A Gay -- or "Two-Spirit" -- Miccosukee Man Fights for the Everglades

Categories: Longreads

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Photo courtesy of Houston Cypress
As Houston Cypress (pictured) likes to say, "The Otter clan is the hotter clan."
Just off the six lanes of Tamiami Trail, west of Florida's Turnpike and behind a Kentucky Fried Chicken, a secret gate leads to a backyard where dugout canoes rest under a chickee hut. Across the grass and through a sliding-glass door is a living room that doubles as the Medicine Signs Spiritual Center. Covered in cozy textiles and celestial bric-a-brac, the room is dark, save for the glow from red string lights and a dozen candles. On a Tuesday night in October, Houston Cypress leads a sacred circle of about 20 followers.

Dressed in khaki pants, a black T-shirt, and a costume-jewelry necklace that glitters like a disco ball, the 34-year-old, who is ordained as a Universalist minister, rattles off an opening prayer in English with a Miccosukee accent--a warm drawl with clipped, hard consonants.

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Miami Beach Bans Bikes on Lincoln Road, but Cyclists Ride On

Categories: Bike Blog

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Photo by Trevor Bach
You can't miss them. The new signs, on Lincoln Road at Meridian and Washington avenues, are massive, and their message is loud and unambiguous. "NO BICYCLES ON LINCOLN ROAD," they flash in lighted block letters. "BICYCLES PROHIBITED 9 A.M. to 2 A.M."

The electronic signs went up a couple of weeks ago in response to a new city ordinance that was passed earlier this fall.

"We've had some favorable response from our police and code enforcement," says Miami Beach transportation director Jose Gonzalez. "They're very visible, the new signs. So it's always easier to enforce the law that way."

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The Everglades' Remaining Alligators Just Keep Getting Skinnier and Skinnier

Categories: Environmental

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Photo: Tom's Flickr | MNT Flickr Pool
The alligators of the Everglades are wasting away. Literally.

Scientists have noticed for decades that gators in South Florida have become increasingly smaller than those found in central and north Florida, and things haven't gotten better. CBS News reports that the habitat now supports about half the population scientists expect such an environment could support.

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305 Photo of the Day: Pup Life

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

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Downtown Miami's Population Nearly Doubled Since 2000

Categories: Unreal Estate

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Parts of downtown Miami have become almost unrecognizable since 2000. Few urban cores have remade themselves in the new millennium the way downtown Miami has, yet the area continues to get criticism for being a place that still isn't quite suited for living full-time.

Well, the Downtown Development Agency has released a new population and demographics report claiming the population of downtown has almost doubled in the past 14 years, with 99.6 percent more people living in the area now than in 2000.

See also: Miami Rents Are Wildly Unaffordable for Average Residents

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Hialeah Gardens High Basketball Coach Accused of Molesting Players, Promising Them Steroids

Categories: Crime

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Javier Cuenca, a former assistant basketball coach at Hialeah Gardens High School, has been arrested on multiple charges after allegations arose that he molested one or more male players over a period of two to three years.

"He would tell them that he was going give them a steroid to make them bigger and stronger and more athletic," an anonymous relative of one of the victims told NBC Miami. "And he would tell them that in order to give them that steroid, he had to test them."

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Miami Crew Busted in Elaborate Plot to Trade Emeralds for Cocaine

Categories: Crime

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Photo by EvaK via Wikimedia Commons
The two middle-aged men were ambitious. They wanted to repair their sailboat and navigate across the ocean, from Colombia to Italy. All so they could smuggle two tons of cocaine.

According to a federal arrest affidavit filed last week, keysnet.com reports, two South Florida men -- Juan Soberon and Marin Spariosu -- the latter a registered agent of a downtown Miami jewelry store, conspired to front thousands of dollars' worth of emeralds in exchange for cocaine. Flush with money from the initial sale, the two sailors would then embark on the much grander plan of smuggling up to two tons of coke across the ocean.

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Matt Bai on Herald's Gary Hart Investigation: "It Was Shocking Then and ... It's Shocking Now"

Categories: Media Watch

Gary Hart's presidential campaign, which was torpedoed by a Miami Herald investigation, is the subject of Matt Bai's new book "All the Truth Is Out"
In 1987, the Miami Herald turned a presidential race on its head. A team of reporters, acting on a tip, staged an elaborate stake-out of Democratic frontrunner Gary Hart at his Washington townhouse. Their reporting led to an investigation alleging that Hart had been carrying on an affair with a Miami woman named Donna Rice; within weeks Hart resigned.

To Matt Bai, Yahoo News' national political correspondent, that moment wasn't just a seminal piece of local journalism lore. In his new book, All the Truth Is Out, Bai argues the Herald's piece marked the moment American political coverage made a hard turn away from substance and into 24-hour scandal mongering.

Riptide caught up with Bai before his appearance this weekend at the Miami Book Fair International to talk about the Herald's original story, how he cracked the case of who tipped the paper off 27 years ago and his hopes for political journalism in the future.

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Cops, NFL Covered for Dolphins Player Accused of Hitting Pregnant Fiancée

Categories: Crime

Ex-Dolphins lineman Phillip Merling received lenient treatment from cops after beating his pregnant fiancée, a new report alleges.
In May 2010, Broward dispatchers received a call from a terrified woman cowering in a bathroom. She was pregnant, she said, and her much larger fiancé had just hit her in the face. "Please help," the woman begged.

