News

With the new year came a new increase to Florida’s gas tax. But it’s unlikely consumers will even notice the rate hike: it amounts to one tenth of one cent. 

Florida’s gas tax is one of the highest in the country, totaling 36.59 cents per gallon. An additional 18.4 cents goes to the federal government, before cycling back down to state projects. The revenue helps restore and maintain the state’s aging infrastructure. But like the country’s roads and bridges, the tax base is crumbling.

Andy Newman / Florida Keys News Bureau via AP

Former President Jimmy Carter; his wife, Rosalynn; and about 40 other family members have helped release a rehabilitated loggerhead sea turtle off the Florida Keys.

"Salty" was released after the Carters, their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren toured The Turtle Hospital. The facility opened in 1986 and has treated and released more than 2,000 injured sea turtles.

WUSF News

This week on The Florida Roundup...

2016 was the year that defied predictions, but that won't stop our panel of journalists from making some forecasts for the upcoming year.

Donald Catala / Monroe County Sheriff's Office

The Overseas Highway  — the only route through the Florida Keys — was closed for hours Friday morning by a fatal accident.

The crash happened at about 9 a.m. at mile marker 16 in the Lower Keys. According to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, there were severe injuries and one person was killed. The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating.

Just before noon, the Sheriff's Office notified the public that the road was back open, but traffic was stalled approximately 10 miles in both directions. The Overseas Highway has been clogged with traffic all week.

Nadege Green / WLRN

Two Haitian women are haggling over the cost of carrots and green squash along a sidewalk in Miami's Little Haiti neighborhood.

They're standing at Bernadette Dubreide's  fruit and vegetable stand on Northeast Second Avenue.  Regulars call her Madam Dubreide.

For some South Floridians, living within the boundaries of the 305 means being immersed in a mezcla of culture and an abundance of Central and South American and Caribbean cuisines. 

Mote Marine Laboratory

A rare species of shark swims past the Florida Keys, Cuba and the Bahamas as it journeys between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, a new study has found.

The study was conducted by American and Cuban scientists working together and provides a rare glimpse at the behavior of the longfin mako shark.

Two sharks were tagged with satellite trackers, one in 2012 and one in 2015.

AP

Cuba’s communist leadership remains reluctant to open the island to more free market reforms and foreign investment. But Cuba’s latest economic data for 2016 might make those hardliners reconsider.

Just a few months ago, Cuba’s economy was forecast to grow 1 percent this year. It wasn’t much; but at least it was growth. This week, President Raúl Castro has admitted even that was an illusion: Cuba’s GDP, he said, will actually shrink 1 percent in 2016 - the first economic contraction in more than 20 years.

Peter Haden / WLRN

A task force is making recommendations to state legislators for cracking down on fraud in the addiction recovery industry.

The Palm Beach County Sober Homes Task Force is putting the finishing touches on a report headed to lawmakers in Tallahassee. It outlines strategies to better regulate drug treatment providers and sober homes.

Among the recommendations: Give the state Department of Children and Families (DCF) the ability to license and inspect commercial sober homes.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

As a new federal administration takes over in Washington D.C. — after an election in which immigration issues were prominent — one South Florida city may take a stand on the issue.

Key West City Commissioner Jimmy Weekley said he wants his hometown to become a sanctuary city, adopting an official policy toward undocumented immigrants similar to the military's old "don't ask, don't tell" policy on sexual orientation.

Critics: Miami-Dade Wants To Make It Harder For Land Owners To Fight Assessment Hikes

Dec 28, 2016

Miami-Dade property owners will find it much more difficult to contest their annual property assessments under a new guideline being considered by the Value Adjustment Board, a semi-governmental agency that mediates disputes between landowners and Property Appraiser Pedro Garcia, critics of the proposal claim.

Creative Commons via Flickr / Users: Adam Axon, USDA, William Warby and John Tann

What happens when you expose a Florida resident to mosquitoes, screw worms or gators?

Sammy Mack

This is the time of year when here at WLRN we like to look back at all the news that happened over the past year and remember the stories that we found especially entertaining – the stuff that got us laughing or shaking our heads around the newsroom.

CHARLES TASNADI / AP

 

Although Fidel Castro died in Havana, the impact his passing had on South Florida probably qualifies it as the most notable death in our region. 

Virtual Reality Takes You To Cuban Raves

Dec 26, 2016
Courtesy of Joyce Lanxin Zhao

Fifer Garbesi is creating a virtual Cuban rave.

She’s making a virtual reality film about the Cuban electronic music scene which so impressed her when she studied filmmaking on the island in the Spring of 2015, because she thinks there’s something special about electronic music concerts in Cuba.

 

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