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Northeast blizzard causes flights cancelations at South Florida airports

<p> Hundreds of travelers were scrambling Monday in South Florida, after dozens of flights were canceled at Miami International Airport and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.</p><p> The Northeast was bracing for a storm that is throwing off travel plans not only in South Florida, but around the nation. More than 3,000 flights have already been canceled.</p><p> The major U.S. airlines are offering fee-free re-booking of flights to and from the Northeast on Monday and Tuesday.  Ishaan Sadhwani, a college student, was headed to New York City Monday. He made some plan changes in anticipation of the Northeast blizzard. </p><p> "I actually changed my flight twice," Sadhwani said. "Originally , I was supposed to go at night and I changed it to 3, but after hearing all the news, I changed it to the 8 a.m. flight."</p><p> A potentially "historic and destructive" blizzard is expected to plow through New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts -- including New York City and Boston -- Monday and Tuesday.</p><p> Forecasts call for between up to three feet of snow in those cities through Tuesday afternoon. The National Weather Service describes the storm as a "crippling and potentially historic blizzard" that could bring up to 3 feet of snow, heavy winds, widespread power outages and epic travel difficulties.</p><p> "I'm trying to get back home, back to work, back to the family," said Larry, who did not want to give his last name. "I don't think this [flight] is happening until about Thursday."</p><p> While the worst of the weather isn't expected to hit until late Monday into Tuesday, more than 2,100 flights already have been canceled for Monday and more than 1,900 for Tuesday, Flightaware.com reported.</p><p> Reporting from MIA - 4 p m Reporting from New York</p><p> LIVE UPDATES: FLIGHT TRACKERS FLIGHT INFORMATION AT AT MIA FLIGHT INFORMATION AT FLL</p><p> On Monday afternoon, there were at least 43 flights cancelled and 76 delays out of Miami International Airport and about 66 cancellations and 55 delays out of Fort Lauderdale.</p><p> American Airlines said it would suspend operations in Philadelphia, Boston and New York late Monday afternoon.</p><p> "We plan to resume operations as soon as it is safe to do so," airline spokeswoman Andrea Huguely said.</p><p> United Airlines has already canceled all Tuesday flights at Newark, LaGuardia and JFK, as well as Boston and Philadelphia, company spokeswoman Mary Ryan said.</p><p> Weather forecast</p><p> Government officials across the Northeast were urging residents to take heed of the weather warnings and prepare for the storm.</p><p> "I want everyone to understand that we are facing -- most likely -- one of the largest snowstorms in the history of this city," said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.</p><p> The first big storm of the year may drop up to 3 feet of snow on Boston and New York before it ends Tuesday, with freezing rain and strong wind gusts possibly reaching 55 to 65 mph.</p><p> Blizzard and winter storm warnings have been issued from Maryland through Maine and into Canada. Up to 58 million people could be put into the deep freeze.</p><p> "It is imperative that you have a plan in place to get home safely this evening before the heavy snow begins and stay there for the duration of the storm," Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy said Monday after signing a statewide travel ban set to take effect at 9 p.m. ET.</p><p> The city's biggest snowstorm was in 2006, when 26.9 inches of snow fell. That's second to the 25.8-inch snowfall in December 1947.</p>

Published: Mon, 26 Jan 2015 22:09:16 GMT

Police: Homestead man shot puppy in head

<p> A Homestead man was arrested after police say he shot a 10-month-old puppy because he was upset over having too many animals in his home.</p><p> Scott Frederick Hargraves, 51, was taken into custody Monday morning after police were called to the residence in response to reports that shots were fired.</p><p> Upon arriving at the home, one officer noticed Hargraves attempting to leave the home.</p><p> When asked what had happened, Hargraves told the officer that he had a long week and was tired of so many animals living in his home; so he took the 10-month-old Labrador puppy into the backyard and shot it in the head.</p><p> Police found the dead dog in the back of Hargraves' truck after he was stopped.</p><p> A witness told the officers that Hargraves had shot the dog for no reason and was attempting to leave with it before police arrived.</p><p> Frederick was arrested on animal cruelty with intent to injure/kill charges.</p><p> When he was informed about the charges against him, Hargraves replied, "So it's aggravated cruelty to shoot a dog?"</p>

