elgin_jones_web_13.jpgPASTOR ARRESTED
Joel A. Huddleston, a 28-year-old youth pastor at Buckhead Ridge Christian Church in Okeechobee County, was arrested after his wife reported catching him and a 12-year-old girl in bed. Huddleston is also a social studies teacher and girl’s basketball coach at Yearling Middle School and the child was on his team. Huddleston’s wife said she came home and found them asleep, with him fully clothed and the girl partially undressed, police said. Suspecting sexual abuse, the wife snapped cell phone photos of them, which she turned over to police.


FAMILY CHARGED
A Port St. Lucie family and a family friend have been arrested on 50 theft-related charges accusing them of operating a burglary ring. Police said the clan wore all black and operated around midnight. Michael Oliver, his cousin Eddie Oliver, his girlfriend Georgia Brown, her son William Berry, and Berry’s friend Alex Flynn were taken into custody following a search of the family home. Police recovered  stolen construction tools, compressors, generators, and electronic equipment worth more than $80,000.

WOE FOR THE PEOPLE
Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos and the Republican-dominated Legislature approved deeply detrimental measures in the $70 billion state budget. Workers, the needy, the wronged and homeowners have all been betrayed and will suffer under several bills approved this session. Medicaid recipients will be herded into profit-seeking HMOs. People who were wrongly incarcerated or harmed by governmental agencies will not be compensated. Homeowners will be at the mercy of private insurers due to restrictions placed on the state-run Citizens Insurance program. And let us not forget that welfare recipients will now have to submit to, and pay for, drug tests in order to receive assistance. Under a shell game that claimed to create an environment for jobs, Republican lawmakers bowed to Tea Party extremists and rewarded businesses with one of the biggest government giveaways in history, with tax cuts and promises to privatize prisons, public hospitals and other government institutions.

Palm Beach County

FAKE COP
People representing themselves as law enforcement officers are on the rise and the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office is alerting residents to the latest incident. A woman reported that, around midnight on Saturday, April 30, she was pulled over in Royal Palm Beach by a man driving a black car with flashing lights. The man attempted to rape her, but gave up and drove off. The man is described as 6 feet tall, weighing 195 pounds, with a muscular build and wearing a black cap with “Trooper” on it. It is unknown if this person is a cop, but he should not be difficult to find. He has the word “Jayla” tattooed on his neck, according to the police report. Police are asking anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-458-8477.

DISTURBED MOTHER

Margarita Obando, 45, remains in custody with no bail for allegedly stabbing her son. The Lake Worth woman, who suffers from mental illness, is accused of attempting to kill her 12-year-old son last week. The child called 911 saying he awoke to find his mother stabbing him, while saying, "I am going to kill you. I don't want you to hurt anyone." The boy suffered stab wounds to his chest and is in stable condition. His mother ran off, but was caught hours later and is being held on attempted first-degree murder charges.

Broward County

UNDER INVESTIGATION
Hollywood city commissioners ordered an investigation of City Manager Cameron Benson and two other employees after receiving detailed but anonymous letters alleging theft and other wrongdoing. One letter alleges that, during Hurricane Wilma in 2005, Benson used city funds to buy a generator and had police officers deliver it to his father’s Lauderhill home.  His father is Lauderhill City Commissioner Heywood Benson. Mayor Peter Bober has asked the state attorney’s office and the FBI to investigate the generator allegation. A second letter claims certain employees received gifts and meals from a company that was awarded a waste disposal contract. The city’s police department and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement are investigating that allegation. Neither Cameron Benson nor his father has commented on the allegations.

MAJOR ON THE MOVE?
Community advocate Joe Major has reportedly been contacting people about a possible run for the Broward County Commission in 2012. The government watchdog may be planning a try at unseating incumbent Dale Holness in what is expected to be a crowded field.

LAWSUIT SETBACK
The city of Fort Lauderdale suffered a setback in a lawsuit filed by Legal Aid of Broward. The suit filed on behalf of Virgil Bolden and several other residents allege the city, certain employees, and elected officials used a code enforcement scheme to acquire their properties for redevelopment. Federal Judge James Cohn ruled the suit would go forward, rejecting the city’s motion to have the case dismissed. The city’s Community Redevelopment Agency director, Al Battle, and former City Commissioner Carlton Moore are among those named in the lawsuit along with the city.

STORE CLOSURE
In January, retailer JC Penney announced it would close all 19 of its outlet stores by June. This week, the company is closing the outlet store at the Sawgrass Mills mall in Sunrise, which means 121 workers will be laid off.

Miami-Dade County

NEW CAMPUS
Florida International University President Mark Rosenberg announced the opening of a new downtown Miami campus on Brickell Avenue. Business leaders say the campus will create jobs and provide economic stimulus to an area that has thousands of residents.

POLICE
INDIFFERENCE
Miami Commissioner Richard P. Dunn II is not backing way from his statement that the city’s police department is out of control. Police Sergeant Javier Ortiz, who is also vice-president of the police union, admitted doctoring a mug shot of Durrall Jessie Miller, and circulating it to other officers. Miller was shot and killed by Miami-Dade police on April 19 after a four-day manhunt. He was being sought for allegedly shooting a Miami-Dade officer in the foot. He was killed when, police said, officers arrived at a home in Miami Gardens to arrest him and he answered the door with an assault rifle in his hand.