Ashley Lopez

Ashley Lopez

Ashley Lopez is a reporter for WLRN-Miami Herald News. She also splits her time as a reporter/blogger for the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting and as a local print reporter for The Miami Herald. Previously, Lopez was a reporter/blogger for The Florida Independent — a nonprofit news blog that covered Florida politics and public policy. A native Miamian, Lopez graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a journalism degree. She also interned for Talking Points Memo and an NPR affiliate in Durham, North Carolina.

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Dirty Politics
1:32 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

Sorry, We Can't Hear Jim Greer's Story About A Golf Cart Full Of Prostitutes

A judge is stopping the release of a story involving top GOP officials, the Bahamas, a golf cart (not this golf cart)... and maybe prostitutes.
Credit Tony Bernard /Flickr

I am sorry, everyone, but a judge doesn't want to let us all in on some of the more "defamatory'' and "salacious" aspects of the saga of Jim Greer, the former Florida Republican Party leader who was accused of defrauding the party to the tune of $200,000.

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Navigating Art Basel
8:00 am
Fri November 30, 2012

Lost In The Art? Here Are Links, Guides And A Smartphone App To Make Basel A Breeze

Art Basel, Miami Beach, 2007.
Credit ImageMD /Flickr

As you all know, Art Basel is a few days jam-packed with a ton of events, galleries and parties.

In short, it gets difficult to wade through everything that is happening starting next week.

No fears, though! We have a roundup here of some of the more helpful Art Basel guides. Some even point you to free events!

You can click through the links below:

Miami.com

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Florida Legislature
7:16 am
Fri November 30, 2012

Democrats File Bills To Revive Early Voting

State Sen. Gwen Margolis, Miami, has introduced some changes to early voting for 2013.
Credit Flsenate.gov

After this year's disastrous election in Florida, state lawmakers are looking to make some changes to some of the culprits for the long lines and delayed ballot-counting.

Among the changes: Democratic state Sens. Gwen Margolis of Miami and Arthenia Joyner of Tampa have introduced bills that would make early voting more accessible and last longer.

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Church And State
2:01 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

ACLU Warns Miami-Dade Commissioners Not To Approve Prayer Before Meetings

ACLU of Florida warns upcoming county commission policy would disrupt separation of church and state.
Credit Wyoming_Jackrabbit /Flickr

The Miami Dade County Commission will consider a policy next month that would allow prayer before every commission meeting.

For years, the commissioners have simply observed a moment of silence before meetings, which allowed people to pray or not pray.

However, at the urging of a conservative Christian group, the commissioners are moving to change that policy back to a few years ago when praying was allowed before meetings.

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Environmental Degradation
11:47 am
Thu November 29, 2012

Water Pollution Costs Florida More Than $10 Billion A Year

Algae Bloom On A River: Water pollution is costing Florida a lot of money every year.
Credit Galen Herz /Flickr

Local officials around the coast in Florida have already started to deal with the price of sea level rise. Now, another report has put a price tag on the cost of water pollution throughout the state-- the verdict: it's about $10.5 billion a year.

According to the Stockholm Environment Institute, which conducted the study, a lot of the pollution we are dealing with in our water comes from human activities.

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Florid Voting Law
6:36 am
Wed November 28, 2012

Democrats In U.S. House Want Federal Investigation Of Florida Voting Law

U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings and his Democratic colleagues in the House are asking the federal government for an investigation into Florida's voting law.
Credit cliff1066™ /Flickr

Just this week, news circulated that former leaders of the Florida Republican Party have admitted that Florida's voting law was aimed at suppressing the vote this year during President Obama's reelection.

Democrats in the U.S. House are clamoring for a federal investigation.

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Texting And Driving
1:45 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

Senator Trying Again With Texting Ban

A state texting and driving ban could pass next year.
Credit Jason Weaver /Flickr

For the fourth year in a row, state lawmakers are going to take a stab at passing a law that would ban texting while driving all around the state.

State Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, has introduced the ban: Senate Bill 52. Her bill was among a small list of bills that have been introduced already for the upcoming Florida Legislative session, which starts in March 2013.

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Jeb Bush
12:46 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

Experts Are Taking Another Look At Jeb Bush's Education Cred

Experts say that Jeb Bush's education gains in Florida deserve stricter scrutiny.
Credit World Affairs Council of Philadelphia/Flickr

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has been riding a wave of popularity in the last few years. Members of the Republican Party have been clamoring for him to seek higher office as he travels around the country taking on some of the more extreme positions recently taken by members of his party.

Among his credentials, which are currently prompting all the focus, is his popularity with the Latino community and his credentials as a successful education policy innovator.

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The Latino Vote
9:44 am
Tue November 27, 2012

Historians Say A Speech JFK Gave The Night Before He Died Started The Latino Vote

Historians say Kennedy was the first president to court the Latino vote.
Credit U.S. Embassy New Delhi

The Latino vote was one of the most talked about voting blocs this year, mostly because this demographic helped propel President Obama into his second term in office this year -- especially in important swing states such as Florida and New Mexico.

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License Plates
6:46 am
Tue November 27, 2012

Florida Will Be Getting A New License Plate Design-- And You Get A Say

Floridians can now vote on the new tag design they prefer.
Credit Via Vote4FloridaTag.com

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has opened up voting for a new design for the state's license plates.

The department is allowing Floridians to vote for the tag design they prefer from November 26 to December 14 at Vote4FloridaTag.com.

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Airport Food
2:40 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

Food Network Opens Up Its First Restaurant At Fort Lauderdale Airport

Fort Lauderdale's airport will be the site for the Food Network's first restaurant.
Credit Chris Dlugosz /Flickr

The Food Network-- a famous cable channel featuring popular cooking shows and competitions-- has broken into the restaurant biz, and its first location is (believe it or not) the Jet Blue terminal at Fort Lauderdale International Airport.

It's  the only restaurant serving hot food at the terminal and it has the Food Network logo plastered over every bit of the cafeteria-style decor. 

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Sculptures
1:36 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

You Can Spot Bigfoot In the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens

Bigfoot will be unveiled this Tuesday at the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens.
Credit Photo via Hill+Knowlton Strategies

This week, you can find Bigfoot at the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens... that is, a large sculpture of a man with unusually large feet.

Idan Zareski's "Bigfoot" will be unveiled on Tuesday at the Gardens. The sculpture, "Bigfoot," has already been featured in other countries all over the world. 

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Higher Ed
12:30 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

Why Rick Scott's $10k Challenge For Colleges Might Be A Gamble

Scott is challenging colleges to find a bachelor's degree program that costs $10,000 or less.
Credit JaxStrong /Flickr

Gov. Rick Scott issued a challenge to colleges all over the state asking them to find a way to offer a bachelor's degree program that costs no more than $10,000 for all four years.

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City of Miami
9:00 am
Mon November 26, 2012

City Of Miami Fails To Meet Its Own Financial Guidelines

Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado and other city officials received word that the city isn't following its own financial rules.
Credit Blanca Stella Mejia /Flickr

A look into the City of Miami's finances this year shows the city failed to meet its own financial rules and benchmarks.

According to The Miami Herald, "Miami failed to comply with eight of its 13 financial standards in the 2010-11 budget year, according to an internal audit published late last month."

Among the shortcomings:

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Real Estate
7:00 am
Mon November 26, 2012

Real Estate Agents Say Miami's Market Is Booming Again

Real estate agents say Miami's real estate market is booming like never before.

The past couple of years have been difficult for the state's real estate market-- particularly in South Florida. However, real estate agents now say that Miami's market is finally booming after years of a lull.

According to Bloomberg News,

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