Alejandra Martinez

Alejandra Martinez is the associate producer for WLRN&rsquo's Sundial. Her love for radio started at her mother’s beauty shop where she noticed that stories are all around her - important stories to tell.

When she took her first audio storytelling class in college, she was sold to the world of public radio journalism. She feels that audio blocks out the world and creates a single intimate connection.

This native Texan began her radio career interning for Latino USA in New York City where she reported stories on Texas politics, immigration, culture and arts. She then worked with KUT Austin’s NPR station as an intern and later a producer where she produced stories, worked on social media content and special projects, including launching the KUT Book Club. She participated in NPR’s Next-Generation Radio project, a week-long digital and radio journalism boot camp, where she covered Houston’s recovery post-Hurricane Harvey.

Ale graduated from The University of Texas at Austin School of Journalism in December 2017 and moved to Miami shortly after. She considers herself a coffee fanatic, a bookworm and the queen of digital. When she moved to South Florida and noticed all the Instagram-able spots around town she fell in love. She was amazed by the huge Latino population and rich culture of the region and has a true desire to share the stories of what make South Florida so great.

Connect with Alejandra on Twitter: @_martinez_ale and send her pitches at amartinez@wlrnnews.org

College graduation is here. And you've probably been seeing a lot of photos of recent graduates from the class of 2019 with their caps, gowns and smiles. But what happens to South Florida graduates after they receive their diploma?

Some will continue their education into graduate school. Others are heading into the job market. Some will be staying in South Florida to build their lives and careers. And others will leave to try and find their dreams in another place. And many will be leaving with student loan debt.

In the U.S. more than 700 women die each year while pregnant or shortly after giving birth, and an alarming number of them are black. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), black women in Florida are two times as likely to die while or after giving childbirth compared to white women.

The 2019 legislative session has come to a close. Reporter Elizabeth Koh has been covering this year’s legislative session for the Miami Herald and Tampa Bay Times. She joined Sundial to give a recap on the state’s budget, the sanctuary cities bill, and the guardian program.

On today’s episode of Sundial, WLRN Broward County reporter Caitie Switalski fills in for host Luis Hernandez.

A controversial bill (HB 19) that would allow for the importation of pharmaceutical drugs from Canada into Florida now sits on Gov. Ron DeSantis' desk.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has tracked the health of thousands of firefighters and found cancer rates are much higher for this group than the general population. Recently, the Florida House and Senate approved a bill that would expand healthcare benefits for firefighters who are diagnosed with 21 types of cancer. The bill’s author Rep. Matt Willhite, a Wellington Democrat and a firefighter, joined Sundial to talk about the bill. It is awaiting a signature from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, on average Americans spend $1,200 a year on prescription drugs, which is more than any other developed country in the world.

A Florida bill that would require minors to get written consent from their parents or legal guardian before accessing an abortion recently passed the Florida House of Representatives with a 69-44 vote. The bill, HB 1335, was sponsored by Vero Beach Republican Rep. Erin Grall.

Florida is already a notification state, meaning that a parent must be notified before a minor can undergo the medical procedure.

Deputies from the Broward County Sheriff’s Department were captured on video slamming a teen’s head into the ground while responding to an after-school call near J.P. Taravella High School two weeks ago. Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony announced a full investigation earlier this week and WLRN has requested comments from the sheriff and Broward County Sheriff’s Office, but has not received a response.

The City of Miami Beach and Miami-Dade County Public Schools' "STEAM Plus" pilot program, which stands for science, technology, engineering, art and math, is exposing students to the performing arts. The idea of STEAM Plus is to find ways in which the arts intersect with math and science programs. 

The Trump Administration has plans to auction off Florida's coastal waters to search for oil and natural gas.  Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced legislation on Monday that would  offshore drilling along Florida’s coasts. Sun Sentinel reporter Anthony Man joined Sundial to take a closer look at the issue.

Local filmmaker George Zuber's film “Where Justice Ends,” explores the experiences of people who identify as transgender within prisons and jails across the U.S. In the film, a number of trans women share experiences of mistreatment, sexual and verbal abuse and discrimination in the prison system.

