News

The race for the open seat in Florida House District 2 will be decided on Primary Day. The seat is open because the incumbent, Frank White, is running for state Attorney General and is not seeking a second term. The race will be decided in the primary because there are no Democrats or Independents running, just two Republicans: Alex Andrade and Greg Merk.

The race for the open seat in Florida House District 2 will be decided on Primary Day. The seat is open because the incumbent, Frank White, is running for state Attorney General and is not seeking a second term. The race will be decided in the primary because there are no Democrats or Independents running, just two Republicans: Alex Andrade and Greg Merk.

myflorida.com

Early voting for the August 28 primary is getting underway this week, with some counties kicking off earlier than others.

Eighteen counties, including Santa Rosa, opened their venues on Monday. Elections Supervisor Tappie Villane says voters can cast their ballots at one of four locations.

“We have our main office here in Milton; Pace Community Center, South Service Center down by the zoo in Gulf Breeze, and also the Tiger Point Community Center,” said Villane. “Eight-thirty to 4:30, and it will run through August the 25th.”

Clip Art

Students across Northwest Florida are heading back to school. The first day of classes is this Monday, August 13.

To get an update on readiness in the Escambia County School District, WUWF caught up with Superintendent Malcolm Thomas last Friday as preparation for the new school year were wrapping up.

General Readiness

WUWF Public Media

Santa Rosa and Okaloosa are among eight Florida counties in line to receive funding from the 'BearWise' program, to help reduce conflicts between bears and humans.

Bear populations in the state were up in 2015, the latest figures available from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), compared to the last estimate taken in 2002. There were roughly 120 bears in the western Panhandle of Florida – a 50 percent increase -- and nearly 1,100 in the eastern Panhandle – up 86 percent.

Bob Barrett / WUWF News

A state commission that helps low-income people get access to legal help in civil matters had a meeting in Pensacola, Friday to take a look at the legal needs of veterans.

noaa.gov

It appears the Atlantic hurricane season may be less active than previously thought. But those living along the coast should not let down their guard.

NOAA — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — is out with its updated outlook of nine to 13 named storms, including four to seven hurricanes. Up to two hurricanes could be "major" with sustained winds of at least 111 mph. Gerry Bell with NOAA's Climate Prediction Center says the reduction was made for three basic reasons.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

There are five candidates vying for the open seat in the Florida House of Representatives District 1, encompassing the vast majority of Escambia County.  Political newcomer Franscine Mathis is one of two Democrats in the race.

Like some of her opponents, Mathis is from the Pensacola area. She has three grown children.

“I’m a proud Army mom,” Mathis said, referring to the fact that both of her sons are now serving in the Army. Her daughter is attending college.

Rethink Energy Florida

An opportunity to hear how local candidates feel about sea level rise and climate change is coming to Pensacola. The event is called Tidal Town Hall, and candidates for Pensacola Mayor, Escambia County Commission and the US House of Representatives will be there taking questions. ReThink Energy Florida, a group that was formed in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, is putting on the Tidal Town Halls across the state.

firefightercancersupport.org

More than 400 fire departments across Florida are getting help in reducing the cancer rate inside the Fire Service.

Nationwide, 70 percent of firefighters who died in the line of duty in 2016 passed away from cancer, according to data from the International Association of Fire Fighters.

Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis – who’s also the state’s fire marshal -- says the cancer rate among firefighters runs 15 percent higher than the general population, and involves all types of the disease.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

In recent years, it’s been pretty rare in Northwest Florida to have Democratic candidates squaring off in a state level primary election. But, this year, there are two running for the Florida House of Representatives District 1, which covers most of Escambia County.

The race includes political newcomer Vikki Garrett, a native of the area, who earned bachelor and masters’ degrees from the University of West Florida.

Garrett is making her first run for political office and hoping to take advantage of her decades of experience in transportation planning and engineering.

City of Pensacola

After three years on the job, Eric Olson has stepped down as Pensacola City Administrator. The announcement was made late Friday afternoon, four months before the end of the Ashton Hayward administration. 

The written statement from Hayward gives no details; calls to the Mayor and to Olson seeking comment have not been returned.

Hired as an assistant administrator upon his retirement from the Navy – Olson was named administrator in 2015 – the third person to hold that job in the Hayward administration, after Tamara Fountain and Colleen Castille.

Bliss Quarterly (January) 34 / Pensacola Historical Society

In this week’s Gulf Stories Moment, Dr. John Bratten, chair and associate professor of anthropology at the University of West Florida, discusses the shipwreck known as the Catharine.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

In our final visit with candidates for Mayor of Pensacola, WUWF’s Dave Dunwoody speaks with broadcasting executive David Mayo.

While this is Mayo’s first attempt at public office, he’s a familiar face with a number of civic organizations – and as General Manager of WHBR TV33 since the station went on the air in 1986.

“There’s just, I suppose, an insatiable desire to serve, and try to make a difference in each life I can come across,” said Mayo. “Help them overcome their life’s’ challenges and their adversities, which we all have.”

floridarevenue.com

Florida’s 17th back-to-school holiday is now underway. As of 12:01 Friday morning, eligible items will be exempt from sales tax until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday.

“It’s probably one of the [bills] that passes 116-0 or 114-0; hard to imagine somebody voting against this bill, when these tax holidays come up, especially back to school. Anything that gives some broad relief to families is a big deal.”  said outgoing state Rep. Clay Ingram, who’s also President and CEO of the Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce.

greyhoundadoptionactionalliance.org

A proposed constitutional amendment to ban greyhound racing in Florida is no longer on the November 6 ballot.

Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers sided with greyhound owners and breeders, who argue that the impact of Amendment-13 from the Constitutional Revision Commission would go far beyond the description given to voters.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

The wide-open race for Florida House of Representatives District 1, which covers most of Escambia County, features two Democrats and three Republicans. WUWF recently invited GOP candidate Rebekah Bydlak to discuss her bid for the seat.

As a ninth generation native of the community, Bydlak’s run for House District 1 is personal, as she notes with a bit of family trivia.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

In our next visit with those running for Pensacola Mayor, WUWF’s Dave Dunwoody sat down with City Councilman Brian Spencer – the sixth and final piece of the candidate puzzle.

Spencer announced his decision in mid-June not to run for re-election to the Council’s District-6 seat after serving for eight years. Ten days later, he qualified for the Mayor’s race, which was thrown open by Ashton Hayward’s decision not to seek a third term.

Pages