A new drug-resistant strain of gonorrhea, a sexually transmitted disease, has been found in Hawaii. Officials say it’s not the same strain that is wreaking havoc around the globe but it is causing concern that it could become worse than the AIDS epidemic, so much so that Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has asked Congress for $50 million to begin conducting research for new treatments for the infectious disease that was once easily controlled with simple antibiotics such as penicillin.
University of Florida President Bernie Machen has unveiled a super computer that will be used in medical and other research. It cost $3.4 million and operates in a new $14 million, 25,000-square-foot facility. The computer named HiPerGator was manufactured by Dell. It is capable of processing 150 trillion calculations per second.
Former Sunrise City Commissioner Sheila Alu is recuperating from successful cancer surgery. Alu, 50, recently discovered she had the cancer and is now an advocate for early cancer screenings. Dr. Laurence Sands of the University of Miami’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center performed the surgery and expects Alu to recovery fully. We wish her well.
Palm Beach County
Michael Famiglietti, 53, of Port St. Lucie was arrested and charged with criminal mischief. Town of Palm Beach police say Famiglietti was caught urinating in the gas tank of a police squad car. He was also accused of breaking off the mirror. The marked police car was parked on the Southern Boulevard causeway. When confronted, he confessed and was booked into the Palm Beach County Jail, police said.
Say goodbye to the Rev. William Stokes, the popular pastor of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Delray Beach. He has been elected the 12th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey. Stokes was chosen by clergy and members of the organization. He will assume the position this summer and will be ordained Nov. 2 in New Jersey. The Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey covers two-thirds of the state, has 154 congregations and more than 40,000 members. Congratulations!
Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw has presented a budget calling for an 8 percent increase over last year. He cites a need to replace outdated computer systems and radios as some of the reasons for the proposed increases. Bradshaw says the new equipment is a necessity that can’t be put off any longer. Palm Beach County commissioners will have to approve the budget.
Nicholas Walker, 33, of Lauderhill, was gunned down as he drove on the southbound entry ramp of Interstate 95 at Commercial Boulevard. Walker had just left a nearby Waffle House restaurant when he was shot. His car crashed into a guard rail and burst into flames. The investigation is continuing.
A mural that was donated by artist Lebo in Hollywood’s Young’s Circle was supposed to be a jazz-themed creation. But some say the final piece, titled Bee-Bop Into Outer Space, looks more like urban graffiti. Hollywood City Commissioner Patricia Asseff reportedly said she does not want Young Circle to begin looking like a “ghetto over there.” No word on Lebo’s reaction to the controversy.
Santiago Gonzalez, 49, of Davie, a former Coral Springs firefighter, pleaded guilty to federal charges related to his acting as an armed bodyguard for what he thought was a drug-trafficking operation but was an undercover police operation. He was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison.
The relationship between Homestead City Manager George Gretsas and Mayor Steve Bateman is, well, let’s just say, not a friendly one. City Hall sources say Gretsas and his team, which includes several senior staff he hired from Fort Lauderdale, are at odds with some City Council members. There is also concern that Gretsas has hired few locals to serve in his administration. As the November election nears, don’t be surprised to see Team Gretsas become a campaign issue.
IN THE BLACK
The famed Zoo Miami suffered a power outage this week. Crews worked feverishly to repair a blown transformer and the expansive development was reopened several days later. No foul play is suspected. The outage affected areas such as restrooms and concession stands.
The Key Largo Volunteer Fire-Rescue Department is on the ropes and faces being shut down after more than 50 years of service. The Key Largo Fire-Rescue and Emergency Medical Services board voted to transfer leadership to the Key Largo Ambulance Corps, effective May 27. It could mark the end of the volunteer department after a half century of service to Key Largo and the Upper Keys.
Environmentalists with the Oceana organization are expressing concern that the sound from seismic air guns used in oil exploration will deafen, harm or even kill tens of thousands of dolphins, whales and other sea creatures. The air guns fire bursts of compressed air into the ocean floor. The blasts are 100,000 times stronger than the sound of a jet engine, according to environmental groups. There are plans to drill for oil off the coast of Cuba and the Bahamian Islands and Oceana are asking the federal government to study the issue in hopes of getting a ban against the use of seismic air guns. U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and a number of South Florida members of Congress, including Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Democrats Joe Garcia, Alcee Hastings, Frederica Wilson, Lois Frankel, Ted Deutch and Patrick Murphy have signed a letter urging federal intervention.
Robert Pearl, 39, of Key Largo, was arrested after allegedly giving false identification to his employer when he was hired at Gilbert’s Resort. During an investigation of the alleged identity theft, police said they found images of child pornography on his work computer. Pearl, who was in jail on the fraud charges, is now facing six counts of possession of child pornography. Book ’em Danno!