Jennie McKeon

Digital Content Producer/Reporter

Jennie joined WUWF in 2018 as digital content producer and reporter.

After graduating from University of West Florida in 2009 with a B.A. in Communication Arts/Journalism, she worked for print publications across Northwest Florida including InWeekly, The Destin Log and Northwest Florida Daily News. In 2016, she was named Features Writer of the Year by Gatehouse Media.

Born in Pennsylvania, she admits to being a "Yankee who drinks sweet tea." She dislikes cold weather and is happy to trade a white Christmas for 75-degree weather anytime.

Jennie is a proud volunteer of Gulf Coast Kid's House and Save our Kittens and Cats (SOCKS) in Fort Walton Beach. When she's not reading or listening to podcasts, she enjoys photography, 80s movies, re-watching "The Office" and looking at pictures of your cats.  

Ways to Connect

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. 

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. 

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. 

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.

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.

309 Punk Museum

Days after the NAS shooting, the folk artist Scott Stanton — better known as Panhandle Slim — painted portraits of the three slain men: Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, Airman Mohammed Haitham and Airman Cameron Walters.

Screenshot by WUWF Public Media

Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson hosted a Facebook Live Thursday evening and invited mothers who has lost sons to gun violence to talk about their experiences.

“It’s been eight years and it’s not easy to standing up here today,” said Cindy Martin as she hugged a framed photo of her son, Matthew Cox, who was shot and killed in a robbery in 2012. “Every time I see another mother … or a child get killed, it hurts me. Make it easy for us — put the guns down.”

One Hopeful Place


Update: Ferris Hill Baptist Church in Milton will be open Wednesday night. 

Local organizations are preparing for the first cold night of the 2020 winter season by opening up shelters for the homeless or heatless today and Tuesday night.

But in a pandemic, there are more precautions for staff and volunteers.

“It will be different,” said Bonnie Barlow, CEO of Bridgeway Center in Fort Walton Beach. “It won’t be perfect, but what we learn tonight we’ll apply tomorrow.”

Flickr

Like so many other events in 2020, the Oasis Florida’s World AIDS Day event has shifted to a virtual evening of raising awareness and remembering the lives lost. Despite advances in science and medicine, new HIV infections continue at alarming rates in the state of Florida.

Strive/Courtesy photo

As Transgender Awareness Week comes to a close each year, the Escambia County-based advocacy group, Strive, typically holds a Transgender Day of Remembrance to remember transgender people who were lost to violence.

But like so many events in 2020, the annual memorial/celebration of life will go virtual this evening.

Creative Commons

Okaloosa’s Board of County Commissioners had their first meeting with newly sworn-in members Paul Mixon and Mel Ponder. One of the big issues on Tuesday morning’s agenda was the proposed ordinance about feeding birds at public beaches, which passed 4-1.

The issue came to the board about two weeks ago when restaurant owners on Okaloosa Island complained that birds had become a “huge distraction” for customers. 

Needpix.com

Local environmental advocates are more optimistic about the future following Saturday’s election results, but there’s still a long road to tangible action on climate change. 

Representatives from local and regional organizations such as Healthy Gulf, 350 Pensacola and Environment Florida held a virtual meeting Monday night to discuss the impacts of the election and what a Biden presidency could mean for climate action. 

City of Fort Walton Beach

A partnership between the city of Fort Walton Beach Police Department and the Homelessness and Housing Alliance (HHA) provides a new layer to community policing with the city’s first stability specialist who will work alongside police to address the needs of people who are unsheltered. 

Sgt. Dustin Rosenburg has been working in the community policing unit for years. He says the department often gets called to respond to issues around the area’s homeless population. But without many resources, officers are left with few options. 

Don Barrett/Flickr

The city of Destin has added two amendments to its charter with overwhelming approval on Election Day.

One of the biggest changes will be a maximum building height. According to the amendment, which passed with nearly 83% of the votes, no new buildings can exceed six stories (75 feet) in height, unless approved by 60% of voters in a general election.

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