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Key West Voters To Decide What Happens To Cruises, Revisiting A Study On Hate Groups, 'Critical Thinking' With John Leguizamo

Mark Hedden
Special to WLRN
Key West voters will decide in November, whether to impose limits on the cruise industry.

Key West voters will have a big say on the future of the local cruise industry. Hate groups with deep roots in South Florida. Plus, a 1998 group of students from Miami who took on all odds and became national chess champions.

On this Wednesday, Oct. 7, episode of Sundial:

Key West Voters To Decide What Happens To Cruises

Voters in Key West have a say in how the city does business with the cruise industry.

Three referenda that could dramatically cut the number of cruise ships and visitors to the island are up for vote in November. The outcome is sure to have an impact on the environment, health and an economy that has already been strained by the pandemic — which the cruise industry is also continuing to reel from.

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One of the referenda would ask the city to prioritize ships with the best environmental and health records, which includes taking into account the CDC’s tracking of the spread of COVID-19 on cruise ships in U.S. waters.

“If we have a serious breakout here, we have one hospital, its got seven ICU beds and the fear is that that could impact the greater tourism industry, the other 1 million people who come here every year and are spending big money," said WLRN’s Florida Keys reporter Nancy Klingener.

We spoke with Klingener and the Miami Herald’s tourism industry reporter, Taylor Dolven, about what these referenda entail and the impact they can have locally — and for the industry at large.

Key West Voters To Decide What Happens To Cruises
Buses arrive at Yokohama Port, near Tokyo, as the Japan Self-Defense Forces prepare to move American passengers from the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship on Sunday.

Revisiting A Study On Hate Groups

There’s been a documented rise in hate and extremist groups over the past four years, according to a report by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The Proud Boys have been listed as a hate group by the SPLC and have gotten some attention lately. During last Tuesday's presidential debate, President Trump told the members to “stand back and stand by,” when asked whether he would denounce white supremacy.

Days later, the president said he condemns all white supremacists in a Fox News interview.

The Proud Boys have a history of violent confrontations and one of their leaders is based here in Miami.

Last year, we spoke with Heidi Beirich, the director of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Project, about the rise of these groups in South Florida. You can listen to that full conversation here.

'Critical Thinking' With John Leguizamo

The Miami Jackson Senior High School chess team in 1998 was poised to win a national championship.

It was a time when less than half of the class was expected to graduate and eventually go to college. The students confronted stereotypes head-on and defied expectations — going on to win in 1998 and four more national championships after that year.

More than 20 years later, their story is told on the big screen in the new film "Critical Thinking," released on demand last month.

Actor, director and comedian John Leguizamo stars in and directed the film.

We spoke with Leguizamo last year about "Critical Thinking." We also discussed his one-man show available on Netflix — "Latin History for Morons."

You can listen to that full conversation here.

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Leslie Ovalle produces WLRN's daily magazine program, Sundial. She previously produced Morning Edition newscasts at WLRN and anchored the midday news. As a multimedia producer, she also works on visual and digital storytelling.