floridaduh

The Bizarre World of Florida

Teacher Fired for Orchestrating Attack on Seventh Grade Student April 15, 2014

teacherAfter Florida teacher Dru Dehart got into an argument with seventh-grade student Radravious Williams, Dehart allegedly ordered a pack of older teens to attack Williams.

Dehart, who claims that Williams threatened her, is a veteran teacher at Northport K-8 School in Port St. Lucie.

Security camera footage from inside the school shows Dehart pointing to Williams and walking away. Mere moments later, a group of boys surrounds the teen and assaults him.

As the boys beat him up, Williams falls to the floor. The attack left him injured and traumatized.

Dehart was suspended without pay last fall.

On Thursday, after half an hour’s deliberation, the county’s school board came to the unanimous decision to fire Dehart.

David Miklas, a school district representative, said that Dehart “made a very poor decision that day” in using “students to carry out discipline.”

 

Vampires, nudists, snakes: Nobody does wacky like Florida April 7, 2014

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By: Scott Maxwell

Last week, news broke that a congressional candidate in Gainesville had a secret pastime: impersonating vampires. And superheroes.

Some people would call this nutty.

In Florida, we just call it Tuesday.

Seriously, that’s not even our highest-profile vampire story. Remember the “vampire killings” from Lake County?

Some of our stories are heartbreakingly tragic. But so many are also mind-numbingly strange.

In Florida, we do weird the way Kansas does wheat.

Here, giant pet snakes escape. And breed. And then invade our national parks.

We have fish that eat people, alligators that eat people and people who eat people.

Two years ago, when news of the “cannibal attack” broke, the nation let out a collective gasp … until learning it was Miami. Then it all made sense.

We have killer amoebas, hanging chads and diaper-wearing astronauts. (All of which would make awesome rock-band names, by the way.)

We have a town named Christmas … where it never snows. We have the world’s smallest post office and a couple trying to build America’s largest house.

I used to think Florida attracted wacky people. Now I think it creates them.

Take my grandfather, for example.

Early in his life, he was a NASA engineer in Virginia — and as strait-laced and buttoned-down as they came. His passions were photography and crossword puzzles.

Then he moved to Florida. After Grandma died, we worried that our sober and contemplative grandfather would become listless and uninspired.

He became neither of those things. Instead, he became a nudist. (Lending more credence to the notion that it’s never the people you want to see naked at a nudist resort.)

At first, we were all: What the heck, Granddad?

But you know what? He found new life and inspiration. He’d travel down Interstate4 from Ormond Beach to Cypress Cove, where he’d pay strict adherence to the two main rules: Never take pictures, and always place a towel on the bar stool before you sit down.

Florida liberated him. And he spent the remaining, widowed years of his life happy. So you go, Granddad.

By the way, nudity is another one of our weird themes.

•”Nude man found dead on killer whale’s back”

•”Florida Lotto winner seeks to open a nude dude ranch”

•”Blind woman sues nudist colony over heavy dog”

Florida newspapers carry such headlines the way other papers carry horoscopes.

Some of that is understandable. It’s hot down here.

And I don’t mean happy, sand-at-your-toes, wind-in-your-hair hot. I mean sweaty-thighs-stuck-to-your-car-seats, armpit-stains-like-dinner-plates hot. It’s enough to make anyone nutty. And naked.

But it cuts both ways. When it’s hot, it makes us crazy. When it’s pleasant, we attract other states’ crazies. I mean, if it’s January and you’re already planning to run a scam, con or heist, would you rather do it in Buffalo or Boynton Beach?

This state is also lousy with newspapers and TV stations, meaning we have more ink-stained wretches and blow-dried broadcasters than your average state to tell all the weird stories.

Finally, there’s our melting-pot effect.

You simply can’t throw so many different cultures together and not expect some fireworks.

But you know what? That is also part of what makes this state so splendidly unique.

We have character and texture — a bouillabaisse of native and newcomer, sinner and saint, scholar and simpleton.

It’s a fusion that produces a weeklong bacchanalia in Key West and pioneering medical research at the Burnham Institute.

It’s the reason Orlando can turn out just as many people for a Veterans Day parade as it does for Come Out With Pride.

