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A year ago today, Hurricane Irma made landfall in the Keys as a Category 4 storm. Up here in South Florida, it was a mere Category 2.
But it brought Miami to its knees. Nearly one million Miami-Dade residents lost power, many of them for more than a week. Trees blocked roads everywhere. Grassroots organizations stepped up and fed thousands of locals in food-insecure neighborhoods. And a year later a bunch of spots, including the River Yacht Club on the Miami River, the Red Fish Grill in Matheson Hammock, and the Courtyard Marriott in Coconut Grove, remain closed.
We learned a lot from that little Category 2 storm, like:
We can’t all hop on I-95 and drive north to Georgia. Miamians spent hours stuck in gridlock on highways, and getting away got kind of dicey as the storm approached. Since Irma, there’s been a lot of talk about “sheltering in place” – i.e. if you live in an evacuation zone, take shelter at to your friend’s house just a little further inland, rather than driving a few hundred miles – and only using shelters as a last resort.
We’ve got to be self-sufficient when it comes to staffing shelters. Confusion with organizations like the Red Cross delayed shelter openings. This year the county government has devoted 2,000 employees to staffing shelters.
Our precious tree canopy can also become a very big problem. Many of the power outages, especially in Coral Gables, were caused by trees falling on power lines. That’s prompted a lot of talk about burying power lines, a very expensive proposition.
People living on the brink of homelessness and hunger can be pushed over the edge by this kind of crisis. With many businesses closed, workers making hourly wages came up short for the month. Many families rely on public schools to provide meals for their kids, and when schools close, that resource stops too. Local officials say residents should expect help to take 72 hours to arrive after a storm, but many can’t afford food and supplies for so many days. Grassroots groups have stepped up to provide things like transportation, ice, supplies, and meals in poor and elderly communities.
Much of that grassroots effort is being coordinated by the Community Emergency Operations Center, which popped up last year after the storm as a hub for supporting all those neighborhood groups. Want to help them out? The center, located at 670 NW 113th St., accepts donations from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Can you help us help you? Last year, as Irma bore down, we put together a hurricane guide, with tips like how to understand evacuation orders, where to get things like plywood, and how to improvise sandbags. As we head into prime time for hurricanes, take a look and let us know what we’re missing. Hit reply to this newsletter or email us at [email protected]
💻 Get it done. Struggling with time management? There’s a workshop for that. Join Radical Partners and the Miami Foundation on Sept. 18 to learn how to get through your to-do list and find time to do what matters most.
💪 Help Miami level up. Got an idea for making Miami more awesome? Apply for an Awesome Foundation Miami grant. And if you want to help other people with their ideas for making Miami more awesome, apply to be a trustee. Applications are due Sept. 15.
🏖️ Clean our beaches. International Coastal Cleanup Day is Sept. 15, and there are 45+ cleanup opportunities happening across South Florida. Want to do your part in cleaning up our beaches and ocean? Find a volunteer opportunity and sign up.
🛶Got some love for Mother Nature? National Public Lands Day is the perfect time to show it. Join the South Florida National Parks Trust for a “kayak and clean” along the mangrove shoreline of Black Point Marina on Sept. 22. There’s a lot of debris around there from Irma still, and they could use your help (and your kayak). Thanks to Gabriela Barrocas for the tip!
Got an opportunity, workshop, scholarship, grant, etc. you want other curious locals to know about? Hit us up at [email protected] to have it listed here.
If you love to @ us, join us.Take selfies with a Marlins player, a chance have your content played pregame, & a t-shirt with a ticket package on 9/20. Learn More ».
