Hundreds Evacuated From North Miami Beach Costco Six Years After It Burned Down

Categories: El Jefe, News

Courtesy of the City of North Miami Beach
For the second time in six years, a fire has broken out at a North Miami Beach Costco store, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of customers and staff.

The blaze broke out around noon Monday on a top shelf near the pharmacy. The lights quickly went out a few minutes later. Shoppers and employees were all hustled out through the front door after an alarm went off. Fire exits were not immediately opened. Outside, a cashier directed traffic.

"People started running, and the staff told them to slow down," one shopper said. "I'm not sure why they didn't open those doors."

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Miami Beach Police Leak New Times Letter In Record Time. Do Beach Cops Listen to Their Boss?

Categories: El Jefe

Miami Beach Police Chief Daniel J. Oates sent a letter to his staff today outlining his concerns about an upcoming story in Miami New Times. "This email is for your information only. My request is that you not release it outside the Department," he wrote.

Minutes after he sent the email, his staff released it to blogger Bill Cooke. So much for following orders. That seems kind of important in a police department, doesn't it, Chief Oates?

In any case, the letter outlined on Cooke's blog, Random Pixels, reproduces New Times senior writer Michael Miller's highly professional, 839-word request for comment.

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Obama's Cuban Reform Doesn't Go Nearly Far Enough

Categories: El Jefe

photo by gildemax via Wikimedia Commons
Yenis Delgado is a green-eyed, 45-year-old Cuban beauty. She left the island a decade ago with her husband and young son. Her dad stayed behind, though, and it's hard to keep in touch. Calls cost $1 per minute. Sending gifts sets her back $50 per pound.
"Who can afford that?" she says. "It was about time they did something to change the system. But they need to do much more."

President Barack Obama's announcement last week that he plans to "normalize relations between... the American and Cuban people and begin a new chapter among the nations of the Americas," drew treacly praise from liberals and heavy fire from Cuban-American politicians. Listening to either the Birkenstock brigade or the partido de té last week, you would have thought there was a new storming of the Moncada Barracks.

But they all got it wrong.

See Also: Special Report: America's Cuba Ties Transformed

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

Categories: El Jefe

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

Categories: El Jefe

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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Miami Wants to Kick Overtown's Legendary Youth Football Team Off Its Home Field

Categories: El Jefe

Photo by Chuck Strouse
The Rattlers have practiced in Overtown for more than 20 years.
After football practice at Overtown's Williams Park each day, 13-year-old wide receiver Gerald Johnson walks off the grassy field with sweat sluicing down his forehead. "Bye, Fat Albert," his buddies call. That's Gerald's nickname, even though he's skinny as a twig. He tucks soggy shoulder pads into a bag and saunters home through Town Park Village -- a smattering of tightly packed public housing that borders the field. Folks on door stoops nod. A few whistle. He's a hero.

"This is where I grew up," the Jose De Diego Middle Schooler says with a crooked smile. "People in the neighborhood know me. They take care of me."

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Miami Shores Gay Marriage Controversy: Mayor's Ball Canceled, New Vote Likely UPDATED

Categories: El Jefe

Kevin Goebel Flickr
Tiny-but-tranquil Miami Shores isn't often rocked by controversy, but a vote last month that failed to endorse gay marriage has turned neighbor against neighbor.

After the North Dade town's mayor, Herta Holly, and two others killed a resolution in July that would have supported marriage equality, which is bubbling its way through Florida courts, pressure came to bear on the one-story Village Hall on Northeast Second Avenue. Now the long-running Mayor's Ball has been canceled over the brouhaha, and a new vote on a pro-LBGT measure has been scheduled for next week.

See also: Miami Shores Council Rejects Gay Marriage Equality Resolution

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Steven Sotloff's Mother Pleas to ISIS for His Release

Categories: El Jefe

The mom of Steven Sotloff, the 31-year-old American journalist and Pinecrest native whom ISIS has threatened to kill, has issued a moving video begging for her son's release. In the minute-long video, Shirley Sotloff says: "He is a loyal and generous son and grandson. We have not seen Steven for over a year and we miss him very much."

See also: ISIS Beheads Journalist, Threatens to Kill Miami Reporter if Obama Continues Attacks

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Gawker Admits Plagiarizing Miami New Times, Suspends Writer

Categories: El Jefe

Village Voice
Everything I have ever said about Gawker is false. Everything.

The gossip/news (or is it news/gossip?) website this morning admitted inadvertently stealing copy from Miami New Times. We didn't bring it to their attention.

The plagiarism related to a post last week by Miami New Times news blogger Kyle Munzenrieder, who had written about arrests in a group that had filmed underage porn. The Gawker article carried the byline of Jay Hathaway.

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Peacocks: Most Miami Reason for a Traffic Jam

Categories: El Jefe

Peacocks stop what?
For half an hour this morning, North Miami Avenue -- one of the city's most crowded arteries -- was shut down.

By peacocks.

For most of the show, it was funny, but not to the honking buses, swerving drivers, and cops who didn't show up.

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