Christine DiMattei

Years ago, after racking her brains trying to find a fun, engaging, creative nighttime gig to subsidize her acting habit, Chris decided to ride her commercial voiceover experience into the fast-paced world of radio broadcasting. She started out with traffic reporting, moved on to news . . . and never looked back. Since then, Chris has worked in newsrooms throughout South Florida, producing stories for radio broadcasts and the web.

In her other life, she has been married to 12 husbands (including a not-so-wild boar and a garden slug), given birth to 15 children, died four times, twice taken vows as a nun and once been abducted by pirates in the Caribbean. And all this by doing English language dubbing for dozens of foreign films, soap operas and cartoons. 
 
Both lives, she says, have been "a most excellent adventure."

A sea snail with spider-like abilities.  Sounds like a sci-fi movie monster.

But the creature recently discovered in the Florida Keys is causing some very real anxiety for scientists worried that it could become a particularly troublesome exotic invader.

Two weeks before Election Day, Donald Trump made a campaign promise during a rally in Collier County that Floridians have been hearing from politicians for years:

"A Trump administration will also work alongside you to restore and protect the beautiful Everglades,” said Trump.

The Everglades restoration isn't the only environmental issue facing Florida. Sea-level rise also remains a serious threat here. 

It’s that time of year again.

Perhaps you recently went into a pharmacy or grocery store, spotted the sign reminding you to get your flu shot and said to yourself, “Nah.  I don’t need it.”

But if you’re in one of several high-risk groups, maybe an ounce of prevention . . . well, you know the rest.

In the following interview, WLRN Health Reporter Sammy Mack clears up some popular misconceptions about the flu shot. If after hearing it you are still doubting, then read our handy FAQ about the flu shot. 

FLU SHOT FAQ

For months, health officials have been pleading with South Floridians to “drain and cover” --  especially people who live in Miami Beach, Miami-Dade’s remaining zika virus hot zone. And now the county has reported a case of locally-acquired dengue fever – another mosquito-borne virus.

Burmese pythons, lionfish, african land snails -- these are just a few of the invasive species considered threats to Florida ecosystems. And the fact that you really can't snuggle with serpent, a venomous fish or a disease-carrying mollusk perhaps makes them easier to eradicate.

But what does Florida do about a potential invader that's a little on the cute side?

It’s banned in Europe.

Puerto Ricans took to the streets to keep it off their island.

But a controversial pesticide is being aerial-sprayed over a Miami-Dade Zika hot zone in a race to kill the virus-carrying aedes aegypti mosquito. And its use is raising concerns about possible health risks posed by long-term exposure to the chemical.

Below, Miami Herald reporter Andres Viglucci answers some questions about the pesticide called Naled.

What is Naled?

First, ergonomic chairs were a must-have when it came to workplace wellness. Then, standing desks were all the rage.

Could “walking meetings” follow?

A new University of Miami study suggests that swapping out a seated meeting just once a week for what TV screenwriters call “the walk and talk” could be a boon to worker health and well-being.

Over a three-week period, study participants -- white-collar workers -- wore accelerometers to measure their physical activity.

How would you like to pack up the cooler and head to your favorite Florida beach -- only to find the ocean water covered with foul-smelling, guacamole-thick fluorescent green gunk?  

That's what many Treasure Coast year-round residents and tourists are dealing with.  The blue-green algae spread is so bad that Gov. Rick Scott last week declared a state of emergency in four Florida counties -- including Palm Beach County.  

On a scorcher of a day at the beach, there's almost nothing like reaching into your cooler or a beach bag and taking a swig out of an ice cold water bottle.

But if they're plastic, all those little bottles add up.

It's estimated that 60 million plastic bottles are used in the United States every day, with many of them going unrecycled and ending up in landfills and in the ocean. But in Miami-Dade, a non-profit is enlisting the help of some old-fashioned technology in the fight against plastic waste: the water fountain.

New cases of the virus that causes AIDS are becoming less frequent throughout the United States.

But not in Florida.

Statewide, HIV infections have been increasing in recent years, with Miami-Dade and Broward counties topping the list. But a new law might help stem the tide of those new cases. For the first time, Florida has a needle-exchange program for intravenous drug users.

Last year, debates over legalizing marijuana dominated Florida’s legislative session. But during the Legislative session 2015, a different substance could be taking center stage as a freshman state representative from Broward County takes on the feel-good herb called kratom.

Palm Beach County lawmakers say tightening regulations on so-called "sober homes" will be one of their top priorities during this year's legislative session in Tallahassee. 

Sober houses are group homes for people recovering from drug or alcohol dependencies. In recent years, the facilities have become a booming business in parts of Broward and Palm Beach Counties. But critics complain many of the facilities are bringing noise, traffic and even drug dealing to their single-family neighborhoods.

It turns out some of South Florida's largest hospital systems are taking a page out of the urgent-care playbook.

Questions about the safety and efficiency of urgent-care and retail clinics were raised during Thursday's panel discussion at the Tower Forum, a monthly gathering of Broward County business professionals.

Broward-based Memorial Healthcare System opened its first urgent-care center in 1976, according to President and CEO Frank Sacco.

The country’s largest auto club is making it easier for Florida parents to comply with a revamped child car seat law.

As of the New Year, state law now requires that children need to be secured in car-safety seats until the age of six.  Previously, kids could transition to regular adult seat belts as young as age four.

Each Friday, throughout the month of January, AAA will be giving away free booster car seats.

AAA Director of Traffic Safety Culture Michele Harris says the organization takes child safety seriously.