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Florida Matters

Florida Matters

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Florida Matters is a weekly public affairs program that goes beyond the daily headlines to examine issues important to Floridians.More from Florida Matters »

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Florida Matters: Staycations In Tampa Bay

Summer is in full swing and for those who can't get out of town, a staycation can make all the difference. This week on Florida Matters we're taking a look at some ways to escape the everyday hustle and bustle and have some fun in the Tampa Bay Area. Reporter Mary Shedden starts us off by getting some staycation suggestions from Sharon Kennedy Wynne, who writes about "Things to Do" for the Tampa Bay Times. Florida Matters producer Stephanie Colombini gives us a bird's eye view of postcard-perfect Tampa Bay on a zip line tour in Oldsmar. Host Robin Sussingham takes us on a tour of a chocolate shop in Belleair Bluffs. Reporter Cathy Carter talks with Wayne Atherholt, St. Petersburg's Cultural Affairs Director, about the city's flourishing art scene. And for night owls, reporter Daylina Miller wraps things up for us with an evening ghost tour in Ybor City. Be sure to click the links above for more information about our Tampa Bay staycations and plenty of great photos. What are your favorite things to do in the Tampa Bay Area? Keep the conversation going on our Facebook page, on Twitter or by emailing FloridaMatters@wusf.org.

Florida Matters: The State Of Florida Tourism

Tourism brought in an estimated $109 billion a year to Florida at last count. This week on Florida Matters we're taking a look at the current state of Florida's number one industry. You may have heard about the tug-of-war during the last legislative session between Governor Rick Scott and House Speaker Richard Corcoran. They were battling over how much taxpayer money should go toward Visit Florida, the organization in charge of promoting the state to potential visitors. Gov. Scott wanted to increase funding, Corcoran hoped to slash it. In the end, Visit Florida kept its state support at about the same year-to-year level of $76 million. So what's ahead for tourism? How does the marketing agency prove its worth? And how popular is Florida among domestic and international tourists? Our panelists to discuss these issues are: • Santiago Corrada, President and CEO of Visit Tampa Bay • Maryann Ferenc, Visit Florida board member and CEO and owner of Mise En Place in Tampa • Dr. Abraham Pizam, Dean of the University of Central Florida's Rosen College of Hospitality Management You can continue the conversation on tourism in Florida on our Facebook page, on Twitter or by emailing FloridaMatters@wusf.org.

Florida Matters: The State Of Florida Tourism

Florida Matters: St. Petersburg Mayoral Race

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. The mayor's office is technically nonpartisan. But some have accused the two front-runners, incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and former mayor Rick Baker, of turning this campaign into a Democrat vs. Republican battle. There are four other candidates qualified to run in the race that holds its primary on Aug. 29. In the preview above, Florida Matters host Robin Sussingham talks about the issue of partisanship in this election with long time political journalist William March, and Peter Schorsch, political consultant and publisher of FloridaPolitics.com and SaintPetersBlog.com.

Florida Matters: St. Petersburg Mayoral Race

Florida Matters: Foster Care In The Suncoast Region

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. 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. We also hear how the opioid crisis is putting a strain on foster care in the region. Our guests include: Brena Slater, Vice President of the Sarasota YMCA's Safe Children Coalition, which oversees foster care for Manatee, Sarasota and De Soto Counties. Chris O'Donnell, reporter with the Tampa Bay Times who has done extensive coverage on foster care. Yvonne Marrone, Community Outreach Coordinator with the Florida Guardian Ad Litem Program in Hillsborough County. You can keep the conversation on foster care going on our Facebook page or by emailing FloridaMatters@wusf.org. You can keep the conversation on foster care going on our Facebook page or by emailing FloridaMatters@wusf.org. Are you interested in becoming a foster parent? If you live in Sarasota, Manatee or De Soto counties, click here to learn how the process works. Click here if you live in Hillsborough, Pinellas or Pasco counties. Would you like to volunteer as a Guardian Ad Litem? Call 813-272-5110, or if you are not a Hillsborough County resident, visit the statewide website to find your circuit and get involved. If you have any concerns about potential abuse in your family or neighborhood, visit the Florida Department of Children and Families website or call the Abuse Hotline 1-800-962-2872.

