Gina Jordan

Morning Edition Host

Gina Jordan is the host of Morning Edition for WFSU News. Gina is a Tallahassee native and graduate of Florida State University. She spent 15 years working in news/talk and country radio in Orlando before becoming a reporter and All Things Considered host for WFSU in 2008. She left after a few years to spend more time with her son, working part-time as the capital reporter/producer for WLRN Public Media in Miami and as a drama teacher at Young Actors Theatre. She also blogged and reported for StateImpact Florida, an NPR education project, and produced podcasts and articles for AVISIAN Publishing. Gina has won awards for features, breaking news coverage, and newscasts from contests including the Associated Press, Green Eyeshade, and Murrow Awards. Gina is on the Florida Associated Press Broadcasters Board of Directors. Gina is thrilled to be back at WFSU! In her free time, she likes to read, travel, and watch her son play football. Follow Gina Jordan on Twitter: @hearyourthought

Nikki Fried poses for a picture at her desk flanked by state and national flags
fdacs.gov / FL Dept of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Florida’s Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) has been without a commissioner since last spring.  This week, the Florida Cabinet voted to change that with the appointment of Russell Weigel, a securities lawyer from Coral Gables.  One Cabinet member withheld her vote, however, questioning whether the decision was made according to Florida’s open government Sunshine Law.

Trey Price sits at a table with a notebook and microphone in front of him. He heads the Florida Housing Finance Corporation. It was created by the state Legislature more than 30 years ago to help provide affordable housing opportunities.
Florida Housing

Governor Ron DeSantis’ proposed state budget would fully fund Florida’s two affordable housing programs. He is recommending that all $387 million be used for housing needs.

The Florida Legislature created the affordable housing programs in 1992 by raising the documentary stamp tax on real estate transactions.

The money is supposed to be split between two programs, but it often gets sent elsewhere.

Old houses sit with Apalachee Parkway in the background, circa 1960's
State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory

As an old neighborhood in Tallahassee is being demolished to extend a new road called FAMU Way, some call the changes progress. It’s the latest effort to make improvements to a poor area of the city near the historically black Florida A&M University. Others use the word gentrification, and it’s a move we’ve seen before.

NPR’s Shankar Vedantam sits on a stage laughing with another man in an interview setting.
NPR

NPR’s Hidden Brain podcast recently celebrated its fourth anniversary, and the radio show is now two years old. We regularly hear the host, Shankar Vedantam, on Morning Edition as NPR's social science correspondent.

Vedantam also wrote the book, The Hidden Brain: How Our Unconscious Minds Elect Presidents, Control Markets, Wage Wars, and Save Our Lives.

We recently spoke with him about his work.

Florida Gov. Ron Desantis gives his state of the state address on the first day of legislative session, in Tallahassee, Fla.
Steve Cannon / AP Photo

We now know why the Republican Party of Florida suddenly postponed its biggest fundraiser of the year yesterday.

The Statesman's Dinner was supposed to happen in less than two weeks in Orlando, but the party said in a tweet that the event will take place later this year.

FAF President Barbara Petersen stands behind a podium with a microphone as she addresses the Florida Associated Press Broadcasters awards gala in Orlando on April 13, 2019.
www.floridaapawards.org / Florida Associated Press Broadcasters

For 25 years, Barbara Petersen has served as president of the Tallahassee-based First Amendment Foundation (FAF). She’s been on a continuous quest to keep government dealings in the sunshine and hold lawmakers accountable when they withhold records from the public.

She’s retiring from the job at the end of the year. Her replacement is Pamela Marsh, a former US Attorney in North Florida.

We recently spoke with Petersen about what’s at stake as a new leader is ready to take up the cause.

This is a stretch of Fort Lauderdale beach with water, sand, chairs with umbrellas, palm trees, and a road nearby with motorists. This beach may look very different in the coming year due to sea level rise.
Lance Asper/Unsplash

More evidence of a shift in thinking arose this week among Florida’s Republican leaders when it comes to climate change.

