Topher Forhecz

Topher is the host of All Things Considered and reporter at WGCU News. 

He formerly freelanced for WNYC radio in New York City. He holds a master's degree from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.

There’s yet another citrus disease out there. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently released a sobering estimate for Florida’s citrus production this year. And the state is expected to produce about 8 million boxes less than last year. This is because the state’s citrus suffers from ailments like citrus greening and citrus canker.  Now, the new disease is spreading. It’s called citrus black spot.

Naples Municipal Airport may bring back scheduled commercial airline services. That means consistent flights from an airline. Officials asked for the public’s opinion through a recent survey.

Florida is known as the Sunshine State, but it ranks nowhere near the top when it comes to home solar systems.

A February article by Bloomberg Business says Florida is fifteenth in the country for those systems, trailing behind states like Texas and California.

The answer as to why Florida is not capitalizing on sunshine comes back to policy and cost. We’re joined by a panel of guests looking at solar power policies in Florida, how large state utilities are thinking about solar, and a coalition of people trying to get solar on the ballot.

Florida Gulf Coast University is hosting the 2015 Southwest Florida Sea Level Rise Summit on Thursday. Sea level rise is an issue Floridians hear a lot about on the west coast, but those behind the summit say they want to highlight what it will mean for the environment and businesses locally.

An environmental conservation organization and two scientists are suing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other government bodies alleging the Corps’ water practices in the Everglades are threatening an endangered bird species.

The National Park Service recently released its annual study detailing the economic benefits of local parks. The National Park System has more than 400 sites across the country. Overall, the country’s parks saw an increase in the number of visits from last year. This is also true for the Big Cypress National Preserve.

Note: Audio to come.

The legislature is considering tightening the rules on backyard gun ranges. This comes in the wake of several incidents across the state where residents were concerned about their neighbors opening fire in their backyards.

Gov. Rick Scott was in Fort Myers on Thursday celebrating the opening of the first Wawa gasoline and convenience stores in the area. He also fielded questions about meetings he held Wednesday with state senators over hospital profit margins.

Note: Audio to come.  

April is Fair Housing Month. It marks the enactment of the Fair Housing Act of 1968. The act protects against housing discrimination based on things like a person’s race or gender.  Local representatives are taking the opportunity to host the Southwest Florida Fair Housing Summit on Tuesday.

As the Florida legislature nears the end of its 2015 session, the fate of a tax incentive program aimed at boosting business growth in blighted communities remains unclear.

A lawsuit filed against Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet over skirting the state's Sunshine Law is heading into mediation. News outlets across the state and others are involved with the lawsuit. They allege the Governor and the Cabinet violated the state’s open meetings law over the dismissal of former Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey.

The National Park Service recently released a list of how much delayed maintenance projects cost for parks around the country.

In Florida, the amount comes to almost $192 million. At Everglades National Park, operators are trying to figure out what to do as that number grows.

Lee County is reviewing the rules behind what gives Pine Island its character such as stretches of mangroves, low buildings and controlled development. It’s happening in the wake of several lawsuits, one of which the county lost last summer.

One landowner, whose presence has been eyed suspiciously by some Pine Island residents, has floated its ideas to county officials as to how the rules should be changed. That landowner is the large agricultural producer King Ranch.

The Fort Myers City Council met for a special public meeting Wednesday night on a possible large junkyard expansion near the Dunbar area. 

And then, procedure intervened.

Lee County hospitals saw a significant rise from 2013 to 2014 in the number of babies born experiencing withdrawal from narcotics like heroin and some prescription drugs.

The Seminole Tribe of Florida is advocating to save a small island off the mouth of Tampa Bay from eroding.

The island represents a painful moment in the Tribe’s history. It was used as a deportation site in the mid-19th century. 

A handful of protestors gathered outside of the Hendry County Courthouse Tuesday over the increasing number of primate breeding facilities coming to the county.

A Florida House subcommittee proposed on Tuesday how it wants to spend dollars from a constitutional mandate for environmental conservation.

But, some environmentalists say this proposal doesn’t fully line up with the amendment’s original intent.

Note: Audio to come.

A Fort Myers man whose imprisonment and later exoneration made headlines is speaking to the Naples Press Club on Friday.

Gov. Rick Scott discussed his plans for Everglades restoration at a stop in Fort Myers on Wednesday.

An expert on hate groups is speaking at New College of Florida on Thursday.

Gov. Rick Scott was in Fort Myers Wednesday to make an announcement about transportation at the Southwest Florida International Airport.

 Florida and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been teaming up to address future health effects caused by climate change.

Note: Audio to come. 

Environmentalists urged the South Florida Water Management District to purchase land for Everglades restoration at its governing board meeting in West Palm Beach Thursday. They’re worried the district will not act in time to buy the land.

Florida voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment last November securing funds for the environment. Now, affordable housing advocates are worried this mandate could mean fewer dollars for low income families.

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