2014 is a big election year for the Sunshine State. The governor’s race is expected to be a very expensive one. Jobs and the economy will be key issues. And in the statehouse, medical marijuana, the cost of hurricane insurance, and water quality all are on the legislative agenda.
In our first show of the year, we'll look at what issues and news will be important in 2014.
Gov. Rick Scott has scheduled a February execution for Juan Carlos Chavez, who committed the notorious 1995 murder of 9-year-old Jimmy Ryce in Miami-Dade County.
Scott notified Florida State Prison Warden John Palmer of Florida State Prison on Thursday that the execution for Chavez, 46, will be held at Feb. 12.
Chavez was convicted in 1998 of kidnapping, sexual assault and murder of Ryce. The brutal crime spurred the Legislature to pass the Jimmy Ryce Involuntary Civil Commitment for Sexually Violent Predators' Treatment and Care Act, known simply as the Jimmy Ryce Act.
Bills that crack down on human sex trafficking, address problems from the 2012 election, allow foster care children to remain in the program until 21, and provide an incentive for companies to expand their fleet of natural gas vehicles become law Wednesday.
While the bulk of the nearly 200 new laws approved by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Rick Scott from the 2013 session hit the books in July and October, a few more kick in with the New Year.
Accompanying the handful of new laws is a slight increase in the paycheck for Florida's minimum-wage earners.
Florida wasn't among six states selected Monday by the Federal Aviation Administration for drone development testing. A law approved in 2012 gave the FAA three years to develop a way drones can share airspace and Florida was among those competing for the research work.
Space Florida, the quasi-government agency, made a $1.4 million proposal to use the shuttle landing facility at Kennedy Space Center for the testing, with the goal of establishing corridors for drones to safely fly between Sunshine State cities.
Florida gets a new GED exam today. The high school equivalency test is going exclusively online.
Education advocates are greeting it with mixed feelings.
The new GED has been retooled to emphasize workplace and college skills. That’s part of why advocates say it makes sense to offer it only as a computer-based exam. Test-takers will also get their unofficial results instantly.
On Christmas Eve, the islands of the eastern Caribbean were hammered by 15 inches of torrential rain. The flooding and landslides killed at least 13 people. South Florida’s Caribbean diaspora is gathering relief supplies - and officials are sounding the climate change alarm.
Ralph Gonsalves, the prime minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, calls last week’s downpour “a disaster of a proportion…we have not seen in living memory.” Gonsalves himself lost a cousin killed in a landslide.
Bruno Poso was only seven when he was initiated into his family’s domino clique.
“I didn’t even know what I was doing, but it was the best thing I had ever known,” said Poso, who learned how to play dominoes by watching his father and grandfather. “To be there with the men and being a boy, it was amazing.”
At 29, Poso has his own clique. He drives two to three times a week from his home in Coral Gables to Havana Cuba Cigar Company in Miami Lakes to play dominoes with other guys who enjoy the game.
Florida can be a pretty weird place, and it's something of a holiday tradition for news organizations throughout the state to put together lists of the weirdest stories of the year. (Read our "Why South Florida Can't Have Nice Things" roundup from last year.)
We decided to go straight to the people on the front lines: WLRN-Miami Herald News anchors, producers, editors and reporters. Here are what they thought were the most bizarre Florida stories of 2013.
On the last day of the year people all over South Florida will be looking to bring in 2014’s first moments with a bang. But Miami officials are asking that guns be excluded from those New Year’s Eve celebrations.
On Monday, county commissioner Audrey Edmonson took a swing at tackling celebratory gunfire again this year with the “One Bullet Kills the Party” campaign.
Pitbull, also known as Mr. Worldwide, is the face of the campaign which seeks to make people aware of the dangers of celebratory bullets that cause can injuries, property damage, and in some cases, death.
Children’s author Michael Buckley has spent a lot of time thinking about bullies. He’s the bestselling author of the NERDS series, which features a bunch of nerdy kids who deal with bullies during the school day and moonlight as top-secret superheroes the rest of the time.
Sheila Keenan, author of a new graphic novel for kids, called Dogs of War, says she tries not to think too much about classroom policies when she writes.
Her latest work is about the relationships between soldiers and dogs during World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War. It’s fiction, but she did a lot of research to make sure it was historically accurate.“Good storytelling is good storytelling,” says Keenan.
They say Americans will do anything for Latin America except read about it. But even gringos couldn’t ignore the noise next door in 2013.
Seemingly overnight, Brazil experienced violent anti-government unrest – then just as quickly it became the spokesnation for a world outraged by the U.S. surveillance overreach exposed by Edward Snowden.