Nova Southeastern University President and CEO Ray Ferrero Jr. will officially leave his post on Jan. 1 after 13 years at the helm. Former Fort Lauderdale City Manager George H. Hanbury II, the university’s chief operating officer, will now assume the position of both president and COO.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey and Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Walt McNeil announced their “Twelve Days of Fugitives” effort on Tuesday, Dec. 8. The undertaking will involve law-enforcement agencies from around the state. The officers will pursue escaped jail and prison inmates.
After being silent for several years, the anti-abortion, right-to-life movement may be on the cusp of resurgence in South Florida with a flurry of recent activity. Dr. Alveda C. King is the daughter of the late civil rights activist Rev. A.D. King, and niece of his famous brother, slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. Her family’s home in Birmingham, Alabama was bombed, and so was her father’s church in Louisville, Kentucky during the civil rights struggle. King, who has had several abortions herself, and now opposes the procedure, was in Broward Tuesday, Dec. 8, speaking on the issue at the St. Malachy Catholic Church in Tamarac. Her speech follows the Broward Right to Life organization’s annual breakfast on Saturday, Nov. 21, where organization leaders announced new initiatives and honored the Rev. O’Neal Dozier as recipient of their highest honor, the Bart. T. Heffernan Guardian of Life Award. The events signal a renewed debate over abortion in South Florida, and just in time for next year’s mid-term elections.
WORKING AT GUNPOINT
Three city of Fort Lauderdale utility repair workers are demanding an investigation into an incident in which they were held at gunpoint by Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies. The incident happened Monday, Dec. 1, while the workers were repairing a broken water pipe. The workers had been dispatched to a construction site in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea to make the repairs. The superintendent of the site met them there, and showed them where the leak was. The workers had a tractor and two city repair trucks at the scene. The vehicles had city emblems on them, and their warning lights were flashing. Several BSO cruisers pulled up, and deputies got out with guns drawn, ordering the men to put their hands up. The deputies then ordered them to sit on the ground at gunpoint while they were questioned. A BSO spokesperson said the agency received several calls about activity at the construction site at night, after the site had been dormant for several months, and that the deputies could take no chances. The workers say they were all in uniform, and there was no reason for weapons to be pulled. The workers also said there was no reason for deputies to yell at them or make them sit on the ground at gunpoint. City Manager George Gretsas has not responded to questions about the incident, but the workers have asked their supervisors to respond.
Palm Beach County
SNEAKING IN THE BACK DOOR
Dorethea Collier, 48, who is also a Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office corrections deputy, was arrested Monday, Dec. 7 and charged with false imprisonment, aggravated assault and battery. The charges stem from a Nov. 2 incident in which investigators say Collier came home and caught a 19-year-old man and her 20-year-old daughter having sex. Collier was in full uniform when she allegedly punched the man numerous times and ordered him to his knees. She handcuffed the man and held him at gunpoint, prosecutors say. Collier’s daughter begged her not to shoot her boyfriend. Collier called her husband to the home, investigators say, and the husband hit his daughter and the boyfriend before ordering them to get dressed. He then ordered the boyfriend to leave. Dorethea Collier threatened to file rape charges against the boyfriend, but later filed only a trespassing complaint. That prompted the boyfriend to file his own complaint with PBSO Internal Affairs, which turned its findings over to the Palm Beach State Attorney’s Office. That agency filed the criminal charges against Collier.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General is investigating how Miami-Dade healthcare providers were paid more than half of the funds from a national Medicare program for homebound diabetic patients, even though the county has less than 2 percent of the nation’s patients approved for the services. Of the $1 billion allocated to a program nationwide, $520 million, or more than half, went to Miami-Dade companies. The investigations are continuing, and somebody might go to jail.
SITTING HOME, GETTING PAID
After the elections were over in Homestead on Nov. 4, several employees were fired, and two of them – City Manager Mike Shehadeh and Deputy City Manager Johanna Faddis, were placed on paid leave. Is it fair to pay these employees to sit home after taxes have been raised, and other workers have been fired and laid off? In Shehadeh’s case, officials are trying to find a way to terminate his contract without burdening taxpayers. Faddis, however, is not under contract and can be fired at any time, just as other employees have been fired. City officials must provide an explanation for this discrepancy, or return Faddis to work. If her performance has been lacking, or if the administration simply wants to move on without her, then prudent leadership requires immediate action, one way or the other.
North Miami police say Miami schoolteacher Charles Brown was killed last week after he cut off a relationship with his boyfriend, Gregory Higgs. Brown, 54, was a teacher at North Miami High School, and began receiving threatening emails at work from Higgs, who also sent angry letters to school board members. Police say Higgs, 53, waited in the lobby of the Inland Towers Apartments, where Brown lived, and repeatedly stabbed him to death in a hallway, in front of neighbors.
NEW DIRECTOR NAMED
Elaina Norlin, an author, scholar and lecturer was formally appointed and introduced to the public as the new director of the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center on Saturday, Dec. 5. She recently worked at the prestigious Online Computer Library Center based in Dublin, OH, and has also served at countless other institutions, including the University of Arizona. The appointment comes over a year after former director Alicia Antone was ousted from the position without explanation. Amid community outrage, Antone was rehired at another library in the system. She is currently a director in the library system at the University of Florida in Gainesville.
Former Broward County Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion is another admitted black leader turned convict who has disgraced himself, family and constituents. A quiet letter writing campaign to ask the judge for leniency on his behalf is not going well. Eggelletion has admitted guilt, and should be forgiven for his transgressions, if he changes course. But this does not mean he should get a pass without paying his jail time debt to society. So, Book’em, Dano!