<![CDATA[NBC 6 South Florida - South Florida News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+6+LOGO+GOOGLE.png NBC 6 South Florida http://www.nbcmiami.com en-us Tue, 25 Nov 2014 23:07:33 -0500 Tue, 25 Nov 2014 23:07:33 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Charter Schools Not Making the Grade]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 22:30:45 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/charterschool112514.jpg

Charter schools are so popular they’ve doubled in number to more than 600 across the state. But lately charter schools have made headlines for a rash of closings in South Florida—that aren’t just upsetting parents, but are costing taxpayers money.

Charter schools are publicly funded, but operate independently. Forty-nine charter schools have shut down in South Florida in the last five years, more than 40% owing school districts millions of dollars in tax money--and leaving parents like John and Mariya Wai scrambling to find a new school.

The Wai’s thought they found the ideal new school this year for their eight year old son, Luca Mancinelli.

“I thought it was a perfect match,” said John Wai.

The family says administrators at Magnolia School for the Arts, a new charter school in Plantation, even promised laptops for every child. The Wai’s say the new school was supposed to offer classes with challenging academics while nurturing his artistic talents.

“Luca loves photography and loves to draw. I thought it was," said John Wai.

But that's not how it turned out. When school started, the school building wasn’t ready so class moved outside the Young-at-Art museum in Davie.

“On the first day it was five hours with the sun in our faces. It was very hot,” said Mancinelli.

That first day of school was a scorcher with a high of 93. Plus, Mariya Wai says classes seemed disorganized and chaotic. The principal promised school would soon move to a permanent building and things would settle down.

“She assured me everything’s going to be ready--don’t worry mom," said Mariya Wai.

But after week two—a stunning development on the school’s website: a letter saying the school could not open and parents would need to find a new school.

“I was sitting there just being scammed and just given a story.”

“I was very mad, sad, disappointed," said Mancinelli.

“It’s horrible,” said Mariya Wai.

The closure left the Wais scrambling to find a new school for Luca -- and the Broward school district missing more than $283,000—money it supplied to get the school up and running for three months.

After Team 6 investigators began asking questions, the school refunded some money for uniforms parents had to buy. No one from the school would talk on camera and neither would anyone from the school's management company, Newpoint Education partners.

But by phone vice president, David Stiles said, “All public funds are accounted for.” He said the money is “collected” or the school board is “in the process of collecting it.”

Records show 12 charter schools have shut down in the last five years in the Broward school district, leaving more than one million dollars in taxpayer money unaccounted for. In Miami-Dade, failed charter schools did not return almost $1.5 million and in Palm Beach, the figure is $800,000.

“It’s not right. Somebody needs to step in and take a look at this and reevaluate how the charter school system’s applications are processed and monitored,” said John Wai.

The Wai’s question if it's just too easy to open a charter school. Broward school superintendent Robert Runcie says his team thoroughly vets applications-- and he regrets green lighting any school that fails. He believes the state should require security from applicants.

“Some type of surety bonds or escrow needs to be in place to protect taxpayer dollars,” said Runcie.

The Department of Education's Adam Miller defends the state's track record.

“I don’t believe it’s too easy to open a charter school and I think if you look at the data you’ll see over the last 5 to 7 years you’ve seen a dramatic decline in the percentage of applications that are getting approved,” said Miller.

Based on their experience, the Wai’s think the number of approvals should be even smaller.

"I’m very angry at this-- that they’re using our money and it’s being used to distribute to people who aren’t qualified to run this type of organization and it’s got to stop," said John Wai.

Two hundred and forty-six charter schools closed in Florida in the past five years.

As for Newpoint Education Partners, this isn’t the first time the management company has had problems. The Florida Department of Education gave its Pinellas County school an “F” last year.

The NBC station in Tampa reports that same school turned away dozens of families at the last minute because the school wasn’t going to be ready in time.

Team 6 Investigators wanted to ask Newpoint about the Pinellas school, but they did not return our repeated phone calls.

<![CDATA[Spirit Airlines Flight Struck by Lightning]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 22:03:43 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/spirit-airlines722.jpg

A Spirit Airlines plane that left Tampa and was bound for Atlantic City was struck by lightning Tuesday evening, the airline confirmed to NBC 6.

The airline said out of an abundance of caution, the pilot landed the plane at Fort Lauderdale International Airport because Spirit has a maintenance facility at the airport. Spirit also had an extra plane at Fort Lauderdale International which was going to be used as a replacement.

Spirit said the passengers of the flight that was struck by lightning have boarded the new plane and it is scheduled to leave for Newark soon.

No one was injured in the lightning strike.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Scott and Staff Used Private Email Account]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 21:40:17 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/110514+rick+scott.jpg

Florida Gov. Rick Scott exchanged emails dealing with vetoes, the state budget and his speeches from a private email account, according to records turned over to The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Scott has previously said he used a Google email account to communicate with his family and not for state business. He also said that if ever he got an email dealing with state business he would forward it to his public email accounts.

John Tupps, a spokesman for Scott, however, acknowledged in a statement that "after a thorough review of this old email account, there were occasions the governor failed to forward messages."

"This email account is closed and the personal email account the governor uses now has not been given out beyond his family," Tupps said.

The Scott administration turned over the emails more than three months after The Associated Press first asked for them.

Most of the emails appear to be from 2011 and 2012, although there are some also from 2013. It is not a violation of law to have a private email account, but it would be a violation if someone asked for emails and the governor's office failed to turn them over.

