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Legislative session, Palm Beach County urban farms and elections, cruise ships and COVID

Henrietta art wall.jpg
Wilkine Brutus
This the entrance to the Henrietta Bridge Farm in West Palm Beach. Workers were in the middle of cutting grass and pulling weeds to prepare for the upcoming growing season. The farm used the “veggie van” to deliver produce to the seniors.

The first week of the legislative session is here. Urban farms hope to solve food deserts in Palm Beach County. And cruise ships continue sailing during omicron.

On this Thursday, January 13, edition of Sundial:

Legislative session

Florida's legislative session started this week.

There's a lot at stake for our state lawmakers this year: for one, it's a redistricting and an election year. Bills that affect solar energy, abortion, and where the state's money will go are all on the table.

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“In addition to redistricting and energy, there really are some bills that I think are going to deserve a lot of attention. One of them is this move to make it more difficult for local governments to regulate local businesses,” said Mary Ellen Klas, the state Capitol bureau chief for the Miami Herald.

WLRN has been covering bills related to preemption closely with the podcast Tallahassee Takeover.

“We will also be covering very closely what the legislature does relating to any condominium reform, disclosure requirements, safety protections for condominium owners. Those are things in the wake of the Champlain Towers South tragedy,” said Klas.

Legislative session
Florida Senate

Palm Beach County urban farms and elections

In places like West Palm Beach, Riviera Beach and Loxahatchee in Palm Beach County urban farms and community gardens are becoming a staple in neighborhoods in order to provide fresh produce.

And the City of West Palm Beach is also working with Florida A&M University to create more farming opportunities.

Find more reporting from WLRN’s Palm Beach County Reporter, Wilkine Brutus, here.

He also joined Sundial to talk about the special elections in the county.

Palm Beach County urban farms and elections
2 Riviera Beach Urban Farm and Restorative Garden.jpg

Cruise ships and COVID

COVID-19 is rapidly spreading on cruise ships.

Reports of outbreaks and warnings from healthcare professionals are taking us back to 2020––when the virus brought the whole industry to a halt.

Despite some cancellations, it’s still pretty much business as usual.

“What's interesting is the CDC, in the middle of all of this, is relaxing the rules that have been on place for cruises since 2020,” said Alex Daugherty, who covers transportation for Politico.

By the end of this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is set to allow pandemic era restrictions on the industry to expire starting Jan. 15.

“Their argument is the industry is actually doing a good enough job on its own to try and mitigate the spread of COVID on board,” said Daugherty.

He added that the CDC doesn’t want to shut down the industry again because it affects so many people’s livelihoods.

cruise ships and COVID
Port Canaveral announced they now do not expect commercial cruise lines to restart until at least July. Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons.

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Leslie Ovalle Atkinson is the lead producer behind WLRN's daily magazine program, Sundial. She previously produced Morning Edition newscasts at WLRN and anchored the midday news. As a multimedia producer, she also works on visual and digital storytelling.