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Steve Newborn

Assistant News Director

Steve Newborn is WUSF's assistant news director as well as a reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues, politics and transportation in the Tampa Bay area.

He’s been with WUSF since 2001, and has covered events such as President George W. Bush’s speech in Sarasota as the Sept. 11 attacks unfolded; the ongoing drama over whether the feeding tube should be removed from Terri Schiavo; the arrest and terrorism trial of USF professor Sami Al-Arian; how the BP Deepwater Horizon spill affected Florida; and he followed the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition through the state - twice.

Before joining WUSF, he covered environmental and Polk County news for the Tampa Tribune and worked for NASA at the Kennedy Space Center during the early days of the space shuttle.

Ways to Connect

USF President Judy Genshaft stands in front of a fountain on the Tampa campus.
USF Marketing and Communications

With University of South Florida President Judy Genshaft’s July 1 retirement approaching, this week's Florida Matters looks back at her 19 years leading USF.

Host Robin Sussingham talks to Assistant News Directors Steve Newborn and Mark Schreiner, who have covered Genshaft since both arrived at WUSF in 2001, shortly after Genshaft became USF's sixth president.


Tampa's reservoir
Southwest Florida Water Management District

The city of Tampa has withdrawn its request for $1.6 million to pay for a study of injecting reclaimed wastewater into the underground aquifer - so it could be used again.  The city took the request off the table at a recent meeting of Tampa Bay Water, the area's regional water supply authority.

For the view on the right, elevations below 16 feet above sea level have been colored dark blue, and lighter blue indicates elevations below 33 feet. This is an illustration of how Florida's low topography make it vulnerable to flooding
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory

A new national study concludes that rising sea levels could cost U.S. states more than $400 billion over the next 20 years. And Florida has the highest price tag.

The report is by the environmental advocacy group Center for Climate Integrity. It says Florida would have to pay around $75 billion to build new seawalls to defend against a two-foot sea level rise by 2040.

Andrew Warren
Hillsborough State Attorney's Office

The Hillsborough County state attorney announced Wednesday that the convictions of 17 people will be overturned because their cases hinged on three arresting police officers.

State Attorney Andrew Warren said the convictions will be vacated because his office cannot verify the testimony of the officers who were later fired. His move comes after an investigation by the new Conviction Review Unit, which was formed last year to give people a voice when they believe they have been unfairly convicted.

Florida House District Map
Ballotpedia

Republicans increased their lead in the Florida House of Representatives Tuesday night, as Randy Maggard defeated Democrat Kelly Smith in a special election in Pasco County.

Maggard, of Dade City, works as a vice president for a discount appliance chain. House District 38 includes most of eastern Pasco, including Wesley Chapel, Dade City and Zephyrhills.

Suncoast Parkway
Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

Gov. Ron DeSantis recently signed a bill that would mandate construction of a new toll road and extend two others through relatively untouched parts of the state. So WUSF took a drive to the end of the Suncoast Parkway  - at least for now - to see what we would find.

Everglades
National Park Service

It was a mixed bag for environmentalists in the wake of this year's legislative session in Tallahassee. Lawmakers allocated more money than Governor Ron DeSantis asked for on Everglades restoration and fighting red tide and blue-green algae.

But there were some drawbacks, including a bill to build three new toll roads and getting a fraction of the money the governor proposed to buy environmentally sensitive lands.

WUSF's Steve Newborn talks with Jennifer Rubiello, state director for Environment Florida - starting with the good that happened.

Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez
Alejandra Martinez / WLRN

State lawmakers passed several bills in the wake of last year's scourge of red tide attacking the coastlines and blue-green algae coming out of Lake Okeechobee. But some environmentalists say they didn't address the source of the problem - nutrients flowing into waterways.

Hillsborough Legislative delegation
Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

Several members of Hillsborough County's legislative delegation gave their take on the just-ended Tallahassee session Friday at the Tampa Tiger Bay Club.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Friday morning he will sign a bill instructing the state to build two new toll roads and extend a third through rural parts of the state.

Andrew Gillum presents a check to Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo for voter registration efforts.
Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

Florida Democrats kicked off a plan Thursday to register 200,000 voters before the 2020 elections. Former candidate for governor Andrew Gillum gave it a kick start, presenting a check for $100,000 from his Forward Florida Action group to Terrie Rizzo, head of the Florida Democratic Party.