The Miami Herald investigation “Perversion of Justice” takes an in depth look at how a Palm Beach County multi-millionaire Jeffrey Epstein, along with a group of associates, ran a sex trafficking ring to lure young women, minors between the ages of 13 and 17, to perform sexual acts on him. A recent report by reporter Julie Brown, focuses on Maria Farmer, who alleges she and her sister were sexually assaulted by Epstein when they were teenagers. Brown joined Sundial for an update.

Last week the Justice Department announced a sweeping investigation that charged 24 people in a $1.2 billion Medicare fraud scam. Among those charged were Elliot Loewenstern and Creaghan Harry, both from Boca Raton. The men are accused of deceiving Medicare patients into buying unnecessary medical equipment.

T Kira Madden chronicles her childhood in Boca Raton as a queer and multiracial woman in her new debut memoir, “Long Live The Tribe of Fatherless Girls.”

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., impacting an estimated 5.8 million Americans who currently live with the disease. Many of them are 65 and older and live in places with limited access to health care and education, which heightens the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. 

Local cruise company Carnival Corp. is under scrutiny. Last week, a federal judge threaten to stop the cruise line from docking its ships at U.S. ports because the company violated its probation for illegally dumping oil in the ocean in 2017. Miami Herald tourism reporter, Taylor Dolven joined Sundial to talk about latest developments in the case.

South Floridians will line up at record stores across the region Saturday in celebration of Record Store Day.

Members of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Safety Commission, the state commission investigating the Parkland school shooting, met this week at the BB&T Center in Sunrise. WLRN education reporter Jessica Bakeman joined Sundial to discuss developments during the meeting, like the review of  what school districts are doing to keep students safe, the possibility of grading schools on the safety programs and the failure to look furt

Research shows black and Latino children with autism spectrum disorder are often diagnosed much later in life than white children.  

Dinosaur fossils uncovered five years ago in North Dakota by Palm Beach County Paleontologist Robert DePalma prove the magnitude of an asteroid that struck the Earth roughly 66 million years ago and wiped out more than three-quarters of all species.

A two-day conference at St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens is convening the faith community to discuss how the social impact of climate change can be tackled through religious dialogue. 

A new tool created by the University of Miami Center for Civic and Community Engagement identifies potential land around Miami-Dade County that can be used for affordable housing. Called LAND, which stands for "Land Access for Neighborhood Development," it identifies parcels of empty or underutilized land. 

For the past 68 years the Miami-Dade County Fair & Exposition has brought fun amusement park rides, funnel cakes and magic shows to South Florida. But it's more than just fun; organizers also want to educate kids on the agriculture industry. This year's fair, which has been going since March 14, is training the future generation of farmers.

The Miami Herald's “The Influencer Series” is an effort launched by the newspaper in 2018 to engage Florida leaders and readers with some of the most pressing policy issues in the Sunshine State. This year Miami Herald spoke with 50 of the top so-called "influencers" from across the state. Kristin Roberts is the editor running The Influencer Series and joined Sundial to talk about how the project aims to identify solutions to the policy problems Floridians care most about.

It’s National Poetry month and O, Miami has a series of events planned around the county to celebrate the art form.

The Marshall Project, in collaboration with the New York Times, investigated the private prisoner transport industry. The report focuses on a company formerly based in Florida called US Corrections and how it moves prisoners from one state to another with very little legal oversight. Two brothers operate the company, which has been the subject of criticism and lawsuits following gross negligence that led to injuries and in one case death.

South Florida is experiencing an infestation of poisonous Bufo toads, also known as Cane toads.

These creatures are not native to South Florida but were brought to the region to control pests attacking the sugar cane crop. They like to hop around “human modified environments near a source of moisture,” says Dr. Steven Johnson, an associate professor at University of Florida’s Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, such as suburban neighborhoods, gold courses and baseball fields.

The world of science and faith are coming together in South Florida to tackle the issue of climate change.  The International Conference on Climate, Nature, and Society is being hosted by St.

Could Florida have something to teach the country about gun control? 

Federal lawmakers are considering a law that would encourage states to implement systems through which courts can remove weapons from people who may be harmful to themselves or others. The state-level measures are called extreme risk protection orders, or red flag laws. 

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