Ibby Caputo reports on the health of people and communities in and around the Greater Boston area.

Food
2:57 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

Forget The Caja China – Give Hallacas A Try This Nochebuena

The Venezuelan hallaca
Credit madrid.olx.es

Gringos like me don’t forget their first hallaca.

Mine was lying on a simple white plate, in the coastal town of Lecherías, Venezuela, on the patio of my future in-laws’ home. It was a soft Caribbean Christmas Eve in 1985.

The tawny tamal was swaddled in smoked banana leaves that reminded me of the lush, exotic foliage of an Henri Rousseau painting. I unwrapped it, cut into it, took a bite – and rediscovered Christmas.

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Snow In Miami
2:57 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

PHOTOS: This Is How South Florida Babies React To Snow

The older children, here a group of 2- to 3-year-olds, are excitedly waiting to play in the snow at a preschool in Little Havana.
Elaine Chen WLRN

When I got an email from my daughter’s preschool, titled "Snow Day!" I was confused. In the Northeast, where I grew up, snow days mean the school is closed. Do South Florida schools use fake snow days as an excuse to close? The message was even more confusing:

Eight tons of SNOW will be delivered to our preschool straight from the North Pole! The cost of bringing in the snow is $1,500.00 so for this special activity the cost per child is only $15.00.

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Topical Currents
1:00 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

The Life And Times Of Jesus Of Nazareth

ZEALOT: The Life & Times of Jesus of Nazareth
http://rezaaslan.com/

12/24/13 - Tuesday's Topical Currents is with religious scholar Dr. Reza Aslan, who’s written ZEALOT:  The Life & Times of Jesus of Nazareth.  He says the Jesus known as Christ is not the same as the one from Nazareth.  The gospels weren’t written during his lifetime, but between 70 and 100 years after his death.  Aslan comes from a purely academic perspective.  Jesus was probably born in Nazareth, not Bethlehem.  He was a disciple of John the Baptist. That’s Topical Currents Tuesday at 1pm. 

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News
11:21 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Miami Closes Two More Parks Over Potential Soil Contamination

Credit Christine DiMattei

  Two more public parks in Miami are closing after potential contamination was found in the parks' soil.

The city announced Monday that it will close Billy Rolle Domino Park at 3400 Grand Ave. in Coconut Grove, and Southside Park at 100 SW 11th St. near Brickell.

The Department of Environmental Resource Management will collect more samples to determine what's next for the parks.

For the past few months, several Miami-Dade parks have closed because of soil contamination.

In September, Miami-Dade County ordered that all 112 of its parks be inspected.

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Snow In Miami
8:29 am
Tue December 24, 2013

A Snowball's Chance in Hell: What Are The Odds Of A White Christmas In Miami?

The Miami Herald front page from Jan. 20, 1977

This story originally ran Dec. 21, 2012.

Once upon a time, snow fell in Miami.

Seems whenever the weather gets even moderately cold, someone somewhere in South Florida invokes Jan. 19, 1977 -- the day it snowed in Miami.

Not only did the snow make front page news in The Miami Herald, the front page about snow made The Miami Herald Front Pages book

Arnold Markowitz wrote the day's story, the beginning of which reads as follows:

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Healthcare
5:38 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Just As The Website Starts To Struggle, Obamacare Sign-Up Deadline Gets Extended

ALMOST DONE: Navigator Nini Hadwen, right, helps an insurance seeker during a sign-up event at Dadeland Mall.
Credit Rick Stone

The Obama Administration took some of the pressure off health-insurance seekers on Monday, extending the healthcare registration deadline for Jan. 1 coverage until Christmas Eve at midnight. That will also reduce the load on the Obamacare website, Healthcare.gov, which was starting to show the strain of high demand.

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Music
5:04 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

SUN SENTINEL: FAU's Vinyl Giveaway Starts Jan. 6

Credit Matthias Rhomberg / Flickr CC

Florida Atlantic University's Recorded Sound Archives at the Wimberly Library will be purged this January. Well, sort of.

The library's sound archive is digitized, and duplicate records or those that don't fit with the school's collection will be given away Jan. 6-10, the Sun Sentinel reports. Possible finds include Glenn Miller, Barbra Streisand, Broadway, Christmas and Jewish albums.

The Nielsen Soundscan reported vinyl to be 2 percent of all albums sold. FAU archivist Ben Roth says the medium has a "warmer sound" than digitally reproduced music.

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StateImpact Florida
3:17 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Test Results Compare Hillsborough, Miami-Dade To Other Large Districts

Brickell Skyline from the Miami River
Credit Adam Mizrahi / Flickr CC

  New testing data shows Hillsborough County schools beat the performance of other large urban school districts in math and reading. Miami-Dade fourth grade readers outscored other large urban districts, but were on par in eighth grade reading and fourth and eighth grade math.

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DCF
2:51 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

It Won't Take Just Money To Reduce Florida's Abused-Child Deaths, Reps Say

Credit FrauSchütze / Flickr CC

In an outdoor press conference on Fort Lauderdale's Sistrunk Boulevard, in front of a large Christmas tree, State Rep. Perry Thurston urged Gov. Rick Scott to provide sufficient funding for the Florida Department of Children and Families.

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