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4:43 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Scott Faces Tough Decision On Next DCF Secretary

Credit FrauSchütze / Flickr CC

Gov. Rick Scott faces a difficult decision in naming a permanent secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families, given the demands of the job, the lateness in his term and the scrutiny of lawmakers moving to respond to a rash of child deaths.

Scott has some breathing room after announcing last week that Interim Secretary Esther Jacobo will stay on the job through the end of the 2014 legislative session. He tapped the Miami-based attorney to lead the agency in mid-July, for 90 days, after David Wilkins resigned under fire.

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News
3:57 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Homestead Aims High With Observation-Tower Plan

A rendering of the kind of observation tower Homestead officials are considering building to lure tourists to the city's downtown.
Credit LARC, Inc.

Imagine this: You’re heading down the Florida Turnpike on your way to the Keys and spot this interesting-looking steel tower.  It’s got an observation deck that corkscrews from the ground all the way to a height of about 560 feet.

You’re gonna stop the car, right?

That’s what Homestead officials are counting on.  The city is considering building such a tower to attract tourists to its downtown.

Homestead director of community redevelopment Rick Ammirato says the city is perfectly situated to offer visitors an extraordinary view.

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StateImpact Florida
3:03 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

As The GED Goes Online, Companies Develop Print Alternatives

Two companies have designed alternatives to the GED. Those new tests still allow students to take a pencil and paper version.
Credit albertogp123 / Flickr

As the GED prepares for a major overhaul in January, a growing number of states are trying a new class of tests designed as alternatives to the GED.

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PolitiFact
12:33 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Pam Bondi's Claim That Florida's Medical Marijuana Amendment Too Lenient Is 'Mostly True'

USE ONLY AS DIRECTED: Florida's attorney general says Florida's proposed medical marijuana amendment is too lenient, and PolitiFact says she's mostly right.
Credit thagrdnr on flickr

The organization trying to legalize medical marijuana in Florida is baffled and annoyed by a PolitiFact conclusion that their proposal would create one of the least regulated environments for medical marijuana in the country.

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Arts
6:02 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Artists Need Healthcare Too -- And This Is How They Learn To Get It

Credit Lisbett Castillo / WLRN

While most artists were preparing for Art Week this month, Pamela Palma, a textile designer and fabric artist, attended an Affordable Care Act seminar.

“You have to have a Master’s Degree in insurance lingo to understand how this works,” said Palma, 63, adding that the new healthcare act is just another quagmire we have to figure out.

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Politics
5:37 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

The Plight of Haitian-Dominicans: Judicial Review Or Just Racism?

Haitians in Port-au-Prince protest the recent Dominican high court ruling
Credit Jean Marc Herve Abelard / rapadoo.com

The Dominican Republic is right about one thing. The nations of the world are indeed moving away from birthright citizenship. In fact, only 30 of the world’s 194 countries today automatically grant citizenship to anyone born on their soil – and no European nations do.

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Public Art
5:29 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

InterContinental Replaces Its Dancing Lady, The Modern-Day Coppertone Girl

The original dancing lady on the side of the InterContinental Hotel was first introduced in 2012 during Art Basel.
Courtesy of the InterContinental Hotel Miami

A year ago, the InterContinental Hotel in downtown Miami unveiled a 19-story-tall LED display of a shapely, female silhouette, dancing suggestively, often called "the dancing lady." The hotel recently held auditions to find new dancers. Hopefuls had one minute to dance to Pitbull’s “Hotel Room Service” to prove they had the right moves for a 200-foot LED display.

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News
3:48 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

MIAMI HERALD: Miami Beach Church Seeks Financial Salvation

The front courtyard where store fronts are going to be built for commercial use at the United Church of Christ on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach.
Credit CARL JUSTE / MIAMI HERALD STAFF

In dire financial straits, the church that has stood on the corner of Lincoln Road and Drexel Avenue for almost a century is considering leasing out a chunk of its historic property for $100 million.

