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Ex-Homestead Mayor Steve Bateman Sentenced to 22 Months on Corruption Charges

Categories: Crime


What a week for crooked mayor news, even by Miami standards. After former North Miami Mayor Lucie Tondreau was found guilty on fraud charges earlier this week, another former area mayor received his sentence for an earlier corruption case.

Steve Bateman, formerly the mayor of Homestead, will spend the next 22 months behind bars.


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Rich New Yorkers Talking About How Cheap It Is To Live in Miami Will Make Your Cry

Categories: Unreal Estate

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Photo via Roberto Bowyer's Flickr | MNT Pool

Everyone knows that Miami's current condo boom is being fueled by South American buyers, but many of the American citizens who are snapping up properties here tend to be New Yorkers.

Well, the New York Times, whose coverage of Miami tends to be notoriously tone deaf when read by actual Miamians, is here to remind us of how happy New Yorkers are to help us drive our real estate prices up to Manhattan-like reaches.


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305 Photo of the Day: Blue River

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Today's photo comes from Roberto Bowyer's Flickr. If you'd like to see your photo here join our Flickr group.

Student Who Was Statutorily Raped By Teacher Sues Miami-Dade Schools

Categories: Crime

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Miami-Dade Corrections

A former student who lost her virginity to her teacher in a classroom is now suing the Miami-Dade School District for failing to properly protect her. The now 17-year-old victim says that the teacher, 33-year-old Bresniell Jansen, had previously been accused of sending an inappropriate text to another teen in 2008, but was never disciplined.


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Florida Paves the Way For Fracking As Miami Senator Files Bill to Ban Practice

Categories: Environmental

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Photo by Joshua Doubek via Wikimedia Commons
A fracking job in North Dakota
Across the country, strong resistance has cropped up against the oil extraction process known as fracking, or hydraulic fracturing. Even a single fracking job requires a staggering amount of water, as well as an abundance of toxic chemicals. Some evidence suggests the "fracking fluid" that has to be injected deep into the ground to release natural gas from shale deposits can leak into fragile environments.

But Florida public officials are cool with all that. Yesterday the Florida Public Service Commission, the board that regulates state utilities, voted by a four to one margin to approve Florida Power and Light's request to "explore" for fracking sites as a cheaper alternative to run its power plants -- and pass of the cost of the exploration onto customers.


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Miami-Dade Schools Rehires Attorney Who Halted Northwestern Sex Abuse Probe

Categories: Politicks

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photo by Michael E. Miller
Northwestern's championship football squad was at the center of the case.
In September 2006, the crime that sparked one of the darkest sagas in Miami-Dade Public Schools history happened in a Northwestern High School bathroom. That's where the school's star 18-year-old quarterback had sex with a 14-year-old freshman girl. The crime soon began the focus of a mass coverup allegation as the quarterback was allowed to lead Northwestern to a state title just days later.

Even worse, a grand jury later found that school administrators had knowingly shut down a criminal investigation into the case. Some of the harshest criticism went toward Ronda Vangates, who was in charge of overseeing district investigations and who ordered the probe shut down.

Now, Vangates has a new job: Back in the Miami-Dade Public Schools, this time as an assistant attorney.

See also: Solomon Stinson and Miami-Dade Public Schools Top Brass Back Ronda Vangates

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WTF Florida: Worst Christmas Party Ever Sends Entire Office To Hospital

Categories: WTF Florida

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Illustration by Alvaro Diaz-Rubio
A lot of weird things happen in Florida. We're here every Friday morning to give you the week's weirdest. This week, that includes innovative masturbation technique, a fake heart attack, and the worst office holiday party ever.

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Jose Maldonado-Dick, Cop Who Provided Protection for McDonald's Drug Deals, Denied Bond

Categories: The Badge

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Former Miami Police officer Jose Maldonado-Dick will remain on lockup over the holidays. A judge ruled today during Maldonado-Dick's second appearance in bond court that he will not be eligible for release before his January 25th, 2015 trial based on the severity of his crimes.


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305 Photo of the Day: Alone

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Today's photo comes from Satesh Ramjattan's Flickr. If you'd like to see your photo here join our Flickr group.

Teen Arrested For Murdering Man Who Was Trying to Protect Children

Categories: Crime

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Miami-Dade Corrections

On November 13th, Bradley Holt, 24, was standing in front of an apartment building when a yellow Mustang pulled up and tried to do donuts in a parking lot where a group of children were playing. Holt yelled at the driver to quit driving so erratically, but his attempt at keeping kids safe was met with a bullet.

The car originally left the scene, but came back later and someone inside the car shot Holt. He was rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center where he was later pronounced dead.

Police have now arrested an as-yet unidentified 16-year-old for the murder. Nineteen-year-old Jaquan Mejia was also arrested for a burglary that occurred while the two were trying to flee police.


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Will the Miami Hurricanes Finally Return to the First Round of the NFL Draft?

Categories: Sports

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Photo by Totenkopf via Wikipedia Commons
From 1994 until 2008 the Miami Hurricanes were on a historic talent producing run, with a player being selected in the first round of the NFL draft every year for 14 years.

Since then, however, not a single 'Cane has gone in the first round. That drought may finally be over.

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Rick Scott Is Still Spending Tons Of Taxpayer Cash Trying To Drug Test State Employees

Categories: Politicks

via Rick Scott's Facebook
A federal judge told him to drop the plan. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals told him it was illegal. Then the U.S. Supreme Court refused to listen to his arguments.