Scott's Google email account has been at the center of an ongoing lawsuit filed against Scott by a Tallahassee attorney and a frequent critic of the Republican governor.

Steven Andrews is suing over records related to a dispute about land near the governor's mansion. He has maintained that the Scott administration violated the state's public records law. Andrews got permission from a Florida judge to ask Google about the email accounts, but Scott has hired lawyers in California to fight the request.

The lawsuits started after Andrews wanted to buy land on which his law office is located. The Scott administration wants the land as part of a plan to turn the adjacent historic home of former Gov. LeRoy Collins into a museum. Andrews contends state officials were not interested in the property until Scott found out that he was involved. Andrews won his initial lawsuit, but the case is being appealed.

Many of the emails turned over on Tuesday include exchanges between Scott and his former chief of staff Stephen MacNamara. Some are also from his press aides as well as other top officials who worked for Scott.

One set of emails concerns legislation dealing with Florida's university system, including an unsuccessful effort by MacNamara to convince Scott to sign a bill that would have let the University of Florida and Florida State University raise tuition above caps set in state law. MacNamara in the same email urged Scott to veto legislation that created Florida Polytechnic University.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Alton Road Reopening Wednesday]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 21:19:18 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/road+construction+sign.jpg

While traffic problems are likely in some parts of the country over the Thanksgiving weekend, Miami Beach may see some traffic relief thanks to Alton Road fully opening between 8th Street and 17th Street late Wednesday night.

The construction on Alton Road had caused massive traffic problems and wasn’t scheduled to open originally until next year. The contractors accelerated the deadline to December 31st, but Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine said the area will open by the end of the day on Wednesday.

According to Levine, the project will reestablish two northbound and southbound lanes between 8th and 17th Street. Levine said all roadway work will be “substantially complete” by the end of December, including all sidewalk enhancements, signalization, lighting, and drainage work in the area.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[2 Arrested in Ferguson Protest at Miami Courthouse]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 20:44:41 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/miamiprotest112514.jpg

Two people at a small protest outside the Miami-Dade Metro Justice building Tuesday evening were arrested by police for failing to obey a lawful order.

The protest was sparked as demonstrations are being held nationwide in the wake of the Ferguson, Missouri grand jury decision.

Police said Phillip Agnew, 29, of Hialeah and Shaw Jeremy Roberts, 25, of Pompano Beach were both arrested during the downtown protest.

The protest started around 6 p.m. and authorities in Miami were taking no chances that any violence could erupt. Officials closed the Metro Justice Building around 4 p.m. ahead of the announced protest schedule.

The closing of the courthouse for the protest impacted normal business, including the murder trial of Janepsy Carballo. The jury in her case was dismissed at 4 p.m. with the rest of the courthouse.

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[Robbers Who Force Victims to Strip Hit Again]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 18:38:14 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/subwaystriprobbery.jpg

A group of armed robbers who make their victims take off their clothes hit again over the weekend, the latest in a string of robberies all with a similar modus operandi.

In the latest robbery, which targeted a Broward County Subway restaurant Monday night, the robbers’ victim was a woman who is eight months pregnant. The robbery was the fifth such crime that had similar circumstances in the last two months. All of the robberies have been caught on camera.

“It seems to be that is their strategy, to take their clothes off,” said Keyla Concepcion of the Broward Sheriff’s Office.

On November 9th at the Rite Way Food Market in Pompano Beach, a customer and clerk were ordered to the back of the store, at gunpoint, where they were both forced to take off their pants. On October 31, a victim at a Pompano Beach convenience store was hit with a gun and shot in the leg.

October 28th, a Tamarac Subway was hit around 10:30 p.m. where employees were robbed at gunpoint before being dragged to the back of the store and ordered to strip. On October 7th, an employee of a GameStop in Plantation was ordered to drive the robbers around before dropping them off in Lauderhill.

Investigators haven’t said if all of the crimes are related, but said all of them are similar in their actions during the robberies.

If you have any information about the string of robberies, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS (8477).

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[Thanksgiving Travel Expected to be Heavy]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 18:37:21 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/04-25-2014-generic-traffic-generic.jpg

Another early winter snow storm is expected to wreak havoc on millions of travelers hitting the road and taking to the skies over the Thanksgiving holiday.

AAA estimated that 46.3 million Americans will travel for this Thanksgiving holiday, the most in seven years. Ahead of those in the northeast is everything from a slush of snow and rain to heavy winds to more than a foot of snow in some areas.

Boston, New York, and Washington, D.C. are expecting rain, snow, and 30 miles per hour winds while folks in western Massachusetts are preparing for up to 16 inches of snow. Winter storm warnings have been issued from the Canadian border to western North Carolinas.

Of the 46 million travelers, AAA predicted that 89 percent of travelers (41.3 million) will drive. Still, air travel will be at the highest level since 2007 with more than 3.5 million Americans taking to the skies to get home.

And while South Florida may see clear skies and temperatures in the 70’s, it doesn’t mean any large-scale travel problems in the northeast won’t impact travelers here, specifically air travelers. As of Tuesday afternoon, 120 flights across the country have been canceled and nearly 3,300 have been delayed.

The largest delays on Tuesday were seen in Dallas, Chicago (O’Hare), Denver, Newark, and Washington/Dulles International.

For more information on flight cancellations/delays, check the links below:

<![CDATA[Jury Dismissed Early Due to Ferguson Protest at Miami-Dade Courthouse]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 17:37:03 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/tlmd_court_gavel_generic_law.jpg

The jury deliberating the fate of a South Florida woman charged with killing her husband’s business partner was dismissed early Tuesday because the Miami-Dade courthouse was closing early ahead of a scheduled protest over the Ferguson, Missouri grand jury decision.

