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11:16 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Miami International Airport Workers Won't Strike For The Holidays

Unite Here Local 355 members rallying outside of Miami International Airport on Dec. 12.
Credit Jessica Meszaros / WLRN

Miami International Airport restaurant workers settled on a contract with their employer Monday after a majority of union members voted to go on strike on Dec. 12.

The vote came about because employees were taking on more of their health care costs.

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Marriage
8:59 pm
Mon December 22, 2014

Lawyers, Activists Say Clerks May Face Lawsuits If They Turn Away Gay Couples

From left: Don Price Johnston and partner, Jorge Isaias, Melanie and partner Vanessa Alenier, Attorney Cristina Alonso of Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, Pamela Faerber and partner Summer Greene, Catherine Pareto and partner Karla Arguello, attorney Elizabeth F. Schwartz, Todd and Jeff Delmay, and NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter, after press conference announcing that six same-sex couples and Equality Florida Institute filed a lawsuit in Florida state court in Miami seeking the freedom to marry.
Credit Walt Michot / Miami Herald

 

Leading LGBT activists and attorneys on Monday blasted a top Miami-based law firm for “an exaggerated warning” to county clerks that they could be fined or prosecuted for issuing marriage licenses Jan. 6 to same-sex couples.

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StateImpact Florida
8:49 pm
Mon December 22, 2014

Education: The Year In Review -- And What To Expect In 2015

Barry University's Sean Foreman thinks Gov. Rick Scott will deliver on a promise for record per-student education funding.
Credit John O'Connor / WLRN

2014 was a big year for education in Florida.

Activists in Lee County convinced the school board to ditch state testing -- before the board reversed the decision a couple of days later.

Florida schools pushed ahead with new Common Core-based math and language arts standards in every grade, despite rising opposition to Common Core across the country.

And education was a top issue during the governor’s race.

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Gay Marriage
1:58 pm
Mon December 22, 2014

Florida Gay Couples Hope To Wed Soon But Legal Picture Unclear

William Jones, left, and Aaron Huntsman hope they can marry on the courthouse steps in Key West at 12:01 a.m. Jan. 6.
Credit Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Gay couples who want to marry in Florida were delighted with Friday's ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court. The court left a federal judge's ruling in place, declaring the state's gay marriage ban unconstitutional. While couples hope they can tie the knot early in the new year, the legal situation remains unclear.

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Cuba
1:18 pm
Mon December 22, 2014

Protesters In Little Havana Don't Want Embargo Against Cuba Lifted

Protester Jose Valdez says he doesn't want President Obama to "lift the embargo against Cuba without getting any concessions in return."
Credit Jessica Meszaros / WLRN

Several hundred protesters gathered at Jose Marti Park in Little Havana Saturday. They wanted President Obama to know that they do not support the U.S.'s new policy towards Cuba.

Protesters waving Cuban flags and hand-written signs surrounded the stage at the park. They calmly listened to personal stories and opinions from whoever grabbed the microphone.

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Wish Book
12:59 pm
Mon December 22, 2014

New Wheels, New World: A Quest For Mobility In Florida City

Going outside and for rides are treats for Rockcale "Rocky" Wiggins, front, who has been diagnosed with scoliosis and cerebral palsy, but getting in and out the car is extremely tiring and difficult.
Credit Carl Juste / Miami Herald

Rockale ‘Rocky’ Wiggins has never been able to talk, but that hasn’t prevented him from communicating with those around him with his massive, infectious smile.

At dinner, he couples the smile with raucous laughter that at times poses a challenge for the mashed potatoes and green beans trying to go down.

“You can’t stop him for laughing for nothing,” says Sharon Milton, Wiggins’ guardian and aunt. “Even during the middle of the night he gets to laughing. Even last night about 11 o’clock, I heard a noise and was like, ‘Is that Rocky?’ ”

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Cuba
10:18 am
Mon December 22, 2014

Older Cuban-Americans Protest Obama, But Poll Suggests Younger Generation Approves

Cuban exile protesters at a rally in Little Havana hold up a sign that says in Spanish: "We are all part of the resistance."
Credit Roberto Koltun / El Nuevo Herald

  President Obama's decision last week to normalize relations with Cuba was bad news for Cuban exiles who oppose engagement with the communist island. And a new poll released over the weekend doesn't give them a lot of future comfort, either.

