11:07 am
Mon May 4, 2015

It Takes A 'Forest' To Feed An Elementary School

The young crops in Kelsey Pharr Elementary School's 'food forest."
Credit John O'Connor / WLRN

Rain is terrible when you’re trying to give tours of your new garden.

But it’s great for the spinach, sweet potato and purple passion fruit rapidly taking root.

On a very rainy day, Kelsey Pharr Elementary third graders Ronnield Luna and Jeffrey Arroyo are showing grownups around what used to be a grass field.

Now the school in Miami’s Brownsville neighborhood has several thousand square feet of all kinds of fruit and vegetables.

Some you can find at your supermarket.

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StoryCorps: Tampa Bay
9:10 am
Mon May 4, 2015

StoryCorps Tampa Bay: Military Life

Beatrice and Sheila Rue

In this installment of StoryCorps Tampa Bay, Sheila Rue talks with her mom Beatrice, about her father when he was in the military.  Roger Rue was in the Vietnam War in the late 60s and they talk about how being a military family at that time affected their lives. 

Sheila Rue is program director here at WUSF.


“I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die Rag” by Country Joe and the Fish from the album, I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-To-Die."

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9:09 am
Mon May 4, 2015

Ten Big Issues Remain as Regular Session Ends

Ordinarily, the last week of the annual legislative session is a blur of deal-making, with bills bouncing back and forth across the Capitol's fourth floor. But with the House adjourning Tuesday amid a battle with the Senate about budget and health-care issues, the 2015 session will be remembered for its messy end --- and the piles of bills that died in the crossfire. Lawmakers will come back sometime in May or June for a special session to negotiate and pass a budget. But with the 60-day regular session formally ending Friday, here is where 10 major issues stand:

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Health News Florida
8:57 am
Mon May 4, 2015

While Lawmakers Feud, Scott Visits Ferris Wheel, Wawa

Originally published on Mon May 4, 2015 8:56 am

When it became clear that the House and Senate wouldn’t agree on a budget, Republican Gov. Rick Scott was in California trying to get shipping companies to move to Florida.

And when the Legislature was at the point of no return to either pass a budget or go home without completing the one task it’s legally required to do each year, Scott was at a Wawa gas station opening in Fort Myers.

When the Senate threatened Wednesday to bring legal action against the House for adjourning three days early with more work to be done, Scott was visiting a giant Ferris wheel in Orlando.

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Law & Order
8:54 am
Mon May 4, 2015

Justices: House Adjournment Violated Constitution

Originally published on Mon May 4, 2015 8:53 am

  The decision by House leaders to end their legislative session more than three days early violated the state Constitution, a majority of the Florida Supreme Court said Friday, while ruling that it was too late to order lawmakers to return to Tallahassee.

The ruling effectively ended the 2015 regular session, which was notable for an unresolved budget controversy that caused widespread dysfunction and sharp exchanges between Republican leaders.

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Health News Florida
8:26 am
Mon May 4, 2015

About Half of FL Hospitals Earn 'A' For Safety

Originally published on Mon May 4, 2015 8:28 am


 The latest Hospital Safety Scores released by the not-for-profit watchdog Leapfrog Group show almost half of general, acute-care hospitals in Florida earned an A.

The group calculates the grades twice a year on using data on errors, injuries, accidents and infections, and posts the results in a searchable database.

Out of the 165 Florida hospitals they graded, 77 got an A.

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Law & Order
10:13 am
Sun May 3, 2015

Prison Reform Bill May Be Dead, But Advocates Remain Hopeful Reform Will Occur

Originally published on Fri May 1, 2015 7:13 pm

Prison reform may be officially dead this session, but prison reform advocates remain hopeful there will be some meaningful reform for Florida’s troubled prison system.

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4:04 pm
Sat May 2, 2015

Disability Advocates Weigh In On Disability Bills Post-Session

Originally published on Fri May 1, 2015 6:49 pm

The legislature’s unscheduled Sine Die killed plenty of bills, but some say the loss of many anticipated disability bills hit the hardest.

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3:04 pm
Sat May 2, 2015

The Session May Be Dead But A Few Last Minute Bills Survived

The Florida Senate chambers Tuesday.

Originally published on Fri May 1, 2015 5:01 pm

When the House called an end to the 2015 session, a lot of major legislation died—but not everything.  The Senate was able to pass along a final few bills to the Governor in the waning hours.

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Movie Interviews
11:14 am
Sat May 2, 2015

At 81, The Man Behind Big Bird Sees 'No Reason To Quit'

The documentary I Am Big Bird tells the story of Caroll Spinney (left), who has been the man inside the yellow suit for more than 40 years.
Tribeca Film

Originally published on Sat May 2, 2015 10:26 am

Big Bird, the towering yellow bird with confetti feathers from Sesame Street, will eternally be 6 years old, but his character is nearly 50. The man behind Big Bird, Caroll Spinney, is 81 — and has no plans to step out of the suit any time soon.

"I see no reason to quit," Spinney tells NPR's Scott Simon. "I can't imagine walking away from being Big Bird. I mean, that's an awfully good job, and there's not too many of them. So, I just want to keep doing it until I can't do it anymore."

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12:00 pm
Fri May 1, 2015

Senate Dems Ask Supreme Court If House Departure is Constitutional

The Senate Democratic Caucus files lawsuit asking Florida Supreme Court to decide whether House departure is unconstitutional.

Originally published on Fri May 1, 2015 1:02 pm

UPDATE 05:01 12:02 p.m.: Democratic Senator Darren Soto of Kissimmee said he will file a reply in the Supreme Court in an hour to Republican House Speaker Steve Crisafulli's argument that the House used a legal parliamentary procedure when it ended the session Tuesday, three days before its scheduled end.

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11:46 am
Fri May 1, 2015

Matt Gaetz Comment About Black Senators Criticized

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fort Walton Beach)
The Florida Channel

Originally published on Fri May 1, 2015 8:49 am

In-fighting in the Florida legislature is getting increasingly personal. But some observers are saying Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, may have crossed a line.
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The Two-Way
11:31 am
Fri May 1, 2015

Charges Against 6 Officers In Freddie Gray's Death Range From Murder To Assault

Marilyn Mosby, state's attorney for Baltimore City, announced criminal charges against all six officers in the death of Freddie Gray, who suffered a fatal injury while in police custody.
Alex Brandon AP

Originally published on Sun May 3, 2015 9:35 am

The death of Freddie Gray was a homicide, and six Baltimore police officers now face criminal charges that include second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter, Baltimore chief prosecutor Marilyn J. Mosby says.

Mosby announced the charges Friday morning, citing her office's "thorough and independent" investigation and the medical examiner's report on Gray's death. She said warrants were issued Friday for the officers' arrest.

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University Beat
11:30 am
Fri May 1, 2015

Number of Firsts at USF Spring Commencement

Commencement ceremony at the USF Sun Dome in December 2014
Credit GradImage

While University of South Florida students taking part in spring commencement ceremonies wear caps and gowns made out of recycled materials for the first time, graduation history will be made in other ways as well.

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6:11 am
Fri May 1, 2015

Dry Creek: Field of Cowboy Dreams

Welcome to Dry Creek.
Credit Alison Miller / WUSF News

In the 1989 movie "Field of Dreams," Kevin Costner built a ballpark in his Iowa cornfield, not knowing why.  It turned out it was to re-connect him with his father.

That movie strikes a chord with former Tampa Bay traffic reporter and radio personality Les McDowell.

McDowell is the creator, producer and one of the stars of the cable TV Western series "Dry Creek". The show is shot on his ranch in Manatee County on a set he built himself out of scrap materials.

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