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

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.

 

CALOOSAHATCHEE RIVER - The Florida Panther is fighting its way back from the brink of extinction, and members of the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition are seeing signs of the panther in their travels.

But the panther faces many dangers, as photojournalist and expedition member Carlton Ward Jr. tells WUSF.

A new study has some shocking news about wildlife in the Everglades. Raccoon and opossum sightings are down by 99 percent. Marsh rabbits and brown bunnies can’t be found at all. Sightings of bobcats, foxes and deer are also way down.

The culprit? Invasive species, like the Burmese Python. We discuss the impacts of invasive species with wildlife biologist Joe Guthrie as he hikes through the deepest, wildest parts of the Everglades.

You can see videos and photos of the expedition by clicking HERE.

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