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Alysia Cruz

News Intern

Alysia Cruz is the WUSF Stephen Noble news intern for the fall 2019 semester. She earned her Bachelor’s degree at the University of South Florida in Communication and is now enrolled at USF St. Petersburg, pursuing her Master’s in Digital Journalism & Design concentrating on food writing.

In the years since graduating from USF, Alysia has worked as a theatre and journalism teacher, running The Minotaur yearbook program and starting The Minotaur online newspaper at Bloomingdale High School in Valrico, FL. She also spent time working in TV production as a production coordinator and live theater as a stage manager.

Alysia hopes to become a food and travel journalist in the future, expanding reporting on these subjects within public media.

While the number of U.S. and Canadian tourists is growing, industry leaders say the slowing pace of Florida tourism is a major concern.

The most recent quarter, July through September, saw the lowest rise in visitors to Florida since 2010, with an increase of only 1.1 percent over the same period a year earlier. That's compared to the average quarterly gain of 6.2 percent for the last nine years.

Steven Currall was formally inaugurated as University of South Florida’s seventh president Thursday in a ceremony highlighting his career and the university’s successes.

Delegates from all three campuses and universities all over the world were in attendance to hear Currall’s vision for USF’s future.  

From medical professionals to law enforcement to recovering addicts, the opioid crisis has affected people from all walks of life.

At a University of South Florida symposium Wednesday, experts said it will take them all working together to end the opioid crisis.

A new study says allowing the estimated 750,000 undocumented immigrants living in Florida to obtain driver’s licenses would not only ease their lives, but also increase state revenue and public safety.

In 1939, opera singer Marian Anderson was denied access to perform at Washington D.C.'s Constitution Hall by the Daughters of the American Revolution. The reason: the color of her skin.

Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

Sarasota County commissioners decided on Wednesday to side with residents and prevent the industrial rezoning of an area adjacent to the 400-acre Celery Fields wildlife reserve. 

Thirty years after her first novel, young adult author Lurlene McDaniel has decided her latest book, “The Girl with the Broken Heart,” will be her last.

A graduate of one of University of South Florida’s first classes in 1965, McDaniel will be returning to her alma mater to discuss her career and see an exhibition of her work at the Tampa campus library Thursday.

Florida Fish and Wildlife/Flikr

Less than 24 hours after the Trump administration pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord, the National Audubon Society released a report warning that two-thirds of North America's birds are in danger of extinction due to climate change.

While people across the southern United States value equity and diversity, white people and people of color have drastically different perceptions on the existence and impact of institutionalized discrimination in today’s society.

That’s according to a recent study by the E Pluribus Unum Fund, an organization founded by Mitch Landrieu, the former Mayor of New Orleans.

As a gift to the state of Florida, U.S. Air Force Band staff arranger Master Sergeant Tadd Russo put together an original march, “Okeechobee Pasodoble(e),” which references Florida’s history of Spanish settlement and its Native American roots -- and includes nods to songs he says should be well known to Floridians.

Playing it for the last time this weekend, the band will end its Florida tour with three concerts in the Tampa Bay area.

Wanting to create something more engaging than your typical signing, organizers of the Festival of Jewish Books and Conversations are hosting interactive "book experiences."

While the festival, which runs from Friday through Nov. 3, was created to celebrate Jewish authors, not every book is focused on traditional Jewish themes.

The Cross-Bay Ferry will return to Tampa Bay for a third season, with new services, a new website, and a proposal for permanent, year-round service in the next three years.

NOTE: Sunday's event has been canceled due to the storm in the Gulf of Mexico.

Public health officials confirmed the 18th case of dengue fever in Hillsborough County this year.

But this case is different- while the first 17 were travelers who got sick when they returned from a trip, this one contracted the fever from a mosquito locally.

Five months after the fatal stabbing of a bus driver by a passenger, the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) has begun installing safety shields in its 180 buses and 12 HARTflex vans. They are scheduled to complete the project in the next few weeks.

The state's Education Practices Commission on Tuesday unanimously rejected a settlement agreement between the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) and Manatee County Schools Superintendent Cynthia Saunders.

