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Environment
7:43 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Miami-Dade Expands Urban Development Boundary

FIU Geography Professor Jeff Onsted straddles the Miami-Dade County Urban Development Boundary at Miller Road and SW 167th Avenue.
Credit Tom Hudson

Miami-Dade County commissioners on Wednesday opened the door to more warehouses and offices west of Doral, agreeing to expand the Urban Development Boundary to include a 521 acre-chunk already surrounding by buildings.

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The Sunshine Economy
7:00 am
Thu October 3, 2013

The Sunshine Economy: Rising Health Insurance Premiums

Credit Freedigitalphotos.net

Click the play button above and listen to WLRN's hour-long special, "The Sunshine Economy: Obamacare Comes To South Florida," with host Tom Hudson. The episode is part of an ongoing series examining key industries of the South Florida economy. Shows air Mondays at 9:00 a.m. on 91.3 FM.

The Affordable Care Act's open enrollment which began October 1 is focused on individuals but its impact likely will be felt even if you get your insurance through your employer, or though your spouse's work.

Most Americans with private health insurance (not Medicare, Medicaid or veterans benefits) get their insurance through their job or their husband's or wife's company. Even as more people may sign up for health insurance coverage, the prices for that coverage are expected to keep rising. 

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Transportation
6:00 am
Thu October 3, 2013

How Miami-Dade's Dreams Of Light Rail Look A Lot Like Its Past

A streetcar in Coral Gables in April, 1925
William A. Fishbaugh/State Archives of Florida

Once again, Miami-Dade County is studying whether a light-rail train from mainland Miami to the beach would actually work.

Mayor Carlos Gimenez and the county’s metropolitan planning organization think it could be a solution to the traffic problems of South Beach. If traffic gets worse, Gimenez has said it will “kill the tourism industry.”  

A History Of Light Rail

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Recreation
5:24 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Reminder: Florida State Parks Remain Open To The Public

A view of the gun room and 10-inch Rodman cannon at Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park.
Credit FloridaStateParks.org

While the partial shutdown of the federal government has caused national parks like the Everglades to close temporarily, the state parks are still open.

The Florida Park Service is reminding residents and visitors that all 171 state parks are open for business seven days a week.

Park managers say visitors who have planned a trip to a closed federal park shouldn't cancel their plans; they should just visit a nearby state park instead.

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Business
2:52 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Florida Lawmakers Delay Highly Anticipated Gambling Study

Credit Wikipedia.org

A $400,000 gambling report will be delayed because it is too confusing and needs to be reviewed for accuracy, according to Senate Gaming Committee Chairman Garrett Richter, R-Naples.

The final portions of a three-part study by Spectrum Gaming Group were due to the Legislature on Tuesday, the same day executives at the New Jersey-based gambling research firm asked for another 30 days to complete the study conducted with its partner Regional Economic Models Inc., or REMI.

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The Sunshine Economy
1:25 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

The Sunshine Economy: Fewer Choices, More Insured?

Click the play button above to hear the radio segment from this week's The Sunshine Economy: Obamacare Comes To South Florida on September 30 with host Tom Hudson. The show airs every Monday at 9 a.m. on WLRN 91.3 FM.

Some numbers to consider as open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) gets underway:

There are 10 essential benefits all insurance plans offered under the ACA health insurance reform law must have. They include hospital coverage, ER treatment and prescription drug benefits.

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Politics
9:44 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Local Police Gear Up To Enforce Florida's New Texting While Driving Ban

Enforcing the texting ban might prove difficult.
Credit Creative Commons Via Flickr user Steven Damron

As Florida's texting while driving ban goes into effect, local police officers are still figuring out the best way to enforce the new law.

"This is something new to all of us," said Freddy Cruz, a sergeant with the City of Miami Police Department. "This is going to be quite a challenge, but from an educational standpoint, we have to educate the public on the dangers [of texting while driving].

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Natural Resources
9:43 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Florida-Georgia Water Dispute Goes To U.S. High Court As Seafood Industry Suffers

Credit apalachicolabay.org

Florida filed a lawsuit Tuesday in the U.S. Supreme Court in a long-running battle with Georgia over water withdrawals that have damaged Apalachicola Bay, but it may be too late to help the Franklin County seafood workers who were already struggling to survive.

Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi followed through on an August announcement that Florida would seek injunctive relief so more water would flow to the bay, which collapsed last year in the face of a historic drought and dwindling releases of freshwater from Georgia.

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Politics
9:21 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Tourists, Workers Turned Away As U.S. Shutdown Hits South Florida

Eduardo Echeverria, a federal law enforcement ranger at Everglades National Park, closes the main gate on October 1 because of the government shutdown.
Credit MARICE COHN BAND / Miami Herald Staff

“Closed” signs went up at national parks, and federal employees went home across South Florida on Tuesday as the federal government limped its way through the first day of a shutdown.

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Economy
8:00 am
Wed October 2, 2013

How Incentives For Film, TV Production In Florida Are Drying Up

The final episode of Burn Notice being shot behind the former Miami Herald Building.
Miami-Dade Office of Film & Entertainment

Now that “Burn Notice” has wrapped up seven successful seasons, will a new show step in to send the world a postcard of Miami every week?

The USA Network production ended its run recently while ratings were still strong. Thanks to a worldwide audience, it’s likely to live for years in syndication.

But the end of the show, as well as A&E’s The Glades and Starz’ Magic City this summer, leaves a void in Miami’s economy. A lot of folks made money off these productions selling props, renting cars, catering food, cleaning costumes and working on-camera.

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Politics
7:00 am
Wed October 2, 2013

U.S. Shutdown Leaves Local Taxpayers Out In The Cold

Visitors to Broward County's main IRS office are greeted with locked doors and signs referring them to the agency's website.
Credit C. DiMattei

South Florida branches of the Internal Revenue Service are among the agency offices being affected by the current U.S. government shutdown.

And the situation is leaving some local taxpayers angry and frustrated.

Seventy-one-year old Alfonso Valencia of Sunrise said he was summoned by letter to the IRS' Plantation office several days ago to settle a real estate tax matter in person.  

When told that the office is closed until further notice, he took it in stride. Nevertheless, he stomped his foot down on the pavement -- hard.

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Americas
6:00 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Why Uruguay Is Latin America's Marijuana Reform Laboratory

La Mano (The Hand), a modernist sculpture at Punta del Este, is one of Uruguay's best known landmarks.
Credit Flickr

This article was originally published in October and has been updated.

Uruguayans love it when you tell them what a resort paradise Punta del Este is. Or how tasty the country’s Tannat wine is. Or what a stable democracy their small nation (pop. 3.5 million) has turned out to be.

What they don’t like is to hear Uruguay called, as many do label it today, “the Switzerland of South America.” Not that Uruguayans dislike Switzerland. But many if not most of them think the comparison is cliché, exaggerated, inaccurate, condescending.

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If I Were Mayor
6:54 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

If I Were Mayor: In Key West, Naps And Better Bocce Courts

What would you do if you were mayor of Key West?
Credit Kwong Yee Cheng / Creative Commons/Flickr

For our If I Were Mayor project, we spoke to Key West residents about what they would do if they were in charge of their town.

Key West is holding its mayoral election today. Incumbent Craig Cates is running for his second consecutive term against repeat challenger Margaret Romero.

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Energy
2:11 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Are FPL Customers Paying $43M For Nuclear Projects That May Never Happen?

FPL's Turkey Point nuclear power plant.
Credit www.fpl.com

Florida Power & Light customers will pay nearly $43.5 million next year for nuclear-power projects, including $16.2 million for a plan to eventually build two new reactors in Miami-Dade County, state regulators decided Tuesday.

The project costs will have relatively little impact on customers' monthly bills. A residential customer who uses 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a month will pay about 46 cents.

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The Sunshine Economy
1:50 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

The Sunshine Economy: Meet The Invincibles

Credit Tom Hudson

Click the play button above to hear the radio segment from this week's The Sunshine Economy: Obamacare Comes To South Florida on September 30 with host Tom Hudson. The show airs every Monday at 9 a.m. on WLRN 91.3 FM.

The invincibles is a catch-all description of young adults, generally healthy, but who are living without health insurance.

This group is one of the particular targets of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate, taking effect on January 1, 2014. By requiring most Americans to have health insurance, the strategy is to attract young and healthy people to help spread the risk of insuring older and sicker people.

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