Donald Trump Sues Palm Beach County for Flying Airplanes Over His Club

Categories: Palm Beach News

Photo by Gage Skidmore via Flickr cc
Donald Trump says the Palm Beach International Airport is routing planes over his Mar-a-Lago club just to spite the millionaire mogul, so he's suing the county for a whopping $100 million.

In the lawsuit, filed last week in Palm Beach County court, the toupee-rocking real estate caricature says the planes are not being directed to fly in several directions but instead are told to fly over his seaside club. The noise, vibrations, and emissions cause "cracks and other damage to porous stone construction, antique Spanish tiles, roofing, floors and columns, not to mention disrupting 'the once serene and tranquil ambiance,'" the lawsuit says, reported the Associated Press.

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Christian de Berdouare, South Florida's Eccentric CEO of Chicken Kitchen, Sets His Sights Higher Than Fast Food

Categories: Longreads

Illustration by Tristan Elwell
On a cloudy afternoon in late October, South Florida's most recognizable fast-food magnate approaches a chainlink gate outside a waterfront property on ultra-exclusive North Bay Road in Miami Beach. Christian de Berdouare scrolls his finger and thumb along a large padlock. After several seconds, the lock drops with a clank, and de Berdouare pulls on the gate, which gets stuck on the ground's uneven gravel. By the third pull, the gap is wide enough for his slim frame to slip through. He walks several steps, until he's standing in front of his masterpiece -- the 17,000-square-foot, seven-bedroom, ten-bath home he's spent the past three years obsessively designing.

On this day, the yard is still a barren construction site littered with heaps of rubble and scraps of wood, and inside the expansive concrete structure is a mess of exposed beams and flooded floors -- more Hurricane Recovery Project than Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.

But de Berdouare, who has poured more than $20 million into the project, sees only the splendor that is to come. "There is a waterfall here, on the side," he says, motioning above a gravel pile to a wall on the home's exterior. "Here," he says a few minutes later, passing through a bare future dining room, "we're going to have a 1,000-bottle cellar of wine. All glass, illuminated. All specially designed."

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Apply Now if You Want to Get Your Kid in a Magnet School

Categories: News

Brad Flickinger via Flickr Creative Commons
OMG, is this what school looks like now? But where are the chalkboards?
Kindergarten is the new university.

Or at least that's what it feels like, with families having to apply to a wide range of schools months in advance and biting their nails in anticipation that Junior will get into that public Montessori -- or at least his "safety" elementary school.

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Rob Konrad Says Shark Circled Him as He Swam Nine Miles to Shore

A visibly shaken and emotional Rob Konrad held a news conference in Palm Beach to recall his nearly 16-hour ordeal of being forced to swim nine miles to shore after he had fallen off his fishing boat.

Konrad, 38, was aboard his 36-foot boat last Wednesday when he tripped and fell overboard as the vessel, which was on autopilot, drifted away from him. Konrad was forced to swim to shore and had to be hospitalized for hypothermia when he arrived on shore early Thursday morning. The boat was on autopilot at 5 mph, according to a Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office report.

Konrad, who was joined by his wife, Tammy, at the presser, had just been released from the hospital and recounted how he twice could have been spotted by the Coast Guard and another fisherman but was ultimately forced to have to get to shore on his own to survive.

See also: Rob Konrad, Ex-Miami Dolphin, Falls Off Boat, Swims Nine Miles to Shore

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Petition to End "Swimming With Dolphins" Programs Hits the Internet

Categories: Animal Planet

Alexander Vasenin via Wikipedia Commons
With SeaWorld seeing attendance dips, its CEO step down, and people protesting the Miami Seaqiarium's captivity of Lolita, more and more people are getting involved in trying to save aquatic animals from being used as playthings for tourists.

Now a new petition, this one targeting "swimming with dolphins" programs, has hit the internet pleading for Congress to step in and end the programs.

Swimming with dolphins is a popular tourist attraction throughout the state, including in South Florida, where you can swim with a porpoise for $100 a session.

