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Florida Matters

Daylina Miller / WUSF

On Florida Matters, we explore how the 2016 presidential election was affected by social media, fake news and fact checking.

In this preview of  the show, WUSF's Carson Cooper talks to Peter Schorsch, the publisher of SaintPetersblog.com and Sunburn; Josh Gillin of Politifact Florida; and USF Communications Professor Kelli Burns.

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Join us on WUSF 89.7 for a special, live Florida Matters show on election night, Tuesday.

We’ll have updates from our reporters in the field and commentary from experts in the studio.  And we also want to hear from you. We may share your comments on the air during Florida Matters or our live extended Decision Florida coverage throughout the night.

Oh, Florida! On the one hand, a white sands, warm winter paradise. On the other hand -- alligators, sinkholes, pythons, hurricanes...you get the idea! Author Craig Pittman explores the irony of the Sunshine State in his new book: "Oh, Florida!: How America's Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country."

Daylina Miller/WUSF

This Florida Matters segment originally aired on June 28, 2016.

A massive fish kill in the Indian River Lagoon in spring has been linked to fertilizer use, and with growing concerns about pesticides and where food comes from, more people are growing their own produce right in their own yard. 

Cathy Carter / WUSF

Long before Florida was known for Mickey Mouse and Disney World, it was a vacation destination defined by its beaches and other attractions that drew on the state's natural beauty. Spots like Silver Springs and Cypress Gardens -- and a variety of places that put the word "gator" in their names.

On this Florida Matters, we take you on a ride through the Tampa Bay area's  weird and wonderful roadside attractions, with stops in the past and present.

Scott Audette / Visit Florida

British tourists love to visit Florida!   With about 1.7 million British visitors per year, they’ve had an oversized impact on tourism, real estate and investment. On Florida Matters, we'll discuss how  the British decision to leave the European Union could affect our economy. In this preview of the show, WUSF's Robin Sussingham spoke to Dr. Jerry Parrish, chief economist with the Florida Chamber Foundation, about how tourism could be affected by Brexit.


The Zika virus, which has been linked to the birth defect, microcephaly, is now in Florida. That development has taken concern over the mosquito-borne disease to a new level.

A state that has places like Little Havana, Key West,  Disney World and the “Redneck Riviera" is just begging to be written about in fiction. We're talking about the way Florida has been depicted in recent years. What can fiction capture that other types of writing and reporting can not?

A state that has places like Little Havana, Key West, Disney World and the "Redneck Riviera" is just begging to be written about in fiction. Several recent award-winning novels have been set in Florida, and that's the topic of an upcoming Florida Matters on WUSF 89.7.

In this preview,  Florida Matters' Robin Sussingham sat down with Dr. Julie Armstrong, an English professor at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, and Colette Bancroft, the book editor at the Tampa Bay Times, to talk about the novel "Fates and Furies," by Lauren Groff.
 

Courtesy of Lisa Sibley Photography

When Beth Buchanan brought her 3rd grade class to the Giraffe Ranch, she knew it meant her students from Monarch Learning Academy in Winter Park would see animals in a completely different way.

“I think it’s a great environment for the kids to learn about animals in a more natural environment than a zoo”’ she said. “The kids loved actually getting to interact with them, and the feedings.”

William Garamella

Sunken Gardens is a lush, colorful and fragrant tropical oasis in the middle of St. Petersburg.

It's one of Florida’s original roadside attractions; WUSF's Florida Matters is taking a look at several classic attractions this week. 

Robin Sussingham/WUSF

The Dixie Highway that meandered through Polk County in the early 20th century inspired the creation of lots of roadside attractions along its path.

Most are gone now, but their memories are kept alive at the Polk County History Center in Bartow, where WUSF's' Robin Sussingham spoke with curator Maria Trippe about Polk's "Lost Roadside Attractions."

Daylina Miller/WUSF

Located about an hour north of Tampa at the crossroads of U.S. 19 and State Road 50, Weeki Wachee is more than just a mark on a road map. The state park is one of Florida’s oldest roadside attractions, and features a spring-fed water park, wildlife show, a river boat cruise and more. 

