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Session 2014
6:50 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

The Legislature's Big Time Suck: Wordy Casino Bills

Credit z4x7.blog.com

The Florida Legislature formally opens its 60-day session on March 14, but it's already clear that the biggest time and energy suck of the session is likely to be the package of bills that could bring multi-billion-dollar resort casinos to South Florida.

The Senate Gaming Committee unveiled the legislation on Monday and, as WLRN-Miami Herald reporter Rick Stone tells us, it was also a chance for gambling opponents to preview their objections.

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Links
3:14 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

WLRN's Five Most Popular Stories Feb. 24-28

Credit Jeffery Katz / Florida Department of Transportation

The I-95 express lanes' toll increase made it to the top of our list this week, only furthering the idea that South Floridians can't live without their vehicles and highways. Two more stories involving roads and transportation also made it to the top five this week, which made us wonder... are you reading while driving? If so, stop!

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The Sunshine Economy
11:42 pm
Sun March 2, 2014

Commerce is Brewing: Coffee Biz in South Florida

Credit Tom Hudson

  

How do you like your coffee? Cafe cubano? Latte? Black?  

American coffee consumption is growing again, including specialty, gourmet coffee.  Roasters in South Florida are going cup to cup with big national brands, which are working to bring cafe cubano blends to a national market.

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The End of the Road
4:17 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Trying To Free Up 95 Express, FDOT Prices 'Lexus Lanes' At Lamborghini Rates

Credit Jeffery Katz / Florida Department of Transportation

“Lexus lanes” may have been too cheap for Miami. This past Saturday morning, South Florida drivers traded in for “Lamborghini lanes.”

The maximum possible toll on the 95 Express lanes increased from $7.00 to $10.50 — the mininum has doubled to 50 cents — in response to record numbers of motorists forking over what was thought to be a discouragingly high amount of money.

“That day you paid seven bucks, we were trying to get you not to go there,” said Rory Santana, who oversees Miami-Dade County’s stretch of 95 Express for the Florida Department of Transportation.

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Politics
3:24 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Republicans Split Over Cheaper Tuition For Undocumented Students

Sen. Jack Latvala's tuition bill includes price breaks for families that pay taxes in Florida, whether they're documented or not.
Credit Greenspoon Marder/flickr

Florida's undocumented residents may soon have access to cheaper college tuition. The proposal is part of a sweeping bill aimed at reducing the cost of higher education.

Undocumented students could pay in-state tuition if they meet certain eligibility requirements. They’ve been paying the out-of-state rate, which is three times more expensive.

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Commute
3:23 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Lieutenant Governor Visits PortMiami For Update On Tunnel Progress

Credit Port of Miami Tunnel

Sometimes it seems like construction projects around South Florida never end. One major project, however, is getting close. Lieutenant Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera visited PortMiami this week to tour the tunnel being built there. He says in about 80 days, your commute downtown could get a little shorter.

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Homeless
3:17 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

It's Done: Changes To Pottinger Settlement Approved

Changes to Pottinger settlement have been approved.
Credit Wilson Sayre

Protecting the rights of Miami's Homeless since 1998, Federal Judge Federico Moreno has approved changes to the Pottinger settlement. The revisions were reached through mediation between the city of Miami and the ACLU.

Moreno commented before giving his final ruling that this was a different type of class-action suit because it was not about money. Instead, the question at stake is "how do we help people also also help the community grow," he said.

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The Florida Roundup
12:21 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

What You Should Know About The Florida Legislative Session

State Senate President Don Gaetz (R-Niceville) and House Speaker Will Weatherford (R-Wesley Chapel) again presented a joint agenda for this session.

The state legislature convenes next week. And we’ll give you context to understand the 60-day bonanza that begins on March 4.

Will gaming be expanded? Why did a state senator introduce a bill to legalize medical marijuana in advance of the voter referendum? How will the state’s child protective system be overhauled?

Host Tom Hudson speaks with Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times, Kelli Kennedy of the Associated Press, and Gina Jordan and Sammy Mack of WLRN-Miami Herald News.

