Sometimes bad news strikes, occasionally it creeps up from behind, sometimes it smothers, and every once in a while, it bites, like it seems to have done down in Key West and could start happening up here as well.
- One thing no one wants to wake up to is dengue fever, that tropical, mosquito-borne virus with the charming nickname "bone-break fever." Common in South and Central America, the last outbreak in Florida was in the 1930s. It's just a tiny bit nastier than malaria, but unlike malaria, there's no vaccine, and there's no simple test to tell if you've got it (one question: Do your bones feel like they've been broken?) Five percent of Key West's denizens tested positive for dengue or its antibodies, which means they've been exposed. Hemorrhagic dengue, which is far worse and sometimes fatal, is much rarer. That's the good news. The bad news is the mosquito responsible for transmitting the virus is common in this area. [Palm Beach Post]
- Someday it would be nice to see one of those web-page slideshows with a stream of improvised flotation devices used to travel from Cuba to Florida. Over the years, we've seen some truly original "boats," but yesterday a U.S. surveillance plane (probably looking for drug smugglers) spotted a dude trying to cross the Straits in a styrofoam craft. And you just threw out the packaging from your new flat-screen? Dumbass! You could be halfway to Nassau by now. [Miami Herald]
- For years, Fort Lauderdale's Riverfront was crazy busy. It was the downtown spot for dinner/movie dates with an always-full parking garage where you could waste time trying to recall where you parked. Now, the place is virtually deserted (the theater is still in business), but there's something sad and regrettable about the demise of this once-bustling urban mall on the water. [Sun-Sentinel]
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- And this is the kind of news that must make someone happy, somewhere: Mortgage lenders are preparing to foreclose on 50,000 South Florida domiciles this year. Already in the tricounty area, bank repossessions are up by a staggering 83 percent. Some records just shouldn't be set. [Sun-Sentinel]
- A thoroughly depressing tale of drinking, driving, ruined lives, broken hearts -- all made worse by the idiotic Florida court system -- reveals no winners at all. This story shows how fate can pay a cruel visit on short notice and how what should be a frivolous adventure (traveling to a football game) can be life-altering on multiple levels. [Miami Herald]
- Evidently, a popular place to stash your ride following a late-night crash is near the intersection of interstates 95 and 595. That's where police found a pickup belonging to Dolphins wide receiver Brian Hartline. However, according to Hartline's Twitter account, he wasn't even in South Florida at the time. Sound familiar? [Palm Beach Post]