<![CDATA[NBC 6 South Florida - Top Stories]]>Copyright 2018https://www.nbcmiami.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC+6+LOGO+GOOGLE.png NBC 6 South Florida https://www.nbcmiami.comen-usSat, 21 Apr 2018 13:40:16 -0400Sat, 21 Apr 2018 13:40:16 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Judge Accused of Berating, Bullying Defendant In Wheelchair]]> Sat, 21 Apr 2018 12:55:34 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/042118JUDGE.png

A Broward judge is facing intense criticism after video shows her berating an inmate with chronic lung disease and asthma during a court appearance.

The South Florida Sun Sentinel reports that 59-year-old Sandra Twiggs -- who was seen in a wheelchair during the proceeding -- later died at her home in Lauderhill.

Circuit Court Judge Merrilee Ehrlich was presiding over first appearance court on April 14-15 when Twiggs appeared via a livestream feed from a north Broward Jail, the newspaper reported. Ehrlich, who was setting preliminary bail amounts, was located at the courthouse in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

Video shows Ehrlich becoming irritated when Twiggs tries to answer questions through fits of coughing and wheezing.

"Excuse me, don't say anything beyond what I am asking you," Ehrlich says.

When Twiggs starts coughing again, Ehrlich asks if she needs water. Twiggs nods "yes," then mentions needing a breathing treatment.

"Ma'am, I am not here to talk about your breathing treatment," Ehrlich interjects.

Throughout the hearing, Ehrlich interrupts Twiggs several times, telling her to "just listen." Twiggs was released without bond, but Ehrlich's behavior incited several social media users, as well as Broward Public Defender Howard Finkelstein.

"Ehrlich demonstrated aggressive and tyrannical behavior and revealed her lack of emotional fitness to sit on the bench," Finkelstein said in a letter addressed to Chief Judge Jack Tuter. "She raised her voice to many defendants, berated the attorneys, and was impatient and exasperated during the proceedings." 

Twiggs had been arrested on misdemeanor charges and had no prior criminal record. Her family said she died on Wednesday, a few days after the April 15 hearing.

NBC 6 has reached out to Ehrlich for a comment.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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<![CDATA[Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel Faces No-Confidence Vote]]> Sat, 21 Apr 2018 07:20:41 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-918668440.jpg

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel will face a no-confidence vote following numerous failures that have "crushed morale through the agency," the Broward Sheriff's Office Deputies Association said.

The move comes as Israel and his agency have been heavily criticized for their response during and after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in which 17 people, mostly teenage students, were shot dead.

In a statement, the deputies association said it scheduled the vote after "many instances of suspected malfeasance, misfeasance, failure to maintain fiduciary responsibility by the Sheriff, failure to properly investigate possible criminal conduct by members of his senior command staff and the lack of leadership that has crushed morale through the agency."

The president of the deputies association, which is represented by the International Union of Police Associations trade union, said the no-confidence vote lasts up to a week. Members of the association can vote electronically, while non-members can vote in person at its headquarters.

The vote would be a largely symbolic move that would not relieve the sheriff of his duties if passed. The starting date of the vote has not yet been revealed.

In response, BSO said that Jeff Bell, the president of the association's Local 6020 chapter, told Israel during a recent phone conversation that with the Parkland tragedy being prevalent in news coverage, that it would be an opportune time to settle contract issues.

“It is unfortunate and appalling that the IUPA union boss – in the midst of ongoing labor contract salary negotiations – is trying to use the Parkland tragedy as a bargaining tactic to extort a 6.5 percent pay raise from BSO through this ‘vote of no confidence’ ploy,” Israel said in a statement.

Bell said Israel has "gone into hiding mode ever since he got humiliated," referring to criticism Israel faces.

The association president also criticized Israel's quick condemnation of the school resource officer who the sheriff said did not run into the school as the shooting occurred. 

"You always wait for all the facts to come out first in case," Bell said. "He violated that trust between the deputies and the sheriff ... he should have our back at all costs unless we’re proven to be wrong."

