elginjones3web.gifCANCER VICTIM DIES
Our condolences go out to the family of Gale Martin, 51, who lost her gallant fight with numerous cancers on Monday, Dec, 4. Martin was the daughter of Walter “Mickey” and Joanne Hinton. She grew up in the highly contaminated Durrs neighborhood of northwest Fort Lauderdale. In its 2007 series, “Sickness in The Soil,” the South Florida Times became the first media outlet to uncover details of a joint state and federal study that confirmed the predominantly black Durrs community was replete with deadly toxins. The study cautioned residents about engaging in everyday activities such as eating from their gardens, walking on soil, and even breathing outdoors. Family members – and a pending lawsuit against the city of Fort Lauderdale, which operated an incinerator there – contend that dozens of Durrs residents, including Martin, were afflicted with cancers due to the contaminants.

HOMESTEAD MLK DAY

Robert G. Beatty, publisher of the South Florida Times, will be the keynote speaker at the 2010 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. annual breakfast in Homestead. The event will take place at 8 a.m. Friday, Jan. 15 at the Phicol Williams Community Center, 951 SW 4th St. in Homestead. To RSVP or for additional information, call 305-242-7146.


Palm Beach County

KKK PARTY PROBLEM
Derek Black is the 20-year-old son of former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard Don Black, who is a close ally of former KKK leader David Duke. In 2008, Black won a seat on the Palm Beach County Republican Executive Committee, but was disqualified because he did not sign the party’s loyalty oath on time. The Palm Beach County Republican Party and Chairman Sid Dinerstein could now face a lawsuit if Derek Black is not seated on the committee, according to Black’s attorney. The party that began as an anti-slavery movement, but that long ago abandoned its roots, is now accepting openly white supremacists into its ranks. Why is Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele silent on this issue? He needs to speak out, one way or the other.

IT TAKES A THIEF
Two elderly abuse investigators with the state Department of Children and Families (DCF) have been charged with stealing over $20,000 from an 85-year-old woman they were assigned to protect. Investigators say Mindi Marie Berry, 33, and her DCF supervisor, Greta Laverne Lambert, 41, stole blank checks from the woman during home inspections. The elderly woman was hospitalized and mentally incapacitated at the time. Another woman, Alexis White, who works for an escort service, was also arrested, according to authorities. She told Palm Beach County police that the women hired her to cash the stolen checks. Book’em, Dano!

ELECTION TIME
Twenty-nine of the 38 municipalities in Palm Beach County will hold elections on March 9. Election time is here, and we will start to see many of the politicians we have not seen for some time showing up, campaigning. Inform yourself, and make good choices, because times are critical.

Miami-Dade County

NEW CHIEF IN TOWN
Cheryl Anita Cason, 52, a Miami native, was sworn in as chief of the Opa-locka Police Department on Tuesday, Dec 5. Cason has been with the department for over 20 years. She left for a time in 1996, when she ran unsuccessfully for the Opa-locka city commission. She takes over after Chief James Smith retired last week.

Broward County

BROWARD ELECTIONS
Qualifying for the March 9 elections in eight Broward cities began Monday, Dec. 4. The cities include Pembroke Pines, Pompano Beach, Davie and others. One of the most interesting contests will be the special election in Dania Beach to fill the seat of Albert C. Jones, who was appointed to the Broward County Commission in November to fill the seat vacated by former Broward County Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion. Among others, the candidates include Jones’ wife, Carolyn, and former City Commissioner Bobbi Grace.

JILTED LOVER KILLING
On Monday, Dec. 4, Wilton Manors police arrested Bruce Price, 58, accusing him of fatally shooting his live-in girlfriend, Shawn Smulin, at their home. Investigators say the shooting was over her involvement with another man, Paul Gonthier. Price is also charged with shooting into the home of Gonthier, who was there at the time of Smulin’s shooting.

JOBS REPREIVE
On Tuesday, Dec. 5, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 79 announced that its 900 members voted to approve 20 hours of unpaid furloughs in 2009. They did this in order to save dozens of workers from being laid off from the city of Hollywood payroll. AFSCME members include non-management, non-police and non-firefighters, such as clerical, recreational, engineering and maintenance workers. The furloughs are expected to save the city over $500,000 this year.

POWERHOUSE ATTORNEY
While he may not want to acknowledge it, Johnny McCray Jr. is one of the most effective criminal defense attorneys in South Florida, period. Don’t be fooled by his unassuming demeanor, he has the stuff and the resume to prove it. McCray has represented some of the toughest clients an attorney can have. Disgraced former Broward County Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion was facing the possibility of hundreds of years in prison on state and federal charges. McCray has reached deals that likely will see Eggelletion serving less than five years total, on both the state and federal charges. Even though Eggelletion is cooperating with investigators, it still takes an astute attorney to get such deals. The list of clients McCray has successfully represented, including suspected serial killer Lucious Boyd and former Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Carlton Moore, is impressive. He has also defended gold-toothed drug dealers, tattooed gang bangers, school teachers and workers fighting to keep their jobs. McCray shuns the spotlight, but conquests should be noted, even if some of his clients are not people with whom we would leave our children.

EJones@SFLTimes.com