(MIAMI, Fla.) In South Florida news today, readers can learn more about the new Brightline service that lets you purchase tickets and have access to a special rideshare service; what's included in the new Miami-Dade County budget; how a Miami-based developer saved a historic South Florida institution; and watch a Florida man catch an alligator in a garbage can.
The following list contains some of the area's top stories for Thursday, September 30. Read on for details:
Brightline service resumes in November, and a new feature dubbed Brightline Plus will allow riders to book train fare on an app.
Need a ride to the station? A new bonus rideshare option will take care of it. In addition to use of the app, fleets of Teslas, shuttles, and electric golf carts will be used to pick up Brightline Plus members with rides that bring them to the train station for less than the cost of traditional rideshare offerings. The first month of Brightline Plus will be free, followed by a reduced fare options.
The train line is also gearing up for transport to the Orlando airport, which should be ready around the end of 2022, meaning Brightline will be able to take you from Miami to Orlando with eventual stops in Fort Lauderdale, Aventura, Boca Raton, and — possibly one day — the Treasure Coast.
This week, county commissioners approved a $9 billion budget for 2022 fiscal year. The new budget goes into effect Friday.
The money will be used to give county employees raises; boost staffing for social services, building inspectors, and environmental regulation; and bring shore power to PortMiami. Although the new budget includes higher water waste fees, for many it's good news that taxes will remain flat, and hundreds of millions will be spent using federal COVID-19 relief funds.
According to a new report from Latin Donor Collaborative released on Wednesday, Florida is gaining more Latinos than any other state but one.
With more than 700,000 Latinos added to its population between 2015 and 2019, Florida saw its overall Latino growth climb more than every other state’s except for Texas. While some smaller states are adding Latinos at a faster clip, among the large states, the 14.1% growth rate in Florida saw during the period was faster than every other state with more than 500,000 residents, save Pennsylvania.
South Floridians and lovers of Polynesian pop were saddened when the Mai Kai announced it would be closing earlier this year, and placing the property for sale. The fear for many was that the restaurant would be forever changed, or worse — torn down.
Fear no more. A Miami-based developer of nightlife and restaurant projects in Little Havana has come to the rescue. A joint venture among companies with ties to Bill Fuller and the family that owns Mai Kai restaurant paid $7.5 million for the shuttered tourist and locals hangout in Oakland Park, according to records. A Fuller entity, Tiki Real Estate LLC, took out a $6 million mortgage with American National Bank.
Eugene Bozzi, a former combat veteran and Philadelphia native, didn't run from the 6-foot alligator at his home.
Instead, with an open trash bin as a crowd of onlookers gathered nearby, he caught it with the intention to release it somewhere safe.
While Bozzi's bravery is commended, wildlife authorities urge Floridians not to attempt to capture alligators. According to Orange County, Florida, the video comes with a very obvious warning: "Reminder: Alligators are not recyclable in your blue lid cart."