Chavez, Matisse, and the Heist That Shook the Americas

Categories: Longreads

U.S. Department of Justice
A decade after it was reported stolen, Odalisque in Red Pants was recovered by the FBI in Miami Beach.
In the dark of the hotel room, the ultraviolet lamp ignited like Promethean fire. A middle-aged American with gray hair leaned low over the bed, his gaunt face glowing in the purple light. Beneath him lay a weathered canvas, its edges cracked and crumbling. The man inhaled deeply. Then, with gloved hands, he slowly swept the lamp along the painting's smooth surface.

A pair of crimson pants legs sprang from the shadows. The man moved the lamp a few inches more and a woman's belly gleamed soft and white. Her bare breasts were full and pink, her mouth small and puckered like a wilted rose. At last, the man shone the light into her eyes: dark, inscrutable orbs peering out from the canvas for the first time in a decade.

"It's real," the American said, standing up and shutting off the lamp.

"¬°Felicidades!" a Mexican woman shouted, springing from a chair and embracing him.

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Drones Coming to Disney World, but Don't Worry They're Fun Drones

Categories: WTF Florida

Drones get a bad wrap. Yes, they can be used as tools of war to kill people and conduct covert surveillance, sure, but they can also be fun!

Disney has filed patents for drones it hopes to one day use in its theme parks, but Central Florida is not about to become a Micky Mouse-run police state.

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SkyRise Miami Passes, but Is It Really Better Than the Downtown Soccer Stadium?

Categories: Business

It's a go!
Developer Jeff Berkowitz's plan to build an enormous observation tower in downtown Miami passed at the polls Tuesday, but its effect on downtown remains to be seen.

The few voters who showed up to cast ballots in the city yesterday approved the $400 million, 1,000-foot tower by a two-to-one margin. It will also likely include a Tower of Terror-like ride when finished around 2018. Berkowitz will now have to pay the city $1 million upfront. General Growth Properties, which owns Bayside Marketplace, must also invest $27 million in upgrades to the shopping center, and its lease will be extended.

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Miami Hurricanes Season Opener: Five Things to Watch

Categories: Sports

The Miami Hurricanes will kick off their 2014-15 football season Labor Day against the Louisville Cardinals in a rematch of their 36-9 Russell Athletic Bowl loss this past December. Much has changed in just a few short months -- both teams will sport new quarterbacks and many different starters this time around. Both schools saw their QBs from the bowl game head to the NFL, with the Cardinals' Teddy Bridgewater going to the Vikings and the Canes' Stephen Morris playing for the Jaguars.

The game promises to set the tone for the Hurricanes' latest attempt at returning to the pinnacle of college football. A win could catapult the team into the Top 25. A loss would almost ensure Miami's ceiling this season would be an ACC championship -- so a lot is on the line in the opener.

Here are a few things to watch when the Hurricanes take the field for the first time this season.

See also: The Canes Can Win Big if Donna Shalala Loosens the Reins

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Waffles and Parking Debate in Wynwood This Morning

Photo by Rich Robinson
The great Wynwood parking debate continues.
Amid rampant strife from local businesses over ongoing changes to Wynwood parking, the city's parking chief, Art Noriega, is set to defend the new regulations in a discussion with the changes' most vocal critic, local tech entrepreneur Mario Cruz. The parking showdown will commence later this morning at the neighborhood's Waffle Wednesday event at the offices of at 120 NW 25th St.

See also: Miami Parking Authority Apologizes for Ticketing in Wynwood, Will Issue Refunds

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Miami-Dade Primary Election Results: Live-Blog

Categories: Politicks

Photo by Kyle Munzenrieder
Do you feel that excitement? The excitement only a midterm primary election can bring?

OK, sure, both of the top-of-the-ticket races for each party's gubernatorial nominee may be foregone conclusions, but there were lots of interesting races going on elsewhere on the ballot in Miami-Dade. That includes legislative primaries, the next mayor of North Miami, a decisive county commission race, and whether or not Miami voters will allow the construction of that giant hairpin-shaped observational tower.

