Lawmaker Says He Put “Boss” Daphne Campbell Signs On Public School Property

What’s News With This Story: 

–Roy Hardemon, a member of the Florida House of Representatives admitted that he personally put up campaign yard signs on public school property. 

-Hardemon said he did it for his “boss”, State Senator Daphne Campbell. 

-Two Campbell re-election campaign signs were spotted on a fence on WJ Bryan Elementary School in North Miami by a RISE NEWS reporter. 

-Miami-Dade Public Schools have regulations against political candidates putting campaign materials on school grounds. 

-Hardemon and Campbell are two of the most controversial politicians in Florida politics. 

-Hardemon is one of 120 Florida State Representatives, while Campbell is one of 40 State Senators. 


The 2018 primary election is still over eight months away, but that hasn’t stopped two local politicians from trying to use public school property to win votes for one of their campaigns.

State Representative Roy Hardemon, a Miami Democrat, personally put up two large yard signs for State Senator Daphne Campbell’s re-election campaign on the gate of WJ Bryan Elementary School in North Miami.

A RISE NEWS reporter spotted the two signs on opposite ends of the school’s property off busy 125th St.

He then called Campbell’s Senate office to get an explantation for why they were placed there.

Moments later the reporter received a phone call from an unidentified man who said that he put the signs up on Campbell’s behalf.

“It ain’t nothing wrong with [a sign] saying Happy Holidays,” the man said. “I’m trying to figure out what’s wrong with that.”

When asked the made identified himself as “Roy… Representative Roy Hardemon.”

The phone number from which he called the reporter from matched the phone number that Hardemon listed with the Florida Candidate Tracking System.

“You called my boss and she chewed me out,” Hardemon said of Campbell. “I put the signs up for her. She blasted me out.”

Hardemon, who represents House District 108, hasn’t publicly disclosed payments from Campbell if he is indeed employed by her.

In fact, he hasn’t publicly disclosed any form of income on his Financial Interest Disclosure filings with the Florida Commission on Ethics.

Hardemon also doesn’t have a profession listed on his State Legislature Bio on the Florida House of Representatives website.

He is one of only three member of the 120 member House to not have a listed occupation (The others being Jennifer Mae Sullivan and Barbara Watson).

When pressed on his relationship with Campbell, a Democrat who represents District 38, Hardemon backtracked.

“She’s not my boss, she’s my friend,” Hardemon said.

Campbell was not able to be reached by the time of publication.

Hardemon said that parents of the school should be happy to support Campbell because of what he said was her leadership on their behalf.

“Somebody’s doing there best and people are complaining about signs,” Hardemon said. “I’ve had it up to here with these petty complaints.”

He also said that he thought the signs were allowed to be on the school’s fence.

Florida State Rep. Roy Hardemon. Photo: Roy Hardemon/ Facebook

“The fence is a public right of way,” Hardemon said of the fence, which is clearly on school property. “You know how it’s called, it’s an unwritten rule.”

Except that is not an unwritten rule, the rule is actually written down.

According to the Miami-Dade County Public Schools policy on advertisements on school grounds, political campaign materials are not allowed.

“Advertisements containing a campaign or other political message supporting or opposing a political candidate for public office, a political platform, or a political issue, are prohibited,” the school board passed law reads.

Since Miami-Dade public schools were out for the winter break, spokespeople for the School Board were unable to be reached.

Calls to Bryan Elementary were also not answered due to the break.

Both Campbell and Hardemon represent Bryan Elementary in Tallahassee and both are up for re-election to their offices in August.

Campbell tried to use her connection to an FPL lobbyist to turn on electricity at her house after Hurricane Irma and Hardemon has been arrested 19 times over his life, including for punching a woman in the face in 2014.

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Next Story:

Senator Daphne Campbell Tried To Use Connection To FPL Lobbyist To Get Power On For Her Family Post Irma

AT&T Disputes Miami Shores PD’s Version Of Station Call Outage

 What’s News With This Story: 

–AT&T disputed the cause of the Miami Shores Police Department (MSPD) inbound call outage

-AT&T blamed MSPD’s server for the outage while MSPD blamed AT&T’s phone line. 

-It is not clear whether the station’s phone system is back to running as it was before the outage. 

-Inbound calls to the police station were unable to go through for at least an hour and a half on January 3. The outage could have been longer, however.

-Residents of the village were directed to call 911 or the Miami-Dade PD who would then forward requests for assistance to MSPD. 

