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Secretary of State talks about elections, cleaning up Biscayne Bay, and a young filmmakers' festival

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Miami Herald archives
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We look at WLRN Reporter Wilkine Brutus’ conversation with Florida's Secretary of State, Cord Byrd. Plus, there's tons of trash piling up in Biscayne Bay, other waterways and mangrove regions. Also, we meet one of the young people in the Miami 4 Social Change Youth Film Festival.

On this Monday, July 18, edition of Sundial:

Florida's Secretary of State on election safety

Florida’s new election police office is picking up steam. The Office of Election Crimes and Security was created to investigate election fraud and other crimes.

Funding for the office kicked in just this month. Gov. Ron DeSantis recently appointed its new leader, Pete Antonacci, and he's no stranger to South Florida elections.

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.

To get a sense of elections in the state as a whole right now – WLRN’s Palm Beach County Reporter Wilkine Brutus recently spoke with Florida Secretary of State Cord Byrd about how the office impacts the upcoming elections.

"Because elections are a complex mix of federal and state law, the thought of the legislature and the governor is to have a dedicated unit that investigates, and where necessary, makes referrals to states attorneys or the statewide prosecutor so that voters can have confidence that the voting laws are being enforced, and that when they cast a ballot, they know that it's going to be counted fairly and accurately," Byrd told Brutus.

You can hear the full conversation, below:

FL Secretary of State

Cleaning up Biscayne Bay

There is a lot of trash washing up in Biscayne Bay and other waters around South Florida. It’s not just that there's a lot of trash, but all types of trash are ending up in the water and mangroves.

Things like parts of cars, parts of boats, all sorts of electronics, clothes, and the list goes on and on.

Andrew Otazo started cleaning up that trash five years ago. Since then he’s probably cleared tons of it. In a matter of 117 days he got 10 tons.

Otazo is an environmentalist and public relations professional and he joined Sundial on Monday to share his stories from his time spent in the mangroves pulling things like mattresses and even a quinceañera dress out of the water.

You can hear the full conversation, below:

Tackling our trash in Biscayne Bay

Young filmmakers

The people who will make tomorrow's blockbuster movies have to start somewhere.

Many already are getting started, honing their skills and trying out new things on the big screen.

The annual Miami 4 Social Change Youth Film Festival is happening later this week on July 21 and 22 to showcase some of the young and rising filmmakers here in South Florida. It's being held at the Julius Littman Theatre in North Miami Beach. They've got 70 short films that will be screened, all of which will be open to the public.

Henry Volmar, a freshman at Miami Dade College, joined Sundial to talk about his film being featured in the festival, Malcolm's Desk.

You can hear the full conversation, below:

The filmmakers of tomorrow
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Caitie Muñoz, formerly Switalski, produces WLRN's midday public affairs program, Sundial weekdays at 1 and 8 p.m. Prior to transitioning to production, Caitie covered news and stories concerning quality of life in Broward County and its municipalities for WLRN News for four years.
Leslie Ovalle produces 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.