Daniel Rivero

Daniel Rivero is a reporter and producer for WLRN, covering Latino and criminal justice issues. Before joining the team, he was an investigative reporter and producer on the television series "The Naked Truth," and a digital reporter for Fusion.

His work has won honors of the Murrow Awards, Sunshine State Awards and Green Eyeshade Awards. He has also been nominated for a Livingston Award and a GLAAD Award on reporting on the background of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's tenure as Attorney General of Oklahoma and on the Orlando nightclub shooting, respectively.

Daniel was born on the outskirts of Washington D.C. to Cuban parents, and moved to Miami full time twenty years ago. He learned to walk with a wiffle ball bat and has been a skateboarder since the age of ten.

Kathy Burgos has a dozen blue bags hanging from her arm as she walks the hot streets of Miami’s Allapattah neighborhood. She’s on a march with other Miami-Dade County employees, helping bring masks, gloves and education to one of the state’s hotspots for COVID-19 cases.

Most of Florida has already moved into phase two of Florida’s reopening plan for the novel coronavirus. In most of the state, people can now visit bars, movie theaters and casinos, along with beaches, gyms and restaurants. Of course, this comes with some caveats for social distancing and wearing masks.

A nationwide analysis of COVID-19 data released this week shows broad discrepancies between what some states are reporting about testing for the novel coronavirus to the public, and what is being reported by the CDC. The analysis lists Florida as “the most extreme case” of testing discrepancies between what the state and the federal government are reporting.

The number of inmates in Miami-Dade County jails who have tested positive for COVID-19 has exploded in recent days.

A shipment of one million N95 masks to Miami-Dade County firefighters was confiscated by the federal government last week, say top Miami-Dade officials.

The move came just as county firefighters ramped up a program to begin at-home COVID-19 testing for Miami-Dade residents who are homebound and cannot make it to drive-thru testing sites.

Updated Friday, April 10 at 11 a.m.

At least 16 people have been jailed in Miami-Dade County the past few weeks over coronavirus-related curfew violations, despite calls by activists and some public officials to limit the number of people booked into the Miami-Dade jail system during the pandemic.

County and municipal marinas are closed, popular sandbars are empty for the first time in recorded history, and there are no cruise ships packed with passengers sailing out of South Florida’s ports. On the surface, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot going on when it comes to life on the water, due to the COVID-19 crisis.

That’s on the surface.

Two inmates in Broward County have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Broward Sheriff’s Office. The two cases mark the first time inmates in county jails in South Florida have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Both the government-run drive-thru testing sites for COVID-19 in Miami-Dade County have specific restrictions as to who can get tested. Those include the site at Hard Rock Stadium and at Marlins Park. Besides first responders and healthcare workers, someone would need to be 65 or older to access testing at both sites.

Up until now the only way for most people to get tested for COVID-19 is if you show clear symptoms and have a referral from a medical professional. Either that, or by being a politician, an NBA player or a celebrity.

But a new study done in coordination with the University of Miami and Miami-Dade County plans to change that in a way researchers hope will better help tackle the outbreak.

The largest drive-through testing site for the novel coronavirus in Miami-Dade County is located at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. The site was opened in coordination with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, along with other sites in Jacksonville and Orlando.

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One of the most important things for the public during the COVID-19 public health emergency is access to reliable information from the state government.

Employees at the Florida Department of Health, the state agency that is managing the response to COVID-19, are not being allowed to work from home, even if their jobs are involved in research or other kinds of administrative work, several employees told WLRN.

Several Broward County employees say they are frustrated at a lack of policies and clarity on the ability to work from home while the COVID-19 pandemic spreads across Florida. 

That is despite that fact that the employees say their jobs can easily be done from home, and despite official guidance from the White House suggesting that employees do just that.

In a press conference on Thursday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami will be among the first hospitals in the state to receive new commercial test kits for COVID-19.

