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Found Remains belong to Michelle [UPDATE]

Posted on 07 February 2011 by The Florida Star Online

Unfortunately, what was believed by her family was confirmed by police. The remains were positively identified by the Medical Examiner belonging to Michelle McCoy.

Larry Thompson (52) is wanted in connection to McCoy’s disappearance. He currently has a warrant for his arrest on charges of kidnapping.  Thompson has not been charged with McCoy’s murder and it is still uncertain what happened the night of her disappearance.

The community joined in the search for Michelle McCoy, who was reported missing by her family, and finally by JSO, two weeks later. JSO made decision to report Michelle’s disappearance after it was reported by someone that she was seen being forced into a silver minivan in the 8900 block of Washington Avenue, near her home. According to the witness, a shoe, rope and other evidence led him to believe Michelle was being kidnapped at the time he made the observation.

Michelle’s twin sister advised that Michelle had reservations about meeting a man she knew and asked her to call her later, on the day that she disappeared. She did so, but Michelle did not answer her phone.

The man who suspected a kidnapping, called 911 but investigators said they were not able to locate the described vehicle. The man making the report, kept the items he found at the scene and gave them to JSO later.

Sheriff Rutherford said, based upon reports to them, they have been searching the Ribault River Lane area, off Winton Drive. A second tip led them to the area where the body of a female, believed to be Michelle was found.

Sheriff Rutherford, during his press conference said that he could not release details about why they believe the remains found are believed to be Michelle. He did advise that the public fear of a loose kidnapper can be eliminated since based on evidence so far, Michelle was the target of her killer. Both Donald Foy and Linda Dayson held prayer vigils and searches for Michelle with their organizations.

The Sheriff’s Department have stated that they will investigate the manner in which the officer who took the report of Michelle’s possible kidnapping and her missing report was handled. No suspect had been listed at the time of this report.

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Ted Williams Leaves Rehab Center Early

Posted on 31 January 2011 by The Florida Star Online

Ted Williams, 53, the man with the golden voice, was presented with opportunities galore when a video of him was placed on YouTube.

He was able to see his mother after ten years and was encouraged by his children to develop a new relationship and pursue a great career.

Ted was offered several jobs and was paid $10,000 immediately to do a Kraft Cheese commercial.

After appearing on Dr. Phil’s Show, Ted volunteered to go to rehab at a facility provided through Dr. Phil. The country cried and prayed for him. Later his girl friend of many years too decided to go to rehab. But now, something has happened. Ted, despite advice from the doctors at the facility, left after only two weeks of treatment.

This is sad. Ted, go back and get help.

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Bomb Planted on MLK Parade Route

Posted on 23 January 2011 by The Florida Star Online

Three city workers of Spokane, Washington found a backpack with an improvised explosive device, a remote controlled bomb and two T-shirts in it. The device was on the parade route for children and old folks to celebrate Dr. King’s birthday and reminded many of the bomb that was placed in a church in 1963 that killed four little Black girls with 22 others being injured in the aftermath. For this 2011 incident, one FBI agent said that the device was the most potentially destructive improvised bomb he had ever seen.

The area is known for white supremacist activity but no one has been identified with this apparently psychotic point of view. Because of the quick thinking of the city workers with God on their side and the people, the bag was found, the parade was rerouted and the bomb was defused. What is frightening is the fact that it was well made with the intention of seeing maximum carnage.

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Breaking the law

Posted on 16 January 2011 by The Florida Star Online

Written by Clara McLaughlin

When the New York Post staff person drew this cartoon  which was published in their paper, many were  upset and some attorneys said that a drawing such as  this which alludes to shooting the president of the  United States is a criminal violation. There is a law  that prohibits a person from inciting a crime or violence.  This drawing was published in February 2009. 

The complaint that many have is the fact that nothing  was done about this incident. Therefore, a number of  other such acts were committed and still the law  enforcement officers and the people stood by, citing  the right of free speech and the right to carry arms. 

Many of the right wing politicians and common citizens,  some quietly and some very vocal appeared to be  agreeing with this behavior. In fact, when those who  did not agree but also did not go out to vote, it made it  appear that most Americans agreed that this, called by  some, criminal and disrespectful behavior was what  most wanted. If there is no punishment for misbehavior,  one would get comfortable and go even further. 

When so call American leaders, politicians and business  persons say and do certain things publicly and the  comments are aired through all of the many outlets,  control is lost. You can’t say if a person who commit  such a crime as this past weekend is mentally ill or evil. 

Now we have political leaders resigning from their  jobs or positions expressing fear of the tea party and/or  the general public. 

President Obama made a very strong speech at the  memorial service while others from his administration  read scriptures. What many really wanted to hear was  that law enforcement departments all over the country  would begin immediately, enforcing the laws that are  already in place that has gotten out of hand. 

Saturday’s shootings caused death, pain and possibly  permanent damage for those who were shot, for their  family, friends, and ordinary people. 

Please, law enforcement officers, enforce the law. We  don’t need to see or hear about more of this.

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First Black and Female Elected as Lieutenant Governor of Florida

Posted on 10 January 2011 by The Florida Star Online

Story by Rinetta M. Fefie 
Photos by Frank M. Powell

It was a historical moment beginning with the  Salute to Women in Leadership Breakfast on  Monday morning, followed with a Tribute to the  First Lady, Honoring Those who Serve, a Path to  Prosperity Reception, Florida’s Future Youth  Concert and the Inaugural Candlelight Dinner. The  two-day event was extremely elaborate but what was  most impressive was the swearing in of Lieutenant  Governor Jennifer Carroll. 

