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Opa-locka passes balanced budget

Several departments and salaries were cut to trim expenses in 2016

New City Manager Steve Shiver balanced Opa-Locka’s budget for the first time in four years, but it didn’t happen without some cuts and sacrifices. Shiver’s proposed budget eliminates the CRA and its executive director, Ed Brown, reducing the city’s workforce from 226 employees — 12 positions are currently vacant — to 174. The budget calls for reduced overtime, an outsourced Public Works deparment and eliminates the purchase of 30 new vehicles. The Code Enforcement will merge with the Police Department under Shiver’s budget. “With a balanced budget the city won’t have to borrow money any more,” said Shiver, while citing how the city overcame significant deficits the last two fiscal years. After considerable discussions, sometimes outright arguing, the Commission unanimously passed Shiver’s proposed budget for 2015-2016. The budget, which took effect Oct. 1, has total revenue from all funds projected at $53,288,192 and a total General Fund of $13,854,280. The city also set the tax rate at 8.9 of every $1,000 of taxable property value.

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‘Little Shaq’ teaches kids value of sharing

Shaquille O’Neal reaches back into his childhood to create this tale

For almost every day of your life, someone’s reminded you to share. Usually, it’s about sharing your toys but that’s not all. You share games, the sofa, your ideas, snacks, and any chore that needs four hands. Sharing is often about teamwork, and in the new book “Little Shaq” (illustrated by Theodore Taylor III), author Shaquille O’Neal shares a story. It was almost the end of the ballgame and Little Shaq was hot. Every shot he took was “nothin’ but net.” He just could not miss – nor did he miss seeing his cousin, Barry, who called for the ball but Little Shaq never passed it to him.

Miami-Dade County Commission votes to “Ban the Box”

No more questions on county job applications about criminal history

Citing the many Americans with criminal records who find themselves excluded from employment opportunities they are otherwise qualified for, the Miami-Dade County Commission on Oct. 6 voted to eliminate questions regarding criminal history from county employment applications. The legislation does not apply to certain public safety positions. Sponsored by Miami-Dade County Commission Chairman Jean Monestime, along with co-prime sponsors Barbara Jordan, Daniella Levine Cava and Audrey Edmonson, the “Ban the Box” legislation will give applicants for county jobs the opportunity to go through the application and interview processes without being asked or required to disclose information about their criminal history. The county will not conduct background checks until after it has determined an applicant is best qualified and has been given a conditional offer of employment. The ordinance was a prime initiative of Chairman Monestime and his colleagues on the Chairman’s Council for Prosperity Initiatives.  

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Cutler Bay recognizes Alpha Phi Alpha for its years of service

The Town of Cutler Bay honored the Iota Pi Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. for its years of service to the South Florida community.  At the Sept. 16 meeting, Cutler Bay council members presented the chapter with a proclamation in recognition of the fraternal organization's notable impact on the city.  During the presentation, Mayor Peggy Bell described the chapter's recent and ongoing activities throughout the community and cited prominent members working locally and on the national scene. The council joined the mayor in a pledge of commitment for the continued support of the chapter's standing initiatives and youth mentoring campaign.

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Miami-Dade mayor files for reelection

Carlos Gimenez seeks second full term, draws challengers

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez on Oct. 1 filed paperwork at the Elections Department to open his re-election campaign.  He made the announcement on the Miami Dade College campus, where he allowed one-on-one questions from journalists regarding his campaign. Gimenez came into office in 2011 after the recall of former mayor Carlos Alvarez. He ran again and won a full term in 2012. “In 2011 and 2012, we campaigned on restoring the trust and confidence of our residents in their government. Today, I believe we have turned a corner and I look forward to continuing this fundamental shift and laying down the groundwork to meet the challenges our community will face in the future,” said Gimenez in a statement. “It’s about finishing what we’ve started and I look forward to running on my record and sharing my vision on the issues that matter with the residents we proudly serve.”

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Ben Carson starts making a play for Florida

Even with Florida Republicans Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio in the race, Dr. Ben Carson has the Sunshine State in his sights.  Surging in the polls, Carson released a new book Tuesday and Florida will play a prominent role in his tour to promote it. After retiring from his celebrated medical career at Johns Hopkins in Maryland, Carson moved to South Florida.  On Tuesday the doctor promoted “A More Perfect Union: What We The People Can Do To Reclaim Our Constitutional Liberties."  “I wrote it to help people understand the common sense that the Founders put into the Constitution, and to realize how their common sense has been distorted over time,” Carson explained. “I believe that in our age of political correctness, it's especially important to defend the Bill of Rights, which guarantees our freedom to speak, bear arms, practice our religion, and much more. “As someone who has performed brain surgery thousands of times, I can assure you that the Constitution isn't brain surgery. It was written for ordinary men and women, and it's short enough to read in a single sitting and carry in your pocket,” Carson added. “I hope you'll enjoy learning about the fascinating ways that the Founders established the greatest democracy in history — and the ways that recent presidents, congresses, and courts have threatened that democracy.”

