elginjones3web.gifPalm Beach County

More than 1,400 former workers, most of them from Jamaica, are in court seeking back wages for work they say they were underpaid to perform. The workers labored for Osceola Farms Co., a subsidiary of the Fanjul family's Flo-Sun Inc., which also owns Domino Sugar. The lawsuit is the last in a series of cases first filed in 1989 over alleged slave wages paid to migrant farm workers on sugar cane plantations in Florida. The case was prepared to go to trial in 2007: That’s when attorneys for the sugar companies filed a motion to have the lawsuit dismissed because the plaintiffs did not post the $100-per- person bond required for lawsuits filed in Florida. A judge sided with the defense, and dismissed the case. Attorneys for the plaintiffs argued they did not have the $145,000 in fees, and that the rule unduly restricts poor people’s access to Florida courts. The law requiring the bonds is more than 180 years old, and was instituted before Florida became a state, making the law unconstitutional, the plaintiffs’ attorneys argued. In April, a Palm Beach County Circuit three-judge panel sided with defense attorneys. The ruling was appealed to the state’s Fourth District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach, and a decision is expected at any time.

Miami-Dade County

A May 1 memo from Tim Ryan, director of Miami-Dade County’s Corrections & Rehabilitation Department, is stamped “Confidential,’’ but that document has leaked out and is causing an uproar. Among other things, the memo, which Ryan wrote to his “file,” explains how the department desired, and then held meetings on how to reduce the number of black recruits in the department. It also acknowledges that Hispanics had been promoted “out of turn,” and how the department explored how to recruit equal numbers of blacks, whites and Hispanics, instead of a majority of blacks. Walter Clark, a former department employee, has contacted all of the county commissioners, demanding an investigation. Clark says he has yet to hear back, but he is advising those who were passed over for jobs and promotions to hire attorneys. This could turn into a legal nightmare, and it deserves immediate attention from county commissioners. Read the memo online at:  SFLTimes.com

It has been less then a week since the FBI closed its investigation into the video that was posted on YouTube, depicting the death of Homestead Councilwoman Judy Waldman through suicide or vehicular homicide.  The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office has opened its own inquiry, according to sources close to the matter. Officials with the State Attorney’s Office would not confirm or deny it, but sources say subpoenas have been issued for the account information of the person who posted the video.

The executive board of the influential and politically active Villages community in Homestead has voted to bar Mayor Lynda Bell from its recreational facility, named the Audubon Clubhouse. The unanimous vote took place on Tuesday, June 3, and was in response to remarks Bell allegedly made about late nature artist John James Audubon (1785-1851). Audubon spent time in the area that is now known as Homestead and the Florida Keys, where he cataloged wildlife, wrote books, and painted. The Villages neighborhoods are themed after Audubon, who is known for his paintings of birds and other wildlife. Residents say Bell was critical of Audubon in remarks she made in opposition to a new school being named in his honor. By extension, residents say, the mayor offended residents of the Villages community.  Bell has yet to issue any statement on the decision. But this is an election year, and not only are political forums held at the Audubon Clubhouse, it is also a voting precinct.

Miami police are seeking the public’s help in locating 14-year-old Erika Moreland.  The teen was last seen Saturday, June 6 in the 6600 block of Northwest 2nd Court.  She was wearing a beige sundress with thin shoulder straps.  Moreland is 5' 10" tall, has brown hair and brown eyes, and weighs 160 pounds.  She has a mole on her upper lip and a scar on the right side of her nose. Anyone with information about her is asked to call Miami police at 305-579-6111.

The incidents of cats being killed in South Florida communities are increasing in number, and now there is speculation that packs of wild dogs or foxes could be to blame.  That could be so, but I don’t know of any wild dogs who have knives to gut their prey, or wild dogs who can skin them either.  These cats are being skinned and mutilated by two-legged sickos, and it is likely a part of some type of ritual.  Skinned cats have been found in the Palmetto Bay and Cutler Bay neighborhoods of Miami-Dade County, and in Lauderhill in Broward County.  Law enforcement agencies in Miami-Dade County are pooling their resources, and are asking the public to call with information and collect up to  $10,000.  If you have information about the crimes, please call Crimestoppers at 305-471-8477.

Miami-Dade County police are searching for a man who allegedly attempted to rape an 84-year-old woman on Saturday, June 6. The attack happened near the intersection of Northwest 112th Street and Northwest 22nd Avenue around 6:30 in the morning. According to police, the victim said she saw a man sitting in a car, and he forced her into his car and tried to rape her. She fought back, biting him with her false teeth in the process, when he let her go and fled. He is described as a light-skinned black male, between 20 and 26 years old, about 5 feet 10 inches tall, with a muscular build and short hair. He was driving a burgundy-colored car. Anyone with information is asked to call Crimestoppers at 305-471-8477.

Broward County

Ronald Muhammad, minister of Muhammad's Mosque #82 in Fort Lauderdale, has organized a summit to address critical issues impacting youth, titled, “Youth In Peril – Accepting Responsibility To Build Our Community.”  The town hall meeting will have frank panel discussions and remedies for matters of crime, infectious diseases, education drop-out rates, unemployment and more.  Panelists will include Broward County School Board Member Phyllis Hope; Rasheed Baaith, a Broward Sheriff’s Office community liaison; Broward Circuit Court Judge Ian Richards and others.  The meeting will take place this Saturday, June 13, at the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center, 2650 Sistrunk Blvd. near Fort Lauderdale.  The meeting is free and open to the public. It takes place from 3 to 5 p.m.  For additional information, call 954-536-1900.

David Milligan, 78, has been missing from his family’s Lauderhill home since Thursday, June 4.  Milligan is a retired schoolteacher and is well known as “Coach” and “Buster.” He suffers from several medical conditions, including Alzheimer’s Disease. He was last seen near his home in the 3500 block of Northwest 3rd Street in Lauderhill, and has not been seen since.  He was wearing a black shirt, dark shorts, black athletic shoes and a baseball cap with his last name written on the front. Anyone with information on Milligan's whereabouts is urged to contact Lauderhill Police Detective Robert Clifford at 954-714-4800.