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City of North Miami councilman pushes for a minimum wage increase

Councilman Philippe Bien-Aime and Mayor Smith Josep

NORTH MIAMI — A $15 minimum wage for some North Miami municipal employees could be on the table if a city councilman gets his way. Councilman Scott Galvin tossed out the idea last Wednesday as the City Council members finalized their 2016 fiscal budget. He argued that salaries of some part-time employees in the Parks and Recreation Department who earn about $8.25 per hour were too low. “[That] is not a living wage,” Galvin said. That idea already is bandied about in Florida. State Sen. Dwight Bullard, a South Florida Democrat, is pushing for a statewide $15 minimum. Galvin, also a Democrat, on Monday said he wanted to be in sync with fellow party members, but he also thinks it’s a good idea for the lowest municipal wage earners.

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A mind is a terrible thing to waste

The Florida Memorial University and United Negro College Fund (UNCF) MASKED Ball drew about 400 people last Saturday at the Hyatt Regency Miami. It was the first of many such events in Miami, said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO of UNCF. Two students shared testimony about how their UNCF scholarships changed their lives. Adera Penny, from Baltimore, Md., served in Afghanistan while seeking her degree. Bahamian student Aleandra Pinder, who finished at the bottom of her high school class and is now an honor student, said the scholarship allowed her to finish her degree. Deputy Mayor Russell

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School magnet programs grow

Critics say magnet program offerings in urban schools still lacking

Miami Central High School freshman Brad Hawkins has an idea for a barbecue sauce. He would create the liquid, design the bottles, labels and packaging. Then he would find a distributor that will put his product on store shelves in Miami and Texas – at least to start. “Almost everybody eats barbecue,” said Brad, 14, explaining his choice of product, Hawk’s Amazing Barbecue Sauce. “It tastes real good. Of course mine will taste good.” Brad’s idea is part of an exercise in Central High’s new Trade and Logistics magnet program. Teacher Davrye Gibson-Smith is pushing the students to think as entrepreneurs as part of a push by Miami-Dade County Public Schools to offer more academic programs throughout the district. This month, M-DCPS administrators launched enrollment in its magnet programs for the 2016-17 year to give parents and students a chance to study what’s available and at which schools. The enrollment period goes through Jan. 15.

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8-year-old kicks off annual doll collection drive

Zoe Terry asks for dolls of color for girls locally and around the world

Zoe Terry is sponsoring, along with her mother, Nakia Bowling, a free community event, Sunday, Oct. 25th from 2-6 p.m. at the Betty T. Ferguson Amphitheater, located at 3000 NW 199th St. in Miami Gardens. The event will be the kick-off to Zoe’s annual doll collection drive.

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Mobile home residents to be forced out soon

February deadline looms as Little Farm park is sold to developers

Nearly a week after some residents of an El Portal mobile home park had their belongings dumped in a pile because of evictions, activists are scrambling to find help for the primarily elderly and immigrant families. Without help, the families at Little Farm trailer park fear they will be stranded. “No one has come to tell us why they sold the property. I need them to repay me for the home,” said Sophia Alexandre, who purchased her trailer in 2011 for herself and two young children, ages 12 and 7. She said she always paid her land fee on time and until now did not have problems. The confusion over the property terrifies Alexandre’s children. “They ask, ‘mom where are we going to go?’ This is really hurtful, unjust and unfair.”

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Supporting Tangela Sears

The community came out to “The Love Musical” in solidarity with activist

Community members, state and local officials and law enforcement turned out to show support for public relations consultant and community activist Tangela Sears, whose son was murdered May 20, 2015. Her 20-year-old son, David Queen, was senselessly shot and killed in an apartment complex in Tallahassee. GirlyGirl Music Group & Entertainment put together a benefit concert for Sears because, as organizer Francine Ealey-Murphy said, “we just wanted to show her some love.” “The Love Musical,” took place Friday, Oct. 2 at Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church in Liberty City. There were musical performances from the Mt. Calvary Mass Chior, Pastor Avery Jones & The Spirit of Life and many others. Sears received a proclamation from Miami-Dade County Commission Chair Jean Monestime. She also received a letter from Bishop Victor T. Curry, who was unable to attend because he had to preach down south.

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'EJ’s Road Trip' to the White House inspires kids

Book takes children and their parents on imaginary trip around the nation

A book entitled “EJ’s Exciting Road Trip” tells about what happened during a trip to the historical Edmund Pettus Bridge in Alabama; to historical sites in Washington, D.C and the White House. To add to his excitement, EJ was able to see President Barack Obama leaving the White House grounds by helicopter. The trip was a birthday gift given to him by his mother, Suze Guillaume, a community activist in Miami. The book is inspired by and co-written by a 5-year-old Edwin Bonill Jr. His relatives, friends, and those who are currently being introduced to the young writer affectionately call him EJ. The primary reason, said Guillaume, for writing this book was to help her son tell the public about his birthday experience and, Guillaume said, “to help empower children all over the world to want to read, write, and be able to share their dreams with others.”

