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Business
8:00 pm
Wed March 25, 2015

Social And Anti-Social Trends In Customer Service

Not too long ago, good customer service meant a warm welcome and personal attention. Today, great customer service can mean leaving the customer alone to fend for themselves. That shift is thanks, in part, to technology.

It’s the smartphone that allows customers to be simultaneously social and anti-social in how they relate to and interact with service staff. Websites like TripAdvisor, OpenTable and Yelp have given customers a voice, and restaurants and hotels are listening -- and responding.

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Education
7:53 pm
Wed March 25, 2015

Senate Committee Wants To Suspend Testing Penalties For Third Graders

Florida law requires 3rd graders with the lowest scores on state tests to be held back. But a Senate committee wants to suspend that penalty this year.
Credit departmentofed / Flickr

Nearly one in five Florida third graders were at risk of being held back because of low scores on the state reading test last year.

But this year the state might not hold back any third graders. That’s because a Senate committee voted to suspend those penalties this year.

The bill requires an outside group to make sure the state test results are statistically valid.

Sen. David Simmons says he wants to make sure schools and the state can depend on Florida Standards Assessments results before making big decisions using those results.

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News
1:32 am
Wed March 25, 2015

Three Snorkelers Die On One Day In The Keys

Credit npr.org

The Monroe County Sheriff's Office is investigating the deaths of three people who all died Monday in separate incidents while snorkeling in the Keys.

Monroe Sheriff Rick Ramsay said Tuesday that having three fatalities on the water in one day was unprecedented.

Richard Gueringer, 71, of San Antonio, Texas, was taken to Lower Keys Medical Center after he lost consciousness in the water off Key West. He was pronounced dead at the hospital, according to Deputy Becky Herrin, a spokeswoman for the sheriff's office.

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Food
1:24 am
Wed March 25, 2015

Miami May Make It Easier For Farmers Markets To Get Permits

Miami is considering a measure that would create a path for farmers markets to get permits for cheaper than currently available options.
Credit Creative Commons via Flickr / Andrew Malone (https://flic.kr/p/4AvCRp)

The Miami City Commission will vote Thursday on a measure that would pave the way for farmers markets to get operating permits in the city.

Several years ago Miami approved a pilot program to make it easier for some small new farmers markets. On Jan. 1, 2014, that program lapsed and no one really took notice. Until an organization in Wynwood tried to get permission for a new farmers market and was told the special permit no longer existed.

Since then, Commissioner Marc Sarnoff has introduced an ordinance that would permanently reinstate the program.

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Latin America Report
2:56 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

Stalin Stupor: Why Venezuela Keeps Getting Ranked "Most Miserable" In 2015

A woman stands in line outside a Caracas pharmacy hoping to find diapers for her infant daughter.
Credit Ariana Cubillos / AP

Thirty years ago, when I was a graduate student in Caracas, I met a young Venezuelan socialist who introduced himself as Stalín.

“Yes, after the Russian,” he told me rather condescendingly – hoping to shock an American with the news that the Soviet dictator Josef Stalin was his namesake.

I didn't take the bait. But I did think of Stalín recently when Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro expressed his own admiration for “Comrade Stalin, who defeated Hitler.”

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News
2:45 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

Hemp Farming Gets Thumbs Up From Florida Senate Committee

Florida lawmakers are considering a bill to let farmers grow hemp crops like these.
Credit Paul/Flickr

A product made from cannabis could become one of Florida’s top crops: A bill in Tallahassee would allow Florida farmers to grow hemp.

Robert Clayton finished construction last year on a house made of hemp in Tarpon Springs. It’s thought to be the first of its kind in Florida. He testified at a Senate hearing about his research for the Hemp Industries Association.

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Capital Punishment
12:41 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

Low Bar For Florida Death Penalty Juries Triggers High Court Review

Lethal injection illustration by Lee Hulteng.
Credit Miami Herald

  The Supreme Court will examine Florida's capital punishment system in its next term, and legal experts believe Florida's death penalty itself may be in danger.

A solution could be in a legislative fix now moving slowly through the Capitol in Tallahassee. It's been passed by one Senate committee but the House is showing little interest in the companion bill.

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Medicaid Expansion
11:35 am
Tue March 24, 2015

Centers For Medicare And Medicaid Want To Partner With Florida To Lower Health Care Costs

Patrick Conway, chief medical officer for the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services, speaking with Donna Shalala, president of University of Miami at the university's annual health care conference this year.
Credit Gort Productions

The Florida Legislature is debating on whether to expand Medicaid. About two weeks ago, the Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill that would expand health care coverage to about 800,000 low-income Floridians using billions in federal dollars.

