Surfside baffled over $1 million cost to remove sand from beach

For Miami Herald.

Surfside has been stuck in the sand — or at least it’s how many residents feel.

In March, a developer, Fort Capital, dug up sand from underneath the construction site on 9011 Collins Ave., the site of a hotel and condominium called the Surf Club. Florida law says excavated sand must be placed near the site from which it came. As such, the developer spread the sand over Surfside’s public beach.

But many residents said the sand was completely different, even calling it dirt. To them, the beach was no longer the same. Florida law also says the sand must be compatible with the existing sand.

Residents grew more concerned when toxicology reports indicated levels of arsenic higher than state residential guidelines. Experts hired by town staff and Miami-Dade County Health Department, however, said the sand posed a low risk to human or pet health.

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Coral Gables police department and disability group create ID cards for people with autism

What happens when lawyers, an academic institution and the police department get together?

The creation of wallet cards, a communication tool used to help individuals with autism spectrum disorder in situations where they would be in contact with law enforcement.

“This card is going to be an aid,” said Lt. Bart Barta of the Coral Gables Police Department, who has a son in elementary school with autism. “We don’t want police officers or first responders to misinterpret the behaviors and the actions that individuals with autism might be having.”

The group behind the wallets cards, Disability Independence Group (DIG), University of Miami Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD) and the Coral Gables Police Department recently won $5,000 in the Philanthropy Miami Shark Tank, a competition launched by Leave a Legacy of Miami-Dade.

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