BSO has about 5,300 employees and the association represents about 1,300 of them.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Saturday Is Last Day to Use Toys R Us Gift Cards]]> Sat, 21 Apr 2018 11:34:44 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/toys-r-us-closingGettyImages-932489164.jpg

If you have a Toys R Us gift card, now is the time to use it. The toy retailer will no longer accept gift cards after Saturday, April 21. E-gift cards and Endless Earnings will also stop being accepted after Saturday. 

Toys R Us, which announced in March that it would be shutting down operations in the United States and Puerto Rico, says on its website that gift cards cannot be exchanged for cash, all sales are final and orders are not being accepted online.

Toys R Us credit cards are being accepted through the end of the company's liquidation sale. Loyalty rewards and coupons, as well as gift cards from Canada, stopped being accepted in March. 

In announcing its closing, Toys R Us CEO Dave Brandon said in a press release that the company does not have the financial support needed to keep its U.S. operations running. 

"We are therefore implementing an orderly process to shutter our U.S. operations and will pursue going concern sales or reorganizations of certain of our international businesses, while our other international businesses consider their options," Brandon said. 



Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[How to Watch the Lyrid Meteor Shower]]> Sat, 21 Apr 2018 10:39:46 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-588663534.jpg

If you like shooting stars, you're in luck. The annual Lyrid meteor shower, which got going this year on April 16, is expected to peak in the early morning on Sunday, April 22, NBC News MACH reported.

Your best bet for seeing the action will come after the moon sets at around midnight local time. Find an area far from sources of light and buildings or other possible obstructions, lie face-up on a blanket or lawn chair with your feet facing east, and simply look up.

The Lyrids aren't as spectacular as the Perseids, which return each August. But with the first recorded sighting of the Lyrids going all the way back to 687 B.C., they're the oldest known meteor shower.

Skywatchers should expect an average display this time. Though the Lyrids have been known to produce up to 90 meteors per hour, this year most people should expect to see about 10 per hour.



Photo Credit: Bill Ingalls/NASA viaGetty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Scope of Barrier Reef's Coral Bleaching Alarms Scientists]]> Sat, 21 Apr 2018 10:17:24 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-89650088.jpg

The clear blue-green waters around the Great Barrier Reef are changing faster than previously thought, according to a new study in the journal Nature, worrying scientists who say the survival of the Great Barrier Reef and other ecosystems like it is crucial for the planet, NBC News reported.

At the Great Barrier Reef — considered one of the Earth's largest living structures at 1,400 miles long — about half of the coral died in 2016 and 2017 because of record extreme heat, a result of climate change driven by greenhouse gas emissions, the researchers found.

Australia's weather bureau said 2017 was the country's third-hottest year on record, and the scorching temperatures came despite the lack of an El Niño system that normally brings warmer weather.

Historically, coral deaths were at a smaller 5 percent to 10 percent. Other research has estimated that 90 percent of the world's corals could be dead as soon as 2050. Scientists are concerned that the colonies of coral that make up the Great Barrier Reef have been damaged to a point where they won't bounce back. If corals remain in too-warm water they turn white — a process known as bleaching — and can potentially die.



Photo Credit: Phil Walter/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Visit National Parks for Free Saturday]]> Sat, 21 Apr 2018 10:16:13 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/shenandoahGettyImages-169432369.jpg

The sun is shining, and the weather is finally warming up. What better way to celebrate than to visit one of the nation's beautiful national parks -- for free.

The National Park Service will offer a "fee-free" day Saturday to kick off National Park Week. Fee-free days cover entrance fees, commercial tour fees and transportation entrance fees.

Events throughout National Park Week include Earth Day (April 22), a Military and Veteran Recognition Day (April 28) and more. This year's theme is "Park Stars" to celebrate "everything from starry skies to superstar volunteers, park features, and resources," according to the NPS website.

In honor of Earth Day on Sunday, the NPS is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System, as well as the Wild & Scenic Rivers System. And next Sunday, they'll celebrate National Park Rx Day -- another opportunity to get out and spend some time at a national park or trail. 

Find more info about National Park Week events here.

