LeBron James Will Opt Out of Contract, ESPN's Chris Broussard Tweets

Categories: El Jefe

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ESPN analyst Chris Broussard Tweeted this morning that LeBron James will opt out of his Miami Heat contract, throwing the NBA and Miami Heat into chaos.

Broussard Tweeted at 9:23 a.m. that LeBron's agent, Rich Paul, has told the Heat he will exercise the player option on his contract.

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Mandy Dawson: First Black Female Legislator, Health Care Chairwoman, Jailed Again

Categories: El Jefe

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Handout photo
In better days
Cops arrested Mandy Dawson, Broward County's first black female legislator, and took her to jail in Daytona Beach last Friday.

It was, hopefully, the last stop in the downhill slide for the woman who represented central Broward County for 16 years. Dawson improperly took money from disgraced Hollywood lobbyist and power broker Alan Mendelsohn. She then failed to pay tax on $29,000 of it and went to jail.

It was one of the ugliest scandals in Broward County history, and Dawson was the only politician charged.

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Little Birdman Gianni Zandri Wants the Trophy Back

Categories: El Jefe

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Courtesy of Little Birdman
If you plan to watch tonight's Miami Heat NBA Finals home opener against the San Antonio Spurs, you might notice a curious sight down in the fourth row of Section 116.

It will be one of South Florida's weirdest media sensations: Little Birdman.

Yeah, 11-year-old Gianni Zandri will again likely be the most popular kid at the NBA Finals. You might remember him. He was adorable in a Mohawk, dozens of tattoos drawn on with Sharpies, and a replica Heat jersey of Chris "Birdman" Andersen. Last year, he made good buddies with LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Ray Allen before the Heat invited him to the locker room to hold the Larry O'Brien trophy. More recently, the kid has become, like, best buddies with rappers Big Black and Vanilla Ice.

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Rick Scott Has Spent More Than $400,000 to Test State Employees' Urine

Categories: El Jefe

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"Feed me pee-pee!" - Rick Scott (allegedly).
Florida Gov. Rick Scott wanted to drug-test state employees, and he put your money where his mouth is.

Lawyers' bills for him -- and you -- to defend this proposal have come to $381,654.45, according to data from the state obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union under a Freedom of Information Act request. That doesn't include staff attorney time or time spent setting up the program, which was enjoined in 2011.

"The governor is spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars paying private lawyers to push the extreme idea that government can treat anyone like a suspected criminal," said ACLU of Florida staff attorney Shalini Goel Agarwal.

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Spurs Look Better Than Miami Heat on Paper

Categories: El Jefe

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Not to get ahead of ourselves, but after last night's Heat thrashing of the Indiana Pacers, 102-90, we are looking ahead to the San Antonio Spurs (again) in the NBA Finals.

Warning: The Spurs are really, really good. They top the Heat in most statistical categories, including NBA Finals appearances. The Spurs have been there five times, the Heat four. This past year, the Texans (if you can call 'em that) also outscored, outrebounded, and shot better from behind the three-point line than the Heat.

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Famed Photographer of Nudes Bunny Yeager Dead at 85

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Wikimedia Commons
Yeager at the Miami Book Fair
South Florida's most famous -- and infamous -- photographer of nudes, Bunny Yeager, is dead at 85.

Yeager was born in Pennsylvania and found fame in 1955, when she lived with -- and photographed -- pinup model Bettie Page on the Miami River. Her picture of Page -- nude next to a Christmas Tree, appeared in the 1955 issue of Playboy.

See a slideshow of her work in the Fabulous Bunny Yeager

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John Thrasher, Likely Florida State President, Is Ethically Challenged

Categories: El Jefe, Politics

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John Thrasher
John Thrasher, a Florida Senator and now the lone candidate for president of Florida State University, doesn't deserve the job.

Thrasher, a Republican lawyer, was reprimanded on the House floor back ithe 1990s after appearing as a lobbyist for his longtime employers, the Florida Medical Association. A year after leaving office, he had to pay a $500 fine after hosting a luncheon for his State House pals -- state law prohibits pols from lobbying for two years after leaving office.

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Will South Florida's Marijuana Nursery Be Near Lake Okeechobee?

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So far, 39 nurseries have been approved to grow low-THC marijuana under the Charlotte's Web bill recently passed by the Florida Legislature.

It hasn't been easy to get on the list, which requires -- among other things -- that a nursery has operated continuously for at least 30 years.

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Craft Beer Makers Need to Spend More Money!

Categories: Economy, El Jefe

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Florida's attempt to kill craft brewing almost succeeded because of... gasp... campaign money, a Montana think tank has found.

During the past five years, the biggest supporters of Senate Bill 1714, which would have required small beer makers to -- in effect -- pay twice for their own beer, invested almost twice as much in state political contributions as those who opposed the bill, according to a new study by the National Institute on Money in State Politics.


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New Times Gets a Threefer in Livingstons, Nominations Galore in Sunshine State Awards

Categories: El Jefe

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The Livingston Award for Young Journalists is kind of a Pulitzer Prize for the under-35 set. It honors good writing by those who have yet to grow thick around the middle and thin on top.

New Times has often done well in these awards. Bob Norman, our columnist in Broward for years, was a winner in the national category, and we have had more finalists than even an old editor can count on both hands -- yes, he needs his fingers to count.

This year, the Livingstons will be handed out June 12 at a New York City luncheon. Miami Managing Editor Tim Elfrink is a finalist for his work on performance-enhancing drugs in baseball -- which has also been tapped by Harvard University and Long Island University's Polk Awards.

And he's not alone.

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