Solution to the Herald Hunt

Here are the solutions to the 2012 Herald Hunt. Hunters were told that the answer to every puzzle was a number.

The Signpost Puzzle

In Kenneth M. Myers Park, Hunters encountered a small forest of signposts, one of them marked as the starting point. A sign there said: FOLLOW THE HEAT TO VICTORY.

Each signpost had two words on it, pointing in opposite directions. The initial signpost had Jupiter pointing in one direction, and Venus in the other. Hunters had to divine that their cue was “follow the heat.” In this case, the “hotter” choice was Venus, the closest planet to the sun. Walking in the direction Venus was pointing brought them to another signpost labeled “passion” and “logic.” Clearly, passion is the hotter of the two. So Hunters on the right path continued in the direction passion was pointing them, and so on, until they finally got to a signpost with no words on it, the end of the road. So what had they learned? In addition to the two words pointing in opposite directions, each signpost also had a letter on it. If you collected the letters from each of the posts along your path, you came up with FOURSCORE+TWO. A score is old-fashioned lingo for “20.” But 82 was not a possible answer. Smart Hunters thought back to the use of the word HEAT in the opening hint. Was this a basketball reference? In hoops, a “score” is two points. Four score plus two, then, equals 10, which was the solution to this puzzle.

The Art Basel Puzzle

A Carnival cruise entertainer stood at a podium imitating a snobbish art lecturer named Art Basel. He was going on and on about the huge canvas at his side, a large painting of a black circle on a white background.

Hunters had been handed a printed catalog description of the painting, which was titled “Stop.” Art Basel, noting that the work was from the artist’s “Circular Period,” exhorted his audience to see the painting as “reduced to its essential element,” which was “all about finality, termination, endings and stopping points.” He urged them to “drink in of its symbolic meaning, a meaning which is echoed in many places.”

He continued: “The totality of its essence and the meaning of its symbolic nature can reveal the truth we all hold in our hands.

"It all adds up!" he insisted repeatedly.

Turns out this big black circle was in fact a large punctuation mark, namely a period. If Hunters added up all the periods they “held in their hands” in the form of the catalog copy, they got the solution: 15.

The Cruise Ship Comedians Puzzle

Carnival comics took turns doing stand up on the Hunt stage. They told lots of jokes, or parts of jokes. They set the jokes up, but always stopped before the end, then looked around at the lack of audience response and said variations on, “What are we missing here?"

What they were missing was: the punch lines.

Alert Hunters noticed that within sight of the stage, Hunt volunteers were handing out free punch at two punch stations. Each punch station had a serpentine bellrope for lines to form. In other word, these were the “punchlines” that the comics were drawing so much attention to. It so happened the bell ropes snaked in a distinctive pattern. The one on the left was in the shape of a 2, and the one on the right was the shape of a 5. The solution was 25.

Read More..

Buzzmakers: AJ is a Dad and Angus Apologizes

What had ET readers buzzing this week?

1. Charges Filed Against Lindsay Lohan

California prosecutors have officially filed charges against Lindsay Lohan.

The charges, which include willfully resisting, obstructing, or delaying an officer in the course of their duties, supplying false information to a police officer and reckless driving, stem from the car accident Lohan was involved in last June when she crashed her Porsche into the back of a dump truck on the Pacific Coast Highway.

All three charges are misdemeanors, and no court date has been set at this time.

The accident in June occurred when she was on her way to the set of Liz & Dick. According to The Los Angeles Times, Santa Monica prosecutors had been weighing charges against Lohan for weeks after police said they found evidence she lied when she claimed she was not behind the wheel of her Porsche.

The charges come just hours after Lohan was arrested early Thursday morning after a brawl broke out at a New York City nightclub. Lohan was arrested for allegedly punching a female patron at Club Avenue, and is facing third degree assault charges from the incident.

2. Nancy O'Dell Launches New App

ET host Nancy O'Dell is combining her love of two things -- reporting and kids -- by launching a new storybook app on iTunes.

The highly interactive app features a holiday theme and uses the story and games to educate users. The voice of Arty the cameraman is provided by Bryson Foster, the Muscular Dystrophy Association's National Goodwill Ambassador, and a portion of the proceeds will go to the MDA.

Nancy says of her endeavor, "As the host of Entertainment Tonight, one of the things I love most about my job is how much I learn by meeting interesting people and going to so many different places. So, I thought, how fun it would be for little kids to do that too! Obviously, they can't travel the world in reality by themselves, but they can via an app."

Nancy discloses, "Every app is a magical story as Ashby and her FUNtastic crew go on their adventures. And what better first assignment for a little reporter to cover than Santa's Big Premiere on Christmas Eve. Little Ashby files her report on what the Holiday Spirit is all about!"

Check out the app, available just in time for the holidays, here.

3. Backstreet Boy AJ McLean Welcomes Baby Girl

Backstreet Boy AJ McLean and wife, makeup artist Rochelle Deanna Karidis, had their first child together on Tuesday, In Touch reports.

According to the news source, the couple welcomed a baby girl named Ava Jaymes.

"We are all doing well and are thrilled to welcome Ava to the world," said the singer, 34.

Ava was born weighing 7 lbs. and 7 oz., according to In Touch.

AJ and Rochelle made their pregnancy announcement just four months after their Beverly Hills wedding.

AJ announced the baby's gender and name via Twitter in July.

4. Angus T. Jones Apologizes For 'Men' Remarks

In a self-written statement obtained by ET, Two and a Half Men star Angus T.

Jones breaks his silence on controversial remarks made by the actor about the series in a video testimonial for Forerunner Christian Church.

In the note, Jones apologizes for harm he might have caused to his colleagues for labeling the popular CBS show as "filth" and in urging viewers not to watch. He writes:

I have been the subject of much discussion, speculation and commentary over the past 24 hours. While I cannot address everything that has been said or right every misstatement or misunderstanding, there is one thing I want to make clear.

Without qualification, I am grateful to and have the highest regard and respect for all of the wonderful people on 'Two and Half Men' with whom I have worked and over the past ten years who have become an extension of my family.

Chuck Lorre, Peter Roth and many others at Warner Bros. and CBS are responsible for what has been one of the most significant experiences in my life to date. I thank them for the opportunity they have given and continue to give me and the help and guidance I have and expect to continue to receive from them.

I also want all of the crew and cast on our show to know how much I personally care for them and appreciate their support, guidance and love over the years. I grew up around them and know that the time they spent with me was in many instances more than with their own families. I learned life lessons from so many of them and will never forget how much positive impact they have had on my life.

I apologize if my remarks reflect me showing indifference to and disrespect of my colleagues and a lack of appreciation of the extraordinary opportunity of which I have been blessed. I never intended that.

The video in question shows Jones opening up about his conversations with God and how his new-found religious beliefs led him to stop doing drugs and leading a selfish life.

5. Bobbi Kristina in Crash That Sent Car Off the Road

Bobbi Kristina Brown was cited by police after being involved in a car accident Wednesday in which the vehicle left the road and traveled down an embankment.

Police in the Atlanta suburb of Alpharetta confirmed to ET that a passerby called 911 just before noon to report that the black Chevrolet Camaro had veered off the road and traveled through a wooded area striking trees before eventually coming to a stop.

"The investigation revealed the driver lost control and the vehicle left Beaver Creek Road on the east side and traveled down an embankment," a police statement said. Damage to the vehicle was described in the statement as "moderate."

Upon the initial arrival, officers say they found Bobbi Kristina standing beside the vehicle and she was uninjured. "Our officer completed an official accident report and issued a traffic citation to Ms. Brown for the offense of failure to maintain lane," the police statement said.

Bobbi Kristina appeared to address the accident Wednesday on Twitter.

"My#PersonalGuardianAngel thankumommiss&loveumre u'lleverkno. NotAScratch&ok Wow,PraiseGod. @nickdgordon #SeriousChangeswithinME," she wrote.

She also tweeted: "#LETMELIVE without YOUppl crucifying me?! OH, yes now I remember .. YOUppl did the SAME DAMN THING2 JESUS.& he overcame you ALL. #NOWWATCH."

