<![CDATA[NBC 6 South Florida - Top Stories]]>Copyright 2019 https://www.nbcmiami.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC+6+LOGO+GOOGLE.png NBC 6 South Florida https://www.nbcmiami.com en-usSat, 19 Jan 2019 07:20:31 -0500Sat, 19 Jan 2019 07:20:31 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[ATV, Dirt Bike Riders Hit Streets Ahead of MLK Rideout]]> Fri, 18 Jan 2019 23:38:20 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/011819+mlk+rideout+new.jpg

Two people were arrested after a large group of ATV and dirt bike riders hit the streets of Miami-Dade Friday evening, days ahead of the so-called "Wheels Up, Guns Down" MLK Rideout that's usually held on the Monday holiday.

The group was seen driving in northwest Miami-Dade before stopping at a gas station in the area of Northwest 17th Avenue and Northwest 54th Street. The group then headed to Downtown Miami.

Footage showed many in the group popping wheelies and driving on sidewalks. Most were riding in and out of traffic and going the wrong way down roads.

Two men were arrested as of Friday night involving the rideout. Miami-Dade police said 21-year-old Jonathan Spignolio and 28-year-old Raymond Gonzalez were arrested for weapons violations at the intersection of NW 119th Street and 24th Avenue.

ATV and motorcycle riders have been taking part in the massive South Florida rideout on Martin Luther King Day in recent years, but police and the Florida Highway Patrol say they are doing all they can to stop it this year.

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[MLK Weekend Activities: Art Deco, Block Party, Marlins Golf]]> Fri, 18 Jan 2019 18:24:28 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/011819+Weekend+Roundup+FL.png

Check out some of the upcoming activities in South Florida with the NBC 6 Weekend Roundup:

MLK Events

This long holiday weekend, residents across South Florida will be honoring the life and legacy of the late civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Cities in both Miami-Dade and Broward counties will honor Dr. King with events including parades and non-violent marches. The YMCA of South Florida will also be holding their MLK Day of Service in the Allapattah for volunteers to work on numerous projects in the area. Click here for more details.

Art Deco Weekend

The longest-running free community cultural festival in Miami Beach is back! Running from January 18th through the 20th, Art Deco will have over 85 unique events for the entire family. The event will feature live music, art, food, and tons of street entertainment. The Classic Car show is also back, and of course, so is the Bark Deco Dog Show, which will be full of prizes and treats for your furry friends. Click here for more details.

Coconut Grove Block Party

Prism Creative Group has teamed up with Grove Bid to transform Main Highway from Commodore Plaza to Fuller into a block party that is sure to make you fall in love with the Grove even more. This Saturday for 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. guests can enjoy Latin funk and reggae tunes by Locos Por Juana. Plus, some of your favorite eats from Jaguar Hospitality Group and the Spillover will pop out of their storefronts and into the streets. The event is free and open to the public. Bike riders, there will be free bike valet parking just for you. Click here for more details.

Playyyyy Ballllll

Just because it’s not baseball season doesn’t mean you can’t have fun at the ballpark. This weekend, you’ll be able to play golf at Marlins Park. The Miami Marlins have partnered with Stadium Links to transform Marlins Park into a one-of-a-kind nine-hole golf course for three days. Tee times will be offered early morning and ending in the evening. The ballpark lights will illuminate the entire course under the night sky, which could make this a perfect date idea. Click here for more details.

<![CDATA[Mueller Disputes Buzzfeed Story on Cohen Testimony]]> Fri, 18 Jan 2019 23:49:46 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/1066356176-Michael-Cohen.jpg

Special counsel Robert Mueller's office issued a rare public statement Friday night that disputes a BuzzFeed News report that President Donald Trump had directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress, NBC News reported.

BuzzFeed News on Thursday evening reported that Cohen told special counsel Robert Mueller the president personally instructed him to lie to Congressional investigators in order to minimize links between Trump and his Moscow building project, citing two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter. The report also alleged that Cohen was directed to give a false impression that the project had ended before it actually did.

NBC News has not independently confirmed this report.

On Friday evening the special counsel's office issued a statement: “BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the Special Counsel’s Office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s Congressional testimony are not accurate."

Photo Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[South Florida Soldier Among Syria Suicide Bombing Victims]]> Fri, 18 Jan 2019 18:58:56 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/011819+jonathan+farmer+soldier+killed+in+syria.jpg

A South Florida soldier has been identified as one of those killed in a suicide bombing in northern Syria earlier this week.

The Department of Defense confirmed the identities of three people that were killed, including Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jonathan Farmer. The 37-year-old Farmer was a Boynton Beach resident who had been assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group based out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

Farmer joined the Army in 2005 and served overseas during six tours of duty, including twice during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He leaves behind a wife and four children.

DOD officials also confirmed a Navy cryptologic technician and a civilian contractor were killed in Wednesday’s attack.

At least 16 people in total were killed in the explosion, which came just one month after President Trump announced U.S. forces would begin to be pulled out of the country and that ISIS had been defeated.

The terror group claimed responsibility for the attack but has not produced evidence to support that claim, according to NBC News.

The attack was the deadliest since U.S. forces entered the country in 2015.

Photo Credit: Department of Defense]]>
<![CDATA[Musician Mentor Has Unique Way of Seeing the World]]> Fri, 18 Jan 2019 19:25:09 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/Daniel+Solomon.PNG

The advanced orchestra at Palmetto Senior High School in Pinecrest Village doesn’t usually accept freshmen, but the band director made an exception for the exceptional redheaded violin player, Daniel Solomon.

“I think of myself as an advocate for people with disabilities,” Daniel said.

You have to look carefully to realize the boy with the thick glasses is legally blind. Daniel is the freshman class treasurer, always busy, always finding ways to navigate the challenges of high school.

“I always sit in the front, in the front seat and usually I still have trouble seeing the board,” Daniel explained.

So to compensate, he takes pictures of the board and his textbooks and puts them through a magnifying app on his phone. To play his violin, Daniel uses a tablet to enlarge his sheet music, which he color-codes in advance.

“And so when I’m playing it, I know, purple, that means this, yellow, that means I have to do this, so I’ve kind of made my own music language, I guess,” Daniel said.

His friends notice Daniel’s ingenuity and his relentless positivity and it inspires them.

“Yeah, I think it does because it shows that no matter what’s wrong with you, that nothing can stop you, you can still be like a normal child, have a normal childhood,” said classmate Arin Khanna.

“He even inspires me because he always is helping other people, even if he doesn’t have to,” added another of Daniel’s classmates, A.J. Amster.

In seventh and eighth grades at Palmetto Middle School, Daniel organized band concerts which raised over $5,000 for his school’s music program. He’s in the midst of organizing a bigger event this year, and he also started a mentoring program, persuading his orchestra peers to visit middle school musicians every week.

“Later on when the middle school students come to high school, they’ll have a friend here and they’ll have someone they can look up to for advice,” Daniel said. “It’s kind of a way of giving back for all the help that people have given me.”

One thing you’ll never from Daniel is any kind of moping about his condition, about the unfair hand life has dealt him. He has a unique way of seeing the world.

“I love puzzles, I love solving puzzles, I love Sudoku, and I really do think of this as a puzzle, I think of it as saying yes, I have a disability, and yes, now I get to do this differently,” he said.

His orchestra teacher says Daniel is a role model.

“My favorite thing is when kids complain about something they can’t do, I always tell them there are plenty of people in this world that do just fine, and I think he is very much a testament to that,” said Jorge Padron, the conductor.

It’s part of Daniel’s philosophy, another element of this young man’s personality that makes him wise beyond his years.

“It’s not about sitting there and moping about why you have this or why this happened to you, it’s about turning your disability into a 'diversability,'” Daniel said, perhaps coining a new word.

He may not perceive every detail, but Daniel clearly sees what’s important in life.

