elgin_jones_web_13.jpgPalm Beach County

The Palm Beach County Republican Party is suffering through a fundraising slump which has led to a financial crunch. Staff have been laid off and party chairman Ira Sabin says it’s simply downsizing but critics are pointing the blame at him.

Sabin was elected to the post last December after his predecessor, Sid Dinerstein, opted not to seek re-election after more than a decade of leading the political organization.  The party could soon be out of its headquarters in West Palm Beach. The lease is up in less than two months and the organization may not be able to renew it.

Tracy Wayne Shealy, an assistant principal at Royal Palm Beach Community High School, was arrested in a prostitution sting in Lake Worth. According to the police report, Shealy offered an undercover deputy who was working along Dixie Highway $20 for a sex act. He was taken into the custody. The Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office has been employing various enforcement methods in its effort to crack down on prostitution in the area.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office is seeking a suspect in a home invasion and armed carjacking inside the Rainbow Mobile Home Colony in West Palm Beach. The incident happened in the 1300 block of Summit Pines Boulevard. Police are warning citizens about approaching the suspect if sighted. Police are also asking anyone with information on his identity to call Crime Stoppers immediately at 1-800-458-8477.

Gov. Rick Scott has completed a deal where the cash and valuables transport firm Garda World will expand its operations in Boca Raton,   creating 500 new jobs in the process.  The company relocated its headquarters to Boca Raton in 2010 with a deal that it would create 150 jobs in the city. Garda relocated from Canada and is moving employees from several states, including Texas and California, to its Boca headquarters.

Belle Glade football standout and now Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Greg Dent has been arrested on sexual battery charges. Tallahassee police said Dent and the teenager returned to his apartment after going out on a date. Police said she agreed to spend the night and awoke to Dent on top of her and she repeatedly told him no and tried to fight him off.

Broward County

Former NFL player Chad Johnson, once known as Chad Ochocinco after his jersey number, was in court over a violation of probation in connection with a 2012 domestic violence case and appeared set for leniency. But he did something that is common in sports: He patted his attorney’s behind for a job well done. Judge Kathleen McHugh found the gesture distasteful and a mockery of the court and sentenced Johnson, 35, to 30 days in jail and extended his probation until the end of the year.

More than 70 tires on at least 35 cars were slashed in Lauderhill this week. Police are asking residents in the area to review footage from their surveillance cameras in an effort to find out who was behind the expensive vandalism. Police are also asking anyone with information to call Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-8477 or the Lauderhill Police Department at 954-497-4700.

Albert Jones (no relation to this writer), a 48-year-old disabled West Park man who is paralyzed and has been denied disability benefits, is now facing eviction. The former Dillard High School basketball star and his family are in need of donations and help. They could be put out on the streets by this time next week. The family is asking for assistance, which may be made by calling 561-853-5724.

A warehouse located at Southwest 42nd Street and 30th Avenue in Hollywood, which belongs to the Seminole Indians and is used to house the tribe’s supplies and equipment for its casinos, has been burglarized. The thieves made off with an undetermined amount of alcohol, as well as gaming machines and expensive electronic equipment such as flat screen TVs and camcorders. The FBI and Seminole Police are investigating. The tribe is offering a $25,000 reward and anyone with  information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 954-493-8477.

Miami-Dade County

Eriel Menendez Casanas, 39, and Javiel Vergel, 37, both of Hialeah, have been arrested on poaching charges. As they were landing their boat at the ramp on Watson Island, a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation officer responded to a tip that the pair was acting suspiciously. The report said an inspection found 468 lobster tails in several garbage bags on their boat. Lobster season ended March 31. The men are facing a number of related charges. Book ’em Danno!

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle is confirming that her office is investigating Homestead Mayor Steve Bateman’s involvement with contracts that went to a local developer. Bateman is alleged to have pressured city staff to award the developers the contract to redevelop a parcel of city-owned land. The developer then allegedly paid Bateman’s wife, who is a realtor, a commission on the deal.

Miami City Commissioner Francis Suarez, 35, is challenging incumbent Mayor Tomas Regalado, 66, in the November elections. Suarez is outflanking Regalado with the use of social media and in fundraising but Regalado is a veteran politician and a grassroots campaigner. The barbs and whisper campaigns have already begun, so fasten your seatbelts for a down-and-dirty showdown.

Monroe County

A total of 18 people suffered injuries after two boats collided off Elliott Key. The crash happened when the vessels were trying to approach the docks, leaving a mangled wreck and leading authorities to initially believe three boats were involved. The investigation is continuing and exactly what took place has yet to be determined.

Lion Fish are an invasive fish species. They have no natural predators; not even shark will eat them. This in part is due to the poisonous spikes and fins on the fish which do serious harm to humans and predators alike. They are multiplying more rapidly than biologists first believed. In short, they are taking over, devouring other fish and native marine life in the process. Even so, state officials have limits on how many and when they can be caught, which is foolish. Some restaurants have them on their menus but that has not slowed their reproduction. It’s time for an unlimited season and harvesting of this fish; anything less is foolishness.