Ben Bradford is a city kid, who came to Charlotte from San Francisco by way of New York, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. Prior to his career in journalism, Ben spent time as an actor, stuntman, viral marketer, and press secretary for a Member of Congress. He graduated from UCLA in 2005 with a degree in theater and from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in 2012. As a reporter, his work has been featured on NPR, WNYC, the BBC, and Public Radio International.

Robin Sussingham is a reporter/producer and host at WUSF Public Broadcasting.  A native of Lakeland, she frequently reports on events and issues in Polk County.

She came to WUSF from public radio stations KUER and KCPW in Utah, has contributed stories to NPR and Marketplace, and has an extensive background in newspapers, magazines and online reporting. 

Crisis In The Housing Market
3:36 am
Mon February 4, 2013

Foreclosure Process Hammers Florida's Housing Market

A sign hangs outside a house in Miami in 2010. Currently, Florida's foreclosure legal process can take a couple of years, which critics say is hurting the housing market.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 12:09 pm

A decade ago, speculators in Florida were pumping up a huge housing bubble.

"You couldn't go wrong," Tampa real estate attorney Charlie Hounchell says. In that overheated period from 2001 to 2006, "you could buy a house and make $100,000 a year later by selling it," he says.

But the party ended in 2007 and the hangover persists. The state now has the highest foreclosure rate in the country, beating out Nevada for the first time in five years.

Experts say the legal process in Florida is the key reason for the sluggish pace of foreclosures there.

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World
3:34 am
Mon February 4, 2013

Tsunami Debris On Alaska's Shores Like 'Standing In Landfill'

Trash, much of it believed to be debris from the 2011 Japanese tsunami, litters the beach on Montague Island, Alaska, on Jan. 26.
Annie Feidt for NPR

Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 10:51 am

Refrigerators, foam buoys and even ketchup bottles are piling up on Alaska's beaches. Almost two years after the devastating Japanese tsunami, its debris and rubbish are fouling the coastlines of many states — especially in Alaska.

At the state's Montague Island beach, the nearly 80 miles of rugged wilderness looks pristine from a helicopter a few thousand feet up. But when you descend, globs of foam come into view.

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Energy
3:33 am
Mon February 4, 2013

Are Mini-Reactors The Future Of Nuclear Power?

The reactor room at Babcock & Wilcox's prototype reactor outside Lynchburg, Va. The reactor vessel is behind the orange curtain.
Ben Bradford WFAE

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 12:15 pm

The U.S. government is investing millions of dollars in what it considers a promising new industry for American manufacturing: nuclear reactors. The plan is to build hundreds of mini-reactors, dot them around the U.S. and export them overseas.

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Shots - Health News
3:31 am
Mon February 4, 2013

Shortage Of Brain Tissue Hinders Autism Research

Jonathan Mitchell is autistic and wants to donate his brain to science when he dies.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 8:39 am

Research on autism is being hobbled by a shortage of brain tissue.

The brain tissue comes from people with autism who have died, and it has allowed researchers to make key discoveries about how the disorder affects brain development.

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Health
6:16 pm
Sun February 3, 2013

Health Care Aides Await Labor Decision On Minimum Wage

Originally published on Thu February 7, 2013 4:11 pm

Home health care aides are waiting to find out if they will be entitled to receive minimum wage. A decades-old amendment in labor law means that the workers, approximately 2.5 million people, do not always receive minimum wage or overtime.

The Obama administration has yet to formally approve revisions to the Fair Labor Standards Act that would change that classification.

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Animals
3:13 pm
Sun February 3, 2013

Wood Stork's Endangered Status Is Up In The Air

A wood stork soars over its nest in Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary near Fort Myers, Fla., in 2008, as baby wood storks wait in their nest for an adult to bring food.
Peter Andrew Bosch MCT /Landov

Originally published on Sun February 3, 2013 6:16 pm

The last few years have been especially tough in South Florida for wading birds such as egrets, herons, ibises and wood storks that feed and nest in the region's wetlands.

The problem is there are fewer wetlands, and the last few years have been dry, reducing water levels in critical areas.

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The Two-Way
2:32 pm
Sun February 3, 2013

Syrian Activist's Offer Of Talks With Assad Draws Mixed Response

Activists in the town of Saraqib, Syria, hold a poster that reads, "Sheikh Moaz al Khatib represents me."
Courtesy of Mahmoud Bakkour

Originally published on Sun February 3, 2013 2:39 pm

Moaz al-Khatib sent waves through the Syrian activist community this week when he announced via Facebook that he was open to talks with representatives of Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime on two conditions: that political prisoners, thought to number in the tens of thousands, be released; and exiled Syrians be able to renew their passports at embassies abroad.

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The Two-Way
12:49 pm
Sun February 3, 2013

Gun-Control Battle Spills Over To Super Bowl Ads

Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group founded by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is airing a 30-second spot in the Washington, D.C., area calling for background checks on all gun sales.

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