News

Agriculture
2:24 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

Time Is Running Out To Save Florida's Oranges

Ripening fruit in a grove in Plant City, Fla., this month. Florida citrus growers are worried about citrus greening, which causes bacteria to grow on the leaf and fruit, eventually killing the tree.
Chris O'Meara AP

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 7:15 pm

It's not been a good year for Florida's citrus industry. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that, for the second year running, the orange crop is expected to be almost 10 percent lower than the previous year.

The culprit is citrus greening, a disease that has devastated Florida's oranges and grapefruits, and has now begun to spread in Texas and California.

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Links
8:51 am
Fri December 27, 2013

WLRN's Five Most Popular Stories For Dec. 23-27

Credit TheNewsHerald/Flickr

I'm digital editor here, and this week I was particularly proud of the WLRN news team for a policy-changing story that made it to our top five. You may have heard us talk about it on the Florida Roundup last week: A majority African-American school in Jacksonville will change its name, currently that of an early Ku Klux Klan leader. Find the details below, but not before the top story of the week:

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Anniversary
5:12 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

Richmond Heights, Developed As Community For Black Servicemen, Celebrates 65 Years

FOUNDERS: Early residents of Richmond Heights at a community occasion. Many of the men were World War II veterans and it was their service that neighborhood developer Frank C. Martin, a white man, wanted to honor.
Credit Mona Bethel Jackson

This weekend brings an opportunity to learn something about a southwest-of-Miami community called Richmond Heights.

It's a black neighborhood, always has been. But its founding and the history that developed from its unlikely roots make a good story, and add a pleasant nuance to common ideas about post-war race relations.

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News
12:38 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

Florida's New Minimum Wage Takes Effect In January

Credit MoneyBlogNewz / Flickr CC

  Recent protests across the country were aimed at doubling the federal minimum wage. In Florida the minimum wage will go up on Jan. 1, but not nearly by that much. Each year, the state’s minimum wage is automatically increased based on inflation. WLRN-Miami Herald reporter Kenny Malone has more details:

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Community Contributor
8:01 am
Thu December 26, 2013

Our Shopping Obsession Causes Teenagers' Materialism

Credit asenat29 / Flickr CC

As long as I can remember, and even before I was born, the angst of the stereotypical teenager -- the James Dean-like rebels without a cause, the "Breakfast Club" members, the mischievous, too-cool-for-rules Zack Morris from "Saved by the Bell" – has been king.

And with good reason.

Teenagers are moody.  They are self-centered -- bordering on narcissistic.  And a study published this summer claims today’s teenagers are also more materialistic than any generation before them.

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News
11:21 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Miami Closes Two More Parks Over Potential Soil Contamination

Credit Christine DiMattei

  Two more public parks in Miami are closing after potential contamination was found in the parks' soil.

The city announced Monday that it will close Billy Rolle Domino Park at 3400 Grand Ave. in Coconut Grove, and Southside Park at 100 SW 11th St. near Brickell.

The Department of Environmental Resource Management will collect more samples to determine what's next for the parks.

For the past few months, several Miami-Dade parks have closed because of soil contamination.

In September, Miami-Dade County ordered that all 112 of its parks be inspected.

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Healthcare
5:38 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Just As The Website Starts To Struggle, Obamacare Sign-Up Deadline Gets Extended

ALMOST DONE: Navigator Nini Hadwen, right, helps an insurance seeker during a sign-up event at Dadeland Mall.
Credit Rick Stone

The Obama Administration took some of the pressure off health-insurance seekers on Monday, extending the healthcare registration deadline for Jan. 1 coverage until Christmas Eve at midnight. That will also reduce the load on the Obamacare website, Healthcare.gov, which was starting to show the strain of high demand.

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DCF
2:51 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

It Won't Take Just Money To Reduce Florida's Abused-Child Deaths, Reps Say

Credit FrauSchütze / Flickr CC

In an outdoor press conference on Fort Lauderdale's Sistrunk Boulevard, in front of a large Christmas tree, State Rep. Perry Thurston urged Gov. Rick Scott to provide sufficient funding for the Florida Department of Children and Families.