-A MSPD spokesperson said that it wasn’t the first time the department has lost inbound phone service. 

-She also said that the department doesn’t have the budget to get a more sophisticated phone system. 


Residents in Miami Shores were unable to directly reach their police department for at least an hour and a half on Jan. 3, and it’s not entirely clear why.

The Miami Shores Police Department (MSPD) said that AT&T’s phone line went down, causing them to lose connection to inbound phone calls.

But AT&T said that isn’t what happened.

The company blames MSPD’s server for the outage and say there was nothing wrong with their phone line connection.

MSPD sent out a text alert to residents signed up with the Nixle service at 10:53 AM on Jan. 3.

That alert said that inbound phone lines were down at the station and that residents would have to call 911 or the Miami-Dade County Police Department in order for “requests for assistance” to be forward to MSPD.

The next text alert indicating that the phone lines were working again didn’t come until 4:50 PM.

MSPD spokesperson Elizabeth Keeley told RISE NEWS that inbound phone service was only down for around an hour and a half, after the station was notified of the outage by a Miami Shores resident.

Keeley said that MSPD was investigating how long the lines were down in total.

Kelley said that the station implemented a “workaround” that is used as a backup plan in case the analog line goes down.

AT&T didn’t respond to the station’s outage call until earlier today, nearly 48 hours after it was first announced to the Miami Shores community.

But according to a AT&T spokesperson, when one of their technicians responded to the station, he was unable to find anything wrong with their phone line.

INSIDE: The Shocking Conditions That Condemned The Miami Shores Motel

“We sent a tech to the Miami Shores police department this morning,” AT&T spokesperson Kelly Starling said in an email to RISE NEWS today. “The issue the city experienced was with its server, not our network.”

Starling also said that when MSPD’s server went down, their IT department requested AT&T forward its lines until its IT team could fix the problem.

But MSPD spokesperson Elizabeth Keeley said that AT&T is wrong.

“Their information is not correct,” Keeley said. “They can not say who they spoke to. They didn’t speak to the chief. I don’t know how they came to that conclusion.”

Keeley said that AT&T’s analog system was the problem and that the station’s server indicated that it never went down.

When pressed, Keeley could not say whether the station’s phone system was back up and running in the way it was before the outage.

“It is running currently to accept incoming calls in a way that the chief is satisfied with,” Keeley said, while refusing to answer whether inbound calls on the AT&T analog line were now being received.


Keeley said that it wasn’t the first time that the station has lost inbound call service.

When asked why the station has to rely on an AT&T analog phone line for service, she said that it had to do with lack of resources.

“There’s plenty of options, but it all costs money,” Keeley said. “We don’t really have that budget [that Miami-Dade County PD has, for example].”

Keeley said there will not a report on the matter released to the public and that Chief of Police Kevin Lystad was en route to a conference and unable to answer questions about the situation.

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Next Story:

Senator Tried To Use Connection To FPL Lobbyist To Get Power On For Her Family Post Irma

David Richardson Would Be The First Gay Congressman Ever Elected From The South. Will He Also Be Trump’s Nightmare?

What’s News With This Story: 

–Florida State Rep. David Richardson is a leading candidate for the Democratic nomination in Florida’s open 27th District Congressional race.

-The district is currently represented by retiring Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. While Ros-Lehtinen has represented the district for over 30 years, it is Democratic leaning. Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump in the district by nearly 20 points in 2016. 

-Many national Republicans are concerned that the race is a lost cause. The GOP has had a hard time finding top-tier candidates to run while Democrats have 6 candidates who have raised over $200,000. (Some of the other contenders include former federal judge Mary Barzee-Flores, former Knight Foundation official Matt Haggman, state Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez, Miami Beach City Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez and Miami Commissioner Ken Russell. 

-Richardson has raised over $1 million for his effort and is considered one of the more viable contenders in the race. 

–Elected to the Florida House in 2012, Richardson became the first openly gay person ever elected to the Florida Legislature.

–A retired forensic auditor, Richardson made a splash in Tallahassee with his efforts to reform the state jail system. He was particularly focused on the way the state treated youthful offenders.

-He has spent over 800 hours personally inspecting state prisons by using a little known law that allows state lawmakers to show up to prisons unannounced. His efforts led to the closure of Lancaster Correctional Institution in Gilchrist County. 

-In an interview with RISE NEWS, Richardson said that he would be a progressive leader in Congress. He said that he would push for increased gun control measures including an assault weapons ban, work towards making the United States have a single payer healthcare system and roll back charter schools while defending “traditional” public schools. 

