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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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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.

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."

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