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Florida Matters

Florida Matters

From WUSF Public Media - WUSF 89.7

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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Most Recent Episodes

Florida Matters: Life After The Parkland Shooting

Seniors at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland recently celebrated graduation, but they had to do so while still dealing with the trauma from the February mass shooting. This week on Florida Matters, we meet one of the graduates and hear about her life since the massacre. 18-year-old Leonor Muñoz was one of thousands of students and staff at the school who fled to safety while shooter Nikolas Cruz used an AR-15 to kill 17 people on Valentine's Day. At the request of member station WLRN in Miami, Leonor started recording her experiences in the weeks after the shooting and continued to do so leading up to her graduation. In addition to hearing Leonor's audio diary, we also speak with the reporter who produced it, WLRN's Sammy Mack, and her colleague Caitie Switalski, about how the Parkland community is moving forward. You can hear more conversation with the reporters on our podcast Florida Matters More.

Florida Matters: Life After The Parkland Shooting

Florida Matters: 2018 Hurricane Season

This week on Florida Matters we talk to weather experts and hear stories about how communities across the state are preparing for the 2018 hurricane season. The season kicked off on June 1, and scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predict this year will be normal or above average with up to four major hurricanes. We hear meteorologist Jeff Huffman with the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network talk with Max Mayfield, former director of the National Hurricane Center and current hurricane specialist for WPLG-TV in Miami. They recently sat down together at the National Tropical Weather Conference in South Padre Island, Texas. We remember those who died in a sweltering Broward County nursing home during a power outage in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. Those deaths spurred the state legislature to pass new rules that require nursing homes and assisted-living facilities to have backup generators. Though the rules went into effect June 1, much of the industry is not in compliance. We visit a St. Petersburg facility to see what challenges they face in making sure vulnerable residents are safe in severe weather. We get tips about how residents can prepare for storms from Jacksonville-based meteorologist Angie Enyedi with the National Weather Service. She recently sat down with student journalists with the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network at FPREN's weather center at WUFT in Gainesville. We learn about a push in South Florida after Irma to help neighbors help each other if another major storm makes landfall, particularly those living in low-income communities. We also visit Everglades City, which is still trying to piece itself back together more than eight months after Irma. We hear from a resident of the tight-knit fishing village who was deeply affected by the storm but is optimistic about the future. You can hear more conversation about the 2018 hurricane season on our podcast Florida Matters More. WUSF will keep you updated throughout the season with coverage of any storms that could impact our area. You can find the latest stories on our website. You can also share your hurricane prep tips on our Facebook page or by tweeting @FloridaMatters.

Florida Matters Re-Broadcast: Health Care Town Hall

While across the nation the cultural and political tug-of-war over health care rages on, locally, healers keep on healing. But providing care for people can get complicated when they don't have health insurance. Florida Matters recently hosted a panel discussion in front of a live audience at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg about caring for the uninsured. This week we take another listen to highlights from our conversation with experts and questions from the audience. Our panelists include: Jay Wolfson, Associate Vice President of USF Health and Senior Associate Dean of USF's Morsani College of Medicine. Dr. Ajoy Kumar, Medical Director of the St. Petersburg Free Clinic, Chief Medical Officer of Bayfront Health St. Petersburg and President of the Florida Academy of Family Physicians. Julio Ochoa, the editor of Health News Florida and producer of "Their Only Option," a special series on free clinics in the Tampa Bay area. If you're looking for a free clinic in your area you can check out this map on the Florida Association of Free and Charitable Clinics website. You can hear more conversation about free clinics and Health News Florida's "Their only Option" series on our podcast Florida Matters More.

Florida Matters Re-Broadcast: Health Care Town Hall

Florida Matters News Roundtable: Politics, Opioid Lawsuit, Mosaic Relocation & More

Florida sues the nation's biggest drug makers, political battles heat up and Hillsborough attracts a Fortune 500 company headquarters. Those are just some of the latest state news stories we'll discuss with reporters on this month's edition of our Florida Matters news roundtable. Our guests include: Adam Smith, political editor at the Tampa Bay Times Janelle Irwin, reporter with the Tampa Bay Business Journal Julio Ochoa, editor of WUSF's Health News Florida You can hear more discussion on politics, transit and other news on our podcast Florida Matters More.

Florida Matters News Roundtable: Politics, Opioid Lawsuit, Mosaic Relocation & More

Florida Matters: Navigating The Medical Marijuana Industry

More and more Floridians every week are signing up for access to medical marijuana, and with over 100,000 patients already on the registry, there is clearly money to be made. This week on Florida Matters we talk with people who work in the business about the obstacles and opportunities in the burgeoning medical marijuana industry. Our panel includes guests from two of the 13 companies licensed to grow and sell medical marijuana in Florida as well as the owner of a medical marijuana education program: Darrin Potter, Chief Horticulture Officer at GrowHealthy Kim Rivers, CEO of Trulieve Daniel Elias, President of Pharmacology University You can hear more conversation about the medical marijuana industry on our podcast Florida Matters More.

