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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. Listen to the show on WUSF 89.7 Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday at 7:30 a.m.  It's also on Classical WSMR 89.1 and 103.9 on Mondays at 10 p.m.

Puerto Rico National Guard

It’s been a year since Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico. Recovery continues on the devastated island, but transitions are also happening here in Florida, where many residents evacuated and some have chosen to stay.

Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico a year ago this month, and on WUSF's Florida Matters we're hearing the stories of people who fled to the Tampa area when they had to evacuate. On today's podcast, a conversation with WUSF reporter Roberto Roldan, who interviewed some of the hurricane evacuees.

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Roberto Roldan

Many Puerto Rican’s lost everything when Hurricane Maria made landfall on Sept. 20, 2017. Tens of thousands of people made the decision to take what belongings they had left and travel to the mainland. Many have started new lives in Central and South Florida. These new Floridians already have had significant influence on political races, the public school system and affordable housing.

This week on Florida Matters, we'll hear the stories of two people who chose to make the Tampa Bay area their new home:

Robin Sussingham had a chance to speak with Jordan Peterson before his appearance at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg this weekend, catching up with him while he was in Miami for a book tour event there. Jordan Peterson is a clinical psychologist and a professor at the University of Toronto. He's the author of the bestseller 12 rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, which carries a message of personal responsibility and the path toward finding a meaningful life.  He's also a YouTube star and has a very popular podcast.  

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Dez Williams, Mark Schreiner, Justified Films, Stuby

WUSF’s University Beat has been doing something new this year – profiling entrepreneurs with ties to the University of South Florida.

That includes faculty, students and alumni who have started their own businesses, ranging from watermelon-flavored water and anti-nausea wristbands to apps and movie production companies.

WUSF's expert on all things relating to the University of South Florida, Mark Schreiner, joins Robin Sussingham to talk about his series on entrepreneurs with ties to USF. Plus, USF President Judy Genshaft has announced her retirement, and Mark discusses her role in lifting the reputation and quality of the university.

USF

From creating a new beverage to an app for finding study partners, entrepreneurs with ties to the University of South Florida are trying hard to turn their ideas into actual products.

This week on Florida Matters, we speak to some of the USF faculty, students and alumni who share some of the lessons they’ve learned along the way.

It was an exciting state primary election with some unexpected results, and we break it down with Zac Anderson, editor of the Sarasota Herald Tribune, and William March, longtime political analyst and journalist. Progressives got what they've long wished for in Andrew Gillum, the Democratic nominee for Governor, and set up what Zac says will be an interesting "political science experiment" going forward.

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Florida's primary election was full of surprises. WUSF reporters Steve Newborn, Mark Schreiner and Roberto Roldan have been following the races and were out covering campaign events on primary night. They sit down with host Robin Sussingham to talk about the evening's upsets and drama.

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Florida’s primary election is Tuesday and you can follow the action here on WUSF.

We’ll bring you election news throughout the day as voters cast their ballots and host live coverage that evening during a special Florida Matters at 8 p.m.

WLRN

The race for governor is not the only statewide political contest during primary season. Republicans and Democrats will also choose their favorite candidate to run for the state's top consumer watchdog: the Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services.


Five candidates (three Democrats and two Republicans) for Florida's Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services sit down with WLRN Public Media in Miami, and the editorial page editors of the Miami Herald, the South Florida Sun Sentinel and the Palm Beach Post. They give their views on restoring voting rights to felons, and on how to enforce the "Do Not Call" list. The Ag Commissioner is a cabinet-level post in Florida.

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WLRN

The race for governor isn't the only statewide political contest during primary season. Florida Republicans and Democrats will also choose their favorite candidate to run for the state's top prosecutor, the Attorney General.


FL AP Broadcasters

In recent months, journalism groups have been recognizing news outlets across the country for outstanding work done in 2017, and WUSF has garnered multiple awards.

This week on Florida Matters we highlight some of the award-winning journalism produced by our WUSF news team.


WUSF Public Media

Carson Cooper was a radio guy, through and through.

While most people know him best as the longtime host of WUSF’s Morning Edition and Florida Matters, his sonic roots ran deep. This week on Florida Matters, we’re remembering our friend and colleague who died recently at the age of 58 – and the stories he shared with all of us.


