Two years ago today, the usually loving and lighthearted Valentine’s Day became a somber anniversary when one of the deadliest mass shootings in our nation’s history unfolded just a few miles north of us in Parkland. And in the years that have followed dozens of young people have died due to gun violence in SoFla, often in incidents that remain unsolved.
So what’s happened in the years that followed? The state Legislature approved and later updated a gun reform bill that did a few things including: raising the legal age for gun purchases from 18 to 21 years old, and banning the sale or ownership of bump stocks.
In last year’s session more focus was placed on improving mental health resources and procedures in schools, but the state’s controversial guardian program was also changed to allow teachers to be armed with guns in schools. And a plan to close Florida’s so-called gun show loophole looks unlikely to gain traction in this year’s legislative session.
Some state and federal efforts to ban assault weapons have picked up support but have either stalled out or been delayed ahead of the November election. Families of the victims also met with President Trump in Washington this week and unveiled a new website that gives school districts a place to check for best practices and ways to improve their safety measures.
If you’re looking for mental health resources today, WLRN compiled a list here. And the Sun Sentinel compiled a list of vigils and commemorations happening today (mostly in Broward). Miami-Dade Schools will also offer resources to students and staff across the district and observe a moment of silence at 10:17 a.m.
In other news…
Some major money. State lawmakers and the inspector general are going to dig into the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Why? Documents and Miami Herald reporting revealed that the former CEO of the organization was paid about $7.5 million in state and federal funds in just three years — when lawmakers thought she was receiving a salary of about $750,000. (Miami Herald)
Just text me. Thanks to the E-Notify system, people who want to get updates on criminal court cases can receive them via text and email. Florida tried the program out in courts in Orange, Okaloosa, and Nassau counties. The system was also expanded across the state earlier this month. (WLRN)
Another blow for local bans. The Florida Supreme Court has decided not to hear an appeal from Coral Gables in the city’s longstanding legal battle to ban Styrofoam use by city businesses. The city tried to appeal a state decision that said their ban was preempted by state law, but their latest effort was denied. (News Service of Florida)
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If you need last-minute Valentine’s Day plans, there are a few tickets left for tonight and tomorrow’s New World Symphony “Fire and Romance” performances.
Michael Tilson Thomas, NWS’s Co-founder and Artistic Director, joins violinist Nicola Benedetti in celebrating classical music’s swoon-worthy Romantics and dance masters. Performances will include Liszt’s Prometheus, Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2, and Schumann’s Symphony No. 3, otherwise known as “Rhenish.”
For more on the influences in this weekend’s performance, check out New World Symphony’s quick audio explainer — it’s a great pre-performance introduction to what you’re about to experience.
Saturday’s performance will also include a WALLCAST showing that starts at 7:30 p.m. – you’ll definitely want to get there early.
Valentine’s Day is here and we’ve got one more reminder of a unique way for you to do a good deed and maybe find some love this weekend! We’re hosting a kayaking field trip this Sunday that will be part beach clean-up and part singles mixer.
We will be pairing people up randomly in tandem kayaks (so get your small talk ready) and will be led by the good folks at Debris Free Oceans and the Virginia Key Outdoor Center through the waterways of Virginia Key, where we will be stopping along the coast line to help clean up our beautiful beaches! Even if you’re already boo’d up, you could just make a new friend.
So whether you’re looking for a date, or just a laugh while doing something good in the world, grab a ticket and come join the fun!
🔥 NWS’s Michael Tilson Thomas joins violinist Nicola Benedetti in celebrating classical music’s swoon-worthy Romantics and dance masters Buy tickets tonight or tomorrow (Sponsor)
🎶 Jam at this V-Day concert with performances by Afrobeta, Las Nubes, Haute Tension, Donzii and Ines Barlatier (Wynwood)
🎶 Sway to a the sounds of Mario at the Peachfuzz party at the Ground (Downtown)
🍕 Nom on pizza at Frankie's 65th anniversary celebration (Southwest Dade)
😋 Eat your V-Day dinner at the food truck rally in Tropical Park (Southwest Dade)
🎶 Groove to the best in world, jazz, funk and rock at Ground Up Music Festival, with interactive masterclasses and brunch with the artists. Through Feb 16 Tickets on sale now. (Sponsor)
♥️ Miami City Ballet presents a trio of ballets: Firebird, Nine Sinatra Songs, and Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes. Tickets start at $30 (Partner)
😅 Work up a sweat before an early morning dance party at Club Space with Daybreaker (Downtown)
🎨 Stroll through hundreds of art booths and eat plenty of local bites at the Coconut Grove Arts Festival, through Feb. 17 (Coconut Grove) (Partner)
🚩 Bring your friends and fam to the Haulover Kite Days Festival (Haulover Beach)
📽️ Catch a screening of "Dirty Dancing" at the Coral Gables Art Cinema (Coral Gables)
🌈 Celebrate at Gay8, a diversity and inclusion festival filled with cultural programming and founded by LGBTQ latinos (Little Havana)
🚣 Meet new friends at our "Dating is Garbage" beach cleanup, kayak trip and singles mixer (Key Biscayne)
🎨 Nosh on brunch bites at 12 different contemporary art galleries (Various locations)
💃 Take a dance class with the queen of Afrobeat (Little Haiti)
🗣️ Train your mind to think objectively at this workshop (Wynwood)
🎵 Feel the rave vibes at the Oxitocina party at The Hangar (Downtown)
🎸 Hear the sounds of the Delta Blues at the Olympia (Downtown)
🤓 Test your smarts at Beat Culture Brewery's trivia night (Blue Lagoon)
😋 Nom for the 'gram at the soft opening for The Flying Pig restaurant (South Miami)
🗣️ Join Locust Projects and Oolite Arts for a conversation with Adrienne Edwards, co-curator of the 2021 Whitney Biennial (Little Haiti)
🎨 Practice your drawing skills at this free class inspired by Terence Price's Never Ending Gardens (Sweetwater)
🌿 Perfect your homemade plant-based bowl game with us! Limited spaces, get yours here! (Sponsor)
🔮 Catch a Spanish-only improv tribute to Walter Mercado at Villain Theater (Little Haiti)
🎥 Watch a screening of "My Father's Land", including a discussion on Haitian Immigration issues in the Bahamas curated by Black Lounge Films & One Book, One U RSVP for your free entry (Sponsor)
🎻 From backstage tours, art openings, and outdoor film screenings, Culture Crawl has something for everyone. All events are free unless noted. Click here for Culture Crawl Event listings (Sponsor)
😋 Chow down and groove at the North Beach Social, a pop-up food hall with a live performance by Black Dove (North Beach)
We’ll catch you on Monday, Miami! Have a lovely weekend. ❤️
— The New Tropic