Palm Beach County
The Delray Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) has issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) to develop an eight-acre plot located just west of Interstate 95 along Atlantic Avenue. The proposed development would nearly complete the redevelopment of properties once owned by blacks in the area. Over the years, concerns have been expressed that gentrification was pushing blacks out of the area and forced off their land, but little action or fight took place in protest. The once thriving but now crime ridden corridor that housed establishments such as the Paradise Club, Tobacco Road and other black nightspots are gone, never to be seen again.
Former college standout and NFL player Jesse Hester has been fired as coach of the powerhouse Glades Central High School football team located in Belle Glade. He was shown the door even though his teams went to, but lost, the state championship the last two years. His players liked him and their grades were above average. Principal Anthony Anderson said in a statement that the school desired to improve the team’s academics. Yeah, right. The reality is that Hester was let go because people on the Muck demand championships, nothing less.
Pompano Beach has sent out letters seeking to repossess computers it provided to the non-profit Small Biz Community and Economic Development Corporation’s computer training and lab. The city has also reneged on a grant promised to the program, saying the reason is due to an alleged conflict. Mary Phillips, wife of former City Commissioner Ed Phillips, is CEO of Small Biz. She rejects the conflict of interest claim and has retained an attorney.
Deerfield Beach City Manager Burgess Hanson is moving forward with plans to privatize several municipal operations. First up are the beach, grounds, parks and landscape maintenance operations. Other departments are sure to follow. The city has been slow on providing specifics but, to all appearances, a plan is afoot to reign in the budget on the backs of blue-collar workers, while protecting commissioners, white-collars employees and overpaid managers. Cutbacks in the city are clearly needed but they should be done in an open and compassionate manner. Furthermore, the burden should be shared throughout the workplace, as opposed to taking the easy way out and targeting the lowest paid workers who perform the dirtiest jobs.
For years, Lee and Nedra Johnson have collected gifts and other items that are distributed to the needy at Christmas in their Deerfield Beach community. Now they are the ones in need of assistance after the family’s home was damaged and deemed uninhabitable following a fire last Friday night. Ironically, they were out gathering donated items for their charitable organization, Nana’s Helping Hand, when the blaze started. To make matters worse, the vacated home was burglarized the following night, with thieves making off with the toys and family’s appliances, television sets and personal items. The couple is now staying in a hotel. Donations may be made through the Red Cross or directly to Nana’s Helping Hand by calling 954-709-3555.
Fort Lauderdale attorney Joseph Sindaco, 63, pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud related to stealing clients’ money. He faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine after being charged with stealing nearly $2.5 million from clients he represented between 2006 and 2009. Sindaco did legal work on real estate closings for his clients, mortgage lenders, as well as estate sales.
FOOD PANTRY CLOSES
The food pantry at Trinity Lutheran Church in Pembroke Pines has closed after 20 years. The church’s pantry was part of the Share Florida Food Network, a charitable organization that offered deeply discounted groceries for sale at more than 250 churches, community centers and other locations statewide. Organizers say stiff competition from large discount retailers and so-called dollar stores is what led to a drop in business, forcing the network to cut back.
Times are tough all over, including at the agency that helps poor people who are facing eviction find a place to live and obtain food stamps. Last week, Legal Aid of Broward Executive Director Anthony “Tony” Karrat circulated an e-mail asking for donations for the non-profit organization. Legal Aid has seen donations plummet in this difficult economy, at the same time as the number of people seeking free legal representation has surged.
MISSING MAN FOUND
Che Beckford, a 21-year-old Nova Southeastern student who was reported missing on Dec. 3, has been found safe in Macon, Ga. Beckford disappeared after leaving home to buy tires for the family car. Authorities have not disclosed any details.
Jesus Rios, 43, formerly of Miramar, was convicted on child pornography related charges for the second time this year. This time, it was in federal court where Rios was sentenced to life in federal prison for producing more than 2,000 child pornography images. The sentence was handed down after he was also convicted in state court last May of sexually abusing two children for years and sentenced to 30 years.
Jean-Robert Lafortune, chairman of the Haitian-American Grassroots Coalition human rights group, led protests in Miami aimed at the Obama administration’s plans to deport more than 3,000 Haitians to their homeland. Citing Haiti’s current political violence, outbreak of cholera and widespread famine, the group argues that any deportations at this time would be inhumane.
ROGERS GRAVELY ILL
Neil Rogers, 68, the former radio talk show host, is in grave condition. He was a staple of South Florida talk radio for decades, with his off-beat humor and unlimited vulgarities. Rogers, who stirred up numerous controversies, including referring to the Miami Hurricanes football team as “Hurri-coons,” remained popular throughout the years. He is suffering from a number of medical problems, including heart problems, a stroke and Sundowning Syndrome, a form of early dementia, according to his former colleague and attorney, Norm Kent.