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

In Florida and across the country, the heart of the gun control debate revolves around the question: Who can have access to guns? Earlier this week, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a meeting to discuss new federal gun legislation that would encourage through funding incentives states to implement a system where courts can remove weapons from people who may be harmful to themselves or others.

In honor of Women's History Month, WLRN asked listeners to nominate women they find inspiring in South Florida. We’ve heard about teachers, mothers and activists, just to name a few. We appreciate your tweets, emails and texts about the amazing women in your communities.

For 16 years, Alina Grandal helped countless Hialeah Senior High students dream big. Grandal, the former college advisor at the school, created a culture where going to college was the norm.

Wendell Alfredo “Kimo” Nibbs, a 53-year-old former physical education teacher at Brownsville Middle School in Miami, will be facing trial in June for multiple charges of rape and sexual assaults of two minor female students. Nibss was arrested last week after two more students came forward claiming he raped them.

Payday loans are marketed as quick cash to help people get to their next paycheck, but they come at a great cost with an average interest of 300 percent and people getting multiple loans over time, according to a  2016 report.

Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaidó says authoritarian President Nicolás Maduro is not far from being ousted. Guaidó told Reuters his allies are talking to high-level military leaders about defecting to his side. Meanwhile, President Trump met with Caribbean leaders at Mar-a-Lago, last Friday to discuss the region’s support for his campaign to dislodge Maduro from power.

A South Florida man is entering the mix of Democratic presidential candidates for the 2020 election. City of Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam has launched an exploratory presidential bid and plans to make a formal announcement on March 30. "Name recognition does not define leadership," Messam says. He hopes to run on the issues of comprehensive gun legislation, the environment and immigration. He joined Sundial to talk about his presidential campaign.

Governor Ron DeSantis signed his first piece of legislation earlier this week: a bill allowing smokable medical marijuana in the state of Florida. It's been one of the top priorities of his administration.

Harvard University has been working with eight school districts across the country, one of them Palm Beach County Schools, to reduce the level of absenteeism in classrooms. The university’s Proving Ground Program is part of the Center for Education Policy and Research, is trying to find the best practices to lower absenteeism rates in schools through fliers, emails, texts, and robocalls.

A revival of the 1990s opera "Frida" has made its way to South Florida and follows the trajectory of legendary Mexican artist Frida Kahlo's life.

South Floridians are no strangers to traffic. In fact, last year Miamians spent an average of three days of their lives stuck in it, according to Miami Herald. A special April edition of National Geographic is exploring the urban design plans for cities of the future—cities that do not prioritize cars.

It’s possible you’ve seen this particular Puerto Rican flag if you've traveled up Biscayne Boulevard into Miami’s Upper East Side or scrolled through your Instagram feed lately. The restaurant "La Placita," which opened its doors in January, has been faced with controversy for the massive mural with the  Puerto flag that decorates the exterior of the building.  

"We wanted to make a statement," said Joey Cancel, CEO and President of La Placita on Sundial.

The Federal Administration Agency has grounded all Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 aircrafts in the United States. Other countries including the UK, China, and Australia have taken a similar course of action. This comes as a result of a current investigation regarding two crashes that have occured over the past five months. The most recent incident was the Ethiopian Airlines flight that killed all 157 passengers on board.

In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, a new exhibition chronicles the history of Miami-Dade County’s LGBTQ community over the past 120 years. 

Cindy Yang, the former owner of an Asian day spa and massage parlor called “Orchids of Asia,” participated in a fundraiser for President Donald J. Trump back in 2017. According to the Miami Herald, Yang’s spa is where Patriots owner Robert Kraft was arrested for soliciting prostitution. The investigation found Yang owns a number of South Florida spas where prostitution has reportedly taken place.

A nationwide blackout that has gone into its fifth day has Venezuelan people struggling for food and water. Two weeks after violent clashes on the border between Venezuela and Colombia, WLRN’s Digital Editor Teresa Frontado traveled to the area with a U.S. military flight to deliver medical supplies intended to be taken into Venezuela. Frontado joined Sundial to talk about her experience. 

Key West photographer Mark Hedden has long been fascinated by the folks living on boats near Key West's shores, nicknamed the "liveaboards." In 2017 Mark was awarded a Knight Arts Challenge Grant to document the lives of this community.

A Palm Beach County jury found former Palm Beach Gardens police officer Nouman Raja guilty on Thursday for the October 2015 shooting death of black motorist Corey Jones. This is the first time in 30 years an active duty officer in Florida has been convicted for armed manslaughter and first-degree murder. Daphne Duret, a reporter for the Palm Beach Post,  has been covering the case since 2015. She joined Sundial to talk about the jury’s verdict.

From toothbrushes, to water bottles, to straws, plastics are a part of everyday life. And yet the damage they cause to oceans and wildlife is well established. 

The 2019 legislative session began yesterday with Governor Ron DeSantis' State of the State address. DeSantis discussed his commitment to the environment and economic growth. Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times reporter Elizabeth Koh was at the address and has been following the start of session in Tallahassee. Koh joined Sundial to talk about the major bills ahead of lawmakers and what priorities for session.

Tens of thousands of Haitians with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) have been granted more time to stay in the Sunshine State, at least for now. TPS was extended this week for four groups in the U.S. – Salvadorans, Hondurans, Sudanese and Haitians. That will allow TPS holders from those countries to remain in the U.S. until Jan. 2, 2020.

An estimated 2,000 Haitians in Florida under Temporary Protection Status (TPS) were granted more time to stay in the Sunshine State, at least for now. TPS was extended this week for four groups in the U.S. – Salvadorans, Hondurans, Sudanese and Haitians – allowing TPS holders from those countries to remain in the U.S. until Jan. 2, 2020. The Trump administration announced in 2017 that it was ending TPS for those four countries in 2018.

Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony has promised to improve school safety in the district following last year's shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

A new documetary centers around the largely forgotten sport of Jai Alai, whose history is tied to the Miami of the 1980s. At that time thousands would fill arenas to watch players use cestas to launch balls at over 100 miles per hour, making Jai Alai known as one of the fastest sports around. Today, arenas in Miami struggle to sell tickets and the game is viewed as "a dying sport." 

Legendary film score composer John Williams' music will be celebrated at the New World Symphony’s SoundScape Park on Saturday, and he will conduct the performance himself.

A 2017 Florida Department of Safety and Motor Vehicles report found there were 66,000 vehicle crashes in Miami-Dade County that year, of which 32,000 were injuries and 285 were fatalities. That makes Miami-Dade County  among the most dangerous regions in the state when it comes to accidents. That year, South Florida also ranked the 11th most dangerous region for pedestrians in the country. 

Senator Jeff Brandes has been a leading voice in the Florida Legislature calling for drastic changes to the state’s criminal justice system. In late January, Sen. Brandes filed and sponsored Senate Bill 642, “Florida First Step Act,” a new law that would aim to reduce criminal sentences by allowing judges to depart from mandatory minimums for drug trafficking charges. The bill is modeled on federal legislation signed by President Donald Trump last year. Sen.

Family has always been an essential part of Haitian American artist Inez Barlatier's musical life. Barlatier began performing in South Florida when she was 12, singing with her father's band Koleksyon Kazak.

Since starting her position in January, Agricultural Commissioner Nikki Fried has advocated for access to smokable medical marijuana. She recently appointed Holly Bell as new Director of Cannabis to oversee the state's medical marijuana program.

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