News

Holocaust Survivors
10:03 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Surviving Relatives Fight For Lost Insurance Benefits

CLAIMANTS: From left, Holocaust survivors David Mermelstein, Israel Sachs and Herbert Karliner.
Credit Rick Stone

David Mermelstein doesn’t have the insurance policy or the policy number. His claim depends entirely on his childhood memory of the blue metal plate that hung on his front door, the proof that those inside were insured by Assicurazioni Generali, the Italian company that catered to the Jewish trade in pre-war Germany.

Like thousands of Holocaust survivors all over the world, Mermelstein, 84, says he is owed benefits by an insurance company for the deaths of family members at the hands of the Nazis.

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Elevation Zero
4:18 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

Will South Florida’s Real Estate Market Prices Plunge As The Seas Rise?

An aerial view of Ford Zachary Taylor Historic State Park and the Port of Key West.
Credit npr.org

Click the play button above to hear the radio version of this post by business reporter Karen Rundlet

Plenty of local realtors will describe South Florida’s housing market as recharged.  The latest reading from the popular Case-Shiller Index showed sales of single-family homes up 13.5 percent from a year ago in August.

There is continued demand for waterfront properties, fueled in large part by international cash buyers from countries like Canada and Brazil. In Miami-Dade County, for instance, the category of luxury properties selling at price points above $600,000 and below $1 million, saw growth in sales of almost 68 percent.

However, the question remains. If you add the threat of rising sea levels to the real estate investment equation in South Florida, are rooms with an ocean view actually a terrible place to put your money?

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Community Contributor
4:10 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

Dolphins Bullying: If You Celebrate Savagery, Civility Might Be Too Much To Ask

Incognito and Martin force us to focus on NFL behavior. When does locker-room behavior go too far?

There are two facts repeated in almost every telling of the story of bullying and harassment in  the Miami Dolphins' organization: Richie Incognito, named "the dirtiest player in the NFL," is no stranger to controversy, and Jonathan Martin is a Stanford graduate whose parents both graduated from Ivy League school, which would make him part of the elite in some circles.

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Elevation Zero
6:00 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Meet The Miami Man Spearheading Climate-Change Research

The man and his maps. University of Miami professor Brian Soden studies the atmosphere and its affect on climate change.
Credit -Brian Soden

Growing up in landlocked Iowa may be precisely the reason that the lure of the ocean was so strong for Brian Soden.

It pulled him from the cornfields to the waters around the University of Miami with designs on perhaps being the next Jacques Cousteau.

Except for one pesky problem. He didn't care all that much for biology. No fish fetish here.

What did emerge was a curiosity about how the oceans got to be the way they are, how the atmosphere factors into that and how water vapor, clouds and rainfall play a role in the planetary picture.

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News
5:34 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Florida House Dems Back Senate Tweaks of Stand Your Ground

The Stand Your Ground law is being revisited due to last year's death of Miami Gardens teen Trayvon Martin, shot by Sanford, Fla., George Zimmerman.

Florida House Democrats met with reporters Wednesday to say they don't want to turn Thursday’s Stand Your Ground hearing into a publicity stunt.

The House Criminal Justice Subcommittee will take up a bill by Democratic state Representative Alan Williams. The measure would repeal the 2005 Florida law that says people don't have to retreat in a situation where they fear for their lives.

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City Planning
8:56 am
Wed November 6, 2013

Fort Lauderdale Votes To Extend Sistrunk Boulevard Farther East

About $15 million of city, county and federal funds have been invested in a massive revitalization of the Sistrunk corridor.
Credit FortLauderdale.gov

In most big cities, altering a street sign is not much cause for fanfare.  But Fort Lauderdale’s decision to re-brand one particular street is being hailed by many in the city’s African-American community.

City commissioners decided Tuesday night that the name “Sistrunk Boulevard” will no longer stop near the railroad tracks, a segregation-era dividing line between the city’s black and white communities.  Sistrunk will now appear along with Northeast Sixth Street on signs running through Flagler Village, a section quickly gentrifying into a predominantly white neighborhood.

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Gambling
8:54 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Casino Lobbyist Wants Gaming Committee To Consider Lower Tax Rates

Credit Wikipedia.org

  A lobbyist for an international casino operator that wants to expand into Florida called Monday for the state to create a strong gaming commission that would oversee all gambling --- including one destination resort casino in South Florida.

However, Nick Iarossi, the lobbyist for Las Vegas Sands Corps., told members of the Senate Gaming Committee that proposed sales tax rates suggested in a new study on the future of gaming in Florida could hinder the construction of such a world class complex.

