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Cracking Down On Spring Breakers, Flood Insurance Prices To Go Up, And Ali’s Final Fight

Carl Juste
Miami Herald
Flooding in Brickell in 2017.

Miami Beach prepares for another pandemic Spring Break. You may be paying a lot less for your flood insurance than you should be. And we hear from one of the photographers who was at Muhammad Ali’s final fight.

On this Wednesday, March 3, episode of Sundial:

Cracking Down On Spring Breakers

March is normally a massive month for tourism in South Florida because of spring breakers.

Those partiers and tourists have become an issue for politicians and law enforcement — while being a symbol for uninhibited partying for millions of young people.

“Part of the problems is we’re in the middle of the pandemic,” said Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber. “We’re trying to let people know that are going to come here that they can’t just let anything go, they can’t act any way they want to.”

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He added that efforts to tame spring breakers include Miami-Dade County’s midnight curfew, mask distribution, license plate readers and increasing police “dramatically” by asking neighboring cities to assist.

The city had nearly 400 arrests from Feb. 3 to 21 amid measures to crack down on spring break crime and keep COVID-19 from spreading, according to figures cited by Gelber.

Some residents worry these efforts could target communities Black and minority communities.

Cracking Down On Spring Breakers
A college student reaches for a beer during spring break in Miami.

Flood Insurance Prices To Go Up

In South Florida, flood damage is an existential threat.

But if you look at the cost of flood insurance — low premiums make it seem like that’s not the case.

Flood risk should be expensive in South Florida. Still, property owners have been underpaying for a long time, according to a new study by the nonprofit First Street Foundation, which focuses on how climate impacts property value.

The study suggests that on average people are underpaying by four times as much as they should be.

“The National Flood Insurance Program has for decades run on a business model where it looks backward, so it looks at historical flooding,” said Alex Harris, the Miami Herald’s climate change reporter. “It doesn’t look forward. It doesn’t think about sea-level rise, it doesn’t take rainfall into account or a lot of other types of flooding. Experts like to say that this is subsidizing rent, so it makes it cheaper to live in places that have extreme flood risk because it doesn’t fully calculate the cost of risk.”

Those price hikes are coming soon. Federal officials announced they’re going to start raising the price of flood insurance this year.

Flood Insurance Prices To Go Up

Muhammad Ali’s Final Fight

Muhammed Ali’s final fight of his career was in December 1981. It was called the Drama in Bahama, the fight in Nassau pitted Ali against Trevor Burbick, a rising star in the sport.

Ali lost the fight in a unanimous decision. It was the last time he stepped in the ring.

Jebb Harris covered that fight as a photographer with the Louisville Courier-Journal.

“I literally got a box of negatives out of my closet and sent them to the Courier-Journal and other photographers found unpublished pictures that nobody had ever seen before because they weren’t the best picture for the moment, at the moment and now looking back they’re images of a time gone by,” Harris said.

His photos are included in the new exhibition at History Miami documenting Ali’s career and his time in Miami and the Caribbean.

The photos come from the book “Picture: Muhammed Ali — A Rare Glimpse into the Life of The Champ.”

Harris will also be a part of a virtual panel discussion on Monday, March 8, at 6 p.m.

Ali’s Final Fight
Muhammad Ali shadow boxes at sunrise on a rural road outside Nassau, the Bahamas in December 1981. He was there to fight Trevor Burbick in the so called 'Drama in Bahama'. It was Ali's final fight, a loss by unanimous decision. This situation was a tribute to the reputation of veteran CJ&T photographer Keith Williams who had such a good rapport with the Ali team. The world media was present to cover the affair. I was there to cover another young fighter and transmit for Keith. One of Ali's people told Keith "Be at the fountain in the center of Town at 6 a.m." At 6 a.m. a limo drove by and jogging behind throwing punches into the dawn was Muhammad Ali. We fell in jogging backwards making pictures. It was a beautiful scene, I wished we'd been shooting color. Gear banging against us as we back-pedaled, we went on for some time, perhaps a mile or two. The Limo stopped, the door opened, he got in, the door closed. We were in the middle of nowhere. The door opened and Ali said "C'mon, get in." We rode back to town in his limo.

Leslie Ovalle Atkinson is the former lead producer behind Sundial. As a multimedia producer, she also worked on visual and digital storytelling.