News

Ben Montgomery
Jan 18, 2022 - News

Manatees aren't eating their lettuce

Manatees crowd into Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River
Manatees crowd into Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River. Photo: Tamara Lush/AP

A pilot feeding program to save manatees from starvation has started, but the big lunks seem to be refusing to eat the floating lettuce so far, per the Sun-Sentinel.

Selene San Felice
Jan 18, 2022 - News

Pinellas County sets record for bicycle and pedestrian deaths

Illustration of a pattern of cars with one highlighted.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Tampa Bay area is notoriously unsafe for pedestrians and bicyclists, but 2021 was particularly brutal for Pinellas County.

What's happening: Bicycle and pedestrian fatalities in Pinellas nearly doubled last year even though rates didn't change much in other Tampa Bay counties, statewide or nationally, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

  • 85 cyclists and pedestrians died in Pinellas in 2021 — a 15-year record, up from 49 in 2020 and from an annual average of 51 deaths over the last five years.
Ben Montgomery
Jan 18, 2022 - News

Florida photographer honored by Garden Clubs of America

A bird sits on a plant, cawing into the air
Photo: Carlton Ward Jr./Path of the Panther

Florida conservationist and wildlife photographer Carlton Ward Jr. has been named a 2022 honorary member of the Garden Clubs of America, becoming just the sixth Floridian to be extended this honor in the 105 years since the Garden Club of America began awarding honorary memberships.

Ben Montgomery
Jan 12, 2022 - News

Tampa to fix those funky purple streetlights

A purple streetlight in Tampa's Old Seminole Heights at sunrise.
A purple streetlight in Tampa's Old Seminole Heights at sunrise. Photo: Ben Montgomery/Axios

Have you noticed those weird purple lights that make you feel like TRON on nighttime bike rides?

  • They're not part of an eco-friendly project to reduce light pollution, like Ben has assumed since they first flickered on about a year ago.
Selene San Felice
Jan 6, 2022 - News

Florida leads nation in Jan. 6 Capitol riot cases

Data: GW Program on Extremism; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Florida has more citizens involved in federal cases regarding the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol than any other state by far.

Why it matters: A majority of Americans expect a repeat in the next few years of something like the deadly attack — and just half say they now have faith in American democracy, according to a new Axios poll.

Ben Montgomery
Jan 6, 2022 - News

A record 1,101 manatees died in Florida in 2021

Data: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Florida recorded an astonishing 1,101 manatee deaths last year, according to the state's final preliminary 2021 mortality report published Wednesday.

  • The number smashes the previous record of 830 set in 2013.
Ben Montgomery
Jan 5, 2022 - News

Florida sea urchins to the reefs' rescue

A long-spined sea urchin, Diadema antillarum, in a tank
A long-spined sea urchin, Diadema antillarum. Photo courtesy The Florida Aquarium

In the race to save the Florida Reef, which stretches from the Dry Tortugas to Palm Beach, researchers have successfully reared and released nearly 200 long-spined sea urchins off the coast.

  • The Florida Aquarium noted the collaborative project between its Center for Conservation, the University of Florida and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is considered the largest known restocking effort in the last 20 years.
Ben Montgomery
Dec 20, 2021 - News

Permit approved to drain polluted Piney Point into the aquifer

An earthen wall, side of a containment pond at the former Piney Point phosphate plant grounds, where officials earlier this year ordered residents to evacuate after a leak was discovered.
An earthen wall, side of a containment pond at the former Piney Point phosphate plant grounds, where officials earlier this year ordered residents to evacuate after a leak was discovered. Photo: Octavio Jones/Getty Images

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has approved a permit for a well that would drain the polluted water at the old Piney Point phosphate plant deep underground, into the Lower Floridian Aquifer, the Bradenton Herald reports.

Flashback: The former phosphate processing plant has long been an environmental disaster.

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