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.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Beyond the battlefield and the barracks, some of Florida’s 1.5 million veterans have had trouble transitioning to civilian life. Yet, there are signs that poetry, art and performance are helping veterans adjust.

With Veterans’ Day approaching, we bring you their stories this week in a special edition of Florida Matters.

Florida Matters Preview: Attorney General Debate

Oct 20, 2014
Bay News 9

Florida's candidates for Attorney General met for their first and only debate earlier this month in the studios of Bay News 9.

We will bring you the highlights of the debate, co-moderated by the Tampa Bay Times, this week on Florida Matters on Tuesday, Oct. 21, at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 26  at 7:30 a.m. on WUSF 89.7 FM.

Florida Matters Preview: Wrong-Way Crashes

Oct 6, 2014
FHP

Since February, there have been five wrong-way crashes that have caused 11 deaths on highways in the Tampa area.

We will take an in-depth look at this apparent outbreak of crashes this week on Florida Matters on Tuesday, Oct. 7 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 12 at 7:30 a.m. on WUSF 89.7 FM.

According to transportation experts and law enforcement, alcohol plays a huge role in the fatal wrong-way crashes.

Lottie Watts / WUSF Public Media

This November, voters will decide the fate of Greenlight Pinellas, which includes a one-cent increase in the county’s sales tax in exchange for a long-term plan for light rail and expanded bus service.

This week on Florida Matters, we will hear from both sides of the debate. The conversation airs Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 28 at 7:30 a.m. on WUSF 89.7 FM.

AHRQ.gov

 The last time you felt dizzy or experienced an unusual pain, be honest.  Did you Google it? Or have you ever read a post on Facebook that got you worried about your health?

Florida Matters Preview: A Look at Aging in Place

Sep 16, 2014
Yoselis Ramos

Mildred Barnett of Tampa says she once saw a picture with three faces: one of a baby, one of a woman and one of an older lady.

"And it says, ‘the sunrise is as beautiful as the sunset,’ and with proper planning, it most certainly can be," she said.

Barnett is a VA geriatric psychiatrist who recently remodeled her home to accommodate her 81-year-old mother. 

The Ledger

This November, voters in Florida will decide whether or not to legalize medical marijuana.  Recently, The Ledger of Lakeland hosted a forum on Amendment 2. The forum was moderated by Lenore Devore, the paper's editor, and featured Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd and Orlando attorney John Morgan.

Ira Glass Declares Craig Kopp 'Normal'

Sep 1, 2014

Ira Glass, the host and creator of This American Life, will be in town Sept. 13 at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg for “Reinventing Radio: An Evening with Ira Glass.”

Doctors Critical to Human Trafficking Fight

Aug 27, 2014

Florida Matters this week took a deeper look at human trafficking, including the role physicians in the state play in identifying those at risk, and treating those who have been victimized.

Florida Matters: Human Trafficking

Aug 25, 2014
Mary Shedden / WUSF

According to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, Florida is third in the number of calls to the national human trafficking hotline.

Human trafficking is the topic of a special Florida Matters show scheduled to air Tuesday, Aug. 26 at 6:30 p.m. and again Sunday, Aug. 31 at 7:30 a.m. on WUSF 89.7 FM.  A panel discussion on the issue was recorded Wednesday at Tampa's Centre Club, sponsored by the Florida Medical Clinic Foundation of Caring.

Gun Questions: Free Speech or Intrusion?

Aug 14, 2014

A federal appeals court recently upheld a Florida law that limits what doctors can tell their patients about gun ownership.

Doctors claim that it’s their First Amendment right to ask any question they want of their patients including questions about guns. The backers of this law say keeping records on whether they have guns in their homes violates their Second Amendment rights.

FEMA

On Friday, Aug. 13, 2004, while many in the Tampa Bay area braced for what they thought may be a direct hit, the Category 4 Hurricane Charley took a right turn into Charlotte County and Punta Gorda. A decade later, we go back to just hours after that devastating blow, when it was a tense time in that small community of mostly senior citizens nestled between Sarasota and Ft. Myers. We also revisit the quaint DeSoto County town of Arcadia, where sustained winds of a hundred miles an hour ripped down walls and roofs from its historic main street.

Here's an impressive stat: six of the 10 most costly hurricanes in U.S. history hit Florida during 2004 and 2005. Insurance companies took a big hit financially  and, as you'd expect, our property insurance coverage got more expensive. But the state saw its last hurricane nine years ago. So why are we still paying such high rates?

Florida Matters: Sexual Assaults on College Campuses (LISTEN)

Jul 30, 2014
Lottie Watts / WUSF

 A report from the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault says universities are not providing all the resources they can to protect students from sexual violence. Dozens of schools are under investigation for how they have handled sexual assault cases. 

Sexual Assaults on College Campuses Targeted

Jul 28, 2014
Courtesy U.S. Navy

A White House Task Force report says universities are not providing all the resources they can to protect students from sexual violence.

We will have a panel discussion about sexual assaults on college campuses tonight on Florida Matters.

WUSF intern Lucielle Salomon explains what happens when a sexual assault is reported at the University of South Florida Tampa campus.

Tampa's cruise industry could be heading into rough waters. Cruise ships are getting bigger, but the Sunshine Skyway Bridge isn't. A new study by the Florida Department of Transportation looks at three options: build a taller bridge, build a new cruise facility west of the Skyway, or do nothing.

We discuss these options, and hear the opinions of passengers just returning from a seven-day cruise aboard the Carnival Legend at Cruise Terminal #2 at Tampa's Channelside.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF

Early Sunday morning, before the 2,000 passengers from cruise ship disembark, a line of taxi cabs forms outside Port of Tampa Bay Terminal #2 just beyond idling tour buses.

That’s where cab driver John Bailey stood waiting for fares.  He’s fully aware of the cruise ship debate and the options explored in a recent study.

Lottie Watts / WUSF

The U.S.

Robin Sussingham

All over Florida, laws are changing to make it easier for suburban homeowners to do a little farming. It's becoming more and more common to have a neighbor who's growing his own organic vegetables, collecting eggs from his own chickens, or even raising bees for their honey.

We will take an in-depth look at the increasing popularity of backyard agriculture this week on Florida Matters on Tuesday, Oct. 14 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 19 at 7:30 a.m. on WUSF 89.7 FM.

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