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Ultra Music Festival, our connection to wildlife, SCOTUS nominee’s time in Miami’s high school debate scene

Ron Magill
Flamingos in a public restroom at Zoo Miami riding out Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

The electronic music festival returns this weekend to Bayfront Park. We look at security and what's expected. Plus, Zoo Miami's Ron Magill talks about wildlife and photography with the Iris Photo Collective's Carl Juste. And Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg remembers what it was like to debate Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson in high school.

On this Thursday, March 24, edition of Sundial:

Ultra Music Festival 

Yes, Ultra is back at Bayfront Park in Miami this year, complete with DJ performances and crowds in colorful outfits. The techno and electronic music festival runs Friday through Sunday this weekend.

We spoke with Joey Flechas, Miami Herald's government and public affairs reporter in the City of Miami, about the festival yesterday.

He told us about the excitement around Ultra’s comeback.

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"This has been a long time coming, I mean, Ultra was a bellwether at the beginning of the pandemic," Flechas said. "It was a major event that attracts 55,000 people per day for three days to Miami. And that was one of the first really big events in this country that got canceled as the pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic really started in March of 2020. So there's been a lot of anticipation when events like this would start up again."

With a Miami Heat game also going on in Downtown Miami this weekend, Flechas said this is the return of the mix of events Miami saw pre-pandemic. He recommended people take note of increased police presence in the downtown area and check on any crowd control curfew rules coming from nearby Miami Beach.

Ultra Music Festival

Our connection to wildlife

Living in our world today, we often forget about our connection and proximity to the environment.

With things like air conditioning, two-day delivery and Uber Eats for lunch, it’s sometimes easy to forget that we share this planet with millions of other species and creatures…That is until a fly lands on your salad or you find an iguana in your toilet.

The Florida International University Office of Engagement is hosting a “Cafecito Chat” Friday evening to discuss our connection to the environment and wildlife. It will be held at the IPC ArtSpace gallery in Little Haiti and it will also be streamed live on Facebook.

Carl Juste, Miami Herald photojournalist and founder of the Iris Photo Collective, will be speaking at the event along with wildlife expert and communications director for Zoo Miami, Ron Magill.

One of Magill’s most iconic images is from Hurricane Andrew in 1992. It’s an image of dozens of flamingos in a public restroom, where they would be riding out the storm.

“We knew the storm was coming. As part of the preparations, we have to catch all those flamingos and put them into a safe place. Ironically, the safest place at the zoo at the time were the public restrooms because first of all, there was no windows in the public restroom,” said Magill. “I turned away after we put the last one in there, I looked at these flamingos up against the sinks and the urinals, and I said, that is a strange image, and I just literally took the camera off my hip took the shot without thinking twice about it.”

He added that the composition of the image is not the greatest and the lighting is anything but ideal, but that photo has garnered much attention over the years.

“What Ron has been able to do is been able to take some of the qualities that I see in human beings and somehow exemplify that in terms of animals in their natural habitat,” said Juste on Sundial. “You see a transmigration in Ron's images, you see a sense of compassion and love, family.”

Magill’s wildlife photography will be showcased in an exhibition opening on Earth Day, April 22, at the IPC ArtSpace gallery in Little Haiti.

Our connection to wildlife

SCOTUS nominee’s time in Miami’s high school debate scene

After three long and intense days of senate judiciary committee hearings, the vote on Judge Ketanji Brown Jackon could come as early as Monday.

If she gets confirmed, she will be the first Floridian and the first Black woman ever to serve on the nation's highest court.

On Wednesday, we saw a continuation of the questioning and political theater we've been seeing all week. Thursday was the fourth and final day of hearings, bringing in testimony from outside witnesses.

People in South Florida who knew Ketanji Brown Jackson aren't surprised by her poise on this national stage this week. At least that's what Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg tweeted.

He joined Sundial to remember some of those high school speech and debate circuit days with Judge Brown Jackson.

SCOTUS nominee’s time in Miami’s high school debate scene
Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson's Senate confirmation hearings are set to begin Monday, March 21.

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Caitie Muñoz, formerly Switalski, currently leads the WLRN Newsroom as Director of Daily News & Original Live Programming. Prior to transitioning to leadership from production, Caitie reported on news and stories concerning quality of life in Broward County and its municipalities for WLRN News for four years.
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.