The Florida House of Representatives unanimously approved a bill sponsored by Rep. Matt Caldwell, R-Lehigh Acres, that changes the Everglades Restoration Act. The measure extends taxes on sugar cane growers and other farmers to help pay for cleaning up pollution from farms. Landowners will pay an annual $25 per acre tax over the next 10 years. The new plan still does not cover the total $880 million cost of the restoration.
Palm Beach County
Florida Atlantic University police are investigating an allegation that a student was struck by a side mirror on the car of university President Mary Jane Saunders. The incident supposedly occurred while students were protesting the school’s decision to sell the naming rights of its new football stadium to the Geo Group, a Boca Raton-based company that operates prisons. It was not known if the student suffered any injuries.
Ryan Paul Pleasanton, of Boynton Beach, was arrested on charges of sexual battery and possession of child pornography. According to police, he repeatedly molested his 3-year-old daughter. The child told her mother, who contacted police. Pleasanton has reportedly confessed to “having a problem.” He also admitted he offered a different daughter up to a friend for sex. Police said they also found child pornography on his home computer.
Attorney John De Leon has filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Nadege Lanoue in the police shooting death of her son Cedric Telasco, 21, a schizophrenic. The incident occurred on March 29, 2011. There is a history of police being dispatched to their Lauderhill home over incidents involving Talesco. He called 911 on the night of the incident reporting that a man with a knife was standing at his front door. When police arrived, it was Talesco who reportedly was armed with a knife. Through some series of unrevealed events, Talseco was shot eight times in front of his home. Lauderhill police have not released any details. According to a search warrant issued after the shooting, Talesco rushed police with a knife in his hand. Among other things, the federal lawsuit alleges police knew Talesco had emotional problems and failed to train and supervise officers in dealing with people with mental health issues. Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness, who knows the family, said Talesco was like a son to him. Holness, a former Lauderhill city commissioner, is demanding an independent investigation into the shooting.
Ryan Rotela, a 21-year-old communications student at Florida Atlantic University’s Davie campus, received an apology from the university. Rotela said he was suspended after refusing to engage in an exercise by Prof. Deandre Poole that required students to write Jesus’ name on a sheet of paper, place it on the floor and then stomp on it with their feet. FAU officials deny Rotela was suspended but said the exercise would not be used again.
Community leader Walter Hunter started the Greater Pompano Beach Democratic Club in 2007 and served as its president. Hunter opted not to seek re-election to the post and Ron Thurston is the new president of the organization.
A scholarship fund has been set up in the names of George A. and Dazelle D. Simpson, two of the nation’s most outstanding and pioneering physicians. The couple will be recognized for their more than 40 years of medical and community service. Mrs. Simpson, a native of Miami, holds degrees from Fisk University and Meharry Medical College. She became the first black board-certified pediatrician in Florida. Mr. Simpson, originally from New York, also graduated from Meharry Medical College, where he met his wife. He became the first black board-certified surgeon in Florida and the first black surgeon at Jackson Memorial Hospital. The recognition ceremony will be held at 4 p.m. April 19 at the Regency Hyatt, 400 S.E. Second Ave., Miami. Tickets are $150 per person, with reservation. For more information, call Sabrina Madison at 240-205-1746.
Opa-locka Mayor Myra Taylor wants to see an end to the hanging of underwear from the guardrail behind an apartment building. Residents use the guardrail as a clothesline to air-dry their unmentionables. The rail is located at the busy intersection of Ali Baba Avenue and Northwest 22nd Avenue, where the thongs, lingerie and bloomers can be seen by passersby. City Manager Kelvin Baker has been directed to get the problem resolved, if possible, but it’s unclear if the city has any jurisdiction over the rail, which may be owned by the county or the state.
A U. S Air Force drone was found floating in the waters off the Florida Keys. The BQM-167A Air Force Subscale Aerial Target, a 20-feet long, unmanned military aircraft, was found off Key Largo more than 800 miles away from where it was last tracked near Florida’s panhandle area. The BQM is a target training drone and this one belonged to the 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron at Tyndall Air Force Base near Panama City. This type is equipped with a jet engine and can fly as low as sealevel or as high as 50,000 feet at more than 600 knots. They cost $570,000 apiece. The Air Force had a truck take it back to the base, where it will be repaired and put back into service.
Edward Krajewski, 63, has been charged as the driver who allegedly hit and killed a boy who slipped out of his home and wandered onto U.S. 1 near Key Largo. Austen Mark Alward, 2, was reported missing from his home in Key Largo just after midnight. Monroe County Sheriff’s deputies, Florida Highway Patrol troopers and U.S. Border Patrol agents, who began a search for the child, found his body lying in the median of U.S. 1. Krajewski, 63, from Pennsylvania, who was pulled over on U.S. 1 about 35 miles away, told officers he may have hit something earlier. Krajewski has now been charged with a second-degree misdemeanor for failing to report the accident. He is a former Pennsylvania police officer who served five years in prison for trying to rob a drug dealer and break into his storage unit to steal drugs. He faces up to 60 days in jail if convicted in this case.