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

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.

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

Miami Dade College’s Board of Trustees has delayed picking the school’s next president, deciding to instead launch a new process to find more qualified candidates.

Pedro Portal / Miami Herald

With Miami Dade College preparing to announce its next president on Wednesday, its current leader Eduardo Padrón remains a focus among the school's staff and his potential successor. 

Sam Turken / WLRN

Two finalists to be Miami Dade College’s next president say they will build on the school’s accomplishments under outgoing leader Eduardo Padrón, but they differ on their priorities for the position.

Divina Grossman and Reagan Romali presented Monday to Miami Dade College’s professors and administrators. Grossman, president and chief academic officer of University of St. Augustine for Health Services, touted her fundraising ability and connections with South Florida.

Sam Turken / WLRN

The City of Miami is funding a new scholarship at Miami Dade College that honors the school’s outgoing president Eduardo Padrón by helping students finish their degrees.

The Eduardo J. Padrón Completion Scholarship Fund will provide 50 students with $1,000 each to support their tuition and other fees. Miami Mayor Francis Suarez says it will preserve Padrón’s legacy of addressing inequality and giving students education opportunities.

The Genting Group

The Miami Beach city commission unanimously approved a resolution Wednesday that outlines its reservations about a proposed tax-funded transit system across Biscayne Bay linking the city with Miami.

The measure concerns the feasibility of the “baylink” transit service and the intentions of the Malaysian casino company, Genting, which submitted an unsolicited proposal to Miami-Dade County to build the system across Biscayne Bay. Miami Beach commissioners now await Miami-Dade's final decision on the project.

Miami Herald File

The Miami Beach city commission reviewed on Monday a possible plan to build a tax-funded transit system across Biscayne Bay connecting the city with Miami.

Sam Turken / WLRN

A South Florida nonprofit continued a 24-year tradition Saturday night with a prom that provides local LGBTQ youth with an open space to be themselves.

More than 60 teenagers and young adults attended the “Once Upon A Time” themed prom at the North Shore Community Center in Miami Beach. The event was open to youth of all sexual identities and featured dancing to hip hop and Latin music, singing and a drag queen performance.

Alejandra Martinez / WLRN News

Fears of widespread immigration raids in South Florida appeared to dissipate without major actions on Sunday - but left migrant communities and advocates with renewed reason to come up with different strategies to deal with deportation of themselves or close family members.

In West Kendall, longtime immigrant rights advocate Nora Sandigo was praying she wouldn’t get a call on Sunday from any of her more than 1,500 children.

“Today we haven’t seen anything major,” she said in Spanish. “We hope it stays like this for the next few days.”

Sam Turken / WLRN

Volunteers planted more than 200 trees at the Historic Virginia Key Beach Park  in hopes of creating more habitat for migratory birds and native animals.

The plantings at the beach have been a ritual for environmental activists and volunteers for the past decade. They have been gradually converting an area that was once cleared for development into natural forests with strangler figs, lantana and other native trees and shrubs.

Sam Turken / WLRN

More than 50 union workers who prepare food for flights at Miami International Airport protested on Wednesday for higher wages and better working conditions.

Chanting and waving signs that read “One Job Should Be Enough,” the workers called on their employer, LSG Sky Chefs, to raise their wages from an average of $12.95 per hour to at least $15 per hour. The employees included cooks and porters who prepare food and supplies at nearby kitchens and drivers who load the food on to American Airlines, Delta and United flights.

Sam Turken / WLRN

Two additional Broward County Sheriff's Office deputies have been fired for their response to the Parkland school shooting.

Sheriff Gregory Tony announced Wednesday the completion of an internal affairs investigation that reviewed the performance of seven officers who responded to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2018.    

Miami International Airport

Hundreds of union workers who prepare food for flights out of Miami International Airport are voting whether to strike for higher wages.

The workers employed by LSG Sky Chefs have been submitting ballots Thursday and Friday, and the union representing them—Unite Here Local 355—expects the vote to pass.

The employees include cooks who prepare food at kitchens near the airport to drivers who load the food on to American Airlines, Delta and United flights. The union says the workers make an average of $12.95 per hour. They want to see wages rise to at least $15 per hour.

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