Kate Stein

Reporter

Kate Stein can't quite explain what attracts her to South Florida. It's more than just the warm weather (although this Wisconsin native and Northwestern University graduate definitely appreciates the South Florida sunshine). It has a lot to do with being able to travel from the Everglades to Little Havana to Brickell without turning off 8th Street. It's also related to Stein's fantastic coworkers, whom she first got to know during a winter 2016 internship.

Officially, Stein is WLRN's environment, data and transportation journalist. Privately, she uses her job as an excuse to rove around South Florida searching for stories à la Carl Hiaasen and Edna Buchanan. Regardless, Stein speaks Spanish and is always thrilled to run, explore and read. 

Ways to Connect

Peter Haden / WLRN

According to official records, more than 1,000 people in South Florida overdosed last year on opioids including heroin and carfentanil -- a drug so potent it’s used as an elephant tranquilizer.

The growing threat of the opioids epidemic is mobilizing law enforcement and community leaders to form new partnerships and collaborate in events such as last week's discussion hosted by Florida Atlantic University (FAU). 

Red Huber, MCT via Miami Herald

Things are looking up for Florida's manatees.

The West Indian manatee has long been considered "endangered"-- a species on life support. But at the end of March, federal officials changed the manatees' status to “threatened,” which means their condition is less critical. In early 2017, officials counted more than 6,000 manatees in Florida’s waters.

Kate Stein / WLRN

Are you a South Floridian who's been meaning to explore the Everglades, ride a boat on Biscayne Bay or trek through Dry Tortugas... but just never gotten around to it?

Well, now you're out of excuses. This weekend (April 22 and 23), you can visit South Florida's three national parks for free. It's part of National Park Week, which goes through Sunday. And the celebration includes abundant activities to highlight these natural, national treasures.

Kate Stein / WLRN

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-FL, is trying to fill in fellow U.S. senators on climate change. So it makes sense that he invited members of the Commerce Committee — of which he's the ranking minority member — to West Palm Beach to learn about increasing temperatures and rising seas from the experts who know it firsthand.

But whether those committee members will ever hear the testimony from the hearing on Monday is unclear. None of the other 26 senators on the Commerce Committee attended.

Kate Stein / WLRN

A controversial plan to build a reservoir that would help address damaging water discharges in the Everglades ecosystem is one step closer to being enacted — thanks to revisions that take into account the concerns of farmers in the Everglades Agricultural Area.

On Wednesday, Florida’s Senate Appropriations Committee approved a revised version of Senate Bill 10. The bill aims to alleviate blue-green algae on Florida’s coasts by reducing the amount of water that's discharged to the coasts from Lake Okeechobee.

Kate Stein / WLRN

What makes water managers celebrate?

New pipes, of course!

So South Florida Water Management District employees were stoked Monday when a flatbed truck with a massive aluminum pipe -- about 60 feet long and five feet in diameter -- finally arrived at a big district construction site southwest of Homestead. The pipe is one of three to be used in a project providing Florida Bay with more of the fresh water it desperately needs.

Kate Stein / WLRN

South Florida law enforcement and transportation officials met Friday with airline representatives and officials from the FBI and the Transportation Security Administration to continue analyzing the shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in January.

Five people were killed and six injured when a gunman opened fire in Terminal 2. Dozens more were hurt as they fled in panic from a supposed second shooter. There was only one gunman in the incident.

PR Newswire/AP

President Trump fulfilled one of his big campaign promises on Tuesday: He signed an executive order that directed the Environmental Protection Agency to roll back the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan.

That plan was intended to cut harmful carbon emissions by replacing coal-fired power plants with renewable energy sources. Trump wants to repeal it as a step towards boosting the struggling coal industry.

But in Florida and across the country, it's doubtful the rollback will have much impact -- positive or negative, says University of Miami economist David Kelly.

Kate Stein / WLRN

 

What if 30 percent of Miami-Dade County were shaded by trees? What would that look like? Is that something we’d really want?

Yes! says County Commissioner Dennis Moss. He heads the county’s Million Trees initiative.

 

"The trees are there, and they basically provide shade and they cool the community," Moss said. "When you have trees in the area, children are more inclined to go out and play."

 

Tom Hudson / WLRN

Water, water everywhere, but a lot of it’s contaminated.

That’s a theme of World Water Day 2017, which took place Wednesday. It extends to South Florida, where high phosphorus levels in the Everglades contribute to harmful algae blooms and cattails that dominate native sawgrass.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Seagrass in Florida Bay has died off rapidly over the past couple of years. About 40,000 acres have been lost, harming the habitat of animals from manatees to toadfish and imperiling the area's fishing industry.

Kate Stein / WLRN

Artist Jenna Efrein loves the Everglades. Since moving to South Florida, she's spent a lot of time exploring the ecosystem and learning about the challenges it faces. That passion -- and 10 years of gymnastics experience -- have shaped an installation of her work on display now at the Wynwood Building.

Patrick Ferrell / Miami Herald

When it comes to the future of greater Miami, what worries you most? And what is the region doing well?

 

Kate Stein / WLRN

The Tamil word for python is "malaippāmpu." Translated literally, it means "mountain snake."

But two Tamil-speaking snake trackers from India, who are in South Florida to help with the region's python problem, think "water snake" would be a more appropriate name.

Kate Stein / WLRN

If you scoop a glassful of water from the heart of the Everglades, that water is as pure and clear as the water that flows from your tap.

That’s because chances are good your tap water comes from the Everglades.

One in three Floridians -- more than eight million of us -- gets drinking water from the Biscayne Aquifer a few feet below the southeastern Everglades. The ecosystem acts as a natural filter, removing excess nutrients and keeping out seawater.

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