Apple’s iPhone has surpassed Research in Motion’s BlackBerry as the number-two most used smart phone in the U.S. The iPhone has a 26 percent share but it remains a distant second behind Google’s Android, which has a 37 percent share. Blackberry has dropped to 25.7 percent and Microsoft phones hold at a five percent share. Palm, the company that started the smart phone revolution, continued dwindling and is now down to less than three percent of the market. Meanwhile, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced the release of its new iCloud devices, which could help the iPhone take the overall lead.
A group calling itself “Lake Worth Chickens” has mounted a campaign on Facebook to push the city of Lake Worth into changing its code to allow residents to keep a small number of chickens. City Manager Susan Stanton said city officials have expressed interest in the issue. Other cities such as New York and Chicago allow residents to keep a small number of chickens to provide them with food and eggs. It’s a sign of the times. Urban chicken movements may be taking hold in cities around the country.
Boynton Beach police arrested George Spadaccini, 43, during an odd traffic stop. According to police, Spadaccini stated, “I laugh when police officers get shot.” Police also allege that after Sgt. Richard McNevin issued Spadaccini a traffic ticket and told him he was free to leave, Spadaccini replied, “You're free to get shot up.” Police say he then reached for something under the seat and officers pulled him from the car and cuffed him. They didn’t find anything under the seat but later found a pocketknife in a compartment of the driver’s side door. The specific charges against him have not been clarified but this is all strange, to say the least.
Palm Beach County school superintendent Bill Malone is proposing unpaid furloughs for teachers and other employees in an effort to balance the district’s budget and reduce the number of layoffs. District officials have until Sept. 14 to adopt a budget. Unions will have to negotiate any furloughs.
The Deerfield Beach-based firm Docutek is in bankruptcy. The copy machine and document handling company is $50 million in debt and Regions Bank has called in its $2.5 million loan. Docutek is reportedly being sold to Fort Myers-based Modular Document Solutions LLC. It is not clear how many people the company employs but even if the bankruptcy court approves the sale, those jobs may be lost.
Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputy Paul Pletcher, 37, is under investigation for allegedly stealing a woman’s driver license and cell phone and berating her with racial slurs during a traffic stop for allegedly making a U-turn. During the May 23 incident, Pletcher was not on duty but was driving his squad car when he allegedly exchanged obscene gestures with a woman. He pulled her over, at which time her passenger began video recording the events on a cell phone. Pletcher allegedly insulted her with racial slurs and other insults. When he noticed the passenger was recording his actions, he demanded the cell phone. The woman refused but Pletcher allegedly seized it and drove away. Plantation police were called and they found the cell phone broken into pieces a short distance away. However, the video remained intact and when police downloaded it, Pletcher was identified. Authorities are not releasing the video but it is said to show Pletcher allegedly asking the woman for her green card, hurling insults at her and using force to take the cell phone. Pletcher has been placed on administrative leave with pay and could face several felony charges. Book ’em Danno!
Kim Kisslan has been named Sunrise’s new city attorney. She will replace outgoing City Attorney Stuart Michelson, whose contract was not renewed. Kisslan was hired by Michaelson as assistant attorney in 2008. Before that, she was general counsel for the Broward Sheriff's Office (BSO). It was Kisslan who reportedly advised BSO on an investigation of sheriff’s deputies who allegedly obtained steroids through questionable means. The steroid matter is about to escalate and Kisslan could find herself in the middle of it.
Broward County school superintendent Jim Notter will retire on June 30 and it couldn’t come a moment too soon. Good riddance. The district is in financial shambles and much of it has nothing to do with the economic downturn. During Notter’s tenure, district administration has been plagued with incompetence, corruption and inefficiencies. The district is facing a $141 million budget shortfall. When the school year ends this week, 1,400 teachers will lose their jobs and more cuts are on the way. A recent grand jury report detailed the complete failure of the school system and highlighted Notter’s inability to lead the district. In the report, the grand jury said if it had the authority it would have dissolved the school district all together. Like I said, good riddance!
The trial of Allen Jackson, former pastor of Living Word Community Church in Lauderhill, got under way this week. Jackson was arrested in 2009 and charged with allegedly stealing money from the church. Church officials accused him of theft just days after he announced he had filed a lawsuit to recoup funds the board had authorized to pay his predecessor, the Rev. Anthony “Pastor Tony” Palmisano, from the church’s daycare. Jackson was found not guilty by the judge, who never even let this nonsense go to the jury.
The U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is considering building a 2,300-bed prison to house foreign nationals facing deportation in Miami-Dade County. Florida City Mayor Otis Wallace is interested in bringing the facility there. The $150 million project would bring hundreds of construction jobs, as well as permanent positions to staff the facility. It is not clear if the prison would complement the nearby Krome Detention Center or serve as a replacement. ICE officials will make a final decision within the next 120 days.
INSURANCE SHUT DOWN
The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation has ordered North Miami Beach-based Argus Fire and Casualty Insurance Company shut down. That move will affect some 9,000 homeowners who now have 45 days to find new insurers. Argus took in $34 million in premiums in 2010 but had an overall loss of $4 million. Regulators say the company had a surplus of $4.55 million but that was not enough to keep it afloat.