Here’s a list of some national parks you can explore for free Saturday:

Maryland:
Antietam National Battlefield
Assateague Island National Seashore
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park
Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine
Fort Washington Park
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

Virginia:
Appomattox Court House National Historical Park
Colonial National Historical Park
George Washington Memorial Parkway’s Great Falls Park
Manassas National Battlefield Park
Petersburg National Battlefield
Prince William Forest Park
Shenandoah National Park

California:
Cabrillo National Monument
Death Valley National Park
Joshua Tree National Park
Lassen Volcanic National Park
Lava Beds National Monument
Muir Woods National Monument
Pinnacles National Park
San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park
Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks
Whiskeytown National Recreation Area
Yosemite National Park

Ohio:
James A. Garfield National Historic Site
Perry's Victory & International Peace Memorial

Oklahoma:
Fort Smith National Historic Site

Washington:
Fort Vancouver National Historic Site
Lewis & Clark National Historical Park
Mount Rainier National Park
Olympic National Park

Texas:
Big Bend National Park
Fort Davis National Historic Site
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Padre Island National Seashore

Find the full list of participating parks here.



Photo Credit: Pierre Leclerc Photography/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Homeowner Chases Teen Suspects Breaking Into Cars In Miami]]> Sat, 21 Apr 2018 09:54:37 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Car_Owner_Chases_Teens_Caught_Stealing_From_Vehicles.jpg

When Anthony Denito saw two suspects running away after burglarizing cars in a South Florida neighborhood, the homeowner didn’t hesitate to act.

The two teenagers were caught on Denito’s security cameras searching for unlocked vehicles to steal from, video shows. Video footage captured both suspects on April 20 riding a bike in the 9900 block of SW 157th Street in Miami, then returning to the scene around noon to hunt for unlocked cars.

One teen is caught on camera trying to open a neighbor’s car door. After an unsuccessful attempt, the other suspect walks into Denito's driveway, checking the doors of a black Cadillac. In broad daylight, the suspect finds the passenger side unlocked and leans inside. The suspect then opens the trunk of the car and snatches a few items.

Denito said he only saw both suspects on camera as they were leaving the scene. Suspecting the teens were up to something, Denito went outside and asked them what was going on.

One teen said: "We didn't steal anything," and went running, according to Denito. 

At that point, Denito said he hopped into his car to chase after both suspects. He called police and caught up with one of the suspects just a few blocks away. By that time, police had arrived, and Denito and the officers were able to block the suspect in with their cars. The suspect was then taken into custody.

Denito said the other suspect jumped a fence during the chase and got away. Police are actively searching for that second suspect.

Detectives say the teenagers also attempted to break into the police car parked across the street. They are asking anyone with information about the incident to call 305-471-TIPS (8477).



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<![CDATA[Panthers' Barkov Named Finalist for Lady Byng Trophy]]> Fri, 20 Apr 2018 20:11:50 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-864093554.jpg

Florida Panthers forward Aleksander Barkov was named as a finalist for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy on Friday.

The trophy which is named in honor of Marie Evelyn Moreton, is awarded to "the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability."

This is the second time that Barkov has been named as a finalist for this award, with his first chance coming following the 2015-16 season. Barkov finished second in voting that time around and will hope for better results this time. Brian Campbell captured the trophy for Florida after the 2011-12 season. Campbell remains the only Florida player to ever bring home the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy.

William Karlsson of the Las Vegas Golden Knights and Ryan O’Reilly of the Buffalo Sabres are also finalists for the trophy. Voting for the trophy took place after the regular season and playoff performance will not be a factor.

Barkov was an All-Star this past season and led Florida with his 78 points. The 22-year old had 51 assists and was Florida's most consistent player. Barkov also stayed on the ice all season long, while playing in a career-high 79 games. Even though Florida fell short of the playoffs, Barkov is a big reason for the team remaining in contention.

The winner of the trophy will be revealed during the NHL Awards on June 20th.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[North Korea Announces Plans to Scale Back Weapons Program]]> Fri, 20 Apr 2018 22:40:59 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/North_Korea_1-152427799542700002.jpg

Ahead of planned summits with both the U.S. and South Korea, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un announced that the country has suspended nuclear and long-range missile tests and plans to shut down a nuclear test site.

