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Development
4:40 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

How Miami Wants To Revitalize Downtown

Biscayne Boulevard Can Be A Pedestrian Obstacle Course
Credit The Miami Herald

Imagine sipping an iced cappuccino on Flagler Street beneath a lush shade tree, next to the very road that really kicked off Miami. Or meandering through a long, lazy park inserted in the middle of Biscayne Boulevard, just north of the InterContinental Miami Hotel and Resort.

Not possible, you say?

Quite possible, says Javier Betancourt, the Deputy Directory of the Miami Downtown Development Authority.

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The Florida Roundup
11:42 am
Fri May 16, 2014

The Florida Roundup: Is South Florida Going More Nuclear?

Credit Florida Power & Light

Governor Rick Scott and his cabinet approved two more nuclear reactors to the Turkey Point power plant on Biscayne Bay. But neighbors are worried about the construction of 88 miles of transmission lines, and environmentalists question why Florida Power & Light wants more nuclear facilities by the coast.

A ProPublica investigation reveals unusual billing patterns among Florida’s Medicare providers. We ask how this connects to Florida’s history of Medicare fraud.

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Religion And Politics
7:49 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Festivus Man Wants To Bring Satanic Prayer To Deerfield Beach

Chaz Stevens is using Satanic prayer to protest a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
Credit Creative Commons / Flickr user nzhamstar

Chaz Stevens is a South Florida activist who passionately disagrees with a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision. In a five-to-four split, the high court ruled that opening a town board meeting with prayer was constitutional.

So to poke fun at the decision, Stevens has asked Deerfield Beach to allow him to read a Satanic prayer to open a commission meeting.

The prayer goes like this:

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Politics
7:15 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Conservatives: Support Immigration Reform, It Will Replenish The Workforce

ACCEPTANCE: Conservatives are sounding the all-clear for immigration reform and telling former opponents it would be good for the economy.
Credit Florida Immigrant Coalition

Citing a more tolerant political atmosphere and a developing need for workers, leading Florida conservatives are calling on Congress to support and pass comprehensive immigration reform.

One good reason:  It would renew the state's dwindling supply of warm bodies.

"Our birthrate is about 1.7 per couple. We're not even replacing ourselves now," warned Ed Moore, president of the Florida Center Right Coalition, one of three noted conservatives who joined former state GOP chairman Al Cárdenas in a conference call with state reporters.

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Heritage
7:11 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Large Paintings And Metal Sculptures Are One Artist's Haitian Tradition

Mirrors are startegically placed into the "puzzle" to show the observer the art works behind them.

Philippe Dodard can't remember the first time he came to Miami. He lives in Haiti and has always come to visit one family member or another.

"What is interesting about Miami is every time I come back, I see something new," says Dodard. "And now I see that the culture is getting more and more alive everywhere."

By "culture," he means Miami's Haitian Heritage Museum, Haitian Compass Festival, and Haitian Heritage Month in May.

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Jobs
6:21 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Fast-Food Workers Gather To Protest Minimum Wage In South Florida

Fast-food workers hold up signs emblazoned with messages like "Better Pay for a Stronger Miami" to raise awareness for minimum wage increase.
Credit Selima Hussain

Late in the morning on Thursday, about 50 people gathered at Jackson Memorial Hospital to protest South Florida’s minimum wage of $7.93. The group marched through a steady drizzle of rain to a nearby Wendy's.

“We can’t support our families with what we’re making,” said Rebecca Ray, who works at the Wendy’s. “So we’re doing something about it.”

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News
3:20 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Politifact Rates Beckham Stadium Opposition Group's Claim False

An artistic rendering of David Beckham's proposed soccer stadium. Politifact Florida rated the claim that building a soccer stadium at PortMiami would threaten jobs at the port as false.
Credit Miami Beckham United

PolitiFact Florida has rated false an ad put out by a group opposing David Beckham's proposed soccer stadium in downtown Miami. The Miami Seaport Alliance claims the stadium would threaten PortMiami jobs.

The group, led by Royal Caribbean Cruises, put out television and radio ads claiming that building a soccer stadium near PortMiami would threaten 207,000 port jobs.

That number comes from a 2012 report, before the stadium was proposed.