Many in the African American community  admitted it was difficult to hold back the tears as Ms.  Carroll was sworn in. She was joined by her family  as her husband held the Bible that she placed her  hand upon. 

Born in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Ms. Carroll’s  story is even more touching since she was adopted by her parents.  She moved to the United States when she was eight years of age,  and after graduating from high school, joined the U. S. Navy. She  was selected for the Enlisted Commissioning Program and  became an Aviation Maintenance Officer in 1985. She retired  from the Navy as a Lieutenant Commander and later received an  Associate of Arts Degree, a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of  Business Administration. 

Jennifer Carroll is the first Black and the first female elected  as the Lieutenant Governor of Florida. She is also the first African  American female Republican elected to the Florida Legislature.  Actually, she is the first Black female on any statewide  Republican ticket for the state. 

Ms. Carroll is married to Nolan Carroll, Sr. They have three  children, Nolan Carroll, Jr., Nyckie and Necho. Her son, Nolan  Carroll, Jr. plays with the Miami Dolphins. 

Even though many are proud of Ms. Carroll and feel she is a  quiet but strong person, they are still concerned about what lies  ahead for Florida’s minority community under this Republican  administration with strong Tea Party ideas. Governor Rick Scott  ran his campaign on creating jobs for Floridians and during his  inaugural address alluded to how he will do it. Will Ms. Carroll  be given the power to help achieve such a goal? Governor Scott  said, “We have hard-working people who desperately want jobs.  We have energetic entrepreneurs with plenty of ideas.. and persuadable  investors with ready cash.” He ended his speech with,  “Lets get to work.”

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Murder Charges Dropped

Posted on 27 November 2010 by The Florida Star Online

Cederic Cutter has spent the last 26 months at the  Duval County jail. He was arrested in 2007 after  being identified as the triggerman who committed a  double murder in Arlington. 

Cutter was identified by an inmate in the county jail  as he was seen walking past another inmate. He was  arrested by the U. S. Marshals Service in  Statesborough, Georgia about seven months after  being pointed out. 

The murder was done by two individuals. Killed  were David Holmes, 41, and Surapol Martin, 17 in a  house on Lone Star Road. The man who was supposed  to have been with him at the time of the murders,  Anthony Vaughan, was convicted of two counts of  murder in the deaths of the two men and sentenced to  life in prison. 

A private investigator, Allan Wainwright, worked on the case from the very beginning and  stated that he could not find any connection between Cutter and Anthony Vaughn. In addition,  a witness described the other person with Vaughn as being six inches taller than  Cutter. 

After gathering much evidence, the prosecutors agreed to drop the charges. Cutter has  been released and will have his 30th birthday at home next week.

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No Unemployment Extension

Posted on 20 November 2010 by The Florida Star Online


 The line was long as hundreds, including some retired school teachers, waited to receive food from Second Harvest and True Light of God in Christ Church Saturday, almost two weeks since mid-term election that changed the dominant party in the House of Representatives, making the ‘party of no’ more stronger. So, congress went back to work and on their fourth day, rejected a bill that would have extended unemployment benefits for another three months. The vote was 258 to 154, not the two-third needed to fasttrack procedures. Therefore, four million Americans are set to lose their benefits when they expire November 30.

The Republicans say they want their country back, claiming extending unemployment benefits would increase the deficit. In the meantime, they are committing to extending tax cuts to the very wealthy while cutting what they see as government support programs, for the unemployed and don’t forget those whose benefits have already run to 99 weeks and the 17 to 25 percent unemployed young African Americans and Hispanics over the past decade, including the number of homeless Americans and the millions without healthcare. With this rejection right before Thanksgiving and Christmas, who can be blamed?

In Duval County, five precincts had over 70 percent voter turnout on November 2nd. 

The five precincts that had over 70 percent voter turnout were Precinct 14R the Ortega United Methodist Church, which had a 74.22 percent total voter turnout, Precincts 03A the Queen’s Harbour Yacht and Country Club, 13G the Adele Grage Cultural Center and 14P the Ortega United Methodist Church topped 71 percent turnout and Precinct 05E the Saint Mark’s Luthern Church – ELCA, was at 70-90 percent for the Election.

What is this telling the voters around Duval County? That these people had a planned strategy and commitment that they followed through. The other voters, African Americans and Hispanics, did not feel it was important to go out to the polls and therefore will now suffer the consequence.

Also, please note that most of the precincts were churches. That is another message on how the pastors and ministers were helping to get the people out to vote. It d efinitely shows the organization of the tea party members and how much they believed in what they are doing and the importance of their desire.

Just as the tea party members stood together for the November 2, 2010 election, it appear the same thing is happening with Dancing With the Stars, where Sarah Palin’s daughter keeps getting the high votes from the audiences, not from the judges. In fact, in a survey, it was discovered that there are or were web sites,advising tea party members that they could vote more than one time by changing e-mail addresses. One lady said she voted 300 times for Palin’s daughter. It also shows that beliefs are stronger than honesty.