Published: Mon, 26 Jan 2015 21:50:50 GMT

Shootout at Venetian Gardens leaves intruder dead, resident injured

<p> A man was shot and killed during a home invasion early Monday morning in northwest Miami-Dade County.</p><p> The shooting occurred shortly after 4 a.m. at Venetian Gardens, 18111 NW 68th Ave.</p><p> Miami-Dade police said a man was sleeping when an intruder entered his home.</p><p> A confrontation ensued, leading to an exchange of gunfire.</p><p> The intruder was pronounced dead at the scene, while the resident was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center in stable condition. Their identities haven't been released.</p><p> No other information was immediately available.</p><p> Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10</p>

Published: Mon, 26 Jan 2015 22:04:00 GMT

Republican senator files bill to expand medicinal marijuana laws

<p> St. Petersburg Sen. Jeff Brandes proposed a bill Monday that would allow physicians in Florida to prescribe "medical-grade" marijuana to their patients with specified medical conditions.</p><p> Under The Florida Medical Marijuana Act,  the Department of Health would regulate the cultivation and not the Department of Agriculture.</p><p> County commissioners would be responsible for providing a retail license to the dispensaries, which must hold a $1 million bond, the legislation says.</p><p> “It is critically important that we thoroughly vet any proposal related to medical cannabis," Brandes said on Facebook. "And I am confident that this legislation will be carefully reviewed through the legislative process.”</p><p> The 28-page bill lists 14 illnesses including cancer, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), epilepsy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.</p><p> Patients and caregivers would need to apply for identification to a medical marijuana registry. The supply would be limited to 30 days, according to the legislation.</p><p> Republican Gov. Rick Scott would need to sign the bill for it to become law. He signed the restricted "Charlottes Web" bill.</p><p> Currently 23 states have legalized marijuana for medical use including Washington, Alaska, Colorado and Oregon, which allow recreational use.</p>

Published: Mon, 26 Jan 2015 19:55:09 GMT

Clergy to North Miami Beach police: Use our photos for target practice instead

<p> The idea originated on a closed Facebook group for Lutheran clergy, where pastors were discussing how North Miami Beach’s police department had been caught using mugshots of actual people for target practice.</p><p> Let’s send in our own photos for target practice, the pastors decided.</p><p> The target-practice story had come to light after National Guard Sgt. Valerie Deant saw bullet-riddled mugshots of black men at a police gun range.</p><p> One photo was of Deant’s brother. Outrage followed in North Miami Beach and beyond as critics called for the police chief’s resignation.</p><p> The chief defended the department but denied racial profiling and said officers used  images of people of all races. The city council banned the practice.</p><p> Rev. Joy M. Gonnerman and other pastors chatted about the story on the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Facebook group and discussed how to respond to something that was emblematic of a deeper, systematic problem.</p><p> “Maybe we ought it make it harder to pull the trigger, and volunteer to put pictures of their family up,” Gonnerman  said.</p><p> clergy 1</p><p> clergy 2</p><p> clergy 3</p><p> Another poster said she would send a photo of herself to the North Miami Beach Police Department.</p><p> Rev. Lura N. Groen of Houston created a Facebook event, and, along with Gonnerman and others, invited friends to post pictures of themselves in their clerical clothing. Soon, people — many, but not all of them, clergy — began tweeting images using the hash tag "Use Me Instead."</p><p> The effort was “motivated by our service to Christ and his call to love our neighbors,” Gonnerman said.</p><p> We initially started thinking if a whole lot of us, in our clergy collar and worship attire, sent our photos to them, it would make a really powerful statement,” Rev. Kris Totzke, a pastor in Texas, said.</p><p> “Then, it really snowballed, and we got people all over the country and of all different faiths.”</p><p> The images of pastors, monks and others wearing clothing that in part symbolizes peace and love are intended to be striking, to cause people pulling the trigger to think twice.</p><p> “It’s such a desensitization thing, that if you start aiming at young black men, and told to put a bullet in them, you become desensitized,” Gonnerman said. “Maybe, to change the picture, it’s you know what, dare ya, shoot a clergy person.”</p><p> They now have a stack of 8-by-10 #UseMeInstead photos, mostly of white pastors who are hoping to serve as allies in the fight against racism.</p><p> And even though city officials and police chief J. Scott Dennis have apologized for the department’s use of the mugshots, Gonnerman said she planned to mail 66 of those photos to the department over the weekend.</p><p> “Essentially,” she said, “we’re saying: We’re watching, we’re paying attention to this.”</p>

