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Then and Now: Cam Newton and the ongoing plight of the Black quarterback

Cam Newton has been the talk of the NFL this season. As the quarterback of the Carolina Panthers, he led his team to the Super Bowl for the first time in his career with his dynamic, electrifying play. Newton is widely considered the favorite for league MVP, but his history-making, logic-defying numbers aren’t what’s generating the most headlines. Rather, it’s everything else — the touchdown celebrations, the sideline victory photos, the child out of wedlock, the eccentric wardrobe — that has made him a lightning rod for hand-wringing letters to the editor and endless hot-takes. If all of that sounds inconsequential, that’s because it is. Or rather, it should be. Unfortunately, the rules that apply to other star quarterbacks in the NFL don’t seem to apply to Newton. And he knows exactly why.

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Orange Bowl Committee names new president and chair for 2016 season

Judge Chavies has been with organization since 2000

Judge Michael B. Chavies was installed as the Orange Bowl Committee's 78th President and Chair on Jan. 26 at Riviera Country Club in Coral Gables. Chavies has been a member of the Orange Bowl Committee since 2000 and succeeds Immediate Past President & Chair Lee Stapleton. Chavies will oversee the Committee’s continued commitment to the South Florida community, including a full slate of events, highlighted by the 83rd Capital One Orange Bowl on Dec. 31. The Orange Bowl invests nearly $1 million in the South Florida community on an annual basis, funding a variety of programs and initiatives, including the Orange Bowl Youth Football Alliance, presented by Sports Authority, various scholarship programs and many other youth athletic events.

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MIA serves up space for two Black-owned restaurants

County Commission approves resolution

Even though negotiations with two Black-owned restaurants are under way, Miami-Dade County Commission gave the green light on a resolution that gives favorable treatment to Jackson Soul Food and Chef Creole getting locations at Miami International Airport. Both restaurants have toured locations at MIA and have made tentative selections. Chef Creole has selected the Central terminal, while Jackson Soul Food selected the new South terminal. By comparison, Perry Ellis and a restaurant owned by artists Gloria and Emilio Estefan, which received no-bid deals last summer, are going in the coveted North Terminal.

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Opa-locka is truly one city with two tales

Mayor says city on track, as former manager files EEOC complaint

At a celebratory State of the City address, Opa-locka Mayor Myra Taylor confidently said the city was “on track” during comments last Friday, Jan. 29, in the Sherbondy Village auditorium. “They said we wouldn’t be anything, but we’re on our way,” said Taylor as she was comparing the city to a train. “We declare this city knows which way to go.” However, what she didn’t mention is that the city has not submitted a long-expected recovery plan to Gov. Rick Scott’s office as it seeks financial and/or technical assistance to get out of millions in debt. Also missing was any mention of a federal discrimination complaint filed last month by former City Manager Steve Shiver, who alleges he was “subjected to continuous harassment” by Taylor “and was called derogatory names such as ‘White boy’ and ‘rednecks [sic].’

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County officials are in hot seat with NAACP

NAACP questions county’s bid process and Liberty Square redevelopment at meeting

At the Jan. 27 meeting of the NAACP Economic Development Committee, representatives of the NAACP and area residents met with county officials and staff from County Mayor Carlos Gimenez's office, to ask pointed questions about both the latest developments in the Liberty Square redevelopment project, and to ask for clarification on the county's bid process itself. But as Deputy Miami-Dade County Mayor Russell Benford began to explain the county process, meeting moderator Darryl Holsendolph made it clear that he wanted to know, specifically, why groups, outside of the Black community, are able to receive no-bid contracts, while predominantly Black companies are increasingly left out of that process. He also wanted to know why other people, who do not look like him, have access to information on county project developments, while the Black community, again, is continually left out.

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Police, prosecutors hail major drug, illegal weapons sweep

Community excitement is muted amid violence

While U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer and law enforcement officers hailed the arrests of drug traffickers and weapons dealers as part of a violence reduction task force, some Black residents aren’t as quick to cheer as gunfire continues to claim lives around Miami-Dade County. On Friday, a day after the multiagency task force announcement, 18-year-old Eddie Harris Jr., a former Northwestern High student, was shot and killed in Brownsville, not far from the Miami Times office. Police say Harris, who attended nigh

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Request for new bids doesn’t pass smell test