And it explains how a mild-mannered rocket engineer can feel inspired to start a new life by ditching his pocket protector — along with everything else he’s wearing.

And, yes, it’s also how we end up with some of the wackiest politicians in America — including a vampire-impersonating, superhero-mimicking, punk-rock lawyer running for Congress.

Just what we need … another lawyer in Congress.

 

Man, 83, was having a bad day … he fights off three attackers then has his car stolen the next day April 2, 2014

poorguy_12881527_8colAn 83-year-old Pinellas Park man who was ambushed, beaten and stabbed by three teenagers is a victim again! This time it looks like those same suspects came back and stole his car.

All of this started Tuesday around 10 a.m. when Charles Clark was getting out of his car at his apartment complex, when one of the suspects came from behind and started beating him and then stabbed him. Another person tried to beat Clark as well, but Clark was able to fight him off. He then screamed for help and once neighbors noticed what was going on, the three teens fled on their bikes.

At the time police didn’t think the teens were able to steal anything, but Clark said he thought they wanted his car. It turns out the suspects did steal his car keys and at some point late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning, police believe they returned and took off in Clark’s car.

Around 4 a.m. police noticed Clark’s car was missing and found three bicycles near his parking spot. His vehicle was later found abandoned in a St. Petersburg neighborhood. It is currently being processed for evidence.

Police describe the suspects as two teenage boys — one in his early teens and the other in his late teens — and a girl in her early to mid teens with a heavier build and reddish, brown hair which she was seen continually trying to stuff into a gray hooded sweatshirt.

Below are surveillance images of two of the suspects riding bikes shortly before Tuesday’s attack:

 

Student, 15, Arrested For Squirting Hand Sanitizer In Teacher’s Diet Coke March 21, 2014

nicholaslucariA Florida student, 15, was arrested this week for putting hand sanitizer in a teacher’s Diet Coke can, police report.

Nicholas Lucari is facing a felony charge for allegedly squirting “Germ-X” into Dale Dawson Yount’s drink. The South Walton High School teacher, 69, subsequently “became physically ill” and she sought treatment at a local hospital, according to a Walton County Sheriff’s Office report.

daleyountInvestigators allege that Lucari, pictured above, “did willfully, intentionally, and with the intent to injure” add the hand sanitizer to Yount’s beverage. As a result, the teen was busted on a poisoning rap.

Lucari, cops noted, has been “suspended from school pending an expulsion hearing.” The student has been described as a “prankster” who did not intend to harm Yount, who is seen at left.

Like many hand sanitizers, the active ingredient in “Germ-X” is ethyl alcohol.

 

Teenage girl hosted a wild alcohol-fueled party that saw 5 teens taken to the hospital while dad slept! March 17, 2014

article-2582126-1C5876E900000578-586_306x423Five teenagers were rushed to hospital from an alcohol fueled party thrown by a teenage girl – while her father claimed he slept through it all.

Two of the teens are said to be in a critical condition with reports they had mixed alcohol with the anti-anxiety drug Xanax.

Neighbors saw the teens being wheeled away on gurneys into waiting ambulances while dozens of others teens fled when police arrived.

Steve Miller, whose teen daughter hosted the party and was among those rushed to hospital, told local TV he was asleep while as many as 100 people crammed into his home.

Miller, a father of six, claimed he had no idea there would be alcohol at the party – but did not say if he had checked.

He insisted he slept through all the noise as 100 teens flocked to his home in Winter Garden, Florida.

‘If my daughter told me they were going to have alcohol I wouldn’t have permitted it,’Miller said.

‘I didn’t see any drugs.’

Police said the teenagers taken to hospital had passed out from drink but fear they may have also taken drugs.

‘We found five teenagers who appeared to have overdosed on alcohol and we are not sure of what type of drug right now,’said Lt. Paul Hopkins from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

Investigators said they spotted numerous underage kids partying at the home.

They said one was unconscious and five were sickened, apparently from drinking too much alcohol.

The victims were boys and girls between the ages of 15 and 17.

Neighbors were stunned by the scenes in their road on Friday night and said they were kept awake by the noise.

