South Florida restaurant fails first inspection under new owner

State records show that China Moon in Oakland Park failed its initial food licensing inspection. An inspector found 26 violations, including a roach issue in the kitchen.

The restaurant itself has been opened for some time, but changed owners, initiating the inspection.

A McDonald’s in Sunrise was also ordered shut due to a lack of hot water and construction issues.

A report shows that about 100 rodent droppings were discovered in the kitchen at Latin House Express in North Miami.

The restaurant inside the Balmoral in Bal Harbour was also ordered shut after roach issues were discovered.

Below is a list of places and some of their violations. All the places listed were allowed to re-open following an ordered clean-up and re-inspection.

***Latin House Express

13990 W. Dixie Highway

North Miami

Ordered shut March 24

32 violations found

“Rodent activity present as evidenced by approximately 50-100 dry and 3-4 moist rodent droppings found throughout the kitchen area.”

“Potentially hazardous (time/temperature control for safety) food cold held at greater than 41 degrees Fahrenheit. ham (77°F – Cold Holding); eggs (78°F – Cold Holding) less than 2 hrs per operator.”

“Potentially hazardous (time/temperature control for safety) hot held at less than 135 degrees Fahrenheit or above. rice (127°F – Hot Holding); Beef (128°F – Hot Holding) less than 3hrs per operator.”

“Raw animal food stored over cooked food. Raw chicken / cooked chicken.”

“Soil residue in food storage containers. With sugar.”

“Interior of microwave soiled with encrusted food debris.”

“Food not stored at least 6 inches off of the floor. Container of sugar.”

***Balmoral Restaurant

9801 Collins Ave.

Bal Harbour

Ordered shut March 21

7 violations found

“Roach activity present as evidenced by live roaches found. Approximately 4 live roaches observed underneath prep table which is across from central cook line. Approximately 2 live roaches observed crawling on wooden shelves which are above prep table in the center of the kitchen. Approximately 2 live roaches in oven at central cook line.”

“Raw animal food stored over or with ready-to-eat food in reach-in freezer – not all products commercially packaged. Raw beef patties over precooked chicken tenders in reach in freezer on south wall of kitchen. Employee moved items to appropriate location.”

“Interior of refrigerator soiled with accumulation of food residue.”


10901 W. Oakland Park Blvd.


Ordered shut March 21

21 violations found

“Establishment closes inside dining room to customers but drive-thru remains open. Drive-thru customers are not allowed to use an inside bathroom. The establishment has set up 2 port-a-Potty bathrooms outside. They have set up a hand sink outside to wash hands. There is no hot water available at this sink. Employees are also required to use these bathrooms because there are no interior bathrooms available.”

“Hand wash sink removed from food preparation/dishwashing area. Must be reinstalled in the same location where removed. Observed that the hand wash sink in the front drink preparation area has been removed. The only hand sink available is located in the rear of the establishment. Observed that another hand sink was removed a south side wall in a food prep area. This was verified on the last submitted approved plans dated 1/28/2009.”

“Employee failed to wash hands before changing gloves and/or putting on gloves to work with food. Observed a manager put on one blue glove to handle food without washing hands first.”

“Employee handled soiled equipment or utensils and then engaged in food preparation, handled clean equipment or utensils, or touched unwrapped single-service items without washing hands. Observed a employee in the drink service area handling a wet wiping cloth to wipe down equipment, then continue to prepare drinks and handle take-out cups or containers without washing hands.”

“Potentially hazardous (time/temperature control for safety) food held using time as a public health control marked with a time that exceeds the 6-hour limit. See stop sale. Observed time marks for lettuce and sliced tomatoes expired on 3/19/17. The time marks were corrected.”

“Raw animal food stored over ready-to-eat food. Observed raw shell eggs are stored on top of burritos in a reach-in cooler. The eggs were properly relocated.”

“No plan review submitted and approved – renovations were made or are in progress.”

***China Moon Restaurant

884 E. Oakland Park Blvd.

Oakland Park

Ordered shut March 20

26 violations found

“Roach activity present as evidenced by live roaches found. Observed 3 on the kitchen floor. 1 on the floor under the only hand sink. 1 running across a rice warmer. 3 under a rice warmer. 2 on the floor at the entrance to the kitchen. 2 on the floor behind front counter on the floor.”

“Dead roaches on premises. 6 under the 3 compartment sink. 8 on the floor under the hand sink.”

“Raw animal food stored over or with ready-to-eat food in reach-in freezer – not all products commercially packaged. Observed raw meat and raw seafood stored above cooked foods in a chest freezer . Raw ground meat stored on top of cooked egg rolls in another chest freezer.”