Many African American organizations, including the Black media tried to let the community know how crucial it was to vote, if they wanted to stop the republicans from rolling back job creations, healthcare and financial reforms that President Obama fought and continues to fight for.

Richard Burton of Project R.E.A.C.H. said that “the invisible vapor of racism has caused many young voters both black and white to distrust the political system and to skip this past election. Also, many seniors voted out of fear with the belief that healthcare is reparations and black kids can beat up white kids with impunity.”

What those who are complaining about the high deficit have forgotten how we got into debt and have not taken the time to use mathematics.

Rather than cut off unemployment, they should understand that if a person is getting some form of income, the economy will continue because those unemployed and homeless will have money to put into the economy, if it is just for food and clothing, or a place to stay warm or stay cool.

The unemployment money does place funds back into the economy through funds just to survive. Will extending tax cuts to the wealthy make the same impact? Not as long as jobs are being outsourced and the large companies, like our former vice president, are moving their headquarters overseas.

The republicans are saying that the reason the elections went the way they did is because people want them to provide help to those in need, not add to the debt. Unemployment and bringing jobs back to America will not deepen out debt. Extending unemployment to those who have low income levels will do much more to stimulate the economy than providing the wealthiest Americans with additional tax cuts.

It is the method that was used to communicate to Americans that made them vote the way they did in this past election. They were fed information that was not beneficial to them, but beneficial to those who wish to continue the one percent of America’s wealth.

We need more jobs created, and they do not all need to be desk jobs. We need to begin manufacturing again. According to reports, the top jobs in America today are retail salespersons, cashiers, office clerks, food service workers, registered nurses, waiters and waitresses, customer service representatives, material movers, janitors, stock clerks and order fillers, secretaries, bookkeepers, general managers, truck drivers and elementary school teachers.

Americans need work.

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Killed Intruder was like a Godchild

Posted on 14 November 2010 by The Florida Star Online

Ezekiel Wiley is a well known, greatly loved  Brunswick business man, considered a philanthropist  that was always willing to help neighbors and church  members in need. 

On Wednesday, someone broke into his home. He quietly  reached for his gun and fired six shots at the intruder.  He could not see the person’s face but could see that  he was holding a knife. The intruder, William Bernard  Stafford, 47, was pronounced dead at the scene and that  is when Wiley realized that he has known the intruder  who had broken into his home for more than 25 years.  He was a man, he considered as his ‘godson.’ The  intruder’s mother lived a few houses down from Wiley  and is actually considered his ‘spiritual mother.’ The  intruder’s mother, Rev. Carlee Wiley too is very loved by  the community. Wiley was close to both mother and son. 

Even though she is grieving for her son, who police  says had been arrested eight times between 1994 and  2009 for such crimes as forgery, burglary, assault, battery  and shoplifting, she still had a mother’s love but also  understand Wiley’s action. Wiley had been in the hospital  and perhaps William thought he was not at home. 

Wiley is sorry for his death but felt he had no other  choice but to protect himself. No charges were filed.

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Carroll and Brown – Florida Political History Makers

Posted on 07 November 2010 by The Florida Star Online

Can we now brag that Florida  understands the power and value of  a woman?

In 1992, Corrine Brown was  elected to serve in the U. S.  Congress and was again re-elected  Tuesday to add another four years  to her 18 years, already served.

You don’t have to ask why,  because everybody knows that  “Corrine delivers.” 

Now Florida can boast of another  trailblazer, Jennifer Carroll who  presently serves as a Florida State Representative and come January, she will take the  seat of Florida’s Lieutenant Governor – another first for Florida. 

Voting was not easy around the state, even though it appeared to be but one would  say it was not easy, using Duval County as an example of was displayed all around  America. People did not go to vote, especially members of theDemocratic Party. The polls showed early that the turnout was low. In Duval  County, there are 527,079 registered voters. There were 260,269 ballots cast,  49.38% of the registered voters, which is less than half of those who have the ability  to utilize their right to vote. 

Jennifer Carroll is truly a history maker since the 51-year-old is also the first black  female Republican elected to the state legislature. As an adopted child, born in  Trinidad, West Indies, she has shown much strength. The Navy veteran served for  more than twenty years, and retired as a Lieutenant Commander. She was an aviation  maintenance officer with a degree in political science and she also has a master’s  degree. Both Congresswoman Corrine Brown and Lt. Elect Carroll hold master  degrees. 

They are both very talented women and have served the community well in their  elected positions. 

There were few Democrats elected during this mid-term election. Ms. Brown was  one and Democratic Rep. Sanford Bishop of Georgia’s 2nd District, was re-elected  by a very small margin, even though he has served for 18 years. Also winning in  Florida is Iraq veteran, Republican, Allen West. The retired Lieutenant Colonel will  be representing Florida’s Congressional District 22. Ten Iraq veterans will join as  new members of Congress. 

Many were disappointed by some of the amendments for the State of Florida,  specifically Amendment 5 and 6. It is understood that even though the state voted  for the Amendment, it may not be able to become effective until after the census has  been counted and reported as it would go against the U. S. Constitution if the  approval change would overlook the minority population in the districts where such  a population is high and the citizens would prefer a minority representing them. 

Even though Ms. Carroll did not use this on her platform, her son, Nolan Carroll is  a rookie defensive back for the Miami Dolphins so, we know someone is really  ‘watching her back.’

