Richard Blanco is home now, back in Miami after a six-year journey that launched the award-winning poet and FIU double-graduate into what was supposed to be the “real America.”
“The great prodigal return,” he calls it, the irony evident in his voice – not only about the places he’s been, but about the place he’s come back to. The journey has shaped much of Blanco’s recent poetry, and his evolving sense of identity as a writer, as the son of Cuban immigrants and as an American.
In his inaugural benediction, Cuban-born Rev. Luis León spoke to all Americans, disregarding lines of race, economic standing and sexuality.
"We pray that you will bless us with your continued presence, because without it, hatred and arrogance will infect our hearts," he said before hundreds of thousands of people Monday. "But with your blessing, we know that we can break down the walls that separate us."
As South Florida prepares for a day of dual celebration for Inauguration Day and MLK Day, we are rounding up what is going on in the community, and what people are talking about. There are watch parties all over the place- but we have sent our reporter Chris Di Mattei to the Arsht Center to sit in on the watch party there. Our StateImpact education reporter Sarah Gonzales just happens to be in Washington D.C. for the event, and we are going to be hearing from her, too.
Among the throngs of people gathered at the National Mall to watch today's inauguration ceremony is Boca Raton's "President Obama."
That would be Lynn University student Eric Gooden. Last fall, the 24-year-old senior served as a stand-in for the President during Lynn University's final preparations for the presidential debate in late October.
From the National Mall in Washington, D.C. to Old School Square in Delray Beach, poetry class is in session.
Today, 44-year-old Richard Blanco, the Miami-raised son of Cuban immigrants, becomes the fifth poet ever to take part in a President's inaugural ceremony. Blanco is scheduled to read an original poem after President Obama is sworn in for his second term.
SUNDAY AT ST. JOHNS: The Rev. Luis León greets the President and Mrs. Obama at the door of his church near the White House. Leon will give the inaugural benediction when the president is sworn in for his second term.
President Obama and his inaugural guests will receive their blessing from a Cuba-born minister who came to Miami as a child and now pastors a church just blocks from the White House.
The Rev. Luis León, an Episcopal priest, is the rector at St. John's Church where every president since James Madison has attended services at one time or another. His relationship with the White House is well-established: In 2005, he became the first Hispanic clergyman to deliver an inaugural benediction when President George W. Bush was sworn in for his second term.
For the second time in less than five years, Miami-Dade County is looking to take its zoo to the next level - assuming the next level is possibly a Main Street USA theme park.
The Miami Herald reports that the county invited developers to propose plans for the vacant land surrounding Zoo Miami. "Basically," writes the Herald,"an open-ended plea for bright ideas, conceptual schemes and - this is key - private financing,"
As a child, Aaron Lebos was given a choice of two musical instruments: piano or violin. He chose the piano and spent the next six years dedicated to the instrument, winning five state-wide competitions.
But at the age of 11, he picked up the guitar.
More than a decade later he's still strumming it.
You can hear Aaron’s music in this week’s WLRN story "Piñata," a work of fiction by Jeremy Glazer. You can listen to "Rita" and "Pravda" below:
When Richard Blanco takes the stage Monday at President Barack Obama's second inauguration, the poetry community of South Florida will be paying especially close attention.
Blanco was born to Cuban parents in Spain. The family immigrated to the United States and settled in Miami when Blanco was a toddler. He trained to be a civil engineer but a class at Florida International University later launched his poetry career.
Blanco's poetry is full of images from a childhood in South Florida and a Cuban-American household.
TALLAHASSEE -- Senators looking into the state's efforts to make budget information available online are expressing skepticism about Transparency 2.0, a site developed under a $5.5 million no-bid contract that is nonetheless endorsed by some ethics advocates.
The hesitance by members of the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee, which surfaced at a Thursday meeting, raises questions about whether the project has any prospects for revival.
Florida teachers and other public employees are shocked and angry today, now that the state Supreme Court has upheld a two-year-old state law that requires them for the first time to contribute to their own retirement plans.
Under the law, passed by the 2011 Legislature, three percent of most pension-eligible paychecks are deducted for the state pension system, which the state alone has funded since 1974. Most state employees have received no pay raises since 2006.
A masked assailant threw acid at the artistic director of Russia's Bolshoi Theater ballet troupe, an attack that Bolshoi representatives said may cause him to lose his eyesight and appeared to be linked to power struggles at the famed ballet company.
The state's election bureaucracy and local elections officials have already agreed that more early voting days would shorten the lines that kept voters waiting for hours on Nov. 6.
Now, Gov. Rick Scott -- who promoted and then signed the 2011 bill that reduced the early voting period -- has joined the chorus. He said Thursday county elections supervisors should have the option to conduct early voting on as many as 14 days, the number there was before the Legislature reduced it to eight.
If you’re a judge and you’re Facebook friends with a lawyer and that lawyer winds up in your courtroom to try a case, does that mean you have a conflict of interests?
That's what the state appeals court based in West Palm Beach wants the Florida Supreme Court to decide. It's the same court that took Broward County Circuit Judge Andrew Siegel off of a case because, it decided, his Facebook friendship with the prosecutor made it impossible for him to be impartial.
Our partners at The Takeaway have been following responses across the country to last year's string of mass shootings.
Their last stop, Texas, focused on the story and activism of Suzanna Gratia Hupp, who said that a mass shooting she witnessed in Texas would have turned out differently had she been allowed to carry a gun.