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

Courtesy of NOAA

Hurricane Ernesto is now fading away into interior Mexico after making landfall late yesterday on the Yucatan Peninsula. But what about our chances to see a big storm? Those odds are going up - at least for now.

The word from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is we could see as many as 17 named storms before hurricane season ends in November. That's up from their initial prediction of nine storms.

The Florida Legislature has essentially gutted Florida Forever, the state's main land-buying program, starving it of any money needed to buy new environmentally-sensitive land during the past three years. And with no end in sight to the state's budget woes, that likely won't change any time soon.

A forum on knowing your rights when it comes to demonstrating during the upcoming Republican National Convention was held Tuesday night at the University of Tampa. Audience members heard there be a fine line between what police will tolerate - and what they won't.

Steve Newborn / WUSF

Groundbreaking was held today for the newest improvement in Tampa's mass transportation. It's called Bus Rapid Transit, and it should mean a significant improvement in getting across town.

The massive Gulf oil spill may be receding into our collective memory. But a group of people want to keep the specter of offshore oil drilling fresh in people's minds. So they plan to gather at Florida's beaches at noon Saturday.

This will be the third straight year "Hands Across the Sands" is taking place. People will gather hands on dozens of beaches to not only protest offshore drilling, but promote the use of clean energy.

The decision over replacing the iconic upside-down pyramid on St. Petersburg's waterfront won't go before the voters. The city council today voted down a plan for a referendum by a 6-2 vote. This came despite a petition that had more than 20,000 signatures from opponents of the plan to build "The Lens."

That plan would build a looping, figure-8 walkway out into the bay. Council member Charlie Gerdes summed up his vote this way:

Steve Newborn / WUSF

It's been buried in the news by the presidential race and the Republican National Convention, but the primaries are only two weeks away. One of those races has turned personal. The two Republican candidates for Pinellas County Sheriff clearly don't care for each other.

There's apparently no love lost between Everett Rice and Bob Gualtieri. The two verbally jabbed at each other during much of a recent debate at a Clearwater church.

Steve Newborn / WUSF

After the Floridan Hotel rose 19 stories above downtown Tampa during the Roaring 20s, it became not only the tallest building in Florida - but the swankiest hotel around.

It was the home of the famed Sapphire Room - dubbed the "Surefire Room" by servicemen during World War II. But the creeping suburbanization after the war relegated the Floridan to what was essentially a flophouse before it closed in 1989.

And so it sat, until Clearwater hotel developer Antonios Markopoulos purchased the building in 2005.

Steve Newborn / WUSF

Today marks one month before the start of the Republican National Convention. But many of the people coming to Tampa won't be sharing in the coronation of Mitt Romney - they'll be out in the streets, protesting what they say are the party's policies towards the less fortunate.

The world's oceans used to be thought of as a limitless resource to be exploited. But the world's booming population and a huge increase in the number of fishing vessels has proved the ocean's bounty to be finite. A new solution to setting limits for individual fishermen has been developed. It's called catch-share. It basically sets a limit on the number of fish that can be taken for groups of fishermen - and those shares can be traded.

Steve Newborn / WUSF

Former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani campaigned in Tampa today at Mitt Romney's state headquarters on Harbour Island. This is the same Mitt Romney he ran against four years ago for the GOP nomination for president. But times change.

Guiliani repeatedly ripped into Barack Obama as anti-business - expecially since the president's comment that small businesses have to rely on government to succeed.

One year ago, a postal worker in Orlando said he handled a suspicious package from Yemen -- and said it made him seriously ill. Jeff Lill is now living with his mother in Rochester, N.Y., after becoming incapacitated from the fumes. The Postal Service says it could have been residue from a previous spill that had been cleaned up.

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.