John Davis

John Davis has been a full-time Reporter/Producer for WGCU since 2009. He is the local host for NPRââââ

When it comes to treating patients with Alzheimers disease or another form of dementia, should caregivers be doing more to treat the person and not just the disease?  We’ll talk with Art Therapist and Director of Education at the Neuropsychiatric Research Center of Southwest Florida, Angel Duncan, about her recently published article in the Journal of Neurology and Neurological Disorders titled “Identity in Memory: Ascertaining Consciousness beyond Dementia.” Duncan uses various case studies to show that despite cellular brain death caused by dementia, a patient’s sense of identity and self-awareness can remain intact and how the arts and sciences can work together to better treat patients.

The Laboratory Theater of Florida in Fort Myers begins performances of the rock musical “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”  Jan. 18.  The four time Tony Award-winning musical tells the story of Hedwig and how he escaped East Berlin before the fall of the Berlin Wall.  The story involves a botched gender-reassignment surgery and explores universal themes of loss, betrayal, defiance and finding one’s own identity.  We hear from the show’s director Paul Graffy, musical director, Julian Sundby and cast members PJ McCready, and Misha Ritter Polomsky.

The Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center’s annual “Taps & Tunes” Craft Beer and Music Festival returns to Centennial Park in downtown Fort Myers Jan. 12.  The daylong festival includes live music performances from bands including Wilder Sons and The Woodwork as well as craft beer selections from brewers from both in and outside of Southwest Florida.  The Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center’s Development Director Melissa DeHaven joins us for a preview of the festival and other offerings from the art center in the coming months.  We’ll also hear music selections from two of Saturday’s featured music performers.

The Florida Repertory Theatre in Fort Myers began performances of August Wilson’s “Fences,” this week.  The show runs through Jan. 30.  The play is part of Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning American Century Cycle; a series of 10 plays set in different decades that explore aspects of the African-American experience in the 20th century.  We’ll speak with the production’s director Benny Sato Ambush.  We’ll also meet the Florida Rep’s newly appointed artistic director Greg Longenhagen.

Newly sworn-in Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was in Southwest Florida this morning to make a major water policy announcement.  Gov. DeSantis has signed an executive order that, among other things, establishes a Blue-Green Algae Task Force and allocates $2.5 billion for Everglades restoration and water resource protection over the next four years.

A constitutional amendment took effect, Tuesday, that automatically restores the voting rights of some 1.4 million Florida residents with past felony convictions.

While many ex-felons are celebrating by registering to vote at their county supervisor of elections offices, how the administration of newly-sworn in Governor Ron DeSantis will respond, remains to be seen.

A new year is almost upon us.  For many it’s a time of retrospection and reevaluation that so often leads to the tradition of making new year’s resolutions.  Getting in shape, saving more money or dropping a bad habit are common resolutions.  As we look about our homes or office spaces, so is becoming more organized and getting rid of clutter.  That can be easier said than done if your attachment to certain things is steeped in memory and emotion.  That’s certainly the case for News-Press storyteller Amy Bennett Williams when it comes to a particular ornamental vine that stands out, even among the brilliant flora of Southwest Florida, as she tells us in this week’s encore essay.

The Florida Gulf Coast University Jazz Combo returns to our studios for a live on-air performance!  Members of this quartet are considered some of the top musicians at FGCU’s Bower School of Music & the Arts

We’re joined by FGCU’s Emmy nominated Director of Jazz Studies, Brandon Robertson, along with his students Isaiah Suriel on alto saxophone, Jose Cordero on flute and piano, Miguel Azcuy on percussion, Steven Giro on trumpet and Jonathan Taylor on bass.

With Christmas just days away, family and togetherness are prominent themes and thoughts on the minds of many as they prepare to celebrate the holiday.  Despite the festive cheer of the holiday season, it can be a tough time for those grieving the loss of a loved one, particularly when a death has occurred close to the holidays.  And that’s as true today as it’s ever been.

This week’s encore essay from News-Press storyteller Amy Bennett Williams centers on an historic photo of the family of legendary local Fort Myers Captain Nicholas Armeda. 

Armeda is best known as a shipmaster with expert knowledge of Florida waters which he continued to navigate well into his golden years.  Those adventures were proceeded, however, by a significant loss just before the holidays that, through the power of the photograph in question, can reach through history and touch our hearts even today.

The Southwest Florida-based band Swamp Rats join us in studio for a live on-air performance!  Their self-described sound is “Florida folk with an edge,” though it can be difficult to pin them down to a specific genre.

Swamp Rats’ music encompasses an eclectic blend of folk, blues, Americana and bluegrass that is also infused with punk and metal.  When the band isn’t busy traveling and performing, they’re also working on a full-length studio album set for release in 2019.  We’ll hear from band members Andy Starkey (Banjo & Vocals), Scotty Crow (Guitar, Vocals & Cajon) and  Kale Rushing (Bass & Vocals).

We sit down with the mother/daughter team behind the new podcast “Cool Dead Women.”  The first episode premiered earlier this year on Ms. Magazine’s blog and now they’re putting out regular episodes available through iTunes and Spotify.  The podcast is researched, produced and hosted by author, professor, editor and historian Erika Waters, Ph.D., along with her daughter Blair Waters.  


Earlier this month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, under the Trump Administration, approved the use of the antibiotic oxytetracycline on citrus fruits grown in the U.S. The EPA’s decision came just days after the agency approved residues of the antibiotic on fruit. According to the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity, the decision could pave the way for up to 480,000 acres of citrus groves here in Florida to be treated with up to 388,000 pounds of oxytetracycline per year, as a way to combat diseases like citrus canker and citrus greening.

 

Southwest Florida singer, songwriter, guitarist and violinist Claire Liparulo joins us to perform live in studio!  Liparulo’s distinctive vocal style is a rich blend of resounding power and soulful sweetness.  She is perhaps best known as the frontwoman for the reggae & soul band The Freecoasters.  Liparulo has recently made the transition to making music her full-time pursuit, which mean more opportunities to catch her solo performances at venues throughout the region.  We’ll learn more about her journey through music and get a first listen to some of her newest original songs.

WGCU has launched two new podcasts this year: Julie Glenn’s Grape Minds, which explores the world of wine with her co-host Gina Birch -- and Mike Kiniry and Richard Chin Quee’s Three Song Stories, which challenges guests to pick three songs that are deeply connected to their lives, and their memories, in order to generate biography and get them to open up about their life’s story. You can find both of them on the WGCU website, or on iTunes, NPR One, or anywhere you get your podcasts these days.

This partial episode of Three Song Stories released on Friday, November 30, and new episodes come out every Friday morning. This episode features Karen Feldman, who spent 28 years working at the News Press, and was one of the voices behind the paper’s mystery food writer, Jean Le Bouf, and who now works at Florida Gulf Coast University editing the university’s magazine. During the show, they listen to the three songs the guests’ have picked, and hear the stories they are connected to. This segment starts about halfway between Karen’s 2nd and 3rd songs.

The rate of uninsured children in Florida and across the nation is on the rise.  A new report from the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute’s Center for Children and Families finds that in 2017, the number of uninsured kids nationwide stood at an estimated 3.9 million children; that’s an increase of about 267,000 kids, including 37,000 more uninsured children compared to 2016 in Florida alone.

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