The decision to close the courthouse was said to be out of abundance of caution.

The jury in the Janepsy Carballo case was dismissed at 4 p.m. Tuesday ahead of the protest scheduled for between 6 and 6:30 p.m. near the courthouse. Carballo, 37, is on trial for first-degree murder in the 2008 killing of Ilam Nissim.

Jury deliberations began Monday after prosecutors and defense attorneys presented their final arguments to the jury.

Carballo claims self-defense, saying Nissim had murdered her husband a month before and was coming for her when she shot him six times.

“When he was trying to hurt her, when she was backing up to the drawer; she knew she had the defensive weapon to shoot him with, to stop him, as he’s reaching out to her, as he’s trying to grab her,” said defense attorney Nathan Diamond.

During closings, Carballo's attorney said she was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder at the time of the shooting, saying she was scared of Nissim.

Husband Orlando Mesa and the couple's son were shot outside their home on April 20, 2008. Mesa was killed and the young boy was injured but survived. Mesa's murder was never solved.

Prosecutors argue Carballo was out to avenge her husband's death, saying she lured Nissim to her home the night she fatally shot him. During closings, prosecutors argued that there was no evidence Nissim attacked Carballo

“Revenge is first-degree murder, no matter which way you slice it, no matter which way you dice it, revenge is first-degree murder,” prosecutor Abbe Rifkin said.

Carballo faces up to life in prison if convicted. The jury is expected to resume deliberations in the case at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.

<![CDATA[Signing Santa at Dolphin Mall]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 13:05:28 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/WTVJ_000000015721675_1200x675_363465283516.jpg A signing Santa pays a visit to Dolphin Mall to meet with hearing impaired children.]]> <![CDATA[Homeland Security Officials Warn of Counterfeit Items]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 13:04:47 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/WTVJ_000000015721662_1200x675_363462211807.jpg Homeland Security officials are in South Florida to warn of the dangers of counterfeit items.]]> <![CDATA[Teen Arrested in Fatal Shooting at Carol City High]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 17:42:14 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/miami+two+people+shot.jpg

A teen has been charged in last week's shooting on the campus of Carol City High School that left another teen dead, Miami-Dade Police said Tuesday.

The 17-year-old faces first-degree murder and attempted murder charges in the Nov. 20 shooting at the school. Another suspect was arrested shortly after the shooting. NBC 6 is not naming the suspect accused of the shooting because he is a juvenile.

Police said 16-year-old Khambell Manning died as a result of injuries he sustained in the shooting. Tranard Gray, 17, has since been released from the hospital. The shooting, which happened after school hours, locked down about 400 students involved with after school activities.

The suspect was arrested with the help of Miami Gardens Police. Officials said the motive is believed to be an ongoing feud.

The case will now be sent to a grand jury.

Photo Credit: NBC 6 South Florida]]>
<![CDATA[Thieves Stole Classic Car From Deerfield Beach Lot: BSO]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 18:40:54 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/112514+classic+car+stolen+deerfield+beach.jpg

Authorities are searching for a group of thieves who were caught on camera stealing a classic car from a Deerfield Beach lot.

The theft happened in the early hours of Nov. 8 at Domani Motor Car, Inc. at 70 Southwest 10th Street, Broward Sheriff's Office officials said Tuesday.

According to the BSO, at least three suspects targeted a white 1975 Chevy Caprice. The suspects got out of a white Dodge Ram 1500 truck and got into the car but were briefly scared away.

They returned and were able to start the Caprice and change the license plate before driving off, the BSO said.

"They were prepared. They already knew what they wanted to do; they wanted this classic car," said Gina Carter of the Broward Sheriff's Office. "They had their own assigned tasks. One was assigned to open the car, the other changing out the plate."

Detectives are searching for at least three suspects. One is a black male who was wearing a long sleeve grey shirt and a dark hat. The second suspect is a Hispanic male who was wearing a long sleeve blue shirt, shorts and a white hat. The third suspect was driving the truck and there is no description.

"These are not guys off the street. They are guys that know what they wanted," Carter said.

A reward of up to $3,000 is being offered for information leading to an arrest. Anyone with info is asked to call Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS.

<![CDATA[Mother of 3 Killed in Home Invasion Shooting]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 21:31:50 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/112514+miami-dade+shooting.jpg

A family, along with Miami-Dade Police, is looking for answers after a 38-year-old mother of three was murdered during a home invasion in northwest Miami-Dade County.

The woman, Octtavia Jones, was found murdered in her home in the 2400 block of NW 90th Street. Police said two masked suspects entered the house and started shooting. Jones was pronounced dead at the scene.

“I still don’t believe it happened, I don’t believe it happened,” said Clintavia Mobley, Octavia’s daughter.

The family of Atavia Jones has had to deal with crime like this before. Two years ago, police say a madman stabbed Shuneequa Jones to death in Miramar. The two murdered women were sisters.

“I have four sisters and now I have two, and it’s like, what? It’s déjà vu. My mom calling me again, tongue tied and the last words she said to me was, she was gone,” said Namor Jones, the victim’s brother.

Octavia leaves behind a 15-year-old daughter and a 21-year-old son who had just returned from Afghanistan, along with a nine-year-old sister. Clintavia said the youngest sister doesn’t fully comprehend what has happened.

“I’m worried about my little sister and making sure she’s alright,” said Mobley.

