<![CDATA[NBC 6 South Florida - Top Stories]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+6+LOGO+GOOGLE.png NBC 6 South Florida http://www.nbcmiami.com en-us Tue, 16 Sep 2014 03:31:38 -0400 Tue, 16 Sep 2014 03:31:38 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Ex-Boyfriend a Person of Interest in Missing Woman Case]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 00:56:26 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/tanya+gonzalez.jpg

Police say they are looking to question a missing woman's ex-boyfriend, who was last seen in the Florida Keys with an elderly woman and a Siberian husky.

Tanya Gonzalez, 28, has been missing for almost a week, her family members said at a public plea for help held on Monday.

"It's rough," said Gonzalez's mother Tammy Buonomo. "It's very rough. No parent should have to go through this."

Police also released a "wanted" poster on Monday for Roy Ruz Blanco, Gonzalez's ex-boyfriend. Police said Gonzalez and Blanco dated and lived together for five years before breaking up last month. While authorities say Blanco is not a suspect, they say he is wanted for questioning.

Police have spoken with Blanco's family and say they have not had contact with him. He was last seen in the Keys by Mile Marker 10, traveling with an elderly woman and a Siberian husky, according to police.

Gonzalez's aunt Yvette Oliver said she last saw her on Tuesday at Midtown Mall where the two were shopping. They went to Home Goods to find furnishings for Gonzalez's new apartment.

"We went downstairs to the parking lot at the Home Goods and she gave me a kiss and a hug," Oliver said, breaking down into tears. "And that was it. I didn't see her anymore."

Police said Gonzalez drove away from the mall in a royal blue BMW 328i that has not been located. Authorities are also investigating a car they say Blanco rented that was found abandoned at the Coconut Grove Marina, although they say there is no sign that Gonzalez was in it.

There has also been no activity on Gonzalez's cell phone since the day she disappeared, police said.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Detective Baluja at 305-603-6300.

Photo Credit: Courtesy photo]]>
<![CDATA[Bobcat Spotted in South Florida Backyard]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 19:00:40 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/panther+in+miramar.jpg

A South Florida homeowner woke up to a surprising sight in his backyard.

The homeowner, who did not want to be identified, said he saw a big cat on his West Miramar property one morning while he was having breakfast.

"I told my wife, 'Look at this big dog,'" the homeowner said. "Then the dog crossed over and got into the yard and she told me, 'That's not a dog, that's a cat.' And I realized it's a cat, but it's a big cat."

The homeowner said he was scared at first, but he admitted, "It's a cool thing."

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission confirmed the animal was a full grown adult Bobcat, although it was initially believed to be a panther.

Now that he's seen it, the homeowner says he just wants the animal to be removed so his neighborhood can be safe.

"If it's hungry, it could be a danger," he said.

Photo Credit: NBC 6 South Florida]]>
<![CDATA[SoCal Heat Wave Prompts Power Alert]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 03:25:39 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/216*120/caliso.JPG

As a sweltering heat wave has gripped Southern California for days, managers of the state's power grid said on Monday they had plenty of electricity available to handle anticipated peaks in power usage, but fear power outages if energy use continues to be consumed at its current rate.

Officials with Southern California Edison and the Department of Water and Power urged residents to conserve power.

"The generation picture, the actual power customers are consuming, looks very good today," Steven Conroy, a Southern California Edison spokesman, said. "So what you're seeing is that our customers are using a lot of energy during the day. That's normal. But they're really, really using a lot at night."

He said from 6 p.m. to midnight, equipment doesn't have enough time to cool off and that's why it's failing. Some 3,000 Southern California Edison customers lost power in Los Angeles and Orange counties from overheated transformers on Sunday afternoon and evening.

As of 11:50 p.m. Monday, the LADWP said about 6,000 customers were without power, most of it split between the Hollywood area and Valley. The bulk of the Valley outages were random and in the Valley Glen, North Hollywood and Sherman Oaks areas.

Meanwhile, Edison said it was working on 126 outages that knocked out power to 15,000 customers. The Los Angeles area had 72 outages, leaving 4,800 customers without power. The largest LA outage was in Pico Rivera with 797 customers and Inglewood with 428 customers. There were 15 outages in the San Bernardino area, leaving about 7,395 customers without power.

Edison's big concern is Tuesday and the rest of the week.

Edison opened its Emergency Activation Center in Irwindale to provide a central coordination center to monitor and respond to outages.

The utility also canceled all planned maintenance outages that could be deferred.

DWP officials said the utility broke its all-time record for energy demand and issued another call for customers to conserve power.

The demand was at 6,196 megawatts, surpassing the previous all-time record of 6,177 megawatts set on September 27, 2010.

The peak demand was nearly double the amount of energy demand experienced on a typical day in the city of Los Angeles.

The DWP currently is forecasting that it will break today’s record again Tuesday and exceed 6,200 megawatts as heat-wave temperatures continue.

"Under these extreme conditions, our system is holding up quite well, but we urge our customers to continue to conserve to reduce strain on the grid," said General Manager Marcie Edwards. "Conserving electricity can help prevent a local power outage if you take simple steps like setting your thermostat to 78 degrees, turning off pool pumps and giving your appliances the day off tomorrow. Days like today are an important reminder that we must continue to plan for and invest in our infrastructure to ensure reliable service for our customers as demand increases and weather gets more erratic and intense."

City News Service contributed to this report.

<![CDATA[Adoptive Barahona Sister Sues DCF]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 01:00:01 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/192*120/tlmd_nubia_batrahona_y_su_herman.jpg

A lawsuit filed Monday alleges the state willfully neglected the adoptive brother and sister of twin siblings who were severely abused, ending in one of the twin's horrific death.

A lawsuit was filed on behalf of now 11-year-old "J.B." against the Florida Department of Children and Families for abuse that allegedly occurred under the care of Jorge and Carmen Barahona. Family Services Counselor Lacheryl D. Harris and Child Protective Investigators Jean Lacroix and Eunice Guillot are named as co-defendants on the complaint.

The Barahonas are charged in the February 2011 death of 10-year-old Nubia Barahona whose decomposing body was found in her adoptive father's truck alongside Interstate 95 in Palm Beach County. Her twin brother Victor Barahona was found close by, suffering severe chemical burns.

Attorneys are suing DCF on behalf of J.B. for ignoring what they say were red flags. The lawsuit claims DCF should have removed J.B., the twins and a fourth adoptive sibling G.B. from the parents' care.

"DCF had ample cause to remove J.B. and her three adoptive siblings from the Abusive Parents' home, but failed to do so," reads the lawsuit.

The lawsuit says the parents would miss doctors appointments for the children and that Nubia disclosed sexual abuse by her adoptive father to a psychologist that was evaluating her. It says the twins would appear at school with unexplained bruises and scratches and that they appeared dirty and unkempt. The twins had trouble staying awake in class and Nubia was always hungry, so she would hoard food in her backpack, the lawsuit says.

"You name it, it's a horrible disgusting set of facts," said attorney Todd Falzone, who represents J.B. "It's about a systemic failure of DCF and its agency to protect children that they're supposed to be protecting."

The lawsuit alleges DCF investigators knew about the allegations, but still allowed J.B. to be formally adopted by the Barahonas in January of 2007.

