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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.