Minority women believe it’s their time to be role models in the male-dominated STEM field and a $2.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation is providing five universities with the resources to help them do it.

From a distance, the bright fluorescent figures under the Boot Ranch overpass in Palm Harbor may look like another wall covered in graffiti; but, take a closer look and you will find a common theme- a shark on a skateboard, a kid on a tricycle, an old turtle on a scooter.

These images are all part of a mural titled Be Right Back by artist Stephen Palladino, the first step in Pinellas County’s attempts to minimize vandalism and increase public art.

In the weeks since Hurricane Dorian, cities in the Bahamas are now housing thousands of people displaced by the devastation.

This past weekend, four USF Health doctors traveled to Nassau to offer medical help to the evacuees.

Heather Garozzo, a world champion video gamer and vice president of Marketing for the Dignitas gaming organization, speaks with USF business professor Janelle Wells about diversity and growth within eSports.
Thomas Iacobucci / WUSF Public Media

Video gamers and national eSports industry leaders gathered in Tampa Wednesday to talk about gaming as a culture and as a business, across the country and in the Tampa Bay area.

Dali Museum
Courtesy of Thomas Iacobucci / The Crow's Nest

Free Museum Day is returning to Tampa Bay on Saturday. Hosted by Smithsonian Magazine, museums and cultural institutions across the country provide free admission as part of this "annual celebration of boundless curiosity."

“This event is important as it highlights the culture, history, science, art, and nature that each state has to offer and represents a national commitment to access to these unique places,” said Amy Wilkins, Chief Revenue Officer at Smithsonian Media.

Chart showing the increase in homelessness caused by the affordable housing shortage.
Miami For All, Inc. & Shimberg Center for Housing Studies, University of Florida

Student homelessness in Florida has almost tripled in the last decade to about 96,000 in the 2017-18 school year.

Those experiencing homelessness score lower on statewide assessments and have a lower high school graduation rate compared to students who are economically disadvantaged but have a place to live.

A portion of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge collapsed into Tampa Bay in May 1980 after it was struck by a cargo ship.
"The Skyway Bridge Disaster" / YouTube

A new documentary, “The Skyway Bridge Disaster,” is premiering this weekend at the Tampa Theatre. The film reveals details about the tragedy and the events that followed nearly 40 years ago. 

Rep. Jackie Toldeo, R-Tampa
Alysia Cruz / WUSF Public Media

A local legislator is taking steps to combat what she calls "an alarming and urgent healthcare crisis” – especially among young people.

Rep. Jackie Toledo, R-Tampa, said she is introducing legislation to raise the legal age to purchase vaping and tobacco products to 21.

2019 Florida Child Well-Being Index
Florida Kids Count

Community coalitions and government programs that help parents improve their well-being are seeing those improvements passed on to children.

That’s according to the 2019 Florida Child Well-Being Index, which was released Wednesday by Florida Kids Count.

President Steven Currall and the USF Board of Trustees
Alysia Cruz / WUSF Public Media

At Tuesday’s University of South Florida Board of Trustees meeting, President Steven Currall presented an update on the consolidation process between the Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Sarasota-Manatee campuses. 

Leon Jackson stands next to a photo of himself from his time as an officer during the civil rights era.
Alysia Cruz

During this weekend’s opening reception of their updated exhibition, “Beaches, Benches, and Boycotts: The Civil Rights Movement in Tampa Bay,” the Florida Holocaust Museum will be honoring the last surviving member of St. Petersburg’s “Courageous 12,” Leon Jackson, with the Upstander Award.

FTC tips for verifying hurricane relief charities.
Federal Trade Commission

In the wake of disasters such as Hurricane Dorian, it is common for new charities aimed at disaster relief to crop up. Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody advises donors to be mindful while giving to unfamiliar disaster relief charities.

Florida Attorney General scam hotline number, 866-9NO-SCAM
Florida Office of the Attorney General

As Hurricane Dorian makes its way north, reports of price gouging continue to rise along Florida's east coast.