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Skip Black Friday. Visit outdoor Miami Florida attractions

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Why battle Black Friday crowds when you can enjoy the peace of the butterfly exhibit at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden?

The day after Thanksgiving is coming. But do you really want to go anywhere near a mall?

Even at the best of times, Black Friday shopping is a preview of hell, full of fury and desperation and angry, sweaty people who will have no problem shoving you aside on their way to a bargain.

And now, with the COVID-19 pandemic surging ahead like that lady at Wal-Mart who really, really wants that half-price flatscreen TV, the whole idea of being around a bunch of pushy, out-of-breath shoppers is even less appealing.

May we suggest getting some fresh air instead?

After a thoroughly soggy October and November, the sun is out and the breeze is balmy in Miami. Here are a few of our favorite alternatives to mall madness. Bring the

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  • November 25, 2020
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Here’s what to know in South Florida on November 19

We’re keeping track of the latest news regarding the coronavirus in South Florida and around the state. Check back for updates throughout the day.

Florida adds 9,085 new COVID-19 cases, nearly 2,000 in Miami-Dade

4:30 p.m.: Florida’s Department of Health on Thursday confirmed 9,085 additional cases of COVID-19, bringing the state’s known total to 914,333. Also, 79 resident deaths were announced, bringing the resident death toll to 17,810.

Miami-Dade accounted for 1,945 additional confirmed cases and seven new deaths.

Read the story here.

Key West approves strict mask law

On Oct. 16, 2020, at Mallory Square in Key West, some wore masks outside while others didn’t.
On Oct. 16, 2020, at Mallory Square in Key West, some wore masks outside while others didn’t.

4 p.m.: Key West city commissioners voted unanimously to make wearing a mask outdoors the law on the island as they, once again, made a local mask ordinance tougher at a special meeting on Thursday morning.

The retooled law says everyone over age

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  • November 20, 2020
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Mullen’s message for Florida before Arkansas: don’t peak now

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Florida head coach Dan Mullen, center, celebrate with fans in the stands after the Gators defeated Georgia in an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in Jacksonville, Fla.

AP

Florida coach Dan Mullen had a message for his players this week: great teams don’t peak at the midpoint of the season.

The sixth-ranked Gators enjoyed their most significant victory in Mullen’s three-year tenure last Saturday, a 44-28 victory against rival Georgia in Jacksonville that gave them a stranglehold on the Southeastern Conference’s Eastern Division.

Florida (4-1) has enough cushion in the East that it could lose once and still make the league title game in Atlanta next month. But with the College Football Playoff still a possibility, Mullen wanted to make it clear how much his guys have in front of them.

“If you want to be a great team, great teams get better

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  • November 12, 2020
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Vice President Mike Pencels cancels Florida vacation

Vice President Mike Pence won’t be checking out seashells by the seashore, after all.

Pence has apparently canceled his planned trip to Sanibel, Florida. According to a Federal Aviation Administration advisory, Pence was expected to arrive Tuesday evening and stay through Saturday.

But the advisory was lifted, meaning the trip is off.

The Washington Post reports that the (likely much anticipated) vacation had to be canceled, or at least put off, so Pence can help his boss, President Donald Trump wage his war against alleged voter fraud.

But the weather looks terrible, so no big loss, as Hurricane Eta is brewing in the area, expected to make landfall on the Florida Gulf Coast sometime Thursday.

Pence knows the scenic island off of Fort Myers well, having visited various times over the years. The 61-year-old Indiana native and second lady Karen Pence often attend services at Sanibel Community Church.

Hurricane season

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  • November 11, 2020
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Pence to spend time in Florida as Trump refuses to concede

Vice President Pence is headed to Florida for a personal trip as President TrumpDonald John Trump Republican Philadelphia official responsible for vote counting says office getting death threats Biden will call governors, mayors about mask mandate Trump campaign voter fraud hotline flooded with prank calls MORE refuses to concede the election several days after Joe BidenJoe Biden Republican Philadelphia official responsible for vote counting says office getting death threats Biden will call governors, mayors about mask mandate Trump campaign voter fraud hotline flooded with prank calls MORE was projected to be the president-elect.

Pence will leave Tuesday for Sanibel, an island near Fort Meyers, where he has vacationed before. A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) advisory indicated the vice president would be there through Saturday.

Spokespeople for Pence did not respond to requests for comment about whether the vacation was planned prior to the election.

