News

Could there be some light at the end of the coronavirus tunnel in Pensacola? That appears to be the belief of Mayor Grover Robinson, who shared the latest numbers Monday.

“Cases – the positivity rate is 3.85%  from March 20 in Escambia County; that’s down significantly from before, although we’ve been at 2.52 – 2.52 and 1.33 on the 19th,” said Robinson.

Speaking at a now-reopened City Hall, the mayor added that hospitalizations at the three major hospitals – Baptist, West Florida and Ascension-Sacred Heart – are continuing to remain under 30.

Phil Roeder/Flickr

Beginning today, COVID-19 vaccinations are available to more Floridians, after the state drops the minimum age from 65. 

And more age reductions are on the horizon.

“I’m going to sign the executive order this morning lowering the age to 50 effective Monday; we’ll see how it goes next week,” said Gov. Ron DeSantis in making the announcement on Friday, after a reduction to age 60 last week.

Mayra Heitman/WUWF

Friday, March 18

Vaccine Eligibility Age Lowerd To 50

In a press conference Friday morning, Gov. DeSantis announced he's lowered the age of eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine to 50. Watch the press conference here:

Florida Immigrant Coalition

Until she came to the United States in 2010, all Basma Alawee had known was her life in Iraq. She had her family, her friends and her career in engineering. Once her husband started working with American troops, they became a target. They were granted a special immigration visa and started a new life in Jacksonville, Florida. 

“Most of the time refugees leave home taking nothing with them, they cannot even take their documents, and sometimes in many cases, like me, couldn’t even have time to say goodbye to loved ones,” she said. 

UWF

On a 5-4 vote, the University Of West Florida Board Of Trustees approved changing the name of the T.T. Wentworth Museum in downtown Pensacola.

The idea for changing the name stems from discovery of a massive amount of memorabilia about Wentworth’s time as a Ku Klux Klan leader in the 1920s and 30s. If approved by the state, the museum would be known as the Pensacola Museum of History at the University of West Florida.

U.S. Department of Education

Gov. Ron DeSantis is proposing a $106 million civics education initiative for Florida's public schools, supporting civics literacy and education.

“I’m urging the Legislature to take up this proposal during the current legislative session, using the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund,” said the governor. “So the money’s there; we need to figure out the best way to use it.”

Speaking in Naples on Wednesday, DeSantis said his plan contains an incentive for teachers who earn a "Florida Civics Seal of Excellence" designation.

National Weather Service

Look for a stormy St. Patrick’s Day in the Florida Panhandle and south Alabama, as a portion of Winter Storm Xylia moves across the region.

The forecast thinking hasn’t changed all that much, according to Megan Borowski -- a meteorologist at FPREN – the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network.

“We’re still expecting strong thunderstorms to roll through late Wednesday night into early Thursday morning,” Borowski said. “We could get a couple of strong storms in our area [Wednesday] during the day, but that line of the strongest storms shouldn’t arrive until Wednesday night.”

Florida Could Get Share Of Purdue Pharma Money

Mar 16, 2021
Flickr

Florida could get a share of a $7 billion bankruptcy plan filed late Monday by Purdue Pharma to dissolve the company and steer its assets toward abating the nation’s opioid epidemic. 

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody hailed the proposal, saying in a prepared statement Tuesday that it would secure additional funding “for Florida communities plagued by the national opioid crisis.” 

National Weather Service

For the latest weather update click here.

With less than a week until the beginning of spring (March 20), residents in the Florida Panhandle and south Alabama will get a preview of storms that are typical of the Vernal Equinox.

Florida Jobless Rate Falls To 4.8%

Mar 15, 2021
Flickr

Despite the leisure and hospitality industry still struggling during the coronavirus pandemic, Florida’s unemployment rate continues to improve as vaccinations increase and people return to the workforce.

The state Department of Economic Opportunity reported Monday that Florida’s unemployment rate decreased to 4.8% in January, down 0.3 percentage points from a revised December rate.

Florida Capitol Doors Won't Swing Open Soon

Mar 15, 2021
News Service of Florida

The Florida Capitol is expected to remain largely closed to the public for the rest of the legislative session because of the COVID-19 pandemic, as lawmakers get more comfortable meeting face to face.

Despite new COVID-19 cases trending down from late fall and early winter and the federal government increasing vaccine supplies to the state, Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, doesn’t anticipate lifting health precautions before the scheduled April 30 end of the session.

Flickr

  

For parents of high school students, SAT scores are a huge deal, with college admissions and scholarships on the line. Paying tutors are a form of preparation, but scammers are also lurking about and tricking parents into paying for bogus SAT prep materials.

Here’s how it can work: you get an unsolicited call from a person claiming to be from the College Board, the company responsible for SAT tests, or another educational organization.

UWF

Do you know what a social worker does for a living? March is National Social Work Month, so WUWF’s Bob Barrett got together with three social workers and got some answers.

Sandra Crawford, Amanda Helm and Shannon Massingale are all licensed certified social workers at The Lakeview Center in Pensacola. We recently got together for a conversation over Zoom to talk about social workers, what they do, how they feel about their jobs and their clients and what it takes to thrive in their careers. Here is a sample of that conversation.

Flickr

  

At the Statehouse, major legislation intended to shield businesses and health care providers from lawsuits related to COVID-19 is headed to the full Senate after its Rules Committee this week merged two bills into one lengthy proposal.

One bill dealt with liability of health-care providers; the other initially deals only with liability of non-health care businesses. Sponsor Jeff Brandes (BRAND - iss) describes the decision to roll the bills into one measure as a strategic move, as negotiations move forward with House leaders.

Office of Governor Ron DeSantis

Local governments in Florida and their ability to strictly enforce measures to reduce the spread of the coronavirus are being targeted by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

DeSantis’ executive order issued late Wednesday requires local governments to cancel fines issued for violating local COVID-19 orders between March 1, 2020 and this past Wednesday.

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