J.B. suffered years of physical, emotional and sexual abuse at the hands of her adoptive parents, the lawsuit says. Her attorney is suing for the right to trial by jury.

A separate lawsuit was filed in February of 2012 on behalf of Nubia and Victor claiming the state did not do its job in protecting the children.

Jorge and Carmen Barahona have pleaded not guilty in the case.

<![CDATA[Jungle Island Makeover Will Place Visitors in the Wild]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 23:56:04 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/jungle+island.jpg

A multi-million dollar makeover is in the works for Jungle Island.

The new vision is to provide visitors with a hands-on jungle experience from the moment they walk in. The park’s president John Dunlap said that was a request made by his own son.

"My child's first visit to the park he said, 'daddy, I want to go here, I want to go the jungle,' and so our goal is to get people here faster to move our guests, within their first few steps through the front door, directly into an immersive jungle environment."

To do that, the current entry will come down to make way for a mixed-use entrance which will feature a restaurant, and views of a flamingo nesting area.

The renderings show the park surroundings will resemble the backdrop of an action movie with weathered walls built like an ancient temple and covered in jungle overgrowth.
The park staff is also working to create a sense of education through adventure.

"We aren't learning experientially by jumping and climbing," Dunlap said. "We spent a lot of our time talking about how we can engage people that way here."

Park-goers can look forward to zip lining through the Jungle Island’s tree canopies, and along its bay-side views. Another new attraction promises to give the public a close-up look at orangutans in a way they have never seen before.

Jungle Island plans to remain open during the renovations which are expected to take as many as five years.

<![CDATA[Broward Schools Introduce Chess to Elementary School Curriculum]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 23:14:35 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/chess+at+broward+schools.jpg

Filmmaker Woody Allen once quipped that he was too short to make his school’s chess team. He would feel right at home in Ms. Maver’s class, where the kids are learning chess, and they’re all short. That’s because they’re in the third grade.

“The chess lessons happen once a week in all our second and third grade classes,” said Angela Fulton, principal of Discovery Elementary School in Sunrise.

Chess is now part of the curriculum for all Broward County schools like Discovery, where students are catching on quick.

They are learning the basics of how to move their pawns, knights, bishops and rooks to attack their opponents and to protect their kings.

“You have to think about the moves you’re going to make and what you’re going to do and what the other player’s going to do,” said Evan Matherly, who is currently his school’s chess champ.

Besides the once-a-week chess lesson, the kids also have time to play one another and practice the moves they’re learning.

“What should I do on my next move? You can imagine that a captured piece, you’re dragging them off a battlefield,” said student Lauren Amitirigala.

When kids learn this ancient game of war strategy, they learn how to use foresight, they learn critical thinking, they learn patience and the art of deliberating before making a decision. All of those qualities help them academically as well.

“Actually, there are so many benefits that I can’t name them all, but one of the great benefits is seeing the joy our students have in learning how to play chess, and not even realizing that they’re taking all the skills and being able to implement it in reading, math, science, and also social studies,” Fulton said.

The students have their own reasons for enjoying the game.

“I like chess because it’s fun, it brings me closer to my family and when I go against my brother I can easily win,” Amitirigala said.

They take no prisoners in Ms. Maver’s class.

“Actually I would never challenge any of my students in chess, they’re really doing a great job, I’m so proud of how quickly they’re able to learn and master the game,” Fulton said.

So is the principal afraid to get beaten by a third grader?

“Absolutely, and I’m not ashamed to say it!” Fulton said.

The best part? FCAT scores jumped 18 percent last year after chess was introduced at Discovery Elementary. Checkmate.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 6 South Florida

Photo Credit: NBC 6 South Florida]]>
<![CDATA[Marlins Overcome 16 Strikeouts in Win]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 22:33:49 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/455503244.jpg

The Miami Marlins were overmatched for most of the game but stormed back for a 6-5 win over the New York Mets on Monday.

Jacob deGrom of the Mets struck out the first eight batters of the game which set a franchise record. That mark also tied for Major League record for consecutive strikeouts to begin a game. In addition, it doubled the previous record in Miami history in terms of strikeouts by the opposition to start a game.

The Marlins got to deGrom in the seventh inning for three runs after he had struck out a career high 13 batters. Those three runs gave Miami a lead after it trailed 2-0 for most of the evening. After the Mets regained the advantage in the bottom of the seventh, the Marlins put another three on the board in the eighth frame.

The six runs were scored without the benefit of a single home run. Justin Bour had one of his finer days in the big leagues as he went 2-3 with a run scored and a walk. Adeiny Hechavarria and Jeff Mathis also had two-hit days. The shortshop doubled for one of his hits and had a pair of runs batted in as well.

The Marlins lineup tallied plenty of strikeouts all game long even after deGrom exited. In all, the Marlins struck out 16 times with five players striking out multiple times. Marcell Ozuna had the toughest time with his three strikeouts on the day.

Jarred Cosart pitched well but was out-dueled by deGrom and came away with a no-decision. Cosart allowed two runs in his six innings of work. The Mets managed five hits and walked twice against Cosart.

In the ninth, Steve Cishek sealed the victory for his 36th save of the season.

The series in New York will continue on Tuesday when Nathan Eovaldi makes the start for the Marlins.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA["Played Out": Trump Plaza Marks Last Day]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 01:27:29 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/trump+plaza1.jpg

Linda Winsett stopped in to say goodbye to the workers she'd come to know over her decades playing the slot machines at Trump Plaza as the Atlantic City casino marked its last day in business Monday.
“I know everyone here,” said Winsett, who was visiting with her husband, Jon, a retired Wildwood, New Jersey, police officer. “They’ve always been good to me. Sad. Everyone’s out of work.”
Winsett had known the casino was failing. It had become run-down, and there were fewer employees on the casino floor. Its imminent closure was no surprise to her. “I could see it coming,” she said.
When the Trump Plaza closes its doors early Tuesday morning, it will become Atlantic City's fourth casino to close this year, following the Atlantic Club in January and Showboat and Revel over the Labor Day weekend. Trump Entertainment Resorts is threatening to shutter a fifth, Trump Taj Mahal, if it cannot cut costs there.

The march of casino closures comes as New Jersey casinos' revenue lags, and as state leaders scramble to turn the tide. New Jersey casinos' August revenue was down $3.65 million compared with last year, state gambling figures out Friday show. Last week, Gov. Chris Christie held a special summit to help the troubled casino resort community, and issued a directive to let casinos begin sports betting.

“The whole industry is played out,” said Linda Winsett's husband Jon, 59, who does not gamble. “If you put six McDonald’s on one intersection, not all six are going to do good.” 

"I'm going to pick up the pieces"

At mid-day Monday, a smattering of gamblers dotted the Trump Plaza's cavernous casino floor, most of them at the slots. As the day wore on, visitors streamed up the escalators to games whose dazzling names — "Dozens of Diamonds," "Invaders from the Planet Moolah" — belied the casino's future.
That future was on casino employees' minds Monday, as nearly 1,000 workers prepared to lose their jobs. Some said they said they would apply for unemployment benefits or maybe return to college, and a dealer was overheard discussing competition from casinos in neighboring states.
Theresa Volpe, 56, a cocktail server who has worked at Trump Plaza for 26 years, is looking for a job in one of the other casinos, and hopes the city can rebound to thrive again. She lives just outside Atlantic City in Northfield with her disabled sister and her mother, who is recovering from a fall. Both rely on her, but Volpe said she wasn't worried.

