Here is how Sister Margaret Ann became a celebrity

The storm left downed trees and branches all around Archbishop Coleman F. Carroll High School in Southwest Miami-Dade’s Kendall neighborhood.

Sister Margaret Ann Laechelin saw a driver spin in the mud, off the road and nearly crash into a wall. The road was blocked and someone could get hurt, she thought, and whe knew there were chainsaws in the closet. 

Despite the hot sun, the Carmelite Sister of the Most Sacred Heart always wears the traditional dark tunic, her white bonnet and a waist-length black veil. The nun’s holy habit didn’t stop her. She put on some gloves.

Laechelin is also the school principal. The rank didn’t stop her either. She knew time was of the essence. The resourceful Catholic nun used Google to get instructions, grabbed the chainsaw and got to work on some fallen trees in the Hammocks area. 

A Miami-Dade police officer shared a video showing her contribution to the clean up effort near 167th Avenue and 103rd Street. 

“I understand that the video has really gone worldwide, so that’s kinda funny,” the modest nun said about becoming known worldwide as the “chainsaw sister.”

There was a “Nun with a chainsaw hash tag” on social media. 

Reporters from The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, Fox News, Inside Edition, CBS News, NPR and other media took notice of her willingness to help. The Archdiocese of Miami plans to reopen Catholic schools Tuesday and Sister Margaret Ann plans to be there to welcome her 400 students. 

“The students are telling me, they are saying, ‘Sister, you are no wimp! You will get out there and work with us.’ And that is really the way it should be,” she said. “That’s the way sisters really are. We are not just sitting back praying.”


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Hurricane Irma aftermath: Free events to help South Florida recover

FORT LAUDERDALE: The event is from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Dillard high School, 2501 NW 11 St. There are food trucks and an area for children to play. MIAMI GARDENS: The event begins at 1 p.m. at The Upper Room Ministries, 3800 NW 199 St. To…

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There is no electricity in areas of South Miami-Dade, and won’t be for days

Six days after Hurricane Irma, some Miami-Dade County residents will still have to endure a few more days without air conditioning.

Florida Power & Light promised they are doing their best to restore electricity in most of Miami-Dade County by Sunday night and in areas of South Miami-Dade County by Tuesday night. 

FPL blamed the delays on the large fallen trees and wanted the cities to remove them. The cities in turn wanted the better trained FPL crews to face the danger of electrocution. 

“There are so many of these downed trees that the access is blocked and we can’t get in,” FPL spokesman Rob Gould said. 

Coral Gables city attorney Craig Leen sent a cease-and-desist letter to FPL threatening to fine them. Pinecrest Mayor Joseph Corradino had the city attorneys look into taking legal action against FPL for the delay. 

“Trees have fallen on wires. Trees have fallen on transformers. They wanted us to cut the trees and we are not going to do that,” Coral Gables Mayor Raúl Valdés-Fauli said. “We don’t want to touch those trees, because we don’t want to electrocute city employees.”

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48 Miami-Dade schools remain without power, Monday return date still targeted

110 Miami-Dade public schools would not be able to open if the system had planned to reopen Friday. However, the county is still targeting Monday as the date it will resume operations to students.

That’s according to Miami-Dade Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho who added that 48 schools still remain without power.

Speaking at Booker T. Washington High School in Miami where officials were handing out free hot meals to residents, Carvalho said many issues remain before guaranteeing schools would open Monday.

“That depends on conditions, including the availability of power, either to all schools or to the vast majority of all schools, in addition to the removal of debris that, right now, impedes access to our schools.”

Clearing up debris around schools appears to be more of a problem than previous thought.

Carvalho added that all buses in the system’s fleet of over 1,000 vehicles have been fueled and will go through a dry run through routes on Saturday morning to ensure they have safe passage to schools.

Miami-Dade Public Schools will send out further information through the weekend on the proposed Monday restart date.

“We are ready to go,” said Carvalho. “The two factors that continue to impact us and our ability to open is the availability of power and electricity to school as well as the removal of debris.”



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Cleanup crew finds body under seaweed in boat in Coconut Grove

A cleanup crew found a body Thursday afternoon under a pile of seaweed in Coconut Grove, authorities said.

Miami police said the body was found outside The Mutiny Hotel at 2951 S. Bay Shore Drive, just north of Peacock Park.

Authorities said the cleanup crew was clearing out seaweed following Hurricane Irma when they stumbled upon the body of a man.

City of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado said the body was inside of a boat. 

“What I can tell you is that, because of the storm surge, apparently there was a smoke bomb that was thrown from the marina up to Bay Shore Drive,” City of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado said. “When people were removing debris from the boat, they found the body. Now, we don’t know where the body came from. It seems that it was inside the boat.” 

Police are investigating and the medical examiner’s office will determine the cause of death. 

No other details were immediately released. 

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