The big question the family and police are looking to answer is: what led to Octavia being murdered?

“Oh definitely that’s the big question, what was the motivation, because my sister was, to me, she was a saint,” Jones said.

The family is left to try to pick up the pieces a second time after a sibling was murdered. With the three children now without their mother, the extended family said it’s ready to step in and help.

“Remind myself that I’m not the only one hurting here and maybe my sisters and mother might need a shoulder to lean on and I want to be there,” Jones said.

In an eerily similar crime, two men wearing masks ambushed a woman just two blocks away as she returned from the store.

"I started screaming and asked them not to kill me, not to kill me, just take whatever you want, just not to kill me," the victim said.

The robbers left, but not before firing off a shot that ricocheted and hit the victim. Police haven't said if the two cases are connected.

If you have any information about the murder, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS (8477).

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Miami International Airport Launches Free App]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 09:12:53 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/112514+miami+international+airport+MIA+app.jpg

Travelers should have an easier time making their may through Miami International Airport thanks to a new app.

The MIA Airport Official app launched Tuesday, just in time for the busy Thanksgiving holiday travel season.

The free app has a complete guide for parking, ground transportation, dining, shopping and flights at MIA. It's also bilingual with English and Spanish options.

"Our passengers are more tech-oriented than ever before, and they rightfully expect airports to offer customer service amenities in the digital space," Miami-Dade Aviation Director Emilio González said in a statement. "The MIA mobile app is one way that we’re meeting that demand, and it reflects our commitment to weaving technology and innovation into all that we do at MIA, particularly on the customer-facing side of the business."

The app is available at at Google Play and the iTunes App Store.

<![CDATA[FL 511 App Helping Thanksgiving Travelers]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 07:53:25 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/WTVJ_000000015715396_1200x675_363353155604.jpg Mike Wacht, with Florida 511, discusses how the 511 app is helping Thanksgiving travelers.]]> <![CDATA[Weather: Warm and Partly Sunny Tuesday]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 06:29:48 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/WTVJ_000000015712690_1200x675_363333699645.jpg Weather Forecast -- 5 AM -- November 25, 2014]]> <![CDATA[Safety of South Florida Guardrails Questioned]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 10:50:21 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/guardrailsafety.jpg

Luke Robinson was driving along the Virginia-Tennessee border on February of 2012 when he hit the end of a guardrail, which pierced the car through the rear passenger seat where his three-year-old son sat, cracking his pelvic bone in two places.

“It’s the most helpless I’ve ever felt and the most terrified I’ve ever seen my children,” said Robinson, the father of three children who lives near Orlando. He couldn’t walk on his own or standup and they were really worried about internal damage in his head.”

In Texas, over two decades of marriage’s came to an abrupt end after Shain Tucker left for work one morning two years ago. Shain was killed when his car hit a guardrail. Police said it impaled the car and sliced right through his body.

“He just said goodbye, I’ll see you later, love you,” said Lena Tucker, his wife, from her Texas home. “Now I’ve learned my husband probably should’ve walked away from that accident.”

Guardrails line surface streets and highways, and are supposed to protect motorists during a crash. But a Team 6 investigation raises serious questions about whether some guard rails cause harm. Experts say, if you hit the end of the guardrail, the rail is supposed to collapse away from an oncoming vehicle. But that’s not what happened to Robinson and Tucker.

Robinson and Tucker are among more than a dozen families who filed lawsuits against the Dallas-based Trinity Highway Products. Trinity is one of the world’s largest guardrail makers.

In 2005, Trinity made small cost saving changes to its guardrail model, known as ET-Plus Terminals. And even though it was required, the company never told the federal government about the change. It reduced the dimensions at the end of the guardrail from five inches to four inches. The new model is nearly three times more likely to kill someone than the old model according to a student from the University of Alabama.

“Let’s put it this way, it’s the difference between life and death,” said Josh Harman.

Harman is a Trinity competitor. He also blew the whistle on the company by filing a False Claims Act lawsuit, which he won. Last month, a Texas jury ordered Trinity to pay $175 million dollars in damages to be split by Harman and the federal government.

”Tomorrow they (the guardrails) can fail and tomorrow they can kill,” said Harman.

States are responsible for the equipment they use on road construction, but the U.S. Federal Highway Administration provides guidance on what’s eligible for federal reimbursement. And Trinity’s ET-Plus Guardrail is still on the federal list of approved materials.

There are more than 200,000 of the altered ET-Plus guardrails across the country.

Team 6 Investigators learned many of guardrails line the roadways of South Florida from an intersection in Davie to the sides of the Sawgrass Expressway. But it is unclear just how many are actually in the state of Florida. And state officials said they don’t know.

Dick Kane, a spokesperson for the Florida Department of Transportation, said that the state agency is currently taking an inventory of guardrail systems statewide.

“The department continues to monitor any new information regarding the Trinity ET-Plus product and will take appropriate action when necessary to preserve the safety of the transportation system,” Kane said.

After the Texas case verdict, the U.S. Federal Highway Administration ordered Trinity to perform new crash tests which are underway right now.

The Team 6 investigation found that Florida is among 44 states that stopped installing the guardrails until the new crash tests are completed. Virginia is the only state that is removing the guardrails.

Trinity issued a statement noting the company takes safety of the products they manufacture very seriously. Gregg Mitchell, Trinity’s president, noted: “In light of FHWA’s request, the right thing to do is to stop shipping the product until the additional testing has been completed.”