"I’m going to pick up the pieces," she said. "I’ll be good. We’ll work it out."

The closing of Trump Plaza has also left uncertain the future of its boardwalk restaurant, EVO. Waiter Elgun Alakbarov, 25, is applying for jobs at other restaurants, but he may leave Atlantic City instead.

"It’s time to do something different. But I'm young," he acknowledged. “People who have a family — it’s hard."

The union representing casino employees, Unite Here Local 54, will host a resource center in Boardwalk Hall from Wednesday through Friday where union and non-union workers can learn about unemployment benefits, health care, rent assistance and other resources, said Donna DeCaprio, the secretary treasurer. "It's kind of one-stop shopping," she said.

"There's already enough poverty"

On a sparklingly sunny Monday on the Atlantic City boardwalk, Janice and Malcolm Blalock had their photograph taken in front of the casinos. Retired government workers from Clayton, North Carolina, they were on a motorcycle trip and were on their way to Philadelphia.
“It’s a little bit sad,” Malcolm Blalock said of the casino closures. His wife, who described herself as a small gambler, said the casino closures reflect the ongoing struggles of a still-rebounding economy.
The pair was only briefly stopping in Atlantic City en route to Philadelphia.
Derek Ljongquist, 31, and Jennifer Cote, 33, stopped at the Starbucks in the Trump Plaza, but they had no plans to stay, either. The couple from Naugatuck, Connecticut – he a computer technician, she a health-care administrative assistant – was headed for a swim and then shopping at the Tanger outlet mall, during a visit for Cote’s birthday.
And though not gamblers, they thought the Atlantic City casinos paled in comparison with their home state's Mohegan Sun casino, though they called the Trump Plaza's closure "a shame."
“It's a shame, because there are a lot of jobs to be lost,” Cote said. “There’s already enough poverty in the city.”
"The whole vibe is different"
Like many others, longtime Trump Plaza patrons Ed Heron Jr., 68, and his wife, Marge, 67, had come to their old haunt Monday to say goodbye to longtime employees.
“This used to be our place,” Ed said. “We used to be here at least two or three times a month."
The retired couple, who live in Philadelphia, recalled steak dinners they had eaten and performances they'd seen by Cher and Diana Ross there. But what was once a fabulous casino now looked desolate, Marge said, and the couple blamed its owners for its failure.

“Ten years ago, the place was hopping,” Ed remembered.

That wasn't the case Monday, another worker at the Trump Plaza's restaurant EVO conceded. Andrea Gant, 29, is moving to Boca Raton, Florida, to waitress in another of the owner’s restaurants for the winter. "It’s hard to get a job here in the winter," she said.

It wasn't just during the winter that business had lagged, though, she said. With fewer patrons to serve, she could tell the casinos were suffering.

"You can feel it," she said. "The whole vibe is different."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 6 South Florida

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Dolphins Bring Daniel Thomas Back For Depth]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 21:23:30 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/4568882592.jpg

The Miami Dolphins who will be without Knowshon Moreno for the foreseeable future signed Daniel Thomas on Monday.

Moreno injured his elbow during Sunday's loss to the Buffalo Bills on a tackle. The injury is listed as a dislocated elbow and it is likely that Moreno will be unavailable for more than a month. Heading into the second week, Moreno led all NFL running backs in rushing yards. He played a big role in the season opening win over New England.

Moreno's absence on Sunday was noticeable as Miami struggled to gain yards on the ground. In addition, they relied heavily on quarterback Ryan Tannehill and the passing game. That did not work out so well as Buffalo came away with an easy victory.

As for Thomas, he was let go during the final round of cuts before the season began. This will be the fourth season that Thomas suits up for in Miami. How much of an impact he'll have remains to be seen as he is going to serve as depth behind Lamar Miller.

Miller exited Sunday's game with an ankle injury but as of now, he is expected to be ready to go for the next game. Before leaving the game, Miller saw the bulk of opportunities on the ground with Moreno unavailable.

To make room on the roster for Thomas, the Dolphins placed defensive back Sammy Seamster on injured reserve. Seamster was acquired on waivers prior to the start of the year.

The Dolphins will take on the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Panthers Set To Begin Training Camp]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 21:19:29 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/104681622.jpg

The Florida Panthers won't begin their season until October but the preparation will officially get underway this Thursday.

On Thursday, the Panthers will begin their training camp with physicals for the roster. Those physicals will take place at BB&T Center. Just five short days later, the Panthers will take the ice at the same building for the preseason opener.

In addition to the beginning of training camp, the Panthers announced their schedule for this year's Fan Fest. The annual event will be this weekend on both Saturday and Sunday at the Panthers IceDen in Coral Springs.

Fans that would like to get a glimpse of the 2014 - 2015 team can do just that on Saturday when the team has an open practice. For three hours starting at 10 a.m., the Panthers will practice at the IceDen. There is a question and answer session available with the broadcasters of the team on Saturday as well.

The next day, the Panthers will do more of the same in another open practice. That will be a shorter one running from 10 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. There will also be an intra-squad scrimmage from 11 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

More information on Fan Fest can be found at Panthers.com

The preseason begins on Sept. 24 with a home game against the Dallas Stars. The Panthers will play six games in all this preseason with two coming at BB&T Center. There is a day-night doubleheader on the 27th against the Nashville Predators.

After playing the Tampa Bay Lightning to begin the season on Oct. 9, the Panthers will open up their home schedule two days later. The game on the 11th will be against the New Jersey Devils.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[$1,300 Raised for Autistic Man]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 20:52:42 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Steven+St.+Jacques+birthday+money+burglary.jpg

A man accused of stealing $100 in birthday money from an autistic man has been arrested, and police in Stamford, Connecticut, have presented the victim with more than $1,000 they pooled together and raised from the public. 

Police said Steven St. Jacques, 27, of Stamford, approached the victim, a 27-year-old autistic man, near Veterans Park last Tuesday afternoon.

He tricked the victim into handing over his money, then pretended to put it back into the victim's pocket but instead ran away with $100 in cash, police say.

Police looked for the man initially but could not find him. On Thursday, they released surveillance footage that showed a man running from the scene in the hopes that someone could identify the perpetrator.

St. Jacques was identified as police's suspect over the weekend. Police obtained a search warrant and found an article of clothing at his house that matched what they say he was wearing when the video was shot.

St. Jacques has been charged with second-degree larceny and is due in court on Tuesday.

He has had prior arrests for alleged assault and robbery, police said.

As Stamford police investigated, police officers, members of the local police union and community members banded together to collect money for the victim and presented him with $1,300 on Monday. 

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 6 South Florida

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com and Stamford Police]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Bear Cools Off in SoCal Pool]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 20:44:35 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/200*120/bear+thomas+see+sierra+madre.jpg

A bear used a Sierra Madre homeowner's backyard pool Sunday to cool off during a Southern California heat wave that included triple-digit temperatures during the weekend.

The bear arrived late Sunday afternoon at the home, where it explored the backyard patio before splashing into the pool. The bear stayed in the water for about 15 minutes, resting on steps at both ends, before climbing out.

