News

Politics
1:50 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Here Are New Florida Laws Taking Effect July 1

Florida Capitol
Credit StateImpact Florida

The state's $74.1 billion budget, which will fund 114,481 positions, 3,955 more than in the current fiscal year, kicks in on Monday.

The fiscal package also includes the first raise those workers will see in seven year.

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Cuba
12:05 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

'Technological Disobedience': How Cubans Manipulate Everyday Technologies For Survival

A Cuban rikimbili-- the word for bicycles that have been converted into motorcycles. The engine of 100cc's or less typically is constructed out of motor-powered, misting backpacks or Russian tank AC generators.
Credit rikimbili.com

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Environment
10:13 am
Mon July 1, 2013

Why Invasive Lionfish Are So Hard To Eradicate From South Florida Waters

The latest tool in the battle against Florida's lionfish invasion is the Antipodes, a five-person manned submersible operated by OceanGate, Inc.
Credit OceanGate, Inc.

A team of scientists from  around the country recently spent two days off the coast of South Florida to investigate the explosion of lionfish.

What they found was shocking. Why?

Because there’s a war going on and the indomitable lionfish are winning.

These voracious predators are known to invade the shallows of coral reef.  They’re dangerous because they ruin the habitat and eat juvenile spiny lobsters, snappers, groupers, tarpon and bonefish - all valuable marine species humans rely on.

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Health Care
6:41 am
Mon July 1, 2013

You Ask, We Answer: Demystifying The Affordable Care Act

Families soon will be able to sign up for new health insurance options through the Affordable Care Act. In Washington, D.C., Dr. Cheryl Focht of Mary's Center performs a checkup of Jayson Gonzalez, 16, while his mother, Elizabeth Lopez, looks on.
Heather Rousseau NPR

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 10:25 am

The biggest changes in health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act are set to begin less than three months from now. Oct. 1 is when people can start signing up for coverage in new state health exchanges. The policies would kick in on Jan. 1, 2014.

It can all be a little confusing, we agree. So two weeks ago, we asked what you wanted to know about the health law.

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Religion
1:38 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Dedication Of Nation's First Atheist Monument Saturday In Starke

Originally published on Fri June 28, 2013 2:17 pm

The first monument to atheism ever erected on government property in the U.S. will be dedicated Saturday in Starke.

The monument will be in close proximity to a black granite display of the Ten Commandments installed in the courtyard of the Bradford County Courthouse last year.  

American Atheists sponsored the display after losing a lawsuit to get the Ten Commandments removed.

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Business
12:49 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

How The University Of Miami Lures Biotech Startups To South Florida

Robert Chavez, executive director of a new seed accelerator called ProjectLift Miami, works with companies in the Miami Innovation Center at the University of Miami Life Science & Technology Park.
Credit Alex M. Sanchez/Miami Herald Staff

Many U.S. cities are competing to bring biotech companies and jobs to their communities, places like Phoenix, Buffalo, Gainesville and of course, Miami.

They all want to develop an industry cluster, and while cities like San Diego and Boston have already successfully grown theirs, Miami’s efforts are still somewhat nascent.

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Sports
4:20 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

Two Heat Championships Later, All Of Florida Becomes A Basketball Town

Two championships apparently helped this plate sell.

There’s now proof that South Florida has become a basketball town. In fact, after two Miami Heat championships, all of Florida seems to be smitten by LeBron’s team.

That’s at least according to data released today on the number of Florida specialty plates. It shows that the Miami Heat tag has surpassed the plates for all other Florida pro sports teams.

In 2011, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had more specialty plates issued than any other pro sports team in the state, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

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Business
3:22 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

U.S. Businessman Trapped By Chinese Workers Is Freed

American Chip Starnes, co-owner of Specialty Medical Supplies, spoke to the media Tuesday from a window at a factory on the outskirts of Beijing.
Andy Wong AP

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 2:49 pm

American businessman Chip Starnes finally left his factory in China on Thursday after he and a union negotiator worked out severance payments for Chinese employees.

Starnes had been stuck inside his medical supply parts factory since last Friday. That's when workers, fearing they were all going to be laid off and that the company wasn't going to compensate them fairly, blocked all of the exits out of the plant. Starnes couldn't get out.

