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Wayne Garcia

Academic Fellow

Wayne Garcia is working with the WUSF newsroom and its digital media interns for the fall 2019 semester. 

He is a journalism instructor at the USF Zimmerman School of Advertising and Mass Communications. His background is in political and investigative journalism.

As a journalist, Garcia worked for the St. Petersburg Times, Tampa Tribune and Gainesville Sun daily newspapers.

During his tenure as the political editor for the alt-weekly Creative Loafing, Garcia won two Sunshine State Awards for his political writing and his widely read political blog. He was the 2009 recipient of the Irene Miller Vigilance in Journalism Award from the Pinellas Chapter of the ACLU.

MacDill Air Force Base will start an investigation in January into reports that a lost African American cemetery could be inside its gates.

King High School is the site of an African-American cemetery, Hillsborough County school officials confirmed Wednesday.

In addition, County Commissioner Les Miller told school officials and black civic leaders gathered for the announcement that efforts are underway to confirm another lost cemetery, in the Port Tampa neighborhood next to MacDill Air Force Base.

Low taxes and plenty of sunshine have long been Florida’s top attraction for relocation, and recently released U.S. Census data shows that has not changed. It has only accelerated, in the case of residents from some high-tax states.

The University of South Florida's faculty band that plays on iPads will blend their electronic multimedia fun with a serious message about modern slavery in concert Friday.

A scene from the 2016 parade for veterans at the James A. Haley Veterans Administration Hospital.
James A. Haley VA

Groups and organizations around the Tampa Bay region have planned events to commemorate Veterans Day. The events, which include parades, job fairs, festivals, and ceremonies, will honor those who have served or are now serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, and are open to the public.

Here’s a list of local events, with national events listed at the bottom:

St. Petersburg has been plagued by sewage spills since 2015, and now, part of the solution has some residents nervous that they might have to spend thousands to fix sewer pipes on their property.

NASA scientists and a former astronaut on Tuesday told a group of local students and future entrepreneurs that doing business in space can be on everyone's agenda.

They'll speak with members of the public on Wednesday as well.

Wikimedia Commons

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Wednesday called the results of the latest Nation's Report Card evidence of a country with a "student achievement crisis."

The report card is a test of fourth and eighth graders given every two years since 1990. The grades reflect student success in reading and math.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association announcement on student-athlete compensation Tuesday came after years of pressure from the athletes, lawyers and politicians. But critics of the change warn that it might not provide much fairness.

In grainy black and white celluloid from 1931, the count glides down a spider-webbed staircase toward his future toady, Renfield, when wolves start to howl in the distance.

“Listen to them,” Dracula says in a thick Hungarian accent, “children of the night. What beautiful music they make.” 

Florida's sheriffs are worried that some vulnerable children are caught in the middle of a struggle between foster care and group homes, which also threatens their youth ranches.

Tampa Bay Lightning hockey owner Jeff Vinik and his wife, Penny, have donated $5 million to the Tampa Museum of Art, earmarked to fund the salary of its executive director.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody Wednesday targeted more than 20 e-cigarette makers as she announced an investigation into how they are contributing to the teen vaping crisis.

How Florida classrooms will be taught post-Common Core will be the focus of a listening tour stop in Tampa Thursday by Florida's top education official, Commissioner Richard Corcoran.

The Tampa Bay Rays are heading to Houston for a deciding Game 5 Thursday night with the Astros as watch parties around the region gear up.

Michael Drejka was sentenced to 20 years in prison Thursday for the fatal shooting of Markeis McGlockton over a handicapped parking spot in Clearwater last year - a sentence that McGlockton's family praised.

The team’s playoff run also renewed questions about a new ballpark after St. Pete officials gave the green light for talks to resume across the bay.

These are second graders at Broward Elementary in Tampa.
Hillsborough County School District

A plan to raise minimum salaries for Florida teachers by an average $10,000 a year is being greeted by Tampa Bay union leaders with mild applause and great concern.

The line of students stretched for more than 100 yards and wound down a flight of stairs as University of South Florida students tried to beat three other Florida universities at getting their flu shots on Wednesday.

USF joined for the first time with Florida State University, the University of Florida and the University of Central Florida to encourage students to be immunized. They dubbed the competition "4 U's Fight The Flu." 

State Rep. Jackie Toledo was joined by Sheriff Chad Chronister, Superintendent Jeff Eakins and School Board member Stacy Hahn.
Wayne Garcia/WUSF Public Media

Florida drivers now must put down their cell phones anytime they are in a school or work zone or they could eventually get a $60 ticket.

State Rep. Jackie Toledo, R-Tampa, helped champion the bill that went into effect Tuesday and was at Dale Mabry Elementary School in Tampa on its first day. Toledo stood alongside Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister, school Superintendent Jeff Eakins and School Board Member Stacy Hahn to say education -- not enforcement -- is the key.

The snip of a ribbon and some laughter and applause were the sounds of the start of home ownership for Helga Torres.

The Tampa single mother of one cut a ribbon last week to open her new home to guests. Hers is one of two homes unveiled as part of the neighborhood’s Sound & Secure Housing program, which allows residents to lease a new home for up to a year before purchasing it.

The Southwest Florida Water Management Board met this week. At last.

The board had to cancel a meeting recently because it lacked enough members present to have a quorum. Only seven of its 13 seats were filled at the time, and one member did not attend. The other vacant seats were awaiting appointments from Gov. Ron DeSantis.

This courtroom shows where businesses believe they are unfairly treated, especially in Florida, which ranked 46th in the nation for its business lawsuit climate.
Karen Neoh/Flickr.com

Florida business leaders are declaring a renewed war against lawsuits, and they point to a new survey showing the state among the worst in the nation for litigation.

Six advocates, from the executive director of the state's veterans agency to a formerly homeless veteran, met with two lawmakers in New Port Richey this week
YouTube

Lawmakers and advocates for more than a decade have done battle with the homeless crisis among military veterans.

Their number in the Tampa Bay region has been cut by 72 percent and in half statewide, but a U.S. House subcommittee meeting in New Port Richey Monday heard that more work needs to be done.

A house in Pinellas County during a flooding event, with piles of sandbags trying to protect it
Photography provided courtesy of Pinellas County Marketing and Communications Department

For everyone who filled up sandbags in advance of Hurricane Dorian and is now wondering how to get rid of them, county officials throughout Tampa Bay say: hang on.

A pile of sand and sandbags sit near city of St. Petersburg workers who distribute them in advance of a 2016 storm
City of St. Petersburg/Flickr.com

Hurricanes such as Dorian are providing valuable data and modeling for planners and politicians working to battle climate change.

The process is called resiliency

Two boater pull alongside a Florida Fish and Wildlife boat for a check of their safety preparations
Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission/Flickr.com

Florida led the nation again in boating accidents, deaths and injuries, according to a U.S. Coast Guard survey of 2018 marine incidents.

The Sunshine State had 607 boat accidents last year, resulting in 57 deaths, 297 injuries and more than $7 million in property damage.

Standing at the speaker's lectern Tuesday night, Hillsborough County Athletic Director Lanness Robinson lauded the new partnership with three health care agencies that will put certified trainers in all 27 high schools.
Screenshot from Hillsborough County School Board

All 27 Hillsborough County high schools will soon have an athletic trainer on campus.

The school board's decision on Tuesday to spend $270,000 for the program comes two months after an incoming freshman football player at Middleton High in Tampa died after taking part in conditioning drills.