The U.S. Postal Service is conducting a study to explore the feasibility of closing 252 of its mail sorting facilities around the country. They include the Pembroke Pines and Fort Lauderdale Main Post Office locations. The Pembroke Pines facility opened in 1993 and employs more than 400 people. The Fort Lauderdale Main Post Office opened in 1973 and also employs more than 400 workers. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe says it is part of an ongoing cost-cutting effort.
The largest distributor of bananas in the U.S. is Chiquita Brands, a Cincinnati-based vegetable and fruit company. The company’s CEO, Fernando Aguirre, is seeking to relocate its headquarters and Boca Raton is on the short list of cities being considered. This could mean hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars for the local economy and Gov. Rick Scott and Palm Beach County leaders should be aggressively courting Chiquita.
BOY SCOUTS STAY PUT
A $740,000 foreclosure lawsuit filed against the Boy Scouts’ Palm Beach County headquarters has been settled. The organization was able to obtain a new loan on the facility, which is located at 8335 N. Military Trail in Palm Beach Gardens.
Josue Perez, 19, is charged with shooting his roommate, Jose Valenzuela, 55, in the head. He now sits in the Palm Beach County Jail with no bond. According to police, several people said Perez put a gun to Valenzuela’s temple and shot him for no apparent reason. Perez told police it was a drive-by gunman in an unidentified vehicle that shot Valenzuela. The victim arrived in critical condition but subsequently died, so the charges will be upgraded.
West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio has proposed a five percent pay cut for all managers and department heads. City commissioners unanimously approved the proposal, but some asked for even deeper salary cuts. It is part of the city's $164.8 million budget plan.
Kathryn Gadoury, owner of Lake Park Towing, was arrested for allegedly selling salvaged cars without titles. Her arrest came after a months-long investigation by Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputies, who conducted a raid on the Lake Park business and seized computers and various records.
CRA IN THE SPOTLIGHT
A scandal is about to be exposed involving the Community Redevelopment Agency of a municipality in Broward County. It involves what is alleged to be outright property theft by a notable, but controversial, developer. Stay tuned.
The Broward County Health Department has been awarded a $1.7 million grant to undertake an initiative to combat teen violence. Vice-President Joseph Biden announced the grant, which is being funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For more information on the program, call the health department at 954 467-4700 ext. 4002.
POITIER TRIAL SET
The criminal trial of former Deerfield Beach City Commissioner Sylvia Poitier is set to begin on Oct. 31. Poitier is charged with four counts of falsifying official records. The charges center on her involvement with the Westside Deerfield Businessmen Association (WDBA), a non-profit affordable housing organization, the city’s designated Community Housing Development Organization, which receives public funds to construct and rehabilitate dwellings for low-income residents. Poitier’s daughter, Felicia Poitier, is president of the WDBA. Dan Poitier, a cousin by a former marriage, is the executive director. In March 2006, Poitier allegedly solicited and helped secure a $46,024.86 loan from her brother, Lionel Ferguson, for the WDBA. Poitier allegedly voted on measures involving the WDBA and never disclosed the relationship or family ties. She denied at one commission meeting that Ferguson is her brother.
In recent months, some people have been expressing concern because they have not seen former Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Carlton Moore in public. Friends say Moore has been under the weather lately, but not to worry because he is doing fine.
City leaders will honor one of Pompano Beach’s most beloved pioneers, Ethridge Benjamin “Buck” Phillips. He was one of the city’s early black business owners and civic leaders. A street will be renamed in his honor and possibly even a park as well. Phillips, who was also a military veteran, opened one of the first black-owned paint and body shops in Broward County, in 1967. The business Phillips founded, Westside Paint & Body Shop, is still in operation today. He was politically active and served on various advisory boards. Commissioners will take up the issue at an upcoming meeting.
National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell is recommending enhanced security and pat-downs at the league’s games. The new procedures would include “full body” pat-downs of fans and other security measures. The stricter recommendations follow an incident that took place recently where a fan was Tasered by another fan at a game.
The Genting Group, a Malaysian-based developer, is now the majority owner of the Omni International Mall, located in downtown Miami. The company wants to bring casino gambling to the mall and hire 5,000 workers over the next year. The plans, which hinge on state approval, also include a shopping mall and 525-room Hilton hotel.
The city of Homestead’s newly redrawn voting districts would have pitted incumbent Councilwoman Wendy Lopez against popular Vice-Mayor Judy Waldman. Lopez is not seeking reelection. Patricia Faircloth-McCormick, a former Miami-Dade County Teacher of the Year and wife of former Homestead Councilman Melvin McCormick, is running for a council seat herself. Her opponent is Alejandro Andrickson, a contractor. This is expected to be a hotly contested race. Campaign reports show Faircloth-McCormick raised $950, including a $500 loan to herself. Andrickson raised $1,000, including a $250 loan to himself and $250 donation from Mayor Steve Bateman.
Police are looking for Calvin “Calbo” Warren, 22, of the Overtown neighborhood in Miami. Warren has an extensive arrest record and is a suspect in five recent killings in Miami-Dade County. Anyone with information is asked to call the Police Department's homicide unit at 305-603-6350 or Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers, anonymously, at 305-471-8477.