“We have confidence in the ET-Plus System as designed and crash tested by Texas A&M Transportation Institute. It has met all tests previously requested by FHWA,” Mitchell said.

In response to the verdict, a Trinity spokesperson said, "...Trinity believes the decision cannot and will not withstand legal scrutiny.”

A company spokesperson would not comment on whether they had any plans on appealing the verdict.

Harman and the families involved would like to see the guardrails in question removed from all the roads in the United States.

“This isn’t some kind of game, these are people’s lives,” said Harman.

Robinson doesn’t want to see more families hurt.

“That needs to be ended and stopped now before this happens to another family,” said Robinson.

The Robinsons filed a lawsuit. Trinity hasn’t responded yet, according to Steven Lawrence, who is representing the Robinsons. The Tuckers filed suit as well.

Trinity has denied the allegations that their guardrails contributed to any injuries and said they were caused by an unavoidable accident.

Kane, of Florida Department of Transportation, said their audit of the State’s guardrail system should be complete by the end of November.

To see all the states that have banned the use of Trinity ET-Plus Guardrail, check out the interactive map. Click on each state to find out whether the state is still using the controversial guardrail terminal, has discontinued its use, or stopped any pending contracts until the U.S. Federal Highway Administration completes testing.

Photo Credit: NBC 6
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<![CDATA[Disabled Man Says Woman Stole Donations]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 23:44:10 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/disabledfraudvictim.jpg

A disabled man said Monday that he is the victim of a woman who has allegedly put him into thousands of dollars in cash after running off with cash that was donated for him.

Marc Friedenthal said he went deep into debt recently to purchase a modified van that’s able to transport him to work and get his family around. Prior to buying the van, Friedenthal said a fundraising site was set up for him by Melanie Odette on gofund.me to pay the $80,000 the van cost, but those donations didn’t get to him.

“She set up the fundraiser,” Friedenthal said.

Friedenthal said Odette set up “Marc’s Disabled Van Campaign” online to solicit donations. At one point, Marc said Odette presented him with a large check for the collected funds. However, the check turned out to be worthless.

“The numbers weren’t adding up because we know within the month of October, we had raised about $10,000,” Friedenthal said. “She gave me a check for $7,000. I deposited the check and the check did not clear. The check was no good.”

Marc’s wife went to Coral Gables Police and he called the FBI about the fundraising failure. Attorney Anthony Hevia is also trying to get to the bottom of how much more than the $7,000 is missing.

“It’s very sad, frankly, that this day and age something like this could happen where somebody sets out to do something positive and so quickly turns into root for personal gain,” Hevia said.

Marc said with the missing money, the online fundraising campaign had to be terminated. The website said it would cooperate with any law enforcement investigation into his fraud allegations.

“I don’t think too much of a person who does something like that, but we learn something new every day,” Marc said.

For her part, Odette said the allegations against her are ridiculous and she would have nothing further to say about the claims at this time.

Coral Gables Police told NBC 6’s Willard Shepard they are assigning a detective to see what happened on the website and the State Attorney’s fraud investigators will look into the check that was allegedly handed over, but bounced.

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[Brag About Your School: Western High]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 18:59:20 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/westernhighdonations.jpg

You can’t play basketball right now in the gym at Western High School in Davie. The floor is covered with cans of food, boxes of food bags of food. Students, parents, and volunteers, including Davie Police officers and Broward Sheriff’s firefighters are scurrying here and there, getting everything ready for distribution.

The gym is the staging area for the annual Harvest Drive, a massive effort to feed the needy at Thanksgiving.

“It goes to show you that especially during this holiday season, there’s people out there looking out for other people, making sure they’re getting what they need,” said Ricky Vegabossa, the Student Government Association president.

Renee Herman started Harvest Drive in 1992, feeding 10 families at one school. Now it’s sprouted to 180 schools and this year, it’ll help 2,200 families and an estimated 10,000 people. Each family gets about a week’s worth of groceries, everything needed to make a thanksgiving meal, and a shopping trip through the boutique.

The school’s auditorium is set up like a department store. There are hundreds of donated toys, clothing in adult and children’s sizes, and row upon row of shoes.

“I feel really good. I’m very proud. It’s a tireless effort, we work, start right back up immediately,” said Herman, explaining that as soon as everything is distributed form this year’s harvest drive, work on next year’s effort begins.

Principal Jimmy Arrojo is immensely proud that so many of his students get involved in the annual project.

“Giving is second nature to these kids,” said Principal Arrojo. “And the students learn a really important message, which is help others, help others in need, giving is important.”

One student said he was shocked to find out last year that one of his friends was a beneficiary of Harvest Drive.

“It made me think how there’s so much we don’t know about people we’re close to and we don’t know the struggles they go through, I learned not to take things for granted,” said Nick Padron, one of the volunteers.

“We have people that go to our school that need food and this is our opportunity to help out,” said Lizzie Aiu, another student.

Western High is known for its debate and STEM programs, but the student government president said working on Harvest Drive is the most satisfying thing any student can do.

“Yes, it’s very inspiring, I feel like society might think that kids aren’t really getting involved, aren’t really doing much for the community, but that’s not true, as you can see,” said Vegabossa.

The Harvest Drive is more than just an effort to feed the needy at Thanksgiving. It also sparks a spirit of community service among a group of kids that organizers hope will last a lifetime.

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[Consumer: Night-Vision Tech for Cars]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 18:50:35 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*120/night-vision.jpg

Each year cars hit and kill more than 4,000 pedestrians, and tens of thousands more are injured. Those accidents mostly happen at night, when drivers have limited vision. During evening hours pedestrians are tough to spot, even with your headlights on.

