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Florida agriculture officials have declared a state of emergency in Miami-Dade County, where an Oriental fruit fly infestation has the potential to attack hundreds of crops.

In a news release Tuesday, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said the first fruit fly was detected Aug. 26. Since then, 158 flies have been detected, many in the Redland area of the county.

Fruit flies lay eggs in fruits and vegetables. They're considered one of the world's most serious pests due to the potential economic harm. The fly attacks more than 430 different fruits, vegetables and nuts.

The Struggle Is Real For Florida Avocados

Aug 18, 2015
Kenny Malone / WLRN

Dr. Edward “Gilly” Evans does not hide his avocado bias.

“I mean, if you’re really an avocado eater then a ‘green-skin’ avocado is the way to go,” says the University of Florida agricultural economist.

America may have fallen in love with avocado, but it has not fallen for Florida’s avocado just yet. The Sunshine State specializes in what’s called the green-skin avocado. It comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes, but generally speaking, green-skins are bigger, a brighter green and have smoother skin than the Hass variety of avocado.

Lisann Ramos

If you drive on Gratigny Parkway this weekend, try not to get too distracted by the wakeboarders soaring through the air at Amelia Earhart Park.

They may be hard to ignore -- they're the best in the country.

Wakeboarders from all over the U.S. are competing this weekend for the Wakeboard National Championships.

The event is a county effort to offer a greater variety of activities at public parks.

American Black Film Fest Returns To Miami For Good

Aug 12, 2015
Ginny Gutierrez / Courtesy

The American Black Film Fest has announced its return to Miami Beach for its 20th anniversary next year. 

Originally envisioned as a destination event, founder Jeff Friday says the festival may be ready to settle down here.

Friday cited Miami’s “culture, logistics, and accessibility” as fitting the needs of the festival’s community, and as the main reason for his decision to choose the city as a permanent home.

Jason Howle / Flickr via https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

It's not only about shaming. Some restaurant owners and chefs in South Florida use their social media accounts to vent about competitors, try to locate dine-and-dashers and, yes, trash bad reviewers. 

Whether it's a personal profile or the brand's account, commenters seem to stand by the posters putting their guests on blast.

Frankie Leon / Flickr

A new study says South Floridians are swimming in credit card debt. Maybe drowning in it.

CreditCards.com, a self-described “online credit card marketplace,” looked at average debt versus median income for 25 major metropolitan areas to determine a region’s credit card debt burden.

The Miami metropolitan area had the fourth worst debt burden in the country.

Florida's Jobless Rate Down To 5.5 Percent

Jul 17, 2015
piotr mamnaimie / flickr via https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Florida's unemployment rate continues to follow the national trend, dipping as the summer began.

The Sunshine State's jobless mark for June stood at 5.5 percent, below the 5.7 percent rate that was recorded in May, the state Department of Economic Opportunity announced Friday. The rate had hovered around 5.7 percent since the end of 2014.

Graphic by Kenny Malone

Serendipity 3 on Lincoln Road, OTC in Brickell, Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza just off the MacArthur Causeway and the 17-year-old Romeo’s Cafe in Coral Gables are among the 20-plus restaurants that have closed in the last few weeks.

One source told the Miami Herald it’s been a “bloodbath” in the Miami-Dade County food-and-beverage scene.

Tax Credits/ Flickr

For six months, hundreds of Miami-Dade-based companies are under closer than usual scrutiny by financial cops.

The businesses export electronics from five ZIP codes surrounding Miami International Airport. In April, the U.S. Treasury Department's FinCEN (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network) bureau slapped an order on the companies to report more of their business dealings involving cash. 

Anthony Cook / WLRN

  

  Ms. Cheezious’ gooey grilled cheeses made the food truck a household name among South Florida foodies within a year on the road.

But for a few months, fans have also been ordering Cheezious from a static location: The owners of the locally beloved truck opened a permanent eatery in February.

It’s located on Biscayne Boulevard in Miami, and its jam-packed grand opening suggested the the restaurant would have no problems handling its fanbase.

Flickr Creative Commons

A Missouri-based nonprofit studying trends in entrepreneurial activity ranked the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area No. 2 on its list for startup business activity.

The Kauffman Foundation's annual report ranks 40 metropolitan areas based on their startup activity.

This year, Austin, Texas ranked No. 1. The top 10 list included San Jose, Calif.; Los Angeles; Denver, Colo.; San Francisco; New York; Houston; San Diego, Calif.; and San Antonio, Texas.

Planet Money has a really interesting segment on Tom Burrell, who started out in the mailroom of a Chicago advertising firm in 1961 and ended up profoundly changing the way advertisers talk to non-white audiences.

Miami Community Reacts To Cuba Removal From Terrorism Blacklist

May 30, 2015
Balint Földesi / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

On Friday, the U.S. State Department announced that Cuba had been dropped from its list of state sponsors of terrorism. Removal from the list means Cuba will no longer face certain sanctions related to foreign aid, defense sales and banking.

Cuba’s removal from the blacklist may also now give the “green light” for American businesses to pursue opportunities there. 

“The fact that Cuba was on this list would normally cause a person to hesitate,” said Augusto Maxwell, chair of the Cuba practice at Akerman LLP.

CVS

Cafecito, bilingual staff, money transfer services, an expanded discount fragrance counter. But wait -- “y más.”

CVS has launched 12 “CVS/pharmacy y más” stores in South Florida. In Miami, Hialeah, Doral, Homestead and Kendall, CVS says it has converted 11 existing locations and added a brand-new store to launch its Hispanic-centric store concept.

This comes less than a year after the Rhode Island-based giant bought Miami-based Navarro Discount Pharmacy, touted as the largest Hispanic-owned drugstore chain in the country.

Nancy Klingener

When Bill Lane visits Cuba, he looks at the roads. It's not that he's a veteran traveler to Cuba even though he's visited three times since 1998. Lane works for Caterpillar. His company sells paving machines, road graders, bulldozers and other heavy equipment used to build and repair roads.

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