Robin Sussingham

Reporter/Producer/Host

Robin Sussingham is a reporter/producer and host at WUSF Public Broadcasting.  A native of Lakeland, she frequently reports on events and issues in Polk County.

She came to WUSF from public radio stations KUER and KCPW in Utah, has contributed stories to NPR and Marketplace, and has an extensive background in newspapers, magazines and online reporting. 

Robin majored in chemistry at Duke, and went to NYU for a Masters Degree in Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting. She's reported on everything from the Olympics to the oil spill, but will jump at a chance to talk about food or books.

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Florida Matters
1:03 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

A Boom in Backyard Ag

Chicks in the incubator
Robin Sussingham

Listen to the story here.

All over Florida, laws are changing to make it easier for suburban homeowners to do a little farming. It's becoming more and more common to have a neighbor who's growing his own organic vegetables, collecting eggs from his own chickens, or even raising bees for their honey.

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Environment
4:40 am
Mon April 21, 2014

Is Help on Tap for Florida's Springs?

Algae clouds part of Rock Springs swimming area
Robin Sussingham

Listen here.

A comprehensive bill to protect and restore Florida's natural springs has been moving through the state senate with strong bipartisan support. Support for springs in the Florida House, however, is far less certain. Still, it's the biggest burst of momentum and  public attention concerning these natural wonders in recent memory.

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Environment
3:35 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Tegu Invasion Worries Florida Wildlife Biologists

Argentine Black and White Tegu
Credit IFAS

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Giant lizards called Argentine black and white tegus are coming out of hibernation right now -- and they're in the Tampa Bay area. Wildlife officials say the invasive species eat everything -- including the eggs and hatchlings of native animals that conservationists are trying hard to protect.

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Business
5:54 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Citrus Growers to USDA: We Need Help Now

Dr. Mary Palm of the USDA speaks to citrus growers at Florida Citrus Mutual in Lakeland
Credit Robin Sussingham

The United States Department of Agriculture recently announced it was putting $21 million toward saving the citrus industry. They're trying to rescue it from what's widely seen as its biggest threat ever -- a disease called citrus greening.

Today in Lakeland, the USDA official who's coordinating how that money will be spent, Dr. Mary Palm,  spoke to dozens of growers and others that work in citrus. But the growers  stressed that they can't wait for long term solutions, and said that the industry needs immediate help to survive.

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Business
6:52 am
Wed February 19, 2014

New City Magazine Takes Wing in Lakeland

The Lakelander magazine
Credit The Lakelander

Listen Here

You often hear that print media is out -- or going digital.  So when an upmarket, city magazine  with big  production values suddenly appears in a mid-sized town like Lakeland, can it succeed? Publishers of the new magazine, The Lakelander, are banking on it.

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Culture
7:27 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Bartow's L.B. Brown Included in New Smithsonian Museum

Clifton Lewis, right, with Bartow Mayor James Clements
Robin Sussingham

A piece of history from Bartow will be included in the new Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC.

The museum recently acquired a foundation stone bearing the initials of builder L.B. Brown, a former slave who built scores of homes during Bartow's early years. Museum officials see Brown as an example of the often overlooked contributions to America's growth by pioneering African Americans.

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Education
6:22 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Polk State College Opens New Technology Training Center

Artist's rendering of the Advanced Technology Center
Credit Polk State College

Polk State College held a ribbon-cutting for its new Advanced Technology Center on Thursday at the Clear Springs development east of  Bartow. Built with a $12 million donation from Clear Springs developer Stan Phelps, the center will train industry workers in high skilled technology jobs. The campus was originally envisioned as a $30 million project, but state funding fell through. Polk State College president Eileen Holden spoke to WUSF's Robin Sussingham about the center's current capabilites and Polk State's hopes for future expansion.

