ON THE MOVE
The South Florida Times is continuing its expansion and reach into the tri-county Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade communities, and the newspaper will soon unveil major multimedia initiatives. To facilitate these milestones, publisher Robert G. Beatty, has announced the relocation of the newspaper’s offices and operations. The newspaper is moving from its downtown Fort Lauderdale location to new office suites along the Intercoastal Waterway, just a block from Fort Lauderdale’s beach. Located in the Tides at Bridgeside Square, our new address will be Suite 200, 3020 N.E. 32nd Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33308. Our phone numbers will remain the same. Stay tuned for some amazing things from the South Florida Times.
ON THE LOOSE
During the eight years he served as vice president of the United States, Dick Cheney was rarely seen, and it can be argued he was a political recluse at times. Today, it’s difficult to turn on a TV set without seeing Cheney and his bellyaching about the current administration. Instead of being a constructive critic of President Barack Obama’s policies, Cheney advocates going back to the Bush years, which is embarrassing. Cheney continues to tout the abysmal polices of President George W. Bush’s administration, which is a mistake. In less than two years, the mid-term elections will be upon us, and unless the Republicans put Cheney back into hiding, it could be yet another wipeout at the ballot boxes for Republican candidates.
Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle has suspended David Ranck, 54, a prosecutor, without pay after he was charged with misdemeanor battery. The case involves Ranck’s alleged fighting with a pizza delivery woman, Yudisceus Rodriguez de Armas, at his condo on Miami Beach on Saturday, May 30. According to a witness, Ranck got into a confrontation with the woman, who speaks little English, over her inability to follow his directions as to how to get inside his gated condo.
With more than $12.8 billion in assets, Coral Gables based BankUnited is Florida's largest financial institution. Even so, on Thursday, May 21, regulators seized its 85 branches. At first officials with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) ordered it put up for sale, but then stepped in and handed it over to a private equity group. BankUnited became the largest bank to fail since Washington Mutual was seized last September. Whew!
Former Miami Beach police Capt. William Thomas Skinner was arrested Monday, June 1 and charged with multiple felonies, including attempted murder and armed burglary, after allegedly shooting his estranged wife’s roommate at her Plantation Key home. He also fired multiple shots inside the home, in the direction of his 3-year-old son and estranged wife, according to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office. The alleged incident occurred after he showed up unannounced, demanding to see his son. The injured man was hit in the shoulder, and is expected to recover.
OUCH, THAT HURT!
For the second time since the elections were held in February, officials with the Democratic Party of Florida have ruled the new slate of people elected to positions with the Broward County chapter of the Florida Black Caucus is invalid, and that they have no standing. This latest ruling came after a hearing at the party’s Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, which took place on Saturday, May 30 in Miami Beach. The decision was handed down by Daisy Black, chairwoman of the Black Caucus’ Grievance Committee. The committee once again determined that Alan Brown of Lauderhill is the Broward County chapter president, not the Rev. Josh Brown of Hallandale Beach.
WILL SUE FOR WORK
Attorneys for the Broward Teachers Union put the Broward School District on notice that the union may file suit over teachers’ jobs being cut. The union alleges that school Superintendent Jim Notter wrongly rescinded the employment extensions of 32 teachers who were in Florida’s Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP) in May. According to the union, all of those teachers have been on the job for more than 36 years.
On Saturday, May 30, Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a 911 call in Parkland about a 19-year-old man fighting with his grandfather and pouring gasoline over their home, trying to start a fire. Upon arrival, deputies confronted six-foot tall, 300-pound Patrick Gunter in the driveway, holding a Molotov cocktail, which was lit. He allegedly threatened the deputies with the device, and one of them responded by firing two shots at Gunter, both of which missed. He then ran away, but was apprehended and faces multiple felony charges, including assaulting his 66-year-old grandfather.
Palm Beach County
FORMER COUNSELOR ARRESTED
Blake Freda, 23, a former Palm Beach County school district counselor, was arrested on Monday, June 1 and charged with having sex with a child in 2007 and 2008, when she was 12 years old. Authorities say Freda first met the child when he was a counselor and she attended an after-school program, when she was in the third grade. He got back in touch with her in 2007 through MySpace, and began taking her shopping and to the movies, where they allegedly engaged in sexual activity. Her father discovered their activities after he became suspicious and installed a monitoring device on her computer. This allowed him to read her emails and messages, which contained conversations about their sexual activities. The father then contacted the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office, which made the arrest this week.
Palm Beach County Clerk & Comptroller Sharon R. Bock announced more jobs cuts in the agency on Monday, June 1. The office, which employs more than 800 workers in offices located throughout Palm Beach County, announced the layoffs of 66 employees. This comes after 34 employees were given pink slips, and 32 other employees accepted buyouts in May. The Clerk & Comptroller’s Office files and maintains court case records, collects fees and manages the court’s computer systems. The cuts come as a result of state-mandated budget reductions.
On May 22, detectives with the Boca Raton Police Department arrested Charlie Jennifer Valencia, 31, at her Coral Springs home, as an accomplice in a home-invasion robbery that took place in Boca Raton on Sept. 30. The victim told police that two armed men entered her apartment while she and several relatives, including two young children, were inside. They took cash, jewelry and other items. According to police, the victim told them that Valencia sat in a car in the parking lot and they suspected she was a lookout. Police used her cell records and other items in their investigation. She is charged with being an accomplice to first-degree armed home invasion, kidnapping and grand theft. Detectives are still looking for the men who actually committed the armed home-invasion robbery. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-458-8477.