‘I’ve been living here 30 years, and I’ve never really seen anything going on over there. It just surprises me. I’m like, ‘Wow.’ Hopefully, the kids  are going to be OK,’ a neighbor said.

Deputies said the conditions of the teens had improved over the weekend and they said the parents apparently didn’t know someone had brought alcohol  into the home.

Doreen Blume said Miller’s daughter was one of the hospitalized teens.

Blume said Miller did the right thing.

‘He confiscated all kinds of alcohol, big bottles,’ Blume said.

Other neighbors said deputies have been to the home before.

The Department of Children and Families has launched an investigation because of concerns about alcohol and supervision.

 

Mom lured into garage by 13-year-old daughter where girl’s teen boyfriend slit her throat March 11, 2014

Yaquelin-Galvez-Don-125x188A woman had her throat slit early Sunday morning by her teenage daughter’s boyfriend, investigators say, after her daughter lured her into the garage of their Ocala home.

The attacker then went into the home, held the knife to the girl’s father’s throat and threatened to kill him, but instead was persuaded to take the bleeding woman to a hospital, according to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

The 15-year-old boyfriend dropped the woman at the emergency room at Munroe Regional Medical Center, where hospital officials called the Sheriff’s Office. The woman was then transported to Ocala Regional Medical Center, where she works as a physical therapist, and underwent life-saving surgery.

The father was uninjured, according to Marion sheriff’s spokesman Judge Cochran.

Cochran said the incident occurred at about 5 a.m. at a home on Northwest 55th Place. The juveniles were arrested hours later. The Star-Banner is withholding the names of all involved because the accused are juveniles.

An arrest affidavit states that at first the teen told detectives that he was walking by the house, heard the commotion and went to investigate.

The boy then later told detectives that he and the 13-year-old girl planned the attack last week, reports state. The boy then laid out the entire plan, from beginning to end, for detectives in a recorded interview. He said they first talked on the telephone and then on Facebook, working on details of where the “ambush” would take place. They both decided that the garage would be the best place.

The girl had him take off his shoes when he came into the house because they made noise. She helped him find a knife in the kitchen before hiding him in the garage, the teen told detectives.

The boyfriend told the mother, after she had been lured into the garage, that he and the girl wanted to be together and that he could take care of the 13-year-old. He also told her that she should not have hit him with a stick previously.

The teen then slashed the woman across the neck with the kitchen knife, the report states, before going into the house to confront the woman’s husband.

The teen drove the wounded woman to the hospital, making her promise along the way that he and her daughter could be together and that she would not sue him because of the incident.

Both teens were arrested on two counts each conspiracy to commit murder and one count each of attempted murder in the second degree. They were being held without bond at the Marion County Juvenile Detention Center.

 

How a 13-year-old became a dancer at a strip club in Miami Beach January 18, 2014

Strip clubs have been striving to clean up their image. The uproar over a 13-year-old dancer won’t help with that.

untitledIt’s early evening, and the dancers are beginning to trickle in to an Art Deco theater in the heart of South Beach, a place with a neon-lit facade that serves a mixed-gender clientele, from local businessmen and high-rollers to tourists, celebrities and swingers.

For more than two decades, Club Madonna, billed as Miami Beach’s only all-nude strip joint, at 15th and Washington, has been known not for what it has, but mostly for what it doesn’t have _ a shred of clothing on its dancers or an ounce of booze behind its bar.

A dry club on South Beach is a little like a having a Miami Beach vacation without the beach, a detail that the club’s owner and the city’s political overseers have been at war over since the turn of the century.

But now, the club _ long vilified by some as a sleazy blight on the city’s otherwise glittery, iconic image _ is getting attention for something entirely new and especially unwholesome, not to mention illegal.

On Friday, the city pulled the club’s license in the wake of allegations that it allowed a 13-year-old girl, allegedly caught up in a human sex trafficking scheme, to dance naked on stage.

The girl, a runaway, told police that she agreed to dance at the club, but was later forced to turn over her earnings to her pimps, two Miami men who on Monday were arrested, along with a female dancer at the club, on charges that they forced her strip and prostitute herself.

