Pembroke Pines mayor says there’s ‘nothing wrong’ with city’s drinking water

Pembroke Pines Mayor Frank Ortis is pushing back against a statement from the Florida Department of Health regarding the city’s drinking water that claims “the water is currently not meeting the standards for disinfectant byproducts.”

“(There is) nothing wrong, Amy, nothing wrong with the water in Pembroke Pines,” Ortis told Local 10 News investigative reporter Amy Viteri.

The byproducts mentioned in the DOH’s statement are trihalomethanes, or TTHMs.

Tests late last year in one area of the city showed an excessive level of contaminants in the water. The city sent out a letter, required by state law, to residents about the violation, explaining that high levels of TTHM’s can lead to liver and kidney issues and even cancer.

A Pembroke Pines resident, identified only as Joe, said he was confused when he got a second letter on Feb. 23 about the water. He said language in the first notice was scary, and the second letter claimed that the water was always safe.

The health department reacted with a warning notice, accusing the city of disseminating misleading information about the water. The department has since launched an investigation.

Meanwhile, Joe, whose wife was just diagnosed with cancer, was left confused and worried.

“Especially since my wife’s going to start chemotherapy and radiation therapy,” he said.

“The health department is saying that it’s potentially misleading to send the second letter that the city sent,” Viteri told the mayor.

“Well, we disagree with the health department,” Ortis said. “Obviously, they’re going to fine us the $2,400. That is normal, but everything is fine.”

Joe said he questions whether everything really is fine.

“I wonder if the mayor is really doing his job. He’s supposed to be protecting us,” Joe said.

“When people are hearing one thing from the health department and another thing from city leaders, they feel like their health is caught in the middle,” Viteri told the mayor.

“I understand, their health,” Ortis said. “No reason to worry in this city.”

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Cell phone service study claims South Florida ranks among worst in country

South Florida has a lot of things going for it; unfortunately, it’s one of the worst areas in the country to use your cell phone to brag about them.

A new study by RootMetrics shows the Miami market near the bottom of U.S. cities for cell phone performance.

Miami dropped an astounding 61 spots in the new 2016 rankings, down to number 89.

In reliability, Miami ranked 97th, while faring a bit better in speed by coming in 57th. Miami ranked lowest in text with a ranking of 114.

Eight Florida cities ranked higher than the Miami area in the overall Top 125 rankings:

  • Fort Myers (13)
  • Tampa (30)
  • Palm Bay (42)
  • Orlando (44)
  • Kissimmee (62)
  • Port St. Lucie (71)
  • Daytona Beach (74)
  • Jacksonville (75)
  • MIAMI (89)
  • Sarasota (90)
  • Bonita Springs (120)

Indianapolis, Richmond and Cleveland were the top three finishers in the rankings; however, their beach rankings were not as high as Miami’s.




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Car carrier overturns on ramp from Florida’s Turnpike to I-595

A car carrier overturned Monday afternoon on a ramp from Florida’s Turnpike to Interstate 595, causing traffic delays.

Sky 10 was above the ramp as the flatbed truck carrying crushed cars was resting on its side, blocking the lanes.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the driver was not seriously hurt.

The southbound exit ramp to I-595 is closed while authorities work to clear the scene. The FHP hasn’t said when the ramp will reopen.

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Propane tanks, ammunition fuel RV fire in Davie, authorities say

A recreational vehicle with propane tanks and ammunition inside caught fire Monday morning in Davie, authorities said.

Investigators are working to determine how the fire started.

“Upon arrival, our units found an RV camper that was fully involved right next to a residential home. The fire had extended into the house,” Assistant Chief Jorge Gonzalez, of Davie Fire Rescue, said.

Authorities said the fire wasn’t easy to get to because the RV and home were more than 1,000 feet off Davie Road, just north of Stirling Road. Once crews reached the flames, they found dangerous new challenges.

“Propane tanks and ammunition were in the RV camper, creating a little bit of a problem for us with fighting the fire,” Gonzalez said.

Crews at the scene said the ammunition kept exploding.

They said safety valves began releasing gas as the heat rose in the camper and pressure built in the propane tanks, causing the tanks to become like torches sending out streams of fire.

Firefighters were eventually able to knock down the flames, but not until after the RV was already destroyed.

Authorities said one person was treated for smoke inhalation at the scene, but wasn’t transported to the hospital.

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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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Family hit by pickup truck in Dania Beach; woman’s leg severed

A family of six preparing to leave for a cruise on Monday was hit by a pickup truck as the group walked back to a hotel, an investigator with the Broward Sheriff’s Office said.

The family members were walking on the grass on the side of Southwest 42nd Street near Ravenswood Road when they were hit just before 8 p.m.

They were identified Monday as David Wensel, 51, and Kathleen Wensel, 47, and their children, Raquel Leota, 24, Tyson Wensel, 10, Brian Wensel, 24, and Hope Wensel, 11. Leota’s husband, Thomas Leota, 31, was also injured in the crash.

Authorities said Raquel Leota’s lower left leg was severed and Tyson Wensel also suffered an injury to his right leg. Thomas Leota suffered minor injuries. They were taken to Broward Health Medical Center.

According to a GoFundMe page set up for the family’s medical expenses, Raquel Leota lost her foot and Tyson Wensel suffered a severe concussion, laceration to his right leg and a fractured left foot. Both of his lungs were also bruised. The brother and sister remain in the hospital’s ICU.

The GoFundMe page claims that the driver of the pickup truck was drunk at the time.

“We are grateful to Broward Sherriff”s Office, the paramedics and the staff here at Broward Health Medical Center for providing such good care to our family,” the family said in a statement.

Authorities said the family from Eagle Mountain, Utah, walked to the Rustic Inn for dinner before the crash. They were walking back to the Fairfield Inn & Suites on Griffin Road near Interstate 95 when a driver plowed into the group.

Deputies said James Howell, 57, of Pembroke Pines, was behind the wheel of the Chevrolet pickup truck that struck the family. Witnesses said Howell, who suffered some minor injuries, swerved to the wrong side of the road and hit the group from behind before crashing into a fence.

Authorities are investigating whether alcohol or speed contributed to the wreck.

Howell has been released from the hospital. It’s unclear whether he will face charges.

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