Rick Stone

Reporter

Rick Stone has been a journalist in Florida for most of his career. He's worked in newspapers and television but believes that nothing works as well as public radio. He and his wife, Mary Jane Stone, live in Broward County.

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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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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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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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News
6:41 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Miami Gardens' Top Cop Departs After Request For Federal Civil-Rights Probe

Miami Gardens police chief Matthew Boyd

The chief of the Miami Gardens police department resigned on Wednesday amid allegations that his officers have been harassing and intimidating local citizens.

Meanwhile, a response from the U. S. Justice Department is awaited after an NAACP request on Tuesday for a special civil rights investigation.

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Elections
3:55 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Local Officials Can Make Or Break The Election Day Experience, New Report Finds

ELECTION DAY: Lines were long and tempers a little short at the Miami-Dade County Supervisor of Elections office on election day.
Credit Rick Stone

We Floridians might as well have been voting on different planets during the November, 2012, election. Some of us waited in line for eight or nine hours. Some were in and out of the polling place in eight minutes.

Turnout percentages ranged from the mid 50s to the mid 80s. Depending on where you lived, you had a greater or lesser chance of being forced to vote by provisional ballot, and a greater or lesser chance of that ballot eventually being discarded uncounted.

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Mandela In Miami
5:40 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

How Miami's Shrewd Black Leadership Turned The Mandela Snub To Local Advantage

Credit Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States / Wikimedia Commons

Twenty-three years ago, Nelson Mandela came to Miami, stumbled  into a quagmire of Cuban exile politics, got exploited by racial equality organizers and left South Florida a little better than it was before.

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The Internet
6:39 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Can Google Safety Tips Cancel Net's Threats?

Credit Maryland Attorney General / Flickr CC

Google's new Internet-safety program for school kids made its Florida debut recently in Cooper City. A lunchroom full of Pioneer Middle School students were shown the sometimes-complicated guide to going online and coming back in one piece.

The Internet is as much a part of school life today as three-ring binders and Dewey Decimal card catalogs were in an earlier time. The only difference: Old-time school artifacts did not moonlight as entertainment and communication media and certainly carried no risk of ruining, or even ending, young lives.

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Elevation Zero
4:18 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

Why Modern Human Beings Aren't Built To Grasp Climate Change

In 2007, artist Eve Mosher drew a chalk line at the 10-foot above sea level line around 70 miles of coastline in New York City.
Credit highwaterline.org

A decade ago, sea-level rise from climate change was a political argument with very little external reality in the minds of most people.

But University of Miami professor Kenny Broad might have said then what he says right now.

"This isn't some future generation problem," Broad said. "It’s in our lap right now and we don’t have a lot of time to make some clear decisions."

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Jackson Health System
5:55 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

County Hospital Seeks Taxpayer Help To Attract Obamacare Customers

Now that formerly uninsured South Floridians are shopping for coverage on Healthcare.gov, Jackson wants to lure them with upgrades.

Jackson Health System wants to go after formerly uninsured individuals now receiving coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Because insured customers have increasingly been choosing hospitals with snazzier facilities, Jackson is asking Miami-Dade County voters to raise their own property taxes to cover a top-to-bottom remake of the hospital system.

If the referendum passes on Tuesday, JHS will issue bonds to raise $830 million for the renovations. The bond debt would add about $50 to the average county taxpayer's yearly tax bill.

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If I Were Mayor
4:30 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

Why Doesn't Miami Have A Competitive Mayoral Race?

Miami residents will be voting in a mayoral election on November 5, and it looks like Mayor Tomas Regalado will skate to an easy win. Except for three unknown challengers, the popular Regalado will be alone on the ballot.
Credit Flickr

Let's start with a smaller story about wasted words. Barry University political science professor Sean Foreman is editing a collection of articles by big city professors about mayoral campaigns in their own cities.

It's for a book he's writing called "The Keys to City Hall." Foreman wrote the Miami mayoral story himself. It starts like this:

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Transportation
10:50 am
Mon September 30, 2013

Florida's New Texting While Driving Ban Takes Effect Oct. 1

Experts say that texting while driving makes you 23 times more likely to get into an accident.
Credit IntelFreePress/Flickr

It's official. No more texting and driving in the state of Florida.

Gov. Rick Scott was in South Florida on Tuesday to sign SB 52, legislation championed by Sen. Nancy Detert (R-Venice) for the last four years. 

Under the new law, Florida will join a large majority of states in prohibiting texting while driving. As a secondary offense, however, drivers must be stopped for a separate alleged traffic violation before being ticketed for texting while driving. 

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Libraries
7:52 am
Wed September 11, 2013

How Miami-Dade Commission Plans To Fund Libraries Without Raising Taxes

Librarians protested against closures and layoffs at a series of budget town hall meetings leading up the commission vote.
Credit Arianna Prothero/WLRN

After an 8 1/2-hour public hearing, Miami-Dade County commissioners found a way to keep its library system essentially intact early Wednesday morning while also not raising taxes.

In July, commissioners voted to hold the line on taxes, but that meant laying off firefighters, abandoning plans for a no-kill animal shelter and cutting hours, services and jobs from the library system. In the weeks that followed, all three became hot issues, but it was the libraries that dominated Tuesday night's public hearing. Librarian Jennifer Lopez said patrons would be devastated.

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Zimmerman Trial
7:12 am
Mon July 22, 2013

Bracing For A Boycott: How Scott's Defense Of 'Stand Your Ground' Could Hurt Florida

DISNEY, CITRUS ON THE LINE Activists around the country say Florida should be punished with a boycott for its Stand Your Ground law.
Credit Facebook

The calls to boycott Florida grew louder and more widespread on Friday after Gov. Rick Scott reiterated his support for the broad self-defense law that was key to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin case.

Scott told demonstrators occupying the state capitol on Thursday that he will not submit the Stand Your Ground law to a special legislative session for revisions despite demands by activists, elected leaders and at least one prosecutor earlier in the day.

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Zimmerman Trial
4:41 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

Trayvon Martin's Uncle Says Media Should Have Challenged Pretrial Misinformation

RONALD FULTON: Trayvon Martin's uncle says his nephew was kind-hearted and non aggressive...and the media should have questioned the negative stories.
Credit Rick Stone

Ever since a car crash that left him a quadriplegic 12 years ago, 50-year-old Ronald Fulton has been making the best of bad situations.

His experience as a patient led him to found a healthcare advocacy organization called You Are Knot Alone. Life in a wheelchair turned him into a campaigner for disability rights who also advises Miami-Dade County commissioners. But for one thing in his life, there is no upside: the loss of his nephew, Trayvon Martin.

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Civil Rights
7:35 am
Thu June 27, 2013

How The U.S. Supreme Court's Decision Gave Legal Gay Marriage What It Needed: Validity

THE CAUSE THEY LOST: In 2008, these protesters demonstrated in Fort Lauderdale against a gay marriage ban that was on the ballot. Sixty-two percent of the voters approved it.
Credit Danny Hammontree/Flickr

The benefits will be substantial for those who get them, but the beneficiaries of the U. S. Supreme Court's decision to strike down the Federal Defense of Marriage Act are just a small subset of  Florida's LGBT population.

They are the couples with marriage licenses from states where same-sex marriage is legal. Until now, DOMA prevented them from receiving tax breaks, Social Security, pension considerations and myriad other benefits that the federal government extends to married couples.

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