Florida's DUI Offenders Could Face Daily Breath Tests

Categories: Road Rage

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Photo: James Palinsad's Flickr | CC2.0
If you've collected two or more DUIs in Florida, a judge can force you to install an interlock device in your car. The device requires you to blow into it before you can start your car. If it detects alcohol on your breath then it prevents your car from starting.

Well, the makers of the devices tried to change Florida law this year so the devices could be placed on the cars of first-time offenders. The plan sort of backfired for the vendors. Instead, the Florida legislature is in the process of approving a bill that would require some DUI offenders to submit to a 24/7 alcohol abstinence program instead of installing the devices.

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305 Photo of the Day: Orange Skies

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

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LeBron James Topped Jersey Sales This Season; Heat Top Team

Categories: Sports

via NBAShop

The Miami Heat may be entering the NBA playoffs as a second seed, but they're tops in another set of standings. For the sixth time, LeBron James' jersey was the top seller in the league. The Miami Heat, meanwhile, sold more merchandise this season than any other team.


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Uber Recruits Udonis Haslem, but Fight to Enter Miami Is Dead for Now

Categories: Road Rage

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via Uber Blog
Despite an aggressive push in Tallahassee, car service app Uber's hopes to enter the Miami market are on the back burner once again. A bill that would prohibit local governments from placing restrictions on chauffeured car services has now been amended so that it affects only Hillsborough County.

Despite this, the company has recruited the Miami Heat's hometown hero, Udonis Haslem, to record a radio ad.

See also: Why Taxi Drivers Don't Want Uber in Miami

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Crush Porn Actress Arrested at MIA, Charged With Cruelty to Animals

Categories: WTF Florida

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Miami-Dade Corrections
Stephanie Hird has been charged with animal cruelty for appearing in "crush porn."
For the second time this month, a woman has been arrested in Miami for participating in "crush porn."

Stephanie Hird, 29, was busted yesterday while trying to board a flight at Miami International Airport. Her arrest comes two weeks after another woman, Sara Zamora, was also arrested for animal cruelty. Police say the women appear in locally made fetish videos killing small animals and then committing sex acts on camera.

See also: Invasion of the Amazon Women

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Michael E. Miller Wins New Times's Third Important National Award in 2014

Categories: El Jefe

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Champeen
Miami New Times' senior writer Michael E. Miller has won the 2014 Sigma Delta Chi Award for nondeadline writing in the nondaily category for his article "Champ," which tells the story of a porn star murderer.

It is the second year in a row that Miller has taken top honors , which are handed out by the Society for Professional Journalists. Last year, he won in the deadline reporting category for "Death Trap," a tale about a police shooting that went terribly wrong.

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Cuba Is Running Out of Condoms (and Beer!)

Categories: La Habana

Photo by Gildemax via Wikimedia Commons
In Cuba -- where sudden shortages of everyday products are as commonplace as Fidel columns bashing the oligarchy -- condoms have always been a reliable stand-in for everything from kids' birthday balloons to bootleg beach balls. Even during the worst of times, the government kept dirt-cheap, Chinese-made rubbers on shelves around the nation.

But this month, condoms have suddenly become as hard to find in Havana as a George W. Bush T-shirt. The run on prophylactics, along with ongoing potato and beer shortfalls, is casting doubt on the Castro regime's claims that a slowly privatizing economy will make empty store shelves a problem of the past.

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Miami Beach Mayor's Former Bodyguard Accused of Carrying Gun in Police Center

Categories: News

Photo by Coolceasar via Wikimedia Commons
Before he was tapped to serve as a bodyguard for then Miami Beach mayoral candidate Philip Levine in 2013, Eric Kolbinsky was a longtime police detective and special agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration. He was based in Atlanta, according to an online bio, and led a team "that traveled around the Southeastern part of the U.S., targeting violent drug organizations for federal prosecution."

So Kolbinsky probably knows his way around a gun. But now the former agent and bodyguard has a new job, as emergency management specialist for Miami Beach, and because he's not an active-duty law enforcement officer, he's not supposed to carry a gun into a police station.

It appears he recently did anyway.

See also: Miami Beach Police Salaries Some of the Highest in the City

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Heat Playoff Schedule Is Set: Here's What's Standing Between Miami and a Three-Peat

Categories: Sports

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Mercifully, the Heat's regular season came to an end Wednesday night with a 100-87 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. The Heat loss means Miami finishes the season with a 54-28 record, 12 games worse than last season's franchise record 66-win campaign.

With the second seed in the East locked up prior to the game, the Heat had nothing to play for, positioning-wise, and it showed. Wade got in some work as he shakes off some of the rust he's accumulated sitting out so many games this season, but other than that, it was all about getting it over with as the team moves on to more important things.

Other teams did have something to play for last night, though, as everything from the third seed to the seventh seed were in flux until late into the night.

Here's a breakdown of how everything landed after 82 games:

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Amazon Will Start Charging Florida Sales Tax May 1

Categories: Business

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photo via Stephen Woods' Flickr | CC2.0
We're sure that after yesterday, the last thing you want to hear about is more taxes. But you'd better get ready to pay a lot more of them if you're a frequent online shopper. Amazon will begin charging Floridians a sales tax May 1, just like any brick-and-mortar store.

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305 Photo of the Day: Don't Be a Drag, Just Be a Queen

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Today's photo comes from Daveinshaw's Flickr. To see your photo here join our Flickr group.

