elgin_jones_web_13.jpgPalm Beach County

Guillermo Mungia, 24, is charged in the murder of Mateo Tzun-Vincente. Police said the two got into a fight over an unidentified woman while attending a party at their Lake Worth apartment complex. Mungia then stabbed Tzun-Vincente with a steak knife multiple times before party-goers beat and wrestled him to the ground, police said.

The Safety Council of Palm Beach County is running “Mobile Eyes,” a program that allows residents to report a drunk or impaired driver and get a $100 reward if the driver is arrested. The program has been in operation since 2001 and has given out about 40 cash rewards each year. This is the time of year when roads can be more perilous as holiday revelers imbibe and then decide to drive.

Broward County

Broward County has filed an eminent domain lawsuit in its effort to seize the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Airport hotel located on Griffin Road in Dania Beach. The hotel is in the safety zone of the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport’s $791 million runway expansion project that is under construction and it will have to be demolished. The eight-story, 388-room hotel is expected to cost taxpayers more than $52 million to acquire. The 5276-foot runway is being widened and extended by another 3,000 feet to handle larger aircraft. The Broward County Aviation Department estimates the runway project will generate more than 11,000 jobs. Completion is expected in 2014.

Raymundo Cuan, 40, and Nelson Rodriguez-Morales, 39, both of  Fort Lauderdale, are charged with multiple counts of armed sexual battery and false imprisonment. Police said the two men were using drugs with two women at Cuan’s apartment when Rodriguez-Morales pulled a hand gun and forced the women to engage in sex. The women were then robbed of their identification documents, jewelry and cell phones before being allowed to leave. Police said Cuan confessed to the crimes but Rodriguez-Morales denied any wrongdoing.

Florida State University’s Black Alumni Association has awarded Miramar City Commissioner Wayne Messam its National Distinguished Alumni Award, making him the first alumnus to receive the honor twice. He first received the award as a student in 1996. FSU is celebrating 50 years of integration and Messam was tapped for his academic, athletic and business success. He received academic and athletic scholarships to FSU, played on the football team and then for the Cincinnati Bengals and later started his construction company. Messam was elected to the Miramar City Commission in 2011.

Miami-Dade County

Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service Director George Cohen was able to delay a planned strike by dockworkers at 15 of the nation’s largest ports, including the Port Miami and Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale.

Talks between shippers and longshoremen crews handling containerized cargo broke down and the old contract expired in October. But representatives of the International Longshoremen’s Association and the U.S. Maritime Alliance have reached a tentative agreement on continued royalty payments to workers. Shippers pay royalties based on weight to workers, in addition to their regular salaries, and now say the payments are outdated and represent an unfair burden. It was a major point of contention in the contract talks which will continue another 30 days in hopes of reaching an agreement.

Darrel Brackett, 44, remains in a medically induced coma at the Ryder Trauma Center with burns over 75 percent of his body. Detectives are investigating a cruel incident in which he was set on fire at a gas station in unincorporated Miami-Dade County. Police said Brackett and his girlfriend ran out of gas and he walked to a U-Gas station at 4700 N.W. 27th Ave. with an empty gas can. He paid for his gas and was walking back to the pump when he was set on fire. He told a woman who rushed to help him that three men had set him on fire. Miami-Dade County police are asking anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 305-471-8477.

Monroe County

Bobby Brents, 53, of Cudjoe Key has been arrested after a 12-year-old girl accused him of fondling her during an outing on his boat. The child told her mother, who was also along on the trip, that Brents allegedly fondled her and tried to take off her clothes but she resisted and moved to another section of the craft. The alleged incident was reported to police, who arrested Brents on charges of lewd and lascivious behavior with a victim between the ages of 12 and 16.

Michael Csernik, 77, called police to complain about his neighbors at a Marathon trailer park who were taking pictures of guests who visited his home. When Monroe County sheriff’s deputies arrived, they asked why he had so many visitors and he told he had a lot of friends. Deputies asked if they could search his home and he signed a consent form. A search of his home turned up several plastic bags containing a total of 110 grams of marijuana, ae well as $1,363 in cash. Csernik then told police that his neighbors had complained about the traffic in and out of his home and they had actually called police before he did to report suspected drug activity there. Police said Csernik confessed and was booked on several drug-related charges.

Special Message

As the New Year takes hold, let us pray for a safe, prosperous, healthy and blessed 2013 for all. The coming year is sure to bring changes, one of which is my role here at the South Florida Times. After much deliberation, I have decided to accept an offer to join the administration of incoming Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel as director of special projects, which will involve community issues and other duties. This is certainly not the end but a beginning.

It was an anguished decision, in part because I love what I do and I will no longer have the time necessary to work on the investigative reporting that this publication is known for. However, there is no need for concern, because the newspaper’s tradition of breaking news and exclusive reporting will continue. There are too many people to name individually but I want to thank everybody who placed their trust in me and the South Florida Times over the years. Take care.