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U.S. Senator for Florida: Country Sees this Race as Critical

Posted on 31 October 2010 by The Florida Star Online

The country sees this Florida race as very critical  because of the number of battles that President Obama has  had to fight just to get bills passed the Republicans who  during the past two years, have termed themselves as the  “party of no,” no matter the issues, when it comes to matters  desired by the President, the Democrats and  American citizens. The telephone lines have been more  busy regarding this race than one can remember, not just  from Florida callers, but callers from other parts of the  country, saying Floridians must think about what is best  for the country and not be selfish or egotistical.
So what are they referring to when they say ‘selfish and egotistical?” When asked,  it is explained that it is selfish or egotistical for one to feel there are enough Blacks  in Florida to provide Meek with enough numbers to make him win this election and  become the first Black from Florida to become a U.S. Senator or, if Meek could win,  he would be the first Black from the South to become a U. S. Senator and at this time,  he would be the only Black U. S. Senator.
Yes, that would be historical but at this time, the polls show that this is an impossible  dream and the voices are saying even louder, that Meek should get out of the  race, agreeing with former president, Bill Clinton, who came to Jacksonville to help  initiate Meek’s campaign. The votes that have been cast for Meek and Crist are not  enough, individually for either to win over Rubio who, according to the latest poll,  has 42 percent, Crist has 35% and Meek has 15%. In a joint effort, one could win,  and even though it won’t make the history list for Blacks, it would give all minorities  a better chance at getting the changes they desire and need, made.
Meek, during the debate earlier this week told Crist that when he hears “flip flops  in the hall,” he thinks it is he coming. The comment was made in reference to  Governor Crist being a Republican when he was elected and then changing to  Independent when he had to face Rubio. However, it has not been long enough for  Blacks and other minorities to remember that Rubio moved ahead of Crist by referring  to him giving President Obama a ‘welcome hug’ when he came to Florida.  Many Floridians and other minorities feel that Crist would do more about what is  best for the country and the democrats then Rubio. They feel Rubio is selfish and  will only do what is best for Rubio, not the country and definitely not minorities,  even though he is Cuban.
We also learned that many minorities have already voted for Crist prior to Mr.  Clinton’s suggestion, because of the fear they have of Rubio in the senate and the  negative effect it would have on moving ahead.

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60, 50, 30, 25 Years Old Is About Right for This 70-Year-Old

Posted on 12 July 2010 by The Florida Star Online

Written by Rinetta McLaughlin Fefie

Edward (Eddie) Nelson, 70, is known as one of the most fit 70 year old males in the world.  The most frequently asked question to Nelson is “How do you do it?”  For Eddie, the answer seems easy because of his personal goals in life which is:  “reflecting a healthy lifestyle for the human body.”  This is what he states in his book, “Old School Workout.”

            Edward Nelson was born in Washington, D. C. and now resides in Jacksonville, Florida.  He feels that he received his gift for having a positive mind and being physically fit from God.  He states that we all have gifts, and it is up to us to discover our own.

  Eddie’s passion for being fit started as a child with playing stickball, handball, table tennis, track, and of course while on the playground.  During the 1950’s he enjoyed spending time at the famous Uptown Gym in Harlem, New York where he was able to watch some great prize fighters such as Sugar Ray Robinson, Joe Louis and Archie Moore.  He became more active at the age of 64 while working out at the World Gym and being observed by two men, who he later learned were NFL players, Donovan Darius and Brian Dawkins, who were astonished at his ability. 

  Mr. Nelson starts his day at 2 a.m. with his first work out.  He is a morning manager at the World Gym in Jacksonville.  His routine is to work out three times a day, Monday through Friday.  He retires to his bed each day at 6 or 7 p.m. and generally rest on the weekends.  Besides his gym workouts, Nelson also does public speaking and appearances.  One of his most recent trips was to Los Angeles, California with Mike Torchia, Head of Shaping Up America.  His biggest thrill was leaving Jacksonville, where Interstate 10 begins, and enjoying the beaches in Los Angeles, where Interstate 10 ends.  His greatest honor while there was the reception given to him by the Mayor and other honorable citizens of the city.

  Nelson actively competes each year in the Jacksonville Senior Olympic Games for the Javelin, Hammer, and Discus.  He holds the world record for doing the most wide-arm pull-ups with a 45 pound plate tied to his waist, which is in Ripley’s Believe it or Not.  He has received many honors, awards, and medals. In fact, he has appeared twice in Ripley’s Believe it or Not.

  When asked about his diet, he stated that he does not believe in diets unless prescribed by a healthcare professional.  He does believe that one should eat in moderation.  He states that everyone can’t make it to the gym everyday or have access to workout equipment.  Therefore, he has created a book which he  calls, “Old School Workout.” The book provides tips on how to exercise in an uncomplicated manner, and can be used by people of every age – from the very young to the very matured.

  Eddie has more fantastic advice in his book which can be found at Barnes and Nobles, Books A Million and from him directly.

  At 70, his main goal in life is to never stop working or working out and even has a modeling contract with an agency in Miami and a writing agreement with The Florida and Georgia Star newspapers.

  To live long and healthy, Eddie’s advice is to listen to your body, find the exercises that give you results, eat in moderation, and treat your body to proper rest.  He is thankful that his spouse, Deborah, daughter, Jackie Bell, grand children and great grand children, all understands.  He said his family provides him his biggest inspiration, support and encouragement.  And Eddie, you have definitely inspired this writer.