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Healthcare
8:53 am
Mon December 23, 2013

As Obamacare Deadline Looms, It's Clear Who In Florida Is Uninsured

UPDATE: 3 p.m., Dec. 23: The sign-up deadline for Obamacare, with health insurance effective Jan. 1, has been extended until Dec. 24.  

  For Floridians living without health insurance -- but eligible for Obamacare -- an important deadline is looming Monday, Dec. 23.

It's the last day that they can choose a policy through one of the new federal insurance exchanges if they want their health coverage to kick in on Jan. 1. Meanwhile, the picture on who Florida's uninsured residents are and where they are is becoming clearer.

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News
1:53 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

MIAMI HERALD: Miami-Dade Plans To Stop Paying For Federal Immigration Detentions

Lucia Quiej, holding one of her daughters, relates the story of how her husband was deported after being detained for driving with an expired license. He was in the country illegally after being denied political asylum.
Credit Gaston De Cardenas / El Nuevo Herald staff

Fed up with underwriting the nation’s broken federal immigration system, Miami-Dade County plans to stop paying the cost of temporarily housing undocumented immigrants in its jails.

The dramatic shift in policy comes at a time when the cash-strapped county is coping with a tight budget, but some county commissioners say they are also calling attention to what they say is a serious human-rights issue.

“Not only is it about saving money,” said County Commissioner Sally Heyman, a Democrat in a nonpartisan post. “It’s about saving people.”

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Money
8:34 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

South Florida Can Buy With Bitcoin This Christmas

Charles Evans talking to members of Miami International Bitcoin at Planet Linux Caffe in Coral Gables.
Credit Planet Linux Caffe

Contribution from the Miami Herald

In the past year, the electronic payment system called Bitcoin has reached a certain level of ubiquity in national and international conversation.

 

Its intersection in the tech and finance worlds has piqued the interest of various groups and governments, but the “crypto-currency” remains somewhat mysterious.

 

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Transportation
8:23 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Express-Lane Congestion Elicits Toll Hikes On I-95

Credit Xemenendura / Wikimedia Commons

Life in the fast lane is more popular, more expensive and more congested than ever.

The Florida Department of Transportation says entry into the 95 Express lanes ranges from $0.25 to a $7.00 maximum, meaning drivers can only be charged up to that amount depending on how many tolls they pass on one trip. The system’s "dynamic tolling" increases prices as the lanes get more congested. By driving up prices, traffic is driven back into the general-purpose lanes, easing congestion on the express lanes.

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News
3:57 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Homestead Aims High With Observation-Tower Plan

A rendering of the kind of observation tower Homestead officials are considering building to lure tourists to the city's downtown.
Credit LARC, Inc.

Imagine this: You’re heading down the Florida Turnpike on your way to the Keys and spot this interesting-looking steel tower.  It’s got an observation deck that corkscrews from the ground all the way to a height of about 560 feet.

You’re gonna stop the car, right?

That’s what Homestead officials are counting on.  The city is considering building such a tower to attract tourists to its downtown.

Homestead director of community redevelopment Rick Ammirato says the city is perfectly situated to offer visitors an extraordinary view.

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PolitiFact
12:33 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Pam Bondi's Claim That Florida's Medical Marijuana Amendment Too Lenient Is 'Mostly True'

USE ONLY AS DIRECTED: Florida's attorney general says Florida's proposed medical marijuana amendment is too lenient, and PolitiFact says she's mostly right.
Credit thagrdnr on flickr

The organization trying to legalize medical marijuana in Florida is baffled and annoyed by a PolitiFact conclusion that their proposal would create one of the least regulated environments for medical marijuana in the country.

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News
3:48 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

MIAMI HERALD: Miami Beach Church Seeks Financial Salvation

The front courtyard where store fronts are going to be built for commercial use at the United Church of Christ on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach.
Credit CARL JUSTE / MIAMI HERALD STAFF

In dire financial straits, the church that has stood on the corner of Lincoln Road and Drexel Avenue for almost a century is considering leasing out a chunk of its historic property for $100 million.

Early plans call for Tristar Capital to build a multistory building on the Miami Beach Community Church’s small courtyard fronting the Lincoln Road Mall.

As a historic property in a historic district, it could be difficult to get city approval for development on the site. As a congregational church, its members also have to approve the deal.

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