Published: Mon, 26 Jan 2015 21:54:44 GMT

Resentencing hearing for man in 11-year-old sister's killing continues

<p> It was witchcraft, Ronald Eric Salazar said. </p><p> His parents, Samuel and Nuvia Salazar, went to a witch in El Salvador, who said Salazar had inherited a  "voodoo" curse from his father.  When his parents decided to make the journey to the United States without him in 1991, they left him with his grandparents who were poor.</p><p> His grandmother, he said during his emotional testimony in court Monday, was the only person to show him "what love is." There were times during his testimony when he couldn't stop crying and was removed from the witness stand to collect himself.</p><p> He said he endured years of abuse from his grandfather, who also testified in Miami-Dade County court Monday.  Salazar said he was sexually abused when he was seven. He had been involved with violent gangs in El Salvador when his grandmother died, his defense attorney said.</p><p> Salazar thought his grandmother was his biological mother, he said, and was shocked to learn his biological parents were living comfortably in the U.S. His biological parents helped him finance his illegal journey to Miami.</p><p> Salazar told a psychologist he was angry and jealous when he arrived to the family home, 11945 SW 173 Terrace, in South Miami Heights, and met his siblings. His biological parents didn't know how to get the 14-years-old under control.</p><p> He often threatened he was going to kill them and kill himself, records show. Ten days after a Department of Children and Families investigator deemed him a "low" risk rebellious teen, his parents worst nightmare came true.</p><p> Marina Salazar PIC - 4769058The teen killed his sister, 11-year-old Marina “Estefani” Salazar. He grabbed a kitchen knife, strangled her in her bedroom, slid her throat and raped her corpse, police said.</p><p> "She started to struggle. She was trying to get away and she wasn't able to break free of him," Miami-Dade Detective Chris Stroze said during the trial. "Eventually, she stopped moving."</p><p> He used a Winnie the Pooh comforter to cover her body. And he cleaned the knife and put it back in the kitchen.  At first, he told police that two armed men were to blame. But he later confessed to the July 25, 2005 homicide.</p><p> He was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to two life terms in prison Oct. 20, 2009.</p><p> On Monday, Salazar tried to appear remorseful. He said he had inappropriate relations with his sister and felt like "a robot" before the day of the murder. He cried and added that he was suicidal after his arrest.</p><p> "It had finally dawned on me what I had done," Salazar said in court.</p><p> Prosecutors said Salazar threatened to kill his parents from behind bars and said he was an admirer of Michael Hernandez, who at 14 used a knife to kill his friend 14-year-old friend Jaime Rodrigo Gough at Southwood Middle School in Palmetto.</p><p> Now Salazar and Hernandez have more in common. The juvenile defendants qualify for re-sentencing under a law that states scientific findings show juveniles tend to be more susceptible to violence, because their brains are not fully developed.</p><p> In the case of Miller v. Alabama, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled June 25, 2012 that mandatory life sentences without the possibility of parole for juveniles convicted of murder cases was unconstitutional, because it constituted cruel and unusual punishment. </p><p> On Monday, Salazar, now 24-years-old, sat in a courtroom in front of Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Ellen Sue Venzer. Salazar's potential for rehabilitation was a determining factor for the judge considering re-sentencing him to a term of less than life in prison.</p><p> Local 10 News Mario Alonso contributed to this story.</p>

