TAKING ITS TOLL
The Florida’s Turnpike intends to push new rules whereby vehicle owners will be blocked from renewing their tags until they pay all outstanding tolls charged to the vehicle. Highway toll systems around the state are rapidly converting to electronics-only payments through SunPass or bills sent through the mail. Turnpike officials say this is an effective means to crackdown on toll scofflaws.
Palm Beach County
BOBCATS WIN – AGAIN
Boca Raton High School’s Bobcat Battalion has won the Navy Junior ROTC Florida State Championship. They competed against 23 other high school JROTC units from around Florida. The competition includes academic, physical and military drill components. The is the sixth state title for the Bobcats.
Tilus Lebrun, 42, of Pompano Beach, an employee at the Greek Taverna, 8221 Glades Road, Boca Raton, is now an inmate in the Palm Beach County Jail facing murder and other charges. LeBurn allegedly attacked the owner, Dimitrios Karaloukas, with a knife while he was sitting with his back to Leburn. He also wounded a co-worker, who underwent surgery for multiple stabs wounds, police said. According to police, LeBurn has confessed to the attacks, telling officers they posted photographs of him on the Internet without his permission.
Remember the vague and controversial noise ordinance Delray Beach officials passed a few years ago? Well, they’re at it again. Commissioner Adam Frankel now wants them to consider passing an ordinance that would make “aggressive panhandling” a crime. Exactly what would be considered “aggressive” by a homeless human being begging for money is anyone’s guess.
State Sen. Jeremy Ring is sponsoring a bill that would tighten Florida’s public records laws. Ring is proposing mandatory training for all public employees, limiting the fees charged for requesting public records and other conditions. Good luck. Even if it gets through the Legislature, Gov. Rick Scott will likely veto the bill.
Last month, Apollo Global Management Co. purchased the Chuck E. Cheese’s gaming and pizza chain and now it is considering making a bid for Dallas-based food and entertainment chain Dave & Buster’s in a $1 billion deal. Dave & Busters has 60 locations around the country, including two in South Florida. There are over 500 Chuck E. Cheese’s locations nationwide, more than 10 of them in the area.
IN THE RUNNING
Carmen Jones has been active in Pompano Beach civic, education and community issues for years. Now she has been telling friends she will enter the race for the county commission District 2 seat which includes sections of Pompano Beach, Margate, Coral Springs and Deerfield Beach.
OFF TO MEDIATION
Miami City Commissioner Marc Sarnoff proposed sending the controversy over the discovery of a prehistoric Tequesta Indian village site at a downtown Miami construction location to a mediator and his colleagues voted to do just that. Hearings began this week and the stakes are sky-high, with development and history in the mix.
WILKIE FERGUSON STADIUM?
Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross wants a break in the $4 million in annual property taxes the team pays in exchange for privately financing $350 million renovation to the Sun Life Stadium. Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert is concerned but Ross is warning that a new owner of the team could relocate the Dolphins elsewhere if there is no tax relief. Ross is proposing to transfer ownership of the stadium to Miami-Dade County as a legal means to end the property taxes. it reminds me of the Miami Marlins stadium steal – uh, I mean deal – but if it does get approval, hopefully they will renamed the stadium for late U.S. Judge Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr.
Dennis Zecca, the former U.S. Coast Guard commanding officer who was stationed at Islamorada, has pleaded guilty to attempting to hire a hitman to kill realtor Bruce Schmitt. He faces up to 10 years in federal prison when he comes up for sentencing on April 14 before U.S. District Judge Jose Martinez. His motive for wanting Schmitt dead has not been revealed but his wife had been fired by Schmitt’s company. In exchange for his guilty plea, drug trafficking charges against him have been dropped.
Prosecutors will not file charges against Key West City Manager Bob Vitas who is accused of grabbing the buttocks of a woman several times during a 2012 Fantasy Fest parade. Vitas has said he merely bumped into the woman during a ’70s-style disco dance. The woman and her husband dispute his version of what occurred and said they confronted Vitas over the alleged butt-grabbing.
The murder trial of Peter Erik Hedvall is underway. He is accused of killing Jonathan Alvarado during Fantasy Fest 2011 in Key West. Alvarado’s bloody body was found under a truck a short distance from the bar where he attended a costume party the previous night. Witnesses said Hedvall was seen at the bar talking to Alvarado and they found blood spots on the suit he was wearing. The blood matched Alvarado’s DNA.