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[Broward Man Used Fortnite to Recruit Child Porn Victim: AG]]> Thu, 17 Jan 2019 23:25:31 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/011719+Anthony+Gene+Thomas.jpg

A Broward County man used the popular game Fortnite to recruit an underage teen to engage in sexual activity and get pornographic photos and videos of the minor, and investigators believe there could be as many as 20 more victims, authorities said Thursday.

Anthony Gene Thomas, 41, is facing charges of soliciting a child for unlawful sexual conduct using computers, traveling to meet a minor for unlawful sexual activity, possession with intention to promote sexual performance of a child, 22 counts of child pornography and unlawful sexual activity with a minor, Attorney General Ashley Moody’s Office announced.

Authorities said a co-conspirator of Thomas made contact with the victim through Fortnite and introduced the teen to Thomas. Thomas manipulated the victim with gifts, including credit cards and a cellphone, and eventually arranged to pick up the victim in Brevard County and take the victim to Broward in August 2018, authorities said.

Thomas engaged in sexual activity with the victim but police found the teen after the teen's parents called police to declare the teen missing, authorities said.

Investigators later served a search warrant on Thomas' phone and found pornographic images and videos of the victim, authorities said.

"This case is disturbing not only because it involves child pornography, but also because a popular online game was used to communicate with the victim," Moody said in a statement. "We have reason to believe there could be additional victims, and I am asking anyone with information about the recruiting of minors for child pornography, or any other type of sexual exploitation, to call law enforcement immediately."

Thomas remained behind bars in Broward County Thursday but will face the charges in Brevard. Attorney information wasn't available.

Photo Credit: Broward Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Allegations of Anti-Semitism Cloud 2019 Women's March ]]> Fri, 18 Jan 2019 19:14:23 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-908570094.jpg

Amid accusations of anti-Semitism surrounding the leaders of the Women’s March on Washington, many Jewish women will be deciding one thing this weekend: to march or not to march?

Joan James, of Lincoln City, Oregon, was very supportive until the allegations of anti-Semitism began to surface.

"The Women’s March is supposed to be an inclusive movement that supports diversity of color and ideas," said James, who is Jewish. "If your leaders are making statements that are less than supportive of a group of people, it tears the movement from the inside."

James is still conflicted on whether or not she will participate this weekend, when thousands of women are expected to take the streets for the third year in a row. The march was sparked by the election of President Donald Trump by women worried about his agenda and offended by comments he made. Many participants wore distinctive "pink pussy hats" as a symbolic way to show resistance.

Now some women are aggravated the anti-Semitic allegations are causing a divide within the women’s movement.

The accusations of anti-Semitism were crystalized in an article written in the Tablet in December. The magazine reported that in an initial planning meeting, Tamika Mallory and Carmen Perez, two of the Women's March Inc. leaders, said that Jewish people had “a special collective responsibility as exploiters of black and brown people." Mallory and other leaders deny the statement.

In addition, Perez, Mallory, and Linda Sarsour's association with Nation of Islam minister Louis Farrakhan, who has a history of making anti-Semitic and anti-LGBTQ comments, led to more criticism. The New York Times reported that Mallory and Perez said, “they work in communities where Mr. Farrakhan is respected for his role in rehabilitating incarcerated men. They attended the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March in 2015, which Mr. Farrakhan planned.” 

In an appearance on ABC's "The View" Mallory said, "What I will say to you is that I don't agree with many of Minister Farrakhan's statements." In a later interview with a radio station called Breakfast Club she condemned anti-Semitism. However she and the other leaders did not denounce Farrakhan's rhetoric.

Some advocates are conflicted about whether the allegations are serious enough to keep them from participating.

In response, Women’s March Inc. released a press statement which reads, “It’s become clear, amidst this media storm, that our values and our message have — too often— been lost. That loss caused a lot of harm, and a lot pain. We should have been faster and clearer in helping people understand our values and our commitment to fighting anti-Semitism. We regret that. Every member of our movement matters to us — including our incredible Jewish and LGBTQ members. We are deeply sorry for the harm we have caused, but we see you, we love you, and we are fighting with you.”

While some advocates are frustrated with the controversay over the anti-Semitic allegations, they also recognize the impact of the Women’s March.

Aliza Lifshitz, a Jewish Barnard College student and activist, posted on her Facebook page, “If you’re vocally critical of the women’s march but you do nothing to publicly call out or resist the current administration’s policies, it is very safe to assume that you’re using your concerns about anti-Semitism to tear down a movement you didn’t agree with in the first place.”

"People should acknowledge what they are missing out on when they abandon the women’s march," she said in an interview with NBC.

Lifshitz believes the march has played a significant role is organizing the women’s resistance movement and that the march itself is symbolic of the desire for change. However, she also said she respects anyone who feels uncomfortable marching because of the controversy.

The allegations have resulted in stark differences between competing marches and women abandoning the march altogether over confusion about what each organization stands for.

Women’s March Inc. brought three Jewish women onto their steering committee. Abby Stein, the first openly transgender woman raised in a Hasidic community, is one of the women.

“The leaders of the Women’s March are not anti-Semitic," she said. "Louis Farrakhan has no impact on the goals of the Women's March. In fact, the Women’s March is the antithesis to everything he preaches."

Stein said when she was given the opportunity to join the steering committee, she saw it as a way to make sure Jewish women feel included and as a platform to defend the LGBTQ community.

"The question was not how I could join the Women’s March, but how could I not?" she said. "I can accomplish so much when it comes to eradicating anti-Semitism by working with them."

Stein told NBC the Women’s March in 2017 focused on resistance, the march in 2018 guided people to the polls, and this year’s march is about a policy agenda.

“One of the strongest impacts the steering committee has is assisting with the women’s agenda which is a policy agenda that Congress could basically copy and paste and turn it into a bill,” she said.

The Women's March Inc. has released a policy agenda encompassing many different topics including ending violence against women, advocating for reproductive rights, and fighting for racial injustice.

Despite efforts to show the march is inclusive and not anti-Semitic, the Democratic National Committee and Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand, among others, are no longer sponsoring the Women’s March Inc. event.

“I think it is unfortunate they are no longer supporting the event," said Rabbi Robin Polosuk of Los Angeles, who wrote an article in the Jewish Journal called, “Why I Will Walk With the Women’s March.” "We have to ask ourselves who benefits if our movement fractures and it is not us. At this point, I still feel really firm that it is the grassroots women who have to define the march and not a couple of personalities at the top."

“As a Jewish woman, I think it is important that we reclaim this march and that we stand for this as much as any woman. I see us walking in the same direction, where each of us is heard and empowered," she said.

Many women’s marches planned around the world on Saturday are not associated with Women’s March Inc.

Women’s March Alliance, for example, is a separate organization that plans the march in New York City.

Katherine Siemionko, the alliance's founder and president, told NBC, “We are hoping to roll out a new name brand and face this upcoming March to make it clear that we have no association with Women’s March Inc.”

Siemionko is aware many Jews are contemplating whether or not to march.

“We are working to make sure everyone feels welcome and we are doing a lot of outreach across the board," she said. We have also been speaking at synagogues and making sure to confirm our commitment to the Jewish communities we have worked with in the past.”

During a phone call in October, Siemionko asked Sarsour why Women's March Inc. was planning to hold a competing event in New York City on Saturday. She said Sarsour had told her the separate rally was needed to provide a space for women of color.

Siemionko told NBC many women of color are involved in her organization. She said the volunteer trainings this week averaged 60 percent people of color and the alliance's board has 3 women of color out of 5 members. Siemionko told NBC she thought Sarsour had given her a "lame excuse."

Women's March Inc. did not make Sarsour available for an interview.

With all of the controversy, some people are choosing to stay away from any women’s march this year.

Arielle Kaplan, a 24-year-old Jewish woman from New York City, said “I think it is great that people are going and that Jewish women are trying to make marches that are inclusive for Jews but I am not going because I don't want people to mistake me for supporting Women’s March Inc by going to a women’s march that is unaffiliated.”