Early plans call for Tristar Capital to build a multistory building on the Miami Beach Community Church’s small courtyard fronting the Lincoln Road Mall.

As a historic property in a historic district, it could be difficult to get city approval for development on the site. As a congregational church, its members also have to approve the deal.

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StateImpact Florida
1:40 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

More Florida High Schools Earn A, F Grades

Bartow High in Polk County.
Credit http://www.ib-bhs.com

Nearly half of Florida high schools -- 48 percent -- earned an A grade on the state's report card, according to a report Florida Department of Education released Wednesday.

That's up from 31 percent of high schools earning a top grade two years ago. More than 80 percent of Florida high schools earned an A or B grade. No Miami-Dade or Broward County schools earned Fs.

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Weird News
12:30 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Florida Capitol's Holiday Display Now Includes A Spaghetti Monster

A Flying Spaghetti Monster sits in front of the Florida Capitol's Festivus pole.
Credit Karl Etters / Tallahassee Democrat

After making headlines with the Festivus pole brought in by Deerfield Beach's Chaz Stevens, Florida's Capitol building continues to welcome holiday cheer from every denomination.

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StateImpact Florida
8:15 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Jacksonville School Board Rejects KKK-Affiliated School Name

Credit Wikimedia Commons and Sammy Mack

 

    

In 1959, Forrest High was named for Nathan Bedford Forrest — the Civil War general and early leader of the Ku Klux Klan.

After more than a half century of controversy, Nathan B. Forrest High School in Jacksonville is looking for a new name.

But Monday night, on the recommendation of Superintendent Nikolai Vitti, the Duval County School Board voted unanimously to rename the high school.

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Miami Dish
11:14 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

How South Florida Jews Shaped The State's Food History

A couple chats after ordering stone crab in Key West, 1963.
Credit Credit Francis P. Johnson, Florida State Archives

Food is a lens. It's not all about chefs and buzzy restaurants. It's a lens through which we can learn about our culture, history and environment, among other things.

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Jobs
11:04 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Crist, Others Fed Up With Florida's Glitchy Unemployment Website

Credit kbzachry / Flickr CC

A U.S. senator, a Boca Raton lawmaker and a former Florida governor are demanding answers about why a new website is still tying up unemployment benefits for thousands of out-of-work Floridians.

The state's $63 million unemployment website, CONNECT, has been plagued with technical glitches since its Oct. 15 launch. Complaints have been flooding into the offices of Gov. Rick Scott and the Department of Economic Opportunity, which oversees the website. But the state agency won't explain what the problems are.

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Budgets
10:46 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Mayor Gimenez's Veto Prevails In County-Worker Pay Dispute

Credit epSos.de / Flickr CC

The healthcare deduction for Miami-Dade County employees stays put. Commissioners failed by one vote to overturn Mayor Carlos Gimenez's veto on union workers' pay.

That means most county employees will continue to contribute 5 percent of their base pay toward group healthcare instead of getting that money restored as of Jan. 1, as commissioners had supported two weeks ago.

Chairwoman Rebeca Sosa switched her vote, saying she could not endorse eliminating the healthcare contribution if it could lead to employee layoffs.

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StateImpact Florida
9:54 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

After The KKK: The Future -- And History -- Of Jacksonville's Forrest High

Brothers Rodney Jones and Tremain McCreary attend the school that will no longer be named Nathan B. Forrest High School
Credit Sammy Mack / StateImpact Florida

When Rodney Jones and Tremain McCreary walked to school on Tuesday morning, the brothers were headed to the same classrooms, to sit next to the same students, in a building with the same façade it had on Monday.

But it was not the same school they had gone to the day before.

“It’s a relief to me to know the school name had changed. I was thinking about it: How do we have a KKK leader’s name for our school?” Jones says.

“Things are changing around this school,” says McCreary.

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