“Establishment advertised crab on menu/menu board but served imitation crab. Establishment advertises crab Rangoon on the menu and uses imitation crab.”

“Chlorine sanitizer not at proper minimum strength for manual ware washing. Do not use equipment/utensils not properly sanitized. Observed none being used.”

“Employee with no hair restraint while engaging in food preparation. The cook. He put on a hat.”

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Young man found dead in southwest Miami-Dade canal bank

A young man was found dead over the weekend in a canal bank in southwest Miami-Dade.Police said the body of Alberto Jimenez-Ramirez, 20, was found just after 3 a.m. Saturday in the area of Southwest 272nd Street and Old Dixie Highway.A cause of death h…

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It wasn’t seaweed; Man finds marijuana bale on Florida beach

Authorities say a 52-year-old man called 911 after finding a bale of marijuana that had washed up on a Florida beach.

Jeff Stolowitz tells local news outlets he was walking on Daytona Beach on Saturday morning when he spotted the object, which was shaped like a giant cigar. As he got closer on Saturday morning, he saw a ripped edge and what appeared to be blood. That’s when he called for help.

Volusia County Beach Safety Capt. Mike Berard says narcotics sometimes wash ashore when the surf kicks up. He says small amounts are typically tested and disposed of, but larger amounts are transferred to another agency.

Berard says they’ve found cocaine, medical waste and 30-gallon drums of diesel fuel on the beach after big storms or high surf.

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Should a slave-era song be used as a sports chant?

“I looked over Jordan, what do I see, Coming for to carry me home. A band of angels coming after me, Coming for to carry me home.”

It is one of the most recognized African-American spirituals. Revered, emotive, and rooted in the horrors of US slavery and the oppression of race.

But for the last three decades, the familiar melody of “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” has also been the adopted anthem of England’s rugby union team, its haunting chorus a common echo in stadiums where the national team plays.

And therein lines the problem.

Is it right that a slave-era song — one which is believed to be a coded message for those slaves seeking the underground railroad to freedom — is used to galvanize a national team to sporting glory?

Should lyrics which are about suffering and despair be sung by thousands of England fans who are often middle-class, often white?

“A slap in the face to the history of slavery,” is how Cornell William Brooks, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), described the use of this spiritual in a sporting arena.

Lord Herman Ouseley, a British Member of Parliament and chairman of anti-racism group Kick it Out, said singing “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” to cheer a rugby team was a matter of “ignorance, lack of sensitivity and arrogance.”

American academics have called it cultural appropriation, but many England rugby union fans are unaware of the origins of a tune they now call their own and believe it now serves a different function.

‘Historically insulting and disturbing’

Brooks, a lawyer and an activist, admitted he was not aware of how “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” was being used on the other side of the Atlantic until the issue was raised by American media during this year’s Six Nations.

Despite this not being the first instance of music or art originating in one historical context but used in another, Brooks said singing “Sweet Low, Sweet Chariot” in the stands was no less disconcerting.

“As the CEO of NAACP and a fourth generation minister in the Methodist church, it’s difficult to overlook the degree to which these songs are being ripped out of their history,” he told CNN Sport.

“Can you imagine people whose lives, bodies and beings were being sold as commodities singing about freedom, their longing for freedom, their longing for a God to free them, and have those same songs being sung in celebration of a victory on a rugby field? It’s just odd and historically insulting.

“Rugby, as with any sport, has a certain universal appeal and everyone — all the fans — should be comfortable and enjoy the experience. Listening to a song about slavery on a rugby field is just an insulting and disturbing experience.

“As an African American and descendant of slaves, it would be very hard for me to listen to a spiritual being sung on a rugby field. That’s not something I could do and a great many people aware of their history would find it very disturbing. “

‘Ignorance and arrogance’

Professor Louis Moore, associate professor of history at Michigan’s Grand Valley State University, said he was shocked, but not surprised, to learn of a solemn spiritual being used at Twickenham, the home of English rugby union.

“At best its just a bad mistake, at worst it’s a continuation of global imperialism in sport,” he told CNN Sport.

“It’s about appropriation, power and not caring about history. You’d hope they find another national song.”

Social media threats

Lord Ouseley described the abuse he has been subjected to on social media when addressing such issues as tiresome and threatening.

“The moment someone, like myself, suggests that the authorities try to read knowledge and sensitivity, you can expect a reaction claiming that you want them to ban them from singing their theme for no other reason that ‘political correctness,’ whatever that is, followed by a barrage of endless social media abuse,” said the 72-year-old Guyana-born parliamentarian.

