Gulf Coast Live

Last week we hosted an event in our TV studio called Civil Discourse in a Polarized Society. It was the culmination of a partnership with Gulfshore Life Magazine where we explored how we’ve gotten to the place in our society where talking about difficult issues is practically impossible.

About 100 people turned out for the discussion, led by Dr. Christopher Phillips, author of Socrates Café and Constitution Café, as well as a decades long advocate for civil dialogue. We streamed the event live on Facebook, and you can still watch it there in its entirety, but today we’re going to play a portion of it to give our listeners a sense of what was discussed.


Alliance for the Arts

As WGCU News has been reporting this week, the Florida Legislature’s newly approved budget includes severe cuts to cultural affairs programing. The new nearly $89 billion dollar budget would almost completely defund the Culture Builds grant program from the Division of Cultural Affairs

Fort Myers Film Festival

The 8th annual Fort Myers Film Festival kicks off next week. The five-day festival features independent films in a broad range of genres, including the premiere showing of the rock documentary “Melody Makers,” about the rise and fall of the world’s first influential music publication, and a new documentary about U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ahead of its theatrical release later this year.

Quincy Walters

Some Southwest Florida students walked out of their classes at 10:00 this morning on the one month anniversary of the day a 19-year-old walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and opened fire with his legally-obtained AR-15 rifle, killing 17 people.

Before school this morning, students at South Fort Myers High School assembled on the athletics field in the shape of a heart for a vigil. But, for the actual walkout there was some confusion in Lee County as to whether students would be able to participate. In Sarasota County the district and school principals announced they would permit students to participate without fear of repercussions.

WGCU’s Rachel Iacavone was at Cypress Lake High School in Lee County, and Quincy Walters was at Venice High School in Sarasota County, and they both joined us in studio to give us a sense of how it went.

Starting next month, Bailey Tract, a 100-acre part of the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, will close for a hydrological restoration effort. It’s one of the lesser-known trails at the preserve. Biologists say the plan involves partially filling the Ani Pond, reconnecting wetland habitat and other hydrological enhancements, to benefit the State-threatened Sanibel Island rice rat, as well as marsh birds and other species dependent on the marsh habitats. We’re joined by Jeremy Conrad, he’s a Senior Wildlife Biologist at the refuge.