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StateImpact Florida
8:07 am
Mon May 11, 2015

As Florida Reduces Testing, Teacher Evaluation Questions Remain

Broward Teachers Union president Sharon Glickman, with Broward County schools superintendent Robert Runcie, calling for changes to the teacher evaluation system in October.
Credit John O'Connor / WLRN

Florida lawmakers’ decision to end mandatory final exams for every class will mean that more teachers’ performance will be judged on subjects they don’t teach.

Concerned about the amount of testing in schools -- and pressured by activists and educators -- this year lawmakers rescinded a state law that requires school districts to have a standard final assessment in any class that doesn’t already have a statewide exam. In most cases that’s a test, but it could be a final project or compilation of a student’s work.

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U.S.-Cuba Relations
5:55 pm
Fri May 8, 2015

Is U.S.-Cuba Texting The Next Telecom Barrier To Fall?

Cubans using cell phones, which their communist government allowed them to purchase for personal use in 2008.
Credit AP

If you’ve ever tried to send a text message to someone in Cuba, you know that… you can’t do it. But as the U.S. and Cuba normalize relations, a number of telecom barriers between the two countries are coming down. And it looks like the latest is texting.

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News
3:17 pm
Fri May 8, 2015

Miami-Dade Judge Accepts Punishment For Misconduct

If Judge Jacqueline Schwartz had not accepted the Florida Supreme Court's recommended punishment, her case would have gone back to the Judicial Qualifications Commission for review.
Credit Roberto Koltun, El Nuevo Herald

A Miami-Dade County judge accused of misconduct has accepted the punishment recommended by the Florida Supreme Court.

Judge Jacqueline Schwartz will pay a $10,000 fine and be out of work for a month without pay.

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Politics
12:03 pm
Fri May 8, 2015

Florida Roundup: A Preview To The Special Legislative Session

Credit Steve Martin / flickr Creative Commons

  On the Florida Roundup, the date for the special session has been set to organize a budget.

Florida Legislature

After no agreement during the legislative session, lawmakers will meet again on June 1 for budget discussions. They must decide before July 1.

Police behavior

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Education
10:51 pm
Thu May 7, 2015

For-Profit Colleges Growing In Florida

Credit Miami Herald

This story is adapted from a Miami Herald investigation about for-profit colleges.

  While working as the assistant director of education at ATI Career Training Center’s Fort Lauderdale campus, Dulce Ramirez-Damon said she witnessed medical assistant classes taught by instructors who lacked a bachelor’s degree, and students who didn’t understand “where the vein was, or how to grab it.”

So Ramirez-Damon delivered this message to her family: If you’re ever at the hospital, make sure to ask where the person taking care of you went to school.

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Feature
10:32 pm
Thu May 7, 2015

Overtown's Last Shoe Repair Man Closes Shop

Lovell Singletary is believed to be the last shoe repair man in Overtown. He closed his business Saturday.
Credit Walt Michot / Miami Herald

Bereatha Howard is having a crisis of the sole.

The left half of her treasured pair of black Calvin Kleins has ripped apart at the seams. And so she she is doing what so many in Overtown have done for so many years: walking down Third Avenue, her shoes in a white plastic bag, to find Lovell Singletary.

“These are my favorite shoes,” she says, handing the bag to a man sitting outside next to a plastic children’s table, wearing a tattered green cap sideways like a beret. “Do you think you can fix it?”

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Economy
1:12 pm
Thu May 7, 2015

Broward Small Business Owner Gives Big Raises, Says Other CEOs Should Follow Suit

Employees of Green Solutions are seeing their pay increase from 35 to 50 percent.
Credit gnerk on Flickr

A Broward County small-business owner is giving his employees hefty raises.

Andrew Green is the owner and CEO of Green Solutions in Fort Lauderdale. He recently decided to give his workers raises of between 35 and 50 percent.

“The responsibility lies on you to make sure that they can have a living wage without stressing day to day if they can make ends meet," says Green.

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Living
5:19 pm
Wed May 6, 2015

Miami-Dade Housing Summit Looks Into Mixed-Income Housing

Liberty Square housing project will be demolished, increasing concerns about the availability of public and affordable housing.
Credit Creative Commons

After plans were announced to raze the Liberty Square housing projects in Miami's Liberty City, residents and housing advocates were concerned about where the projects' inhabitants would move to as low-income housing in the city dwindles.

