POSTAL RATE HIKES
John Potter, the postmaster general of the U.S. Postal Service, is requesting wide-ranging rate hikes again, including a two-cent increase for a first-class stamp. That would bring the cost to 46 cents. Sweeping increases have also been requested for periodicals, packages, mail-box rentals and more. The U.S. Postal Service is facing a $7 billion deficit, and it has already cut 40,000 jobs. USPS is also considering closing hundreds of post offices, 12 of them in South Florida.
Officials with Citizens Insurance, the carrier of last resort in Florida, suspect that the company has been the victim of identity theft. They say the company’s address was changed at the post office without authorization, and that mail may have been diverted. The company is asking the millions of customers who sent in payments or other communications between June 14 and June 28 to call their hotline at 1-888-685-1555.
Ten people from around South Florida were arrested for their alleged role in an $8 million scheme to obtain mortgages by using stolen identities. Among other things, they allegedly obtained loans, and forged quit claim deeds. According to investigators, they are: Wonder Ragin Knowles of Coconut Creek; Wesley Grant of Miramar; Michelle Minikus of Hollywood; Donald Lee of Deerfield Beach; Stephanie Jean of Hialeah; Judith Clemow of Miami; Lise Bessette of Deerfield Beach; Brandi Brown of Miramar; Magaly Rosa of Miami and Ofelia Torres of Hialeah Gardens. Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum says more arrests are on the way. Book’em, Dano!
Palm Beach County
Louis Moyroud, the 96-year-old inventor, died on June 28 at his home in Delray Beach. Moyroud, along with co-inventor Rene Aphonse Higonnet, revolutionized how books, newspapers and magazines were printed. Known as the Lumitype, the machine was patented in France in 1946. It used lights, lenses and spinning discs to create photographic images in print. The invention replaced Linotype machines, an 1880s method that used lead plates for printing. The Lumitype was the industry standard until computers took over in the early 1980s.
ILL- ADVISED SHERIFF
Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti is at the center of a contro-versy over his department’s investigation of Broward County Commissioner Sue Gunzburger. The investi-gation is related to Gunzburger’s deceased husband’s business dea-lings more than a decade ago. Speculation is that the investigation was timed to cripple Gunzburger’s re-election campaign, and to help her opponent, former state Sen. Steve Geller. Lamberti says he doesn’t expect the investigation to go anywhere. If that’s so, why start it? This was ill-advised.
Evelyn Augustin, 26, was arrested in connection with the shooting death of her boyfriend on Monday, July 5. The killing happened at an apartment in the 2100 block of Davie Boulevard. The two began quarreling late Sunday night, and the fight ended in death the following morning. Augustin is charged with second-degree murder.
Robert Stone, 37, has been charged with bludgeoning to death homeless man, Joseph G. Charlton, 55, for not giving him a cigarette. The sad event unfolded in Hollywood on Saturday, July 3 in the 200 block of State Road 7. Stone was being held with no bond in the Broward Main Jail.
Linda Horne, a nutritional assistant at North Broward Medical Center in Deerfield Beach, has resigned. In 2007, Horne and several other black workers were sent home after wearing Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. T-shirts to work to commemorate the national holiday in honor of the slain civil rights leader. Horne said that since she took that stand, she has been the target of harassment. Out of frustration, on May 10, she abruptly submitted her resignation. The effective date of her resignation was supposed to be May 24, but after a few days, she attempted to rescind it, but hospital officials would not allow her to do so. Horne said she has never had any workplace issues, and believes the decision was based on her stand over the MLK holiday.
Former Broward County Commissioner Diana Wasserman-Rubin resigned from her seat on Tuesday, July 6, and then turned herself in to face corruption charges. The seven felony counts of unlawful compen-sation are for her votes on grants written by her husband, Richard Rubin, for work in the town of Southwest Ranches. Richard Rubin received bonuses for each successful grant he wrote. If convicted on all counts, Wasserman-Rubin faces a total of 75 years in prison and $65,000 in fines. She said she will cooperate. In fact, prosecutors are finalizing charges against at least one other county commissioner, and Wasserman-Rubin may have information on that case, too, as well as others.
Former Fort Lauderdale police officer Gerome Wright, 27, will not face charges after he was accused by three prostitutes of forcing them to perform sex acts on him at gunpoint while he was on duty. The Fort Lauderdale Police Department issued a probable cause affidavit to prosecutors in 2007, but prosecutors would not take the case. Wright was fired from his job for failing to complete his probationary period. Lauren Kalb, Heather Harris and Rhonda Francois all accused Wright of the alleged acts, in separate incidents. All three were acknowledged prostitutes and crack cocaine addicts at the time of the alleged incidents, and they alleged that Wright forced them to perform oral sex on him, including, at times, in his squad car.
A Miami drug dealer who directed his gang to torture, shoot, and burn a rival in 2005 will serve five consecutive life terms in the slammer, a judge ruled Friday, July 2. Travis Stubbs, 31, was convicted in March of the murder and torture of Jesus Discua, 26, a rival drug dealer. Discua was shot multiple times. His body was found burned inside of an abandoned car.