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Deb Margolin's play "Imagining Madoff" digs into the deep issues that live in the edges of our lives.  Do I really know this person, can I trust them? 

Her play examines the relationship between a Torah scholar, here named Sol Galkin, but the character is based on famed author and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, and an imaginary Bernie Madoff, based on the infamous financial scammer who cheated thousands out of their life savings. 

StoryCorps Tampa Bay: A Love Between Cat, Prince

Jan 12, 2015
StoryCorps

In this installment of StoryCorps Tampa Bay, Mary and Lewis Key recall the first time they met at a Halloween Party. Mary dressed up as a cat while Lewis was in a Phantom of the Opera costume and he became her prince. The magic happened over a conversation about baseball. 

To cement their relationship, Mary and Lewis Key have a tradition of celebrating their love and marriage like many couples do on Valentine’s Day, but they don’t just celebrate in the month of February; they celebrate on the 14th of every month.

StoryCorps Tampa Bay is produced by Yoselis Ramos.

'Cowboy' Wedding a Long Time Coming

Jan 11, 2015
Tom Urban / News Service of Florida

Wearing cowboy boots and bolo ties, Steve Schlairat and Ozzie Russ exchanged wedding vows as they stood beside two saddles perched atop bales of hay on a chilly Saturday afternoon with friends and family looking on.

The longtime duo are among hundreds of gay and lesbian couples who received marriage licenses or were married this week after a federal judge's decision striking down Florida's gay-marriage ban took effect at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday.

Wikimedia Commons

With same-sex marriage now the law in Florida, a lot of new husbands and wives will be able to join their spouse's state of Florida insurance plan.

Marriage qualifies as a life-changing event under the state's plan, so enrollees won't have to wait for the open enrollment period to add their spouses. But the window to do so is from now to March 6.

That's only about 60 days.

Mark Pudlow is a spokesman for The Florida Education Association. The union represents 140,000 Florida teachers.

 In the '60s, '70s and '80s, waves of Cuban immigrants crossed the Florida Straits, seeking political freedom and economic opportunity. Soon they were starting their own businesses and winning political office, infusing Cuban culture into the DNA of a South Florida city.

The city was Key West. And this was the 1860s, '70s and '80s.

Robin Sussingham / WUSF News

Tuesday marked the first day in Florida history that same sex couples were able to legally marry. To mark the occasion, Hillsborough County Clerk Pat Frank held a group wedding at a park across the street from the courthouse. Some of the couples had waited decades for this.

The church bells rang out near the Joe Chillura courthouse square. The sun was shining and at noon Pat Frank took the podium in front of 20 or 30 same sex couples - plus a throng of reporters and well-wishers.

At 12:18 a.m. Tuesday, the two men who won the first ruling overturning Florida's ban on gay marriage became the first gay couple to get married in Monroe County.

Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones exchanged vows in front of 500 people — including close friends, attorneys, total strangers, TV crews and a few tourists.

StoryCorps

  Dr. Samuel Wright had always been involved in cultural promotion and community affairs by creating a black heritage festival for Tampa Bay took his skills and vision to a whole new level.

In this installment of StoryCorps Tampa Bay, history buff Abby Connor sat down in the StoryCorps mobile booth to hear Dr. Wright talk about what it took to bring the festival to life.

This year's festival ramps up January 15th, for more information on the festival, click here.

Music:

StoryCorps Tampa Bay: Growing Up in Ybor City

Dec 29, 2014
StoryCorps

 

In this installment of StoryCorps Tampa Bay, we meet Rigoberto Garcia. He was born in Tampa’s Ybor City in 1930. He recalls what it was like growing up with immigrant parents who worked in the cigar factories, and the importance of the Martí-Maceo mutual aid society, which was started by Afro-Cuban cigar workers in the early 1900s.

He joins USF anthropology professor and author of “More than Black: Afro-Cubans in Tampa,” Susan Greenbaum for StoryCorps Tampa Bay.

This week's StoryCorps Tampa Bay was produced by Lottie Watts.

"This is a very, very depressing year for film," critic David Edelstein tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross, "because none of the great material came from Hollywood studios."

Studios, he says, direct their financial resources into sequels and comic-book movies, which leaves little room for "creative expression, and for doing something weird and potentially boundary-moving."

The Clerk of Court in Washington County is asking a federal judge to clarify his decision ruling against Florida’s gay marriage ban.

The move comes as the Florida Association of Clerks and Comptrollers doubles down on its position that the ruling applies only to one couple in one county. Leon County Clerk of Court Bob Inzer says he’s not deviating from that position.

“I will be taking my guidance from my council on this until someone can demonstrate to me that his council is not accurate," he says.

U.S. Census Bureau

Earlier this year, PolitiFact Florida gave a "mostly false" grade to Senator Bill Nelson's claim that Florida had passed New York to become the nation's third most populous state.

It turns out Sen. Nelson was right - he was just a few months off.

According to U.S. Census Bureau figures released Tuesday, Florida added an average of just over 800 new residents daily between July 1, 2013 and July 1, 2014. Such growth helped the Sunshine State finally move past New York in the latest state population estimates.

Gay couples who want to marry in Florida were delighted with Friday's ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court. The court left a federal judge's ruling in place, declaring the state's gay marriage ban unconstitutional. While couples hope they can tie the knot early in the new year, the legal situation remains unclear.

M.S Butler

Pianos are popping up on street corners, sidewalks and other unexpected places in Pinellas County. This is all  part of the Pianos in Pinellas program an interactive project designed to encourage public music and art throughout the county.

