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Amid a federal court battle involving 32 counties, Gov. Ron DeSantis is directing the state’s elections chief to address Spanish-language ballots and voter assistance at polling places.

Secretary of State Laurel Lee will begin the process to standardize the practice of offering ballots in Spanish in Florida’s 67 counties. In a prepared statement, the Governor said it’s critical to remove language barriers from the right to vote. According to the Governor’s office, 46 counties have different rules for voters who speak other languages.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

As the resurrection of the ferry service linking downtown Pensacola, Fort Pickens and Pensacola Beach approaches, the ribbon was cut Saturday on the boats’ downtown landing.

Port of Pensacola Director Amy Miller addressed the crowd at the new facility, located at the head of Commendencia Slip between the Port of Pensacola and Plaza de Luna/Palafox Pier.

A resolution passed by a Florida Senate Committee Wednesday calls on Congress to continue a moratorium on oil and gas exploration in the eastern Gulf of Mexico to help prevent conflicts with military training.

The moratorium is set to expire in 2022.

SR-1820 was approved unanimously by the Senate Military and Veterans Affairs and Space Committee. It’s a non-binding measure filed by State Senator Ed Hooper, a Republican from Palm Harbor stating the importance of the eastern Gulf – GoMex – as a range for military training.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF

Controversial legislation seeking to clarify how Amendment 4 is carried out continues to move through the Florida House and Senate. The Republican-backed bills are progressing over the objections of those who argue they are not necessary.

The two versions, HB-7089 and SB-7086, each passed their respective Judiciary Committees this week, with split votes along party lines.

IHMC

As a reader, one of my greatest delights is finding an article that deftly summarizes something I had been thinking. Better, if it takes your own idea to places you had not yet been to, yet immediately recognize.  Now, I am not speaking about politics. It is an unfortunate trend today that right, left or whatever we tend to gravitate to news sources that reflect our own thinking.

Jennie McKeon, WUWF Public Media

On the six month anniverary of Hurricane Michael, legislation to pump at least $315 million into the hurricane-battered Panhandle and to create a task force on state and local disaster responses cleared its first Senate hurdle on Tuesday.

Skies For The Gulf Coast

Apr 10, 2019

For April 2019, the waning crescent moon will be just south of Venus in the dawn an hour before sunrise on April 1.  The next morning, it will be below Venus and south of fainter Mercury 30 minutes before dawn.  Binoculars will help spot elusive Mercury.  The New moon is April 5, with the waxing crescent moon south of the Pleaides and Mars on the evening of April 8.  The Full Moon, the Paschal Moon following the Vernal Equinox, is on April 19, and sets the following Sunday, April 21, as the date for Easter this year.  On April 23, the Waning gibbous moon is close to Jupiter in the morning s

Save Pensacola Beach

Dianne Krummel is on a mission. She’s the founder and leader of Save Pensacola Beach. Their goal is to prevent fee simple ownership and maintain the 1947 deed that ensures Santa Rosa Island is publicly owned.

“We speak and we represent the will of the people, the 95,564 that voted to keep our public beaches publicly owned,” she said. “That’s our job and we’ve committed to them, and they’re trusting us to do the right thing for the people.”

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

In an effort to get more diversity in the city of Pensacola, the head of a local chamber of commerce is out with a new program.

“I do see a trend that we’re losing some of our top minority leaders that we have in numerous roles; and when you lose that diversity, you lose that ability to see that ‘reverse role models’ that our young professionals can look up to and emulate in our community,” said Brian Wyer, president of the Gulf Coast Minority Chamber of Commerce and the force behind “I Love Diverse Cities.”

The initiative contains three challenges for the community.

Abigail Megginson / WUWF

No one wants to pay for the same thing twice, but that’s what some beach residents are concerned about and trying to fight against.

“It’s just frankly not fair. We’re paying lease fees, we’re paying taxes,” said beach resident and President of the Pensacola Beach Advocates Terry Preston.

Ever since a court decision in 2011, residents have had to pay both property taxes to the county and lease fees to the island authority.

UF

Mosquitos and the health issues they can cause are the topic of a unique seminar this week from the University of Florida. "It's a little different becaue this presentation is meant to be a lot more interactive" said Rachel Atchison, a masters student in entomology and nematology at the University of Florida. She’ll be part of this long distance Science of Mosquitos seminar which will be hosted by Skype in the Classroom.

Protecting Pensacola Beach: How We Got Here

Apr 9, 2019
Abigail Megginson / WUWF

November 6, 2018. The long-awaited night of the midterm elections. And while most of the attention is focused on the tight Senate and gubernatorial races, there’s one Escambia County ballot initiative at the very bottom of the ballot that deserves a bit of notice, too:

The nonbinding county beach referendum.

It asked voters whether they supported public ownership of all land on Santa Rosa Island.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

The first of what’s expected to be a long-term study of homelessness in the Pensacola area kicked off last week, bringing together civic leaders and representatives from local non-profit organizations.

IHMC

Time is fleeting, madness takes its toll. Fans of The Rocky Horror Picture Show will remember that lyric from the show’s iconic song, "The Time Warp."   

I raise this because dealing with time has become something of a madness in modern times. Hordes of people seem obsessed with saving it. A minute here, a minute there. It’s why you see people risk killing themselves and others to careen through a red light and save, what, three minutes on their way to work? 

nps.gov

Shorebirds and their young who are beginning to nest at Gulf Islands National Seashore are getting some extra protection beginning this week.

While the term “shorebird” is used in a generic sense, park spokesman Brent Everitt says there are actually quite a number of different birds that call the park their seasonal home.

Storms that hit California on Tuesday are moving to the east, bringing severe weather to a number of states and the chance for such in the Florida Panhandle and south Alabama.

A disturbance riding the jet-stream swung into the Plains states at the start of this week. After moving through Texas and Oklahoma Wednesday night, the front is expanding to the South from Arkansas and Mississippi, before reaching the Gulf Coast.

PSO Presents 'Russian Spectacular' April 6

Apr 2, 2019
J. Henry Fair

The Pensacola Symphony returns to the Saenger Theatre this Saturday, April 6th, for the annual “Russian Spectacular” concert.  The program will feature star violinist Elissa Lee Koljonen in a performance of the Glazunov concerto.  Tchaikovsky’s final work, the “Pathetique” symphony, will anchor the second half. 

Jennie McKeon / WUWF

Fifty years to the day that the first Children’s Hospital opened in Pensacola, a new incarnation was dedicated nearby on the Ascension/Sacred Heart campus on Monday.

“There are not many days that you get to, in your life, where dreams this big are realized,” said Dr. Robert Patterson, Medical Director of the old Children’s Hospital, and serving in the same capacity for the new Studer Family Children’s Hospital.

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