Since 2016, Russian-American photographer Anastasia Samoylova has been capturing images of sea-level rise in South Florida in quiet — and often surprising — ways.

On an afternoon in November, 17 people from across Miami-Dade County gathered in a Miami courtroom to have their voting rights restored. The hearing would be an early indication that party politics are playing a role in how a controversial state law is being rolled out.

The state commission investigating the Parkland shooting is wrapping up a second report that outlines more school safety recommendations. It’ll be sent to the governor’s office by Nov. 1.

This last May was the hottest ever recorded in the Sunshine State. That was followed by higher-than-average temperatures in June and July. The scorching hot temperatures means thousands of inmates across the state are spending what could potentially be a record-breaking summer without access to air conditioning.

The Florida Department of Corrections operates 50 “major facilities” across the state. Only 18 of them have air conditioning in “most of their housing,” according to the department.

Kim Rivers' dad was a Jacksonville Sheriff's deputy while she was growing up. For a time, he was working with an undercover narcotics unit.

Today, Rivers leads the largest seller of legal marijuana in Florida, as the CEO of Trulieve.

The company was the first to have medical marijuana dispensaries in the state, and now has the most. Revenues grew 400 percent last year to more than $100 million and sales are expected to more than double this year. It has bought dispensaries in California and Massachusetts, and announced the purchase of a Connecticut dispensary this month.

Business from cannabis is growing fast in Florida; some of it regulated tightly, and some of it without rules. But all of it comes with cash that the banking industry is reluctant to touch. 

 

The first legal industrial hemp seeds in decades are growing now in South Florida soil.

CBD is showing up in ice cream, gummy bears and cocktails, but the state says the products are illegal.

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried ran on a platform of what she called 'the three W’s': weapons, water and weed. Within months of her swearing in, it’s that last W that’s already generating a buzz around the state. 

Gummy bears, oils, cocktails, ice cream ... Products with CBD in them have practically become ubiquitous in South Florida. The chemical CBD comes from the cannabis plant and that fact is leaving business owners in a kind of grey zone. But increasingly the federal government is taking notice, while regulations from the state are forthcoming.

In collaboration with 70 Million, a national podcast that examines criminal justice reforms around the country, WLRN looked at the mechanisms of Miami-Dade County's Criminal Mental Health Project.

Five years ago this month, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Sally Heyman hosted a press conference at County Hall. It was a few days before Christmas and just recently, with a unanimous vote, the County Commission had ended the practice of honoring requests from the federal government to hold immigrants arrested for local crimes for up to 48 additional hours. 

Those rounded up by federal authorities in these “detainer requests,” as they’ve come to be known, would be deported back to their countries of origin.

A recent series of stories by the Miami New Times found that police in Miami-Dade County have made tens of thousands of arrests for small amounts of marijuana, even after a 2015 policy allowed them to issue civil citations for those same offenses.

Those optional arrests have at times led to life-changing consequences for the suspects.

A controversial city of Fort Lauderdale ordinance banning the sharing of food with homeless residents in a city park was dealt a blow by a federal appeals court Wednesday. The decision declared food sharing as protected by the First Amendment, and sent the case back to a lower court to decide whether the city violated the right to free speech.

The lower court had previously sided with the city.

Florida prisons are seeing an increasing number of inmate deaths that authorities blame on a synthetic marijuana substance known as K2, or spice.

The increase in overdoses has prompted state officials to launch an educational campaign intended to show inmates the dangers of using the substance. The campaign was first reported by WLRN's news partner the Miami Herald.

Ten years ago, before the financial crisis hit the state, there were 579 publicly funded beds for substance abuse treatment in Palm Beach County. Today there are around 179, and in the coming days that number will go down even further, according to Alton Taylor, the executive director of the Drug Abuse Foundation in Delray Beach, the county's largest provider of publicly funded substance abuse treatment beds.

Jason Bellows was a Florida inmate on his way out of prison and back into the real world. 

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