Read More..

Burned up: Rapper Leslie torches Post front page for covering his attempt to weasel out of a $1M reward


Ryan Leslie was obviously still burned up over The Post's 'Finders Keepers' front page, about the rapper being forced to hand over a $1 million reward he tried to weasel out of.

We’re New York’s hottest paper!

Cheapskate rapper Ryan Leslie reacted to a $1 million verdict against him by burning the front page of The Post in front of cheering concert fans.

The hip hopper hothead was spewing over a Manhattan federal jury ruling on Wednesday that he had to own up to the $1 million reward he promised for the return of his MacBook Pro that had been stolen in Cologne Germany.

How The Post covered the story

German Auto body shop owner Armin Augstein, 54, who found the missing laptop and returned it, but never saw a cent, sued Leslie here and won.

Leslie posted a video on YouTube of him angrily rapping: “Don’t believe everything you read in the f---in’ news,

‘Cause these haters’ll really prefer to see you lose” at the Long Island University campus in Brooklyn.

As he held up The Post’s front page, someone in the audience shouted out: “Burn it!” after which he lit the paper, then dropped it to the floor and stamped on it.

Earlier, the multi-talented Harvard grad — who has produced songs for Britney Spears and Mary J. Blige — told the crowd how he was shamed by the coverage.

“And so I woke up today to get me some orange juice, man, and the lady who works at the deli was like ‘aw man - you’re the guy on the front page of the paper today!’ and I looked at the headline. It said ‘Rap Weasel...”

Leslie claimed the laptop was worthless because he couldn’t retrieve his multi-track songs on the hard drive and will apparently appeal.

Augstein’s lawyer Michael Fischman said his client had been waiting two years for Leslie to make contact.

“He still has not accepted responsibility — for the reward offer. We therefore have no reason to be optimistic about his intentions he obviously does not have a good track record of following through with what he says.”

Read More..

Boat Show may block Miami’s 2016 Super Bowl bid

This winter, the biggest NFL match-up in South Florida might be Super Bowl versus Boat Show.

As South Florida readies a bid for the 2016 Super Bowl, it must contend with a major potential conflict on the tourism calendar. The National Football League may move the Super Bowl to Presidents’ Day weekend, already home to the five-day Miami International Boat Show since the 1940s.

It’s a significant enough conflict that, in the past, local tourism officials have declined to pursue a Super Bowl if it fell on boat show weekend. But this time around they may have no choice. For the first time, the NFL is requiring that potential host cities agree to a Presidents’ Day weekend Super Bowl if they want to pursue the big game at all, said two people who have seen the NFL request for Super Bowl bids.

The NFL “invited South Florida [to bid] knowing there was going to be an issue with Presidents’ Day weekend and the boat show,” said Nicki Grossman, Broward’s tourism director. “In the past, South Florida has not responded to a Super Bowl date that included Presidents’ Day weekend. This package is different.”

South Florida vies with New Orleans as the top Super Bowl host, with government and tourism leaders touting the game as both a boon to the economy and a publicity bonanza. But the notion of accommodating both Super Bowl and boat show — not to mention a major arts festival in Coconut Grove — strikes some top tourism officials as a bad idea.

“There is not sufficient hotel inventory available in Miami that weekend to host a Super Bowl,” said William Talbert, president of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We have taken a close look at that weekend, and it’s not physically possible in Miami to host Super Bowl during the Presidents’ Day weekend because of the boat show and the Coconut Grove Arts Festival. The hotel inventory is all being used for these two great events.”

His comments are at odds with the region’s top Super Bowl organizer and reflect the burden that the boat show may be to South Florida’s Super Bowl hopes for 2016 and 2017. The NFL invited Miami and San Francisco to bid for the 2016 Super Bowl by April 1, with the loser vying with Houston for the 2017 game. Talbert said the bid package states both decisions will be made in May.

For now, South Florida’s Super Bowl organizers face a largely hypothetical challenge, because the current NFL schedule has the Super Bowl occurring two weeks before Presidents’ Day weekend. The bid requirements for the ’16 and ’17 Super Bowls include three consecutive weekends as possibilities for the game, with the latest falling on the Presidents’ Day holiday.

Still, possible logistical hurdles may combine with political obstacles if the Miami Dolphins resume their push for a tax-funded renovation of Sun Life Stadium, the Super Bowl’s South Florida home.

Last year, the Dolphins proposed that Broward and Miami-Dade counties subsidize a $225 million renovation at Sun Life as a way to keep the region competitive for Super Bowls and other large events. The renovation includes a partial roof that would prevent the kind of drenching Super Bowl spectators suffered in 2007 when a rare February downpour hit Miami Gardens.

Read More..

Scott’s ALF panel let industry off hook, critics say

Gov. Rick Scott used tough language in the summer of 2011 when he created a panel to help fix the deadly abuse and neglect in Florida assisted living facilities.

He pledged to provide protections for elderly and disabled ALF residents, who in recent years saw sweeping breakdowns of care as lawmakers stripped regulations and failed to protect the state’s most vulnerable people from burns, beatings and death.

Then politics happened.

In a change of tide, Scott’s panel issued its final report this week, calling for diminished transparency, fewer regulations and more money for ALF operators. The panel calls for the state to better enforce existing rules rather than create new ones. And to reward ALFs when they do right rather than punish them when they do wrong.

Although some hailed the recommendations as a step forward, not everyone was cheering.

“[Providers] are probably doing cartwheels right now,” said Brian Lee, a resident advocate and director of Families for Better Care.

The recommendations are a product of more than a year of contentious meetings and a panel on which advocates for the powerful ALF industry had the lion’s share of seats. Scott appointed the group after The Miami Herald reviewed thousands of documents and published a sweeping series on the squalid conditions for many of the state’s most vulnerable residents.

Some advocates for the elderly have blasted the panel since its formation, accusing Scott of stacking the committee with business-oriented ALF operators. Scott promised a second round of meetings would include more ALF residents and advocates. Critics contend the reverse was true.

On Friday, Scott insisted the work group is just one step, and that he’ll work with lawmakers to pass meaningful reform. He made similar promises last year.

“We need to act this session to make sure that existing regulations are being enforced to protect our seniors from abuse and to make necessary changes to stop facility operators from breaking the law,” he said this time around.

The furor from the Herald series prompted Scott’s panel to offer a variety of solutions in 2011, from stricter educational requirements for ALF caretakers to more government oversight for facilities that cause patient harm. Those emerged shortly after the series was published and served as a foundation for sweeping legislation that lawmakers softened and then defeated in 2012, under pressure from powerful industry lobbyists.

The new round of proposals offer bits and pieces of that original package.

Larry Polivka, chairman of the panel and head of the Claude Pepper Foundation, touted the group’s more resident-friendly proposals. Those include an appeals process to give evicted residents recourse and the creation of an independent nonprofit organization to train and credential providers.

“I think the workgroup struck a good balance,” he said, adding that the first round of proposals are not moot. “It has to be a carrot-and-stick approach. You can’t live by punitive measures alone.”

But Pat Lange, lobbyist and director of the Florida Assisted Living Association, said the final report appears to stand on its own. And she hopes it stays that way.

“The more recent conversations have been much more productive. This agrees with what we’ve felt from the beginning, which is that the regulations that exist are adequate,” she said. “I think [the panel] realized they need to make some differences in some of the ways they were handling recommendations.”

Read More..

Barbara Hershey Talks Once Upon A Time Season Two Winter Finale

In 2010, Barbara Hershey presented a tragic portrait of a stage mother in the Academy Award winning thriller Black Swan. And, believe it or not, many of the emotions that drove Erica Sayers to demand Swan Queen perfection from Nina (played by Natalie Portman) are once again bubbling to the surface on ABC's Once Upon A Time.

As Cora, former Queen of fairytale land and mother to Regina, Hershey revealed to ETonline that she believes a mother's love is what has fueled all of Cora's less-than-lovely behavior. With Once Upon A Time's winter finale unfolding this Sunday, we caught up with the Oscar-nominated actress to find out what fans can expect from the 2012 swan song!

