elgin_jones_web_13.jpgNEW GAME
Florida Lottery Secretary Cynthia F. O’Connell and her agency announced the start of sales for Mega Millions lottery tickets this week. That marked the end for the controversial Lucky Lines game which turned out to be a flop with its outrageous odds.

Drawings for the Mega Millions are on Tuesdays and Fridays, while the Powerball and Florida Lotto game drawings continue to be on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Desperate lottery players looking to strike it rich will now have more opportunities to spend their money on tickets with next-to-nothing and “no jack squat” chances of winning anything.

The habit of downloading apps to our cell phones has become so commonplace that few of us bother to check to see exactly what permissions we are granting to companies that develop apps when we download them. Some are scary, such as one popular app that has been downloaded more than five million times and says in its “permissions” language that consumers are allowing it to take control of the camera, video, contacts and other features on cell phones. The app can also monitor your activities, including reading your emails and text messages, as well as recordings and photos stored on your phone. What was once known as the fine print is now standard language in app permission and it’s scary.

Palm Beach County

Medellin Cruz-Santiago, 45, of Lantana was arrested on charges related to her allegedly posing as a bail bondswoman and stealing the IDs of several people – landing her in the one place she claimed to be able to get people out of. She
operated Cruz Bail Bond Services Inc., which was a fake company, according to the police report. Several people reported her to authorities claiming they had her post their bail but never heard from her again. Boynton Beach police took her into custody and, at last word she was, well, looking for a bail bondsman.

The retirement home called the Boynton Beach Assisted Living Facility has been shut down amid several investigations into its operations. The privately owned AFL first caught the attention of authorities during an April sweep of area home health care clinics and assisted living facilities by agents of Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration. Officials found the facility to be in violation of numerous regulations and failing to meet state regulations and standards. In the past, there have been incidents of rape, poor sanitary conditions and patients wandering away from the home, according to investigators.

Broward County

Some Coconut Creek city officials are claiming City Manager Dave Rivera has an anger problem, accusing him of flying off the handle over routine issues. He has yelled at residents and even screamed at city commissioners and some want him gone. Commissioner Sandra Welch thinks he should be fired and may have the votes to do so. His future with the city will be addressed at an upcoming meeting and odds are he will be ousted, depending on his explanation.

Willie J. Dennis, commander of the American Legion’s Glenn Miller post #287 in Deerfield Beach, has been selected Legionnaire of The Year. Dennis was honored with the organization’s highest recognition in part for his service and volunteerism. Dennis has also been credited with reviving membership in the post which he has led for the past three years. 

Albert Jones, 50, of West Park and his wife were living the American dream until 2009, when Jones was stricken by a mysterious condition that left him paralyzed from the waist down. Doctors were confused and after numerous visits and hospital stays – some as long as three months – Jones was diagnosed with Transverse Myelitis, a rare neurological disorder of the spine. The business owner did not have health insurance and was unable to provide for his family. The painful and crippling condition left Jones bedridden and wiped out the family’s finances. He later developed Lupus, which required even more hospital stays, including having to be rushed to the intensive care unit several times. The family is at the end of its rope and needs help with food and medical care. Jones requires round-the-clock care, which is provided by his wife. This family, which can be contacted at 561-853-5724,  needs help.

Miami-Dade County

The Carlisle Development Group and its CEO Matthew S. Greer and former CEO Lloyd J. Boggio have been subpoenaed to appear before a federal Grand July investigating the costs the company charged for subsidized rental housing developments throughout South Florida. Carlisle, based in Miami, is one of the biggest affordable housing developers in the country. The Grand Jury is looking into allegations the firm inflated construction costs it charged governmental entities to build the projects.

Cutler Bay Mayor Ed MacDougall, a Republican, is getting a lot of attention from national Republicans in support of his plans to run for Congress. MacDougall will seek to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia, a Democrat. MacDougall has been traveling courting key Republicans around the country to back his run. Garcia is viewed as vulnerable in the 26th district he represents which spans from Kendall to Key West and other Republicans are expected to enter the race.

The U.S. Department of Justice is suing Vitas Hospice Services and its parent company Chemed Corp. alleging it defrauded Medicare through false claims for patients who entered its hospice care facilities. Miami-based Vitas is the largest for-profit hospice provider in the country. It is accused of admitting patients even though they were not dying. It is also alleged that claims were submitted for services never rendered.

Monroe County

Kyle Christopher Heller, 29, a boat captain for a tour company in Key West, has been arrested and charged with suspicion of raping a woman who was a passenger on his boat. The woman told police that after leaving the boat she and Heller went to a bar for drinks and then walked to his home, where they kissed and drank some more.  She said she fell asleep and awoke to find Heller raping her and holding a pillow over her head. Heller denies the allegations and has told police the sex was consensual.  He was booked and released on $150,000 bail.

Three homes were burned to the ground and a fourth was severely damaged by a fire in Key Largo. The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said the fire started around 2 p.m. in a home near Mile Marker 103 and spread to nearby buildings. Crews from the Ocean Reef Fire Department and Miami-Dade Fire Rescue responded to the scene. There were no injuries and all of the homes were unoccupied at the time.

A jury has recommended the death penalty in the case of Jonathan Leo LeBaron, who was found guilty in the Feb. 10, 2009 beating death of 57-year-old Richard Gardner aboard Gardner’s boat. Circuit Court Judge Mark Jones will make a decision at a hearing scheduled for June 28.