A NEW YEAR
We’ve welcomed in the New Year, and the celebrations are behind us. Now, it’s time to get to work, and commit to improving ourselves, families, and society as a whole. We are facing times that can only be viewed as uncertain and possibly even perilous, so it will not be easy. But if a black man who was relatively unknown a year ago, with the middle name Hussein, can become president of the United States, then surely we can do better in our own individual way. Happy New Year!
Authorities are looking for two men who posed as police to gain entry to the Casual Male clothing store at 11090 Pines Blvd. in Pembroke Pines. They tied up the manager in a bathroom and robbed the store. The crime occurred around 8 a.m. on Monday, which was about an hour before the store was scheduled to open. A man knocked on the back door and identified himself as a police officer. When the manager opened the door, the man, who was wearing all-black clothing with a silver badge hanging from his neck, pulled a gun. He and another man demanded keys to the safe. A co-worker found the manager tied up in the bathroom after arriving for work about an hour later. Police are asking anyone with information to call Broward Crime Stoppers, anonymously, at 954-493-8477.
DOG-FIGHTING TIP LINE
Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum has announced that a Humane Society tip line to report dog fighting is now in place. Florida ranks as one of the top three states where dog-fighting rings operate. Tips that lead to arrests and convictions will result in a $5,000 reward. The toll-free dog fighting tip line is 1-877- 847-4787.
In the face of increasing criticism of his inept and overpaid administration, Fort Lauderdale City Manager George Gretsas has reorganized his top team. Although city officials are using other words for it, some senior managers have been demoted, while others received promotions. City employees and city commissioners were made aware of the changes in a brief and obscure email that was distributed late in the evening on Dec. 23, after most commissioners had already left for the Christmas holiday. The changes will take effect Jan. 5. City spokesman Ted Lawson and City Auditor Allyson Love will be elevated to assistant city manager positions. They will take over those positions, which were previously held by Kathleen Gunn and Stephen Scott, who were demoted to director of grants and legislative affairs, and director of economic development, respectively. Former Economic Development Director Jeff Modarelli has been moved to the city spokesperson position. The cosmetic changes may amount to nothing more than reshuffling the chairs on the Titanic of an administration’s deck. Commissioner Charlotte Rodstrom has called for Gretsas’ resignation several times, but the other commissioners did not support her. A new slate of commissioners will be elected in March, and several candidates have expressed “concern” with Gretsas.
MAN SHOOTS GIRLFRIEND
Christopher Gibson, 58, is charged with aggravated battery with a firearm after allegedly shooting his girlfriend, Melissa Preston, 42, in the stomach on Monday. The two had been arguing at their home in the 900 block of Northwest 10th Street in Hallandale Beach. Preston is recovering from a gunshot wound inflicted by the .22-caliber pistol. Gibson is being held in the Broward County Main Jail with no bond.
A Miami federal court on Dec. 23 ordered Steven Thiele, 45, of Miami, to pay the Miccosukee Indian tribe $3,000 in damages plus attorney’s fees after he was found liable for cyber-piracy and trademark infringement. The case involved Thiele’s registering several website domains in the tribe’s names, and in that of its chairman, Billy Cypress, and then demanding $500,000 to turn the domain names over to them. The practice is called domain squatting, but Thiele also had visitors redirected to his own personal site when they thought they were going to the tribe’s sites. The federal court also ordered him to relinquish the sites to the Tribe by Jan. 30.
ALLEGED PIMP ARRESTED
Miami-Dade police arrested Alejandro Javier Granda on Monday at a motel in the 4800 block of West Flagler Street, and charged him with sex trafficking, forcing another person to become a prostitute, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. According to Miami-Dade police, a teenage girl contacted them after Granda promised her money and clothes if she would work for him as a prostitute. She was to meet him at the motel, but when he arrived, police took him into custody.
Few people have been more critical of the lack of action on the brazen public corruption taking place in Broward County than I have. Many times, the finger was pointed directly at Broward State Attorney Michael Satz, whose office was seen as lax in bringing politicians to justice. In the last few years, that has changed with the indictments of former Miramar City Commissioner Fitzroy Salesman, city of Deerfield Beach Mayor Al Capellini and the conviction of Hollywood City Commissioner Keith Wasserstrom and others. There are any number of Broward politicians who are currently under investigation, and they should be very concerned.
SWINDLER’S STATUTE THEFT
Bernard Madoff, 70, is under house arrest at his $7 million Manhattan apartment in New York after being charged several weeks ago with swindling investors out of an estimated $50 billion in a Ponzi scheme, over two and a half decades. So don’t shed any tears: Just two days before Christmas, a $10,000, 70-pound copper statue of two lifeguards on a beach was stolen from the front yard of his $9.4 million mansion in the town of Palm Beach.
Riviera Beach Police have launched Operation Safe Community, a four-month-long undertaking that aims to target and arrest street-level drug dealers. Less than a week into the effort, more than 75 people have been arrested, and the numbers are increasing every day. Wonder what took them so long? Riviera Beach is a pit of violence and gunplay, where drugs are sold in plain view as if in a flea market, and it’s about time these arrests were made.
GREAT DEPRESSION II
In just four weeks, retailers will begin submitting their financial statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the numbers are expected to be abysmal. Analysts are expecting a record number of companies to file for bankruptcy protection, and more than 100,000 retail stores and outlets are expected to close. It all translates into more unemployment, and a worsening economic outlook that is being dubbed, “GD Two,” for Great Depression II. Outgoing President George W. Bush has not acted on a stimulus package, and the sooner he leaves office, the better.
Oscar Maturana, an off-duty, 35-year-old, Palm Beach County Sheriff's deputy, was arrested on Monday after allegedly pulling his service weapon on a nightclub security guard and then pointing it at a crowd of patrons while threatening to shoot them. The alleged incident took place at Club La Isla Del Encanto, 1969 S. Military Trail, in Lake Worth, where he was reportedly in a fight prior to the incident. He was charged with one count of aggravated assault with a firearm without intent to kill, and was being held on $100,000 bail. He was placed on paid administrative leave from his job at the sheriff’s office.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!