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Criminal Justice
5:36 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Florida Considers Reopening Correctional Facilities

Credit Kate Ter Haar/Fickr

Florida might soon reopen several prisons, a year after closing them after the state projected a growing inmate population. Gov. Rick Scott announced the closing of prisons across the state as good news, saying it saved the state money.

But next year, the Department of Corrections wants the legislature to reopen nine facilities from Miami to the panhandle. That will include two prisons, five work camps and two reentry centers.

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The Sunshine Economy
6:30 am
Mon November 4, 2013

Joanna's Team Holds Their Own Against Grocery Goliaths

Two generations of Ledermans running Joanna's Marketplace in Miami.
Credit Tom Hudson

Late August 1992 was going to be a memorable time for Joanna Lederman, her husband Alan and sons John and Michael. They had spent the spring and summer getting ready to open a new independent grocery market.  After all the product testing, tastings, employee training, inventory stocking, marketing and other work to get a new business off the ground, they were all set.  

Joanna's Marketplace was going to open for the first time on South Dixie Highway in Miami on August 24, 1992. Then Hurricane Andrew hit South Florida.

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Americas
6:00 am
Mon November 4, 2013

Battling For Brazilians: Broward Challenges Dade For Latin American Tourists

Fort Lauderdale Beach is gaining more Latin American visitors, who previously beelined for Miami's oceans.
Credit Eric Barton

In the 1980s, after the bolívar crashed and Venezuelans suddenly couldn’t fly to Miami every weekend, a gaita band recorded a sardonic song whose chorus lamented, "Qué triste domingo sin Miami Beach."

How sad Sunday is without Miami Beach.

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Norman Van Aken's A Word On Food
8:00 am
Sat November 2, 2013

(S)wine Snobs

Click the play button to hear the radio version of this post by Norman Van Aken.

When the woman at the butcher counter asked Jimmy the Cutter, “do you have a nice butt?” Jimmy didn’t hesitate and said, “My wife kind of digs it.”

The lady pushed her walker aside to get a better look at the pork in Jimmy’s case, pretending not to hear him. Her faded alligator purse fell open to reveal a half empty carton of Lucky Strikes and a copy of Reader’s Digest. He looked at me and rolled his eyes toward the crease of his paper deli hat.

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Opinion: Kelley's Korner
11:02 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Bad Move, Mr. Crist

Kelley Mitchell thinks former Gov. Charlie Crist made a press faux-pas with his Friday announcement.
Credit Mike Cohen / Flickr/Creative Commons

The first time I met Charlie Crist, he was the state Attorney General. It was at a Florida Department of Law Enforcement news conference in their then-new digs along the Dolphin Expressway near Florida's Turnpike.

I'm fairly certain it was one of those Joint Agency Task Force announcements that had something to do with Identity Theft (Hint: "We're against it.")

So am I, by the way. It can be debilitating.

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Politics
7:01 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Former Gov. Crist Enters Florida's Gubernatorial Race

Credit rawstory.com

Former Gov. Charlie Crist made it official Friday: He will run for his old job again in 2014, setting up a potential battle with Republican Gov. Rick Scott for the state's highest office.

Crist, who is set to announce his candidacy Monday morning at Albert Whitted Park in St. Petersburg, quietly filed his paperwork Friday with state election officials. The move allows him to begin raising money immediately. He becomes an instant front-runner in a Democratic primary that also includes former state Senate Minority Leader Nan Rich of Weston.

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News
6:04 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

State Working To Fix Glitch-Ridden Unemployment Website

Florida's Department of Economic Opportunity provides unemployment benefits worth up to $275 a week to more than 200,000 Floridians. But glitches in the new system are preventing thousands of people from signing up for benefits.
Credit Reilly Shiarella/flickr

Florida has a new website for unemployment claims, and much like the federal government’s health insurance website, it’s plagued with problems.

The Reemployment Assistance Connect System – known as CONNECT – is where jobless Floridians must go to file their claims. It’s overseen by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

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Jackson Health System
5:55 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

County Hospital Seeks Taxpayer Help To Attract Obamacare Customers

Now that formerly uninsured South Floridians are shopping for coverage on Healthcare.gov, Jackson wants to lure them with upgrades.

