Buzz Kill

Buzz Kill
Filed under: News

A year ago this month, Florida announced that sixteen million trees had been needlessly chain-sawed, and one billion taxpayer dollars had been wasted in the failed effort to eradicate citrus canker.


This past January 10, about twenty ax-wielding, plastic-suit-clad firefighters exterminated approximately 30,000 bees in Arch Creek Park, near Biscayne Boulevard and NE 135th Street. They thought their buzzing victims were killer bees, of African origin.

But they likely weren't, according to Miami-Dade bee expert Willy Sklaroff.

Oops again.

Africanized (or killer) bees first appeared in the state in Tampa in 2002. They descend from 26 Tanzanian queens that were released in Brazil in 1957. The offspring have been making their way north ever since.

The bees can be vicious. They're more aggressive than their European brethren, which are the kind we usually see. In an effort to keep these buzzing bastards at bay, Florida has decided to "exterminate all the wild bees," says Sklaroff, one of the state's top bee men. "The Africanized queen goes in and kills the European, and you start getting Africanized bees. She can lay many thousands of eggs."

Sklaroff and the Florida Department of Agriculture believe that whacking all feral hives — and educating beekeepers about the problem — will keep 'em out, or at least delay their takeover. "I know what the bees can do to people," Sklaroff says ominously.

But is the state making the same mistake it made with citrus — needlessly killing off everything? Indeed the bees are more aggressive. However, there have been proportionately few deaths in Latin American countries, where the bees now dominate, and most fatalities have occurred soon after the insects appear. People learn to live with them.

It's been decades since hysteria about the killer bees had America on edge. Now it's time for education. And testing bees before you wipe 'em out. We shouldn't be whacking them before we know whether they're killers. — Chuck Strouse

FIU, Where Are You?
Filed under: News

Thinking they'd save money by opting out of a $250,000 countywide police radio system, Florida International University administrators this past summer bought an $85,000 Motorola system instead.

For the main campus's 40 cops, it has been all downhill since then, according to an officer who asked to remain anonymous. "[The system] hasn't worked since we got them. It's putting the life of the officers, the students, the faculty in peril."

The radio's spotty coverage, nonsecure channel, and inability to communicate with other emergency agencies spell disaster, the officer said. Emergency calls have to be routed through the dispatcher, who, in turn, must dial up ambulances or county police on a phone, wasting precious time. Forget about chasing a stolen car off campus: Radio contact usually goes dead within yards of the front gates, the officer said.

Officers' pleas, a December article in the campus newspaper, and about $100,000 in repairs haven't altered the situation.

It's time for university leaders to cut losses and look for a better solution, the cop said. "If they don't care about the officers, don't they care about the students?"

FIU's public safety director, Bill King, did not return a call seeking comment. — Rob Jordan

Ass Is Old Hat
We at Manola 180 do not promote the barbaric treatment of poultry; however, we must question the use of female sex objects as an effective means of engaging public awareness, especially in South Beach, where tits and ass are always in plain view.
Taken from: Sex and the Beach (, referring to a local PETA protest of KFC

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Will dogs legally dally with diners in Miami Beach? Click Flotsam.

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Rob Jordan
Contact: Rob Jordan
Chuck Strouse is the former editor in chief of Miami New Times. He has shared two Pulitzer Prizes and won dozens of other awards. He is an honors graduate of Brown University and has worked at newspapers including the Miami Herald and Los Angeles Times.
Contact: Chuck Strouse