Here are some of the top stories from the past week from NBC 6 News:
Nursing Homes in Florida Could Lose Federal Funding if Employees Not Vaccinated
Many nursing homes across the country are now having to figure out how to get all of their employees vaccinated or risk losing federal funding as early as September. President Biden made the announcement Wednesday to try and increase the vaccination rate among healthcare workers in long-term care facilities.
Florida has nearly 700 licensed nursing homes in the state. About 46% of its employees are vaccinated, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicade Services. That is the second lowest vaccination rate in the country for employees working in nursing homes. The national average sits at 60%.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis believes the mandate will actually hurt the long-term care industry, causing additional shortages in an industry already hurting for staff.
“I don’t know how it’s going to work,” said DeSantis. “There’s going to be a concern among these institutions about maintaining all the staff. That is a major hammer to bring down.”
Jamie Mongiovi with AARP of Florida say you can’t point to a vaccine mandate as the sole cause for the shortage in staff.
“Unfortunately, staffing levels in long-term care in Florida has been an ongoing issue,” said Mongiovi. “And that was present well before the pandemic started.”
Miami Beach Temporarily Suspends Police Ordinance Due to Scrutiny Over Arrests
New video released by a New York woman’s attorney appears to show a Miami Beach police officer hitting the woman with a bicycle and then pepper spraying her as she tried to record an ongoing arrest on July 25.
The woman, Mariyah Maple, was arrested and accused of violating a new Miami Beach ordinance that prohibits civilians from approaching a law enforcement officer with "intent to impede, provoke, or harass," after being given a warning by an officer.
"It’s absurd that she was arrested. The video clearly shows she didn’t do anything wrong. What the police wrote down in their report is contradicted by the cellphone video and it’s disturbing," Chad Piotrowski, Maple's attorney said.
Now the Miami Beach police chief has temporarily suspended enforcement of the ordinance until all Miami Beach officers have received additional, in-person training on the nuances of the ordinance, according to a statement released by the Miami Beach department.
The release said no one has been arrested for violating the ordinance since July 26.
The totality of circumstances surrounding the incident from July 25 are currently under review by the Internal Affairs Unit. While the investigation is underway, Sergeant Vincent Stella has been placed on administrative duty, the release said.
Daughter of Broward Commissioner Accused of COVID-19 Relief Fraud
The daughter of Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness is accused of obtaining hundreds of thousands of dollars in coronavirus relief loans by allegedly submitting false tax and payroll information for her consulting business, federal prosecutors said.
Damara Holness, 28, of Fort Lauderdale, faces a charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, according to a complaint filed Tuesday by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
Holness applied for a $300,000 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan in June 2020 on behalf of her Plantation-based consulting business Holness Consulting, Inc., prosecutors said.
On the loan application, Holness claimed the company employed 18 people and spent an average of $120,000 each month on payroll, prosecutors said. The company has zero employees and no payroll expenses.
Holness is also accused of creating a paper trail and issuing checks from the company's bank account to people who agreed to endorse them for her. Holness would cash the checks at the company’s bank, give a few hundred dollars to the check endorsers, and keep the rest of the cash — about $1,000 per check — for herself, prosecutors alleged.
‘I Did The Best I Could': Deputy Fired After Deadly MSD Shooting Gets Emotional Outside Courtroom
The former school resource officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on the day of the deadly 2018 mass shooting got emotional after asking a Broward County judge to dismiss all charges against him.
The defense team for Scot Peterson argued for the dismissal Wednesday, saying he was not a caregiver to the students under a Florida statue.
A judge is expected to make a decision on the motion to dismiss within the next week.
On the day of the shooting, Peterson took cover while the gunman - Nikolas Cruz - fired 140 rounds from an AR-15 rifle inside the building shooting students, an investigation found. 17 people died as a result of the shooting.
“I didn’t do anything there to try to hurt any child there on the scene,” Peterson said. “I did the best that I could with the information. I did the best ... I’ll never forget that day. You know, not only kids died, I have friends that died. And never for a second would I sit there and allow anyone to die, knowing that animal was in that building! Never!”
Peterson retired shortly after the shooting and was later fired. He faces 11 counts, including child neglect, culpable negligence and perjury for what took place on February 14, 2018.
If convicted, he faces a potential maximum prison sentence of nearly 100 years.
Local Kid Becomes Entrepreneur, Creates Clothing Line to Inspire Others
Samuel Baker created a clothing line called “Persevere Gear” during the height of the pandemic in 2020. He says he came up with the name to help inspire others to never give when they are faced with a challenge.
“My parents would tell me to never give up and persevere," the 12-year-old said.
Baker told NBC 6 when middle school would get tough, he would remember what his parents would tell him - to persevere.
"I was thinking about word for a very long time and I wanted to turn it into something big," he added. "So, I turned it into my clothing brand, Persevere Gear. To help inspire others like my parents did."
This young entrepreneur began selling T-shirts, sweatshirts, and basketball shorts with a monthly pop-up shop at Pembroke Lakes Mall.
“People would walk up to me and asked what my name is and I’ll give them all my business information,” he said.
Because he was selling so much, Baker had to expand to selling online and through social media. His customers would even ask for custom made gear.