Resident Thomas See said this was the first time he has seen a bear swimming around in the pool. Bears in search of an easy snack often appear in the San Gabriel Valley community on trash days, he added.

The bear appeared to head south after the swim, See said.

California's black bear population is at about 25,000 to 30,000, with most living in mountain areas above 3,000 feet, according to what the state's Department of Fish and Wildlife calls conservative estimates. In 1982, the statewide bear population was estimated at between 10,000 and 15,000.

Less than 10 percent of the state's black bear population lives in the central western and southwestern California region, according to agency estimates. About half of the population resides in an area north and west of the Sierra Nevada.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife has recorded 12 "bear attacks" since 1980. An attack is defined as "physical contact, injury or death."

The last reported attack in Los Angeles County occurred in July 2003 when a hiker was knocked down by a bear at a campsite on Pacific Crest Trail in Angeles National Forest. The hiker suffered minor injuries.

Photo Credit: Thomas See, NBCUniversal]]>
<![CDATA[UM Quarterback Olsen Arrested for DUI: Police]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 21:17:16 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/091514+kevin+olsen.jpg

University of Miami quarterback Kevin Olsen was arrested on charges of DUI and possession of a stolen or fake driver's license early Monday, police said.

Olsen, 19, was booked into the Miami-Dade jail shortly after 4 a.m., records showed. He was being held on $6,000 bond and it was unknown whether he has an attorney.

Team officials said Olsen was suspended after the arrest.

According to a South Miami Police arrest report, officers were investigating a battery when they encountered Olsen, who was driving a 2014 Dodge Challenger.

An officer noticed Olsen had blood shot watery eyes, an odor of alcohol on his breath and slurred speech, the report said.

Olsen didn't perform well on field sobriety tests and "exhibited severe signs of impairment due to the consumption of an unknown alcoholic beverage," the report said.

While searching Olsen, officers found he had several identifications, including two from Maryland, one from North Carolina, one from Florida and one from New Jersey. All of the licenses had Olsen's name except the Florida one, which had the name of senior Hurricanes fullback Ronald Regula, the report said.

Olsen, a redshirt freshman from Wayne, N.J., was suspended for the Hurricanes' season opener against Louisville, a 31-13 loss, after a positive drug test.

Last year, Olsen was suspended for the Russell Athletic Bowl for violating team rules, according to the Miami Herald.

Photo Credit: Miami-Dade Corrections]]>
<![CDATA[Shooting at Miami-Dade Gentleman's Club Investigated]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 11:24:42 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/091514+club+lexx+shooting.jpg

Police are investigating a shooting at a northwest Miami-Dade gentleman's club early Monday.

The shooting happened around 3 a.m. at Club Lexx at 12001 Northwest 27th Avenue when someone opened fire in side and outside the club following an altercation.

One man claimed he was grazed by a bullet in the face but he wasn't hospitalized, Miami-Dade Police said.

A witness said he saw people running out of the club and to their cars.

Opa-locka Police detained several subjects inside a car near the club and police were questioning them to determine if they are involved, officials said.

The club made news in 2012 when a security guard shot two men, killing one and injuring the other. The guard, 28-year-old Lukace Kendle, is awaiting trial on second-degree murder charges.

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

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Great White Destroys Surfer's Board]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 20:48:30 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/surf-th.jpg

A surfer says he had to swim for his life after a 15-foot great white shark took a bite out of his surf board at a popular beach near Watsonville, California.

Beau Browning was surfing about 50 yards from shore at Manresa State Beach Saturday evening when he says the shark knocked him off his surfboard, mid-wave. The shark came out of the water and landed on his board, splitting it in two, then took a bite out of the board.

"I caught my second wave and barely got into it, and out of nowhere, I was popped into the air by probably like 10 feet, looked down, and saw a shark," Browning said.

Browning said he was still tethered to the board, so when the shark began to swim deeper, it pulled him underwater for 5 seconds. When the shark finally let go, Browning was able to get up to the surface.

Browning was not hurt in the attack, but his board is no longer usable. Browning said, the board's maker, Pearson Arrow, has offered him a replacement.

Browning told local NBC affiliate KSBW-TV he doesn't blame the shark.

"They were just doing what they're designed to do," Browning said. "And they thought I was something else. And that's all it is. I got no hard feelings against sharks."

Shark warning signs were posted Monday by state park rangers at multiple beaches in Santa Cruz County, the station reported. California State Parks Supervising Ranger Joe Connors says a shark was spotted attacking a seal in the waters off Seabright State Beach on Sunday.

Shark experts told KSBW great whites don’t have sharp eyesight and can't tell the difference between a surfer's body and board.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 6 South Florida

<![CDATA[Lightning Strike Kills Mass. Woman]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 17:44:24 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/Marianne+Mellnick.jpg

Two families are now mourning the loss of their loved ones after both women struck by lightning on an Ipswich, Massachusetts, beach earlier this month have passed away.

Sixty-nine-year-old Marianne Mellnick of Concord, Massachusetts, died Saturday at Massachusetts General Hospital. Her friend, 61-year-old Marguerite "Muggy" Tomany of North Grosvenordale, Connecticut, died Sept. 6, just hours after the lightning strike.

Officials say the two women were leaving Crane Beach that day, walking back towards the parking lot when a microburst hit Ipswich, bringing with it strong winds and dangerous lightning.

Mellnick’s son tells NECN she was a beloved wife, mother and grandmother who had an infectious laugh, boundless energy and love of adrenaline. Se worked in tax management until retiring in 2010, when she spent her time volunteering and traveling the world hiking, kayaking, bicycling and skiing.

According to Tomany’s obituary, she was a proud and loving wife, mother and grandmother who lived life to the fullest. In her three years since retiring from her job as a kindergarten teacher, she also spent much of her time traveling and enjoying the outdoors.

Tomany was laid to rest last week. Donations may be made in her memory to The Mary R. Fisher Elementary School - Marguerite Tomany Fund.

A public funeral mass will be held for Mellnick Friday, Sept. 19 at 10 a.m. at St. Michael's Church in Bedford, Massachusetts. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Mellnick's name to a charity of your choice.

Photo Credit: The Mellnick Family]]>
<![CDATA[Urban Pulls Bloody-Looking Shirt]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 00:55:39 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/kentstatesweatshirt.jpg

Urban Outfitters is once again at the center of controversy, this time for selling a Kent State sweatshirt that appeared to be splattered in blood.

The $129 shirt, sold as part of the Philadelphia-based retailer's vintage sweatshirt line, was so popular it quickly sold out -- but it also was decried as offensive because of the tragic killing of four students by the National Guard on Kent State's campus in 1970. 

The university, located about 40 miles south of Cleveland, took “great offense” to the shirt:

“May 4, 1970, was a watershed moment for the country and especially the Kent State family,” read a statement posted to the university’s website. “We lost four students that day while nine others were wounded and countless others were changed forever.

“We take great offense to a company using our pain for their publicity and profit. This item is beyond poor taste and trivializes a loss of life that still hurts the Kent State community today.”

Urban Outfitters has yet to return phone calls or emails from NBC10.

The company did, however, tweet that it “sincerely apologizes for any offense our Vintage Kent State Sweatshirt may have caused.”

“It was never our intention to allude to the tragic events that took place at Kent State in 1970 and we are extremely saddened that this item was perceived as such,” said a company statement posted online.