Carrie Caignet

It’s the height of summer and there’s no better time to share your memories of Florida's roadside attractions. This week, WUSF’s Florida Matters is taking a look at some classic places that don’t fit the definition of modern theme parks. And it’s made us take a look back.

Cathy Carter/WUSF

One of the oldest continuously operated attractions in Florida is an 11-acre oasis just minutes away from a busy strip mall.

At Sarasota Jungle Gardens, visitors can feed flamingos, stroll under a canopy of lush foliage and even see the occasional unicycle-riding cockatoo.

Daylina Miller/WUSF

With growing concerns about pesticides and where our food comes from, more people are growing their own produce right in their own yard.

This "edible landscaping" has become the basis for some businesses.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Imagine a baseball park that is free and open to the public when no games are scheduled. Imagine real grass but with a roof to shield you from Florida’s frequent rain storms.

Those are just a few of the ideas and innovations Tampa Bay Rays President Brian Auld has in mind for a new stadium no matter where it gets built.

Tropical System Threatening Florida

Jun 3, 2016

Ready or not, a tropical system could threaten Florida as early as Monday. Whether it has a name or not, heavy rain and flooding will be the biggest potential hazards. The panhandle is likely to be spared, but much of the peninsula could be soaked by several inches of rain over a two-day period starting Monday. If the system strengthens into a formidable tropical storm, minor wind damage and coastal flooding will also be possible somewhere from the Nature Coast to the Florida Keys.

Daylina Miller/WUSF / WUSF

Telling Tampa Bay Stories is a new project from WUSF News, where our journalists will be visiting some of the region’s lesser-known spots -- to record stories from members of those communities.

We featured some of those stories this week on Florida Matters.

On an upcoming Florida Matters, we're discussing the Florida primary. 

Who has your vote and why? Share your thoughts with us, and we may use your comments on the air. 

Robin Sussingham / WUSF News

As 2015 comes to a close, we are taking a look back at some of the discussions we brought you throughout the year.

Daylina Miller

How are people consuming news these days -- and how is that changing?

We recently welcomed an audience from Leadership Tampa into our studio for a taping of a Florida Matters discussion on media trends with Tampa Bay Business Journal special projects director Chris Wilkerson and USF Tampa journalism professor Wayne Garcia.

A Palm Beach County philanthropist is making good on her promise to herself to share the story of the nation's disabled veterans with as many people possible.

You can be a part of our audience for a special Florida Matters town hall featuring a panel discussion and preview of the new Ric Burns film “Debt of Honor: Disabled Veterans in American History.”

Steve Newborn / WUSF

In 2013, Florida had more new cases of HIV than anywhere else in the nation. When it comes to the presence of HIV in Florida, the state’s six largest metropolitan areas could be states unto themselves.

M.S. Butler

When it comes to children, the definition of homeless includes more children than you may think.

Under the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act children and youth who "lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence are considered homeless." That means children who are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camp grounds -- or doubled-up with relatives or friends  --are homeless, as well as those who stay in shelters, on the street or in abandoned buildings.

Robin Sussingham / WUSF News

Same-sex couples have been able to marry in Florida since Jan. 6, 2015. On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is legal nationwide. What are the impacts of this ruling on Florida’s same-sex couples? And what questions are they asking as they consider tying the knot?

Thirty years ago, a HIV-positive diagnosis was a death sentence, and gay men and IV-drug users were most likely to get infected.

Today, the demographics of infection have changed a lot, and advancements in drug treatment that make HIV a "chronic disease" have created a new set of problems.

Jeff Houck / Locale Market

Canned tuna, boxed apple juice, peanut butter crackers. What’s in your hurricane supply of non-perishable food?

Emergency response experts suggest that families have food and water to last from three to seven days.

But who wants to eat seven days of canned chili?

Steve Newborn / WUSF

On April 5, WUSF-TV will air the first part of the new Ken Burns’ documentary “Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies.”  

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