Steve Newborn

Assistant News Director

Steve Newborn is WUSF's assistant news director as well as a reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues, politics and transportation 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; how the BP Deepwater Horizon spill affected Florida; and he followed the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition through the state - twice.

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.

Ways to Connect

The Confederate Solider's Monument has silently stood guard outside the Hillsborough County Courthouse in downtown Tampa since 1911, with one soldier facing north to the enemy, another with its head drooped low facing the defeated homeland.

YouTube

A man from Orlando by the name of Desmond Meade is a convicted drug offender who later turned his life around, got a law degree, and is now leading the charge to automatically restore voting rights to felons. Now, all he needs is 700,000 signatures on a petition to put it on next year's ballot.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

A potential tsunami of tourists could be in store for Tampa when the National Hockey League's All-Star Game is held on the same weekend in January as the Gasparilla parade. But NHL and city officials are saying they'll be prepared.

Tampa has hosted one hockey All-Star Game, back in 1999. And it's hosted Gasparilla parades since 1904 - including the last time the Super Bowl was here, in 2001.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said it could present challenges in terms of traffic and security, but this "balancing act" will work out just fine.

Selby Gardens

It's a plant so rare they call it the "Queen of the Night."

And your only chance to see it bloom is - tonight.

Selby Gardens in Sarasota is hosting a "pop-up bloom-viewing party" Wednesday at 8 p.m. to show off the Selenicereus. It's a flowering cactus that blooms only once a year. Its name is derived from the Greek moon goddess and the Latin word for candle.

Sarasota County

Sarasota County planners will hear a request Thursday afternoon to rezone land for a scrap recycling center next to what has been called the best bird-watching spot in the county.

Flickr

Three Pinellas County beaches being eroded by the Gulf of Mexico are taking one step closer toward being restored. The $30 million will be used to help restore beaches at Sand Key, Upham Beach and Treasure Island.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

Several hundred people showed up Wednesday night at the first of many planned public meetings to discuss revamping the Tampa Bay area's transportation system. It's a reboot of TBX - Tampa Bay Express - which would have added more than 90 miles of toll lanes to existing free Interstate highways.

It's now called Tampa Bay Next.

Stephanie Colombini / WUSF

It costs a lot of money to keep Florida’s beaches “postcard ready.” How much sand is on your favorite beach? In some cases, not quite enough.


The controversial plan to add express toll lanes to Tampa-area Interstate highways is getting a redo. TBX is gone - in its place is Tampa Bay Next.

It still includes express lanes on a rebuilt Howard Frankland Bridge, but adding toll lanes to Interstate 275 is now up in the air.

State Department of Transportation spokeswoman Kris Carson says this is an opportunity to hear what area residents have to say.

Marc Haze / WUSF News

It's that time of year to hit the beach and soak up some rays, but in some areas erosion means there's not a lot of places to build a sand castle.

A bill awaiting Gov. Scott's signature - or possible veto - would mean $50 million for beach renourishment. This week on Florida Matters we'll talk about whether that funding is enough to tackle the issue of beach erosion across the state.


Treasure Island state representative Kathleen Peters is saying three terms is enough in Tallahassee. Peters announced she'll instead seek a seat on the Pinellas County commission seat held by outgoing Commissioner John Morroni.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

He's not running for governor yet - at least not officially - but Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine is sure sounding like one. He spoke Friday afternoon at the Tampa Tiger Bay Club, where he called himself a "radical centrist."

Levine acknowledges he'd have a tough time in Florida's closed primaries, which usually favor candidates who lean further to the left or right. The multimillionaire Miami Beach businessman says he might just run as an Independent.

Flickr

People will be joining hands on beaches from Key West to Pensacola Saturday for what has become an annual rite: Hands Across the Sands.

It was started after the BP oil spill, and has become a protest against oil drilling off Florida's coasts.

Photo courtesy PolitiFact Florida

A lot of big promises came up before this year's legislative session in Tallahassee. House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, said this way back in November:

"On your desks are the most aggressive, transformative rules in the history of the Florida legislature. These rules make us a national leader in transparency and accountability."

Tampa Bay Rowdies

A panel discussion on the impact of the Tampa Bay Rowdies recent referendum was held Thursday by the Tampa Bay Business Journal. That referendum easily passed, and paves the way for the team to bid to be one of four Major League Soccer expansion teams.

Rowdies owner Bill Edwards has proposed $80 million of his own money to expand Al Lang Stadium. Former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker, president of the Edwards Group, says the team could quadruple its attendance. He cited the Orlando City Soccer Club, which in 2015 joined Major League Soccer.

The Associated Press

State Sen.  Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, spoke Thursday at the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club in St. Petersburg. There, he said the political infighting he witnessed during the recent legislative session was some of the worst he's seen.

The Knight Foundation

The Florida Legislature has voted to eliminate funding for Florida Forever, the state's primary land-conservation program.

The only part of Florida Forever that is receiving any money this coming year is $10 million dollars for ranchers to not develop their land.  Since 2001, the state has spent nearly $3 billion to buy more than 700,000 acres of land.

Wikipedia Commons

The Florida legislature is poised to pass a program that would encourage charter schools to set up near academically troubled traditional schools. The bill creates what Republicans call the “Schools of Hope” program, funneling hundreds of millions of dollars toward charter schools.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

A handful of residents living near the Tampa Sports Authority's Babe Zaharias golf course are protesting the application of the fumigant "Curfew," which is set for Tuesday, May 9. They say the insecticide, which is being used to control nematodes, can be harmful to people and animals. 

Wikipedia Commons

An agreement was inked Monday to have one company manage both the Amalie Arena and the University of South Florida Sun Dome.  

The arenas will be run by the company operated by Jeff Vinik, who owns the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team and the Arena Football League's Tampa Bay Storm.

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