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Law & Order
5:33 am
Fri December 27, 2013

Bobby Bowden's Grandson Dies in Crash

Two men, including the grandson of former FSU football coach Bobby Bowden, died after their car crashed into a Winter Haven creek early Thursday. One passenger survived.
Credit Polk County Sheriff's Office

Two men -- including the grandson of former Florida State University football coach Bobby Bowden -- died in a car crash early Thursday morning in Winter Haven. A third man was pulled from the car alive, after being trapped for hours in the vehicle, which was partially submerged in a water-filled ditch.

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Science
2:06 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

The Battle Against Citrus Greening

A greenhouse at the Citrus Research and Education Center
Credit Robin Sussingham / WUSF

Listen to the story here.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam calls citrus greening "as bad a situation as it could possible be for Florida signature crop." That's why the state's citrus farmers have spent more than $60 million of their own money over the last seven years to save their crops. Lake Alfred, in Polk County, is headquarters for intense research efforts to cure citrus greening.

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Business
11:07 am
Mon October 28, 2013

Mosaic Buys Out CF Industries; To Become Sole Central Fl. Phosphate Producer

CF Industries' Plant City phosphate complex
Credit CF Industries

The Mosaic Co. has announced it's buying the Central Florida operations of CF Industries. The price - $1.2 billion.

Among the CF properties included in the deal is the South Pasture phosphate mine and beneficiation plant in Hardee County, which totals 22,000 acres; a Plant City phosphate mine and beneficiation plant; and facilities at the Port of Tampa, including an ammonia terminal and warehouse facilities.

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Business
5:45 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

End of An Era: Last Phosphate Mine in Polk County to Close

End of an era?

Phosphate mining was once an economic pillar for Polk County -- but that era is coming to a close. The last active mine in the county is nearly depleted and will close next year .

Mosaic says it will close its Hookers Prairie phosphate mine in Polk  by the fall of next year.

"That will be the last rock we extract from Polk County," says Karen Swager, Vice President of Mining Operations for Mosaic.

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Education
6:03 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

Florida Poly's First Students Get Scholarships

Dr. Ghazi Darkazalli, Vice President of Academic Affairs for Florida Polytechnic University, at the Board of Trustees meeting in Orlando
Credit Florida Polytechnic University

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In-state undergraduate students who enroll at Florida Polytechnic University next year will get free tuition. The school's Board of Trustees approved the scholarships Monday at its meeting at the Orlando International Airport.

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Law & Order
8:19 pm
Sun August 18, 2013

Juveniles Riot at Polk County Facility

Polk County Sheriff's deputies investigate the scene of the riot
Credit Polk County Sheriff's Office

Juveniles incarcerated at a facility in unincorporated Polk County rioted Saturday evening, destroying 18 of the 20 buildings at the Avon Park Youth Academy. The Polk County Sheriff's Office is reporting rampaging youths caused hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage, and said that seven boys were taken to an area hospital with minor injuries, including a broken leg, lacerations and a concussion. None of the staff or any law enforcement officers were injured.

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Business
9:28 am
Sat August 17, 2013

Sarasota Institute Says Seniors Can Drive Economy

Phyllis Bek-gran

Listen to the story here.

Sarasota County has a higher percentage of people over 65 than any other large county in the nation. And some business leaders now say that all those seniors - rather than a demographic drawback - could be a valuable asset.

They could actually help diversify the economy - even turn the county into what they're calling a "mecca" for those who want to learn what an aging population looks like.

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Law & Order
7:13 am
Wed July 3, 2013

Lakeland Police Department in Turmoil

Lakeland Police Chief Lisa Womack answers questions at a community forum.
Credit Scott Wheeler / The Ledger

The Lakeland Police Department is coming under increasing public criticism as reports of a years-long sex scandal and other high-profile incidents continue to mount.

WUSF's Robin Sussingham sat down with investigative reporter Jeremy Maready of The Ledger to get an update on the department.

More reports from Maready and his colleagues are at http://www.theledger.com/

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