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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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."

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.

Daniel Azoulay

Originally published June 6, 2014.

They’re cat’s-eye glasses, the kind that made Rocky’s girlfriend Adrian look like such a plain Jane in the first “Rocky” movie. But when Rosie Herrera wears them, she’s probably one of the few people who can make them look cool.

“I’ve had the same glasses since I was in the third grade,” says Herrera, with a chuckle. “I think I can pull them off because I really like them,” she says.

Can Beckham Bend It At A Boat Slip?

May 23, 2014
Miami Beckham United

On The Florida Roundup: Former soccer star David Beckham's team presents a new plan for a stadium and park at a boat slip by the American Airlines Arena after their vision for a facility at Miami's Port faced fierce opposition. 

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez got into office by touting his opposition to Marlins Park. But this week he was all over in the news for deals with sports teams, including the Miami Heat and Dolphins. What’s changed?

And a reporter spends eight months delving into the world of South Florida's Seminole and Miccosukee Indians.

Jeffrey Dunn

The names Barbe and Doucet might not be as widely known as Wagner, Puccini or Verdi -- but their influence is felt in opera houses worldwide.

French director Renaud Doucet and Canadian set and costume designer André Barbe are partners in life as well as work.  And this month, they're bringing their combined talents back to the Florida Grand Opera for Jules Massenet's "Thais."

Flickr CC

UPDATE, April 24, 2014: At a Palm Beach County school board meeting Wednesday, April 23, members refused to even entertain the proposal of implementing a parental dress code.

The idea of dress codes for parents who come to events was proposed by board member Karen Brill, following the subject coming up in Broward County schools.

Booty shorts. Saggy pants. Tight, cleavage-baring tank tops. Even pajamas.  

freedigitalphotos.net

The jam session at the Penny Lane Music Emporium in Fort Lauderdale is probably one of the few musical gatherings in South Florida where senior citizens and teenagers play out of the same songbook.

About 20 people of all ages stand or sit in a circle, strumming ukuleles. Each of them has one eye on the sheet music, the other on their host, Ty Olopai.

"Beginners, when they pick it up, learn music in a minute,” says Olopai.

jdc.org

The fate of a German ocean liner in 1939 is one of the darkest moments in both American and Cuban history. The M.S. St. Louis was bound for Havana, carrying nearly a thousand Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi persecution.

After Cuba and the U.S. both turned the ship away and it returned to Europe -- most of those passengers perished in the Holocaust.

And now, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz has raised the specter of that doomed voyage in his latest work, titled "Sotto Voce."  

Christine DiMattei

Holiday rerun: This story was originally published March 19, 2014.  

"We will run out of resources!
Miami drivers all stink!"

The young men and women are standing in a practice room in Florida International University’s School of Music, singing a whole string of gripes and lamentations.

A litany of complaints, as it were.

"People don't know to turn right on red!
They never use their turn signals either!"

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