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

A Miami-based architect has made it his mission to design hospitals to be more resilient to seismic events and hurricanes. 

Eduardo Egea, from the firm Leo A Daly, has been designing hospitals for almost 25 years. After Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, Egea came up with the idea to design a hospital that could ultimately help in the aftermath of a hurricane by using drones to get supplies to patients quickly and easily. “Drones are going to be part of our day-to-day tools that we will use in the future,” he said on Sundial. 

When a mother and her autistic son visited the Margate Police Department earlier this year to discuss the relationship between police and the autistic community, chief of police Jonathan Shaw realized the need for additional training for officers. 

In response, Shaw's police department recently launched "Project Autism," to teach and train officers how to interact with individuals on the spectrum. It also establishes indicators for autistic individuals to help officers understand who they are talking to and how to handle the situation. 

The Florida Board of Education recently approved a new mandate requiring public schools to teach at least five hours of mental health instruction to students in sixth to 12th grade. 

The program requires students to take a course to help them identify signs and symptoms of depression and where to get help and resources. It aims to destigmatize mental health issues and and teach them how to help others who might be struggling.

The new executive director of the environmental group Friends of the Everglades is not that impressed with Gov. Ron DeSantis' environmental record thus far. 

Carlos Curbelo is considering a run for Miami-Dade Mayor in 2020. 

Miami native, son of Cuban exiles and former Republican Representative from Florida’s 26th District (2015-2018), Curbelo is no stranger to politics. In the November 2018 elections he went against Democrat Debbie Murcasel-Powell and executed one of the most expensive U.S. House races in the country. Mucarsel-Powell defeated Curbelo in a close and contested race.

If you went to the beach over the Memorial Day weekend, you may have seen sea turtle nesting areas cordoned off for protection. That's because South Florida is in the midst of sea turtle nesting season, which began in March and ends in October.

Some Florida lawmakers are responding to the passage of Alabama’s new abortion law, which would ban  abortion in almost any circumstance and make providing the procedure a felony. State Senator Lauren Book, D-Plantation, released a statement yesterday in opposition to the law.

Access to healthcare inside South Florida prisons and jails is under renewed scrutiny after a pregnant woman with a mental illness delivered her child alone in a Broward County jail cell last month.

In the U.S. more than 700 women die each year while pregnant or shortly after giving birth, and an alarming number of them are black. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), black women in Florida are two times as likely to die while or after giving childbirth compared to white women.

A controversial bill (HB 19) that would allow for the importation of pharmaceutical drugs from Canada into Florida now sits on Gov. Ron DeSantis' desk.

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, on average Americans spend $1,200 a year on prescription drugs, which is more than any other developed country in the world.

A Florida bill that would require minors to get written consent from their parents or legal guardian before accessing an abortion recently passed the Florida House of Representatives with a 69-44 vote. The bill, HB 1335, was sponsored by Vero Beach Republican Rep. Erin Grall.

Florida is already a notification state, meaning that a parent must be notified before a minor can undergo the medical procedure.

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., impacting an estimated 5.8 million Americans who currently live with the disease. Many of them are 65 and older and live in places with limited access to health care and education, which heightens the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. 

Could Florida have something to teach the country about gun control? 

Federal lawmakers are considering a law that would encourage states to implement systems through which courts can remove weapons from people who may be harmful to themselves or others. The state-level measures are called extreme risk protection orders, or red flag laws. 

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.

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. 

Palm Beach County has been the epicenter of the opioid crisis in Florida. But data from the county’s state attorney office shows opioid deaths decreased 41 percent from 2017 to 2018.

Florida counts just 44 certified Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners or "SANE nurses," tasked with properly securing evidence from survivors of sexual assault.

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, one in three women and one in six men will experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetime. Research shows response time is crucial when a sexual assault occurs, but in much of rural Florida, SANE nurses are hard to come by.

South Florida has long been an international hotspot for plastic surgery. But it's also been plagued by issues around safety. According to a new USA Today investigation, there were eight deaths in Miami related to surgeries from one plastic surgery business over the course of six years. Although the business has changed its name multiple times, it continues to be run by the same man, Dr. Ismael Labrador. 

It is a taboo topic and there are thousands of ways to describe it: “It’s that time of the month,” “I’m on my rag,” or “It’s mother nature’s week,” and that is just to name a few.

I'm talking about periods, or the menstrual flow. 

This holiday season, thousands of families in South Florida will go hungry.

Fort Lauderdale’s vice mayor is a key player in the city’s efforts to help the homeless population by providing them with yearlong housing, job opportunities and mental health services.

A South Florida environmental technology company has a plan to fight the state's blue-green algae problems with microscopic plastic beads. 

Green Water Solution is one of four finalists for the George Barley Water Prize, a $10 million award started by the Everglades Foundation to address toxic algae blooms through new technologies. The prize is intended to fund a technology that can be used around the globe to reduce phosphorus contamination in water.

In South Florida, high school football has seen a decline in participation amid growing health concerns. Oxbridge Academy in West Palm Beach recently shut down its program after the coach said they couldn’t get enough players to field a team.

A dance festival is trying to break through misconceptions about disabled dance performers.

The Forward Motion Dance Festival, being held Sept. 26 to Sept. 29, will showcase groundbreaking physically integrated dance companies and choreography. A conference will focus on the representation of individuals with disabilities in the arts and media. The festival features disabled and non-disabled artists from around the globe. It was funded by grants from the Knight Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. 

More than a year after Hurricane Irma, blue tarps still lay on roofs across South Florida. According to the Miami Herald, tens of thousands of homeowners across the state are still waiting for assistance to pay for damages to their houses and many have sued insurance companies.

A Florida International University assistant professor of psychology is working to find ways to combat non-consensual porn, or sexually graphic images that are shared without consent.

The University of Miami’s Sports Medicine Institute concussion program is testing a medical marijuana pill for high school football players. 

Saltwater intrusion is just one of the risks facing South Florida's drinking water. 

The Biscayne Aquifer, a 4,000-mile sponge-like rock formation that filters and stores the region's clean groundwater, is also being polluted by sewage runoff and other contaminants. 

The U.S. Geological Survey, USGS, is collecting DNA to track a new snake hybrid in the Everglades.

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