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<![CDATA[Miami Beach's First Medical Marijuana Dispensary Opens]]> Fri, 20 Apr 2018 20:21:03 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/042018+surterra+wellness+miami+beach.jpg

Miami Beach's first medical marijuana dispensary opened Friday, more than a year after Florida's amendment allowing cannabis for medical use passed.

Surterra Wellness on Alton Road opened its doors to offer products to registered medical marijuana patients.

"We are bringing awareness, we are de-stigmatizing an industry that is very stigmatized, people are finding their wellness through our products," Surterra's Terese Cerna said.

Miami criminal defense attorney Albert Quirantes warns of a possible downside.

"It will probably cut down on drug dealers but it may increase other crimes up such as addiction crimes, such as DUIs and those kind of crimes," he said.

The dispensary opens on the same day that Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer announced legislation that would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level, with the New York senator looking to separate marijuana from harder drugs like cocaine and heroin.

Marijuana advocates have long complained of wasted law enforcement resources dedicated to cracking down on pot smokers. An NBC News-Wall Street Journal survey from January shows 60 percent of people polled support allowing adults to buy marijuana for personal use.

In the 18 to 34 age range, 73 percent support legalization. Among people 65 years and older, 38 percent support legalizing marijuana.

Somebody who's 100 percent against legalization is US Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

"I'm not sure we're going to be a better, healthier nation if we have marijuana being sold at every corner grocery store," Sessions said during a speech at the National Association of Attorneys General in February. "I just don't think that's going to be good for us."



Photo Credit: NBC 6.com/Steve Litz]]>
<![CDATA[Local Students Take Part in National Gun Violence Walkout]]> Fri, 20 Apr 2018 20:20:11 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/042018+douglas+teacher+gun+violence+protest.PNG

Students, faculty and staff at South Florida schools took part in a national student walkout Friday morning, the latest effort to protest what organizers are calling a failure to protect schools from gun violence in the wake of the Parkland shooting tragedy.

The organized event was scheduled just over two months after 17 students and staff were killed inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14th – and on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine school shooting, when 13 people were killed in the suburban Colorado school.

Shortly after 7 a.m., a group of teachers from the Broward County school stood outside with signs and chanted their calls for change.

About 50 students walked out of Stoneman Douglas after administrators threatened protesters with unexcused absences.

"People say that walking out is a nuisance and it doesn't do anything and it actually disrupts the educational process and to them I say the real disruption is code red drills and being shot at in school," Stoneman Douglas student Alex Wind said.

The walkouts began with a one minute moment of silence for all victims of gun violence with an additional 13 seconds for the victims of Columbine. Participants were told to wear orange.

Organizers, including members of the MSD community who survived the shooting by suspected gunman and former student Nikolas Cruz, say the walkout hopes to send a message that gun violence will not be tolerated, while also holding voter registration drives in an effort to get younger people to the polls this election cycle.

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<![CDATA[SWAG on 6: Coral Park High School's Dalila Valdes]]> Fri, 20 Apr 2018 19:16:37 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/SWAG_on_6_Dalila_Valdes.jpg

So what’s it like to be a recent immigrant in an American high school?

“It’s really hard because you have to adapt to a whole different environment,” said Dalila Valdes, a senior at Coral Park High School in Westchester.

Dalila moved from Cuba to Spain at age 11, and then to Miami four years later. She has adapted so spectacularly well to life in the United States that she’s earned a full scholarship to M.I.T., and she didn’t even know what the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was when she was living in Madrid.

“I wanted to study physics, so I just Googled, best university to study physics, and M.I.T. popped up, and I’m going there!” Dalila said with a laugh.

Dalila enrolled at Coral Park in her sophomore year. She quickly picked up English and in her junior year decided to buck her counselor’s advice and challenge herself by taking a lot of AP classes. How many? Eight out of her eight classes. An entire schedule of Advanced Placement, college-level classes.

