Palm Beach County
Dennis Blake, 64, of Delray Beach is a retired school principal who has also worked as a 911 dispatcher in Indiana. He now faces up to 10 years in prison on charges that he arranged to meet what he thought was an underage boy for sex at a restaurant. It was actually an undercover police officer. Investigators reportedly also found evidence on his cell phone that he arranged another meeting with a 15-year-old at a Lantana home for sex, but the boy “chickened out.”
Palm Beach County Inspector General John Carey will continue to meet with local officials in private, informal gatherings to brief and provide updates from his office. He says the meetings are simply community outreach efforts. Carey requested an opinion from the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office, which agreed the meetings did not violate the state’s open government Sunshine Laws.
An old burial ground commonly referred to as the “colored graveyard,” will be developed into townhomes. Deerfield Beach city commissioners approved the project despite pleas from black residents and opposition from Commissioner Gloria Battle, the city’s lone black person on the dais.
Synthetic drugs such as bath salts, which had been popular among suburban youth, are now plaguing urban communities and low-income neighborhoods. The Broward Sheriff’s Office and the City of Pompano Beach held a community forum on these chemical concoctions and highlighted the drug called ‘flakka.’ This devastating drug leaves users with severe paranoia, hallucinations, super human strength, violent erratic behavior and countless other conditions. Flakka is cheap and a thousand times more dangerous than crack cocaine. This is a critical issue and we all should be concerned. This stuff is bad, I mean very bad. It can be smoked, snorted, swallowed or injected.
For years, residents have insisted Interstate 95 between Broward and Sunrise boulevards was constructed through a portion of Woodlawn Cemetery, which is located in Durrs neighborhood of northwest Fort Lauderdale. Today the graveyard abuts I-95 on its western border. The Florida Department of Transportation intends to add an express lane to I-95 in the area and during a meeting with residents, officials agreed to conduct testing to determine if any human remains are present. Specially trained cadaver dogs were brought in and have alerted to several locations in the swale area of the interstate where human remains could be located. If confirmed, it could possibly disrupt the highway expansion. Durrs Homeowners Association President Walter ‘Mickey’ Hinton is calling for expanded testing and other measures to preserve what he believes are gravesites.
HIT & RUN
Miami Police officers arrested 29-year-old Gustavo Sanchez in the hit and run death of a female pedestrian. The accident occurred near Northwest Fifth Avenue and 54th Street. He is charged with DUI manslaughter and leaving the scene of a crash involving a death.
President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro are undoing more than 50 years of isolation. The leaders are cautious about specific plans and details, but normalized relations between the countries are on the fast track.
Billionaire Donald Trump acquired and renovated the Doral Trump Country Club and now the Riviera Country Club in Coral Gables has announced a separate $8 million project of its own. The Riviera will add numerous upgrades to its golf course to include two lakes, new fairways. The project is expected to be completed over an eight-month period.
PRINCIPAL OF THE YEAR
Guillermo Muñoz of Homestead Senior High has been selected Miami-Dade County Public Schools Principal of the Year. Munoz took over the troubled school two years ago and has gained statewide attention for its remarkable turnaround.
The Monroe County Mosquito Control District is considering bringing genetically modified, sterilized male mosquitoes to the Florida Keys. They would help combat the spread of mosquitoes that carry the deadly dengue fever. Environmentalists are opposed to the plan, but U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports indicate one-third of the world’s population live in areas at risk for infection.
At the request of Sheriff Rick Ramsay, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement will investigate the death of a Marathon man who died while being transported to the Plantation Key Jail. Clifford Green, 39, died shortly after he was pulled over by Monroe County Sheriff’s deputies. While en route, Green became ill. The deputy pulled over and began administering aid. He was under arrest for driving with a suspended license and drugs that were found inside his car. A Florida Highway Patrol trooper was also on the scene.
Following complaints, the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office will end the practice of transporting dead bodies in the back of uncovered pick-up trucks. Sheriff Rick Ramsay, County Administrator Roman Gastesi and others criticized Medical Examiner Thomas Beaver over the practice.