“The reality is that most black British people have bigger issues to confront in the context of inequalities and exclusion and have therefore become apathetic towards challenging racially offensive chanting.

“Those small number of black followers who go to Twickenham are almost themselves ignorant about the history of this solemn spiritual and its origin.

“They are happy to blend in with the crowd and pleased to feel accepted by not showing objection to any intended or unintended disrespect and abuse.

“I cannot imagine attendees at a Black Power meeting wasting their time signing ‘Rule Britannia’ even satirically knowing that the symbolism of such themes are about the painful experiences of slavery, oppression, exclusion and racism.”

‘It should be sung with gusto’

On learning of the song’s origins, Tony Crawford, 60, from Birmingham believed “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” should still be “sung with gusto” at Twickenham regardless.

“It’s tradition,” he told CNN Sport before his team’s Six Nations clash with Scotland. “It’s a great song.”

Another England fan, Casey Boyd, from London, believed the context had changed.

“What it represents now is not the same thing it represented back then and this is more about a song that’s being sung to build team spirit,” she said.

Brooks said the England team itself had the power to stop the song being used as a rugby union anthem.

“Whether or not there will be legislative, legal jurisdiction is one thing, but the ability of the team themselves to do something about that is pretty much unquestioned,” he said.

When asked whether the Rugby Football Union (RFU) — English rugby’s governing body — would be reviewing the use of “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” an RFU spokesperson said: “Swing Low has been associated with rugby and rugby clubs for decades.

“It is sung by fans to get behind the England rugby team.”

England fans first sang “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” on March 19, 1988, to celebrate the team’s victory over Ireland.

Why that song? Why then? British newspapers have pinned its origins to the performance of Chris Oti, the scorer of a hat-trick in that victory over the Irish and the first black man to play for England in 80 years. James Peters had been the first black player to represent England in 1906.

A group of students, so the story goes, burst into song in recognition of Oti’s display that day and since then it has taken on a life of its own.

For Brooks, there is no mitigation.

“In respect to the song being sung for a black player does not make it any less offensive to black people, that does not mitigate the insult and injury at all,” he said.

“The fact that this may have been some kind of personal celebration does not in any way speak that it is politically insulting.”

Professor Moore added: “Things change, the meaning of words change. But it’s who’s changing the meaning. That’s the real problem here.

“Apparently it’d been nearly a 100 years since that team had a black player, which is striking. That says a lot about that sport, about the opportunity to play it.”

Before his team’s Six Nations match against Scotland on March 11, New Zealand-born England captain Dylan Hartley defended the use of the song to galvanize the team.

“I don’t know the history,” he told reporters. “To me ‘Swing Low’ is the England rugby song. I’ve knew it like that as a kid, growing up in New Zealand. Should I know the history?

“To us it’s the noise, the sheer atmosphere it generates and the feelgood factor it gives Twickenham.”

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As Americans fail drug tests, employers turn to refugees

Inside a factory near this lakeside city, a man holding a blowtorch is putting the finishing touches on a plastic rain barrel that will soon make its way to a home and garden section somewhere in America.

He is Talib Alzamel, a 45-year-old Syrian refugee who arrived here last summer with his wife and five children. He can’t speak much English, but neither can most of the 40 refugees who work at Sterling Technologies, a plastic molding company based near the shores of Lake Erie. They earn $8 to $14 an hour.

The refugees at Sterling come from all over the world, from Syria to Sudan, Chad to Bhutan. And they’ve all passed the company’s standard drug test.

“In our lives, we don’t have drugs,” said Alzamel, who was hired within three months after arriving in Pennsylvania. “We don’t even know what they look like or how to use them.”

But for an increasing number of American-born workers, passing drug tests is a big problem.

The percentage of American workers testing positive for illegal drugs has climbed steadily over the last three years to its highest level in a decade, according to Quest Diagnostics, which performed more than 10 million employment drug screenings last year. The increase has been fueled in part by rural America’s heroin epidemic and the legalization of recreational marijuana in states like Colorado.

With roughly half of U.S. employers screening for drugs, failed tests have real consequences for the economy.

More than 9 percent of employees tested positive for one or more drugs in oral fluid screenings in 2015, the most recent year for which data was available. And the problem is even worse at places like Sterling Technologies.

“Twenty percent of the people are failing,” said Cary Quigley, the company’s president. “We’re seeing positive tests anywhere from marijuana through amphetamines, right all the way through crystal meth and heroin.”

Which is why refugees like Alzamel, despite some language barriers, are quickly snapping up jobs.

“The big factories … they have a problem with the drugs, so like every time they fire someone, they replace him with the refugee, to be honest,” said Bassam Dabbah, who works at a US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants field office in Erie. “The only barrier is the language, but they are picking it up very quick.”