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The will to balance both school and work leads to Cornerstone Tabernacle

Church invites community to prayer revival late in December

Patrick Wallace, 47, is a native of Miami who attended Miami Northwestern Senior High School. He went to Job Corp and completed all high school requirements there. Wallace returned to Miami and became a member of Cooper Temple Church of God (C.O.G.I.C.). He served under the leadership of Pastor Linwood Cooper, and became a preacher of the word of God. Wallace moved to Washington, D.C., and joined New Bethel C.O.G.I.C., under the leadership of Bishop Sherman Scott Howard.

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Living on $85 per week

18 lawmakers try at the Minimum Wage Challenge 2015 last week

At the onset of the Minimum Wage Challenge, State Sen. Dwight Bullard spent too much money on groceries. He was supposed to spend $17 for food, healthcare and transportation, but left $22 in the supermarket alone, last Monday, Sept. 28.Bullard said it’s OK that he went over his budget because the items were to serve for the week. For gas, he spent $29 for the week. On his grocery list: staples such as rice and beans, chicken and canned tuna fish. He had to forego cookies and other snacks. “This puts me in a position to cook a little more than I normally do but that is the only way to curtail spending when there is a lack of money,” Bullard said at the beginning of the challenge. Bullard and 17 other lawmakers participated in the Minimum Wage Challenge 2015. Two years ago, when he participated in the first challenge, one other lawmaker joined him; last year they

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Clinton talks economy, takes on NRA

She says Republicans want Americans to have ‘a case of collective amnesia’

Presidential candidate, former Secretary of State and former Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton told a packed house of supporters at Broward College that she was not running for Bill Clinton’s or Barack Obama’s third term, but rather her first one. Dressed in a dark pantsuit and a blue blazer, Clinton spoke in Broward College’s B. George Mayer Gymnasium on the Davie Campus on Friday, Oct. 2. for about a half hour on various topics, ranging from education to the economy, health care and in light of what happened in Oregon, gun control and taking on the NRA. The talk was mostly a domestic one with a brief brush on foreign topics given her tenure as secretary of state and former First Lady to Bill Clinton. Latest polls show Clinton commanding about 42 percent of the vote, up 16 percent, with Sen. Bernie Sanders taking 25 percent of the vote. Vice President Biden who hasn’t declared his candidacy for the 2016 presidential race, has 18 percent.

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Walk to raise awareness

Miami Gardens Vice Mayor Felicia Robinson hosted the fifth annual Pink Walk and Health Resource Fair, which brought out around 200 participants who walked the streets of Miami Gardens to bring awareness to breast cancer.  The event began at the Old Spirit of Christ church near 183rd Street and NW 27th Avenue. The Bahamian Junkanoo led the walk that ended at the Betty T. Ferguson Center, where the health fair was held. “I’m really happy and grateful because I got to see this event grow, and this year it was amazing,” said Robinson. “I recognized that this is a disease that we don’t have to die from and what I found when I

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Miami Dade College hosted Inaugural Heart Fair Sept. 29

Miami Dade College School of Science in collaboration with the Healthy Hearts Initiative hosted the Inaugural Heart Fair during World Heart Day Sept. 29 at the North Campus. The first-ever fair dedicated principally to cardiovascular health provided important information from

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A war on mass shootings needed now

It is time to declare War on Mass Shootings. But there will be no declaration. Because the mass killings land smack on the shoulders of white Americans, who thrive in their suburbs, in their small towns and remote villages. Historically, whenever there is national call for a war, whether be it drugs, crime or poverty, it was code word for let’s invade minority, urban communities and make them as uncomfortable as possible. To carry out these wars, civil rights must be violated, the presumed enemy must be jailed or, as in the case of the war on poverty, entitlement programs were replaced by low-pay, work-based initiatives, leaving mothers to work several jobs to provide for their children.

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Experiences past, present prove life isn't 'normal'

Apparently, life in one particular decade is full of similarities to another.  There have been many tragedies and horrific stories in the last few years. Media itself can sensationalize a lot but now with social media and its role in disseminating information, we learn about things faster and learn about situations that may have not made the local or national news.  Some things never change and appear the same from decade to decade — sin, love and relationships. 

