The best conversations of 2023 on Florida Matters
Florida Matters looks back at some of the best conversations we had with newsmakers from our region.
We've had some very interesting conversations with newsmakers across the greater Tampa Bay region.
Here's a sampling of some of our favorites:
Jane Castor won a second term as mayor of Tampa in March. Before that, we went to city hall to speak with Castor about her tenure over the previous four years.
She talked about the region's transportation woes, sustainability and police reform in wake of the death of Tyre Nichols and the abrupt departure of Tampa police chief Mary O'Connor.
And she discussed the need to address housing affordability in Tampa's increasingly crowded housing market.
In June, University of South Florida researcher Joseph Dituri swam to the surface in Key Largo after spending a record-breaking 100 days living in an underwater habitat. We caught up with Dituri a few weeks later at his office in West Tampa. Dituri's goal was to learn more about the effects of extended underwater stays on the human body, including temporarily losing the ability to see far distances.
Goliath Davis, a columnist for the Weekly Challenger newspaper, which covers the Tampa Bay area's African-American communities, wrote a series of columns after a parent of an elementary school student in Pinellas County complained about the Disney movie "Ruby Bridges" being shown to second graders.
It's based on the story of a 6-year-old girl’s experience with school integration in New Orleans during the 1960s.
The complaint, and reports that the movie had been banned at the school, sparked an outcry over the role of parental rights in Florida’s public schools. But a school board review committee decided to continue showing it as part of the school’s curriculum.
Davis met with us in April to talk about the importance of showing a film like "Ruby Bridges" to young students.
Over the summer, we launched Our Changing State, a podcast that explores how the state's rapid population growth is affecting our lives.
We highlighted people witnessing the changes, including retired political science professor Susan MacManus, who talked about the polarizing politics that has made Florida a testing ground for the nation.
"Maximum Vantage" is a collection of newspaper columns from Bill Maxwell. The book features almost 20 years of Maxwell's essays from the Tampa Bay Times on racism, living conditions for farmworkers, Florida's environment, and more. They all draw from his life experiences, including growing up as a migrant farmworker. As a child, Maxwell told us, he traveled from Florida to New York annually for 16 years.
In our podcast Our Changing State, we met 52 year old Christopher Powell. He was born and raised in Florida and now lives in Tarpon Springs with his backyard dipping into St. Joseph Sound on the Gulf of Mexico.
Powell talked last summer with WUSF's Jessica Meszaros on his boat at Three Rooker Island, just a couple of miles away from his home.
After the interview was recorded, we learned that Hurricane Idalia brought 11 inches of water into Powell’s home on St. Joseph Sound.