“I really like science and math but also there was a psychology class and chemistry and statistics and all that stuff, I learn,” Dalila said. “I feel really good for doing that last year because you fill yourself with knowledge and you understand the world more.”

She’s the rare student who enjoys learning for learning’s sake.

“Since I was little everything I want to do is like, just learn, and uncover the mysteries of the universe, that sounds really romantic but it’s really beautiful, it’s a really good path to take,” Dalila said.

Dalila is the kind of kid who just contain herself when it comes to physics and math, she loves those subject so much, she spends three days a week tutoring her peers after school.

“I love math, I see it some way that it’s so beautiful so I think, I want to transmit to other people the way I see it, how elegant and how everything makes sense and everything goes together,” Dalila explained.

She sets the bar of achievement high, and Dalila has inspired her classmates to take harder classes.

“I did it because she did it and that inspired me to do it as well, that gave me confidence,” said fellow senior Sandra Jardines.

“I think that’s another thing that everybody sees in her, the power of, if I can make a difference I will do it,” said Borja Carrillo, a classmate who says he, too, upped his academic game because of Dalila’s influence.

Sandra and Borja are recent immigrants, just like Dalila. She’s an example of what is possible.

“Yeah she’s my role model, I came from Cuba one year ago and I heard the story of the girl from Spain and she did all this stuff and I wanted to be like her,” said classmate Catherine Santana.

To say that Dalila has impressed her teachers would be a massive understatement.

“Her desire is to get the Nobel Prize in physics one day and I don’t doubt that she will,” said physics teacher Ricardo Markland.

So Dalila plans on researching theoretical physics at M.I.T.

“I have the safe thing that I can also apply my physics major to engineering in case I don’t find a job uncovering the mysteries of the universe!” Dalila said, laughing.

She’s learned another crucial lesson: it’s always good to have a backup plan.

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<![CDATA[Parents Fight to Treat Toddler's Seizures With CBD Oil]]> Fri, 20 Apr 2018 17:04:24 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/Jerger+Family.jpg

As a baby, Jaelah Jerger suffered up to 30 seizures a day and the FDA-approved drug her parents tried to treat her epilepsy didn't work.

Her father, Jade Jerger, told NBC News every time Jaelah had seizure, "it's like watching part of her life slip away."

Feeling helpless, the Jergers decided to try a remedy they'd learned about on the internet, an extract from the cannabis plant called cannabidiol, or CBD. According to the Jergers, within a week, Jaelah's seizures were largely gone.

But when they told their medical team in Indianapolis, Indiana, the Jergers were reported to Child Protective Services (CPS). "They were going to take her," said Jade.

Though Indiana law allowed the use of CBD in some medical circumstances, at the time, it was not legal for children with Jaelah's form of epilepsy. In February, the Jergers filed a lawsuit against CPS. A month later, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a bill allowing for the widespread use CBD. 

"We feel like we're fighting for our lives," Lelah Jerger said.

CBD falls within the definition of marijuana and remains illegal under federal law. However, on Thursday, an advisory committee to the FDA voted to recommend approval of CBD as a treatment for rare and severe forms of epilepsy.



Photo Credit: NBC News]]>
<![CDATA[Louder Than a Bomb Poetry Festival Returns to South Florida]]> Fri, 20 Apr 2018 21:49:19 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/040717+louder+than+a+bomb+florida.jpg

Raw. Emotional. Empowering. Louder Than a Bomb Florida returns with a power punch.

Now in it's 4th year, the spoken word poetry festival features youth poets, primarily high-schoolers, competing in a showcase of lyrical mastery and verbal defiance.

"Words can be cutting, they can be uplifting, they can be inspiring," says NFL Hall of Famer Jason Taylor. "And that’s what we have here. Spoken word poetry in a very raw, organic, real way that’s really leaving a big impact on kids."

Taylor's charitable foundation provides the platform for the festival through its Omari Hardwick bluapple Poetry Network, whose namesake is the star of the hit show "Power" on STARZ.

Hardwick, a poet himself, appreciates the power this festival provides.

