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University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the outlook for 2014. Harper expects this year to be a little bit better than 2013. “The main reason for that is that we’ll see less of a drag coming from the federal sector. The slow down in federal spending last year probably subtracted 1.5 percentage points from GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth. We could have been up almost 4 percent," Harper says.

According to Harper, the shrinkage in government spending should be less in 2014, with some of the hardest hits already with Sequestration.

Recent Study Shows Link Between Light And Mood

Jan 2, 2014
The Elbow Room

A study from Ohio State University that was published in the Journal of Neuroscience in August 2013 has shown that the blue-white light of electronic devices can have a negative impact on mood. Red-orange wavelength lighting may reduce those effects. The abstract is available here: http://www.jneurosci.org/content/33/32/13081.abstract

Katya Ivanov / WUWF Public Media

In August 2013, Pensacola Beach had twenty sea turtle nests on its beach this season, its highest recorded number. It hosted 19 nests twice, in 1997 and in 2012. The Park has 40 turtle nests this year, which Nicholas says is a little above-average. Turtles continue to nest, so these numbers may increase. Mark Nicholas is District Biologist at Gulf Islands National Seashore.

2013 In Review: Pensacola vs. Fish House

Jan 2, 2014
Great Southern Restaurant Group

Pensacola businessmen Ray Russenberger and Collier Merrill met with city officials in early December, on allegations they owed past-due sales royalties and interest on revenues from the Fish House and Atlas Oyster Bar restaurants.

At issue was the ownership of the building, not of the restaurants themselves, on a tract of city land called “Pitt Slip Marina.” Russenberger leased the property in 1987, then granted a sublease in 2000 to Collier Merrill and his partners – who formed Great Southern Restaurant Group.

2013 In Review: Change Of Command At NAS Pensacola

Jan 2, 2014
Ben Twingley

Naval Air Station Pensacola named its 56th commanding officer in 2013. The changeover came at a traditional Navy ceremony in March at the Museum of Naval Aviation.

Captain Keith Hoskins is the first African-American and first former Blue Angel to command the base known as “The Cradle of Naval Aviation.” He succeeded Captain Christopher Plummer, who had been NAS Pensacola since April, 2010.

2013 In Review: Saying Goodbye To Fr. Jack Gray

Jan 2, 2014

In February, the Pensacola area lost one of its most high-profile clergymen. Father Jack Gray, the man called “Father Jack” and “The Roaming Catholic", passed away at Baptist Hospital from complications following heart surgery. He was 68 years old.

Gray was ordained a Catholic priest at the age of 42 after careers in business, politics and broadcasting. He served parishes and schools in the Florida Panhandle, including 16 years as pastor of St. Ann’s in Pensacola.

After retiring from St. Ann’s in 2009, Gray became the Catholic chaplain aboard Naval Air Station Pensacola.

Adam Gerard

Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan and other law enforcement and elected officials gathered in late September, to ask the community to come forward and help them end gun violence in the county.

This was not the Sheriff’s first such appeal to the community; there had been many over the past few years. The catalyst for this latest were three shootings in September that left one man wounded and two people dead – 31-year-old Houston Parker and 14-year-old Kenteyonna Anderson. Investigators say Anderson was shot in the crossfire while trying to leave the area.

Dara

Local and state leaders gathered at Pensacola City Hall in late January, and received some good news on the future of transportation infrastructure in the Florida Panhandle in general, and one bridge in particular.

City of Pensacola

On an 8-1 vote in mid-December, the Pensacola City Council approved a domestic partnership registry – or DPR – which will ensure a number of rights to hundreds of unmarried couples.

Sponsored by Councilman Larry B. Johnson, the DPR will be open to cohabiting, unmarried adults — both gay and straight — to register as domestic partners. Those who live outside the Pensacola city limits are also eligible. Applications are expected to be accepted beginning in March, for a fee which – along with other nuts and bolts – will be determined between now and then.

2013 In Review: Remembering Representative Clay Ford

Dec 26, 2013
Florida House of Representatives

State Rep. Clay Ford was remembered as a “friend, mentor and tender conscience to all who served with him.” Ford was 74 when he died in March after battling cancer.

UWF Historic Trust

  On this Christmas, WUWF is digging into the archives to revisit a 2006 conversation with historian and story-teller John Appleyard about what the Christmas holiday was like in the Pensacola area around the turn of the 20th century. 

About 100 years ago, Pensacola was a bustling, prosperous city with a diverse population of about 25,000 people. Appleyard says the different customs of the city’s residents became amalgamated in the overall celebration. 

City of Pensacola

There was a major shakeup in the Ashton Hayward administration in July, when two high-ranking officials were ousted over what was considered to be the mishandling of public records.

City Administrator Bill Reynolds and Press Secretary Derek Cosson were named in a report by Assistant State Attorney Greg Marcille, regarding public records requests that were not filled in a timely manner – if at all.

State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory

May 8th was designated “Bernardo de Galvez Day” in Pensacola, where the Spanish general led a 61-day siege in 1781 to oust the British from northwest Florida, in what many call a key battle of the American Revolution.

Province of British Columbia

  A five-year federal investigation of the Escambia County Jail was released in May, painting a bleak picture of the facility.

Exactly who would run the jail on September 1st – the original deadline -- was front and center at a Commission agenda review meeting in June. The main sticking point was a letter from Commissioner Grover Robinson to Sheriff David Morgan. Robinson said if running the jail was beyond Morgan’s capacity, he – Robinson – would be glad to relieve him of that duty.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

The Salvation Army’s annual Red Kettle Drive is wrapping up.  The fundraising campaign comes to a close on Christmas Eve and organizers are hoping for a big finish to meet their goals for this year.

Adorned in Salvation Army’s iconic red aprons, bell-ringers have been posted at local retail outlets across the region for the better part of the last couple of months.  As of Monday, December 23rd, there’s just one full day to go. On this day, bell-ringer Joseph James greets last minute shoppers at the Wal-Mart at 9th and Creighton in Pensacola.

Christmas Project Cheer is helping to renew hope for residents in mental health treatment facilities in Okaloosa and Walton Counties. For more than 40 years, the project has brought the joy of holiday gifts to this often overlooked group of people.

One out of every four people has a treatable mental health condition. Project Cheer was established by the Mental Health Association of Okaloosa and Walton Counties to provide a little happiness  at the holidays to the area’s over 600 residents in need.

IHMC

  IHMC Robotics rode a strong second day in the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) to finish in second place overall in the second phase of the international robotics competition. The team from the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition in Pensacola was up against 16 of the best robotics development teams in the world.

University of West Florida

The University of West Florida has entered into a partnership with Stetson Law School in St. Petersburg to create a quicker and less expensive path to a law degree.  Dr. Kimberly Tatum, an Associate Professor of Legal Studies and the Associate Dean in the College of Professional Studies at UWF says the new program will be a "3 plus 3" situation, where students do their undergraduate studies for three years at UWF, then complete their undergrad work while working on their law degree at Stetson.

2013 In Review: Blue Angels

Dec 22, 2013
U.S. Navy

As we get WUWF’s look back at the major news stories of 2013 off the ground, we start with the Blue Angels – who spent most of the year on it.

The cancelation was announced in the wake of sequestration – mandated across-the-board cuts that trimmed 85 billion dollars from the federal budget. The squadron flew its kickoff show over Key West, before their first in-season grounding since the Korean Conflict.

Katya Ivanov / WUWF Public Media

For more context check out the DARPA Robotics Challenge website or follow #DARPADRC on Twitter!

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