elginjones3web.gifWELCOME, MR. PRESIDENT
And so it’s done. President Barack H. Obama is America’s new leader, and what a welcome and refreshing spectacle his inauguration was. The world watched with envy as Americans of all political, religious, social and financial orders celebrated his official assent to the presidency. The country is facing uncertainty, and the tough times ahead will require sacrifices from us all. Now, it’s time for the people to make sure their elected officials, at all levels, understand that the desire for change for the better has taken hold in the country. We salute the new president, and let’s wish him success, because America, and our way of life, are at stake. Now with those formalities out of the way, can you believe it? America has a black president, and oh what a speech!

The Department of Children and Families is investigating the unbelievable death of 72-year-old Alzheimer’s patient Chrisanto Beltran, who died at a Fort Myers retirement center, after fighting with another 87-year-old Alzheimer’s patient, Kenneth Knauf. Police have not filed any charges yet, but an investigation is underway. The two men began fighting after a dispute over a blanket. No weapons were used, but Beltran was already dead when police arrived at the Hidden Oaks Retirement Center on Jan. 18, and Knauf suffered a black eye and bruises to his face.

Due to the indictment and resignation of former Deerfield Beach Mayor Al Capellini in December, Vice Mayor Sylvia Poitier assumed the mayor’s post. Now Poitier’s cousin, Gloria Battle, has been appointed and sworn in as a city commissioner to serve out Poitier’s commission term, which ends on March 10, after the municipal elections. It marks the first time in the city’s 83-year history that two black people have sat on the Deerfield Beach City Commission.

Thomas LaRoche, 37, a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputy who was working an off-duty security detail at the Wal-Mart Supercenter at 101 N. Congress Ave. in Boynton Beach, shot and wounded suspected shoplifters Broderick Hay, 50, and Mary Gamble, 42, both of Riviera Beach. The two fled the store with clothes in hand and jumped into a vehicle Hay was driving, when the deputy alleges the car sped toward him and he fired shots into it. Both fled, but were later caught, and taken to local hospitals. Hay has been charged with several counts, including aggravated battery on a police officer. Gamble has not been charged, but both remain hospitalized and are in good condition, as the investigation continues.
In less than a month, on Feb. 17, TV stations in the U.S. are required to begin broadcasting in digital signals. It means if you do not have a digital television, or subscribe to a satellite or cable service, your TV will need a conversion box to get a signal. Some people are throwing out perfectly good televisions over confusion about the coming digital broadcasts. A government-funded program that provides coupons to get discounts on the cost of the converter boxes has run out of money. But the boxes themselves are readily available at retail outlets. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has set up a toll free hotline at, 1-888-225-5322; to answer questions about the coming change, so don’t throw out your television.

Since the time in September 2007 when Fort Lauderdale's Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church longtime pastor D. James Kennedy passed away, there has been rampant speculation over who would take the helm of the popular congregation. All sorts of names had been bandied about, including that of the Rev. O’Neal Dozier, pastor of the Worldwide Christian Center in  Pompano Beach. Officials at the church have now made it known they are negotiating with Tullian Tchividjian, a grandson of the Rev. Billy Graham, who pastors at New City Church in Coconut Creek.

Palm Beach County commissioners have approved a $10,000 agreement with the Delray Beach Downtown Marketing Cooperative to help pay the cost for holiday decorations along the swanky section of Linton Boulevard, including a 100-foot Christmas tree. Wonder if any of them thought about paying for holiday decorations in the predominantly black enclaves of Belle Glade or Riviera Beach? With all of the budget constraints, these tax dollars could be used for any number of other things, like more crossing guards at dangerous intersections, instead of decorations for the rich. I smell a skunk.

As a result of the allegations surrounding the Fort Lauderdale-based New Visions Community Development Corp. and its suspended executive director, Jacqueline Tufts, a number of county, state and federal agencies that fund the organization are taking action. But the city of Fort Lauderdale and its Community Redevelopment Agency, which also provided money and free land to New Visions for affordable homes, has been asleep at the switch. Fort Lauderdale CRA Director Al Battle has not responded to a single question about his agency’s lack of oversight of New Visions projects, and this is regrettable. This is yet another example of the failures and incompetence of City Manager George Gretsas’ administration. Voters will choose a new mayor and slate of commissioners in the March elections, and most of the candidates are indicating they will seek changes in city hall if elected. For the sake of the taxpayers, let’s hope so.

Dr. Marion Thorpe, a Republican who is the former Chief Medical Officer for the state of Florida, lost a bid to unseat U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings in the Nov. 4 Election. He has now announced he is running for the U.S. Senate in 2010. Thorpe and Democratic U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek are the first two candidates to formally jump into the race for the Florida Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Mel Martinez, who is not running for reelection.

Most of this occurred prior to his arrival, but Pompano Beach City Manager Keith Chadwell will have to deal with the astounding allegations coming out of the city’s Ocean Rescue Lifeguard division. Some current and former lifeguards, and some of those who participated in the city’s Junior Lifeguard program, allege that they were pressured into sexual relationships with supervisors, and suffered repercussions if they did not, or if they attempted to cut off the relationships. Lawyers are already involved. Get ready, taxpayers, because you will likely end up paying the cost for these sex-fests. If just some of the allegations are true, then there should be universal outrage, and heads should roll.

The number of companies and governmental entities that are announcing layoffs continues to increase. They include Albertson’s Supermarkets, Circuit City, Google, Microsoft and countless others. The world’s financial system has collapsed, mostly due to greed and corruption. Food sources are being threatened from contamination, and there are military conflicts taking place on many continents around the globe. Natural disasters and unseasonable climate extremes have become the norm. I could go on, but hopefully the point is clear. These things are foretold in biblical scripture, and no matter one’s religious beliefs, something is clearly taking place. So, welcome…to the last days.