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Silvia Vanni plays with Daniella Collazo as she carries her puppy, Olaf, named after the snowman character in her favorite Disney movie, Frozen. (Photo courtesy of Silvia Vanni)

Germ-free playground will help 2 year-old cancer patient thrive

As children walked through the lobby of Miami Children’s Hospital last month, 2-year-old Daniella Collazo greeted them with a smile and a wave. “It’s OK. You’ll be OK,” she said to the passing children. About a year earlier, Daniella had been diagnosed with neuroblastoma stage III cancer, a type of cancer that develops in the nerve tissue with a high ...

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Bottle & Bottega hosts paint parties at venues around the city, like Bin 18, which offers guests a large variety of drink options. (Photo by Cata Balzano, South Florida News Service)

The art of drinking: Paint Nite parties popular at Miami-area bars and restaurants

When Angie Rubio arrived at Chevy’s Mexican restaurant in Doral on a recent Saturday to celebrate her 34th birthday, she was surprised to find her friends gathered around blank canvases accompanied with food and drinks. “They knew I always wanted to do this,” Rubio said. “I draw stick figures, and this is totally something new.” One of Miami’s painting and ...

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Giovanni Gagliardi uses a coal-fired oven to cook his dishes, which are prepared with specific ingredients imported from Italy, such as the tomato, mozzarella and flour. (Photo by Cata Balzano / South Florida News Service)

Legendary pizza maker from Italy makes the pies at Ironside Pizza in Northeast Miami

Three years ago, Giovanni Gagliardi left Naples, Italy, for Las Vegas, to compete in the International Pizza Challenge, representing the “International Region” of foreign competing countries. Gagliardi, known in the pizza world as “La Leggenda” — or “The Legend,” placed second in the competition’s Traditional Division. “I came to market the flour that we use for pizza in Naples,” Gagliardi ...

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John Paul Jebian, a sign language teacher at G. Holmes Braddock Senior High, teaches his high school students American Sign Language alongside Lisa Espineira, 37, a certified sign language interpreter. (Photo by Daniel Hidalgo / South Florida News Service)

Deaf community pushing for state to license interpreters

In a second-floor meeting room at West Dade Regional Library, Lissette Molina Wood recently stood in front of a group of deaf people. Halfway through her first term as president of the Florida Association of the Deaf, Molina Wood, 37, also deaf, is trying to build support for a bill that would require all American Sign Language interpreters to be ...

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A Ms. Cheezious employee holds two grilled cheese sandwiches at the new bricks and mortar, which opened in early February. (Photo by Christian Portilla / South Florida News Service) 

No mystery: Food truck Ms. Cheezious so popular, owners open brick-and-mortar shop

Emily Herman, a private-school teacher in North Miami, remembers standing in line for a half-hour to order from Ms. Cheezious, a local food truck that serves grilled cheese sandwiches. Her signature pick: a short rib grilled cheese with pickled onions and arugula on sourdough bread. “It’s my favorite food truck,” said Herman, 39. “They have interesting combinations.” After five years ...

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On Saturdays, “La Pachanga” musicians arrive and gather at the patio's lit stage to prepare for the night's Latin musical performance. (Photo by Cata Balzano / South Florida News Service)

Little Havana bar offers Saturday night “La Pachanga” musical event

When Rodolfo Tancredi’s yoga instructor mentioned the bar where she also works, Ball & Chain, he decided to check out the Little Havana establishment on a recent Saturday night. “I go to everything I’m invited to,” said Tancredi, a Venezuelan native, 39. “So I came by to see what was going on.” What Tancredi didn’t know was that he chose ...

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Margarita Beckford, the post-high school coordinator at the Overtown Youth Center, informs students about activities planned for the month. (Photo by Daniela Rios / South Florida News Service)

Overtown Youth Center students to participate in career-motivation event

Malyka Joseph, a high school student from the Overtown Youth Center, realized she wanted to major in engineering by accident. In middle school, she fulfilled her credit requirements ahead of time and was one of the only girls placed in engineering electives. “I kept getting talked at and discriminated at because I was a girl interested in engineering, but I ...

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Evon Vela, 30, hostess at Al's Coffee Shop, grabs croquettes for a walk-in customer's order. (Photo by Narciso Iturralde / South Florida News Service) 

Coral Gables coffee shop owners promote adopted heritage with ‘Croqueta Party Tuesdays’

Alphonse “Al” Karborani was a little boy when he and his family had to flee from their home in Bethlehem to Jerusalem and then to Amman, Jordan, when he was 16. Karborani, a Palestinian refugee, was constantly paralyzed by the sounds around him. Explosions. Gunshots. Wailing cries. He could not escape war and yearned to find a normal life. By ...

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Popular hair stylists open His & Hers Parlour in Wynwood, a shop for men and women

Hamlet Garcia, left, gives Marcelo Prado, center, some haircutting tips on Dec. 13, 2014. Garcia has been cutting hair for more than five years and recently opened a new shop with his girlfriend, Rachel Ringwood, 23, in Wynwood called His & Hers Parlour. Together, the couple offers clients, both male and female, haircuts. Photos by Matias J. Ocner/ Miami Herald ...

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Ishkol is a native of Guatemala, where she learned how to speak in her village's dialect but never attended school.  (Photo by Melhor Marie Leonor/South Florida News Service)

Eliminating illiteracy in migrant workers: it’s complicated

Isabel Ishkol’s daughter spots her mom outside her classroom at Le Jardin Community Center in Homestead and quickly tumbles over. It’s close to pick up time for the 3-year-old, but not quite. In what sounds like a whisper, motioning with her hands, Ishkol tells her daughter to join her teacher, now busy wrangling other toddlers. Vanessa lingers, beaming. More than ...

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