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Kate Stein

Kate Stein can't quite explain what attracts her to South Florida. It's more than just the warm weather (although this Wisconsin native and Northwestern University graduate definitely appreciates the South Florida sunshine). It has a lot to do with being able to travel from the Everglades to Little Havana to Brickell without turning off 8th Street. It's also related to Stein's fantastic coworkers, whom she first got to know during a winter 2016 internship.

Officially, Stein is WLRN's environment, data and transportation journalist. Privately, she uses her job as an excuse to rove around South Florida searching for stories à la Carl Hiaasen and Edna Buchanan. Regardless, Stein speaks Spanish and is always thrilled to run, explore and read.
 

A proposal to extend state road 836 — the Dolphin Expressway — in Miami-Dade County could imperil future funding for Everglades restoration, critics say.

Members of the Hold the Line Coalition, a group of transportation and environment organizations, oppose extending the 836 expressway into wetland and agricultural areas outside Miami-Dade's urban development boundary. The proposed 14-mile expansion is intended to alleviate traffic in the Kendall area by providing commuters an alternative to Florida's Turnpike.

A reservoir project that could help address water challenges in the Everglades is one step closer to being built.

Congressional committees on Thursday approved a bill that, if passed, would authorize construction of a $1.4 billion water storage reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee. The reservoir would help reduce water discharges from Lake Okeechobee that contribute to algae blooms on Florida’s coasts; it would also increase water flow south to Florida Bay.

Sea-level rise is going to cost Broward County -- and leaders don't know yet how they're going to pay.

A roundtable meeting in Davie on Thursday brought together more than 40 elected officials, city staff and business leaders from across Broward. Many expressed concern over a lack of funding for sea-level rise adaptation projects.

Ron Wallace, the city engineer for Parkland, said he's concerned about drainage in South Florida's current system, which moves water from west to east.

If you thought sea-level rise was the greatest immediate threat to South Florida’s future, you may need to think again.

There’s growing concern that the perception of the sea-level rise threat by insurers, banks and investors might submerge South Florida before rising seas do.

Days after eight kids sued the state of Florida for policies they say contribute to climate change, a coalition of environment groups has launched a statewide campaign to get Floridians engaged on the issue.

Eight Florida kids are suing the state and Gov. Rick Scott over climate change.

They say it's not just inaction. The lawsuit states Florida officials have pursued policies that worsen the threat from greenhouse gas emissions, and violate Floridians' constitutional rights to health, prosperity and happiness.

South Florida’s future looks wet, salty and, unless you’re a mermaid, maybe a bit apocalyptic.

At the request of Florida's governor, mental health experts, educators and law enforcement professionals met Tuesday in Tallahassee at workshops following last week’s school shooting.

The main goal of these gatherings is to identify measures that can be taken before the end of the legislative session to improve safety in schools, gun control and resources for mental health. The last day of the session is March 9.

When fire alarms blared for the second time on Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, many students found it a little odd. They'd already had a fire drill earlier in the day, and were surprised to have another one with just 20 minutes left in their last class period.

Wood storks, roseate spoonbills, ibises and egrets are among the many birds that fly, paddle and wade through the Everglades.

They draw visitors, particularly photographers, to the ecosystem. But the Everglades' birds are important for another reason: The health of wading bird communities says a lot about progress on Everglades restoration.

If you own a house in South Florida, you might want to start thinking hard about sea level rise.

The ocean here could rise a foot or more in the next 30 years -- the amount of time in a mortgage cycle -- according to University of Miami professor Harold Wanless and other researchers.  That means if you buy a house today, and rising seas put your house at risk for flooding, your property value might decrease... but your mortgage payments won’t.

A state senator and congressional candidate says it’s time for Florida to have a unified strategy for sea-level rise.

To make his point this legislative session, he’s wearing rain boots in the Senate.

Miami's promising bid for the second Amazon headquarters results in part from regional collaboration on resilience issues including sea level rise, said an official familiar with the plan's development.

Steve Messam describes his city, Belle Glade, as having two main exports:

"Sugar," he said, "and wide receivers."

Local lore has it that National Football League standouts -- including Super Bowl-winning wide receivers Anquan Boldin and Santonio Holmes -- hone their speed by chasing rabbits through burning fields, as controlled fires strip sugarcane of excess leaves in preparation for the harvest.

Everglades National Park is a World Heritage site, and it’s under siege from drought, invasive species and sea-level rise. 

As Hurricane Irma churned through South Florida, Patrick O'Quinn felt trapped.

He'd moved to Miami about three months before the storm and described himself as "just getting on his feet in terms of finding a place to live." As the storm bore down, O'Quinn decided to fly to Memphis, where he has family.

Data confirms what many South Floridians might have guessed: the alarming impact of Hurricane Harvey in August likely motivated people to prepare early for Hurricane Irma last month. And that meant spending a lot of money. Think of it as plywood and Pop Tart spending.

Excess water from Hurricane Irma is still making its way through Florida, exacerbating the significant water management challenges the state's faced this rainy season.

In the hours before Hurricane Irma came barreling towards Florida, Gloria Guity and her adult children went to five different shelters before they arrived at Miami Edison Senior High School.

“Here is better than where we were,” Guity, 76, said sitting at a cafeteria table. “Here I told them to put me next to the bathroom so at least I can take them to the bathroom.”

The nursing home where residents died following a hurricane-induced air conditioning outage was not on the priority list for power restoration, according to the facility's utility provider and Broward County officials.

Emergency responders confirmed eight deaths last Wednesday at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, three days after Hurricane Irma knocked out power to the facility's air conditioning system.

Irma? There's an app for that.

Officials are encouraging South Florida residents to download smartphone apps for last-minute storm prep and to keep updated during the hurricane and its aftermath.

Among the suggested apps:

Florida Power and Light app: To monitor power outages

Florida 511: For real-time traffic updates

Gas Buddy: Shows gas stations and prices based on location

With Hurricane Irma bearing down on the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean, water managers in South Florida are bracing for heavy rainfall they say could exacerbate high water issues from record-setting rains the region experienced earlier this summer.

President Donald Trump is likely to announce the end of a program that extends legal protections to people who were brought into the U.S. illegally as children, multiple news agencies report.

A meeting between Miami-Dade County officials and county residents concerned about aerial mosquito spraying was cancelled Monday.

 

A lot of people in South Florida buy bottled water for drinking -- they don’t get it from the tap. In part, it’s a cultural thing. In many other countries, people don’t drink tap water because of concerns about contamination and they continue this habit even after moving here. 

A chemical used for mosquito control in South Florida has been the source of controversy in recent weeks, after a study showed it could be linked to developmental delays in infants.

When he had a landscaping business, Bob Hartmann grew 200,000 orchids and thousands of other plants on his three acres in Southwest Ranches, about 15 miles southwest of Fort Lauderdale.

 


The case counts are low, but Zika's still a threat.

That was the message of a meeting of county and state mosquito control officials Monday in Doral.

A federal judge has dismissed a request to stop aerial spraying of the pesticide Naled in Miami-Dade County, describing the plaintiffs' complaint as "poor" and recommending they get a lawyer before pursuing further legal action.

Last year, the pesticide Naled was one of several tools officials used to control mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus. Dr. Michael Hall was one of many Miami Beach residents who protested, saying Naled exposure leads to symptoms like headaches and nausea. He and other protesters also expressed fears the pesticide could have longer-term health effects.

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