Florida Matters: Navigating The Medical Marijuana Industry

Florida Matters Newsmaker: Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd is never at a loss for words or opinions on criminal behavior. He has recently played a major role in the response to the school shooting in Parkland. This week on Florida Matters, we talk with Sheriff Judd as part of our ongoing "Newsmaker" series. Judd has been Sheriff of Polk County since 2004. He is the President of Major County Sheriffs of America and former president of the Florida Sheriffs Association. During our conversation with him at his office in Winter Haven, we discussed a variety of issues including: Programs run by the Sheriff's Office that train and arm school staff members to fend off active shooters A program the department is preparing to launch that offers special services to inmates with severe mental health issues The Sheriff's stance on legalized marijuana The Sheriff's concerns about the state's juvenile justice system You can share your thoughts about what Sheriff Judd had to say by commenting on our Facebook page, tweeting @FloridaMatters or emailing FloridaMatters@wusf.org. Hear an extended conversation with the Sheriff on issues like how to recruit and retain law enforcement amid a recent string of attacks on police officers in the state on our podcast Florida Matters More.

Florida Matters Newsmaker: Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd

Florida Matters: BRT In Tampa Bay

Taxpayers in Tampa Bay have never given the "green light" to a transit rail system, but maybe fast, cheap buses will prove more popular. This week on Florida Matters we're talking about the proposed 41-mile regional bus rapid transit system that would connect St. Petersburg, Tampa and Wesley Chapel along Interstate 275. Our guests include: Brad Miller, CEO of Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA). Dennis Hinebaugh, Program Director for Transit Research at USF's Center for Urban Transportation Research and Director of CUTR's National Bus Rapid Transit Institute. Sharon Calvert, co-founder of the Hillsborough County Tea Party and a longtime critic of expensive transit projects. We also hear a report on bus rapid transit from WUSF's Steve Newborn and feature comments from listeners who submitted their feedback about transportation in Tampa Bay. Special thanks to all who shared their thoughts about transit with us both on and off the air. You can continue the conversation on our Facebook page, tweet @FloridaMatters or email FloridaMatters@wusf.org. Hear our panelists further discuss BRT on our podcast Florida Matters More.

Florida Matters News Roundtable: CRC Bundling, Medical Marijuana And Political Races

This week on Florida Matters we'll talk about some of the latest news impacting our state during another edition of our monthly reporters' roundtable. Our guests include longtime political reporter William March and Tampa Bay Times health reporter Justine Griffin. We discuss some of the political races heating up in Florida, including the race to fill former U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross' (R-Lakeland) open House seat, Gov. Rick Scott entering the U.S. Senate race against incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson and Sarasota Congressman Vern Buchanan's bid for re-election. We talk about some of the proposed amendments recently approved by the Constitution Revision Commission and the controversy that aroused from those that bundle different issues. We also discuss some medical marijuana news: Florida recently hit a milestone of having over 100,000 patients registered to use medical marijuana; and Tampa strip club owner and stage 4 lung cancer survivor Joe Redner seems to have come out on top of a legal battle with the Department of Health to grow his own medical marijuana. You can hear more conversation about the latest news, including the opening of the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art in downtown St. Petersburg, on our podcast Florida Matters More.

Florida Matters News Roundtable: CRC Bundling, Medical Marijuana And Political Races

Florida Matters: Birding In Tampa Bay

The Tampa Bay Area is a mecca for bird-watchers year round. But spring is particularly special, when Florida's native species are joined by large numbers of other birds migrating north. This week on Florida Matters we'll learn about our region's bird population and hear the stories of people who make observing these winged animals their life passion. Our panel includes: Ann Paul: Tampa Bay Area Regional Coordinator for Audubon's Florida Coastal Islands Sanctuaries. She is an expert in water bird populations and management of coastal habitats for wildlife. She is also on the board of the Tampa Bay Conservancy. Mary Keith: President of the Tampa Audubon Society Dave Goodwin: Former president of the Florida Ornithological Society and of St. Petersburg Audubon. He has been birding in Florida for over 50 years and currently has the third-highest list total in the state, at 471 species. Do you have a favorite birding experience? Share your comments on our Facebook page, tweet @FloridaMatters or by email FloridaMatters@wusf.org. Interested in going on a local bird walk? There are a number of field trips planned in Tampa and St. Petersburg this year. Learn more about the Florida Birding and Nature Festival coming up this October in Tampa. All bird sounds featured on the program came courtesy of the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Florida Matters: The Changing State Of Retail

Shopping as we know it is changing fast. Big box stores are vanishing; Amazon is going bricks and mortar. What does it all mean for the health of our local economy? This week on Florida Matters we're talking about how the retail industry is adapting to survive in an increasingly digital world. We also discuss the role retail will play in some of the major developments going on in our area, like Water Street Tampa and Midtown Tampa. Our guests include: Ashley Gurbal Kritzer: Senior Reporter with the Tampa Bay Business Journal Paul Rutledge: First Vice President, Retail Brokerage in CBRE's Tampa office David Ortinau, PhD: Marketing professor at the University of South Florida's Muma College of Business You can hear our conversation about retail continue on our podcast Florida Matters More. Have your shopping patterns changed over the years? Do you prefer to shop in physical storefronts or online? Share your thoughts with us on our Facebook page, tweet @FloridaMatters or email FloridaMatters@wusf.org.

Florida Matters: The Changing State Of Retail

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