Photo Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tourist Says He Found Hidden Cameras in Miami Airbnb]]> Fri, 18 Jan 2019 18:45:11 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/011819+hidden+cameras+miami+airbnb+max+vest.jpg

A tourist who planned to stay in an Airbnb in Miami says he found two hidden cameras disguised as phone chargers in his room.

Max Vest arrived at the two-bedroom apartment he was renting at the Camden Brickell building on Sunday and says he received a tour from the host. He says later on when he was alone in the room, he found the two devices plugged into outlets, one under a large mirror and another under an air freshener.

"It was shocking. I did not know what to think at first, I did not know if I was being watched live or if it was just being recorded, or what was going on there," Vest told NBC 6 on Friday.

Vest, who was visiting from Gainesville, said he left the apartment and found somewhere else to stay, but not before taking video on his cell phone of the apartment. He said police told him there were dozens of video files on each device, but Vest said he's confident he wasn't filmed.

"It was a shared Airbnb, it was a two bedroom, two bath, he lived in one bedroom and he rented out the other bedroom to guests. So he was there, he was there the whole time," Vest said.

Vest contacted Miami Police and officials said that they're investigating the incident and trying to identify possible victims. Police declined to give further details about the investigation to NBC 6.

"Our community’s privacy and safety is our priority. We are working to fully support Mr. Vest, including a refund for the reservation," Airbnb said in a statement. "We require hosts to clearly disclose any security cameras in writing on their listings and we have strict standards governing surveillance devices in listings. This host has been removed from our community."

A representative for Camden Brickell said tenants aren't allowed to participate in Airbnb programs because they are against company policy and a violation of the lease agreement.

Photo Credit: Max Vest]]>
<![CDATA[For Many Undocumented Women, Reproductive Healthcare Limited]]> Fri, 18 Jan 2019 13:03:23 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/AP_18174008864094.jpg

Days after an immigration judge denied Layidua Salazar’s petition to remain in the United States in 2015 because she was not living with her spouse, she learned at an annual visit to Planned Parenthood that she was pregnant.

The possibility that she would not be allowed to stay in the country made her realize "within five minutes" that she couldn’t continue her pregnancy and risk her family being separated at some point, she said.

"I can’t do both. Can’t be in the middle of deportation proceedings and be pregnant," said Salazar, who is now a storyteller with We Testify, a program of the National Network of Abortion Funds. The organization works to decrease barriers, including financial, to abortion.

Because she had worked with reproductive justice organizations, she knew that her Planned Parenthood clinic in California's Bay Area did not have to disclose that she was undocumented. She had an abortion two days later. Given all that was going on, she said, her "abortion experience was relatively simple.” But, she and other advocates noted, this is not the case for many undocumented women in the U.S.

"Reproductive healthcare for immigrant women is very much a patchwork system," Jessica González-Rojas, executive director at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, told NBC. "It often depends on where you live and the access that you have to reach certain communities."

The undocumented community "has lived in a major state of panic since about 2008," Salazar said.

After the record number of deportations at the border under President Barack Obama, "I remember when the [Trump] election happened many people in my community saying it can't possibly get worse," Salazar said. "And, low and behold, it actually has. It has gotten horrible." 

Efforts across the country to restrict access to reproductive healthcare and the Trump administration's anti-immigrant policies have converged to impede undocumented women’s reproductive rights including their decision to have a child, and their right not to, legal and other advocates for immigrants as well as several undocumented women who spoke to NBC say. Access to reproductive health care has been limited by a lack of health insurance, legal obstacles, difficulties in traveling and the fear of deportation and the family separation policies under President Donald Trump.  

'Jane Doe' and a Right to an Abortion
Since Roe v. Wade was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973, all women have had a constitutional right to an abortion.

"There's no exception for anyone, including based on their immigration status," Brigitte Amiri, deputy director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, told NBC. 

But last year, the federal Department of Health and Human Services tried to prevent a 17-year-old unaccompanied Mexican immigrant from ending her pregnancy, by refusing to allow her to leave the detention facility in Brownsville, Texas. They instead brought her to a crisis pregnancy center, a type of non-profit that counsels women against abortions. Such facilities have been accused of disseminating false information. As of March 2017, shelters receiving federal funding cannot take "any action that facilitates" abortion access. 

"What the Trump administration did to Jane Doe was unprecedented,” said Amiri, a lead lawyer on Jane’s case, who knew of no other case where the government held a woman hostage to prevent her from getting an abortion. “It is so extreme and so egregious and a symptom of a larger problem in the Trump administration and its hostility to access and contraception." 

The Supreme Court vacated a court of appeals decision that had allowed her to get the abortion last June; her case will not be precedent for others. 

Doe is not the only young undocumented woman to be obstructed from obtaining an abortion; the ACLU has filed a class action lawsuit with other women affected by similar circumstances. 

Local Laws Impeding Access 
When a woman from Central America who NBC spoke with became pregnant, in 2016, the steps to getting an abortion in Texas were more difficult than she anticipated. She searched for a clinic where she could receive a free ultrasound. She also ended up at a crisis pregnancy center, where she was told her pregnancy was too far along for an abortion. (It is illegal to get an abortion past 20 weeks in Texas, barring severe health issues or fetal abnormality.)

But the woman continued her research, and was able to find a clinic in Dallas. That clinic referred her to a sister one in a nearby state. She’d have to fly out a few days later and it would cost her over $10,000. 

"I’m like, okay, I don’t even have $50," she recalled. In the end, with outside support, she was able to get the abortion in February 2016.

She feared flying because her student visa is expired but thought getting an abortion was worth the risk.  

"That’s something that, at least for me, makes me nervous, because, as you can see on the news, they ask for documents," she said. NBC is not identifying her over her concerns.

Texas, one of the six states that according to Pew Research are home to 58 percent of undocumented immigrants in the U.S., spotlights the difficulties undocumented women face in obtaining reproductive healthcare access. Texas’ reproductive healthcare clinics in particular have been targeted by state policies.

In 2013, Texas passed House Bill 2, imposing new restrictions on abortion clinics, and banned abortions beyond 20 weeks, forcing many clinics to shut down. The Supreme Court overturned the restrictions three years later as placing an undue burden women seeking abortions, though many clinics struggle to reopen.

González-Rojas said the cost of transportation, within and outside of Texas, could be a "de facto ban on abortion for women" and a "matter of reproductive justice."

For instance, in many colonias, unincorporated housing communities composed primarily of Latino immigrants near the Texas border, road infrastructure is "poor" and there is a lack of adequate public transportation.

Then in May 2017, Texas Senate Bill 4 outlawed sanctuary cities. Also called the "show me your papers law," it requires that local governments comply with federal immigration "detainers."

The law created a "wave of panic among the Latinx communities in the state of Texas," said Nancy Cárdenas Peña, associate director for State Policy and Advocacy at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIH). She said it also "made conditions a lot harder."

"We were seeing, even during the implementation and during the passage of SB4, border patrol and ICE … started making their way towards routes that our activists usually took to get to their healthcare appointments," she said.

The undocumented Texas woman told NBC she wanted to speak out about her experience to show others like her that abortions are possible. She mentioned a woman whom she met at the abortion clinic also from her home country, who was surprised there was funding that could help.

"You have the opportunity even if you’re not from this country," she said.

"My Body, My Choice"
Alejandra Pablos, a reproductive and immigrants rights activist in Arizona, had her fourth abortion in March 2017, at 33. It was her first while she was fighting deportation and came at a time when she wanted to start considering having a baby. She had a "great job," and thought of her strong community.

"This was what could have been a beautiful moment for me, but I quickly remembered that I am still facing deportation," said Pablos, who spoke with NBC this fall.

"How am I supposed to take care of another human being?" she asked.

Pablos was detained by ICE in March. 

"It is not only my decision anymore," she said. "I don’t have the privilege to say, 'my choice, my body' when my body basically belongs to ICE."

This December, she appeared in court to apply for political asylum. Her petition was denied and her green card was revoked: The judge has ordered her deportation.

