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Jehovah's Witnesses 2015 summer conventions begin

More than 14,000 went to the first event at the BB&T Center in Sunrise

A three-day seminar June 19-21 discussed, by means of videos, interviews and re-enactments, how the Bible and the example and teachings of Jesus give parents and children the tools to build stronger and more united families. The program opened each day at 9:30 a.m. and ended at 5 p.m. at the BB&T Center in Sunrise. The theme of this year’s program is “Imitate Jesus!” Mario Beltrami, a Jehovah's Witness convention spokesman, states: “Jesus, the founder of Christianity, is widely considered as one of the most influential and significant men who ever lived. As Christians, a core belief of Jehovah’s Witnesses is that Jesus lived his life as a model for us to follow. The “Imitate Jesus!” conventions examine Jesus’ life, as outlined in the Bible, and emphasize how all—regardless of their background, lifestyle or religion—can benefit in practical ways from his example and teachings. A highlight of the program was the keynote address on Friday morning, entitled “Concealed in Him Are All the Treasures of Wisdom.” Hans Simon Foster, who has been attending conventions since he was a toddler, was raised as one of Jehovah's Witnesses. He was baptized in in 1996 and attends the West Miramar English for more than 11 years.

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Charleston church filled with signs of good and evil

World supports the survivors with money and service, while stories of how the massacre happened emerge

CHARLESTON, South Carolina -- Tributes pour into Mother Emanuel, the site of where alleged mass murderer Dylann Storm Roof shot and killed nine people as they studied the Bible together. Church officials said they already had received more than a thousand e-mails from around the world and as many telephone calls. Numerous callers — men and women— cried shamelessly into their phones, according to a volunteer who spoke with these well-wishers. “One lady read a nice poem she had written and wanted to send copies to the families,” she said. A woman from Sierra Leone, west Africa, called and said that she and members of her Kono tribe wanted to donate money to Mother Emanuel. Others pledged generously: Boeing Corp, which has a local airline assembly plant, contributed $100,000.

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Rally for Charleston

Community said rally and candlelight vigil is to show the alleged shooter that hate can't win

Several community groups and activists gathered to remember the nine people who were shot and killed by 21-year-old Dylann Roof at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. The rally and vigil, entitled "From Charleston to Ft. Lauderdale: Solidarity Vigil and Rally," included a march from the African American Research Library on Sistrunk Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale and ended two miles later at the Mount Hermon AME Church  on Northwest Seventh Terrace. Amid candlelight at Mount Hermon Tuesday, June 23, people spoke about the atrocity that happened at Mother Emanuel. "We Shall Overcome," sang the attendees. The march tied up traffic on Sistrunk Boulevard in some spots. Many people in businesses along the route cheered the marchers and people driving by blew horns at them in solidarity. The march and rally were organized by POWIR (People's Opposition to War,), Green Party Broward, Dream Defenders Broward and Black Lives Matter South Florida, and other organizations.

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Celebrating the fourth of July

Fourth of July falls on a Saturday this year, so you have Sunday to recuperate from the holiday grilling and partying. Looking for somewhere to go to watch the fireworks? Check out these recommendations: Discover the Native American way of life with the Miccosukee Indians. From July 3, 4 and 5, buy three adult tickets, get one free for admission to the Indian Village and airboat rides. Meet them 18 miles west of Krome Avenue and the Tamiami Trail intersection. The city of Opa-locka will holds its 4th of July celebrations from 5 - 10 p.m. at Ingram Park, 2100 Burlington St. Join D.J. Frogie and Brisco at an event filled with music, food, fireworks and fun for the whole family. The city of Miami Gardens plans to celebrate the Fourth with fireworks, food trucks, sporting events, starting at noon at the Betty T. Ferguson Recreation Complex, 3000 NW 199th St. North Miami Independence Day Celebration by the Bay starts at 7 p.m. on the Florida International University Biscayne Bay Campus, 3000 NE 151 St., in North Miami.