Consumer Reports’ auto engineers regularly test headlights and know their limitations. Even with the best-performing headlights, the driver probably doesn’t have enough time to see, react, and brake for pedestrians or objects ahead, unless driving very slowly.

The latest night-vision systems help remedy that with advanced infrared cameras that detect thermal heat and make visible what your eyes can’t see. The system is available on the latest BMW 7 Series and other luxury cars.

If it determines that a person or animal is too close or moving toward your line of travel, it will also give you visual and audio warnings. The system worked well in Consumer Reports’ evaluations at its test track and would be helpful on dark or foggy roads.

The engineers also checked out another system: Dynamic Light Spot. It not only uses infrared technology to detect people or animals but also shines a spotlight. The auto engineers who had the opportunity to drive the Dynamic Light Spot thought it worked very well. It illuminated pedestrians before they were even able to see them.

The system is currently available in Europe and Asia, but at this point it’s not permitted in the U.S. Current regulations limit how bright lights can be and prohibits lights that might be confused with emergency vehicles.

Consumer Reports says be aware that headlights can get hazy and cloudy over time and reduce visibility by up to 80 percent. Consumer Reports says using a headlight cleaner can help. A good choice is the Sylvania Headlight Restoration Kit, available online and in auto-parts stores for about $21.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Miami Beach Fire Knocked Out Power to Thousands]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 17:24:28 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/mbfire112414.jpg

A fire near the Surfside border in Miami Beach knocked out power to thousands of residents and generated heavy traffic in the nearby area.

Miami Beach Fire said the fire was at 86th Street and Collins Avenue. Police diverted traffic on Collins at 86th which has led to traffic tie-ups during rush hour.

Florida Power and Light had to shut down the power grid in the area of 86th and Collins due to the fire. FPL said approximately 3,700 people were without power due to the shutdown of the power grid.

The power was restored shortly after 5 p.m.

<![CDATA[Doral Residents Concerned Over $2.5M Miss Universe Tab]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 12:20:50 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*120/082409-miss-universe-crown.jpg

Residents of one South Florida city are calling for more transparency amid concerns that taxpayers will be stuck paying the $2.5 million cost of crowning Miss Universe just outside Doral.

At a public meeting Monday residents voiced their concerns about where the money to fund the Miss Universe pageant would come from, still the public left amid cries for more transparency.

The first issue discussed at the meeting was the $2.5 million fee the city agreed on to host the pageant. At an October press conference, Doral Mayor Luigi Boria said he was confident the money would come from private sponsors, not taxpayers.

The city attorney said Monday the potential sponsorships have yielded a little more than a million dollars so far. If the private sponsorships don’t total enough, Boria has said there is the possibility that public money will be used.

“Well, maybe, I don’t know,” Boria said. “At this point, I can’t say if we gonna spend any money from the taxpayer dollars, but it’s worth it to spend it promoting the city.”

Councilwoman Christi Fraga countered that, “$2.5 million would’ve gone very well in a park or in school or in our roads. I mean, there’s a lot to be done in this city.”

The other big problem residents have with public money being used for the pageant is the actual pageant won’t be held in the city. Instead, it will be held at the FIU arena in unincorporated Miami-Dade County.

“We don’t have any problem with having the Miss Universe pageant in Doral. It’s just simply not in Doral,” said Angel Zamora of the Concerned Citizens of Doral. “And we’re being sold on that these satellite events are gonna bring economic impact. There was no study done of what type of economic impact it was gonna do.”

Still, some residents spoke in favor of the event saying Doral will benefit from the influx of visitors from around the globe.

“This event in the future can have countless opportunities for us,” said Pablo Espinal.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Miami-Dade Police Arrest Teen in Hit-and-Run Accident]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 07:02:12 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/112514+miami-dade+hit+and+run+teen+car.jpg

Miami-Dade Police have taken a 17-year-old driver into custody for his alleged involvement in a hit-and-run accident involving a 14-year-old.

Police said the accident happened at Northeast 167th Street and Northeast 14th Avenue Monday afternoon. Police said a car was stopped at the intersection to let pedestrians cross the street.

The car behind the stopped car attempted to go around the first car and hit 14-year-old Brian Brito as he crossed the street, police said.

Footage showed the green Honda Accord's window smashed in and bloody clothing at the scene.

Witnesses provided the license tag information to Miami-Dade Police. Officers went to the 17-year-old's residence, but he was not at home.

He was taken into custody later Monday evening and police said charges are pending.

Brito and the suspect both attend North Miami Beach Senior High.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Boy, 9, Dies in Mudding Accident: MDPD]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 13:22:38 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/112414+mudding+accident+florida+city+miami-dade+police.jpg

A 9-year-old boy has died after he was injured while off-road mudding in a Jeep in Florida City Sunday, Miami-Dade Police said.

The boy, Jayden Young, was riding in the Jeep with his 6-year-old brother and father near Card Sound Road when they struck a ditch and Young became unconscious, police said.

He was rushed to Miami Children's Hospital in critical condition and died from his injuries Monday morning, police said. No one else was injured.

The incident remains under investigation.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Thanksgiving Travel Begins in South Florida]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 11:44:40 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/112414+mia+holiday+travel.jpg

South Florida's airports will be busier than normal over the next week or so as Thanksgiving travelers make their way through town.