When she told investigators how she was allegedly able to easily slip into a South Beach strip club and dance her way onto stage naked _ without anyone seeming to take notice of her age _ it brought renewed attention to Club Madonna, as well as to an adult entertainment industry, that has spent decades trying to overcome its negative image.

The uproar over the 13-year-old dancer is not likely to boost that image makeover.

Joe Rodriguez, owner of Cheetah Gentlemen’s Clubs, who has been in the business for 45 years, said the art of concocting a phony ID has made tremendous advances in recent years.

“Some of these girls come and in and they really look older than they are,” he said. “They bring in IDs, you have to almost be in the FBI sometimes to tell if they are fake.”

GIRL CALLED ‘PEACHES’

LeRoy Griffith, who has owned Madonna from the time, 40 years ago, when it was a regular movie house that showed spaghetti westerns, said he still doesn’t know for sure whether the teen, who used the stage name “Peaches,” actually danced at the club. He was on a New Year’s cruise at the time of the affair, and his head manager, on the job only two months, was also on holiday.

What he does know is that all his dancers sign contracts and provide identification, showing they are at least 18 years old _ and he has neither for the 13-year-old, identified in police reports as “D.J.”

“If she danced, then the club made a mistake,” Griffith said. “And if we did, it’s the first time in 20 years. It won’t happen again, I can tell you that.”

The girl, Griffith said, told one of his dancers, Marlene San Vicente, 22, that she had her baby taken away from her and was trying to figure out a way to get her back. The Miami Herald could not confirm whether the girl in fact had had a baby.

“She was babysitting my dancer’s children and she was turning tricks,” Griffith said. “My dancer felt sorry for her and told her that she could earn some money by dancing instead, so she called one of my managers one night and told him that she was bringing in a friend.”

Griffith said the 13-year-old showed the manager a false license showing that she was 18.

According to police, however, the girl claimed the club’s managers never asked her for anything to verify her age. San Vicente bought her sexy clothes, tutored her on how to dance and paid to have her nails and hair done, according to the police reports.

The girl told police she worked the club on Dec. 27 and 28 and Jan. 2, 3 and 4. Each night she was forced to turn over her earnings, ranging from $120 to $500 a night, to her pimps, identified by police as Dwayne Ward, 18, Vilbert Jean, 37, and a third man, only identified as “AP.”

At the time she was living in Miami, in a multi-unit house near Miami’s Morningside Park, after having run away from home with two 15-year-old girls in early December, police said.

They all wound up at the White House Inn, a two-story motel on the water in North Miami. There, they met AP, who allegedly offered to take the girls to the 55th Terrace house where he said they could stay while on the run.

Jean, who also lived on the premises, “immediately noticed” that the girls seemed to be under age, and asked them to leave, according to the police report. The 15-year-olds did. But the 13-year-old told them she was 18 and stayed, police said.

D.J. agreed to have sex in exchange for money, but when the men kept the money and began demanding she pay rent, she became frustrated with the arrangement. Ward suggested she prostitute herself on a website used by escort services, but she refused. That’s when San Vicente offered to help her out by introducing her to exotic dancing.

Griffith said San Vicente, whose stage name is “Ayaya,” has danced for him off and on for years. When she bonded out of jail on Tuesday, San Vicente came into the club to work, Griffith said. She told him she was sorry for all the trouble she caused.

“She said she just was trying to help out the girl and didn’t know she was 13,” Griffith said.

She was returned to jail Thursday after authorities realized she was released in error. The offense she is charged with is not bondable.

‘DID NOT LOOK 13′

Police executed search warrants and collected the club’s video tapes and other evidence to determine whether the girl actually did take the stage and whether she performed lap dances.

“She did not look 13,” said Mike Kalbach, the club’s manager. Kalbach said his employees told him her physical attributes made her look much older.

Kalbach worked the Las Vegas strip club circuit for 25 years before coming to South Beach. Underage dancers are very rare in Las Vegas, he said, because dancers are required to have identification provided by the county’s sheriff’s department in order to work in the clubs. The sheriff’s department conducts background checks and verifies their ages before issuing the cards, he said.

