Podcast: Florida Matters Archives

Technology and Open Government
Staffers at Florida’s utility regulator have been in trouble lately for giving their cell phones’ instant messaging codes to power company officials. Turns out, that could violate the state’s broad public records and open government laws if there is...
Swine Flu/Cuba Relations
This week, state health officials said 102 people have died from swine flu in Florida. Doctors say the virus usually causes only a mild illness, and those who have died had underlying medical conditions. Still, all the talk of a swine flu pandemic...
A New Lakeland Mayor
After 17 years with Buddy Fletcher at the helm, a new mayor will take over in Lakeland. Those who want the job include two long-time city officials and a young newcomer to city politics. The new leader will face a deep recession in Florida and the...
WUSF 89.7 Fall Membership Campaign - Best of 2009
This week on Florida Matters, we’re revisiting some of the interesting conversations you’ve made possible with your support. Explore bullying in our schools – how big is the problem and what are schools doing about it? Learn about the master plan...
Facing the Mortgage Crisis
The number of foreclosures in Florida has quadrupled since 2006. In Bradenton and Sarasota alone, foreclosures rose 600 percent between 2006 and 2008. This week on Florida Matters, we’re examining the impact of foreclosure on our community. We’ll...
Testing and Education Quality
A national conference this week in Jacksonville focused on quality education. In Florida, that quality is often measured by the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, and teacher bonuses, school funding and more are tied to the results. A few...
TV: Facing the Mortgage Crisis - Radio: The Push for Drilling
The debate over allowing oil and natural gas drilling as close as a few miles from Florida’s Gulf coast has heated up in recent weeks and figures to be a key issue during the spring legislative session. On this week’s show, we’ll hear why...
The Push for Drilling - Part 2
Last week, we focused on oil and natural gas drilling off Florida’s Gulf Coast. We wrap up that conversation by looking in more detail at the potential for new jobs and royalty payments to the state if the moratorium on drilling in state waters is...
Listening to Our Past
Meet a man who joined the circus as a teen, another who was part of Tampa’s first day of integrated dining in the 1960s, and a woman whose family went to meetings and picnics in Ybor City supporting the Spanish Republic during that country’s civil...
Helping Homeless Veterans
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says as many as a third of the nation’s homeless people are veterans. The issue has gained such prominence recently that the VA secretary has pledged to end homelessness among veterans within five years -- and...
Training Better Teachers
Over the next seven years, Hillsborough County Schools will spend $202 million to make teachers better at their jobs. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has chipped in $100 million of that -- the largest of four teacher effectiveness grants. The...
2009 Year in Review
As the saying goes, “It’s the economy, stupid.” That was the big story of 2009, touching all of our lives and driving much of the national conversation. Fittingly, it’s also the story we start with as we look back at the last year in Florida with...
Listening to Our Past (Rebroadcast)
Meet a man who joined the circus as a teen, another who was part of Tampa’s first day of integrated dining in the 1960s, and a woman whose family went to meetings and picnics in Ybor City supporting the Spanish Republic during that country’s civil...
2009 Year in Review (Rebroadcast)
As the saying goes, “It’s the economy, stupid.” That was the big story of 2009, touching all of our lives and driving much of the national conversation. Fittingly, it’s also the story we start with as we look back at the last year in Florida with...
Florida's 2010 Political Landscape
It’s the first week of 2010 and Florida’s election season has already begun. The state’s Chief Financial Officer and Attorney General are battling for the governor’s job. And what once seemed an inevitable victory for Gov. Charlie Crist in the U.S....
Disaster in Haiti
Estimates put the number of dead in the tens of thousands as recovery continues from a devastating earthquake in Haiti. The quake is being felt well beyond Haiti’s borders, including in Florida, which is home to more than 200,000 Haitians. We’ll...
Balancing Water Uses
When the rare overnight freeze moves into the Bay area, farmers typically turn on the sprinklers and blanket their crops with an insulating layer of ice. In the short term, that doesn’t usually cause significant problems. But after 11 days of...
Reworking Class Size Limits
In 2002, Florida voters set specific limits on the number of students in the state’s classrooms. Since then, districts have been phasing in smaller classes, shrinking them by two students a year. And come August, all classrooms in the state must be...
Water Quality: EPA Takes Over
Last year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency agreed to set specific limits on phosphorus and nitrogen in Florida waters to settle an ongoing lawsuit. It’s the first time the EPA has stepped in and set water quality standards for a state. The...
Drug Court:Treatment, Not Jail
People arrested for drug crimes often face jail time and perhaps court-ordered rehabilitation or treatment. In drug court, that’s flipped around: outpatient or residential treatment, regular check-ins with a judge, and jail time as a last resort....
Stimulus and Jobs
Last February, Congress passed a $787 billion bill designed to create (and save) jobs and jump-start the economy. Nearly a year later -- with President Obama making jobs the centerpiece of his State of the Union and his visit to Tampa -- we look at...
Staying Healthy
Once you're admitted to the hospital, you're already sick. But while some patients are trying to heal, they get an infection and get worse instead. The Centers for Disease Control reports that 1.7 million people develop these healthcare-associated...
Seminole Gaming Negotiations
This spring, lawmakers agreed to give the Seminole Tribe exclusive rights to some card games in exchange for millions of dollars in revenue sharing for the state budget. Negotiations are underway to finalize the details, including how much money the...
Defending Freedom
While the explosions and bursts of light this weekend will make us "ooh" and "ahh," that's not the case for thousands of troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. This week on Florida Matters, meet some local members of the military who reflect with...
Mass Transit: The Next 40 Years
For years, the talk in Florida has been about mass transit. Here in the Bay area, a relatively new planning agency is taking a regional approach to transportation planning and has unveiled a 40-year master plan. Light rail, expanded bus routes,...
