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The big question in a presidential election year is typically “who are you going to vote for?” But in 2020 — during a pandemic — the big question might be “how are you going to vote?”

During last month’s primary, more than 2.3 million Florida voters chose to vote by mail compared to 558,430 voting in-person. In Northwest Florida, there was an uptick in mail-in ballots.

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Northwest Floridians are being reminded that time is running out to complete their 2020 Census forms, with the deadline Sept. 30.

Escambia County Commissioner Robert Bender adds that providing information to the Census leads to more efficient numbers-crunching.

“Completing the census means more education programs and housing assistance; better funding for public transportation and highway planning programs,” said Bender. “It also helps fund hospitals, fire departments, and other important services for our county.”

Jennie McKeon/WUWF Public Media

The restaurant industry has arguably suffered the most economic losses since the COVID-19 outbreak began. 

And as the state and country reopen, restaurant operations can be dramatically different. To help navigate new challenges, the Small Business Development Center at the University of West Florida will host a three-part webinar “The Restaurant COVID-19 Playbook,” which begins Sept. 9.

After six months of nursing homes and assisted-living facilities being closed to visitors because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday approved a plan to reopen them.

The governor’s decision is his acceptance of the recommendations from a nursing home task force. Some of the ground rules are that relatives can visit no more than two at a time; no minor children allowed; and the wearing of masks and other protective gear.

In this Gulf Stories Moment, Dr. Alexis Janosik, the Associate Professor from the Department of Biology at UWF tells us about Biodiversity in the Gulf of Mexico, and cataloging that diversity.

City of Pensacola

In the light of three shooting incidents at Pensacola Court since July, officials are intensifying their search for solutions. One arrow in the quiver could be economic opportunity.

“That’s something that we continue to work diligently on, and to make citizens aware,” said Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson. “All over the city of Pensacola the opportunities that are available for you to do something else other than thinking about gangs, drugs, and gun violence.”

Mayra Heitman/WUWF

Sunday, Aug. 30

14 more deaths in Florida

Today, as reported at 10 a.m. Central, there are 2,583 new positive COVID-19 cases and 14 reported deaths -- 5 occurred Saturday.

Test results for more than 60,000 individuals were reported to DOH as of midnight Saturday, where 5.14 percent of new cases tested positive.  

To date, there are 621,586 Florida cases with 11,119 deaths related to COVID-19.  

September Skies Of The Gulf Coast

Aug 28, 2020
EAAA President Ed Magowan

For September 2020, the moon is full, the Harvest Moon, on September 1. The waning gibbous moon will be in the dawn sky just above bright red Mars on September 6. The last quarter moon is September 10, rising about midnight. The waning crescent moon passes just north of Venus in dawn skies on September 14, and the moon is new on September 17. The Autumnal Equinox begins fall at 8:31 a.m. September 22. The first quarter moon is on September 23. The waxing gibbous moon is to the lower right of Jupiter on September 24, and to lower left of Saturn on the following evening.

WUWF is observing the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. Our first report explored the decades-long battle for women’s suffrage, culminating with certification of the amendment on August 26, 1920. Today, a focus on the progress of women’s participation in elections, by voting and holding political office themselves.

Screenshot by WUWF Public Media

The Okaloosa County School Board voted 4-1 to adopt a policy that strongly recommends masks for students and employees when social distancing is not possible.

The recommendation was made during a nearly seven-hour emergency meeting Wednesday night. 

The issue was brought up at last week’s workshop at the request of Superintendent Marcus Chambers who asked the board what they would like to see in a mask policy for the district. School begins in Okaloosa County on Monday. 

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

A Tallahassee judge has temporarily blocked state officials from forcing public schools to reopen brick-and-mortar classrooms amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Accusing the state of ignoring the Florida Constitution, Circuit Judge Charles Dodson on Monday sided with the Florida Education Association – which claims an emergency order from Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran -- mandating that schools resume in-person classes this month amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gulf Power Co.

Personnel and equipment from Gulf Power Company will assist in the restoration of electricity in the wake of Hurricane Laura.

The contingent is scheduled to leave Pensacola Thursday morning, according to Sarah Gatewood at the utility.

“We have identified Gulf Power employees and contractors that can head west to help with power restoration after Hurricane Laura passes through,” Gatewood said.

In all, about 180 people from Gulf Power are forming the first wave leaving Thursday for east Texas.

Library of Congress/National Woman's Party

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. It was on this day in 1920 that the measure was certified. In observance of the centennial, WUWF looks at the long road to women’s suffrage.

In an excerpt from the PBS documentary, One Woman, One Vote, narrator, Susan Sarandon describes the 1913 Women’s Suffrage Procession, “Washington had never seen anything like it. Eight-thousand women from all over the country, flooding down Pennsylvania Avenue, demanding the right to vote.”

Jennie McKeon/WUWF Public Media

The virtual Republican National Convention is showcasing support for President Donald Trump from across the country. 

He has an 87% approval rating among Republicans, according to the latest PEW data (and a 38% approval rating among overall Americans). But in the traditionally conservative region of Northwest Florida, his support is unwavering.  

Gulf Power


Wednesday is Gulf Power Company’s line worker appreciation day, honoring the men and women who brave the elements to keep the juice flowing.

For Robert Duke, the desire to work as a lineman began early on.

“There was a restaurant not far from where I lived, and I would see a lot of the Gulf Power linemen like after a storm they would eat there,” said Duke. “I would always talk to those guys and they were real nice. And I was always like, ‘Man, I’d like to be a lineman.”