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Recovery After Hurricanes Iota And Eta, ESPN Investigates A Mysterious Death, And Taking A Walk With Judy Blume

A resident is helped off a boat after he was rescued from a flooded area in the neighborhood of Planeta, Honduras, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. The storm that hit Nicaragua as a Category 4 hurricane on Tuesday had become more of a vast tropical rainstorm, but it was advancing so slowly and dumping so much rain that much of Central America remained on high alert.

Hurricane Iota leaves a path of destruction in Central America. ESPN investigates the mysterious death of a University of Miami football star. And we take a stroll around Miami Beach with author Judy Blume.

On this Tuesday, Nov. 17, episode of Sundial:

Hurricanes Iota And Eta Recovery

Tropical Storm Iota is still ripping through parts of Central America. It weakened after making landfall in Nicaragua last night as a Category 4 hurricane — leaving behind washed-out bridges, flooding and destroyed homes.

At least one person was killed on the Colombian island of Providencia, east of Nicaragua.

Experts have warned about the lasting catastrophic impacts. Some areas are only beginning to recover from Hurricane Eta that battered the region just two weeks ago.

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Sundial spoke with Francisco Larios, a professor at Miami Dade College and the leader of the nonprofit Paz Nicaragua Foundation, and WLRN’s Americas editor, Tim Padgett, about the situation in Nicaragua and Honduras.

“There [are] not many people who have been reported dead, but the destruction is very significant in the northeastern part of the country and surprisingly in the southern part, closer to Costa Rica, due to flooding,” said Larios. “There's also no power in many areas in the northern regions of Nicaragua. Then there's the problem of helping the victims of the hurricane, which is complicated by the political situation there.”

Sundial also heard from Jackeline Del Arca, a Honduran student at the University of Miami. She’s been contributing to social media efforts to send aid to those affected by Eta and Iota.

One of those is #Give2Relief, which teamed up with UM and the university’s Grad Student Association. They are collecting donations like clothes and non-perishable foods at all UM campuses until Friday, Nov. 20.

Several Honduran organizations also created a GoFundMe campaign to buy supplies for people in the country and support shelters.

Hurricane Iota & Eta Recovery

ESPN Investigates A Mysterious Death

On the evening of Nov. 7, 2006, Bryan Pata was shot and killed outside of his apartment in Kendall, Florida. He was on track to becoming a professional football player in the NFL, as a defensive tackle for the University of Miami's football team, he was being recruited by teams across the country for his athleticism and raw talent.

Sundial spoke with ESPN investigative reporters Elizabeth Merrill and Paula Lavigne, who have spent the past several years investigating the case.

“They [the Miami-Dade Police Department] said to us during countless interviews over the years that they never had a suspect. You'd ask the detective, who are you looking at, who did you really focus on? And you sort of got this answer: 'Well, it could be anybody.’ Everybody's a suspect, very much that this was just a completely, completely open speculation as to who it could be,” Lavigne said.

Pata’s family has told the two reporters they felt frustrated at the lack of progress made by the police department in his case, and that they should have received more updates.

The ESPN investigation was able to obtain an almost 200-page primary investigation report from the police using the Freedom of Information Act. Large portions of it were redacted, but Merrill and Lavinge collaborated with the Cold Case Foundation.

The Cold Case Foundation said the killer was likely experienced — and the key to identifying them lies in figuring out their relation to Pata.

If you have any information about the Pata case, contact the Miami-Dade Police Homicide Bureau at 1-305-471-2400. Or send tips to ESPN's investigative team at 1-860-540-4499.

ESPN Investigates A Mysterious Death

Taking A Walk With Judy Blume

The Miami Book Fair is entirely online this year, featuring author interviews and events that thousands of book fair fans will be viewing throughout the week.

For one of the author interviews, we’re going back to 2014 — when WLRN’s editorial director Alicia Zuckerman had a dream experience with one of her favorite writers, Judy Blume.

The iconic author behind dozens of children's, young adult and adult fiction books spent two years of her childhood in Miami Beach — two extremely important years — and now she lives in Key West.

Blume’s young adult novel “Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself,” follows a young girl who moves from New Jersey to Miami Beach in the 1940s.

“I loved Sally for the imaginative, if somewhat nervous, kid she was. She was constantly making up adventures in her head, including several about defeating Hitler. This book is part of how I came to understand what the Holocaust was,” said Zuckerman.

She joined Blume for a walk through Sally J. Freedman’s neighborhood on Miami Beach.

The end result was The Sally J. Freedman Reality Tour with Judy Blume. It’s part of the Miami Book Fair’s Florida Writers Map this year and includes a video version of the tour.

Taking A Walk With Judy Blume

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Alejandra Marquez Janse is a fall intern at WLRN.
Suria is Sundial's fall 2020 high school intern and a production assistant.