Rare Video of Florida Panther Claw-Marking Logs

Nov 16, 2012

Not too many people have seen a wild Florida panther claw-marking a log. Well, here’s their chance. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s South Florida Office has posted rare video to its web site of a Florida panther “claw-marking“ logs.

WATCH: Oyster Restoration Project in Tampa Bay

Nov 15, 2012
Alex Cook / WUSF News

Volunteers led by the non-profit environmental group Tampa Bay Watch shoveled, bagged, and moved fourteen tons of fossilized shells to Schultz Nature Preserve, restoring a home for oysters to thrive in the bay.

"It does three really good things for the environment here in Tampa Bay," said Kevin Misiewicz, an environmental scientist with Tampa Bay Watch.  "It helps stabilize the shoreline and prevents erosion, it helps to create a habitat for fish and birds and other wildlife, as well as filtration."

Nearly two years ago, the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster devastated the Gulf of Mexico, affecting the region's economy, wildlife and waterfront communities. But a critical piece of legislation could help make it right in the Gulf by providing the funding needed to restore the region's natural resources.

If there's anyone who can empathize with victims of Hurricane Sandy, it's Floridians. Here are five ways to make a tax-deductible donation through the American Red Cross:

Hurricane Sandy is bearing down on the East Coast of the U.S., bringing sustained wind, heavy rain, and flooding that's forcing roads, bridges and mass transit systems to close from New York City to Washington. We're following the storm's progress and its impacts here on The Two-Way .

USF Professor Hitches a Ride Into the Eye of Hurricane Sandy

Oct 26, 2012

Hurricane Sandy is now directly east of the Tampa Bay area, and is drifting north in the Atlantic off Florida's east coast. Forecasters from the National Hurricane Center say it's diminished slightly, with maximum sustained winds of 75 miles per hour. The storm caused 40 deaths in the Carribbean and is expected to nail the northeastern U.S., creating a devastating winter storm.

One University of South Florida professor got a first-hand look at the eye of Hurricane Sandy, and says she got quite a ride. 

He's been on the lam for three years. He's got his own Facebook page and his exploits made national news.

And now, he's in custody.

The "mystery monkey" was spotted earlier this afternoon near Lake Maggiore in St. Petersburg, shot by a tranquilizer dart and taken to Animal Hospital of Northwood.

The Student Environmental Association at USF is teaming up with Power Vote, a group of young people advocating for alternative energy. They're holding a rally this afternoon before the last presidential debate.

Senior and environmental policy major at USF Shaza Hussein is a part of both groups and she says climate change is a "forefront" issue her generation is facing.  

"So we would not be advocates of dirty coal or fracking, or nuclear energy. We see those as low hanging fruit and not the ideal solutions to our climate future," she says.

Steve Newborn / WUSF

For the past five years, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota has been part of a pioneering effort to return rare bromeliads and orchids to the Everglades. Several botanists waded into the thickets of Everglades National Park to bring endangered plants back into the wild.

Most of what we've heard from the two candidates for president revolve around the slumping economy and creating jobs. We don't hear much about environmental issues, like climate change and alternative energy. WUSF's Steve Newborn talks with Erich Pica, president of Friends of the Earth Action, about why the environment has taken a back seat during this presidential run.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

That "mystery eyeball" that was found on a South Florida beach recently looks like it is from a swordfish. That's the word from researchers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. They'll do genetic testing to confirm the identification.

Steve Newborn / WUSF

Earlier this year, photographer Carlton Ward Jr. and three colleagues embarked on a trip to bring attention to the need to connect Florida's remaining wild areas - before it's too late. They called it the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition.  On Thursday night, Ward will kick off the first public exhibition of his photographs taken during that epic 100-day, 1,000-mile trip.

How Sunlight Weakens Your Skin

Oct 3, 2012

A sunny day at the beach has plusses and minuses for your health.

A little bit of sun can help your body produce vitamin D, but the sun's ultraviolet radiation raises your risk for skin cancer. And, it turns out, UV radiation poses another threat — it physically weakens your skin.

Have you been exposed in any way to oil from the BP/Deepwater Horizon blowout in 2010? Then a study looking at the health effects of the spill wants to hear from you.

The study is being conducted by the National Institutes of Health. Study leader Dale Sandler says the only way they can sort out what health effects might be related to specific jobs is to include as large a study group as possible.

It's been just over two years since the Deepwater Horizon well was capped, ending the largest oil spill in U.S. history. But is it really over? The largest gathering of scientists since the spill met recently at the Tradewinds Island Resort in St. Pete Beach to discuss the damage to the Gulf - and what may yet happen.

Great Gale of 1848

Sep 24, 2012
St. Petersburg Daily Times (1914)

The Tampa Bay area suffered a direct hit by a powerful hurricane on September 25th, 1848.

The so-called Great Gale of '48 destroyed nearly every building at Fort Brooke and was the storm that created John's Pass in Pinellas County and New Pass in Sarasota.

Incredibly no one was killed, but it remains the worst hurricane on record ever to have hit Tampa.

