Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Tuesday, Sept. 15 that the worst recession since the 1930s is more than likely over. The economy is showing signs of revived life, but for the most part only Wall Street is feeling any relief. Bernanke may have a disconnect to the plight of common folk. Life on main street throughout the country is not pretty. President Barack Obama inherited this Great Recession, which is the second-worst economy in America’s history, but it could end up bypassing the Great Depression as the absolute worst ever. The U.S. Department of Labor announced that 216,000 more people lost their jobs in August. This number does not include those millions of people who are already out of work. The current rate of unemployment – on paper, at least – is 9.7 percent; the highest since 1983. No matter what Bernanke says, the coming months could prove to be even worse. Cities and other governmental agencies are finalizing their annual budgets, and many have announced job cuts and layoffs. These newly unemployed governmental workers will join the ranks of the private-sector jobless. While running for president in 1992, Texas billionaire H. Ross Perot warned us about the “giant sucking sound” of manufacturing jobs leaving the U.S., if the one-sided free-trade agreements were ratified. The effects of his alerts are now upon us, and many of those lost jobs will never return to our shores. Some members of Congress have raised the possibility of another stimulus package, but one that would go directly to everyday Americans. It’s a good idea, but they had better hurry. It worked for Wall Street, and now it’s time to help the people.
Palm Beach County
On Wednesday, Sept. 9, Zuccala’s Towing of Boynton Beach towed a car belonging to Lori Dunford. The car was reportedly improperly parked at an undisclosed location. That’s when Dunford, 52, of Lantana, reacted by going to the compound where her car was being held, broke in, and drove off in her car, according to police. She was arrested later that evening on burglary and theft of services charges, police said.
NEW COMMISSIONER APPOINTED
On Tuesday, Sept. 15, four Delray Beach city commissioners voted unanimously to appoint Angeleta Gray, 44, to the commission seat 4. The seat was vacated by former Commissioner Mack Bernard in August. Bernard resigned after winning a special election for the Florida state representative District 84 seat. Gray is the owner of a beauty salon, and has been active in community and city issues for years.
STEAK KNIFE ARREST
Franika Lane, 29, of the 100 block of Northwest Fifth Avenue in Boynton Beach, was arrested and charged with two counts of aggravated assault after she tried to attack her neighbors with a steak knife, police said. According to the police report, the incident happened on Sunday, Sept. 13. Lane was allegedly intoxicated when she went to the home of Cody Rugnetta and Michelle Pratt just before midnight. She banged on their front door, and when Rugnetta opened it, she rushed at him with a steak knife in her hand, leading to a fight, police said. Lane was upset over language that someone used in the presence of her children earlier in the day, according to police. She apparently believed that the language was disrespectful. Whew!
BUS DRIVER HONORED
Kendra Hankerson, a 31-year-old mother of two and a bus driver for the Palm Beach County School District, was honored in the state capitol on Monday, Sept. 14, for her heroic acts on March 13, 2008. She was designated the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s 2009 School Bus Operator of the Year. Last year, four men in an SUV blocked the bus she was driving as students from Atlantic High School in Delray Beach were unloading. One of the men began waving a rifle and threatening one of the students on the bus. Hankerson drove the bus between the SUV and the students who had already exited the bus. The students were able to run to safety. She then backed up the bus, called police, and began dropping the remaining students off at their homes. Police located the SUV later that day and arrested Shorn Reckley, now 21, of Boynton Beach. They determined that the rifle was a BB gun, and Reckley eventually pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and disorderly conduct charges. He was sentenced to six months probation, 100 hours of community service and 12 hours of anger-management classes. He was also required to pay a $250 fine and write a letter of apology to Hankerson.
Yet another investigation is taking place in the city of Deerfield Beach. This time, it involves pressure cleaning and other equipment that has come up missing in the city’s Environmental Services Division. City Manager Mike Mahaney has not responded to questions, but sources in city hall say several people are suspected of taking the equipment, and one manager’s home has been searched, but nothing has turned up. Stay tuned; more is coming.
Jonathan Bleiweiss, the Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy who is facing 29 charges for forcing men to engage in sex acts with him on duty, is being dropped as a witness in numerous cases, according to authorities. The Broward State Attorney's office is removing his name from the witness list in several cases due to credibility issues he now has.
Roberto Enrique Bonilla-Canizales, 39, of Davie, was arrested on Sunday, Sept. 13 and charged with attempting to kidnap a 14-year-old girl, according to police. The child was searching for sea shells along a canal bank near her home when Bonilla-Canizales allegedly pulled up and tried to force her into his truck. The girl told investigators that he made sexual remarks to her and grabbed her hand. After she was able to break free, she ran to a friend’s home, but he continued to watch her for a while before driving off. She and the friend then followed him, and took down his license plate number. Police arrested him at his home a short time later.
ALLEGED RAPIST CAUGHT
Eduardo Josue Ortiz Romero, an 18-year-old undocumented worker from Honduras, has been charged in the sexual assaults of two women in Dania Beach earlier this month, according to the Broward Sheriff’s Office. He has also reportedly admitted to the crimes, and told BSO detectives that he would have likely struck again if he had not been caught. The first attack happened on Sept. 7 when an 18-year-old woman was pulled from the sidewalk in the 600 block of Southeast Second Avenue, and sexually assaulted by a man described as Hispanic and riding a mountain bike. Two days later, on Sept. 9, a man fitting a similar description tried to assault a 25-year-old woman in the 300 block of E. Dania Beach Blvd. He was arrested after an investigator spotted him riding a bicycle on Monday, Sept. 14, according to BSO. He is being held on $225,000 bond, but will not be released due to an immigration hold, BSO said.
KILLING PLEA DEAL
In July 2006, Damon Darling, 24, and 31-year old Leroy Larose were engaged in a shootout in a Liberty City neighborhood. Nine-year-old Sherdavia Jenkins was shot and killed in the crossfire as she played outside her home. The bullet was determined to have come from the assault rifle fired by Darling, according to police. Both men are charged separately with murder in her death, and jury selection in each of their trials could begin any day. Larose has reportedly reached a plea agreement, and will testify against Darling.