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Feeding the community

State Rep. Barbara Watson and Farm Share help those in need before the holidays

State Rep. Barbara Watson along with state Rep. Joseph Allen and Farm Share distributed food and grocery items to more than 500 families at Allen Park/DeLeonardis Youth Center. The City of North Miami Beach and the Department of Children and Families joined the leaders.

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Former offenders stymied by slow clemency process

“Serious backlog of cases in the five agencies in the state,” said review board staff member

A town hall meeting with clemency as the key topic drew former offenders who are waiting to restore their civil rights. Wilma T. Burkley and George Meeks Jr. both cited a lengthy application process. Each has progressed in society while waiting more than four years to have their rights restored. Burkley and Meeks have earned college degrees but struggle with landing employment commensurate with their education because of the felony convictions on their records even though they have completed their sentences. “My issue is the backlog of cases,” said Burkley. “I applied in 2007. I tried to contact them about the status of my application and they finally put in the 2013 group. If something doesn’t change soon I won’t be able to make it.” Said Meeks: “I’ve served my time. Why won’t they treat you like a man?”

Officer who killed Corey Jones is fired

The family of the slain man wants criminal charges filed against Nouman Raja

The Palm Beach Gardens Police Department terminated officer Nouman Raja, the man who shot and killed Black musician Corey Jones. His employment termination was effective 5 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 11. According to a statement from the city of Palm Beach Gardens, Raja was a probationary employee. “Any decision involving assignments, layoff or dismissal of probationary employees is entirely within the discretion of the City. Such decision shall not be subject to the grievance procedure,” the city quoted from the Police Benevolent Association Union contract. The statement, dated Nov. 12, also says that the independent investigation into the shooting with the three agencies will continue, and the city will cooperate with all agencies involved. Raja is the focus of an investigation after an incident Oct. 18 when Raja came across a car driven by 31-year-old Jones, an employee by the Delray Beach Housing Authority. During that encounter, Jones died. Jones was carrying a weapon, which he did not fire, but Raja fired six shots at Jones, three of which hit Jones. Jones was buried on Oct. 31 with family and friends in attendance at the funeral. Rev. Al Sharpton was the keynote speaker at the service.

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Tye Tribbett pays tribute to Corey Jones

Faith Center in Sunrise was packed to the top last Thursday

Tye Tribbett, Corey Jones’ cousin and fellow musician, held a huge concert last Thursday night at the Faith Center in Sunrise. The concert ran more than three hours with thousands of people cheering all night long. Hours before the concert the city of Palm Beach Gardens announced that it had fired Nouman Raja, the police officer who fired six shots at Jones – three hitting him, one in the heart – on Oct. 18. Jones died while waiting for tow truck assistance that early Sunday morning when his car broke down after he performed at a gig. Raja emerged from an unmarked van with tinted windows and approached Jones in plainclothes with no badge. It is unknown if Raja identified himself as a police officer. Jones had a licensed firearm with him that he did not fire.

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West Grove veterans celebrate their own with parade, ceremony and food

Ken Russell, running for Miami Commissioner, attends annual event

Along Douglas Road in Coconut Grove, the Richmond Heights Middle School band marches up tempo to Uptown Funk while leading a small, but loyal, group of men and women who served in the U.S. military. Children, enjoying a day off for the Veterans’ Day holiday, and a few adults ran to their front yards to wave and watch. The small group from Coconut Grove American Legion Post 182 along with family, friends and well-wishers assembled in the Charlotte Jane Cemetery for a parade and ceremony they’ve conducted for at least 10 years.

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Bishop Richardson: "A compassionate man"

He not only talks Christianity but is also a pastor's pastor

It is a normalcy for members to respect and care about their pastor, but when a pastor’s peers hold him or her in high esteem that is, as the slogan goes, “a coat of another color.” A survey, by this reporter, of more than 25 pastors on Nov. 11, revealed the high respect they hold for Bishop Richardson. He is the founder and Pastor of The Church of God of Miami located at 1351 NW 67th St., in Liberty City; founder of The Church of God Vero Beach; The Church of God Belle Glade; and The Church of God Valdosta in Georgia. When asked why he believes so many pastors think so highly of him and refer to him as “a pastor’s pastor,” his response was the same as it was more than 20 years ago.

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Tips to avoid holiday challenges and addiction

Deborah King, daughter of boxing legend Don King, offers tips to avoid relapse during yearly festivities

Deborah King, daughter of boxing promoter legend Don King, has kicked-off her campaign to share her story and encourage others who are struggling with drug addiction. She recently spoke to a crowd of over 100,00 people at the inaugural “Unite to Face Addiction Rally” on the National Mall in Washington, DC. King battled her addiction publicly, during her DUI arrest in 2006, which also resulted in a drug possession charge. In September 2014, King earned a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling from South University and is now a certified Intervention and Recovery Life Coach. Drug addiction plagues more than 85 million people.