“The one-of-a-kind item was purchased as part of our sun-faded vintage collection. There is no blood on this shirt nor has this item been altered in any way. The red stains are discoloration from the original shade of the shirt and the holes are from natural wear and fray," it continued. "Again, we deeply regret that this item was perceived negatively and we have removed it immediately from our website to avoid further upset.”

The retailer dropped a photo of the “bloody” sweatshirt but did leave up the “sold out” page on its website.

Other vintage sweatshirts — including ones with “Penn State,” “University of Texas” and “Cathedral College” printed on them — were also listed as sold out on the Urban Outfitters site. None of those shirts appeared to be bloody, and the photos of each remained on the site.

This isn't the first time that Urban Outfitters has found itself facing public backlash over one of its items. Last holiday season they pulled a pair of socks seen as religiously insensitive.

They've also gotten heat for a pro-booze shirt sold to the 18 to 24 crowd, a "Jewish Star" shirt that drew comparisons to the Holocaust and about a dozen other designs laid out by The Week.

Photo Credit: Urban Outfitters]]>
<![CDATA[Elderly Woman Roughed Up By Hialeah Purse Thief]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 14:03:06 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/091514+hialeah+purse+thief.jpg

Hialeah Police are looking for a purse snatcher who knocked and elderly woman to the ground and dragged her for several feet as she fought back in an incident caught on camera.

The theft happened back on Aug. 31 at 4950 West 12th Avenue, as the woman stood talking on her cell phone, police said.

The man suddenly grabbed her purse, knocking the elderly woman to the ground. After she lost her grip, the suspect ran off on foot then left in a gray Nissan Sentra, police said.

The woman suffered bumps, bruises and scratches, Hialeah Police Sgt. Eddie Rodriguez said.

"This man's taken advantage of elderly people, he takes advantage of this poor old lady," Rodriguez said. "Obviously someone like this we need to get off the street."

The suspect is described as a while male in his early 30s, about 5-foot-nine, with a medium complexion and average build.

Anyone with information is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.

Photo Credit: Hialeah Police]]>
<![CDATA[AC Tries to Reinvent Itself ]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 15:00:55 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/trump+plaza1.jpg

The Trump Plaza in Atlantic City will shutter its doors early Tuesday morning, the latest casino to fail as this once high-flying resort city faces fierce competition from gambling elsewhere.

When the doors close at 5:59 a.m., about 8,000 jobs will have been lost this year, a quarter of the casino workforce, according to figures filed by the city's casinos. Hundreds of former employees have been filing for unemployment benefits, health care, heat assistance and food stamps. More may be lining up for help soon. Trump Entertainment Resorts is in bankruptcy and is threatening to close the Trump Taj Mahal Casino in November if it does not get concessions on labor costs.

With Atlantic City’s gambling revenue plummeting from $5.2 billion in 2006 to $2.86 billion last year, according to the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the suffering shore resort is scrambling to reinvent itself. Only eight of its 12 casinos will remain and competition in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, Delaware and elsewhere continues to grow. Officials are searching for ways the city can appeal anew to visitors and stop hemorrhaging jobs and revenue.

“It’s really a repositioning of the city itself,” said Mark Giannantonio, the president of Resorts Casino Hotel, which turned itself around after adding a Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville entertainment complex. “It’s more right-sized for the market in gaming and it’s an opportunity for us to continue to go after this non-gaming element, which in turn helps gaming.”

Officials are hoping a mix of convention space, entertainment venues, shops, a college campus, plus the casinos will transform the city from a gambling hub into a resort with a variety of attractions. Atlantic City’s non-gambling revenue is growing but at half the rate its gambling revenue is dropping.


One place to look as a model: Sin City. The Las Vegas Strip managed to curb its reliance on casinos. A little more than one third of its revenue comes from gambling, compared to 72 percent in Atlantic City. But experts caution the change will not be easy.

For example, there is already a glut of convention space across the country, said Heywood Sanders, a professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio and the author of “Convention Center Follies.”

Demand in 2013 was only slightly above where it was in 2000, he said. Meanwhile, the amount of exhibit hall space has increased by 37 percent. Major convention cities across the country have seen their business remain flat or fall. At the biggest convention center in the country, McCormick Place in Chicago, business dropped from 1.55 million attendees in 2003 to 868,000 last year.

“What we see in major events around the country is that fewer people are going,” Sanders said. “And that’s partly because employers are less willing to send lots of people out of town to a convention and trade show for an extended period.”

The president of the Atlantic City Alliance, Elizabeth Cartmell, said that the city would compete not only for conventions but also for smaller meetings of 50 to 500 people, where the glut of space is not as severe. Only 2 percent of smaller meetings originating in the Northeast comes to Atlantic City compared to 15 percent that goes to Las Vegas, she said.


The alliance, funded with a $30 million a year assessment on the casinos, is promoting the city as a year-round seaside resort through beachside concerts, wine tastings, fishing tournaments and pro volleyball competitions. Lady Gaga and Lady Antebellum performed this summer, a series of long-distance triathlons added Atlantic City as one of its locations and the Miss America contest has returned from Las Vegas.

An 86,000-square foot Bass Pro Shop is under construction and is expected to bring almost 300 full- and part-time jobs.

The alliance is looking at Miami as a model, Cartmell said. Atlantic City offers an exciting nightlife but also the chance to relax on the beach and visit a spa, she said.

“We’re an interesting mix of a little bit of urban grit and variety, but at the same time we’re beachfront,” she said. “We call it the thrill and the chill.”

Giannantonio, the Resorts Casino Hotel president, has said that five years ago his property would have been the first casino to close. That changed with a new owner, Morris Bailey, a partnership with the Mohican Sun casinos and the new Margaritaville restaurant and LandShark Bar & Grill, Atlantic City’s first beach restaurant.

“You’re sitting right on the beach, feet from the ocean, thinking you could be anywhere in the country,” he said.

To bring people back into the city, Mayor Donald Guardian has proposed giving away land and tax breaks to new homeowners who build within two years and commit to staying for 10. The five years of tax abatements would begin at 100 percent and decrease 20 percent each year after.

Even during the boon years, much of the riches from gambling did not find their way past the glittering lights of the resorts. Twenty-five percent of the city’s population of 39,500 lives below the poverty, according to Census figures. The figure is even higher for those under 18: 37 percent.

The city ranks second in New Jersey for violent crimes trailing only Camden, FBI data from 2012 shows. Family income is about $30,000. The unemployment rate stands at 13 percent.


Michael Busler, a professor of finance at Stockton College, said the mayor’s plan was not enough. He said the city would have to offer a bigger incentive and he suggested 10 years of tax breaks as Philadelphia has done.

The value of Atlantic City’s real estate has shrunk from $20 billion when the casinos were thriving to about $8 billion, Busler said. At the same time, property taxes have gone up 22 percent last year and 29 percent this year. The city’s $260 million budget has to be cut to between $175 million and $180 million, he said.

Atlantic City was first developed as an oceanside resort in the 19th century. When gambling was legalized in 1976, the casinos turned away from the beachfront. Their design was meant to keep people inside – and gambling.

“Now we can’t do that anymore,” Busler said. “Now we’re going to emphasize we have a beautiful beach.”

