Alexa Davies

Student Intern

Alexa Davies is a senior at the University of Florida pursuing International Studies and Broadcast News degrees. She is from Mount Dora, Fl. Alexa has had experience reporting and hosting Morning Edition for WUFT in Gainesville and hopes to become an international correspondent for a radio news agency.

Photo Courtesy of Channelside Bay Plaza, Tampa Facebook

Businesses along Tampa's Channelside District are crediting the Tampa Bay Lightning's success this season for an increase in business.

Shops and restaurants have seen an uptick in the number of visitors, which business owners said is unusual for this time of year.

Courtesy waymarking.com

This story has been revised to update the way Shriners Hospitals cover the cost of treatment for its patients.

Shriners Hospitals for Children has joined one of the nation's best known hospital groups.

The group announced it will be teaming up with the Mayo Clinic during a press conference Tuesday at Shriners International Headquarters in Tampa.

Photo Courtesy of the Council on Foreign Relations

Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio is making moves to establish himself with the foreign policy community. 

He gave a speech Wednesday at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City. 

The Florida Senator's experience with foreign policy includes serving on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. His speech highlighted his vision for America in the international arena. 

Photo Courtesy of Humane Society of the Nature Coast, Inc.

  Tuesday is the second annual "Give Day Tampa Bay."

The event is a 24-hour online fundraiser that starts at midnight and lasts until midnight on Tuesday. Last year, 385 non-profit organizations participated and the event raised over $1 million. This year, 550 non-profits are participating and organizers are hoping to exceed the amount raised last year.

Photo Courtesy of Russian-American Community Center of Florida

It's been almost 70 years since the end of World War II. 

Thinking back on the war holds many memories for Alex Farfel, 85, who on Tuesday joined a group of 80 other World War II veterans at St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport for a special trip.  

Honor Flight West Central Florida regularly takes veterans on an all-expenses-paid, one-day flight to Washington, D.C. 

The veterans visited Arlington National Cemetery and memorials built to honor their service during the war.

Photo Courtesy of REX

Five years after the BP oil spill, the environmental impacts are still being felt.

According to a report released Monday by the National Wildlife Federation, animals such as dolphins were found dead at four times the historic rates in 2014. The group believes the oil spill may be to blame.

"Bottle-nosed dolphins in the places most-affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill are very sick, their pregnancies are failing, and they're dying in large numbers," said Ryan Fikes, a restoration scientist with the National Wildlife Federation.

Maniscalco's campaign Facebook Page

Tampa's City Council District 6 runoff elections are Tuesday.

District 6 covers the areas of West Tampa, Seminole Heights and parts of South Tampa.

Guido Maniscalco is going up against his District 6 runoff opponent, Jackie Toledo.

Toledo won 46 percent of the votes in the primary election but failed to win the seat outright. With low voter turnout expected for the runoff election, Maniscalco said he hopes more people make the effort to get out and vote.

The Seminole Tribe of Florida is making an aggressive campaign for renewal of a gambling compact set to expire in July. The compact gives the tribe exclusive rights over games like blackjack.

Besides creating a television ad, the tribe also commissioned a poll which showed 61% of voters support the renewal of the compact.

Neil Newhouse, Partner and Co-Founder of Public Opinion Strategies, was one of the people in charge of conducting the poll. He discussed the poll's findings during a media conference call on Monday.

NewStPetePier.com

The public has voted on which design it would like to see replace the iconic inverted triangle of the St. Petersburg Pier, and it may look kind of familiar.

Photo Courtesy of City of Tampa

Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor testified to an executive task force Monday morning in Washington, D.C. about ways to strengthen relationships with the community and keep police officers safe.

The task force was established in 2014 by President Barack Obama following the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson. The panel focused Monday's discussion on officer safety and wellness.

Castor emphasized the importance of engaging with the community to combat crime while building relationships.

Alexa Davies / WUSF News

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul spoke to a crowd of around a hundred people in Sarasota over the weekend.

The potential presidential candidate was hosted by the Republican Party of of Sarasota, who recognized him as the 2014 Republican of the Year.

During his speech, Paul highlighted some of his goals for attracting minority voters who may not typically vote Republican.

There have been questions raised about violations of the Sunshine State Laws in the way Gerald Bailey was forced out of his position as Commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott admitted Thursday he did not handle Bailey's departure correctly.

He met with other Florida Cabinet members Thursday during the Cabinet meeting held at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa. Gov. Scott appointed Rick Swearingen to replace Bailey, and says he takes responsibility for how the process was handled.

FreeSamiAlArian.com

UPDATE 2/5/15 10 a.m.

Sami Al-Arian's criminal attorney, Jonathan Turley, has confirmed what WUSF first reported Tuesday - the former USF professor has formally been deported from the United States.

In a statement posted on his webpage Thursday morning, Turley said Al-Arian and his wife, Nahla, left the country Wednesday night and arrived in Istanbul, Turkey.

Express Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay interstates may be getting express toll lanes, but drivers won't see the changes anytime soon.

The plan, called Tampa Bay Express, is in its beginning phase, so it may take almost a decade before drivers see the final product.

To cut down on drive times, current interstates would have additional middle lanes that would require drivers to use a SunPass. These express lanes would alleviate some traffic on the regular highways by offering a faster option to drivers willing to pay the toll.

wral.com

A House subcommittee has approved a bill that would allow guns on college campuses in Florida.

If legislators pass the bill during the upcoming session, it will repeal a state law that prevents concealed-carry permit holders from bringing their guns on college campuses and universities around Florida.

Marjorie Sanfilippo, a psychology professor at Eckerd College, testified before the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee. She believes the rates of psychological disorders in college-age students may lead to trouble for students who have access to concealed weapons.