ETonline: What attracted you to Once Upon A Time?

Barbara Hershey: I've always loved fables and fairytales. I've always thought the reason they endure is because they fill a need that we have as human animals. There is something so satisfying about them because at the root of fairytales is a story about the human condition -- of course it's magnified and fantasized, but it really is about us and I enjoy it on that level. Any TV series is a grab bag for an actor, but particularly with this one because you never know what world you're going to be in next week!

RELATED - Jamie Chung Talks Mulan's Motivation

ETonline: Actors can never view their characters as "the villain" of a show, so where does her perceived evil come from in your mind?

Barbara: Her love for her daughter. Even though how she loves and what she's doing in the name of it seems a little insane, it comes from a soft place inside of her. It's the one softness inside her. She's just very twisted and warped and unhealthy about it. There are a lot of parents who think they're doing well for their kids, but are really pushing them in a direction they want. Cora is doing that. She thinks everything she's done is in her daughter's best interest, but it's not. She's quite amazing to play.

ETonline: Given that, how much of Cora's motivation in getting to Storybrooke is revenge-based?

Barbara: None of it. I think she truly is a mother trying to reconnect with her daughter. Again, she's just so warped in her emotions and in a bubble of her own making, that her own version of love is so different from what mine would be. But Cora just wants to reconnect with her daughter and live their lives together.

RELATED - TV's 10 Biggest Love Triangles

ETonline: Should Cora get to Storybrooke, which character would you like to work with?

Barbara: I've had a lot of scenes with Hook, which has been fun. Colin [O'Donoghue] is just wonderful. Of course I'm looking forward to a Rumpelstiltskin confrontation, but I'm wide open. I'm fond of all the characters; it's such a grab bag of amazing options.

ETonline: Looking ahead, what are you excited for the fans to see as the season wears on?

Hershey: What's fun for me is that there are a lot of surprises with Cora in the winter finale. I was blown away on almost every page. I'm excited for the audience to feel that too. You'll see as we go into the future episodes, it gets really, really interesting.

Once Upon A Time airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on ABC.

Read More..

'Macho' Camacho gets big sendoff in East Harlem

Bolivar Arellano

Christian Camacho, 20, with his 14 year old brother Stanley Camacho both sons of deceased boxing Champion Hector 'Macho' Camacho. Here they were riding through the streets of East Harlem where their father was born and raised.

It was a goodbye fit for a king of the ring.

Boxing legend Hector “Macho” Camacho was given a royal sendoff today as his casket was paraded through the streets of East Harlem in a horse-drawn carriage as thousands of mourners wished him farewell.

The procession began at St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church on East 106th Street, went up First Avenue, cut across East 116th Street, traveled down Fifth Avenue and returned along East 106th Street, winding back to the church.

Revelers joined in along the way, marching behind the carriage and procession of vehicles carrying grieving family members and friends.

People were spotted hanging out car windows and sunroofs while wildly waving Puerto Rican flags and clutching pictures of Camacho in his fighting prime.

When the casket, draped in a Puerto Rican flag, arrived at St. Cecilia’s, a mob of people standing behind police barricades chanted, “Macho. Macho.”

“I love you guys,” Camacho’s mother, Maria Matias, shouted back while pumping her fist in the air. The line of people waiting to get inside and pay thier respects was several blocks long.

“I fought hard to bring my son here, where he belongs,” she told The Post.

“He fought here, he was raised here and now he is being buried here. Look at all these supporters here, it is amazing.

“They are telling me that Camacho is alive today. His spirit is not dead. He is a champion. I will always carry him in my heart.”

She recalled how Camacho started learning to box at the age of 7 and bought her a home with his career winnings.

“My son had a good heart... and took care of me.”

Camacho was shot Nov. 20 while sitting in a parked car in his hometown, Bavamon. He was 50.

Matias lashed out at her son’s killers.

“He did not deserve to die. They killed an innocent man for no reason. One bullet took my son’s life.”

She said that police have three men in custody and are tring to peice together a motive behind the slaying.

“They don’t have all the evidence yet, but soon they will.”

A farewell for Camacho in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Tuesday was marred by violence after Cynthia Castillo, 28, who claims to have been the pugilist’s girlfriend, angered his sisters by kissing him inside the open casket and walking to a VIP area designated for family and close friends.

She then fought with his former girlfriend Gloria Fernandez outside the chapel, according to the newspaper El Nuevo Dia.

Police were called in to pull the ladies apart.

Read More..

A marriage of financial convenience?

Dilemma: I’m in my early 70s, tight in my budget and worried about down the road. My husband and I had 23 years of a great marriage. We had no children but worked in our business together and I was devastated when he died so young. But that was many years ago.

My house has a small mortgage and needs work. My income is mostly Social Security with a little bit of extra income from what savings are left. I’m quite alone, and no one knows how tight I really am, as I’ve been able to keep up appearances.

I haven’t fallen in love with anyone in all these years, but now I’m starting to think financially. There’s a very nice, older single gentleman at my club who is always flirting with me. (I don’t look my age.) We’ve had a few dates and it’s been pleasant.

He’s very wealthy and all the girls are chasing after him, but he seems to have eyes for me and is looking for some kind of commitment. Do you have any advice for someone who is thinking of making a match for money? I know women who have done that, but it seems they’re miserable in spite of the big houses, cars and jewelry. It looks like a hard way to “make a living”. On the other hand, being alone and broke is not my idea of heaven either. I have little family and am fearful of being lonely, too.

It sure seems like a solution, but … Any advice?

Meg’s advice: That’s a really difficult question, and it’s oh so personal. Many people play the money card when choosing their partner, but there needs to be some clarity first. Take off the money goggles for a second and ask yourself this: Do you like him a lot? Admire him? Do you share values? Can you laugh together? Can you crawl under the covers with him easily? These days of Viagra can put another spin on an old story. Can you be good friends? Start there, and see how it scores.

Sometimes, a relationship like this can work like a charm. Other times, it’s a nightmare that’s hard to wake up from, and yet you may not know that until you actually make a life together. Please proceed with caution.

Here are some sobering thoughts:

Are you sure he’s wealthy? He may be looking for the same thing you are … financial security and his cash flow may be weak. Do some serious checking, since money is your incentive.

How old is old? If he’s got one foot in the grave, and you don’t mind caretaking, there may be an arrangement to be had. But it may not be as secure as you think, unless he sets you up financially in the beginning, and that’s a difficult negotiation, to say the least.

Does he have children? If so, your presumed financial security may very well be compromised, as most people are going to favor their kids financially. You can’t blame him, either. What would happen to you if he goes first? Are the kids nice and welcoming? Problem children can totally rain on any parade you’re considering. Consider this a big deal … and possibly a deal breaker.

Is he cheap or generous? You can usually tell that while dating. Listen up to what he says and how he behaves. Generosity is either in him or not. Leopards don’t change their spots, especially elderly, cheap leopards. That would take any bloom off the rose for me.

Don’t let romance (his) lure you into false promises. You need to understand his full intentions up front. It’s a business decision, after all, and he wasn’t born yesterday, obviously. Although your financial worries may turn him off, it’s better to know what you’re looking at up front then to get into a situation worse than you’ve got. I’d rather be captain of my own ship, even a modest one, than a captive on someone else’s.

Got a dilemma? Email Meg Green, CFP, is a wealth manager with offices in Aventura. Her Money Dilemmas column runs monthly in The Miami Herald.

Read More..

Shining a light on those who have died too soon

On the second Sunday every December candles are lit around the world to honor the memories of children and grandchildren who have died too soon.

The Worldwide Candle Lighting, presented by The Compassionate Friends, brings together tens of thousands of bereaved parents, siblings, grandparents, relatives and friends around the globe. They gather to bring light to those who will never be forgotten.

The mass candle lighting, which starts at 7 p.m. in New Zealand, creates a 24-hour wave of light as it moves from time zone to time zone. It is believed to be the largest event of its kind in the world.