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Reggae's Big Night

Known as Reggae's biggest music night, the 34th International Reggae and World Music Awards (IRAWMA) was held Oct. 4, at Bailey Concert Hall on the Broward College Davie campus. Attending the event were reggae gospel artists Carlene Davis and Sharon Wiles, songstress Etana, legend Dean Fraiser, comedian Rohan Gunter, crooner Tarrus Riley, local band Code Red, No Maddz, international star Kevin Lyttle among others. Hosts included Third World, Tommy “ Yes In Deed” Cowan and Tanto Irie of Hot 105 FM. Special honorees included A.J. Brown, Ed Robinson, Ploomie Lewis, John T., Osbourne

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The Social Whirl

There are always reunions worth mentioning and sharing with you. This past week, the Miami Jackson Class of 1970 kicked off its 45th class reunion on Sunday, Oct. 4, by worshipping at Greater Bethel A.M.E Church in historical Overtown at the 10 a.m. service. There were 33 classmates in attendance, which included: Doris and Willie Riley, Adrienne Jackson, Carlenia Moss, Barbara Irvine, Pearline Wright, Daisy Evans-Jones, Shirley Morris, Alexis Cave-King, James McQueen, Alvin Romer, Maria Collier-Crittenden, Michelle Holt-Munlin, Issac Woods, Josie Brown, Eugene Johnson, Sylvester Weatherspoon, Terry Dennis-Rutherford, Patrice Maycock, Joe and Eula Johnson, Blanche Dean-Cash, Ruthie Johnson, Rose Steele-Watts, Doreen Braham, Sandra Roundtree-Barr, Annie Wright-Love, Eddie Sutton, Sheila Spicer-Shelley,

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Chatter that Matters

Hats off to those who are members of Catholic churches, especially Daphne Johnson, Lona B. Mathis and thousands of you, including Robin Mathis. The Historic Hampton House Trust Inc. is moving closer to the full opening of the once bright lights, dance music, featuring the Psi Phis Memories of Jazz. The band will perform starting at 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. Remember, the Café will stay open until the event ends. Proposals shall be prepared at the bidder’s expense and become the Trust record and therefore a public record. The services that are submitted shall equal or exceed the specifications outlined in the guide where this statement is recorded in the REF.

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Booker T. Washington High School hosts ‘Rosenwald’ film director

Aviva Kempner met with students, answered questions about movie

Film director Aviva Kempner visited Booker T. Washington Senior High School on Thursday, Oct. 1, to talk with students about her film, “Rosenwald.” The movie is about Julius Rosenwald, a Jewish philanthropist and president of the Sears department store, who worked with Booker T. Washington to build schools for Black students. Taking part in the event with students were Booker T. Principal William Aristide, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Audrey Edmonson, Dr. Shirley B. Johnson, president of the NAACP in Miami-Dade, Rabbi Marc Labowitz and Pastors Kenneth L. Washington and Willie Williams. Alexis Moseley, from County

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Life Gets Better scholarships aid students

FAMU offers full tuition awards to scholars

The Life Gets Better Scholarship has been a life changer for many hundreds of students attending Florida A&M University. Considered one of the nation’s unique scholarships, it rewards high school graduates for their exceptional and consistent academic performance rather than financial need. For nearly 30 years, the Life Gets Better Scholarship has played a major part in producing engineers, doctors, lawyers, corporate executives, scientists, college professors and many more professionals of color. By removing the financial burden that normally derails a college education, the scholarship relieves the stress and strain that normally overwhelms families.

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Contest teaches high school students financial literacy

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry and BankUnited, a proud corporate partner of the Miami Dolphins, are teaming up to promote the “4 Downs for Finance” financial literacy contest for high school students. The contest is designed to foster financial literacy at an age when many students are beginning to earn their first paychecks. Full-time Florida students ages 13 to 18 are encouraged to register online at www.4downsforfinance.com now through Dec. 20 to access age-appropriate money tips throughout the football season, and submit an essay on a financial literacy topic. Everyone who enters will have a chance to win a football autographed by Landry and have his or her name read live on the radio during a game broadcast. One student will win a $1,000 cash prize and a visit with Landry.

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Miami-Dade Schools Police swear in new officers

Superintendent of Schools Alberto M. Carvalho, Chief of Police Ian A. Moffett, School Board members, administrators, new police officers and their families gathered Oct. 2 at the School Board Administration Building Auditorium for the swearing-in ceremony of new officers and the promotion of other department personnel. The newly sworn officers are: Gregg Boone, Ariel Caveda, Jovany Jimenez, Benito Joseph, Rayner López, Lorvia Paul, Monica Rodríguez, and Janet Romero. Promoted were Commander Carlos Fernández to Major; Officer Edward Walker to Commander; Sgt. Montoya Jackson to Commander; and Officer Natasha Arrebola to Sergeant.

