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."

Ways to Connect

Alicia Zuckerman

A lawmaker from the city that hosts Art Basel Miami Beach says a tax break on art work would help stimulate the economy statewide. 

State representative David Richardson of Miami Beach just filed a bill that would exempt works of art from the state's sales tax. 

To qualify, the artwork would have to be original, as well as signed and sold by the artists. It would have to cost at least $1,000.

Richardson says said the measure is important because artwork in Florida is under a double-taxation:

freedigitalphotos.net/Mister GC

Florida tourism officials say America’s restrictive travel visa rules are costing the Sunshine State big bucks.

The Visa Waiver Program currently allows citizens of 38 countries to travel to the United States for tourism without having to obtain visas.

All Aboard Florida

 

A group of Palm Beach County business leaders says they’re confused by All Aboard Florida’s unwillingness to appear at their luncheon Thursday, especially since it was All Aboard Florida who pitched the idea in the first place.

Flickr/CreativeCommons/ClearLight.com

The people in charge of Tri-Rail say they want to take the guessing game out of train arrivals and departures.

So they plan to totally revamp the commuter rail's passenger information system.

Tri-Rail officials admit the system they use to inform their passengers about train statuses and delays is woefully out of date.  And younger riders accustomed to social media and up-to-the-minute alerts are driving the need for more real-time information.

Andrew Scrivani for the New York Times

Mango? How about Key lime? If you want this year's Thanksgiving Day table to include the tastes and aromas that practically scream "Florida," which would you choose?

NY Times Food Editor Sam Sifton and his team wanted to see how Thanksgiving dishes varied from state to state across the country. 

Christine DiMattei

In many secondary schools nationwide, classes in vehicle maintenance are falling prey to the same kind of budget cuts eliminating art, music and phys-ed from the curriculum.

But instructors in Broward County have found a way to take automotive classes on the road -- and pull them right up to the school door.

The Automotive Mobile Lab -- about the size of an 18-wheeler -- was designed by the staff of Broward Technical Colleges and was modeled on the kind of trailers used in NASCAR races.

 

Christine DiMattei

All Aboard Florida broke ground today for its downtown West Palm Beach station.

Over the next three weeks, both the Sewell Hardware and the Sasser Glass Buildings will be razed to make way for the station between Evernia and Datura Streets, right next to the Florida East Coast Railway corridor.

The grade crossings at those streets will be closed at the end of the year for construction.  All Aboard Florida officials say they plan to build a new bypass road to run right in front of the station.

Coral Gables Museum

Imagine you’re a college professor driven from your home country on a wave of prejudice and bigotry. You seek refuge in a new country, where you find yourself teaching a group of people subjected to similar intolerance. This nearly forgotten part of 20th-Century history is being revisited now at a Coral Gables Museum exhibit.

C. DiMattei

It must have felt like deja vu for Democratic State Senator Maria Sachs last night.

"How sweet it is!" Sachs shouted to a crowd of her supporters at the Airport Hilton in West Palm Beach.

Sachs held her lead over former Republican State Senator Ellyn Bogdanoff in the hotly contested race for Senate District 34, which straddles the eastern parts of Palm Beach and Broward Counties.

Sachs and Bogdanoff had a similar face-off in 2012, after redrawn districts had the two incumbents vying for the same seat.

Christine DiMattei

Floridians who attend any of the scheduled public forums on a proposed Miami-to-Orlando passenger train will find plenty of people to talk to—but no microphone and no podium.

Christine DiMattei

Until just a few months ago, Kasey Carol “K.C.” Traylor knew nothing about trains.

But now the stay-at-home mom from Palm City could probably tell you everything you need to know about double-tracking, quiet zones or the decibel level of locomotive horns. 

"I know more about trains than I ever thought I would,” says Traylor, with a laugh.

Christine DiMattei / WLRN

Until about 18 months ago, the auditorium at Broward College’s Pembroke Pines campus was largely unused.

“They’ve done graduations for kindergarten through fifth grade,” laughs Lamar Lovelace, director of the Broward College South Campus Office of Cultural Affairs. “A few film festivals here and there, but no concerted effort to program around arts and culture.”

But now, the 352-seat theater has been re-branded as BSOCA. And Lovelace is hoping its audiences get fired up enough to change the world. 

Christine DiMattei

Once their tours of duty are over, war veterans sometimes have trouble readjusting to civilian life. But a program in Broward County uses art as a way to help vets cope with the trauma.

For the past few weeks, the Coral Springs Museum of Art has been hosting free sessions for veterans of all ages. They’re encouraged to express themselves however they choose -- with paints, colored pencils, collage or even poetry.

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.

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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