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North Shore Medical Center awarded “A” hospital safety score

Hospital honored by leapfrog group

North Shore Medical Center was recently honored with an “A” Hospital Safety Score by the Leapfrog Group, an independent national nonprofit run by employers and other large purchasers of health benefits. The “A” score was awarded in the latest update to the Hospital Safety Score, the A, B, C, D or F scores are assigned to U.S. hospitals based on preventable medical errors, injuries, accidents and infections. The Hospital Safety Score was compiled under the guidance of the nation’s leading experts on patient safety and is designed to give the public information they can use to protect themselves and their families. “Every day, our colleagues are focused on improving outcomes and enhancing the safety of the care we deliver,” said hospital CEO Manny Linares. “We are proud to receive an “A” score in safety from The Leapfrog Group, as we believe it reflects the hard work of our team to position our hospital as a leading, trusted provider

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Robert Battle writes his story

Liberty city native heads the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, to perform in Feb.

“My Story, My Dance: Robert Battle’s Journey to Alvin Ailey” is the inspiring story of a boy who, despite physical and personal challenges, has a life filled with music, church, and movement – first martial arts, and then, after seeing Alvin Ailey’s “Revelations” dance. “My Story, My Dance” is inspired by the life of Miami native and Ailey Artistic Director Battle, who is currently in his fifth season as artistic director. This picture book biography features images brimming with vibrant color and swirling motion, and is illustrated and written by award-winning husband-and-wife team James E. Ransome and Lesa Cline-Ransome. Created for ages 5 – 10, the book was released in October by Paula Wiseman Books, a division of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing. “My Story, My Dance” is a heart-warming tale that is sure to inspire readers of all ages. When Battle was a baby, he was adopted by his loving aunt and uncle, and nurtured by his encouraging cousin. As a young boy wearing leg braces, he never dreamed he’d study

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Wine and food fest a success

The first Miami Gardens Wine and Food Experience presented by Councilwoman Lisa C. Davis filled the rooftop of the city’s swank, new municipal complex Saturday. Co-hosts for the evening were Omari Hardwick of the Starz blockbuster “Power” and HOT 105 FM’s Jill Tracey.

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Cosmopolitan in the Gardens

Miami Gardens can and should be America's next Black cosmopolitan Mecca. Judging by the ambience that engulfed the city's new municipal complex at this past weekend's inaugural Wine and Food Experience, city leaders fully understand this possibility. I've long used these pages to address the apathy impeding South Florida's Black community's progress so now let me take a moment to celebrate the community's innovation. After all, it's only right.

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The Social Whirl

On this past Veteran’s Day, many gathered in Liberty City for a program honoring Vietnam Veterans. On hand was Rodney Thompson, a veteran of the Light Infantry Division. Hope everyone enjoyed the Vetran’s Day holiday. “ Until the lions tell the story, the tale of the hunt will be glorified by the hunter.” If you believe, as I do, in the truth of this African Proverb, then you value the importance of telling our stories, our history, as a people. And so, authors write and tell their stories in their books. The Miami Book Fair, International will have many new and also notable authors discussing their books in numerous panels.

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Chatter that Matters

At a recent meeting of the retired brothers of Sigma Alpha Chapter, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, first on the list for accommodation was Stanley Allen and his wife, Sarah, who along with wives and friends of brothers, came to the meeting. Included were: James and Barbara Anders, Earl and Alice Daniels; Stacey and Mary Jones; Garth Reeves, Barbara Johnson; and Theodore and Kitty Blue. The men gathered in the lounge and the women assembled in the auditorium. The men stayed in the lounge to graciously brought breakfast which consisted of turkey, bacon, eggs, sausage, fish, orange juice and lemonade. While the men met the ladies had a good time socializing with each. President Baljean Smith announced plans regarding , the annual Christmas Luncheon and asked Stacey to open by informing the brothers the area may be found easily, but getting there may be difficult. Stacey eliminated procedure and the brothers continued to look for holes in merging on time at the Country Club. The Hillcrest Golf & Country Club is located at 4600 Hillcrest Drive in West Hollywood. Activities will include live music, DJ, caroling singing by the Men’s Choir, gifts from the men to the ladies on Thursday, December 17, 2015, starting at 11am. Wear Christmas outfits and receive the best lunch you will find in any Country Club. For more information Call Stan Allen at 954-205-7783. Other Brothers in attendance were Willie Branton, Oscar Jessie, Astrid Mack, Anthony Simons II, Richard J. Strachan, John Williams, Henry Mingo, Richard Mitchell, Audley Salahud Din and Johnnie Stepherson.

