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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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Education
9:19 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Activists Protest Florida's Race-Based Education Goals

Florida's education goals in math and reading currently vary by race.
Credit stockimages / freedigitalphotos.net

Students and civil rights activists have asked Gov. Rick Scott to hold black and Hispanic students to a higher standard. The Southern Poverty Law Center and Dream Defenders were in Tallahassee this week to deliver a petition — with 5,800 signatures — protesting Florida’s race-based academic goals.

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Crime
2:54 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Broward County Wants To Clear Some Juvenile Criminal Records

Some kids with misdemeanors may be able to say good-bye to their records
Credit Creative Commons / Flickr user Bart Everson

Five hundred young adults in Broward County may soon wake up to clean criminal records if the County Commission gives the go-ahead at its meeting Tuesday afternoon.

These kids are first-time, non-violent offenders who were eligible for the Civil Citation Program for Juveniles but were instead arrested and slapped with a misdemeanor.

The program is an opportunity to look at the source of the trouble-making and engage with other kids in similar situations. At the completion of the program, no mention is ever made on the kid’s record.

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Race And Culture
2:04 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

"Melt" Play Dissects Miami's Various Ethnic Experiences

Michael McKeever will read "Melt" at the Frost Science Museum.
Credit Michael McKeever

When Michael McKeever started out as a playwright 21 years ago, he had a peculiar writing process. He would imagine his characters and say out loud what they would say. He wasn't a trained writer, but had a knack for dialogue.

"I'm sure I sounded like a loon in those first years," McKeever recalls. "But that's how I got my dialogue. It was very natural for me to write the dialogue as I would act out the scene."

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Public Transportation
1:46 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Metrorail Will Celebrate 30th Anniversary May 20

Credit The Miami Herald

On Tuesday, May 20, Miami-Dade Transit will host a party to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Metrorail. The party, open to Metrorail riders, will take place at the Government Center station downtown and will include music, giveaways and raffles. 

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Bond Money
1:42 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Homestead Earns $26 Million In Voter Trust

Former Homestead mayor Steve Bateman was one of three South Florida mayors arrested on corruption charges last August.

UPDATE 8 a.m., May 14: The City of Homestead reports voters overwhelmingly approved bond referendums Tuesday.

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The End of the Road
8:54 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

95 Express Has Hit New Max Toll At Least 12 Times, But Appears To Be Working

95 Express toll sign at an onramp just north of NW 36th Street.
Credit Kenny Malone

The maximum possible toll on 95 Express increased from $7 to $10.50 on March 1. Two days later at 5:30 p.m., the cost of using the northbound express lanes hit the $10.50 maximum.

Rory Santana from the Florida Department of Transportation says a truck jack-knifed and backed up the highway, so people flooded 95 Express and drove the price into the ceiling.

Since March 1 the cost of a ride in the fast lane has hit $10.50 at least 13 times.  Nine of those cases occurred on the northbound express lanes, seven of which happened between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. 

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Brown v. Board of Education
2:34 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Hear Floridians Talk About Their Desegregation Experiences

Mamie Pinder holds a photograph of herself as a young teaching student. Pinder, a retired Miami-Dade school teacher, began teaching in 1963, the year the school district began merging black and white students bodies and faculty.
Credit Emily Michot / Miami Herald

This weekend marks the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education — the Supreme Court decision declaring segregated schools were inherently unequal.

A recent ProPublica investigation found at least 300 school districts that are still under court-ordered desegregation. Eleven of those districts are in Florida.

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