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 new city ordinance regulates how many people - and which groups - are allowed to assemble in a large area around downtown Tampa during the GOP convention. That doesn't sit well with some people, including Mathew Medina of Tampa.

"I think the purpose of this ordinances is to give the police the power to arrest anyone they want at any time," he told council members, "by criminalizing everything."

Steve Newborn

Mitt Romney is in the midst of a campaign swing through Florida. Around noon, he appeared at a fundraiser at the upscale Avila development north of Tampa. Earlier this morning, he appeared before several hundred people at the Mirror Lake Lyceum in St. Petersburg. There, standing before a clock ticking up the amount of the national debt,  he went on the offensive against President Obama's economic policies.

Photo by Steve Newborn

Jamie Dimon is still the head of the country's largest bank. Just days after he revealed JPMorgan Chase lost nearly$2.5 billion because of bad trades, shareholders today decided not to remove him as chairman of the board.

" Banks got bailed out, we got sold out..." wailed a handful of protesters, who greeted more than 300 shareholders outside JP Morgan Chase's regional office in Tampa.

J.J. Barrow

One year ago, a postal worker in Orlando says he handled a suspicious package from Yemen -- and says it made him seriously ill. The Postal Service denies the incident ever took place.

The Florida Center for Investigative Reporting and the Investigative Reporting Program at U.C. Berkeley worked with WUSF's Steve Newborn to try to uncover what really happened.

The Washington Post is reporting that during the uproar a few years ago over the CIA’s use of waterboarding, Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., told the agency he “wanted to find out for himself how it felt.”

That's according to a new book by former CIA official Jose Rodriguez. Rodriguez offers a spirited defense of the CIA’s use of waterboarding in the book, written with former CIA spokesman Bill Harlow.

Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium has received $400,000 in grants this week from two Sarasota-based family foundations.

The new funds include a major grant from the Sara S. Roberts Foundation for Mote’s efforts to rescue and treat sick and injured dolphins and whales, and an anonymous supporter for Mote’s shellfish restoration, marine-based cancer research and sustainable seafood farming.

Bill Ratliff, the former news anchor for WFLA Channel 8, died this afternoon, according to TBO.com

The story quotes a family spokesman as saying Ratliff passed away after complications from surgery.

Ratliff worked for News Channel 8 for 27 years, from 1982 to 2009. He served as the morning news anchor and managing editor at the station and co-anchored "News Channel 8 Today" and "The News Channel 8 Midday Report."

Carol and Barney Barnett - members of the family that founded the Publix Supermarket chain - have donated $1 million for series of new classrooms at the Florida Aquarium.

It will be called the Carol and Barney Barnett Learning Center—part of the Aquarium’s "Rising Tides Campaign," which aims to raise $15 million in donations.

The "Clean Zone" is no more. Oh, it's still there, but now the security zone around August's Republican National Convention is called the "Event Zone.

The newly-named "Event Zone" will now allow parades by the public to last 90 minutes - not just an hour. And permitted events at city parks can go on all day, rather than just an hour. But the biggest change tentatively approved by Tampa's City Council is shrinking the no-go zone for most weapons and restricted gatherings.

The Associated Press is reporting that Terri Schiavo's family members have moved the foundation they started after her death from St. Petersburg to Philadelphia.

Her brother Bobby Schindler said in a news release Tuesday that the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network moved to Philadelphia because of its proximity to New York and Washington. Also, he said, the family had lived in that area before moving to Florida years ago.

Schindler said the charity hopes to establish a center there offering rehabilitation and therapy services to those with cognitive disabilities.

The USF Sun Dome is coming back to life. It's been out of action since last summer, when a major renovation began. Now the work is done, and the ribbon will be cut Tuesday afternoon.

It's taken more than $35 million and nearly a year, but the USF Sun Dome is about to make its maiden appearance after a floor-to-roof renovation.  It will bear little resemblance to the arena that first opened in the 1980's, and hosted events from Frank Sinatra to the White Stripes.

Steve Newborn

It's one day before the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition is set to end. The members have pushed themselves to the limit for three months, and it's time to relax with a dip on a remote stretch of the Suwanee River.

"Nice to have a little down time before we enter the Okefenokee," says expedition leader Carlton Ward Jr.

It's not often you hear about a play based on an environmental disaster. But playwright Caridad Svich has done just that. It's called "The Way of Water," and was timed to mark the two-year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill.  The play looks at the spill's effects on human health and the environment from the viewpoint of two affected families.  WUSF's Steve Newborn talks about the play with Svitch.

American Stage Theatre will be hosting a reading at 8 p.m.  April 28th at 163 Third St. N. in  downtown St. Petersburg.

Expedition members Carlton Ward, left, Joe Guthrie and Mallory Lykes Dimmitt frolic in the Suwanee River
Steve Newborn

After driving down an unmarked sandy road in the middle of Georgia's Okefenokee Swamp, I met the four members of the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition the day before they ended their trip on Earth Day. They were playing Frisbee in the dark waters of the Suwannee River. As the clouds darkened and a driving rainstorm washed over the group, I talked with the group about what they saw - and what they hope to accomplish.

 

Steve Newborn

Wildlife photographer Carlton Ward Jr., filmmaker Elam Stoltzfus, bear biologist Joe Guthrie and conservationist Mallory Lykes Dimmitt have wrapped up the traveling part of their Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition. They crossed the finish line Sunday, nearly 100 days after setting off in the Everglades on a 1,000-mile journey to the Georgia state line. Their goal is to inspire the creation of a permanent unbroken wildlife corridor. WUSF's Steve Newborn kept track of the expedition - and joined in on occasion - and was there when they crossed the finish line.

It's been 1,000 miles in nearly 100 days. They started at the tip of the Everglades, and Sunday, members of the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition reached the finish line - Georgia. Their goal is to connect the state's WUSF's Steve Newborn has been following the group, and reports on their mission - and whether it has a chance of succeeding.

Expedition member Carlton Ward Junior remembers slogging for days through the heart of the Everglades on kayak...

Members of the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition sport calluses and legs hardened by three months of hiking through saw grass, palmetto stands and piney woods.

On Sunday, these four adventurers mark the end of a 1,000-mile trek across Florida, from the tip of the Everglades to the Okefenokee Swamp.

We've seen the possible health hazards from the dispersant used to keep oil from the damaged Deepwater Horizon well from fouling Gulf beaches.

Now, a University of South Florida engineering professor and a team of researchers think they might have a solution. They found that mucilage from the common and easily grown prickly pear cactus – already known to clean toxic compounds from drinking water – also works as a natural, non-toxic dispersant for oil spills.

That stinging feeling that sometimes accompanies trips to the beach during outbreaks of red tide can be especially harmful to people with asthma. Now, researchers are trying to find out why some asthmatics are affected by red tide.

Anyone who ventures to the Gulf shore during red tide season knows the symptoms: irritated eyes and noses, a dry cough - even wheezing. For people with asthma, it's even worse.

Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Thomas Kielbasa

Part of the 1,000-mile trail the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition is blazing through Florida passes through what may seem an unlikely place: the main training base for the Florida National Guard. WUSF's Steve Newborn reports on how the armed forces are armed with another mission: helping protect the state's wildlife.

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