Jackson Health System wants to go after formerly uninsured individuals now receiving coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Because insured customers have increasingly been choosing hospitals with snazzier facilities, Jackson is asking Miami-Dade County voters to raise their own property taxes to cover a top-to-bottom remake of the hospital system.

If the referendum passes on Tuesday, JHS will issue bonds to raise $830 million for the renovations. The bond debt would add about $50 to the average county taxpayer's yearly tax bill.

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Public Policy
5:22 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Florida Food Stamps Receive Cuts

With possible further cuts to food stamps, Florida food insecurity is a concern.

Cuts to food stamps for over 3.5 million Floridians went into effect Friday, Nov. 1. And more could be coming through the pipeline soon.

Increases in food stamps, which are part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), were approved as part of the 2009 Recovery Act’s temporary boost to the economy. And those increases have run out.

For a family of four, the cuts translate to $36 per month or a total loss of $396 per year. Cuts to benefits in Florida are the third largest.

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The Florida Roundup
11:31 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Is There A Humane Way To Execute?

Miami killer Thomas Knight, one of Florida’s longest-serving prisoners on Death Row, will be executed Dec. 3.

Though the legality of the death penalty is settled, the way that we do it is not. Several Florida death row inmates have filed suit to challenge the state’s use of a drug mix they say won’t prevent excruciating pain during the execution.

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Elections
7:22 am
Fri November 1, 2013

New Campaign Finance Laws Take Effect Nov. 1

Credit Public Citizen / Flickr

With little more than a year remaining before voters head to the polls in November 2014, candidates face something of a new world: Beginning Friday, they can rake in even more money from contributors to their campaigns.

Some of the biggest changes in a sweeping campaign-finance bill, approved last spring by the Legislature, take effect on Friday.

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Miami Stories
6:30 am
Fri November 1, 2013

A Wild Frontier In West Kendall

The Reyes family: Marily, Frank and Frances.
Credit Courtesy / Miami Herald

Southwest 132nd Avenue was on the edge of Miami in 1972, when Marily Reyes and her husband Frank moved into their new home just south of Bird Road. Their view across the narrow avenue was elephant grass for six long years.

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Second Amendment
6:00 am
Fri November 1, 2013

From Kendall To West Palm Beach, Bearing Arms Is More Than Just A Right

Stone Hart's Gun Club in Kendall hosts gun enthusiasts for events such as Bowling Pin Night and Ladies night, among others, each month.
Credit Rachel Morello / WLRN

Gary Brill is a member of both the National Rifle Association and the U.S. Practical Shooting Association. He's been shooting for almost 30 years, taking part in local competitions, buying his own targets and even making his own bullets at home. You could say he is a firearms fanatic.

"The old saying, 'If you ask how many guns someone has, it’s between more than one and not enough.' So I have more than one and not enough," he says. "A lot of different types: handguns, pistols, semi-automatic, rifles, shotguns."

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Economics
5:27 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Gov. Scott's Top Business Recruiter Gets A Pay Hike

Governor Rick Scott speaks to board members with Enterprise Florida, the state's public-private economic development agency on Oct. 31.
Credit Rachel Morello

The outlook was largely positive as Governor Rick Scott, government officials and business leaders gathered in Coral Gables to discuss progress in boosting Florida’s economy.

The Oct. 31 gathering coincided with a board meeting of Enterprise Florida, the state’s public-private economic development agency.

Gov. Scott opened the discussion by praising both the public and private sectors for contributing to recent signs of economic recovery. He cited an increased focus on education and the addition of 365,000 private sector jobs since he took office.

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Politics
3:11 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Legislative Leaders Join Attorney General In Fight Against Medical Marijuana

The Office of National Drug Control Policy says 20 states and Washington, DC have passed laws allowing medical marijuana since 1996.
Credit Eric Broder Van Dyke/flickr

Legislative leaders are joining the fight against an effort to get a medical marijuana proposal on the ballot next year.

Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Destin, and House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, say they will file a brief with the Florida Supreme Court opposing the initiative.

Gaetz sent a memo to the Florida Senate saying he doesn’t think the proposal meets legal requirements.

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