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News
8:25 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

State Says Bug-Prone Unemployment System Is Improving

Jesse Panuccio is in his first year as executive director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. The department oversees unemployment benefits.
Credit floridajobs.org

Florida’s new unemployment claims system isn’t perfect yet, but state leaders say it’s less bug-prone.

The Florida Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee got an update Monday on problems with the new system, which launched three weeks ago.

Executive Director Jesse Panuccio runs the Department of Economic Opportunity, which oversees the program for jobless benefits.

He says the kinks have mostly been worked out.

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News
6:04 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

State Working To Fix Glitch-Ridden Unemployment Website

Florida's Department of Economic Opportunity provides unemployment benefits worth up to $275 a week to more than 200,000 Floridians. But glitches in the new system are preventing thousands of people from signing up for benefits.
Credit Reilly Shiarella/flickr

Florida has a new website for unemployment claims, and much like the federal government’s health insurance website, it’s plagued with problems.

The Reemployment Assistance Connect System – known as CONNECT – is where jobless Floridians must go to file their claims. It’s overseen by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

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Jackson Health System
5:55 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

County Hospital Seeks Taxpayer Help To Attract Obamacare Customers

Now that formerly uninsured South Floridians are shopping for coverage on Healthcare.gov, Jackson wants to lure them with upgrades.

Jackson Health System wants to go after formerly uninsured individuals now receiving coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Because insured customers have increasingly been choosing hospitals with snazzier facilities, Jackson is asking Miami-Dade County voters to raise their own property taxes to cover a top-to-bottom remake of the hospital system.

If the referendum passes on Tuesday, JHS will issue bonds to raise $830 million for the renovations. The bond debt would add about $50 to the average county taxpayer's yearly tax bill.

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Americas
4:55 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

The Billionaire Who Personified Brazil's Boom Goes Bust

Batista appears with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff during a ceremony in celebration of the start of oil production by OGX, Batista's oil and gas company, in 2012. The company filed for bankruptcy Wednesday.
Ricardo Moraes Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 6:14 pm

He was boastful, he was brash and he came to represent a booming Brazil that was finally taking its place as an economic powerhouse on the world stage.

Eike Batista had the cars: a Mercedes McLaren worth a quarter of a million dollars parked in his living room; the boat, called "the Pink Fleet," and the women: He was married to a former Playboy model and a Carnival queen.

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Travel
10:54 am
Thu October 31, 2013

FAA Says Fliers Can Safely Use Most Electronics

Leonardo Patrizi iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 11:09 am

Saying it has "determined that airlines can safely expand passenger use of Portable Electronic Devices (PEDs) during all phases of flight," the Federal Aviation Administration announced Thursday that it is advising airlines they can let fliers use their much-loved e-books, tablets and other handhelds "gate-to-gate."

Cellphone calls, however, would still be prohibited.

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Politics
10:06 am
Thu October 31, 2013

No More Guns For Neighborhood Watch In Sanford, Fla.

George Zimmerman.
Gary W. Green EPA/LANDOV

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 11:03 am

The police chief in Sanford, Fla., where neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman shot and killed teenager Trayvon Martin in February 2012, will unveil rules next week that stress "volunteers are not to carry guns and not to follow suspects," our colleagues at Orlando's WMFE report.

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Business
7:23 am
Thu October 31, 2013

What Happens When The Pace Of Startups Slows Down

Is this coffee shop going to grow to be the next Starbucks?
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 12:45 pm

Since the financial crisis hit five years ago, there aren't as many Americans starting new businesses. In uncertain economic times, it's harder for entrepreneurs and investors to take the risk.

And if you look back over the past 25 years, it turns out the overall trend is toward fewer new businesses getting started, too — and that's not good at all when the country needs more jobs.

The Next Google

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Sports
7:19 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Beckham Reportedly Close To Picking Miami For Pro Soccer Franchise

British soccer star David Beckham (middle, front) with teammates.
Credit Flickr

David Beckham continues to target Miami for an expansion Major League Soccer team, and talks with investors are “looking very promising,” according to two sources close to the negotiations. But nothing is final, according to a Beckham spokesman and MLS sources.

“We are not ready to announce anything yet, but Miami remains a strong option for us,” said a statement from Beckham’s management group. An Associated Press report out of London on Tuesday saying Beckham had chosen Miami for his MLS team sent local fans and media into a frenzy. But the celebrations were premature.

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