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Re-enactment
10:50 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Florida's Largest Civil War Battle Isn't Over Yet

Civil War re-enactors stage the Battle of Olustee, Florida’s largest Civil War battle, on the rural Baker County site. Feb. 20 was the 150th anniversary of the Confederate victory.

The re-enactment of the Battle of Olustee drew nearly 3,000 people to a state park in rural Baker County last weekend – including 2,500 re-enactors who staged the Confederate victory just as it unfolded on Feb. 20, 1864.

But now, with the re-enactment over, the battle resumes.

Last year the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War asked the Department of Environmental Protection to place a memorial in the park honoring their ancestors who fell at Olustee.

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Venezuela Unrest
7:56 am
Fri February 28, 2014

For Venezuelan Protesters, A Time To Ask: What's The Endgame?

Protesters wave an "SOS" Venezuelan flag during a diaspora rally in Doral last weekend.
Credit Miranda Nathanson / Miami Herald

There comes a moment in every political upheaval when the sound and fury of protests have to hook up with the clarity and practicality of platforms.

For anti-government demonstrators in Venezuela, that moment's arrived.

Since Feb. 12, the oil-rich but deeply divided country has been rocked by student-led unrest. Protesters are lashing out at President Nicolás Maduro’s heavy-handed socialist government and its inability to solve a raft of economic and social crises, including South America’s worst inflation and murder rates.

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Boxing
12:27 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Fifty Years Ago, Miami Made Muhammad Ali

Liston and Clay trade jabs.
HistoryMiami

Before basketball, the sport to behold in Miami was boxing. That love of sport captured the imagination well beyond the sunny sands and palm trees. Fifty years ago this week, Charles "Sonny" Liston fought Cassius Clay for the World Heavyweight Championship at the South Beach Convention Center.

The beloved 22-year-old boxer from the 5th St. Gym stepped into this fight as Cassius Clay and people say he emerged as Muhammad Ali.

Go back in time, put on your best outfit and take your place beside the ring:

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If I Were Mayor
6:12 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

'I Can't Undo The Past': Interview With Homestead Mayor Jeff Porter

Mayor Jeff Porter of Homestead says the media given people the wrong idea about the role of the mayor: "I'm not the guy in charge of everything."

Our If I Were Mayor project continues as we bring your ideas to the mayors. We spoke with Homestead's new mayor, Jeff Porter. Mayor Porter, a former councilman and vice mayor, took office last fall. He follows Steve Bateman, one of the three mayors arrested in August of 2013 for corruption charges.   

The position of Homestead mayor pays $6,000. It is intended to be a part-time position.

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Weird Florida
3:39 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Florida Flops Are Big Winners On Late-Night TV

We've always known Florida is a weird place, but now the rest of the nation seems to be catching on -- and they think we're funny.

Comedian Seth Meyers premiered a new segment called Fake or Florida on his show "Late Night with Seth Meyers." Meyers read news stories to his contestants, who had to guess whether the stories were fake or actually happened in Florida. Meyers prefaced the segment by saying whenever he hears weird news, the setting is always Florida.

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Looking Forward
3:08 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

UM Students Suspect Hillary Clinton's Visit Means Possible Presidential Campaign

Credit Jessica Meszaros / WLRN

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton paid University of Miami students a visit on Wednesday evening. She is a long-time friend of UM president Donna Shalala, and came to talk to her students about being an active generation. 

  Clinton said she wants the students to be a true "participation generation" and continue volunteering for worthy causes.

She says "it is the work of this century to complete the unfinished business" of her generation, regarding human rights and equality. 

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Let's Move!
7:25 am
Thu February 27, 2014

FLOTUS Brings Parks And Rec To Liberty City

The First Lady speaks alongside Amy Poehler about the Let's Move! campaign.
Credit Hillary Lindwall/WLRN

First Lady Michelle Obama visited Liberty City's Gwen Cherry Park this week to celebrate the fourth anniversary of her "Let's Move!" campaign. The initiative's aim is to fight childhood obesity in the United States through nutrition education as well as creating programs to supply kids with healthier snacks. 

Michelle Obama made an announcement earlier this week about limiting junk-food marketing in schools and creating healthier options for kids during school hours. This week, she made an announcement that will provide these same choices after school.

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