By this time next week, school will have started in most counties in Florida. This means that youngsters will be out in force, and drivers should pay detailed attention to them. Residents should keep watch as well, as it is this time of year that predators begin circling neighborhoods, watching children. Report any suspicious person, take down license plate numbers and jot down a description of them as well. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
GUBERNATORAIL HORSE RACE
The latest poll from Quinnipiac University shows Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, a Republican, and the state’s Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, a Democrat, as the front runners in the 2010 governor’s race. It also has McCollum leading Sink by 38 percent to 34 percent among registered voters. The election is a long way off, but Sink, who is also the wife of Bill McBride, who lost the 2002 governor’s race to then incumbent Jeb Bush, may have her work cut out for her.
HOMEMAKER OVER SETTLEMENT
The South Florida Times first published their plight in 2007. Now three Pompano Beach women, Betty Chappel, Ruthie Mae Miller, and Carlene Duncan have settled lawsuits they filed over shoddy work done on their homes by a city housing rehabilitation program. The exact amount of money and terms of settlements have not been released, but the case surrounded horrendous work the city program performed on their houses. At the outset, managers refused to address the issue, but the women persisted. The work was so bad that the Broward State Attorney’s Office opened a criminal investigation, but did not file any charges in the case.
Charles Perez, the 46-year-old former anchor for WPLG-ABC 10, was fired from the station in July, a day after he filed a sexual-orientation complaint over his demotion. On Tuesday, Aug. 18, he won a restraining order against his live-in boyfriend, Dennis Ricardo Pena, 42, on whom he blames his workplace troubles. According to media reports, Perez accused Pena of circulating an email about Perez’s sexual orientation on March 16 to Perez’s co-workers at Channel 10. Pena says he will appeal the order. The discrimination complaint remains pending.
Palm Beach County
BYE BYE, PUBLISHER
Palm Beach Post publisher and Palm Beach Daily News president Alex Taylor is leaving the papers after just eight months to develop a mix of newspapers, TV and radio stations in the Dayton, Ohio and Louisville, Ky. markets for parent company Cox Media Group. His successor has not been named.
ACCUSED ROBBERS CAUGHT
Tommy Morris, 38, and Reginald Hawkins, 20, both of Broward County, were arrested in the armed robbery of a Burger King on Tuesday, Aug. 18, police said. According to the police report, the pair entered the restaurant at 175 North Federal Highway in Boca Raton around 6 a.m. through an unlocked door. They wielded handguns, locked three employees into a cooler, and looted the place for $84 plus Burger Kings caps and cups, according to police. They drove off, but were arrested a short distance away, police said.
RAPE TRIAL UNDERWAY
On Tuesday, Aug. 17, a six-man and two-woman jury was seated, and the trial in one of the nation’s most horrific rapes in recent years was underway. The jurors will decide the fate of Tommy Poindexter, 20, and Nathan Walker, 18, two of the young men who investigators say raped a woman in the Dunbar Village complex in West Palm Beach in June 2007. The case involves a woman and her 12-year-old son who were beaten and sexually assaulted by as many as 10 mask-wearing males, some as young as14 years old. The woman was forced to engage in sex acts with her son at gunpoint. Dunbar Village is the oldest public housing project in West Palm Beach, and conditions have improved, but not much since this brutal attack. Last week, 16-year-old Avion Lawson pleaded guilty to multiple counts and will testify against the other defendants, including 17-year-old suspect Jakaris Taylor.
Broward General Magistrate Philip Schlissel handles child-support cases. His wife, Judge Ginger Lerner-Wren, has filed a child-support lawsuit alleging he has not kept up his agreement to pay for living expenses for their 19-year-old son and 22-year-old daughter.
Police are asking for the public’s help in apprehending the suspects who killed three people and wounded another inside a Miramar home on Encino Street on Monday, Aug. 17. Among those found dead was Faith Bisasor, 49, who owned the house, and her son, 15-year-old Davion Bishop. A fourth person was found alive and is in the hospital suffering from gunshot wounds to the face. Police are asking anyone with information to contact Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-8477.
Employees for the city of Deerfield Beach could face discipline if a new provision in their collective bargaining agreement is approved for blogging, commenting, or writing critical things about elected officials or supervisors. The clause has been added by City Manager Mike Mahaney in ongoing contract negotiations with the city’s largest union, the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades. The union represents clerical, maintenance and trade workers. Union officials say the language is included in proposed changes to the city’s zero-tolerance work place policy toward violence, and could lead to suspensions or terminations for employees who post comments on a blog or in an email. If you think the union’s position is ridiculous, just look at the case of employee Wayne Adams, who had his emails and personal cell phone logs subpoenaed under a false claim that he was circulating child pornography over the Internet. Adams had criticized managers on a blog. Mahaney suspended him for a day without pay, but an arbitrator’s ruling knocked down the suspension, and Adams’ pay was reinstated. Currently, Deerfield Beach is dealing with its admitted mishandling of worker Cassandra Moye, who was suspended after not curtsying when Mayor Peggy Noland visited her workplace – which is the public beach. I wonder when was the last time they tested the drinking water in city hall.
Homestead police evicted Anna Ramirez, her husband, daughter and grandchildren from their home on Aug. 12 after a bank foreclosed on their home and sold it at auction. Their furniture and personal belongings were placed out in the streets as neighbors watched. These events took place after a man showed up at their home with police and paperwork, showing he had bought their $260,000 home at an auction for $87,000. The only problem was that their home was never in foreclosure. Washington Mutual, the mortgage holder, had auctioned it off by mistake. The family is back in their home, but you can bet they will be in court over this.
Rodney Miller, 18, was arrested on Wednesday, Aug 19 in the July 6 shooting at 12:45 a.m. during a party at 527 NW Fifth Street in the Overtown neighborhood. Two people, Michelle Coleman, 21, and Anthony Smith, 17, were killed and several others were hospitalized from gunshot wounds. Three masked gunmen, dressed in black, sprayed the crowd with gunfire. Police say anonymous tips led them to Miller, who is charged with two counts of second-degree murder. Anyone with information is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-8477.