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Education
4:52 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

The Urban League Of Greater Miami Wants 'School Choice' For Liberty City

Credit Jessica Meszaros / WLRN

The Urban League of Greater Miami wants parents to consider sending their children to charter schools. The organization hosted a town hall in Miami Wednesday night to build support for their idea of "school choice."  

T. Willard Fair is the League's president. He says charter schools abide by  contracts promising to produce certain outcomes, and if they fail, the contracts get canceled. 

"What would happen if every poor performing school in Liberty City had to sign a contract? They all would be closed up," says Fair. 

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Arts Preview
4:31 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Jazz In The Gardens Fest Mostly R&B, Hip-Hop -- But For A Reason

Credit Courtesy of Jazz in the Gardens

South Florida’s Jazz in the Gardens festival kicks off this weekend at SunLife Stadium. Now in its ninth year, the festival has a line-up of mostly funk, hip-hop, and R&B artists.

So the event is hardly about jazz and not in a garden. 

But the city of Miami Gardens originally launched the festival as a purely jazz event.

According to the festival’s senior operations director, Ula Zucker-Williams, that idea lasted exactly one year:

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Museums
4:15 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

North Miami's MOCA Possibly Merging With Bass Museum

Credit Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami

Fans of the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami might soon need to cross the bay to their get art fix.

In a city council meeting Tuesday, North Miami Mayor Lucie Tondreau said she met with museum board members and learned of their plans to move MOCA's collections and operations to the Bass Museum in Miami Beach.  

Both museums have not formally stated a plan to merge but officials have mentioned they are both in on-going conversations.  

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Marriage Law
1:44 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

ACLU Sues Florida For The Rights Of Married Same-Sex Couples

Credit Peetje2 / Creative Commons/Flickr

  A new lawsuit challenging part of Florida’s ban on gay marriage has been filed in a federal district court in Tallahassee.

The ACLU of Florida is representing 8 same-sex couples who say their U.S. constitutional rights are being violated because Florida doesn’t recognize their out-of-state marriages. The lawsuit names Governor Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi and two other state officials as defendants.

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Events
7:21 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

More Made In Miami Conferences

Eric Baca at the 2012 Hispanicize conference.
Credit Latino Leaders Magazine

South Florida has always been a prime location for out-of-town conferences and conventions. But recently there's  a growing number of local organizations putting together these events from their own backyard. 

Miami-based conferences are pulling in major corporate sponsors and attendees from all over the world and speakers from the White House, Google and Facebook.

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Dept. Of Children And Families
4:30 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

DCF's Problems Partly About Lack Of Better-Educated Workers, Legislators Say

Hollywood Democrat Eleanor Sobel is chair of the Senate committee on Children and Families: "We are proud of this [bill] that will save lives of many many children in the state of Florida."
Credit Florida House of Representatives

 

A state Senate committee agrees that one of the keys to fixing persistent child welfare problems at Florida's Department of Children and Families is more and better-trained caseworkers. The panel has passed a group of bills with a package of solutions for a very troubled system.

Here's WLRN reporter Rick Stone's radio story.

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Sunshine Economy
3:35 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Interviewing By Eating: 5 Questions for CEO Felecia Hatcher

Credit Tom Hudson

Felecia Hatcher is co-founder and “chief popsicle” of Feverish Pops, a gourmet popsicle company based in Miami. Hatcher says she is “obsessed with desserts” and, as proof of that passion, she points out that she was married at a donut shop in Portland, Oregon.  

Hatcher began the popsicle company after getting fired from her marketing job with Nintendo.

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Transportation
2:56 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

More Cheeks On Seats Of South Florida's Public Transit

More people are riding on South Florida's public transportation.
Credit Creative Commons / Flickr user interbeat

A new ridership report from the American Public Transportation Association says overall, more people are using public transportation in South Florida than last year, specifically in Miami, West Palm Beach, and Pompano Beach.