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Flan oh man. Ariete is one of the top restaurants in Miami and its flan is a hit dessert but it turns out it’s made with … mushrooms? Yep. The restaurant’s owner, Michael Beltran, said the inspiration came from a friend who made a delicious ice cream sandwich with candy cap mushrooms. So Beltran tried them out in his flan and the rest is tasty history. (Miami.com)
Too late to apologize. After massively botching an upgrade to the SunPass system this summer, leading to millions of delayed toll payments, officials are apologizing to Florida drivers. Florida’s transportation secretary Mike Dew said last week that the issues shouldn’t have happened and the company responsible for processing the tolls has been fined more than $800,000. The apology is cool, but we wish it had come a little sooner. (Bradenton Herald)
Unacceptable. More than three years after Miami-Dade County approved a plan to give out civil citations for marijuana possession instead of locking folks up, the data shows that enforcement of the option is totally skewed along racial lines. In those three years, Miami-Dade police officers have issued more than 10,000 citations to people for possessing less than 20 grams of weed, and about 72 percent of those citations have gone to white people. About 2,800 of the citations were issued to black people during the same time, but across Miami-area police departments, more than 5,000 black people have been arrested for possessing the same amount of weed. (Miami New Times)
Here comes the sun. Curious about going solar, but have no idea where to start? Turns out there’s plenty of help in the form of solar co-ops. The free groups educate people on installing solar panels at their home and members of the co-op can get group discounts on panels and installation. Interested? Registration is open for the Miami-Dade co-op through Friday. (WLRN)
A not-so busy budget season? Miami-Dade commissioners held their first budget hearing this past Thursday and it was light on drama and heavy on calls for more affordable housing assistance, improvements for the county’s transit system, and programs like free bus passes and temporary housing for low-income residents. If you wanna weigh in, the next budget hearing is Sept. 20, and here are a few tips for navigating the $7.8 billion county budget. (Miami Herald)
More money, more problems. Phillip Frost, the businessman and philanthropist whose name is attached to buildings all over Miami–including Downtown’s Frost Museum of Science, was charged with securities fraud for his role in two schemes involving “pumping and dumping” stocks. He and nine others are accused of manipulating the share prices of stocks of three companies over a five-year period, making about $27 million in the process. (Miami Herald)
💝 IlluminArts at the Lowe Art Museum September 15th! IlluminArts presents DRESDEN: Hymn to Humanity: An exclusive night of music inspired by art featuring singers Jonathan Beyer and Jennifer Holloway!
🍞Tomorrow: Talk community engagement with FIU at Tostada Tuesday (Doral)
🍦Saturday, Sept. 15: Indulge in some sweet treats at The Yard (Wynwood)
🎥Friday, Sept. 21: Head to Ethiopia with the Black Lounge Film Series (Overtown)
🌱Friday, Sept. 21: Raise awareness for food sustainability and enjoy a meal courtesy of Hungry Harvest (Allapattah)
Want to partner with us? Here’s how that works.
🎤Show school pride at this college-themed karaoke night (Brickell)
🎵Jam at the latest edition of Miami Soul Sessions at 1306 (Downtown)
💃Put on your dancing shoes and groove at Mambo Mondays (Little Havana)
🧠Test your knowledge at a special fundraising edition of trivia at Gramps (Wynwood)
🗣️Check out an education-themed of The Moth Story Slam (Downtown)
🍝Learn how to make gluten-and-dairy-free pasta (Wynwood)
🗣️Talk contemporary art with Deana Haggag, president of U.S. Artists (Little Haiti)
💃Jam at the after party for Alina Baraz’s concert at the Floyd (Downtown)
🎶Treat yourself to an opera night on Espanola Way (South Beach)
🤓Geek out at Nerd Nite (Wynwood)
🗣️ Weigh in on the City of Miami budget (Coconut Grove)
🎧Catch DJ and producer Rusko at The Ground (Downtown)
🎥Watch a screening of Arthur Jafa’s film “Dreams are Colder than Death” (Design District)
🍴Get your nom on at Virginia Key’s food truck nigh (Key Biscayne)
🎥Watch films all over town during the annual Brazilian Film Festival – through Sept. 23 (Multiple locations)
😂Get your laugh on at Wild’N Out Live (Downtown)
🎷Catch a performance by Melton Mustafa Jr. at the Hampton House (Brownsville)
🏳️🌈See Miami’s finest drag performers at Miss Toto’s MissCellaneous Drag Show (Little Haiti)
🤘Rock out to a Led Zeppelin tribute (Cutler Bay)
Going to one of these? Take us with you! Email a pic to [email protected] or tag @thenewtropic on Instagram. See more upcoming events on our events page, and add your own events with a New Tropic membership.
Make it a great week, Miami. We’ll see you tomorrow morning.
– The New Tropic