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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.

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As Hurricane Irma continues its uncertain path west, Gov. Rick Scott said Tuesday the state is taking no chances getting prepared for what has become a massive storm.

Scott has activated 7,000 members of the National Guard and talked to President Trump Monday night, trying to making sure that federal resources now tied up with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey will be available. And state workers dispatched to Texas and Louisiana are on their way home.

Atlanta Braves

It looks like the last hurdle has been cleared to build a new spring training home for the Atlanta Braves in Sarasota County.

The state has approved spending $20 million for the spring training complex, which will be built in the West Villages neighborhood of North Port in time for the 2019 season. Sarasota County will own the stadium, and chip in $22 million in tourist taxes. The city of North Port has already pledged $4.7 million  in sales taxes for the 6,500-seat stadium.

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The University of Tampa on Aug. 29 fired a visiting professor who tweeted that Texas was experiencing “instant karma” from the destruction of Hurricane Harvey because the state voted for Republicans.

“I don't believe in instant karma but this kinda feels like it for Texas,” Kenneth Storey, an assistant professor of sociology, tweeted. “Hopefully this will help them realize the GOP doesn't care about them.”

By P. Barkley - Biological and Chemical Research Institute, Bugwood.org, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22937790

Florida's citrus growers haven't had it easy lately, after being buffeted by canker and citrus greening. Now, they have another nemesis to worry about - citrus black spot.

Federal officials have already slapped a quarantine on exports of fruit grown in parts of Collier and Hendry counties, as well as an area along the Polk-Highlands County line.

WRCH 2017

For the first time in over 20 years, the World Rowing Championships will return to the U.S. next month in Sarasota-Bradenton.

This week on Florida Matters we’re talking about the sport of rowing and what it means to host the championships in the Tampa Bay Area.


Julio Ochoa / WUSF Public Media

The best rowers in the world will converge on Sarasota at the end of September. This will be the biggest competition to date at a new facility built in the shadow of Interstate 75.

Did U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson really align himself with "communists and dictators" and support "murderers?" WUSF's Steve Newborn talks with Allison Graves of PolitiFact Florida about that claim, as well as whether St. Petersburg's mayor didn't refute a comment during a recent debate that blacks should "go back to Africa."


Steve Newborn / WUSF News

A scrap recycling center won't be built next to popular Sarasota bird sanctuary after all.

After a public hearing that took nearly eight hours, Sarasota commissioners voted three to two late Wednesday to reject an industrial recycling plant next to Celery Fields.

PolitiFact, the national fact-checking service that got its start in the Tampa Bay area, turns 10 this year. Before a reception Tuesday night at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg - which owns the Tampa Bay Times, its parent company - Associate Editor Amy Hollyfield reminisced about its beginnings.

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They're beautiful - and they're deadly. And they're here. Lionfish are infesting waters around Florida, and there might be one tasty way to stem the tide of this invasive species.

Lionfish were  named for the beautiful mane of deadly stingers that surround their body. They were introduced in South Florida in the mid-1980's, and have since spread throughout the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Coast to New England. They're voracious eaters, outcompeting everything in their path.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

The usual summer rainstorms held off for a day, so several thousand people crowding into Tampa's Museum of Science and Industry's parking lot for the once-in-a-generation solar eclipse didn't walk away empty-handed.

Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

Protesters gathered Thursday at the Confederate statue in downtown Tampa. It happened the day after Hillsborough County Commissioners backtracked on removing it from public display.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

The Confederate statue at the county courthouse in downtown Tampa may not be moving after all. Hillsborough County Commissioners are now asking the public to pay for it.

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Between 2014 and 2015, the number of police officers killed in the line of duty nationwide rose a staggering 56 percent. But what about the loved ones they left behind?

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

Cities around the country are moving to remove symbols of the Confederacy from public places. 

NPR photo

State Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam of Bartow comes from a long line of citrus farmers, so it's no surprise he's in favor of a continued flow of migrant labor to help pick that fruit. But is he in favor of "amnesty"  for all people in the country illegally? 


Photo Courtesy The Ledger

One of the longest-serving mayors in Lakeland's history has died. Mayor Ralph "Buddy" Fletcher passed away Tuesday at the age of 84.

HART

The Hillsborough Regional Transit Authority, or HART, is set to embark on a major realignment of its countywide bus routes.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

The newest segment of the Pinellas Trail opened Thursday, connecting it to Pasco County. It's part of a trail that will eventually allow bikers and hikers to travel all the way to the Atlantic coast.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

Hillsborough County Commissioners voted Wednesday to move a Confederate memorial that has stood outside the county courthouse for more than a century.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

A cleanup of one of the most urban - and polluted - streams running through Sarasota began Saturday.  We visit one condominium, whose residents not only asked for help to restore Phillippi Creek - but are helping to pay for it, as well.
 


U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio has been criticized in some quarters for not holding a Town Hall on the Republican attempt to repeal and possibly replace Obamacare. So he recently held an audience-free Facebook Live post, saying reports that Floridians will be kicked off of Medicaid under the pending Senate health care bill are missing the mark.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

Tampa is in the market for a new police chief as of Thursday, after Eric Ward submitted his resignation.  The city will now start a nationwide search for a successor.

Drivers got a taste of freedom from high prices at the gas pump over the long Independence Day weekend. But these low prices may soon be a thing of the past.

Gas prices have been flirting with going under the $2-a-gallon mark for a couple of weeks now, and were at their lowest price for the July 4th holiday in over a decade.  

Courtesy of Florida Museum of Natural History

A new disease has been found in five Florida counties, including Hillsborough. It goes by the name of rat lungworm, and it comes courtesy of snails.

Researchers at the University of Florida have found the parasites can cause meningitis in people. And it's been found in Hillsborough, along with Alachua, Leon, St. Johns and Orange counties.

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A 30-year veteran of TECO and a Tampa contractor were killed in an accident Thursday at the Big Bend Power Plant in Apollo Beach. 

 

The explosion happened when the workers were trying to unclog a blockage in a tank where molten coal slag falls into cooling tanks after being burned to generate electricity.

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The south side of St. Petersburg - best known among locals as "Midtown" -- is a predominantly African-American area with a high rate of poverty.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

Last week, Hillsborough County Commissioners voted against removing a Confederate memorial that has stood outside the county courthouse for more than a century. On Tuesday, a group of protesters met to keep up the pressure.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

The state's new Chief Financial Officer made a tour of several cities Monday after his appointment to the post by Gov. Rick Scott.

Jimmy Patronis will replace outgoing CFO Jeff Atwater, who is leaving office on Friday. The Panama City restaurant owner served eight years in the Florida House of Representatives before being appointed by Scott to the state's Public Service Commission.

Photo Courtesy Bradenton Herald

The claims are flying fast and furious around the proposed replacement for the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. A version proposed by Republicans in the House of Representatives would replace it with the American Health Care Act.

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