Ferry launch site
Google Maps

Establishing a commuter ferry service linking Tampa, St. Petersburg, MacDill Air Force Base and southern Hillsborough County may take a bit longer to become reality. The first-of-its-kind commuter service on Tampa Bay is running into money and parking woes.

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, right, with Florida Matters host Robin Sussingham
Lesley Laney / WUSF Public Media

Jane Castor is in her first weeks as the new mayor of Tampa. Her position as the first gay mayor in the Southeastern U.S. didn't come up much during the campaign, but she made national news the day after her victory. 

Straws
Flickr

Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed a controversial bill Friday that would have restricted the right of local governments - including St. Petersburg - to regulate single-use plastic straws.

Lawmakers in Tallahassee are returning home after two months of hashing out bills - some of which could soon become law. Florida Matters host Robin Sussingham talks with Janelle Irwin, a reporter with Florida Politics, and Steve Bousquet, a columnist with the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and the Orlando Sentinel.

Growth
Carlton Ward Jr.

State lawmakers over the weekend passed a bill that would restrict local governments from requiring new developments to have units set aside for affordable housing. It would also mean anyone challenging a development being approved that's inconsistent with the existing growth plan would have to pay the other side's attorney's fees if they lose.

Kathy Castor
Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

The House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday that would keep the U.S. in the Paris Climate agreement. But the bill, which was sponsored by a Tampa representative, may not go much further than the House.

Jane Castor
City of Tampa photo

Jane Castor took the oath of office Wednesday morning, becoming the newest mayor of Tampa.

She addressed a crowd of several hundred people at Armature Works, a trendy food hall built in an abandoned trolley barn north of downtown.

Plastic trash
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

The death of a baby dolphin over the weekend off Fort Myers Beach may have been caused by plastic that filled its stomach. The news comes at the same time moves by cities to ban single-use plastics may be killed by state lawmakers.

Coral Ark
Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

Divers were busy in early April transplanting coral grown in the Tampa Bay area to stressed-out reefs in South Florida and The Florida Keys. This unprecedented effort revolves around genetics.

Pat Kemp
Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

Hillsborough County kickstarted its third solar co-op Thursday. It uses the power of bulk purchasing to leverage the cost of installing solar panels and electrical connections through competitive bidding.

County Commissioner Pat Kemp helped kick off the co-op during a rally at a downtown Tampa park.

Jane Castor
Daylina Miller / WUSF Public Media

One of the first things Jane Castor did after winning the race for Tampa Mayor Tuesday night was thanking her partner - Ana Cruz. But the fact that Castor is becoming the first openly gay mayor in Tampa's history didn't come up much during the campaign.

Daylina Miller / WUSF Public Media

Former Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor trounced businessman David Straz in Tuesday's elections and will become the city's next mayor.

Anti-toll road press conference
Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

On Earth Day, Florida environmental groups took dead aim at a plan by lawmakers to build three new toll roads through the heart of the state.

Jane Castor, left, and David Straz
Campaign photos

A lot of ads for Tampa mayor are saturating TV sets throughout the Tampa Bay area. And they show there's little being held back between businessman David Straz and former Tampa police chief Jane Castor.

Pastor Steven Kauffman
Hillsborough County TV

Hillsborough County Commissioners Wednesday took a step toward creating its first dedicated source of money for affordable housing. It comes after other money has been repeatedly diverted from a state housing fund.

Hillsborough River dam
Southwest Florida Water Management District

The regional water authority postponed a decision Monday on a controversial plan that would take treated wastewater from the city of Tampa and inject it underground for later use. It's the latest delay for the proposal.

Marsy's Law
Marsy'sLaw.org

A bill in the legislature that would implement Marsy's Law may be going nowhere this session. That could mean continued confusion over what the intent of the victim's rights bill is.

Jane Castor, left, and David Straz are running to become mayor of Tampa.
Campaign photos

Voters in Florida's third-largest city will go to the polls April 23 in the runoff for Tampa's mayor.

During the March election, former Police Chief Jane Castor almost got the 50 percent plus one needed to avoid a runoff. And retired banker and philanthropist David Straz came in second of the field of seven candidates, with around 16 percent of the vote.

Possible flooding in Florida
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Tampa Bay was named in a recent federal climate report as one of the top cities in Florida that is vulnerable to rising seas - along with low-lying Miami and Apalachicola.

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