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Foreclosure Crisis
8:30 am
Fri January 4, 2013

Florida's Mortgage Mess: Options

Some people facing foreclosure have fewer options than others.
Credit Robert Lyle /WLRN

All this week, we've been looking at the continuing foreclosure crisis sure crisis in Florida. Today, we check in back in with one woman who fears losing her home.

While there are many federal, state and private bank programs to modify troubled mortgages, each requires the lender to agree.

Unlike the more than 260 lenders in Florida who are helping, Marla Popkin’s mortgage holder won’t. Popkin is an Occupational Therapist in Miami. Work is slow and she has come into some rough times. Now she's trying to save her home. 

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Judiciary
8:00 am
Fri January 4, 2013

Obama Nominates Black, Gay Judge From Miami For Promotion To Federal Bench

NOMINEE: William L. Thomas, a Miami-Dade circuit judge since 2005, 'resembles the nation' he will serve, Pres. Obama says.
Credit File

Making sure the judiciary "resembles the nation it serves,"  President Obama has nominated a black, openly gay Miami-Dade circuit judge for elevation to the federal bench.

The candidate is William L. Thomas, who's been a local judge since 2005. If he's confirmed, he'll be the first black, gay federal judge who is also a man. President Bill Clinton appointed the first black-gay-period judge when he nominated Deborah Batts for the Southern District of New York.

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The Opera Wants You
7:30 am
Fri January 4, 2013

Extras! Extras! Palm Beach Opera Seeking (Silent) Players

Credit Palm Beach Opera

Ever wanted to be on the operatic stage?

Now’s your chance – and you don’t even have to carry a tune or know a Gotterdamerung thing about opera.

Palm Beach Opera is expanding its talent pool of supernumeraries (non-singing extras) for its 2013 Season.

The “supers,” as they’re called, perform as guards, maidservants, townsfolk, water sprites, matadors, etcetera, according to the needs of the production.

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Video Games: No Longer Child's Play
6:30 am
Fri January 4, 2013

Why Video Games Are Leaving The Living Room For The Art Museum

Cultural institutions, such as the Boca Raton Museum of Art and New York's Museum of Modern Art, are beginning to recognize video games as art.
Arianna Prothero

The music of video games is featured in this radio piece by Arianna Prothero.

When 20-year-old Jackson Alexander Parodi got the chance to develop a show on his college radio station, he was inspired by some of the music he grew up with: video game scores.

Parodi is a music theory and composition major at the University of Miami who has been playing video games almost his entire life.

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YoungArts
1:00 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

Bacardi Tower Purchase Rejuvenates The YoungArts Foundation, Marks Growth

Last month the National YoungArts Foundation celebrated the inauguration of their new national headquarters on Biscayne Boulevard at the Bacardi Tower, now known as the YoungArts Campus. The architectural landmark represents the first time YoungArts has had its own permanent home in its almost 32-year history. The iconic space will soon see an expansion under the direction of world-renowned architect Frank Gehry.

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Delray Beach
10:30 am
Thu January 3, 2013

Delray Beach To Event Organizers: Pay Up Or Be Gone

Credit FlickR/aldenjewell

If you want to hold a major street fair or festival in Delray Beach, the city wants some cash up front first.

Delray Beach officials say they're tired of the unpaid bills left behind by major event organizers in recent years.  The city is in the hole for about $50,000 after certain festivals failed to cover costs for events not hosted by the city.

Several major fairs – including the Carnevale and the Delray Beach Film Festival -- have been banned for skipping out on the tab.

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Health Care Reform
10:00 am
Thu January 3, 2013

Florida Is 'Interesting' As Obamacare Dawns

WELCOME TO ALL: Once one of Obamacare's worst enemies, Florida appears ready to comply with it.

Florida led the multi-state court case that tried unsuccessfully to derail President Obama's health care reforms last year.

But now, Gov. Rick Scott seems to be halfway through a complete reversal toward complying with Obamacare.

He's setting up an infrastructure to support the insurance exchanges that the Affordable Care Act would create. He's got a meeting with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius next week and his state Senate has already set up a committee to study Florida's Obamacare options.

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Property Insurance
9:00 am
Thu January 3, 2013

Florida Dodges Storms But Gets Smacked By Rising Insurance Rates

Citizens' new president says right now the company still charges far less than a private company would.
Credit Citizens Property Insurance Corporation

Florida has successfully dodged a major storm for a while now. But, the state's residents have not been so lucky at dodging rate increases on their property insurance.

Property insurance rates have been rising for millions of Floridians even though the state hasn't been directly hit by a hurricane in seven years.

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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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