Rip-off operation

The Florida Lottery is concerned about security after it was discovered some of the same people have been cashing in winning tickets of $600 or more on numerous occasions. All lotteries are rip-offs and the built-in odds of making sure this never happens clearly has not worked. Lottery Secretary Cynthia O’Connell is on the fast track to install more self-check scanners in stores. There will also be closer scrutiny of retailers to prevent store clerks from compromising the games and to track winners. This comes as some legislators are floating the idea of putting the  agency under a gambling commission, instead a secretary appointed by the governor.


Shutdown move

Palm Beach Mayor Gail Coniglio is supporting a move by Riviera Beach city officials to shut down Stonerock Shipping Corp.’s scrap metal business at the Port of Palm Beach. Riviera Beach City Manager Ruth Jones has sent a letter to the company putting it on notice that the operation violates zoning rules. There is also concern about possible flying metal during a hurricane and about environmental issues.

Big money

Tyrogenex, a West Palm Beach-based firm that is developing a drug for patients suffering from macular degeneration, has secured $15 million in funding from the Brazilian company Brace Pharma. The drug would replace painful injection with a once-a-day pill which reportedly also has shown anti-tumor characteristics.

Police shooting

Robens Estime, 20, was shot by a Boynton Beach police officer after fleeing with four other suspects from a car during a traffic stop for making an improper turn, police said. He was last reported to be in critical condition. According to the police, once the car was pulled over, the driver and three passengers fled. Estime, who was a passenger, turned and pointed a gun at Officer Cory Henry, who fired his weapon, the report said. Wendet Estache, 20, was identified as the driver and Jeff Degraff, 19, Johny Sillion, 18, and David Moise, 21, as the other passengers.


Dead body

The body of Christopher Lopez, 34, of Pompano Beach was found floating in a canal in the 1300 block of Banks Road in Margate. Police are investigating but say no obvious signs of foul play were found. Margate Police are asking anyone with information to call 954-972-7111.

Mayors re-elected

Mayors Richard Kaplan of Lauderhill, Jack Brady of North Lauderdale and Michael Udine of Parkland were all re-elected after no challengers filed by the qualifying deadline. But not to worry. It’s still election time and a number of municipalities are holding primaries this year. Then there are the judicial races, which are critical, but even more boring.

Failed bank

After years of financial struggle, Fort Lauderdale-based Valley Bank has been dissolved. Regulators shut the bank down and transferred its $81.8 million in assets and deposits to another Fort Lauderdale-based Landmark Bank. Valley Bank is the first Florida bank to fail this year.


Laxative lawsuit

A jury has awarded Janneral Denson, 39, $264,000 and her son Jordan Taylor, now 17,  $165,000 in a civil rights lawsuit. It was filed against Jackson Memorial Hospital over her being forced to take laxatives while being detained by U.S. Customs in 1997. Denson was suspected of drug smuggling and forced to take laxatives to empty her bowels by a doctor and nurses at Jackson which was then providing medical services to the federal agency. At the time, Janneral complained of abdominal pain and vaginal bleeding but she was still forced to take the medication which resulted in complication with her pregnancy. Her son, who was born prematurely, has suffered from a number of conditions which he attributes to complications at birth.

Machete attack

An altercation outside a restaurant parking lot in Medley left one man in critical condition from a machete attack. Witnesses said they heard two shots fired and then saw five people attacking a man who tried to defend himself with a metal bar. The group then drove off in what was described as a silver four-door sedan. It is not known who fired the shots or if anyone in the car suffered any injuries. Police are investigating.


Fishing ban

Fishing may become off limits in Biscayne National Park if the National Park Service implements new rules. Officials say the feeding and breeding grounds of sea grass and coral are so depleted that drastic measures must be taken. Biscayne Bay generates hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue and a fishing ban would be devastating.  U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami, wants the issue studied to come up with other options before making the 270-square-mile off-limits to fishing, crabbing and lobster harvesting.

Snoring judge

Monroe County Circuit Court Judge Tegan Slaton suffers from a number of health issues and the conditions and medications sometimes cause him to doze off.  He fell asleep during a case and bailiffs had to awaken him. When they did, he slurred his speech and court had to be ended for the day. He is seeking re-election and has drawn two challengers who will surely make his condition an issue in the campaign.