A Senate committee held a panel discussion focused on climate change forecasts and how state agencies should prepare.

Three words that were largely kept under wraps by legislative leadership before the last election quickly emerged during the meeting: sea level rise.

Katherine Magbanua speaking to her attorney Tara Kawass Thursday, Sept. 27, 2019, in Tallahassee, Florida, during the murder trial for Markel's death.
Alicia Devine, Pool / Tallahassee Democrat

Closing arguments are being heard in the Dan Markel murder trial.

The FSU law professor was shot to death in the garage of his midtown Tallahassee home five years ago.

Prosecutor Georgia Cappleman spent the morning laying out a case against Markel’s former in-laws and their connection to the defendants, Sigfredo Garcia and Katherine Magbanua.

“It’s relevant for you to understand the role all these people played, the motive for this crime, in order for make a determination about the guilt of the two folks who are on trial here today," she told jurors.

Trees are broken and crumbled onto a house in a Panama City neighborhood after Hurricane Michael.
Briney King

One year after Category 5 Hurricane Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach, children and adults are still struggling with the catastrophe and the changes. Homes and schools were damaged, livelihoods were destroyed, and recovery has been slow.

Michael was Tanner Livingston’s first hurricane. “When they still talk about hurricanes, I’m still afraid of them,” he says during an open house at Deer Point Elementary, where he’s a kindergartner.

The family’s Lynn Haven home in Bay County was damaged, and Tanner recounts in detail what happened after they hid in his mom’s closet.

Progressive Pediatric students Roderick Branch and Walker Johnson are standing behind large trays of food during a field trip at the Maclay School dining hall.
Beth Spear/Progressive Pediatric

There’s a vision of a place in Tallahassee where kids and adults with disabilities can learn and work. Plans are underway to make Lifetown a reality, and two fundraisers this month will help.

Man rests elbows on window panel and he looks out
Priscilla Du Preez/Unsplash

The Florida Legislature has wrapped up its first week of meetings ahead of the regular session that begins in January. Lawmakers took time during their first Committee Week to consider the causes of mass violence and how mental illness could play a part. Those discussions came amid a request for more mental health funding for schools.

A sign inside a shop says "Come in, we're open."
Richard Balog/Unsplash

Florida is among the worst states for companies being sued, according to a new Harris Poll.

The 2019 Lawsuit Climate Survey ranks the states on how business executives feel about the fairness of state court systems – and Florida ranks 46th.

The words "it's no joke" are printed over newspaper clipping about arrests being made for school threats.
Florida Department of Juvenile Justice

The state wants kids to understand the trouble they can get into by making school threats. So, the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice has launched an awareness campaign called “It’s No Joke.”

Nearly 800 Florida kids were charged with offenses related to school threats in the last fiscal year.

Christina and Brian Stanton pose on their Manhattan terrace with the Twin Towers in the background.
Provided by Christina Ray Stanton

As we come upon the 18th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, many young adults don’t know much about the attacks or how the culture in America changed afterward.

Tallahassee native Christina Ray Stanton has been a resident of New York City for more than 25 years. She recently published a book about her experience on 9/11 and how it transformed her life. 

Actor Tony Hale and Young Actors Theatre founder Tina Williams smile for the camera. They are formally dressed at a fundraiser Hale hosted for the theatre in February.
Sally Sox Photography

Full disclosure: The reporter is among Tony's old friends from YAT and Leon High School.

Emmy-winning actor and Tallahassee native Tony Hale (Arrested Development, Veep) is debuting a series on September 6th on Netflix. He stars and executive produces "Archibald’s Next Big Thing," which is based on a children’s book he wrote five years ago.

The story is about a chicken whose insecurities and hopes for the future cause him to miss out on wonderful events happening right in front of him.

