South Florida

Over the past decade nearly 90,000 tons of sewage sludge have been trucked up from South Florida and dumped into the St. Johns River watershed and conservationists say it’s having a devastating effect.

Kate Stein/WLRN

On a hot day in September, Charlene Jones celebrated her 61st birthday by herself.

The former nursing-home cook made herself a birthday dinner of turkey and dressing, macaroni and cheese, string beans and butter pound cake. She ate it alone, in a dim apartment in an affordable housing complex in Miami’s West Little River neighborhood.

“I wanted to be home,” Jones said. “I don’t really like being out.”

Judge Rejects State Contracts For HIV And AIDS Care

Nov 21, 2018

An administrative law judge recommended Tuesday that the state Agency for Health Care Administration toss aside agreements it signed for treatment of Medicaid beneficiaries with HIV and AIDS in three South Florida counties.

Tens, hundreds or thousands of ideas are part of what’s needed to help South Florida respond to climate change.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is starting a three-year, $3 million study to help Miami-Dade County find ways to reduce risk from storms and sea-level rise.

On Thursday, the Corps and the county launched the effort by collecting ideas from local planners, researchers and concerned citizens. For four hours, staff members sat at tables in the Miami Rowing Club on Key Biscayne and facilitated conversations with interested members of the public.

Jan Derk (Wikimedia Commons)

Thousands of blacktip sharks ordinarily swim languidly off the South Florida coast. But this year the shark count is down substantially and warmer water temperatures may be the reason.

While South Florida continues to have the highest rates of new HIV diagnoses in the country, a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that Latino men have the highest rates of HIV infection among different demographic groups. 

There are a variety of mangoes found around South Florida: Haden, Mulgoba and East India, Julie. Experts say that the first mangoes arrived to the city in the 1700s--from pirates.

If current sea-level rise trends continue, the ocean that makes many South Florida cities desirable places to live may become an existential threat.

Iguana removal experts say this year be might record-setting in the number of invasive reptiles that are creeping around South Florida.

There's no way to get a firm estimate of the exact number of invasive iguanas in the state. They haven't been counted because state resources have been put in other areas, like the fight to eradicate burmese python out of the Everglades, said Joe Wasilewski, a conservation biologist and president of environmental consulting firm Natural Selections of South Florida. 

South Florida could see two feet or more of sea level rise in the next forty years, according to a joint projection by Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties.

South Florida Faces A Costly Sewage Problem

Jan 29, 2018

From Delray Beach to Virginia Key, South Florida is spending millions of dollars to fix old sewer systems. 

 

jgomez65 / Flickr

With burrowing iguanas showing up in people's toilets and damaging expensive sewer lines, Florida wildlife managers are stepping up efforts to control the state's booming population of the wild, invasive reptiles.

Five people were hit by trains in South Florida just this week — and two were killed. That brings year-to-date deaths on rail tracks to more than a dozen in South Florida.

Peter Haden/WLRN

The overdose call comes in to Delray Beach Fire Rescue around 7:30 p.m. on a Friday.

Firefighter-paramedics — they’re trained to do both — jump into action and rush to a nearby hotel. But before they can treat this victim, another call comes in.

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.

There is a room in artist Beca Gilling’s Miami house that looks a little like it should belong to a mad scientist: Candy-colored, amoeba-shaped critters smile out from specimen jars. There’s a row of tools you wouldn’t be surprised to find in a dentist’s office.

South Florida has the dubious distinction of leading the nation in new HIV cases.

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranks the South Florida metro area as number one for HIV diagnoses in 2015.

Congress passed the Water Resources Development Act on Wednesday -- and that could be a dual victory for South Florida. The act authorizes the Central Everglades Planning Project, which is slated to provide about $2 billion dollars for various ecosystem restoration efforts. And, it supports a $320 million dollar Port Everglades expansion that’s intended to help larger, heavier ships navigate the area.

 

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says Florida’s lawsuit climate is among the worst in the nation—for businesses. The business lobby association is pushing state legislators to crack down on trial lawyers—including one big name in the industry.

So many disabled-access complaints are brought in Florida that it has become a kind of lawsuit mill, with insurers paying quick settlements and lawyers profiting. But critics say the whole point -- increasing access to facilities for the disabled -- is ignored, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.

The search continues for two people who were aboard a Mexico-bound jet that crashed after taking off from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

Two pilots, a doctor and a nurse were on the plane. They had dropped off a patient in South Florida and were returning to Cozumel, Mexico, when the pilot reported an engine failure and attempted to return to the airport.

Coast Guard officials say crews searched throughout the night for the two missing people aboard the medical flight. Those search-and-rescue efforts continued Thursday morning.

South Florida has a glut of hospitals, which has always fueled a high-tech competition in the effort to gain or preserve market share. Now that the health-care payment system is changing to reward hospital-and-doctor networks that keep patients healthy rather than those with the most admissions, the glut is even more of a problem.

Jeanette Rivera of Coral Springs was already struggling with breast cancer when her mother had a stroke, leaving her unable to care for Jeanette’s father, who has Parkinson’s disease. Rivera tried to get home-care services that would enable the older couple to remain in their condo, but found a long waiting list.

Ellen Weinstein / Broward Palm Beach New Times

Some of the Medicare fraud stories that come out of South Florida are pretty unbelievable, as the Broward Palm Beach New Times reports. There are plenty of people who exploit the Medicare system for quick, easy cash. Prosecutors are overwhelmed, and many guilty of Medicare fraud get little more than a slap on the wrist.  

 

No state income tax. Warm weather. Lots of fitness trainers. And cash-only medical clinics with no state regulation.

Wexford Health Sources will be paid $48 million a year to provide medical care to inmates in South Florida. The company provided health services for the state several years ago, but ended up suing over payment rates.

Several Nile crocodiles, the kind that will eat humans, have been seen recently in South Florida. Given the danger, federal wildlife officials have granted Florida's shoot-to-kill request.