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90.7 WMFE's Intersection
51 minutes | Jun 11, 2021
Intersection: Remembering Pulse, Five Years On
This Saturday marks 5 years since the Pulse nightclub shooting. Forty-nine people were killed and more than fifty injured in what was at the time the worst mass shooting in modern US history. On this episode of Intersection we talk about the impact of the tragedy on Orlando and what’s changed in the last five years. We hear from Nightclub owner Barbara Poma about plans for a permanent memorial and museum- and what Pulse meant for the community. Former OPD SWAT officer Tim Stanley and shooting survivor Orlando Torres describe the events of that night- a 3 hour hostage situation and the rescue that followed. They also discuss how Pulse led to changes in how law enforcement agencies train to respond to mass shootings, and a change in culture to address PTSD stemming from traumatic events like Pulse. And we talk to filmmaker Charlie Minn. His documentary 49 Pulses was first released two years after the shooting. Minn’s giving the film another showing at Fashion Square Mall in Orlando on Friday. Minn discusses mission with this documentary, and the movie he made about the Parkland shooting.
51 minutes | Jun 4, 2021
Intersection: Hurricane Season; Food Insecurity; Online Games For The 50+ Generation
Hurricane Season has officially begun and forecasters are anticipating a busy season. Seminole County emergency manager Alan Harris says no matter how many storms spin up in the Atlantic- he’s just preparing for one- a hurricane that could hit Seminole County. On this episode of Intersection, host Matthew Peddie talks with Harris about tips for getting ready for storm season, the influence of the pandemic on hurricane response, and the great toilet paper shortage of 2020. The pandemic tipped thousands of Florida families into food insecurity- not sure where their next meal was coming from. Melbourne mother of three Rachel Wilson, who recently testified on Capitol Hill about the importance of SNAP benefits joins the show along with Kelly Quintero of Second Harvest, to talk about the need for food assistance and address some misconceptions about SNAP benefits and who receives them. Growing Bolder is hosting a multi-generational E-sports competition next week. Growing Bolder CEO Marc Middleton says there’s untapped potential for health and wellness- and business- in online gaming with the 50-plus generation. That’s why he’s teamed up with Twitch streamer and musician Matt Heafy who plays guitar and sings in the heavy metal band ‘Trivium’, to launch the ‘BolderX’ competition- and Growing Bolder’s new twitch channel.
51 minutes | May 28, 2021
Intersection: Planning For The Next School Year; Finding Work Post-Pandemic; Flying Through The Pandemic
School’s out for summer, but already teachers and parents are planning for fall. What will that look like with changing rules on masks and with more people vaccinated? Catalina Elementary principal Seth Daub and pediatrician Dr. Candice Jones join Intersection for a conversation about navigating the new normal as the pandemic recedes. Jones says the effects of COVID-19 and the pandemic on children- physically and mentally- isn’t fully understood yet. Daub says from new ways of communicating to different approaches to teaching, some of the lessons learned during 2020 will stay with his school once the pandemic’s over. Businesses are looking for employees, so what are the next steps for Floridians getting back in the job market? We talk with Alexis Echeverria of Career Source Central Florida and State Representative Anna Eskamani about what the new economy looks like. And- keeping Florida’s busiest airport running when passengers stopped flying. Orlando International Airport CEO Phil Brown reflects on lessons learned from the pandemic.
51 minutes | May 21, 2021
Intersection: Locked Out; As One; Green Cities
From March to December last year, about 57,000 eviction notices were filed in Florida. That number is likely an undercount. It’s one of the startling statistics in reporting from the Orlando Sentinel on the eviction crisis as the pandemic amplified an already perilous housing situation for thousands of residents. On this episode of Intersection, host Matthew Peddie talks to the Sentinel’s Caroline Glenn and Desiree Stennett about their series ‘Locked Out’ and how evictions have continued through the pandemic, despite a state and federal moratorium. Opera Orlando’s performance of As One showcases the transgender experience at a time when trans rights are being challenged in Florida and other states across the US. Director Gabriel Preisser and conductor Alexis Enyart join Intersection to discuss the opera and trans visibility in the arts. And as the impacts of climate change become ever more urgent, cities are stepping up their efforts to become carbon neutral. We chat about what that means with the City of Orlando’s Sustainability and Resilience director Chris Castro and Susan Glickman with the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.