Published: Mon, 26 Jan 2015 22:17:19 GMT

Craigslist disappearance: Bodies recovered

<p> Two bodies, one male and one female, were recovered Monday in the case of a Marietta, Georgia, couple, who went missing after contacting a car seller on Craigslist. </p><p> The bodies have not yet been identified, said Telfair County Sheriff Chris Steverson. He said the couple's car was also found submerged in a nearby lake. </p><p> "It's not the outcome we had hoped for but, obviously, it's the one we have to deal with," Steverson said. "We'll analyze the vehicle, the bodies and hopefully we can come to some conclusion as to how they met their fate."</p><p> Earlier Monday, the suspect sought in the case who had posted a Craigslist ad turned himself in, the Telfair County Sheriff's Office said on its Facebook page. </p><p> Authorities have said that Ronnie "Jay" Adrian Towns, 28, was wanted on charges of giving false statements and criminal attempt to commit theft by deception. His family was integral in securing his surrender, Steverson said. </p><p> 'Deceptive' communication</p><p> Elrey "Bud" Runion, 69, and his wife, June, 66, placed an ad looking for a 1966 Mustang on the advertisements website and contacted a car seller on Craigslist.</p><p> They drove to the South Georgia town of McRae from Marietta, an Atlanta suburb, on Thursday to meet someone who responded to the ad, relatives said.</p><p> No one has heard from them since.</p><p> "He was excited about the car. He had one when he got back from Vietnam," daughter Stephanie Bishop told CNN affiliate WSB-TV in Atlanta.</p><p> Asked whether Towns owned a Mustang like the one the Runions were looking for, Steverson replied, "He does not. We feel that the entire communication he had with Mr. Runion was deceptive."</p><p> Relatives filed a missing persons report after the couple failed to show up to baby-sit their grandchildren the next day.</p><p> 'Last known communications'</p><p> Towns, 28, had the "last known communications" with Runion, Steverson said. </p><p> Towns turned himself in just before noon Monday. He "is currently in custody and no further details are available at this time. Details will be posted as they become available," the Facebook page for the Sheriff's Office said. </p><p> It was unclear when his bond hearing would be held, Steverson said. </p><p> The couple made the trip to look at the car, and once Runion got to Telfair County, the suspect communicated with him, according to the sheriff. He did not say who called whom. McRae is about 180 miles from Marietta. </p><p> "Early on in the investigation we did contact Mr. Towns, and we did interview him and by the information he provided we found it to be false and deceptive," the sheriff said shortly before Towns turned himself in. "After we interviewed him, our efforts to contact him were unsuccessful. Today we've contacted his family, and they've been helpful in locating him."</p><p> 'They are selfless'</p><p> For days, authorities searched for the couple using helicopters and watercraft, Steverson said. </p><p> Deputies contacted land owners and hunters familiar with the area in case they had seen anything suspicious.</p><p> The FBI and Georgia Bureau of Investigation assisted with the search. </p><p> "I am eternally grateful for the prayers that have been lifted up, the encouraging words, complete strangers who have reached out, we are so thankful for that," said Josh Patterson, the couple's son-in-law. </p><p> "Bud is a veteran. He and June are great people; they give so much, they are selfless." </p><p> The Runions were last seen driving a champagne 2003 GMC Envoy, which was the vehicle authorities have since recovered. According to a Facebook page pleading for help finding the couple, June Runion has short, brown hair and green eyes. She was possibly wearing beige slacks and a plaid shirt. </p><p> Bud Runion is 5 feet 9 inches with a medium build, has blue eyes and sports a bald head and thick mustache. He was wearing a corduroy collared shirt, blue canvas jacket and jeans, and he was known to wear baseball caps and cowboy hats.</p><p> Site has history </p><p> Though the overwhelming majority of Craigslist transactions occur without incident, the site has a history of being co-opted by criminals.</p><p> Just in recent years, there have been numerous such instances. In Henderson, Nevada, police said a man placing an ad in July met three men at a park, who took him to a vacant house, tied him up, beat and robbed him, then escaped in his car. </p><p> In March, a San Jose, California, woman responding to an ad for a cellular phone was allegedly kidnapped at gunpoint by two men who drove her to an ATM and demanded her passcode, police told a newspaper. </p><p> In May 2013, a Maine teenager drove to Portland to sell his BMW sedan to a 29-year-old who had responded to his Craigslist ad. The teen was allegedly forced into his own trunk and driven to Delaware, according to media reports and an FBI affidavit. </p>

Published: Mon, 26 Jan 2015 22:18:22 GMT

Hollywood hospital executive gets prison time for medicare fraud

<p> A hospital executive in Hollywood was ordered to turn himself in February 26, after he was sentenced for his role in a scheme that resulted in more than $67 million in fraudulent Medicare claims.</p><p> Christopher Gabel, 62, was the former chief operating officer of the Hollywood Pavilion psychiatric hospital, 1201 N. 37 Ave. He was sentenced to six years in prison. He also must pay more than $39.3 million in restitution. Medicare paid $40 million of $67 million claimed.</p><p> Pavilion employees submitted claims to Medicare for treatment that was not provided from April 2003 to September 2012, authorities said. Gabel confessed to being aware of the scheme, while he supervised the inpatient and outpatient facilities.</p><p> They found Medicare beneficiaries from across the country by paying bribes and kickbacks to patient brokers, authorities said. He plead guilty to accusations that included instructing the patients brokers to falsify invoices.</p><p> Karen Kallen-Zury, Daisy Miller, Michele Petrie and Christian Coloma were convicted at trial in June 2013 for their roles in this scheme, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. </p><p> Kallen-Zury, HP’s former chief executive officer, was sentenced to 25 years in prison.  Miller, the clinical director of HP’s inpatient facility, was sentenced to 15 years in prison; and Petrie, the head of HP’s intensive outpatient program, was sentenced to six years in prison.  </p><p> Coloma, the director of physical therapy for an entity associated with HP, was sentenced to 12 years in prison.  Kallen-Zury, Miller and Petrie were ordered to pay nearly $40 million in restitution, and Coloma was ordered to pay more than $20 million in restitution.</p>

