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.

With the start of early voting less than a week away, South Florida election supervisors are concerned this year’s ballots could overwhelm people and result in voters ignoring contentious referendum questions at the voting booth.

In an increasingly tight race for Florida's 27th Congressional District, Maria Elvira Salazar cast herself as an outsider and criticized Donna Shalala’s record during their first televised debate on Saturday, while Shalala touted her experience as an educator.

Shalala and Salazar disagreed on health care, immigration and their own qualifications to best represent a long-held Republican congressional seat in South Florida during the hour-long debate. 

Andrew Gillum on Sunday reaffirmed his commitment to South Florida's Jewish community as he continues to face attacks questioning his support for Israel. 

Standing onstage in the synagogue at the Century Pines Jewish Center, the Democratic nominee for governor discussed his personal experiences to show that he has a strong bond with Israel and Jewish people. Any claim otherwise is misinformation, he said. 

Andrew Gillum called for "common sense gun reform" and deflected questions about fundraising with Broward County's embattled sheriff at a campaign stop on Friday in Plantation. 

The Democratic nominee for governor received an endorsement from the gun control group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America after fundraising with Broward commissioners and county sheriff Scott Israel earlier in the morning. 

Standing alongside Puerto Rican community leaders in Miami on Thursday, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said he didn't want to talk politics on the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria's landfall in Puerto Rico. 

But that wish gradually gave way as the Democrat from Florida condemned President Donald Trump for disputing the death toll from the hurricane and called on the federal government to do more to rebuild the island. 

People experiencing homelessness in Miami now have access to a new bathroom after the city  opened on Wednesday its first permanent toilet in Downtown. 

Miami ranks 29th on a list of cities for how well it integrates immigrants, according to a new annual assessment by the bipartisan group New American Economy. 

Copyright 2018 WLRN 91.3 FM. To see more, visit WLRN 91.3 FM.

The state commission that’s investigating the Parkland school shooting discussed on Wednesday ways to improve school safety, agreeing that middle and high school campuses should always have at least one police officer present.

Elementary schools, however, could have an armed guardian instead of an officer or sheriff’s deputy, the panel decided. 

WLRN interns spent some time this summer looking at how the idea of gender is changing in South Florida. This story is part of their project.

Teenagers often spend their afternoons at the West Palm Beach Police Athletic League playing sports, watching movies and using computers.

But on one Monday afternoon in July, a group of middle and high school boys did something different. They participated in a discussion about rape and how not to objectify women.

Tropical storm Gordon drenched South Florida on Labor Day, knocking out power for thousands and putting a damper on a holiday that is usually a boon for tourism and many businesses.

Activists and state elected officials rallied on Saturday outside the Miami-Dade County Youth Fair, calling for an end to gun shows at the center. 

Protestors waved signs and chanted as they faulted the Fair for allowing the gun shows to continue at the fairgrounds in Tamiami Park for more than three decades. 

While the center is home to the annual Youth Fair in the spring, the nonprofit — the Miami-Dade County Fair & Exposition Inc. — leases the property from the county and holds other events there throughout the year. 

Jeff Forsythe could not stop laughing at the boaters.

He sat on a grassy hill near the Black Point Marina boat ramp with his wife and son. The ramp was too crowded for him to trailer his own boat into the water on this Sunday before the Fourth of July.

Instead, he joined more than a dozen others watching and jeering at boaters using the ramp.

Donna Shalala won the Democratic nomination for the 27th U.S. congressional district in South Florida Tuesday, setting up a key showdown that will determine the fate of a long-held Republican seat.

  

Shalala, a former secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and president of the University of Miami, edged past a crowded field with 32 percent of the vote.

She will now try to turn the seat Democratic after more than two decades with it under the control of Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who is retiring.

The former secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro says Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum can bring Democrats together and improve health care and public education across the state. 

Gillum campaigned with Castro across South Florida on Saturday as part of his statewide bus tour before the Democratic primary on Tuesday.

In an interview with WLRN, Castro—who is considering running for president in 2020—praised Gillum's honesty and progressive platform. 

Officials from the Florida Democratic Party met with black South Floridians on Saturday to discuss the importance of voting and to train them how to mobilize other voters ahead of the midterm elections in November.

