Rachel Iacovone

Rachel Iacovone is a reporter and associate producer of Gulf Coast Live for WGCU News. Rachel came to WGCU as an intern in 2016, during the presidential race. She went on to cover Florida Gulf Coast University students at President Donald Trump's inauguration on Capitol Hill and Southwest Floridians in attendance at the following day's Women's March on Washington.

Rachel was first contacted by WGCU when she was managing editor of FGCU's student-run media group, Eagle News. She helped take Eagle News from a weekly newspaper to a daily online publication with TV and radio branches within two years, winning the 2016 Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Award for Best Use of Multimedia in a cross-platform series she led for National Coming Out Day. She also won the Mark of Excellence Award for Feature Writing for her five-month coverage of an FGCU student's transition from male to female.

As a WGCU reporter, she produced the first radio story in WGCU's Curious Gulf Coast project, which answered the question: Does SWFL Have More Cases of Pediatric Cancer?

Rachel graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University with a bachelor's degree in journalism.

Florida's U.S. Senators — Democrat Bill Nelson and Republican Marco Rubio — introduced legislation Thursday to extend the stay of some Canadian citizens who vacation in the U.S. 

U.S. Senator Bill Nelson took to the Senate floor Wednesday to discuss the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' approval of a new reservoir to go south of Lake Okeechobee.


As of Monday morning, the Army Corps of Engineers had halted releases of water from Lake Okeechobee to the west coast. This came after the decision to stop sending water toward the east coast late last month. Still, the persistent blue-green algae bloom brought Gov. Rick Scott to Southwest Florida for a firsthand look.

Tens of thousands across the country rallied Saturday for the reunification of immigrant families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border, and hundreds gathered at one march in Southwest Florida.

Collier County, Florida, sticks out as a blood-red buoy in the otherwise purple sea of the swing state. But, the conservative majority in the City of Naples also shares the county with majority-minority areas, like Golden Gate and the unincorporated farmworker town of Immokalee.

Governments have existed historically to offer aid, security and order, and for just as long, churches have done the same.

So, when the federal government could not answer people’s questions about separating families at the U.S.-Mexico border, people looked to the faith community to speak up.

And, Diocese of Venice Bishop Frank Dewane did.

On Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz were denied entry into a federal detention facility in Homestead that is housing an estimated 1,000 minors who were separated from their parents at the U.S. border.

Less than 24 hours later, President Trump signed an executive order ending his administration’s family separation policy, which — until that point — he had adamantly denied even existed. But, the end of the policy separating children from their families in the future doesn’t necessarily mean the reunification of those already separated families now.


Tuesday was the second anniversary of what was, at the time, the deadliest mass shooting in American history at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. A two-and-a-half-hour drive southwest from the city, a group gathered to remember the victims and call for reforms to state and federal laws to prevent such a shooting in the future.

The Estero-based Florida Everblades took on the reigning Kelly Cup champion Colorado Eagles over the weekend for the last game in the ECHL finals. 

The chants of "Let's go Blades!" were nearly deafening Saturday night.

This is the thing about minor league hockey. Unlike the much-larger arenas of the NHL, the stands are typically packed with almost entirely fans of the home team.

Such was the case at Germain Arena – where the crowd of more than 7,700 spectators was an unpolluted sea of green.


Every year, the Hunger and Homeless Coalition of Collier County conducts what’s called a Point in Time Count to get a snapshot of the number of people in the county who are facing homelessness.


As our society continues to struggle with the opioid epidemic, opioid abuse among those 50 and older has nearly doubled over the past decade, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The Florida Everblades are in it to win it – still. “It” being the ECHL Kelly Cup.

Joe Cox tied up the last game for the Blades with a breakaway goal in the first period. But, the forward’s sixth goal of the playoffs couldn’t stop the Colorado Eagles from winning the game 4-2.

“After the loss, I kind of went into the locker room, and we were like, ‘Okay, the game’s over. Let’s start preparing for next game. Leave what was in the past in the past,'" Cox said. "And, that was our mindset."


While he wasn’t actually born in Florida, Jeff Klinkenberg's parents moved to Miami from Chicago when he was 2 years old, and Klinkenberg is about as Florida as it gets.

 

He grew up in pre-air conditioned Miami, fishing in the Everglades and Florida Bay. He wrote his first book about Davy Crockett when he was just 6. He graduated from the University of Florida in 1971 and got his first job in journalism at The Miami News, where he worked until moving to what was, at the time, called the St. Petersburg Times, before becoming the Tampa Bay Times where he wrote his Real Florida column until retiring in 2013.


Now that summer break is upon us, food insecurity is hitting some Southwest Florida families especially hard. According to a recent United States Department of Agriculture study, 16.5 percent of all U.S. households with children experienced food insecurity in 2016, affecting some 6.5 million children.

Genetically modified foods attract a lot of criticism.

Traditionally speaking, GMO, or genetically modified organism, is a term that means DNA from another organism has been added to an organism in order to make it grow better, or faster or be more resistant to things like drought or disease. But, as technology advances, new techniques are becoming available to researchers to make genetic improvements more precisely and in a way that mimics natural mutations and does not use DNA from other organisms.

Hurricane season is officially underway. This week on Florida Matters we'll talk with weather experts and hear stories about how communities across the state are preparing, including Everglades City, which is still trying to piece itself back together more than eight months after Hurricane Irma.


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