Jonathan Armando Ramirez, 19, and two other accomplices stole a truck, and then targeted UPS employee John Ford, 24, for robbery as he sat in his car outside the company’s distribution center located at 2001 Avenue P in Riviera Beach, according to police. Ramirez fired several shots at Ford, with one bullet hitting him in the ankle, police said. The trio then fled police before barging their way into the nearby apartment of a stranger and her 3-year-old son. According to the police report, Ramirez then used the boy as a human shield, before he and his accomplices, who have not been named, were taken into custody.
Lauderdale Lakes City Manager Anita Fain-Taylor, City Attorney James Brady and city commissioners are looking at ways to address the burgeoning numbers of foreclosed properties in that city. One idea being floated is for the city to form a non-profit corporation that would purchase and repair the homes, then sell them. This sounds good, but it is ill advised. If professional Realtors can’t move properties, what makes them think they can? What all of these municipalities should do is partner with an organization like Habitat for Humanity, which has a proven track record, and subsidize them to buy the properties. Then the organization can award or sell the homes. This is just an idea, but for a mismanaged city like Lauderdale Lakes to get into the real estate business during these tough economic times is simply ridiculous.
KICKED TO THE CURB
The tent where homeless people sleep each night is outside the Westgate Tabernacle Church, 1722 Suwannee Ave. in an unincorporated area near West Palm Beach. The church has been cited for operating as a homeless shelter, in violation of county codes. The church has until Nov. 10 to take down the tent on its property, or it will face $50-a-day fines. The church feeds and houses hundreds of homeless people there each night. Palm Beach County and the church have been at war over the church’s homeless programs for years, and this latest rift began after the tent was erected over the Fourth of July weekend. Church officials said they did not even attempt to get a permit for the tent because they have always been denied. Maybe these homeless people should go to county hall to sleep, and eat, and then the church’s work might be appreciated.
HIT & RUN VICTIMS
The Broward Sheriff's Office says 10-year-old Javaun Calloway was on the handlebars of a bicycle that his sister, 13-year-old Darana'e Calloway, was riding when a car crashed into them, and then took off. The heartless incident occurred in the 100 block of Clifton Lane in West Park this past Monday night. Both children were hospitalized with serious head and other injuries. Police are looking for the car, which is described as an older model, gold-colored, four-door Honda. Police are also seeking the driver of a white pick-up truck that was seen on a neighbor’s surveillance camera following behind the Honda. BSO says the driver of that vehicle may have witnessed the crash. Anyone with information is asked to call Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-8477.
HUTCHINSON DROPS OUT
Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Cindi Hutchinson has dropped out of the city’s 2009 mayoral race. Hutchinson was leading four other announced candidates in fundraising, but her campaign has been mired in controversies, like her switching from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party to run. The remaining candidates in the race are former City Commissioner Dean Trantalis, attorney Steve Rossi, businessman Earl Rynerson Jr., and state Rep. Jack Seiler.
STABBING SUSPECT ARRESTED
After Daniel Orlando Kuljis, 17, confessed to the crime, Pembroke Pines police charged him in the stabbing death of Damian Almaguer, 16. The killing occurred last week at the Windsor Pines apartment complex, when Almaguer went to, at 1:30 in the morning, a concession area in the complex to purchase a soft drink. He then got into an altercation with two men. He was stabbed, and later died at a hospital. The other person involved tipped police off to Kuljis, who reportedly is a member of the Bloods street gang. He is being held on second-degree murder charges in the Broward County Jail, without bail.
Agents with the state’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services are crawling over pawn shops in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. Commissioner Charles H. Bronson said the sweeps are being carried out to confirm the shops are complying with regulations that require identification from people who conduct business at the shops. Tough economic times usually mean brisk business at the shops, and authorities want to make sure no stolen loot is being unloaded through them.
CODE ENFORCEMENT SCAM
Starting in October, city of Fort Lauderdale code enforcement inspectors will start issuing citations to property owners, instead of leaving the old door hanger notices that gave them time to correct the problems. What this means is that homeowners could now be hit with fines as high as $1,000 for second violations for things like grass that needs cutting, or fading paint. Managers have also placed quotas on the inspectors, requiring them to write a certain number of tickets each day. Expect another lawsuit, because this is outrageous. It may lead to more people losing their homes, particularly in the predominantly black sections of the city. Speaking of the city’s rogue code enforcement operations, wait until you get the skinny on the case involving Bruce Toski. He has been fighting the city since February over hurricane panels, and car parts stored behind his home located in the Riverland neighborhood. Toski was threatened with arrest during a hearing before a special master last week, and you won’t believe why, so stay tuned.
The Urban League of Broward County is urging people to get the upper hand on diabetes. On Sept. 27 from 10 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., the local Urban League, in partnership with the National Urban League and Eli Lilly and Company, a leader in diabetes care for over 80 years, is offering a series of sessions that can help you and your family make changes toward preventing or managing diabetes. Come learn more about the program called “Remarkable: That’s you: A Family Lifestyle Approach to Diabetes Prevention.’ The sessions are free, and everyone is encouraged to attend. For more information and for the location of the sessions, please call Gabrielle Tunnage at 954-625-2538.
$12 MILLION MISTAKE
Something in the milk isn’t clean here. More than 11,000 of the Broward County School District’s 36,000 employees mistakenly had a total of more than $12 million deposited into their bank accounts on Tuesday. Superintendent Jim Notter and other district officials quickly moved to address the problem. Human error and the school district's $31 million, two-year-old computerized payroll system are to blame. The money was quickly withdrawn from those bank accounts the next day, on Wednesday. But because some employees had already taken the money out of their accounts, the district moved Friday’s payday up to Wednesday for all employees, and then debited the money from the pay of those employees who had made withdrawals. For some reason, this just does not sound right to me, and it makes me wonder if there is more to this than they are telling.
ELGIN JONES. EJones@SFLTimes.com