"You’re a grown person so you’ve heard the subject matter but you’ve never thought about it in the way that they are presenting it," he says. "We are just a participant in their discovery of who they are while they’re on stage."

After preliminary and semifinal rounds, the 4 week festival culminates this weekend at Nova Southeastern University. Friday night's Indy Finals features the top dozen high school poets from around the state to crown an individual champion. Saturday's Team Finals showcases the top four high school teams.

The poems are entirely the work of the students and touch on a wide range of topics that are often deeply personal. Violence, sexual assault, family dysfunction, gender identity and social injustice are common themes, often using this performance art as a way to make sense of their challenges.

"I cry every time," Taylor admits. "I'm always taken aback in awe of their courage to stand up in front of people they don’t know and spill their story and spill their heart."

This year's festival expanded all across the state, from Jacksonville to Homestead to the Treasure Coast. Thirty-nine high schools fielding entries at a chance to share their work and earn prizes including a grand-prize trip to Chicago for the original Louder Than a Bomb festival.

"We’re crossing railroad tracks and ethnic backgrounds and social backgrounds and economic backgrounds. The amazing part is the life-saving platform that these kids have now," Taylor said.

NBC 6 continues as a presenting sponsor and will feature the performances live each night on NBC6.com. The Indy Finals will stream live from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturday.

In addition to the star power of Taylor, a long-time Miami Dolphins player, and Hardwick, "Ghost" from "Power," the festival has attracted recognizable names as judges. Rapper Trick Daddy will join "Six in the Mix" co-host Johanna Gomez to judge Friday night. Student activist Emma Gonzalez of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School will help decide Saturday's winner.

LTABFLA will also feature a special team performance from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School poets who crafted a powerful tribute to the February 14 shooting that left 17 dead. The development of that poem and the experiences of the Douglas poetry team will be the subject of an upcoming NBC 6 special documentary.

Those interested in attending can purchase tickets at the door of the Rose and Alfred Miniaci Performing Arts Center of Nova Southeastern University on the Davie campus.

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<![CDATA[Suspect Caught After Shot Fired in Miami Shores Bank Robbery]]> Fri, 20 Apr 2018 17:33:24 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/042018+miami+shores+bank+robbery.jpg

A suspect who fired a gunshot into the ceiling during a bank robbery in Miami Shores was caught after a police search Friday, authorities said.

Photos released by the FBI showed the armed suspect inside the TD Bank near 90th Street and Biscayne Boulevard.

Authorities said he demanded money from a teller then fired the shot and fled the scene.

"A lone gunman walked in, demanded money from a teller and he eventually put a round in the roof, shot a round from a handgun into the roof and finally left the bank and fled," FBI Special Agent Michael Leverock said.

It's believed a teller left a GPS device in the bag of cash that helped lead authorities to the area where the suspect went.

Police responded to the area of 109th Street and Northwest 3rd Avenue, where a perimeter was set up.

The suspect was taken into custody a short time later. Authorities haven't released the suspect's name or said what charges he'll face.

No one was injured.



Photo Credit: FBI]]>
<![CDATA[Humans Killed Off Biggest Land Mammals, Not Climate: Study]]> Fri, 20 Apr 2018 13:17:36 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/AP_18079275863156-sudan-rhino.jpg

Humans have steadily driven the world's biggest land mammals into extinction for thousands of years, and we're not done — the cow could soon be the largest one left, according to a new study.

NBC News reported that the study, published Friday in the journal Science, concludes that human activity, not climate change, is what drove animals like the mammoth and saber-toothed tiger extinct.

Today, hunting leaves little hope for saving large, wild mammals from extinction, according to the researchers led by biologist Felisa Smith of the University of New Mexico.

"Wild mammals are in decline globally because of a lethal combination of human-mediated threats, including hunting, introduced predators and habitat modification," the researchers wrote.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Downed Power Pole Closes Part of Miami Beach Road ]]> Fri, 20 Apr 2018 13:25:05 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/210*120/042018+miami+beach+downed+power+line.PNG

A downed power pole has caused a traffic headache for motorists in Miami Beach.

