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3:05 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

GardenMusic Festival Kicks Off At Fairchild

The Sixth Floor Trio performs at Fairchild. Pictured from left to right are Harrison Hollingsworth, Johnny Teyssier and Teddy Abrams.
Credit Marva Hinton / WLRN

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables kicks off its second GardenMusic Festival Thursday, Jan. 9. The event features everything from chamber music, to jazz, folk and even Broadway standards.

Members of Sixth Floor Trio, the group that developed the musical program for the festival, say that’s by design.

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Army Veterans
9:05 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

'Honorable' Or 'Honorably'? Difference Keeps Disabled Miami Veteran Off The Bus

Credit Tom Curtis / freedigitalphotos.net

A U.S. Army veteran from Miami-Dade County has been told he's not "honorable" enough to qualify for a veteran's transit pass and he's filed a lawsuit against the county transit agency.

It's a dispute over words and how the military grades soldiers as they return to civilian life. But a benefit hanging in the balance could potentially make a big difference in the lives of low-income veterans.

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News
5:44 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Senator Says Florida's Troubled Unemployment System May Violate Federal Law

Florida's new unemployment benefits system, CONNECT, was supposed to provide convenience and better service. Instead, many applicants are going weeks, even months, without unemployment checks.
Credit floridajobs.org

The trouble with Florida’s revamped unemployment website is getting more attention in Washington. U.S. Senator Bill Nelson is again calling for a federal investigation.

More than 200,000 jobless Floridians use the website to file for weekly benefits worth up to $275.

The new website debuted in mid-October after the state spent four years and $63 million upgrading equipment.

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StateImpact Florida
4:41 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Jacksonville School Replaces KKK-Affiliated Name

The new name, Westside, is a nod to the neighborhood.
Credit Sammy Mack

Nathan B. Forrest High — the Jacksonville school named for the Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan leader — has a new name.

The Duval County School Board voted to rename school #241 on Tuesday. Starting in the fall it will be Westside Senior High.

From the moment it was named in 1959, there’s been controversy over Forrest High, home of the Rebels.

In 2008 the school board elected not to rename the majority African-American school.  The votes fell along color lines.

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Americas
10:43 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Beauty Queen Murder Shines Light On Venezuelan Violence

This May 23, 2005 file photo released by Miss Universe shows Monica Spear, Miss Venezuela 2005, posing for a portrait ahead of the Miss Universe competition in Bangkok, Thailand. Venezuelan authorities say the soap-opera actress and former Miss Venezuela and her husband were shot and killed resisting a robbery after their car broke down. Prosecutors said in a statement that Monica Spear and Henry Thomas Berry were slain late Monday, Jan. 6, 2014 near Puerto Cabello, Venezuela’s main port.
Credit AP file photo

  Venezuela got a tragic New Year reminder of one of its most pressing problems: violence. Mónica Spear, 29, a former beauty queen and a popular soap opera star who was raised in Orlando, was killed Monday night during a presumed highway robbery.

Authorities said her partner Thomas Henry Berry, 49, reportedly from the U.K., was also killed and that their five-year-old daughter was injured in the incident.

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Sports
6:59 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Miami Dolphins 'Part Ways' With General Manager Jeff Ireland

Credit JOE RIMKUS JR. / Miami Herald

  The Miami Dolphins and general manager Jeff Ireland parted ways on Tuesday afternoon, ending a six-year tenure with the team, including the past four in which he had final say on all personnel decisions.

The Dolphins did not name a replacement. Assistant general manager Brian Gaine and former Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli are among possible candidates, though the team did not indicate who would be considered.

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Religion
6:56 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Group Unveils Satan Statue Design For Oklahoma

Credit Satanic Temple / AP photo

A satanic group unveiled designs Monday for a 7-foot-tall statue of Satan it wants to put at the Oklahoma state Capitol, where a Ten Commandments monument was placed in 2012.