Join us as we live blog the election results. For more prattling you can also follow us on Twitter at @MiamiNewTimes and @Munzenrieder.

Republican Governor Nominee:
Rick Scott
Democratic Governor Nominee: Charlie Crist

Democratic Attorney General Nominee: George Sheldon

Republican Congressional Primary, District 26: Carlos Curbelo (Will face Rep. Joe Garcia in Nov.)

Miami-Dade Commission - District 8: Daniella Levine Cava

North Miami Mayor: Runoff between Kevin Burns and Smith Josephy

Miami Bayside/SkyRise ballot question: Approved

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Democratic Senator Calls for Boycott of Burger King

Categories: Politicks

Burger King's merger with Canadian coffee join Tim Hortons is official. While the company will keep the burger chain's corporate headquarters right here in Miami, the corporation will become a corporate citizen of Canada. That means they'll be paying their corporate tax bill to our northern neighbor and not Uncle Sam.

Well, Ohio Democrat Senator Sherrod Brown is already calling for Americans to boycott the burger chain. Granted, it came with a home state-supporting catch.

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305 Photo of the Day: Rusty Fett

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

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Jennifer Carroll Calls Rick Scott Inhuman and Incompetent in New Book

Categories: Politicks

With primaries out of the way, tomorrow will be the official start of the general election for Florida's next governor. It's also the day that Rick Scott's former lieutenant governor, Jennifer Carroll, releases her autobiography, When You Get There.

Spoiler alert: She's not very nice to the guv in it.

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Miami Ranked 15th Worst Drivers in America, Hialeah 12th

Categories: Road Rage

Photo by Averette via WikiCommons | CC3.0
It's the tenth anniversary of Allstate Insurance's "Americas Best Drivers" list, and as usual, South Florida cities find themselves near the bottom.

Of the 200 cities ranked, Miami has the 186th "best" drivers, or 15th worst. Meanwhile, Hialeah came in at 189th, or 12th worst. Both cities have fallen further down the list since Allstate began publishing it ten years ago.

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Crocodile Bites Two in Coral Gables Canal, Makes History

Categories: Flotsam

Courtesy of National Park Service via Wikimedia Commons
Two local residents are recovering after a crocodile bit them early Sunday morning in Coral Gables.

And now they're famous: "This is the first time that we've ever had a crocodile bite a human being in the United States," Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) spokesman Jorge Pino told the Miami Herald.

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The Canes Can Win Big if Donna Shalala Loosens the Reins

Categories: Luke's Gospel

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for lukescartoon.JPG
Alex Izaguirre
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. This week, Luke assesses the upcoming Hurricanes football season.

On Labor Day, the University of Miami Hurricanes will begin their season with a game against the Louisville Cardinals, the team that kicked the snot out of them in the Russell Athletic Bowl last December. It's a great opportunity for head coach Al Golden to set the tone for his fourth season at the helm. He has no more excuses this year. The U enters this season free of distractions. There is no longer a cloud hanging over the program because of NCAA investigations. And Golden has a stud quarterback starting with freshman Brad Kaaya.

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Two Long-Lost Maps Spark a Quest to Find Forgotten Pyramids in the Florida Swamps

Categories: Longreads

St. Petersburg Times
L. Frank Hudson studies a map.
Upstairs at the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science, past smiling employees at the front desk and cubicles full of researchers and staffers, lies a secluded room behind a password-protected door. Inside, unmoving taxidermies of bears, snakes, and birds stand next to rows of sterile bones, shells, and antique instruments of science.

The L-shaped room with industrial ceilings and wooden floors has been dubbed "the Curious Vault." Shelves and drawers are crammed full of every kind of weirdness from the natural and human world, most donated by the public over the past 60-plus years.

On a quiet weekday afternoon in April, I was working in the vault with Kevin Arrow, the museum's art and collections manager, digging through old files. As a writer and researcher for the museum, I've discovered and told the stories of objects that the public has never seen, from a bizarre weather-recording device owned by the Deering family to 1920s paintings made underwater using an experimental pre-scuba machine. With the museum preparing to move everything to its new facility on Biscayne Bay downtown, we've been diving into the darkest corners to catalogue what's hidden there.