Police showed up and arrested her alleged abuser. But because the woman's fiancé was none other than Miami Dolphins defensive end Phillip Merling, the case soon went well outside the normal track for a domestic violence incident.

In fact, according to a New York Times investigation, the team pressured police to treat Merling leniently. Neither the NFL nor the Dolphins did anything to punish the hulking lineman. And Merling's ex tells the Times that the harassment only got worse and has lasted all the way through this year.

See also: Miami Dolphins Prove Even When NFL Gets It Right on Domestic Violence, Still Gets It Wrong

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Operation "Willy Wonka" Leads to Arrest of 17 "Get Money Soldiers" Gang Members

Categories: Crime

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Dumb names. Serious crime.

Miami-Dade Police's yearlong "Operation Willy Wonka" investigation into the "Get Money Soliders" street gang has ended in the arrest of 17 members as well as 14 other individuals.

The Get Money Soldiers were operating out of the Arthur Mays Villas Public Housing complex down in the Goulds neighborhood of South Miami-Dade. Starting off as kiddie cliques involved in small-time crime, the group eventually turned into a violent criminal organization that took over the area's drug trade and was also involved in guns, theft and murder.

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305 Photo of the Day: High Rise

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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.

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Florida Democrats Chair on Election Loss Fallouts: "The Bed-Wetters Need to Shut Up!"

Categories: Politicks

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After some embarrassing losses in the midterm elections, the Florida Democratic party is full of some finger pointing and infighting at the moment, but the party's State Chairwoman Allison Tant is sick of it.

She told the News Service of Florida that, "the bed-wetters need to shut up, and we need to move on."

This, of course, only lead to more in-fighting.

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Pharrell Williams Can't Sell His Brickell Penthouse

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MLS Listing Photo
Pharrell Williams' life is better than yours. His music career is back and better than ever. His style is fawned over. He's a judge on one of the biggest shows on television at the moment. But not everything is going well for ol' Pharrell. He can't sell his Brickell penthouse.

Such is the cruel and sometimes unpredictable world of Miami real estate.

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Miami Hurricanes Have the Talent To Beat Florida State Seminoles

Categories: Luke's Gospel

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Uncle Luke, the man whose booty-shaking madness made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times. Today, Luke offers what it will take for the Miami Hurricanes to beat Florida State.

On Saturday night the Florida State Seminoles football team and their fans are expecting to cap a fun-filled weekend in the Magic City by beating the Miami Hurricanes for a sixth straight time. They've got visions of popping bottles at swanky South Beach nightclubs, believing Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston and his squad will quickly dispatch the Hurricanes on their march to a second national championship.

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France's Kim Kardashian Booked for Attempted Murder, and There's a Florida Connection

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 the Florida connection to France's reality show attempted murder and the worst shoplifter in America.

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Dolphins Crush Bills After Their Cornerback Promised: "We're Going To Beat That A$#"

Categories: Sports

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S---, we're going to go out and beat that ass. Point blank. Period," - Bills cornerback Leodis McKelvin on what would happen when the Bills played the Dolphins.

Final score at Sun Life last night: Dolphins 22, Bills 9. More like LOLdis McKelvin, right? RIGHT?!

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Miami-Dade Police Arrest Blind Man, Drop Him Off Miles From Home With No Phone

Categories: The Badge

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Tannie "T-Man" Burke, 21, tells CBS4 that he's used to being hassled by cops even though he's never been convicted of a crime. He's been arrested twice and detained several other times, he believes, simply because he's a young black man.

"I feel they stop me because they see a black man walking down the street," he tells Jim Defede. "I don't know what to say about it. I just feel bad about it. That's it."

But his arrest on August 27 seemed particularly cruel and strange. Burke is blind, and after police arrested him on suspicion of marijuana possession they put him in the back of a cop car. They never took him in to be booked, he says, and then dropped him at night in a desolate area nearly a mile from his home and didn't offer help getting home.

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305 Photo of the Day: Quacks

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

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South Beach Dogs Are Suffering a Spate of Mysterious Seizures

Categories: News

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Photo by Elvert Barnes | Flickr CC 2.0
Are South Beach pooches in danger?
Last Sunday morning Les Lehotay, a Miami Beach hairdresser, had breakfast at Las Olas Cafe, at Sixth Street and Euclid Avenue, with his friend Lorenzo Ramos, a realtor, and Ramos' dog Rocco, a healthy two and a half-year-old French bulldog.

At one point Ramos took Rocco for a walk around the neighborhood, and somewhere on 5th Street Rocco meandered into some bushes and promptly ate something. Ramos pulled him back, but just a few minutes later, by the time Ramos and Rocco got back to Las Olas, Rocco's body was beset by violent seizures, and he appeared to have trouble breathing.

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72-Year-Old Bill Nelson Charged With Reinvigorating Florida Dems for a New Age

Categories: Politicks

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Senator Bill Nelson is just about the only problem the Florida Democratic Party doesn't have. The 72-year-old senator is in his third term and always cruises to an easy reelection, and has held one elected office or another since 1973 save for a four-year gap in the early '90s. But is he really the man to trust when it comes to plotting the future of the state party? We'll find out.

Nelson has been named the co-chair of the newly announced Democrats' Leadership Expansion to Advance Democrats (LEAD) task force along with former Orlando Police Chief and failed congressional candidate Val Demings.

See also: Florida's Democratic Party Is a Joke, but Who Is the Punchline: Its Leaders or Voters?

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