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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Arts
8:12 am
Wed April 17, 2013

Arts Garage Wins Real Estate Tug-Of-War In Delray Beach

Credit Christine DiMattei

Much to the relief of Delray Beach arts lovers, the city has decided to let a popular cultural hub stay in the space it’s called home for the last two years.

The fate of the Arts Garage has hung in the balance since last summer, when a law firm offered to buy the city-owned property that the arts incubator occupies downtown.  Since then, Delray Beach has been forced to choose between the new jobs the law firm says it would bring and the wildly popular performance venue.

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Personal Essay
9:00 am
Mon April 8, 2013

Saying Goodbye To Fashion Designer Lilly Pulitzer

One of the classic "Lilly" dresses by Palm Beach designer Lilly Pulitzer.
Credit Etsy.com

My wardrobe is completely Lilly Pulitzer-free. 

And today, I regret it.

As the fashion world mourns the death of the socialite-turned-designer, who died Sunday in Palm Beach at the age of 81, I find myself wondering what about Pulitzer’s signature line was so intimidating to me.

Were the sherbet orange and sea foam green prints too bold for me?

Did I feel my triceps weren’t toned enough to pull off that sleeveless shift?

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News
6:30 am
Mon April 8, 2013

'Owl-catraz' Revisited: ACLU Defends FAU Students Against Alleged Intimidation

Credit Christine DiMattei

“Owl-catraz” is no more.

But it seems the controversy over a private prison company’s efforts to buy naming rights to Florida Atlantic University’s stadium is far from over.

In a letter to FAU’s Dean of Students, the American Civil Liberties Union criticizes the university for an alleged retaliation against seven students for rallying against the defunct deal. 

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News
10:26 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

Escape from 'Owl-catraz': Prison Firm Pulls Out Of FAU Stadium Deal

The stadium on the Boca Raton campus of Florida Atlantic University
Credit Christine DiMattei

A $6 million deal that would have given a private prison company naming rights to Florida Atlantic University's stadium is now off. And that's leaving some FAU students wondering if another donation that size is coming around any time soon.

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News
6:20 am
Thu March 28, 2013

South Florida Seniors To Lawmakers: Hands Off Our Arcades

Above: 75-year-old Emma Illel plays one of the games at Cleopatra Arcade in Boynton Beach. Below: Outside Cleopatra, a message for Florida lawmakers
Credit Christine DiMattei

Playing cards -- even though you hate it.

Going shopping -- although you already have a closetful of clothes.

Staying home and watching television? Yawn.

Golf?  Not on your life.

Many of the senior citizens who gathered Tuesday in solidarity at Boynton Beach’s Cleopatra Arcade paint a grim picture of a future without their beloved senior arcades.

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News
5:43 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

Update: FAA Closes Boca Raton, North Perry Control Towers, Spares Opa-locka

Air traffic controller Ron Wooldridge guides in flights at Boca Raton Airport. Boca is one of two small South Florida airports losing their control towers to sequestration cuts.
Credit Christine DiMattei

North Perry and Boca Raton airports are among 149 small facilities nationwide where federal budget cuts have forced closures of air traffic control towers.

The Federal Aviation Administration announced the decision today, nearly a month after it released a preliminary list of towers that could be affected.  

The tower at Miami-Dade's Opa-locka Airport had originally been considered for closure, but it's now on the list of only 24 towers nationwide that will be kept operational.

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Sequester And Florida Air Travel
8:00 am
Fri March 22, 2013

How The Sequester Will Impact South Florida's Small Airports

Air traffic controller Ron Wooldridge looks out over the runway of Boca Raton Airport.
Credit Christine DiMattei

On any given day, 53-year-old Ron Wooldridge guides dozens of flights in and out of Boca Raton Airport, just east of I-95. But early next month, instead of manning the airport's control tower, he could be standing on the unemployment line.

"I find it a little ridiculous,” says Wooldridge. “They're not thinking of the safety of the aircraft.  Or how it's going to affect the rest of the city itself."

Automatic federal budget cuts that took effect this month could force the Federal Aviation Administration to close control towers at least 170 small airports nationwide.

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News
6:00 am
Wed March 20, 2013

South Florida's Venezuelan Jews Recall Bitter Anti-Semitism Under Chavez

Jose Moreno (third from left) chats with customers in his Judaica store in Aventura. Moreno is one of thousands of Jews who fled Venezuela during the presidency of Hugo Chavez.
Credit Christine DiMattei

Inside Jose Moreno's Judaica shop in Aventura, there's an entire wall lined with Hebrew books.  Other shelves hold glistening menorahs and there's a rack filled with special Passover games and toys for children.