The Miami Chapter of The Compassionate Friends will host its 10th annual local event starting at 6 p.m. Dec. 9 at the Miami Dade County Fair and Expo Center in the Grand Ballroom of the Goode Building, 10901 Coral Way. Candles will be lit at 7 p.m.

Organizers have planned a program of special readings and poems. Soloist Karen Strolis Lewe will be the musical guest and a reception and slide show will follow the ceremony.

Members of the Miami Chapter invite all those wishing to participate to join them in remembrance. This event is open to the community and there is no charge to attend. You can bring a framed photo of a loved one to place on the group’s Memorial Table and take the photo home after the ceremony. Guests also will have the opportunity to speak with others who are dealing with the death of a child of any age.

Last year there were over 500 known services held in the United States including every state as well as Washington, DC and Puerto Rico. It is expected that ceremonies will be held in 19 countries. The national website is and there will be extended chat room hours online. There is also a message board for families to post tributes. Call 877-969-0010. To contact the Miami Chapter about support, involvement and the Candle Lighting call 305-460-5762.

Helping Sick Children

Jai Alai players in Miami recently stepped up to help children with extreme medical conditions at the PATCHES nursing center in Florida City. PATCHES stands for Pediatric Alternative Treatment, Care, Housing & Evaluation Services. The generous donation made by the IJAPA Players Association will go toward programs at the center.

Jai Alai player Jose Oyarbide came to PATCHES earlier this year for a tour and was responsible for telling the Players Association about the nursing center.

PATCHES also has a center in Fort Pierce. Almost 100 very sick children, birth to age 21, are cared for five days a week, 12 hours a day at both centers which are staffed by RNs, LPNs, CNAs, EMTs, teachers, and respiratory, physical, speech and occupational therapists every day. The service facility relies on help from the community. For more visit

New Neighbors

Ring in the holidays at the next luncheon gathering of The New Neighbors Club of South Dade starting at 11 a.m., Dec. 12 at the Coral Gables Country Club, 997 N. Greenway Dr. The group will host the talented new choral group The Children’s Voice Chorus. The singers will share Christmas carols and holiday songs.

The children’s chorus was developed to answer the community’s growing need for music education enrichment programs. All voice students are invited to get involved regardless of their ability to pay.

The New Neighbors Club luncheon and program is $25. Reservations are required and the deadline is 6 p.m., Dec. 6. Contact Rita Casagrande at 305-595-0213 or

Read More..

UN recognizes state of Palestine

The U.N. General Assembly has voted by a more than two-thirds majority to recognize the state of Palestine.

The resolution upgrading the Palestinians' status to a nonmember observer state at the United Nations was approved by the 193-member world body late Thursday by a vote of 138-9 with 41 abstentions.

Read More..

State CFO to car insurers: lower premiums

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater said Thursday that it’s time for insurance companies to stop complaining and to lower premiums to reflect changes to the no-fault car insurance laws.

“I am comfortable that if assaults on the courts are unsuccessful and the bill can stand there will be more than 25 percent savings,” Atwater said. “We don’t have to gnash about it, argue about it, whine about it or cry about it.”

Under the old system, the average personal injury protection insurance claim is $12,900, Atwater said during a presentation at the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Insurance Summit. That included $4,400 in acupuncture, $3,700 for massage therapy, $3,200 to chiropractors and $1,600 for emergency room costs.

The new law, HB 119, restricts acupuncturists and massage therapists from participating in PIP and requires people injured in a car accident to be diagnosed with an emergency medical condition before they are eligible for the full $10,000 benefit.

“We just eliminated 68 percent of that cost,” Atwater told the group.

In order to get a bill passed on the last day of session, legislators agreed to insert some cost protections.

Insurance companies were required to submit new rate filings by Oct. 1 that either reduced PIP premiums by 10 percent or explain why they cannot. They are also expected to lower PIP by 25 percent by 2014.

So far, the actual numbers from insurance companies are falling short of that initial goal.

Off the 44 rate filings that have been approved by the state’s Office of Insurance Regulation by mid-month, the average PIP savings is 2.5 percent. That reflects about a fourth of the 141 filings from companies selling all types of car insurances, with the rest still under review.

The numbers that insurers submitted vary wildly, said Sandra Starnes, the OIR’s director of property and casualty product review, during a separate presentation at the Insurance Summit. Some companies said they will reduce PIP by as much as 25 percent while the biggest requested increase is 41 percent. Although the 2.5 percent average is less than the Legislature’s target, it should be applauded, Starnes said.

“The straight average was provided to show that while the range of rate changes being approved varies significantly from company to company, the majority of the filings are resulting in overall statewide decreases in PIP premiums and all of the companies are recognizing the significant decreases in losses that are expected due to HB 119,” she later added via email.

Atwater told conference attendees that they shouldn’t have been taken by surprise that lawmakers built some cost-saving guarantees into the PIP law.

“After all the failures in the past, I think somebody would have to really be just a little naive to not think that the Legislature would want to put some aspirational numbers out there,” he said.

Contact Tia Mitchell at or (850) 224-7263.

Read More..

Convicted al-Qaida recruit Jose Padilla wins delay in resentencing in Miami

Jose Padilla, the convicted terrorist who once called the Fort Lauderdale-area home before joining the ranks of al-Qaida, won his bid Wednesday to delay his resentencing in Miami federal court.

U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke granted a defense request to postpone the resentencing from Monday until Jan. 29. His lawyer argued that would give Padilla time to improve his mental health by visiting with relatives in the meantime, at the Federal Detention Center in downtown Miami.

Padilla, 42, is serving a 17-year prison at the maximum security prison in Florence, Colo. He faces up to life in prison at his resentencing.

“Since his arrest in May of 2002, the government has systematically attempted to destroy Jose by psychologically torturing him and imprisoning him under the severest of conditions,” Federal Public Defender Michael Caruso, who represented Padilla at his 2007 trial, wrote in court papers.

“Not surprisingly, this psychological torture has taken a toll on Jose.”

Federal prosecutors voiced strong opposition to the delay. “Our position is, we should just get on with it,” Frazier said.

Last year, a federal appeals court ruled that the one-time “enemy combatant” — perhaps better known as the “dirty bomber” — should receive harsher punishment reflecting his extensive criminal record.

The appellate court found that Judge Cooke was too lenient when she “unreasonably discounted” his criminal history before lowering a potential 30-year-to-life sentence.

Padilla, born in New York to Puerto Rican parents, was a former Chicago gang member with 17 arrests and a murder conviction before becoming a recruit for al-Qaida, according to federal prosecutors.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sent the controversial case back to Cooke to resentence Padilla, who trained with al-Qaida the year before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to trial evidence.

Caruso appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, saying Cooke “imposed a fair and reasonable sentence.” But the high court declined to hear his petition.

The appeals court in Atlanta, in a 2-1 ruling, upheld the terrorism convictions of Padilla and two others: Adham Amin Hassoun, a Palestinian who had met him at a Broward mosque in the 1990s; and Hassoun’s colleague, Kifah Wael Jayyousi, a U.S. citizen of Jordanian descent. They were sentenced to 15 years and eight months, and 12 years and eight months, respectively.

All three defendants, convicted of conspiring to support Islamic extremists overseas, sought a new federal trial based on claims of improper testimony by the lead FBI agent and a terrorism expert, along with insufficient evidence and other allegations.

Padilla also challenged Cooke’s decision to reject a motion to dismiss his indictment based on “outrageous government conduct” while the former enemy combatant was held in a Naval brig before his transfer to Miami to face terrorism charges in 2006.

Padilla was held without being charged in the South Carolina brig for 3 1/2 years — time that the Miami judge cut from his sentence.

The appellate court, in an opinion written by Chief Judge Joel F. Dubina and joined by Judge William H. Pryor, sided with the U.S. attorney’s office in Miami. Prosecutors, who were seeking life imprisonment for Padilla, appealed Cooke’s 17-year sentence. They argued the judge’s prison term was 13 years below the low end of sentencing guidelines: 30 years.