51 minutes | May 14, 2021
Intersection: Domestic Violence; Opioid Addiction And Opera; Hunting For Mammoth Fossils
Domestic violence cases are on the rise- according to Harbor House of Central Florida. On this episode of Intersection, host Matthew Peddie talks with Harbor House’s Laura Lucy about their work to help survivors of domestic abuse and violence. Opera del Sol debuts a new work at the Orlando Fringe Festival- mixing the music of Mozart with tracks by Radiohead and others. Opera del Sol’s creative director Nicole Dupre joins us to talk about the piece, called Requiem, which she hopes will start a conversation about opioid addiction. And a pair of amateur fossil hunters caused a stir a few weeks ago when they found an ancient mammoth bone in the Peace River. That’s not all they found buried in the mud. Derek Demeter and Henry Sadler talk about the rare find, and how they hope it will inspire others to be curious about the natural world and the history of Florida.
51 minutes | May 8, 2021
Intersection: Legislative Session Review; Tourism And The Recovery; Mark Pinsky
The 2021 legislative session ended last week- with a flurry of controversial bills in the final stretch of the session defining a contentious two months in Tallahassee for lawmakers. From the bill focused on voting to legislation targeting the participation of transgender athletes in school and college sports, on this episode of Intersection we unpack the session with political analysts Dick Batchelor and Frank Torres. As tourism numbers begin to pick up again- central Florida leaders are cautiously optimistic about the impact on the region’s tourism driven economy. But even as more travelers from other states head to Orlando on holiday or for business – the return of international travel to pre-pandemic levels is expected to take longer. Cassandra Matej joins the show to talk about getting passengers back on planes and tourists back on the road- and the next few months of th recovery. And- Veteran journalist Mark Pinsky’s leaving the Sunshine State and moving to North Carolina. We talk to Mark about religion, politics and crime- which has been his focus during a quarter century of writing about Florida– and the next chapter of his journalism career.
51 minutes | Apr 30, 2021
Intersection: Police Reform; Joel Greenberg Case; Orlando Fringe Returns
In the wake of a controversial bill to crack down on protests, Florida lawmakers have sent a police reform bill to the governor’s desk. On this episode of Intersection, we talk with Sen. Randolph Bracy about what’s in the bill, what didn’t make it in, and his push for broader policing reform. Then- facing a mountain of charges ranging from sex trafficking to wire fraud, former Seminole County tax collector Joel Greenberg is reportedly mulling a plea deal. In the meantime, questions are being asked about what kind of oversight there was over his office. Orlando Sentinel justice and safety editor Jeff Weiner joins us to talk about the Sentinel’s reporting on a story that covers crime, politics and real estate, and connects an ever expanding network of Florida power brokers. And- Orlando Fringe is back! WMFE’s Clarissa Moon talks with a panel of Fringe experts about the past 30 years of the theater festival- what’s changed since the pandemic- and what it’s like to get back on stage.
50 minutes | Apr 22, 2021
Intersection: What The Chauvin Verdict Means For Florida Activists; Justice Peggy Quince Discusses The ‘Anti-Riot’ Bill; Orlando’s Transportation Future
After the guilty verdicts in the trial of the former police officer charged with the murder of George Floyd, activists who have been protesting police brutality since last summer say there’s still much more work to be done. Maxwell Frost with March for our Lives says the verdicts delivered accountability rather than justice. On this episode of Intersection we speak with Frost about what the George Floyd case means for those in Florida who are marching for social change. The ‘Combating Public Disorder’ bill, nicknamed the ‘anti-riot’ bill, is now law. Governor Ron DeSantis signed the bill this week, surrounded by invited law enforcement officers. DeSantis and proponents of the bill say it’s a necessary safeguard against lawlessness and rioting. Opponents call it unconstitutional and an attack on free speech. Former Florida Supreme Court justice Peggy Quince has been an outspoken critic of the bill. She joins us to talk about this and other legislation she says is problematic. The future of transportation and urban design in Orlando could include flying taxis along with electric scooters- and a park under I-4. Orlando’s new transportation director Tanya Wilder joins us for a conversation about getting from A to B in the city beautiful.
