Steve Newborn

Interim News Director

Steve Newborn is WUSF's interim news director as well as a reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues, politics and just about everything else in the Tampa Bay area.

He’s been with WUSF since 2001, and has covered events such as President George W. Bush’s speech in Sarasota as the Sept. 11 attacks unfolded; the ongoing drama over whether the feeding tube should be removed from Terri Schiavo; the arrest and terrorism trial of USF professor Sami Al-Arian; and how the BP Deepwater Horizon spill affected Florida.

Before joining WUSF, he covered environmental and Polk County news for the Tampa Tribune and worked for NASA at the Kennedy Space Center during the early days of the space shuttle. Steve is a graduate of the journalism department at the University of South Florida.

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Politics
1:55 am
Wed September 24, 2014

PolitiFact Florida: Dissecting Ads by Pam Bondi, Charlie Crist

It's election season, and the ads are coming fast and furious on the airwaves. So we talk with PolitiFact Florida's Josh Gillen to cut to the chase with ads by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi - and Democratic candidate for governor, Charlie Crist.

First, Bondi's new TV ad is called "Streets," and shows a serious-looking Bondi touting her accomplishments during her first term in office. One of those is a claim that she has closed down all of the state's so-called "pill mills." Those are the rampant cases of prescription drug abuse by Florida doctors.

"With our amazing law enforcement, we closed down the pill mills. Of the top 100 oxycodone-dispensing doctors in the country, 98 of them lived in Florida. Today," she says, "there are none."

Here's PolitiFact Florida's take:

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Politics
1:19 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

President Obama Puts the Islamic State in His Sights During Tampa Address

The president addresses the nation from MacDill Air Force Base

President Barack Obama put the Islamic State - or ISIS - squarely in his sights Wednesday during an address at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. He spoke to more than 1,000 servicemen and women at the home of Central Command, which conducts operations in the Middle East.

The president reiterated earlier comments that the U.S. will not go it alone against the Islamic State, but coordinate with more than 40 countries in a combined effort to contain and ultimately push back the militants.

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Transportation
6:34 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

Q&A With Public Transportation Advocate Arthur Guzzetti on Greenlight Pinellas

Arthur Guzzetti

Both sides on November's mass transit referendum to replace property taxes with a sales tax hike in Pinellas County are gearing up their campaigns for an against Greenlight Pinellas. We recently talked to Randal O'Toole of the libertarian Cato Institute, who claimed light rail doesn't work.

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Transportation
6:15 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

Q&A With Cato Institute's Randal O'Toole on No Tax for Tracks

Randal O'Toole

Both sides on November's referendum to replace property taxes with a sales tax hike in Pinellas County are gearing up their campaigns. The opposition has brought in a big-name consultant, who will take part in a debate Tuesday night in St. Petersburg. WUSF's Steve Newborn spoke to Randal O'Toole about why he rails against light rail.

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Health News Florida
4:33 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

Fight Against Hunger Gets a High-Tech Edge

Adam Putnam talks with students helping bag sweet potatoes at the hunger relief forum
Credit Steve Newborn / WUSF News

The fight against hunger is getting a high-tech edge.  Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam was in Bradenton today to announce a new program to make it easier to match food relief programs with hungry people.

Putnam helped local Future Farmers of America students unpack donated sweet potatoes during a hunger relief forum in Bradenton, sponsored by The Mosaic Co.

"So which school are you all from? Palmetto? Good to have you here."

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Business
5:12 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

Tampa Bay Times Forum is Kaput, Welcome Amalie Arena

Tampa Bay Times Forum - not for long
Credit Steve Newborn / WUSF News

First, it was the Ice Palace - a homage to its main tenant, the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team.

Then, the then-St. Petersburg Times shelled out $30 million in 2002 for a 12-year deal to rename the palace the St. Pete Times Forum. That name shifted to the Tampa Bay Times Forum when the newspaper rebranded itself.

Now, it's the Amalie Arena.

In 2011, after Lightning owner Jeff Vinik purchased the Lightning, the naming rights deal was extended to 2018. Vinik announced today the Times is becoming the "exclusive print sponsor" of the 19,204-seat arena.

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World Affairs
4:21 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

Video Purports to Show Beheading of Florida Journalist

In a first video posted on YouTube titled “A Message to America,” a man identified as American journalist Steven Sotloff is held by an Islamic militant who had just executed American James Foley
Credit AP Photo

An Internet video posted online Tuesday purported to show the beheading by the Islamic State group of U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff, who went missing in Syria last year.