Instead of being a salve for community leaders and Liberty Square residents who have been anxious of the future of the housing project, the announcement that the mayor wanted the best and final offers from the two top-ranked firms created yet another wound. In the move, County Mayor Carlos Gimenez has alienated almost all if not all the stakeholders. But the biggest slap in the face goes to Sara Smith, president of the Liberty Square Resident Council. Smith served on a nine-member selection committee, tasked with scoring the developers’ proposals to rehab Liberty Square and recommending a company for the job. Smith over-scored on a developer, skewing results and causing the process to get legal review. It is not clear if the legal review recommended that the mayor whittle down the developers to those with the top two scores. No matter. By asking the top two vote-getters to resubmit their best and final offers, the

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Water crisis in Flint government’s fault

The handling by all levels of government of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan has been nothing short of abominable. The residents of the mostly poor, Black suburb received little to no attention for more than a year and a half as they tried to tell city leaders and the nation that their water was tainted and their children were getting sick. Flint sunk into poverty when the automotive industry that supported its residents collapsed, leaving a trail of unemployment and neglect. So, that another poverty stricken town calls on government to hear the troubles that plague it, and getting no response was par for the course.

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Ghost of Scott Carver haunts Liberty Square

Maya Angelou wrote that “History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.” Over a decade ago 1150 residents of Liberty City were told by Miami-Dade County’s Housing department that their residences were going to be demolished and replaced with a housing project made up of attractive new homes, apartments, amenities and picturesque landscaping. The residents of Scott Carver and its adjacent homes were then scattered across Miami-Dade County for over a decade as they waited to return to the one place that many had called home for generations. Today the residents of Liberty Square are being told that their homes will also be demolished and replaced with new homes and amenities.  Like the residents of Scott

Questions on stadium financing, parking draw forum

Beckham group addressed concerns about the use of public funds

Billing it as MLS in MIA, the Miami Young Republicans hosted a forum that questioned specific components of the proposed soccer stadium in Overtown, by soccer star David Beckham, and Miami Beckham United. On hand to give an update to the project was T. Spencer Crowley III, a Miami attorney retained as land-use counsel by the soccer group. According to Crowley, the soccer stadium will be built at a convergence of three Miami neighborhoods: Overtown, Spring Gardens and the Miami River District.

New radio station and street renaming on agenda

Fourteen resolutions pass unanimously by council

The Miami Gardens City Council swiftly completed its second meeting of 2016 — the last meeting in January by passing one ordinance and 14 resolutions unanimously, 6-0. Councilwoman Lillie Q. Odom was absent. In addition, two residents spoke to the renaming of a city street and a special presentation. “The last five years we have painted the city pink in October in recognition and appreciation for breast cancer survivors,” said Vice Mayor Felicia Robinson. That first year, Andrea Nugent was one of my survivors. “Andrea Nugent passed last December. She was truly a courageous woman. This proclamation is presented to her family in recognition and appreciation for the things she did. She created the non-profit Bionic Girl to focus on healing.”

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Gun violence, locating shooter of 13-year-old topics at meeting

Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Commissioner Dennis Moss address Naranja residents

Eric Watson Jr. was shot three times after an unknown suspect opened fire in front of his Grandmother’s house in Naranja, only a day after the shooting death of Amiere Castro. Residents, pastors, Miami-Dade Police Department officers and Mayor Carlos Giménez, gathered for District 9 Commissioner, Dennis Moss’s, Community Town Hall Meeting, Thursday, Jan. 28, to find solutions to rising gun violence and drug use in Naranja. Other attendees, including Mothers Fighting For Justice, representatives from the State Attorney's Office and officials from the Juvenile Services Department, discussed ways to prevent future acts of violence and create incentives for people to yield information.

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Liberty Square residents let down again

In part one of this two-part series, no one should be surprised that Mayor Carlos Gimenez is going to throw out proposed bids for the Liberty Square (Pork ‘n Beans) housing projects because it was wrong from the start. He didn’t think about tearing them down when he was a commissioner so what really is his reasoning for doing it? The problem with the mayor throwing out the bids is that he is basically saying Sara Smith’s vote doesn’t count because she didn’t vote the way he would have liked. Now from the moment the conversation came up about redeveloping the Pork ‘n beans projects I was never on board with the idea. There has never been any real solutions put forth to change the dynamics of making the residents of the development whole after they’ve been trapped in an environment that was created by the powers that be.

