Miami

Can This Millennial Lawyer Be Florida’s First Democratic Attorney General In 17 years?

What’s New With This Story: 

Ryan Torrens is the only Democrat who has announced a 2018 campaign for Florida Attorney General so far.  

-Torrens is a lawyer from Tampa, who is only 32 years old. 

-He said in a wide ranging interview with RISE NEWS, that he wants to roll back what he views as a politicized AG’s office. He also had harsh words for the current AG, Pam Bondi. 

-Torrens has been barnstorming around the state, meeting with donors and building grassroots support for his campaign. He talked to RISE NEWS at length about his views on the most pressing issues of the day during a campaign swing through South Florida. 

 


 

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This Millennial Haitian-American Activist Is Not Backing Down From A Fight With Trump

What’s New With This Story: 

Francesca Menes is a rising star in Florida politics. 

-She was recently named as the Treasurer for the Florida Democratic Party and has long been an immigration rights activist.

-Her well run campaign for Florida House District 108 has some wondering what her political future is, but she hasn’t figured that out yet. 


A nine-year career and numerous accolades including the Miami Herald’s “20 Under 40 Emerging Leaders in South Florida” award, already follow 32-year-old Haitian-American activist Francesca Menes.

And after a strong but ultimately unsuccessful campaign for State Representative in District 108 last year, many in local political circles are wondering what the future is for the millennial leader.

Born to Haitian immigrants in Miami, Menes saw from a young age what public involvement can do for the causes that she cared about. 

“One of the first protests that my mother took me to that I can remember was when the coup happened in Haiti for Aristide,” Menes said in an interview with RISE NEWS. “Fifty-Fourth street was shut down with hundreds and thousands of Haitians, who were basically singing in the street ‘democracy, democracy for Haiti.’”

Growing up in Miami, though, Menes remembers not interacting with other groups besides her fellow Haitian-Americans.

She said that Miami, despite being a melting pot of many cultures, is still segregated — Cuban-Americans are in Little Havana and Haitian-Americans are in Little Haiti.

That’s something she has always tried to change.

First at Edison Senior High School in Miami, and after her family moved to Kansas City, the Central Classical Greek and Computers Unlimited Magnet High School, Menes was involved in debate and remembers learning about and debating many different issues.

“That is what helped solidified me in many ways was seeing how we can debate both sides of an issue, and actually try to push something for our communities,” Menes said. 

That appreciation for debate continued at Florida International University where Menes became involved in on-campus progressive groups.

The child of Haitian immigrants, Menes views the issue as a calling for herself.

“Being in college, I was part of that radical feminist group that just wanted to shut everything down,” Menes said. “We weren’t happy with the way FIU was operating, how they were completely out of loop, and how conservative the university was.”

After graduating from FIU in 2008 with a Bachelor’s degree in political science and women’s studies with a minor in philosophy, Menes served two years through AmeriCorps in the Public Allies program at Catalyst Miami, which according to Menes’ website “focuses on developing the next generation of leaders who are committed to long-term social change.”

Immigration law and enforcement is now an issue at the forefront of American public discourse, and President Donald Trump has made it one of his priorities.

The Trump Administration recently announced that it would be ending Temporary Protected Status for nearly 60,000 Haitians who currently live in the United States.

That means that those people will either have to fix their immigration status by July 2019 or risk deportation.

The child of Haitian immigrants, Menes views the issue as a calling for herself.

She has worked as the Policy and Advocacy Director for the Florida Immigration Coalition for multiple years. In that role, she helped push the state legislature to grant in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants. 

Menes has certainly caught the eye of more established members of the Haitian-American political firmament.

“It is always amazing to me because, and I saw this working in Tallahassee, there is this conservative wing that is like ‘small government is better.’ And the more power that is at the local level the better,” Menes said. “What I learned over time is that it benefits them. If you are going to protect your communities and we [the Trump Administration] don’t like the way you are going to protect them, we are going to take away the ways to protect them, and that is basically what Trump attempted to do even though it was challenged over and over in the courts.”

While she may sound like a candidate, Menes is currently not considering running for office.  

Menes said that it was members of her community who pushed her to run in 2016 for the Florida House of Representatives in District 108 (an area that includes Little Haiti, Liberty City, Miami Shores, and large parts of North Miami).