Published: Mon, 26 Jan 2015 21:40:09 GMT

U.S. marshals find Florida man wanted for child pornography in Belize

<p> U.S. Marshals tracked a Florida man who was wanted for possession of child pornography all the way to Belize, where it remains legal to have sex with girls as young as 16.</p><p> Robert Andrew Ragin was arrested Jan. 16 in Dangriga, a town on the Caribbean coast in southern Belize, where he had been living for about six months.  He appeared in front of a judge in Belize Jan. 19.</p><p> After the extradition order, authorities in Belize handed him over to U.S. authorities. He arrived to Miami International Airport Jan. 23, U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported.</p><p> Ragin, 54, was taken to Brevard County, where he had an outstanding warrant on 12 counts of promoting sexual performances of a child.</p><p> Belize remains a popular destination for child pornographers, the U.S. Department of Justice reported. It remains a federal crime for U.S. citizens to travel to other countries to have sex with children even when it's legal in the country they are traveling to.</p><p> Last year, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents tracked Thomas A. Donahue, 45, who was also hiding in Belize. He was wanted for producing, distributing and possessing child pornography.</p><p> Authorities also arrested David Wendel Thompson, 48, a teacher who was on his way to Belize to have sex with two teenage girls. He traveled to the country about 10 times since 2011, authorities said. </p><p> Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10</p>

Published: Mon, 26 Jan 2015 20:00:00 GMT

Miami Gardens man shot, killed in front of girlfriend's children

<p> A Miami Gardens man was shot and killed in front of his girlfriend's children Sunday night.</p><p> Ashley Waldon identified the victim as James Hall.</p><p> Waldon said Hall, 42, was returning to their home at 1621 NW 175th Terrace in Miami Gardens about 11 p.m. Sunday with two of her kids. She said as many as four men appeared out of the dark and shot Hall as he was walking inside the home.</p><p> She heard the gunshots, went outside and found Hall lying in the front yard with a gunshot wound to the head.</p><p> Her kids, ages 12 and 14, were still in the car.</p><p> "My kids are traumatized," Waldon told Local 10 News.</p><p> Hall had a troubled past with arrests on charges of trafficking, cocaine possession and carrying concealed firearms. But Waldon maintains Hall had cleaned up his life a few years ago and was committed to being a full-time father and family man.</p><p> Follow Johanna Torres on Twitter @johannaltorres</p><p> Follow Terrell Forney on Twitter @TVTerrell</p><p> Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10</p>

Published: Mon, 26 Jan 2015 22:21:27 GMT

Man stabs ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend while on Broward Transit bus, police say

<p> Junior Normil appeared in Broward court Monday, after he stabbed his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend in Sunrise, police said.</p><p> The new couple was on the Broward Transit bus Sunday when Normil spotted them in the back of the bus, police said.</p><p> "The defendant grabbed a large knife out of his backpack, proceeded toward the rear of the bus to confront the alleged victim, the new boyfriend," the arrest report said. "The defendant then stabbed the victim in the neck and shoulder."</p><p> The ex-girlfriend started shouting in horror.</p><p> Normil told police officers that he "snapped" and added that the victim was lucky to be alive, because his intention was to stab the victim to death.</p><p> Normil faces a felony charge.</p><p> Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10</p>

Published: Mon, 26 Jan 2015 21:00:00 GMT

Bomb squad responds to reports of explosives at Wilton Manors house

<p> Broward Sheriff's Office bomb squad responded to reports of explosives at a home in the Wilton Manors neighborhood Monday afternoon.</p><p> Third Avenue and Northwest 24th Street was shut down, as police surrounded a house near Wilton Manors Elementary, Pace High School and Somerset Academy. The schools were on lock down.</p>

Published: Mon, 26 Jan 2015 21:47:08 GMT