a harsh reality for the small business which opened in 2018. Until gyms reopened statewide on May 18, the Digianos were trying to stay positive while handling an “influx of cancellations.” 

“We held our breaths for a little while,” said Suzy. “We knew people were being affected (by the pandemic). We just leaned further into our faith.” 

NOAA

Government forecasters are predicting an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season with the possibility of almost 20 named storms.

During a teleconference with the media Thursday Neil Jacobs, acting administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center, said indications point to an above-average season from June 1 through Nov. 30 -- with the possibility of extreme activity.

Okaloosa County School District

 

 

The Okaloosa County School District has solidified plans for honoring its graduating seniors. True walk-across-the-stage ceremonies are set for July. In addition, starting today (Thurs), the taping begins on a professionally produced video for each senior.

 

Public Domain Image

Escambia County’s blueprint to reopen short-term vacation rentals — with precautions for COVID-19 —has the blessing of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

Sam's Fun City

A Pensacola landmark is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, but will running with a new set of rules when it reopens this month.  

“I bought 50 acres on the corner of W Street and Highway 29, and the park now sits on about 25 of those (acres),” said Richard Sanfilippo, the owner of Sam’s Fun City in Pensacola.

Public Domain Image

Local governments worked overtime last weekend to submit their safety plans for short-term rentals in hopes of restarting the tourism industry in the Panhandle. And they're starting to get approvals back today. 

The scramble started Friday afternoon when Gov. Ron DeSantis laid out his “full phase one” reopening plan for the state, which includes resuming short-term rentals on a case-by-case basis. 

Flickr

Executive Order number 20-123 from Gov. Ron DeSantis kicked in on Monday, putting Florida in full phase one of the state’s reopening plan in the time of coronavirus. Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson addressed the change during his Monday news conference.

“The executive order allows gyms and fitness centers to open at 50% capacity; and allows restaurants, retail, museums and libraries to increase to 50%,” said the mayor.

The mayor also was to have requested that DeSantis reopen gyms, but the executive order rendered that moot.

This week, we welcome back Dr. Jane Caffrey, Professor from the Center for Environmental Diagnostics and bio-remediation, and the Department of Biology at UWF.  She's gives us a current and historical perspective of oysters in our region.

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