News

Miami Herald

Florida residents will no longer get a free pass traversing most stretches of Florida’s Turnpike or certain local expressways across the state.

The Florida Department of Transportation announced Tuesday that starting at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, tolls on a vast majority of Florida’s Turnpike system, all state roads and bridges, and all regional toll facilities will be re-instated.

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A Coconut Grove neighbor turned to the popular Nextdoor app to warn fellow residents about “suspicious activity” days after Hurricane Irma knocked down trees and left parts of the neighborhood without electricity.

The activity the poster saw:  Three African-American young men riding bicycles.

In the Crime and Safety section, the poster wrote, he approached the young men and told them, “We are here.”

One neighbor replied,  “Not helpful to racially profile people. Greet and ask if they need assistance before assuming they are criminals.”

Edgar B. Herwick III / WLRN News

“Job No. 1 for the FCC [Federal Communication Commission] is public safety,” were FCC Commissioner  Mignon Clyburn’s opening remarks from the podium at the Miami-Dade Emergency Management Center.

Commissioner Clyburn joined FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Monday for a meeting with South Florida public safety officials and broadcasters to discuss the importance of  first responders and the public during storms and other emergencies.

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

An estimated 10,000 residents are homeless after Hurricane Irma blew through the Florida Keys as a massive and powerful Category 4 storm and devastated entire blocks of homes last week.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced the estimate during a news conference Monday morning in Marathon.

With that count, a little more than 10 percent of Monroe County residents have nowhere to live.

Courtesy of Arnetta Gordon

Arnetta Gordon is a Miami-Dade public school teacher.  After leaving Miami to escape Hurricane Irma with her husband and four children, she returned to her Liberty City home which like thousands of others had no electricity.  Gordon has a 9-month old infant who she breastfeeds.

She wrote WLRN about the challenges of breastfeeding with no power:

Hurricane Irma Leaves In Florida A Death Toll Of 34 - And Rising

Sep 18, 2017
Mark Hedden / WLRN News

Hurricane Irma has officially been tied to 34 deaths in Florida, but the number will rise.

The figure available Monday morning from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Division of Emergency Management is still being updated.

Not every county has been recorded.

Absent is Monroe, where recovery efforts continue with ongoing door-to-door checks in the Keys. So far at least nine deaths have been tied to the storm in Monroe County, according to the Miami Herald.

Edgar B. Herwick III / WLRN News

“If you build it, they will come,” said a voice from the Heavens to Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella in the 1989 classic "Field of Dreams."

And while that might have worked out just fine for Kinsella and his magical baseball diamond in the corn, it did not appear to be the case at the Holiday Park Social Center in Fort Lauderdale on Sunday. 

After Irma, Slow-Moving Crisis Headed For Lake Okeechobee

Sep 18, 2017
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

The winds and outer bands of Hurricane Irma are long gone, but as rainwater drains south through Florida’s rivers and watersheds, the storm still presents a slow-moving crisis headed right for Lake Okeechobee.

Gov. Scott Signs Insurance Emergency Order After Irma

Sep 18, 2017
Catherine Welch / WMFE

Florida homeowners have more time to update their insurance policies. Governor Rick Scott signed an emergency order to help homeowners in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

The order provides home owner’s insurance policy holders an additional 90 days to supply required information to their insurance companies.

Florida’s Former Insurance Commissioner Lisa Miller said the order helps residents that may have been displaced from Hurricane Irma to update information and prevent policies from canceling.

Wilson Sayre / WLRN News

As Hurricane Irma bore down on South Florida, Kevin Youngman and his family sought shelter at Falcon Cove Middle School in Weston. There, he found himself in enemy territory.

“I think it’s weird for us because we all went to the rival middle school, Tequesta Trace,” said Youngman, 25, as he relaxed on an air mattress in the school gym.

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

The nursing home where residents died following a hurricane-induced air conditioning outage was not on the priority list for power restoration, according to the facility's utility provider and Broward County officials.

Emergency responders confirmed eight deaths last Wednesday at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, three days after Hurricane Irma knocked out power to the facility's air conditioning system.

Associated Press

The Trump administration is considering closing down the recently reopened U.S. Embassy in Havana following a string of unexplained incidents harming the health of American diplomats in Cuba, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Sunday.

Tillerson's comments were the strongest indication to date that the United States might mount a major diplomatic response, potentially jeopardizing the historic restart of relations between the U.S. and Cuba. The two former foes reopened embassies in Washington and Havana in 2015 after a half-century of estrangement.

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

Growing up in Miami, Luis Gazitúa lived through Hurricane Andrew in 1992 – one of the most destructive storms ever to hit South Florida. That’s why the Coconut Grove attorney recognized the awful danger of Hurricane Irma.

Irma was even bigger and stronger than Andrew. So when early forecast models this month showed it heading straight for Miami, Gazitúa and his family decided to evacuate South Florida.

“We had actually booked rooms in Orlando,” Gazitúa says at his law office in Coral Gables. “My father, my brother, our children and our wives and my mother.”

Jim Wyss / Miami Herald

ST. MARTIN -- Ten days after Hurricane Irma turned St. Martin into a jigsaw of ripped metal and shattered wood, residents were still struggling with an existential question: Should they cling to an island that can barely support life or start over elsewhere?

Irma hit the shared Dutch and French Caribbean island as a Category 5 hurricane with winds in excess of 200 miles an hour, turning the picturesque tourist haven into a sweltering trash heap without power, water or communications. What the hurricane didn’t steal, looters often did.

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