Rachel Iacovone

Gulf Coast Live Associate Producer, Reporter

Rachel Iacovone is a reporter and associate producer of Gulf Coast Live for WGCU News. Rachel came to WGCU as an intern in 2016, during the presidential race. She went on to cover Florida Gulf Coast University students at President Donald Trump's inauguration on Capitol Hill and Southwest Floridians in attendance at the following day's Women's March on Washington.

Rachel was first contacted by WGCU when she was managing editor of FGCU's student-run media group, Eagle News. She helped take Eagle News from a weekly newspaper to a daily online publication with TV and radio branches within two years, winning the 2016 Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Award for Best Use of Multimedia in a cross-platform series she led for National Coming Out Day. She also won the Mark of Excellence Award for Feature Writing for her five-month coverage of an FGCU student's transition from male to female.

As a WGCU reporter, she produced the first radio story in WGCU's Curious Gulf Coast project, which answered the question: Does SWFL Have More Cases of Pediatric Cancer?

During Hurricane Irma, Rachel was live on air as the sun shone through the eye of the storm, as it passed over the Collier County Emergency Operations Center where she was stationed.

Rachel graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University with a bachelor's degree in journalism.

Erik Hersman / Flickr

After a petition was signed by nearly 850,000 Floridians, the decision of whether or not voting rights will be restored to former felons in the state is now in the hands of the people.

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While hemp has been grown as a fiber and grain crop for thousands of years, it was made illegal in the U.S. in the 1930s. But, times are changing and now there are more than 30 states exploring it as an agricultural crop. Now, that process is getting started here with a new pilot project from the University of Florida. UF’s Industrial Hemp research plan will explore the economic viability of growing hemp in the sunshine state. On today’s show we’re going to find out what that entails.

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The Fort Myers News-Press is presenting a summit this Friday in Bonita Springs on the many water issues Southwest Florida faces.

Rachel Iacovone / WGCU

Messages have long circulated the internet, encouraging people to shop local at small businesses. They usually say something along the lines of “When you shop at a locally owned business, you aren’t helping a CEO buy a third holiday home. You’re helping pay for a little girls’ dance lessons or helping a mom put food on the table.”

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A group of 32 community partners in Sarasota County are teaming up to strengthen prenatal care and early childhood development services in the county...it’s called First 1000 Days. It’s part of a broader, statewide effort called First 1000 Days Florida – Sarasota County is the first local affiliate. The idea is driven by the fact that 52% of babies born in the county last year were born into families living in poverty, and 80% of brain development happens before a child’s second birthday, so getting families connected to the right services early on is crucial. The effort, which officially launched last week, is being led by the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, and is being facilitated by the former director of the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County, Bill Little. We’re joined now by Kelly Romanoff, she’s Projects Manager for the Foundation, and joins us by phone from her office in Sarasota.