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😞 A beloved downtown Miami restaurant has closed up shop for good. Sparky’s Roadside Barbecue announced that it was shutting down late last week via social media and its official website.
If I — hey, Zach here 👋 — can editorialize for a second: I’ve chewed the fat about my love of Sparky’s multiple times since I started writing with The New Tropic. I was lucky enough to have a friend introduce me to the BBQ joint years before I relocated to the 305, and once I did move here, it became a regular post-work hang, a deeply appreciated source of comfort food, and a reliable spot for discovering out-of-this-world psych-rock. When the pandemic struck and takeout orders became a must, “Sparky’s and Sopranos” became a cherished tradition for my girlfriend and me as — like seemingly everybody else — we finally watched the HBO series and took refuge in our favorite foods amid the insanity of 2020.
Wrapping things up before I ramble any further and the waterworks start: A big shoutout to Sparky’s for the memories and audible “MMMMs” over the years, and a heartfelt thanks to all of the staff who made it such a special place to frequent. You can read more about the restaurant’s history and what’s next for co-founder Hans Seitz over at this Miami New Times story.
In other news...
🐱 Footage from Saturday’s gridiron game between the University of Miami and Appalachian State University went viral for reasons completely divorced from football. As seen in videos shared by attendees, a cat caught clinging to one of the Hard Rock Stadium’s upper decks was saved from a 30-foot fall after fans unfurled an American flag to catch the critter. Emilia Weiss, a certified emergency veterinary medic, was among the UM students who stepped in to help the frightened feline. (NBC News / The Miami Hurricane)
😷 An appeals court has sided with Gov. Ron DeSantis in the battle over mask mandates in Florida schools. On Friday, the Florida First District Court of Appeal overruled Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper’s determination that the policy was an overreach of the governor’s powers. Meanwhile, 13 employees of the Miami-Dade County Public Schools have died since Aug. 16 from coronavirus-related causes, and the mortality rate for Florida children infected with COVID-19 has risen since late July. (AP News / Business Insider)
🐕 Miami International Airport is the latest 305 spot to be visited by Cobra and One Betta, a pair of pooches who’ve been trained to sniff out COVID-19. The airport started using the dogs’ snout services last month, and they’ve already detected two cases: one person tested positive while the other was on the mend from COVID-19. Cobra is a Belgian Malinois while One Betta is a Dutch shepherd, and they’ve made history as the first dogs to participate in this kind of program at a U.S. airport. The fuzzy duo put their skills to good use at Miami Heat games earlier this year. (Miami Herald)