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.

Jihad Saadeh

Last April, Florida Matters brought you the story of University of South Florida student Noor Shakfeh, a Syrian-American who spent her spring break aiding Syrian refugees on the Syrian-Turkey border.

Florida Matters – guest host Bobbie O’Brien talks with Shakfeh and her cousin who has been granted political asylum in the U.S. and is living in Florida.

The following audio is a portion of WUSF's weekly public affairs program Florida Matters, which first aired January 14, 2014. Florida Matters guest host Bobbie O’Brien talks with a Syrian refugee who was granted political asylum in the U.S. and is living in Florida.

Mazen Jasem Al Mahmoud,30, shares what life was like in Syria before the revolution started, his surreal experience attending his first protest and then details of being detained and tortured several times by the al-Assad government.

Best of Florida Matters from 2013

Jan 2, 2014
Katie O'Connor

 

We're taking another listen to some of our most memorable stories of 2013.

How Many Ways Can You Cook Kale? Sweetwater Knows

Dec 13, 2013
Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

What do freshly harvested salad greens, university accounting majors and weekly loads of manure from the local zoo have in common?

They are all integral parts of the community created around Sweetwater Organic Community Farm.

Nestled along the banks of Sweetwater Creek in Tampa’s Town & Country neighborhood, the main farm or CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) was founded by Rick Martinez almost two decades ago.

John O'Connor

You may know Taco Bus for its street food standards with recipes direct from Mexico.

Or, you may know them from their frequent appearances on the Food Network, Travel Channel or Cooking Channel.

Owner Rene Valenzeula says he fine with either.

Lottie Watts / WUSF

Harlem's world-famous Sylvia's Queen of Soul Food Restaurant now has a location in St. Petersburg, on the ground floor of the historic Manhattan Casino on 22nd Street South.  

"Good food plays a huge part, but it's the atmosphere around the food," said Dan Mitchell, the executive chef at Sylvia's. "And it doesn't just fill you physically, but when you get finished, your whole soul and everything has just been lifted."

He admits it's a little hard to explain what soul food is.

Florida has rejected an offer of more than $50 billion over 10 years from the federal government to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act. So the question remains: how will health care be funded for more than a million low-income Floridians? This week on Florida Matters,  a panel discussion that was held last week at Stetson University College of Law to discuss the options. It was sponsored by the Tampa Bay Healthcare Collaborative. 

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

At age 26, he was the youngest member of Congress when he took office in 2001, but after a decade in Washington, Adam Putnam of Polk County said he wanted to leave on his own terms and come back to Florida.

“Nobody wonders now why it was that I wanted to get out of Congress.” Putnam told Florida Matters. “At the time, I said I wanted to get out with my soul and my sanity still in tack and I’m proud that I did. But the things that were frustrating me in Congress have only gotten worse. It’s just a hot, wet mess in Washington.”

The next mayor of St. Petersburg won't have any shortage of issues he'll have to handle. At the top of that list is what to do about the Tampa Bay Rays wanting to leave Tropicana Field. Current Mayor Bill Foster recently retreated from his position of not negotiating with the team on its long-term lease. And Rick Kriseman has his own ideas on how to keep - and possibly negotiate an exit - for the team. They spoke recently at the Palladium.

Courtesy of Jeff Klinkenberg

This Saturday, book lovers from all over will be flocking to the Tampa Bay Times 21st Annual Festival of Reading at the University of South Florida. Find out more and hear readings by Authors Jamie Ford, Jeff Klinkenberg, Ira Sukrungruang and Stephanie Hayes here.

Florida Matters: Medical Marijuana

Oct 2, 2013

This week on Florida Matters, WUSF’s Carson Cooper hosted a discussion on medical marijuana. 

Florida Matters Preview: Medical Marijuana

Oct 1, 2013
John Sajo

A group called United for Care is behind the push to get a constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana on the 2014 Florida ballot. The group is chaired by Orlando attorney John Morgan, founder of the law firm Morgan & Morgan, who is bankrolling the campaign. 

    

This week on Florida Matters, WUSF’s Carson Cooper hosts a discussion on medical marijuana in Florida.

Joe Roberts

Tampa's downtown movie palace, The Tampa Theatre, has stood through boom times and depressions. The jewel still stands along Franklin Street. It has been there since 1926 and was the first commercial building in Tampa with air conditioning.  

Back then the movies were a novelty and people would line up, pay 10 cents to get in and then stand in an even longer line to await the departure of another patron.

Then they'd go inside to watch the movie, and stay until they reached the point at which the story began for them and leave. Apparently, this is where the term, "this is where I came in" comes from.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

Take a non-competitive three mile run, add in a few microbrew beers (or wine, if that's your poison), mix in new friends, and you have the kind of fun night a number of Tampa Bay area bars and fitness stores are getting behind.

These "running social clubs" aren't really a "pub run," that kicked-up version of a pub crawl where participants run from bar to bar, but a weekly gathering of people with good health and socializing on their minds.


Exploring The Little Manatee River By Kayak

Sep 25, 2013
Katie O'Connor / Florida Matters

My wife, Katie, and I like our sightseeing a little bit adventurous.

We think one of the best ways to explore a new place is in a kayak.

It's one of the first things we did when we moved to Tampa two years ago.

We paddled down the Hillsborough River into the bay and made a pass by Derek Jeter's house.

We took a kayak out to visit the ruined Eberhard Faber pencil factory on a juniper-filled island near Cedar Key.

Looking at the Dalí Museum Through New Eyes

Sep 24, 2013
WUSF/Yoselis Ramos

When it comes to art, I have but a thimble of knowledge.

Dalia Colón / WUSF

Part of being a tourist is exploring the local dining scene.

In August, 99 food trucks paraded from downtown Tampa to the Florida State Fairgrounds, setting a new record for the world’s largest food truck rally. The old record belonged to Miami, with 64 trucks.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

How do young adults diagnosed with a form of autism describe themselves?

This week on Florida Matters, we meet Andrew Casey, 23, who interviewed his peers about their diagnosis and how they define themselves. And Andrew explains how he manages with Asperger's Syndrome which is on the autism spectrum.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

You may have heard what scientists and researchers say about autism, but what about the folks who are diagnosed with it? 

This week on Florida Matters, we meet Andrew Casey, who explains how he manages with Asperger's Syndrome, which is on the autism spectrum.

His step-mother, Danielle Casey, and Dr. Karen Berkman with the University of South Florida's Learning Academy also join Florida Matters host Carson Cooper.

Hunger Relief in Tampa Bay

Sep 10, 2013
Yoselis Ramos

The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued its Food Security in the United States report for 2012 and it revealed almost 15 percent of U.S. households are what it calls "food insecure."  

That means at some point during the year, members of those households did not have consistent access to adequate food for active healthy living.

The Mosaic Company recently hosted a hunger relief forum at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa. In full disclosure, Mosaic is a business sponsor of WUSF Public Media.  

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