Kristin Jacobs, chairwoman of the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority, and other board members have announced that the agency, which operates the Tri-Rail commuter rail line, will host a job fair. The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16, at the International Game Fish Association building, 300 Gulf Stream Way, Dania Beach. The first 300 job-seekers to register for the job fair will get a free one-way Tri-Rail ticket.
Fort Lauderdale-based BankAtlantic was sold to BB&T in November amid widening losses. BankAtlantic ran into financial trouble over bad loans. Its most recent filing shows it lost $8.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2011.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott advocated for drug testing for people receiving welfare or public assistance. He even wants restrictions imposed on those receiving unemployment compensation. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who is seeking the Republican nomination, supports such initiatives. Such proposals are ridiculous and intended only to further burden those in need. The needy and unemployed are not the only ones who get government assistance. The wealthy and corporations do as well, but terms such as bailouts, seed money and grants are used to label what they receive. This is nothing more than a political con game. If not, then apply these requirements to everyone who gets public funds. I wonder if they want Social Security recipients to undergo drug-testing in order to get their checks? What about retired members of Congress and other government employees?
Palm Beach County
Randall Linkous, owner of Valico Nurseries of Boynton Beach, and his daughter, Andrea Moreira, along with Dale Leblang and David Peskind, co-owners of Allied Growers Inc. of Fort Lauderdale, have been charged with conspiring to ship quarantined citrus plants. Federal authorities allege fake invoices and manifests were used to mislabel 48 Calamondin citrus plants shipped around the United States. Calamondins are orange in color and about an inch in size. The plants were allegedly mislabeled as palm trees. Citrus plants are quarantined to help stop the spread of the citrus canker and citrus greening diseases.
Lake Worth city officials fired City Manager Susan Stanton in December. Finance Director Steve Carr has been serving as the acting city manager since then. The city received 65 résumés for the interim position but will forego the hiring of anyone on an interim basis and, instead, look to permanently fill the post.
Rashad Emon “Shagg Dogg" Clark, a West Palm Beach resident who had been on the run over allegations of child sex trafficking, has been arrested in Houston. He is accused of preying on runaway minors to work in the sex trade. He will be returned to South Florida to face federal human trafficking and other charges. Clark, 33, allegedly convinced a 14-year-old girl to work as a prostitute. Authorities say one of his other alleged prostitutes, Mandi Lynn Bowman, was an accomplice in the caper.
The new superintendent of the School District of Palm Beach County will have to decide what services and functions will be privatized. The district is facing a $35 million budget shortfall. Officials will consider outsourcing custodial, grounds maintenance and even bus service to private companies. School Board Vice Chairwoman Debra Robinson has expressed concern over replacing public servants with private workers.
Fort Lauderdale police have completed their investigation of former Broward Democratic Party official Percy Johnson. The case involves allegations that, while serving as treasurer of the party’s Council of Club Presidents, Johnson misused party funds by writing checks to himself and a family member. A sum of $2,195 has been repaid but the criminal investigation moves forward. According to sources, the police investigation discovered few, if any, cash deposits were made while Johnson was treasurer. Other officers in the organization say cash was routinely taken in at events and for other reasons. The case has been submitted to the Broward State Attorney’s Office.
RELEASE ON HOLD
Former Broward County Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion will not get out of a federal prison in Jessup, Ga., until July 18. Eggelletion is serving time after being convicted of money laundering conspiracy and bribery. He could have gotten early release this month but Bureau of Prisons officials rejected his efforts for early release.
Broward County commissioners will decide whether the construction project to build a new main courthouse should be re-bid. Consultants say they have found serious design errors in the bid documents for the $178.76 million project. There are problems with mechanical designs and the changes could cost nearly $9 million.
Republican U.S. Rep. Allen “Go” West is abandoning his district, which has been reshaped to include a majority of Democrats, so he can run in one farther north in Port St. Lucie. Broward County Commissioner Kristin Jacobs, a Democrat, is seeking the seat currently held by West. She joins fellow Democrat Lois Frankel, a former Florida House member and West Palm Beach mayor. Former state Rep. Adam Hasner has ended his U. S. Senate campaign to run for the Republican nomination in that contest.
The G5ive strip club at 337 N.W. 170th St., North Miami Beach, failed to get a majority of city commissioners to go along with extending its opening hours. Mayor George Vallejo supported allowing the establishment to extend its hours but the proposal failed. The club is currently open from 2 p.m. to 4 a.m. but that will end in March. After that, it must close at 2 a.m. Its owners would like to remain open until 6 a.m. G5ive has been the scene of several problems, including shootings. The club employs off-duty police officers and private security but that has not stopped the violence.
John Taylor, son Demetrius Taylor and sister Elvira Smith, who are the husband, son and sister, respectively of Opa-locka Mayor Myra Taylor, have been charged with campaign law violations and tampering with evidence. They are accused of making and then conspiring to cover-up more than $6,000 in allegedly illegal contributions made to Myra Taylor’s November 2010 election campaign. Authorities allege the money was funneled through the Taylor family’s private school, Vankara, and New Beginnings. The company is run through the family’s church. Prosecutors say checks from Vankara were used to pay for campaign expenditures. Some of the money Vankara used came from government grants provided to the school. Prosecutors say they did not have enough evidence to connect Mayor Taylor to the alleged scheme. In 2004, she was suspended from office after being indicted on tax fraud charges. She pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges and went on to win election as vice mayor in 2008, before becoming mayor.
Miami-Dade County Commissioners Lynda Bell and Rebeca Sosa are co-sponsoring a proposal that would allow voters to decide if term limits should be imposed on commissioners. It would limit commissioners to two consecutive four-year terms. If approved by the commission, the question could be on the ballot this November.