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7:49 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

WLRN's Five Most Popular Stories March 9-15

Credit Kenny Malone

Venezuelan boycotters and the history of the I-95 road symbol were our top stories. Other honorable mentions include Ira Glass telling us how weird Florida is as a state, Beckham bringing soccer to Miami and -- where does our water come from? Seriously, where?

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Homeless
7:45 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Britto Meters Still Confuse Drivers, Passersby

Stephen Sawitz with one of his "Britto meters" in the parking lot of Joe's Stone Crab.
Credit Wilson Sayre

It’s a cool Saturday night and Anthony Rolle pulls his blue Infiniti into the parking lot at Joe’s Stone Crab on South Beach, where he’s headed for dinner. He gets out and drops a quarter into the meter in front of his space.

Rolle starts to look a little puzzled. The meter is painted bright yellow with hearts, flowers and cozy-looking houses. This is not a normal parking meter. It's not actually a parking meter at all.

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Sunshine Economy
9:31 pm
Sun March 16, 2014

Bottoms Up: The Liquor & Wine Business In South Florida

Miami Club Rum began distilling in the Wynwood neighborhood in 2012. Founder and CEO Matt Malone uses Palm Beach County sugarcane byproducts and Miami-Dade County public water to make his rum.
Credit Tom Hudson

South Florida may not have the valleys and vineyards of Napa Valley nor the hollows and oak barrels of Kentucky but the wine and liquor industry is here in its own unique way.  Think mango wine not chardonnay, rum not bourbon and you've got the idea.  

South Floridians can talk about rum the way oenophiles go on about wine. There are the aromas of the rum, the notes and the finish. There may be hints of chocolate, berries or citrus.  For many outside of South Florida rum means one company: Bacardi.  

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Technology
7:58 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

See How Long Floridians Can Go Without Touching Their Phones

Credit UNICEF Tap Project

With a new app, UNICEF provides one day of clean water to a child in need for every 10 minutes spent without touching your phone.

The app ranks Florida fifth in the country for total time spent without phones. California is in first place. This correlates with a recent Nielsen study that ranked South Florida as fifth in the country in smartphone usage.

By going to tap.unicefusa.org on a smartphone and then letting the phone rest without touching it, anyone in the U.S. can donate clean water.

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Real Estate
6:24 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Want To Buy A Prison? You're In Luck

The prison might make a nice renovation project for the right person.
Credit Creative Commons via WikiCommons / Illustration by Wilson Sayre

UPDATE 6/2/2014: The City of Pembrook Pines has won their bid for the empty prison. Mayor Frank Ortis says the City wanted to control what happened with the land which is not far from houses that fall within city limits.

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A 66-acre plot of land off Sheridan Street has excellent security features, and it will soon be on the market. The Broward County Correctional Institution, a former women’s prison, is being sold off by the state.

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Election Results
2:08 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

The Ballots Are Counted In Boca

Newly elected Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie.
Credit Haynie campaign

Elections are over in Boca Raton. The fight for mayor ended with Susan Haynie defeating Anthony Majhess with 57 percent of the vote. This was the first mayoral race in recent Boca history that pitted two City Council members against each other. 

Haynie has also served as Deputy Mayor and sits on several transportation planning boards, while Majhess is a professional firefighter in Palm Beach County. The biggest issue in the mayoral race had to do with building and expansion. Boca residents say with Haynie as mayor, the city will see much more urban development.

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The Legislature
7:09 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Legislators, Who Want Voters To Make The Gambling Decisions: 'We Stink At This!'

Credit Bruno Belcastro on Flickr

In Tallahassee, the House package of gambling legislation includes a measure that would prevent the Florida Legislature from ever again making a big gambling decision. Click below to hear reporter Rick Stone's radio story on a possible cry for help from lawmakers who don’t think they’re any good at lawmaking. 

