The end of the year is approaching and the news columns and web sites of a hungry nation are filling up with weird Florida stories, each supposedly an illustration of the character, lifestyle and unholy preoccupations of our strange, strange state.
For the second year in a row, West Palm Beach has opted to decorate the city in a very South Florida fashion this holiday season.
Large, intricate holiday themed sand sculptures have been erected all down Clematis Street between Rosemary Avenue and the waterfront.
City of West Palm Beach spokesman Elliot Cohen said the sculptures have been more than festive, they've been good publicity. The largest sculpture is a 35-foot-tall Christmas tree made with 400 tons of sand.
On the left is the end of the 2.2 mile section of the bridge that is still open to pedestrians. FDOT cut the bridge to keep people off the section to the right. You can see the new seven mile bridge in the background.
When the Old Seven Mile Bridge was built, it was an engineering wonder of the early 1900s. Part of Henry Flagler’s famous railway to Key West, it ran across nearly seven miles of open water to connect Marathon to the Lower Keys.
Today, the bridge is still a popular spot with both locals and tourists, but it’s slowly falling apart. Salt water and storms are eroding the bridge faster than the state can afford to repair it. Much of it is now closed. Historians and activists are desperately searching for a way to preserve what's left: a 2.2 mile section of the Old Seven Bridge that is still open to pedestrians and cyclists.
Florida's war on so-called "pill mill" pain clinics appears to be pushing the problem into Georgia.
The Wall Street Journal reports that in 2010, there were just 10 pain clinics in the state of Georgia. Today, there are more than 125 clinics and the state's per capita prescriptions of oxycodone has tripled in the last decade.
2012 may be remembered in Latin American for what didn't happen more than for what actually did, especially in Venezuela and Cuba.
The year began ominously for Venezuelan nationals living in South Florida. The U.S. State Department expelled the country's consul-general, alleging she was involved in a cyber-terrorism plot. In January, Venezuela's Miami consulate was shut down by President Hugo Chavez, who was facing a tough reelection campaign.
tvOur friends atWUSFin Tampa have been collecting holiday stories and traditions from around the state for a series they call "Florida Holidays."The following was originally posted byWUSFreporterDalia Colón.
Confession: Publix holiday commercials turn me to mush.
Maybe it's the music. Maybe it's because I'm already in the holiday spirit. Or maybe it's just good marketing.
But Florida led the nation with new death sentences for the year: 21, more than twice as many as Texas. California, with 14 death sentences, was the only other state to achieve a double-digit performance.