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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Events
2:28 pm
Fri November 23, 2012

Things To Do This Weekend (Besides Shop)

You can catch some music and movies this weekend-- instead of shopping.
Credit Marco Tedaldi /Flickr

Everyone knows that the some of the busiest shopping days of year are in full force. Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so much of South Florida will spend their next few days buying things.

For those who would prefer doing something other than shopping, fear not! 

Here are some things you can do this weekend:

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Tobacco
10:00 am
Fri November 23, 2012

Obama Gives Smokers A Break On Health Insurance... If They Try To Quit

President Obama is giving people who smoke a break on an impending law that would make them pay more for health insurance than non smokers.
Credit Dale Moore /Flickr

President Obama announced last week that his administration would back off on a part of the health care reform law (which is currently being rolled out in full force) that would have allowed insurers in  small group markets to charge smokers a 50-percent higher premium than nonsmokers.

The catch: smokers have to prove they are trying to quit.

Kaiser Health News reports,

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Citizens Property Insurance
1:03 pm
Wed November 21, 2012

Sex Scandals, Big Spending And Shenanigans Found At Citizens Property Insurance

An internal investigation unearthed a history of sex scandals and other improprieties at Citizens Property Insurance.
Credit Citizens Property Insurance Corporation

An internal investigation of Citizens Property Insurance in Florida, a government-run home insurer of last resort and the state's largest insurer, found that the company has a sordid history of sex scandals, cover-ups and big spending. 

Recently, Citizens has gotten a lot of scrutiny because it has been consistently hiking up premiums or removing coverage from large numbers of people in the state.

However, a recent investigation found that the problems with the 10 year-old not-for-profit insurer starts with the people running the show over there in Tallahassee.

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Florida Legislature
10:15 am
Wed November 21, 2012

Why The Florida Senate Might Be Less Corrupt Soon

Florida Senate President Don Gaetz is moving toward ethics reform in Tallahassee.
Credit flsenate.gov

Florida Senate President Don Gaetz was sworn in Tuesday along with his plans to move ethics reform forward in the  Legislature this year.

Gaetz has said in the past that he will make anti-corruption measures for state lawmakers a focus of his leadership in the Senate. In the past, bills aimed at passing ethics reform have failed in the Florida Senate.

Howevever, Gaetz has already made good on his promise to change ethics rules by changing some Florida Senate rules.

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Politics And Transportation
10:00 am
Wed November 21, 2012

What A State's Politics Says About Its Traffic Death Rate

Research shows that states that voted for Obama in this election have fewer fatal car accidents.
Credit neatlysliced /Flickr

A non-profit investigative news site found an interesting link between whom a state voted for in this election and the rate of traffic deaths there.

According to FairWarning, a state that voted for President Obama in this past election (a blue state) is likely to have fewer deathly traffic accidents compared with  a state that went for Mitt Romney in November (a red state).

The news outlet also reports that there is really no concrete explanation as to why there is this red state-blue state divide when it comes to traffic deaths.

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Sick Pay
3:48 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Miami-Dade Commission Kills Sick Pay Plan

Miami Dade Commissioner Barbara Jordans earned sick pay proposal dies on its first reading
Credit miamidade.gov

Even though activists were sure earned sick pay would be an easy fight in Miami-Dade, a proposal that required employers to give earned sick pay to all workers died on first reading in a county commission meeting Tuesday.

The Miami Herald's Patricia Mazzei tweeted the vote count:

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Breaking
12:25 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Thirteen-Year-Old Girl Dies After Being Shot On School Bus In Homestead

Gunfire on a  charter school bus in Homestead this morning has taken the life of a 13-year-old girl. Police said the shooter was another student who  is now in custody. Local10 News reported the death a few hours after the shooting: 

The 13-year-old girl, who attended Palm Glades Academy, was shot in the area of SW 292nd Street and 137th Avenue before 7 a.m.

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Immigration
11:30 am
Tue November 20, 2012

What The GOP Version Of The Dream Act Looks Like, So Far

Marco Rubio leaks some details about the GOP's immigration plans.
Credit Geoff Holtzman /Flickr

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, R-FL, gave reporters some details about what the GOP version of the Dream Act might look like recently.

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Foreclosure Crisis
9:30 am
Tue November 20, 2012

Mortgage Companies Give Florida $3.6 Billion For Bad Deals

Mortgage servicers have handed over $3.6 billion to homeowners in Florida hurt by bad practices.
Credit 401(K) 2012 /Flickr

Florida's Attorney General Pam Bondi announced that five of the country's biggest mortgage companies are forking over $3.6 billion dollars for "foreclosure abuses and unacceptable mortgage servicing practices," which spurred the state's foreclosure crisis.

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Broward GOP
3:01 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Broward GOP Chairman Bows Out

The GOP in South Florida loses another leader.
Credit Donkey Hotey /Flickr

Richard DeNapoli, the Chairman of the Broward Republican Party, has announced he will not run for a second term.

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Sick Pay
2:00 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

County Commissioner To Introduce Sick Pay Law

Commissioner Barbara Jordan will introduce a sick pay law tomorrow.
Credit miamidade.gov

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Barbara Jordan is going to introduce an ordinance on Tuesday mandating earned sick pay for workers in the county.

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Dogs On Roofs
1:57 pm
Fri November 16, 2012

Folks, Soon You Might Not Be Able To Keep Your Dog On Your Roof

County Commissioners are a step closer to outlawing dogs on roofs.
Credit Sheila Dee /Flickr

Remember back in August when there was a community uproar because someone left a dog on a roof of a factory building?

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Developing
12:38 pm
Fri November 16, 2012

Another Oil Rig Fire In The Gulf

Another oil rig in the Gulf has problems. Four people are sent to the hospital and 2 are presumed missing.
Credit SkyTruth /Flickr

Two years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, another oil rig has caught fire in the Gulf just off the Louisiana shore today.

According to the Associated Press,

Coast Guard officials say an oil rig has exploded off the coast of Louisiana, sending four people to hospitals. Two are believed to be missing.

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Election 2012
11:00 am
Fri November 16, 2012

What Marco Rubio Has To Say About Romney And 'Obama's Gifts'

Sen. Marco Rubio steps back from Romney's comments.
Credit Gage Skidmore /Flickr

Following his loss to President Obama for the Presidency, Mitt Romney didn't have a lot of nice things to say.

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Florida Democrats
10:00 am
Fri November 16, 2012

Pinecrest Woman Gets Closer To Becoming State Democratic Party Chair

Annette Taddeo: A frequent Obama surrogate, she's running for the state Democratic Party chair.
Credit Taddeo Congressional campaign

Annette Taddeo's race to become the chairwoman of the Florida Democratic Party just got a little easier. 

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