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Florida Matters 2019 In Review: Mayor Jane Castor, Apollo 11, And More


It was a year full of politics, historic anniversaries and ever changing industries here in Florida. This week on Florida Matters, we take a look back at a few stories that helped shape our area in 2019.

We feature so many great stories on Florida Matters that it was hard to choose which ones to highlight in our year in review.  

Host Robin Sussingham talked with then-newly elected Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, who served on Tampa's police force for 31 years and became the first female police chief in 2009. In 2019, Tampa voters chose her  to become their mayor in a run-off election against the late David Straz. In our conversation with Castor, she talks about the issues facing Tampa.

RELATED: A Conversation with Tampa Mayor Jane Castor  

In March, we learned about the ever-changing seafood industry in Florida. We sat down with Ed Chiles, son of the late Gov. Lawton Chiles, who owns several seafood restuarants in the area and is the founder of the Gulf Shellfish Institute in Manatee County. Chiles talked about the water quality surrounding Tampa Bay and the ideal conditions for raising clams.

RELATED: The Changing Seafood Industry In Florida 

The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing was in July. We spoke with Robert Stone, writer, producer and director of a six-hour documentary, "Chasing the Moon," which aired on PBS.  The documentary chronicled America's space race leading to the first lunar landing and beyond. 

RELATED: Remembering "One Giant Leap For Mankind" 50 Years After The Moon Landing

Citrus has shaped our state's identity for 100 years. But it has been a tough 10 years with freezes, hurricanes, developmental pressure and greening. We caught up with Mike Sparks, CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual, and Kevin Bouffard, a senior reporter at the Ledger in Lakeland. In this segment, Bouffard talks about the Citrus Research and Field Trials better know as CRAFT. 

RELATED: The State Of Florida's Citrus Industry

Finally, we listen to former Sen. Bill Nelson. In a rare appearance, Nelson spoke at Southeastern University in Lakeland, where the American Center for Political Leadership presented him with an award for his long public service. 

RELATED: Former Sen. Bill Nelson Says Lying In Politics "As Old As The Country"

Christy Oshana is the Producer for Florida Matters, WUSF Public Media’s public affairs show.
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 created The Zest, the station's podcast that's all about food, which she continues to host and serve as senior producer.
I cover health care for WUSF and the statewide journalism collaborative Health News Florida. I’m passionate about highlighting community efforts to improve the quality of care in our state and make it more accessible to all Floridians. I’m also committed to holding those in power accountable when they fail to prioritize the health needs of the people they serve.