Palm Beach County
Torenda Youngblood, a 16-year-old, ninth-grade student at Westwood High School in Fort Pierce, was shot and killed Monday, March 9, as he waited at a school bus stop near his home on Northwest 22nd Street and K Avenue. Witnesses say a person walked up and fired at least four shots from a handgun as the teen ran and attempted to find cover under a vehicle. He was rushed to the hospital, but later died. It was the fourth shooting, and second fatal one, that took place on Fort Pierce streets in recent days. There is no known motive for the killing, and police have not been able to determine if the shootings are related. Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers, anonymously, at
Citing health concerns, 66-year-old Addie Greene, the only black member of the Palm Beach County Commission, has submitted her resignation, effective April 30. Gov. Charlie Crist will appoint a replacement, and former Riviera Beach City Councilwoman Elizabeth Wade is expected to be among those considered for the post. Wade is a Republican who lost by a wide margin to Greene for the seat in the November 2008 elections.
ARMED ROBBERY DEATHS
Palm Beach County sheriff's deputies stopped an alleged armed robbery in progress on Monday, March 9 at the Circle K convenience store at 1799 Congress Ave. in West Palm Beach. Police were called to the scene at 1 a.m. over reports of a suspicious man wearing a mask and sitting in a car outside the store. Upon arriving, they found 19-year-old Kilien Cesar in the car. They also confronted Javery Holliday, 19, and Derrick Mortin, 18, as they exited the store. One deputy opened fire and shot Holliday in the head, and shot Mortin in the foot. Holliday was taken to an area hospital, where he later died. Police have not released details about what triggered the shootings. Mortin and Cesar are being held on charges of armed robbery and second-degree murder in the death of Holliday.
There is a peculiar situation going on that involves Ellen H. Brodsky. Brodsky is the founder of the Broward Election Reform Coalition organization, and a former candidate for Broward Supervisor of Elections in November 2008 against incumbent and eventual winner Brenda Snipes. Brodsky was removed from a canvassing board meeting on Nov. 7, 2008 after, according to her, she raised her hand to ask board members questions as they counted votes. She was told not to return to the warehouse, which is located inside the Lauderhill Mall in Lauderhill, or she would face arrest for trespassing. On Nov. 13, she was back at the warehouse, outside, questioning workers as to why she was banished for engaging in legally approved activities. Lauderhill police were called. She was arrested and charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct. The encounter between her and Lauderhill police was captured on video, and it raises questions. This is beginning to look like a baseless arrest, but we’ll see what happens at trial. The video can be seen on You Tube at: youtube.com/watch?v=2CVMoLjOtP4
Thomas Noland, a Deerfield Beach firefighter and son of former City Commissioner and mayoral candidate Peggy Noland, was charged on Monday, March 9 in connection with stealing the campaign signs of his mother’s opponents. He was issued a notice to appear in court on the charges, but apparently is denying any involvement in the caper. At this point, he is only accused, but if he is found guilty, or enters into any type of plea agreement, he should be summarily fired from his job. Such action is unbecoming a firefighter, and should not be tolerated. The electoral process is one of the staple components of America democracy, and to have a public employee attempting to unduly and unlawfully affect the outcome is a disgrace.
A 4 percent cut across the board for all schools, mostly aimed at athletic programs, is what Broward County Schools Superintendent Jim Notter has proposed to help balance a $160 million budget shortfall. The move could save as much as $55 million but remains short of what’s needed. School board members will have to do more, and time is running out. The district’s fiscal year begins on July 1, and there still have not been any meaningful proposals to cut the salaries of administrators and eliminate some operations, without affecting the classroom or student activities. I have a few ideas, and school board members should start coming up with their own, because there is a lot of waste in the school district, and the time has come to confront the issue head on.
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle will leave his post on March 17 due to term limits. After serving 24 years as an elected city official, 18 of which he served as mayor, he is the longest-serving official in the city’s history, and things will be different at city hall. Newly elected Mayor Jack Seiler will be sworn in on Tuesday, March 17. Naugle has been one of the most effective and sometimes controversial politicians in state history. While some have taken issue with his stances, there has never been a single incident or allegation of impropriety made against him, which is a rarity in this age of corrupt public officials. He will undoubtedly have a building, street or park named after him, and that would be well deserved.
WHAT A MESS
Florida Democratic Party chairperson Karen L. Thurman is not responding, but the party’s Democratic Black Caucus is in chaos once again. This time it’s over a group of party officials who attempted to remove Alan Brown of Lauderhill from his post as president of the Broward County chapter of the Black Caucus. Members even went so far as to hold a private meeting to do so. The group has apparently violated numerous processes and did not have any cause or authority for its actions, and these actions will be reversed. According to party insiders, the group met at the home of Ruth Lynch, an official with the Broward Democratic Executive Committee on Feb. 27, and installed Hallandale Beach community activist Josh Brown as the new president of the Broward chapter. This group even updated its website to reflect Josh Brown as the president. The Black Caucus just can’t seem to get it right. Lizzie “Liz” R. Jenkins, president of the statewide Black Caucus, has not commented on this mess, but she should, because it’s embarrassing.
UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT
Coral Gables city commissioners have whittled the number of applicants for the city manager position there down to three finalists. They are former Sunrise City Manager Pat Salerno, former Key Biscayne Mayor Joe Rasco and city of Miami Chief Financial Officer Larry Spring. A decision is expected any day, after which commissioners will begin salary negotiations with the person selected.
Supporters of Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda, the leader of a Doral church who at one time claimed to be Jesus Christ, and later claimed he was the Anti-Christ, staged a protest at Lawson E. Thomas Courthouse in Miami on Tuesday, March 10. His supporters are upset over a judge’s ruling that de Jesus Miranda must pay his ex-wife $2.2 million as a result of their divorce. Whew!