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Miami Children's Initiative hosts food Co-Op

Fresh Food Market provides convenient shopping options for Liberty City residents

Liberty City resident, Izegebe Onyango was used to shopping through Co-Ops. So when she couldn't find one, she asked Miami Children’s Initiative CEO Cecilia Gutierrez-Abety where were the food Co-Ops in the area. “One thing we did in Baltimore often to offset the food cost was a food Co-Op,” said Onyango, who moved to Miami in 2007. “Everything grows in Florida, why don’t we have this?” Gutierrez-Abety told her ironically she had just received an email from the Key Biscayne Community Foundation asking to partner to produce a fresh food Co-Op. That was March of 2014. Three weeks later, Onyango was helping to lead the charge to combat what the organization calls a “food desert” in the area. A food cooperative or food Co-Op is a food distribution outlet organized by members of the community. In the Liberty City Co-Op Local vendor, Mac Edwards, provides the produce. Among the options for residents to buy is kale, collard greens, lettuce, strawberries, peaches, potatoes, bananas and cloves of garlic.

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GOP may hide behind Supreme Court rulings

Members of the Grand Old Party heaved a collective sigh of relief Thursday when the U.S. Supreme Court handed down rulings on the Affordable Care Act and same-sex marriage. GOP members in Florida who are running for election or reelection, especially those who were anti-Obamacare, thanked whomever god they worship.

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Community leaders honored by Black Affairs Advisory Board

Area students receive scholarship donations at Pillar Award reception

The Black Affairs Advisory Board’s Heritage Planning Committee honored deserving students and hard-working community leaders at their 15th annual Pillar Awards reception on June 20. The Saturday afternoon brunch drew in more than 100 attendees, who gathered to honor the nominees and scholarship recipients. People attending also were able to bid on donated items from local Black businesses, where the proceeds would go to the scholarship recipients. The Black Affairs Advisory Board (BAAB) is under the Office of the Chair and was created to serve in an advisory capacity to the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners. Each board member was selected by and represents a commissioner from each district and serves at the will of that commissioner. 

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Drugs in the Grove, says activist: ‘We need action now’

Coconut Grove resident Johnny Walker has a knack for telling it like it is. Though many may disagree with his “in your face” approach, he is one of the few who are vocal about the problems of the community of Coconut Grove. He spoke about the “elephant in the room” -- drugs -- and what’s robbing the area that has so much potential for progress.

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FDOT hears complaints of Seventh Avenue businesses

State Rep. Cynthia Stafford and other politicians respond to a report about how construction is adversely affecting District 109

Florida State Rep. Cynthia Stafford, Florida Department of Transportation Region 6 Secretary Gus Pego and a bevy of FDOT staffers addressed the concerns of District 109 residents in a town hall meeting, especially those adversely impacted by the construction along Northwest Seventh Avenue between 40th and 54th streets. The town hall, held on June 25 at the African Cultural Arts Center, was called after The Miami Times reported that merchants within the construction area had complained about a lack of prior notice and dust screens; an inability to park or get in or out of the area; lost revenue, among other distractions. They also complained that the project did not hiring employees from the area or hired English-speaking employees. That story also caught the interest of State Sen. Dwight Bullard, who represents District 39 and Miami-Dade County Public Schools District 2 Board

Miami Gardens City Council receives $62,000

Summer Youth Employment Program and Science Fair get grants from homeowners association

At the Miami Gardens City Council meeting June 24, residents from the Rolling Crest Lake Homeowners Association Inc. brought the council $62,000 for youth. Howard Dupre and Thomas Jones presented checks of $40,000 and $12,000, respectively, from the homeowners association that combines the three communities of Rolling Oaks, Crestview and Lake Lucerne. Both were grants, with $40,000 going to the Summer Youth Employment Program and the $12,000 given to Science Fair budget for student awards and transportation.

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Miami unveils Bahamas’ roots

The city and Bahamas have partnered to revive a festival that is similar to Goombay called Miami Bahamas Junkanoo Festival

Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado Tuesday celebrated Bahamians as Miami's oldest Caribbean community, welcomed the Consul General of The Bahamas in Miami H. Ricardo Treco and announced the Miami Bahamas Junkanoo Festival Series 2015. “Next month, on July 28, the city of Miami will celebrate it’s 119th birthday,” said Regalado. “We will celebrate Julia Tuttle and Mar Brickell. What we have failed to celebrate each year, is that majority of the incorporators were Bahamians and lived here in the West Grove. We need a monument to those

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Opa-locka budget deficit minimized

Cost cutting measures and property sales leave budget shortfall at $763,000

Opa-locka has already started to whittle down its budget deficit. Assistant City Manager David Chiverton said overtime has been drawn down, spending is being reduced and the city has canceled some impending contracts. In addition, the city sold two of its properties for $400,000 and six other properties are expected to be sold for an estimated $150,000 in the near future, further reducing the deficit. “We’ve implemented the belt tightening measures recommended by the Mayor’s Task Force,” Chiverton said. "Our current deficit is $763,000 … no where near the nearly $2 million that was reported.”