Florida Matters: Foster Care In The Suncoast Region

Florida Matters Re-Broadcast: Libraries In The 21st Century

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 talking to people who work in libraries about what might be in store for the future. Our guests include: Todd Chavez, Dean of Libraries for the University of South Florida. Ava Edhe, Services Manager for Manatee County Public Libraries. Edhe was recently named 2017 Librarian of the Year by the Florida Library Association. Mark Y. Herring, Dean of Library Services for Winthrop University and author of the book "Are Libraries Obsolete?: An Argument for Relevance in the Digital Age" We'll also take a brief look into the past.

Florida Matters Re-Broadcast: Libraries In The 21st Century

Florida Matters: The Impact Of Veteran Suicide Part 2

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. The Department of Veterans Affairs has expressed concerns about the increased rate of veteran suicide and is pouring resources into combating the problem. The most recent change will be effective July 5, when the VA begins expanding emergency mental health care to former service members with other-than-honorable discharges, a group of vets that isn't always eligible for military benefits. Florida Matters spent the first half of our special two-part program on veteran suicide trying to better understand the issue – what factors could lead a veteran to die by suicide and how does the social stigma surrounding suicide impact how families grieve? This week we'll keep the conversation going, talking about how military culture presents unique challenges and opportunities for dealing with mental illness, how certain groups within the veteran population, like female vets, may experience increased feelings of isolation after returning to civilian life, and how reading and writing about experiences can help struggling vets and their families heal. Our guests include: Chaplain Linda Pugsley, a Vietnam veteran flight nurse and chaplain at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. Carla Stumpf-Patton, Director of Suicide Services with the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) and surviving spouse of Marine D.I. SGT Richard Stumpf. Kelly Kennedy, U.S. Army veteran Communications Specialist, award-winning journalist and author of the book "They Fought for Each Other." Our conversation on veteran suicide has wrapped up for now, but we invite you to keep the discussion going. Have you been touched by veteran suicide? Share your thoughts or experiences in the comments section below, on our Facebook page, or by emailing FloridaMatters@wusf.org. Listed below are links and information about some additional resources available for suicide prevention and healing. For anyone who has suffered the death of a service member or veteran: https://www.taps.org/ https://www.va.gov/survivors/ For military community in need of support: https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/ https://www.ptsd.va.gov/ http://www.dspo.mil/ http://www.vets4warriors.com/ For the general population: www.AFSP.org http://www.suicidology.org/ http://www.floridasuicideprevention.org/ Some Tampa-based veteran centers to get help: 1. Tampa Vet Center: 3637A W Waters Ave/813-228-2621 2. James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital: 13000 Bruce B Downs Blvd/813-972-2000 3. Veterans of Foreign Wars: 105 W Broad St /813-237-3183 4. Veterans of Foreign Wars: 8414 N 40th St/813-985-6111 5. United States Government US Veterans Affairs: 1507 W Sligh Ave/813-228-2621 Music used during the opening montage that recaps the first half of our two-part program on veteran suicide can be attributed to the artist Podington Bear.