Angelina Spencer, executive director of the Florida Chapter of the Association of Club Executives (ACE) and the Florida Sunshine Entertainment Association, said the industry has recognized that fake identification and human trafficking are serious issues. To that end they have instituted training programs and guidelines to help club owners navigate the laws and new technology.

She said clubs should require two forms of identification from dancers, and proof of those IDs should be kept on file.

“They should have been checking IDs. There can’t be a ‘whoops!’ ” Spencer said.

Rodriguez said Palm Beach County has a program similar to Las Vegas, where clubs can only hire dancers who have licenses issued by the county.

“They do a background check, and if they don’t have an entertainer’s license, that means they can’t dance,” he said.

CHANGING INDUSTRY

The adult entertainment business has changed a lot in the past four decades, or so the industry likes to say.

Rodriguez remembers a time when the dancers would be foulmouthed, high on drugs and alcohol, and fight and throw bottles. Today, he insists, they are college students, housewives and other professionals who work eight-hour shifts.

“They are hard-working girls,” he said. “Just people trying to make a living. I got to tell you, the business has evolved in such a good way.”

Luke Lirot, a lawyer who has represented the adult entertainment industry since the late 1980s and is counsel for the Florida chapter of Association of Club Executives, said many clubs classify exotic dancers as contractors.

Rather than being on the payroll, dancers today pay the club for the privilege of performing on stage, coughing up money _ normally called a house fee _ to the owners, ranging from $10 to $100, depending on the club.

Dancers at Club Madonna pay the club $45 to $100 depending on the shift they work, with women working the busier shifts paying the most money. For lap dances, which cost $25, the house keeps $10, and the dancer keeps $15, Griffith said.

As in most clubs, the women get to keep their tips, but have to tip the deejay and the bartender, although since Club Madonna doesn’t serve alcohol, there is no bartender in the classic sense. The booze ban is something Griffith has been agitated over for years. He has sued the city multiple times to try to overturn its prohibition on alcohol sales at fully nude clubs such as his. The latest scandal is the last thing he wanted to happen.

Miami criminal defense attorney David Weinstein, a former state and federal prosecutor, said it is a second-degree felony to allow a person under the age of 18 to engage in a sexual performance, defined by law as a performance exhibiting genitals or performing a dance, such a lap dance, where the dancer is touching someone to create sexual arousal.

Human trafficking, or commercial sexual exploitation, is a life felony, punishable by a life sentence.

“He owns and operates a nightclub. Therefore he is responsible for what happens there,” Weinstein said. “If he has an employee who hasn’t conducted proper background checks, he is as guilty as they are of what takes place.”

Griffith’s feud with the city dates back to 2004, when, after winning a preliminary vote for a liquor license, he lost a final vote after two elected officials _ including then-Commissioner Jose Smith (now the city attorney) reversed their support. Jane Gross, wife of then-Commissioner Saul Gross, then waged an opposition campaign, and students and parents at a nearby elementary school showed up at City Hall to protest Griffith’s effort to get a liquor license.

Griffith filed a slander and libel suit against Gross, saying she had wrongly called him a tax-evader _ when he had merely disputed an IRS debt _ and alleged she smeared him by comparing his website to a pornographic website that wasn’t his.

Then, he accused city officials of trying to extort him into paying $30,000 of Gross’ legal fees in order to settle and reconsider his bid to sell alcohol. City officials denied it, but the Miami-Dade ethics commission concluded that they pushed “their collegial bonds over the ethical line.”

In recent weeks, he seemed better positioned to get his liquor license, since most of his adversaries had failed to get re-elected.

One of his most ardent adversaries, however, remains well entrenched in city politics _ Jose Smith.

“This is, without a doubt, a vendetta by Jose Smith,” said Griffith’s attorney, Richard Wolfe, who added that the city overstepped its authority in pulling the club’s license without evidence.

Smith’s response? “I would say that this case is not about me. It’s about the exploitation of a 13-year old child,” he said, adding that any further comments “would be made in court.”

The decision to pull Madonna’s permit was made by City Manager Jimmy Morales, not Smith.

“It’s obvious he is not a loved person in Miami Beach,” Weinstein said of Griffith. “They would like nothing more than to close him down and send him on his way.”