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Downtown Biscayne to Become Grand Promenade With Fewer Lanes and Less Parking -- Someday

Categories: Road Rage

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photo via Gracia Maria Cuzzi's Flickr | MNT Pool
The meat of downtown Miami is separated from the waterfront parks and attractions by an eight-lane highway complete with median surface parking. It works, but it's not exactly the most aesthetically pleasing setup. Well, the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) has finally picked a plan to redevelop a stretch of Biscayne Boulevard into a pretty and pedestrian-friendly "grand promenade."

However, the plan would likely reduce the overall amount of parking and number of traffic lanes.

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Miami Rents Are Wildly Unaffordable for Average Residents

Categories: Unreal Estate

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Photo vis ISeeEvryThing's Flickr | MNT Flickr Pool
The old rule of thumb is that you shouldn't pay more than 30 percent of your income on rent and utilities, but in Miami that's becoming a near-impossible guideline to stick to. A new Zillow analysis shows that the median rent (not including utilities) in Miami is equal to about 43 percent of the median income -- an all-time high and one of the highest rates in the nation.

All those fancy, exclusive high-rises that developers keep building aren't helping matters much.

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A Shady Miami A/C Repairman Was Behind Yasiel Puig's Harrowing Escape From Cuba

Categories: Crime, La Habana

photo by Ron Reiring via Wikimedia Commons
Ever since he earned a midsummer promotion to the Dodgers last year, Cuban defector Yasiel Puig has been the most electrifying man in Major League Baseball -- flying heedlessly into walls, smacking absurd home runs, and annoying columnists by showing up late to games and speeding in his sports car.

But in the shadows, Puig has lived a much darker narrative, where a smuggling ring held him captive in Mexico and threatened to kill him with a machete, and where fellow athletes have accused him of working as a snitch for Castro's regime. At the center of it all, according to an astounding feature this week in Los Angeles magazine, is a Miami air-conditioning repairman with a criminal record.

See also: Cuban Baseball Agents: Risks and Lies

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Three Cops Sold Guns All Over South Florida, Sent to Prison (Video)

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These two cops are in prison for illegally selling more than 500 guns.
In December, I received an email from a former police officer once featured in Miami New Times for blowing the whistle on dirty cops in the town of Golden Beach. Life had turned upside down for Tammy Valdes and her husband, Rafael, since she won a $233,000 judgment against the town in 2012 for unjustly firing her. The couple was looking at serious hard time following their conviction for tax evasion and for selling more than 500 firearms without a federal license at gun shows in Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, and West Palm Beach.

The feds also convicted Jose Antonio Quintana, an ex-Miami Beach cop who introduced the Valdeses to the gun show game.

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Rickenbacker Marina Says City Is Trying to Force It Out of Virginia Key

Categories: Unreal Estate

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iCamPix.net/Flickr CC
For more than two decades on the tip of Virginia Key, Rickenbacker Marina has run its business providing boat storage, a rare longtime Miami operator during a period marked by rapid development and soaring property values. But now the marina is claiming the city is pushing it out to make way for a new lessee -- and using dirty tricks to do so. The marina filed a lawsuit yesterday in Miami-Dade civil court detailing its complaints against the city.

"This is not a case where we didn't pay them," David Haber, an attorney for the marina, tells Riptide. "This is a case where the guy's paying his rent for 30 years and they just don't like him anymore and they want someone else. You can speculate on why."

See also: Key Biscayne Wants to Levy Toll for Bicycles On Rickenbacker

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Miami Company's Venezuelan Security Expert Arrested and Accused of "Terrorist Acts"

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Courtesy of Risks Inc.
Chamel Akl was arrested after photographing protests like this one in Caracas.
The police station burned bright as a bonfire. As cars hissed past on the Caracas highway, flames consumed the roadside structure as if it were kindling. Black smoke belched into the night sky. By the time dawn broke over the Venezuelan capital April 1, nothing was left of the building but a charred concrete shell.

The station was still smoking when Chamel Akl drove by hours later. An instructor for a Miami-based security company, Akl was also an open critic of the Chavista government. Two months of violent street protests had scared away most international businessmen -- his usual clients -- so he had taken to tweeting the location of cops and soldiers he spotted around the city.

They were watching him as well, however. And when Chamel pulled up in front of his brother's house after dinner, cops suddenly swarmed his armored SUV. They dragged the brothers out at gunpoint, cinched their hands behind their backs with zip ties, and pushed them into the back of a paddy wagon.

See also: Miami Mercenaries: International Security Business Is Booming in South Florida

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Video: Charlie Crist Interrupts Lt. Gov. Badmouthing Him on Camera

Categories: Politicks

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Former governor Charlie Crist addressed the non-partisan Forum Club of the Palm Beaches on his plans to unseat current governor Rick Scott. The Scott campaign responded by sending Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera to give an instant response to the media.

Crist, apparently channeling his inner Frank Underwood, pulled a major power move by interrupting Lopez-Cantera while he was talking to the press, shaking his hand, and then saying, "Give me Scott."

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305 Photo of the Day: Under the Bleachers

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

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Coast Guard Offloads $110 Million of Seized Cocaine in Miami Beach

Categories: Drugs

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Courtesy of USCG
The U.S. Coast Guard unloaded roughly $110 million worth of cocaine in Miami Beach this morning, which actually carried a rough street value of about $330 million. The more than 3,300 kilos of llello were interdicted during two separate incidents as part of the Coast Guard's Operation Martillo, an operation that targets international shipments of cocaine coming into America, usually through Miami.

See also: SOUTHCOM Chief: Latin Leaders Think U.S. Marijuana Legalization Is Hypocritical

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