Valerie Alker

Host, Reporter

Valerie Alker hosts All Things Considered. She has been a Reporter/Producer and program host at WGCU since 1991. She reports on general news topics in Southwest Florida and has also produced documentaries for WGCU-TV’s former monthly environmental documentary programs In Focus on the Environment and Earth Edition. Valerie also helps supervise WGCU news interns and contributes to NPR programs.

Prior to joining WGCU, she worked at WUSF Public Radio in Tampa, WMNF Community Radio in Tampa and at WPAS Radio in Zephyrhills.

Her work has been honored by the Society of the Professional Journalists, the Radio Television Digital News Association, Public Radio News Directors, Inc., the Florida Associated Press, the American Heart Association and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. 

Valerie’s interests included canoeing, reading, cooking, photography, gardening and swimming.  

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Valerie Alker / WGCU

Former Republican State Representative Paige Kreegel announced his candidacy for the U.S. House Tuesday.  He’ll be challenging sitting Congressman Trey Radel in the primary.  Radel, R-Fort Myers, recently plead guilty to a charge of cocaine possession. 

Valerie Alker / WGCU FM

A change in state law has turned a start-up rum distillery in Cape Coral into a retail destination.    Cape Spirits is using locally grown ingredients to produce its own unique varieties of rum.  

Rum has been exported from Caribbean countries for centuries.  That’s because the raw ingredient is sugarcane which flourishes there.

Sugarcane also flourishes in Florida and that, said  entrepreneur JoAnn Elardo, provided her with a flash of inspiration.   

I was having a cocktail on the lanai and it was a terrible, terrible, terrible rum, and I looked at it and it was manufactured in Canada,” said Elardo.  “Fifty percent of the sugar in the U.S. is from Florida.  It didn’t make sense why we weren’t making rum.”

Everglades National Park

There’s cautious optimism that some of the pilot whales seen in very shallow water Tuesday in a remote area of the Everglades National Park have moved out to sea.

At a briefing Friday, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association spokeswoman Blair Mase said when Coast Guard helicopters took a count this morning, 24 whales were not sighted.

Marine mammal experts aboard a  flotilla of vessels  are working to save what is left of a pod of whales that began stranding Tuesday on a beach in a remote area of Everglades National Park. 

At least 10 whales are dead.  At last count,  41 remained swimming in shallow water near shore. 

NOAA’s Marine Mammal Stranding Network is leading the attempt to herd the Pilot Whales into their home range in deeper water.  NOAA’s Blair Mase said they’re attempting to do that by using sound – banging on submerged pipes. 

White Pelicans have returned to Charlotte Harbor

  An executive with the Mosaic Company Foundation presented a gift of $40,000 to the Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center or CHEC Wednesday.  

Environmentalists and Charlotte County Commissioners have criticized the phosphate producer for mining operations they have said pose potential harm to the area’s watershed.   CHEC Educator Eileen Tramontana said the grant money is used to educate the community about all sides of the issue and comes with no strings attached.