After more than 50 years of service as an employee and board member, Miami-Dade School Board Chairman Solomon Stinson is retiring, and will not seek re-election this November. District 2, which he represents in Miami-Dade, includes Central, Edison, Northwestern and Booker T. Washington high schools. Former state representatives Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall and Darryl Franklin Reaves; Sandra Moise, an assistant principal at MAST Academy; Ronda Vangates, an attorney and school-district administrator; and Vanessa Woodard Byers, a school-district budget director, have all expressed interest in running for the seat. The filing deadline for the Aug. 24 primary is Friday, June 18. Stinson is supporting Vangates.
Miami-Dade School Superintendent Alberto Carvalho is proposing a budget that will cut some administrative jobs, but no teachers, bus drivers, custodians or other workers will be laid off. There will be no tax increase, and arts and other programs are protected. Carvalho is being hailed as a progressive thinker and visionary for the effort. In Broward County, however, School Superintendent Jim Notter is coming under fire for his proposal to balance the budget by cutting over 1,000 jobs, including 550 teachers. Arts and other programs will also be eliminated. I wonder if ending take-home cars, cutting cell-phone and laptop Internet services, and restricting travel have been considered. Then, too, what about the double-dipping retired teachers, principals and administrators on the Broward school district’s payroll who are getting retirement and work paychecks?
CREDIT UNION WOES
Calling them “problematic,” Bauer Financial, a Coral Gables-based firm that analyzes the stability of credit unions, has lowered its ratings for four South Florida credit unions. Among them is Fort Lauderdale-based Sentinel Graphics Federal Credit Union, which serves employees of the Sun-Sentinel newspaper. On Bauer’s scale of zero to five stars, Sentinel Graphics has been downgraded to a two-star rating. The other credit unions receiving downgraded, two-star ratings are Miramar-based Tropical Financial Credit Union, West Palm Beach-based First Choice Credit Union and West Palm Beach-based PBC Credit Union.
NO NEW PRESIDENT
Lawrence Davenport, vice president of a California consulting firm; Stacey Franklin Jones, vice president of Benedict College in South Carolina; and Lester C. Newman, vice president of Lane College in Tennessee, had been named finalists to head Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens. One of the three was scheduled to be selected to fill the president’s position this week, but for some unexplained reason, no one got the job. The school is now seeking a new crop of applicants to fill the post.
Darren Nesbitt, 39, was charged with first-degree murder on Monday, June 14 in the death of 17-year-old Danielle Wooden. Her body was found near the loading dock of an abandoned warehouse in the 1700 block of Northwest 22nd Street in Miami on Jan. 9. Police say a DNA sample taken from the crime scene matched Nesbitt’s.
Palm Beach County
Palm Beach School Superintendent Arthur C. Johnson has been roundly criticized for the horrendous curriculum changes he implemented a year ago, but that were dropped due to an outcry from parents and school board members. This week, however, the school district saw four of its high schools ranked among Newsweek magazine’s 100 best in the nation. They are Suncoast High School in Riviera Beach, Atlantic High School in Delray Beach, Alexander W. Dreyfoos Jr. School of the Arts in West Palm Beach and Boca Raton High School. The annual rankings were compiled by Newsweek from the 27,000 public and private high schools around the country. Among other things, the rankings are based on test scores, graduation rates, advance placements, the number of students going to college and more.
Mandy Romeu, 42, of Deerfield Beach, was formally charged with Boating Under the Influence (BUI) manslaughter, reckless operation of a vehicle and violating navigational rules on Monday, June 14. The charges stem from a May 8 accident on the Intracoastal Waterway, near Delray Beach. Romeu’s boat ran into a navigation piling. Passenger Christopher Smith, 31, was thrown overboard and killed. Smith’s sister, Alexandra Smith, and Romeu were also injured. Romeu admitted he had been drinking, and failed sobriety tests. No one on the boat was wearing a life jacket.
On Monday, June 14, Benjamin Henderson, 20, confessed to shooting 23-year-old Jeffrey McCoy during a June 11 altercation at the Stonybrook Apartments in Riviera Beach. Devon Webb, 23, a convicted felon, was also charged for his alleged role in providing Henderson with the gun he used to kill McCoy. Details of what sparked the fight have not been released, but police are seeking information on others who may have played a part in the killing. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Riviera Beach Police Department at 561-845-4123 or Crime Stoppers, anonymously, at 1-800-458-8477.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that death row inmate Albert Holland, 52, of Pompano Beach, will have his appeal heard by the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta. Holland’s lawyer missed the appeal filing deadline, and the court denied his petition to grant him an exception due to his attorney’s foul-up. Holland was convicted in the 1990 killing of Pompano Beach police officer Scott Winters. The High Court’s ruling of Monday, June 14 was a 7-2 decision in his favor, with Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissenting. Scalia said that when a lawyer misses a deadline, “the petitioner is out of luck.”
Brian Henwood, 47, of Hollywood, was arrested at his home on Monday, June 14 and charged with 20 counts of possessing child pornography. Dating back to November 2009, officers with the South Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force tracked Internet traffic to a computer in Henwood’s home that allegedly hosted and shared kiddie porn. In January, investigators seized the computer, and found photos and videos of children having sex with adults.
Craig Glasser, a Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputy, kicked off his run for the Sunrise City Commission on Thursday, June 17. His opponent in the November election is incumbent Lawrence A. Sofield. Glasser is the son of Diane Glasser, the powerful state committeewoman on the Democratic National Committee, and Tamarac city commissioner. Diane Glasser is expected to pull out the stops for her son, including bringing in national figures to campaign on his behalf.