In Miami, bus and MetroMover numbers were up from last year. Way up was the MetroRail ridership, which increased by 10 percent.

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Latin America Report
9:29 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

How A Doral Woman Became A Victim Of Anti-Chavista Witch Hunts

Pietra Diwan in front of her Brazilian sweets business in Miami
Credit Tim Padgett / WLRN

Pietra Diwan takes pride in the master’s degree she earned in history back in her native Brazil. But a passion for historical accuracy may cost her the business she built here in South Florida.

As a historian, Diwan pays attention to document details. That’s why she raised flags last month when Venezuelan friends here started posting Facebook photos of the ongoing anti-government protests in Venezuela.

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Business
4:59 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

BritWeek Is Actually A Thing In Miami, And Here's Why We Have It

Credit BritWeek

  British roots date back to the 1700s in Florida, when Spain traded the state to Britain for control of Havana. Now there are English business associations here, car clubs and David Beckham. The second annual BritWeek kicks off with a series of events highlighting British business and cultural ties in Florida.  

WLRN's Bernard Hacker explains what goes on during Brit Week:

Read the full story at MiamiHerald.com.

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Politics
1:00 am
Tue March 11, 2014

Stand Your Ground Law Under Fire, But Likely To Remain

Rev. Al Sharpton (center) marches with parents and family of Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis and others in Tallahassee Monday. They are calling on Florida to repeal the state's Stand Your Ground law.
Credit Tom Urban / News Service of Florida

Civil-rights leader Al Sharpton led a crowd of about 1,000 people to the Florida Capitol on Monday, demanding that Gov. Rick Scott and the Legislature fix or repeal the "stand your ground" self-defense law.

Sharpton marched alongside the parents of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis, two teens the marchers said were wrongly killed under Florida's first-in-the-nation law, which allows people to use deadly force when they feel their lives are in danger and provides immunity from prosecution. 

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Politics
12:55 am
Tue March 11, 2014

Why Freedom Of The Press Should Matter To You, And Other Tenets Of The First Amendment Foundation

Credit freedigitalphotos.net

When Florida media groups are concerned about freedom of the press and open government, they turn to the First Amendment Foundation for help.

Pete Weitzel, former senior editor of the Miami Herald, founded the non-profit 30 years ago.

The foundation is funded through contributions. It provides training, legal aid, and the annual Government in the Sunshine Manual as a guide to Florida’s open meetings and public-records laws. 

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Miami Beach
7:07 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Friends Of Israel 'Reefa' Hernandez Respond To Autopsy Report

Estomba speaks in front of Rundle's office.
Credit Hillary Lindwall/WLRN

Friends of Israel "Reefa" Hernandez held a news conference in response to his autopsy report released last week, seven months after his death. The teen died in August after being shot with a stun gun by Miami Beach police when he was caught defacing an abandoned building. The autopsy report says Hernandez's death was "accidental through electrical discharge." Now, the State Attorney's office must finish investigating before they can decide whether or not to press charges in the death. 

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Links
3:55 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

WLRN's Five Most Popular Stories Mar. 3-7

Part of the Miami Herald's photo archive website 'Flashback Miami'
Credit Mike Freeman/Courtesy of The Miami Herald

The 95 Express toll increase is our most popular story this week -- again. Mass transit anyone?

Old Miami through photos, Mayan migrants and 80 days until traffic eases in downtown Miami were all close contenders for the No. 1 spot.

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Sunshine Economy
8:47 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Got Water?

Water being treated on its way to from Florida City to the Keys via a 130 mile pipeline.
Credit Tom Hudson

 

The good news from last summer's rains is that South Florida's water supply is running above average. But that doesn't ease the concerns of those responsible for finding, protecting, cleaning and distributing freshwater to the more than six million people from Pam Beach County through Key West.

They tell us there is no "average" year for water supply. It's either too wet or too dry. And while it's technically the dry season, there's plenty of water.

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