Chopper 6 was over the scene near Alton Road and 56th Street, where an accident caused the pole to fall, blocking the southbound lanes as well as causing backups on the northbound side.

Officials are advising drivers to avoid the area and are rerouting drivers at 57th Street. Police have not released details about the accident.

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<![CDATA[Five Easy Ways to Maintain a Bike ]]> Fri, 20 Apr 2018 13:20:20 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/mainBikeThumb.jpg

As any community cycling shop mechanic will tell you, there are plenty of advantages to traveling a city by bike: it's cheaper and greener than taking the car or train, and a lot easier to maintain.

Those gallons of gas and the coal burned to power trains adds up — transportation was the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in 2016, according to Environmental Protection Agency statistics. Most transportation-related emissions come from cars, pickup trucks, minivans and SUVs.

Bike rental programs in America’s cities are starting to make the option of short-term green alternatives readily available to environmentally conscious commuters, but they usually only afford commuters a trip measured in minutes.

Karen Overton, director of educational nonprofit Recycle-a-Bicycle, itself a part of Bike New York, stressed that owning and maintaing a bicycle is one way to lessen overall air pollution and overreliance on gasoline and coal.

“We can change that level of [air] pollution by changing your transportation patterns,” Overton said. “You don’t have to radically change your whole life — just one individual behavior, and sustain that change.”

Below, David Heslop of Recycle-a-Bicycle explains five ways anyone can maintain their own bicycle without going to a repair shop, making the sustainable commuting method even cheaper.

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<![CDATA['Patience, Faith and Hope': 'El Puma' on Lung Transplant]]> Fri, 20 Apr 2018 14:10:11 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/042018+el+puma+jose+luis+rodriguez.jpg

Renowned Venezuelan singer "El Puma" is speaking out for the first time since receiving a double lung transplant in Miami in December.

The performer, whose real name is José Luis Rodriguez, held a news conference Friday at Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he underwent the procedure.

Rodriguez had been diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a type of lung disease that results in scarring of the lungs for an unknown reason. As his condition worsened, he was forced to perform with an oxygen tank to help him breathe.

"I remember my last performance on stage was in Barranquilla, Colombia, and I felt I was going to die," Rodriguez said. "My heart was beating really fast not understanding what was wrong with me."

The 75-year-old was referred to the Miami Transplant Institute, which is affiliated with Jackson, where doctors discovered that the disease had advanced to the point that his only chance for survival was the double lung transplant.

Rodriguez was placed on a waiting list before a donor match was made in December. He soon underwent the five-hour procedure.

"My advice to others going through something similar is that transplant is the answer," said Rodriguez. "It's like dying and coming back to life – it has been the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through but I overcame this with patience, faith, and hope."

Rodriguez said he hopes to sing again but his focus is on improving his health.



Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[Driver in Fatal Hit-and-Run in NW Miami-Dade Arrested: Cops]]> Fri, 20 Apr 2018 17:58:58 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/042018+michel+vernet+auguste+friznel.jpg

Authorities have arrested a driver who they say killed a man in a hit-and-run crash in northwest Miami-Dade earlier this week that was caught on camera.

Michel F. Vernet, 59, was arrested Thursday on a charge of leaving the scene of a crash causing death, Miami-Dade Police said.

According to police, 51-year-old Auguste Friznel was trying to cross Northwest 7th Avenue at Northwest 103rd Street when he was struck by a Toyota Rav4 around 8:30 p.m. The incident was caught on a surveillance camera.

The vehicle didn't stop and fled the scene. Friznel was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital where he later died.

According to an arrest report, Vernet surrendered to police and confessed to being the driver of the Rav4 four days after the crash. Vernet told officers he didn't stop or report the crash to 911 because he was scared and worried his insurance was going to go up, the report said.

"It's sad to just hit somebody and keep it going," said Friznel's son, Fritznoe Auguste. "That's somebody's day, somebody's grandfather."

Vernet was being held on $10,000 bond Friday, jail records showed. Attorney information wasn't available.



Photo Credit: Miami-Dade Police]]>
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