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Marriage Law
1:44 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

ACLU Sues Florida For The Rights Of Married Same-Sex Couples

Credit Peetje2 / Creative Commons/Flickr

  A new lawsuit challenging part of Florida’s ban on gay marriage has been filed in a federal district court in Tallahassee.

The ACLU of Florida is representing 8 same-sex couples who say their U.S. constitutional rights are being violated because Florida doesn’t recognize their out-of-state marriages. The lawsuit names Governor Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi and two other state officials as defendants.

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Events
7:21 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

More Made In Miami Conferences

Eric Baca at the 2012 Hispanicize conference.
Credit Latino Leaders Magazine

South Florida has always been a prime location for out-of-town conferences and conventions. But recently there's  a growing number of local organizations putting together these events from their own backyard. 

Miami-based conferences are pulling in major corporate sponsors and attendees from all over the world and speakers from the White House, Google and Facebook.

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Dept. Of Children And Families
4:30 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

DCF's Problems Partly About Lack Of Better-Educated Workers, Legislators Say

Hollywood Democrat Eleanor Sobel is chair of the Senate committee on Children and Families: "We are proud of this [bill] that will save lives of many many children in the state of Florida."
Credit Florida House of Representatives

 

A state Senate committee agrees that one of the keys to fixing persistent child welfare problems at Florida's Department of Children and Families is more and better-trained caseworkers. The panel has passed a group of bills with a package of solutions for a very troubled system.

Here's WLRN reporter Rick Stone's radio story.

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Transportation
2:56 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

More Cheeks On Seats Of South Florida's Public Transit

More people are riding on South Florida's public transportation.
Credit Creative Commons / Flickr user interbeat

A new ridership report from the American Public Transportation Association says overall, more people are using public transportation in South Florida than last year, specifically in Miami, West Palm Beach, and Pompano Beach.

In Miami, bus and MetroMover numbers were up from last year. Way up was the MetroRail ridership, which increased by 10 percent.

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Business
4:59 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

BritWeek Is Actually A Thing In Miami, And Here's Why We Have It

Credit BritWeek

  British roots date back to the 1700s in Florida, when Spain traded the state to Britain for control of Havana. Now there are English business associations here, car clubs and David Beckham. The second annual BritWeek kicks off with a series of events highlighting British business and cultural ties in Florida.  

WLRN's Bernard Hacker explains what goes on during Brit Week:

Read the full story at MiamiHerald.com.

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Miami Beach
7:07 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Friends Of Israel 'Reefa' Hernandez Respond To Autopsy Report

Estomba speaks in front of Rundle's office.
Credit Hillary Lindwall/WLRN

Friends of Israel "Reefa" Hernandez held a news conference in response to his autopsy report released last week, seven months after his death. The teen died in August after being shot with a stun gun by Miami Beach police when he was caught defacing an abandoned building. The autopsy report says Hernandez's death was "accidental through electrical discharge." Now, the State Attorney's office must finish investigating before they can decide whether or not to press charges in the death. 

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Links
3:55 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

WLRN's Five Most Popular Stories Mar. 3-7

Part of the Miami Herald's photo archive website 'Flashback Miami'
Credit Mike Freeman/Courtesy of The Miami Herald

The 95 Express toll increase is our most popular story this week -- again. Mass transit anyone?

Old Miami through photos, Mayan migrants and 80 days until traffic eases in downtown Miami were all close contenders for the No. 1 spot.

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The President In Miami
2:51 am
Mon March 10, 2014

How A Presidential Visit Affected Coral Reef High School

President Obama was accompanied by his wife to meet select students before he came out and spoke in the gymnasium.
Credit Walter Michot / Miami Herald

Students and teachers at Coral Reef High School can't pinpoint when they first heard the news that President Obama was coming to speak. He and the First Lady visited the south Miami-Dade school on Friday to ask students to apply for free federal student aid before they graduate.

Rumors had been floating around the high school since the previous week because of some strange things they saw. 

"Students started observing secret service around the building, so they started making comments, asking teachers," says chemistry teacher Stefano Pagani. 

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