elgin_jones_web_13.jpgHEALTHCARE CHECKS
Thanks to President Barack Obama’s Affordable Healthcare Act, more than eight million Americans began receiving refunds from insurance companies this week. Insurers are required to refund a portion of premiums paid if they are not spent on providing healthcare services. In the past, this money went toward profits for the companies. No more.

Palm Beach County

The Palm Beach County School District’s Library Media Services is one of 212 school libraries in the nation that will receive grants from the Laura Bush Foundation for American Libraries. The recipient is Jill Saracino, a Media Specialist at Palm Beach Lakes High School, who has been awarded $5,000 to expand and diversify the school’s book collection. The foundation, which was started in 2002, has since awarded more than $10 million in grants.


All 452 employees at the Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach super luxury hotel, which is coming under new management, will be offered jobs with the new company. The Ritz-Carlton, which is a Marriott International company, was let go as managers by the hotel’s owners, RC/PB, Incorporated. The hotel will be renamed the Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa and the employees are being given a chance to keep their old jobs at the same salary and benefits.

Charles Burns, 38, and Erick Sutton, 47, were arrested after allegedly robbing a man who came to a home in Delray Beach to buy crack cocaine. They snatched a $1,000 gold chain from the man’s neck and pointed a gun at his head and told him “not return because he was police,” according to the police report. It’s a common tactic used to rob drug customers which is designed to scare them from reporting the crime. As it turned out, the man actually was an undercover detective who had backup stationed around the area. Burns and Sutton were taken into custody and are facing a number of felony charges. Book ’em Danno!

Broward County

Former Fort Lauderdale firefighter Michael Reimer has been arrested again. This time it was by the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office on two counts of forgery-related charges. Reimer is the owner of Safety Solutions Inc., a firm that provides training and certification courses to first responders. He and three co-workers at the Fort Lauderdale Fire Department are awaiting trial after being arrested last year over allegations they provided fake certifications. The latest charges in Miami-Dade County are related to allegations Reimer submitted fake bonding and insurance documents to Miami-Dade County.

Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness has organized a Parent’s Seminar. It will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, June 29, at William Dandy Middle School in Fort Lauderdale. Parents and students will take part in a day of fun, games and prizes. Attendees will be able to explore various social service and educational resources. For more information, call 954-915-4333.

John Mattera, 51, a former chairman of the advisory board for the investment group Praetorian Global Fund Ltd., has been sentenced to 11 years in federal prison. Mattera, of Fort Lauderdale, pleaded guilty in a New York federal court to defrauding investors of $13 million.

Miami-Dade County

Human trafficking, which is the term used to describe forced prostitution, is a worldwide problem and nothing less than modern slavery. Some of the victims are tricked into relocating to a country while others are kidnapped. The United Nations estimates there are 27 million victims around the world, many of them children. Sarah Symons, a Florida woman who founded Made By Survivors, a nonprofit organization that rescues victims, teaches them how to make jewelry as a means of income. Many stars, such as boxing champ Sugar Ray Leonard, wear the jewelry and support the efforts. During a recent visit, Symons enlisted Miamians to join the cause and several local businesses will begin selling the jewelry.

Vernessa Hinnant, a guard on the Miami Dade College Lady Sharks basketball team, has been selected to play on the junior colleges All-American Team next month. The sophomore is one of 40 players selected from around the country to compete in the game. The All-Star Weekend will take place July 25-28 at Northwest Florida State College, in Niceville. It will culminate in the state’s Hall of Fame banquet, where Hinnant’s coach, Susan Summons, will be one of this year’s honorees.

Bishop Victor T. Curry, president of the South Florida Chapter of the National Action Network, law enforcement officials and community organizations are asking the public’s help in identifying the suspect who abducted and raped a child. The young girl was missing for four hours on June 6 and was found beaten and bruised after being raped. The assault occurred near Northwest 15th Avenue and 50th Street in Miami. Police are asking anyone with information to contact Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-4877.
Monroe County

Fabien Cousteau, grandson of late oceanography pioneer Jacques Cousteau, intends to spend 30 days in the underwater research laboratory Aquarius located in Key West. He will be joined by a film crew and a team of scientists and researchers. They will conduct experiments and test new equipment. It will begin Sept. 30.

The Florida Department of Transportation wants Monroe County to take ownership of the old 7-mile bridge which it shut down in 2007. Monroe County Mayor George Neugent estimates it will take at least $18 million to repair the deck of the bridge, which the county doesn’t have. The historic bridge connects Marathon to Pigeon Key. Neugent has offered $9 million toward the repairs. The bridge is a busy tourist destination and keeping it closed due to safety concerns continues to make the county lose tourist revenue.

John McKenzie, pastor of St. James Missionary Baptist Church in Key West’s predominantly black Bahama Village neighborhood, has been arrested related to charges that he stole $54,657 from his 150-member congregation.  A member of the church’s trustee board tipped off authorities, who began an investigation, which covered the years 2011 through 2013.