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.

Florida Matters: Same-Sex Marriage in FL

Jan 27, 2015
Robin Sussingham / WUSF News

Same-sex marriage has been legal in Florida since Jan. 6, 2015. The issue is heading to the U.S. Supreme Court this summer, but in the meantime, marriage licenses are being issued to same-sex couples.

Lottie Watts / WUSF

When the famous and infamous Gasparilla Parade of the Pirates invades Tampa on Saturday, Jan. 31, it will be the 100th such procession along Bayshore Boulevard and the streets of downtown Tampa.

On Florida Matters Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., we take a look at this year's invasion, and the history of this curious event. Our guests are Sgt. Jarrett Seal of the Tampa Police Department, and Shamus Warren, a pirate with Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla.

Lucielle Salomon / WUSF

For years, claims of abuse, beatings, rapes and murder of students by staff have come from those who survived the Dozier School for Boys,  the now-closed state-run reform school in the Florida Panhandle.

Many families are still wondering what happened to their loved ones, and some are getting answers as researchers from the University of South Florida identify remains that have been exhumed from the grounds of Dozier.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

For Thanksgiving  week -- Florida Matters takes a look at food, family and cooking traditions.

Reporter Bobbie O’Brien has an Irish heritage among other ancestors.

Her husband is 100 percent French Canadian. And marrying into his clan meant that she learned how to make the traditional French Canadian meat pie, tourtiere, from a family recipe that had been passed down for generations.

She makes the traditional pie for our listeners and shares a few of their family stories and recipe secrets along the way.

Florida Matters: Year 2 of Enrollment on HealthCare.gov (LISTEN)

Dec 17, 2014

It's the second year of enrollment for health insurance plans under the federal health law on HealthCare.gov, the website that Floridians, and people in dozens of other states, use to shop for health insurance.

As of Dec. 15, we have passed a key deadline, the deadline to buy a plan to have coverage that starts Jan. 1. But open enrollment runs through Feb. 15, 2015, and we have gathered a panel to talk about what consumers be doing now if they still need to get health insurance coverage to comply with the federal health law known as Obamacare.

Deadline for Jan. 1 Health Coverage Gone – Now What?

Dec 16, 2014
Lottie Watts

  

The deadline has passed to buy a health plan on HealthCare.gov for coverage that starts Jan. 1, 2015.

But open enrollment goes through Feb. 15, 2015, and this week on Florida Matters on WUSF 89.7 FM, we talk about what consumers should do if they need to buy a health plan. The show airs on Tuesday, Dec. 16 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 21 at 7:30 a.m. 

M.S. Butler

It's not easy to put your finger on just one thing the Ringling is, because it's a lot of different places all sitting on 66  acres of waterfront property in Sarasota. It has enough gardens to inspire even those with the blackest of thumbs, it has a circus museum for kids and adults, a world class museum of art, and Ca' d'Zan, the winter private residence of John and Mable Ringling, which is now a historic landmark open for tours.

Lucielle Salomon / WUSF News

Florida is not the first place that comes to mind when thinking about winter sports. Now visitors and locals have a much cooler option in the Sunshine State. It may surprise you that one winter sport slid its way to Tampa with Downtown on Ice, the only outdoor ice skating rink in the Tampa Bay area.

Yoselis Ramos / WUSF Public Media

Thanksgiving at my house means waking up to Latin music blasting through the speakers as mom starts the day's cleaning and of course, the smell of the pork shoulder seasoned in adobo, minced garlic, salt and pepper, and sazón, coming from the kitchen. My grandma, Teresa Rodriguez, who has always been just "Abu" to me, starts the cooking early in the morning.

The pork shoulder sat in the oven at 350 degrees for six hours. And Abu told me, the secret to getting a crispy skin, what we call, el cuero, is done by spreading salt over the top.

Reececliff Family Diner in Lakeland has been turning out its award winning pies since the 1930s, and lots of families rely on them every year for their Thanksgiving dessert. The restaurant has been operating in the Dixieland neighborhood since 1934.

Florida Matters: Veterans Coming Home

Nov 18, 2014
Lottie Watts / WUSF

The transition from military service to civilian life can be full of challenges.

As part of our Veterans Coming Home project -- made possible in part by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting -- we gathered a panel to talk about this transition at the Veterans Legacy Summit hosted by The Patterson Foundation on Nov. 15 at Florida Studio Theatre in Sarasota. 

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.

Pages