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Florida Matters

Despite not being officially allowed to live in Florida until 1763, Jewish people escaping expulsion and exclusion were among the earliest settlers of the state.

A new comprehensive history – "Jews of Florida: Centuries of Stories" – takes a look at that historic individuals who include politicians, business leaders, artists and Nobel Prize winners.

As the Florida Legislature opens its 2020 session, Gov. Ron DeSantis addressed House and Senate members Tuesday during his State of the State address.

He discussed some of the “bold” steps the state took in 2019 around such areas as education, the environment, health care and public safety, and stressed that “we have much more to do.”

This week on Florida Matters, we sat down with local political reporters to look at the2020 Florida Legislature and discuss some of the most pressing issues facing our state.

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.

Whenever asked about her secret to longevity, the answer is not one that’s generally expected.

Holiday traditions take shape in many forms, and this week on Florida Matters, we take a look at some of our WUSF staff's favorite family holiday traditions.  

“So this is what my childhood tastes like.”

Nora and Ariel
Dalia Colón

You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen. But how about the reindeer with pretzel antlers and a red M&M for its nose? This season, WUSF reporters are sharing their holiday food traditions. Today, Dalia Colón introduces us to her family and their custom of baking reindeer cookies.

On Friday’s Roundup we discussed school safety in Florida. Reporting by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel this week found that a disturbing number of violent threats against students and teachers come from mentally impaired children who are fixated on violence, and have easy access to guns.

It started 30 years ago. That's when Rex Jensen first got a call to check out some land owned by the Uihlein family just off I-75 near Sarasota.  That is all Jensen needed to see and he knew this land was going to be a success.

We bring you a special Thanksgiving program featuring some of our favorite stories about food in the Sunshine State. There is a lot to be thankful for here in the land of citrus, seafood, and Spanish flavor with a splash of southern charm.

travelerfolio.com

From roller coasters to virtual rides, Florida's theme parks have helped redefine family entertainment. With Disney experiencing its own struggles with long lines and rising ticket prices, we wanted to learn what is being done to deliver this once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

Sen. Bill Nelson was a three-term Democrat who served in Washington for more than 45 years before losing his seat to Rick Scott in the 2018 mid-term election.

Republican State Representative James Grant says Florida’s Constitution should operate like a constitution and that people shouldn't be playing political games with it.
JamesGrantFL.com

A proposed new “citizens amendment” could be on the ballot for Florida voters in 2020. It would replace two words in the state constitution with one word. Instead saying every citizen can vote, it would say only a citizen can vote.

The measure is picking up steam, even though it’s already illegal for noncitizens to vote. In fact, a group called Florida Citizens Voters has raised more than $4.6 million and says it has gathered more than the double of the signatures that a petition needs to be included in next year's ballot.

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.


Jeanette Abrahamsen / USF Zimmerman School of Advertising & Mass Communications

In 2017, our series, "Telling Tampa Bay Stories," took us to Tampa's Progress Village. In 2018, the focus turned to Plant City -- a Hillsborough County community where agriculture and development, history and progress all meet.


It's 2019. As WUSF prepares to bring you the news you rely on this year, we’re looking back at some of the station's big moments in 2018 through the lens of Florida Matters.


Jeanette Abrahamsen / USF Zimmerman School of Advertising & Mass Communications

Last month, the first installment of our series, "Telling Tampa Bay Stories," took us to Plant City, where we heard stories about the history and development of the Hillsborough County community.

This week's Florida Matters highlights some of the places and events that make Plant City special.


The political stakes in Florida couldn’t get much higher.

On Tuesday, voters will pick a new governor and a U.S. Senator. Congressional and state legislative seats are up for grabs, as well as Attorney General and a slew of local offices. There’s also a long list of constitutional amendments -- on everything from gambling and voting rights to homestead taxes and vaping.

In this week's podcast, Florida Matters host Robin Sussingham sits down with Lillian Dunlap, the executive director of Your Real Stories and creator of Story Days in Tampa Bay. The annual storytelling festival has just finished up, and Robin asks Lillian what she hopes listeners will come away with.

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Boyzell Hosey / Tampa Bay Times

Story Days in Tampa Bay recently hosted its fifth annual festival in St. Petersburg. This week on Florida Matters we hear excerpts from a performance  that reflects on Hurricanes Irma and Maria a year after the storms.

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Florida Matters host Robin Sussingham speaks to Kim Rivers, CEO of Trulieve; Daniel Elias, president of Pharmacology University, a medical marijuana education program; and Darrin Potter, Chief Horticulture Officer at GrowHealthy in Lake Wales. GrowHealthy and Trulieve are licensed medical marijuana treatment centers and are authorized to cultivate, process and dispense medical marijuana in Florida. They tell us that you're going to need very deep pockets to get started in the medical cannabis business in Florida.

Abandoned Animals Strain System In Puerto Rico

Sep 22, 2018
Kaitlin Hall/WUFT

As the sun rises above San Juan’s Peninsula de Cantera neighborhood, stray pigs roam the streets looking for scraps of food.

Gisselle Garcia/WUFT

For nearly seven decades, generation after generation has operated Carlos Bonnet-Vargas’ bookstand on the colorful streets of Old San Juan.

With painted green shelves, messy piles of books and magazines and Puerto Rican flags flying high, the kiosk has attracted enough customers to keep each owner afloat.

But after Hurricane Maria, Bonnet-Vargas is struggling to make ends meet.

Puerto Rico National Guard

It’s been a year since Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico. Recovery continues on the devastated island, but transitions are also happening here in Florida, where many residents evacuated and some have chosen to stay.

Dez Williams, Mark Schreiner, Justified Films, Stuby

WUSF’s University Beat has been doing something new this year – profiling entrepreneurs with ties to the University of South Florida.

That includes faculty, students and alumni who have started their own businesses, ranging from watermelon-flavored water and anti-nausea wristbands to apps and movie production companies.

USF

From creating a new beverage to an app for finding study partners, entrepreneurs with ties to the University of South Florida are trying hard to turn their ideas into actual products.

This week on Florida Matters, we speak to some of the USF faculty, students and alumni who share some of the lessons they’ve learned along the way.

It was an exciting state primary election with some unexpected results, and we break it down with Zac Anderson, editor of the Sarasota Herald Tribune, and William March, longtime political analyst and journalist. Progressives got what they've long wished for in Andrew Gillum, the Democratic nominee for Governor, and set up what Zac says will be an interesting "political science experiment" going forward.

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Florida's primary election was full of surprises. WUSF reporters Steve Newborn, Mark Schreiner and Roberto Roldan have been following the races and were out covering campaign events on primary night. They sit down with host Robin Sussingham to talk about the evening's upsets and drama.

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Florida’s primary election is Tuesday and you can follow the action here on WUSF.

We’ll bring you election news throughout the day as voters cast their ballots and host live coverage that evening during a special Florida Matters at 8 p.m.

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