Glock Goes After Toy Gun Makers for Copyright Infringement

Categories: News

Photo by Trevor Bach
Vico Confino shows off a blank shooting gun in his warehouse.
Vico Confino is a husky 81-year-old hell-raiser with a thick Brooklyn accent and an outsized presence -- slicked-back thin white hair, piercing blue eyes, leathery South Florida skin -- that seem cut straight from a Sopranos casting. Confino tosses F-bombs at waiters over bad service. He wears four fake teeth because the originals were punched out in a high school football brawl. He once told a dog walker, after a confrontation over a legally required leash, that he was the man's "worst fucking nightmare."

But in June 2012, Confino was rattled. From his Coconut Creek office -- an unremarkable three- or four-room space where a single copy machine sits surrounded by walls plastered with dozens of gun posters -- he dialed up a top lawyer for Glock, Inc., the billion-dollar company that was suing him for trademark infringement. Confino, as he tells it, introduced himself and amicably offered to negotiate. But the big-shot Glock attorney would have none of it.

"I don't like you," the lawyer allegedly said. "And I'm going to destroy you."

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Here's What Miami's New Downtown Train Station Might Look Like

Categories: News

Courtesy of All Aboard Florida
If All Aboard Florida gets its way, Miamians will be able to hop on a train downtown as soon as next year and disembark in Orlando three hours later. The company, which owns a freight line that runs along Florida's east coast, is banking on a $1.5 billion federal loan to build a new set of tracks for the nation's largest privately run passenger train service.

Of course this is Florida, so the project still has tons of unanswered questions and a whiff of corruption tied to Gov. Rick Scott's staff. But if the train line comes to fruition, the company says Miami's new Grand Central Station would look something like the rendering above.

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Ultra Music Festival Hires Miami Beach Police Chief As Its New Security Director

Categories: News

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Photo by George Martinez
Ultra is hoping hiring Miami Beach police chief Ray Martinez fixes its security problems.
Ultra Music Festival has announced that its new security director will be none other than current Miami Beach police chief Ray Martinez.

The move makes sense. Martinez already announced that he's stepping down at the end of this month. Meanwhile, Ultra is seeking to assuage the City of Miami after a security disaster in which gatecrashers trampled a private guard.

But that doesn't mean the marriage is made in heaven. Under Martinez, Miami Beach police fatally Tasered a teenage graffiti artist, roughed up a model, and beat-up a good samaritan for coming to her aid. How will he handle Ultra?

See also: Teenager Israel Hernandez Dies After Miami Beach Cops Catch Him Tagging, Taser Him

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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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Ex-Librarian Blames Miami-Dade Public Library Director for Budget Woes

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Photo by C.A.Mendieta / Wikimedia Commons
Like most librarians in Miami-Dade County, Julio Granda Jr. was worried about the financial future of his institution. Under County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, the system had lost $30 million in funding over several years and, in the summer of 2013, was staring down an additional $20 million cut.

But when Granda confronted the man he held partly responsible for the library's woes -- longtime library director Raymond Santiago -- at a meeting, Granda says the director "went into a tirade" and remarked, as part of a heated monologue, that if he left "this organization is fucked."

See also: Why Libraries in Miami Are More Important Than Ever

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City of Miami To Spend Thousands Upgrading Trolleys That Don't Serve the Visually Impaired

Categories: News

City of Miami trolley
via miamigov.com
When the City of Miami unveiled its highly anticipated trolley system two years ago this month, city officials were clearly satisfied with themselves. Mayor Tomás Regalado -- who had championed the idea for years -- grinned as he snipped the ribbon from the sleek orange-and-green machines in Mary Brickell Village. The rubber-tired trolleys were supposed to be a sign that Miami had traded smog and sprawl for smart urban planning. The Huffington Post gushed that Miami was the next San Francisco. The trolley system's motto: "Ditch the car and hitch a ride."

For many visually impaired Miamians, however, the new trolleys turned out to be a harrowing ride to the wrong part of town.

This week, city commissioners are expected to finally order upgrades to the trolleys 24 months after their much-publicized debut. The fixes are part of a legal agreement with Andres Gomez, a 26-year-old who claimed the trolleys violated the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).

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DJ Raw, Wynwood's Hip-Hop Forefather and Cocaine Kingpin, Now Sells Hemp Cakes

Categories: Business, News

photo by C. Stiles
DJ Raw
Raul Medina Jr. walks into a Starbucks in Hollywood's Young Circle and asks for a cup of black coffee with light hazelnut syrup and exactly two ice cubes. Better-known as DJ Raw, Medina brought hip-hop to Miami from his native South Bronx and founded Hoodstock, a free, big-name festival in Wynwood in the '90s. He's also a former cocaine kingpin who did a ten-year prison stint for trafficking. Today he's a 50-year-old vegan father of five who prefers the quiet life up in Broward to the neighborhood he helped transform into a graffiti artist's mecca.

"When I got out, people were like 'Let's go take over 40th Street again,'  Medina says. "I was like, 'You can keep 40th Street; I'm going to Broward.' 

See also: Raw Returns: Just released from prison, Miami hip-hop icon DJ Raw is ready for the takeover

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Miami Beach City Attorney Jose Smith Resigns to Take Job in North Miami Beach

Categories: News

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Continuing the parade of high-ranking Miami Beach officials who have left City Hall since November's incumbent-bouncing election, City Attorney Jose Smith announced to that he's resigning. He's leaving to take over the same job in North Miami Beach.

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Miami To Ban Ugly Metal Security Shutters and Screens in Downtown

Categories: News

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Anyone walking in downtown after business hours is greeted with the unwelcoming sight of several storefronts closed off with shutters or metal-barred screens. It's not perhaps the most aesthetically pleasing sight. Well, a new ordinance would ban such screens in an attempt to make downtown more visually pleasing and welcoming.

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Dade County Wants to Relocate Downtown's Seniors for New Development

Categories: News

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A Google street view image of the Harry Cain Towers.
David Kennedy, a 74-year-old retired property manager who moved to Miami 38 years ago from Cuba, has lived in the same downtown public housing building for decades. So have many other residents of the Harry Cain Towers, at 490 NE Second Ave., and they weren't asking to leave.

But Miami-Dade County, desperate to raise public housing funds, has offered the seniors a proposition: If a majority agrees to leave, they'll be relocated to a new building in Allapattah. The downtown building will, in part, be turned into privately rented apartments. Kennedy, for one, isn't buying the county's promises.

"I'll believe it only when I see the paper," Kennedy told Riptide in Spanish, "the paper that says the same thing they're telling us."

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