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Zimmerman Trial
10:20 am
Thu June 27, 2013

Key Witness In Trayvon Martin Case Returns To The Stand

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 5:24 am

Wednesday marked the third day of testimony in the murder trial of George Zimmerman. The neighborhood watch volunteer is accused of killing unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin. Among those testifying was a key witness: Rachel Jeantel. She testified that she was on the phone with Martin when he was attacked.

Agriculture
8:05 am
Thu June 27, 2013

New Bugs In Florida Stymie Researchers, Threaten Crops

The psyllid, discovered eight years ago in Florida citrus groves, has been problematic for researchers and farmers alike.
University of California, Davis AP

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 5:34 am

With its pleasant climate, Florida has become home to more exotic and invasive species of plants and animals than any other state in the continental U.S. Some invasive species have been brought in deliberately, such as the Burmese python or the Cuban brown snail. But the majority of species are imported inadvertently as cargo.

Amanda Hodges, who heads the biosecurity research lab at the University of Florida, says that until recently, scientists saw about a dozen new bugs arrive in Florida each year.

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Americas
7:50 am
Thu June 27, 2013

Amid Construction Boom, Migrants Flow Into Brazil

Construction is underway on the Itaquerao stadium in Sao Paulo, shown here June 12. The stadium will be the venue for the opening ceremony and game of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, and many migrants are among the laborers working on the project.
Sebastiao Moreira EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 5:34 am

Brazil is in the midst of a building boom as it constructs stadiums across the country in preparation for the World Cup it will host next year. In Sao Paulo, hundreds of workers are building a massive arena that will take many more months to complete.

But not all of the workers are Brazilian.

Marie Eveline Melous, 26, arrived from Haiti just a few months ago because life was so difficult, especially after the huge earthquake in 2010. "It's hard to find work. I came to Brazil to help my situation," she says.

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Civil Rights
7:35 am
Thu June 27, 2013

How The U.S. Supreme Court's Decision Gave Legal Gay Marriage What It Needed: Validity

THE CAUSE THEY LOST: In 2008, these protesters demonstrated in Fort Lauderdale against a gay marriage ban that was on the ballot. Sixty-two percent of the voters approved it.
Credit Danny Hammontree/Flickr

The benefits will be substantial for those who get them, but the beneficiaries of the U. S. Supreme Court's decision to strike down the Federal Defense of Marriage Act are just a small subset of  Florida's LGBT population.

They are the couples with marriage licenses from states where same-sex marriage is legal. Until now, DOMA prevented them from receiving tax breaks, Social Security, pension considerations and myriad other benefits that the federal government extends to married couples.

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Civil Rights
5:30 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Here Are Reactions From Across Florida To Wednesday's Ruling On Gay Marriage

Staff at Rosie's restaurant in Wilton Manors, a heavily gay community in Broward County, wear red in support of marriage equality.
Credit Amy Sherman

The Defense of Marriage Act has been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States on the basis of equal protection.

The 5-4 ruling came down at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, sending waves of excitement across the nation.

Initial reactions online were lively comments from liberals who saw this legal development as the end of an era: 

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Health Care
4:12 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

Outreach For New Health Insurance Exchanges Targets Latinos

Elva Jaldin, a promotora, talks with Andrea Velandia about health. Soon Jaldin will help women like Velandia sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
Jenny Gold

Originally published on Tue June 25, 2013 6:05 pm

Andrea Velandia, 29, is just the sort of person the architects of the new health insurance marketplaces had in mind when they were thinking about future customers.

She's young, in good health, uninsured and Latino.

"We're very healthy. We don't have many issues," she says of her family. For the most part, she and her husband avoid the health system. "It's very expensive to go to the doctor to get a regular checkup," she says. "And you only have an option to go to the emergency room, which is even more expensive."

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Environment
12:02 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

Where Are The Most Deaths From Lightning? Florida

Originally published on Tue June 25, 2013 10:50 am

Florida ranks number one in the country in lightning strikes per square mile. So, it should be no surprise that Florida leads in lightning deaths as well.

But what’s eye opening to John Jensenius, a lightning specialist with the National Weather Service, is that 82 percent of the lightning deaths are male.

Also surprising is what they were doing when hit by lightning.

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