Florida Matters

Florida Matters tackles tough issues, highlights little-known stories from our part of the world, and provides a greater perspective of what it means to live in the Sunshine State. Join us each week as we journey across the state to explore the issues important to Floridians and cover the challenges facing our community and our state.

Daylina Miller/WUSF

A massive fish kill in the Indian River Lagoon in spring has been linked to fertilizer use, and with growing concerns about pesticides and where food comes from, more people are growing their own produce right in their own yard. 

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Imagine a baseball park that is free and open to the public when no games are scheduled. Imagine real grass but with a roof to shield you from Florida’s frequent rain storms.

Those are just a few of the ideas and innovations Tampa Bay Rays President Brian Auld has in mind for a new stadium no matter where it gets built.

The shooter in the Orlando mass murder was Omar Mateen, a US citizen who said he was a practicing Muslim. He professed his allegiance to ISIS during his attack on the gay nightclub.

In this Florida Matters preview, Retired Army Colonel Derek Harvey, a senior fellow at USF's Global Initiative for Civil Society and Conflict, and Dave Couvertier, who recently retired from the FBI with 33 years in law enforcement including experience with SWAT, hostage negotiations and as an agency spokesman, speak with Robin Sussingham of WUSF's Florida Matters. Harvey and Courvertier discuss extremist Muslim groups, and the way  the Internet is one big way they spread their message.
 

Florida House of Representatives

Florida's Legislature has a new House Speaker.

Starting in November, Land O' Lakes Republican Rep. Richard Corcoran will preside over the state House of Representatives.

This week on Florida Matters, (Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday at 7:30 a.m.), we’ll feature a newsmaker conversation with him.

Corcoran, who is serving his fifth year in the Florida House and who once served as U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s chief of staff, is a conservative known to stand up against his own political party.

Coming into the 2016 Hurricane Season, Florida has been on something of a lucky streak. It’s been 11 years since a hurricane has made landfall in the state but experts say this could be one of the most active storm seasons since 2012.

WUSF Public Media

On May 3, the Tampa Bay Times purchased its rival across the Bay -- The Tampa Tribune -- and promptly shutdown the 123-year-old newspaper. 

The event ended a three-decade Tampa rivalry that had grown especially difficult for both newspapers in recent years, as they struggled to survive in a media landscape veering toward online devices and away from their legacy products.

Laura Reiley / Tampa Bay Times

"Locally-grown," "farm-to-table," and "pasture-raised" are the new buzzwords in the food culture, and restaurants are rushing to meet the demand. But one reporter says that at many Tampa Bay area restaurants we're being -- as she writes -- "fed fiction." When she investigated, she found that even farmer's markets are mainly absent of local farmers. Florida Matters' Robin Sussingham sat down with food critic Laura Reiley of the Tampa Bay Times to talk about her recent exposé, "Farm to Fable."

Daylina Miller/WUSF / WUSF

Telling Tampa Bay Stories is a new project from WUSF News, where our journalists will be visiting some of the region’s lesser-known spots -- to record stories from members of those communities.

We featured some of those stories this week on Florida Matters.

Courtesy of Todd Chapel / Tampa Tribune

On an upcoming Florida Matters, we're discussing the sale of The Tampa Tribune to the Tampa Bay Times. 

What memories do you have of the Tribune, a daily newspaper that served the Tampa Bay area for 123 years? Maybe you were featured in a news story? Or perhaps you feel strongly about how its editorial page approached Tampa's political landscape. Share your thoughts with us, and we may use your comments on the air. 

Real prices for health care are complicated and oftentimes secret. Health News Florida, WUSF and WLRN have launched an online guide to bring clarity to health care costs. PriceCheck Florida is a database of prices of common health care procedures and supplies.

You can search the database, and you can contribute information about the prices you paid.  

This week on Florida Matters (Tuesday, April 26 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, May 1 at 7:30 a.m.), we sit down with project founder Jeanne Pinder and Health News Florida reporter Sammy Mack to talk about how the database works and why it’s needed. We also feature a discussion on the impact of health care costs on employer-based insurance.

Ed Miyagishima / Port Tampa Bay

NPR’s “A Nation Engaged” Coordinated Conversation project is looking at the topic of trade on the campaign trail, and in communities around the country.

As part of that project, this week on Florida Matters (Tuesday, April 19 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 24 at 7:30 a.m.), we feature a panel discussion on trade policy with Port Tampa Bay CEO Paul Anderson, Florida Small Business Development Center Regional Director Eileen Rodriguez and Michael Schiffhauer, the vice president of international trade and development for Enterprise Florida.


Daylina Miller / WUSF

WUSF News has embarked on a new storytelling mission called "Telling Tampa Bay Stories," where our journalists will be visiting some of the region’s lesser-known spots to record interviews with members of those communities.

AP

We're gathering a panel for an upcoming Florida Matters to discuss how trade affects jobs in various sectors across Florida. This is part of NPR's A Nation Engaged: Coordinated Conversation project.

We want to know how trade deals have affected you and your family. Will trade policy influence your vote in the presidential election? We want to hear your thoughts.

USF Department of Anthropology

The Tampa Bay History Center recently hosted a panel discussion on the now-closed Dozier School for Boys. The reform school in the Florida Panhandle has been known for decades for abuse, torture, and even murder.

This week on Florida Matters (Tuesday, March 29 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 3 at 7:30 a.m.), we are bringing you highlights of the discussion moderated by Tampa attorney and History Center Trustee Bob Bolt.

The Florida legislative session has ended, and this week on Florida Matters (Tuesday, March 22 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 27 at 7:30 a.m.), we're taking a look at what bills passed, what bills died and what it means to Floridians.  

Courtesy of Catherine Eskin

WUSF’s Robin Sussingham recently hosted “Our Jewish Communion: Religious Identity and Growing Up Jewish in Polk County” at Florida Southern College in Lakeland to discuss what it was like to come of age in a predominantly Christian region. This week on Florida Matters (Tuesday, March 15 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 20 at 7:30 a.m.), we bring you highlights of the conversation.

AP Photo/Alan Diaz

Voters in Florida are casting early ballots and candidates are holding campaign events across the state ahead of the primary on Tuesday. 

This week on Florida Matters (Tuesday, March 8 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 13 at 7:30 a.m.), we're taking a look at what's at stake for Florida's voters -- and the candidates.

USF Health Communications

Rhea Chiles, the widow of former governor Lawton Chiles, died last November in her home on Anna Maria Island,  at the age of 84. She dedicated her life to improving the lives of children in Florida.

The University of South Florida’s College of Public Health recently held a symposium to honor the legacy of Rhea Chiles' work. This week on Florida Matters (Tuesday, March 1 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 6 at 7:30 a.m.) we bring you highlights of the discussion.

AP

On an upcoming Florida Matters, we're discussing the Florida primary. 

Who has your vote and why? Share your thoughts with us, and we may use your comments on the air. 

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