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The Miami Herald

The Aquarius Reef Base is the first (and only) underwater research laboratory in the world -- and it lies just under the tip of South Florida, about 60 feet below the surface of the Florida Keys.

WLRN and the Miami Herald spoke to Fabien Cousteau, grandson of Jacques Cousteau, in a live online chat on what it's like to live, work and research from the depths of the ocean.   

Read more at: MiamiHerald.com 

Carl Juste / Miami Herald

The Pérez Art Museum Miami says it needs help. The museum, which opened in December of last year, has not received enough private dollars to meet its $14 million annual operating costs.

So, it is asking for more public money. PAMM wants the county to assist with a 60-percent increase in the museum's subsidy. That money would come from hotel taxes, the Miami Herald reports. 

Carla Javier / WLRN

The TNT Fireworks Superstore in Dania Beach has been open around the clock since July 2nd to handle the Fourth of July holiday rush.

Marketing manager Itzhak Dickstein says the company hired an extra 200 employees to manage the steep increase in customers.

To buy fireworks, customers first have to navigate police-directed traffic and find parking among the businesses near the Broward County fireworks store. 

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In a study conducted by the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and the School of Architecture, researchers found that participants who live in suburban "sprawling communities" faced greater risks for obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. 

The study looked at the walking habits of 400 Cuban immigrants in Miami-Dade County. Dr. Jose Szapocznik, principal investigator and chair of public health sciences, believes the results from this sample can apply to the community as a whole.

How The Taxi Industry Became Legit In Miami

Jul 2, 2014
Patrick Farrell / Miami Herald

About 56 years ago, in a county devoid of apps, smartphones and cars with pink fluffy mustaches, there lived a taxi industry that didn't rely on Miami-Dade County regulations.

That taxi industry without regulations is long gone, but ride-sharing apps Lyft and UberX are here -- and they're trying their best to stay. The smartphone-based companies connect users with drivers, and like Miami's old taxis, they don't rely on county regulations.

The taxi industry isn't too happy about this. 

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Yesterday, the Miami-Dade Sea Level Rise Task Force released a report detailing six recommendations to the county. 

The main recommendation calls on county officials to consult experts to create an infrastructure that can adapt to rising sea levels. 

Jim Murley is the executive director of the South Florida Regional Planning Council, and was the vice-chairperson of the task force.

Manatees Might Lose Endangered Status

Jul 2, 2014
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region / Creative Commons/Flickr

Manatees have been an endangered species since 1967. But on Tuesday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service made an announcement that this classification may soon be lowered to "threatened."

But some environmentalists and government officials are opposed to this change. They say changing the label might result in more lenient rules about boat speed zones and dock-building limits. 

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According to a report published by AXIOMetrics, rent increases in Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade counties rank among the highest 25 in the nation.

For example, in Miami-Dade County the average rent rose 6.29 percent, to $1,485 a month.

Jay Denton is the vice president for research at AXIOMetrics. He says the high prices in Florida could be due to a demand which exceeds the supply.

In the report, AXIOMetrics reports occupancy rates of over 95 percent for all three South Florida counties.

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A state law changing how frequently restaurants are inspected unannounced goes into effect today. Under the new law, restaurants will be ranked on a scale from one to four. Restaurants rated as a four will receive four unannounced inspections. 

The rankings will be based on establishment type as well as history of past violations. 

Beth Frady is the deputy communications director at the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. She says the new law will increase efficiency in inspections.

Carla Javier / WLRN

On Saturday, the Friends of Miami Marine Stadium and the National Trust for Historic Preservation teamed up to host the ART History Mural Project.

The event featured local and international street artists invited to paint the historic, outdoor stadium.

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E-cigarettes aren't made with tobacco, but they vaporize a mixture of flavorings -- and nicotine. Because of the nicotine, e-cigarettes are addictive. But until recently, there were no laws in Florida banning their sale to minors.

State Rep. Frank Artiles sponsored a bill to ban e-cigarette sales to people under the age of 18. He says he was inspired to sponsor the bill after witnessing a 12-year old "vaping" an e-cigarette at an amusement park.

"Because the FDA has not ruled on the e-cigarettes, I thought it'd be a great bill to protect our youth," he says.

"Nan Van" Follows Grassroots Gubernatorial Candidate

Jun 27, 2014
Michael Spooneybarger / Miami Herald

Nan Rich is a long way from home.

In this ultraconservative city on the western edge of the Florida Panhandle, the Democratic candidate for governor is more than 650 miles from her base of support in left-leaning Broward County.

Any farther and she would be in Alabama.

Rich is keenly aware of the distance as she settles in for a meet and greet at a trendy restaurant that serves both sushi and Southern comfort food. Winning votes here is a long shot. But so is winning the governor’s mansion.

Seniors On Medicare Patrol In Miami

Jun 27, 2014
Al Diaz / Miami Herald

It’s a crime that requires no guns. It frequently goes unnoticed until after the fact, and the victims are unwitting U.S. taxpayers duped to the tune of $68 billion a year. Medicare fraud has become one of the most profitable illegal activities in the country — and South Florida is the most likely place to get fleeced.

StoryCorps Comes To The University Of Miami

Jun 27, 2014
Selima Hussain

StoryCorps, the nonprofit radio program that broadcasts stories from everyday Americans, came to the University of Miami this week to record stories from veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.  It's part of the program's special military voices initiative. 

StoryCorps collaborated with UM’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and a nonprofit group called Warmamas to document the stories of 16 war veterans. 

“Viaje One Way” is a Spanish-language anthology of authors from Latin America and Spain. Hernan Vera Alvarez, one of the editors, says the book is "a mirror of the 21st-Century Miami."

"Before there were anthologies of Cuban writers in Miami," he says, "but this book is the first one that unites Latin American, Spanish and Cuban writers."

Alvarez moved to the U.S. from Argentina when he was 23 years old. Below, he talks about the new "Viaje One Way."

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