An elderly customer enters the shop wearing a yarmulke and Moreno greets him in Spanish.

Moreno, 71, was raised in Venezuela and for many years owned a similar store in Caracas.

"Most of the Jewish people had good businesses and [a] good living standard,” Moreno said.  “We had a lot of synagogues, temples, schools.”

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Pope Francis
1:48 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

South Florida Reaction to America's First Pope

Miami Beach's St Joseph's Catholic Church, in the heart of "Little Buenos Aires"
Credit Christine DiMattei

Pope Francis may not be from the United States, but for many in South Florida, the fact that he's from Argentina is even better.

Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski has hailed the selection of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio as a "great thing” for the hemisphere, and called the new Pope an American.

“Latin America, as Pope Benedict described it, is the continent of hope. And it is the continent in which we have the largest growing number of Catholics in the world.”

Wenski believes it was a shrewd political move by The Vatican to look to the Americas for its new leader.

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Environment
8:00 am
Tue March 12, 2013

The Dune Abides: Work Begins To Fix Boca Beach Eroded by Sandy

A construction worker dumps sand at Red Reef Park in Boca Raton. The dunes were badly damaged when Hurricane Sandy brushed South Florida as a tropical storm.
Credit The City of Boca Raton

Reporter Christine DiMattei tells us what Boca Raton is doing to restore a popular stretch of beach eroded by Sandy and other autumn storms.

Imagine enough sand to cover about four football fields, four feet high, and you'll get an idea of how much work is being done to build up the dunes in Boca Raton's Red Reef Park.

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Hugo Chavez And Weston
6:33 am
Wed March 6, 2013

'Weston-zuela' Welcomes News Hugo Chavez Is Dead

Cafe Canela owner Ramon Peraza waves a Venezuelan flag during a news report on the death of Hugo Chavez.
Credit C. DiMattei

It was busier than usual inside Café Canela last night, but owner Ramon Peraza repeatedly came out from behind the counter to give new arrivals a hug or a handshake. All of them were jubilant.

But Peraza struggles to describe his emotions.

“I feel that my heart is very, very happy and quiet, quiet. We are waiting for this for many years,” says Peraza

When Peraza says the word “quiet,” he makes a soothing gesture over his chest. 

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Theater And Twitter
6:14 am
Fri March 1, 2013

'Tweet Seats' In Theaters Spark Battle Between Technology And Tradition

A Palm Beach Opera performer gets in on the act for one of the company's special "Tweet Seat" events
Credit Storify.com/Julian Restrep

Christine DiMattei tells us why some South Florida theaters are experimenting with "Tweet Seats."

On stage at the Kravis Center, Palm Beach Opera is performing Rossini's Cenerentola, the Italian version of Cinderella.  In the second to last row of the house, 27-year-old Jennifer Pfaff's thumbs are going a mile a minute on her smartphone:

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News
11:18 am
Wed February 13, 2013

Christine DiMattei, 2013 FAPB, Individual Achievement category

Audio includes spot, hard news and feature material by WLRN reporter Christine DiMattei.

Spot:  "Obama in Century Village"
Hard News: "Palm Beach County Floods"
Feature: "Jaco" -- Parts 1 and 2


 

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Arts
10:52 am
Wed February 13, 2013

Delray Beach Postpones Vote on 'Garage' Sale

Michelle Lynn of West Palm Beach joins a group rallying in support of Arts Garage.
Credit C. DiMattei

A crowd of about one hundred supporters of the Arts Garage gathered outside the venue Tuesday  and marched the few blocks to Delray Beach City Hall.  They were prepared to speak out against a bid by the law firm of Kanner and Pintaluga to buy the city-owned space that houses Arts Garage.

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Embargo On Cuba
10:00 am
Mon January 28, 2013

DNC Chair: 'Unbelievable Oppression' In Cuba Makes Continuing Embargo Necessary

South Florida Congresswoman and DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz addresses the audience at a Forum Club of the Palm Beaches event.
Credit C. DiMattei

The leader of the Democratic National Committee says the U.S. embargo of Cuba should remain in place, in spite of recent reforms in the Communist island nation.

Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz spoke before a crowd of over 500 people Friday at an event sponsored by the Forum Club of the Palm Beaches. 

The DNC chair says it doesn't make sense to lift the embargo, in light of what she calls the "unbelievable oppression" in Cuba.

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