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Gulf Coast Life Book Club
Gulf Coast Life
Monday through Thursday at 2 & 7PM

Gulf Coast Life is a locally produced talk show that strives to connect listeners to the people, places, and things that make Southwest Florida unique.

Produced & Hosted by: Mike Kiniry
Contributing Hosts: John Davis, Cary Barbor, and Tara Calligan

Facebook: WGCU Public Media
Twitter: twitter.com/wgcu - #GCL

Latest Episodes
  • From the economy to the environment, from how the Southwest Florida community rallied around each other to the very personal struggles in the recovery process, WGCU takes a unique look at how the region fared during and after Hurricane Ian.
  • In the weeks after Hurricane Ian a year ago, Florida deployed the first-ever State Emergency Response Mental Health Task Force. It was comprised of mental health professionals including therapists, counselors, and massage therapists who worked directly with residents and first responders who were still in the midst of recovery. Now, almost exactly one year post-Ian, the Task Force has been deployed a second time to help people in the panhandle who were impacted by Hurricane Idalia.
  • On one day every January, a Point-in-Time — or PIT — Count is conducted in counties to document the number of people who are experiencing homelessness on a single night. The PIT Count in Collier County this past January found a 230% increase in the number of people over the age of 60 who were homeless as compared to the previous year. So, we check in with the CEO of St. Matthew’s House in Naples, to get a sense of what they’re facing.
  • Join us for a conversation about the importance of gopher tortoises to our ecosystems. These large, long-lived reptiles can be found in all of Florida’s 67 counties. They play a crucial role in ecosystems because of the deep burrows they dig and live in. More than 350 other species — known as commensals — take advantage of those burrows for shelter. Their main threats are cars while trying to cross roads, and development that occurs on the land where they live.
  • Since OpenAI released ChatGPT in November of 2022 there has been a surge in public awareness about, and use of, Artificial Intelligence. And this represents both a leap forward in technological capability, and the possibility for massive disruption in many fields including education. We learn about efforts at Florida Gulf Coast University to stay on top of this new learning curve we’re all facing on some level.
  • Wood Storks are one of Florida’s most iconic wading birds. After downgrading the birds’ protection status from “endangered” to “threatened” in 2014, now federal officials are considering de-listing the species altogether.We hear from Shawn Clem, Ph.D., Conservation Director at the National Audubon Society’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, which is home to the historically most significant rookery of wood storks in North America.
  • Howard Simon has worked on civil rights issues throughout his life. He served as Executive Director of the ACLU of Michigan from 1974 until 1997, and then led the ACLU of Florida from 2007 until 2018 when he stepped down as Executive Director. He’s actually the longest serving state director of ACLU affiliates in the organization’s 103-year history, with more than 44 years of experience in civil liberties work. Now, he’s going to be added at least some time to that number because Howard is back at the helm of the ACLU of Florida, stepping in on an interim basis after its most recent Executive Director, Tiffani Lennon, resigned on August 21.
  • During the first Republican presidential candidate debate Governor Ron DeSantis said he would use U.S. military special forces inside of Mexico to help stem the flow of illegal drugs like fentanyl into the United States. While this kind of rhetoric — the idea of using the U.S. military in a sovereign foreign nation to combat illicit drug production and distribution — might seem shocking, it’s not entirely new for a political candidate or even a sitting president to say something along these lines, but rather goes back decades. To get some context we sit down with Dr. Rick Coughlin, he’s an Associate Professor of Political Science at Florida Gulf Coast University who focuses on Mexican politics and culture.
  • We learn about a UF/IFAS Extension and Florida Sea Grant citizen science program called Eyes on Seagrass that has been collecting information about seagrasses in upper Charlotte Harbor and Lemon Bay since 2019 — and is planning to expand into Lee County next year. Citizen Science is the collection and analysis of data relating to the natural world by everyday people who aren’t necessarily scientists themselves, typically as part of a collaborative project with professional scientists. In other words — giving scientists more hands to collect the information they need to better understand whatever it is they are studying.