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oil slick
The Top Five Stories of 2010

At the close of 2010, we're looking back at some of the news stories and the way that they affected our lives. They are the voices and the people that made headlines -- or that simply made us pause during our busy lives, and listen.

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Tuesday at 6:30 PM | Sunday at 7:30 AM on WUSF 89.7

Monday at 10:00 PM on WSMR 89.1

At the close of 2010, we're looking back at some of the news stories and the way that they affected our lives. They are the voices and the people that made headlines -- or that simply made us pause during our busy lives, and listen.

1. In April, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig sent oil gushing into the Gulf. As we struggled to comprehend the extent of the disaster and what it would mean for Gulf Coast beaches and economies, we spoke with Dr. William Hogarth, Dean of the USF College of Marine Science; fisherman Dean Pruitt; BP spokesman Phil Cochran.

Of course, the spill in the Gulf affected the long debate over offshore drilling. It's something new Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon had wanted for years. In fact, just before the Deepwater Horizon exploded, Cannon spent $200,000 in taxpayer money for a study of the safety of drilling 3 to 10 miles off Florida's coast. WUSF's Scott Finn broke the story about this study and some of its questionable conclusions.

2. "There is something fundamentally wrong with our entire system." That was the reaction of Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio -- speaking on Florida Matters -- after two Tampa police officers were shot and killed. The deaths prompted analysis and introspection from our guests, which included the Mayor; Frank Reddick, President of the Northview Hills Civic Association in East Tampa and Dr. Lorie Fridell, Associate Professor of Criminology at the University of South Florida.

3. The catastrophic earthquake in Haiti had repercussions far beyond the island. Florida's 200,000 Haitian residents watched anxiously while they waited to hear from loved ones. WUSF's news director Scott Finn sat down to Sharon Pierre, a USF student; and Sclafani Louis-Jeune, Staff Assistant in USF’s College of Engineering. He began by asking Sharon Pierre what news she'd heard about her family.

4. Remember the cold, cold weather earlier this year? Farmers desperate to save their crops pumped water to give their plants a protective layer of ice... But the depletion of the aquifer caused more than 80 sinkholes and millions of dollars of damage to roads and homes. Reporter Steve Newborn went to Dover, the heart of strawberry country, to talk to homeowner Patricia Ballard. A new water pump and pipe extension cost Ballard $1300 -- which water officials told her to collect from a nearby farmer, who had already received dozens of such claims.

Next, Steve spoke to another strawberry farmer down the road from Ballard, Richard Sapp. He has the most recent water use permit, which SWIFTMUD said made him responsible for well claims.

5. The year 2010 also marked the homecoming of a Tampa airman who spent a year in Afghanistan on what he promised his wife would be, "My Last Tour." Senior Master Sergeant Rex Temple spoke with Florida Matters' Joshua Stewart about his life after war.

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