She ultimately lost to Roy Hardemon in the seven-way Democratic primary.

In the aftermath of her strong electoral showing and the decimation of the Florida Democratic Party in 2016, Menes was picked to be the Treasurer for the state party.

“At the moment I do not have a yes or no answer [whether or not I am going to run for office again] because when I decided to run it wasn’t me it was a community that asked me to run, and I had that support system behind me to know that I wasn’t going into this alone,” Menes said.

But Menes has certainly caught the eye of more established members of the Haitian-American political firmament.

Marleine Bastien, the executive director of  FANM, whose mission, according to their website is to “empower Haitian women and their families socially, politically and facilitate their adjustments to South Florida,” recommended Menes for the Miami Herald’s “20 Under 40 Emerging Leaders in South Florida” because of her hard work and dedication to helping all immigrants.

“Her work has benefited immigrants in general, especially what she had done at FLIC,” Bastien said in a piece published by the Herald. “Anti-immigration laws have been defeated in Tallahassee because of her no nonsense leadership, and hard work. ”

RISE NEWS is South Florida’s digital news magazine. Follow us on Facebook to make sure you never miss a story!

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Miami’s Iconic Coppertone Girl Sign Finally Gets Her Head Back On Straight

What’s New With This Story: 

-The iconic Coppertone Girl sign that soars above Biscayne Boulevard in Miami’s MIMO neighborhood has been repaired. 

-The sign lost the top of her head during Hurricane Irma. 

-The sign is managed by the MIMO Biscayne Association. 


 

She’s back to normal folks.

Miami’s iconic Coppertone girl has been returned to her previous state after losing the top portion of her head in Hurricane Irma.

According to a post on the MIMO Biscayne Association’s Facebook page, the sign was fixed on Dec. 10 with a “literal face lift”.

A crew of workers hoisted a new head and shoulders and fastened it to the sign, which overlooks the parking lot of the Smiling Pets Animal Clinic (7310 Biscayne Blvd).

According to the group, the decision was made to replace the damaged panel with a new one crafted by Neon Sign Solutions.

The sign is one of the only remaining “Coppertone Cutie” installations left in the country.

It has been located at its current location since 2008.

How the sign looks after its “facelift”. 

The process of lifting the new upper portion of the sign in place.

How it looked after Hurricane Irma came through.

Photo Credits: MIMO Biscayne Association

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The Greatest Sign Spinners In The World Live In South Florida. Yes, That’s A Thing

Want To Write About South Florida? We’re Hiring!

RISE NEWS is hiring freelance writers as we continue to grow and deepen our coverage of South Florida politics, culture and trends.

The best candidates for these positions should be energized about telling stories that matter and be able to meet a deadline.

Most of our writers are at the start of their careers and are looking to gain valuable experience in a professional news setting.

However, we have also had successful writers who are more advanced in their careers, and write for us on the side in order to keep their journalistic skills honed.

So here’s the deal:

Pay: $20 per story.

Regularity: You can write multiple stories per day or a few stories a week. It really is totally up to you!

Professional Development: Your stories will be edited (Sad we have to say that even) and then positioned in a way to make an impact locally. We will also give you direct feedback on how you are doing and give you actionable advice on how to improve. Since we are a start up, there are also opportunities to grow within our company.

How To Apply: 

Email editor@risenews.net the following items: 

-A copy of your resume

-A link to an online portfolio and/or writing samples. 

-Be a nice human being who we would want to hang out with! 

Applications will be answered quickly as we looking to fill the open positions ASAP.

Fort Lauderdale Pizza Hut Won’t Deliver Pizzas To Black Neighborhood At Night

What’s New With This Story: 

-A Fort Lauderdale Pizza Hut has a policy to not deliver pizzas to the Sistrunk Boulevard community after 7 PM. 

-Sistrunk Boulevard has historically been an African-American community. 

– A Pizza Hut manager told the Miami New Times that it was a “corporate policy.”  


Ordering pizza while black isn’t easy in one area of South Florida.

At a Fort Lauderdale Pizza Hut located at 1239 S. Federal Hwy, there is a policy to not deliver to a predominantly African-American part of the city after 7 PM.

The discovery was made by locally based journalist Adam Weinstein while he was standing inside the restaurant picking up a pizza.

