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Tuesday's Afternoon Update

Florida's controversial growth bill becomes law

Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed legislation that environmental groups say will make it harder to limit sprawling development in Florida. But supporters of the measure say it will reduce frivolous lawsuits in Florida. The bill, which lawmakers passed during the legislative session that ended May 5, addresses legal challenges to local comprehensive growth-management plans. Now, when individuals or groups challenge the local comprehensive plan or its amendments, the “prevailing” parties will be able to recover legal fees in cases at the state Division of Administrative Hearings. More from WJCT.

Shocked by ‘horrific’ stories of kids housed in nursing homes, judge tells Florida: Fix it

The fate of 140 Florida children who are living their lives in institutions no longer rests with nursing home employees — or even state health administrators, who have fought for 12 years to keep them there. It now belongs to U.S. District Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks, who is presiding over a civil rights lawsuit filed by the U.S. Justice Department against state health regulators. More from the Miami Herald.

Private Axiom Space astronauts set to leave space station ahead of Florida splashdown

The private Axiom Space astronauts that arrived to the International Space Station eight days ago have climbed aboard their ride home to Earth aiming for a splashdown late Tuesday off the coast of Florida. The quartet launched from Kennedy Space Center on May 21 and docked with the ISS about 16 hours later to begin an eight-day stay on board as part of Axiom Space’s second private mission to the space station. More from the Orlando Sentinel.

Is this pristine Florida beach the best in the country? “Dr. Beach” says it is

If you want to know where to find the best beaches in the country, you ask Dr. Beach. And Dr. Beach — coastal expert Stephen P. Leatherman, a professor in the Department of Earth & Environment at Florida International University in Miami — says a Florida beach takes that honor for 2023. Leatherman, who just released his 2023 list of best beaches in the United States, did not let his Miami home influence his mindset. The best beach isn’t Miami Beach. It’s St. George Island State Park, on Florida’s Gulf Coast just off Apalachicola. More from the Miami Herald.

Free beer is back at Busch Gardens this summer

The notion of free beer is based in the park’s roots, when it opened in 1959 as a beer garden that had bird shows and promoted the products of its then-owner Anheuser-Busch. The perk went away in 2009 after the Blackstone Group bought SeaWorld and Busch Gardens. But it reappears from time to time. More from the Tampa Bay Times.

Miami hairstylist straightens, detangles hair and clients’ lives at her Little Havana salon

Love 518 salon owner and Coconut Grove native Hadassa Felix doesn’t just style and detangle her clients’ hair. She also listens to their stories, helps them sort out their lives. Felix detangles a person’s hair, sometimes for many hours while watching shows and movies like Netflix’s Bridgerton with them, and listens to life’s challenges.

» More from the Miami Herald.


Netflix’s ‘MerPeople’ features Weeki Wachee Springs and Tampa Bay mermaids

If you’ve ever dreamed of having a tail instead of legs and spending your days underwater, Netflix’s latest documentary series is for you. “MerPeople,” a four-part series from director Cynthia Wade, features mermaid performers and enthusiasts around the United States. Of course, there is a strong Tampa Bay tie.

» Read more from the Tampa Bay Times.