The appellate court wrote that Cooke’s punishment “reflects a clear error of judgment about the sentencing of this career offender.” The court noted that his codefendant, Hassoun, had no prior criminal history but received a sentence that was “only” 20 months less than Padilla’s.

Cooke “attached little weight to Padilla’s extensive criminal history, gave no weight to his future dangerousness, compared him to criminals who were not similarly situated, and gave unreasonable weight to the condition of his pre-trial detention,” Dubina wrote.

Read More..

An Unexpected Journey to the NZ 'Hobbit' Premiere

Buckle up, Dwarves, Hobbits and Wizards, and put your seats and tray tables in the upright position! ET was the only U.S. show invited aboard the Air New Zealand Boeing 777-300 "Hobbit Plane" to journey from Auckland to Wellington, NZ with the cast of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey right before the world premiere of the film.

Watch the video as ET's Debbie Matenopoulos tests out her flight attendant skills on the trip with J.R.R. Tolkien's great-great grandson Royd Tolkien alongside the new movie's Dwarf heroes Aidan Turner, Dean O'Gorman, Graham McTavish and John Callen.

Pics: 'The Hobbit' Photo Exclusive

On the tarmac, the travelers were met by the rest of the Hobbit cast, including Martin Freeman, Elijah Wood and director Peter Jackson, and then it was on to the mega-red-carpet premiere (all 600 meters of it, complete with an Air New Zealand Hobbit Plane flyover) to talk to Hobbit stars Andy Serkis, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving and more! Sir Ian McKellen was unable to make the event, but he did address fans in a big-screen video message.

The long-awaited big-screen adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth fantasy adventure, a prequel to The Lord of the Rings, follows the adventures of the diminutive Hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Freeman) as he journeys with a group of 13 Dwarves to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug. On the way, they must battle treacherous Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and sly Sorcerers. And when Bilbo gains possession of Gollum's (Serkis) "precious" ring, the fate of Middle-earth hangs in the balance.

Video: Precious Gollum Moments in New 'Hobbit' Trailer

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey rides into theaters in 3D and 2D in select theaters and IMAX on December 14. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug will be released Dec. 13, 2013; while the third installment in the series, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, will hit theaters July 18, 2014.

Read More..

Con Ed wins 'reliability' awards, even as thousands are still without power

Thousands of New Yorkers remain in the dark in Sandy’s wake, but Con Ed today touted two industry awards for “outstanding reliability.”

The utility won the awards from the PA Consulting Group for best reliability in the northeast and best overall system-wide reliability during 2011.

“With the hardships so many in our service area have faced with the onset and aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, this affords us only a moment before we redouble our efforts to further strengthen our systems,” said Con Ed veep John Miksad.

Sandy-socked New Yorkers, however, were not impressed.

“People had no power for two weeks, three weeks, some people just got power back. It’s pretty funny I would say,” said Victoria Romanyuk, 28, of Brighton Beach, who lost power for five days.

Read More..

Gift ideas for the techie on your list

The holidays are coming fast, and if you’re like me, you’ve probably gotten very little of your gift shopping done.

Here are suggestions for a variety of gifts for the techie and the not-so-techie people on your list.

Some of these items can be found in stores and some are only available online, but you should be able to order them in time for Christmas or Hanukkah.


What is it? A hard drive that lives on your home network so you can share files, store all your photos and music and back up your home computers. Works on Macintosh, Windows and Linux computers.

The EZ Media & Backup Center is available in 1-, 2- and 3-terabyte capacities. It is simple to set up. It lives next to your home router and plugs into the network via Ethernet.

Major features include a built-in iTunes server so your music is available to all connected computers, Time Machine support for easy Macintosh backups and Iomega’s Personal Cloud to access your data from any Internet connection.

It can also stream your video files to your TV if you’ve got a compatible streaming box or an Internet-connected TV.

Software for backing up Windows PCs is also included.

Who’s it for? Any family that wants central storage for their digital lives. This is a great home for your digital photo, music or video library.

What does it cost? One terabyte for $169.99, two terabytes for $209.99, three terabytes for $279.99.

Where can you get it? Online at, Amazon, Best Buy, Apple store, Fry’s.


What is it? A wireless indoor/outdoor weather station that displays through an application on your Apple or Android mobile device.

There are two parts, one that lives in your house and one you place outside.

The indoor component plugs into the wall and monitors the temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, carbon dioxide level and even the sound level in decibels.

The outdoor module is battery-powered and measures temperature and humidity.

Once you connect the Netatmo to your home Wi-Fi network, you can download the free app and see your weather stats from anywhere.

Setup was easy enough, and you can set the app to notify you when carbon dioxide rises to levels that you should be warned about — which is great.

Who’s it for? Weather geeks and people who like to know what the temperature is without having to fire up a browser.

What does it cost? $179

Where can you get it?


What is it? 3M’s first foray into the home light bulb market is with the LED Advanced Light, which uses light-emitting diodes (LED) to produce 800 lumens (the light of a 60-watt bulb).

The Advanced Light has a life span of 25 years and costs just $1.63 per year if it’s turned on for three hours per day.

The bulb lights instantly and is dimmable.

It’s a little intimidating to start buying light bulbs that might outlive me, but my wallet approves.

Who’s it for? Anyone who wants to save money or wants a bulb that might not have to be changed until 2035.

What does it cost? $25

Where can you get it? Select Wal-Mart stores. For more information, go to


What is it? A small, wireless video camera that you can monitor remotely with an iOS device.

Read More..

Miccosukee Indian disputes lawyers’ account about source of legal payments in fatal car-crash case

A Miccosukee Tribe member testified he did not pay millions of dollars to his former defense attorneys in a fatal car-crash lawsuit, putting him at odds with the position they have taken in the long-running case.

Jimmie Bert also denied obtaining advances or loans from the tribe to pay his legal fees — contradicting the assertions of his former attorneys, who collected more than $3 million defending him and his daughter.

Bert, who admitted fault at trial along with his daughter, says he never saw the bills from Miami attorneys Guy Lewis and Michael Tein and paid only a small fraction of their legal fees years ago.

Bert’s testimony, delivered in a deposition on Friday, reversed his own earlier account and appears to undermine the lawyers’ position that they were paid the high fees by their clients — not the Miccosukee Tribe.

Lewis, a former U.S. attorney, and Tein, also an ex-federal prosecutor, are facing potential perjury sanctions for allegedly lying about who paid them. The lawyers maintain the tribe advanced money or made loans to Bert and his daughter, Tammy Gwen Billie, so the defendants could pay their legal bills.

The source of the legal payments to the lawyers carries significant weight. If the funds came from the tribe as opposed to the father and daughter, it means there indeed was more than enough money available to pay an outstanding civil judgment of nearly $3.2 million. The pair has refused to pay, insisting they cannot afford it.

Billie, who served time in prison as a result of the car-crash case, has failed to show up for a deposition and to turn over key documents to the attorney for the victim’s family. This month, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Ronald Dresnick found Billie in contempt of court, triggering a warrant to bring her to his court.

The victim’s attorney, Ramon M. Rodriguez, is still trying to obtain important evidence from Lewis and Tein, including their retainer agreement with their Miccosukee clients.

In his deposition, Bert said he signed the retainer agreement with their law firm, but it was not translated for him. Lewis and Tein said they cannot find the 2005 contract.

Bert also testified that he was unaware that Lewis and Tein collected about $950,000 in legal fees after a Miami-Dade jury returned a verdict against him and his daughter in July 2009 — money that could have gone toward paying the judgment.

In their defense, Lewis and Tein’s lawyer, Paul Calli, recently deposed the tribe’s assistant chairman, Jasper Nelson. Nelson testified this month that the tribe approved a loan for Billie and Bert to pay their legal expenses. Asked by Calli if he had “any reason to believe [the] Lewis Tein [firm] ever did anything wrong to the Miccosukee Tribe,” Nelson replied: “No.”

Bert’s testimony comes more than three years after he and his daughter were ordered by a Miami-Dade jury to pay the financial award to the survivors of a woman who was killed in a head-on collision more than a decade ago.