Pablos grew up in California and her parents had citizenship, but she didn’t petition for her legal permanent residency until she was 16. As a legal resident, in 2011, she was arrested in Arizona for possession of drug paraphernalia and a DUI and detained for two years in Eloy Detention Center, a private prison. Because the arrest came within the first five years of her legal permanent residency, she lost the status.

A year after she had her abortion, Pablos was detained again, following an arrest at a protest outside the Department of Homeland Security in Virginia, where she was working at the time. She was released—those charges were dropped— but at an ICE check-in soon after, she was taken back to Eloy for two more months. Pablos lost her work permit and her job at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.

Just as barriers to accessing care impede undocumented women’s ability to raise children, so can other federal policies.

The Trump administration's "zero tolerance" position towards immigration on the U.S.-Mexico border led to the widely condemned the family separation policy. Children separated from parents facing prosecution were held in "tender age" detention shelters.

The program was ended by an executive order in June but in late November, the Texas Tribune reported the number of children held in private shelters had reached a high: 5,620 children as of Nov. 15.

This is a "major reproductive justice issue," Salazar said.

The Fear Factor
The "fear factor," according to González-Rojas, means many undocumented women "are forgoing care completely."

A study released Nov. 1 from the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health found that 1 in 4 of Latino voters “have a close family member or friend who has put off getting health care because of fear around immigration issues.” One in 5 reported the same about reproductive health care. These numbers are for voters; The numbers are likely higher for undocumented immigrants, González-Rojas said.

Planned Parenthood NYC’s Promotores de Salud team — certified Spanish language medical interpreters who provide information for sexual and reproductive healthcare to Latinas — has "noticed that fewer community members were making appointments during outreach sessions," Larissa Vasquez, associate director of adult and professional programs at PPNYC, wrote in an email to NBC. The women were distrustful of accessing care in traditional places like clinics and community-based organizations, she added. 

Through their "Nuestro Texas" report from 2015, a partnership between the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health and the Center for Reproductive Justice, González-Rojas "heard stories of women who are afraid to take their children to school, are afraid to leave the house," She cited "constant militarization in that community."

"We have heard stories of ICE vehicles parked in clinic parking lots, community health centers." González-Rojas said clinic staff told her.

Salazar, the We Testify storyteller, said she's experienced border patrol presence near Planned Parenthood "regularly," happening around border areas in California.

"It means that people who are undocumented don’t even want to approach [Planned Parenthood] obviously," she told NBC.

For many undocumented women, who lack medical insurance—undocumented immigrants cannot access the Affordable Care Act—clinics that offer free or affordable care can be crucial in obtaining healthcare. But organizations meant to uphold their reproductive rights may not always consider their needs.

In 2017, the Planned Parenthood Great Memphis Region opened 400 feet away from an ICE office. Planned Parenthood told Rewire they were under the impression ICE would move offices. In their statement, PPGMR said: "Our highest priority is our patients, and we will be doing all we can to ensure that they can seek care safely without fear."

González-Rojas called it a "you are not welcome here" sign for immigrants from around the world.

Adding to fears is Trump’s proposed "public charge" rule, which would would revise the 1999 green card rules by making it more difficult for immigrants who use public assistance—health insurance, like Medicaid, or food stamps, for instance—to obtain a green card. The rule hasn’t officially taken hold yet but there are reports that it is being quietly enforced already and many undocumented immigrants have already felt the effects.

González-Rojas said media coverage, especially in Spanish, has caused some undocumented immigrants to already withdraw from care.

"There’s a real chilling effect that these proposed rules are creating" González-Rojas observes, "and the visible climate of fear."

This public charge law is being written and sought to be implemented in a way that, Jiménez said, "affects our ability to raise our children, to make decisions about reproduction."

Looking Forward
The priorities of the Texas branch of the NLIH are always changing, Cárdenas Peña said. "This administration is definitely trying to exhaust all of the activists by making us be in this fight or flight mode 24/7," she said.

When ICE detained Eva Chavez, an immigration and reproductive rights activist who worked with NLIH's Texas Latina Advocacy Network last February, the group was met with an increase in demand for their services. Her case is ongoing.

"I looked at the camera," Cárdenas Peña said, "and told anyone who was watching, “you do not have to do this alone. There is a community behind you and we will be happy to support you. And goddammit, the people listened. My phone started blowing up with calls."

After her green card was revoked this December, Pablos, the Arizona-based reproductive and immigrants rights activist facing deportation, told The Washington Post, "La Lucha Sigue" of her continuing struggle. She plans to appeal by seeking a governor's pardon.

"The reason why I’m doing this and I’m not going back in the shadows, and I’m going to fight this deportation is that I want to be able to make that choice, if I want to start a family or not," she said before her trial.

Photo Credit: J. Scott Applewhite/AP
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<![CDATA[Gov. DeSantis Suspends Palm Beach Supervisor of Elections]]> Fri, 18 Jan 2019 18:45:48 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/011819+ron+desantis+susan+bucher.jpg

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has suspended Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher following a series of controversies during the 2018 election.

DeSantis made the announcement at a Friday afternoon news conference in West Palm Beach.

Bucher came under fire when her office missed the deadline to recount ballots in the U.S. Senate race during the election in November. DeSantis said the office didn't complete the recount until 50 days after the election.

"The elections office in Palm Beach County demonstrated on a national stage that they simply could not comply with the laws of the state and that Supervisor Bucher could not discharge the duties that she was supposed to discharge," DeSantis said. "They've truly been the Keystone Cops of elective administration."

DeSantis will be replacing her with Wendy Link, a Palm Beach County real estate lawyer. He said Link does not plan to run for reelection.

Bucher had earlier told the Sun-Sentinel she was unaware of the suspension.

"He's going to have to prove I did anything wrong," Bucher said. "They [the state] had [election] monitors here 24-7."

After the recount deadline miss, Bucher told reporters her office did everything it could, and blamed aging equipment for the delays in meeting the deadline for machine recount results. Bucher would be the second South Florida election official suspended in the wake of the 2018 election, after previous Gov. Rick Scott suspended Broward's Brenda Snipes before he left office.

In the aftermath of the election, Snipes said she would resign on Jan. 4, but Scott immediately suspended her. Snipes then attempted to rescind her resignation and challenged the governor's suspension as "malicious" and politically motivated, filing a suit against both Scott and the GOP-controlled Florida Senate.

At Friday's news conference, DeSantis said he would be accepting the resignation Snipes had tendered and was signing an executive order to end the litigation.

"We are going to move beyond this controversy," DeSantis said.

DeSantis has already suspended two other Florida officials in the less than two weeks since he's been governor, including Broward Sheriff Scott Israel and the superintendent of schools in Okaloosa County.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Taxi Driver Killed in Crash During Possible Robbery in Miami]]> Fri, 18 Jan 2019 23:37:31 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/011819+taxi+crash+possible+robbery+miami.jpg

A taxi driver was killed after his car crashed into a tree during a possible robbery in Miami early Friday.

Miami Police said officers responded to the area of Biscayne Boulevard and Northeast 48th Street around 6 a.m. and found the taxi next to a palm tree.

The driver of the taxi appeared to be critically injured and was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital. He later died from his injuries, officials said.

A witness said he saw a man being dragged by the taxi just before it hit the tree. Police confirmed the man being dragged was actually the taxi driver.

The witness Robert Vanderborg, said he saw a man fleeing the scene.

"He was bald, shaved head, shiny, I don't remember 100 percent if he was clean-shaven," Vanderborg said.

Police haven't released the driver's name or any other information on the possible robbery.

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[3 of 4 Americans Killed in Syria Explosion Identified]]> Fri, 18 Jan 2019 13:26:26 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/syria-american-victims1.jpg

The four Americans killed Wednesday in an explosion in Syria were a soldier, a sailor, a civilian member of the Department of Defense and a contractor supporting the department, NBC News reported.

