Local News

From Palm Beach to the Florida Keys, WLRN's award winning reporters work every day to bring you the most relevant stories in your community. 

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Brian Vest / Courtesy

One year ago, South Florida awoke to the destruction wrought by Hurricane Irma.

The storm had slammed into the Florida Keys as a Category 4 storm, bringing catastrophic winds and rain. According to the National Hurricane Center, the storm surge and tide produced flooding of 5 to 8 feet in the Lower Keys and winds reached 120-mph in Big Pine Key.

The storm left piles of torn down trees, couches, porta-potties, refrigerators, furniture and other debris across the islands.

Over the past year, South Florida has worked to rebuild. WLRN's Sundial producers traveled to the Keys to talk to Lynda Wells, Douglas Mader and Brian Vest, three Florida Keys residents with one mission: to help improve the lives of people in their community after the hurricane.

You can hear/read their stories below. 


Ariana Cubillos / AP via Miami Herald

Over the weekend the New York Times created hemispheric buzz. It reported that U.S. officials talked privately this past year with rebellious Venezuelan military officers. Those officers wanted U.S. help to overthrow Venezuela’s socialist president, Nicolás Maduro.

Apparently nothing came of the talks; the Trump Administration declined to help the rogue militares. But the Times story was more evidence that President Trump is exploring unusually strong action to topple Maduro. At the White House last summer, he'd already displayed that impulse.

“We have many options for Venezuela," Trump said then, "including a possible military option if necessary…”

Tom Hudson

The White Sands Inn and Hawks Cay Resort are only four miles apart in the Middle Keys, but they represent two very different types of hotels along the island chain. They also represent two very different realities in the year since Hurricane Irma hit Monroe County.

Hawks Cay is one of the largest hotels in the Keys with 177 rooms and 250 rental villas, and it is one of the largest private employers in the Keys. During the business season, it employes 350 people. It's owned by a real estate investment group based in New York City.

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

A year ago, South Florida was bracing for Hurricane Irma.

 

The Category 4 storm made landfall in the Lower Keys. Irma ripped through islands, damaging thousands of homes and businesses. 

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

This year's first round of King Tides will be this weekend. These "highest of the high tides" flood low-lying areas of South Florida and can lead to road closures or damage to cars and homes.

A new survey asks South Florida residents whether they would consider moving because of flooding, which is projected to get worse as seas continue to rise.

Adam Weinstein/FTL algae
Caitie Switalski / WLRN

Toxic blue-green algae blooms have officially come to Fort Lauderdale.

The green, foul-smelling goop has been sighted in Intracoastal canals, near Annie Beck Park, and the Las Olas Isles neighborhood.  

Adam Weinstein lives on the 15th street canal, and noticed the green floating patches near the dock behind his house two weeks ago.

Improv U Instagram / Courtesy

Improv U, an improv school in Delray Beach open to people of all walks in life, is hosting the third annual Palm Beach Improv Festival on Sept. 6 to 9, where improv artists from across South Florida will perform and give workshops.

Anthony Francis, founder of Improv U, and Rebecca Loveless, a teacher at the school, joined Sundial to talk about the improv community in South Florida, their journey to improv in South Florida and how they use it in their daily lives.

Senior Planet / Courtesy

Aurora Oliphant uses the internet to look up Bible scriptures on YouTube for her church meetings and comedy videos like Abbott and Costello.

Oliphant, 70, is a recent graduate of the Senior Planet program, a 10-week course in Broward County through the South Florida Institute of Aging that teaches people 60 years and older the basics of using the web. The group is bridging the digital divide for seniors by teaching them to use computers and mobile devices.

Windsor Johnson / NPR

Climate change and equity will be in the spotlight Saturday evening at a rally in Miami's Bayfront Park.

Tom Hudson

Monroe County is waiting for $90 million of federal money promised to help rebuild and repair damage after Hurricane Irma and help better protect the Keys from future storms. 

Courtesy of Jody Finver

Miami-Dade residents interested in installing solar panels can join a co-op this month that will help them through the process.

The organizers say the benefits of 'going solar' extend beyond reducing the carbon emissions that lead to climate change, global warming and sea-level rise.

"Is your roof creating your electricity?" asked Jody Finver, Miami-Dade coordinator for the Solar United Neighbors co-op. "If you can create it yourself, why would you pay somebody else?"

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Miami's new professional soccer team has a name and a crest that features two birds.

The birds, Great White Herons, are unique to South Florida. They even have a national wildlife refuge named after them. 

Fernando Vergara / AP

The mass exodus from Venezuela is being called one of the worst humanitarian emergencies in Latin America’s history. On Thursday a prominent human rights group came to Miami to urge Latin America to forge a more unified response to the crisis – and its cause.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission
Caitie Switalski / WLRN

Commissioners investigating the Parkland school shooting said Thursday that law enforcement school resource officers, or SROs, should play a larger role at schools. 

Florida Sen. Lauren Book, who sits on the commission, asked the group to recommend that SROs be given access to students’ educational and disciplinary records. 

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