Susan Giles Wantuck

Susan Giles Wantuck is our midday news host, and a producer and reporter for WUSF Public Media who focuses her storytelling on arts and culture. 

She also serves as a music host on Classical WSMR 89.1 and 103.9. 

She is a lifelong resident with family roots that stretch back in Florida before it garnered statehood.  Susan holds a B.S. in Mass Communication from USF. The Florida Associated Press Broadcasters Association and the Society of Professional Journalists have honored her hosting and reporting work.

While people in the Mid-Atlantic states make their last-minute preparations for Hurricane Florence, emergency responders from the Tampa Bay region are there in North Carolina, helping with medical evacuations. 

It's been a long time since Florida's Gulf Coast has seen a red tide outbreak this severe.

The City of Sarasota has declared a state of emergency over the toxic red tide bloom that began in November.

Todd Kerkering is the emergency manager for the city of Sarasota. He has lived there since the 1970s and said he doesn't remember ever hearing about an emergency declaration in Sarasota because of red tide. 

There are more than 200,000 students attending hundreds of schools across the Hillsborough County Public School district. The average age of those schools is 50 years old.

Now, the district is in the process of voluntarily testing drinking water for lead in those school buildings and its other facilities.

Manatee County is trying to turn things around for the youngest victims of the opioid epidemic - children.

Organizations within the community, such as Drug Free Manatee, are working with law enforcement, social service agencies and schools.

There will be candlelight vigils on both sides of the bay tonight to remember those who lost their lives because of drugs or alcohol.

Narcotics Overdose Prevention and Education, or "NOPE," is holding the events.

In Florida, it's always wildfire season. But spring is the time of year when the risk is highest.

For 14 years, State Sen.  Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater) has been a driving force to bring communities and food together in this region around this time of year. The food doesn’t actually come from him or his partners this year, Rep. Chris Latvala (R-Clearwater), or Rep. Chris Sprowls (R-Palm Springs). 

WMFE

A record number of heroin overdoses in Manatee County has put a strain on families and facilities.

Those same overdoses are pushing the limits of the medical examiner's office, which has seen record numbers of autopsies in July and August of this year, according to the Bradenton Herald.

The blood bank that serves Sarasota and Manatee Counties now is joining other blood banks in testing donors for the Zika virus, which has been linked to birth defects such as microcephaly.


Sarasota County has become among the first counties in Florida to be able to accept text to 911 emergency messages. But Emergency Operations Manager Kris Adams stresses that if you can speak, it's still best to call though.

The Twitterverse is blowing up with claims that Florida has a "flesh-eating" bacteria but state health officials are trying to tamp down what they say is wrong information.