Three have been publicly identified: Army Chief Warrant Officer Jonathan R. Farmer, 37; Navy Chief Cryptologic Technician Shannon M. Kent, 35, and Scott A. Wirtz. The contractor has not been identified.

The deaths of two U.S. service members made Wednesday the deadliest day for Americans in Syria.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, claiming it was a suicide bombing, though it did not immediately produce evidence to support the claim. American defense officials said that ISIS has not been present in the city for months and cautioned the group sometimes falsely claims credit for attacks.

<![CDATA[Warmer Start, Cooler End to Holiday Weekend Across South FL]]> Fri, 18 Jan 2019 07:57:53 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-462357178.jpg

As many across South Florida prepare for a three day weekend due to the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday on Monday, the forecast for the area will be all over the map thanks to the latest cold front arriving this weekend.

Friday, high temperatures will be pushing into the high 70s after several days of cooler weather ahead of a forecast Saturday that sees morning lows in the mid to upper 60s and high temps near 80 degrees with an isolated shower.

On Sunday, the front arrives and bumps rain chances up to 40 percent in the morning with lows in the upper 60s but high temperatures barely reaching the mid-70s across the area.

For the holiday on Monday, South Florida could be seeing some of the coolest temperatures of the winter season so far with morning lows in the upper 40s across most of the area and high temps struggling to reach 70 degrees.

Temperatures will go up slightly in the days that follow before another front that is scheduled to arrive next Thursday.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Email Prompts Man to Attend Stranger's Vt. Bachelor Party ]]> Fri, 18 Jan 2019 07:20:51 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/215*120/will14.jpg

A typo in an email address connected total strangers — and will result in an unlikely guest at a party in Vermont this weekend.

“I try to be open to things in life,” said Will Novak of Arizona, who was accidentally invited to the bachelor party of a man he never met.

A typo meant the invitation went to Will instead of to Bill Novak of Brooklyn, because their email addresses — like their names — are just a single letter off from one another.

“He’s a really nice guy,” Bill Novak said of Will Novak, referring to the email and texting friendship that developed after other party guests sorted out the email confusion.

The invitation was to a bachelor party for a man named Angelo and will be held this weekend at Vermont’s Okemo Mountain Resort.

Will Novak responded to the misdirected message, accepting the invitation, because he said he thought Angelo and his friends seemed cool.

“The fact they wrote back and met me at my level of intensity and enthusiasm and were like, ‘You seem great, you’re hilarious, come on out — let’s have fun,’ was amazing,” Will Novak said.

“It’s very crazy,” Bill Novak acknowledged, adding that he thinks his group of friends will all get along with the stranger from Arizona, based on the sense of humor and fun Will has demonstrated.

The director of Okemo’s ski-and-ride school said he will give the Arizonan beginner lessons, hoping to get his skills to the point where he can take an easy run with the whole bachelor party.

“I’ve never heard of anything even close to something like this,” ski-and-ride instructor Chris Saylor said of the unusual reason the guest is attending the bachelor party. “I think the friendship they’re going to build with people they’ve never met before, just through an errant email — it’s going to be stories for a lifetime!”

Bill Novak, the intended guest, said he can’t wait to meet the other Novak, and made a T-shirt staking his claim that he’s the “real” Will Novak.

Will Novak, the one in Arizona, said he is curious if his return trip home Sunday may be delayed by snow this weekend in New England. If it is, no biggie, he said: he’ll just have more time to spend with his new buddies.

Thursday, Gov. Phil Scott, R-Vermont, tweeted well-wishes to the groom-to-be and the guests at the bachelor party.

“Please extend my congratulations to Angelo and his bride-to-be on their wedding!” Scott tweeted. “It’s always great when new people visit Vermont. I hope you all have a fun weekend. Be safe and enjoy the snow!”

Photo Credit: necn]]>
<![CDATA[Man Ran Statewide Fraud Scheme From Broward Jail: Sheriff]]> Thu, 17 Jan 2019 18:45:39 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/011719+Bobby+Staley.jpg

Eight people are facing charges in a Florida fraud ring operated by a man who was already behind bars in Broward County, authorities said.

The intricate scheme involved using aliases and fake driver's licenses to buy more than 550 gift cards and ran up unlawful transactions that cost companies more than $104,000, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said at a news conference Thursday.

The alleged ringleader of the group, 42-year-old Bobby Staley, ran the operation from Broward, where he was behind bars on a probation violation, Judd said. Another Broward County inmate, 28-year-old Curtis Harris, is also charged in the scheme.

Judd said Staley made calls to banks from inside prison, telling call takers that he was the owner of the business. He established new mailing addresses in Jacksonville, where five of the suspects live, and new credit cards were then linked to the victims' accounts.

Staley bragged to witnesses about smuggling cell phones into prison to assist in the scheme, and recruited his daughter, 18-year-old Adriana Staley, to take part, Judd said. Adriana Staley and another suspect, 36-year-old Ken Theogene, remain at-large.

Four other suspects - Christopher Coaxum, Leonard Robinson, Nahshon Williams, and Katrina Cyrus - were taken into custody in Duval County Thursday morning.

Bobby Staley was sentenced to prison in 2013 for a similar scheme he committed in 2009, but was let out early for good behavior in October, Judd said.

"Bobby Staley has a shockingly long criminal career, he's an unrepentant thief and con man. He steals from others' hard work. He cannot be trusted outside of jail or prison and now we have clear evidence he can't be trusted in prison," Judd said.

Staley and the other suspects are facing a number of charges including racketeering and money laundering. Attorney information wasn't available.

Photo Credit: Broward Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Man Filmed Jumping Off Ship Banned by Cruise Line for Life]]> Thu, 17 Jan 2019 20:54:25 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/203*120/ROYAL+SALTO2.jpg

A group of men have been banned from cruising with Royal Caribbean for life after one of them was filmed jumping from their 11th floor balcony on the Symphony of the Seas cruise ship while it was docked in the Bahamas.

Nick Naydev posted footage of the frightening jump into the ocean at Nassau on his Instagram account on Friday. As of Thursday, it's been viewed more than 87,000 times and has more than 1,300 comments.

The footage filmed by a friend shows a smiling Naydev stand up on the balcony's railing and pause briefly before jumping into the blue waters below as someone laughs. The video doesn't capture him hitting the water.

WARNING: Instagram Video Contains Explicit Language:

Naydev, from Vancouver, Wash., answered several questions in the comments, estimated the drop at about 110-120 feet. He said he put his arms and legs in "at the last minute" but said it still hurt "very bad."

"My feet were actually fine. It was my neck and tailbone that hurt," he wrote. "Could barely walk for 3 days and could barely sleep from the pain. I'm good now."

Naydev said he was picked up by a small boat and had to gather his belongings from the ship and was kicked off. He said he took a $200 flight from Nassau to Miami.

"Ship was docked at Nassau and my plan was basically to swim to shore but when I got back to the dock they told me I need to get my stuff and leave the ship," Naydev wrote.

Royal Caribbean spokesman Owen Torres confirmed that Naydev and his friends have been banned from the cruise line for life.

"This was stupid and reckless behavior and he and his companions have been banned from ever sailing with us again. We are exploring legal action," Torres said in a statement.

While some commenters called the jump legendary, others called it pure stupidity.

"Did you understand before you jumped that you could easily die doing that?" one user commented.

"Honestly didn't really think about it. How else would I have jumped lol," Naydev replied.

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<![CDATA[Gov't Shutdown Wreaks More Havoc the Longer It Continues]]> Thu, 17 Jan 2019 19:02:33 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/shut1AP_19016803405891.jpg

Southwest Airlines' yearlong effort to launch affordable flights to Hawaii is stalled. Craft brewers haven't been able to ship their seasonal beers. Hundreds of federal rental assistance contracts with private landlords have expired, putting low-income families and seniors at risk of eviction. Across the country, thousands of unpaid government employees and contractors struggling to make ends meet are turning to food banks for assistance.

