elginjones3web.gifPalm Beach County

Roberta Larsen, 64, was putting groceries into her car when she felt a tug on her arm. When she turned around, she saw a man trying to snatch her purse. It happened in the parking lot of a Walgreens on Congress Avenue in Lake Worth. Larsen screamed while struggling with the thief who eventually fled empty-handed due to the commotion. Larsen suffered only bruises but such heroics usually end in violence. The suspect was wearing black pants and shirt. He is 5-feet-9 and weighing about 180 pounds and had short hair.

William Georges is an 11-year-old entrepreneur from Boca Raton who invented the Pezo Pal toys.  They are teddy bears with MP3 music players inside that have 24 hours of songs, stories and lessons pre-loaded. Additional recordings, including personal greetings or messages from relatives can also be uploaded into the toys. Pezo Pals are already selling in several toy stores for $100, as well as on Amazon. Pezo Pals has now garnered Creative Child Magazine’s Toy of the Year honors.

The six jurors who found the Palm Beach County School Board negligent in the 2010 bus beating of a Boca Raton Middle School student also found the district’s reaction to the incident inadequate. The jury awarded $158,611 to the family of Alex Palermo, a now 16-year-old autistic boy who suffered a fractured eye socket and a concussion during the April 6, 2010, beating on the bus. The incident was captured on video. The bus driver failed to stop the bus or intervene in the fight and was not disciplined. Chairman Frank Barbieri and other board members are vowing changes in the way such school bus incidents are handled but they authorized hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight the lawsuit. 

First the Delray Beach city officials moved to restrict rehabilitation facilities, and now, after more than 15 years of trouble-free gatherings, they have banned Alcoholics Anonymous from holding meetings at a beach pavilion located at Atlantic Avenue and A1A. Police interrupted their last meeting and ordered them to leave the facility, unless they had a permit to gather there.

Broward County

The Republican Party is hurting, particularly in Broward County. Robert DeNapoli has announced that he will not seek another term as chairman of the Broward Republican Executive Committee (BREC). Former Plantation city commissioner Rico Petrocelli, who lost his re-election bid, is running for the post. So are BREC Vice-Chairwoman Colleen Stolberg and Karen Harrington, who, for the second time has lost a congressional race a-gainst Democrat Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. On another note, while most Republicans got creamed in the last elections, incumbent Republican school board member Donna Korn defeated Franklin Sands. Korn was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott in 2010 to replace Dave Thomas, who resigned. Sands is a Democratic Party leader who spent years in the Legislature. His defeat is surprising, considering he had the support of the Democratic Party machine at a time of massive voter turnout.

Energy Edge Technologies Corp., a public energy consultant firm that has been buying up companies of late, has now merged with The Dry Fried Wing Co., based in San Francisco. The new company’s name will be EEDG Holdings Inc. and it is located at 2810 Oakland Park Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale. Dry Fried Wings operates fast-food franchises and has one on Fort Lauderdale beach. We can expect to see others opening soon.

W. George Allen, 76, is retiring at the end of the year after more than 50 years of groundbreaking law practice. He has penned his memoir, Where The Bus Stops, which is on sale now and is an educating and remarkable read. Even though he was not allowed to live on campus and had to endure racism and death threats, Allen became the first black to graduate from the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law. He opened his law practice in 1963 and his accomplishments are too many to list, but his career is replete with landmark legal cases and civil rights endeavors. Allen will be missed as an attorney and community leader but he will still be around …at least when he is not fishing. Well done, Mr. Allen.

Miami-Dade County

Singer Ricky Martin has finally sold his Golden Beach mansion for $12.8 million after it stayed five years on the market.  Martin purchased the $16.5 million, 2-story beachfront home in 2007. It’s a sign that the high-end real estate market may be on the rebound even as the rest of the industry remains sluggish.

A victim of an alleged home invasion robbery followed a minivan that was suspected in the crime to the parking lot of Flea Market USA located in the 3000 block of Northwest 79th Avenue in unincorporated Miami. Miami-Dade police were called. Officers said as they approached the vehicle the driver, whom they identified as Lebron Warren, 23, accelerated towards them and struck a police vehicle. The officers opened fire, killing Warren and injuring the passenger, Michael Nathaniel Parks, 23, both from Miami. Police say the investigation is continuing. The names of the officers involved have not been released.

Miami-Dade County Commissioners Rebeca Sosa and Lynda Bell have been elected chairwoman and vice-chairwoman, respectively, of the Board of County Commissioners by their colleagues. Their two-year terms will begin in January. According to a press release, it marks the first time two women will serve in the top two positions on the county commission.

City Manager Johnny Martinez is downplaying the controversy but 10 years after Miami went bankrupt, a recent internal audit found the city has not been following financial protocols and safeguards put in place to avoid another collapse. Among other things, the audit found the city has failed to maintain 20 percent of revenues in reserves, its financial plan did not account for debt service and it failed to complete annual reports. Miami found it actually had a $37 million surplus last year, not the $8 million that was originally stated – a claim that was used to obtain wage and other concessions from unions to balance the budget.