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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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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.

Courtesy of Erica Smith, Bok Tower Gardens

Have you ever looked up at the sky and found the artificial light was blocking out the stars? Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales is drawing attention to this issue on Saturday night.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

Phosphate giant Mosaic is going to get its expansion in Manatee County.  

It took several weeks and hearings for Manatee Commissioners to decide on the Mosaic request to expand its Wingate mine in the eastern part of the county.  Before Wednesday's vote, Commission Chairwoman Betsy Benac weighed in saying what commissioners did was not "a popularity contest."  

"You know, I don't like mining, but they have property rights, but mining is a specific, and I know Commissioner (Robin) DiSabatino knows this because she's a realtor, mining is a specific property right."

Steve Newborn, WUSF

He's an artist, a pigeon fancier and a tattoo artist. Brooklyn-based Duke Riley has found a muse in the lowly pigeon. It's a bird often derided as a sort of "rat with wings" or something dirty. But Riley says nothing could be further from the truth. 

courtesy of Brad Meltzer

WUSF's Susan Giles Wantuck caught up with New York Times bestselling author Brad Meltzer recently to talk about his latest book.

It's a children's biography of legendary puppeteer, Jim Henson. But Meltzer says he's best known for writing thrillers. In fact, he jokes that he "kills people" for a living.

Wikimedia Commons

Springtime is planting time, generally speaking. And winter is a time to plan to plant. But Selby Gardens' Chief Horticulturist Mike McLaughlin says there are some exceptions to that.

Tabitha Blue of FreshMommyBlog.com

This New Year can be a time to simplify, and if you're looking to clear your head and clear your space, Tabitha Blue of FreshMommyBlog.com says start by gathering and grouping items by category.

For example, pull out all of your dishes to you really see what you have and what you no longer need, she says.

Wikimedia Commons

Let's say you're hoping to run in one of the road races toward the end of this year or early in 2017. Where should you begin?

Heather Anne Stalker

The holidays are a time to get together with the people you love. And good food and drink is always a part of that.

WUSF's Florida Matters considers "food as muse" this week. And we invited lifestyle blogger Krayl Funch of An Appealing Plan to share some ideas for the season.

Krayl recalls her first food specialty was chicken fingers, which she still loves today. And she draws inspiration from the women in her life who cooked, especially her mom.

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