Nick Evans

Reporter/Producer

Nick Evans came to Tallahassee to pursue a masters in communications at Florida State University.  He graduated in 2014, but not before picking up an internship at WFSU.  While he worked on his degree Nick moved from intern, to part-timer, to full-time reporter.  Before moving to Tallahassee, Nick lived in and around the San Francisco Bay Area for 15 years.  He listens to far too many podcasts and is a die-hard 49ers football fan.  When Nick’s not at work he likes to cook, play music and read.

This is the Florida congressional district map.
National Atlas of the United States via Wikimedia Commons

The Florida legislature announced Tuesday it will not appeal a court decision finding the state’s congressional districts unconstitutional.  Legislative leaders are now asking for permission to conduct this year’s election according to existing boundaries.

Brett Levin

Despite passing the Florida legislature, there’s still a long way to go before a non-euphoric strain of marijuana can be cultivated in Florida.  This week’s public workshop on crafting rules for Charlotte’s Web dispensaries is further proof the devil is in the details.

Gwen Graham signed a pledge to reject government perks at Lake Ella Thursday.
Nick Evans

Democratic congressional hopeful Gwen Graham is working to distinguish herself from her Republican opponent and an unpopular congress.  At Tallahassee’s Lake Ella Thursday, she spoke about the importance of compromise. 

“How you break the gridlock is by electing people who are willing to work together,” Graham says, focusing on the issue of immigration reform.  She says the issue hasn’t been addressed yet because house members are unwilling to find solutions through compromise, but says she’ll work across the aisle.

Here's the back end of Marpan's wood chipper.
Nick Evans

Marpan Recycling is on the southern edge of Tallahassee, and it’s a participant in a city energy efficiency program called PeakSmart. 

The facility handles construction, demolition, and what’s known as class three waste –the things in a house that won’t fit in a trash can.  This means Marpan gets a lot of wood, and to deal with it they have a pretty serious wood chipper. 

“It runs on twin 250 horsepower electric motors, so it’s a very high-speed, low-torque machine that gets after it,” says Marpan’s Operations Manager Bryce Hill.  “It’s bad to the bone.”

Two geologists at the FGS are studying the factors that lead to sinkholes.
Nick Evans

State geologists have completed a survey of sinkhole formations in three North Florida Counties.  Officials say this study will help predict which areas are most at risk for sinkholes in the future.

Over the past year, Clint Kromhout and Alan Baker of the Florida Geological Survey have studied sinkholes in Hamilton, Columbia, and Suwannee counties.  Kromout says they chose the area because of its varied terrain.

This is the field of wildflowers where Allix North found Chapman's crownbeard, Florida skullcap, and tropical waxweed.
Nick Evans

Allix North and Dylan Shoemaker are trudging through a marsh to a small clearing full of threatened and endangered wildflowers.  After a controlled burn in the St. Joseph Buffer Preserve the rare flowers are in bloom.  The going isn’t terribly difficult, but it is a bit wet. 

Nick Evans

Florida’s newest Supreme Court chief justice was sworn in Monday.  Justice Jorge Labarga is the first Cuban-American to hold the post. 

Fellow Justice Barbara Pariente says Labarga’s experience will serve him well in his new post. 

“I believe that Justice Labarga, having served on this court for five years, but also having taken part in so many of the past administrative responsibilities, will be well suited,” Pariente says.

Pariente served as chief justice from 2004 to 2006.

Ayouna McClinton, David Frank, and Gariah Jones sit together at Friday's press conference.
Nick Evans

The family of an 18-year-old shot and killed by police officers nearly a month ago are weighing whether to file a civil suit, although this week a grand jury decided the officers were justified in their use of deadly force.  

Here's a live Bay Scallop underwater in its shell
Florida Sea Grant via Flickr

Starting Saturday seafood lovers with a mask, a snorkel and a license will be able to catch a scallop dinner.  The recreational scalloping season is opening three days sooner than usual this year.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokeswoman Amanda Nalley says the early start will give Floridians an extra weekend of scalloping.

“The great part about this season opening early is that will allow additional opportunities,” Nalley says.  “Instead of opening on a Tuesday, which is kind of mid-week, it’ll now open on a weekend.”

This is a close up shot of a gopher tortoise's face
Jay Williams via Wikimedia Commons

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is looking for community partners to help it protect gopher tortoises.  A meeting scheduled for Wednesday will offer a chance for local governments and the public to learn more about supporting the threatened species. 

Gopher Tortoise Program Coordinator Deborah Burr says the tortoise plays a much bigger role than its stolid demeanor might suggest.

American Outlaws banging a drum and chanting during the game between the U.S. and Portugal.
Nick Evans

Tallahassee may be known for football, but with the World Cup in full swing a different kind of football has come to town. Viewing parties across the city are helping people get a sense of team spirit and enjoy the games together.

Looking out on a crowd from behind a podium.
Joe Hardy via Flickr

The deadline has passed for Florida’s gubernatorial candidates to get their names on the ballot, and hopefuls are turning their sights to their party’s primary.  But for some lesser known competitors, the first battle is just getting a chance to debate. 

On the Democratic side of the aisle, friction between Florida’s former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist and former Democratic State Sen. Nan Rich has been well documented.  Rich has been agitating for months to debate the former Republican governor and she says Floridians agree with her.

Local citizens gather at the Woodville Community Center
Nick Evans

Tallahassee Community College’s Wakulla Environmental Institute hopes to train a generation of future park rangers, and they believe a tract of land on the west side of Wakulla Springs State Park could be the perfect classroom.  The nearly 2,000 acre parcel includes Cherokee Sink, a popular swimming hole closed in 2009. 