Over the next eight days, more than 914,000 people are expected to take off or land at Miami International Airport. Another 500,000 are expected to fly through Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

The Thanksgiving travel week kicked off Monday, and travelers at MIA were making their way all over the map.

"Check in is light right now, I'm sure later on it'll get busy. That's why we decided to leave early," said Shirley Brantley, from Houston.

The Levan family was headed west to see relatives in California with one strategy in mind.

"Get there before the crowds, and come home after the crowds," Josie Levan said.

The busiest days at MIA are expected to be the Saturday, Sunday and Monday after the holiday.

Click here for Bureau of Transportation flight delay stats.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[North Miami Giving Free Thanksgiving Meals to Residents]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 10:52:32 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/AP259321395153.jpg

Officials in North Miami will be making the Thanksgiving holiday better for hundreds of residents with a free meal giveaway Monday.

About 600 meals will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis to North Miami residents at Griffing Park at Northeast 123ed Street and West Dixie Highway beginning at 4 p.m.

The meals will include a turkey, canned goods and other items. Residents must show a Florida photo ID for proof of address.

Vice Mayor Philippe Bien-Aime and Councilwoman Carol Keys are hosting the event, which is sponsored by C.A.P. Government, Haitian-American Chamber of Commerce, Knights of Columbus Marian Council, Madame Gougousse, Oleta Partners, Phypogenix Pharmacy, Sapoznik Insurance, and WastePro.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Jury Deliberating in Revenge Killing Trial]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 18:49:39 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/111814+janepsy+carballo.jpg

Jury deliberations began Monday in the trial of a South Florida woman charged with killing her husband's business partner.

Janepsy Carballo, 37, is on trial for first-degree murder in the 2008 killing of Ilam Nissim.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys gave final arguments Monday morning before the case was handed over to the jury.

“Well, I might be whispering; I’m telling you that the evidence, the evidence against this defendant is screaming,” said prosecutor Abbe Rifkin.

Carballo claims self-defense, saying Nissim had murdered her husband a month before and was coming for her when she shot him six times.

“When he was trying to hurt her, when she was backing up to the drawer; she knew she had the defensive weapon to shoot him with, to stop him, as he’s reaching out to her, as he’s trying to grab her,” said defense attorney Nathan Diamond.

During closings, Carballo's attorney said she was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder at the time of the shooting, saying she was scared of Nissim.

Husband Orlando Mesa and the couple's son were shot outside their home on April 20, 2008. Mesa was killed and the young boy was injured but survived. Mesa's murder was never solved.

Prosecutors argue Carballo was out to avenge her husband's death, saying she lured Nissim to her home the night she fatally shot him. During closings, prosecutors argued that there was no evidence Nissim attacked Carballo

“Revenge is first-degree murder, no matter which way you slice it, no matter which way you dice it, revenge is first-degree murder,” Rifkin said.

Carballo could face up to life in prison if convicted.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Thanksgiving Travel Begins in South Florida]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 08:01:55 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/WTVJ_000000015694226_1200x675_362797123919.jpg Passengers are already crowing South Florida's airports ahead of Thanksgiving.]]> <![CDATA[Weather: Warm and Partly Sunny Monday]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 06:03:05 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/WTVJ_000000015691443_1200x675_362677827795.jpg Weather Forecast -- 5 AM -- November 24, 2014]]> <![CDATA[Couple Shot in Northwest Miami-Dade]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 06:20:45 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/112414+couple+shot+nw+miami-dade.jpg

Police are investigating after a man and woman were shot at what's believed to be a football watch party in northwest Miami-Dade Sunday night.

The shooting happened in the area of Northwest 103rd Street and 11th Avenue. The couple was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital where their conditions were unknown.

Witnesses said a group of people were watching football at a home when a car pulled up and someone opened fire. Some witnesses said they heard at least six gunshots.

The man was shot in the chest and the bullet went through him, witnesses said.

"Apparently, the bullet went all the way through him," friend Duke Pitman said.

Police haven't given a description of the suspect or suspects. No other information was immediately known.

Check back with NBC 6 South Florida and NBC6.com for updates.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Man Struck, Killed While Walking on I-95 Entrance Ramp]]> Sun, 23 Nov 2014 17:33:37 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/tlmd_01generic_police_lights1.jpg

A man walking on an highway ramp died after being struck by a car Saturday evening.

Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Mark Wysocky said 49-year-old Charles Corteguera was walking on the southbound entrance ramp to Interstate 95 from Copans Road in Pompano Beach around 7 p.m. He was hit by a BMW, driven by 27-year-old Jared Matthew Solomon of Boca Raton.

Corteguera died at the scene. His vehicle was found disabled on I-95 south of Copans Road, Wysocky said.

The cause of the crash is under investigation. 

<![CDATA[Motorcyclist Killed After Crashing Into Concrete Pole]]> Sun, 23 Nov 2014 17:09:32 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/tlmd_police_generic_police_tape_police_lights_fishtown1.jpg

A motorcyclist was killed after losing control and crashing into a concrete pole in Pompano Beach early Sunday morning.

The Broward Sheriff's Office said the crash happened around 6 a.m. on the 2200 block of West Copans Road. The impact sparked a fire that engulfed the Suzuki 1000 motorcycle. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene.

Witnesses told detectives that the motorcyclist had been travelling at a high rate of speed just before the crash. No other vehicles were involved.

The accident is under investigation. 

<![CDATA[Motorcyclist Dies After Fall From Turnpike Ramp]]> Sun, 23 Nov 2014 17:10:13 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/FHP+car+generic.jpg

A motorcyclist died early Sunday after he crashed into a highway ramp and was ejected from his motorcycle.

