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Fiscal Cliff
8:50 am
Thu January 3, 2013

In Florida, Payroll Tax Means It's Still A Cliff

CLIFF NOTE: A leading economist says the two percent payroll tax increase will drain $6.5 billion out of the Florida economy.

Congress' fiscal cliff compromise may have protected Florida's middle class wage earners from a massive income tax increase, but the small tax increase it didn’t address remains a threat to the recovering state economy.

Starting Jan. 1, a two percent payroll tax holiday that President Obama put in place in 2010 expires, meaning that the paycheck deduction that funds Social Security will increase by that same two percent.

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Guns And Society
8:00 am
Thu January 3, 2013

'Stand Your Ground' Linked To Increase In Homicides In Florida

STOOD HIS GROUND: George Zimmerman, shown here in court, is the defendant in the Trayvon Martin shooting which became a flashpoint for 'stand your ground' laws around the country.

If a stranger attacks you inside your own home, the law has always permitted you to defend yourself. On the other hand, if an altercation breaks out in public, the law requires you to try to retreat. At least, that's what it used to do.

In 2005, Florida became the first of nearly two-dozen states to pass a "stand your ground" law that removed the requirement to retreat. If you felt at risk of harm in a park or on the street, you could use lethal force to defend yourself. The shooting of unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford drew national attention to these laws.

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Obamacare
7:48 am
Thu January 3, 2013

Domino's Birth Control Verdict Heartens Catholic Pizza King's Florida University

TOM MONAGHAN: Catholic businessman and founder of Ave Maria University wins his birth control case.

A federal court in Michigan has ruled that Domino's pizza founder and former owner Tom Monaghan has the constitutional religious freedom to exclude contraception from his employees' insurance coverage.

Now he's waiting to see whether that ruling will extend to the other institution he founded, Florida's Ave Maria University. Monaghan sold Domino's Pizza in 1998.

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Terrorist Support Trial
7:30 am
Thu January 3, 2013

Jury Selection Is Underway In Miami Imams' Taliban Case

Jury selection began Wednesday in the trial of two South Florida imams accused of financially supporting the Taliban.
Credit Kittisak / freedigitalphotos.net

Jury selection began Wednesday in the trial of two South Florida imams accused of financially supporting the Taliban.

Hafiz Khan, 77, and his 26-year-old son, Izhar Khan, are charged with funneling $50,000 to the Taliban in Pakistan.

Both men are U.S. citizens born in Pakistan. Hafiz headed the Flagler Mosque in Miami. His son oversaw the Masjid Jamaat Al-Mumineen mosque in Margate.

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Foreclosure Crisis
6:00 am
Thu January 3, 2013

Florida's Mortgage Mess: When Help Is At Arm's Length

Sometimes lenders are hesitant to take on government programs that could help foreclosure victims.
Credit Robert Lyle /WLRN

Foreclosure help in Florida comes with conditions.

Florida pops to the top of the list anytime someone mentions home foreclosures.

The federal government and the major banks are trying to help people modify mortgages so they can stay in their homes. But those programs frequently come with caveats and conditions.

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Radio
3:00 pm
Wed January 2, 2013

Story Of Forgotten Woman In 'Tale Of Lot 180' Shows Potential Of Radio And Reporter

REMEMBERING HER: Photo found in her safe depot box with her salt shakers is thought to be Udavilla Rutherford herself.
Credit Kenny Malone

In public radio circles, they still talk about "The Tale of Lot 180," a feature story Kenny Malone produced for us three years ago, just after he rolled up to the station on a skateboard with his ball cap on backwards.

His way of approaching a handful of prosaic details and distilling an amazing story that nobody expected is actually pretty annoying if you work with the guy day in and day out, as we must here at WLRN. But people who have known him for, say, an hour or less are often impressed by his way with the radio medium.

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Cuba
1:00 pm
Wed January 2, 2013

Will 2013 Bring New Hope To Cuban-American Relations?

Former Cuban president Fidel Castro and his successor and brother, Raul Castro
Credit Archivo Invasores III

The New Year marked 54 years since the Castro Revolution in Cuba. Since then, there have been 11 U.S. Presidents. Will 2013 finally be a year of major change on the island? Will Cuban-American relations improve?

We brought together two experts to look into their crystal balls, El Nuevo Herald reporter Juan Tamayo and Dr. Andy Gomez of the University of Miami's Institute of Cuban-American studies.