Adrian Wyllie speaks with the Granstroms standing at his side.
Nick Evans

A group of Floridians is calling for changes to the family court system.

The sun beat down on the steps of the old Capitol building as rally organizers Tina and Ray Granstrom set up signs.  Mr. Granstrom is divorced and says the family court’s custody rulings keep him from an active role in his childrens’ lives.

“I’m not a visitor, I’m a loving father,” Granstrom says, “and yet the family court calls me a visitor.”

Libertarian candidate for governor, Adrian Wyllie joined the organizers.  He says family court punishes good parents unnecessarily.

A neon sign reading medical with a marijuana leaf beneath it.
Chuck Coker via Flickr

According to recent polls, a plan to allow medical marijuana in Florida enjoys strong support among the state’s voters.   Opponents of the proposed amendment to the state constitution are ramping up the rhetoric.  But some, including one former attorney general, say the claims coming from organizations like Don’t Let Florida Go To Pot, may be a bit overblown.

A sign reading "Rape is the most common violent crim on American college campuses today"
Wolfram Burner via Flickr

Sexual violence on college campuses is an issue that has been simmering in the public consciousness for a long time.   But after national criticism of the Jameis Winston investigation, the issue has reached a full boil in Tallahassee. 

Students attending Wednesday's presidential search committee meeting.
Nick Evans

It’s no secret Florida State University’s presidential search has put a bitter taste in the mouths of many students, faculty, and alumni.   Several of these stakeholders made their voices heard at Wednesday’s presidential search committee meeting.

Some, like FSU student John Emanuello, followed the procedures, using the public comment time to call for a reset in the presidential search.

“Now’s the time to take a step back and revaluate and reassess how the search has gone and where it should go in the future,” Emanuello says.

A statue of Secretariat, the Belmont Stakes record holder, stands in the paddock at Belmont Park.
Wally Gobetz via Flickr

It’s funny how a horse race mirrors a horse’s career:  years of training, hours of television coverage, and hats that strain credulity.  And then the gate goes down, the horses are off, and whole thing is over in less than three minutes.  The race itself is only a small part of the spectacle, just as a horse’s racing career is only a small part of its life.  Barbi Moline of Florida Thoroughbred Retirement and Adoptive Care, or Florida TRAC, works with horses after they’ve left racing.  Moline says every horse comes to her group with different needs.

Sally Falko via Flickr

The Florida Supreme Court heard a case Thursday questioning current limits on workers compensation.  At issue is a ruling at the District Court level addressing a potential gap between temporary and permanent disability coverage.

Bradley Westphal was a firefighter in St. Petersburg, and he injured his back while fighting a fire in 2009.  The injury left Westphal in a category known as "temporary total disability."  This means he was unable to work for the moment, but his doctors expected him to be able to work again at some point.

Local agencies say pregnancy health is vital to reducing infant mortality
Susan Collins via Flickr

The Florida Department of Health released data Wednesday on infant mortality rates in Leon County.  A sharp decline in deaths among black children is the highlight, but officials say it’s difficult to draw conclusions from a single year. 

After jumping to a rate of 9.3 per thousand in 2012, this new information shows infant deaths dropped all way to 5.3 per thousand in 2013.  Sandy Glazer with the Capital Area Healthy Start Coalition says this shows their efforts are succeeding.

StarMetro bus rolling along the parade path during Springtime Tallahassee
Andy Callahan via Flickr

Teenagers have a lot of free time on their hands over the summer, but for those without wheels it can feel like being grounded.  Tallahassee’s StarMetro bus service has a plan to help them beat the cabin fever.

Without a car, getting from point A to point B in Tallahassee can be a challenge no matter what time of year it is.  When the mercury climbs into the 90s, it becomes even more difficult.  That’s why, city spokeswoman Heather Teter says, StarMetro is offering a multi-month pass to help kids 17 and under get around town during the summer. 

Elizabeth Ricci

Tallahassee resident Mario Hernandez has become a naturalized citizen after decades of thinking he already was  one. 

Hernandez came to the U.S. in the ‘60s from Cuba.  He was 9 years old.  Over the next few years, Hernandez lived a normal American life in Fullerton, California.  When he went into the Army in 1975, his citizenship status was checked, but in an interview with WFSU this March, Hernandez said he sailed right through the hearing.

Nick Evans

Last week 85 animals were taken out of a single house and delivered into the care of the Tallahassee-Leon Community Animal Service Center.  After a busy weekend, the shelter is well on its way to finding the animals new homes.

The cats were all given names taken from candy: things like Nestle, O’ Henry, and Tootsie.

Animal Services Director Erika Leckington says the influx of animals was a challenge, but the shelter had a very productive weekend.

Nick Evans

Update 5/15/2015 3:10 pm:

On Tuesday WFSU reported the Rickards High School Marching Band had been invited to the 2015 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  That was incorrect, but Band Leader Zachery Nealy says the Rickards Raiders have still been invited to a prestigious parade. 

“The crosshairs got mixed up,” Nealy says, “And so, no, it’s not the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, as I’ve been advised to say, it’s not the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.  It is the McDonalds Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade.”

Ahmad Hashim

It’s no secret technology is becoming a bigger part of our lives.  The TalTech Alliance wants to make sure it’s also a bigger part of the local community. 

This was the impetus for the Tallahassee TechExpo.  The TalTech Alliance, a local organization promoting technology entrepreneurship, has been hosting this event for seven years with the goal of providing a chance for businesses and individuals to network and develop new projects in the area.  

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