Sam Turken

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 three 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 things, 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.

As more than 10,000 supporters of President Donald Trump awaited his arrival at the BB&T Center in Sunrise for a campaign rally Tuesday night, Brock Cline showed up to the exceedingly red party in a green kilt and a bagpipe in hand.

"We just wanna come here and play and see if President Trump will let us play inside in front of everybody,” said the Boca Raton resident. He and his wife Toni broke out into song, playing Amazing Grace for a crowd that gathered around.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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 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.

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.”

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.

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.

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.    

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.

After meeting on Thursday, Broward County and Hollywood commissioners still disagree over where to put a new 911 communications tower. 

The meeting between both sets of lawmakers was the latest highlight of a nine-month battle between the county and city over the location of the 911 tower. The Broward commission has wanted the tower placed in the county-owned West Lake Park but has needed the city’s approval to build the tower there.

Thunder cracked and roared over Miami Beach this weekend, but there wasn't a drop of rain for miles. The sound that rang out above the city came courtesy of the jet engines and shining wingtips of the U.S. Navy and Air Force. 

Thousands of people came to watch the third annual Hyundai Air and Sea Show, which showcased the military's Blue Angels and left people awe-struck across the island as they watched the deftly executed aerial manuevers overhead. 

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg made a campaign stop in South Florida on Monday, meeting with local students and holding a fundraiser in Wynwood where he discussed several national issues affecting the region.

During a nearly 20-minute speech in front of more than 70 people, the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, said his candidacy marks an opportunity to “change the channel” in Washington and make politics more accountable.

More than 150 beachgoers, activists and elected officials joined hands at noon Saturday on the shore of Miami Beach to call for more environmental stewardship and to protest against offshore oil drilling and fossil fuels.

“What we’ve got are a bunch of people who care about the world, and we’re standing together along the water to say, ‘This is our beach, this our world.' To say, 'Yes to clean renewable energy,'” said Sam Van Leer, president of the non-profit Urban Paradise Guild.

More than 60 people gathered in between racks of clothes and jewelry at a Neiman Marcus Thursday night to discuss a Florida industry that is quickly growing and attracting new business—cannabis.

The networking event and seminar involved lawyers, accountants and other professionals who see opportunities in the cannabis sector and want to capitalize. They discussed state regulations for cannabis companies with people already involved in the industry and challenges new businesses can face.

More than 100 climate activists, South Florida elected officials and local residents gathered Tuesday evening to discuss the Green New Deal, the ambitious congressional plan to combat climate change. Many attendees left the town hall optimistic that the goals of the proposal are achievable, despite significant obstacles.

“It’s as aggressive as it needs to be,” said Daniella Vargas of Fort Lauderdale. “Anything that is going to make the changes that we need to make has to be that ambitious, if not more.”

The 29th annual Fleet Week is continuing in Broward County through the weekend, as Navy sailors participate in community projects and take thousands of people on tours of their ships docked at Port Everglades.

The celebration is meant to showcase the military to residents. In addition to going aboard the Naval vessels, people can attend Navy concerts on Saturday and Sunday. The event coincides with the annual Fort Lauderdale Air Show on Saturday and Sunday.

A Broward Circuit Court judge has held off ruling on whether the confessed Parkland school shooter still needs a public defender, amid questions about his finances and concerns that changing his legal team could delay the start of his trial.

Long shifts outside without water breaks, broken and dangerous equipment, wage theft and an entrenched climate of fear. Contracted baggage haulers, airplane cleaners and other employees say working conditions at Miami International Airport are inhumane and abusive.

With next year's Super Bowl in Miami-Dade County expected to draw tens of thousands of tourists to the area, a new project aims to promote sustainability and mitigate the environmental impact of the event. 

The 'Ocean to Everglades' initiative, which will begin in the coming months and run through February 2020, will feature beach cleanups, mangrove planting and coral restoration. It also seeks to harness attention on the Super Bowl to create more awareness about challenges facing South Florida’s environment, organizers say. 

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says immigrants and non-citizens in South Florida should not fear a citizenship question on the 2020 census.

During a visit to Miami Thursday to meet with local business leaders, Ross—who oversees the census—emphasized that Census Bureau workers cannot share people’s responses with other government authorities. The comment came in response to continuing concerns that immigrants will sit out the census for fear their answers could be released to federal immigration authorities.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, on her second visit to Florida since becoming a Democratic presidential candidate, emphasized her support on Tuesday for a universal public health insurance option and also called on the Trump administration to extend Temporary Protected Status to Venezuelans.

During a meeting with Venezuelan exiles in Doral, Klobuchar discussed the ongoing political turmoil in Venezuela and said she approved of recent sanctions against the regime of embattled president Nicolás Maduro.

The state commission that is investigating the Parkland school shooting met on Wednesday with families of victims of the massacre to discuss their traumatic experiences of finding out about their loved ones’ fates after the shooting.

California Congressman Eric Swalwell kicked off his 2020 bid for president at a Broward County town hall on Tuesday with an emotional vow to make gun violence a top priority during his campaign and possible presidency.

 

The state commission investigating the Parkland school shooting reviewed on Tuesday safety improvements Florida school districts have made since the February 2018 massacre and debated whether to create a system that rates districts on their safety.

An international program that has helped South Florida cities address climate change and other livability challenges is ending. 

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava announced on Tuesday that she is joining the 2020 race for county mayor.

Surrounded by family and supporters at the Miami-Dade elections office, Levine Cava touted her accomplishments in government and as the founder of the nonprofit social services organization Catalyst Miami. She said as mayor, she would prioritize addressing the county’s affordable housing shortage, improving mass transit and increasing climate change resilience.

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