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The Florida Roundup
11:00 am
Fri January 3, 2014

The Year Ahead For South Florida

What are your predictions for Florida in 2014?
Credit april-mo / Creative Commons/Flickr

 

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.

 

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News
9:52 am
Fri January 3, 2014

Gov. Rick Scott Orders Execution For Murderer Of Jimmy Ryce

Credit Walter Michot / Miami Herald

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. 

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New Laws For 2014
7:59 am
Fri January 3, 2014

New Year, New Laws: Here's What's Changing In Florida's Rules

New laws take effect on Jan. 1 in Florida
Credit Hin255 / freedigitalphotos.net

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.

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Tech News
6:52 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Florida Loses Out On Bid For Drone Testing

Credit Don McCullough / Flickr CC

  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.

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StateImpact Florida
3:58 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Your Guide To Florida's New GED

Credit freedigitalphotos.net

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.

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Americas
8:26 am
Thu January 2, 2014

Caribbean Deluge Disaster Raises New Climate Change Warnings

A man in St. Vincent and the Grenadines inspects an SUV washed away in flooding and landslides on Christmas Eve
Credit Nibiru-PlanetX.com

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.

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Public Radio Resolutions
5:38 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

WLRN Staff Offer 2014 Resolutions. But Will We Keep Them?

When the fireworks end, we have plans.
Credit nirots / freedigitalphotos.net

The first moments of every New Year are accompanied by a number of reliable staples: the cacophony of explosives, the smooching of lovers (or strangers), and a proliferation of New Year’s resolutions.

Every year we see headlines in the news about keeping your resolutions, but these always appear early in the year then seem to simply fade away. (Resolution-keeping strategies in July, maybe?)

Whether resolution plans persist or materialize, conjuring up ideas for self-improvement is a holiday tradition.

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Dominoes
3:47 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

Not Your Grandpa's Dominoes: A New Generation Discovers A Classic Game

A new generation is discovering the game of dominoes.
Credit Artur84 / freedigitalphotos.net

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. 

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Year In Review
7:43 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Florida Is Weird. But Here's What Was Weirdest This Year.

Credit Sammy Mack, John Spade, Roberto Koltun, Andrew Derksen / WLRN, Flickr, El Nuevo Herald, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Florida Cooperative Pest Survey Program

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. 

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Party Safe
5:42 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

Pitbull And The City Of Miami Don't Want You To Fire Your Gun On New Year's Eve

Miami officials are urging revelers not to shoot in celebration.

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.

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StateImpact Florida
4:25 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

Children's Authors On Education Policy: Michael Buckley Talks Bullying And Non-Fiction

Michael Buckley is a best-selling children's author.
Credit Abrams Books

  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.

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StateImpact Florida
12:41 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

Children's Authors On Education Policy: Sheila Keenan Talks Common Core And Graphic Novels

Sheila Keenan is author of the new graphic novel, Dogs of War.
Credit Scholastic.com

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.

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Education
12:29 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

The Florida Education Stories To Watch In 2014

StateImpact Florida covers education policy in Florida.
Credit Daniel Moyle

IMPLEMENTING NEW COMMON CORE STANDARDS

Florida is one of 45 states that have fully adopted new math, English and literacy standards known as Common Core. Political opposition to the standards built throughout the year in both Florida and across the country.

Every Florida grade is scheduled to switch to the new standards this fall. The standards outline what students should know at the end of each grade.

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Education
12:06 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

The Biggest Florida Education Stories of 2013

Education Commissioner Tony Bennett is under criticism resigned his post on August 1. Pam Stewart was chosen to replace Bennett.
Credit Tony Bennett / StateImpact Indiana

Here’s our pick for the biggest education stories of 2013 — a few of which will likely dominate 2014 as well.

TONY BENNETT’S RESIGNATION

Bennett came to Florida in January with a reputation as a rising star among self-proclaimed education reformers and a leading voice for the Common Core English, literacy and math standards fully adopted by 45 states. He also came on the heels of losing his reelection bid as Indiana’s state schools chief to Democrat Glenda Ritz.

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Commentary
9:45 am
Mon December 30, 2013

New World Pope Challenges Old World Church: Francis Is Top LatAm Story in 2013

Pope Francis wears an indigenous Pataxo headdress during his visit to Brazil last July for World Youth Day.
Credit L'Osservatore Romano

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.

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