Al Diaz / Miami Herald

Religiously, there’s nothing more Mexican than la posada, the December street procession that re-enacts the Virgin Mary’s search for a place to give birth to Jesus. Musically, there’s nothing more Mexican than mariachi — that roaring mix of trumpets, violins, guitars and flamboyant sombreros.

Put them together, as Homestead's burgeoning Mexican-American community did this month, and you've got the perfect Mexican Christmas.

But the mariachi part was an exuberant debut: It was the first public performance by the city's new mariachi academy.

Sammy Mack / WLRN

This December has been one of the wettest on record for South Florida—and while it’s been a couple of days since the hard rains let up, there’s still standing water in fields across the Homestead area.

From the side of the road, you can see yellow squash plants, wilting and submerged in mud. Soft fungus and the pockmarks of rot scar the vegetables.

Edward Garza / Mexican-American Council

South Florida’s best known Christmas traditions involve food. La caja china. Hallacas. But one of the richest customs involves street theater – plus a really cool donkey named Paco – and it reflects the increasingly important role Mexicans play in this region today.

Today on WLRN-Miami Herald News, you heard:

Homestead Earns $26 Million In Voter Trust

May 13, 2014

UPDATE 8 a.m., May 14: The City of Homestead reports voters overwhelmingly approved bond referendums Tuesday.

What Does Homestead Mayor Jeff Porter Need To Know?

Mar 2, 2014

Our If I Were Mayor project continues as we bring your ideas to the mayors in office.

Homestead's mayor Jeff Porter, a former councilman and vice mayor, took office last fall. He follows Steve Bateman, one of the three mayors arrested in August of 2013 for corruption charges.    


Our If I Were Mayor project continues as we bring your ideas to the mayors. We spoke with Homestead's new mayor, Jeff Porter. Mayor Porter, a former councilman and vice mayor, took office last fall. He follows Steve Bateman, one of the three mayors arrested in August of 2013 for corruption charges.   

The position of Homestead mayor pays $6,000. It is intended to be a part-time position.

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.

Homestead Launches Free National Parks Trolley

Jan 6, 2014
Jessica Meszaros / WLRN


About a year ago, the city of Homestead was designated "The Gateway To Biscayne and Everglades National Parks." This past weekend the city launched its first free, guided trolley ride into the parks, which the city hopes will see more local visitors with the start of the new service.


The qualifying trials for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Robotics Challenge start Friday. The robot races are sponsored by the Pentagon’s research unit.

Teams of engineers from all over the world are vying for a chance to compete for a $2 million prize. But sponsors hope much more will come of the event.

Here’s the challenge: Create a robot that can walk on rocky terrain, open doors, remove debris, close a valve. Basically, do all the things a first responder would do.

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.

Police Arrest Homestead Mayor For Ethics Violations

Aug 29, 2013
Patience Haggin

Homestead Mayor Steve Bateman was arrested on Wednesday morning for allegedly using his position as mayor to obtain private employment.

According to the charges, Bateman had a deal with the nonprofit Community Health of South Florida (CHI) to be paid $125 an hour for consulting services. Authorities also believe CHI set aside a total of $120,000 to pay him and hired an assistant for him.

Bateman was arrested at his home.

End Of The Line: Postcard From Alabama Jack’s

Mar 18, 2013
Robert Lyle

If you follow U.S. 1 to the very end of the Florida peninsula, veer onto Card Sound Road, and make your way through the mangrove swamps, you’ll find it.  A wooden shanty with a roof but no walls: an open-air bar and restaurant.  It’s the very last place on the U.S. mainland.  And it’s called Alabama Jack’s.

Human Hair Is Farmers’ Friend

Mar 18, 2013
Dan Grech

That’s according to Blair Blacker, and he should know.  In this story, host Dan Grech visits a warehouse in Florida City with Blacker to have a look at a novel product– mats made from human hair.  Blacker says the mats fertilize plants better than most herbicides, plus they prevent weeds and conserve water.  The circular mats, made by SmartGrow, fit snugly around a plant’s base and biodegrade over time.