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Cigars celebrate many shades of Black women

Cuban grandmother inspires twin sisters

At first glance, it’s one of many cigar companies in an already saturated Miami market. But behind Tres Lindas Cubanas are a pair of sisters who hail their cigar brand as a celebration of the Black woman.

Black firms contending for hire to build new Norland

After exceeding expectations to hire Black subcontractors, a successful South Florida developer won a $34 million contract to build the new Miami Norland Senior High School in Miami Gardens. At a meeting last Wednesday, the Miami-Dade County Public School Board chose the James B. Pirtle Construction Co. Inc., a prominent, 45-year-old South Florida developer that has built facilities for museums, hospitals, sports complexes, libraries and cultural centers all over South Florida. The company built the Little Haiti Cultural Center and the new Miami Jackson Senior High School, according to the firm's website.

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Colorful, Overtown homecoming planned for artist Purvis Young

Rare art exhibit set to debut

His art includes everything from carpet to telephone bills that express the human condition in Miami's Black neighborhoods. From funerals to boarded-up storefronts that dot South Florida's urban neighborhoods, the murals of renowned Overtown artist Purvis Young gave the world a unique insight into Black life and culture.

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Miami Times brings together local choirs to celebrate holiday season

Free event is at Overtown’s Lyric Theater

They’re strong enough to lift every voice when they sing. All 32 of them. With their deep voices and charisma, the all-male choir at the 93rd Street Community Baptist Church have been pumping out notes and robust harmonies for 23 years. And when they get the Holy Spirit, look out. “People just love when a group of tough men are moved by the spirit and let it out,” said William Orange, a member of the group. Theresa Brown, a member of the church for nearly 20 years, said the group is one of her favorites. “I’ve been enjoying them for years,” said Brown. “They are just amazing.”

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Transgender inclusion proposed for human rights protections

Some opposition, confusion stopping discrimination legislation change

A familiar Black county leader is backing a marginalized community in the name of equality for all. District 3 Commissioner Audrey Edmonson has sponsored a change to county law to include protections from discrimination for transgender people. The Miami-Dade County Commission Board will vote on an agenda item about the changes Dec. 2. If passed, the blanket of protection will cover transgenders in addition to others. Concern over differential treatment is huge for Blacks, who are covered in the current ordinance. The law has been amended to protect people from discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex, nationality, marital status, pregnancy and sexual orientation. It covers a lot of individuals, but some think the transgender community is left out.

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Monestime elected commission chairman

History was made Monday when Miami-Dade Commissioner Jean Monestime became the first Haitian-American elected as chairman of the county commission. It was one of two honors for Monestime, who prevailed along with four other commissioners in the Nov. 4. general elections. The commissioners were honored during a special installation ceremony at county hall, where family, friends and colleagues packed the room to help celebrate the occasion. It was an even bigger moment for Monestime. Commissioners voted 12-0 to elect Monestime chairman after District 12 Commissioner José “Pepe” Diaz nominated him for the role.

With no indictment, protests and chaos in Ferguson streets

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — A grand jury declined to indict a white police officer in the death of unarmed Michael Brown — a decision that enraged protesters who escalated initially peaceful protests by setting fire to buildings and cars and looting businesses in the area where the unarmed, black 18-year-old was fatally shot.

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Obama unveils sweeping reform to immigration, challenges opposition

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama unveiled expansive executive actions on immigration Thursday night to spare nearly 5 million people in the U.S. illegally from deportation and refocus enforcement efforts.

Online donations support Give Miami Day

On Nov. 13, Dr. Enid Pinkney sent a blast e-mail. Subject line: Give Miami Day for Historic Hampton House Community Trust.

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Beware of SkyRise tapping into our pockets

SkyRise last Thursday told minority and women business owners that it has $10 million worth of contracts available for them to participate in its project. That sounds like good news on the surface. But SkyRise’s project is estimated to cost about $400 million when all is said and done. Already the private project is asking to dip into our pockets. It wants $9 million from Miami-Dade county taxpayers. Who knows if SkyRise will ask for more? In this scenario, if SkyRise gives $10 million in contracts and asks for $9 million in county funding, it seems we net $1 million.

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Ferguson, a ticking time bomb

Michael Brown is dead. It’s been more than 100 days since Officer Darren Wilson killed him. Gov. Jay Nixon recently declared a state of emergency in Missouri. These are facts. When this paper hits the press, 103 days would have passed without an indictment for the death of Brown. And, yes, we’ve been counting. Things might change given an expected decision from the grand jury, but Gov. Nixon has issued this declaration of a state emergency in the event that it doesn’t.