So, for anyone who is a music lover this is an opportunity to discover new talent right next door.. Plus any opportunity to say "play it again" is always welcome.

Project Director Colin Bissett of the Clearwater Arts Alliance tells us how the program got started.

Legal Fights Loom if Licenses Denied to Same-Sex Couples

Dec 22, 2014

With the U.S. Supreme Court clearing the way for same-sex marriages to start Jan. 6 in Florida, gay-rights groups Monday vowed continuing legal fights if county clerks do not issue marriage licenses.

Equality Florida, a prominent group supporting legalization of same-sex marriage, issued a news release Monday that said clerks "have a legal obligation to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples --- or risk expensive litigation, including liability for damages and attorney fees."

StoryCorps

In this installment of StoryCorps Tampa Bay, Marietta Drucker tells her daughter, Debbie, of her escape from the Nazis when they invaded her native Austria. Drucker was just eight years old. Her parents were not able to get out in time but she was, traveling alone on the Kindertransport-- a train carrying children to England.

She came to the StoryCorps booth with her daughter to share the story of her escape and her journey to America. She begins with the day that changed her life.

Music:

BitCoin Bowl St. Petersburg

There are eight college football bowl games across Florida, including the BitCoin St. Petersbug Bowl on Dec. 26 at 8 p.m. between North Carolina State and the University of Central Florida.

It used to be called the Beef O'Brady's Bowl, sponsored by a familiar sports bar and restaurant that got its start in Brandon, Fla. Now, the college football bowl game played at Tropicana Field is called the BitCoin Bowl.

Beef O’Brady’s – most of us know that. But BitCoin?

Sometimes, against all odds, relationships grow between two people who don't even speak the same language.

Actress Midge Mamatas knows something about falling in love without a common language. Her first husband was Japanese, and until she reached the conclusion that she was a better teacher than a student, and decided he should learn English--they used dictionaries when other forms of communication failed. 

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi filed an emergency petition on Monday seeking to keep the state's ban on gay marriage in place past Jan. 5.

Bondi and attorneys in her office filed the request with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Thomas oversees emergency appeals from Florida, Alabama and Georgia.

The move by Bondi comes after a federal appeals court in Atlanta refused to keep on hold a ruling that declared Florida's ban on gay marriage unconstitutional. That decision brought same-sex weddings one step closer to reality in the state.

Tampa Bay Rays.com

The Tampa Bay Rays new manager held his first news conference on “home turf” Monday with only 72 days before catchers and pitchers report for Spring Training.

Sitting at a table under the glare of TV lights, Tampa native Kevin Cash told reporters he expects the reality of becoming a Major League manager will hit him as soon as the news conference concludes.

Nathan Powell

This afternoon at the Riverwalk in Downtown Tampa, Mayor Bob Buckhorn and the Friends of Riverwalk unveiled the six newest inductees into the Historical Monument Trail. 

Lucielle Salomon

It's hard for us to imagine having a hostile military presence sitting off the coast of Florida. While it may sound like something out of a spy novel, within the lifetimes of many Floridians this scenario was very real.

This is one the lessons contained in an exhibit called"Operation Drumbeat: Nazi Threat in the Gulf" now on display at the Tampa Bay History Center.

"It focuses on the part of World War II that people don't really think about and that was the war on this side of the Atlantic."

Owen LaFave/Twitter

Leadership Tampa's 2014 class held its Media Day at WUSF Public Media on Dec. 3. About 55 people were on hand to witness a live taping of our Making Sense of the Media program, with host Craig Kopp and Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute's Sense-Making Project.

After the taping, the class was split into four parts to see how reporters get to do their jobs.

Click on each of these audio links to listen to how the class did reporting the "news":

TransSarasota: Changing Attitudes One Person at a Time

Dec 10, 2014
Elaine Litherland/Herald-Tribune Media Group

Two years ago, a City of Sarasota utilities worker prepared to tell her employers that she is a transgender woman who wanted to transition in the workplace. That meant changing her appearance and being acknowledged as female after almost a decade of being addressed as a man at work.

Shelterbox Prepares To Help For Typhoon Aftermath

Dec 5, 2014
en.wikipedia.org

Super Typhoon Hagupit is forecast to hit the Philippines this weekend, and a Sarasota disaster relief organization, ShelterBox, is preparing to help in the aftermath. ShelterBox provides shelter and other supplies in the aftermath of natural disasters. This will be the second Super Typhoon to hit the Philippines in 13 months, and Emily Sperling, P

Kevin Cash Announced as New Rays Manager

Dec 5, 2014
Tampa Bay Rays

Five weeks after the departure of Joe Maddon, the Tampa Bay Rays have announced the hiring of Kevin Cash to be their next manager.

Cash, 36, is a former major league catcher and had a nine year career that included a stop with the Rays in 2005.

In 2012, Cash retired and joined Terry Francona's staff as the bullpen coach of the Cleveland Indians.

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals gave Florida’s marriage equality activists a procedural win Wednesday.  A three-judge panel ruled a lower court’s order overturning the state’s same-sex marriage ban will go into effect as planned after January 5.

Microsoft Office announced Tuesday that it's moving on from Clip Art, the image service that proved oh-so-popular in many a school paper and work presentation for years:

"The Office.com Clip Art and image library has closed shop. Customers can still add images to their documents, presentations, and other files that they have saved to their devices (phones, tablets, and PCs), OneDrive, and SharePoint."

The total number of immigrants living in the United States illegally hasn't changed much since 2009, but where they are choosing to settle, according to a new report from the nonprofit Pew Research Center.

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