Sandra Averhart

Senior Producer/Host

Sandra Averhart has been News Director at WUWF since 1996. Her first job in broadcasting was with (then) Pensacola radio station WOWW107-FM, where she worked 11 years.  Sandra, who is a native of Pensacola, earned her B.S. in Communication from Florida State University.

For several years, Sandra was co-host of “Inside UWF” on WUWF TV. Also, she has partnered with WSRE TV to serve as co-host of their “Rally” candidate forums, most recently in 2012. Sandra also lends her voice to the University of West Florida athletics program.  She has worked as public address announcer for Men’s and Women’s Basketball, and continues to “work the mic” at UWF Volleyball and Softball games. Along the way, she has been P-A announcer for four NCAA Division II national championships, to include two each in volleyball and softball.

In her spare time, Sandra continues to enjoy playing softball. She lives in Milton with her husband Charles and two dogs, Beau and Mollie.

Ways to Connect

Airman Shawna Keyes / Public domain

A Pace woman was booked into the Santa Rosa County Jail May 8 on child cruelty charges, accused of years of severe abuse involving her 14-year-old adopted son. 

The case has put a spotlight on child abuse and the recent trend in Santa Rosa.

“I’m in year 38 of law enforcement and I’ve seen a lot of bad things, but this is pretty bad,” proclaimed Santa Rosa County Sheriff Bob Johnson on Monday.

On Thursday, the Florida Forest Service, a division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, reported 56 wildfires burning over 7,000 acres statewide, including about 3,000 acres in Northwest Florida.  

Courtesy Santa Rosa County School District

The Santa Rosa County School District is launching a new educational program called, One District, One Book. As part of the initiative, every elementary student in the district will be reading from the book, “A Boy Called Bat.” The books were scheduled for distribution to families starting on Monday.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

Because of the coronavirus, schools systems across Florida began gearing up for distance learning about a month ago. Now four weeks into the process, WUWF has a report on remote education from the Santa Rosa County School District.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

After nearly a month of virtual learning due to the coronavirus, Escambia County School Superintendent Malcolm Thomas has had a chance to see the successes and challenges of educating the district's 40,000 students outside the classroom. 

“Well, I think it’s gone as well as you could expect; we’re seeing progress each week,” said Thomas in regards to his assessment of the distance learning taking place throughout the district.

The Escambia County School Board is moving ahead with its search for the district’s first-ever appointed superintendent. At its regular meeting Tuesday, the panel appointed the members of a Citizens Advisory Committee that will assist in the selection process, which is still on track despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We approved the appointment of 22 individuals to serve as our workgroup to help us in reviewing the applications,” said board chairwoman Patty Hightower, who’s been overseeing the search process.

The Geo Group

With four inmate deaths due to coronavirus and more than confirmed 50 cases, Blackwater River Correctional Facility in Santa Rosa County has been the epicenter of the outbreak in the Florida prison system. The privately-operated prison is now second to Tomoka Correctional Institution, which 54 COVID-19 cases.

Fernando Frazão/ Creative Commons

Sporting events were among the first casualties of the coronavirus outbreak, with cancellations and postponements at every level.

Even the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo had to be postponed.

This was to be Justin Gatlin’s final competition, and that’s still his plan if and when the games are held next year.

Morgan Givens / University of West Florida

Caleb Carmichael, cross country coach at the University of West Florida, notched over 180 miles last week. Carmichael’s goal was to complete seven marathons in seven days to raise awareness and money to help feed the community.

“Well, it kind of just came up to me after just seeing what we’re dealing with currently in the world, and just wanted to try to give back and help in some way,” said Carmichael.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

Millions of children are shifting to virtual and in-home learning as schools remain closed due to the coronavirus. Information is available on the Florida Department of Education website.

As the process was gearing up locally, I visited two young relatives to see what it’s like on the student end of things. Previously, we got the high school view from my nephew. Today, I check in with my third-grade niece.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

With public schools closed at least through the end of April due to the coronavirus, the Escambia County School District and others across the region have quickly geared up to deliver virtual instruction to students.

I recently checked in on two of my young relatives, to get their view from home. First, my nephew, the high schooler.

Escambia County

When Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order Wednesday for Florida residents to stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus, it sparked more questions than answers. On Thursday, Escambia County officials held a press conference to explain what it actually means.

Essentially, their conclusion is that nothing has changed.

“Walk, bike, hike, fish, hunt, run, swim. You can go to the bank, go to the pharmacy, vet, or go to the doctor, if “teledoc” is not available,” said Escambia County Commissioner Robert Bender.

Photo courtesy of Santa Rosa County

For some time, residents have been able to watch local government meetings via live streaming.

Now, because of COVID-19, Escambia County is strongly encouraging electronic “participation” ahead of their next meeting tomorrow (Thurs) afternoon.

This is one example of the changes governmental bodies across the region are making, to keep citizens safe - and engaged - during the current crisis.

Pixabay

OneBlood, a not-for-profit blood center that serves Florida, has announced plans to begin collecting plasma to be used as a potential treatment option for people with “life-threatening” coronavirus infection.

When the program ramps up, OneBlood will be looking for donations of plasma specifically from individuals who have recovered from the coronavirus, so that it can be transfused to people who are very sick due to the disease.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

On a recent weekday, the Pensacola News Journal published 19 death notices. When people die, final arrangements must be made, but things are different now because of COVID-19.

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