Andrew Quintana

Andrew Quintana is a senior at Florida State University pursuing degrees in Communication Studies and Editing, Writing, & Media. Before entering WFSU's newsroom, Andrew worked with V89 Radio's News and Continuity department and interned as a staff writer for Haute Living Magazine. He enjoys Razzie nominated films and collects vinyls that are perfect for ultimate frisbee. Follow Andrew Quintana on Twitter: @AndrewLQuintana

With clear skies and breezy winds, Florida Atlantic University (FAU) revealed its newest invention Tuesday at Pahokee Marina, in the southern half of Lake Okeechobee: a solar powered sailboat that will monitor and test for harmful algal blooms.

The Nav2 is the first autonomous vessel to be used for in-land algae monitoring. It’s the brainchild of FAU and the company Navocean. The two had an early version of the vessel monitor red tide on the west coast of Florida in December 2017 before making the official launch in Lake Okeechobee.

Miami-Dade County is offering people the chance to learn more about sea-level rise and how to prepare for it with a free training. The course, which is only two hours long, shows how to use online tools that map out different scenarios of sea level rise in South Florida.

Venezuelan protesters gathered across South Florida Wednesday demanding the resignation of the current leader Nicolas Maduro - and hailing National Assembly leader Juan Guaidó's declaration that he is the country's legitimate president. They were joining protests in Venezuela and around the world demanding that Maduro stepsdown on the 61st anniversary of an uprising that overthrew dictator Marcos Pérez Jiménez in 1958. 

On Saturday, a full moon party took place at Bill Baggs State Park. It was birthday party, to be exact. 

The 400-acre park - which takes up a third of Key Biscayne - usually hide in the shadows, looking across the water at the bright lights of downtown Miami. But, on this particular night, lights were strung under the historic lighthouse and music rippled through the surrounding tides to celebrate the park's 50th anniversary.

A newly created 'Underwater Homeowners Association' held its first meeting in The Village of Pinecrest Wednesday. The group is made up of residents who want to tackle the issue of sea level rise as a community. It is also the finishing touch on a piece created by environmental artist Xavier Cortada.

“Today is the day where I conceptually sign the painting,” Cortada said.

While disagreements in Congress have led to a government shutdown, there was at least one topic both the House and Senate were able to agree on before closing their doors last week.

A bill honoring an icon in Florida’s conservation movement was passed last Friday. The measure, sponsored by Florida Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio, renames the “Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge” in Palm Beach County to the “Nathaniel P. Reed Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge."

Nathaniel Pryor "Nat" Reed was a long-time environmentalist and outdoor enthusiast from Florida.

Dec. 21 marks the winter solstice. It is the longest night of the year. Because of that, the 21st is also recognized as Homeless Persons' Memorial Day across the country, honoring those homeless indivuals whose deaths have gone largely unrecognized. 

In Miami-Dade, the Homeless Trust held a service during its monthly board meeting.

Board members and formerly homeless individuals circled around a table filled with candles and surrounded by white pedals. After a brief prayer, there was a moment of silence. 

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle seems like a simple formula. But Miami-Dade County has one of the lowest recycle rates in the state. Eighteen percent of total collected waste gets recycled, according to Florida's Department of Environmental Protection. The reason is not as simple as what gets thrown away. 

Every other Thursday, Palmetto Bay residents Jeff Oberg and Eliza Fendell take their blue 65-gallon recycling bin to the curb outside their home and wait for it to be picked up.

It's an honest effort from a family that admits they throw away way too much.

At least 9,000 students in Miami-Dade County are homeless or considered "unstably housed" — a number that has increased by 50 percent in two years, according to the school district.

Busted and clogged pipes cost the Miami-Dade County sewage system $600,000 last year, and one of the main culprits was grease.

That's why Miami-Dade Water and Sewer is asking residents to properly dispose of their cooking waste this holiday season.

Jennifer Messemer-Skold, the county agency's spokesperson, likened a pipe clogged with grease to an unhealthy heart.

"If you have a very high fat-content diet, your arteries start to clog up," she said.

After finding herself in and out of homelessness for three years and receiving very little help, petty naval officer 3rd class, Ashley Esposito was at the end of her ropes when she met her “guardian angel” Seth Eisenberg.

Eisenberg is the president and founder of Operation Sacred Trust, a non profit organization that helps veterans like Ashley transition out of homelessness. Esposito is now pursuing a business degree at Florida International University, while working to help single parent veterans transition successfully into civilian life.

With only three days before Election Day, former president Barack Obama stumped for Florida Democrats in Miami on Friday with a message that voting blue could help create unity across the state.

A town hall in Wynwood on Monday night involved an issue that has flooded the minds and neighborhoods of many South Florida residents—rising sea waters.

The event, hosted by WLRN, was open to the public and featured artists, scientists, and policymakers who spoke about the threat of sea level rise in South Florida and what communities can do in response to it. It was a conversation attendees said they were eager to have.

But one area that was not up for debate was the science.

Florida Atlantic University student Bridget Huston is collecting stories from people in her community about flooding. 

With a team at the university's Florida Center For Environmental Studies, she's looking at flood maps, or projections for how high water is estimated to rise during floods. Then she's comparing them to people's accounts of what flooding looks like in their own neighborhoods. She said she hopes the personal accounts make flood maps even more accurate. 

Just like the people who suffer from it, the reasons for homelessness in the Big Bend are complicated. What ultimately stays constant is that diverse groups of individuals are stuck in unstable situations.

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