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The first cases of zika have been confirmed in Florida, and experts say more small-scale outbreaks are likely here.

 

At least three cases of the virus have been confirmed in Florida, including two in Miami-Dade County, according to multiple news reports. Matthew DeGennaro, a mosquito researcher at Florida International University, says he expects to see more cases, although the outbreaks will not be nearly as large as the ones ravaging the Americas.

 

AP via Miami Herald

Has President Obama’s policy of engaging Cuba succeeded or failed? It’s probably much too early to say – but the fundraising efforts of groups on both sides of the issue indicate something important is working.

The New Cuba PAC (political action committee) was launched last spring in Miami and is based in Washington D.C. It supports President Obama’s year-old project to normalize relations with Cuba – including efforts to repeal the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba.

On Thursday New Cuba announced it had raised an impressive $350,000 in its first six months.

John Power / WLRN

The city of Coral Gables believes Waste Management employees can also be crime fighters.

 

 

Coral Gables Chief of Police Ed Hudak Jr. was fascinated by the idea of Waste Watch, a crime prevention program. “This neighborhood watch initiative enhances the safety of Coral Gables neighborhoods and provides law enforcement with an extra set of eyes on the street to protect our community and citizens,” says Hudak.

Fernando Vergara / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

In response to Latin America’s sudden outbreak of Zika – the insect-borne virus tied to a serious fetal brain defect – some of the region’s countries are telling women to shun pregnancy for months if not years.

We can debate whether that strategy is appropriate. Rights groups, for example, have a point when they say it puts an unfair if not unrealistic onus on women when the focus should be eradicating mosquitoes.

Kevin Bowman / Flickr

Critics of a water bill that passed the Florida Legislature last week say it doesn’t do enough to protect our state’s freshwater.

 

The new law allows farms and agriculture companies to voluntarily report their waste releases and runoff into Lake Okeechobee and surrounding watersheds.

If they choose not to, they’ll have to pay for water testing.

Lake Worth Democratic Rep. Dave Kerner opposes the bill.

City of Key West

  While the Miami-Dade County Commission recently asked the federal government not to place a Cuban consulate in that county, Key West officials are looking to strengthen ties across the Florida Straits.

  The island city now has two "ambassadors" to Cuba. One is former City Commissioner Tony Yaniz, who was awarded the title by two city commissioners. The other is Key West Yacht Club Commodore Robert Harvey — named by Mayor Craig Cates, who has frequently clashed with Yaniz  politically.

Wilson Sayre / WLRN

Once again Miami-Dade County is asking - how many homeless kids are living here?

Last year there were 112 counted young homeless people living in Miami-Dade County. “Counted,” being the operant term, because it’s tough to get an accurate number of those under the age of 24 who are homeless through self-reporting, for the most part.

Many are living with friends or distant relatives - what’s called “doubled up” - and don’t necessarily consider themselves homeless, according to social workers who work with this population.

Miami New Drama

In Jewish folklore, a golem is a creature fashioned of clay and animated by magic.  To Michel Hausmann, the golem is less a Yiddisha Frankenstein's monster than a dark knight.

“It’s a Jewish Superman,” says Hausmann. “It’s the ancestor of all superheroes.  When you don’t have the strength to fight your enemies, you create this creature to do the fighting for you.”

But what happens after it defeats your enemies?

“Then YOU become the enemy,” posits Hausmann.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

  Key West is famous for its collection of old wooden houses, mostly dating to the 19th century. The district known as Old Town is on the National Register of Historic Places.

  But occasionally a new building goes up in the old neighborhoods. Some recent new buildings, and proposed new buildings, have generated a debate about whether new construction in the historic district should blend in with the older buildings or be clearly separate.

A play by first-time playwright Charles Gluck makes its debut in Boca Raton, with a cast of South Florida favorites  and a powerful message about familial relationships.

  

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