The New York-based Satanic Temple formally submitted its application to a panel that oversees the Capitol grounds, including an artist's rendering that depicts Satan as Baphomet, a goat-headed figure with horns, wings and a long beard that's often used as a symbol of the occult. In the rendering, Satan is sitting in a pentagram-adorned throne with smiling children next to him.

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Politics
5:47 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Caribbean Crusader: St. Vincent PM Gonsalves On Development And Disaster

St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves assumed the Caricom chairmanship this month.
Credit secretariat.thecommonwealth.org

Christmas 2013 was the best and worst of times for Ralph Gonsalves.

Gonsalves, Prime Minister of the Caribbean island nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, met with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Dec. 19. For Gonsalves, an outspoken populist who was about to take over as chairman of the Caribbean Community, or Caricom, it was a moment of valuable political cachet: Francis has proven a champion of poor global underdogs like the small republics of the Caribbean.

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How Much Is Enough?
5:42 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Who Is Winning The War On Poverty?

50 years after President Johnson's War on Poverty, how are we doing?
Credit Creative Commons via Flickr

This Jan. 8 marks the 50th anniversary of former President Lyndon B. Johnson's War on Poverty, which left a checkered legacy after 1960s policies to combat growing poverty. We thought this marked an appropriate time to take stock of how local communities are doing.

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News
12:34 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

What Part of 'Do Not Call' Do Florida Telemarketers Not Get?

Credit freedigitalphotos.net/stockimages

Take a guess: What one issue do you think Florida consumers complained about the most last year?  Was it high energy bills, losing money on a lemon car or disputes with landlords?

Turns out the number one consumer gripe involves telemarketers who can't take "Do Not Call" for an answer.

Florida consumers complained the most last year about getting targeted by telemarketers -- despite being registered with the state's "Do Not Call" list.

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Religion
10:46 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Christians, Atheists Say 'Keep Capitol A Free-Speech Zone'

'In God we trust'
Credit Kdt / Flickr CC

Christians and atheists may have found a little common patch of ground, the rotunda of the Florida Capitol as a space to express themselves.

The threat of a lawsuit is hovering over the state's rejection of a satanic display, and the rotunda exhibit policy is set to undergo a staff review. But the prevailing view among those who have recently jumped at the chance to use the public floor space to express their beliefs is to simply let everyone have their say.

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Environment
6:45 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Coping With Climate Change In Greenland

Credit Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Contribution from the Miami Herald

On an inlet nestled between soaring cliffs, huge chunks of ice shimmer from a distance like precious stones on a cocktail ring.

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Staff Lists
6:15 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

New Year's Resolutions We've Already Broken

Credit Wilson Sayre / WLRN

It's early January, and even a week in, reality has set in.

Those New Year's resolutions we made? Yup, already broken. Don't pretend yours aren't broken, now. Unless they really are not -- in which case, kudos to you.

Reporter Wilson Sayre says her resolution didn't make it past Jan. 1:

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Links
5:32 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

WLRN's Five Most Popular Stories For Dec. 30-Jan. 3

Credit Elaine Chen / WLRN

As 2013 came to a close, you were most interested in stories about Pope Francis to tourism in South Florida. There were some others, too.

Here's what topped our charts this week. 

PHOTOS: This Is How South Florida Babies React To SnowEven South Florida preschoolers are feeling the polar vortex. Armed with an ice machine, Marty Enis, owner of Florida Ice Manufacturing, brings snow to the South. Here are photos of the kids' reactions to their personal winter wonderland.

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Transit And Tours
9:17 am
Mon January 6, 2014

Homestead Launches Free National Parks Trolley

Homestead's trolley goes to and from Everglades National Park three times, and Biscayne National Park twice on Saturdays and Sundays.
Jessica Meszaros WLRN

  

About a year ago, the city of Homestead was designated "The Gateway To Biscayne and Everglades National Parks." This past weekend the city launched its first free, guided trolley ride into the parks, which the city hopes will see more local visitors with the start of the new service.

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