The survey by the Bendixen and Amandi International firm, conducted for the Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald and Tampa Bay Times, shows Cuban-Americans are split on President Obama’s new Cuba policy: 48 percent say they disagree with it while 44 percent agree.

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Cuba
9:04 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Cuban Emigré Helps U.S. Companies Prepare For An Embargo-less Future

Emilio Morales doing Cuba market research.
Credit Tim Padgett / WLRN

Now that President Obama wants to normalize U.S. relations with communist Cuba, the big question is: Can the U.S. trade embargo last much longer? WLRN Americas editor Tim Padgett spoke to a Cuban émigré here in South Florida who doesn’t think so – and who’s helping U.S. companies prepare for an embargo-less future:

“It’s like a storm now. A storm. I finished work last night at one o’clock in the morning.”

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Same-Sex Marriage
8:56 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Same-Sex Marriage In Florida Begins Jan. 6 After U.S. Supreme Court Denies Stay

Credit Peetje2 / Creative Commons/Flickr

Same-sex marriage will begin Jan. 6 in Florida —the U.S. Supreme Court Friday evening denied Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s request to Justice Clarence Thomas that he extend a stay in the federal case of eight gay and lesbian couples.

“The application for stay presented to Justice Thomas and by him referred to the Court is denied,” the Supreme Court announced Friday night.

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Coral
3:02 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Study Shows South Florida Soft Corals May Withstand Climate Change

Researchers at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science are studying how coral grow under different conditions of climate change.
Credit Jenny Staletovich / Miami Herald Staff

As the oceans absorb more carbon on a planet increasingly choked by greenhouse gases, scientists worry its reefs — the great storm-deflecting rampart for much of the tropics — will crumble and fall.

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Cuba Travel
12:00 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Here's What The New U.S.-Cuba Rules Mean For Travelers

Credit freedigitalphotos.net/Arvind Balaraman

A promise that travel to Cuba would be easier for Americans was part of President Obama’s historic announcement this week that he’s taking steps to normalize relations.

What will the easing of sanctions against Cuba mean for the average traveler -- as well as for people who want to do business there?

We asked reporter Mimi Whitefield, who covers the Latin American economy for the Miami Herald.

Here are a few things you need to know.

Below is an edited transcript.

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Politics
11:38 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Florida Roundup: Eyes On Cuba

President Obama supporter Peter Bell debates with anti-Obama demonstrators at Versailles Restaurant in Miami on Dec. 17, 2014 after the decision to normalize relations between Cuba and the United States.
Credit Al Diaz / Miami Herald

U.S.-Cuba Relations

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Cuba
8:19 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Importing Cuban Cigars And Rum Legal Again Under New U.S. Rules

Credit freedigitalphotos.net/salvatore vuono

Among those cheering President Obama’s plans to ease up on sanctions against Cuba are fans of the island’s legendary cigars and rum.

The president announced on Wednesday that the United States will be re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba.  That includes relaxing certain trade and travel restrictions.

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New Keys hotels
8:12 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Florida Keys Adding New Hotel Rooms

The Marker Resort is Old Town Key West's first newly built hotel in about 20 years.
Credit Marker Resort / Facebook

The Florida Keys, where hotels have the highest occupancy rates and daily room rates in the state, are adding more than 1,000 new and renovated hotel rooms in the next few months.

While only a few of the rooms are brand new, some have been unavailable for years while the properties were wholly reinvented.

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Education
7:35 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Florida Senate President Expects Legislative Hearings Into School Testing

Students are taking a lot of practice tests on paper, but Florida's new standardized assessments will be online.
Credit Ryan McGilchrist/flickr

Teacher and parent groups say Florida public school students are spending too much time taking – and getting ready for - assessments.

Now, Senate President Andy Gardiner says lawmakers will likely hold hearings to review the amount of testing being done.

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