Only In Florida Moments, 2016 Edition

Dec 27, 2016

The region in red has expanded north this year.
Credit Sammy Mack

This is the time of year when here at WLRN we like to look back at all the news that happened over the past year and remember the stories that we found especially entertaining – the stuff that got us laughing or shaking our heads around the newsroom.

The wonderful uniqueness of this place called Florida never seems to fail in providing gems--from the people who never got the memo on what 911 is for to the constantly baffling inability for humans and wildlife to coexist peacefully. (See our wildlife edition of Only In Florida 2016 stories here.)

This year, Alex Trebek was laid victim to the craziness that is Florida when he almost lost it reading a clue for the “@_floridaman” category.

Here's our staff favorite crazy 2016 stories, in their own words: 

Nancy Klingener, Key West Reporter - All Backhoed Up

"As you know, in the Florida Keys we only have one road, the Overseas Highway, so when there’s an accident or some problem on the highway, it's a really big deal.  In February, this guy decided that he would swipe a backhoe from a construction site in Marathon and drove it onto the bridge along with some boulders to provide company. Then he drove back and forth in a slow-speed chase with the police. Finally 90 minutes later, he drove over a spike strip, puncturing the tires and police arrested him.

Why did he do it? He was trying to slow down traffic because people do not know how to drive."

Sammy Mack, Reporter - What Happens When Good Governance Goes Gone

"A few years ago former Miami-Dade County Commissioner Katy Sorenson set up a good governance initiative at the University of Miami. It was designed to train local politicians in civics, how government works, ethics…. The things you would want a local politician to know about.

This year we come to find out, it shut down for lack of interest. "

Wilson Sayre, Reporter - Bubble Man Strikes Again

"You may think this is a repeat from last year--but you would be wrong. The first two attempts to “run” down to the Bahamas in a bubble that looks like a hamster wheel were in 2014 and 2015, but the third… that attempt was made in 2016. On the previous attempts, the coast guard headed him off without incident, this time he pulled a knife. The Coast Guard eventually sank the bubble and committed him to a hospital. But they guy says we haven’t seen the last of him… or his bubble."

​Nadege Green, Reporter - A Dentist For Vagina Care?

"A dozen women walk into a dentist's office and ask for pap smears. It’s not the start of joke per se, but that’s exactly what happened this summer. This session, the legislature cut funding to clinics that offer privately-funded abortions, but also offers care for lots of women’s health needs. In response to concerns about cutting funding for those services, they released a list of federally qualified health centers where women could go instead. On the list--dentists offices."

What are the craziest stories you saw during 2016? Tweet us @WLRN.