elgin_jones_web_13.jpgFREE MEALS
Many children rely on school lunch programs for meals but when school is out many could end up going hungry. There are programs that provide meals to children during the summer. It is called Summer Break Spot and is operated by the state’s Summer Food Service Program. To find a location near you, call 1-800-504-6609 or visit SummerFoodFlorida.org


As part of an agriculture bill, U.S. Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., pushed for cuts in the food stamp program which provides money for the poor, elderly and disabled to buy food. His proposal would have turned it into a grants program giving states the power to decide how the funds are used. The food stamp program cost $78 billion last year and Republicans believe it is plagued with waste and fraud. The country is coming out of one of the worst economies since the Great Depression and people are still hurting. If waste or fraud is found, it should be dealt with but cutting off the needy from food assistance is downright callous. The agriculture bill has billions and billions of dollars set aside for subsidies (corporate welfare) for the wealthy agri-businesses which do not really need it. Inhofe wants those to continue. His proposal would put in place conditions whereby the needy could go hungry, which is a disgrace.

Palm Beach County

Joel and Robert Chandler, two brothers from Lakeland, are the founders of Fogwatch.org, an open government advocacy organization. Fog Watch has successfully sued a number of local governments and cities in the state for failing to comply with Florida’s public records laws. They recently settled a lawsuit with Lake Worth for failing to provide access to public records five days a week, as state law requires. Lake Worth had been closing its police department lobby four of those five days per week to save costs and records could not be obtained on those days. Fog Watch sued and has now settled the case for $1,000. Lake Worth will also have to comply with state law and will now keep its records divisions open five days a week. Good work!

Broward County

Former Gov. Jeb Bush has been named as a potential witness in an upcoming whistleblower’s lawsuit against Deerfield Beach-based Moving Water Industries (MWI). The case surrounds allegations that MWI paid a Nigerian consultant a $28 million fee to help secure contract to provide pumps to the African country. The project used government funds which has limits on the amount of fees that can be paid to consultants. The U.S. Department of Justice has joined the case and is also suing MWI.

Kimberly Amber Parker, 29 and Jessica Lee Dennis, 21, have been charged with carjacking, strong-arm robbery and battery. Police said they entered 57-year-old Jose Gutierrez’s cab and had him take them to several locations. According to police, when he requested payment, one of the women began choking him from the back seat. The other passenger, who was in the front seat, began hitting him in the face and head and took money from his pockets. Gutierrez managed to get out of the car and the women drove off in his cab but were captured a short time later, police said.

An ongoing dispute between neighbors over how one man, Victor Ramos, 57, looked at another man’s 22-year-old girlfriend ended with one person shot and another killed. Kenneth Sewell, 25, had confronted Ramos before about the way he stared at his girlfriend, April Moscareillo. Days after the last argument, Ramos showed up with gun in hand and shot both Sewell and Moscareillo, who survived. Sewell was killed and Ramos fled, but was captured earlier this week.

Miami-Dade County

There are startling allegations of police misconduct in the Miami Gardens Police Department. They include visits by officers to strip clubs while on duty and golf outings instead of working. The allegations are contained in transcripts of depositions taken in retaliation and discrimination lawsuits filed by Coral Gables attorney Reginald Clyne, who is representing several current and former Miami Gardens police officers. The city is not commenting. More to come.

David Joseph, a 17-year-old high school senior, spearheaded the successful project to renovate the Lincoln Memorial Park, the first black cemetery in Miami. The site, which is more than 90 years old, was in disrepair and overgrown with weeds. David, along with a host of volunteers, cleared brush, uprooted fallen trees and did other work to make the site pleasing to visit. Lincoln Memorial opened in 1924 and has 538 burial plots which hold the remains of pioneers such as William Sawyer, Miami’s first black doctor and founder of the now defunct Christian Hospital; Dana Dorsey, Miami’s first black millionaire; H.E.S. Reeves, founder of The Miami Times; and Gwendolyn Cherry, the first black woman to serve in the Legislature.

Monroe County

Pamela Gray, a Democrat and community activist, will challenge incumbent Republican state Rep. Holly Raschein for the District 120 seat. The district covers Monroe County and a section of Miami-Dade County. Gray is a longtime agricultural and environmental activist who has championed preserving historical sites and sensitive lands. The district is 37 percent Democratic and 34 percent Republican. Raschein has a record of supporting agricultural lands and environmental concerns. The state Democratic Party wants this seat and that may not bode well for the incumbent. You can bet the environment will be at the center of this campaign.

Christopher Farrell, 50, has been sentenced to 40 years in prison over his conviction in an attack on 2008 on a woman and her 3-year-old daughter in 2008. Sonia Romero and her child were attacked with a tree saw in while in their back yard. A passerby, David Lybrand, saw the attack, called police and then fought off Farrell. The reasons for Farrell’s actions are unknown, but his victims suffered bruises and cuts, but survived. A jury took less than 30 minutes to convict him. Book’em Danno!