Wilson Sayre

Wilson Sayre was born and bred in Raleigh, N.C., home of the only real barbecue in the country (we're talking East here). She graduated from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where she studied Philosophy.

Sayre took a year off school to live in a Zen monastery in Japan and quickly realized that a life of public radio would be a bit more forgiving. Upon returning to the States, she helped launch a news program at UNC’s college-radio station, WXYC. Through error and error, she taught herself how to make radio stories.

She worked with NPR member station WUNC in Chapel Hill, interning for The Story with Dick Gordon. Then she went on to help to run WUNC's Youth Radio Institute, teaching at-risk teenagers how to make radio.

Sayre likes to keep chickens, pickle okra and make sound collages.

Sayre initially came down to WLRN in 2013 for a reporting fellowship. After that, she decided she couldn't leave. She's continued her a mission to get more Miamians to wear overalls and say y'all.

After Hurricane Irma, the federal government offered a food assistance program to Floridians who needed help because of the storm. The signup period for that program ended last week.

But there’s an ongoing lawsuit that might reopen registration for some people with disabilities because, the suit claims, the lines to sign up were prohibitively long.

Lines were moving much more quickly at Hard Rock Stadium at mid-day Thursday, the final day to register for disaster food assistance (D-SNAP) in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

After reaching capacity early Wednesday amid accounts of people passing out in the heat, the registration sites seemed to have finally gotten into the swing of things Thursday.

Sweaty and eager to be done waiting in line, most were just happy to get the assistance they walked away with, ranging between $192 and $1,153.

On the first day of make-up registration for disaster food assistance, lines were long, while lawyers who were suing over how the program has been rolled out hashed things out in court.

A half dozen homeless people in Miami-Dade County were involuntarily committed to the hospital for evaluation as Hurricane Irma continued its course towards South Florida.

Now, a month later, the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust has evaluated whether that was the right move.

The week before Irma hit, hundreds of people living in downtown Miami, many close to the seawalls in places that heavily flood like Bayfront Park, continued to refuse spots in a homeless shelter.

Instead of opting for a few final words as he is strapped to a gurney in the death chamber, Florida Death Row inmate Mike Lambrix decided to speak his mind during an hour-long group interview Tuesday, two days before his scheduled execution.

Rows of brightly colored chairs are set up on the little patch of grass outside FANM, the Haitian Women of Miami, a non-profit group that helps low-income families.

People sit in the Miami heat--some with toddlers in their laps--waiting to fill out FEMA applications and see what other kinds of help they can get in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

Miami police intends to involuntarily commit homeless individuals starting Friday if they refuse to move off the streets. Volunteer outreach teams through the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust began placing individuals in shelters Tuesday morning and will continue those efforts through Thursday.

Michael Lambrix is set to be executed on Oct. 5.

He was next in line to be executed when a U.S. Supreme Court decision threw Florida's death penalty into limbo. He was one of two Death Row inmates who had active death warrants for a year and a half. Mark Asay, the other inmate, was executed on Aug. 24, breaking the hiatus.

Thursday night, Florida executed Mark Asay, who was declared dead at 6:22 p.m. He broke Florida’s year-and-a-half hiatus for the death penalty as the first person executed since January 2016.

While the state of Florida is set to execute the first person in more than a year and a half, 150 other Death Row inmates await new sentences.

The death penalty was put on hold in the state after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the landmark case of Hurst v. Florida that the process applied for sentencing someone to death was unconstitutional. 

Roughly 260 sex offenders have registered as their residence the intersection of Northwest 36th Court and 71st Street, on the edge of Hialeah and Miami.  The closest house is four blocks away and the only buildings here are squat warehouses.

Five people were hit by trains in South Florida just this week — and two were killed. That brings year-to-date deaths on rail tracks to more than a dozen in South Florida.

On May 19, Fort Lauderdale police officers and city workers showed up without notice at Stranahan Park with dozens of blue trash bins, a front-end loader and a dump truck. They ordered all the homeless living there to put their stuff in the bins; the rest of the stuff was scooped up by the loader and thrown in the dump truck.