But despite losing over and over in every court around, Gov. Rick Scott is still fighting for the right to force state employees to pee in a cup. And the legal bills for his quixotic quest are now inching toward a cool million bucks -- funded, of course, by taxpayers.

See also: Rick Scott Won't Get to Drug Test Poor People After All: Federal Court Rejects Welfare Testing

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In Hialeah, Miami's True Cuban Heart, a Muted Reaction to Obama's Thaw With Castro

Categories: La Habana

Photo by Trevor Bach
Yesterday's media scrum in Little Havana was nowhere to be found in Hialeah.
Yesterday's joint announcement from President Barack Obama and Cuban leader Raúl Castro that they intend to normalize relations between the two long-divided countries was undoubtedly the most momentous day in U.S.-Cuba relations in more than a half-century.

It was business as usual at Yoyito Café.

As cameras mobbed a tiny group of protesters across town outside the famed Versailles Restaurant in Little Havana, all was quiet and politics barely stirred to the surface in Hialeah, the true heart of Cuban Miami these days.

See also: White House: "It Is Clear That Decades of U.S. Isolation of Cuba Have Failed" (Updated)

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Obama's Words Were Beautiful, but He's Wrong About Miami

Categories: El Jefe

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Logan Fazio
Barack Obama speaks at Bicentennial Park in downtown Miami back when he was a presidential candidate.
"The city of Miami is only 200 miles or so from Havana. Countless thousands of Cubans have come to Miami -- on planes and makeshift rafts, some with little but the shirt on their back and hope in their hearts. Today, Miami is often referred to as the capital of Latin America. But it is also a profoundly American city -- a place that reminds us that ideals matter more than the color of our skin, or the circumstances of our birth, a demonstration of what the Cuban people can achieve, and the openness of the United States to our family to the South. Todos somos Americanos."

This passage from Barack Obama's Thursday speech defined both Miami and this president. In some ways, Obama fundamentally misunderstands the city and is naive, bordering on reckless. In others, he's optimistic, decent, and more aware of the importance of diversity than any president since LBJ.

Modern Miami really began in 1959. That's when Fidel Castro conquered Cuba and thousands of exiles poured into this sleepy city. They worked hard. They began transforming it into an international metropolis and a bellwether for the rest of America.

It wasn't easy. There was a boatload of corruption, social mayhem, and, well, cocaine, on the road here.

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Twitter Wonders if Beyonce Helped Thaw U.S.-Cuba Relations

Categories: La Habana

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Instagram

In 2013, Beyoncé and Jay Z randomly (and controversially) popped up in Cuba to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary. Just 18 months later, President Obama has announced a normalization of U.S.-Cuban relations.

Coincidence? A certain segment of Twitter thinks not.


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305 Photo of the Day: Man's Best Friend

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Today's photo comes from Aaron Whitaker's Flickr. If you'd like to see your photo here join our Flickr group.

Miami Politicians Respond to Cuba Thaw: Mayor Regalado Opposes Cuban Consulate in Miami

Categories: La Habana

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Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg
President Obama's announcement that he would seek to normalize relations with Cuba landed like a thud among many of Miami's Cuban-American Republican politicians today. Though almost all applauded the fact that former prisoner Alan Gross was freed, most blasted Obama over the wider implications.

Sen. Marco Rubio led the charge. "At a minimum, I would say this: Barack Obama is the worst negotiator that we've had as president since at least Jimmy Carter and maybe in the history of this country," he told Fox News earlier today. In a statement, he warned that the move would embolden other hostile regimes to "take advantage of President Obama's naiveté during his final two years in office."

Meanwhile, on the more practical side of things, Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado appeared more concerned about the idea of a Cuban consulate popping up in Miami.

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Bill Would Ban Gay Conversion Therapy for Teens in Florida

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via UCSB

There's no such thing as an ex-gay, just people with a whole lot of issues. Any efforts to try to change a person's sexual orientation have been proven to be dangerous quackery.

Well, Rep. David Richardson (D-Miami Beach), has introduced a bill in the Florida house that would ban gay conversation therapy. Though, he doesn't expect it to get passed, as this is Florida after all.


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White House: "It Is Clear That Decades of U.S. Isolation of Cuba Have Failed" (Updated)

Categories: El Jefe

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Photo by jon crel via Flickr cc
Here is the full White House news release on Cuba. It is stunning. Updated at the end with Vatican news release on the matter.

See also: TV Crews Outnumber Protestors at Versailles As Obama and Castro Normalize Relations

Charting a New Course on Cuba

Today, the United States is taking historic steps to chart a new course in our relations with Cuba and to further engage and empower the Cuban people. We are separated by 90 miles of water, but brought together through the relationships between the two million Cubans and Americans of Cuban descent that live in the United States, and the 11 million Cubans who share similar hopes for a more positive future for Cuba.


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TV Crews Outnumber Protesters at Versailles as Obama and Castro Normalize Relations

Categories: La Habana

photo by Trevor Bach
As President Obama preps for a noon announcement about a new era of U.S. and Cuba relations, TV crews from around the nation did the predictable: They descended on Versailles Restaurant, long the hotbed of anti-Castro protests in Miami.

So far, at least, they haven't had much to broadcast home. As of 11:30, just a handful of sign-waving protesters were surrounded by dozens of TV crews and reporters.

See also: Obama Reportedly To Announce Thaw In Embargo as Alan Gross Freed From Cuban Prison

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