Escambia County School District

Malcolm Thomas served three four-year terms as Superintendent of Schools in Escambia County, the district’s last person to be elected to the office.

After his departure, he spoke to WUWF about the end of his long career in education.

In part-two of the conversation, the focus is on the future of the Escambia County School District.

City of Pensacola

As the number of coronavirus cases continue to climb, Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson is out with a repeat of restrictions within the city limits.

Speaking at his weekly virtual news conference, the mayor said it’s being made necessary by a “fairly significant” jump in positivity and hospitalizations over the past few days.

Mayra Heitman/WUWF

Sunday, Jan. 10

State Adds 12,313 Cases

The state added 12,313 cases according to Sunday's FDOH report. An addtional 111 deaths were also reported, only one from a local area — Walton County. 

Local numbers:

  • Escambia added 240 cases and has a 16.01% positivity rate
  • Santa Rosa added 186 cases and has a 25.03% positivity rate
  • Okaloosa added 102 cases and has a 12.42% positivity rate
  • Walton added 26 cases and has a 14.61% positivity rate

Saturday, Jan. 9

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

Malcolm Thomas served 12 years as Superintendent of Schools in Escambia County, the district’s last elected superintendent. He turned over the reins to the district’s first-ever appointed superintendent in November.

After his departure, WUWF spoke to Thomas about his 3-terms in office and the close of his 40-years in education.

Jennie McKeon/WUWF Public Media

Owing to the pandemic and after discussions with local partners and officials, organizers of Pensacon are pushing back the annual event to later this year, at least.

Originally set for Feb. 26-28, organizers are now searching for new dates.

“Obviously, the first concern is safety; we’ve seen a spike where we’re sitting at the worst we’ve been since this pandemic began in cases and deaths. We just don’t think it’s the right time. We want to make sure everybody’s safe, first and foremost,” said Pensacon founder and CEO Mike Ensley.

Geoff Livingston/Flickr

After watching the pro-Trump extremists storm the U.S. Capitol Wednesday, with little to no resistance from police, local activists are calling out the double standards between that mob and the Black Lives Matter protestors who were often met with tear gas and arrests. 


Damage caused by runaway barges during Hurricane Sally – and what to do about it – will be discussed at a pair of forums this weekend.

About 30 construction barges owned by Skanska USA broke loose from the new Three Mile Bridge site during the storm, not only damaging the bridge but also private property when 22 of them washed ashore or struck other vessels.

Creative Commons

As supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol in an effort to block congressional certification of the 2020 election on Wednesday, Republican leaders in Florida released legislation aimed at cracking down on violent protests. 

GOP House and Senate leaders rolled out an anti-riot proposal that would create a host of new crimes, crack down on protests and make it difficult for local government officials to trim spending on law enforcement.

Ascension Sacred Heart

Older residents in Escambia County lined up at Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola on Wednesday, to get their first COVID-19 vaccination in the two-shot Moderna protocol.

On a sunny, chilly day the line formed outside the church’s activities center. It was appointment-only, and they filled out the paperwork as they waited and inched forward towards the basketball courts that housed the check-in, the vaccinations and the check-out.

The event also played host to a number of state officials, including Gov. Ron DeSantis.


The checks and direct deposits are going out for the new, $600 COVID relief payments, with more possible from the new Biden administration. And that means scammers are not too far behind.

“It doesn’t take long for something to come out in the public that scammer’s going to take advantage of it and try to get money out of somebody who is just trying to get by,” said Tammy Ward at the Better Business Bureau in Pensacola.

Courtesy Kaitie Meyer, Navarre Press

Santa Rosa County began administering COVID-19 vaccines to eligible residents Tuesday morning at the county health department. Additionally, on Wednesday, Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital plans to conduct two mass vaccination clinics, including one in Milton.

In Santa Rosa, the COVID-19 vaccine is coming at a crucial time.

“Our positivity rate is 29.2% and that’s significant. The state rate is 12.2%, so you can see we’re trending well above the state,” said Sandra Park-O’Hara, director of the Florida Department of Health in Santa Rosa.

Office of the Secretary of Defense

In his first virtual news conference of 2021, Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinin disclosed his bout with COVID-19 during the holidays. Meantime, statewide vaccine distribution in Florida is beginning to ramp up.

Robinson announced that he was exposed to the coronavirus four days before Christmas by his son, who unknowingly brought it with him from law school.

Dave Dunwoody/WUWF Public Media

The 2020 election cycle saw an exodus of officeholders deciding to step down, rather than seek another term. Among them is Bill Eddins, the State Attorney for the 1st Judicial Circuit that covers Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton Counties.

Eddins, who’s 74, began his 48-year legal career as an assistant state attorney in Milton; three years later he began a 25-year stint as a defense attorney before returning to the prosecutorial side for two reasons.

Mayra Heitman/WUWF

Sunday, Jan. 3

Over 10,000 Cases Added

The state added 10,603 cases according to Sunday's FDOH report. An additional 100 deaths were also reported, six of which occurred locally. Four in Escambia and two in Walton, no deaths reported in Okaloosa or Santa Rosa counties. 

Local numbers:

January Skies Of The Gulf Coast

Dec 30, 2020
Ed Magown/EAAA

The full moon, the long night moon, is on Dec. 28.  The Earth is closest to the Sun at perihelion on Jan. 2.  Our orbit is so circular that this slight variation does not have a major impact on our season — our 23.5-degree tilt is much more important. The last quarter moon is Jan. 6.  The crescent in the dawn is above Venus on the morning of Jan. 11.  The moon is new on Jan. 12.  The waxing crescent lies to the upper left of Mercury and Jupiter in early twilight on Jan. 14.  The first quarter moon is on Jan.