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Respect our money in Miami Gardens

In 2014, the City of Miami Gardens sued three major banks, including Wells Fargo, for issuing predatory loans with horrible terms and even worse consequences. The consequences were vacant properties, squatters, foreclosures, increased spending through code enforcement and the Police Department, decreasing property values and a diminished community. Banks issued these loans disproportionally in Black and Brown neighborhoods, oftentimes to people who qualified for better loans, but who were pushed into loans that were pre-destined to fail. The City’s lawsuit seeks damages based upon its conduct, asks for injunctive relief (preventing them from doing it again) and compensation.  Wells Fargo has refused to negotiate. To address some of the problems created by the housing crisis, and made worse by the horrible loans issued in our community, the city proposed and passed a $60-million general obligation bond (GOB) that will help build out our public amenities, increase public safety and help rebuild our property values.

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Young Black men are not ‘knuckleheads’ at all

This letter is in response to the Letter to the Editor in the September 30 – October 6 edition of The Miami Times. If I didn’t know better I would think that the group of young Black men described by the writer were dropped off from some distant place by a space ship. The young Black men are not “knuckleheads at all.” Murder is not the action of a knucklehead.  Knuckleheads wear their pants down below their butts and blast the music in their cars at ear-popping levels. Young people are the reflections of older people. What is the expected outcome of a community that allows its children to listen to one type of music, watch and support movies whose primary theme is the killing of young Black men by other young Black men, with their guns turned sideways (When young white teens are murdered in movies it is usually at the hands of one deranged killer like Jason or Freddy Krueger)? What is the expected outcome in a community that watches young Black men fly down their street on dirt bikes at 70 or 80 miles per hour and say nothing? What is the expected outcome when alleged men and women of God stand by and watch the products of the adults of the community self-destruct while they cover their heads with the nearest blanket? Are the seasoned adults silly enough to believe that young people can grow up absorbing such foolishness and not be affected by it? If so, then maybe we are the real “knuckleheads”. We, the adults, just as Dr. Frankenstein did, created this monster, and blaming the monster is not going to change anything.    

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Traci Young-Byron dancing her way to stardom

Artistic director/choreographer of the Young Contemporary Dance Theater in Liberty City stars in the Lifetime Television docuseries “Step It Up!”

Dancer Traci Young-Byron is making big moves. The 35-year-old, who has been dancing since she was 3, is now a star on Lifetime Televison’s docuseries, "Step It Up.” A graduate of Miami Northwestern Senior High, she was born and raised in Liberty City. The first episode of “Step It Up!” aired on Sept. 25, grabbing more than 1.2 million viewers. “Step It Up” airs every Friday night at 9 p.m.

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Web series plays out in Miami, wins awards

New show, “The Club,” teaches forgiveness

The Internet has grown to be a new medium of entertainment. It is a field where shows like “Orange is the New Black,” “Daredevil” and “Narcos” can thrive without support from a network. It is a platform where programs can cross over into television such as “Black and Sexy TV,” which is coming to BET this year. The category has grown so much that it has its own awards show, Miami Web Fest, a 10-day celebration of film or music made especially for the Internet. The event, in its second year, ran from Sept. 25 – Oct. 4, and featured world, Latin and music editions. Tommy Ford, the actor who played Tommy in the classic TV series “Martin,” stars in the web series, “The Club.”

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Part II: Something just ain’t right’ in Opa-locka

Something is terribly amiss in the City of Opa-locka and it seems that something needs to be done. Some of the goings on in Opa-Locka include employees being laid off, the city’s financial crisis and the so-called attempted takeover of the Opa-locka Community Redevelopment Agency by City Manager Steve Shiver. The commission is being mislead by conjectures and suppositions from the city manager who has absolutely no authority to even discuss the CRA in a public meeting. Laws in the form of statutes and ordinances that no one can violate without retribution, albeit criminal, civil and/or financial govern the CRA. No one is above the law or has the innate power to manipulate the law without repercussions. When the City of Opa-locka, Opa-locka CRA and Miami-Dade County signed the Inter-Local Agreement on Dec. 4, 2013, Ordinance CXLVIII Sec. 2-2152 sealed an allotment of powers and privileges that states that the CRA must be appropriated funding for 20 years and in the case of indebtedness it can be extended to 30 years. In laymen’s terms the Board cannot even have a “sunset review” before 20 years.

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‘The Martian’ blasts off at FMU

Actors and astronauts came to the campus to help students understand the movie and its science components

Packed to capacity, the FIU-FMU auditorium on Florida Memorial University’s Miami Gardens campus was full of science and engineering students for a special presentation. Talent from the new movie “The Martian” came to the university for a master class, to discuss the making of the film and the science components that went into it.


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