ACLU: Blacks cited more for seatbelt violations

New report raises red flag over the racial profiling of Florida motorists

Black motorists in Florida are stopped and ticketed for seatbelt violations in far greater numbers than white motorists — nearly twice as often statewide and up to four times as often in certain counties — according to a new report from the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU is calling on the Florida Attorney General's Office of Civil Rights to investigate. "The numbers are shocking. These racial disparities raise serious concerns that officers are engaging in racial profiling when enforcing the state's safety belt law," said Nusrat Choudhury, an attorney with the ACLU's Racial Justice Program and co-author of “Racial Disparities in Florida Safety Belt Law Enforcement.” "It raises a red flag when seatbelt enforcement by specific agencies leads to racial disparities that exceed even the dramatic statewide gap. These agencies must take steps to address the disparities and promote fair and impartial policing."

Staff cuts, fundraiser plans for center

Fracking and ban the box, issues at City commission meeting on Jan. 27

The City of Miramar held a workshop on its cultural center and also a regular meeting on Jan. 27. The city’s next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. At the workshop, members of the Cultural Trust introduced Cultural Center Director Stephen Kantrowitz, praising his efforts at the Miramar Cultural Center and said they were behind what he was doing. Kantrowitz, who had joined the city staff in December of 2015, gave a brief presentation to the city of Miramar Commission about the plans that he had in store, including the financial condition of the cultural center, management and operations,

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Helping beautify Miami Gardens

A trio of Miami Gardens residents banded together to help beautify their neighborhood and stave off crime. Monica Ward, who owns a home in the Lake Lucerne community, worked with friends to transform a trail of unused, littered land into a self-funded, community garden. “There was a lot of garbage,” said Ward. “We were trying to make it better.” Ward has worked with two of her neighbors Lynette Hickenbottom and Sophia to turn the patch of land into something of which they could be proud. The three women bought soil, mulch, plants and planting tools to create the garden. They also paid someone to clean the area so they could get started planting. They also bought potted plants and placed them in the entrance of a lot adjacent to Hickenbottom’s home where people would park and have sex, beat up and shoot people and commit drug-related crimes, she said.

A simple matter of the right choice

Over the past year, our communities have been affected by gun violence plaguing our young Black children. The question is “why?”  When our children who we send to school in the morning, do not make it back home due to gun violence the question is “why?” And when our children of adolescent age cannot play outside in the front yard, go up the street to a friend’s house to play games, or engage in a simple competition of sandlot football without fear of them being harmed in some violent way, again the question is “why?” There are many of our children who are not living to see their 16th, 18th, or 21st birthdays. These were considered milestone birthdays when we were growing up as we moved toward becoming young adults with the opportunity to leave our parents’ houses. But many children don’t live to see them, all because of senseless shootings that profit nothing.  Again, the question is “why?”

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Rev. Dr. Jimmie L. Bryant: A pastor who prepares the people

Reverend Dr. Jimmie L. Bryant, the senior pastor of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church of Liberty City, located at 1899 NW 64th St. in Miami, is married to Estella King Bryant, a registered nurse. That marriage has produced five daughters: Monique, Tiffany, Patience, Katrina and Michelle; two sons-in-law, William Stennett and Rev. Derrick Kelly; three granddaughters, Santana Neal, Yahnae Laing and Ashley Savaian; grandson, Malcolm Kelly; Godchildren: Shea Rogers, Richelle Brianna Strachan, Josephine Williams and Kardin James G. Rogers.

Death: Going home or sleeping in peace?

So there I was, sitting at another funeral, marking the passing of another fallen saint. "We are here to celebrate a home going," said the pastor, noting how the deceased is now in a "better place," and "singing with the angels," and how "the Lord had called him home to Heaven." But then, a few minutes later, the same preacher said about the same dead person, "When that horn blows, at the return of the Lord Jesus, the deceased is going to rise up out of that grave and go home to Heaven." Huh! Why is there so such confusion regarding the state of the dead? And why is there confusion in our churches, and confusion coming from our churches when it comes to this issue? I have watched famous television pastors preach about loved ones in Heaven looking down on us. And I have listened as other pastors preached the resurrection to come.

North Shore achieves National Accreditation for Bariatric Program

Patients with severe obesity now have the option to receive surgical treatment at a nationally accredited bariatric program. North Shore Medical Center’s weight loss program has been designated by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP) as a comprehensive bariatric center for meeting the highest standards of patient safety and quality care. “I would like to congratulate Dr. Jorge Sosa and our bariatric team for this well-deserved recognition,” said Manny Linares, CEO of North Shore Medical Center. “This designation is the result of their tireless efforts in providing our weight loss patients with a high level of care and dedication.”

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