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10:45 pm
Sun January 11, 2015

Vatican Casts Spotlight On Haiti Five Years After Earthquake

Sacred Heart Catholic Church in ruins after the Haiti earthquake. A crucifix is left standing.
Credit Patrick Farrell / Miami Herald

Monsignor Augustin Almy was in Haiti five years ago when the earthquake hit. When the country’s Catholic Church fell apart along with most of Port-au-Prince on Jan. 12, 2010.

Almy, a priest at St. James Catholic Church in North Miami, was visiting Haiti for his mother’s 100th birthday.

He was in his room at the Port-au-Prince seminary where he worked for years before moving to South Florida.

“I see the house shaking,” he said.

It was 4:53 pm.

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The Cost of College
5:27 pm
Fri January 9, 2015

South Florida College Leaders Support President's Free College Plan

The president of Broward College supports President Barack Obama's proposal to offer students two years of college tuition-free.
Credit John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

The leaders of two of the nation’s largest community colleges say they support President Barack Obama's proposal to give students two years of college for free.

Obama proposed the idea in Tennessee Friday.

In a written statement, Broward College president J. David Armstrong says the proposal could mean more training for teachers, nurses, paramedics, firefighters and police. That's good for the economy, he says.

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Arts
4:04 pm
Fri January 9, 2015

If Fund Drive Fails, Florida Grand Opera To Bow Out Of Broward Shows

Broward Center for the Performing Arts' Au Rene Theater.
Credit Keith Douglas

In Broward County, it looks like a matter of “no dollars, no divas.”

South Florida’s premiere opera company says lack of funds might soon bring down the curtain on its Fort Lauderdale performances. 

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Politics
12:11 pm
Fri January 9, 2015

Florida Roundup: Marriages And Revisiting Haiti

Robert Steel and Darin Fimple are married at the Broward County Courthouse by Judge Kathleen McHugh in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015, just after midnight.
Credit Charles Trainor Jr. / Miami Herald

On the Florida Roundup, we discuss the important news of the week with the area's journalists. 

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE

This week same-sex couples across Florida were able to get a marriage license, the same time the Supreme Court may decide the issue for the entire nation or continue to leave it on a state-by-state basis.

RICK SCOTT'S SECOND TERM

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Education
11:37 am
Fri January 9, 2015

New Teachers Would Earn $50K Under Proposal In Tallahassee

Starting teacher salaries would automatically adjust for inflation each year under a bill proposed in Tallahassee.
Credit Dondu.Small/flickr

Beginning teachers would earn a minimum $50,000 salary starting next school year under a bill proposed this week in Tallahassee.

Sen. Darren Soto (D-Orlando) filed the bill, which cites a need for the state to attract and retain teachers. It seeks to increase their pay without affecting other personnel and programs.

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News
11:02 am
Fri January 9, 2015

South Florida Hospitals Expand Through Walk-In Clinics

Credit Timmy Gunz / Creative Commons/Flickr

It turns out some of South Florida's largest hospital systems are taking a page out of the urgent-care playbook.

Questions about the safety and efficiency of urgent-care and retail clinics were raised during Thursday's panel discussion at the Tower Forum, a monthly gathering of Broward County business professionals.

Broward-based Memorial Healthcare System opened its first urgent-care center in 1976, according to President and CEO Frank Sacco.

"We currently are tracking almost 60,000 visits at that urgent care center," says Sacco.

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News
1:23 am
Fri January 9, 2015

Health Care Activists Call For Medicaid Expansion

Mariamee Rodriguez and her daughter both fall into the Medicaid "coverage gap."
Credit Wilson Sayre / WLRN

Health care advocates gathered across Florida today — in Orlando, Tampa, Tallahassee, and Miami — calling on the state to accept federal funds and expand its Medicaid program.

A handful of people gathered in outside the Stephen P. Clark Government Center in Miami, several with big black circles painted under their eyes, making them appear sickly. Others wore face masks with slogans like “no coverage equals death” written on them.