At the 2009 trial, Lewis and Tein represented Billie, the driver who killed Liliana Bermudez, 30, on the Tamiami Trail, and Bert, who owned her uninsured Acura Legend. The defendants admitted fault at trial, so the jury only decided damages. Ever since, the victim’s husband, Carlos Bermudez, a local truck driver, and their teen-age son, Mathew, have futilely tried to collect the judgment.

Both Bert and his daughter have insisted they have no money of their own to pay the award. Each collects $160,000 a year — like hundreds of other Miccosukees — from the tribe’s profitable gambling operation at the west Miami-Dade casino.

The perjury allegations surfaced last year after the Bermudez family’s lawyer, Rodriguez, accused both attorneys and their clients of lying when they asserted the Miccosukee Tribe did not foot their huge legal bill. Rodriguez had obtained 61 checks totaling $3.1 million — made out by the tribe to the Lewis Tein law firm — to back up his allegations.

During a prior sanctions hearing in August 2011, Tein swore to Dresnick, the judge, that their two tribal clients, Billie and Bert, paid their legal bills.

Early last year, both clients submitted court affidavits asserting they had paid Lewis and Tein’s legal fees — a claim now denied by Bert in his deposition under oath and in a new sworn statement.

His daughter also signed an affidavit in October 2011 to back up Lewis’s and Tein’s claim that she and her father borrowed money from the Miccosukees to pay their legal bills.

The fallout from the Bermudez wrongful-death case has not only led to the perjury complaint, but also to state malpractice and federal racketeering suits filed by the Miccosukees against Lewis, Tein, former tribe chairman Billy Cypress and others.

Read More..

Backstreet Boy AJ McLean Welcomes Baby Girl

Backstreet Boy AJ McLean and wife, makeup artist Rochelle Deanna Karidis, had their first child together on Tuesday, In Touch reports.

PICS: Celebs & Their Cute Kids

According to the news source, the couple welcomed a baby girl named Ava Jaymes.

"We are all doing well and are thrilled to welcome Ava to the world," said the singer, 34.

Ava was born weighing 7 lbs. and 7 oz., according to In Touch.

VIDEO: A.J. McLean & Wife Expecting a Baby

AJ and Rochelle made their pregnancy announcement just four months after their Beverly Hills wedding.

AJ announced the baby's gender and name via Twitter in July.

Read More..

Bronx man convicted in 2008 rape

It took less than two hours for a Manhattan jury today to convict a Bronx man who'd been linked by DNA to 19-year-old' college student's violent rape on Prince Street in 2008.

"He may have gotten away that day," prosecutor Shannon Lucey had told jurors of Andres Suarez, 30. "But he left his mark."

Suarez had indeed skated for more than three years, only getting tied to the attack after his DNA was swabbed for the state database after a recent assault arrest and it matched DNA left at the rape scene.

Jurors had heard the woman describe the attack on the witness stand. Suarez had stalked her by subway from Brooklyn, following her home to her Prince Street apartment building and then pushing his way inside behind her.

"I just shut off," she testified tearfully of how she braved the attack on the concrete floor of her building's courtyard, Suarez's box-cutter at her throat.

"I kind of went somewhere else," she said.

Suarez had alluded that his DNA wound up at the scene because of consensual sex.

Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance credited the fast conviction to his office's Sex Crimes unit -- and to the courage of the victim, who now lives in Germany.

Suarez gets sentenced on predatory sex assault, rape, burglary and sex abuse by Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Gregory Carro on Dec. 12.

Read More..

Artistic animals head to the Freedom Tower

Hundreds of colorful animals are taking over the Miami Dade College Freedom Tower Friday night at the opening of the ForEverglades exhibit, coinciding with Art Basel.

Red alligators, almost 20 feet long, will guard the entrance to the Freedom Tower, 600 Biscayne Blvd., with nine alligators scaling the Freedom Tower.

ForEverglades is an installation created by artist William Sweetlove of Belgium and the Cracking Art Group of Italy.

“The underlying mission is to change art history through both a strong social and environmental commitment and the revolutionary and innovative use of different plastic materials that evoke a strict relationship between natural life and artificial reality,” said Lara Gallardo, public relations manager.

Sweetlove uses recycled aluminum on the animal figures he made and painted them in colors that include gold, pink, tortoise and purple.

The alligators, frogs and turtles are armed with backpacks, Evian water bottles and shoes, prepared for the day their environment may be wiped out. Sweetlove and the Cracking Art Group depict fisherman wearing beanies as a negative symbol, killing off the animals.

“The fisherman is the only negative figure, because they are the hunters,” said curator Gloria Porcella. “In fact they are very ugly.”

With 2013 the year of Italian culture for the United States, ForEverglades will be the debut exhibition for Italy. The opening reception is 7 p.m. Friday and a symposium on art and environmental activism is available from 10 a.m. to noon Friday.

A preview opens on Thursday at Saks Fifth Avenue at Dadeland Mall, including the snails that slithered into Miami in 2010. Turtles, rabbits and other animals will be joining them as well.

The exhibit will be open until Jan. 26.

Read More..

Man who died during roach-eating contest choked on bug parts, autopsy says

The South Florida man who died after winning a roach eating contest choked on “anthropod body parts” and his vomit, according to a report released Monday by the Broward medical examiner.

More than 30 people participated in the Oct. 6 contest to win rare snakes at Ben Siegel Reptiles in Deerfield Beach, but Eddie Archbold, 32, was the only one who got sick. From the qualifying round to the grand prize ivory ball python contest, Archbold ate nearly 2 ounces of meal worms, 35 horn worms and a bucketful of discoid roaches.

A video shows Archbold forcing handfuls of the live bugs down his throat, covering his mouth with his hands to keep them from crawling out. He appears to be half-chewing as he swallows, finally pounding on his chest and raising his arms in triumph with bug parts poking out of his mouth.

Bill Kern, a University of Florida entomologist who has eaten his share of insects, speculated that it could have been a physical or psychological reaction that made Archbold throw up soon after the contest.

“If he was eating discoids, that’s a big insect,” Kern said, describing the psychological effect. “When you bite into it you’re going to get a gush of fat bodies, the gut content and the hemolymph – essentially insect blood. As you bite down, that’s going to put pressure on the exoskeleton, so when it’s ruptured, it’s going to squirt.”

Kern also described the legs of discoids as “covered with pretty stout spines” that could irritate the esophagus and stomach, in addition to the “crunchy, leathery, paper-like wings you have to chew up.”

That disagreeable experience was echoed by Matthew Karwacki, a 26-year-old student at Florida Career College who downed worms and crickets in the same contest that killed Archbold. He tapped out after one roach because he “didn’t have his mind in the right place.”

“If you look at it in a real sense, they’re just invertebrates — no different than shrimp or crabs,” he said, speaking admirably of Archbold’s mental control. “If you caught them in baskets in Maryland, people would put Old Bay on them and gobble them down.”

Karwacki said he spoke with Archbold after the contest and he appeared to be fine.

“When he was done, he was pretty stoked about it,” Karwacki said. “I congratulated him and told him, ‘You’re a better man than I.’”

After Archbold won the contest and the $850 ivory ball python, the West Palm Beach man started vomiting outside of the reptile store. He collapsed a few doors down and was taken to Broward Health North, according to the Broward Sheriff’s Office.

No one from the reptile store, 3314 W. Hillsboro Blvd., was available for comment on Monday. Owner Ben Seigel told The Miami Herald last month that all contestants had signed a waiver. This was the first bug-eating contest, but Seigel said it’s not unusual for employees and customers to dare each other to each the insects sold in the store as pet feed.

Kern, the entomologist, said insects were “probably only a peripheral cause” of Archbold’s death. Consuming such large volumes of any food so quickly could cause someone to choke or start vomiting.

“Eating bugs is something that a fourth of the world’s population does,” he said. “But usually we cook them first.”

Read More..

