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Pandora Papers, Miami-Dade County redistricting, and research on fish excretion

 Ph.D. student Will Wied capturing fish with a net at Florida International University's Biscayne Bay Campus to study how fish excretions benefit the ocean.
Will Wied
Ph.D. student Will Wied capturing fish with a net at Florida International University's Biscayne Bay Campus to study how fish excretions benefit the ocean.

On this Tuesday, October 12, edition of Sundial: 

Pandora Papers Investigation

The Pandora Papers is a collection of millions of leaked documents that expose presidents, celebrities, athletes, royals, and even the Vatican for hiding their money using South Florida real estate or other offshore accounts.

The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald have published many of these stories. Kevin Hall is the North America Editor of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project.

As the pandemic continues, you can rely on WLRN to keep you current on local news and information. Your support is what keeps WLRN strong. Please become a member today. Donate now. Thank you.

Hall said the leaked information gives investigative reporters a “stepping stone” that brings them closer to uncovering criminal activity they were already investigating. He spent a lot of time looking into people on Fisher Island, in Indian Creek, Sunny Isles Beach and other Miami-Dade locations.

“We have some pretty good information that we’ve built that we didn’t put into a story but at some point [it] will go to use,” said Hall. “There’s just a phenomenal amount of people from all over the place.”

The millions of leaked documents are called the “Pandora” Papers because it could potentially open up a Pandora’s Box — a reference to the Greek mythology artifact — of future investigations and lawsuits.

10-12-2021 SUNDIAL SEG A Pandora Papers.mp3

Miami-Dade County New Redistricting Map

It’s no secret that more people are moving to South Florida. The 2020 U.S. Census data show that Miami-Dade County is seeing rapid residential growth, specifically in the southern region.

Commissioner Danielle Cohen Higgins represents District 8, and Commissioner Kionne McGhee represents District 9. Both districts saw the largest increase in residents — gaining about 75,000 people since the 2010 Census.

This means Miami-Dade County needs to redraw its district map to avoid unfair advantages in voter representation for future elections. So far, there’s one proposed map of what the districts could look like, which was released Sept. 30. Miami Herald County Hall reporter Doug Hanks has been covering the redistricting process.

Hanks said he thinks a new map will be finalized by the end of the year. The eventual map must meet federal, state, and local criteria.

proposed redistricting map miami dade.jpg
Miami Herald
Miami-Dade County commissioners must redraw their districts based on 2020 Census data. A consultant’s proposal for a new map was released on Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021.

“There’s lots of principles involved in terms of representation of minority groups that the courts say need to be produced,” said Hanks. “[The map] shouldn’t be drawn for political purposes.”

WLRN reporter Wilkine Brutus also joined this segment to discuss the Henrietta Bridge Farm, a Black-owned farm in West Palm Beach’s Historic Northwest neighborhood. The owners are fighting for their farm’s future after the city of West Palm Beach announced it will not renew the land lease on the property.

You can read the full story here.

10-12-2021 SUNDIAL SEG B Redistricting-WPB Farm.mp3

Ph.D. Student Explains Fish Excretion Research

Coral reefs, seagrass, and other vital lifeforms sustain the ocean’s ecosystem. For decades, humans have threatened these natural protectants with their pollution and large carbon footprints.

Will Wied is a Ph.D. student at Florida International University’s Institute of Environment. His current field of study involves researching how fish excretions benefit the ocean. He says fish urine is a source of nutrients for aquatic plants.

In order to study these benefits, Wied has to first capture different species of fish.

“I essentially put them in what we call an incubation chamber,” Wied said. “In this chamber, we have filtered water that we test the nutrients at the beginning. We then put the fish into the chamber, we wait a period of time, and then we sample the water afterwards.”

You can follow Wied on Instagram to keep track of his research.

10-12-2021 SUNDIAL SEG C Fish Pee.mp3

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Amber Amortegui is a senior studying journalism at Palm Beach Atlantic University. Born and raised in Davie, Fla., Amber is a native South Floridian who embraces one of America’s most diverse regions.