Transportation
For years, Floridians have heard that the solution to our traffic woes is rail: commuter rail, high-speed rail, light rail. In the Bay area, creation of a regional transit master plan is underway and Tampa's mayor is pushing for light rail in the...
The Amendments 2008
Florida voters once again face a bevy of constitutional amendments on the ballot next month. The six proposals address everything from the definition of marriage and property tax exemptions to allowing local option taxes for community colleges. Each...
Historic Preservation
Occasionally, we hear about a building under dispute because it has historic value to some people but another group of people wants to tear it down. The Belleview Biltmore and Sarasota's Riverview High School are two recent examples - one was saved...
Arts in Tampa Bay
For many artists, their creations are a hobby, a passion, an outlet. Some artists make a go of it as professionals, depending on their creativity to provide an income. But is there demand for art in this sour economy? And how do you take that leap...
Crime and Recession
Conventional wisdom says crime rises when the economy goes bad; studies say that has been true during every recession since the 1950s. With the country facing what many consider to be the deepest recession in 70 years, that could mean a spike in...
Fighting Invasive Species
Burmese pythons are getting plenty of attention lately. Congress is considering a federal ban on importing the snakes and moving them across state lines, and there has been talk of hunting the snakes down. Florida has many non-native plants, pests...
The Impact of Bullying
After a group of middle school students sexually assaulted one of their peers, many parents started to wonder: how bad is bullying i our schools? We look at what's going on in schools and why doctors now consider bullying a health issue. And we...
The Economy
Every day, we hear more reports of layoffs, bankruptcies, foreclosures and public funding shortfalls. It's the chronicle of a faltering economy that is impacting all Floridians. This week, we're taking a look at the state's cycles of economic boom-...
Defining Green
President Barack Obama talks about the promise of an economy built on "green" jobs - the work that will have to be done to make our society more eco-friendly and sustainable. This week, we shed some light on what "green" means and what standards...
Civic Engagement
At every level, our democracy is built on the input of citizens in the governing process. Civic Engagement can mean being part of that process, like speaking out about issues that affect you. This week, we'll look at how people become engaged...
The State of Education
The traditional path of high school to college to career is not always the best path for all students. This week, we explore some of the ways educators are working to get their students prepared for careers, not just prepared for graduation. Plus,...
United States - Cuba Relations
Get caught up on the shows you might have missed so far this year. We talk about how venture capitalists fund innovative ideas in Florida. Get a better understanding of what "green" means in our world today. And we look at ways high school students...
Going Green
Florida officials want more renewable energy. A bill in the Legislature would mandate that power companies get 20 percent of their energy from renewable sources like wind, solar, bio-mass and nuclear power. But it's still uncertain if the measure...
Best of Florida Stories Part 2
As another hurricane season begins, officials don't want residents to be complacent after a few quiet seasons. It only takes one storm to ruin your summer. This week, we'll meet Florida's new emergency manager, debunk some hurricane preparation...
A Tribute to the Bay Area
The economic recession is keeping many would-be travelers at home. Across Florida, that's leading to amped-up marketing in hopes of drawing people here. This week, we take an informal survey of the tourism industry to find out what those businesses...
Best of Florida Stories Part 1
Lawmakers used federal stimulus money and a variety of increased fees to support a $66.5 billion spending plan for next year. But they failed to pass any significant tax reforms. This week, we look back at the annual legislative session and talk...
Crime in the Sunshine State
An often-cited statistic among law enforcement professionals goes something like this: 6 percent of people commit 60 percent of the crime. We'll learn about efforts by one local sheriff's office to catch that 60 percent. Plus, white-collar and...
Florida's Drought
After three years of below-average rainfall, the rivers are low and the reservoir is empty. Water managers and local governments have imposed the tightest water-use restrictions ever. But out West, communities have been dealing with drought for...
Arts in Tampa Bay
For many artists, their creations are a hobby, a passion, an outlet. Some artists make a go of it as professionals, depending on their creativity to provide an income. But is there demand for art in this sour economy? And how do you take that leap...
Innovation
People and companies are always coming up with new ideas and new innovations. But when you have a great idea and no money to build your business or market that idea, where do you turn? This week, Florida Matters takes a look at venture capital -...
Facing the Mortgage Crisis
The number of foreclosures in Florida has quadrupled since 2006. In Bradenton and Sarasota alone, foreclosures rose 600 percent between 2006 and 2008. This week on Florida Matters, we're examining the impact of foreclosure on our community. We'll...
Florida's Robots
We've come a long way from the mechanical robots of 1950s and 1960s science fiction stories. Robots today are science fact -- and some of the leading research in robotics is taking place right here in the Tampa Bay area. This week we explore where...
Feeding Ourselves
Earlier this year, state education officials found they needed $62 million more to cover free and reduced lunches for low-income children. Meanwhile, more families have become eligible for food stamps and food banks say they need more donations to...
Finding Work
This August, Florida Matters is focused on the economy and helping you find resources to face your economic issues. This week: jobs. We'll meet a few Bay area residents doing whatever they can to find a steady paycheck. A job counselor tells us that...
Surviving the Economic Uncertainty
This week, we revisit portions of two shows we produced earlier this year that ring true now more than ever. We'll hear how three area managers operate during a budget crisis. Plus, we'll revisit our discussion on reinventing yourself in a tough...

 

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