Steve Newborn / WUSF

Electric cars seem to be finally catching on with some people - but mostly those who live and work in cities. The bugaboo has been how long it takes to get a recharge. But there is a new system that could cut the recharging time exponentially.

It's been just over two years since the Deepwater Horizon well was capped, ending the largest oil spill in U.S. history. But is it really over? Over the weekend, the largest gathering of scientists since the spill met at the Tradewinds Island Resort in St. Pete Beach to discuss the damage to the Gulf - and what may yet happen.

Steve Newborn / WUSF

The leader of the expedition that earlier this year traversed the length of Florida in 100 days talked about the expedition last night to a standing-room-only crowd at USF's St. Petersburg campus.  Carlton Ward says he's making progress on his mission to connect the state's disjointed wild areas.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

No arrests were made, although operations at TECO's Big Bend Power Plant in Apollo Beach were interrupted for a few hours Thursday due to a Republican National Convention-related protest. Five protesters chained themselves together in the middle of a road at the plant, while a sixth chained himself to a truck.

Watch: Environmental Protest at Big Bend

Aug 30, 2012
Alex Cook

Protesters in town for the RNC took a bus ride down to Apollo Beach on Thursday to support an environmental protest at TECO Energy's Big Bend power station.  

Environmental activist group Earth First! had chained themselves together in the road leading up to the plant, and police worked to free them from their constraints.  No arrests were made, and the protesters left peacefully.

Earth First! spokesperson Leah Rothschild said they chose the Big Bend station for their action because it's Florida's dirtiest power plant and TECO helped fund the RNC.

This five-day forecast says it all. Isaac's track has shifted toward New Orleans and away from Florida.

Florida is no longer under a tropical storm warning. In fact, Tampa received little rain and only some gusty winds from Isaac.

Tampa has a history of being under the gun with early hurricane forecasts, and then dodging the bullet. Hurricane Charlie led to evacuations in Tampa Bay, but a last-minute course change led it to hit Port Charlotte instead.

Isaac Poses Problems for RNC Protesters

Aug 26, 2012
Eric Mennel

With Tropical Storm Isaac looming, demonstrators in the downtown Tampa tent encampment known as “Romneyville” are short on emergency plans. 

"We’re not sure what to do at this point," says Jared Bay, one of the protesters living in Romneyville. "It will come through and just rip a tent apart. A tent won’t make it."

They’re hoping the city will find some space where the group can ride it out.

Tropical Storm Isaac has been difficult to track, but its potential to affect Florida has caused the Republican National Convention to change its plans. Events for Monday have been canceled, though the committee will convene briefly. As Alan Greenblatt reported for It's All Politics, this is now the second-consecutive Republican National Convention to be delayed by a storm.

Update at 8:55 p.m. ET. Nomination Delayed:

TS Isaac Could Turn Hurricane by Thursday

Aug 22, 2012
National Hurricane Center

Tropical storm Isaac is in the Atlantic near the Island of Guadalupe. It could head to Tampa Bay by Monday as a hurricane.

Dennis Feltgen, spokesman for the National Hurricane Center in Miami, says Isaac may not be a tropical storm for long...

"It is moving into an area which is favorable for strengthening and we would expect Isaac to become a hurricane probably sometime late Thursday or on Friday," he says.

Feltgen says it's still too early to tell if Isaac will hit Tampa Bay early next week- the start of the Republican National Convention.

She was about three feet longer than the distance from an NBA free throw line to the basket. She was a bit more than twice the height of many bedroom ceilings. You could park two Smart Cars beside her with a foot or so to spare.

Those are some ways to get a sense of just how big the biggest Burmese python discovered so far in Florida was.

The Republican National Convention is bringing lots of changes across the Tampa Bay area. And one of those changes we might want to plan ahead for is coming to the Selmon Expressway.

If you travel the Selmon Expressway, start planning your RNC detours soon.

The express way local lanes will be closed between Willow Avenue and 50th Street Monday at 12:30 a.m. through Friday at about 5 a.m. that week of the convention. 

The reversible lanes will remain open and operate as normal.

Gardening For Good In Pompano, Fla.

Aug 13, 2012

When chef Trina Spillman — trained at Le Cordon Bleu — discovered that more than one-third of the children in Broward County didn't know where their next meal was coming from, she was shocked. So she took action.

Through her Need to Feed Gardening Initiative, Trina has planted community gardens, opened a community cafe and donated fresh produce to local food pantries. She holds Summer Hat Luncheons.

Courtesy of NOAA

Hurricane Ernesto is now fading away into interior Mexico after making landfall late yesterday on the Yucatan Peninsula. But what about our chances to see a big storm? Those odds are going up - at least for now.

The word from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is we could see as many as 17 named storms before hurricane season ends in November. That's up from their initial prediction of nine storms.

The Florida Legislature has essentially gutted Florida Forever, the state's main land-buying program, starving it of any money needed to buy new environmentally-sensitive land during the past three years. And with no end in sight to the state's budget woes, that likely won't change any time soon.