News

Americas
7:57 am
Fri October 4, 2013

How Drug Traffickers Are Returning To The Caribbean

Crew members aboard the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Valiant transfer bales of cocaine caught on Feb. 19. Roughly 1,400 pounds of cocaine were seized from a speedboat in the Caribbean in the operation. Officials say drug traffickers are sending larger shipments of cocaine through the Caribbean.
Credit Petty Officer 3rd Class Jon-Paul Rios / U.S. COAST GUARD

More of the cocaine smuggled to the United States is passing through the Caribbean, officials said, representing a shift in which drug traffickers are returning to a region they largely abandoned decades ago.

RELATED: Why Uruguay Is Latin America's Marijuana Reform Laboratory

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Design
7:42 am
Fri October 4, 2013

2 By 2 and 2x4s: The Building Of Noah's Arks

Carolina and Reniel Peralta of the Hidden Ark in March, before the county government made them tear down the ark. The ark was deconstructed in June, but the concrete elephant still stands.
Kenny Malone WLRN

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 11:38 am

There are just about 30 days — and 30 nights — left in South Florida's rainy season. That will not deter a monumental building task being attempted by a group of people near Miami.

The Hidden Ark project was originally planned for a 5-acre spot just outside Hialeah, Fla., not far from the Everglades. In the spring, builders worked to create a one-tenth of a full-scale Noah's ark — imagine a 150-foot-long bathtub made of wood.

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Sports
7:00 am
Fri October 4, 2013

When Florida Broke The Color Barrier In College Football

Serious on the sidelines.
Credit www.samuelfreedman.com

If college football,  desegregation and civil rights sound like an unlikely triple option play to you, it certainly didn’t to Samuel G. Freedman.

Freedman has written the book Breaking the Line, which lays out a both tumultuous and triumphant time, when college football became the catalyst for integrating both the sport and the colleges themselves.

The year was 1967, when Florida A&M University and Grambling College of Louisiana played for what was known as the black college championship.

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Food
3:31 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

Why Lots Of Grass-Fed Beef Sold In U.S. Comes From Down Under

Patricia Whisnant, who runs Rain Crow Ranch in Doniphan, Mo., says her grass-fed beef can compete with the Australian product because it has a better story American consumers can connect with.
Courtesy of Rain Crow Ranch

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 2:24 pm

Beef from cattle that have grazed only on pasture is in high demand — much to the surprise of many meat retailers, who didn't traditionally think of grass-fed beef as top-quality.

George Siemon, a founder of Organic Valley, the big organic food supplier, says the push for grass-fed beef started with activists who wanted to challenge a beef industry dominated by factory-scale feedlots. In those feedlots, cattle are fed a corn-heavy diet designed to make the animals gain weight as quickly as possible.

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Obamacare
3:29 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

Medicaid Looks Good To A Former Young Invincible

Brad Stevens used to think he didn't need health insurance.
Sarah Varney

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 11:38 am

Have you heard about the young invincibles? That's the name given to young people who think nothing bad can happen to them.

Enrollment of healthy people like them in insurance under the Affordable Care Act is key to offsetting the costs of older, less healthy buyers.

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Politics
2:38 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

Suspect Dead, Two Police Officers Injured In Chase At U.S. Capitol

A police officer checks out a car on grass with his canine near the U.S. Capitol on Thursday in Washington, D.C. The Capitol and the White House were placed on lockdown after an 'active shooter' situation was reported.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 9:39 am

We last updated this post at 7:19 p.m. ET.

A woman who authorities say tried to ram a security barrier outside the White House led the Secret Service and U.S. Capitol Police on a high-speed chase that ended near Capitol Hill, where gunshots were fired by police. Congressional lawmakers were briefly ordered to shelter in place, but by 3 p.m. ET, police had lifted the lockdown.

The incident left a suspect dead and two police officers injured. The 1-year-old child who was in the car with the suspect is OK and in protective custody.

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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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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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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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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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Politics
9:10 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Beyond The Shutdown, There's A Bigger Battle Brewing

The Capitol is mirrored in its reflecting pool early Tuesday, as the partial federal shutdown began. But there's a battle still to come in which the stakes are even higher.
J. David Ake AP

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 6:38 pm

This week's government shutdown could be just a warmup for an even bigger budget battle in a couple of weeks.

Congress has to raise the limit on the amount of money the federal government is allowed to borrow by Oct. 17. If the debt ceiling is not raised on time, President Obama warns that Washington won't be able to keep paying its bills.

"It'd be far more dangerous than a government shutdown, as bad as a shutdown is," Obama said Tuesday. "It would be an economic shutdown."

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Obamacare
9:03 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Tech Problems Plague First Day Of Health Exchange Rollout

Heavy Internet traffic and system problems plagued the launch of the new health insurance exchanges on Tuesday.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 10:35 am

Many Americans got "please wait" messages Tuesday when they tried to start shopping for health coverage on the federal government's new health insurance website, healthcare.gov. A series of technological glitches, delays and crashes kept people from getting to several of the 16 state exchanges, too.

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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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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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