51 minutes | Apr 16, 2021
Intersection: Vaccine Hesitancy & The Johnson & Johnson Shot; Neil Volz On Rights Restoration; Eric Camarillo Launches A Laundry Trailer
What does the pause in distribution for the Johnson and Johnson vaccine mean in the fight against COVID-19? How will the issues that the CDC is investigating with the vaccine affect the phenomenon of vaccine hesitancy? On this episode of Intersection, Dr. Ali Mokdad with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation joins us to talk about the vaccination effort in Florida and the US- and how the Johnson and Johnson vaccine fits into that. Then- the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition’s bus tour is rolling through Florida this week. While it’s not an election year, advocates are working to keep the focus on issues like getting voting rights restored for the formerly incarcerated and helping them to find housing and employment when they leave prison. We’ll talk to FRRC deputy director Neil Volz about these issues- plus what he’s keeping an eye on the legislative session, and the making sure the rights of people who are still behind bars aren’t overlooked during the COVID-19 pandemic. And- a conversation with Eric Camarillo who’s been working to trying to solve some of the challenges facing people experiencing homelessness- like access to clean clothes. Camarillo, CEO of the non-profit SALT joins the show to talk about the rollout of a mobile laundry trailer, and how the pandemic ramped up the urgency for non-profits like his that provide services to help the unsheltered.
50 minutes | Apr 9, 2021
Intersection: Unpacking The Anti-Riot Bill; What Medicaid Expansion Would Mean For Florida
Proponents of HB1- the so-called anti-riot bill- say it protects free speech and guards against looting. Opponents say it criminalizes protest. On this episode of Intersection, we talk with political analysts Frank Torres and Dick Batchelor about the anti-riot bill and other controversial bills in the legislative session. Plus- some healthcare advocates say it’s just a matter of time before medicaid expansion happens in the sunshine state. Health care is the second largest item in the budget: And The pandemic and recent federal incentives have reignited the debate in Florida on whether or not to expand Medicaid. We’ll talk with WMFE health reporter Abe Aboraya, Robin Rudowitz with the Kaiser Family Foundation; Miriam Harmetz with the Florida Health Justice project and Anne Swerlick with the Florida Policy Institute -about the potential impact of expansion.
51 minutes | Mar 26, 2021
Intersection: Tourism Post Pandemic; The Economic Recovery And Women In The Workforce; The Shuttle Program’s Generation Of Female Astronauts
With tourism and hospitality still reeling from the impact of the pandemic- now may not seem like the best time to be starting a job leading Orlando’s tourism promotion agency. But Visit Orlando CEO Casandra Matej says she believes the region is well positioned to bounce back. On this episode of Intersection we talk with Matej about where she sees Orlando’s tourism economy headed in 2021. Then- a closer look at what the American Rescue Plan means for women in the workforce. Chabeli Carrazana who reports on the economy for The 19th discusses the recession’s impact on women- and how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected her own family. And the space shuttle program helped open the door for a new generation of female astronauts. University of Central Florida history professor Amy Foster talks with WMFE’s Brendan Byrne about how NASA’s focus on science gave women a window to join the astronaut corps.
51 minutes | Mar 18, 2021
Intersection: How The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Adapted To The Pandemic; SNAP Orlando’s New Exhibition; Carl Hiaasen, Dave Barry & Barbara Peterson on Press Freedom
The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan delivers a shot in the arm to the US economy at the same time as the coronavirus vaccination rollout picks up speed. Business leaders are optimistic about the economic impact of the stimulus and the easing of the pandemic. On this episode of Intersection we talk with John de Armas of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando about how coronavirus has reshaped the way the chamber does business, how they’ve worked to help members stay afloat, and what he anticipates for the business landscape in 2021. SNAP Orlando’s latest exhibition takes another look at Vincent Van Gogh, through the lens of two photographers- Lynn Johnson and Patricia Lanza. SNAP executive director and co-curator Patrick Kahn talks about the exhibition, art in the age of social media, and about running an art gallery in a pandemic. And- Carl Hiaasen retired from the Miami Herald last week, after a career at the paper that spanned more than 40 years. He was renowned for his hard hitting columns and his comic crime novels. Back in 2016, a few weeks before the presidential election, Intersection host Matthew Peddie talked to Hiaasen, fellow columnist and humorist Dave Barry, and Barbara Peterson with the First Amendment Foundation. They discussed free speech, politics and responding to critics. We listen back to that conversation.