‘It’s like the United Nations’

The status of refugees in the U.S. has been under scrutiny since President Donald Trump’s executive orders limiting the number of immigrants to the country. On March 6, Trump signed a new order that bans immigration from six Muslim-majority nations and reinstates a temporary blanket ban on all refugees.

But because of the increase in positive drug tests, the refugees who have reached America in recent years are finding a more welcoming hiring climate, at least for menial manufacturing jobs.

Nearly 6,000 refugees have settled in the last five years in Louisville, Kentucky, helping companies hire workers for jobs that had gone unfilled. Methamphetamine use is so high in Louisville that the number of people testing positive for meth in workplace drug tests is 47percent higher than the national average, according to Quest Diagnostics.

Inside the White Castle food processing plant, where they make 50,000 hamburgers per hour, “it’s become like the United Nations,” says Jamie Richardson, a company vice president.

Antigona Mehani, employment services manager at Kentucky Refugee Ministries, says she can usually find a refugee a job within three days.

Employers tell her, “send us as many as you can,” she said. “I hear this every single day.”

CNN’s reporting discovered a similar dynamic in many parts of the country, from Columbus, Ohio, to Albany, New York, to a company in Indiana that supplies parts for Ford cars.

While many employers insist that drug testing keeps the workplace safe and ensures a productive and stable work environment, there is no conclusive evidence that it’s necessary for all jobs or that it lowers risks or reduces drug use.

And workers flunking drug tests is not a new problem, said Calvina L. Fay, executive director of the Drug Free America Foundation.

But it’s a problem that is getting worse, she said.

Fay said employers are especially concerned about the increasing failure rates in “safety sensitive” workplaces, where a lapse by an employee under the influence of drugs could cost lives.

“They’re frustrated for a number of reasons. In some cases they are having trouble hiring drug-free workers,” Fay said. “They can’t drug-test people every day, so there will be people who slip through the cracks.”

In Colorado, where marijuana is legal, some businesses have told Fay, “they see employees smoking pot on their lunch break and then going back to work.”

One oil and trucking company in Colorado did random drug screening last year and flunked 80% of their employees, mostly for marijuana, Fay said. Colorado’s Supreme Court has ruled that companies may fire employees who smoke pot, even if legally.

“They had to replace everyone,” she said. “The employer was glad he found the problem because his employees do extremely dangerous work. He was shocked and disturbed.”

‘A really good source of labor’

In the last five years, nearly 4,000 refugees have resettled in Erie, PA, a city that has struggled economically in recent decades.

Locals say the area also is dealing with a drug epidemic.

“‘Right now around here, heroin’s big, sad to say,” said Sterling Technologies floor manager, Marty Learn, who has seen four or five workers in his department fail drug tests in recent months.

“I’ve had no refugees fail it,” he added.

“In the Sunday newspaper there was a four- or five-page spread for employment advertisements and almost every one of them said, ‘Must pass a background check and a drug screen.’ So there’s a lot of people who are unemployed as a result,” said Amanda Milleren, a drug-addiction counselor at Cove Forge Behavioral Health System in Erie.

Erie has lost over half its manufacturing jobs since the 1980s, says Shannon Monnat, a rural studies professor at Penn State University. Meanwhile, the city has faced rising rates of drug overdoses, alcohol-related deaths, and suicides.

“When business owners are telling you that they can’t find native residents who will do these jobs, or they can’t find enough people in the community to pass a drug test, what are they to do?” said Monnat. “They need to seek out employees somewhere. And for now, immigrants are a really good source of that labor.”

Companies and staffing agencies in Erie and other cities have come to see refugee resettlement agencies as good partners to help expand the local labor pool.

And recovering drug addicts in Erie told CNN they can see why employers have had to look elsewhere for workers.

But some still think they deserve a second chance.

“I know that refugees need an opportunity when they come here, and employers give them the opportunity. But people like us that live here also need an opportunity,” said Bethany Kaschak, 34. “I’m not saying they don’t deserve it. But we deserve it as well.”

Trump won Erie County in November, the first time it had gone for a Republican presidential candidate since 1984.

Sterling Technology’s management voted for Trump and hopes he will push for tax cuts that will allow them to reinvest in their business. But at the same time, they don’t want to see their refugee-powered workforce go away.

“Do I want to see all of my people deported?” asked Quigley, the Sterling Technologies president. “Absolutely not. They’re a part of this company. They’ve helped build this company,” he said.

“Our goal is to continue to grow the company. We can’t grow the company without people that want to do the work.”

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