UM News Briefs: gas shortages and emergency alerts rattle UM students

Photo credit: Roberta Macedo

Note from the news editors: UM News Briefs are a new segment from The Miami Hurricane. News briefs provide a weekly snapshot of life at the University of Miami, in Miami and sometimes around the state, country or world. Stay up to date with UM News Briefs.


Gas shortage affects UM commuter students

Many gas stations in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area were without gasoline Wednesday, April 19, following the flooding from last week’s massive storm. The shortage caused a wave of panic buying by drivers hoping to top off their gas tanks.

“As a commuter student, I have been worried about the gas crisis for the entire week,” sophomore global health studies, microbiology and immunology major Sara Ebrahimi said. “The lines at the gas stations have been excessively long and have even caused additional traffic, which has made my commute a bit challenging.”

Data from GasBuddy showed that 59% of stations in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale market were closed Wednesday, up from about 20% on Sunday. Other nearby markets are reporting station outages, including 31% of stations in the West Palm Beach-Fort Pierce market and 4% of stations in the Fort Myers-Naples market.

Commuter students at the University of Miami have struggled to fit waiting in long lines at stations miles away from campus into their busy schedules.

“It’s been miserable, I got gas at 2:30 am.” senior history and psychology major David Raez said. “I tried waiting in line in multiple spots but eventually gave up and prayed that there would be gas later on that day. Since I had to stay up late to do work I just waited it out.”

Much of the shortages and closures came because of a surge in demand caused by drivers rushing to stations that were still open, rather than the lack of supply. The panic caused many drivers to line up at available stations out of paranoia, not need.


Man dead after shooting in Midtown

Police are investigating a shooting in midtown Miami near the popular restaurant, Lagniappe, on Wednesday night that left a man dead.

Miami Police officers were called to the restaurant’s address, 3425 NE Second Ave., at around 10 p.m., where they found a man who had been fatally shot once.

The victim, later identified as 35-year-old Markniah Joseph, was transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center where he died.

According to police a person was detained and questioned. Detectives are still investigating and interviewing witnesses.

Anyone with information is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.


Emergency alert angers Florida residents

The Florida Division of Emergency Management has apologized after an emergency alert test triggered a loud alarm on people’s phones at 4:45 a.m. on Thursday.

The situation even got a response from Governor Ron DeSantis, whose administration stated that those responsible for the disturbance would be “discharged.”

At around 4:45 a.m., Floridians with smartphones received an alert that read, “TEST – This is a TEST of the Emergency Alert System. NO action is required.” The alert was accompanied by a loud alarm that is used for Amber Alerts or hurricane warnings.

Many Florida residents were left abruptly awaken and confused, wondering why the government would send a loud test alert so early in the morning.

“It scared me,” sophomore creative advertising major Aris Montero said. “I didn’t have to be awake until almost three hours later.”

Other students, including sophomore entrepreneurship major Corinne Kelly, said they simply slept through the invasive alarm sound.

“We know a 4:45 AM wake up call isn’t ideal,” the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FLDEM) said on Twitter. “@FLSERT wants to apologize for the early morning text. Each month, we test #emergencyalerts on a variety of platforms. This alert was supposed to be on TV, and not disturb anyone already sleeping.”

The Florida Association of Broadcasters posts the 2023 Emergency Alert System schedule on its website. According to the schedule, there is a test scheduled for 4:50 a.m. every other month.

Three separate shootings follow seemingly harmless wrong turns

A woman turned into the wrong driveway. A young boy rang the wrong doorbell. Teenage cheerleaders stopped outside a supermarket, and one got into the wrong car.

All three cases resulted in gun violence incidents. Kaylin Gillis was shot dead. Ralph Yarl was shot in the head. Payton Washington and her friend were injured.

In a courthouse in Fort Edward, N.Y., 65-year-old Kevin Monahan was denied bail on Wednesday in a case where prosecutors say he fatally shot Gillis after she and a group of friends mistakenly drove up his driveway looking for another friend’s house.

In a small courtroom in Liberty, Mo., 84-year-old Andrew D. Lester pleaded not guilty on Wednesday in the shooting of Yarl, who had accidentally come to Lester’s door thinking it was the address where his younger siblings waited to be picked up.

The incidents came in the wake of mass shootings in Nashville and Louisville, and amid concerns about local crime and public safety in certain American cities.

In one poll released last year, 8 in 10 Americans said gun violence was increasing and three-fourths identified it as a major problem. In a survey published this year, a majority of Americans said they or a family member had experienced gun violence.