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Property insurance, cooking on a budget and the complicated legacy of XXXTentacion

Hurricane Irma caused catastrophic damage in parts of South Florida in 2017.

Legislators are heading back to Tallahassee soon to talk about rising property insurance policy rates. Plus, the Camillus House has a new program to help families learn how to cook healthy meals that are not expensive. And we speak to the director behind a new documentary about the late South Florida rapper XXXTentacion.

On this Wednesday, May 11, edition of Sundial:

Lawmakers Try To Address Property Insurance Hikes

In a little over a week, lawmakers will be back in Tallahassee, again, for a special session. The issue this time isn't redistricting or Disney… it's property insurance.

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Lawmakers plan to address the price of homeowner's insurance, which is skyrocketing because some carriers are going insolvent — meaning they can't pay their debts — while others are leaving the state. And if you're a renter thinking you're not affected, well, some landlords are passing off their higher insurance costs onto their tenants.

State Republican Representative Tom Fabricio represents parts of Broward and Miami-Dade Counties. He sits on the insurance and banking subcommittee in the House. His background is in insurance law. Fabricio joined Sundial to discuss some of what legislators will try to accomplish during a special legislative session starting on Monday, May 23.

He said the crisis is partially driven by the number of lawsuits around claims, and he would like to see lawmakers agree to temporarily expand the state's designated catastrophe fund.

"If the state expands its [catastrophe] fund, it would make the reinsurance requirement for some of these carriers that are on the bubble of going insolvent, it would make that requirement less. So they would be able to stay solvent," he said. Though he would be in favor of that measure sunsetting after 12 or 24 months.

"We just want to make sure that these carriers don't go insolvent so homeowners in Florida can remain with their current insurance carriers through the hurricane season. I think that's priority number one, but that doesn't fix the big problem. That just stops the massive downward spiral that we're going through," Fabricio said.

Luis Hernandez and Fabricio also discussed Senate Bill 76 from 2021, which you can read more about here.

Lawmakers Try To Address Property Insurance Hikes

Camillus House CHEF Challenge

South Florida’s most popular chefs are joining to help families cook on a budget.

Florida has one of the highest rates of people on food stamps — 14% of the state’s population uses that assistance for their nutrition.

The local humanitarian charity, Camillus House, started a program called the CHEF Challenge, which stands for Cooking Healthy Easy Food. They’re helping families cook affordable meals with fresh ingredients.

The idea for the program came from Stacie Archer and her own life experience as a single mom of three on food stamps.

“I was barely making ends meet, and I reached out for assistance, got on food stamps and learned how to budget like never before,” said Archer on Sundial. She is also the Camillus House ‘Volunteer of the Year for 2022.’

“I didn’t want them [my children] to realize that we were eating frozen pizzas and macaroni and cheese every night but that they were still having the homecooked meals they were used to.”

Her food blog, Seven Plates, inspired CHEF Challenge. On the blog, she shares recipes and tips for cooking on a budget.

Florida International University is one of the sponsors of the program. James Beard Award-winning chef Norman Van Aken is the culinary director.

He also joined Sundial to talk about the local chefs participating in the program and the recipes they are incorporating, including his very own Roasted Chicken Thighs with Cheesy Corn Grits and Coca Cola Collards.

Camillus House CHEF Challenge

The complicated legacy of XXXTentacion

A new documentary looks at the life of XXXTentacion.

The local performer, whose legal name was Jahseh Onfroy, died in June of 2018 from multiple gunshot wounds.

Before his murder, Onfroy made a mark on the music scene as one of the most-streamed SoundCloud artists of all time

But he also made some controversial choices — he was awaiting trial on felony charges of home invasion and aggravated battery after he was arrested for beating his girlfriend.

The story is now being told in a film on Hulu called “Look At Me: XXXtentacion” that’s premiering on the streaming service on May 26.

“Who would have known that XXXTentacion, a symbol of misogyny in his lifetime, would have his death lead to a movie that climaxes with a bittersweet feminist statement?” said a Variety film review published recently.

The director of the documentary, Sabaah Folayan, joined Sundial to discuss the process of telling this complicated story.

MDC's Tower Theater Miami is showing the film on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

The complicated legacy of XXXTentacion

Leslie Ovalle Atkinson is the former lead producer behind Sundial. As a multimedia producer, she also worked on visual and digital storytelling.
Caitie Muñoz, formerly Switalski, leads the WLRN Newsroom as Director of Daily News & Original Live Programming. Previously she reported on news and stories concerning quality of life in Broward County and its municipalities for WLRN News.