Christine DiMattei

Anchor/ Reporter

Years ago, after racking her brains trying to find a fun, engaging, creative nighttime gig to subsidize her acting habit, Chris decided to ride her commercial voiceover experience into the fast-paced world of radio broadcasting. She started out with traffic reporting, moved on to news . . . and never looked back. Since then, Chris has worked in newsrooms throughout South Florida, producing stories for radio broadcasts and the web.

In her other life, she has been married to 12 husbands (including a not-so-wild boar and a garden slug), given birth to 15 children, died four times, twice taken vows as a nun and once been abducted by pirates in the Caribbean. And all this by doing English language dubbing for dozens of foreign films, soap operas and cartoons.  Both lives, she says, have been "a most excellent adventure."

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News
1:56 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

Pssst! Want a Hedgehog? Florida Wildlife Officials Seek Exotic Pet Owners

A state wildlife official poses with a tiny hedgehog. The mammals are among the exotic animals some Florida pet owners find too high-maintenance to keep
Credit Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

When exotic pets get too big, noisy or hungry to handle, their owners sometimes feel they have no choice but to release them into the wild.  

That’s the main reason Burmese pythons and other big snakes got a foothold in the Everglades, where they're wreaking havoc on native ecosystems.  But help is on the way for South Florida's overwhelmed exotic pet owners.

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Environment
4:27 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

Feds: Underwater 'Christmas Trees' Key To Saving Rare Coral

Hang a shining star upon the highest . . . PVC pipe? An undersea NOAA nursery where pieces of growing coral dangle like Christmas ornaments from plastic piping.
Credit NOAA

"Maybe it just needs a little love," said Peanuts character Charlie Brown in describing his tiny Christmas tree with branches so fragile a single ornament weighs them to the ground.

Perhaps the same could be said of distressed coral.

Federal scientists believe that a spindly structure resembling an underwater Charlie Brown tree could play a huge role in saving rare coral damaged by the PortMiami deep-dredge project.

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News
3:19 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

How South Florida Modeling Agencies Could Help Stamp Out Human Trafficking

A 2008 United Nations conference on human trafficking inspired former Ford Modeling Agency CEO Katie Ford to join in the fight against modern-day slavery.
Credit Christine DiMattei

Youth sells.

Both in the glamorous world of high-fashion modeling and, sadly, in the dark underworld of human trafficking.

A fake promise of modeling or acting jobs is just one way human traffickers lure young victims -- female and male -- into lives of prostitution or domestic slavery. And now one of the most famous names in the fashion world says South Florida modeling agencies and talent scouts can play a part in the fight against the modern-day slave trade.

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News
6:03 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

Palm Beach County Gets First Look At New Flood Zone Maps

This week, FEMA specialists have been helping Palm Beach County residents assess their flood risk with the help of newly-released flood-zone maps.
Credit Christine DiMattei

In the program room of the Boynton Beach City Library, 80-year-old Harvey Levine is handed a numbered ticket and a form to fill out. He then sits down and waits for his number to be called.

The room is divided into stations marked "Property Look-up," "Insurance Information,"  "Appeals and Comments,"  and "Community Assistance." This is one of several public open houses hosted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Levine is here to learn the status of his Lake Worth condo.

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Cuba
7:04 am
Tue September 2, 2014

Cuba Limits Amount Of Goods In Flyers' Baggage

Credit Flickr / kozumel

In the five years since travel restrictions to Cuba were eased, Cuban-American air travelers have been taking about $2 billion worth of products a year to their relatives who still live on the island.

Now Cuban authorities are limiting the amount of goods that can be brought in and have also increased customs duties on many items still allowed. The Cuban government says the new rules are meant to curtail the illegal operations of so-called "mules" who import items for black-market businesses.

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News
7:19 am
Mon September 1, 2014

Broward's Parkland Is Rated The Safest City In Florida

Terramar Park, one of the public parks Broward's Parkland is famous for.
Credit Christine DiMattei

Remember the days when you could leave your front door unlocked? 

OK – neither can we. But if you want to live in a place where break-ins and other crimes are a rarity, you might want to give Parkland a try.

