Rep. Dave Kerner, D-Lake Worth, is the sponsor of new rules intended to curtail the activities of so-called massage parlors that are fronts for prostitution. The legislation would regulate hours of operation and set other restrictions. The intention is to help cut down on prostitution and human trafficking.
Palm Beach County
Metro Mobility, the company that has a $90 million annual contract to provide transportation services for seniors and disabled people in Palm Beach County, is under pressure to improve its services. Palm Beach County officials say complaints of late and missed pickups and more are increasing. The company, which is now on probation, has racked up $1.4 million in performance fines so far this year. Palm Tran is the county’s mass transit authority and its executive director, Chuck Cohen, has asked that those fines be waived, which is simply amazing.
Richard Bohl, 47, of Loxahatchee is charged with attempted murder after allegedly shooting his neighbor. Bohl and the unnamed victim had been arguing about their dogs when the dispute turned violent, police said. The victim was rushed to St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach in critical condition but is expected to recover. Bohl is being held in the Palm Beach County Jail without bail.
After three years at the helm, Mary Jane Saunders has resigned as president of Florida Atlantic University. Recent scandals and negative media attention, such as naming of the new football stadium for a company that operates prisons, were cited as some of the reasons for the decision. She will serve as a tenured professor earning $276,000 annually instead of $345,000 as president.
Palm Beach County school district officials are in talks with the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office about a possible merger between the schools police department and the sheriff’s office. School board members have asked Sheriff Ric Bradshaw to submit a proposal about a takeover. The move has been discussed in the past few years but now the school district is facing a $60 million budget deficit. Its police department has 141 officers and costs more than $8 million per year to operate.
NEW CITY ATTORNEY
Congratulations to Cynthia Everett, a prominent lawyer who has been selected as the new Fort Lauderdale city attorney, pending contract negotiations. Everett has served in a number of capacities, including as city attorney of the city of Coral Gables. She takes over from Harry Stewart, who has retired.
Fort Lauderdale City Clerk Jonda Joseph, 60, was hired in 2004 and almost from the start there were quiet complaints from employees about her management style. The situation escalated to a point where several workers filed harassment and bullying complaints against her. Commissioners took no action but decided to review the situation after a 60-day monitoring period which will be up in a few weeks. A report will be issued after six months. Commissioners did not call it a probationary period but Joseph should have been placed on probation and treated no differently than any other employee.
Former Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina, 47, and his wife Raiza Villacis Robaina, 39, have been indicted on tax fraud charges. Authorities accuse them of lending more than $1 million to friends and acquaintances at exorbitant interests and failing to report it on their tax returns. The feds began investigating the couple on a tip from Ponzi schemer Luis Felipe Perez, who has turned informant.
Miami Lighthouse for the Blind’s Heiken Children’s Vision Program provides free eye examination and glasses to low-income children. The organization hosted its “Music Under the Stars: Bon Appetit Miami” benefit this week. David Bernard of CBS 4 Miami was master of ceremonies of the event which featured charity auctions, live musical performances and more to benefit the free vision care program.
Homestead Mayor Steve Bateman and city council members tabled discussion on annexing Redland Edge, an unincorporated community located in the city’s northwest. Residents of Redlands Edge showed up in force at a recent commission meeting to voice their opposition. Homestead tried to annex the area in 1998, drawing similar opposition. Cutler Bay is also interested in the area. Some residents want to incorporate and form their own city but Homestead council members are moving forward with a study of the issue.
Kristen Rivera, 22, was killed in a head-on crash with a minivan as she drove back to Miami-Dade with friend Didier Miles, 24, who is in critical condition. The two waitresses went to Islamorada for the annual end-of-season celebration for restaurant workers. The Florida Highway Patrol said both were drinking and were not wearing seatbelts at the time of collision. The driver of the minivan was seriously injured and is hospitalized. The FHP says Miles was the driver and was fleeing another minor accident at the time of the head-on wreck.
Florida wildlife officers are investigating the death of a crocodile In Lower Matecumbe Key. The North American crocodile is a protected species and officials believe its death was intentional. Crocodiles, including the non-native saltwater species, have been increasingly encroaching on populated areas in the Keys, where pets like dogs are a delicacy to them. Killing a crocodile is a third-degree felony and the Humane Society is offering up to $6,000 for information leading to a conviction. Those with information are being asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-346-5477.
Victor Martin Alvarez, 49, of Miami picked up a small green sea turtle and placed it in his cooler while visiting Curry Hammock State Park near Marathon. Wildlife police confronted him, seized his cooler and the turtle and then placed him under arrest. Sea turtles are a protected species. Alverez was held on $50,000 bond. Ouch!