-Richardson also told us that he would push to impeach President Trump in Congress. He said that his skills as a forensic auditor would come in handy during impeachment proceedings. 


WATCH: David Richardson on how he wants to go after President Trump in Congress. 

WATCH: David Richardson on the issues. 

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 [email protected]

WATCH Another Story: 

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

Bob Barker Is Coming After Miami Seaquarium The Same Way He Went After Happy Gilmore

What’s News With This Story: 

–Bob Barker, the tv icon and former longtime host of “The Price Is Right” participated in a PETA video released yesterday. 

-In the video Barker asks Miami Seaquarium to release the orca Loilta from captivity. 

Loilta has lived at the Seaquarium since being caught in 1970. She was brought from the waters near Puget Sound, Washington.  

–Her release has been the subject of activist activity for decades


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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Jack’s Is The Casual Italian Place That Miami Desperately Needed

If You Go: 

Jack’s Home Cooking

Location: 2426 NE 2ND AVE, MIAMI, FLORIDA 33137 


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Did this South Floridian Just Invent The Next Tofu? 

UPDATE: Miami Shores PD Phone Lines Are Back Online After Being Down

Update: January 5 at 7:24 PM

Miami Shores PD have announced that inbound phone lines to their station have been repaired after a nearly hour and a half outage.

The announcement was made on social media.

In a thread on the Nextdoor App, Shores resident Michael Morejon asked village spokesperson Elizabeth Keeley how it was possible for a police station to lose phone service.

“This was an AT&T issue and the cause is still being addressed,” Keeley said.


Original Story from earlier in the day: 

A Miami Shores spokesperson said that the inbound phone lines are down for the Miami Shores Police Department.

The reason for the problem was not announced nor was the expected time for the lines to be repaired.

It is not clear whether the lines being out were related to overnight power outages reported around Miami Shores.

The announcement was made via the Nextdoor app by Miami Shores Communications Specialist Elizabeth Keeley.

“Police Department phone lines are currently down,” the advisory read. “Please be advised that the inbound phone lines to the Miami Shores Police Department are currently down. Please contact Miami-Dade Police at 305-476-5423 or 911 who will forward the requests for assistance until our phone lines are restored.”

This is a developing story. We will update it as we gather more information.

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: marysalome

NY Times Op-Ed Suggets Sunny Isles Beach Russians Could Be Key To Mueller Investigation

What’s News With This Story: 

– In a much talked about op-ed in the New York Times, the founders of Fusion GPS defended their investigation into Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential campaign. 

-The founders of the research firm and authors of the piece, Glenn R. Simpson and Peter Fritsch pushed back against what they saw as Congressional Republican efforts to “chase rabbits” instead of going after the “bear”- President Donald Trump. 

–They said that in Congressional testimony, they informed members of Congress that they were concerned by the level of Russian involvement in the election. 

-Here’s the point that should draw attention to those in South Florida: “We told Congress that from Manhattan to Sunny Isles Beach, Fla., and from Toronto to Panama, we found widespread evidence that Mr. Trump and his organization had worked with a wide array of dubious Russians in arrangements that often raised questions about money laundering. Likewise, those deals don’t seem to interest Congress.”

–Sunny Isles Beach has become an area in recent years where scores of Russian families live. 

–There is also the Trump International Beach Resort located in Sunny Isles Beach. 

Read Another Story:

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

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: Leandro Neumann Ciuffo

It’s Snowing In Tallahassee For The First Time In 28 Years

For the first time in 28 years, Tallahassee has seen significant snow fall.

But in Florida our idea of significant snow fall is a bit different than most.

The National Weather Service in Tallahassee was reporting 0.1 inches of “snow/sleet accumulation” on the roof of their building according to FOX 13.

People around the region snapped videos of what they saw- a winter wonderland to be sure!

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 [email protected]

This Former UM Basketball Player Is Changing Miami’s Non-Profit Game

What’s News With This Story: 

–Brandon Okpalobi has made waves in Miami’s non-profit space with his organization Dibia Dream. 

-The non-profit exposes at risk youth to unique opportunities in STEM fields and in sports. 

Okpalobi is a former University of Miami basketball player. He also runs a for profit youth sports training company. 

Okpalobi has big dreams for the organization and hopes to see it expand to more locations across South Florida and other parts of the world. 