Florida Matters: The Impact Of Veteran Suicide Part 2

Florida Matters: Veteran Suicide Part 1

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. The Department of Veterans Affairs is pouring resources into mental health efforts and suicide prevention, but we're also more aware of the devastating impact a suicide can have on the loved ones that he or she leaves behind. Florida Matters is doing a special two-part program on veteran suicide, its impact on comrades and loves ones and the support available for prevention and healing. Our guests include: Chaplain Linda Pugsley, a Vietnam veteran flight nurse and chaplain at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. Carla Stumpf-Patton, Director of Postvention Programs with the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) and surviving spouse of Marine D.I. SGT Richard Stumpf Kelly Kennedy, U.S. Army veteran Communications Specialist, award-winning journalist and author of the book "They Fought for Each Other." Our conversation on veteran suicide continues on July 4th with the second part of our program, but we invite you to keep the discussion going now. Have you been touched by veteran suicide? Share your thoughts or experiences in the comments section below, on our Facebook page, or by emailing FloridaMatters@wusf.org Listed below are links and information about some additional resources available for suicide prevention and healing. For anyone who has suffered the death of a service member or veteran: https://www.taps.org/ https://www.va.gov/survivors/ For military community in need of support: https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/ https://www.ptsd.va.gov/ http://www.dspo.mil/ http://www.vets4warriors.com/ For the general population: www.AFSP.org http://www.suicidology.org/ http://www.floridasuicideprevention.org/ Some Tampa-based veteran centers to get help: 1. Tampa Vet Center: 3637A W Waters Ave/813-228-2621 2. James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital: 13000 Bruce B Downs Blvd/813-972-2000 3. Veterans of Foreign Wars: 105 W Broad St /813-237-3183 4. Veterans of Foreign Wars: 8414 N 40th St/813-985-6111 5. United States Government US Veterans Affairs: 1507 W Sligh Ave/813-228-2621

Florida Matters Re-Broadcast: Food Insecurity Town Hall

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. We hosted a town hall on this issue on April 17 at Florida Southern College's Annie Pfeiffer Chapel. Florida Matters host Robin Sussingham talked to people who are on the front lines of this fight against hunger and deprivation about what they've learned, and we also held a Q&A with our audience of about 80 people. This week on Florida Matters, we listen to highlights from our town hall on food insecurity in Polk County. Our panelists include: Patricia Strickland, Executive Director of KidsPACK, which provides food for students to take home on the weekends. Whitney Fung, a doctoral student at USF's College of Public Health. Whitney was previously an agent with the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension Program in Bartow. Steve Turbeville, President and CEO of Lighthouse Ministries, a faith-based shelter in Lakeland that offers comprehensive services to the needy, and also distributes food boxes to area churches.

Florida Matters Re-Broadcast: Food Insecurity Town Hall

Florida Matters: Zika In 2017

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? This week on Florida Matters we're talking about the latest research and response efforts related to mosquito-borne illnesses like the Zika virus. We're also answering questions and comments from listeners about what they can do to prepare. Our guests include: Dr. Jamie Morano, Assistant Professor in the Division of Infectious Disease and International Medicine at the University of South Florida Rob Krueger, Entomology and Education Specialist with Pinellas County Mosquito Control Dan Chang, Staff Writer at the Miami Herald Thanks to all our listeners who shared their feedback. Keep the conversation going in the comments section below or on our Facebook page. More information about Zika: Click here for the CDC website on Zika, which includes advice about prevention and treatment, maps of at-risk areas and more. Click here for the Florida Department of Health's website on Zika, which breaks down local cases of Zika by county and infection type, and includes a Zika hotline and other resources for residents and visitors. Click here to learn more about the outcomes of pregnancies with possible evidence of Zika infection in the United States.

Florida Matters Newsmaker: Dr. Susan MacManus and Florida's Minority Trailblazers

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. MacManus is a Distinguished Professor of Public Administration and Political Science at USF. Her latest book, "Florida's Minority Trailblazers," covers about 50 political figures who broke barriers of race, ethnicity and gender in a variety of branches of government. This week on Florida Matters, we talk with Dr. MacManus to learn more about her career and what inspired her to write the book. Then we dive into some of the trailblazers, including, among others: Betty Mae Tiger Jumper, the first and so far only female chair of the Seminole Tribe of Florida. U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the first Hispanic woman elected to Congress and the first Hispanic woman elected to the Florida Legislature. Edmund "Eddie" Gong, the first Asian American elected to the Florida Legislature. Jessie J. McCrary Jr., the first black member of the Florida Cabinet, the black lawyer from Florida to argue a case before the U.S. Supreme Court and the first black member of the Florida Supreme Court. U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, first Hispanic Speaker of the House in Florida. "Florida's Minority Trailblazers: The Men and Women Who Changed the Face of Florida Government" is published by University Press of Florida.

Florida Matters Newsmaker: Dr. Susan MacManus and Florida's Minority Trailblazers

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