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

Specialists from the Federal Emergency Management Agency will be will be in Highlands, Hillsborough and Polk counties beginning Wednesday to provide information and advice on cleaning up and rebuilding homes after Tropical Storm Debby.

FEMA mitigation specialists will be on hand to explain disaster-resistant ways to repair and rebuild damaged homes, offer suggestions on cleaning mold and mildew, and providing information on flood insurance.

Steve Newborn / WUSF

The Columbus Drive Bridge in West Tampa reopened this afternoon, after five months of extensive repair and renovation. The 86-year-old bridge needed a complete rehabilitation because engineers believed it had outlived its normal life span.

Ongoing work had periodically closed lanes of the Columbus Drive Bridge since May 2011. The bridge had been completely closed since Feb. 21. This complete closure was required to allow the contractor to open the bobtail swing bridge and perform replacement work on its components.

Tropical Storm Debby survivors in Polk and Sarasota counties can now apply for federal disaster assistance.

This is a news release from the Department of Homeland Security:

Law Enforcement and Public Safety Agencies Announce Security Restrictions and Transportation Plan for the 2012 Republican National Convention

Tampa Parking Restrictions and Road Closures

Steve Newborn / WUSF

It's called Freedom Park, and for the past several months the West Tampa square has been the home of Occupy Tampa. But a group of local business people aren't happy with that, and today Tampa City Council members agreed to take a look at whether they're running afoul of city codes.

A handful of tents now occupy the space along Main Street that is owned by Joe Redner, the strip club magnate. But that hasn't gone over too well with some West Tampa business owners and residents. They signed a petition asking the city to relocate Occupy Tampa.

Steve Newborn / WUSF

The four candidates for Pinellas County Sheriff squared off against each other in a debate last night. And the two Republican front-runners - the current sheriff and one of his predecessors - clearly don't care for each other.

Current Sheriff Bob Gualtieri and former Sheriff Everett Rice verbally jabbed at each other during much of the debate at a Clearwater church. Rice hammered away at an internal affairs investigations of the narcotics division, which resulted in the firing of several detectives.

Steve Newborn / WUSF

There's 40 days to go until the Tampa Bay Times Forum hosts one of the biggest political events in the world. Today, the Republican National Committee took over the keys to the arena, and final preparations are being made for the convention - and who will get to go to the podium.

Steve Newborn / WUSF

He's considered a legend in Tampa political circles. Saturday, former Congressman Sam Gibbons regaled an audience with tales of how things used to be in Washington - and how different politics in the nation's capital is today.

The federal government today announced a major expansion of a project to protect the headwaters of the Everglades. It relies on landowners voluntarily protecting their land.

The announcement today sets aside $80 million for farmers and ranchers who voluntarily conserve wetlands around the Kissimmee River basin in Central Florida. It should protect about 23,000 acres of wetlands that feed into the "River of Grass."

USF Saint Petersburg

USF President Judy Genshaft has named William Hogarth as interim regional chancellor of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and appointed Frank A. Biafora, dean of the USFSP College of Arts and Sciences, to lead a search committee for a new regional chancellor.

Hogarth, currently director of the Florida Institute of Oceanography, will assume duties at USFSP on Aug. 6 while continuing his leadership of the marine science consortium. A national search is underway for a new regional chancellor following the resignation of USFSP Regional Chancellor Margaret Sullivan.

The president of Florida A&M University submitted his resignation today - the same day the university was sued by parents of a drum major who died during a hazing.

James Ammons announced the resignation, which takes effect Oct. 11, in a letter to the chairman of the university's governing board. He said his decision came after "considerable thought, introspection and conversations with my family."

The polling company Rasmussen Reports is saying Republican Congressman Connie Mack draws his highest level of support yet against incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson in Florida’s 2012 U.S. Senate race.

HERALD-TRIBUNE ARCHIVE / 2011 / CARRIE WELLS

Former North Port police chief Terry Lewis has announced he's stepping down as interim city manager of Sarasota on Aug. 3.

Lewis told the Sarasota Herald Tribune he's ready to retire.

"It appears I am headed to retirement," said Lewis, whom commissioners asked last week to stay as they threw out all the finalists to replace him.

Steve Newborn / WUSF

President Obama is set to sign a massive transportation bill Friday. It would keep the lion's share of money from a settlement with BP over the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf states. And a lot of that money could be coming to the Tampa Bay area.

Florida Sen. Bill Nelson dropped by USF St. Petersburg today to tout the recently-passed RESTORE Act. While that means most of the money from any settlement will stay in the Gulf region, he says potentially tens of millions of dollars could flow to the Florida Institute of Oceanography.

The bald eagle population is increasing in Florida, which continues to be one of the top spots in the lower 48 states for bald eagles to nest and raise their young.

That's the word from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.  Based on its 2011 aerial survey, they estimate there are 1,457 active bald eagle nests in Florida, nearly a 9-percent increase since 2008, when the state implemented a bald eagle management plan. That's up from just 88 active nests in 1973.

Steve Newborn / WUSF

As U.S. cities are experiencing some of the warmest temperatures on record, it's easy to take for granted the ability to feel almost instant relief from oppressive heat with the push of a button or the flip of a switch. Today about 87 percent of U.S. households have an air conditioning unit.  

WUSF recently went along with a thousand-mile journey through the heart of the state with the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition. But before that trip, another adventure was being captured in the lens of filmmaker Elam Stoltzfus.

In a documentary to be shown tonight on WUSF TV Channel 16, he takes a look at the history of how the Kissimmee River was straightened into a channel - how that devastated the wildlife in the headwaters of the Everglades - and how it's now being restored.

Steve Newborn / WUSF

When the attention of the political world turns to Tampa in August for the Republican National Convention, groups like Occupy Tampa say they'll be ready. They've been active for nearly a year, and are planning non-violent protests around the city.

On a recent Saturday night, about 20 people gathered in a circle to plan for the protests. They're at a postage-stamp sized park that's been the site for Occupy Tampa for many months now.

The sun has finally gone down after a blistering hot day. A young man starts to speak:

Mother Jones magazine is reporting In April, GOP congressional candidate Henry "Trey" Radel III landed in a cyberscandal dubbed "Domain-gate" when it was discovered that his campaign committee had purchased web addresses related to his GOP rivals and created sites slamming them.

One of the state's largest voter education groups has decided to once again start registering new voters. This comes on the heels of a judge's decision to overturn part of Florida's new voter registration law.

Last week, a Federal district court judge ordered the state to stop enforcing new restrictions on registering voters.

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