Tampa's mayor visited Miami Thursday to learn more about a rail system that could potentially add a new transportation link between Florida's three largest cities. 

Mayor Bob Buckhorn toured the Brightline station in Miami with Miami-Dade County mayor Carlos Gimenez before test-riding a train to Fort Lauderdale. Buckhorn wanted to see how the railway operates as Brightline works to expand its service into the Tampa Bay area. 

Real estate broker Gabriel Miranda thought it could take a while to sell unit 905.

The vacant condo is in Echo Brickell, a recently-built, sleek residential tower that overlooks Biscayne Bay and Key Biscayne. The building has elevators for cars, an enormous aquarium in the main lobby and a $42 million penthouse.

A Broward County school board member says a recent comment she made about the 2017-18 school year was taken out of context. 

Parents of the victims of the Parkland school shooting claimed on Aug. 9 that board member Donna Korn recently said that last school year was the best Broward County has seen despite the massacre.

But in a release on Monday, Korn said soundbites of her statement from an interview during the State of the County address were cut short. She said her comment was actually praising the performance of Broward County's school principals. 

Families of the students killed during the Parkland school shooting say Broward County Public Schools needs new leadership, citing the school district's "incompetence" and failed policy response to the massacre in February. 

Miami-Dade mayor Carlos Gimenez emphasized on Thursday that the county cannot afford to extend the Metrorail south and should instead upgrade the South Dade busway. 

Gimenez joined Sundial to discuss how the county should address traffic and improve mass-transit in South Dade. The Miami-Dade Transportation Planning Organization deferred a vote on the matter at a meeting last month after no clear agreement was reached. 

A Florida law now requires students new to a school district to disclose whether they have received mental health services. The controversial new requirement is one of several school safety measures passed after the February Parkland school shooting. 

The required disclosure is already raising privacy concerns. And parents say they're unsure about what qualifies as mental health services. 

Over the past 20 years, a special team at the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department has rushed around South Florida, preventing venomous snake bites from turning fatal. 

You may have noticed brown, smelly mounds of seaweed covering beaches in South Florida and the Caribbean. It's called sargassum, and it's threatening the tourism industry, sea turtle populations and local fisheries. The weeds even produce a toxic gas that can be harmful to people. 

Florida Atlantic University professor Brian Lapointe joined Sundial to discuss why the bloom could be among the worst ever seen globally. 

State Rep. Kionne McGhee wants Florida to stop collecting money from tolls while it responds to problems with the SunPass system. The Democrat says Gov. Rick Scott should create an independent auditing committee to investigate the state's handling of unprocessed toll payments and other customer service complaints. 

State Rep. Kristin Jacobs says Florida must do more to address sea-level rise and other water-related issues as the state faces increasing threats from climate change.

Jacobs, a Democrat, is running for reelection after representing parts of Northwest Broward County in District 96 since 2014.

Victoria Burgess has long enjoyed testing herself with physical challenges. But on June 27, she did something no other women has ever done before. 

The Pompano Beach fire inspector paddleboarded the 105 miles from Havana, Cuba to Key West. She overcame four-foot seas, heat, endless winds and exhaustion to complete the trip in about 27 hours.  

Florida Democratic lawmakers want the state to suspend all SunPass toll collections as the system responds to a backlog of more than 100 million unprocessed payments. 

State Rep. Kionne McGhee will join state Sen. Annette Taddeo and other local officials Wednesday in also calling on Gov. Rick Scott to create an independent auditing committee to investigate the backlog and other customer service complaints.

There has been a surge of female candidates who are running for both state and federal offices in the 2018 midterm elections. In Broward County, Saima Farooqui will become the first  Muslim to enter Florida's Statehouse if elected to represent House District 96, which includes Parkland and portions of Coral Springs, Coconut Creek, Margate and Pompano Beach. 

Young people are on their way to becoming a greater share of the electorate in wake of the Parkland school shooting, according to a new data analysis. 

The Democratic data firm TargetSmart found that the share of new registrations by people under 30 is up eight percent in Florida and two percent nationally since the Feb. 14 mass shooting. 

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