Here are some of the top stories from the past week from NBC 6 News:
FEMA Continues New Flood Insurance Rollout Despite Calls for Delay
Despite calls to delay a massive change to flood insurance policies across the country, the Federal Emergency Management Agency continues to roll out its new flood risk methodology.
“Risk Rating 2.0” will cause nearly all flood insurance policy premiums to change over the next year. Most will become more expensive in Florida because of new environmental factors like sea level rise and climate change. Some policies have already decreased with the first phase of the change. The second phase for renewal policies kicks in April.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has called on FEMA to delay the change again but in an interview with NBC 6 a senior executive with the agency said that’s not going to happen.
“I can confidently say the prices are fair and reflect the property’s unique flood risk,” said David Maurstad, senior executive of FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program.
About 17,000 new policies have already been issued under the new methodology and premium decreases have already kicked in, according to Maurstad.
According to FEMA data, 80% of Florida policies will see an increase in premiums over the next year. Many could be the maximum under federal law, 18%. Most will increase up to $120 a year. About 20% of policies in Florida will see a decrease.
What's Open, Closed on Thanksgiving Day in South Florida
In 2020, several major retailers broke the longstanding tradition for the first time in years and closed their doors on Thanksgiving Day due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This year, several stores will continue the trend and close on Thanksgiving Day.
But don't worry, there are many stores that will still be open, even for a few hours, to give customers a chance to grab last-minute items or to get a jump start on their holiday shopping.
Click here for the latest updates on store hours and closures for Thanksgiving Day.
Holiday Air Travel Could Be Rocky, But Here's How to Win the Race to Rebook
A coming wave of holiday passengers is the airlines' first big stress test since the coronavirus, and so far not many passengers would give them a passing grade.
The Transportation Security Administration is screening almost as many people per day as it did before the pandemic began. But , the Bureau of Labor Statistics says 34,000 fewer airline workers are on the job now.
“They’re short-staffed, as everyone is post-pandemic,” said David Slotnick, an aviation writer for The Points Guy.
Slotnick noted airlines are flying with zero wiggle room, meaning one staffing shortfall, small storm, or computer glitch can ripple nationwide.
“They just end up having to cancel everything,” he explained.
Tight scheduling, short staffing plus a possible appearance from unpredictable wintry weather could all add up to a gathering storm of travel issues over the holidays.
So passengers, brace yourselves for delays and cancellations.
Demand for Chocolate During Pandemic Saved This Woman's Business
Exquisito Chocolates is a chocolate factory in Miami’s Little Havana district that
produces about 20 tons of cacao a year.
Everything is made by hand, from individual chocolate bars and candy to the
chocolate Exquisito Chocolates sells to hotels and restaurants.
Before COVID-19 hit South Florida, much of the company’s revenue came from
wholesale deals it struck with other businesses, like hotels and breweries. But
everything changed in March 2020, when the first possible cases of coronavirus
were registered in the United States.
“We would sell products, and people would pay us within 30 to 45 days,” said
Carolina Quijano, owner of Exquisito Chocolates. “And what happened? In that time window, contacts at those companies started disappearing a bit. So we had all these pending invoices.”
“And since everyone was scared, our cash flow started drying up. All of a sudden,
people weren’t answering my calls. I think that happened to a lot of people,”
However, Quijano says mandatory quarantine measures triggered a spike in chocolate sales.
After Pandemic Postponement, Miami-Dade County Youth Fair Is Back
It’s been 956 days since the Miami-Dade Youth Fair was open for business.
Many are making memories on the midway for the first time, including Ericka Lawson’s young daughter.
“It’s pretty good, she hasn’t been able to experience it yet,” said Lawson. “So, I’m glad it’s back.”
The fair was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic. Earlier this year, fair leaders announced it would be postponed
Now the fair is back on with 18 days of entertainment, including BMX Pros Trick Team, Circus, Stilt Circus, RoboCars, and more.
There’s also a new ride this time around, called the "Observation Wheel." It’s a 150 foot tall Ferris wheel, with 36 climate-controlled gondolas, and an LED light display.
You can find these experiences and more through Dec. 5.
The fair is located at the Fairgrounds at 10901 SW 24 Street (Coral Way), Miami, 33165. Click here for more info and ticket prices.
Millionaire Pooch Selling Miami Villa Once Owned by Madonna for Nearly $32M
Gunther the German shepherd spent a recent morning playing with his tennis ball, rolling in the grass, slobbering a little and napping a lot. Later, he had a “meeting” with the real estate agents selling his Miami mansion that his handlers bought from Madonna.
And of course Gunther was wearing his very best faux diamond dog collar for the meeting — his real gold collar is back at his main home in Tuscany. As crazy as it sounds even by Florida's standards, Gunther VI inherited his vast fortune, including the eight-bedroom waterfront home once owned by the “Material Girl” singer, from his grandfather Gunther IV. At least that’s what the handlers who manage the estate say.
The Tuscan-style villa with views of Biscayne Bay went on sale Wednesday for $31.75 million — a whopping markup from the purchase two decades ago from the pop star for $7.5 million. The home also boasts a gilded framed portrait of Gunther IV over the living room fireplace.
The dog's lineage dates back decades to when Gunther III inherited a multimillion-dollar trust from late owner German countess Karlotta Liebenstein when she died in 1992. Since then, a group of handlers have helped maintain a jet-setting lifestyle for a succession of dogs. There are trips to the Milan and the Bahamas, where the latest Gunther recently dined out at restaurants every evening — his handlers like to make sure he's well socialized.