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A new study looking at how much time people spend stuck in traffic links widespread economic inequality to a lack of access to public transportation.  

On August 24, 1992, a monster storm howled through Homestead, buzz-sawing roofs, ripping out trees, smashing schools and scattering Homestead Air Force Base fighter jets like an overturned toy box.

If a repeat of Hurricane Andrew happens this storm season, which officially began last week, will Homestead be ready? Emergency planners certainly think so. What about the Homestead shelter for unaccompanied migrant children, which critics have derided as a glorified tent city? That’s less clear.

Empty cots line a room in the Mike Fasano Regional Hurricane Shelter in Pasco Co. ahead of Hurricane Michael in Oct. 2018.
Pasco County Media Relations & Communications

Hurricane season has started and it helps to be prepared for any storms that may happen. While counties have shelters for severe storms, officials say they are meant as a last resort and should be secondary to evacuation.  

The Wallenda family has been a star tightrope-walking troupe for generations, tracing their roots to 1780 in Austria-Hungary, when their ancestors traveled as a band of acrobats, aerialists, jugglers, animal trainers, and trapeze artists.
Courtesy of Nik Wallenda

Later this month, members of the Flying Wallendas will perform a live high-wire walk on national television.  The event comes two years after several performers were involved in a devastating fall in Sarasota.

This week, siblings Nik and Lijana Wallenda are practicing at the city's Nathan Benderson Park for a high-wire walk above Times Square in New York City.

Hillsborough County School Superintendent Jeff Eakins stands at a podium.
Daylina Miller / WUSF Public Media

After 30 years of working for the Hillsborough County School district, Superintendent Jeff Eakins announced Monday that he will retire.

His last day in the role will be June 30, 2020.

Pulse
Amy Green / WMFE

Elected leaders are scheduled to announce Monday at Pulse plans for legislation that would designate the nightclub as a national memorial site. 

Updated Pinellas County flood zone map.
Pinellas County

Pinellas County residents may find themselves living in a flood zone after a recent update to coastal flood maps by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. These new changes can mean higher or lower flood insurance premiums for some people.

The Trump administration announced Wednesday it will be drastically cutting federal aid to migrant childhood detention facilities.  The largest childhood detention facility in the United States is based in Homestead. It houses more than 2,000 children. The funding cuts mean the children will have no access to formal education, public attorneys or recess time.

It's still too early for impeachment proceedings, U.S. Congressman Ted Deutch told the crowd at a packed town hall meeting Thursday in Oakland Park.

The Broward-Palm Beach County Democrat wants to educate people about Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report first. 

"The purpose of these investigations is to follow them wherever they lead and ultimately, as the Mueller report tells us, to ensure that no one in the country, including the president of the United States, is above the law," he said.

Judge Weighs Fight Over Local Gun Restrictions

Jun 7, 2019

In a case filed in the aftermath of last year’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, a circuit judge is poised to hear arguments about the constitutionality of a state law that imposes tough penalties on local officials if they approve gun regulations. 

Cuba Restrictions Hit Cruise Lines At The Start Of Summer

Jun 6, 2019
Carnival Cruise Lines

The Trump administration's new restrictions on travel to Cuba will sting the cruise industry, taking away a new and increasingly popular destination at the start of the critical summer vacation season. 

Districts Could Be Called Out On School Safety

Jun 6, 2019

After a state commission found out Wednesday that nearly 200 schools --- including many charter schools --- have not had armed security as required by state law, commissioners urged the Florida Department of Education to “name names and name people” to try to force compliance. 

Mayor Mel Jurado and the Temple Terrace City Council.
Temple Terrace City Clerk

Events commemorating Friday as National Gun Violence Awareness Day will be held in St Petersburg, Lakewood Ranch and Tampa. But in Temple Terrace, the city council and mayor voted not to acknowledge the day at all.

Attorney General Weighs In On Death Penalty Changes

Jun 5, 2019

Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office is urging the Florida Supreme Court to reverse course on decisions that allowed dozens of convicted murderers to have their death sentences reconsidered. 

