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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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This week on Florida Matters we're talking about the latest in tourism. The state's number one industry was at the center of a battle during this past legislative session.


City of St. Petersburg, WUSF Public Media

Voters will soon pick the leader of one our state's largest cities -- St. Petersburg. This week on Florida Matters we're talking about how the mayoral race is shaping up, and what's at stake in its outcome.

Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

There's been a spike in the number of kids being removed from their homes in the Tampa Bay Area over the past few years. And foster care agencies are struggling to keep up with the influx.


Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

This week on Florida Matters we're talking about the challenges those who work in the foster care system are facing and how it impacts the children they serve.


Stephanie Colombini

Many scientists say sea level rise in Florida is accelerating. How is that affecting coastal communities now, and what can residents and elected officials do to brace themselves for future change?

people at the beach
Lisa Peakes/WUSF Public Media

It's the middle of the summer and frankly, some of us are bored.

Families with school-aged children are among the most stir crazy, but Sharon Kennedy Wynne of the Tampa Bay Times said there are a lot of free or affordable local getaways to survive in the days before school starts.

Flickr

Many scientists have expressed concerns that rising sea levels and growing population could be problematic for Florida's coastal communities.

This week on Florida Matters we're talking about the impact of sea level rise in the Sunshine State and what some local governments are doing to prepare for it.


NOAA

Many scientists have expressed concerns that rising sea levels and growing population could be problematic for Florida’s coastal communities. Florida Matters wants to hear what you think.

There was a time when the only place to get a book was to buy it from a store or borrow it from a library.

Now in two clicks we can read it on an iPad. What’s the future role of libraries in today’s digital landscape?

This week on Florida Matters we're taking another listen to our discussion about what might be in store for the future of libraries.

Our guests include:

Todd Chavez, Dean of Libraries for the University of South Florida.

USF Libraries

These days it seems like we get most of our information from computers and mobile devices. Are libraries becoming obsolete?

This week on Florida Matters we’re taking another listen to our discussion about what might be in store for the future of libraries.


The U.S. has seen an increased rate of suicide among its veterans, and those deaths can change the lives of family and friends forever. This week on Florida Matters, our special two-part program on veteran suicide and the impact it can have on comrades and loved ones continues.


Our country asks a lot of its military members, most recently during the many years of conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan. The multiple deployments during Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn have taken their toll, in part, through an increased risk in suicide, especially among young male veterans.

Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

The Department of Veterans Affairs has grown increasingly concerned about the rise in veteran suicides in recent years.

This week on Florida Matters we're talking about the impact these deaths have on comrades and loved ones, and what support is available to help them heal. It's the first episode in a special two-part program on this issue.


Daylina Miller/Wikimedia Commons

Polk County is a place of so many contradictions. It's the home of beautiful lakes, charming downtowns and historic landmarks. But this birthplace of several of Florida's governors, was also named by one recent study as having the country's second largest percentage of people struggling to avoid hunger.


Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

Polk County is consistently ranked as having among the highest rates of suburban poverty in the country. And one recent study put it second in the nation for the number of people struggling to avoid hunger. The beautiful lakes and historic downtowns form a stark contrast to the sobering statistics.

Florida Matters recently hosted a town hall discussion on these issues in Lakeland, at Florida Southern College’s Annie Pfeiffer Chapel.

Wikimedia Commons

Summer is upon us and that means more of the bugs that made international headlines last year – mosquitos. What progress has been made in the fight against the Zika virus? Can we cure Zika, or prevent it? And what can residents do to help?

It's June, it's hot, it's rainy -- and that means mosquitos are once again coming out in full force.

This week on Florida Matters we're talking about how the state and its residents are preparing for the potential threat of mosquito-borne illnesses like the Zika virus.


Summer is quickly approaching, and that means more of the bugs that made international headlines last year -- mosquitos. What can residents do to prepare for the Zika virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses?

Florida Matters wants to hear from you.

Photos: USF/Amazon; Collage: Stephanie Colombini/WUSF

She’s one of the most sought-after political analysts in Florida and the nation, and she has a new book out, "Florida's Minority Trailblazers: The Men and Women Who Changed the Face of Florida Government.” Our latest Florida Matters “Newsmaker” is University of South Florida political science professor Dr. Susan MacManus.


This week on Florida Matters, our ongoing "Newsmaker" series features Dr. Susan MacManus.

It’s that time of year again, the Atlantic hurricane season is upon us. This week on Florida Matters we’re taking a look at how various areas of the state are preparing for hurricane season, and at some new changes in storm response efforts.


Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

After more than two decades, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Hurricane Hunter planes have a new home. Construction crews are scrambling to get it ready for this week's start of hurricane season.

Stephanie Colombini / WUSF

It costs a lot of money to keep Florida’s beaches “postcard ready.” How much sand is on your favorite beach? In some cases, not quite enough.


Marc Haze / WUSF News

It's that time of year to hit the beach and soak up some rays, but in some areas erosion means there's not a lot of places to build a sand castle.

A bill awaiting Gov. Scott's signature - or possible veto - would mean $50 million for beach renourishment. This week on Florida Matters we'll talk about whether that funding is enough to tackle the issue of beach erosion across the state.


State officials say Florida is having one of its worst wildfire seasons in years. This week on Florida Matters we're talking about the impact these fires have on the state's environment and economy, and whether there's an end in sight for this dry season.


Florida Forest Service

Florida is alight with wildfires right now, with over 125 burning across the state. This week on Florida Matters we’re talking about the impact these wildfires have on the state’s environment and economy, and whether there’s an end in sight to this dry season.


It took them three days longer than it was supposed to, but Florida lawmakers have finally passed a new state budget.

This week on Florida Matters we’ll take a look at what’s in the $83 billion spending plan along with a few other issues decided during the 60-day session.

Our guests include:

State lawmakers finally signed off on a new state budget Monday night after a bit of a delay.

This week on Florida Matters we’ll take a look at what’s in the $82.4 billion spending plan along with a few other issues decided during the 60-day session.


There was a time when the only place to get a book was to buy it from a store or borrow it from a library. 

USF Libraries

These days it seems like we get most of our information from computers and mobile devices. Are libraries becoming obsolete?

This week on Florida Matters we’re talking to people who work in libraries about what might be in store for the future.


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