See also: SeaWorld Orca Sanctuary Solution Offered by PETA Stockholders

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Robert Woodring, DEA Informant Turned Fugitive, Arrested in Mexico After 37 Years

Categories: Crime

Pjotr Mahhonin via wikimedia commons
A South Floridian with a colorful criminal history has been scooped up by authorities in Mexico after spending nearly four decades running from police. Robert Woodring, now 81, was picked up in Guadalajara, Mexico late last year and will finally face arraignment this week.

Police had been looking for the Woodring 35 years after he was pulled some fast moves to keep his yacht from being seized by authorities . . . which is totally the most South Florida move ever.

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Petition Approved to Get Medical Marijuana on Florida Ballot Again in 2016

Categories: Marijuana

Brandon Marshall
After failing to get it passed by a very slim margin, medical marijuana advocates prepare for another run.
This past November, Amendment 2, which would have made it legal for those with debilitating diseases to obtain medical marijuana legally, needed 60 percent of the vote to pass. It fell short by 2 percent. It was as close as Florida has ever come to joining 23 other states and Washington, D.C., in having some form of legalized marijuana.

Still, big numbers showed up to the polls to vote for Amendment 2. In fact, more people voted for legalized marijuana in Florida than voted for Rick Scott for reelection.

And now United for Care, the medical marijuana group that made Amendment 2 possible, has officially launched a campaign to get the initiative back on the ballot for 2016.

See also: Florida's Top Pot Backer, John Morgan Sees Hope Through Dope For His Paralyzed Brother, Tim

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Data Show Nearly Every County in Florida Has at Least 1,000 Prisoners

Florida Department of Corrections
Everybody knows Florida likes to lock people up. It's the state with the third-highest prison population in the country that has the world's highest prison population. But some recent data analysis by the Washington Post points out an interesting fact: Nearly every county in the Sunshine State has more than 1,000 people locked up.

The data used combines state and federal prisons as well as local jails. The counties with the most prisoners are right here in South Florida. Miami-Dade unsurprisingly leads the way with 12,127 prisoners, which is by far the highest in the state. Broward, meanwhile, has 6,390 people locked up, and Palm Beach has 6,055. Combined, the two counties actually have more prisoners than Miami-Dade, with a total of 12,435.

The county with the lowest number of prisoners? That distinction goes to Highland County, which has about 388 people locked up.

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Sun Sentinel's Interactive Report on the Cuban Criminal Pipeline Is an Eye-Opening Read on a Decades-Old Problem

Categories: News

Via Sun Sentinel video
Lost in the midst of President Obama's announcement last month that the U.S. would be begin to overhaul its diplomatic relations with Cuba is the Cuban Adjustment Act, passed in 1966. The policy was meant to be a humanitarian effort, allowing Cuban immigrants access to the United States, even illegally, in order to escape the Castro regime.

But a yearlong investigation by the Sun Sentinel shows that Cuban criminals have taken advantage of the Cuban Adjustment Act and have plundered U.S. businesses and taxpayers of more than $2 billion over the past two decades.

The massive and well-reported three-part report, titled "The Plundering of America: The Cuban Criminal Pipeline," details the enormity and scope of these crimes with a video, photographs, and interactive features, along with some fantastic reporting that shows just how intricate the crimes are and how nearly impossible it is for authorities to capture and prosecute the criminals.

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Jack Seiler Faces Two Challengers in Fort Lauderdale Mayoral Race

Jack Seiler (right) after debating homeless advocate Arnold Abbott on local TV.
Fort Lauderdale Jack Seiler, who has had a bit of a rough year with his handling of the homeless ordinance laws and his same-sex marriage stance, will be challenged by two opponents for his seat as mayor.

Earl Rynerson, who has made it a habit of challenging Seiler for mayor and has publicly called out the mayor on his blog A Better Fort Lauderdale, has once again filed to run against Seiler.

Also challenging Seiler will be Chris Brennan, the 33-year-old former Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi worker who was fired for posting a YouTube video defending the quest to save a 100-year-old rain tree that was going to be removed to make way for the construction of a Marina Lofts condominium development.

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