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ProPublica Investigation
12:15 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Florida Docs Charge Medicare Top Rate For Office Visits

An analysis of Medicare billing rates show some doctors charge an unusually high amount for office visits.
Credit Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee / freedigitalphotos.net

Office visits are the bread and butter of many physicians’ practices. Medicare pays for more than 200 million of them a year, often to deal with routine problems like colds or high blood pressure. Most require relatively modest amounts of a doctor’s time or medical know-how.

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The Santa Maria
11:48 am
Thu May 15, 2014

Have They Found The Ship That Found The New World?

A diver inspects the remnants of what may be the Santa Maria.
Credit Brandon Clifford (courtesy)

Christopher Columbus arrived in the New World in 1492 on a ship called the Santa Maria. The vessel ran aground that Christmas Eve, off Haiti’s north shore near what is now Cap Haitien. Using historical records, underwater archeologist Barry Clifford says he recently located remnants of the ship.

The job of confirming the blockbuster find falls to Charles Beeker, the director of Indiana University’s underwater science program. Beeker says the evidence he’s seen so far, including wrought iron guns, is strong.

Hear an interview with Charles Beeker here:

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Department Of Children And Families
7:02 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

What Does A Guardian Ad Litem Do For Children In The Court System?

Guardian Ad Litems are volunteers who act as the voice of abused and neglected children. Here, hopeful volunteers work in groups as part of their training.
Credit Wilson Sayre

A Guardian ad Litem is the court-appointed voice of a child when government agencies suspect abuse or neglect. But the GAL program is, on the surface, unusual.

It’s built on a network of solely volunteers who take one case at a time, acting as eyes and ears for kids who are often too young to discerningly use their own. The future of those children is in large part determined by the Guardian ad Litem’s recommendation to the court.

Although the GAL program is held up as an example of what works in child advocacy, it is in a time of transition.

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Flashback Friday
5:50 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

9 Things You Probably Didn't Know About The Old Miami Herald Building

The old Miami Herald building started being demolished April 28.
Credit Walter Michot / Miami Herald

It's been roughly one year since WLRN-Miami Herald News staff left One Herald Plaza, the former Miami Herald building. 1HP will soon be demolished completely, but the building will always be rife with touching (and bizarre) memories. 

This #FlashbackFriday, WLRN and Miami Herald reporters, editors and human resources staff take us back to their memories of 1HP, with nine things you probably didn't know about the iconic building.    

*Editor's note: The eighth memory in this post contains a graphic, uncensored image.

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All Aboard Florida
4:11 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Panel For Miami-Orlando Railroad Project Talks Sustainable Transportation

All Aboard Florida held a panel discussion at the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce.
Credit Julia Duba

You might call it an understatement to say that traffic is an issue in South Florida. Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez put it this way:

"There are two man-made things you can see from space. One is the Great Wall of China. The other one is the Dade-Broward line."

On Tuesday, a panel of county and state transportation officials came together at the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce to discuss the plans for All Aboard Florida's passenger rail service.

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Politics
2:54 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

How South Florida Voters Are Changing Political Culture

The almanac includes insider information, like why so many domestic and foreign affairs are negotiated in Coral Gables.
Credit News Service of Florida

The Political Almanac of Florida 2014 gives us a detailed look at the state’s House districts -- all 120 of them.

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Books
9:46 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

David Kaufelt, Founder Of Key West Literary Seminar, Dies At 74

(Note: Mark Hedden's wife is on the board of the Key West Literary Seminar.)

David Kaufelt died Saturday at home in Key West.

He and his wife Lynn arrived from New York four decades ago. David was a writer and wanted to be surrounded by more writers. Several others already made the island their home, but Kaufelt had an idea to make Key West into a true literary destination, not just for people interested in the legacies of Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams, but for living, breathing writers too. 

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Latin America Report
9:33 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Canal Quarrel: How PortMiami's Future Is Tied To Tiny Panama

Epic Endeavor: Building the Panama Canal's wider locks.
Credit Panama Canal Authority

PortMiami is set to open its new, billion-dollar tunnel next week. It’s the jewel of a $2 billion port makeover, which includes a major dredging project and skyscraper-size loading cranes for sending a lot more auto parts to Brazil and getting a lot more handbags from China.

But the long-term success of that effort may depend to a large extent on whether a quarrel gets solved a thousand miles to the south. In Panama.

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