 

This I would think is a bad idea … have them help you beat the manager of the store you just robbed January 17, 2014

1389928370366Police are searching for a woman and two children accused of robbing a Family Dollar store in Volusia County. Then, the woman and one of the children allegedly attacked a store manager who tried to stop them.

Now that manager is facing disciplinary action.

Police said the unidentified woman entered the store on Nova Road in Holly Hill Wednesday evening. An assistant manager told police she watched the woman make some selections, put a “50 percent sale” sticker on a toy and head to the register to ask for a price check.

The manager told the woman the toy was not on sale. When the suspect tried to leave the store with several items still in her cart she was stopped. The woman handed over the items, and she and the two children — a 1-year-old and a 7-year-old — left the store without buying anything.

A little while later the manager told police the woman returned with the children, filled a shopping bag and walked out without paying.

The assistant manager went to the parking lot to write down the tag number on the woman’s car. She then called 911. That’s when police say the suspect attacked the manager, punching her in the face. The manager said the woman told the older child to join in and attack the manager.

Police said the woman and child then got in the car, backed out of the parking lot toward the manager, put the car in drive, appeared to try and hit the manager again, then left the parking lot.

“She was very scared. She was very shocked,” said Brandon Davis, store manager. “She didn’t think before she reacted. Once you see something happen like that, you get that adrenaline, oh I’m going to  get this person. I’m going to get this person but you don’t know what you’re going to get when you go chasing them.”

The car was found at a home in Daytona Beach. Police said the car belonged to someone else, who claimed he loaned the car to his granddaughter.

The woman is in her early 30s, 5 foot 6 inches tall with a large build, dark skin and black hair in a ponytail. She was wearing a long-sleeved light green shirt and blue jeans. She had a 7 to 8-year-old and a 1-2 year old with her.

If you know anything, you are asked to call CrimeStoppers of Northeast Florida at (888) 277-TIPS.

 

Hey, dude, ever hear of a cab? January 6, 2014

sfl-flduh-drunk-teen-drive-truck-20140105-001Joseph Price decided he was too impaired to drive early Saturday morning.

So he had a 16-year-old girl do it for him.

But the teen didn’t have a license. And she was drunk, according to Pinellas Park Police.

Officers discovered Price, the girl, and another juvenile during a traffic stop shortly before midnight in the 9400 block of U.S. 19. All three were intoxicated, police said, and an empty bottle of alcohol was found inside the vehicle.

Price admitted he knew the juveniles were drinking, according to an arrest affidavit. He was arrested on charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and allowing an unauthorized person to drive a vehicle.

Price, 40, of Largo, was in the Pinellas County Jail on Saturday afternoon. No bail was listed.

Police did not document how Price, a registered sex offender, knew the juveniles.

Police charged one of the teens with obstruction of justice, after she allegedly gave officers the wrong name and birth date, police said. The driver was charged with driving without a license.

Both teens were taken to the Pinellas County Juvenile Assessment Center.

 

Ever wonder what would happen if you invaded a home and the homeowner decided to fight back with fists, feet and a taser? Let’s ask this young feller December 31, 2013

bildeA 19-year-old suspected burglar continues to recover after Palm Bay police said he was beaten, kicked and shot with a stun gun by victims defending their residence as he and at least three other companions attempted to carry out a home invasion.

Michael Maxwell of Palm Bay was charged with one count of home invasion robbery with a firearm or deadly weapon and four counts of battery after police were called about 1 a.m. Wednesday to a home in the 700 block of Monterey Drive to investigate a disturbance.

He was held on a $51,000 bond at the Brevard County Jail Complex in Sharpes, records show. Police also arrested a 17-year-old companion of Maxwell on the same charges.

Police said that several men, who arrived at the home in a gold 2004 Chevrolet Malibu, stormed  the home but that the victims in the residence managed to fight off the attack.

Maxwell, who police said works as a tattoo artist, was taken to Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne for treatment of his injuries sustained after he was repeatedly kicked, Tased and struck by the victims, reports show.

Police questioned the victims in the residence but did not immediately report whether the victims knew Maxwell, the teen or the other men. The case remains under investigation.

 

 
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