Here are some of the top stories from the past week from NBC 6 News:
South Florida Honors Martin Luther King Jr.'s Legacy Ahead of MLK Day
Events to honor Martin Luther King Jr’s legacy are popping up across South Florida ahead of his day on Monday. These events are aimed to commemorate the vision and mission of King, who would’ve been 93 years old this year.
Gwen Cherry Park hosted a collaborative effort between Miami-Dade parks, Feeding South Florida, and the Miami Marlins Foundation to help those in the area. The partnership produced around 500 boxes filled with fresh produce and food for those who need it to pick up in a drive-thru event.
“It helps the community out when we’re trying to make ends meet,” said Bridgette King, who received a box. She lives in Liberty City. “We’re just getting back to work and school in Miami-Dade County so I think it’s a good event to help the community.”
Organizers say events like this go hand in hand with what King worked to accomplish – equality regardless of the color of someone’s skin.
Florida Manatee Feeding Experiment Starts Slowly as Cold Looms
An unprecedented, experimental attempt to feed manatees facing starvation in Florida has started slowly but wildlife officials expressed optimism Thursday that it will work as cold weather drives the marine mammals toward warmer waters.
A feeding station established along the state's east coast has yet to entice wild manatees with romaine lettuce even though the animals will eat it in captivity, officials said on a news conference held remotely.
Water pollution from agricultural, urban and other sources has triggered algae blooms that have decimated seagrass beds on which manatees depend, leading to a record 1,101 manatee deaths largely from starvation in 2021. The typical five-year average is about 625 deaths.
That brought about the lettuce feeding program, part of a joint manatee death response group led by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It remains a violation of state and federal law for people to feed manatees on their own.
Buying a Car or Truck This Year? Expect Higher Than Usual Prices
If your budget is feeling stretched, there’s a good reason for that. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index for December 2021 shows prices in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach area are up 7.1% over the year.
Area gasoline prices showed some of the sharpest increases over the year, rising 50.6% from December 2020 to December 2021. The price of new and used cars also saw double-digit jumps over the year, with the used cars and trucks category rising 37.2% over the year. You can read more about the Consumer Price Index in South Florida here.
“If you haven’t purchased a car for a few years, you’re going to be surprised at how expensive they are,” said Ronald Montoya, a senior consumer advice editor for Edmunds.com. “There’s just a shortage of vehicles overall both in new and used and, as a result, the prices are pretty much higher than expected.”
Montoya said we likely won’t see relief anytime soon, especially if you’re looking to buy a previously owned vehicle.
Miami Cops Fired by Former Chief Are Getting Their Jobs Back
At least three City of Miami police officers who were fired by former police chief Art Acevedo are getting their jobs back, the department confirmed Wednesday.
Among the officers reinstated are former Deputy Chief Ron Papier and his wife police Commander Nerly Papier, who were let go last year after the commander crashed her cruiser into a curb and blew out several tires.
The Papiers were accused of covering up the crash. An internal affairs investigation later cleared the commander of wrongdoing.
The firings took place under Acevedo, who himself was fired back in October after running afoul with city commissioners. He had accused the Papiers of not being honest about the incident.
DeSantis Outlines Education Agenda, Carvalho Calls Out ‘Gaslighting'
Gov. Ron DeSantis devoted a sizable portion of his State of the State speech Tuesday to education policy and education-related rhetoric. He spoke about raising teacher salaries, investing more in vocational programs, and giving parents more power over their children's education.
“We have worked hard to keep schools open,” DeSantis said, speaking about his administration’s efforts during the pandemic.
His speech was watched with interest by educators around the state, including Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho.
“There is quite a bit of rhetoric, incendiary rhetoric in addition to a lot of gaslighting over issues that do not reflect the tone, the tenor, the conscience of educators across the state of Florida,” Carvalho said, describing the governor’s speech.
Preservation Board Requests Independent Engineers to Inspect Deauville Resort
Miami Beach’s Historic Preservation Board asked the city on Tuesday to hire an independent structural engineer to take a look at the Deauville Beach Resort in the hopes that something can be done to prevent a complete demolition.
The board’s request was in response to the city manager saying a demolition order would be issued once the city verified a structural report submitted by the owners that found the place was beyond repair.
“I think our building manager is in a tough spot," Commissioner Steven Meiner said. "Now we have an engineering report that says this is a public safety hazard and that requires almost immediate demolish before hurricane season."
The finding came as no surprise to city leaders and preservationists, who claim the owners cared more about selling the hotel than preserving it.