Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Key West Takes First Step Toward Banning Sale Of Some Sunscreens

The city of Key West took the first step Tuesday toward becoming the first place on the mainland U.S. to ban the sale of sunscreens that contain certain chemicals, like oxybenzone and octinoxate, which some studies have shown can harm corals.

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Palm Beach County To Get Express Lanes

Dec 27, 2012

Transportation engineers are planning to install pay-per-drive express lanes as part of the next big I-95 makeover in Palm Beach County.

Already in use in Miami-Dade County and under construction in Broward, express lanes provide a faster, limited-access drive for commuters who can commit to the entire distance. Tolls rise and fall as a function of traffic congestion.

In Miami, the tolls range from 25 cents to six and seven dollars, according to traffic conditions.

Christine DiMattei

Many years from now, hundreds of Lynn University alumni will be able to tell their grandkids, "Yep, I was there."

2012 was the year Lynn went from relatively unknown university to center of the political universe when it hosted the final presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

Just before the October 22nd event, Lynn President Kevin Ross repeatedly referred to the debate as the moment the university had long been waiting for.

The 2012 Weird Stories That Defined Florida

Dec 27, 2012
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

The end of the year is approaching and the news columns and web sites of a hungry nation are filling up with weird Florida stories, each supposedly an illustration of the character, lifestyle and unholy preoccupations of our strange, strange state.

Arianna Prothero

For the second year in a row, West Palm Beach has opted to decorate the city in a very South Florida fashion this holiday season.

Large, intricate holiday themed sand sculptures have been erected all down Clematis Street between Rosemary Avenue and the waterfront.

City of West Palm Beach spokesman Elliot Cohen said the sculptures have been more than festive, they've been good publicity. The largest sculpture is a 35-foot-tall Christmas tree made with 400 tons of sand.

Arianna Prothero

When the Old Seven Mile Bridge was built, it was an engineering wonder of the early 1900s. Part of Henry Flagler’s famous railway to Key West, it ran across nearly seven miles of open water to connect Marathon to the Lower Keys.

Today, the bridge is still a popular spot with both locals and tourists, but it’s slowly falling apart. Salt water and storms are eroding the bridge faster than the state can afford to repair it. Much of it is now closed. Historians and activists are desperately searching for a way to preserve what's left: a 2.2 mile section of the Old Seven Bridge that is still open to pedestrians and cyclists.

Pill Mills Migrate North To Georgia

Dec 26, 2012
Mouse, Flickr

Florida's war on so-called "pill mill" pain clinics  appears to be pushing the problem into Georgia.

The Wall Street Journal reports that in 2010, there were just 10 pain clinics in the state of Georgia. Today, there are more than 125 clinics  and the state's per capita prescriptions of oxycodone has tripled in the last decade.

http://farm1.staticflickr.com/224/448332346_f5d2c22b8b_z.jpg
Guillermo Esteves

2012 may be remembered in Latin American for what didn't happen more than for what actually did, especially in Venezuela and Cuba.

VENEZUELA

The year began ominously for Venezuelan nationals living in South Florida.  The U.S. State Department expelled the country's consul-general, alleging she was involved in a cyber-terrorism plot. In January, Venezuela's Miami consulate was shut down by President Hugo Chavez, who was facing a tough reelection campaign. 

Florida Holidays: Publix Commercials Make Us Cry

Dec 26, 2012
YouTube screen shot

tvOur friends at WUSF in Tampa have been collecting holiday stories and traditions from around the state for a series they call "Florida Holidays." The following was originally posted by WUSF reporter Dalia Colón.

Confession: Publix holiday commercials turn me to mush.

Maybe it's the music. Maybe it's because I'm already in the holiday spirit. Or maybe it's just good marketing.

Time was, the stretch following Christmas Day until New Year's Day was a quiet, sleepy spot on the American calendar. The six-day span hung like a lazy hammock between the holidays.

Not anymore.

Nowadays, the WAC — Week After Christmas — is busy and abuzzing. All around the country, Americans continue to celebrate — Kwanzaa, the Christmas afterglow and the coming New Year.

Of the eight new seats that Democrats picked up in the House of Representatives in November, four of them come from Florida.

Democrats were aided by a big turnout for President Obama, plus new rules that helped erase a Republican advantage in how districts are drawn in the Sunshine State.

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