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Robin Sussingham

Senior Editor

Robin is Senior Editor at WUSF, spearheading the station's podcasting initiatives and helping to guide the vision for special reporting projects and creative storytelling. She hosts the weekly current affairs program, Florida Matters, on WUSF and also created The Zest, the station's podcast that's all about food, which she continues to host and serve as senior producer.

Robin has earned multiple awards for reporting on science, health, the environment, culture and education. She’s hosted a daily call-in show in Salt Lake City; reported at a newspaper in north Texas; and covered many national stories for NPR, as well as publications like Newsday, the Times of London, the Tampa Bay Times, epicurious and others. She has an undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Duke University and a Masters Degree in Journalism from New York University. 

Robin thinks Florida is the most fascinating place to tell stories – and has reported on things like giant invasive lizards, how to run from an alligator (do not serpentine!), and the best wood for smoking mullet. 

 

Ways to Connect

A decade ago, speculators in Florida were pumping up a huge housing bubble.

"You couldn't go wrong," Tampa real estate attorney Charlie Hounchell says. In that overheated period from 2001 to 2006, "you could buy a house and make $100,000 a year later by selling it," he says.

But the party ended in 2007 and the hangover persists. The state now has the highest foreclosure rate in the country, beating out Nevada for the first time in five years.

Experts say the legal process in Florida is the key reason for the sluggish pace of foreclosures there.

Sun 'n Fun

A group of about 200 schoolchildren, teachers, local officials and aviation buffs gathered  to watch a Boeing 727 aircraft make its final landing at Lakeland Linder airport's Sun 'n Fun campus Friday.

Florida was a poster child for all the familiar excesses of the housing bubble -- the bad loans, the overheated market, the frenzied development. Although the party ended in 2007, the hangover continues. Recent numbers show the state has the highest foreclosure rate in the country.

Robin Sussingham / WUSF

A third of the dogs coming in to the Hillsborough County pound are one type of breed -- pit bulls. They're hard to adopt out,and most will be euthanized after only five days. But a new program at the shelter is trying to save some of those lives.

The Pit Bull Ambassadors are a select group of pit bulls with a mission: to convince more people to love the breed, and to take them home.

Pam Perry, the investigations manager for  Hillsborough County Animal Services, says, "It's about changing people's stereotype that these are bad dogs. These are great dogs. They're not bad dogs."

Perry calls pit bulls special needs dogs. She says they're far more likely to be abused than other breeds.

Courtesy of Robin Sussingham

For my  family, the traditional holiday food is smoked mullet.

My father, Bob Trohn, has been catching and smoking mullet at his home on the river in Palmetto for more than a quarter century. When the extended family all congregate there at Christmas-time, there's always enough smoked mullet to eat and to give away to friends.

I followed my father around the dock one weekend, to see how it's done.  (A version of the story originally aired on American Public Media's Weekend America).

Polk County Sheriff's Office

Polk County deputies have arrested six young teens from Lakeland in connection with the shooting of a 79-year-old man.

A major component of President Obama's Affordable Care Act is the creation of "state health exchanges." These are online markets where consumers will go to compare and shop for health insurance. Some groups, which are longtime supporters of Obamacare, are calling on the feds to step in and set up this exchange in Florida. They say there's no way state officials can do it by the deadline -- a little over a year from now. The states have until Dec.

The St. Lucie County Canvassing Board ordered a recount of early-voting ballots in the race between U.S. Rep. Allen West and Democrat Patrick Murphy. Murphy had been declared the unofficial victor in the race.

http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20121116/APN/1211160711

Voting seemed to proceed smoothly in Polk County today, with lines much shorter than they'd been during early voting -- and a steady turnout.  

An early rainfall didn't seem dampen spirits at the United Methodist Temple voting precinct in Lakeland. Democratic volunteer Melissah Bruce-Weiner  was sitting in a folding chair outside the church  with a mug of coffee, a large umbrella protecting her from the rain, and wearing a "democrat" sticker.

 

The Ledger/Michael Wilson

The City of Lakeland has a message about its bus system this week: buses aren't just for those who can't afford a car. They're teaming up with artists to make riding the bus a little more fun, and on Tuesday WUSF's Robin Sussingham went along for the ride with Bev Hendricks, who is one of the event's organizers.

As part of "Art on the Bus" week, Hendricks brought her violin to Lakeland's downtown bus station, and prepared to play on the bus. She's the former executive director of the Imperial Symphony Orchestra and now does mostly volunteer work for several arts organizations.

Standing in front of a banner reading "There is a Voice!" a group of Polk County business leaders and politicians today  rallied in support of the new Florida Polytechnic University.

In attendance was  State Sen. J.D. Alexander, the driving force behind Florida Polytechnic's contentious  split from the University of South Florida. The group said they  wanted to move discussion and press coverage about the school into a positive light and away from the laser-like focus on Alexander.

Remember earlier this year when we reported on the fiery end to the "Senator", a 3500-year-old cypress tree in Seminole County? It was the centerpiece of Big Tree Park near Longwood, and was a tourist attraction long before the states' theme parks.

Now authorities have charged a 26-year-old meth addict with setting the fire.  Beth Kassab, a columnist for the Orlando Sentinel, says it's a sad but unsurprising outcome to a long history of neglect:

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