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A not so traditional Thanksgiving

Personal chef to Dwyane Wade cooks up a turkey-less meal

Chef Richard Ingraham cooked a full Thanksgiving meal on Monday, more than a week before the holiday. That was after he attended to Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade and his family, for whom he is personal chef for 11 years and prepared a snack of made-from-scratch red velvet waffles and buttermilk-curry fried chicken. All before 10 a.m. For Ingraham, the moment was surreal. He was cooking in the Miami Gardens house in which he used to live from the time that he was 5. “This room wasn’t even here,” he said of the family room in which he sat. “I used to cook with my mom and my grandmother, right there, pointing at the kitchen. It’s

Bond funds to replace Frederick Douglass Elementary

Project part of Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ effort to upgrade facilities

Benjamin Brown, 80, remembers when Frederick Douglass Elementary School in Overtown had no cafeteria. “We had to eat in the classroom,” said Brown, who attended the school in 1939. “There was a lady who sold hot dogs and hamburgers out of a small room.” The 61-year-old building that is part of many childhood memories will soon be demolished and replaced with a sleek, new one. The project is part of Miami-Dade County Public Schools' effort to upgrade facilities in nearly 270 schools with the $1.2 billion General Obligation Bond, which voters passed two years ago.

All we ever do is talk about embracing educational reform

There’s been a lot of discussion lately about our public school systems. A recent report revealed that 49 schools within Tulsa Public Schools received an F grade by the state of Oklahoma. Most of those schools are in my legislative district. I am constantly wondering how, with so many different avenues of resources and different “plans of action” by our urban public school districts- we still get the same result!

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Museum honors Black stalwarts, raises $25,000

More than 200 people attended the Coral Gables Museum's 'An Evening on the Plaza,’ its annual fundraising event, and Community Achievement Awards honoring four local outstanding leaders.

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Monkey see, monkey do

Throughout my lifetime, I have heard thousands of phrases, which some of you may be familiar, such as “A watched pot never boils;” “A hard head make a soft behind;” “What goes up must come down;” and “You don’t miss your water until your well run dry.” These phrases are sometimes called euphemisms. When I think about it, my favorite one is “Monkey see, monkey do.”

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Season’s greetings from a Miami gang

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and it’s bringing with it the season of giving. With hundreds of free turkeys on the line, a Miami gang is in on the merriment. Mirva Cadet, Gang Alternative program director, said the youth organization is indeed a gang. Gang Alternative was founded in 1987 at a time when the Magic City’s major tricks were crime and drugs.

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Pastor Leslie Brown III: Directs others to Jesus Christ

Leslie Brown III was born in Bronx, N.Y. Since his father, Leslie Jr. was in the military, the Brown family lived in numerous countries and cities, including Panama and Germany. The family eventually ended up in Sioux City, Iowa. Brown attended Briar Clift University in Iowa and majored in Pastoral Ministry. He was “called” into the ministry at the age of 20 while still a member of Mount Zion M.B. Church.

Neurosurgeon’s expertise saves patient from a life of paralysis

For the past 22 years, Connie Daniels has had the same routine – she wakes up at 3:30 a.m. and prepares for work as a bus driver for Miami-Dade County Public Schools. But one morning in February 2014, something didn’t feel right. It didn’t seem like much at first. Daniels, 58, simply noticed that her right foot was numb, as if it had fallen asleep. Hours went by and the strange sensation never went away. For the next few days, it continued to worsen, with the numbness spreading throughout her lower extremities. A week later, she could barely walk. Her children rushed her to a Miami hospital, where she spent a week undergoing test after test after test, with no diagnostic answer. But Daniels knew that something was terribly wrong.

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Battle of the beats

Music, DJs, chicken wings and things

A short stretch of Ali Baba Avenue pulsated with bass booming from huge speakers. Night had fallen in Opa-locka and cool lights set the scene for the beat-heavy mania that was about to ensue.   It was time for six DJs to take front stage at this year’s Art of Transformation in a battle on the ones and twos. I was honored to judge the competition with hosts DJ Laz, Hot 105's Jill Tracy and fellow judge DJ Immortal. The crowd had thinned a little, but the contenders had a sizable audience who stood in front of the stage with faces lit from the huge concert screen. They waited in anticipation.

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