And the U.S. Centers For Medicare and Medicaid Services would have to grant the state a waiver to get the federal funds.

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#HealthCare15
11:30 am
Tue March 24, 2015

UM Health Care Conference Highlighted "Disruptive Innovation"

Credit freedigitalphotos.net

The University of Miami School of Business hosted its yearly health care conference Monday. The main topic of discussion was “disruptive innovation,” which organizer and professor Steven Ullmann says means "to disrupt how we do health care provision in this country."

Ullmann says the health care system now is fragmented, and that makes it expensive.

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Youssef Wardani
11:50 pm
Mon March 23, 2015

How An Ethnic Slur Spurred A Broward Father's Activism

Youssef Wardani speaks to the Broward County School Board about the suspension of a Cypress Bay High French teacher for five days without pay for repeatedly calling his 14-year-old son a "raghead Taliban."
Credit Charles Trainor Jr / Miami Herald

Youssef Wardani never considered himself an activist.

He’s a fairly soft-spoken software engineer. He’s very organized and believes everything should have a plan from start to finish.

Activism for him was a sudden evolution  sparked by a Broward teacher who called his 14-year-old son a "raghead Taliban” and the bureaucracy of a school system he felt ignored him when he demanded accountability.

His son, Deyab-Houssein Wardani, 14, is a ninth grader at Cypress Bay High School in Weston. Everyone calls him D.H.

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#MB100
4:10 pm
Mon March 23, 2015

10 Movies, TV Shows That Were Shot In Miami Beach

Ocean Drive Art Deco District on Miami Beach.
Credit Al Diaz / Miami Herald Staff

Miami Beach turns 100 this month.

The city has a short history compared to others around the country, but Miami Beach has become a world-class destination. And that's thanks in part to some of the movies and TV shows that were shot on the island.

From the hilarious "Jackie Gleason Show" in the 1960s to the gritty 1980s "Scarface," here are 10 movies and TV shows that portrayed the unique Miami Beach on big and small screens.

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StateImpact Florida
2:36 pm
Mon March 23, 2015

Project Gives Developmentally Disabled A Chance To Go To College

Quan Jones of Project 10 Stingray works at the marina behind USFSP.
Credit M.S. Butler / StateImpact Florida

A college education is generally considered a student's best shot at getting a good job these days, and it's often assumed most high schoolers are prepared to attend college.

But there's one group that has been quietly excluded from that process -- students with intellectual disabilities.

A program at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg  is giving these students college experience that, while it's not a traditional degree, is giving them a head start on their career goals.

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Business
1:14 pm
Mon March 23, 2015

Sunshine Economy: Customer Service In South Florida

Julie Grimes came to South Florida from Canada about 20 years ago. She owns two hotels with about 250 rooms combined. She's managing partner at the Bentley Hilton South Beach.
Credit Tom Hudson

South Florida is known around the world for its sun, sand and surf. Those natural attributes are responsible for thousands of jobs, millions of visitors and billions of dollars. But what about service? South Florida may invite the world to come play on its beaches, stay in its hotels and eat in its restaurants, but what kind of hosts are its people?

Julie Grimes gives the overall customer service experience three out of five stars. She is the owner of two hotels in Miami: the Doubletree Hilton and the Hilton Bentley South Beach where she also is the managing partner.

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Tennis
9:23 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

It's The Miami Open Now. Obrigado, Itaú.

The new Miami Open logo designed by the tournament's new lead sponsor, Banco Itau
Credit The Miami Open / Banco Itau

The big pro tennis tournament that starts Monday on Key Biscayne has had four different corporate names since its debut 30 years ago. But now the event is free of a commercial label. And that may be the smartest corporate move yet.

It was most recently the Sony Open. Now – and many hope from now on – it’s the Miami Open.

For that you can say obrigado – thank you – to Brazil’s Banco Itaú.

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Sea-Level Rise
9:15 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

An Idea To Mitigate Rising Seas In Miami Beach: Lift The Entire City

Miami Beach Public Works director Eric Carpenter stands next to Purdy Ave. where workers are installing a piece of the city's expansive pump system.
Credit Kenny Malone

One way Miami Beach might prepare for the threat of rising sea levels is to elevate the whole city.

“The only tried and true solution to combating rising sea levels is to raise with it,” says Eric Carpenter, public works director for the City of Miami Beach.

As the city celebrates its centennial, the top-level engineer and Miami Beach resident spoke with WLRN about how sea-level rise will affect the city’s next 100 years.

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