Inside of a mall with very few shoppers.
Marcin Kempa/Unsplash

Analysts say chances are increasing that Florida will enter a recession soon.

“Currently, Florida’s probability of being in a recession in the next 9 months is 34.2%,” says Florida Chamber Foundation Chief Economist Jerry Parrish.

The number is from The Florida Scorecard, the chamber foundation’s online tool that identifies and tracks key metrics important to Florida’s economy.

Three buses are parked in a row.
Tom Chamberlain on Unsplash

The Leon County School Board had questions last night for a representative from the company hired to create safer and more efficient bus routes.

School buses are parked in a row, ready for drivers.
Steve Harvey / Unsplash

The first day of school in Leon County was a transportation nightmare for district buses.

A new program for planning school bus routes turned out to be a ‘colossal failure’ according to Leon County Superintendent Rocky Hanna.

Leon Superintendent Rocky Hanna stands at a podium on the Florida Capitol steps with fist raised. He is flanked by protesters with signs protesting gun violence.
Bob Howard/flickr

School districts are working to make sure students and educators have a safe learning environment when classes begin.  Districts have to comply with school safety laws enacted after the mass shooting in Parkland. Requirements include having armed guards on campus.

Man looks horrified as he receives a robocall on his cell phone.
tracker Forex/flickr

You’re probably not in trouble with the IRS, don’t need a medical brace, and aren’t under arrest. But you’ve undoubtedly gotten robocalls to the contrary. In fact, Americans got more than 26 billion of those calls last year.

“Consumers have been saying loudly and clearly and for many years that they are fed up with unwanted robocalls,” says Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai in a video on the commission’s website.

Congressman Charlie Crist points from a podium
Human Events / humanevents.com

The U.S. House passed a bill Thursday that would gradually boost the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour by the year 2025.

Students at Making Light Productions rehearse dance moves for "Golly Gee Whiz: The Musical."
Gina Jordan / WFSU

Making Light Productions is expanding its performance space to accommodate all students – including those in wheelchairs.

When the Tallahassee performing arts school debuts its renovated space this Friday with "Golly Gee Whiz: The Musical," Making Light co-founder Juliet Yaques says the cast will be free to move unhindered.

“We put these backstage doors in, and they are ADA compliant so anyone is able to open them,” Yaques says as she walks around the performance space in southeast Tallahassee. “We decided on a low stage instead of having a raised stage for the same reason that anyone with mobility issues is able to use the stage.”

Alyssa and Jacob Maleszewski of Tallahassee stand next to a large box containing canned food at Second Harvest of the Big Bend. They are checking the expiration dates on the cans.
Gina Jordan/WFSU / WFSU

Now that students have been out of school for a few weeks, the Leon County Volunteer Center is getting an uptick in inquiries from parents and teens. They’re finding a variety of opportunities for students to give their time this summer. 

Large bins line a long wall at the Second Harvest of the Big Bend’s 41,000 square foot warehouse near the Tallahassee airport.  Signs with different food categories are posted over each bin.

This is an image of Bill Shepherd, a lawyer in Holland & Knight's Washington, D.C. and West Palm Beach offices. He is the former statewide prosecutor of Florida.
hklaw.com

The Florida Supreme Court issued a surprise ruling in late May regarding expert witness testimony. 

Six years ago, the Florida Legislature adopted the Daubert standard for expert witnesses in court cases. But the state’s high court exercised its right to keep the Frye standard in place, which sets a lower threshold for what can be considered expert testimony.

The makeup of the Florida Supreme Court changed last January when three retiring justices were replaced with appointments made by Governor Ron DeSantis. The newly revamped court quickly decided to implement the tougher standards.

David Hart, Executive Vice President of Government & Political Relations for the Florida Chamber of Commerce.
flchamber.com / Florida Chamber of Commerce

The Florida Chamber of Commerce has released its annual Legislative Report Card. The chamber says the report card helps hold state leaders accountable for how they vote on issues relating to Florida’s business climate.

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