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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

Sarah Pusateri / WUSF

Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor dropped by the WUSF studios this morning for a talk on how preparations are going for the upcoming Republican National Convention. More than 50,000 people are expected to descend on Tampa for the four-day event.

While Castor says the majority of people who come to the convention will be peaceful, police are prepared for the minority whose intentions are anything but.

"The eyes of the world will be upon us," she says.

USF

University of South Florida head men’s tennis coach Don Barr has decided to retire, USF Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Doug Woolard announced today.

Barr has been a part of the USF men’s tennis program for 21 seasons, including 20 as head coach, and will spend the 2012-13 season helping the program transition to a new head coach, while serving as the Director of Men’s Tennis Operations. A national search for Barr’s successor will begin immediately.

HART

We may not have light rail - but the Bay Area's first Rapid Bus Transit line took several steps closer to becoming reality today. Commuters in Tampa could see the line up and running by next spring.

Steve Newborn / WUSF

The Hillsborough River is in many ways a tale of two rivers. Upstream, it quietly meanders through a forest of cypress trees dotted with alligators. But the river's lower half is recovering from decades of being mistreated by the needs of a growing Tampa. This is the second of a two-part series:

To view a slideshow by photographer Joseph Gamble, click HERE.

The numbers are impressive: 50,000 visitors, including 15,000 members of the media from around the world. But what concerns Tampa police are the relative handful of people whose mission is to disrupt the upcoming Republican National Convention.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Several government agencies have banded together with groups as diverse as the Nature Conservancy and Wal-Mart to help protect the Florida Panther.

A deal has been closed to protect 1,278 acres on prime panther habitat along the south shore of the Caloosahatchee River. That's considered the dividing line between the Everglades and Big Cypress - where almost all the panthers live - and the rest of Florida.

Several government agencies have banded together with groups as diverse as the Nature Conservancy and Walmart to help protect one of the state's endangered species.  The future of the Florida Panther may be helped by this land deal.

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.

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