Carson Cooper

Host, Morning Edition and Florida Matters

Carson Cooper has become a favorite of WUSF listeners as the host of "Morning Edition" on WUSF 89.7 since he took the job in 2000. Carson has worked in Tampa Bay radio for three decades.

He has been the host of WUSF's Florida Matters since its launch in 2006. During that time he has reported on a variety of issues of importance to the community including growth management, education, transportation, affordable housing, taxation, public health and the environment.

Ways to Connect

The 2012 Tampa Bay Host Committee for the Republican National Convention has launched a 10-day push for volunteers.  

"As a Host Committee, we want our volunteers to reflect the diversity in our community, so we are encouraging everyone from all walks of life to get involved and register to volunteer," says Host Committee Director of Events and Volunteers Amanda Whitelaw.

For more information or to register for the Host Committee’s volunteer program click here.

Credit: Bay News 9

A brush fire is burning near New York Avenue and U. S. Highway 19 in Hudson.  

The Pasco County Fire Department tells Bay News 9 that the fire appears to have started in the woods behind Club Wildwood Mobile Home Park.  Around 150 residents were evacuated.  

UPDATE: U. S. 19 between Hudson Avenue and New York Avenue has reopened

Credit: The Sixth Floor Museum At Dealey Plaza

James Sibert, one of the two FBI agents present at the autopsy of President John F. Kennedy, has died.

The Fort Myers resident was 93.  

Sibert spent the better part of five decades facing questions about what he saw that day, including his take on a conspiracy.  

He rarely spoke about the events that day, but he told the Boston Globe in 2009, "I don't buy the single-bullet theory."  He added, "I won't go as far as to say there was no conspiracy."

The other FBI agent who witnessed the autopsy, Francis X. O'Neill, died in 2009.

Roberto Gonzalez/Getty Images

NASA's oldest space shuttle, Discovery, made its final flight today aboard a modified 747 jumbo jet.  It left Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral just after sunrise Tuesday morning bound for Dulles International Airport in Virginia.

It will go on display at Smithsonian Air & Space Museum hanger at the airport.

Colorado State University

Hurricane researchers at Colorado State University, lead by William Gray and Philip Klotzbach, predict below-average activity in the Atlantic basin during the upcoming hurricane season.

The prediction is based on two factors: a cooling of tropical Atlantic waters in recent months, and a return of El Nino in the Pacific Ocean.  

Hurricane season begins June 1st.

Roadside America

Baseball history was made in Tampa on April 4, 1919, when Babe Ruth hit what many consider to be his longest home run ever.

Ruth was still with the Boston Red Sox at the time.  The team was in town for spring training at Plant Field, which was located on the current site of the University of Tampa.

Ruth led off the bottom of the second inning, facing pitcher George Smith of the New York Giants.  

The Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition started their trek in January at the tip of the Everglades, and they plan to end it next month at the Okeefenokee Swamp in Georgia.

Bobbie O'Brien

On Florida Matters this week, WUSF brings you exclusive interview with Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. Host Carson Cooper traveled to Tampa City Hall to talk with the first-term mayor.

1- On Being the ‘Pool Guy’

Mayor Buckhorn has often said he won’t be the “boyfriend” who breaks up the marriage between the Tampa Bay Rays and the City of St. Petersburg. He told WUSF, “I may be the pool guy though.”

2- Knowing Tampa’s ‘Options’ with the Rays

Jeff Vinik became the new owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning just over two years ago and quickly won over fans and local officials for what he’s done both on and off the ice.

He bought the team with his own money and privately funded $40 million in renovations to the publicly-owned Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Yet when Vinik first arrived in town, sports writers did not get a good first impression.

Mount Holyoke College

Donal B. O'Shea has been chosen to be the next president of New College of Florida in Sarasota.  The school's Board of Trustees voted unanimously in favor of the appointment on Saturday.

Dr. O'Shea comes to Sarasota from South Hadley, Massachusetts, where he is the dean of faculty and vice president for Academic Affairs at Mount Holyoke College.  

