When Jane Chu was growing up in Arkansas, the daughter of Chinese immigrants, she remembers that her parents liked bok choy while she liked corn dogs. They spoke Mandarin and "book English," and that, she says, could only go so far when her father died when she was nine-years-old. But she played piano, and she says music is where she found a way to express emotions where words fell short.

Chu believes strongly in the ability of the arts to transform individuals, communities and the overall economy. 

Stewart Cutler / Flickr

This was originally posted on Dec. 23, 2014 from WMFE.

Impassioned reactions continue to pour in over the political and social implications of President Obama’s plan to normalize relations with Cuba. This week, 90.7 economic analyst Hank Fishkind takes Nicole Creston through the economic implications for Florida and for our region. 

On the President’s plan:


Florida is hosting eight of the 38 postseason games in college football – more than any other state. 

This season’s games will bring football fans from 15 out-of-state schools. State and local governments will get an economic boost as those fans flood theme parks, beaches and other attractions.

One look at the Brazilian flag and you think: This must be a space-age, high-tech country. That star-spackled orb in the middle glowing like a planetarium. The banner wrapped around it hailing "Order and Progress." Engineers must be rock stars there, right?

Håkan Dahlström / Flickr

The line for the new Miami-Dade IKEA has been in place for two days and boasts tents, fans, and a lot of IKEA passion.

The Swedish store’s location, adjacent to Dolphin Mall in Sweetwater, will start selling it’s affordable, assemble-yourself, modern furniture. At 416,000 square feet, the store will be the second largest in the country and also have Florida’s biggest solar panel array on its roof.

Tony Grandson got to IKEA at 5 a.m. on Monday. As the first person in line of about 40 people, he has a chance to win bragging rights and a brand new sofa.

Daniel Reichert (Creative Commons License:

Miami’s post-recession recovery is going relatively well; Hialeah’s is not, according to a new study from WalletHub.

The company, which provides online financial analysis tools for individuals and small businesses, looked at 18 different metrics to develop their own recovery ranking: changes in home value, the poverty rate and the foreclosure rate, to name a few.

02/24/14 - Monday’s Topical Currents is with popular economist, journalist and broadcaster Tim Harford.  His book, THE UNDERCOVER ECONOMIST sold millions internationally.

North American Bitcoin Conference Comes To Miami

Jan 27, 2014
Hillary Lindwall/WLRN

Bitcoin users from around the world attended this year's North American Bitcoin Conference this past weekend at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

Moe Levin, who organized the conference, says attendance exceeded his expectations.

"I was expecting 800 people and now there are 1,200," Levin said. "It [was] a hugely successful Bitcoin conference."

Conference goers attended workshops held by Bitcoin-accepting and facilitating merchant vendors, like bitpay and 3DCart.  

WLRN's Five Most Popular Stories For Jan. 6-10

Jan 14, 2014
Jessica Meszaros / WLRN

This week's top attention-grabbing  stories include:  A proposal to add a Satanic statue in the Oklahoma Capitol, a Vero Beach company employing all-day surveillance of company smartphones and computers,  a free trolley giving locals access to Biscayne and Everglades national parks, and more.

Tom Hudson

Squeezed between South Florida's neighborhoods and the Everglades is a multi-billion-dollar-a-year industry. Tomatoes, beans and avocados all sprout from the rocky South Florida soil along with one of the largest nursery industries growing trees, shrubs and other landscaping plants.

Agriculture generates a direct $700 million dollars a year in Miami-Dade County alone. The economic impact of the plowing, growing and picking of those crops is much larger.