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Local businesses transform Liberty City school's room

Arcola Lake Elementary unveils Embrace Girls Foundation’s new after-school clubhouse

After weeks of suspense, 50 girls at Arcola Lake Elementary School in Liberty City opened the door to their new dream room – the Embrace Girls Foundation’s princess-style after-school clubhouse. From the bubblegum-pink walls to kid-sized furniture and cozy touches, the “big reveal” quickly made the second- through fifth-graders feel right at home. As second grader Darnise Willis summed up, “Our room is full of life, full of love and full of happiness.”

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Students learn STEM at the robotics competition

Event was held at Citrus Grove Middle School Nov. 7, hosted 32 teams

Today, kids are surrounded by technology. Public schools want to take advantage of this by adding tech-related programs to extracurricular activities. Robotics is a growing program where kids build mobile robots with their classmates to do certain tasks. Recently, 32 teams from different schools across South Florida gathered at Citrus Grove Middle School to compete their robots against each other in the Vex IQ Robotics Competition. “I think robotics is a great platform for kids,” said Melissa Hernandez, competition judge and Technology supervisor for Miami-Dade County Public Schools. “This gives kids who aren't into athletics the ability to be competitive, work on a team and take an idea they have and bring it to reality.”

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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. Free Karate Classes at Range Park on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6-8 p.m. Call 305-757-7961. The Miami Carol City Class of 1969 meets every second Saturday at Piccadilly’s restaurant on Hollywood Blvd. Call 786-419-3166. AmeriCorps provides math and reading tutoring for Miami-Dade County Public Schools at Gwen Cherry Park. Call 305-694-4889 ext. 224.

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Business leaders meet for tips to redevelop our communities

Speaker calls for less segregated neighborhoods and schools

“We are only as strong as our weakest link” was one of the themes that came out of the South Florida Community Reinvestment Summit that took place on Monday, Nov. 16, in Ft. Lauderdale at the GalleryOne Hotel. The Summit was an opportunity for people of like minds to get together and think strategically about how they could redevelop and save their communities. John Taylor, president of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, spoke about the income inequality that was happening in many communities across the country, and spoke about the shrinkage of wealth in the middle class, and how the upper class, the one percent, was experiencing the highest growth in wealth, and that meant putting more and more profit into the hands of fewer and fewer people. “It we don’t change that,” said Taylor, “it will continue to get worse.” Taylor spoke of the “power” he saw in the room that day. “I know the potential in this room,” said Taylor. “I have seen it in other parts of the country, and I have seen it come together. I see the power of associations and what banks can do.”

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Late golfer Sifford honored

‘Jackie Robinson of Golf’ inducted into PGA of America Hall of Fame

The late Charlie Sifford, known as the “Jackie Robinson of Golf,” was inducted into the PGA of America Hall of Fame. Sifford was honored in a ceremony on Thursday, Nov. 12, in conjunction with the 99th PGA Annual Meeting in Palm Beach Gardens. Charles Sifford Jr. was in attendance to accept his father’s plaque. After serving his country in the Battle of Okinawa, one of the fiercest campaigns of World War II, Charlie Sifford returned home to face a challenge that would consume the rest of his life – pursuing a professional golf career in America during an era of social injustice. So it was for Charles Luther Sifford, a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, who had caddied as a youngster at a whites-only hometown country club.

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Barry men’s basketball opens season with win

Buccaneers beat Florida Memorial University 96-56

Barry University shook off the rust and dusted Florida Memorial University aside in Friday night's season opener at the Health & Sports Center, winning 96-56. A near capacity crowd watched the No. 12-ranked Buccaneers open a 52-29 halftime lead on a night Yunio Barrueta made history. The Buccaneers shot 48.7 percent in the first half, and cruised to a 40- point win. Barrueta, a preseason All-American, finished with 26 points and 13 rebounds to become the seventh player in school history to reach 1,000 career points. He shot 8 of 13 from the floor, knocking down three triples, and had three steals in 22 minutes. The Bucs held the Lions (2-1) to 28.6 percent shooting. Florida Memorial was 20 of 70 from the field. Samuel Dorismond had 11 points, and Aundre Reid had 10 points for the Lions. Four players scored in double figures for Barry, including n

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Big boost for Opa-locka Booster Club

Boys and Girls group gets new workshop

The Opa-locka Boys and Girls Booster Club have a new workshop. On Nov. 10, the Mayor and City Commissioners held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the unveiling of a new workshop for the Opa-locka Boys and Girls Booster Club at Sherbondy Village. The event was hosted by Commissioners Terence K. Pinder and Joseph L. Kelley. Their mission is to enrich the Opa-locka athletic community with winning sports teams, productive community youth, a space to provide the club with a foundation and a place to assemble.

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