Cheryl Burke Breaks Down the 'DWTS' Finale

The Dancing with the Stars finale will feature an all-female lineup for the very first time and we caught up with pro dancer Cheryl Burke to get her breakdown on the skills of the remaining women competing for the mirror ball trophy.

"All the girls are so strong," Burke said during an interview about the chances of all-stars Melissa Rycroft, Kelly Monaco
and Shawn Johnson. "Melissa, she's just so charming, and I think she's one of the best technical dancers," she added.

VIDEO: First All-Female DWTS Finalists Talk Strategy

Cheryl said she thinks the greatest strength of Kelly and her partner Val Chmerkovskiy is their consistently "amazing chemistry."

She added that Shawn -- a former gymnast -- is also a top-notch contender. "Shawn just nails it every single
time -- she's never had one misstep and her energy on the dance floor is
so powerful." With so many serious competitors left on the show, Cheryl said it really will come down to what appeals to the voting viewers at home.

VIDEO: Burke on Competing Against Former DWTS Partners

"They're just going to have to come up with lifts that they've never
done, with dances they've never really done," she said. "So at the end of the day,
it doesn't really matter what you've done in the past on the show. It's
really up to this freestyle, so whoever has the best freestyle always
wins the show."  

Watch the video for Cheryl's predictions and to also hear who she'll be rooting for in the DWTS ballroom!  

VIDEO: Cheryl Burke Reveals Dancing Injury 

Read More..

Thug who shot 5-year-old girl during Bx. gunfight held on $100,000 cash bail

The thug who recklessly shot a 5-year-old girl during an early-morning Bronx gunfight Sunday is being held on $100,000 cash bail after being arraigned this afternoon on attempted-murder charges.

Angel Morales, 18, did not speak and showed no sign of emotion as prosecutors recounted how he fired off three rounds into a small crowd gathered near the Tremont home of little Hailey Dominguez, who was caught in the crossfire, with a bullet piercing her lung.

Morales – whom sources say has three priors, including one for pot possession, another for assault and one in a case that is sealed – was aiming for someone else when he hit Hailey, who had been returning home from a party with her mom and siblings when the gunfire erupted.

Cops said Hailey’s family was not the intended target. Investigators have interviewed several witnesses – including many who ducked to get out of Morales’ line of fire – but so far nobody has given any indication of who Morales may have been targeting.

Read More..

Shifting tides of Panama real estate echo Miami trends

PANAMA CITY, Panama — As a real estate agent shows off a model apartment — white leather sectional, stainless steel appliances, open concept, ocean views — in the 59-story Yacht Club Tower, and touts its fitness center and pool deck designed to mimic a ship floating on the sea, he makes a telling statement:

“We tried to emulate the Miami style in this building.”

Approaching this Central American capital from the air, the first thing a traveler notices is a skyline on steroids — gleaming towers jutting skyward like so many pickets on a fence. There’s even a Trump high-rise here — the sail-shaped 72-story Trump Ocean Club International Hotel & Tower. And it’s not uncommon for those active in Miami real estate and development circles to try their luck in Panama or move back and forth between the markets.

Although Miami is nearly 1,200 miles from Panama City, the real estate markets of the two cities share certain similarities. Both went through booms and overbuilding and then had way too many empty condominiums. Wealthy Latin American buyers were a salvation in both cities when traditional segments of the market fell off.

“Now that things are starting to pick up in the States, they are picking up here too. Now that there’s not as much economic uncertainty in the United States, people feel more confident about Panama too,’’ said Morris Hafeitz, general manger of Emporium Developers. He used to work in Miami as a project manager for Odebrecht, the Brazilian conglomerate.

Now Hafeitz is trying to sell Allure at the Park, a 50-story building Emporium developed in Panama City’s Bella Vista neighborhood. The building is chock full of amenities — gym, teenage game room, adult lounge, toddler playroom, pool, squash court and even miniature golf on the roof — but one of its main selling points is that it overlooks a park and two low-rise historic buildings. “In the heart of the city without the hassles of the city,’’ said Hafeitz.

During the boom, many buildings in central Panama City went up practically on top of each other. “In the beginning of the boom there were no regulations on density,’’ said Mauricio Saba, a project manager at Zoom Development in Panama City and another Miami real estate alum. “I have a friend who said he could watch his neighbor’s TV from his balcony.’’

Margarita Sanclemente, a Miami real estate broker with offices in Panama City and New York, has seen it all — the boom, the irrational building and the slowdown — and has stuck with the Panamanian market.

She first ventured into Panama in 2005. The Panamanian real estate market, which had been sluggish for more than a decade, was undergoing a rebirth and Americans, lured by low prices and the low cost of living, were snapping up properties.

The sweet spot was the 1,000 to 1,500-square-foot apartment, sans maid’s quarters, which appealed to retirees from Canada and the United States, she said.

That was back when Americans still believed you couldn’t go wrong with real estate. “Some of the buyers didn’t even see the units. We sold them by phone,’’ Sanclemente said. Condo prices at new buildings such as Destiny averaged $98 to $120 per square foot. She herself bought a 1,000 square foot, one bedroom condo for $123,000 back in 2005.

Read More..

Rubio, Wasserman Schultz and Ros-Lehtinen to attend rally in support of Israel

Putting aside partisan politics, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, U.S. Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Debbie Wasserman Schultz on Sunday evening will attend a rally in North Miami Beach in support of Israel.

Hundreds are expected at the 6:30 p.m. rally at the Michael - Ann Russell Jewish Community Center at 18900 NE 25th Ave.

Last week, four Israeli civilians and two soldiers were killed and dozens others wounded by rockets fired from Gaza into residential neighborhoods during the fighting.

Palestinians say 161 people, including dozens of civilians, were killed.

Israel and Hamas agreed to a cease-fire last week after eight days of conflict.

Rubio is being touted as a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2016. Wasserman Schultz is chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee and Ros-Lehtinen is chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Read More..

Jamie Chung Once Upon A Time Interview

Like many actors before her, Jamie Chung cut her teeth working on a soap opera. And like many actors before her, that 2007 Days of Our Lives entry on her resume has been forever eclipsed by her work alongside actors like Bradley Cooper, Russell Crowe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and for directors like Zack Snyder, Todd Phillips and David Koepp.

Now, Chung is busier than ever, playing Mulan on ABC's Once Upon A Time, reprising her role in the final Hangover film and suiting up for Sin City 2. ETonline caught up with Chung to talk about all these projects and discovered the personal mantra that led to all of them.

ETonline: What appealed to you about playing Mulan on Once Upon A Time?

Jamie Chung: Well, it's just an incredible show. It is so bizarre and nuts and wonderful, and to be a part of the fairytale storyline with the two female leads, who I just adore, has been so fun. Almost every other week I got to roll in the hay with Ginnifer Goodwin. I love that although there's a reference point for my character, you still have the freedom to make up a story. To play this strong female woman warrior, who is fun and a tough ass but loyal like a samurai is so fun to play.

RELATED - Once Star Previews Red's Rough Road

ETonline: We know Mulan's backstory from other sources, but will we see any of that on OUAT?

Chung: You'll see a snippet of her past. Everything ties in very nicely this season, I'll say that.

ETonline: What are you excited for the fans to see this season?

Chung: I can't give away a lot, but it gets stranger and darker. People are going to think we're a cable show with how dark it gets. The dream [that Henry and Aurora share] is hugely important to the rest of the season. We discover that we can use to our benefit – but then, whatever can be used for good can also be used for evil. That's a big theme in the next two episodes. What was once good can be used for evil, and vice versa. It's really important to keep that in mind over the next two weeks.

ETonline: You've played a string of very physically capable women. Are you more drawn to physical roles or is that just how things have shaken out?

Chung: It's so interesting. I do feel more confident in a scene when my character has a weapon. You're much more aware of what your body is capable of doing: how fast you can run, how hard you can hit, how quickly you can evade a punch. You're so much more conscious of that, and that confidence makes all the difference. Yeah, it can give you a false sense of confidence in real life, but I have no intentions of getting in a bar fight [laughs].