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305 Photo of the Day: Leaf Tube

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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Teen Arrested for Nearly Stabbing Mother to Death

Categories: Crime

Nineteen-year-old U'Laun Jamar Volthire is being held at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center this morning on charges of domestic violence and attempted murder.

His mother, 38-year-old Yolanda Ferguson, is at Kendall Regional Medical Center recovering from emergency surgery after she was stabbed multiple times by her son.

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Burger King May Be Moving Headquarters to Canada

Categories: Business

Bye-bye, Burger King? One of Miami-Dade's biggest and perhaps most well-known corporate citizens may be moving to Canada.

According to the New York Times, Burger King confirmed yesterday that its pursuing a merger with Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons that would see the fast-food chain moving its corporate headquarters from Miami-Dade to America's attic.

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Video Shows Nightclub Brawl Involving NFL Rookie Mike Evans, Miami Beach Cops Watching

Categories: Sports, The Badge

A screenshot of the TMZ video.
A video that surfaced last Friday on TMZ shows an early-morning brawl outside a nightclub in South Beach. Not all that unusual -- except this one involves Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie wide receiver Mike Evans. And the two Miami Beach cops who appear in the frame do little more than stand around and let the melee play out.

Brown, clearly a very tall, athletic man, is seen arguing with a bouncer outside Dream nightclub in March; the scrum really erupts after a different bouncer forcefully pushes a member of Brown's entourage. Several men then begin to fight, shoving and wildly throwing punches. At one point Brown leapfrogs a car and circles back to the action.

In the video, first reported locally by Random Pixels, two uniformed Miami Beach cops are present throughout the sequence. One gently tugs on Brown's arm before the fight takes off, but other than that, the two are essentially spectators.

See also: Miami Beach Cops Made $300,000 Working Off-Duty for Nightclubs Before Chief Banned Practice

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North Miami Residents Ready to Choose a New Mayor After City's Corrupt Past

Categories: News

via Wiki Commons
In the past five years, North Miami has seen the mayor's seat filled by two politicians who have faced allegations of criminal and unethical behavior. It began with Andre Pierre using taxpayer money to order fake police badges for his staff's use. Then Pierre was replaced by Lucie Tondreau, who lasted less than a year in office before being suspended for her alleged involvement in a multimillion-dollar mortgage fraud scheme.

But finally, three months after Tondreau's arrest and multiple corruption allegations, North Miami residents will get to elect a new mayor for the city tomorrow. Residents will choose from three candidates -- former mayor Kevin Burns, former councilman Jean Marcellus, and ex-mayoral candidate Smith Joseph.

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Amid Ferguson Conflict, Activists Decry Miami Cop Rehired After Killing Travis McNeil

Categories: Crime

Photo by Tim Elfrink
Sheila McNeil holds a poster showing her son, Travis, who was unarmed when a Miami police officer shot and killed him three years ago.
As Ferguson, Missouri, has descended into a nightmarish vision of a dystopian police state, few have watched the growing clashes between protesters and authorities with a perspective quite like Sheila McNeil's. As a young woman in Overtown, McNeil lived through Miami's own version of Ferguson -- the McDuffie riots that tore through the neighborhood in 1980. And three years ago, a police officer shot and killed McNeil's unarmed son, 28-year-old Travis McNeil.

Worst of all, the very same day that the unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown was fatally shot in Ferguson, McNeil got word that Officer Reynoldo Goyos -- the Miami cop who had been fired after killing her son -- would be rehired and awarded all of his back pay.

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Pam Bondi on Keeping Gay Marriage Illegal: "I am Just Getting Started"

Thumbnail image for pamBondi.jpg
Apparently there are some people out there who don't think Attorney General Pam Bondi is doing a good enough job defending Florida's ban on same-sex marriage, which a federal jude just ruled yesterday was unconstitutional and will be scene in the near future as "an obvious pretext for discrimination."

Well, just hours after the ruling, Bondi took a pledge before gay marriage opponents and promised that she's just getting started in her fight to upkeep the ban.

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