South Florida

Sam Turken / WLRN

President Donald Trump called on Tuesday for more bipartisan cooperation in his State of the Union address to a newly-divided Congress. In South Florida, Democrats and Republicans appeared no more unified after the 82-minute speech.

While conservative voters applauded his conciliatory tone on certain issues like infrastructure, progressives said polarization under Trump would remain the status quo. And as Republicans praised his continuing demands for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, liberals bashed him for demonizing immigrants.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

Venezuelans in South Florida woke up on Saturday to the first crack in the Venezuelan military’s loyalty to President Nicolás Maduro.

It was a video of Air Force General Francisco Yanez renouncing Maduro – the authoritarian leader widely condemned for trashing their homeland’s economy and democracy. Yanez insisted that “90 percent of the armed forces oppose Maduro,” and he called on other high-ranking officers to recognize National Assembly leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s legitimate president – as the U.S. and many other countries have.

Caitie Switalski / WLRN

Thirty-three days into the longest federal government shutdown ever, food pantries across South Florida are calling for more donations and volunteers to help families impacted by the closure. 

Lily Oppenheimer / WLRN

Some 100 South Florida middle schoolers powered up drones in the Adrienne Arsht Center’s Knight Concert Hall on Wednesday, turned on the ‘Cha Cha Slide’ and coordinated the machines so they flipped and turned along with the music. Other kids performed choreographed dances with the drones, tumbling into breakdancing. 

Lily Oppenheimer / WLRN

Carrying coladas, purse-sized puppies and mountains of luggage, passengers at the terminal of Miami International Airport rushed on Wednesday to board departing flights, going about their usual routines. Many ignored the members of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, also known as NATCA, standing in the middle of the chaos, passing out flyers.

Lily Oppenheimer / WLRN

Calle Ocho made way for three clomping camels on Sunday afternoon to celebrate Miami’s annual Three Kings Day Parade, also known as La Parada de los Reyes Magos

Lily Oppenheimer

Sunrise resident Peggy Johannsen is grieving for her niece, who died unexpectedly last month. Her father also recently passed away. On top of expenses from two funerals, she also has a looming February mortgage payment. 

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

Turns out Kathy Ann Paul – aka Sweet Hand Kathy – is as capable a DJ as she is a baker.

Right now, when you walk into her Miami Gardens restaurant – called, of course, Sweet Hand Kathy – you’re likely to be regaled with “parang,” a festive blend of music like Trinidadian calypso and Venezuelan gaita. That’s because parang season means Christmas season in Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean island country where Paul grew up.

Lily Oppenheimer / WLRN

Last Sunday, Broward attorney and GOP State Committeeman Richard DeNapoli got a call from an employee at Avis Rent-A-Car in the Fort Lauderdale airport. Someone had found a lone provisional ballot box, sealed by the Broward Supervisor of Elections Office. It was sitting, unsupervised, in the back of a returned rental car.

Jonathan Clay / US Navy

A U.S. Navy hospital ship leaves Norfolk, Virginia, Thursday on a mission that means a lot to people here in South Florida. It hopes to help bring relief to the worst migrant refugee crisis in modern South American history.

Alejandra Martinez

Author Patricia Engel first had the idea for her latest novel while driving in Miami with her mom more than 10 years ago.

When they drove over a bridge, Engel's mother told her a story about a man who threw a baby off a bridge. But she didn’t know any more details about the tragedy. That left Engel wondering.

This conversation led to what's now "The Veins of the Ocean," published in 2016, which tells a similar story. It's Sundial Book Club’s October pick.

Lily Oppenheimer / WLRN

The last thing senior paralegal Karen Leicht ever imagined was that she would serve three years in prison for a felony charge.

“It is a huge skeleton in the closet,” Leicht said after speaking on a panel organized by  the Greater Miami Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Miami branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and a group of public defenders at the Palmetto Bay public library on Sunday.

Lily Oppenheimer / WLRN

Hundreds of artists, activists and community stakeholders across South Florida gathered in Bayfront Park on Saturday to urge politicians to make Miami more "climate resilient," or improving the ability to prevent, withstand, respond to and recover from sea level rise and climate change. 

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