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Lifestyle Happenings

Inner City Children’s Touring Dance will have free Introductory Classical Ballet Workshops for girls ages 6-8 and 9-12 on Monday and Wednesday evenings. Call 305-758-1577 or visit www.childrendance.net. Miami Jackson Class of 1970 will have a get acquainted event on Friday, Oct. 9 from 8 p.m.-2 a.m. at Miami Firefighters Benevolent Hall. Call 305-546-3770 or 305-733-4674. Sisters Empowerment Circle invites ladies 45 and over with an interest in laughter, learning, developing new friendships, social networking, traveling, and sharing life’s experiences in a comfortable atmosphere. Call 786-759-2597. Free Karate Classes at Range Park on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6-8 p.m. Call 305-757-7961. Booker T. Washington Class of 1965 will meet Saturday, Oct. 17 at 3:30 p.m. at Africa Heritage Cultural Arts Center. Call 305-213-0188. The Miami Jackson Class of 1969 will celebrate their annual Birthday Bash on Friday, Oct. 23, at 8 p.m. at the Elk’s Historical Hall. Call 305-620-4827.

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Masqueraders to provide a spectacle of colors, pageantry

Carnival lovers and revelers are gearing up for one of the most anticipated cultural Caribbean traditions, Miami Broward Carnival on Sunday, Oct. 11, at the Miami Dade County Fair and Exposition, located at 10901 SW 24th St. The gates open at 11 a.m. and the parade starts at noon. Produced by the Miami Broward Carnival One Carnival Host Committee, this feast of cultural celebration showcases the vast diversity that is the Caribbean culture of Carnival with culinary delights indigenous to the Caribbean, melodious sounds of steel bands, and colorful and elaborate masquerade costumes. This year’s parade of masqueraders includes 19 bands that have been working all year on their portrayals and costume designs.

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Small firms and contractors link up at event

The American Express Open’s Success Series In Miami brought 24 federal, state and local governments and businesses in one place

Blacks represented an estimated 25 percent of the small business owners at the American Express Open’s Success Series In Miami at the Conrad Hilton Hotel on Brickell Avenue last week. The Open For Government Contracts Success Series was a daylong event that explored the process of gathering certified small business owners and acquainting them with the path to securing contracts through the bidding process. Taimar Prince, SBE Certification/Community Outreach Specialist for Miami-Dade Public Schools Office of Economic Opportunity, said her office certifies small businesses. “That’s what we do,” said Prince. “We have certified over 700 small businesses. This kind of event has been very helpful. Vendor Spotlight has been helping vendors secure contracts.” The sessions, wrapped around breakfast and lunch, included networking breaks geared toward linking small business owners with the 24 participants representing federal, state and local governments and prime contractors.

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Family treasures from The Kinsey Collection on display at Disney’s Epcot

If the art of sharing were worth its weight in gold, the amassed cultural treasures of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey would easily personify Fort Knox. The history preservationists, along with son Khalil, have partnered with Walt Disney World to present their family’s cultural jewel. “Discovering America: Family Treasures from The Kinsey Collection” spans 400 years and includes authentic and rare art, artifacts, books, documents and manuscripts representing African-American achievement.

The best day of the year to buy a home is nearing

Market results vary; for South FL, the best day to buy at a discount is Dec. 31

Out of 109 metro areas analyzed, 37 had their best day to buy in the fall months of September, October and November RealtyTrac recently released its Best Day of the Year to Buy a Home Report. Most Realtors agree that it’s better to buy in the fall and winter months to get the best deal — given less competition from other buyers in these colder months when families are entrenched in the back-to-school schedule. RealtyTrac took a big data approach to checking the validity of such conventional wisdom, and found the data to be in agreement — with a few glaring exceptions.

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Orange Bowl Committee honors select youth parks

Park of the Week program visits Opa-locka, other venues

Now in its 17th season, the Orange Bowl Youth Football Alliance (YFA), presented by Sports Authority, visited four sites across Miami-Dade and Broward Counties on Sept. 26. The program recognizes select youth football parks across South Florida each Saturday during the fall to show its continued support of the community. The day began with a stop at Sunset Park to honor the visiting Fort Pierce Seminoles from St. Lucie County. Next, the Park of the Week team headed to Orange Bowl Field at Carter Park, home of the Western Tigers. Despite heavy rain, the day continued with a visit to Sunview Park and the Southwest Seminoles. Park of the Week concluded with a trip to Opa-locka’s Sherbondy Park, the home field of the Opa-locka Hurricanes.

School principal arrested for corruption

Jean C. Ridore of North Miami Adult Education Center charged with unlawful compensation, official misconduct and grand theft

The principal of North Miami Senior High’s night school has been arrested on corruption charges. Jean C. Ridore, principal of the North Miami Adult Education Center, was arrested Monday and charged with unlawful compensation, official misconduct and grand theft after he accepted $1,000 in cash to hire a “ghost employee” and arranged for illegal kickbacks of the man’s salary. According to a statement from the State Attorney’s Office, Ridore met with the individual, who was an undercover police officer, in an alleyway to discuss employment. The undercover officer posed as a

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