Florida's Broken Guardianship System Could Finally Get Overhauled This Year

Categories: News

Illustration by Carlo Giambarresi
Last May, New Times published an investigation into abuse in Florida's guardianship programs. The report showed that in cases across the state, court-appointed guardians were taking advantage of the elderly and incapacitated people they were supposed to protect.

Nearly a year later, Florida's much-maligned system may finally get the overhaul it needs. A half-dozen bills have already been filed in Tallahassee, and several of them have a good shot at passing.

"No longer can anyone claim that we are making this up and it's not a statewide chronic problem," says Dr. Sam Sugar of the group Americans Against Abusive Probate Guardianship (AAAPG). "We have accomplished that."

See also: Florida's Guardians Often Exploit the Vulnerable Residents They're Supposed to Protect

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Miami Has Second Highest Rate of Food Stamp Use in the Country

Categories: News

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Photo by Peggy Greb | WikiCommons
Food.
Oh, Miami. Where those with untold riches and a taste for unabashed luxury live in the same community as those suffering from crippling poverty.

As another reminder of that fact, new data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau finds that the Miami metro area has the second highest rate of food stamp usage of any major metro in the entire country.

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Miami's Congressional Delegation Really Excited To Get Banned From Venezuela

Categories: News

Photo by Agência Brasil via Wikimedia Commons
President Nicolas Maduro had harsh words for Miami's political establishment.
Down in Venezuela, things are not going great. Condoms are retailing for hundreds of dollars, inflation has leapt to 60 percent and there's such an acute shortage of toilet paper that Caracas is considering a deal to trade crude oil for Charmin.

So in the finest tradition of his mentor Hugo Chavez, President Nicolas Maduro has responded by thundering about an American assassination plot, arresting opposition leaders and -- this weekend -- calling Miami's congressional delegation "terrorists" and banning them from ever visiting Venezuela.

Miami's political leaders weren't exactly crushed by the move.

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Feds Used Miami's "Merchant of Death" to Catch Ex-CIA Smugglers, Secret Docs Show

Categories: Crime, News

Sarkis Soghanalian once sold weapons to warring countries across the globe from his Hibiscus Island mansion, earning the nickname the "Merchant of Death" while becoming one of the biggest arms dealers on earth during the Cold War.

Soghanalian's larger-than-life exploits partly inspired Nicolas Cage's character in the 2005 movie, Lord of War, but much of his life has remained shrouded in secrecy and lies. Until last week, that is, when the FBI released thousands of pages of classified files on the arms dealer.

Among the most amazing stories the new documents illuminate is how Soghanalian wriggled out of a potential two-decade prison sentence in Miami federal court by snitching on two ex-CIA fugitives.

See also: Newt Gingrich Once Probed by FBI Over Ties to Miami Arms Dealer Sarkis Soghanalian

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On Third Anniversary of Trayvon Martin's Death, Mother Says Zimmerman Got Away With Murder

Categories: News

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Courtesy of Trayvon Martin's family
Today marks the third anniversary of Martin's death.
Today marks exactly three years since George Zimmerman fired the shots that killed Miami Garden teenager Trayvon Martin up in Sanford, Florida. It's already been a tense week in regarded to the remembrance of the case. The U.S. Justice Department announced on Tuesday that it had closed its investigation and will not charge Zimmerman with any wrongdoing.

In an interview with the Associated Press last night, Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, says that she now believes that Zimmerman got away with murder.

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Mysterious "Quakes" Gently Rock South Miami-Dade

Categories: News

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Photo by Gary B. Edstrom | WikiCommons
At least it hasn't led to anything like this yet.
Coral Gables is home of the Miami Hurricanes. It doesn't, however, play host too often to earthquakes. Still, a rash of small-scale tremors have shaken the area and other neighborhoods in South Miami-Dade over the past week.

No one seems to know why.

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All Aboard Florida's Miami-to-Orlando Rail Plan Doomed to Go Bust, Study Says

Categories: News

Courtesy of All Aboard Florida
A rendering of downtown's planned rail station for All Aboard Florida.
All Aboard Florida, the private firm planning rail service between Miami and Orlando, has already faced plenty of blowback, including residents worried about noise and traffic delays and accusations of political malfeasance. But there's also the more basic question of whether the $2.5 billion venture -- which includes plans for a gleaming downtown Miami station -- will be economically viable.

A study out this morning (paid for by opponents of the deal) suggests it's not. In fact, to meet its debt obligations, the research suggests, the rail line would have to charge $273 for a one-way ticket -- far more than the price of a flight.

See also: All Aboard Florida Shares New Images of Miami Station, Tries To Blunt Building Criticism

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Businessman Paul Raifaizen Pleads Guilty to Part in Massive Miami Taxpayer-Screwing Scam

Categories: News

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Photo by Chris Potter | Wikicommons
Order in the court
Paul Raifaizen probably thought he'd hit the corruption jackpot when he found a crooked Miami-Dade County bureaucrat named Jesus "Jay" Pons, who promised to overpay his company for work it never did. However, Pons' scheme grew so outrageous that it toppled, ensnaring everyone involved in legal trouble. Oh, and just to add insult to injury, the bureaucrat also had an affair with Raifaizen's fiancée while all of this was going on.

Raifaizen's legal saga came to an end last week after he plead guilty to his part in the scheme.

See also: The "Meyer Lanksy" of Miami-Dade Government Goes Down

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Miami Beach Named Sexiest Beach in the World, Because Duh

Categories: News

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Photo by Javier Z Photography | MNT Flickr Pool
The sexiest beach in all the land.
It's really not fair that two travel sites have decided to release their awards for best beaches on this, a week of cold and misery across the nation.

Here in Miami we can't even use our own beaches right now. (We mean, there's probably some weird European tourists out there now like, "Oh, so warm here. Very nice." But locals on the beach right now? Not a chance.) But when the weather does warm up, please know the beach you're going to is the sexiest beach in the world.

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Video: Daredevil Climbed 50-Story Crane in Brickell and Hung Off Edge by One Hand

Categories: News

Courtesy of @open.world
A mysterious daredevil hangs over downtown
On YouTube, the man in black goes by the handle DareDevilMagic_insane. For once, an online name isn't hyperbole.

Just watch his latest video, when the urban climber sneaks into a Brickell construction site, scales a 50-story crane, and dangles by one hand high over downtown Miami.

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