U. S. Department of Defense

The United States Air Force is considering budget cuts that could mean moving a squadron of National Guard C-130s from Texas to Montana.

Why does Florida Governor Rick Scott care?  He and other Gulf Coast governors say the plan would hinder rescue and recovery efforts following hurricanes.

Governor Scott -- along with Rick Perry of Texas, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, and Robert Bentley of Alabama -- sent a letter this week to President Obama asking that he intervene.

"Hello, I'm with the Florida Department of Financial Restitution, and I'm working with Attorney General Pam Bondi's office to help Floridians recover unclaimed property..."  

For a $600 fee?

You guessed it -- it's a scam.  Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater says there is no such department, and he wants Floridians to be on alert.

"These scam artists are trying to defraud consumers out of their hard-earned dollars by using deceitful practices and peddling a service that my department offers free of charge,” says Atwater.

Snow in Florida!

Mar 6, 2012
Florida Memory/Florida Department of State

While Florida is the place where many folks come to escape the winter up north, winter occasionally finds its way to Florida.   

That was the case on March 6th, 1954, when Florida received its greatest modern-day snowfall.  Four inches fell -- and stuck on the ground -- at Milton.  Pensacola received two inches of snow.

Meteorologists say snow in Florida is unusual but it does happen.  The earliest record of snow falling in Florida was during the Great Arctic Outbreak of 1774.  

Florida Independent

It was a working weekend for state lawmakers, and they'll likely be even busier this week.  The House and Senate are still trying to hammer together a single balanced budget before the legislative session ends Friday.

Among the issues still unresolved -- funding cuts to state universities and the creation of the state's 12th university, Florida Polytechnic in Lakeland.

Lawmakers must agree on the budget numbers by Tuesday evening to allow for a constitutionally-required three-day cooling off period before a final vote.  The session is scheduled to end this Friday

NASA Ames Research Center

It was 40 years ago today when NASA launched Pioneer 10 from Cape Canaveral.  

The robotic space probe was launched on March 2, 1972 on a mission to study Jupiter and the asteroid belt.  

Pioneer 10 eventually became the first spacecraft from Earth to leave our solar system and enter deep space.  With that in mind, scientists placed a recorded greeting on board -- along with a plaque that includes a map of Earth's location.

Eventually someone might find that map.  Pioneer 10 is expected to arrive at the constellation Taurus in 2 million years.

Tampa City Council is to decide today on spending around $4 million to equip police with additional safety equipment aimed at controlling crowds at the upcoming Republican National Convention.

City of St. Petersburg

John Williams arrived from Detroit in 1875.  Peter Demens arrived from St. Petersburg, Russia, 13 years later.  Williams built a grand hotel.  Demens brought in a railroad. 

Legend has it that the city's name was decided by the flip of a coin:  Williams wanted Detroit and Demens wanted St. Petersburg.  Demens won the toss.

The City of St. Petersburg was incorporated on February 29th, 1892.

- Learn more about the history of St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg Times

They've been part of the Tampa Bay landscape for more than 50 years.  The three large smokestacks at the old P. L. Bartow Steam Power Plant will be imploded today.  Demolition crews plant to bring them down at 10:00 am.  They expect it to take all of ten seconds.

The plant is located on Weedon Island in St. Petersburg.  The old steam plant was closed in June 2009 and replaced with a natural gas-fired plant.

The original plant was dedicated in September 1958.  

Play Ball!

Feb 27, 2012
City of St. Petersburg

It was February 27th, 1998, when the brand-new Tampa Bay Devil Rays played their first spring training game.

It took place in St. Pete's Al Lang Stadium (which was officially renamed Florida Power Park on the same day.)  The Rays lost that first game to the Florida Marlins 2-1.

Today, the Tampa Bay Rays train in Port Charlotte.  They'll open up the season this year with an away game against the Minnesota Twins this Sunday in Fort Myers.

The Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition has just come out of one of the wildest places in Florida - if not the entire country - the Fakahatchee strand. We also speak with Mallory Lykes Dimmitt on how the Babcock Ranch Preserve is faring as a publically-run ranch.

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