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Feature
1:09 am
Fri January 9, 2015

LISTEN: Florida's First 15 Hours Of Same-Sex Marriage

Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones, the first same sex couple to be wed in Key West, show off their wedding bands.
Credit Mark Hedden / WLRN

Just after midnight on Tuesday morning, gay marriage became legal in Florida. But the first marriages started in Miami-Dade County about twelve hours earlier.

It was about 11:30 in the morning. Judge Sarah Zabel held a hearing and decided there was no need to wait. She lifted the stay on her ruling declaring Florida's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.

And gay couples could start getting married right away.

Our reporter John O'Connor was at the courthouse. And we had people at courthouses in Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties, too.

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News
2:46 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

City Of Miami Makes Finances More Transparent With New Website

Miami debuts new financial transparent website by OpenGov.
Credit Screengrab Miami new financial website

The City of Miami is making it much easier for you to see how it spends your tax dollars.

Miami debuted a website today that will allow you to dive into the fine details of every department's spending.

For example, you can see  how much commissioners spend on traveling, how much the city spends on public safety and how much each department spends on salaries.

Miami City Manager Daniel Alfonso said this a valuable tool for the public that also promotes government transparency.

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School Rankings
12:23 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

Florida Comes In 28th On State Education System Rankings

Florida earned a C grade on this year's Education Week state rankings, coming in 28th overall.
Credit lwr / Flickr

Florida's earned a C grade and ranked 28th overall on this year's Education Week Quality Counts ratings.

Education Week gave the state strong scores for equity in student achievement. Test results show minority students generally perform better in Florida than other states, and the gap between white and minority students scores is smaller in Florida than other states.

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Culture
12:23 am
Thu January 8, 2015

PAMM Director Leaving to Head Philly's Barnes Foundation

Thom Collins (r.) with Jacques Herzog (l.), one of the architects who designed PAMM's bayfront home
Credit Alicia Zuckerman

The museum director who helped usher in one of the most significant changes in South Florida's arts scene is leaving the Sunshine State to return to his roots.

Thom Collins is giving up his position as director of the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) to lead the acclaimed Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia.

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News
5:50 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Palm Beach County School Chief Steps Down

E. Wayne Gent took the helm of the Palm Beach County School District nearly three years ago.
Credit Palm Beach County School District

After nearly three years leading the country's 11th-largest school district, Palm Beach County's schools superintendent says he is stepping down.

E. Wayne Gent announced today that he won't be renewing his contract when it expires at the end of June.  That means his replacement will be Palm Beach County's fourth school superintendent in as many years.

Gent was hired in 2012, after the ousting of longtime superintendent Art Johnson and a brief interim term by a retired business executive.

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Florida Legislature
5:46 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Florida Senators Raise Testing Questions At Budget Hearing

Lawmakers seem ready to reconsider the amount and scope of required testing.

State Senator Bill Montford, leader of the Florida's school superintendents association, said he's not sure schools will have the technology in place for new online exams this spring.

Education Commissioner Pam Stewart told the Senate Education Appropriations committee that Florida's new statewide tests, the Florida Standards Assessments, are on track for use beginning in March. The tests are tied to new Common Core-based math, reading and writing standards.

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News
4:50 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Keys Already Advertising For Gay Wedding Business

Credit Peetje2 / Creative Commons/Flickr

As soon as same-sex marriage became legal in Florida, the Keys tourism council was on LGBT websites and blogs advertising the islands as a wedding destination.

“The Florida Keys has long been a popular destination for weddings and honeymoons,” said Harold Wheeler, director of the Monroe County Tourist Development Council. He’s hoping the same will apply for same-sex couples.

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Culture
4:04 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Miami's King Sporty, "Buffalo Soldier" Songwriter, Dies at 71

Noel "King Sporty" Williams.

Noel “King Sporty” Williams, reggae songwriter and DJ, died at Jackson Memorial Hospital Monday evening. He was 71.

Williams was a prolific, if not widely known, musician. He made several contributions to popular music -- including penning the Bob Marley hit “Buffalo Soldier.”

Roger Lewis, Sporty’s friend and member of the Grammy Award-winning band Inner Circle, reflects on Williams -- who he says was a key figure in the formation of Miami’s musical styles.

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