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Cuba & Venezuela
3:30 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

2012: The Year of What Didn't Happen In Latin America

Credit Guillermo Esteves

2012 may be remembered in Latin American for what didn't happen more than for what actually did, especially in Venezuela and Cuba.

VENEZUELA

The year began ominously for Venezuelan nationals living in South Florida.  The U.S. State Department expelled the country's consul-general, alleging she was involved in a cyber-terrorism plot. In January, Venezuela's Miami consulate was shut down by President Hugo Chavez, who was facing a tough reelection campaign. 

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Florida Holidays
1:30 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

Florida Holidays: Publix Commercials Make Us Cry

WUSF reporter/producer Dalia Colón rarely cries over movies, but this Publix commercial had her in pieces.
Credit YouTube screen shot

tvOur friends at WUSF in Tampa have been collecting holiday stories and traditions from around the state for a series they call "Florida Holidays." The following was originally posted by WUSF reporter Dalia Colón.

Confession: Publix holiday commercials turn me to mush.

Maybe it's the music. Maybe it's because I'm already in the holiday spirit. Or maybe it's just good marketing.

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Capital Punishment
7:40 am
Wed December 26, 2012

Florida's Surging Death Penalties Buck Trend

NEW MISSION: Exonerated after 12 years on Florida's death row, Freddie Lee Pitts became an activist.
Credit deathpenaltyphotos.org

Texas executed 15 convicts in 2012, the most of any state, according to an end-of-year report from the Death Penalty Information Center.

But Florida led the nation with new death sentences for the year: 21, more than twice as many as Texas. California, with 14 death sentences, was the only other state to achieve a double-digit performance.

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Unemployment
6:55 am
Wed December 26, 2012

Judging Rick Scott's Job Creation Record

HARD TIMES: The Florida unemployment rate has been reduced mostly by discouraged workers abandoning the job search.
Credit Sweets and Flowers/Flickr

His big campaign pledge was 700-thousand jobs in seven years.

So, halfway through his term, how is Gov. Rick Scott doing with that?

The answer...it's complicated.

Unemployment has dropped from 11.4 percent in January, 2011, to 8.1 percent in November of this year. But almost half of the improvement is attributed to discouraged workers leaving the workforce.

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Election 2012
6:20 am
Wed December 26, 2012

How S. Floridians Canceled Their Own Votes

UNRECOVERABLE ERROR: A lot of South Floridians canceled their own votes with time, place and signature mistakes.

Floridians will remember how hard it was to vote on election day in November of 2012.

But many will forget what was easy: Losing their vote because of simple mistakes.

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Florida Holidays
4:30 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

Florida Holidays: The Tale Of The Flying Pie

Credit Liz_Davis217

 

Our friends at WUSF in Tampa have been collecting holiday stories and traditions from around the state for a series they call "Florida Holidays." The following was originally posted by WUSF reporter Dalia Colón. It came to her as an email with subject line "That's so Florida." Here's a strange tale from Anna Maria Island  resident Peggy Bode:

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Florida Holidays
3:30 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

Florida Holidays: Snow in Orlando

Our friends at WUSF in Tampa have been collecting holiday stories and traditions from around the state for a series they call "Florida Holidays." Becky Wanamaker shared this story on WUSF's Facebook page and Scott Finn, WUSF's news director, originally posted this story.

Every December, our family drives to Orlando for a little winter wonderland fun at the Gaylord Palm's ICE! show. We bundle up in those big, heavy blue coats and marvel at the beautiful sculptures that created wonderful Christmas vignettes.

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Holiday Music
2:36 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

Jingle Jams: Curated Holiday Playlist

Someone took Santa's violin.
Credit Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP/Getty Images

LISTEN TO THE STREAMING JINGLE JAMS MIX HERE

For the last 14 years, WXPN host and producer Robert Drake has programmed and hosted a 24-hour holiday-music marathon called The Night Before, aired from midnight to midnight on Dec. 24. We decided this year to put more jingle in the jangle and create Jingle Jams on XPN2, a 24/7 stream of holiday music.