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Black state legislators hacked by Scott’s veto pen

Medicaid support put officials at odds with governor’s actions

Black State Legislators were among the hardest hit by Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s $461 million cuts from the state budget, which pased at $78 billion. The 19-day, Special Legislative Session - June 1 to June 19 - ended with bad news for Democrats in general, South Florida and Blacks in particular. This session was called after the Legislature failed to pass a budget during its 60-day regular session. Black Democrats said their legislation suffered veto after veto, mostly because they supported Medicaid expansion. Democratic State Rep. Cynthia Stafford, said Scott’s draconian budget cuts was out of control.

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Media tower gets thumbs down from commission

Miami city commissioners proposed an ordinance that could derail Miami Innovation Tower

Monday’s Southeast Overtown/ Park West Community Redevelopment Agency board of commissioners meeting brought more than a dozen residents who were split on what should be the fate of Miami Innovation Tower’s digital signs. Although the item was only up for discussion by the board, SEOPW CRA Chairman Keon Hardemon, said he would handle things in a tad bit unorthodox way and allowed public comment on the discussion item.

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Who will lift up Liberty City?

When the Liberty Square Rising housing redevelopment project was announced by Miami-Dade County back in February, Miami city officials were stunned. After all, they had just met with the new Miami-Dade housing director Michael Liu only a few weeks before to agree to work together going forward. The Liberty Square Housing Project is run by Miami-Dade County. “I am glad they didn’t tell us anything about it so now I can openly criticize the project,” said Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado.

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The law and you: Sealing and expungement

I have always believed in second chances. More than five years ago, your State Attorney organized the “Second Chance One-Stop” Sealing and Expungement Program through my Community Outreach Division (COD). If someone was charged with a crime in Miami-Dade County and the case did not result in a conviction, that single record may be eligible for sealing or expungement. Only state criminal cases (not any Federal cases) that occurred in Miami-Dade County can be reviewed under this program. The processing fee to FDLE is $75.

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Artists converge Sunday in Opa-locka

Alexis Caputo will perform from the AFRO Diaries

The Opa-locka Community Development Corporation in conjunction with curator Ludlow Bailey and CADA Conversations will present “Islas: Contemporary Caribbean Visions” from 1-4 p.m. Sunday, June 28, at The ARC, 675 Ali Baba Ave., in Opa-locka. Bahamian American artist Alexis Caputo will do a special performance of poetry and spoken word from the AFRO Diaries project. The AFRO Diaries are comprised of excerpts by Caputo, which are centered, compelling and offer a window into the miscarriages women endure. The series addresses several critical issues, including race, class, gender, identity, cultural, human rights, social issues and other concerns creating conflict and inequality in society.

Juvenile curfew ordinance back in effect

The City of Miami Police Department will begin enforcing the Juvenile Curfew Ordinance on Monday, June 29. The curfew makes it illegal for minors to linger or congregate in public areas, whether in a vehicle or on foot, Sunday through Thursday from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. and Friday and Saturday from midnight to 6 a.m. Any teen found in violation of the curfew will be given a citation and taken home or to a holding facility. On the third offense, police can fine the parents of the minor up to $500.

Teen stole SUV with sleeping baby inside

Miami Police responded to 8450 NE Miami Ct. at approximately 4:25 p.m. Monday after a 911 call revealed a woman had her SUV, a 2014 black Jeep, stolen with her six-month old baby inside. According to the on-scene investigation, the mother of the child was standing just a few feet away from her car as she escorted her two eldest children to their awaiting grandmother. The child’s mother left the engine running with the vehicle’s air conditioning on as the baby sat asleep in his car seat in the rear of the vehicle. Police found the offender, a 13-year-old male, in the area of Northeast Second Avenue and 78th Street. He was charged with one count of grand theft auto and transported to the Juvenile Assessment Center. The baby was unharmed and reunited with his family.

State Representative hosts town hall meeting on Thursday

State Representative Cynthia A. Stafford of District 109 will hold a town hall meeting with the Florida Dept. of Transportation District 6 secretary Gus Pego at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 25, at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center, 6161 NW 22nd Ave. The event is open to the public. For more information, call 305-953-3086.


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