We're only weeks away from the state’s primary election; Florida’s Stand Your Ground law is back in the news; and a new transportation initiative may be on its way to the November ballot. We talk about these issues and more on our monthly news roundtable.

Host Robin Sussingham talks to Steve Contorno, a reporter for the Tampa Bay Times; WUSF reporter Cathy Carter; and Janelle Irwin with the Tampa Bay Business Journal.


We're only weeks away from Florida's primary election, and while the gap between the two Republican candidates for Governor seems to be widening, the five Democratic candidates are in a real horse race for the nomination. Also, host Robin Sussingham talks to reporter Steve Contorno of the Tampa Bay Times and Janelle Irwin of the Tampa Bay Business Journal about why this might be the right moment politically for the Tampa Bay area to acquire money for transit.

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Mastry's Brewing Co.

The Tampa Bay area is becoming a hub for craft beer both statewide and nationally, with the highest density of breweries in Florida. This week on Florida Matters, we talk with people who work in the industry about the craft beer phenomenon.


Besides its beautiful beaches, the Tampa Bay area boasts a rich collection of art museums -- and it's growing. This week on Florida Matters we feature stories about museums and galleries in the region, part of WUSF’s occasional Art Populi series.


Wikimedia Commons

Walking or bicycling the streets of Tampa Bay can be a very dangerous way to get around. Why is that and what can be done about it?

This week on Florida Matters, we talk about pedestrian and cyclist safety in our region and how to balance that with the needs of drivers.


So many complaints about the Tampa Bay area come back to transit. What's it like to be responsible for transportation planning (when everyone who drives considers himself an expert?) Host Robin Sussingham sits down with Christine Acosta, Executive Director of Walk Bike Tampa (an advocacy and education  nonprofit organization); Beth Alden, Director of Hillsborough’s Metropolitan Planning Organization; and Whit Blanton, Executive Director of Forward Pinellas, which is that county's transportation planning agency.

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Wikimedia Commons

The Tampa Bay region consistently ranks as one of the most dangerous places in the nation for pedestrians and cyclists.

This week on Florida Matters, we're talking about how to improve safety on the roads while balancing that with the needs of drivers eager to get where they need to go as fast as possible.

For today's podcast , Florida Matters host  Robin Sussingham is bringing you along on the tour she took through the William Dean Chocolates kitchen.  It’s like a real-life trip with Willy Wonka through the Chocolate Factory. Is it possible to sample a little too much chocolate?  We'll find out.

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After the Parkland, Florida, school shooting last February, a new state law requires public schools to put armed guards on every campus. Host Robin Sussingham talks about the practical ramifications of that with Superintendent Kurt Browning of Pasco County Schools; Superintendent Jacqueline Byrd of Polk County Schools; and Bridget Ziegler, chairwoman of the Sarasota County School Board.

Pixabay.com

The news that 17 people, including young teenagers, had been gunned down in Parkland while going about their school day on Valentine’s Day this year sent shocks of outrage, anguish and calls to do something to prevent such a tragedy from happening again.

One result is a new law that says schools must have someone carrying a gun, sometimes called a school resource officer, who could respond in the event of a shooter on campus.

This week on Florida Matters, we're talking with Tampa Bay area officials about how their school districts are complying with a new state law that requires there to be at least one armed security guard in every school. 

In this podcast, host Robin Sussingham talks to political reporter and Tampa Bay Times correspondent William March and WUSF News Director Mary Shedden about the goings-on in Florida's political scene. There's enough controversy to keep it interesting. Comparisons to an episode of "Survivor" are made.

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State politicians are jockeying for position before the August primaries. Pulse nightclub first responders are still struggling with PTSD more than two years after the mass shooting that killed 49 people. We take a deeper dive into these stories on this week’s Florida Matters monthly news roundtable.


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Parkland, Florida, high school student and mass shooting survivor Leonor Muñoz records a riveting audio diary for this week’s Florida Matters. On this week's podcast, host Robin Sussingham and Florida Matters producer Stephanie Colombini sit down with reporters from Miami’s public radio station WLRN to talk about Leonor’s experience, and how they’re covering the aftermath of the massacre.


WLRN

Seniors at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland recently celebrated graduation, but they had to do so while still dealing with the trauma from the February mass shooting. This week on Florida Matters, we meet one of the graduates and hear about her life since the massacre.


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