Library Advocates Say Gimenez Budget Would Slash Services For Miamians

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Courtesy of Community Advocates for Libraries in Miami
At Pinecrest Branch Library, there are homeschooling groups where children and parents get to sit on rugs and cushions while working together. There's a genealogy group, creative writing sessions, a podiatrist teaching a 'Happy Feet' class and free summer lunches for children. And that's only on a Tuesday.

It's all part of the programming that advocates say Miamians will lose out on if Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez gets his way with next year's proposed budget. "The community is going to be cheated if the mayor continues to insist that a library is just a facility when it is so much more than that," Patricia Gormley, co-founder for Community Advocates for Libraries in Miami, tells Riptide.

See also: Library Supporters Feel Betrayed By Mayor Gimenez's Budget

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Atheists Claim Eruv "Imposes Orthodox Judaism" on Miami Beach, Demand Removal

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Photo by Michael E. Miller
String from an eruv runs around Pinetree Park
Two months ago, Riptide reported that residents of Miami Beach were angry that an eruv -- an orthodox Jewish enclosure -- had appeared in Pinetree Park. The sticks and string were an eyesore and an affront to the separation of church and state, one local complained, but the City of Miami Beach backed the eruv.

Now a national atheist organization has gotten involved. The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) has written a letter to the city demanding not only that the eruv in Pinetree Park be dismantled, but that all other public eruvs on the island be taken down.

"The religious significance of eruvin is unambiguous and indisputable," FFRF staff attorney Andrew Seidel wrote yesterday. "They are objects which are significant only to some Jews as a means to obey religious laws that have no bearing on non-adherents. They have no meaning except as a visual, public communication of a purely religious concept for religious believers of a single faith. The City cannot allow such permanent religious displays to be erected on public land."

See also: New Orthodox Jewish Eruv in Pinetree Park Raises Constitutional Questions

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Victims of Dinner Key Boat Crash Relied on Help From Good Samaritans

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Following the tragic boating accident that left four dead off Dinner Key on the Fourth of July, trained rescue workers took up to 15 minutes to respond to the scene. The night was dark and Biscayne Bay was heavy with boat traffic. In those precious moments before professionals showed up, the victims of the crash had to rely on the help of other boaters and Good Samaritans.

See also: Alcohol Confirmed in Dinner Key Boat Crash; Questions Abound

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Library Supporters Feel Betrayed By Mayor Gimenez's Budget

Categories: News

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After releasing the proposed budget for next year, it was clear Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez is looking for a quick fix for the county's libraries.

In a press conference Tuesday, Gimenez proposed to raise the library tax rate, but only enough to allocate $45 million to the financially troubled system. He also suggested a reduction of 94 full-time positions, which would be replaced with part-time staff.

"This option allows us to keep all our libraries open with the same number of hours, but with staffing adjustments," Gimenez said.

Library advocates are steamed. They aim demand $64 million. "Libraries are not just buildings with caretakers," said Terry Murphy, a board member of Friends of the Miami-Dade Public Library. "Gimenez thinks he can just bring in someone to open and close doors, but professional staff is crucial to a library."

See also: Miami-Dade Mayor's Budget Means Cuts to Police, Jails, and Libraries

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Miami-Dade Mayor's Budget Means Cuts to Police, Jails, and Libraries

Categories: News

Photo by Sabrina Rodriguez
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez has proposed a county budget for next year that is all about cuts. To avoid raising property taxes, the county would eliminate hundreds of jobs, hitting police, corrections officers, and librarians the hardest.

In a Tuesday press conference, Gimenez unveiled a proposal to help close the current $64 million budget deficit. In his suggested budget, which will be reviewed by the County Commission, more than 600 positions will be eliminated.

These eliminations include: 177 posts and 20 civilian positions in Corrections and Rehabilition, 228 sworn positions and 57 civilian positions in the police department, and 94 full-time positions in libraries.

See also: Perez Art Museum Miami Could Receive Additional $2.5 Million From County

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Alcohol Confirmed in Dinner Key Boat Crash; Questions Abound

Categories: News

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via Facebook
Victoria Dempsey, Andrew Garcia, and Kelsie Karpiak
Around noon on Monday, several cars belonging to relatives and friends were lined up outside a grieving family's suburban Palmetto Bay home, and Craig Karpiak was still coming to grips with a bleak new reality.

"Nothing matters except she's gone," a somber Karpiak said. "That's my daughter."

More than three days after South Florida's deadliest boating crash killed Karpiak's daughter Kelsie and three others, details of the incident remain scarce, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Jorge Pino told Riptide Monday evening. "Our investigators are still trying to piece all the evidence together and come up with a clearer picture."

See also: After Four Die in Dinner Key Boating Accident, New Details Follow

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After Four Die in Dinner Key Boating Accident, New Details Follow

Categories: News

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More than 48 hours after four people were killed and several others injured in a gruesome boat collision near Dinner Key, authorities are still working to determine details of the crash.

"Now it's just a matter of putting the pieces of the puzzle together," Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Jorge Pino told Riptide Sunday evening. "We have to take the physical evidence and combine that with the electronic evidence that we have, which includes GPS position [and] speed."

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Florida Teenager Tariq Khedir Returned Home After Alleged Brutal Beating by Israeli Forces

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Courtesy of CAIR Florida
The tenuous Israeli-Palestinian relationship teetered on a knife's edge last week when the bodies of three murdered Israeli teens were found. It threatened to tip into outright mayhem days later when a Palestinian teen was kidnapped and burned alive in a revenge killing. And this weekend, a Florida teenager was at the center of the latest seesawing conflict after he was allegedly brutally beaten by Israeli forces during a protest.

Tariq Khedir, a 15-year-old who goes to high school in Tampa, was released from prison this morning and is now under house arrest. The U.S. government has called for a full probe into a beating activists say was caught on video.

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Miami-Dade Democrats Get on the Ballot But Trail Big in Fundraising

Categories: News

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Courtesy of Miami-Dade Democratic Party
Miami-Dade Democrats say no more free rides for local Republican representatives.
Last month, the Miami Herald pointed out that the vast majority of Floridians will have no choice in choosing who represents them in Tallahassee come November's elections. The deadline to run as a candidate to the Florida Senate and House of Representatives passed in late June and in the final tally, a full third of the state legislature ended up unchallenged.

But that isn't the case in Miami-Dade! Thanks to a new push by local Democrats, every single sitting Republican faces a challenger this year. The question is whether that really matters when none of those challengers has any cash to spend.

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Uber Will Donate $1 To MADD For Every Rider on Fourth of July

Categories: News

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Courtesy of Uber
Uber may be best known in Miami at the moment for it's epic ongoing fight with county commissioners. But the ride-sharing service is trying to make a dent in another battle today, namely the effort against drunk driving on the Fourth of July.

The controversial company has teamed up with Mothers Against Drunk Driving and promised to donate $1 for every ride today and $10 for every new rider that signs up with the promotional code "UberMADD."

See also: UberX Will Launch in Miami Today, Defying Miami-Dade's Taxi Laws

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