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.
 

They sound like environmental superheroes.

"These teams are the planet's best hope to solve this problem," said Eric Eikenberg, CEO of the Everglades Foundation, describing finalists in the foundation's $10 million competition for technology to remove phosphorus from water.

Did you lose power for a week after Hurricane Irma? Are you frustrated with the king tide flooding on your street? Or maybe thoughts of climate change keep you up at night?

 

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.

Miami-Dade needs to improve its communications before the next storm, said Mayor Carlos Gimenez, acknowledging that the county could have been clearer about which shelters were open when in the days leading up to Hurricane Irma last month.

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.

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.

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

In South Florida, climate change means higher seas, stronger storms and hotter summers. That could make the region unlivable within a couple hundred years. But scientists say if the world takes steps like reducing carbon emissions, we could buy ourselves some time.

A group of concerned citizens is trying to get that message out.

 

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.

 


Planning to have a baby in the Miami metro area? You’d better do it fast.

A study released Thursday says that of the 50 largest U.S. cities, Miami is the fourth most likely to face a shortage of obstetricians and gynecologists in the coming years.

Analysts say the number of OB/GYNs -- doctors who deliver babies and treat women of all ages -- isn’t growing fast enough to keep up with the growing U.S. population. That’s because many OB/GYNs are approaching retirement age, but not so many med students are entering the field to replace them.

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.


Weeks after a study linked a pesticide used for mosquito control to slight motor delays in babies, officials in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties say they plan to use that pesticide in aerial spraying scheduled in the coming week.

To address a growing population of black salt marsh mosquitoes, Miami-Dade County officials will conduct aerial mosquito spraying Thursday night beginning at 8 p.m.

The salt marsh mosquitoes don’t transmit the Zika virus but do bite humans and can spread heartworm to dogs. County officials say they’ve recently seen large numbers of the mosquitoes in their traps, and have received numerous complaints from callers.

Blue-green algae blooms that devastated Florida's coasts last summer contained as many as 28 types of bacteria, some of which can harm humans.

South Floridians are seeing the impacts of climate change firsthand, in sunny-day flooding and record-breaking temperatures as recently as Memorial Day weekend.

That's why for many, President Trump's decision Thursday to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accords constituted a betrayal.

WLRN

Last summer’s wave of local transmission of the Zika virus hasn’t yet bled into 2017 , but officials from Key West to West Palm Beach are gearing up for another round of mosquito control by creating new staff positions, adding more equipment and increasing outreach efforts.

Environmental activists and concerned citizens expressed outrage Thursday night over a planned development they say endangers a tract of rare pine rockland near Zoo Miami.

The critics say the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service should intervene because the developer’s habitat conservation plan does not offer adequate protection to endangered and threatened species.

 

Development and sea level rise are two things Miami is known for. And they go hand-in-hand, as developers and local officials plan how to make buildings resilient against water that could rise three to six feet by 2100.

 

According to official records, more than 1,000 people in South Florida overdosed last year on opioids including heroin and carfentanil -- a drug so potent it’s used as an elephant tranquilizer.

The growing threat of the opioids epidemic is mobilizing law enforcement and community leaders to form new partnerships and collaborate in events such as last week's discussion hosted by Florida Atlantic University (FAU). 

A controversial plan to build a reservoir that would help address damaging water discharges in the Everglades ecosystem is one step closer to being enacted — thanks to revisions that take into account the concerns of farmers in the Everglades Agricultural Area.

On Wednesday, Florida’s Senate Appropriations Committee approved a revised version of Senate Bill 10. The bill aims to alleviate blue-green algae on Florida’s coasts by reducing the amount of water that's discharged to the coasts from Lake Okeechobee.

What makes water managers celebrate?

New pipes, of course!

Seagrass in Florida Bay has died off rapidly over the past couple of years. About 40,000 acres have been lost, harming the habitat of animals from manatees to toadfish and imperiling the area's fishing industry.