Sam Turken

Intern, Summer 2018

After living in North Carolina the past four years, Miami native Sam Turken is back in the city he’s always called home.

Sam is a proud Miami Beach Senior High alum and a recent graduate of Duke University where he studied journalism, public policy and history. He caught the public radio bug four years ago when he covered a gun buyback in Miami while on his spring break. Since then, he’s produced audio pieces on race, social justice and public housing. He enjoys using sound to tell rich and intimate stories.

A former managing editor of The Duke Chronicle, Sam has digital experience covering a range of other topics. He’s investigated the absence of female managers in Duke men’s basketball program and reported on enrollment imbalances within public schools in Durham, N.C. He’s also interned with WBUR in Boston and Fusion, written for the Raleigh News & Observer and worked for the Duke Reporters’ Lab.

When Sam isn’t doing journalism, he enjoys the outdoors. He runs, plays tennis and soccer and spends time around the bay and ocean—something he wasn’t able to do while in college. You may also spot him riding his bike around Miami’s streets.

Ways to Connect

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

More than 20 Republican governors from across the U.S. are in Boca Raton discussing electoral strategy and other issues at an annual party gathering.

The two-day Republican Governors Association conference Wednesday and Thursday at the Boca Raton Resort and Club allows the governors to share policy initiatives in their respective states. It comes after the party suffered defeats in the Kentucky and Louisiana governor’s races and a win in a Mississippi gubernatorial contest earlier in November.

Sam Turken / WLRN

Broward County educators, lawyers and residents are pushing back against criticism of Broward public schools’ PROMISE program, saying it’s vital to keeping youth out of the criminal justice system for minor offenses.

Sam Turken / WLRN

Broward County is devoting just over $2 million to help fund mental health and substance abuse programs.

The initiative is meant to help young people and families. About half the money is from a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services $1 million grant. The rest of the funding will come from the county and contributions from the private sector.

POOL IMAGE VIA AP

Defense attorneys for the confessed Parkland school shooter are warning that there could be drawbacks to starting his trial early next year.

Last week, Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer ordered prosecutors and Nikolas Cruz’s defense to be ready for jury selection by Jan. 27. But during a pre-trial hearing on Wednesday, defense attorneys said they need more time to finish interviewing witnesses and other preparations.

Sam Turken / WLRN

In the first debate of the 2020 Miami-Dade County mayoral race on Monday, five candidates expressed commitments to address sea-level rise and expand worker rights but also sparred over their backgrounds and ways to improve mass transit in the county.

The forum hosted by the AFL-CIO at the Firefighters Memorial Building in Doral took place before more than 100 local union workers and activists. It featured wide-ranging discussions on county partnerships with unions, public education and using taxes to expand county services, among other issues.

Sam Turken / WLRN

The state commission that’s investigating the Parkland school shooting is recommending that law enforcement and school districts develop concrete strategies to better communicate with families of victims immediately following mass casualty events.

It’s also calling on Broward County to finally resolve deficiencies with its emergency communications system.

Miami-Dade County

A Miami-Dade County citizen transit oversight board has recommended the approval of a publicly-funded Virgin Trains station in Aventura despite lingering concerns the station could attract low ridership at high ticket fees.

The plan involves Miami-Dade’s purchasing a plot of land near Aventura Mall and building a $76.7 station with taxpayer funds. Virgin Trains, formerly Brightline, would cover the operating costs for the service between its existing Downtown Miami station and the new Aventura station.

Sam Turken / WLRN

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is renewing a push to deregulate occupational licensing requirements for certain professions, calling the standards onerous and unnecessary.

At a press conference at the Miami Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, DeSantis said training and education requirements for several careers are stifling competition and preventing people from working in new professions. He called on state lawmakers to loosen requirements for a host of jobs during their legislative session next year.

Sam Turken / WLRN

With Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity expected to announce soon a new minimum wage for 2020, South Florida workers who earn around the state minimum are calling for a gradual wage increase to $15 per hour.

The state’s minimum wage is currently $8.46 per hour. Later in October, the state is expected to announce an annual increase to the wage to keep it adjusted for inflation.

Over the past seven years, the annual increases have varied, but none have been more than 20 cents.

Sam Turken / WLRN

U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson says lower-income areas around Miami will receive a boost from a federal tax credit meant to spur development.

Carson spoke alongside Miami Mayor Francis Suarez at a summit on Friday to promote the opportunity zone program. It involves giving investors capital gains tax credits to pump cash into poor, underinvested neighborhoods – places identified as opportunity zones. There are over 120 opportunity zones in South Florida with nearly 70 in Miami-Dade County. 

Pedro Portal / Miami Herald

Hundreds of friends, family and local residents gathered Thursday to remember former City of Miami Mayor Maurice Ferré.

Sam Turken / WLRN

José Ramon López Regueiro says he has watched private companies profit for several decades from property that was forcefully taken from his family.

Now, as the Trump administration has begun enforcing Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, López Regueiro is fighting back.

Sam Turken / WLRN

When Iqbal Akhtar first moved to the Brownsville neighborhood in Miami about two years ago, he noticed the area lacked access to fresh produce. So he decided to plant papaya and other fruit trees around his house. His garden drew notice from other residents.

"They were interested. They were like, ‘What are you doing? What is a papaya?'" Akhtar said.

The reaction helped inspire Akhtar’s idea of converting nearby Glenwood Park into a community garden with fresh fruits and vegetables. On Sunday, his idea became a reality.

Carl Juste / Miami Herald

In an appeal to South Florida’s immigrant community, Joe Biden met with more than 100 Latino voters in Miami on Sunday, promising to end President Donald Trump’s restrictive immigration policies and mend the U.S.’s credibility around the world.

“We need to restore the soul of America. All of you have come from places where it took courage to leave — optimism, determination, resilience. That’s who we are,” the democratic presidential candidate said at the Ball & Chain bar and club in Little Havana.

Sam Turken / WLRN

Broward County’s hopes of building a new emergency communications tower in the county-owned West Lake Park in Hollywood suffered another setback Wednesday night when Tamarac commissioners deferred a vote on a deal necessary to begin construction of the tower.

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