  You may reach Eddie Nelson at:  eddieoldschool@yahoo.com or at (904) 349-5288.

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Florida Leads U.S. in Youth Sentences

Posted on 25 May 2010 by The Florida Star Online

   Florida is called “The Sunshine State”.  We have a governor who made one of his first changes:  the ability for former prison inmates to vote.  We have Walter A. McNeil, Secretary and person in charge of the Department of Corrections, and Franchatta Barber, Assistant Secretary, is in charge of the Florida Re-Entry program.  Yet, Florida has the largest number of youth (over 70%) in the United States, serving life or many years of prison terms, all without parole, for crimes committed that did not include murder.  In fact, one report shows that no other prisoner in the United States is serving a life sentence without parole for a juvenile burglary conviction.  The three youth pictured above are from Jacksonville.

  Another concern is race in the State of Florida since only 16 percent of the general population is black.  Yet, almost half of Florida’s prison population is black and 84 percent of juveniles sentenced to life for offenses that did not include murder, are black.

    Shimeek Gridine, 15 was sentenced on the last day of April, 2010 to 70 years in prison, with no chance of parole, even though the Supreme Court determined this week that juveniles can no longer receive a life sentence if they are not accused of murder, without the chance for parole.   Such a sentence, according to the Supreme Court, is unconstitutional.  But Gridine’s case is different.  The Jacksonville judge did not give him a life sentence; he gave him 70 years, which is the longest term to date, in the state, for a youth who has committed a crime in which no one was killed.  At 15 years of age, he will be 85 years old when he is released.  He is not eligible for parole as the state does not allow parole.  He can apply for parole after serving 85% of his sentence, which means he will serve 59 and a half years before he can seek parole, which will make him 74 years of age.

  These youth are placed in a juvenile facility until they reach the age of 18.  At that age, they will be placed with other adults.

  So, what is the reason for a re-entry program for these youth? There is none.  Even though they may regret what they did as children, only those who come under the new Supreme Court’s decision will have the opportunity to prove they can serve and be a part of the community without a problem, and that is not a guarantee. 

  When talking with the attorney for Gridine, he stated that he is seeking a method,  information and materials to give the 15 year old a chance, including help from political personnel and the community since the Supreme Court’s decision did not include him.  The longest term given a youth prior to Gridine, was 40 years, and that too was in Florida.  Gridine’s family is out of money.  How will they be able to seek him a ‘chance.’?

  Terrance Graham, now 23, was implicated in armed robberies when he was 16 and 17 and has been locked up in Florida since.  Gridine did not have a history of crime as his only offense prior to this one was for petty theft.

  No one wants to see crime continue but everyone deserves a chance to change.

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Boy 15, Gets 70 Years for Attempted Murder

Posted on 16 May 2010 by The Florida Star Online


Shimeek Gridine, 15 years old



 Boy 15, Receives 70 Years for Attempted Murder

By:  Clara McLaughlin

Jacksonville, FL. – Shimeek Daquiel Gridine is now 15 years of age.  On Friday, May 15, 2009, he walked into the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office with his grandparents to give himself up for shooting Dana Battles behind a restaurant on Main Street.  Battles received a non-life threatening injury and was released from the hospital on the day of the shooting and attempted robbery.

  Shimeek, who was 14 at the time, and a 12-year-old friend, said they had found a small shot gun nearby, lying underneath a car after leaving the barber shop.  They saw Mr. Battles, according to Battles’ brother, taking out the garbage at the restaurant they thought was owned by him and said, “Give it up.”  Both boys are of small statue.  Mr. Battles is not.  So, according to Battles, Shimeek, standing between 6 and 10 feet away from the victim, shot him and quickly ran away.  However, we were told last year that the boys attempted to struggle with Battles and the gun went off.  When Shimeek turned himself in, he was charged with first degree attempted murder, attempted armed robbery and aggravated battery.  Because of the State Attorney’s new policy which is based on intent, at his first hearing before Juvenile Judge Linda McCallum, Shimeek was ordered held without bond until his arraignment.  At the arraignment, he was charged as an adult, again, because of his intent.  The 12-year-old was charged as a juvenile even though Shimeek claims the robbery was the 12 year olds idea.

  Shimeek’s family said he was basically a good boy who had suffered much during the past year.  He lost two family members about two weeks before his situation with Battles.   His mother lost her job and they moved to Jacksonville to live with his grandparents. According to the family, he had one previous incident with the law which was a petty theft charge.  His family said he had ‘good’ grades in school and they were willing to work with him to get him through his trying times.  From May 28, 2009 to the hearing on April 30, 2010, Shimeek’s family had given their all in trying to get him charged as a juvenile rather than as an adult.  They were comfortable that as a juvenile, he would receive the opportunity to get counseling, continue his education and receive job training after serving a reasonable amount of time for his mistake.  In fact, his attorney said that even other officers of the system felt that he would get a much lesser sentence with a maximum of 25 years since he pleaded guilty to armed robbery.  It was clear that he regretted his mistake, said his grandfather. 

  With an understanding and feeling that the judge would give Shimeek an opportunity to get his life on the right track, the youngster  went before Judge A.C. Soud, formerly of Family Court, without a jury.