ETonline: You've also stepped in for a pregnant Devon Aoki to play Miho in Sin City 2. With its stunt work and greenscreen filming, I kind of feel like all your other roles have kind of prepared you for this part.

Chung: That's so true. And Robert [Rodriguez, director] is really taking it to the next level. In terms of technology, there's so much more for him to play with. Robert is such a creative man. His work process is so fascinating to me. There's not much time to prep. You get up there and he says do it and you just do it. It's by the far the most physical role I've ever done. I'm in action hero heaven!

FIRST LOOK PHOTOS: The Hangover - Part III

ETonline: And then you've also got The Hangover Part III -- how does the finale stack up?

Chung: It has the spirit of the first two Hangover movies, but it's much more different. The fans are going to love it.

ETonline: In general, are you someone who meticulously plans their career or just operates on a role-to-role basis?

Chung: I don't plan too far ahead, it really is one script to the next. I'm such a scrapper, I'll take whatever comes my way. That's why I get a lot of leftovers. But when those leftovers are Sin City 2, I won't complain. The goal is to constantly create and keep moving – if you have movement going forward and hopefully the work will be there to match your desires.

Once Upon A Time
airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on ABC.

Read More..

No way out: 112 killed in fire at 'high risk' Bangladesh garment factory


Bangladeshis and firefighters battle a fire at a garment factory in the Savar neighborhood in Dhaka, Bangladesh,where more than 100 workers were killed Saturday.

DHAKA, Bangladesh — Fire raced through a garment factory that supplies major retailers in the West, killing at least 112 people, many of whom were trapped by the flames because the eight-story building lacked emergency exits, an official said Sunday.

The blaze broke out late Saturday at a factory operated just outside Bangladesh's capital of Dhaka by Tazreen Fashions Ltd., a subsidiary of the Tuba Group, which makes products for Wal-Mart and other companies in the U.S. and Europe.

Firefighters recovered at least 100 bodies from the factory, Maj. Mohammad Mahbub, fire department operations director, told The Associated Press. He said 12 other people who were injured after they jumped from the building to escape died at hospitals.

Local media reported that up to 124 people were killed. The cause of the blaze was not immediately clear, and authorities ordered an investigation.

Army soldiers and border guards were sent to help police keep order as thousands of onlookers and anxious relatives of the factory workers gathered, Mahbub said.

Tazreen was given a "high risk" safety rating after a May 16, 2011, audit conducted by an "ethical sourcing" assessor for Wal-Mart, according to a document posted on the Tuba Group's website. It did not specify what led to the rating.


Smoke billows out of the building as firefighters try and bring equipment to bear.

Wal-Mart spokesman Kevin Gardner said online documents indicating an orange or "high risk" assessment after the May 2011 inspection and a yellow or "medium risk" report after an inspection in August 2011 appeared to pertain to the factory where the fire broke out. The August 2011 letter said Wal-Mart would conduct another inspection within one year.

Gardner said it was not clear if that inspection had been conducted or whether the factory was still making products for Wal-Mart.

If a factory is rated "orange" three times in a two-year period, Wal-Mart won't place any orders for one year. The May 2011 report was the first orange rating for the factory.

Neither Tazreen's owner nor Tuba Group officials could be reached for comment.

The Tuba Group is a major Bangladeshi garment exporter whose clients also include Carrefour and IKEA, according to its website. Its factories export garments to the U.S., Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands, among other countries. The Tazreen factory, which opened in 2009 and employed about 1,700 people, made polo shirts, fleece jackets and T-shirts.

Bangladesh has some 4,000 garment factories, many without proper safety measures. The country annually earns about $20 billion from exports of garment products, mainly to the U.S. and Europe.

In its 2012 Global Responsibility report, Wal-Mart said that "fire safety continues to be a key focus for brands and retailers sourcing from Bangladesh." Wal-Mart said it ceased working with 49 factories in Bangladesh in 2011 because of fire safety issues, and was working with its supplier factories to phase out production from buildings deemed high risk.

At the factory, relatives of the workers frantically looked for their loved ones. Sabina Yasmine said she saw the body of her daughter-in-law, but had seen no trace of her son, who also worked there.

"Oh, Allah, where's my soul? Where's my son?" wailed Yasmine, who works at another factory in the area. "I want the factory owner to be hanged. For him, many have died, many have gone."


A Bangladeshi woman cries as she claims the body of her relative killed in the fire.

Mahbub said the fire broke out on the ground floor, which was used as a warehouse, and spread quickly to the upper floors. Many workers who retreated to the roof were rescued, he said. But he said that with no emergency exits leading outside the building, many victims were trapped, and firefighters recovered 69 bodies from the second floor alone.

"The factory had three staircases, and all of them were down through the ground floor," Mahbub said. "So the workers could not come out when the fire engulfed the building."

"Had there been at least one emergency exit through outside the factory, the casualties would have been much lower," he said.

Many victims were burned beyond recognition. The bodies were laid out in rows at a school nearby. Many of them were handed over to families; unclaimed victims were taken to Dhaka Medical College for identification.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed shock at the loss of so many lives.

The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association said it would stand by the victims' families.


A firefighter walks amid teh wreckage of the burned-out building where more than 100 factory workers lost their lives. The company, which supplies American retail powerhouses like Wal-Mart, had been cited for safety risks.

Read More..

Is the electric car dying again?

A second administration of President Barack Obama will be forced to revisit the issue of subsidies for renewable energy and, with it, those for electric vehicles. Despite the millions of dollars spent on government incentives, marketing and promotion, sales of fully electric cars are well below projected targets. Investment in vehicle charging infrastructure also has fallen victim to budget cutbacks, limited usage and concern over the return on money spent.

Indeed, only last month, a leading automotive battery manufacturer, A123 Systems, was forced to declare bankruptcy. And the founder and CEO of Better Place, Shai Agassi, whose company (in which I was employed) promotes all-electric vehicles with batteries that can be both charged and replaced, was himself replaced due to low sales figures and high capital expenses arising from the deployment of battery-switching stations.

As a result, the question is now being raised: Are we again bearing witness to the death of the electric car?

Any such conclusion over the longer term may be premature. With declining costs and gradually improving technologies that can extend battery range beyond its current limitations, the electric car continues to hold promise. Rising gasoline prices and potential disruptions in oil supply favor alternative sources of energy.

To achieve mass market adoption, however, cars running on electricity — or any other alternative energy source — must satisfy the three “C’s”: cost, convenience and connectivity.

Few buyers are able or willing to pay more for a car running on clean energy unless the upfront cost of the car roughly equals or is below its carbon-powered alternative. Advertised savings over time in powering a car using alternative “fuels” so far have failed to persuade the average driver to buy. And while government subsidies play a role in reducing initial costs to consumers, such incentives so far have not been sufficient to attract large numbers of drivers to switch to electric vehicles.

Cars driven solely or partially by electricity or other alternative energies also must be at least as convenient as those powered exclusively by internal combustion engines. Drivers appear unwilling to sacrifice the expected hundreds of miles in driving range between refuelings. Likewise, drivers demand refueling times equal to what they are accustomed — about five minutes at the gasoline station.

Further, there must be adequate infrastructure in place to enable large numbers of drivers to connect to an alternative energy source before that source can be widely adopted. While a scattering of drivers simultaneously connecting to a power grid may not have much impact, large numbers of drivers doing so can cause major power outages that escalate absent the real-time balancing of energy loads across the network. Moreover, the environmental impact of the connected cycle between car and infrastructure, often referred to as the “well-to-wheel” balance, has to result in less pollution overall for alternative energy vehicles to achieve significant market traction.

Until the fully electric car can satisfy all three C’s, any assessment of projected vehicle sales must reflect a variety of energy sourcing options, both traditional and alternative, all competing for market share.

Gasoline and diesel likely will remain the predominant source of energy in the foreseeable future for new car buyers, with hybrid vehicles that run on both petroleum and alternative energy sources taking an increasingly larger share of the market. Although more costly than pure gasoline-driven cars, hybrids do offer a more environmentally friendly solution and provide the driving range demanded by car buyers.

Read More..