As the partial government shutdown moves through its fourth week with no end in sight, the economic blow is hitting not only federal workers but also business people, households and travelers across the country. And experts warn that if the shutdown drags into February or beyond, as the president has suggested it could, the devastating impact would be widespread. 

"We'll be in no man's land," Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, told NBC News. 

Here is how the worsening damage could unfold: 

Food Insecurity
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said it can fund the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps, through February. The agency announced last week that it would bankroll the $4.8 billion in benefits for 39 million people enrolled in SNAP, but with a catch: States must issue those payments on or before Jan. 20 and families must make those funds — about $250 per household — last through February, whether the government reopens or not. 

If the shutdown lasts until March, the USDA could be forced to dip into its reserves to help fund the program, and its $3 billion SNAP contingency fund won't cover a full month of benefits.

"If the shutdown continues and USDA determines it does not have the authority to extend SNAP in March without congressional action, many low-income households would be at risk of serious hunger and hardship," said Dottie Rosenbaum, senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. "Emergency food assistance providers such as food banks and food pantries, as well as other local community service providers, would likely see dramatic increases in demand as families and individuals scrambled to fill the hole in their monthly food budgets."

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It's not just families enrolled in the program that would take a blow. Should SNAP benefits cease, Rosenbaum said the more than 250,000 supermarkets, grocery stores, and other retailers that participate in the program would see a substantial drop in SNAP redemptions, which in many cases constitute a significant share of their sales.

Eventually, non-food retailers will also feel the pinch. That's because SNAP frees up cash for low-income households to buy other basic essentials like diapers and clothing, boosting economic stimulus.  A 2010 USDA study found that every $1 in SNAP benefits generates $1.79 in economic activity.

Threats of Eviction
Since the shutdown began on Dec. 22, the Department of Housing and Urban Development has been unable to renew almost 700 rental assistance contracts, placing low-income seniors and families at risk of eviction, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC).  

Another 450 Project-Based Rental Assistance contracts are slated to expire over the next two weeks, and an additional 550 won't be renewed should the shutdown continue through February, NLIHC President Diane Yentel said.

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Under the Section 8 housing voucher program, tenants pay 30 percent of their household income for rent and utilities while the federal government makes up the rest of the rent. The average annual income for these households is $13,000.  

The Washington Post reported HUD sent a letter to landlords earlier this month, instructing property owners to dip into their reserve accounts "to cover funding shortfalls" and keep tenants in their homes. 

But not all property owners have sufficient savings to dip into and need the rental revenue to pay their mortgages, insurance, property taxes and other operating expenses.

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A landlord in Arkansas came under fire this week over a letter sent to more than 1,200 tenants across her 50 apartment complexes throughout the state. The letter said that because of the government shutdown, tenants had until Jan. 20 to either pay their rents in full or leave.

"If the people can't pay their rent, I can't pay bills. If I don't get paid, I can't pay my people," Annette Cowen, a property manager in Arkansas, told KFSM-TV.

Arkansas Online reported that after media attention and calls to lawmakers to intervene, the USDA told Cowen the agency would finance the rental contracts through at least February and maybe longer.

"People are really scared about what will happen to them," Yentel told NBC in a phone interview.      

Landlords of America's poorest tenants won't be the only property owners concerned about whether they'll get the next rent payment. The General Services Administration, which leases more than 187 million square feet of space around the country on behalf of federal government agencies, could miss its January rent payments at thousands of properties if the shutdown continues into February. 

Joe Brennan, managing director of Government Investor Services at JLL, said in a phone interview it is unclear how widespread the ripple effect of a delinquent federal tenant would be. Investors in commercial real estate properties are not just developers, but include pension funds, collateralized debt obligation bonds and capital stocks. 

"This is uncharted territory," Brennan said. "The government has never missed rent payments before."

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The faith and credit of the U.S. government has historically made the investment low risk with competitive leases. If the once-reliable tenant misses several rent payments over the course of the shutdown, Brennan warned investors may label them "high risk," leading to higher rent prices paid for by American taxpayers.   

Private landlords leasing space to the government can’t evict their federal tenants over nonpayment. They also can’t fine the government over late payments without approval from their tenant. Their only recourse is fight it out in court, a long and expensive process, Brennan said.

Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied?
The government shutdown, meanwhile, is threatening to grind federal court cases to a halt after it runs out of money on Jan. 25. 

The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, which initially projected that funding would be exhausted by Jan. 18, revised its estimated outlook on Tuesday. The office said in a statement that the additional week of funding was mainly "attributed to aggressive efforts to reduce expenditures."  

Since the shutdown began, federal courts have continued to operate by using court fee balances and other "no-year" funds. Courts and federal public defender offices have delayed or deferred non-mission critical expenses, such as new hires, non-case related travel, and certain contracts as part of their cost-cutting efforts. Judiciary employees are reporting to work and currently are in full-pay status. 

But once existing funding runs out the courts will operate on an "essential work" basis. Individual courts are allowed to determine which staffers are deemed necessary. Some courts have already issued orders suspending or postponing civil cases in which the government is a party.

And while President Donald Trump claims the fight over funding for a wall is necessary to address border security, the shutdown is having an unintended consequence on his efforts to curb illegal immigration.

Between Dec. 24 and Jan. 11, 42,726 immigration court hearings were canceled due to the shutdown, congesting an already backlogged system, according to a report from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University. Another 20,000 scheduled cases will be canceled by the end of this week and as many as 100,000 hearings will be pushed back indefinitely by the end of the month if the shutdown continues.

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Ashley Tabaddor, president of the National Association of Immigration Judges, said in an interview with NPR that she now has around 2,000 immigration cases before her court in Los Angeles. And some judges, according to Tabaddor, have upwards of 4,000. The cases are booked years in advance and rescheduling them will be a logistical nightmare.   

"We don’t have time to adequately consider the cases that we do have, much less have to spend extra time to think about what we’re going to do with all the cases that have to be rescheduled," she told NPR.

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Safety Risks
The Food and Drug Administration announced Monday it would resume inspections of some of the riskiest foods such as cheeses, produce and infant formula as early as Tuesday. The routine inspections had been briefly halted as a result of the partial government shutdown.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told NBC News his staff put calls out to furloughed workers to gauge whether they would come back to work despite not getting paychecks. 

"We got an overwhelming response from our very dedicated and mission-driven field force who are coming back to work unpaid," he said.

Riskier foods account for about a third of the agency's roughly 8,400 routine inspections each year.

Meanwhile, applications for new drugs have been halted. The FDA review of a life-saving peanut allergy treatment for children ages 4 to 17 is on hold due to the government shutdown. The California-based biotech company Aimmune Therapeutics said in an SEC regulatory filing that the FDA is unable to begin review of AR101, its experimental treatment for peanut allergies, due to the shutdown. A spokeswoman for the company told NBC that the FDA will initiate review of AR10 once "the lapse in appropriations has ended." 

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However, Aimmune could see further delays even after the government has re-opened. Gottlieb warned in a tweet on Jan. 5 that the FDA is running out of user fees, which are paid by the companies and used to fund the regulatory review of drugs. The money was diverted to fund safety inspections during the shutdown.  He wrote on Twitter that review program will run out of money in early February. 

The shutdown has halted inspection of chemical factories, power plants, oil refineries, water treatment plants, and thousands of other industrial sites for pollution violations, The New York Times reported.

It has also suspended federal cleanups at Superfund sites around the nation and forced the cancellation of public hearings, deepening the mistrust and resentment of surrounding residents who feel people in power long ago abandoned them to live among the toxic residue of the country's factories and mines.

Houston, We Have a Problem
The effects of the shutdown are already rippling through aviation, with unpaid security screeners staying home, air-traffic controllers suing the government and safety inspectors off the job.

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screeners who staff security checkpoints and air-traffic controllers are among the "essential" federal employees required to work through the shutdown without pay.

