Puerto Rico

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

After Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, 18-year-old Ledishla Acevedo booked a flight to Miami in hopes of continuing her college education in Florida.

When she arrived at her cousin’s house here, she turned on the lights and started to cry.

Then she took a hot shower and cried some more.

Updated at 4:52 p.m. Eastern

On Sunday the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority cancelled the highly disputed $300 million contract awarded to Whitefish Energy, a tiny American company tasked with restoring power to the still storm-ravaged island. PREPA spokesperson Carlos Monroig confirmed the news to NPR.

The announcement came hours after Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rosselló demanded the contract's cancellation, amid ongoing local and federal audits.

https://www.national-park.com/welcome-to-biscayne-national-park/

Today in Sundial: Puerto Ricans living on the island may be without power for months. Some parts of the island could be living without basic services for more than a year. WLRN's Tim Padgett was there recently, and he says the best way to describe what's happening in Puerto Rico is basic paralysis. 

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

COMMENTARY

Driving through Puerto Rico last week, my attention was often focused on the hurricane destruction all around me. And that was really stupid – because if you’re not entirely focused on the road in Puerto Rico, you’ll hit one of the island’s countless, craterous and calamitous potholes.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

TOA BAJA – Heavy rains fell last week in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, a town west of San Juan. The sound of the downpour took 68-year-old Carmen Rivera back to September 20 – the day Hurricane Maria roared into Puerto Rico and destroyed her home.

One month since Maria hit Puerto Rico, the wait for Irma's food benefits in South Florida and Florida public schools vs. the state over charter schools all on this week's 'special pledge edition' of The Florida Roundup with host Tom Hudson. 

Guests: 

Just seven months ago, Puerto Rican chef Jose Sanchez opened the restaurant of his dreams: a place where you could feel like you were in Italy one day, and like you were in France the next.

He served up fusion cuisine and called it Pera Maraya. There was deconstructed ratatouille, caprese salad with octopus. The restaurant in Carolina, east of San Juan, was getting rave reviews: five stars on Yelp, Trip Advisor and Facebook. He spent nearly a decade saving up to open this restaurant, and was overjoyed at how quickly it found success.

Today in Sundial: New World Symphony, in collaboration with MIT Media Lab, and with support from the John S and James L Knight Foundation, is putting together a new show titled Project 305. We spoke with composer Ted Hearne and filmmaker Jonathan David Kane about  the unique sounds and videos they collected from everyday folks to put this symphony together. By the way, one of those sounds includes a dog chasing peacocks.

The Coliseo is the biggest concert hall in San Juan, Puerto Rico. But since Hurricane Maria devastated the island a month ago, it's become the center of a massive effort to feed tens of thousands left hungry by the storm — an effort led by celebrity chef José Andrés.

"We're about to reach the million and a half [meals] served — a vast majority of them hot meals," says Andrés, who is known for his upscale restaurants in Washington, D.C., and for canceling his plans to open one in Donald Trump's D.C. hotel.

Associated Press

GUAYAMA, PUERTO RICO —  Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló visited President Trump at the White House on Thursday to discuss the U.S. island territory’s hurricane catastrophe. The President gave himself a perfect score on Puerto Rico relief. Puerto Ricans on the island … beg to differ.

A full month after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, 80 percent of its 3.4 million people still have no power. And relief supplies are only now starting to move more regularly into the island’s demolished interior. Still, President Trump gave his performance there a perfect 10.

The first wave of university students displaced by Hurricane Maria has arrived to study in the mainland US, taking advantage of tuition discounts offered to Puerto Rican students whose home institutions remain shuttered.

“Coming here was a big relief,” says Rosamari Palerm, 23. She was the first student from Puerto Rico to arrive at St. Thomas University, a private Catholic school in Miami Gardens, Florida with over 5,000 students.

Miami Herald

Today in Sundial: Miami Beach voters will be picking a new mayor in November. They'll also have to vote on a referendum that could change how business operates on part of Ocean Drive. We'll talk about the ballot and the options voters will have. We also dig into the controversies that have led to the end of Councilman Michael Grieco's political career.

Tim Padgett / WLRN News

RIO PIEDRAS – Puerto Rico’s government says power should be fully restored to the island by mid-December. But that’s three months after Hurricane Maria demolished the U.S. territory. And some fear that Puerto Rico’s most vulnerable people can’t wait that long.

Government of Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN – Like many in Congress, Florida Senator Bill Nelson had been frustrated by not being able to see Puerto Rico’s hurricane destruction first hand. So Sunday he took a commercial flight to the U.S. island territory – and voiced some criticism of U.S. relief efforts.

It's not exactly how Deilanis Santana planned to spend her 13th birthday: waking up before dawn, packing up her life – and heading to Connecticut to live with her grandma.

But here she is at Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan, three weeks after Hurricane Maria, waiting anxiously like many other Puerto Ricans for flights to destinations like Miami, Philadelphia, and other cities. The gates are crowded with children — Deilanis among them — leaving their homes, and sometimes their families, to live in the U.S. mainland and go to school.

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