  We were told by the family that the judge listened to the information provided as he witnessed that Shimeek had family members from as far away as New York and South Carolina there to support him.  The family members are very well spoken.

   After hearing the information from family, and seeing the support,  Judge Soud said, according to family, “Because you were known to be a good kid, because you have good grades and a good family that loves you, you knew better.  Therefore, for the first charge of Premeditated Attempted Murder, I sentence you to 70 years in prison.  On the second charge of Armed Robbery, I sentence you to 25 years. You will serve the sentences together.  The third charge of Aggravated Battery is being dropped.”  The judge then deducted the 300 plus days he had already served, leaving him around 69 years to finish his sentence.  The court was appalled.

  State Attorney Angela Corey said their policy is to focus on the perpetrator’s plan, not the outcome of the event.  When you pull a trigger that is pointed at someone’s head, you intend to kill.  It was fortunate for Mr. Battle that he did not die.  This crime affected two families.  She said.  She added that it is her wish that shooters would think of their love ones before shooting and perhaps carry a picture of the ones they love in their pockets to look at before pulling a trigger.

  Isaiah Rumlin, president of the Jacksonville NAACP said that they do not condone wrong doing but this is a very harsh sentence for a 15 year old and the NAACP will seek to have changes made.  He said if the judges are trying to send a message to our youth, using this young man as an example, is not the way.  Gridine’s attorney is seeking an appeal.

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This is Not Us!

Posted on 19 April 2010 by The Florida Star Online

Shown above is a billboard in New York, urging  youth to pull up their pants.  Senator Eric Adams of New York, spent his own money for the billboard because of  his strong feelings about this dress style in his Brooklyn district. 
  Many do not understand the style since it is a hinderance when one is walking and it sends an undesirable message regarding personality.  So do you really want to stand out in a negative way?  The sign is placed to give hope that the low pant wearers will raise their pants and  therefore their image.

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Now You Get Mad

Posted on 10 April 2010 by The Florida Star Online

We had eight years of Bush and Cheney, now you get mad!
You didn’t get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a President.
You didn’t get mad when Cheney allowed Energy company officials to dictate energy policy.
You didn’t get mad when a covert CIA operative got outed.
You didn’t get mad when the Patriot Act got passed..
You didn’t get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us.
You didn’t get mad when we spent over 600 billion (and counting) on said illegal war.
You didn’t get mad when over 10 billion dollars just disappeared in Iraq.
You didn’t get mad when you found out we were torturing people.
You didn’t get mad when the government was illegally wiretapping Americans.
You didn’t get mad when we didn’t catch Bin Laden.
You didn’t get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed.
You didn’t get mad when we let a major US city drown (New Orleans-Hurricane Katrina).
You didn’t get mad when we gave a 900 billion tax break to the rich.
You didn’t get mad when, using reconciliation; a trillion dollars of our tax dollars were redirected to insurance companies for Medicare Advantage which cost over 20 percent more for basically the same services that Medicare provides.
You didn’t get mad when the deficit hit the trillion dollar mark, and our debt hit the thirteen trillion dollar mark.

You finally got mad when the government decided that people in America deserved the right to see a doctor if they are sick. Yes, illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, stealing your tax dollars to make the rich richer, are all okay with you, but helping other Americans… oh hell no.
BUT YOU ARE 100% MAD.  Is it because we have an African American president?
  The above was written by an unknown author and submitted to The Star by Mr. James Favor.  What is bothering many is that in spite of progress made during the past 14 months, there is an increase in black candidates in the GOP and some are a part of the tea party which appears to be promoting the growing violence.  The FBI this week, arrested two men who threaten two female politicians and it is said that 30 governors were sent letters with strong demands.  Michigan’s Stupak, a tea party target said Friday morning, that he will retire from Congress this year, even though he said he fought his whole career for health care reform and now that it has been achieved, he is leaving.
  CNN, the ‘real’ news channel is falling behind Fox News in ratings even though Fox won a law suit based on the argument that it is not a requirement to tell the truth when reporting the news since it is not a law, just a policy of the Federal Communications Commission.
  The question now is, if improvement continues through the Obama administration will the masses continue to be ‘mad’?
Is it the masses that are mad or just the over  $250,000 income level tea party members – pushing the madness?  Don’t believe the hype, you are not losing your American freedom – such statements are made just to ‘make you mad.’

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Haiti Receives World Wide Help