Steube, Rooney Defend Votes Against Disaster Aid

Jun 5, 2019

Two Florida Republican congressmen pointed Tuesday to irresponsible federal spending as the reason for their votes against a $19.1 billion disaster-relief package that would help portions of the Panhandle still recovering from last year’s deadly Hurricane Michael. 

Deputy Charged For Inaction During Parkland Shooting

Jun 5, 2019

The Florida deputy who knew a gunman was loose at the Parkland high school but refused to go inside to confront the assailant was arrested Tuesday on 11 criminal charges related to his inaction during the massacre that killed 17 people. 

Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis is cheering the passage of the congressional disaster aid package. 

Hurricane season has started, and only about a third of Palm Beach County’s 55 nursing homes have a permanent generator in place to keep residents cool in case the power fails. Only about two-thirds of the county’s 185 assisted living facilities do.

Three Democratic lawmakers demanded Tuesday that the Trump administration shut down the country's largest child migrant facility in Florida and release hundreds of teens to small shelters or relatives.

South Florida U.S. representatives say their decision comes after a recent federal court filing by immigrant advocates with hundreds of pages of teens describing "prison-like" conditions endured in the Homestead, Florida facility.

The gate of Brooker Creek Preserve is closed with two cones in front of it and a sign that states center closed until further notice.
Mark Schreiner / WUSF Public Media

Residents in the Tampa Bay area are dealing with lingering smoke after a brush fire at Brooker Creek Preserve this week.

East Lake Fire Rescue, Oldsmar Fire and the Department of Forestry helped fight the fire at the preserve in north Pinellas County. Florida Forest Service officials said the fire burned 15 acres.

Trump Administration Halts Cruises To Cuba Under New Rules

Jun 4, 2019
Carol Highsmith, Jan. 10, 2010 / The Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

The Trump administration on Tuesday ended the most popular forms of U.S. travel to Cuba, banning cruise ships and a heavily used category of educational travel in an attempt to cut off cash to the island's communist government.

Long-Sought Disaster Aid Package Passes House

Jun 4, 2019

A federal disaster-relief package, long sought by Florida officials and Panhandle residents recovering from the ravages of Hurricane Michael, received approval Monday from the U.S. House after three earlier attempts were blocked. 

Report: Blacks, Latinos At Risk Of Undercount In 2020 Census

Jun 4, 2019
U.S. Census Bureau

Emily Bonilla is worried her district in metro Orlando will be undercounted during next spring's once-in-a-decade head count of everybody in the United States because of who lives there: new arrivals, immigrants, the poor, renters and rural residents who sometimes regard government with suspicion. 

People board a HART bus.
HART

“I am Thomas Dunn.”

This was the sentence that echoed through the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit’s (HART) board of directors meeting on Monday.

One by one, bus drivers walked up to the microphone and spoke about how the murder of their colleague had affected them.

Today marks the official start of the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season, and the second named storm of the year could already be developing. However, it poses no current threat to the United States.

There’s a war going on in Florida between the state legislature and environmental groups around the state.
 
At stake is the biggest toll highway expansion the state has seen in more than  half a century. Legislation  has passed to expand the Suncoast Parkway, extend  Florida's Turnpike and create a new toll road connecting Polk and Collier counties. The bill was signed by Gov.

Gallons of drinking water sits on shelves.
Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Hurricane season started June 1 and officials are sending out their annual message: it's imperative to know what to do before, during, and after a storm.

Hillsborough County evacuation zones.
Hillsboroughcounty.org

Hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30. Emergency management officials say it's important residents know which evacuation zone they live in. Florida residents should have an evacuation plan in place before a storm is on the radar. 

  

When counties mandate evacuations, they will do it by zones A-E. The zones are set based on a home’s vulnerability to deadly storm surge, with Zone A being most vulnerable. Evacuation zones are not the same as FEMA flood zone designations.

An alligator broke into a woman's home in Clearwater early Friday morning.
City of Clearwater

A 10- to 11-foot alligator broke into a woman’s home in Clearwater early Friday and thrashed about, breaking wine bottles and knocking over furniture while a trapper removed it, police said.

Generator
OPEI

Hurricane season is here and Florida lawmakers want to help give your wallet a break when preparing this year. Through next Thursday, storm supplies like flashlights and generators will be tax-free to help families get prepared for the 2019 storm season.

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