Jeff Bezo, CEO of online retailer Amazon.com has implemented a cellphone app called “Price Check.” It allows consumers to scan product bar codes with their cellphones and transmit the information to Amazon for a price comparison. Amazon will match the price and offers discounts. Small retailers are outraged and say the price check app will destroy mom-and-pop businesses. Although they may have a point, this is the future. Some stores prohibit scanning of their products, but there really is no way to stop a customer from doing it. Expect other retailers to begin offering their own price scanning apps, which will surely put some local retailers out of business.
Palm Beach County
Palm Beach County Sheriff’s detectives have located six cattle rustled from ranches in the Glades area. The cows were found near Jacksonville and Michael Englert and Eric Popper, both 20, were arrested. A third person being sought had not yet been detained.
The Palm Beach County School Board voted to transform its auditing department into an inspector general’s office. The move came after a grand jury report recommended the school district fall under the authority of Palm Beach County Inspector General Sheryl Steckler’s Office. School Board member Marcia Andrews said the district will save the $500,000 cost of using Steckler’s office by implementing its own watchdog agency.
MILLION DOLLAR ARRESTS
Victor Brown, 54, of Hollywood, and Roger Green, 78, of Stuart, were arrested on suspicion they operated a Ponzi scheme. They are accused of using money invested in their now-defunct Military Air Parts International business for personal use. Authorities say they bilked more than a dozen investors out of $6 million and made $1.7 million in cash withdrawals from 2004 to 2007.
LANDLORD GONE WILD
Wilton Manors landlord Scott Jason Schlehofer, 27, was jailed after breaking into the room of one of his tenants and beating him. He is also accused of screaming racial slurs at the tenant, Rahime Hopson Strachan, who is black. Strachan fled down the street after the attack with Schlehofer chasing and beating him again. Schlehofer is charged with burglary, assault and battery as well as hate crimes.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents carried out a statewide sweep arresting 48 people suspected of circulating child pornography over the Internet. Three of those charged were from South Florida. Alvin Grullon Bueno, 30, of North Lauderdale, Rickey Orelle Masters, 65, of Hollywood and Jorge Arturo Perez, 28, of Boca Raton were among them.
Nathaniel Wilcox, a minister and executive director of People United to Lead the Struggle for Equality (PULSE) joined other pastors at a rally to protest a proposed casino and resort planned for development in Miami. The Genting Group, a Malaysian company, has purchased the Miami Herald building on Biscayne Bay with plans to construct a world-class tourist destination in downtown Miami. They are promising thousands of jobs, and a bill is making its way through the state Legislature that would authorize casino resorts in South Florida. The pastors are opposed to gambling and say such job promises made to the black community rarely materialize. They point to the construction of the Florida Marlins baseball stadium as an example, where black applicants claim they were turned away from jobs because they did not speak Spanish.
Paul Mira, 29-year-old former athletic director of the Archimedean Middle Conservatory Archimedean Upper Conservatory charter school in Miami-Dade County, is in jail. Mira had been on the run for several weeks after being accused of molesting a 12-year-old girl. He was arrested in Polk County and transported back to South Florida where he is being held without bond.
Manuel Orosa has been given the Miami police chief position permanently. He was appointed on an interim basis in September, after former chief Miguel Exposito was fired. The Miami Police Department has been embroiled in controversies, including a string of its officers shooting black men, some of them unarmed. The U.S. Department of Justice is conducting a non-criminal investigation into those shootings.
The former president of the American Federal, State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 199, Robert George Glover Jr. was arrested on theft charges. Glover, who was also a member of the AFSCME state board, is accused of submitting invoices to the union for expense reimbursements that authorities says he was not entitled to receive. Prosecutors charged him with stealing more than $2,000 over the past several years. There must be more to this than meets the eye, because it is unusual for a union to press charges against one of its officers, but we’ll see.
It’s not clear whether George Gretsas, city manager of Homestead, is full of himself or an ingenious marketer. Some unknown (wonder who it is?) person has formed GeorgeGretsas.net, a website featuring Gretsas. It has photos of Gretsas, as well as recognizable locations in cities where he has worked over the years. There are lists of projects and initiatives in each city to which the website gives Gretsas credit for undertaking or completing. The website is not the best, but it may be the start of a trend where people can use the Internet as a visual resume to market themselves.
Photo: Eligin Jones