Atlantic City has to find ways to rebuild that will help the city itself grow, said Bryant Simon, a professor of history at Temple University and the author of “Boardwalk of Dreams: Atlantic City and the Fate of Urban America.”

Even while the casinos thrived, the city withered and for years lacked even a supermarket.

“Let’s not do that again,” he said. “Let’s have fresh produce. Let’s have year-round jobs.”

The city could try high-speed rail service to Philadelphia, so residents could work there, he said. It could open a satellite campus of the nearby Richard Stockton College of New Jersey and have a core of students studying casinos and urban redevelopment. Or it could add to the city’s medical complex. The city needs to make sure it is creating decent paying jobs, not just low wage, tourism jobs, he said.

“We shouldn’t be stunned that a city has to reinvent itself,” he said. “Cities are always places of creative destruction and renewal and resorts probably in particular because they cater to people’s desires and their desires change.”

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 6 South Florida

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Tasered Man's Family Welcomes Police Body Cameras]]> Sun, 14 Sep 2014 18:27:57 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/police+body+cameras.jpg

Miami Beach is the first city in Miami-Dade County to approve the use of body cameras for police officers. The family of the graffiti artist who died after a Miami Beach officer tasered him welcomes the change.

Earlier this week after Miami Beach commissioners voted in favor of body cameras for police and other city employees. The chief of the police department said the cameras will lead to greater confidence and more accountability.

"Communities could be embroiled in controversy that could be completely avoided if we had it on tape," said police chief Dan Oates.

Controversies like the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and one Miami Beac police continue to deal with-- the taser death of 19-year-old Israel Reefa Hernandez.

"My brother's rights were completely violated," said Israel's sister Offir Hernandez.

In August of last year, Miami Beach Police officer Jorge Mercado tasered Hernandez after he was spotted spray painting a storefront.
The medical examiner later determined the probable manner of death was accidental, but his family says it was no accident.

After Hernandez's death, the state hired a commission of law enforcement agencies to conduct an investigation into the Miami Beach Police Department. One of the recommendations from the assessment strongly encouraged the city to use body cameras on their officers.

Although the Hernandez family looks forward to officers wearing body cameras for future cases, they say they continue their own fight for transparency, accountability and justice.

"Everything that you do there's a cause and effect," Hernandez said. "My brother did a graffiti, he was killed. So they as well should have an effect."

According to a City of Miami Beach spokesperson, policies and procedures for the body cameras will be established in about a month. 

Photo Credit: NBC New York]]>
<![CDATA[UM A Playboy Magazine Top Ten Party School]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 11:41:52 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*120/Playboy_logo.jpg

Playboy Magazine has once again named the University of Miami as one of its top ten party schools in the country.

The U came in at No. 7 on the 2014 list, with the University of Pennsylvania taking top honors. The University of Wisconsin and West Virginia University rounded out the top three.

The rankings are determined by Playboy's editors, who consider access to nightlife and musical events and creativity when planning social gatherings among other factors.

UM was ranked No. 1 on Playboy's 2009 list but dropped to No. 4 in 2010.

<![CDATA[Former Homestead Mayor's Corruption Trial Beginning]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 09:59:02 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Steve+Bateman+mug+shot.jpg

The public corruption trial of former Homestead Mayor Steve Bateman is scheduled to begin Monday.

Bateman, 59, was arrested in August 2013 on charges that include two counts of unlawful compensation, unregistered lobbying, exploitation of his position and acquiring financial interests related to a secret consulting job with a Florida health clinic company, authorities said. Two of the charges are felonies and three misdemeanors

His attorney, Ben Kuehne, has claimed Bateman is innocent

According to the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office, an investigation that began in February centered on Bateman's paid consultant job with Community Health of South Florida Inc.

Bateman was elected Homestead's mayor in 2009 and won re-election in 2011. He served as the city's vice mayor and councilman and was the chairman of the city's planning and zoning board.

Bateman lost the mayoral primary in October, finishing in third.

"We're in a position to vigorously fight this case," Kuehne said last year. "Mayor Bateman has said he's not guilty, he's said it legally, he's said it publicly, he's done nothing wrong."

Photo Credit: NBC 6 South Florida]]>
<![CDATA[Prof. Shares "Unbelievable" Story of Finding 9/11 Photo Owner]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 20:12:11 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/176*120/911+wedding+photo+boston+globe.jpg

It was a simple message about a photo found in the ashes.

Elizabeth Stringer Keefe posted this message on social media every 9/11, hoping to find the people in the photo. But each year, nothing happened.

"I thought, 'Why not? I'm going to do it one more time everywhere.' And I saw it getting retweeted," said Keefe.

And soon, the professor at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, realized this time was different.

"I think a half an hour later, I knew it was going to happen," she said. "It was so exciting. I start to tear up when I think about it. It started to go viral, so I stayed up all night and just watched."

More than 6,000 tweets later, one message from Fred Mahe changed everything.

"He sent me a very cryptic message," said Keefe. "It just said, 'I know the people in the message, give me a call.'"

So she did.

"When he answered the phone, he said his name, and I said, 'This is Elizabeth Stringer Keefe,'" she said. "He paused for a minute and said, 'You are awesome.'"

A friend of  Keefe found the photo at ground zero, just a few weeks after 9/11. Keefe made it her mission to find out the story behind it.

"I said, 'Are you in that photo?' And he said, 'That is my photo,'" said Keefe. "It was unbelievable, I immediately started crying."

Mahe worked in Tower Two. He had just come off the subway when the building was hit. The photo, taken at his friend's wedding, was tacked to his desk on the 77th floor.

Mahe now lives in Colorado, and all six people in the photo are alive and well.

"On 9/11, like you, I saw the worst of humanity. The absolute worst. But on 9/12, I saw the best," said Mahe. "And the photo mystery was solved on 9/12."

"Finding Fred, and being able to return this particular photo to him, is unbelievable," said Keefe.

Keefe and Mahe will meet for the first time Monday in New York.

Photo Credit: Elizabeth Stringer Keefe]]>
<![CDATA[DUI Charge for Man Who Struck Road Ranger in Miami]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 06:56:43 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/091514+shelton+joseph.jpg

A man is facing a DUI charge after he struck a road ranger on I-95 in Miami-Dade early Sunday, officials said.

Shelton Joseph, 19, was arrested for DUI causing serious bodily injury in the crash that happened around 2 a.m. Sunday in the northbound lanes of I-95 at Northwest 103rd Street, Florida Highway Patrol officials said.

Joseph was released early Monday after posting bond. It was unknown whether he has an attorney.

According to the FHP, the road ranger, Amaury DaCosta, was assisting an FHP trooper when he was struck by a red Honda driven by Joseph. DaCosta suffered serious injuries and was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital where he was in stable condition.

Joseph was taken into custody at the scene.

Photo Credit: Miami-Dade Corrections]]>
<![CDATA[Man, 19, Shot and Killed in Northwest Miami]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 11:25:13 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/091514+nw+miami+fatal+shooting.jpg

Police are investigating after a young man was shot and killed in northwest Miami late Sunday night.

The shooting happened shortly before 11 p.m. in the 1400 block of Northwest 43rd Street, Miami Police said.

The man, later identified as 19-year-old Emory Alexander, was shot multiple times and left on the street, police said.

One witness said he heard two gunshots and saw the body on the ground and a suspect running from the scene.