Florida Highway Patrol said 24-year-old John Rowe of Miramar was traveling westbound on I-595 on the ramp to the Turnpike southbound around 7 a.m. Troopers said he failed to negotiate the curve and struck the concrete wall of the ramp. The force of the impact ejected Rowe from the motorcycle.

Rowe fell over the wall 30 feet below onto the grass shoulder of westbound 595, according to FHP. He was transported to Broward Health Medical Center where he died.

The cause of the accident is under investigation.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Featured Pet: Sabrina]]> Sun, 23 Nov 2014 16:12:58 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/sabrina+featured+pet+112314.PNG

Our featured pet from the Humane Society of Broward County is Sabrina, a 3-month-old Papillon/Jack Russell Terrier mix puppy.

Sabrina is only about four pounds now, and should be 8 to 10 pounds full-grown. She is a sweet, adorable pup that is full of energy. She is playful and loves toys. Sabrina needs a family with a lot of patience and plenty of energy to keep up with her.

For more information on how to adopt Sabrina or any other animal, call (954) 989-3977 or visit the Humane Society of Broward County's website here.

For more animal news, visit our new All About Animals page.

<![CDATA[Arrest Made in Fatal Pompano Beach Shooting]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 06:30:04 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/112414+kerveney+arthelus.jpg

Authorities have arrested a gunman after a shooting in Pompano Beach killed one man Sunday morning.

The Broward Sheriff's Office homicide unit is investigating the shooting, which happened on the 200 block of NW 9th Street around 8:30 a.m.

BSO spokeswoman Dani Moschella said a 911 call described a man with a gun banging on the doors of a multi-family home. Witnesses told officers they heard gunshots. When deputies arrived on the scene, they found a man in his 50s or 60s dead outside of a home.

"It might be that he was an innocent victim who was standing in the wrong place at the wrong time," Moschella said. "We don't know what happened prior to the shooting. Detectives still have a lot of unanswered questions."

About five hours after the shooting, detectives arrested 28-year-old Kerveney Arthelus in the shooting.

Authorities say a handgun was found in a vehicle belonging to Arthelus, who faces a first-degree murder charge. He was being held without bond and it was unknown whether he has an attorney.

Witnesses and tips from the public helped detectives identity Arthelus as the shooter, BSO officials said.

The identity of the victim has not yet been released. Detectives are urging anyone with information to call Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS.

Stay tuned to NBC 6 and NBC6.com for updates.

Photo Credit: Broward Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Luongo Saves 48 in Loss]]> Sun, 23 Nov 2014 11:59:49 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/458575848.jpg

Shootouts have been a problem for the Florida Panthers this year and that continued in their loss to the Nashville Predators on Saturday.

The final score of this game was 3-2 after the shootout. It was the fourth time this season that Florida participated in a shootout and the third time it ended up on the losing end. This was also the second consecutive game that ended in a shootout. Overall, the Panthers are now 7-5-6 on the year and have 20 points.

Roberto Luongo was solid in this game saving 48 of the 50 attempts fired at him. The goalie had a good game the other day in San Jose as well after a couple of tough outings. The 48 saves were the most this year for Luongo.

The Panthers were trailing 2-0 with 43 seconds left in regulation and seemed on their way to a quiet loss. However, they would score twice in the next 12 seconds to force overtime and earn a point.

The first goal for Florida was put in the net by Rocco Grimaldi and it was also the first of his career. Assists on the second round pick's goal were credited to Brian Campbell and Aaron Ekblad.

Nick Bjugstad scored his seventh goal of the season next to tie up the game. Jimmy Hayes assisted on that one with 31 seconds left in regulation.

Sean Bergenheim remained out with a lower body injury while Scottie Upshall missed the game with an upper body ailment. Colby Robak was a healthy scratch in this one for the Panthers..

Florida will return home on Monday for a game with the Minnesota Wild at 7:30 p.m.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Man Arrested for Running Over Woman: BSO]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 18:52:15 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/112414+lawton+cohen.jpg

Authorities have arrested a man who ran over a woman with a pick-up truck in Pompano Beach Saturday evening.

The Broward Sheriff's Office said a man in a Dodge truck was talking to 55-year-old Barbara "Bobbie" Sapp in the parking lot of Rocky's Food Store at 800 Hammondville Road around 6:30 p.m.

BSO spokeswoman Dani Moschella said Sapp and the man began arguing. The man quickly moved the truck, causing the woman to fall to the ground. Witnesses told deputies that the man intentionally ran over Sapp twice.

Sapp was rushed to Broward Health North, where she was pronounced dead.

The suspect, later identified as 53-year-old Lawton Cohen, fled the scene but was arrested Sunday at his home in Tamarac, the BSO said.

Cohen faces a first-degree murder charge and was being held without bond early Monday. It was unknown whether he has an attorney.

Cohen told detectives he didn't realize he had run over Sapp, BSO officials said.

Photo Credit: Broward Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Sunday Forecast: Clearing Skies]]> Sun, 23 Nov 2014 10:37:04 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/B3IVOg1CUAAtOlZ.png

Today we will see an improvement in conditions from the last few days. It will be another breezy day, but with less cloud cover and more sunshine. With that wind comes a high risk of rip currents. Highs will be in the mid 80s.

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Temperatures will start to rise for the start of the work week, with highs reaching the mid 80s. Another cold front will make its way into the area by mid-week, bringing fall-like temperatures for Thanksgiving.

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