The extremist group, which has claimed wide swaths of territory across Syria and Iraq and declared itself a caliphate, said Sotloff’s killing was retribution for continued U.S. airstrikes targeting its fighters in Iraq. It brazenly killed American journalist James Foley last month in the same manner and again threatened to kill another hostage, this one they identified as a British citizen.

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Business
3:54 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

Falcon's Fury Opens - Finally - at Busch Gardens Tampa

Tall, isn't it?
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Busch Gardens' Falcon's Fury is finally open. After testing that took months, the tallest free-standing drop tower in North America is now giving people the chance to fall face-down towards the ground at 60 miles per hour.

Falcon's Fury is the main attraction of Pantopia - the new area of the theme park that opened in April.

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Politics
4:19 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Sen. Bill Nelson: We Need to Attack ISIS Now; Help Ukraine

ISIS in Iraq

U.S. Senator Bill Nelson is in Tampa today for the U.S. Special Operation’s change of command ceremony.

(Army Gen. Joseph L. Votel assumed command of U.S. Special Operations Command from Navy Adm. William H. McRaven at a ceremony officiated by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel in the Tampa Convention Center.  Votel is the tenth commander of SOCOM and is now responsible for ensuring the readiness of Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps Special Operations Forces. )

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Politics
8:55 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Crist, Scott Trounce Opposition in Primaries

And the winner is...

As expected, Charlie Crist and Rick Scott have trounced their opposition in today's primaries.

On the Democratic side, Crist captured 74 percent of the vote to Nan Rich's 26 percent.

And Governor Rick Scott beat two relatively unknown challengers, with 88 percent. Elizabeth Cuevas-Neunder received 11 percent.

In the Democratic contest for state Attorney General, George Sheldon has beat Perry Thurston, 68 to 32 percent.

It was a long shot especially for Rich, who barely mentioned Charlie Crist in her concession speech.

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Education
11:01 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

Taking a Tour of the New Florida Polytechnic University

Steve Newborn WUSF News

Florida's 12th university opens to the public Saturday with the grand opening of Florida Polytechnic U. More than 550 students are expected for the first day of class on August 25th. The Lakeland campus is the state's first public university devoted to STEM - science, technology and mathematics.

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Transportation
7:05 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Mass Transit Headed Back to Hillsborough Voters in 2016?

Coming soon to a stop near you?

Hillsborough County might be on its way to having another major referendum on public transportation - in 2016.

A board made up of county commissioners and the county's three mayors unanimously agreed to move forward on a plan that would increase the size of the county's bus system, repave roads - and create the county's first light rail line.

A similar referendum was defeated at the polls in 2010, during the height of the recession.

Hillsborough County Adminstrator Mike Merrill said officials have a chance this time to change that outcome.

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Culture
9:31 pm
Sat August 9, 2014

Arcadia Moves On 10 Years After Hurricane Charley

Arcadia's water tower lays crumbled after the storm alongside State Road 70
USGS.gov

Ten years ago Wednesday, (Aug. 13),  Hurricane Charley swirled its way inland through the quaint DeSoto County town of Arcadia. Sustained winds of a hundred miles an hour ripped down walls and roofs from its historic main street - dealing a major blow to its antiques district. WUSF's Steve Newborn was there in the aftermath, and returned a decade later to see how the town has changed.
 

Ten years ago, the grind of buzz saws was the sound heard most often in Arcadia

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Culture
10:11 am
Thu July 17, 2014

A Chat with the Authors of "Home to Havana"

Francisco Serrano, 17, an aspiring ballet dancer from Sarasota, performs at Havana's National Theater during an international ballet competition in Cuba, the land of his parents' birth. Though he has been dancing only four years, Serrano recently won a fu
Elaine Litherland Sarasota Herald-Tribune

A reporter and photographer from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune took their first trip to Cuba recently. Dance critic and arts writer Carrie Seidman and photographer-videographer Elaine Litherland covered a Sarasota ballet troupe taking part in an international dance competition.

They documented the life of Ariel Serrano, who defected to the U.S. in 1993 and found his way to Sarasota. His 17-year-old son, Francisco, the only American ever to dance in the April event, followed in his dad's footsteps, and danced his way to the gold medal.

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Politics
12:57 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Hillsborough Commissioners Move to Protect Gay Rights

Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner

Hillsborough County Commissioners today voted to legislate protection of gay, bisexual and transgender people. If it is enacted in an upcoming session, the ordinance would be an about-face of a 1995 vote that excluded those civil rights protections.

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