Pence has remained largely

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  • November 10, 2020
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Deadly Tropical Storm Eta targets Florida, would be state’s first landfall of historic hurricane season

Tropical Storm Eta pounded Cuba with strong winds, heavy rains and storm surge Sunday as forecasters warned the deadly storm would strengthen en route to the Florida Keys.

Gov. Ron DeSantis warned Floridians to stash seven days of supplies. National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said in a Facebook Live post Sunday that Eta could regain hurricane status before the storm arrives overnight.

“You’re going to be dealing with Eta all week,” Graham said. “It’s going to take a lot to get this thing out of here.”

Some school districts – including Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Broward County Public Schools and Monroe County School District – announced their campuses will be closed Monday due to Eta. Online instruction was canceled Monday for Miami-Dade and Monroe county schools.

Last week, Eta stormed through Central America as a Category 4 hurricane, triggering deadly mudslides that destroyed entire villages. The center of Eta

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  • November 9, 2020
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Voter Websites In California And Florida Could Be Vulnerable To Hacks, Report Finds

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Back in July, two cybersecurity firms sent the Department of Homeland Security a troubling report that described a possible vulnerability in the online voter registration systems in dozens of counties in California and Florida.

The report, obtained by NPR, warned that flaws that might have allowed hackers to change a handful of voter registration files four years ago are still likely to exist in some places, and could be used again.

A spokesperson for DHS’ Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, or CISA, called the report “questionable” and “unverified,” and said the department “takes vulnerability reporting and remediation seriously.”

The report comes, however, as Director of National Intelligence John Radcliffe announced Wednesday that Russian and Iranian hackers had used some voter registration information in a bid to send misinformation to voters and sow discord ahead of the election. It is unclear if the voter registration websites the report identified as vulnerable

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  • October 22, 2020
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Obama to campaign for Biden in Florida

Former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaDemocrats make gains in Georgia Senate races: poll ‘Democrat-run cities’ fuel the economy, keep many red states afloat Democrats seem unlikely to move against Feinstein MORE will travel to Miami on Saturday to campaign for Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden holds massive cash advantage over Trump ahead of Election Day Tax records show Trump maintains a Chinese bank account: NYT Trump plays video of Biden, Harris talking about fracking at Pennsylvania rally MORE, one day after President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden holds massive cash advantage over Trump ahead of Election Day Tax records show Trump maintains a Chinese bank account: NYT Trump plays video of Biden, Harris talking about fracking at Pennsylvania rally MORE is slated to rally in the Sunshine state.

Obama will seek to boost Biden’s prospects in Florida, where polls show a close race between the former vice president

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  • October 22, 2020
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Florida Supreme Court Rejects ‘Bed Tax’ Appeal

TALLAHASSEE — In a victory for Airbnb and similar vacation-rental platforms, the Florida Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up a dispute about whether the companies are required to collect and send in tourist-development taxes.

Justices turned down an appeal by Palm Beach County Tax Collector Anne Gannon, who went to the Supreme Court after a divided panel of the 4th District Court of Appeal ruled in favor of Airbnb, Tripadvisor and HomeAway. As is common, the Supreme Court did not explain its reasons for declining to hear the dispute. But the decision effectively lets stand the lower-court ruling.

The dispute centered on so called “bed taxes” that counties may impose on short-term rentals, with the money going to tourism-related purposes. Hotels, for example, collect the taxes on customer bills and remit the money. Gannon contended that vacation-rental platforms should be considered “dealers” under state law, a description that

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  • October 19, 2020
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Florida city cannot afford to keep descendants of swans donated by the Queen

A city in Florida is selling dozens of swans after a pair donated by the Queen in 1957 had too many descendants for them to cope with.

Lakeland, which has a swan as its symbol, gratefully received the first two birds decades ago but now is unable to afford the annual $10,000 cost of feeding them.

It is selling 36 in a public lottery to reduce overcrowding at Lake Morton, the swans’ home.

Kevin Cook, a city spokesman, told the New York Times: “The lake can only handle so many birds.”

Swans were synonymous with Lakeland, which has a human population of 112,000, a century ago.

But many were eaten by alligators and dogs, and by the 1950s they were all gone.

A woman in Lakeland, whose husband had been stationed in the UK with the US Air Force, wrote to the Queen asking if she could donate any swans.

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  • October 16, 2020