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Coronavirus Live Blog: Week Of March 1

19 hours ago
Mayra Heitman/WUWF

Saturday, March 6

State Adds 4,690 Cases, 107 Deaths

The state added 4,690 infections and 107 deaths according to Saturday's FDOH report. Of the 107 statewide deaths, two were from local areas; both in Okaloosa County. 

Local numbers:

Since late December, a group of volunteers have been in front of American Family Planning, Pensacola’s last standing abortion clinic, to provide support to clients and staff and act as a buffer against a growing number of anti-abortion protesters.

Lisa Ferdinando/Department of Defense

Vaccine distribution and cracking down on protests are among the issues facing Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office and the Legislature on Thursday.

As the governor travels the state boasting of Florida’s “seniors-first” policy, Democratic leaders are calling for investigations into the allocation of coveted COVID-19 vaccinations Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is asking for an FBI investigation into the issue.

“I will not stand by and let our vaccines be used as political gain, and to be auctioned to the highest bidders while so many of our Floridians are suffering.”

House Moves Forward On Violent Protest Crackdown

Mar 3, 2021
Jennie McKeon/WUWF Public Media

Republican lawmakers are pushing ahead with a controversial proposal that seeks to crack down on violent protests, make it more difficult for local governments to trim spending on law enforcement and enhance penalties related to riots and injuries to police officers.

Gov. Ron DeSantis first sketched out the law-and-order plan last year, following widespread protests throughout the country over racial inequities in policing and other aspects of American life.

University of West Florida

The University of West Florida is working to create a space for the campus community to share and discuss their experiences with race and ethnicity. The new initiative is the “My Story Griot Project.”

“We’re still going and moving, and moving well and moving strong,” said Mamie Webb Hixon, assistant professor of English and director of the UWF Writing Lab, discussing the momentum of the CASSH workgroup on Race.

Flickr

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis helped open the annual legislative session with his State of the State Address. He reflected as much on the past year as he did his priorities for 2021.

“One year ago, COVID-19 had not yet been declared a global pandemic,” the governor began his remarks. He then touted his response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Pexels

When the 2021 legislative session is gaveled in, a House committee will take up a proposal that targets large social media companies that block users from their platforms.

Eli Lilly and Company

There’s a new sheriff in town in the treatment of the coronavirus, now being offered by, among others, Ascension-Sacred Heart Hospital

“It’s taken a while to figure out how to pronounce this thing in full; it’s kind of a tongue-twister — Bamlanivimab.  We just call it ‘Bam’ for short,” said Dr. Peter Jennings, Chief Medical Officer at Ascension Sacred Heart Health System.

March Skies Of The Gulf Coast

Mar 1, 2021
NASA

For March 2021, the moon is waning gibbous in the morning sky as the month begins, reaching last quarter on March 6.  The waning crescent in the predawn is just west of Saturn on March 9, then south of Jupiter on March 10.  It is new on March 13, and Sunday March 14 sees the return of Daylight Savings Time.  The waxing crescent passes south of Mars on March 19. The Vernal Equinox begins spring on March 20th at 4:37 a.m. CDT. The first quarter moon is on March 21. The full moon, the Paschal Moon, is on March 28, so the following Sunday is Easter, April 4 for this year.

Jennie McKeon/WUWF Public Meda

High school students interested in becoming involved in their community, learning about local government and honing their leaderships skills are invited to join the Pensacola Youth Council, a new program being launched by the city of Pensacola.

Jennie McKeon/WUWF Public Media

With apologies to Thin Lizzy, the boys — and girls — are back in town at Casino Beach as of Monday. That’s the kickoff to the 2021 spring break and tourist seasons.

“We’ve been busy getting ready, getting geared up; we’ve hosted three different tryouts over the past few months,” said Alex Johnson, Water Safety Deputy Chief at Santa Rosa Island Authority. “Done interviews, we’ve done five different lifeguard training sessions, we’re starting our sixth now [and] we’ll have one more after that.”

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

John Sunday, who was born a slave in the 1830s, became one of Pensacola’s most prominent residents. Just five years ago, efforts to save Sunday’s historic 1901 home were unsuccessful. But, the campaign was effective in educating the community about his legacy and honors are now coming his way.

UWF Historic Trust

As the celebration of Black History Month nears conclusion, Rev. H.K. Matthews — a Pensacola-area Civil Rights icon — looks back and then forward.

Black History Month turns 45 this year. President Gerald Ford recognized the observance in 1976, during the nation’s Bicentennial. But not everybody is on board – including Rev. Matthews.

Freepik

With the 2021 legislative session starting next week, state lawmakers are fast-tracking a proposal to protect Florida businesses from COVID-19 lawsuits.

It appears easier said than done — that along with shielding the state’s long-term care industry at the same time — the latter proving to be more difficult. The extent of the liability protections, and whether all long-term care facilities should be shielded from lawsuits, are some of the issues that lawmakers will have to consider.

When Chester Pruitt was hired as the first Black officer for the Fort Walton Beach Police Department in 1948, he broke barriers in the city and set a precedent for the Black community.

But much of his 15 years in service reflected the segregated times of the Jim Crow era. 

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