Posted on 16 January 2010 by The Florida Star Online

This Haitian-born Canadian leader, thanked her country for their rapid response to help her earthquake ravaged birth place.  There were no “Rush Limbaughs or Pat Robertsons in Canada to criticize her or describe her homeland on a Christian TV station to say that the people of Haiti “were under the heel of the French.. and together swore a pact with the devil,” which justifies the earthquake and hardships.
  “Fly Jock”, Tom Joyner, took his crew to Haiti to broadcast the Tom Joyner Morning Show and to set up an Internet cafe’ so that Haitians could get in touch with their families.  World wide, help went to Haiti where it is reported that over 50,000 are believed to have died in this historical earthquake.  Joyner said we learned that we cannot sit back and wait for anyone to do for us what we can and must do for ourselves.  On his show earlier, listeners were encouraged to call “The 700 Club” to tell Pat Robertson that they were praying for him to become a ‘real’ Christian.
  Limbaugh displayed his displeasure with President Obama, which is not unusual, because of the president’s quick response to help the Haitians and many Americans either visiting or living in the country. 
  Jacksonville and Brunswick residents immediately poured in help and Congresswoman Corrine Brown appeared on station 105.3 to voice her support and to give instructions on how to help.
  Even though it has been reported that Tiger Woods whereabouts were unknown, Russell Simmons advised the New York Daily News that Woods is in the process of getting together a mobile hospital  with 50 EMT’s to go set up a triage.  According to Simmons, Woods is planning to make a $3 million contribution.
  After Robertson’s statement, it was explained that the reason Haiti is poor is because Europe imposed a blockade on trade after the slave revolt in 1804.  Presently, it is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and has had many natural and man made miseries.  Haiti has a population of 9 million people and has the second largest overall income gap between the very rich and the very poor, something America’s present administration is working to prevent.
 Even though many are helping, more help is needed.  Reports say that there is other danger for Haiti because of the prospect of aftershocks bringing down buildings.

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Crime Down-Black on Black Murders Up

Posted on 09 January 2010 by The Florida Star Online

Jacksonville and Brunswick Pastors Meet to Discuss and Organize
Jacksonville and Brunswick Pastors Meet to Discuss and Organize
Pastors and community leaders from Jacksonville, Brunswick and surrounding areas, held a press conference on black men murdering black men around the U.S., led by Pastor Ken Adkins of Jordan Grove Baptist, Brunswick.

Sheriff Rutherford, in a talk show conversation with Florida Star’s publisher, advised crime in Jacksonville dropped about 20% below what occurred in 2008.  And even though he did not have the statistics for black on black murders, specifically among black men, it was reported on PBS that the   black murder rate, of black men killing black men increased.  There were 111 homicides in 2009 in Jacksonville and 144 in 2008.  Police shootings in Jacksonville decreased in 2009 from 28 in 2008 to 15 in 2009. 
  The pastors joined hands in one of the highest crime areas of Jacksonville to announce their joint effort to bring healing, peace, safety and more importantly a drop in crime to many of the neighborhoods where their churches  are located.  In Jacksonville and Brunswick, the churches are getting together.

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Over 10,000 candles for Health care Reform

Posted on 16 December 2009 by The Florida Star Online

FStar-121209-a-01fOn Tuesday night, candle light vigils were in 48 states and Washington, D. C. with more than 10,000 participating.

In Nevada, MoveOn members delivered over 170,000 petition signatures to Senator Harry Reid’s staff and in Washington, D.C., over 200 people joined public option champions Senators Bernie Sanders and Roland Burris, and Reps. Raul Grijalva, Sheila Jackson-Lee, Barbara Lee, Lynn Woolsey, and Donna  Christensen just outside the Senate to demand real reform with a public option. The vigils were held throughout the states of Florida and Georgia.

In Jacksonville, the vigil was led by MoveOn workers, led by Judy at the corner of Main, State and Union. Clara McLaughlin, host of Impact Radio show, and publisher of The Florida Star newspaper did her normal radio show live at the event on progressive radio station, FM105.3, allowing many of those in attendance to voice why they were there and to tell of some of their experiences without health care after losing their jobs.

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Stolen Car Ring Caught

Posted on 16 December 2009 by The Florida Star Online

Apparently the law changed, and the six men above and three others, were not aware of the change as they performed their operation buying or transporting stolen cars. After receiving the vehicles, the operators would salvage them for parts and crush them into scrap metal. The method of stealing the vehicles was so fast, it was difficult to keep up, according to Sheriff Rutherford. A person would leave their cars for just a short moment and return to an empty space. The vehicle would be destroyed before the police could follow up with a report. However, a law went to affect last year that required all cars to come with a title of ownership before the car could be crushed.

The report said the thefts occurred at ABC Automotive and Salvage and at R&R Used Parts. There are ten salvage businesses in this city. Arrested: Donald Taylor, Johnathan Bradley, Jerry Gadsden, Paul George, Todd Robinson and Robert Sands. Three more are wanted.

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Man Left for Dead on Lawn

Posted on 16 December 2009 by The Florida Star Online

FStar-121209-a-01The neighbors and persons passing by heard gun shots at the Roosevelt Gardens apartments located in the 700 block of Lincoln Court and immediately called JSO. They found the victim lying on the lawn and also found bullet damage to one of the buildings.

People in the area told a Florida Star person that it is rumored that the victim, though they would not give a name, is the person who shot a taxi driver. They also stated that the cab driver was killed just a few feetaway from where the victim of this shooting was found. Their statement: “God does not like ugly.”

Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is still investigating the shooting and had not released any information as of this writing.

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President Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize

Posted on 10 October 2009 by The Florida Star Online

obama-10-10-09The Norwegian Nobel Committee said U. S. President Barack Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize for “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”

Nobel Statement:

norwaynobelThe Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 is to be awarded to President Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama’s vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.

Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts. The vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations. Thanks to Obama’s initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting. Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened.

Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future. His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world’s population.

For 108 years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has sought to stimulate precisely that international policy and those attitudes for which Obama is now the world’s leading spokesman. The Committee endorses Obama’s appeal that “Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges.”