No other information was immediately known.

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

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Weather: Mostly Sunny Monday]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 05:52:10 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/WTVJ_000000014655205_1200x675_329232963718.jpg Weather Forecast -- 5 AM -- September 15, 2014]]> <![CDATA[Baby Dies After Allegedly Being Beaten by Mother's Boyfriend]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 19:33:10 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/antwansawyermugshot.jpg

A baby who suffered severe brain injuries after allegedly being beaten by his mother's boyfriend has died, according to a family representative.

"Baby Andres is now a beautiful angel in heaven. Thank you for all your prayers and support," said a post on the Facebook page titled "Justice for Baby Andres."

Prosecutors had said in court Friday that five-month-old Andres Bravo was not expected to survive as the charges against Antwan Sawyer, 27, were increased to attempted felony murder. Sawyer was originally arrested on a charge of aggravated child abuse. It is now expected that those charges will again be increased.

Miami Police said Sawyer was caring for the baby when the child suffered severe brain injuries, a lung contusion, and retinal bleeding to both eyes. Sawyer was not the father of the child, but was the boyfriend of the child’s mother, Sascha Garcia.

“The injuries are a lot more serious than they initially thought,” prosecutors said in court Friday. “The child is expected to pass tomorrow which means that this defendant will be charged with homicide. He is a flight risk.”

Sawyer’s defense team tried to get the most serious charge dropped Friday, but the bond court judge said there was probable cause on the attempted murder charge and ordered the Miami man held with no bond.

Andres’ father, Adolfo Bravo, told NBC 6 Thursday that he was trying to hold onto hope, but was also realistic about the likely outcome.

“I have faith,” Adolfo said. “But medically speaking, from the many doctors I’ve spoken to, no matter how much faith I have, it’s not going to happen.”

The infant had been on life support at Miami Children's Hospital this week. The baby had been brain dead since Tuesday, a family representative said.

Photo Credit: Miami-Dade Police]]>
<![CDATA[A.G. Intervenes in More Gay Marriage Cases]]> Sat, 13 Sep 2014 10:48:04 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/145063403.jpg

Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office filed motions to intervene in more same-sex marriage cases, including the Broward County cast of Heather Brassner.

“Ultimately, finality in all pending challenges to the voter-approved marriage provision will come from the U.S. Supreme Court,” Bondi’s office said in a statement.

Brassner’s case was in the news earlier this week when Broward County Judge Dale Cohen vacated his decision from July that found Florida’s gay-marriage ban was unconstitutional.

Judge Cohen vacated his decision saying, “the Petitioner, Heather Brassner, has failed to comply with [state law] by failing to notice the Office of the Attorney General of these proceedings by either registered or certified mail,” the Miami Herald reported Tuesday.

Attorney Nancy Brodski, who represents Brassner, said the vacated decision was “just a speed bump along the way.”

"Although we had given the Attorney General notice, and had had electronic communication, and had actually had telephonic communication, the statute requires us to send it certified mail," Brodski said.

The Brassner case, which the attorney general intervened in Friday, is related to a 2002 civil union in Vermont involving Brassner and Megan Lade. The two separated and Brassner wants a divorce so she can remarry, but Florida, where Brassner has lived for 14 years, doesn’t recognize the civil union.

Complicating matters, Lade has disappeared seemingly without a trace, and hasn't been found, even with the help of a private investigator.

Civil unions were officially dissolved in Vermont in 2009, when the state began allowing same-sex marriages. But the dissolution of the civil union is only allowed when both parties are available to sign the requisite forms.

The Attorney General’s office has intervened in two other cases from South Florida in which two judges said Florida’s same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional. A federal court has also ruled that Florida’s ban is unconstitutional.

The cases where the Attorney General has intervened are currently on appeals. All decisions invalidating the same-sex ban are on hold until the appeals are completed.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 6 South Florida

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Dorling Kindersley]]>
<![CDATA[Navy Pilot Killed in Crash ID'd]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 17:45:13 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/NathanPoloski2+%282%29.jpg

The Navy has identified the pilot killed in a fighter jet crash as a man from Southern California with strong San Diego ties.

Lt. Nathan Poloski, 26, is presumed dead after an extensive search of the Western Pacific Ocean, according to the U.S. Navy.

Poloski is from Lake Arrowhead, California, but was born in San Diego. He grew up living near Marine Corps Air Station Miramar where his mother would take him to watch the Blue Angels, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Two F/A-18 Hornets apparently collided on Sept. 12 about 250 miles west of Wake Island, approximately 2,300 miles west of Honolulu. The pilot of the other plane was rescued.

The Navy suspended the search for Poloski Saturday after covering 3,000 square miles of vast ocean, according to the Navy. The search included the San Diego-based Carl Vinson Strike Group, a P-8 Poseidon aircraft and satellite imagery.

Both jets involved in the crash belonged to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 94, Carrier Wing 17, based in Lemoore, California. They were assigned to USS Carl Vinson, which left San Diego last month for a nearly 10-month deployment.

Poloski’s commanding officer said the Naval Academy graduate “was an outstanding person, naval officer and aviator.”

"My personal thoughts and prayers are for his family, friends and shipmates as they endure this immeasurable loss," said Cmdr. Michael Langbehn, commanding officer of VFA 94, in a statement Sunday.

The Navy is investigating what caused the crash. Navy officials said the jets had "launched from the flight deck and were in the process of proceeding to their initial stations when they apparently collided approximately seven miles from the ship."

Photo Credit: Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Vigil Held for 3 Infants Found Dead]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 13:44:16 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/NECN_091414_nicoleblackstone_9pm_1200x675_329139267559.jpg

Mourners gathered with heavy hearts and teary eyes at a vigil Sunday to remember three infants found dead in a squalid home in Blackstone, Massachusetts last week.

"Those babies," said Blackstone resident Dorothy Harvey. "Just discarded like nothing. They were human beings, too."

"I can't even imagine," said Bob Wolford, a father. "It's unfathomable."

Crews cleaning the house found more cat and dog remains on Sunday.

As investigators search for answers in the disturbing case, the community searches for peace.

"Thank God for that neighbor who told her side of the story," said Emily Colton.

That intervention possibly saved the lives of four other children found living inside the home.

"It's so hard as a mom that this tragedy could happen and that we didn't know," said Harvey.

Members of the community lit candles and released lanterns to the sky at the vigil, holding their own children a little tighter, thinking of those who never had a chance and praying for those who now have a second one.

<![CDATA[2 Dead, 12 Hurt in Chicago Violence]]> Sun, 14 Sep 2014 22:15:26 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/9-14+VIOLENCE.jpg

Two people were killed and at least 12 others were injured in weekend violence across Chicago, police said.

A 28-year-old man was killed after being shot in the 4100 block of West 16th Street in the Lawndale neighborhood just before 2 p.m. Sunday.

The man was shot in the chest after someone in a grey minivan opened fire at him. Police said the man was taken to Mount Sinai hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

Around 3 p.m. Saturday, a 17-year-old boy was fatally shot in the 3900 block of South Prairie Avenue. Few details were released surrounding the shooting but officials said the incident appears to be gang-related.

The teen was shot in the head and taken to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County in critical condition but was later pronounced dead.

