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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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Florida Supreme Court
8:17 am
Mon December 31, 2012

Cameras-In-Court Justice Ben Overton Dies

JUSTICE DIES: Ben Overton, far left, was the first state Supreme Court justice to be appointed rather than elected. Gov. Reubin Askew swore him in March, 1974. At right, an official court portrait from the 1990s.
Credit State archives

The News Service of Florida

Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Ben F. Overton, the first justice appointed by the governor after the switch in the 1970s from elected justices, has died from complications of heart surgery, a spokesman for the court said.

Overton, who retired in 1999, was 86.

On the court for more than two decades, his legacy includes letting cameras into Florida courtrooms.

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Congress
7:37 am
Mon December 31, 2012

Gifts And Flaws Controlled 'Mercurial' Career Of Departing Congressman David Rivera

RIVERA: Not everyone counts him out.
Credit File

Time's nearly up for South Florida Republican Congressman David Rivera who lost his re-election bid to Democrat Joe Garcia in November.

It's a stall in a remarkable political career that always kept Rivera one or two adroit steps ahead of political and personal disaster.

Still, his last round of problems -- now under investigation by the FBI and the IRS -- may lead to criminal charges with possibly uncomfortable ramifications for Rivera's close friend, U. S. Sen. Marco Rubio.

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100 Years of Tobacco Road
6:30 am
Mon December 31, 2012

Miami's Oldest Bar Turns 100

The upstairs main stage at Tobacco Road: many blues legends, including John Lee Hooker and Koko Taylor, have performed on this stage.
Credit Phil Latzman

Editor's note: We've been re-airing some of our favorite stories of 2012. This one is from November.  

In my 22 years living in South Florida, if there's one establishment I can't enough of--it's Tobacco Road.

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Year In Review
3:42 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

Yearly Roundup: New Districts, New Voting Problems, New Economic Hope

Even Santa's Enchanted Forest was in the patriotic spirit November 6th.
Credit Bob B. Brown, Flickr

In an election year and a redistricting year, you might have expected this. The biggest stories of 2012 ended up being an election and redistricting.

A third ongoing story also pervaded the year's news: The economy continued its long, slow rise from the ashes of the recession, and by year's end the rebound – while facing the possible stomach-punch of a fiscal cliff setback – appeared to be solid.

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Guns
1:26 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

Surge Of Permits Propels Florida To Top Of National Concealed Weapons Heap

VISIBLE FOR NOW: Florida recently issued its one-millionth concealed weapon permit.

After the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, the country renewed a debate over gun control. At the same time, Florida quietly marked a milestone. It became the first state to issue more than a million permits allowing residents to carry concealed weapons. From Miami, NPR's Greg Allen reports.

GREG ALLEN: It's the holiday season, and at American Armory, a gun store in Homestead, Florida, the atmosphere is festive.

(SOUNDBITE OF CROWD)

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Labor Dispute
12:57 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

Port Strike Averted As Dock Workers, Terminal Operators Agree To Extension

STILL WORKING: PortMiami is the nation's 11th largest shipper of containers. It's estimated a longshoremen's strike would cost the Miami-Dade County economy tens of millions of dollars a day.
Credit PortMiami

Longshoremen and East Coast and Gulf Coast port operators have agreed to a 30-day extension on labor negotiations, averting a potentially crippling strike that would have halted container traffic at many of the nation's largest seaports, according to a federal mediator.

The strike would also have idled cargo but not cruise ship operations at PortMiami and Port Everglades. PortMiami is the nation's 11th largest container port and a lengthy strike would be costly to the regional economy.

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