A daily existence in which a simple walk down the street can be life-threatening, where the boom-boom-boom of bass music seems to emanate continuously from cars to bicycles, where all of humanity appears to be simultaneously marching toward you -- an existence like that can push even the most placid creature to the verge of homicide. But before you're condemned to death row, step off, ease up, relax. Enter the verdant haven that is the Miami Beach Botanical Garden. Founded in 1962, floundering in the Eighties, rescued in the late Nineties by a nonprofit group named the Miami Beach Garden Conservancy, the botanical garden sits on a five-acre plot across from the Miami Beach Convention Center. Aside from housing orchids, topiary, herbs, bromeliads, a Japanese water feature, and palms of all sorts, the garden hosts tai chi and Asian cooking classes, horticultural lectures, and even classical music concerts. Every year a week's worth of events pay homage to the venerable palm tree. Tending the land helps ease a troubled soul and is always welcome. If digging in the dirt becomes a habit, you can show support by becoming a member of the conservancy. It's a serene green space in the center of a hectic city better known for its sun, fun, and surf. And best of all, admission is always free.

A Miami native, Morgan fell into journalism as a reporter/photographer for his Richmond Heights junior-high newspaper. He fell further in when he was paid to write for his college paper. "I needed the money," he recalls. "Journalism also seemed like interesting work you could do without wearing a tie." An endangered combination of newsman and craftsman (with a childhood spent fishing, diving, and generally enjoying South Florida's various ecosystems), the seventeen-year Herald veteran consistently finds ways to manipulate the lexicon and elicit facts in order to turn environmental issues, normally as dull as dirt, into stories worth digging for. With bird's-eye clarity, he explains environmental affairs clearly and credibly. "On this beat, you know that most of what you write matters deeply to somebody," he says. "Figuring out what really counts in the sea of information is the biggest daily challenge."

A Miami native, Morgan fell into journalism as a reporter/photographer for his Richmond Heights junior-high newspaper. He fell further in when he was paid to write for his college paper. "I needed the money," he recalls. "Journalism also seemed like interesting work you could do without wearing a tie." An endangered combination of newsman and craftsman (with a childhood spent fishing, diving, and generally enjoying South Florida's various ecosystems), the seventeen-year Herald veteran consistently finds ways to manipulate the lexicon and elicit facts in order to turn environmental issues, normally as dull as dirt, into stories worth digging for. With bird's-eye clarity, he explains environmental affairs clearly and credibly. "On this beat, you know that most of what you write matters deeply to somebody," he says. "Figuring out what really counts in the sea of information is the biggest daily challenge."

This barrier island is roughly thirteen miles long. With the Atlantic on one side and the Intracoastal Waterway (known here as the Indian River) on the other, it's no more than a mile wide. But the most important measurement is this: It's about 130 miles from Miami -- far enough to escape the Magic City's gravitational pull. And indeed, upon arrival you'll experience a sort of giddy weightlessness. It is, after all, a parallel but refreshingly alien universe. The island's north end is less developed than the south, which means literally miles of sand and dunes and crashing surf and not much else. Hutchinson's northernmost tip actually lies within the city limits of mainland Fort Pierce, and this little offshore enclave is the place to stay. It boasts an authentic, laid-back, beach-town atmosphere; affordable lodging; and casual dining at places like Theo Thudpukker's Raw Bar, Archie's Seabreeze, and Chris's Hurricane Grill. Summer is the recommended season for Miami exiles -- you can simply arrive, look around, pick out a motel, and hit the beach. If you insist on advance planning, the Web offers more information than you'll ever need.

Too many judges race through their calendars, blindly dispensing whatever the better courtroom lawyer defines as justice. Senior U.S. District Judge William Hoeveler prefers to give a damn. A thoughtful, venerable jurist, Hoeveler has dedicated years to salvaging what's left of the Everglades and to making certain your children have clean drinking water when they grow up. Recently the alleged slave-driving, state-controlling, wilderness-destroying sugar barons forced Hoeveler's removal from the major Everglades-pollution case he'd overseen since 1988. The judge, it seems, had the audacity to alert the public to a nasty piece of legislation about to be signed by Gov. Jeb Bush, a new law that would ease the clean-up pressure on those very same sugar barons. (Of course Bush signed it.) Now Hoeveler is holding the gavel over a lawsuit brought by environmentalists intent on reversing a ruling that allows rock miners to gut more than 5000 acres of West Miami-Dade. He won't rush matters, he'll listen carefully to both sides, and as always, he'll do the right thing.

Too many judges race through their calendars, blindly dispensing whatever the better courtroom lawyer defines as justice. Senior U.S. District Judge William Hoeveler prefers to give a damn. A thoughtful, venerable jurist, Hoeveler has dedicated years to salvaging what's left of the Everglades and to making certain your children have clean drinking water when they grow up. Recently the alleged slave-driving, state-controlling, wilderness-destroying sugar barons forced Hoeveler's removal from the major Everglades-pollution case he'd overseen since 1988. The judge, it seems, had the audacity to alert the public to a nasty piece of legislation about to be signed by Gov. Jeb Bush, a new law that would ease the clean-up pressure on those very same sugar barons. (Of course Bush signed it.) Now Hoeveler is holding the gavel over a lawsuit brought by environmentalists intent on reversing a ruling that allows rock miners to gut more than 5000 acres of West Miami-Dade. He won't rush matters, he'll listen carefully to both sides, and as always, he'll do the right thing.

As a coach, he brought "showtime" and championships to the Los Angeles Lakers (with a little help from Magic Johnson and others). He weathered the pressure of the toughest coaching job in the NBA with the Knicks in New York. He almost -- always almost -- took the Miami Heat to the top with talents such as Tim Hardaway and Alonzo Mourning. Defense, defense, defense. Win, win, win. And then the playoffs would come and his former-team-turned-major-nemesis, the Knicks, and another almost. For the 2003-2004 season the wily Riley, president of the Heat organization, fired himself as coach and promoted Stan Van Gundy. With severe personnel changes and a new approach, the team, constantly hindered by injuries and too much unfair officiating, needs just a bit more time and a season sans fractures and sprains to provide fans with showtime once again.

They own restaurants, hotels, a media empire, and the hearts and minds of Cuban Miami. Gloria has recorded 23 albums, sold more than 70 million copies worldwide, and garnered three Grammy Awards. Emilio, the former band manager-turned-mogul, heads his own label, a major recording studio, and has bagged twelve Grammys. Basta!

They own restaurants, hotels, a media empire, and the hearts and minds of Cuban Miami. Gloria has recorded 23 albums, sold more than 70 million copies worldwide, and garnered three Grammy Awards. Emilio, the former band manager-turned-mogul, heads his own label, a major recording studio, and has bagged twelve Grammys. Basta!

There are numerous boats (and even a tall ship) offering an array of cruises out of Bayside's marina. The Queen happens to be a favorite: an open-air upper deck ceilings an enclosed (but heavily windowed) lower deck ("The bar is now open," is heard as the flat-hulled, smooth-riding boat edges past Dodge Island). If you're a local, the 90-minute ride provides the perfect break. Coming back to work with a tan and a chilled-out attitude results from the lazy cruise, but the real joy is soaking up the sun and sucking in the salty air as the tourists point to the houses of Millionaires' Row and ogle the abodes of Star Island, a vista which, to locals, proves that extremely rich people can have really bad taste in landscaping and architecture. In any case, the Queen makes several runs per day, and the cost for adults is $15. Much better for the soul than a three-martini lunch.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®