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Sundial

UM's Vaccine Requirement, The Birth And Betrayal Series, And Opa-locka Poetry

OpaLockaLightDistrict_08052021.jpg
Courtesy of Opa-locka Community Development Corporation
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Ten city streetlamps along Opa-Locka Boulevard have been transformed into poetry projection devices. The Opa-locka Light District was created by O, Miami and the Opa-Locka Community Development Corporation (OLCDC) to display original short poems written by local residents.

University of Miami President Julio Frenk on the fall semester as the delta variant keeps spreading. An investigation examining a controversial state program intended to support families with children who suffered from brain damage. Plus, poetry comes alive in Opa-locka.

On this, Thursday, Aug. 5, episode of Sundial.

UM Vaccine Requirement

Students have their books and masks ahead of the college year — but will they need a vaccine?

The delta variant is spreading and University of Miami leaders are trying to find a way to keep students in a physical classroom but still protect everyone.

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At UM, all staff and faculty are required to be vaccinated. Doctors and nurses on the medical campus are not.

“It is a complex issue, particularly with some members of the staff. But our union, the union representing the staff workers, has actually come out in favor of mandating the vaccination and our health system, like many other health systems, we're reviewing the situation as it evolves,” said university president Julio Frenk.

Students can’t be required to be vaccinated for COVID because of state law, but they are encouraged.

The school will require regular testing for students who are not vaccinated for the virus.

UM Vaccine Requirement
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Birth And Betrayal

Families raising babies born with significant brain damage have a multitude of challenges facing them.

The high costs of medical care, specialized education and the constant threat that their child could be gone at any moment.

For more than 30 years in Florida, the Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Association, or NICA, was responsible for providing financial support to these families.

But an investigation from the Miami Herald and ProPublica found the program operated with little transparency or oversight — and many families had to fight tooth and nail to get their funds.

“[NICA] administrators frequently argued that they just didn't have enough funds to pay for all the needs of the roughly 125 children in their care,” said Carol Marbin Miller, the Miami Herald’s deputy investigations editor.

That’s despite records that show NICA has nearly $1.5 billion in assets.

“We interviewed one father who said, ‘Yeah, I needed that, but I didn't ask for it because I was left with the belief that if I got it, some family would do without something that they needed more,’” Marbin Miller said.

Back in April, the Florida Legislature unanimously passed a major overhaul of the program following the investigation. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the bill in June.

Birth And Betrayal
Frustration with a crying baby can lead some parents and caregivers to shake a baby.

Opa-locka Poetry

Think about what poetry means to you — and think about times when you read a poem and it made you see the world differently.

That's the idea behind the new public art installation called “Opa-locka Light District.” It highlights places in the city by using streetlamps to project poems written by the community. It was created through a partnership between the Opa-locka Community Development Corporation and O, Miami.

OpaLockaLightDistrict2_08052021.jpg
Courtesy of Opa-locka Community Development Corporation
Ten city streetlamps along Opa-Locka Boulevard have been transformed into poetry projection devices to display original short poems written by local residents. This is a map of all off the poem's locations.

“It reminds me of my teen years when I was dating and living in Opa-locka. I would often go to the historic train station prior to it being rehabilitated. And it was just the platform. And I would sit there and write poetry while I often waited for the person that was my boyfriend at that time to get out of aviation class,” said Femi Folami Browne, one of the writers featured in the project. “We didn't have cell phones then, and I knew if I'd gone home, I might be late. So I would use that time to just go to the train station and write.”

It features ten poems written by local residents. Street lamps along Opa-locka Boulevard were transformed into projection devices that shine the verses on the city’s sidewalks and historic buildings.

Opa-Locka Poetry
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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.