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: 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.

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.

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