Perhaps embodying the experience of many Miami residents, Jonathan Brooks is torn between two lands. His American father and Cuban mother raised Brooks in an environment that he describes as equal parts “Que Pasa U.S.A.?” and “I Love Lucy.”
Brooks, a writer, photographer and filmmaker, recently published the book "True Cuba," partially in response to "Vamos a Cuba," which was pulled from Miami-Dade County public school libraries in 2006 for portraying what critics called an unrealistic depiction of life on the island.
On the Florida Roundup, we discuss the week's top news with area journalists.
Summit of the Americas
The State Department recommended this week removing Cuba from the U.S. list of countries that sponsor terrorism - a move that could speed up normalizing relations with the island. Though no formal announcement has been made yet to remove Cuba from the list, Obama said a decision on it would be soon. The two leaders will be together at the Summit of the Americas for the first time.
Now environmental groups are urging Florida lawmakers to buy a huge swath of land from U.S. Sugar for Everglades conservation. The plan would store and clean excess water from the lake on the purchased land that would eventually flow down to Everglades National Park.
Here’s the conventional line you're hearing about President Obama and this week’s Summit of the Americas:
Up to now, Obama had been doing many smart things to improve dysfunctional U.S.-Latin American relations. On issues like immigration, the drug war and especially Cuba – in December he announced the U.S. would restore diplomatic relations with its cold-war communist foe – a gringo president was finally getting it.
In the fight against mosquitoes in the Florida Keys, domestic inspector Carrie Atwood has a few indispensable tools. She carries a dipper — essentially, a plastic cup at the end of a stick. She has a flashlight for looking into the backs of plants and pots. And she has a turkey baster.
"That's good for getting into bromeliads, which is a plant that holds water at the base of the leaf," Atwood said. "We use that to dip in there or just any other kind of tight space where the dipper won't go."
More teenagers are trying electronic cigarettes - known as e-cigarettes - according to a study by the University of Florida. Researchers found that teens who use e-cigarettes are more likely to use other tobacco products.
E-cigarettes produce vapor from a liquid that comes in a variety of flavors, like bubble gum and cotton candy. The liquid can be bought with or without nicotine.
President Obama heads this week to the Summit of the Americas in Panama where he’ll meet with the hemisphere’s other heads of state. But Obama first travels on Wednesday to Jamaica – where Caribbean leaders may be happier than usual to see him.
Guennady Rodriguez may be a Cuban émigré, but his musical tastes aren’t exactly counter-revolutionary.
Inside his apartment near Miami International Airport, Rodriguez likes to pull out his guitar and strum tunes by Pablo Milanés, a Cuban troubadour who’s considered a favorite of the Castro regime.
It’s when the 33-year-old Rodriguez puts on a suit and tie and goes to work in downtown Miami that his break with Havana becomes obvious. Rodriguez is a senior sales executive at a large international company that organizes corporate events.
Monroe Sheriff Rick Ramsay is protesting a year-old crosswalk on the Overseas Highway in Key Largo after a three-car pileup at the site last week.
Ramsay said the first he or any of his officers heard about the crosswalk was when it was installed a year ago by the state Department of Transportation.
"We were not advised, not informed, not asked. Our input wasn't taken by FDOT in any manner or form," Ramsay said. "We were surprised like everyone else when it showed up one day, just popped up. It was just a total surprise."