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Christmas Bling
1:30 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

Sleigh Bells Ring, Houses Bling: Gallery of Well-Decorated South Florida Homes

Dan Grech

There are many ways to describe South Florida; subtle is not among them.

A few days after the well-decorated (and well-lit) parade of boats known as Winterfest passed through Fort Lauderdale's stretch of the Intracoastal Waterway, our news director, Dan Grech, took a boat tour along part of the parade route.

"I do find it odd," said Dan, a Pennsylvania native, "boating through the canals of Broward County, in December, looking at reindeer and snow-frosted Christmas tree decorations."

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Federal Cat Regulation
12:09 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

Feds To Monitor Safety Of Hemingway Cats

GIMME SIX: Friendly kitten is part of the contingent of six-toed cats that live at the Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West. They are now under federal protection.

The multitoed cats that have lived for decades in comfort and ease at Key West's Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum may continue to do so, a court has ruled.

But those cats will be protected and regulated by the U. S Department of Agriculture from here on out, just like any animals that are exhibited for a profit.

That's the puzzling upshot of a decision that has the famously independent city in an uproar and wondering if the decision can be appealed to the U. S. Supreme Court.

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Hopliday Dining
10:56 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Christmas Finds Jews Going Out For Chinese

What's the deal, you’re wondering, with Jewish people and Chinese restaurants on Christmas?

Sun Sentinel religion writer Lois Solomon traces the long history of America's Jewish Christmas dinner and how immigration and cultural diets played a part in creating the tradition. It even found a place in the record of U. S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan's Senate confirmation hearing:

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WLRN Staff Picks
10:29 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Why South Florida Can't Have Nice Things

Florida, you give us a lot to report.
Credit Sammy Mack / WLRN

We all know South Florida can be a pretty weird place, and it's something of a holiday tradition for news organizations around the state to put together lists of the weirdest stories of the year.

We decided to go straight to the people on the front lines, WLRN's anchors, producers, editors and reporters, and ask them what they thought were the most bizarre Florida stories of 2012. 

Some stories were funny, others perplexing and some macabre.

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Meet Our Staff
9:30 am
Mon December 24, 2012

What Do Our Work Coffee Mugs Say About Us At WLRN?

StateImpact Florida Reporter Sarah Gonzalez is a lot like her mug of fancy island mango and peach tea. Looks all sweet and innocent on the outside, but the inside is complex and serious.
WLRN's StateImpact Florida

Before we start the new year, we want you all to get to know us a little more intimately. Turns out our work coffee mugs say a lot about us!

We've psychoanalyzed each other's coffee mugs to bring you this audio postcard from us, your WLRN reporters, editors,  anchors, bloggers, producers and social media gurus.  I would say this is one of those posts you actually want to listen to.

Check out our slideshow and tell us which one of us is your work-coffee-mug-soul-mate. 

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Obituary
8:48 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Former Governor Candidate Bill McBride Dies

POWER COUPLE: Bill McBride and his wife, Alex Sink, were both Democratic candidates for governor. McBride died suddenly Saturday.
Credit Family photo

Bill McBride, a lawyer and affable family man who succeeded almost everywhere but politics, died suddenly Saturday during a family Christmas gathering in Mount Airy, N. C.

McBride ran for governor against Republican Jeb Bush in 2002 and lost by 14 points.

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Nochebuena In Miami
6:35 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve In Miami: Never Look A Pig In The Eye Before Roasting It

Chef Todd Webster drives this little piggy home from Mary's Ranch in Hialeah. The pig was later roasted in a caja china at the Front Porch Cafe in December.
Credit Todd Webster / The Front Porch Cafe

Today is Nochebuena, Christmas Eve, and for many Hispanics, that means roasting a whole pig. This Christmas tradition scared journalist and author Carlos Frias as a boy. But he got through it with one piece of advice: “Never look a pig in the eye.”

Frias told a version of this story at a Lip Service event:

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