Matthew F Smith

Gulf Coast Live Producer

Matthew Smith is a reporter and producer of WGCU’s Gulf Coast Live.

Originally from Delaware, he moved to Alaska in 2010 for his first job in radio. He spent five years working as a radio and television reporter, as well as a radio producer, talk show host, and news director at stations across Alaska, where his reporting received awards from the Alaska Press Club and the Alaska Broadcasters Association. Relocating to southwest Florida, he spent several months producing television news before joining WGCU as the Gulf Coast Live producer in August 2016.

Matthew studied English and journalism at Villanova University in Villanova, PA, where he wrote for the school newspaper and other school publications. He taught English as a Second Language for several years in China and the U.S. before pursuing a career in journalism.

Stephanie Davis

After the weekend’s violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia the Lee County NAACP once again calls for Confederate symbols to be removed from Lee County. There’s a Robert E. Lee statue on Monroe Street in Fort Myers and a portrait of the Confederate General hanging in the Lee County commission chambers. The removal of a statue of Lee from a park in Charlottesville led to the white supremacist rally.

Pixabay

They’re called last-chance dogs, and they’re learning manners and basic obedience from inmates at the Lee County Jail.

The Cell Dog program takes dogs that Lee County Domestic Animal Services has had for a while- the ones that don’t get adopted because they’re too rambunctious or too shy- and pairs them with inmates who spend their time grooming these canine companions for “life on the outside.” After the training program, the dogs go up for adoption. 

Tara Calligan

When Florida lawmakers approved a last-minute budget in special session earlier this year, $20.4 million in federal funding for mental health services expired with no plans to make up for it.

Now, mental health and substance abuse facilities across the state are looking at slashing services—sometimes in half—because of the surprise de-funding.

PHOTO: NATIONAL EYE INSTITUTE VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Steadily growing since the early 2000’s, the number of syphilis cases in Lee County saw an alarming spike in the first half of this year- already surpassing the total number of new reported cases in all of 2016. According to the Florida Department of Health in Lee County, there are 106 new cases of early syphilis infection confirmed as of July.  In all of 2016, 96 cases were reported- which follows a trend that saw syphilis cases jump by more than 70% in the past seven years.

Jenstew2012 via Wikimedia Creative commons

With a student population just under 900, New College of Florida in Sarasota has plans to grow to 1,200 students by 2020, and now they have the money to do it. This summer the school started phase one of its growth plan with $5.4 million on funding- another $45 million is expected to be spent on new buildings, forty more professors, and expanding enrollment.

Pages