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Financial Statements

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The story of South Florida’s economy is more than statistics. Behind the well-known data on income disparity, housing affordability, and low average pay are the voices of people grappling with its adversities and those thriving from its opportunities. These stories are from people who are struggling to make ends meet, and the experiences of others enjoying prosperity. These are personal portraits of real people sharing the role money plays in their lives in South Florida.

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Nikki Mason and Joshua Berlongeiri have experienced the public health dangers and economic consequences of the pandemic. She’s a nurse treating coronavirus patients. He’s a technician at a sign company that was initially furloughed when business disappeared.

Will Benson's business disappeared almost overnight when the Keys closed to visitors and non-essential workers. Benson is a sport fishing captain based in the Lower Keys. We spoke with him a week into the isolation.

Deidra Everdij went from paying closer to attention to office supply costs to laying off employees in the matter of about a week in March. Her business, COTC Events, organizes large corporate conferences in South Florida. That business was among the first economic casualties of COVID-19.

Sheng Guo may have been among the in South Florida to experience the impact of the virus. He grew up near Wuhan, China, where it started. His parents and grandmother still live close to the city. Guo is an economics instructor at FIU and he foresaw what would be in store for South Florida when we spoke with him in late February.

Charlie Nolan was in what she thought was going to be her last semester at Broward College before graduating with her bachelor’s degree. She worked part-time on campus in a lab, but then on-campus classes were canceled and courses went online. 

Jonathan Tuman is a dentist who does cosmetic work and works with special needs patients. His practice was shut down for a few weeks. He considers himself lucky, but thinks his business will change because of the virus. We first spoke with him in April.

Susan Hamilton has adapted to the new reality of the virus. As a pilates instructor, she had a studio in Miami Beach and made house calls before the pandemic. But the virus shut down that work. When we first spoke with her in late March, the local stay at home orders had been issued and she was worried about how to stay in business.

Steve Drucker first moved to South Florida as a young husband and father more than 30 years ago. He’s an essential worker today -- a pharmacist -- who has worked steadily for decades even as the business has changed considerably.

James Cunningham was born into a segregated Florida. He went to a segregated elementary school before schools were integrated. He wound up graduating from a law school, and became a successful if reluctant lawyer. After retiring from his legal career, he has unleashed his creative side as an artist. 

Debbie Bailey is a self-confessed "numbers girl." She grew up in Jamaica, came to South Florida for college and spent many years working for companies in accounting. She started her own small accounting and consulting business in 2018. She's a list-maker, detailing things she wants to buy, but is waiting for a sale, and bigger goals, like finally learning how to swim.

Bill Diamond considers himself fortunate. After a long career in politics and government, he retired to Palm Beach with his wife. He describes himself as upper middle class in a community that includes billionaires.

Oscar Rosenberg and Michelle Zambrana, Ozzy and Miche as they’re known to their friends and family, were a two-income family with their second child on the way just a few months ago. Now they are a family of four still getting by, but struggling and deciding if South Florida is their future.

David and Nancy Fry were high school sweethearts growing up in Westin, and were on a familiar path...going to college, starting their careers, getting married, beginning a family. But keeping up with the cost of life has been challenging.

Marte Marello grew up in Italy, went to school at the University of Florida and moved to Miami from Boston a little more than a year ago with her husband. He is a software engineer who works from home. She works on energy resiliency for Miami-Dade County, but family and the changing climate may lead them to leave in the years ahead.

Randolph Watts started cleaning up his life more than 20 years ago. He stopped using drugs and then about 10 years ago began working at a deli in North Miami Beach. He still works there today. It is a steady paycheck and he lives with his sister and her family in Broward County.

Nicole Wester moved to South Florida from New York more than five years ago, partly for her health. But she’s had a hard time finding steady work with a rising paycheck. When she spoke with WLRN, she had lost her apartment and was staying at the shelter at Camillus House in Miami.

Alexis Martin was in his early 20s during what is referred to as the Special Period in Cuba. It was after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of its financial support of the Castro regime. Like thousands of others, he left Cuba -- and has his own harrowing story -- eventually making it to the United States to build a new life in South Florida.

Ron Klein is a lawyer who served as a Democrat in the Florida House and Senate. His two terms in the U.S. Congress representing parts of Broward and Palm Beach counties bridged the beginning and official end of the Great Recession.

Alvaro Martinez grew up around the medical profession. His father was a doctor, and Alvaro knew he was going to practice medicine. He didn’t know what type of medicine to focus on, but he knew he wanted his medical career to be different than his dad’s. 
 

Carlos Caballero works as a server and bartender at an airport restaurant, supporting his financée and their three year old daughter.

Christine Kerber first moved to Miami 20 years ago for a job. She’s stayed and built her life and career, even as her career has evolved and she has gone back to school.

Derek Auguste had a tough time readjusting to life in South Florida after the military, and without a regular paycheck.

Jeremy Thompson started his legal career and family in South Florida, but wanted to find a less expensive place to live. 
 

Vincent Kuzmicki returned to Miami after serving in the Persian Gulf War. He worked a union job in the convention industry for many years before retiring. He then took up driving for Uber and Lyft, turning it into a new career. It makes describing what Vincent does for a living a little tough. 

 
Kathleen Crampton had been coming to Florida since she was a kid and her family came down to escape winters up north. Her family was successful in the media and news business, and she also had a successful business career. Her own career included top positions at large health insurance companies. She calls herself lucky who is now busy with volunteer work in Palm Beach County.

 
Sandra Smith was married with five kids and had served in the military in her native Guyana before moving to South Florida. She divorced her husband, and has worked a series of jobs as she has struggled to make ends meet. She last worked at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport as a contract worker and has been a vocal union activist.

Abdul and Sahar Samra came to South Florida from Syria almost 30 years ago. and still have ties to the country experiencing civil war. They have built their personal and professional lives here, raising four kids and have become grandparents.