Miami Herald's most important stories of 2013

 

A roundup of the most important stories from the past year

Carol Marbin Miller

DCF, police ignored mystery of missing child Dontrell Melvin

Police considered it a custody dispute, the purview of DCF. DCF deemed it a police matter. Neither went looking for Dontrell Melvin.


Mary Ellen Klas

Senate President Don Gaetz’ top aide earned more than $400,000 as political consultant

Senate Chief of Staff Chris Clark, who also owns a political consulting firm, has used his dual role to earn $413,000 in consulting fees in addition to his state salary.

Internet cafe campaign cash flooded state capitol, lawmakers’ coffers

The probe into illegal gambling at Internet cafes has prompted a swift response from Florida lawmakers, who now say they will outlaw them and return campaign checks from industry officials.


Andres Viglucci

For sale: Magical oasis of art and nature on Miami’s Little River, pig not included

On Miami’s Little River, a picturesque, magical sanctuary for art, animals, tropical trees and the architecture of the city’s early years is up for sale by its reluctant owner.


Howard Cohen

Needle reaches the inner groove for Spec's

Spec's, a fixture in Coral Gables for 60 years, will close its doors for good in January. Memories come flooding in from loyal customers who mourn "the end of an era."


Ina Paiva Cordle

Miami Design District’s transformation into a luxury shopping destination is underway

Miami’s Design District is being transformed into a luxury shopping destination, promising to bring the fashions and baubles that adorn the glossy pages of Vogue and GQ to life in Miami’s urban core.


Jim Wyss

Miami Herald reporter Jim Wyss recounts his 48 hours in Venezuelan custody

I asked authorities to provide statistics on contraband for a Miami Herald story.
What I got was two days of detention with a front-row view of the country’s intelligence service.

An experiment in Amazon conservation faces economic reality

Ecuador hoped the world would rally around its plan to save one of the most biodiversity-rich swaths of the Amazon. But the dream is facing economic reality.

Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez dead

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez survived four elections, a coup and a recall attempt as he became one of Latin America’s most charismatic, influential and controversial leaders. But on Tuesday, the socialist firebrand lost his long-running battle with cancer. He was 58.


Julie Brown

In Miami Gardens, store video catches cops in the act

Tired of seeing his customers and employees harassed by police, a Miami Gardens storekeeper installed video cameras — and captured disturbing footage of police activity.


Patricia Mazzei

The case of the phantom ballots: an electoral whodunit

Somebody rigged a computer program to fraudulently obtain more than 2,000 absentee ballots in three races. The plot didn’t work. But it could have.

Notoriety follows Rivera pal in Nicaragua

Ana Alliegro, the Miami woman at the center of the federal corruption investigation involving former congressman David Rivera, is living in a small town outside of Managua.


Patricia Mazzei, María Pérez and Melissa Sanchez

A glimpse into the life of the Hialeah shooter

Records shed some light on Pedro Alberto Vargas’ past, though the motive for his rampage remains unknown.


Steve Bousquet

Gov. Rick Scott boasts about creating new jobs, but the numbers tell a far different story

Gov. Rick Scott campaigned in 2010 on a promise to create 700,000 jobs, but the jobs he can most directly deliver are slowest to arrive.


Kat McGrory

American Dream derailed for former Killian Senior High grad

Once the poster child for immigration reform, Juan Gomez is now living in Brazil. He moved there after his application for a U.S. work permit got tied up in a logjam.


Jordan Levin

Momentum building in Miami’s new arts frontier: Downtown

Downtown is ‘where it’s at’ for emerging artists, galleries and cultural groups

Back to his roots: Alvin Ailey troupe’s Miami director deepens connections to his home town

Alvin Ailey troupe’s leader deepens connections to his home town


Rene Rodriguez

Mai-Kai anyone? Documentary by Miami’s Common Machine explores tiki culture

New documentary by the Miami production company Common Machine explores tiki culture


Michelle Kaufman

UM president Donna Shalala lauded for handling of NCAA investigation

Donna Shalala drew on her experience as a shrewd politician throughout the two-and-a-half-year UM probe, calculating every move with the help of her legal staff.

UM recruiting scandal scars assistant coach

Sleepless, tearful nights continue for Jorge Fernandez, the 50-year-old former University of Miami assistant basketball coach, and he fears he may never fully recover from the lengthy NCAA investigation.


Ellie Brecher

Revisiting the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘Dream’

Remembering the famous march, Floridians tell their story of what it was like to be part of history


Jacqueline Charles

Unsafe abortions: Haiti’s abortion crisis

An abortion ban is fueling a public health crisis in Haiti, as women and girls secretly turn to increasingly deadly methods to terminate their pregnancies.

Easily accessible pill in Haiti allows women to self-induce abortion

A tiny pill has been credited with saving lives in countries where abortion is outlawed or restricted. But in Haiti, its clandestine use is also creating dangerous complications.

Women in Haiti embracing birth control despite taboos

As more Haitian women and girls seek out increasingly deadly ways to end unwanted pregnancies, Haiti calls on health institutions to provide free contraceptives and counseling to those who want it, and prepares to launch a national family planning campaign.


Cammy Clark

New Coast Guard cutter honors African-American ship cook and hero Charles David Jr.

During World War II, on a frigid February night about 100 miles off the coast of Greenland, Storekeeper second class Richard Swanson was clinging desperately to a cargo net that had been draped over the side of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Comanche.


Jay Weaver

Homestead mayor’s ties to downtown redeveloper probed

While recusing himself from votes on a public land deal, Homestead’s mayor pushed privately to get it OKd — and to get his wife involved.

Palmetto Bay lobbyist tipped off FBI to Miami-Dade mayors, lobbyists arrested in corruption probe

The two-year FBI investigation that resulted in the arrests of Miami Lakes Mayor Michael Pizzi and Sweetwater Mayor Manny Maroño began with a tip from Palmetto Bay lobbyist Michael Kesti.


Carol Rosenberg

Food fight: Guantánamo captives, guards at stalemate

Tensions are high at the prison camp for war-on-terror captives, and at least 26 detainees — and perhaps many more — are engaging in a hunger strike.

Life under lockdown at America’s hunger-striking prison camps

America’s offshore war-on-terror prison camp has gone from peaceable routine to hunger-striking nightmare. A look at life at the prison where nearly every captive is under lockdown.


Nadege Green

Legacies of Overtown

The early residents of Miami’s second-oldest black neighborhood fondly recall their childhood homes and vibrant community, fractured by 1-95.

A city, a family fight to end cycle of violence

A young girl killed in the crossfire of a reported gang-related shootout spurs her father to speak out. Police also step up their efforts to combat gang violence.


Mimi Whitefield

Odebrecht USA — a master at winning public contracts — has run into roadblocks in its quest to build Airport City

Odebrecht USA, which has glided to success on a stream of Miami-Dade County construction contracts, now faces turbulence over the Airport City project.

The Panama Canal

Preparing for the era of the big ships (Interactive Grahpic)


Mimi Whitefield, Daniel Chang and Andres Viglucci

Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez gets joyous Miami welcome

The celebrated dissident journalist told a Cuban-American crowd at Miami’s Freedom Tower that all Cubans, whether exiles or on the island, are a single people and must not allow Cuba’s government to divide them.

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