51 minutes | Mar 11, 2021
Intersection: The Epidemiology Of The Pandemic, One Year On; Mental Health And COVID-19; Vaccine Disparity
One year ago this week, Central Florida recorded its first coronavirus case. After a long twelve months, vaccines are becoming more widely available and cases are beginning to decline from their peak over the winter. This week on Intersection, host Matthew Peddie talks with WMFE health reporter Abe Aboraya ad Dr. Ali Mokdad with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation about what we’ve learned from the pandemic- and the work that’s still ahead to try and conquer coronavirus. Then- a closer look at the pandemic’s impact on mental health. Eric Welch with the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Greater Orlando joins us to talk about how the pandemic has highlighted importance of mental health over the last year. And even as people are being vaccinated- there are still disparities in distribution. Some of the communities that are struggling to get access to vaccines are the same communities that have been hardest hit by COVID-19. Orlando City Commissioner Bakari Burns and Jasmine Burney Clark with Equal Ground Education Fund join us to discuss how they’re trying to get vaccines to residents who need them most.
51 minutes | Mar 5, 2021
Intersection: Moving Water; Orange County Regional History Center’s New Executive Director
Scientists, farmers, environmental advocates, engineers and politicians have wrestled with Everglades restoration for decades. In 2000, President Bill Clinton signed into law a plan to restore the Everglades and reverse years of environmental destruction. But after 20 years and billions of dollars spent, the plan is still incomplete. On this episode of Intersection, we talk with WMFE environmental reporter Amy Green about her book Moving Water– which tells the story of Everglades activists George and Mary Barley. We’ll also hear from Mary Barley and Trevor Aaronson, executive director of the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting- about everglades restoration and the podcast Drained, which WMFE produced in partnership with FCIR. In the second part of the show, we talk to the Orange County regional history center’s new executive director, Pamela Schwartz. She’ll talk about the history center’s mission, her role in helping curate artifacts from the Pulse nightclub shooting, and the impact of the pandemic.
51 minutes | Feb 26, 2021
Intersection: CPAC; Joe Gruters; Anna Eskamani
The Conservative Political Action Conference takes place in Orlando over the weekend. It’s a chance for the leading lights in the conservative movement to burnish their credentials and to test the waters for a potential presidential campaign. It will be former president Donald Trump’s first major appearance since leaving office- and since acquittal in his second impeachment trial. On this episode of Intersection, we talk more about CPAC, and about the legislative session that gets underway next week, with our political analysts Dick Batchelor and Frank Torres. And we’ll discuss whether the Republican party is still the party of Trump. Sarasota Sen. Joe Gruters, chair of the Republican Party of Florida, joins the show to discuss election integrity, big tech and the pandemic. Plus what it means for Florida Republicans to have the high profile convention in this state. And we check in with Orlando lawmaker Anna Eskamani. The Democratic State Rep. talks about building a ground game, pushing for more unemployment relief, voter access, money in politics and more.
51 minutes | Feb 19, 2021
Intersection: The Pandemic’s Impact On Education
Experts think a whole generation of children could be affected by the problems thrown up by the pandemic- and those problems are worse for students already at risk. The special statewide reporting project Class of COVID-19: an education crisis for Florida’s vulnerable students examines the barriers to education amplified by the pandemic, including poverty, housing, hunger, internet access and fear of deportation. On this episode of Intersection, host Matthew Peddie talks with WLRN’s Jessica Bakeman who edited the project and WMFE’s Amy Green who reported on kids falling behind with online learning. Then- a conversation with Adam Meyer, director of Inclusive Education Services at the University of Central Florida about how the pandemic may force a paradigm shift as colleges and universities rethink how courses are designed and presented for students with disabilities. And- an Orlando elementary school tackles the pandemic head on. Seth Daub, principal of Catalina Elementary; Rose Simon, who has three children attending the school, and Sandra Upson, who wrote about the school for WIRED– join the show for a conversation about living and learning with the pandemic.
