GOOD
Photo by Stella de Smit on Unsplash

There was once a time in Florida where you could park your boat in your front lawn, but you were SOL if you wanted to grow squash and lettuce there. However, thanks to one Miami Shores couple, that's about to change.

Hermine Ricketts and Tom Carroll had been growing a front yard garden for 17 years, but in 2013, Miami Shores changed its city ordinance, making the activity illegal. The new city ordinance said that backyard vegetable gardens were a-OK, but Ricketts and Carroll couldn't keep a garden in their backyard because it didn't get enough sun. So the couple could either dig up their garden or face $50 in daily fines for letting it continue to grow. The couple opted to do neither and instead, they sued the city.

Ricketts and Carroll took their case to the Florida Supreme Court. Initially, the courts sided with Miami Shores, but the fight wasn't over. Florida State Senator Rob Bradley introduced legislation preventing "a county or municipality from regulating vegetable gardens on residential properties." Earlier this year, the Senate passed the bill 35-5.

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The Planet

image via (cc) flickr user suburbanbloke

I’m told it’s healthy to name one’s fears, so here goes:

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Since When Do We Penalize Feeding the Hungry?

The arrest of Ft. Lauderdale's 90-year-old good Samaritan has put other cities' attempts to ban charitable acts in the spotlight

Last week, 90-year-old good Samaritan Arnold Abbot of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was arrested for the apparently egregious crime of feeding hungry homeless people. Since January, the city has passed a series of ordinances that target the transient and needy, including a recent law that makes it illegal to offer them food in public places. While this might be a good tactic to get rid of a mangy cat that won’t stop hanging around your back porch, it seems like a piss-poor, distinctly uncharitable way of dealing with one’s fellow human beings. Fort Lauderdale Police required four officers to arrest the intimidating nonagenarian, a WWII vet and the author of From Aches To Ecstasy: A Sex Primer For Those Over Fifty.

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People Are Awesome: Teen Arrested For Science Experiment Now Heading to Space Camp

The charges against Kiera Wilmot have been dropped and former NASA engineer Homer Hickam's sending Kiera Wilmot and her twin sister to space camp.


What could have been a nightmare for 16-year-old Florida student Kiera Wilmot has turned into a dream come true. In April, Wilmot was expelled from her high school, arrested, and charged with two felonies for conducting a science experiment that created a small explosion on her campus. But thanks to the outcry over her treatment, all charges have been dropped. And it gets better: A NASA veteran is sending Kiera and her scientifically-inclined twin sister Kayla to space camp.

"I couldn't let this go without doing something," Homer Hickam, a former NASA engineer who served as SpaceLab's lead astronaut training manager and worked at the International Space Station, told ABC News. Hickam decided to purchase a scholarship to the U.S. Advanced Space Academy for Kiera, and, when he found out about her twin sister, he raised enough cash to send her, too.

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Want Kids to Become Scientists? Don't Arrest Them For Experimenting

There's no reason for a student to be arrested and charged with two felonies for doing a science experiment.


Earlier this week Two Bit Circus, a Los Angeles-based outfit that's trying to reinvent education, launched a pretty amazing project called the STEAM Carnival. The goal? Get kids into science, technology, engineering, and math by bringing carnival-style excitement and experiments—what they refer to as "lasers, robots and fire"—into schools. Well, as amazing as that sounds, their laser and fire efforts probably won't be appreciated in Bartow, Florida.

Last week 16-year-old Bartow High School student Kiera Wilmot recreated the popular-on-YouTube experiment of mixing toilet bowl cleaner and aluminum foil together in a plastic bottle because she was curious about what would happen. It's the kind of experiment the STEAM Carnival folks (or the MythBusters crew) have probably done countless times. It's the kind of experiment I used to do as a teenager when I'd mix random household chemicals together just to see what would happen.

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Why Are Great Teachers Leaving the Classroom?

With so much focus about getting bad teachers out of the classroom, we're letting the really effective ones slip out the door.

\n\n\n\n\n Making it simpler to remove bad teachers from the classroom has been a hot topic in education reform, but policy-makers might want to shift gears and spend more time ensuring effective teachers stick around. According to a McKinsey study, 14 percent of teachers leave after one year, and 46 percent leave the profession before their fifth year. However, in nations with the highest results on international tests, the teacher turnover rate is only 3 percent. So what's happening with American teachers that makes them leave the classroom in droves?

In the above CNN interview, Florida high school math teacher Linda DeRegnaucourt shares why she made the difficult decision to end her 13-year career after the next school year is over. Money is definitely a factor—after all that time on the job, she only earns $38,000—but her decision to leave isn't just about the size of her paycheck. As we've heard teachers say before, she's finally had enough of the poor working conditions and unprofessional way she's treated. Now she's training to become a nurse, which will give her a $24,000 salary bump.

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