Jacksonville-based Safe Choice Security says the lush, green Broward County enclave is No. 1 on its list of the safest cities in Florida.

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News
9:13 am
Thu August 28, 2014

Palm Beach County Considers Ban On 'Feel-Good' Herb

Kratom acts like a stimulant at low doses and a sedative at high doses.
Credit kratomonline.org

While many Florida voters debate the wisdom of legalizing medical marijuana, a different substance is causing concern in Palm Beach County.

County officials are considering a ban on kratom, an herb that’s becoming a staple at some trendy cafes.

Kratom is grown in Southeast Asia. The herb is available in packets sold at some gas stations and also at some cafes that serve kava, a beverage growing in popularity for its calming effects.

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Primary Election
11:33 am
Tue August 26, 2014

Polls Close At 7 p.m. For Florida's Primary Election

Voters at the Miami Shores Community Center. Polling places close at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Credit Walter Michot / Miami Herald

No long lines and quiet polling places are what most South Florida voters can expect so far during the primary election on Tuesday.

For most Democratic voters, the highlight of this election is getting to choose who will run against Republican Gov. Rick Scott in November: Charlie Crist or Nan Rich. But there are local races on the ballot, and some voters are finding it’s wise to go into the voting booth with a plan.

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Real Estate
6:05 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

Why South Florida Is A Great Place For Landlords

As more locals are renting instead buying properties, part-time landlords are profiting.
Credit thinkpanama.com

When the housing market collapsed in South Florida, many homeowners who lost their homes became renters. And the region's blazing-hot rental market is making this a profitable place for part-time landlords.

Real estate website Zillow.com rates South Florida the second-best market in the country for landlords who don't rely on tenants for primary income. The average monthly profit is $515, right behind Oklahoma City at $536.

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Immigration Reform
6:00 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

7 Immigration Activists Arrested Outside Pompano Detention Center

Yadira Dumet, 26, was one of seven protesters arrested for blocking the entrance of the Broward Transitional Center in Pompano Beach. The protesters want to highlight the plight of 'low-priority' undocumented immigrants detained at the Center.
Credit C. DiMattei

A group of protesters in Pompano Beach said they were ready to go to jail Wednesday to speed the release of undocumented immigrants facing deportation – and that’s exactly what happened.

The seven protesters chained themselves to each other outside the Broward Transitional Center.  Rally organizers say the detention facility is holding between 500 and 700 undocumented immigrants awaiting decisions on their deportation cases.

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News
2:47 am
Wed August 6, 2014

Feds: Undersea 'Little Houses' In Florida Keys A Threat To Marine Life

One of hundreds of 'casitas,' illegal lobster traps on the ocean floor off the Florida Keys.
Credit NOAA/TetraTech

For the last two months, marine restoration teams have been hauling up coffee table-like structures from Florida Keys waters. They're called casitas -- Spanish for "little houses."

Cute name -- but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says these things can be really nasty. They're made out of a wide variety of materials, including corrugated tin, plastic and cement.

When lobsters seek shelter under the artificial habitats, poachers can catch as many as 1,500 a day, far exceedng the daily catch limit of 250.

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Arts
12:24 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

"The Miami Generation: Revisited" Still Exhibits Yearning For Cuba

"The Miami Generation" of Cuban-exile artists in 1983.
Credit thecubanhistory.com

The recurring image of a pierced heart in a gallery at the NSU Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale is almost certainly coincidental. But former Miami Herald art critic Helen Kohen says for this exhibit, titled "The Miami Generation: Revisited," the motif is fitting.

"It’s an enormously strong symbol of a huge change in your life and a huge switch-over,” says Kohen. “To lose their native land. To be an exile."

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The Florida Roundup
10:59 am
Fri July 25, 2014

The Florida Roundup: Taking The "Affordable" Out Of The Affordable Care Act?

Health insurance subsidies are on shaky ground after two contradictory court rulings.
Credit cooldesign / freedigitalphotos.net

This week on the Florida Roundup, we're exploring why subsidies to help nearly a million Floridians buy health insurance are on shaky ground.

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