Palm Beach County
Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen, both 14 of Tequesta, went on a fishing trip on July 24 and have not been heard from since. The boat they were in was found capsized 70 miles off the shores of Daytona Beach.
Starling Willis, Latonia Verdell and Kelli Mcintosh, all of Palm Beach County, face fraud charges. They are accused of operating an identity-theft ring that submitted over 590 fraudulent income tax returns using 790 stolen identities. They sought more than $1.5 million in refunds. The bank they used refused to accept any more tax refund deposits. They then recruited other people to open accounts to deposit the refunds. They face a slew of federal charges.
Jason Scott Falbo II, 24, of Royal Palm Beach pleaded guilty to nine counts of felony cruelty to animals over his mowing over baby ducklings. He was reported to authorities by the home’s owners, who witnessed the ducks being killed in their backyard, where Falbo was mowing the grass.
Lauderhill Mayor Richard Kaplin is rumored to be nearing a decision whether he will run for Supervisor of Elections. Brenda Foreman, wife of retiring Clerk of the Courts Howard Foreman is running to succeed him for that post.. The political season is upon us and all sorts of rumors about possible candidates and races are spreading. Like a spring breeze, politics are in the air. Get ready for some major announcements as the jockeying for numerous races picks up steam.
Allegations by John Quinton, recreational programmer for the City of Fort Lauderdale Parks and Recreation Department, that the city has paid no-existent phantom employees for years, has taken another twist. Quinton has submitted documents to support his claims. The city has notified employees of new procedures to submitting time cards for hours worked. The city’s investigation into the allegations continues, but this may end up at the State Attorney’s Office.
Christine Butler has resigned her post as chairwoman of the Broward County Republican Executive Committee. She is relocating to Palm Beach County and is contemplating a run for Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections. Butler provided the details in her resignation letter, but the move was not surprising to some local Republican Party insiders. I think there is more to this resignation than meets to eye, because this is not the time to up and leave such a position with presidential, state and local elections around the corner.
Federal customs officials are seeing an increase in the number of unwanted, non-native pests, plants and seeds at Miami’s airports and seaport. Pest and plants sometimes are unknowingly transported in cargo containers, but are sometimes smuggled in as well. Some of these species are dangerous and could threaten agriculture and U.S. waterways if not caught by inspections.
The South Miami Community Redevelopment Agency After School Program is accepting applications. The program offers services to kids from kindergarten to eighth-grade students. Applications can be obtained from the office, 5825 SW 68th St., Suite 4, South Miami.
The slaughter of horses, mainly in Miami-Dade County, continues. The practice gets little attention these days, but it happens. The United States is a melting pot, and in some cultures, horsemeat is a delicacy and very expensive to boot. Horsemeat can fetch a handsome price. With that said, eating horse meat is not acceptable in this culture and the culprits should be hunted down and brought to justice.
Florida Keys Community College wants to expand with a stand-alone campus in the Upper Keys. Administrators are eyeing county-owned land next to a Key Largo park. The campus would offer associate-level criminal justice, nursing, emergency services, pharmacy, plumbing and electrical courses. The new facility would accommodate 300 students. Monroe County Mayor Danny Kolhage and the other commissioners will likely support the jobs-producing measure.
ALL ABOARD CUBA?
Balearia, a company based in Spain, has petitioned the U.S. Treasury Department seeking the go ahead to start a ferry between Florida to Cuba. If approved, Balearia would join Havana Ferry Partners of Fort Lauderdale and Baja Ferries USA to operate ferry services between Cuba and the United States. Diplomatic relations with Cuba are on the fast-track toward full normalization, but don’t expect to see former Cuban President Fidel Castro vacationing in the Keys anytime soon.
Walmart wants to build a store on Rockland Key, but the company wonders if the expected 600 workers would be able to afford housing in the Keys. Like many businesses in Monroe County, workers commute from the mainland to and from work. Walmart will be the anchor for a 33-acre shopping plaza. An affordable housing complex could be included, but the county would have to rezone the site to allow it.