Susan Giles Wantuck

Reporter/Host

Susan Giles Wantuck is our midday news host, and a producer and reporter for WUSF Public Media who focuses her storytelling on arts and culture. 

She also serves as a music host on Classical WSMR 89.1 and 103.9. 

She is a lifelong resident with family roots that stretch back in Florida before it garnered statehood.  Susan holds a B.S. in Mass Communication from USF. The Florida Associated Press Broadcasters Association and the Society of Professional Journalists have honored her hosting and reporting work.

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Manatee County Historical Records Library, Bradenton Herald Archives

Next month, the South Florida Museum will host an open house for the public to remember what was the world's oldest living manatee in captivity.

Snooty the manatee, who died in an accident last month, will be remembered on Sept. 10, from noon to 5 p.m., at the Parker Manatee Aquarium at the South Florida Museum in Bradenton. 

Courtesy of NASA

About two weeks from now on August 21, a lot of people will be looking up. They will be witnessing the first "coast to coast" solar eclipse visible in the United States in about 100 years.

You can use this interactive map from NASA to find exactly when to look for the effects of the eclipse in your part of the world. And if you need help converting UTC or (UT) time, check here.

Howard Hochhalter manages the Bishop Planetarium at the South Florida Museum in Bradenton. He says in Florida, we'll get about 83 to 85 percent of the eclipse.


Wikimedia Commons

Florida's school districts are figuring out how to respond to a new state law that covers quite a lot, and may have a major impact.

On Tuesday, in what the Sarasota Herald-Tribune calls a "sharply-divided unanimous vote," Sarasota County's School Board voted not join a possible lawsuit.

George Schellenger/GHOF

The folks who work at the Guy Harvey Research Institute at Nova Southeastern University are hoping that people will come to understand the critical link between sharks and ourselves.

Wikimedia Commons

You've probably heard of AmeriCorps, but did you know there's also Senior Corps? A new study of senior volunteers by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency which oversees both, now says there's a connection between volunteering and a boost in health and well-being for seniors. 

Wikimedia Commons

It's happening again, and may happen more and more.  A death sentence has been overturned in Florida, because the sentence was imposed under a state law that is now unconstitutional. 

Authorities are calling the Pasco County sinkhole that swallowed up two homes last week the biggest sinkhole in the state in recent history.  At last check, it was 225 feet wide and 50 feet deep.  

Because many residents in the area of the Lake Padgett sinkhole depend on well water, Pasco Emergency Management personnel are taking water samples to be tested for E. coli and other contaminants.  

NOAA

Hurricane season is here and you're probably hearing a lot of talk about maps; storm surge maps and perhaps even flood zone maps. Here are some clear differences to help you understand what they mean for you.

Let's start with storm surge maps. They help emergency managers make plans to protect the nearly 21 million people who call Florida home -- by predicting how high the water wall forced onshore by a storm might be and how far inland it will invade. That will also help you know when it's time to head for higher ground. 

Tampa International Airport

Tampa International Airport had a record number of passengers during Spring Break.  Spokeswoman Emily Nipps said part of that growth is coming from new and expanded destinations from airlines that already serve the airport.   

Chris Sampson, WUSF

More than 140 wildfires are burning in the state of Florida today.

It's a "red flag warning" day in inland portions of West Central Florida today, which means high winds, no rain in sight and low humidity. Florida remains under a state of emergency because of a rash of wildfires, with a declaration from the governor last month.  

Florida Forest Service

It's been hot and dry and it's peak wildfire season in Florida. That's a point drawn home to the families who live near River Ridge Middle School and High School. They are close enough to the big fire in Starkey Wilderness Preserve that the campuses were cloaked in smoke yesterday.

That is why Pasco School Superintendent Kurt Browning decided to push back the schedule for those two schools, which are opening at 10:45 in the morning and ending the school day late in the afternoon for the rest of this week.

Sonia Labrador-Rodriguez

This Saturday, New College is wrapping up a yearlong series of events around the relationship between Cuba and the U.S. 

New College professor Sonia Labrador-Rodriguez organized the Cubano-American Community Project, which looks at the deep roots Cuban-Americans have in this part of Florida.

Hillsborough Area Regional Transit is adding Tesla model X's to its pilot program which it hopes will bring more bus riders on board.

Cesar Hernandez of HART says they're trying to address the "last mile" challenge of riders getting to the bus stop or getting home after a long day. Hyperlink will take bus riders for an extra fee.  And riders can pay cash and even call to book the ride if they aren't able to use the app. 

But let's face it, some people have historically not ridden the bus because they're in a hurry. 

Susan Giles Wantuck

On a hot spring afternoon, with the waters of Tampa Bay lapping the shores of Tampa's Picnic Island in the background, Rep. Kathy Castor and representatives from environmental groups such as the Tampa Audubon Society, The Sierra Club and Environment Florida spoke out against the Trump Administration's plans to cut the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency. 

Tucker Hall

The Cross-Bay Ferry pilot project, which connects the downtowns of Tampa and St. Petersburg, will cease its run at the end of this month. But it has provided valuable information about the habits of would-be riders.

Former Hillsborough County Commissioner Ed Turanchik is a project advisor. And on behalf of his firm, Akerman, he's helping to put together a public-private partnership between Hillsborough County and the ferry service providers for a different ferry project.

The Chieftains

Saint Patrick's Day is coming up Friday, March 17.  And the Irish band The Chieftains is getting the party started this Wednesday night at the Lakeland Center.

The Chieftains are celebrating 55 years together. Founding member Paddy Moloney says the music means everything to him.

"You know, it's just like eating food and having a good drink. You know,  I must play music as well to keep my whole senses going. You know, it's an essential part," he said.

Florida Forest Service

In Florida, it's always wildfire season. But spring is the time of year when the risk is highest.

Susan Giles Wantuck

The Hillsborough County State Attorney's office and the county medical examiner are investigating the death of a two-year-old boy yesterday.

Florida Highway Patrol

The Florida Highway Patrol says there were more than 100,000 hit and run crashes in the state last year alone.  That left more than 1,200 people seriously hurt.  Among them, a 13-year-old boy, from eastern Hillsborough County whose injuries will heal, but the driver who struck him is still on the loose. Highway Patrol Sergeant Steve Gaskins says people drive off for any number of reasons. 

Alex Proimos / Wikimedia Commons

The Federal Trade Commission says around one-third of financial exploitation complaints last year came from seniors. One of the top complaint reported to the Senate Aging Committee Fraud Hotline includes what's called grandparent scams.

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