Both agree that nothing will change without the release of American  contractor Alan Gross, who has now been held in Cuba as an accused spy for more than three years.

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Fiscal Cliff
9:30 am
Wed January 2, 2013

'Milk Cliff' Avoided, Too, But Congress May Have Left Florida Farm Prices In Disarray

TENSION REMAINS: Eight-dollar milk is now off the table but the fiscal cliff deal disrupted other agreements Florida farmers were counting on.

The News Service of Florida

The deal between the White House and Congress narrowly approved Tuesday evening by the House to avoid going over the fiscal cliff would extend a 2008 farm law through September 2013.

That will keep milk prices from doubling but leaves other major issues unresolved.

Florida advocates have been worried about the farm bill, in part because of milk prices, but also because of its affect on food aid to the poor.

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Fiscal Cliff
8:01 am
Wed January 2, 2013

Sen. Marco Rubio Voted To Risk The Cliff

VOTING NO: Rubio said the fiscal cliff bill would would threaten job creation and the broad economy.

Most of the Florida delegation went along with last night's vote to stay on the high side of the fiscal cliff. But the big exception was Sen. Marco Rubio.

He voted no on the bill -- one of just eight senators to do so -- explaining that it was an historic tax hike that would hurt the economy.

"Rapid economic growth and spending reforms are the only way out of the real fiscal cliff our nation is facing," Rubio said. 

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Senate Agenda
7:30 am
Wed January 2, 2013

Rubio Makes Middle Class His 2013 Project

GOT THE MESSAGE: Sen. Marco Rubio wants to strengthen the middle class with education opportunities, good jobs and a healthy Social Security/Medicare system.

Florida U. S. Sen. Marco Rubio plans to begin the new year with proposals to strengthen the middle class with education opportunities, jobs that will be worth their new degrees and solvent Social Security and Medicare systems to await their retirement.

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New Florida Laws
6:30 am
Wed January 2, 2013

Headlight Speed Trap Warnings Now Legal

FREEDOM TO FLASH: It is now your right as a Floridian to flash your high beams as a speed trap warning to oncoming cars.

Motorists who notice radar-equipped police cars hiding behind bushes and under overpasses, and then flash their high-beams to warn other drivers, haven’t always been rewarded for their concern.

On the contrary. A lot of them have gotten tickets for those little acts of kindness and roadway solidarity. But, just maybe, no more.

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Foreclosure Crisis
6:00 am
Wed January 2, 2013

Florida's Mortgage Mess: Among The Worst In The U.S.

Florida's mortgage issues are widespread.
Credit Jeff Turner /Flickr

Florida's foreclosure crisis isn't over, but there are resources.

For the last three months, Florida has led the nation in the number of homes in some stage of foreclosure.

But that is only the tip of the iceberg. Since the start of the recession, the foreclosure crisis has been a horror story for the Sunshine State.

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Jobs
4:26 pm
Mon December 31, 2012

Florida Minimum Wage Up On Jan. 1

Credit Tax Credits/Flickr

Tuesday morning, Florida's minimum wage jumps 12 cents, from $7.67 to $7.79. Florida Today  reports that since 2004, the state's minimum wage has been constitutionally linked to increases in the cost of living - one of just 10 states with similar wage mandates. 

The Florida Today story explains that the raise will affect a relatively small number of workers:

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New Year's Eve
3:30 pm
Mon December 31, 2012

Why We Toast: Uncorking A New Year's Tradition

A happy-looking 1930s couple toasts.
Credit Fox Photos/Getty Images

The act of toasting feels natural: You lift your arms in affirmation and drink in honor of an occasion or a loved one.

It's what millions will do this week as they ring in the New Year, but why? Like shaking hands or saluting, toasting is a habit with incredibly foggy beginnings, so we here at The Salt decided to dig into it, for the sake of science.

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Broward County History
2:35 pm
Mon December 31, 2012

Buzz Renews For Renaming Broward County

NAMED FOR HIM: Napoleon Bonaparte Broward, drainer of the Everglades, as lampooned in 1905.

It's been 15 years since Miami-area voters changed the name of their county from "Dade" to "Miami-Dade" so everyone would know where it is and that it's the container of a really famous city.

A similar buzz is arising again in Broward County where some local boosters think their county name is doing them no good at all and that a much better and more recognizable one is available: Lauderdale County.

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