Here are some of the top stories from the past week from NBC 6 News:
Here's Where to Track Reported COVID-19 Cases at South Florida Public Schools
With the new school year underway, parents are able to track the reported cases of COVID-19 at public schools in South Florida.
Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Broward County Public Schools, the Monroe County School District and the School District of Palm Beach County have dashboards that parents are able to access online.
To access each county's dashboard, click here.
‘Ghost Candidate' Pleads Guilty in Scheme to Siphon Votes in District 37 Race
The man accused of running as a third-party candidate to siphon votes away from the Democrat opponent in a close state senate race has pled guilty Tuesday.
Alexis Pedro Rodríguez agreed to testify against former Sen. Frank Artiles after pleading guilty in Miami-Dade County to accepting illegal campaign donations and lying on campaign documents. He will receive three years probation if he cooperates, including a year of house arrest. He had faced a possible 20-year prison sentence.
Prosecutors charged Artiles in March with felony campaign fraud charges, saying he secretly gave more than $44,000 to Rodriguez so that he could run in the 2020 election to confuse voters and siphon ballots from then-Democratic incumbent, Sen. Jose Javier Rodríguez. The funds allegedly came from a dark money source. Artiles has pleaded not guilty.
Alex Rodríguez, a 55-year-old auto parts salesman with no political experience, ran as an independent in the three-way race in Miami-Dade County, pulling in 6,000 votes. The race was won by Republican Ileana García by just 32 votes. She is not implicated in the scheme.
There Is No Uniform Mask Policy in Florida Charter Schools, Here's Why
Charter schools operate independently from the public school districts, so they are free to set their own standards on a variety of issues. For example, the Aventura City of Excellence K-8 School, known as ACES, has adopted the Miami-Dade County Public Schools policy of requiring every student to wear masks unless they have a medical exemption.
“I feel like a majority of our parents would ultimately decide to put masks on anyway, but it definitely feels, it makes me feel more confident as a a teacher having students with masks on, for sure,” said Beth Greenberg, a teacher at ACES, which is run by the city of Aventura.
The principal told us parents support the mandatory mask policy.
“The vast majority were ecstatic, a lot of emails, thankful, relieved,” ACES principal Anthony Tyrkala said. “With the numbers in the current situation it definitely feels like a no-brainer, that it would be this situation.”
Concerns Over Safety on Miami Beach Following Random Shooting of Young Father
Miami Beach city officials are sounding the alarm over safety concerns in the area.
“The entertainment district has become unsustainable,” Mayor of Miami Beach Dan Gelber said.
This coming two days following the shooting that took the life of 21 year-old Dustin Wakefield, there was a more visible police presence on Ocean Drive.
Mr. Gelber is calling for the entertainment district to be turned into a mixed-use zone.
“I think the entertainment district has become a place that attracts people who believe anything goes, buy drugs and use guns,” he said.
Some city commissioners like Steven Meiner are calling for an emergency meeting to be held.
“We need a sense of urgency,” Meiner said. “We need to make change. We need to have a high level of police visibility.”
‘I Didn't Feel That I Did Anything Wrong': Anti-Mask Father Speaks Out After Clash Caught on Camera
Dan Bauman, who was arrested at Fort Lauderdale High School Wednesday, was released from the Broward County jail on a $5,000 bond.
“I didn’t feel that I did anything wrong and all of a sudden I am being charged with what with was it—aggravated child abuse— a first-degree felony for being basically assaulted,” Bauman said via Zoom.
Bauman shared a video with NBC 6 that showed what he said took place at the high school Wednesday morning. According to Bauman, he was trying to get his daughter into class without wearing a mask.
Bauman said when he turned around, all he saw was a masked person lunge toward him.
"I couldn’t tell if it was a male a female, a minor, an adult. All I saw was a person lunge out [..] at me I felt an impact on my hand—my phone being grabbed away from me. And at that point I just wanted to recover my property," he said.
The officer’s police report stated that Bauman "pushed the child by the shoulder and grabbed her hand and [twisted] her arm in an aggressive manner which caused me and the security to pull the defendant off the child.”
NBC 6 & Telemundo 51 Are Ready To Clear The Shelters With Our 2021 Adopt & Donate Campaign
NBC 6 and Telemundo 51 are happy to announce that Clear the Shelters, our adopt and donate campaign is back for another year. Animal shelters in South Florida and across the country are once again teaming up with NBC and Telemundo stations to find loving homes for pets in need with our Clear the Shelters pet adoption and donation campaign.
The stations’ month-long “Adopt & Donate” effort will feature virtual pet adoptions and make it easy for people to donate online to participating shelters and rescues. The campaign runs from August 23 through September 19, 2021.
Below is a list of the participating shelters. There you can visit their websites, browse for a new pet, find out how the adoption process works and any other pertinent information. This is the first step in your journey to becoming a parent to an animal in need.