51 minutes | Feb 5, 2021
Intersection: The Performing Arts And The Pandemic
Facing a deadly virus that prevents large groups of people from gathering safely, artists in central Florida have found new ways to keep the performing arts alive. While many have moved online- finding new audiences via zoom and other streaming platforms- live performances have resumed as well– with a difference. On this episode of Intersection we talk with experts and entrepreneurs from Central Florida’s arts scene about pivoting to outdoor performances and socially distanced audiences. We’ll hear from Cole Nesmith with Creative City Project, Jim Helsinger with Orlando Shakes and Foster Cronin with the Doctor Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. How has the circus adapted to the pandemic? Ringling and Barnum and Bailey packed up its big top more than three years ago, but the circus lives on at smaller companies across the US. We’ll talk to former Ringling ringmaster Jonathan Lee Iverson. He’s now on the board of Omnium Circus, where he’s also the ringmaster. Iverson discusses Omnium’s mission to promote diversity in the circus, and taking the big top online. And Tracey Conner with Michelee Puppets, has been helping kids cope with the uncertainty and stress of the pandemic- with a little help from her friends. We’ll meet with Tracey and her puppet Astrid- who have been hosting live puppet chats online over the past year.
51 minutes | Jan 29, 2021
Intersection: Seminole County Gets Creative To Deliver COVID-19 Vaccine; Advocates Push For Prisoners To Get Vaccinated; Convention Center Trims Budget As Recession Bites
Shops like Sears and Victoria’s Secret — once mainstays of the American mall- fell victim to the ‘mallpocalypse’ as online shopping squeezed the life out of brick and mortar stores. But in Seminole County, a former department store at the Oviedo Mall has a new lease on life- as a vaccination site for residents 65 and older. And it’s not the only county where empty shopping malls are being repurposed as vaccination sites. On this episode of Intersection, Seminole County Emergency Manager Alan Harris discusses the frontline in the war on coronavirus that’s being waged where customers once shopped for clothes and shoes. Then, Desmond Meade, who rose to prominence as a campaigner for restoring the voting rights of people who served felony convictions, has a new mission: getting prisoners vaccinated against COVID-19. Meade, who leads the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, tells Intersection it’s time the state government prioritized prisoners for vaccination. And with the pandemic taking a big bite out of tourism- the Orange County Convention Center has had to pare back staff- and expansion plans. Executive Director Mark Tester says the convention crowds will come back- he’s just not sure when.
51 minutes | Jan 22, 2021
Intersection: What Biden’s First 100 Days Could Mean For Central Florida’s COVID-19 Fight; The Economy & Immigration
The Biden-Harris administration inherits some huge challenges- including the twin threats of the pandemic and the recession. On this episode of Intersection, we’ll look at what the first 100 days of the new administration could mean for Central Florida. Dr. Amesh Adalja of Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security; Justin Senior with the Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida and WMFE health reporter Abe Aboraya join us to discuss the coronavirus response- policy and logistics. Can this administration deliver on the goal of 100 million vaccinations in the first 100 days? After the roller coaster of the last four years for recipients of the Delayed Action for Childhood Arrivals policy– and for undocumented immigrants– how will they be treated by this new administration? Maria Rodriguez of the Florida Immigrant Coalition explains what’s at stake. And there’s hope that Biden’s 1.9 trillion dollar American Rescue Plan could provide a shot in the arm for the economy. We’ll discuss the details with economists Sean Snaith and Hank Fishkind.
51 minutes | Jan 15, 2021
Intersection: Hospitals Work To Keep Up With COVID-19 Vaccine Demand; A Deadly Disease Menaces The Domestic Rabbit Population
With the vaccines being distributed to front line medical staff and people 65 and up…different counties are taking a patchwork approach to getting the first doses out. Appointments have booked out quickly, and in some cases people have camped out overnight for a chance at a vaccine. And some have managed to get a vaccine even though they don’t fit the criteria to get the first doses. On this episode of Intersection, we’re joined by Dr. George Ralls, Senior Vice President and chief medical officer at Orlando Health and Mary Mayhew, CEO of the Florida Hospital Association. We’ll talk about the role of hospitals in vaccine distribution and the challenges of getting the vaccine out to as many people as possible as cases surge. The holidays are busy for animal rescue organizations sheltering abandoned or unwanted pets. The pandemic has added to the challenge for Orlando Rabbit Care and Adoptions- or ORCA- and now there’s a deadly disease threatening the domestic rabbit population. We talk with volunteers from ORCA about their work.
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