"I still have a mortgage to pay, I still have financial obligations — students loans — and those don't stop," Gerald Quaye, an air-traffic controller at New York's JFK airport, told NBC New York. "So, to come to work and not get paid and not know when I'm going to get my next paycheck, it's unsettling."   

It also has security repercussions. Mike Perrone, president of the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists union, said it's hard for TSA and FAA employees to "keep their head in the game" when they're worried about bills not getting paid. 

Many employees tell local media they can't afford to miss another paycheck. Industry officials worry that if the shutdown lingers and TSA employees quit en masse, with training for new hires on hold, the lack of staffing will lead to longer security lines, closed checkpoints, extended flight delays and even the grounding of flights.

"TSA only has what it has," said Christopher Bidwell, the vice president for security at the trade group Airports Council International-North America

Economic Damage Ripples
On Tuesday, Kevin Hassett, a top economist in the White House, acknowledged that the shutdown was weighing on the economy more than he had previously estimated. Hassett, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, said the White House now calculates that annual growth is slowing by about 0.1 percentage point a week.

Some companies are pointing to specific problems: Delta said Tuesday that the shutdown is costing it $25 million a month in government travel. Its CEO, Edward Bastian, said that with the FAA partially closed, Delta will also likely delay the start date of eight new aircraft.

Southwest Airlines told eager customers on social media that their long-awaited flights to Hawaii are on hold because they have not been able to complete the FAA’s certification process for extended over-water flights. The Dallas-based carrier had hoped to start selling tickets for service to service to Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport on the Big Island, Lihue Airport on Kauai, Kahului Airport on Maui and Daniel K. Inouye International Airport on Oahu by late 2018, with flights debuting in early 2019, according the AP.

Bloomberg reports Fiat Chrysler Chief Executive Officer Mike Manley told attendees at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit that the new Dodge Ram 3500, which was unveiled Monday, could be delayed reaching the market because of the shutdown. Manley said the company is waiting on an emissions certificate from the EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air quality, and cannot sell the truck until that is approved.

The Securities and Exchange Commission, which oversees public stock offerings, is mostly closed because of the shutdown. As a result, some companies that had been planning initial public offerings in coming months, including Uber and Lyft, are likely facing delays. Marianne Lake, chief financial officer for JPMorgan Chase, said the bank could lose out on fees from IPOs and merger and acquisition deals that would be delayed if other shuttered agencies can't approve them.

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The nation's craft beer taps are also being squeezed. The federal shutdown halted operations at the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, which regulates alcohol production and distribution, preventing new breweries from opening and stopping shipments of some suds across state lines.

Brewers are increasingly nervous that they will lose money if brewery openings and seasonal beers are delayed much longer.

The end of the shutdown won't bring an immediate end to the delays. The longer the shutdown continues, the bigger the backlog the bureau will have to sort through when work resumes. That means it could still be months before labels and permits are approved.

"A big part of it will be all the plans that brewers have for 2019 will get thrown out the window," said Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association in Boulder, Colorado.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Pence Reacts to Criticism of Wife's Job at Anti-LGBTQ School]]> Fri, 18 Jan 2019 04:27:33 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Pence-AP_18177424351328.jpg

Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday addressed news coverage and criticism regarding his wife’s decision to return to teaching at a Virginia elementary school that explicitly bars LGBTQ employees and students, NBC News reported.

“My wife and I have been in the public eye for quite a while, we're used to the criticism,” Pence said in an interview with EWTN, a cable network that offers “news from a Catholic perspective." But, he added, “to see major news organizations attacking Christian education is deeply offensive to us.”

“We have a rich tradition in America of Christian education, and frankly religious education broadly defined,” he continued. “We'll let the other critics roll off our back, but this criticism of Christian education in America should stop.”

National news outlets, including NBC News, reported Wednesday on the publicly available employment application and parent agreement of Immanuel Christian School in Springfield, Virginia, where Karen Pence is now teaching art twice a week.

Photo Credit: Eraldo Peres/AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[Loved Ones Hope for Miami Lakes Hit-and-Run Victim's Healing]]> Thu, 17 Jan 2019 23:54:06 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/miami+lakes+hit+run+vigil+011719.PNG

Former students and loved ones of a retired teacher are on a mission to track down the hit-and-run driver who left the Miami Lakes woman with critical injuries over the weekend.

Close to 100 people came together Thursday evening for a candlelight vigil at Shula's Athletic Club in support of 75-year-old Natalie Farber. She was struck by a car Saturday afternoon at the busy intersection of Bedlington Road and Fairway Drive. The driver fled the scene.

"It's sad because you would never think somebody would do something as horrible as leaving somebody on the side of the street," said Andrea Gil, a friend of Farber's.

The retired Miami-Dade County Public Schools teacher and avid tennis player was described as loving, giving and spirited.

Despite her life-threatening injuries, Farber hasn't lost her competitive spirit.

"I've been seeing her daily in the hospital. She's fighting," Wendy Hammond, Farber's friend, said.

Detectives say solving this case is difficult because there were no witnesses, there’s no surveillance video, and no debris was left behind by the vehicle.

The Crime Stoppers reward climbed to $5,000 as loved ones beg for answers.

Anyone with information on this incident is asked to call Miami-Dade police at 305-471-2425. Anonymous tips can be submitted through Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Tips that lead to an arrest can be eligible for the award.

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[NBC 6 & Telemundo 51 Announce $225,000 Project Innovation Grant Challenge ]]> Thu, 17 Jan 2019 17:39:38 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/11719+project+innovation.jpg

NBC 6 and Telemundo 51, in partnership with the NBCUniversal Foundation, launched the Project Innovation grant challenge, providing eligible nonprofit organizations the opportunity to compete for $225,000 in grants. Nonprofits with innovative programs that address community needs can apply to one of four grant categories beginning on January 11, 2019 through February 15, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. EST.  To learn more including how to apply, click here.

Grant categories:
• Next Generation Storytellers: Programs that empower the next generation of storytellers and utilize media to drive social impact.
• Culture of Inclusion: Programs that seek to build pathways for diverse and equitable communities.
• Youth Education: Programs that equip youth with the tools they need to succeed, including STEM/STEAM education.
• Community Engagement: Programs that enable individuals to engage and volunteer in their communities.

Nonprofits are invited to join a webinar on Tuesday, January 22 at 4 PM ET to learn more about Project Innovation 2019. Register here to attend the webinar.

In 2018, NBC 6 and Telemundo 51 awarded $225,000 to four deserving South Florida organizations. Dr. Stanley and Pearl Goodman Jewish Family Services of Broward County received $55,000 so they can use technology to increase volunteer participation and satisfaction. The Museum of Discovery and Science in Ft. Lauderdale received $50,000 to leverage technology to support STEM and environmental education. The Philip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science in Miami received $40,000 so that Miami Youth and Sea Level Rise can train at-risk youth in filmmaking, then partner them with youth from local neighborhoods to document impacts of climate change on Miami’s underserved communities. The Miami Foundation received $80,000 to reach a variety of community leaders to work towards building a sustainable and resilient city.

Presented in 11 markets throughout the country, including Miami, Project Innovation is offered by the NBCUniversal Foundation and NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations, a division of NBCUniversal. This year, NBC and Telemundo owned stations will present nearly $2.5 million in Project Innovation grants to eligible non-profits that are physically located in the participating markets and service each market, have an annual operating budget of more than $100,000, and are using innovation to inspire community solutions in any of the following four grant categories including the Next Generation Story Tellers, Culture of Inclusion, Youth Education and Community Engagement.  
The NBCUniversal Foundation works to advance initiatives at the cross-section of societal needs and Comcast NBCUniversal’s priorities. The Foundation supports programs and organizations that strive to move communities forward. NBCUniversal is one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment television networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, world-renowned theme parks, and a suite of leading Internet-based businesses. NBCUniversal is owned by Comcast Corporation.

<![CDATA[Woman Needed Her ‘Lifeline to the Outside World’ Fixed]]> Thu, 17 Jan 2019 18:52:23 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/218*120/011719+landline+repaired+for+woman.jpg

For Nancy Streno, the sound of her home phone ringing gives her peace of mind.

