Katya Ivanov / WUWF Public Media

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

Florida's Jobless Rate Drops Again

Dec 20, 2013

Florida’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.4% in November 2013, down three-tenths of a point over the month, and down 1.6 percentage points from a year ago.

The rate was the lowest since another 6.4% mark in July, 2008, according to the state Department of Economic Opportunity. It translates to 599,000 Floridians out of work, and is lower than the nationwide jobless figure of seven percent.
Compared to November, 2012, the number of jobs in the state was up by 183,000 – a 2.5%  increase.

The White House

Thursday afternoon The White House announced that President Obama granted clemency to 21 individuals, including a Pensacola woman serving a life sentence. 

In 1997, Stephanie Yvette George went to trial in Pensacola on a relatively minor drug charge. was her third offense, so when she was convicted she was sentenced to the mandatory minimum sentence: life in prison.  Now, 16 years later, Stephanie received word that she will soon be released from prison.

Looking For BCS Tickets? Be Wary Of Scams.

Dec 19, 2013

Football fans in Northwest Florida who are planning a trip to the BCS National Championship football game on January 6th are being advised to be careful with whom they deal when they purchase tickets.

Danielle Rudd with northwest Florida’s Better Business Bureau says there’s no shortage of websites, classified ads and even word-of-mouth offering tickets to see Florida State square off against Auburn in Pasadena, California. She says always do your homework before you make that purchase.

IHMC Competes In DARPA Robotics Challenge Semifinals

Dec 18, 2013
Katya Ivanov / WUWF Public Media

The semifinals of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Robotics Challenge will take place this weekend. The Institute for Human and Machine Cognition and other teams are programming robots to operate in disaster situations.


The holiday season is usually filled with merriment and cheer, but is also accompanied by a slight increase in crime. The Escambia County Sheriff’s office offers tips to prevent crime this holiday season. Deputy Delarian Wiggins says that it is common for people intending to break into a car to check the door handles in store parking lots.


As the recent front-page article in the Pensacola News Journal shows, I’m not the only person taken aback by the surprise tree massacre at the I-10/Scenic Highway intersection.

30A Songwriters Festival Coming In January

Dec 18, 2013
Cultural Arts Alliance

Each year WUWF heads east to 30A to share in some of the Gulf Coast's music scene. We listen to artists and record special sessions for Acoustic Interlude.

Washburn Center Reopens After Fire

Dec 18, 2013
Tony Giberson, Pensacola News Journal

It’s back to business at the Alfred Washburn Center in Pensacola, one week after a fire destroyed the main service building.

Lunch was served by members of St. Paul Catholic Church: chicken casserole with noodles; green beans, chocolate and vanilla pudding for dessert as well as assorted Christmas candies.
Michael Wyszomierski

If you're planning on doing some traveling for the holidays you are not alone.  According to Jessica Brady, a spokesperson for AAA, this will be the busiest holiday travel season on record, with an estimated 94.5 million Americans traveling at least 50 miles from home during the two week period. They estimate the average round trip will be a little over 800 miles. In Florida the number of travelers will be up slightly from last year.

Main Street Milton

The Santa Rosa County Commission continues to move forward with plans for a new judicial center, with four proposed sites still under consideration.  And, as that process moves forward, the Main Street Milton organization is sharing with the public a comprehensive proposal for what it calls "adaptive re-use" of the Historic Santa Rosa County Courthouse after current judicial operations move out.

University of West Florida

The University of West Florida is adding three new programs that will be taught completely online.
Dr. Pam Northrop is the Executive Director of the Innovation Institute and Associate Provost at the University of West Florida. She spoke with WUWF's Bob Barrett about the new programs.

One of the degrees will be a Master of Education with a specialization in reading, another is a Bachelor of Science in Nursing for Registered Nurses, and the third is a Doctorate in Education with specializations in curriculum and instruction.

Escambia County Graduation Rates Up, But Still Lag

Dec 17, 2013
Kyle James

New figures from the U.S. Department of Education show graduation rates are up in Escambia County, but the district remains behind its Panhandle neighbors and the state as a whole.

Escambia County’s graduation rate for the 2012-13 school year was 64%, up from 62% the previous term. Escambia still falls short of the 75% statewide graduation rate, along with Santa Rosa County’s 79% and Okaloosa County’s 83% mark.

The federal high school graduation rate includes standard four-year diplomas but excludes regular and adult GEDs and special diplomas.


Following three intense months of hands-on work with the Atlas humanoid robot, the IHMC DARPA Robotics Challenge team is headed to Homestead Miami Speedway for the DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials 2013.

 After taking first place in the initial phase of the international competition in June, the 25-member team from the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition is competing to be one of the top 8 teams that will win funding for the final phase of the DARPA competition, scheduled for December 2014. The top team in the Finals will win $2 million.

Institute for Human and Machine Cognition

Concussions are hot. With the amount of attention concussions have gotten recently you'd think they were just discovered in the last decade. Perhaps they were. Over the years the serious long term effects of even one concussion have become clear…and there are efforts to try to better detect and prevent concussions.

Young Entrepreneurs Academy is a national non-profit organization based in Rochester, NY. The Greater Pensacola Chamber brought the program to Pensacola to teach area students how to start their own businesses. Classes are hosted by the college of business at the University of West Florida. Kelly Reeser is Director of Entrepreneurial Development for the Pensacola Chamber and local program manager for Greater Pensacola YEA.

Bob Barrett / WUWF Public Media

The University of West Florida has received a major grant from a local foundation.  Dr. Brendan Kelly, the interim vice president for UWF Advancement, announced the one million dollar gift from the Bear Family Foundation of Pensacola. 

On an 8-1 vote, the Pensacola City Council Thursday evening approved setting up 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.

A report by the left-leaning watchdog group Center for American Progress Action Fund ranks the best and worst counties in Florida for voting in last year's presidential election.  Meanwhile, local elections supervisors are firing back.  

Called "Florida's Worst Election Offenders," the study uses data from the U-S Elections Assistance Commission, divided up into nine factors, to gauge how well the state’s 40 most populous counties measured up.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses Florida’s general revenue estimate for Florida, which projects what the sales and use tax revenues will be.   The latest forecast from state economists shows an increase o f$300 million relative to the summer projection.