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

Anyone who lives in the Tampa area for long is sure to become familiar with MacDill Avenue.

And the large airbase and economic engine at the tip of South Tampa is named MacDill AFB. But who is the man behind these names? 

Colonel Leslie MacDill was killed in a plane crash in Washington, D. C., on November 9, 1938.

In conjunction with Ken Burns’ The War, WUSF produced a pair of documentaries in 2007 focusing on two Bay area communities and the residents who served in the military during World War II. Former Tampa Congressman Sam Gibbons, who died this week, is among the veterans featured in this episode of Tampa Goes to War.

Associated Press

It was October 9th, 1996, when Vice Presidential candidates Al Gore and Jack Kemp met for a debate in St. Petersburg's Mahaffey Theater.  

The debate was moderated by PBS Newshour host Jim Lehrer, and was broadcast live ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, CNN, C-SPAN, and MSNBC.

WUSF Public Media will offer live coverage of this week's debate between Vice Presidential candidates Joe Biden and Paul Ryan from Danville, Kentucky, this Thursday evening beginning at 8:00.

University of South Florida

It was September 26, 1960, when 1,997 freshmen showed up for the very first classes at the University of South Florida.

Among them was Barbara Campbell -- student ID number 00001 -- USF's very first student!

Campbell earned a degree in education in 1963 and spent the next 30 years teaching in Hillsborough County schools.  She retired in 2005.

Great Gale of 1848

Sep 24, 2012
St. Petersburg Daily Times (1914)

The Tampa Bay area suffered a direct hit by a powerful hurricane on September 25th, 1848.

The so-called Great Gale of '48 destroyed nearly every building at Fort Brooke and was the storm that created John's Pass in Pinellas County and New Pass in Sarasota.

Incredibly no one was killed, but it remains the worst hurricane on record ever to have hit Tampa.

Remembering 9/11

Sep 11, 2012

It was a day that started out like any other here in the Tampa Bay Area. 

President Bush was on a two-day swing through the state promoting education reform. 

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays were scheduled to host the Boston Red Sox that night at Tropicana Field.  That game would never be played.

Dali Museum

A new exhibit -- "The Royal Inheritance: Dali Works from the Spanish National Collection" -- features 12 paintings in Dali's possession when he died in 1989.  

According to the Dali Museum, the collection contains early still life, nudes, portraits of Gala, stereoptic paintings, and rarely-seen works from 1983 which are considered his final paintings.

The exhibit opens this October and runs through March 2013.

National Weather Service

The National Weather Service has issued a number of watches and warnings for the Tampa Bay Area, including a tropical storm warning.

Click HERE for the very latest.
Current National Weather Service Radar

Tropical Storm Threat

Jun 23, 2012
National Hurricane Center

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami say a broad area of low pressure in the Gulf of Mexico appears to be getting better organized.  

Tropical storm watches or warnings may be required for the Northern Gulf Coast later this weekend.  

This system has high chance (90%) of becoming Tropical Storm Debby as it moves slowly northward during the next 48 hours.  Residents of the Florida Peninsula -- including the Tampa Bay Area -- can expect periods of heavy rain this weekend.

Governor Scott wants to be among those who provide recorded greetings to passengers at Tampa International Airport, especially during this summer's Republican National Convention.

It is illegal under Florida law for state officials to accept gifts from lobbyists or organizations that hire lobbyists.

Free publicity is considered a gift for politicians.

But the Florida Commission on Ethics concluded that the messages can be considered a gift, but a gift with no value.

Tampa's First Car

Jun 15, 2012
Tampa Historical Society

When folks in town saw him driving his car around the streets of Ybor City, some would shout, "here comes the devil wagon!" 

Tampa cigar factory owner Eduardo Manrara goes down in history as the man who brought the first car to Tampa. 

He is said to have driven his "horseless carriage" up Florida Avenue for the first time ever -- 111 years ago today -- June 15th, 1901.

- Edward Manrara - The Man Forgotten By History

National Baseball Hall of Fame

The Hillsborough County Commission has agreed to lease land to the City of Tampa for the Al Lopez Baseball Museum.

The museum would be located at 19th Street and 9th Avenue in Ybor City.

Associated Press

Governor Rick Scott's chief of staff Steve MacNamara abruptly resigned on Saturday amid allegations of steering state contracts to friends and using state employees to help him apply for a job in Montana.

In an interview Monday with WUSF News, Gary Fineout with the Associated Press said, "we were in the middle of working on another story about MacNamara when he resigned" and suggested that more reports could be forthcoming.

Click ABOVE to hear the complete interview with WUSF's Carson Cooper.

Elvis Rocks Tampa

May 8, 2012

May 8th, 1955 was quite a day for rock and roll fans in the Bay Area.  

The Hank Snow All-Star Jamboree was in town for an afternoon extravaganza that included Faron Young, Mother Maybelle and the Carter Sisters, and Elvis Presley!  Ticket price: $1.

It took place at the old Fort Homer Hesterly Armory, a popular spot for concerts from the 1940s through the 1970s.  Elvis played there four times from 1955 to 1956. 

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.