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Florida Matters

Florida Matters tackles tough issues, highlights little-known stories from our part of the world, and provides a greater perspective of what it means to live in the Sunshine State. Join us each week as we journey across the state to explore the issues important to Floridians and cover the challenges facing our community and our state. Listen to the show on WUSF 89.7 Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday at 7:30 a.m.  It's also on Classical WSMR 89.1 and 103.9 on Mondays at 10 p.m.

Contact Florida Matters at floridamatters@wusf.org

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Construction in downtown Tampa
Daylina Miller / WUSF Public Media

This week on Florida Matters, we talk about zoning and how it affects the way our state manages growth.

It may sound mundane, but zoning and building regulations affect us intimately because they hit us where we live.


Florida Matters hosted a taping in front of a live audience during the St. Petersburg Conference on World Affairs. The topic: Tampa Bay as an international dining destination.
Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

These are exciting times for eating out in Tampa Bay. Our cuisine is getting better and more varied and starting to draw national attention.

  

The invasive tegu lizards are known to eat the eggs of some of Florida's native wildlife. Recently scientists discovered gopher tortoises, a Threatened species, in some tegu stomachs.
Mike Avery / USDA Wildlife Services

Florida is home to more than 500 invasive species. Not all of these plants and animals are big and scary like pythons, but they can still harm the state’s native wildlife, and a lot of time and money is spent fighting them.

This week Florida Matters speaks with scientists on the front lines of this battle about how we’re doing.


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.

Florida’s legislative session has been underway for almost a month and there have already been some big changes.

We talk with reporters about key issues lawmakers are considering and how their actions could affect our lives on this week’s Florida Matters.


Pixabay

Historians and local old-timers say that once, Tampa Bay was overflowing with delicious oysters.

And that some rivers, like the Manatee River, were once so full of mullet that they roiled the water and their noise would keep nearby residents awake at night.

Tourists at Clearwater Beach.
WUSF Public Media

Tourism is a vital industry for our state, and Florida Matters is taking a look at how businesses fared in the wake of red tide, what's new with our theme parks, and where tourism is heading after another record-breaking year.


Did you know Tampa Bay was once filled with oysters you could actually eat? Or that people used to turn their noses up at grouper?

DeSantis To Lawmakers: Be Bold On Big Issues

Mar 5, 2019
The Florida Channel

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gave an anti-tax, pro-environment State of the State address Tuesday, asking lawmakers to be bold as they tackle issues like education, school safety and health care.

Gov. Ron DeSantis kicks off the 2019 legislative session Tuesday and will deliver his first State of the State address.

Florida Matters will bring you live coverage of his speech, the Democratic response and analysis.

Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

Florida ranks third in the nation for the number of calls placed to the national human trafficking hotline.

The charges filed against New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft last week for soliciting prostitution in Jupiter have again put a spotlight on sex trafficking in our state.

Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

These are exciting times for eating out in Tampa Bay. Our cuisine is getting better and more varied and starting to draw national attention.


Jeanette Abrahamsen / USF Zimmerman School of Advertising & Mass Communications

The Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City starts Feb. 28. With the festival just a couple of weeks away, Florida Matters is taking another listen to stories from our 2018 special series "Telling Tampa Bay Stories: Plant City."

Jeanette Abrahamson / USF Zimmerman School of Advertising and Mass Communications

Florida Matters is revisiting its special two-part series "Telling Tampa Bay Stories: Plant City," in light of the upcoming Florida Strawberry Festival.

Carlton Ward Jr.

Growth is no stranger to Florida. The state is a magnet for snowbirds, immigrants and sun-seekers. But will too much growth crowd out what people come here for to begin with?


You’re invited to be part of a live audience at an upcoming Florida Matters taping on Wednesday February 13 at 9 AM.

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.


Sam Newlon

Plant City is best-known for its annual Strawberry Festival, but there is much more to this Hillsborough community.

For example, some may not know the city is also home to the Bing Rooming House, a National Historic Site that was once a hotel for people of color during segregation. 

State Library & Archives of Florida

The annual Gasparilla celebration is one of Tampa Bay’s biggest social events, drawing in hundreds of thousands of people to dress up as pirates and eat, drink and be merry.

Though people dressing up in costumes and “invading” the city may seem like silly fun, the tradition has also played an important role in Tampa’s high society.

Gov. Ron DeSantis
Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

Florida’s new governor Ron DeSantis has wasted no time in putting his stamp on the state.

This week on Florida Matters we take a look at some of his actions so far and talk with journalists about other political happenings like the upcoming mayoral race in Tampa.


Look up "keto cookbooks" and you find a plethora of options: Quick and Easy Ketogenic Cooking, Southern Keto, Ketogenic Cleanse, Keto Comfort Foods… it’s fair to say this is a diet craze. But does it really work?

Dieting comes up a lot this time of year as people set new year resolutions to lose weight. One diet that's become very popular recently is the ketogenic diet -- or keto.

We talk about the diet and how it can affect your health on this week's Florida Matters.

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.


The year 2018 is almost over, and Florida Matters is looking back at the stories that made headlines in our region this year.


Flickr

Alternative kinds of housing like shipping containers and tiny houses are quickly growing in popularity. Could they help relieve some of the pressure from the affordable housing crunch? 


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.


Jeanette Abrahamsen

This week on Florida Matters we focus on the places and events that make Plant City special, like the Plant City Photo Archives and History Center.

A film crew at work
Film Tampa Bay

This week on Florida Matters we talk about how the state’s film industry has fared since the loss of a tax incentive program and how it can survive in the future.

Florida Matters host Robin Sussingham recently moderated a community discussion about veteran entrepreneurs with professionals who've been working on training and educating former soldiers on skills they need. 

Not only to integrate back into society, but to take on the risks and rewards of being an entrepreneur. The panel took place in front of a live audience at USF St. Petersburg, and we also took some questions from the audience. In this podcast, you'll hear about American Freedom Distillery and from one of its founders, former Green Beret Scott Neil.

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WUSF Public Media

Transitioning out of the military can be tough, but some veterans are finding a new role in civilian life as business owners.


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