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South Florida’s dirty water, the Miami-Dade Youth Fair is back, ‘Secret Identity’

People walking past food booths at the Miami-Dade Youth Fair.
Sam Navarro
Miami Herald
Miami-Dade County Youth Fair opened on Thursday, March 17, 2022.

Life in Florida is about water. But how much of that water is clean enough for us to enjoy? Plus, Miami-Dade Youth Fair is back with the most interesting food lineup. And this month’s Sundial Book Club conversation with Alex Segura about his newest book ‘Secret Identity.’

On this Monday, March 21, edition of Sundial:

South Florida’s dirty water

We're well into the height of the spring break season. But are you safe where you're swimming? Are you sure the water's clean? It might not be.

You turn to WLRN for reporting you can trust and stories that move our South Florida community forward. Your support makes it possible. Please donate now. Thank you.

A new report by the Environmental Integrity Project shows that more than 700,000 miles of water across the country are so polluted the water is classified as “impaired."

Florida ranked first in that study for having the highest total acres of lakes that are too polluted for swimming or for healthy aquatic life.

Rachel Silverstein is the executive director of the nonprofit, Miami Waterkeeper. She joined Sundial to discuss this study and share more about what you should know about the water quality in South Florida.

In this segment, we also heard from Nate Pursilly, a professor of law at Stanford who went to high school with U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. He has kept in touch with her ever since and spoke on the Senate Judiciary Committee that began Monday. 

South Florida’s dirty water

The Miami-Dade Youth Fair is back

The Miami-Dade Youth Fair is back for spring break — for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

Last year, the fair made an appearance in the fall, after skipping a year and pushing its opening date because of COVID.

“On March 12th, 2020, we were going to open to a field trip at nine o'clock in the morning. That's why I say we never closed in 2020 because to close means that you opened. We never opened,” said Eddie Cora, the CEO of the fair, about how they were affected when the pandemic shutdowns began. “Food is being cooked already. There's kids at the gates for a field trip and you can't open the gates and anybody in the event business knows you are at your poorest on opening day, you are at your richest on closing day.”

Those shutdowns put the fair in the worst financial position it’s ever been in, according to Cora. That includes the vendors and other workers who were affected.

“It was a true effort of the industry as we came together to make sure that we all got through this,” said Cora.

It’s now celebrating its 70th anniversary this year and the non-profit organization is back showcasing local student achievements and the state’s agriculture.

“We all know about tourism in Dade County. We all see the entertainment, we all see South Beach on TV but the number two driver of our economy is agriculture,” said Cora. “We're here to make sure that people understand that milk doesn't come from the grocery store and neither does your salad. It comes from farmers. It comes from people who are growing it and raising it every day.”

The fair raises money for academic scholarships and local youth programs.

And of course, it’s famous for its food. Cora shared some of his recommendations on Sundial, which include a chili cheese corn dog, deep-fried flan and churros s’mores.

The Miami-Dade Youth Fair is back

‘Secret Identity’

For this month’s Sundial Book Club, we’re reading "Secret Identity" by Alex Segura.

The era is 1970s New York and the story begins in the offices of Triumph Publishing, a comic book company trying to make a name for itself.

Carmen Valdez is working as a secretary at the company, but she dreams of being a comic book creator. Valdez and one of her coworkers come up with a new powerful female hero called the "Lethal Lynx."

Then one day her partner is found dead and the comic book does not have her name on the credits.

Segura joined Sundial to discuss the book and how it was influenced by South Florida. Join the Sundial Book Club here.

‘Secret Identity’
From Anthony Award-winning writer Alex Segura comes Secret Identity, a rollicking literary mystery set in the world of comic books.

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Leslie Ovalle Atkinson is the lead producer behind WLRN's daily magazine program, Sundial. As a multimedia producer, she also works on visual and digital storytelling.