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Erick Johnson



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A tearful goodbye to Arthur Woodard

The jokes and tributes helped Vanessa Woodard Byers keep her composure at the funeral of her prominent father, Dr. Arthur Woodard. But at the cemetery, Byers was overwhelmed with emotion as her father’s casket was placed in the same mausoleum where her late mother was entombed four years ago. Byers openly wept as she placed one hand on the headstone just before Woodard was finally laid to rest.

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Multicultural Tourism Department promotes Black communities

Start spreading the news. Overtown, Little Haiti and other ethnic neighborhoods will play a larger role in South Florida's multi-billion dollar tourism industry. After a splashy luncheon on Miami's lush waterfront Monday, the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau announced a new Multicultural Tourism Department aimed at luring visitors to the city's Black and ethnic neighborhoods.

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Former CEO at TACOLCY responds to new OIG report

Former Belafonte TACOLCY CEO Taj Brown is speaking out after the Miami-Dade Office of the Inspector General closed its probe that found no major wrongdoing at the venerable Liberty City agency. After a year-long investigation, the OIG last month concluded that none of the agency’s funds from the Children’s Trust and Miami-Dade County had been abused under Brown's leadership. OIG officials said while Brown spent money on himself, those funds came from private donations and sports programs fees. OIG officials acknowledged that efforts had been made to curb the cash-strapped agency’s spending practices in the wake of financial concerns.

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Hey Jerk!

13th annual Grace Jamaican Festival at Markham Park in Sunrise on Nov. 9

Chef Jimmie Jackson is on a sizzling winning streak. For years, Jackson, the owner of a food seasoning company, had to settle for second place finishes in cooking contests at major jerk festivals in the South. Now, Jackson sits on the culinary throne as the defending champion of the ultra-competitive Publix Jerk Cook-off at this year’s 13th annual Grace Jamaican Festival on Sunday, Nov. 9 at Markham Park in Sunrise.

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Leaders urge voters to reject marijuana on ballot

Dr. Fabian Thurston remembers when his 19-year-old daughter called home from college one day to tell him something. “She said ‘All of my friends smoke weed and I don’t want to be around people who do that,'” Thurston recalled. “That was a very proud moment in my life," said Thurston, chief operating officer for the Jesse Trice Family Health Center in Liberty City. Thurston joined T. Willard Fair of the Urban League of Greater Miami at a community meeting last Wednesday at Northside Police Station where the two condemned a statewide referendum to legalize medical marijuana. Entitled, “Making it legal doesn’t make it right,” the presentation aimed to educate and discourage voters from passing Amendment 2 in the Nov. 4 elections.

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Judgment day for disgraced Northside pastor

Long ordeal finally ends after judge bars Gardner from church property

For church members, it was Good Friday. For Pastor Mark Gardner, it was judgment day. The defiant pastor who was accused of sinking Northside Church of God with more than $500,000 in debt was finally removed from the pulpit after a Miami judge issued an injunction that will keep Gardner away from the building, located at 2590 NW 103rd St.

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Making music in Miami

One room has a huge soundboard that has 120 knobs. The new recording booth can fit at least three people. It's time to make some music. Music executives from all over the country helped open the sleek, new Midtown Studios and Films complex in Little Haiti Oct. 15, with a lavish ceremony that included fancy cocktails and the latest hip-hop sounds from Miami's top disc jockeys.

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Michelle for Charlie Crist

First lady Michelle Obama threw her support behind Charlie Crist's campaign for Florida governor at a rally in Miami Gardens last Friday. “If we want to finish what we started then we need to elect Charlie Crist governor of Florida,” Mrs. Obama said. “This is on us. It’s all on us. We can’t wait around for people to do this for us.” The first lady's campaign visit follows recent showings by vice president Joe Biden and former President Bill Clinton, who campaigned in Miami the past month with hopes of reversing voter apathy among Democrats.

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Voters set to give their verdict on courthouse

Movement to replace crumbling landmark hangs in the balance

Black leaders and top legal professionals are speaking out in support of a controversial referendum to replace the crumbling, but historic Dade County Courthouse, with a new multi-million dollar building in downtown Miami. The support comes as county leaders delayed a backup plan in the event that voters reject the referendum in the Nov. 4 elections. The proposal had called for a $75 increase in court costs for those convicted of crimes and criminal traffic offenses.

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North Miami mayoral candidates set for intense runoff

Dr. Smith Joseph, Kevin Burns fighting for office in predominantly Haitian city

North Miami is a difficult place to get elected. Ask Kevin Burns, who is seeking a third term as the city’s mayor. Burns, who is white, lost in a bitter runoff race in 2013, all because of North Miami’s powerful Black electorate, which has placed a Black mayor in City Hall in the past four years. In two weeks, it will be déjà vu for Burns as he goes ups against Dr. Smith Joseph in another runoff race in the same city that has denied political careers to contenders who have dared to run for office against Black candidates.

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