Hurricane Irma

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

In a lot of ways life has returned to normal in most of the Florida Keys. But one major institution – a hospital – is still operating out of temporary quarters after Hurricane Irma. 

Gwen Filosa / Keynoter

The only organization providing hospice care in the Lower Keys is closing.

Charles Trainor Jr. / Miami Herald

On an unseasonably cool day in the Florida Keys, a manatee drifted through a canal, stopping occasionally to graze on an algae-slimed recreational vehicle that just barely crested the water’s surface.

That sunken RV is just one of 16 swept from the adjacent streets by Hurricane Irma in September. This 18-foot deep canal — filled with more wrecked homes than bobbing boats — is just one of hundreds in the island chain still clogged with storm trash.

But a canal clean-up in the Keys could finally be near.

Tom Hudson

A month after Hurricane Irma filled his mobile home with 17 inches of flood water, Brian Branigan received a permit from Monroe County to replace his home's drywall and flooring. By early December, the drywall had been replaced and new plywood had been laid. He expects to start putting in the linoleum floor this week with the hopes of moving back into the home before the end of the month.

"My home is modest," he said. "It's just a mobile home, but it's home. It's not a house."

FKAA

An aging reverse-osmosis plant proved its worth in the wake of Hurricane Irma, says the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority’s chief executive.

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

Plenty of people in the Florida Keys have opinions about how Monroe County handled the response to Hurricane Irma.

Starting Jan. 8, residents can deliver those opinions directly in a series of six public meetings along the island chain.

The idea is to hear what went well, what went badly and to get suggestions for the future, said Martin Senterfitt, Monroe’s director of emergency management.

“The community deserves the right to give their input on the quality of service they witnessed,” he said. “We always have to remember at the end of the day who we work for.”

FPL Delays Plan To Recoup Irma Costs

Jan 3, 2018
Al Diaz / Miami Herald

After saying in October it expected to collect an estimated $1.3 billion, Florida Power & Light has put on hold a plan to bill customers for the costs of restoring electricity after Hurricane Irma.

WLRN/Miami Herald

A lot has happened in the past 365 days.

A Category 4 hurricane plowed across the Florida Keys. President Obama ended the “wet foot, dry foot” policy for Cubans. The death toll related to Florida's opioid epidemic climbed higher. Venezuela sank further into economic and social chaos.

For the last episode of The Florida Roundup in 2017, editorial page editors from the Miami Herald, the Sun Sentinel and the Palm Beach Post — Nancy Ancrum, Rosemary O’Hara and Rick Christie — sat down with WLRN's Tom Hudson to review the year’s biggest news stories. 

NOAA/NASA

It’s easy to see the effects of Hurricane Irma on land in the Florida Keys. But the impacts underwater were also significant — and may last longer.

Health Care Spending, Regulations Confront Lawmakers

Dec 27, 2017
TOMAS RODRIGUEZ / Getty Images

Battles over health-care spending and regulation of Florida's vast health-care industry are likely to command a great deal of time and attention when the Florida Legislature convenes in January for its annual session.

Lawmakers are again expected to engage in a tug-of-war about what type of regulations should be in place for health-care facilities, but a main focus will be on Florida's strained safety-net health program at a time of tight state finances.

Florida's Medicaid program already costs $26 billion and covers an estimated 4 million people.

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

Irma Insurance Claims Near 866,000 As Pace Slows

Dec 20, 2017

Estimated insured losses from Hurricane Irma have topped $6.55 billion, with the number of claims approaching 866,000, according to information released Monday by the state Office of Insurance Regulation.

The latest report showed that 865,974 claims from the September storm had been filed with insurance companies as of Friday, with 719,512 involving residential properties.

Roberto Koltun / Miami Herald

Everglades National Park reopened Shark Valley on Saturday, much to the delight of cyclists who have made the park a popular attraction for decades.

floridakeysaquariumencounters.com

A resort and a major attraction are reopening about three months after Hurricane Irma slammed into the Florida Keys.

Tourists can return to Islamorada’s Amara Cay Resort and Marathon’s Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters on Friday.

The Keys reopened to visitors Oct. 1, and most tourism facilities in less-affected Key Largo and Key West quickly recovered. But many properties elsewhere in the Keys were significantly impacted.

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