“It’s my lifeline to the outside world,” she said.

Streno’s landline offers her a way to stay connected with her family. So when her phone suddenly stopped working in October, she didn’t realize there was a problem until she got an unexpected visit from her kids.

“They came to the door to see if I was alive or lying on the floor,” she told NBC 6 Responds.

Streno called AT&T to report the problem and said several technicians came out to her home to check it out, the last one told her they had found the source of her silence.

“They said there was a line corroded,” she said. “It was underground and it had to be dug up and replaced.”

Days turned into weeks, she said, and her questions about when the repair would be made went unanswered.

“I was angry about it because I felt I was getting the brush off,” she said. “I was on the verge of breaking down and buying one of those iPhones, which I didn’t want to do, and I had seen one of your NBC 6 Responds on TV and I said I think I’ll give them a shot.”

Streno shared her story with NBC 6 Responds, along with details needed to help her get her house phones up and running again.

“They fixed it,” she said. “I mean, within 24 hours of hearing from you, which is what I found miraculous.”

In a statement, AT&T confirmed they had “…restored service to this customer and apologized for any inconvenience.”

Streno said she learned a valuable lesson from the experience.

“I’ve learned that if I have a similar problem, guess who I’m going to call,” she said.

<![CDATA[Miami Hotel Dishwasher Forced to Work Sundays Awarded $21M]]> Wed, 16 Jan 2019 22:01:46 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/011619+Marie+Jean+Pierre.jpg

A former dishwasher at a Miami hotel, fired after missing work on Sundays for religious reasons, was awarded a $21 million jury verdict.

Sixty-year-old Marie Jean Pierre was a dishwasher at the Conrad Miami Hotel for more than a decade until she was fired in March 2016.

Pierre, a devout Christian missionary born in Haiti, said she was fired by her boss at the hotel after she missed six Sundays from work to attend Bethel Baptist Church in Miami.

Pierre argued that she had informed her employer when she was hired that she could not work Sundays because of her religious beliefs and should not have been scheduled to work on the Sundays she missed.

"I love God. No work on Sunday, because Sunday I honor God," Pierre said Wednesday in an interview with NBC 6 Miami.

Her lawsuit argued that her former employer, which was managed by Hilton at the time, had violated the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which protects workers from discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex or national origin.

A jury in federal court ruled in her favor on Monday, granting her $21 million in damages, plus $35,000 in back wages and $500,000 for emotional pain and mental anguish.

"They accommodated her for seven years, and they easily could have accommodated her, but instead of doing that, they set her up for absenteeism and threw her out," her attorney Marc Brumer said. "She's a soldier of Christ. She was doing this for all the other workers who are being discriminated against."

The company said it was disappointed by the jury's decision and that it intends to appeal.

"During Ms. Pierre’s ten years with the hotel, multiple concessions were made to accommodate her personal and religious commitments," Hilton said in a statement.

Federal law requires an employer to make reasonable considerations for religious practices. Brumer said he hopes the verdict sets a standard.

"This was not about money. This was about sending a message to other corporations whether big or small," he said. "Whatever size you are, if you’re going to take the blood and sweat of your workers, you better accommodate them or let them at least believe in their religious beliefs."

There is a cap on punitive damage awards in federal court, so Pierre can't receive the entire $21 million. But her attorney said he expects she will receive at least $500,000.

"I asked for $50 million, knowing that I was capped at $300,000," Brumer told NBC News on Wednesday. "I didn't do this for money. I did this to right the wrongs."

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[Family of Fla. Woman Murdered in Costa Rica 'Worried' About Investigation]]> Wed, 16 Jan 2019 16:15:52 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/190*120/carlas.jpg

It has been a month and a half since Florida woman Carla Stefaniak was murdered in Costa Rica, and the family of the Venezuelan-American and her lawyers in San Jose are "concerned" about the investigation.

Stefaniak, 36, traveled at the end of November 2018 to celebrate her birthday with her sister-in-law and disappeared a day before her flight back to Fort Lauderdale. Her partially buried body was found in the woods near her Airbnb rental in the San Jose neighborhood of San Antonio de Escazú.

"We are a little worried. We have some doubts about what is happening (with the case)," said lawyer Joseph Rivera in a telephone conversation with Telemundo 51, referring to the fact that the prosecutor has been changed three times and they have not been allowed to visit the place of the murder.

This concern is shared by Carlos Caicedo, father of the victim.

"The Office of the Prosecutor has shown a strange behavior. How is it possible that they have changed the prosecutor three different times? What happens there?" Caicedo said to Costa Rican news outlet Repretel.com.

Rivera also said that they are aware there is "a person's DNA match" at the crime scene, but it is up to the Judicial Investigation Organization (OIJ) to see if it corresponds to Bismark Espinosa Martínez, the security guard who was arrested for his alleged responsibility in the crime.

Rivera, one of the attorneys who represents Carla Stefaniak's family in Costa Rica, said that at least five people participated in the "atrocious murder" and in the burial of the body in a wooded area near the apartment where she stayed in Costa Rica.

"The Office of the Prosecutor shares the thesis that there was more than one person involved in the crime," he added.

Telemundo 51 contacted the OIJ and they assured that the investigation is ongoing.

The family of Carla Stefaniak filed a lawsuit against Airbnb and the Villa le Mas apartment complex for a series of "negligences," such as not having carried out a background check of the security guard, who was "illegally" in Costa Rica.

The owners of the accommodation Le Mas de Provence denied having any employment relationship with the security guard who is being held as the only suspect in the murder of Stefaniak.

<![CDATA[Man Charged in 2016 Double Murder at SW Miami-Dade Nightclub]]> Thu, 17 Jan 2019 18:44:16 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/goulds+double+murder+m011719.PNG

A man was charged in the murder of two men more than two years after they were shot and killed outside of a nightclub in southwest Miami-Dade.

Prosecutors say Miquell Simmons, 28, killed Von-Tavius Sands and Eddie Seymour on Sept. 10, 2016 outside of the M&M Too Sweet Lounge near SW 220th Street and 120th Avenue.

Miami-Dade police detectives have been searching for a suspect for two years. They say the victims were targeted by the shooter because of the gold chains they were wearing.

Detectives were able to track down the suspect because of fingerprints on a car window at the scene of the crime.

Simmons is facing two counts of first-degree murder, three counts of armed robbery and one count of armed carjacking. Attorney information was not available.

<![CDATA[Heat Fines Waiters for Comments on Playing Time]]> Thu, 17 Jan 2019 17:33:06 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/011218+Dion+Waiters+Heat.jpg

The Miami Heat fined Dion Waiters an undisclosed amount on Thursday for his public comments on playing time.

Waiters made the comments following Miami's loss on Tuesday, where he only was on the court for 12 minutes. During that brief time, Waiters turned the ball over three times. The guard picked up two points and only made one of the four shots he attempted.

"[Expletive] patience. I want to play. I've been patient," Waiters said after Tuesday's game. "I want to play. I've been patient long enough. What do I got to be patient for? Come on, man. I've been patient. I think everybody knows that. It's time. What are we waiting for? If I'm out there, play me."

The fine assessed on Waiters was for conduct detrimental to the team and head coach Erik Spoelstra added some thoughts of his own.

"I think it's important for him to realize: Our team is much different than when he left last year, and while his teammates are really here to support him, nobody is volunteering their rotation minutes to him. It'll have to be earned just like everybody else. These concepts of patience and surrendering to the team, whether we want to put expletives in front of it or behind it, those are going to be very important concepts for him to embrace, and I think he will," Spoelstra told the Miami Herald.

Waiters is averaging seven points per game this season and has played in parts of five contests so far. Waiters got a late start to this season, following ankle surgery last season. The guard was a key part of Miami's rotation in the past, but he will need to earn that role again.

The Heat will take on the Detroit Pistons on Friday at 7:00 p.m.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>