Weinstein, who is the senior editor of the popular Task&Purpose website snapped two photos of a large notice next to a map of their delivery area declaring “we don’t deliver to northwest (D-4) after 7PM.”

The notice, which refers to Fort Lauderdale’s Sistrunk Boulevard community, was clearly visible to customers.

The Miami New Times called the Pizza Hut and asked a manager for an expiation for the policy.

Photo Credit: Adam Weinstein/ Twitter

The manager said that it was a “corporate policy.”

As the Miami New Times points out, Pizza Hut has a history of not delivering to black neighborhoods in Florida.

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Cover Photo: Adam Weinstein/ Twitter

Broward County Will Start The 2018-2019 School Year WAY Earlier Than Usual

What’s New With This Story: 

-Broward County will start the next school year nearly a week earlier than usual. 

-The first day of class for the 2018-2019 school year will be on Wednesday August 15. 

– The last day of class is scheduled for June 4, 2019. 


 

The Broward County School Board voted to start the 2018-2019 school year a bit earlier than usual.

The first day of class will be on Wednesday August 15, in contrast to the August 21 start date for the current school year.

There will also be 10 teacher planning days, 6 early release days and students will have Election Day off on November 6.

WSVN reports that the School Board has also set aside five hurricane make up days in case they are needed.

You can see the entire 2018-2019 Broward School Calendar online.

RISE NEWS is South Florida’s digital news magazine. Follow us on Facebook to make sure you never miss a story!

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Cover Photo Credit: Brett Levin/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

$400 Million Worth Of Cocaine Off Loaded At Port Everglades

What’s New With This Story: 

-The Coast Guard off loaded a huge amount of cocaine at Port Everglades today.

-The cocaine was collected over the course of two months from operations in the eastern Pacific Ocean. 

– Key West based Coast Guard cutter Thetis was involved in the operation. 


 

The U.S. Coast Guard brought the spoils of the drug war to South Florida Thursday.

Over 12.5 tons of cocaine, with an estimated street value of $378 million was off loaded at Port Everglades.

According to CBS Miami, the haul was delivered by Coast Guard cutter Escanaba.

The drugs had been collected over a two month period in a series of operations in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

“The crew’s contributions over the past two months directly support our government’s efforts to dismantle smuggling routes used by transnational criminal organizations and interdict drugs at sea bound for the United States,” Cmdr. Michael Turdo told CBS Miami.

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Cover Photo Credit: Craig Stanfill/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Burglars Allegedly Punch 13 Year Old Boy In The Face After Breaking Into Miami Shores Home

What’s New With This Story: 

–Miami Shores Police are searching for three suspects who they say broke into at least two homes on Thanksgiving Day. 

-According to LOCAL 10, one of the burglars punched a 13 year old boy in the face while his 11 year old sister looked on. 

-A Miami Shores resident named Brett Firestone foiled the robbery at one house when he confronted the men. He told LOCAL 10, that they then drove away down NE 107th St at over 100 miles per hour. 

–The alleged robberies took place at a home near NE 107th St and NE 10th Place and at a home on NW 100th Terrace. 


 

Here’s the official advisory from MSPD:

Here’s LOCAL 10’s report on it:

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Huge Shark Spotted Near Swimmers Off Miami Beach

What’s New With This Story: 

–A large shark was spotted close to swimmers off Miami Beach this past weekend. 

-According to the Miami Herald, it was probably a tiger shark, but Vince Conosa, the chief of Miami Beach’s Ocean Rescue wasn’t 100% sure. 

-The video was taken by professional drone photographer Kenny Melendez. 

 

RISE NEWS is South Florida’s digital news magazine. Follow us on Facebook to make sure you never miss a story!

Have a news tip about this topic or something completely different? Send it on in to editor@risenews.net.

Groups Organize To Shift More Political Power To Miami’s Black And Brown Communities

What’s New With This Story: 

-A gathering of political activist groups gathered at Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens to discuss ways in which more power could be shifted to black and brown communities.  

-The conversation was heavily dominated by the issue of policing.

-Florida has never had an African-American Governor or Senator. 


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RISE NEWS is South Florida’s digital news magazine. Follow us on Facebook to make sure you never miss a story!

Have a news tip about this topic or something completely different? Send it on in to editor@risenews.net.

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