Miami Beach opposes Beckham's soccer stadium plan
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Miami Beach officials and residents say building a Major League Soccer stadium at PortMiami would create a traffic nightmare.
The city held a town hall meeting Wednesday to discuss David Beckham's proposal to build a 25,000-seat stadium on Miami-Dade County land.
Miami Beach commissioners passed a symbolic vote earlier this month welcoming professional soccer to South Florida but opposing the stadium proposal. The Miami Herald reports that residents echoed those sentiments, saying a stadium at the port would add to the heavy traffic already clogging the highway that connects Miami Beach with downtown Miami.
A traffic expert for the city of Miami Beach says a preliminary analysis of the stadium proposal shows that the number of vehicles per hour on the MacArthur Causeway would increase from 2,700 to 5,100.
ULTRA FEST-GUARD TRAMPLED
Miami commission votes 4-1 to keep Ultra festival
MIAMI (AP) - Miami city commissioners have voted to keep the Ultra Music Festival.
Officials had debated whether to halt the annual three-day festival in downtown Miami after a guard was seriously injured in March by gate-crashers. Festival organizers agreed to hire more police, install stronger fencing and set up drug and mental health stations.
The commission voted 4-1 for Ultra.
The head of Miami's police union had proposed that the festival should replace private security guards with city police officers.
In a proposal sent Wednesday to city commissioners, Miami Fraternal Order of Police President Javier Ortiz said security guards lack the training, experience and authority to handle crowds at the annual festival.
The Miami Herald reports that Ultra recently hired the outgoing Miami Beach police chief as its new security director.
PUERTO RICO-FUGITIVE ARREST
Police capture fugitive in Puerto Rico
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - Police in Puerto Rico have captured a fugitive who was wanted in connection with a quadruple homicide.
The U.S. Justice Department said Thursday that U.S. Marshals and Puerto Rico police found Jose A. "Coco" Gomez Lopez at a motel in the town of Bayamon.
He was sought for his suspected involvement in the May slaying of four people in a flurry of automatic weapon fire, including a woman and her daughter.
Gomez Lopez was also wanted on 28 criminal charges, including weapons law violations.
He also had a $22.4 million bond placed him, what officials said was the largest in Puerto Rican history.
Trayvon Martin's dad speaks about son in NY
NEW YORK (AP) - The father of Trayvon Martin hopes his son's death re-ignites the fight for civil rights and teaches tolerance.
Tracy Martin spoke to an audience at Nassau Community College on Wednesday.
According to Newsday, Martin said he would like to see his son's name "in the history books of modern days, taking his place beside Emmett Till."
Till was killed in Mississippi in 1955 after being accused of flirting with a white woman.
Martin's son was fatally shot by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who later was acquitted of second-degree murder.
Old Duvalier party plans to run in Haiti election
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) - A member of an old political party founded under the Duvalier dictatorship says that it plans to enter candidates in Haiti's upcoming elections.
Friteau Marc of the National Unity Party told The Associated Press Thursday that the candidates will run "at all levels" in the legislative and local vote, which has not yet been scheduled.
The political party inaugurated an office on Tuesday in a town along the country's southeastern coast. The ceremony was attended by Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier and his longtime partner Veronique Roy.
Duvalier ruled Haiti from 1971 to 1986 as the country's president for life. He made a surprise return to Haiti in 2011 following 25 years in exile. Now he faces charges of human rights abuses and embezzlement, on which his attorney says he's innocent.
MOUNTAIN DEW TESTS
Florida school stops serving soda before tests
(Information in the following story is from: Florida Today (Melbourne, Fla.), http://www.floridatoday.com )
MELBOURNE, Fla. (AP) - A central Florida elementary school has stopped a long-standing practice of serving students Mountain Dew before standardized tests.
Florida Today reports that a woman contacted local media outlets after learning that students were being served three tablespoons of soda and some trail mix before taking the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.
Brevard County schools spokeswoman Michelle Irwin says they've advised officials at Creel Elementary School to provide only water to students.
Irwin says Principal Kathryn Eward started serving soda and trail mix about 10 years ago after reading about its positive effect on students taking tests.
The newspaper reports that Eward says it was part of an effort to get kids excited about the FCAT. The soda was served in small paper cups.
Now the students get water and trail mix.
Chiquita asks court to toss terror payments case
MIAMI (AP) - Produce giant Chiquita Brands International says the U.S. is the wrong place for lawsuits to be pursued against it by thousands of Colombians whose relatives were killed in a bloody civil war.
A Chiquita attorney asked an 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel to dismiss the lawsuits at a Thursday hearing. A ruling is unlikely for months.
Chiquita once had huge banana operations in Colombia and paid $1.7 million to a right-wing paramilitary group responsible for the deaths. Chiquita says Colombia is the proper lawsuit forum.
Lawyers for the Colombians say the cases belong in U.S. courts because Chiquita is headquartered in the U.S. and made decisions here about the payments.
Chiquita pleaded guilty in 2007 to U.S. criminal charges over the payments and paid a $25 million fine.
CONVICTION TOSSED-NEW CHARGES
Former Wisconsin man charged in Florida tax ring
WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. (AP) - A former Wisconsin man who served more than 10 years in a Florida prison for a homicide he didn't commit is in trouble again.
A Daily Tribune Media report says Chad R. Heins is accused of being involved in income tax conspiracy in Florida. He faces federal charges of theft and conspiracy to defraud the government.
The 39-year-old is originally from Nekoosa. He was convicted in the 1994 death of his sister-in-law and served more than a decade in Florida prison. The Wisconsin-based Innocence Project was able to arrange DNA testing that identified another suspect, and Heins was released in 2007.
Now he and seven others are accused as part of an alleged ring to file false tax returns.
Online court records didn't list a defense attorney for him.
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