Florida has one of the largest prison populations in the U.S. As of 2016, there were 99,000 people incarcerated in the state. The number peaked in 2011 with roughly 102,300 people in prison.

More than 100 workers at Miami International Airport are striking for 24 hours.

Subcontractors tasked with handling baggage, curbside check-in and pushing wheelchairs for various airlines are walking off the job in protest of what they say are violations of the Miami-Dade County living-wage ordinance.

There will be no more Styrofoam allowed at Miami-Dade County beaches, marinas or parks.

The ban on polystyrene products, which skirts state law preventing municipalities from regulating the material outside their own properties, starts July 1.

As of March 13, 2017, Florida has a death penalty again.

Though the sentence is law again in Florida, many inmates continue to live on Death Row without knowing if they will ultimately die by the state’s hand or not.

Javier Vivo helps carry passengers’ bags and pushes wheelchairs at Miami International airport’s J Terminal, welcoming international travelers to the area. When he was hired as a part time employee, he wasn’t given a choice whether to take his company’s health insurance or not. It was take it or leave the job. When Vivo tried to use his insurance at the emergency room to take care of a stomach issue, though, he found out the insurance card did not give him access to much of an insurance plan.

Most people in Florida who get food stamps are required to work in order to keep them.

A bill (HB 23) that’s slated to be heard by the full state House of Representatives would increase the penalties if people fail to meet those requirements. A now-competing bill in the state Senate would strike these penalties.

Death Row inmate Mike Lambrix has lost his appeal for a new sentence.

Lambrix was one of the subjects in the WLRN documentary Cell 1, where we looked at Florida’s death penalty and the limbo it was in for more than a year.

Florida keeps inching closer to having a working death penalty in the state.

This week, the Senate Criminal Justice Committee overwhelmingly approved a measure that would now require a unanimous jury to sentence someone to death. The House Criminal Justice Subcommittee is slated to hear a similar bill on Feb. 15.

Florida is one step closer to reinstating the death penalty.

After a year of turmoil for the state’s death penalty, one Florida legislator is trying to rein things in a bit. House Judiciary Chairman Chris Sprowls has proposed a bill that would bring the state’s death penalty in line with several state court and U.S. Supreme Court decisions that have thrown the sentence into limbo.

See WLRN's documentary about Florida's death penalty in limbo here.

A new bill under consideration by the Florida Legislature would make it easier for defendants to use the "Stand Your Ground" defense when faced with use of force charges. 

For years, Florida laws have  had provisions for self-defense immunity, protecting people who use force in self-defense from being prosecuted. There are certain restrictions on where and when you are justified in using various kind of force in self-defense.

Obamacare’s namesake came to Miami-Dade County Thursday afternoon to talk about the Affordable Care Act, just a few weeks before the program’s fourth open enrollment period starts.

President Barack Obama, before heading to a Hillary Clinton campaign rally in Miami Gardens, spoke to a large crowd of mostly students at Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus.

Florida is an outlier when it comes to sentencing people to death.

Gov. Rick Scott signed into law a new pathway to sentence someone to death Monday. These changes came nearly two months after the U.S. Supreme Court took issue with Florida’s old system for handing down the sentence in the Hurst v. Florida case.

  The death penalty might be back in Florida soon as new rules on how defendants are given the sentence eek closer to becoming law.

A state Senate committee will hear the legislation along with new amendments that would bring the Senate and House bills in line with each other. But the mother of a murder victim hopes the Legislature will consider making it harder for juries to impose the death penalty.

In July of 2013, 20-year-old Shelby Farah was working alone in a MetroPCS store when James Rhodes walked in and shot her.


Florida was in the spotlight again for its death penalty procedure this week when the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments about the way the Sunshine State hands down death sentences.

In Florida, Alabama and Delaware, juries can recommend the death penalty if more than half the jurors agree; In other states, either the jury decision has to be  unanimous or  a jury isn't used at all in sentencing.

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