Ashley Lopez

Ashley Lopez is a reporter for WGCU News. A native of Miami, she graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a journalism degree. 

Previously, Lopez was a reporter for Miami's NPR member station, 

WLRN-Miami Herald News. Before that, she was a reporter at The Florida Independent. She also interned for Talking Points Memo in New York City and WUNC in Durham, North Carolina. She also freelances as a reporter/blogger for the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting.

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Citrus producers might have another tool for their fight against citrus greening.

Federal officials were in Sarasota County this week helping residents get ready for new flood maps. It’s part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA nationwide initiative to update the country’s flood maps.

Some homeowners in Sarasota County might have to purchase flood insurance for the first time or pay to elevate their property sometime next year. County officials are updating flood maps, which could shift more than 42,000 properties into high risk zones.

Advocates for a project that could connect the entire state via bike trails hope to get a chunk of new dedicated funding from Amendment One.

Despite a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling, gay marriage may not be a done deal in Florida. That’s because county officials in charge of issuing marriage licenses are dealing with conflicting legal opinions.

State Sens. Darren Soto and Dwight Bullard filed legislation Tuesday banning fracking in Florida in an effort to protect the state’s water supply and economy. 

There are several weeks left in this year and Florida has already tied its all-time record of panthers killed by cars. Nineteen endangered Florida panthers have died after being struck by vehicles this year.

Researchers may have a better understanding of red tide blooms. These harmful algal blooms are becoming more persistent. That’s why the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission—along with a group of research partners—recently published a five year red tide study.

Local organizations across the state that work on recruiting businesses to their respective areas might start becoming less secretive. A recent court ruling from Brevard County might pave the way for more sunshine on the state’s many economic development groups.

In an unusual move, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity objected to a proposed development plan in Hendry County.

Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota is getting serious about its film program.

The school, which was recently named one of The Hollywood Reporter’s Top 25 film schools, will build a 3,000 square foot professional soundstage and post-production studio.

After months of unrelenting and nasty political ads, Florida’s gubernatorial race has come to an end. Republican Gov. Rick Scott was reelected Tuesday night.

 A craft brewery on the Treasure Coast is fighting Florida's growler ban in federal court. The owners, along with a national legal group, filed a civil rights lawsuit Tuesday with the U.S. District Court in Fort Pierce.

Google chose Sarasota as the Sunshine state’s leading E-city this year.

Based on research conducted by Google and a research firm, small businesses in Sarasota are more likely to have an online presence than other cities in Florida.

Environmental experts met Tuesday in Naples to discuss massive wetland loss in the state and looming federal policy changes that could help.

This is a three-part radio series produced in partnership with The Florida Center for Investigative Reporting.

Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Charlie Crist kicked-off his ten-day “Kitchen Table Tour” Monday. Crist is traveling the state talking to middle-class Floridians and one of the first stops on his tour was in Sarasota.

A federal judge ruled Thursday BP was grossly negligent in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The ruling could result in billions of dollars in fines.

The endangered Florida Panther is experiencing a slight population rebound.

While this is good news for recovery efforts, it’s becoming a problem for ranchers in Southwest Florida. That’s because panthers are killing off livestock such as cattle in large numbers, and ranchers are taking a financial hit.

A recent report from a watchdog group monitoring the state’s environmental regulators found Florida’s major wastewater dischargers-- including three in Southwest Florida-- are violating clean water laws with little enforcement from state officials.

Former Governor Jeb Bush was in Punta Gorda Wednesday to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Charley. The category four storm killed eight people in Florida and destroyed a large part of the state’s southwestern coastline.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports prescription pill related deaths in Florida fell sharply in the past few years.

State officials have said it’s a sign laws aimed at cracking down on “pill mills” in the Sunshine State are working. But, addiction specialists say the crackdown has had some unintended consequences. 

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., told a group of local officials and activists Monday he’s going to press federal agencies to answer questions about oil drilling in Southwest Florida.

County and state officials are still grappling over how to deal with a fracking-like incident in Collier County a few months ago.

The state’s environmental regulation chief visited Naples Tuesday to meet with angry residents and county officials, but the visit did little to ease concerns.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida has filed a lawsuit against the Sarasota Police Department for access to information about a controversial cell phone tracking program.

Officials in Collier County are asking the state to revoke permits from a Texas-based oil company drilling south of Lake Trafford near Immokalee. The company recently got in trouble for using unauthorized drilling methods.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a new rule Thursday that withdraws federal water quality standards for Florida. This means polluters will now only have to follow Florida’s rules.

 Former Senator and Florida Governor Bob Graham returned this week from a trip to Cuba. He met with Cuban officials about the country’s plans for more offshore oil drilling.

Graham said he hopes to keep an open dialogue with Cuban officials.

In the past decade, Florida’s citrus industry has taken a biological beating.

Citrus growers could face a crisis if the federal government doesn’t find a way to expedite guest worker permits now that it’s up and running again.