On Sunday, a 29-year-old man walked into Mount Sinai Hospital with a gunshot wound to the left hand. He was listed in good condition and told police he was shot in the 1800 block of West 16th Street.

An 18-year-old boy was shot in the ankle in the 6900 block of South Eggleston Avenue just after 11:30 a.m., police said. The teen was taken to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County in good condition.

The teen told police he was walking on the street when a red car approached and someone inside the vehicle opened fire.

A 30-year-old man was shot around 2:15 a.m. in the 4100 block of West Adams Street. The victim told police a man exited a gangway and fired shots in his direction.

The victim was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital with wounds to the leg and foot. He was last listed in stable condition.

Also on Sunday, two people were shot on area expressways within two hours, according to authorities.

Around 3 a.m., a driver was shot on the city’s South Side while traveling on the Dan Ryan Expressway between 76th and 79th streets, according to Illinois State Police.

The driver exited his vehicle at the 79th Street exit and called 911, officials said. Another person inside the vehicle then drove away in the car.

The victim, whose age was not immediately known, was transported to Advocate Christ Medical Center for treatment.

About two hours earlier, a man was shot on the outbound Kennedy Expressway on the city’s West Side.

The man, whose age was not immediately known, was traveling in a red Ford Mustang northbound near Fullerton when a car pulled alongside and someone opened fire, state police said.

The victim was taken to Illinois Masonic Medical Center with several gunshot wounds. His condition was not immediately known.

On Saturday, a man was wounded in a police-involved shooting after he allegedly hit a squad car with his vehicle and attempted to flee.

Police said the incident took place in the 2300 block of West Lake around 10:15 p.m.

The officer was transported to Northwestern Memorial Hospital where his injuries were believed to be non-life threatening.

The offender was shot multiple times and was taken to an area hospital.

Just before 8 p.m., a 17-year-old boy and a 20-year-old man were wounded in a shooting in the 1700 block of North Kimball. Both suffered gunshot wounds to their legs and were taken in stable in condition Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center. The two told police they were standing outside when they “heard shots and felt pain.”

Around 12:40 p.m., a 39-year-old man was shot during an attempted robbery in the 5600 block of South Prairie Avenue. The man was getting out of his car when another man walked up and announced a robbery, according to Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Janel Sedevic. The victim was shot in the stomach and the man fled the scene. It was not immediately clear if he stole anything from the victim, police said.

The victim was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in stable condition.

Around 1:30 a.m. Saturday, two people were shot while inside a building in the 1800 block of West 87th Street.

Police said a shooter fired from outside the building and two victims suffered graze wounds.

A 23-year-old woman suffered a graze wound to the leg while a 42-year-old man was grazed in the head by a bullet. The woman refused treatment at the scene and the man walked into Advocate Christ Medical Center where he was listed in good condition.

On Friday night, a 27-year-old man was shot on the city’s West Side.

The man was standing on the 1700 block of North Mason Avenue with a group of friends when a man walked up and opened fire.

The victim was shot in the arm and leg and was taken to West Suburban Medical Center in good condition.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 6 South Florida

<![CDATA[Batman, Spider-Man Arrested in NYC]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 14:30:06 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/costumed+characters+times+square.jpg

Two costumed characters were arrested in Times Square Saturday night after police say they got into a fist fight with another man. 

All three men were charged with misdemeanor assault, officials said. According to the New York Post, the altercation started after 41-year-old Jose Escalona-Martinez and 35-year-old Abdel Elkahezai, who were dressed as Batman and Spider-Man, allegedly confronted a man who was heckling them around 10:25 pm near 44th street and Broadway.

Saturday's arrests were the latest in series of arrests involving costumed characters in Times Square. Earlier this month, Woody, Minnie Mouse and the Statue of Liberty were all arrested in Times Square after they allegedly asked tourists to pay for pictures, the NYPD says. 

The people portraying the characters were all cuffed on aggressive solicitation charges after a run-in with a family of tourists Wednesday night.

The three characters posed for photos with a man, his wife and two children and allegedly demanded $5 in tips, police say. The family refused and told nearby officers, who made the arrests.

The arrests come amid calls to regulate the costumed characters in Times Square. One city lawmaker recently proposed licenses for the characters, and police have begun handing out fliers and posting signs in five languages telling visitors that tips are optional.

The crackdown followed a string of harrowing incidents in which some of the characters assaulted tourists, including children. Others harassed people and groped women. The face-offs peaked when a Spider-Man demanding money punched a police officer telling a woman she was not obliged to pay.

Last month, many of the buskers who don the costumes held a press conference where they argued they deserved a right to earn a living.

<![CDATA[Actress: I Was "Humiliated" by LAPD]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 11:52:24 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/actress+daniele+watts+detained+lapd.jpg

An actress who had a part in the film "Django Unchained" claimed on Facebook that she was "humiliated" and forced into handcuffs by two Los Angeles Police Department officers for publicly showing affection to a companion in Studio City Thursday.

In the Facebook post, which had nearly 2,000 shares by Sunday, actress Daniele Watts says she was put into a police car after refusing to agree that she had done "something wrong by showing affection, fully clothed, in a public space."

"I allowed myself to be honest about my anger, frustration, and rage as tears flowed from my eyes," Watts wrote on Facebook. "The tears I cry for a country that calls itself 'the land of the free and the home of the brave' and yet detains people for claiming that very right."

Police said Sunday that they responded to a report of indecent exposure in the 11900 block of Ventura Boulevard when they came across Watts. LAPD's Sally Madera said a citizen reported seeing a couple engaged in a "sexual act" in a car.

"The citizen who called the police to complain told the 9-1-1 operator that a male and a female were involved in indecent exposure inside a silver Mercedes with the vehicle door open," police said in a statement.

A responding sergeant and officer questioned Watts and her companion, who matched the suspect description. Police determined no crime was committed and the couple was released after a brief detainment, officials said.

Watts told NBC News Sunday that she and her partner were kissing inside their car at the CBS lot when they were approached by a man in a suit who asked them to leave because "employees were distracted." The couple stopped after a few minutes and police arrived shortly after, Watts said.

When they asked for identification from Watts, she refused and walked away from the officers. Watts said that's when she was handcuffed and put into the police car.

"I burst into tears. I was afraid because of all the things happening in the country right now," Watts told NBC News.

Police said an internal investigation has been launched into the incident.

"The cops are on thin ice here," said NBC4 legal analyst Royal Oakes. "California does not have a law that lets the cops force you to identify yourself, so to the extent the cops hassling this actress tried to get her to give her name and she said no, she had a right to remain silent."

"She may have a basis for a civil rights action, an action saying that the police stepped over the line," Oakes added.

Gadi Schwartz contributed to this report.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 6 South Florida

Photo Credit: Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Pedestrian Killed in Early Morning Crash]]> Sun, 14 Sep 2014 17:29:25 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/tlmd_police_generic_police_tape_police_lights_fishtown1.jpg

One man is dead after he was struck and killed while crossing a road in Fort Lauderdale early Sunday morning.

According to the Broward Sheriff's Office, Alastair Crowell was driving southbound on State Road 7 near the intersection of SW 16th Street just after 3:30 a.m. Sunday when a pedestrian walked into the path of Crowell's car.

BSO has not yet identified the pedestrian, who died at the scene. Crowell remained on scene and cooperated with investigators. The accident is still under investigation.