elginjones3web.gifRETIRING REVEREND
The Rev. Mack King Carter, pastor of New Mount Olive Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale, has announced plans to retire, effective next June. Carter, though immensely popular, has also been embroiled in internal tug-of-wars and court battles with some former church executives over finances and day-to-day operations.

Due to hurricanes Hanna and Ike, a special meeting organized by the Rev. Eric Jones, pastor of Pembroke Park’s Koinonia Worship Center & Village, has been rescheduled. The meeting is aimed at helping families facing foreclosure to save their homes. The new date is Tuesday, Sept. 16. A number of banking, mortgage and regulatory experts will be on hand to offer advice and explain the numerous options available to those facing hardships during difficult times. The meeting will take place at the church, 4900 Hallandale Beach Blvd. in Pembroke Park, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Call 954-964-2901 for more information.

Joe Major, a community organizer in the Lauderhill and Central Broward neighborhoods, says he will make sure residents attend meetings scheduled this month by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) about a proposed light rail system. Last year, Major and other residents of these predominantly black neighborhoods, which could be impacted by any rail system, complained that the meetings were not being held in their communities, and that they were being overlooked, provided false information, and just downright disrespected. Some of the meetings are scheduled to take place in the heart of those communities, and we will have to wait and see how they are received. For more information, call 1-866-336-8435 ext. 4662, e-mail Sharon.Cino@dot.state.fl.us, or log onto www.centralbrowardtransit.com.

I know times are hard, and things can get even worse when a storm is approaching, but this is ridiculous! According to police, as Hurricane Ike threatened South Florida, 51-year-old Robert Bowser of Fort Lauderdale was caught on Sept. 8 loading hurricane shutters stored behind a business located on Dixie Highway in Oakland Park into his vehicle. A worker at the business spotted him stealing the panels and pulled his work truck in front of Bowser’s vehicle to block his escape. While the worker ran inside to call police, Bowser drove the worker’s truck out of his way, jumped back into his own vehicle, and fled the scene, allegedly just missing the worker as he ran back outside. Police located and arrested Bowser a short time later. He was charged with burglary, grand theft and aggravated assault with a motor vehicle.


A number of people, including Magdalene Lewis, president of the Golden Heights Homeowners Association, have applied to be appointed to the Fort Lauderdale city commission to complete the term of District III Commissioner Carlton B. Moore, who resigned to run –– unsuccessfully –– for the Broward County Commission. Others, such as community advocate Shon Cash, are also said to be considering applying for the appointment. City commissioners will make their selection in November, and the appointee will serve until the March 2009 elections.

Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Arthur Anderson has his hands full. There is a serious scandal brewing in Palm Beach County, and it has taken a turn for the worse. William Abramson, a candidate who sought to unseat Palm Beach County Circuit Court Judge Richard Wennet in the Group 3 contest during the Aug. 26 primary, has filed a lawsuit over the outcome. On election night, Abramson was the upset winner over Wennet by 17 votes. An automatic recount of the total 102,523 ballots cast was triggered. When the recount was completed, Wennet was ahead by 60 votes over Abramson, and he was announced as the winner. The Palm Beach County canvassing board certified Wennet as the winner, even though the recount total is 3,500 votes fewer that what was tallied on Election Day. No one knows what happened to the other 3,500 votes, and Abramson has filed suit in court seeking to have the election day results certified, which will determine the winner.

The cashless society as foretold in biblical scripture may be at hand. Schools, businesses and even criminals are increasingly requesting transactions be made via credit, debit or check cards instead of cash. Even some churches have set up systems for parishioners to pay tithes via plastic cards. The increase is due to the increasingly good counterfeit bills now in circulation. But these cashless society cards, as I sometimes call them, are proving to be more risky than the prospect of taking in a fake dollar or other counterfeited currency. One example is the scheme uncovered by Boynton Beach police this week. Authorities believe an organized ring is behind the fake panels being installed on ATM machines, to steal identities and cash from bank accounts. The panels look authentic, and work no differently than the real thing. But while they give consumers access to their accounts, and cash, they also record information from the card, and use small video cameras located above the key pad to photograph the personal identification numbers as they are punched in by a customer. It’s getting out of hand, with no end in sight.

Just like Scrooge, the ghost of disgraced and convicted former Broward Sheriff Ken Jenne has struck taxpayers’ wallets once again. This time, it is in the form of a $1.8 million settlement of a federal lawsuit filed by former jail inmate Dana Jones. The case surrounded a beating Jones suffered at the hands of other inmates in 2005. The beating left Jones in a coma for days. It also left Jones, now 46, with permanent brain damage, and he is unable to walk or talk. He is confined to a nursing home. Named as defendants in the case were Jenne, the sheriff’s office, and the jail's health-care provider, Armor Correctional Health Services. The settlement was announced after two weeks of court testimony and just days before Jenne, who remains incarcerated over his 2007 corruption conviction, was scheduled to take the stand. The suit alleged that detention deputies ignored Jones’ mental condition, and failed to protect him from other inmates. There were also questions about the possibility that deputies purposely placed him in a vulnerable section of the jail and incited the beating. The next case BSO will have to face will be that of former detention deputy Raymond Hicks, who was falsely accused of drug trafficking, and fired, even though he was acquitted of the charges.

Broward Circuit Court Judge Pedro Dijols, who lost a close, three-way primary on Aug. 26 by 72 votes to second-place candidate Mardi Anne Levey, has filed a lawsuit seeking to have her name removed from the Nov. 4 run-off ballot, and install his name there instead. The lawsuit states that Levey works as a prosecutor and private attorney, using the name Mardi L. Cohen. Dijols argues that having a different name on the ballot violates state law, which requires judicial candidates to run using the name they use to conduct business. The suit also alleges that Levey should be removed from the ballot because her husband, Broward Circuit Judge Dale Cohen, served as an observer for the canvassing board during the recent recount of the votes in his wife’s race. The suit claims his role there may constitute a violation of the judicial canon, which prohibits judges from supporting political candidates. Unless the court rules otherwise, Levey is slated to face Bernard Isaac “Bernie’’ Bober, a public defender who garnered the most votes in the primary, in the Nov. 4 election. For now, Levey’s second-place finish allowed her name to be on the November ballot, but eliminated Dijols.