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News
4:47 pm
Wed May 6, 2015

Monroe Tries To Tackle Affordable Housing Crisis

This site in Old Town Key West used to house a trailer park that provided affordable housing. Now it is being redeveloped as "resort homes" that start at $760,000.
Credit Nancy Klingener / WLRN

When it comes to affordable housing, the Florida Keys face a quadruple whammy: low supply, high demand, strict growth limits and a tourism industry that pays low service-sector wages.

That's the conclusion of a new study from the Florida State University Consensus Center. Affordable housing woes are not new to the Keys. But the pressure eased some during the recession, according to Monroe County Administrator Roman Gastesi.

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Opinion
4:36 pm
Wed May 6, 2015

Reader Response: The Weight Of History On U.S.-Cuba Relations

Picture released by Cuban newspaper Granma of Cuban militiamen manning an anti-aircraft battery of Czechoslovakian-made M53 12.7 mm quad guns at Havana's Malecon during the 1962 missile crisis.
Credit AFP PHOTO / Granma

This is a reader-submitted piece in response to our April 12 story titled "Summit Summary: U.S.-Cuba Sitdown Drowns Out Venezuelan Meltdown."

In his report from the “Summit of the Americas,” WLRN’s Tim Padgett partly blames “anti-Castro hardliners who get just as much tiresome mileage out of reliving the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis day after day” for preventing the brave new world that a fawning Raul Castro and President Obama want for Cuba.

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Politics
9:51 pm
Tue May 5, 2015

Mental Health Overhaul Falls Victim To Early Session End

Miami-Dade County has the highest percentage of people with serious mental illnesses of any urban community in the United States, according to the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Criminal Mental Health Project.
Credit BearTruck 2009/flickr

A major overhaul of the state’s mental health system died when the Florida Legislature adjourned early.

Both chambers seemed ready to revamp the delivery of mental health and substance abuse services. The bill’s main focus was changing the way those services are administered in order to better coordinate care among agencies.

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Workforce
6:10 pm
Tue May 5, 2015

Broward Considers Extending Living-Wage Ordinance To Airport Workers

Gueldere Guerillis addresses union members outside Broward County Governmental Center on Tuesday.
Credit Julia Duba

Broward County commissioners are considering a proposal that would extend the county’s living-wage ordinance to airport contract workers at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

Workers such as baggage handlers, skycaps and wheelchair assistants earn an average of $7.46 per hour, according to a union report.

Gueldere Guerillis has worked at FLL for eight years and currently works two jobs, as a skycap and wheelchair attendant.

“Our paychecks cannot cover everything,” says Guerillis. “Most of us at the airport work two or three jobs to make ends meet.”

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News
6:01 pm
Tue May 5, 2015

Mental Health Conference Points To Flaws In Criminal Justice System

Attendees at UM's Stop the Sitgma conference.
Credit Diego Saldaña-Rojas / WLRN

Miami-­Dade County has the largest percentage of individuals with serious mental illnesses among all urban areas in the U.S., according to data from the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court. 

The figures led the psychiatry department at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine and the Miami branch of the National Alliance on Mental Illness to host the Stop the Stigma conference. The event, held Saturday at UM's hospital, aimed to "stop the sitgma" of mental illnesses.

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Culture
4:29 pm
Tue May 5, 2015

The Haitian Cultural Arts Alliance Among 73 Knight Arts Finalists

Artwork by Eduard Duval Carrier in his Little Haiti studio.
Credit Nadege Green / WLRN

The Haitian Cultural Arts Alliance in Little Haiti is one of the 73 Knight Arts Challenge finalists announced yesterday.

The community-wide contest funds ideas that bring South Florida together through the arts.

Eduard Duval Carrier, cultural director at the alliance, says the group plans to host visual artists from across the Caribbean while exploring what it means to live and create in multiethnic communities such as Miami.

"We’ve realized that the Caribbean has produced such a diaspora," he says, "not just Haiti -- but the whole Caribbean."

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Politics
4:16 pm
Mon May 4, 2015

Seminole Tribe Of Florida Pleas For Renewal Of Card Game Agreement

The Seminole Tribe of Florida wants the state to extend a portion of its gambling compact that expires this summer. It allows banked card games like baccarat exclusively at five Seminole casinos and generates more than a $100 million a year for the state.
Credit Mr Spil/flickr

The Seminole Tribe of Florida wants to keep its exclusive rights to blackjack and other banked card games, but the Legislature's abrupt adjournment this year might have dealt the tribe a bad hand. 

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