Barrel-chested Leo Thalassites squints like Clint Eastwood, hops around like Jackie Chan and has been an active cop for nearly six decades. He is 86 years old.
He first joined the Miami-Dade Police Department in 1956. He moved to the Hialeah Police Department in 1963, where he has been on active duty ever since. And now, according to the International Police Association, he is the oldest active police officer.
In our regular What’s Up With South Florida? feature, you decide what we investigate. You voted overwhelmingly for an explanation of the “Inglish Gratis” sign outside of Hialeah High. This photo had been circulating virally through email. It was brought to our attention by photographer Tomas Loewy. In Episode 3 of Under the Sun, Kenny Malone set out to solve the mystery of this misspelling. (-T.S.)
Funding for this episode provided by a grant from The Florida Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Under the Sun likes to feature some of the local talent that provide the soundtracks to our stories of life in South Florida. We worked with Radioboxer to use their songs, “Cat’s Meow,” and “While You Wait,” in an Under the Sun piece, “Loyalty Oath.” We also got to chat with Jota Dazza on everything from the band’s inception to how Miami influences thei
Producer and Miami Herald multimedia journalist Michael Alen has long been fascinated with a strange building in the middle of Hialeah. Alen remembers seeing the building as a toddler on his drives home from Kendall with his parents. He remembers being awestruck, each and every time, by its rounded shape and how it contrasted with the sharp edges of its neighboring structures.
Music teacher Mario Ortiz has been teaching classic salsa tunes to elementary and middle school students for 14 years. Outside the classroom, Mario plays trumpet in a salsa group. He learned music from his father, who was also named Mario Ortiz.
The elder Ortiz was a well known salsa bandleader (for the Mario Ortiz All Star Band) in Puerto Rico in the 1960s. He died in 1999.
Farm Stores have been a staple of South Florida since the 1950s, when the chain opened its first drive-through store in South Beach. Generations have taken advantage of its convenience, picking up necessities such as milk and eggs and treats such as ice cream. Today, there are 100 stores across South Florida.
For many Cubans living in South Florida, the pre-Castro years in Cuba represent a golden era. Nostalgia for friends, family and yesteryear traditions can be felt at Cuban coffee counters across South Florida. One local business owner decided to take this yearning for tradition one step further by selling coffee for 3 cents, the price it was sold for in pre-Castro Cuba.
Lip Service co-producer Esther Martinez read her story Drama at a live event she helped produce with Under the Sun at the Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables. The sold-out event featured true stories about life in South Florida. The full show will air on WLRN June 4-5.