Giving is a trait that Brandon Okpalobi exercises every day.

This young CEO of a youth training program works with children frequently to unlock their potential through sports.

A former University of Miami basketball player, Okpalobi became an entrepreneur and nonprofit founder after his playing days ended.

And in many ways, Okpalobi has never been part of a more important team than he is now.

Okpalobi, 35, founded Dibia Athletic Development in 2011.

The company, which trains young people in various athletic skills operates in Miami, New Orleans and overseas in Bermuda and the Bahamas.

He also expects to expand the program to Latin American and Nigeria soon.

In 2014 he was able to expand the brand to Dibia Dream, a non-profit that helps underserved youth develop life skills.

Okpalobi said that he gives back to his community because of the example he saw from his father.

“In 2007 my father took me to Nigeria and built a community center for his village,” Okpalobi said in an interview with RISE NEWS. “I saw the impact from it and I realize I need to give back more because that is going to bring the change we want to see.”

Okpalobi grew up in New Orleans to a Nigerian immigrant family.

He was a standout high school basketball player and attended the University of Miami in the early 2000s.

He was a guard on UM’s basketball team from 2001 to 2005 when he went undrafted in the NBA Draft.

When playing in the NBA was no longer his goal, Okpalobi used basketball as a vehicle to  pursue other ventures.

“Basketball is my everything,” Okpalobi said. “It brought me to Miami, it kept me in Miami, it allowed me to start my for profit and opened up doors I never had.”

Dibia Dream is Okpalobi’s nonprofit that he launched in 2014.

This venture exposes under-served children to activities like art enrichment, science education and athletic training so they can develop new skills.

It has quickly become established in Miami’s growing non-profit space.

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

Through this program, Okpalobi has helped expose over 4,000 children to experiences they would have never otherwise experienced and has given out 600 scholarships for summer enrichment experiences.

One of the major features of Dibia Dream is STEM Saturdays.

On Saturdays during the school year, Dibia Dream allows students to participate in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) projects.

Okpalobi designed the program to be a “safe haven” for at risk kids during the weekend.

In 2016 Okpalobi was a recipient of the BMe Community Award.

This is a $10,000 grant given to black men leaders in South Florida who are trying to better the community.

Okpalobi used his grant to expand the STEM and arts program at Dibia Dream.

“We want to give the kids as many options as possible,” Okpalobi said. “When kids have more exposure to these things they tend to look at different career opportunities.”

According to Okpalobi, Dibia means “master of knowledge/wisdom” in Igbo.

According to the Dibia website:

“The term refers to traditional healers, experts and doctors. The process of becoming a DIBIA involves years of training and many levels of initiation. DIBIA means TRAIN TO BE GREAT.”

In July 2017, Dibba Dream partnered with the Nyah Project to bring 10 students to South Africa.

The group worked with three schools on various projects and made an impact in the area according to Okpalobi.

Okpalobi has done a lot to serve the children and he plans to do even more in 2018.

Coming up in January, Diba Athletic Program is organizing the sports clinic for Zo’s Winter Groove, the event hosted by former Miami Heat star Alonzo Mourning.

He also plans to open two more facilities for Dibia Dream in North Miami and Liberty City.

Okpalobi’s latest act of giving was a toy drive he organized with Eneida M. Hartner Elementary School on December 20th.

The goal was to give toys to the less fortunate and homeless children at the school, but there was a problem.

How do you give toys to poor kids without embarrassing them in front of their classmates?

To keep the privacy of the children who were less fortunate, Okpalobi worked with 14 year old Ransom Everglades High School student Jack Fitzpatrick to provide a lunch from Jimmy Johns and a toy.

Fitzpatrick and his family raised $10,000 on GoFundMe for the kids at Eneida M. Hartner.

Last year, he raised $5,000 for the same cause.

Okpalobi is highly regarded at the school.

“It’s a blessing to have someone within the community to reach out and wants to be apart of the school,” Dr. Derick R. McKoy, the Principal of Eneida M. Hartner Elementary School told RISE NEWS. “He wants the best for children and he helps Eneida Hartner bring the world to the children.”

McKoy drove the point home further.

“You know the African Proverb, ‘it takes a village’?,” McKoy asked during an interview. “Well, I’m happy Brandon is in my village.”


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Have a news tip about this topic or something completely different? Send it on in to [email protected]

WATCH ANOTHER STORY: North Miami’s Enchanted Place Is South Florida’s Best Kept Holiday Secret

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