On this Christmas 2020, WUWF is presenting an encore presentation of a 2006 interview with historian and storyteller John Appleyard, who died in October of this year at the age of 97. During his lifetime, Appleyard wrote dozens of books and delivered countless talks about Pensacola's past.

In this conversation, he talked about how Pensacola residents celebrated Christmas around the turn of the 20th century. 

According to Appleyard, Pensacola was a bustling, prosperous city, about a hundred years ago, with a population of about 25,000 people.

Christmas came early at Bay Breeze Senior Living and Rehabilitation Center in Gulf Breeze as residents and staff got the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday morning. 

Joe Rich, pharmacist at the Gulf Breeze CVS just down the road, administered the vaccine to a staff member and resident outside the facility — the first doses in Gulf Breeze. After each shot, staff cheered. 

“I didn’t feel a thing,” said 91-year-old Eileen Costello. 

Costello said she’s been watching CNN and following the news around the vaccine. She had no reservations about getting it. 

In this Gulf Stories Moment, Dr. John Worth, professor of Anthropology at UWF returns to chat about the Spanish and native landscape that lead to the creation and establishment of Pensacola Presidios.

Santa Rosa County Animal Shelter

Animal shelters experienced a spike in intakes after Gov. Ron DeSantis lifted the eviction ban moratorium in October. 

Jennifer Bitner, executive director of Pensacola Humane Society, said there’s been an increase of shelters asking for assistance in pulling at risk animals in the last six weeks. And the nonprofit’s help team has noticed a trend in pet owners needing housing assistance. 

Jennie McKeon/WUWF Public Media

A group of Santa Rosa County residents want to rename the Navarre Beach Causeway after President Donald Trump. 

During the public forum at the Dec. 10 Santa Rosa County Commissioners meeting, resident Sam Mullins asked the board to consider discussing the idea of renaming the bridge and even voting on it at the next meeting in January, which the board decided against. 

Bill Ingalls/NASA

This year's winter solstice will bring a rare sight to our night skies  just in time for the holidays. Jupiter and Saturn will begin aligning Wednesday providing an end-of-year celestial treat.

The two planets move into conjunction — that is, alignment — every 20 years. But this year they will be so close, the closest since the Middle Ages,  1226 to be exact. They'll look like a "double planet."



The largest vaccination campaign in U.S. history is underway with health workers on the front lines of COVID-19 treatment getting first dibs. The vials are being delivered to five health care centers in Florida.

A 31-year-old nurse at Tampa General Hospital became the first Floridian to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. The vaccination was held during a news conference at the hospital, with Gov. Ron DeSantis looking on.

In this Gulf Stories Moment, Dr. Jocelyn Evans, Professor of Government and Associate Dean of the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities at UWF tells us about public beach access and the legal issues surrounding bill HB 631.

Florida Department of Transportation

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has extended the suspension of the Garcon Point Bridge toll for another month. 

In the meantime, the battle over liability in the aftermath of Hurricane Sally continues in the courts, as the work to repair and construct the new Pensacola Bay Bridge is picking up steam.

The Florida Department of Transportation is pointing to three major aspects of the Pensacola Bay Bridge Repair Project that are underway in an effort to keep the process on track for reopening in March.

The city of Gulf Breeze is trying innovative ways to support their local businesses.

This holiday season, the city is encouraging people to support Gulf Breeze businesses by purchasing a #SaveTheBreeze gift card that works at any participating retailer or restaurant in the 32561 or 32563 ZIP codes.

Blue Wahoos

With the 2021 season scheduled to begin in April, the Pensacola Blue Wahoos will have its third parent club in its 10-year history. That move is part of a tectonic shift in minor league baseball.

The Wahoos have received — and are expected to accept — a formal invitation to become the Double-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins. The team, which will remain in the Southern League, began as a Cincinnati Reds farm club from 2012 to 2018, then affiliated with the Minnesota Twins the past two seasons.

Jennie McKeon/WUWF Public Media

In her Nov. 15 weekly email, Dr. Karen Chapman, director of the Florida Department of Health-Okaloosa County, said the county was experiencing a “serious outbreak of COVID-19.”

It’s been nearly a month since that email — her last update since she’s been out indefinitely due to an injury — and numbers in the county, and across the Panhandle, are still climbing.

Pexels Stock Photo

While it may still feel as if the 2020 election cycle won’t end, the Okaloosa County Supervisor of Elections office is looking to 2021.

“Elections don’t really stop,” said Katie Fults, public relations and voter education coordinator for the Okaloosa County Supervisor of Elections.

This year, the office will offer its “Candidate University” course virtually as a safe alternative in the midst of the pandemic.

Six months after starting work as Escambia County Public Safety Director, Jason Rogers has resigned the post, according to County Administrator Janice Gilley.

County Administrator Janice Gilley made the announcement to the county commission, during Tuesday’s Committee of the Whole meeting.