Oslo, October 9, 2009

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Mob Kills Honor Student in Chicago

Posted on 03 October 2009 by The Florida Star Online

derrion_albertDerrion Albert, 16, was fatally beaten last Thursday in an after school mob melee in Chicago. He was an honor student, waiting for the bus, and just happened to be in the area of a gang war. Four were arrested.

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Black Leaders Launch Grassroots Campaign for Health Care

Posted on 26 September 2009 by The Florida Star Online

NNPA National Correspondent and Editor-in-Chief

The line is drawn. The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) has pledged to kill any House health care bill that does not include a robust public option and organization members of the Black Leadership Forum (BLF) are rolling out an array of grassroots campaigns in support of passing health care reform overall. TContinue Reading

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Child Health as a Critical National Security Issue

Posted on 26 September 2009 by The Florida Star Online

by Marian Wright Edelman
President, Children’s Defense Fund

In April 2005, a group of scholars at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services published a policy brief on “National Security and U.S. Child Health Policy: The Origins and Continuing Role of Medicaid and EPSDT.” (.pdf)

The Department of Health Policy chair, Dr. Sara Rosenbaum, and her colleagues studied how Medicaid and its comprehensive benefit package for children, the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT) program, were seen from the beginning as a key way to help ensure that we would have enough healthy young Americans prepared to serve and defend the country. As Congress and the nation focus more on health care reform now, it’s well worth reexamining the history of how this vital connection was made between child health and national security. As Dr. Rosenbaum and her colleagues looked at the roots of this link, they focused on an important 1964 government report titled, One Third of a Nation: A Report on Young Men Found Unqualified for Military Service. This study was commissioned as a response to the 50 percent rejection rate among young men drafted into the military in 1962, a rate so high it raised red flags about the nation’s ability to develop a well-prepared military. The rate among men who had stepped forward as volunteers was slightly better, but overall, approximately one-third of prospective recruits were being turned away in the early 1960s. In September 1963, President Kennedy asked the Secretaries of Defense, Labor, and Health, Education, and Welfare to lead a Task Force on Manpower Conservation to study why this was so and determine what could be done to fix it.

What they learned was that far too many prospective recruits just weren’t healthy enough for service. The Task Force’s final report, Dr. Rosenbaum and her colleagues found, “concluded that the military draft failure rate provided powerful evidence of ‘the unfinished business of the Nation.'” They note, “Among [the report’s] most significant findings: the majority of young men rejected for compulsory military service in the early 1960s failed as a result of physical and mental health conditions, many of which could have been diagnosed and successfully treated in childhood and adolescence. These young adults typically came from impoverished families and had experienced unrelenting deprivation in health care, education, and employment. The report’s findings provided compelling evidence for an underlying tenet of President Johnson’s conclusion that improving the health and well being of the nation’s poor required strategies aimed at ameliorating the effects of social, economic, and health disparities.”

President Johnson said after the report was released in January 1964 that “The findings of this Task Force are dramatic evidence that poverty is still with us, still exacting its price in spoiled lives and failed expectations. For entirely too many Americans the promise of American life is not being kept.” Ultimately the Task Force, and the politicians who shaped its initial findings into policy, concluded that one answer was for the government to take a more active role in safeguarding the health of the nation’s children, especially the poorest children who needed the most help. They realized that fighting the inequalities that existed and keeping all children as healthy as possible was necessary for them to grow up to be productive citizens—including members of the military.

Forty years later, evidence still overwhelmingly shows that early intervention and prevention make a critical difference in children’s health. Meanwhile, our national security needs—as well as our nation’s overall needs for healthy, educated citizens prepared to compete in a globalized economy—are more serious than ever. Dr. Rosenbaum and her colleagues say in their conclusion, “The importance of a continuing commitment to broad child health policy endures, even as the health system itself is transformed. National security depends on the growth and development of children; in view of the demographics of those who serve, this dependence is particularly striking in the case of the low-income children who are at greatest risk for poor health outcomes.”

Health disparities still exist for poor children and children of color. But Congress has the opportunity and responsibility this year to make certain that the promise of American life is being kept for all children by committing to real child health system reform. They can include amendments by Representative Bobby Scott that provide comprehensive child-appropriate EPSDT benefits for all children and they can enact amendments offered by Representative Bobby Rush to simplify the health bureaucracy and to make sure that millions of children are better off, and not worse off, than they are today. We must ensure that health coverage in any final health care reform bill will guarantee all children the comprehensive health and mental health care they need and be affordable and simple to get and keep. Our children’s and our nation’s security still depend on making sure that our children really get the health care they need now.

Marian Wright Edelman, whose new book is The Sea Is So Wide And My Boat Is So Small: Charting a Course for the Next Generation, is president of the Children’s Defense Fund. For more information about the Children’s Defense Fund, go to http://www.childrensdefense.org/.

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Mayor's Book Club Begins Sixth Year

Posted on 12 September 2009 by The Florida Star Online

Mayor_Peyton_readingprogram_092009Mayor John Peyton helped hand out new RALLY Jacksonville! book bags to excited four-year olds to kick off the sixth year of the Mayor’s Book Club. He and other city officials thanked new and renewing sponsors who provided funding for nine books, flash cards, bookmarks and other reading-related items distributed with the new bags. The sponsorships, valued at more than $92,000, will make it possible for up to 12,000 children to join the club this year. The March on Washington and Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech occurred 46 years ago – August 28, 1963.

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