Authorities turn away thousands of Florida Disaster Food Assistance Program applicants

There was high demand for government funds meant to be used for food this weekend in South Florida. By the time the temporary government distribution centers for the Florida Disaster Food Assistance Program cards were open Saturday morning, officers were already turning thousands away.

At C.B. Smith Park in Pembroke Pines, there was a long line of people sleeping in their cars Friday and Saturday night. They wanted to be the first to get in and apply for a program designed to help them recover from Hurricane Irma, which prompted evacuations and power outages in September.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture entrusted the Florida’s Department of Children and Families with distributing the Florida Disaster Food Assistance Program cards, which can be redeemed for food at local supermarkets.

Government employees were moving as fast as they could at C.B. Smith Park trying to process applicants, as a long line of hopeful recipients waited outside. DCF Communications Director Beatriz Lopez said Saturday that they had served 1.1 million people in Florida and were going to help more, but not before coming up with a safer distribution plan.

Lopez said police officers were citing health and safety concerns. The centers at Amelia Earhart Park at 451 E 56 St., in Hialeah; tents at Tropical Park at 7900 SW 40 St.; Miami-Dade College’s North Campus at 11380 NW 27 Ave.; and South Dade Government Center at 10710 SW 211 St., were closed Saturday, according to Lopez.

Amelia Earhart Park’s location was going to remain closed, and the three other sites in Miami-Dade will be open Sunday, Lopez said.

“Individuals will be served as long as it is safe to do so,” Lopez said. “The lines at the sites may close down again early in the day in order to ensure safety operations.”

Locations in Broward County were also closed Saturday and Sunday, according to the Broward Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Veda Coleman-Wright. She added BSO was working with program organizers and other law enforcement agencies to ensure the public’s safety during the process.

Lopez said the three Food for Florida locations in Broward County will be closed Sunday per a request from the Broward Sheriff’s Office following the response to the sites this week.

DCF will serve Broward County residents again later this month to ensure that every family in need has the opportunity to safely receive needed aid, Lopez said. Sites in neighboring counties are available to assist families for urgent needs.

Lopez said families can visit sites in Palm Beach County this week because Miami-Dade County has seen an unprecedented response.

Additional counties in the region also have sites that will be open and more information is available on the Food for Florida website, Lopez said. Information on date, time and locations will continue to be posted on the website and announced as soon as possible.

Seven temporary government sites opened in South Florida Wednesday and were meant to have employees meeting with applicants through Sunday. Officials were encouraging applicants to pre-register at MyFLFamilies.com, but on Saturday even some applicants who pre-registered were having to walk away.

The locations in Broward were Central Broward Regional Park at 3801 W. Sunrise Blvd., in Lauderhill; and the Quiet Waters Park at 401 S. Powerline Rd., in Deerfield Beach. Lopez said additional days will be announced for Miami-Dade.

For more information about the program, call 1-866-762-2237.

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Authorities turn away thousands of Florida Disaster Food Assistance Program applicants

There was high demand for government funds meant to be used for food this weekend in South Florida. By the time the temporary government distribution centers for the Florida Disaster Food Assistance Program cards were open Saturday morning, officers were already turning thousands away.

At C.B. Smith Park in Pembroke Pines, there was a long line of people sleeping in their cars Friday and Saturday night. They wanted to be the first to get in and apply for a program designed to help them recover from Hurricane Irma, which prompted evacuations and power outages in September.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture entrusted the Florida’s Department of Children and Families with distributing the Florida Disaster Food Assistance Program cards, which can be redeemed for food at local supermarkets.

Government employees were moving as fast as they could at C.B. Smith Park trying to process applicants, as a long line of hopeful recipients waited outside. DCF Communications Director Beatriz Lopez said Saturday that they had served 1.1 million people in Florida and were going to help more, but not before coming up with a safer distribution plan.

Lopez said police officers were citing health and safety concerns. The centers at Amelia Earhart Park at 451 E 56 St., in Hialeah; tents at Tropical Park at 7900 SW 40 St.; Miami-Dade College’s North Campus at 11380 NW 27 Ave.; and South Dade Government Center at 10710 SW 211 St., were closed Saturday, according to Lopez.

Amelia Earhart Park’s location was going to remain closed, and the three other sites in Miami-Dade will be open Sunday, Lopez said.

“Individuals will be served as long as it is safe to do so,” Lopez said. “The lines at the sites may close down again early in the day in order to ensure safety operations.”

Locations in Broward County were also closed Saturday and Sunday, according to the Broward Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Veda Coleman-Wright. She added BSO was working with program organizers and other law enforcement agencies to ensure the public’s safety during the process.

Lopez said the three Food for Florida locations in Broward County will be closed Sunday per a request from the Broward Sheriff’s Office following the response to the sites this week.

DCF will serve Broward County residents again later this month to ensure that every family in need has the opportunity to safely receive needed aid, Lopez said. Sites in neighboring counties are available to assist families for urgent needs.

Lopez said families can visit sites in Palm Beach County this week because Miami-Dade County has seen an unprecedented response.

Additional counties in the region also have sites that will be open and more information is available on the Food for Florida website, Lopez said. Information on date, time and locations will continue to be posted on the website and announced as soon as possible.

Seven temporary government sites opened in South Florida Wednesday and were meant to have employees meeting with applicants through Sunday. Officials were encouraging applicants to pre-register at MyFLFamilies.com, but on Saturday even some applicants who pre-registered were having to walk away.

The locations in Broward were Central Broward Regional Park at 3801 W. Sunrise Blvd., in Lauderhill; and the Quiet Waters Park at 401 S. Powerline Rd., in Deerfield Beach. Lopez said additional days will be announced for Miami-Dade.

For more information about the program, call 1-866-762-2237.

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Thief uses cattle prod to rob Fort Pierce gas station

A 21-year-old man used a cattle prod to rob a Fort Pierce gas station in order to get money to see his son, city police said. 

Middleton Henderson walked into a Citgo gas station at about 10:19 a.m. in the 4100 block of Okeechobee Road and asked the victim for a bathroom key, police said. When he was told that the bathroom was out of order, Henderson left the store, and loitered outside for an extended time. 

He then walked back into the store with a cattle prod in his hand and shocked the victim with it, police said. He then jumped over the counter and took money from a drawer before punching and kicking the victim. 

Henderson left the prod on the floor as he left the store, and the victim, who had injuries to his eyes, hands and body, and called police. 

Shortly after an officer spotted a man matching Henderson’s description inside an abandoned house in the 2300 block of South 29th Street.

Henderson was taken into custody shortly after, and police found a large sum on money in his right back pocket, police said. 

After being read his rights Henderson agreed to speak to police. 

When asked why he was arrested, Henderson said “armed robbery I’m guessing,” according to an arrest report. 

He then said that he hadn’t seen his son in weeks and thought that if he could get some money then he would be able to see him, the report said.  Henderson went on to say that he recently lost his house, car and job and had been homeless. 

Henderson told police that he waited a while before going inside the store with the cattle prod and that his plan was to shock the clerk and stun him — leaving him with enough time to grab the money and go, the report said. 

Things didn’t go Henderson’s way when the clerk fought back, according to the report and that’s what caused Henderson to take the money and run. 

Henderson was arrested on charges of robbery with a weapon and aggravated battery with bodily harm. 

 

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Man uses cattle prod to rob Fort Pierce gas station

A 21-year-old man used a cattle prod to rob a Fort Pierce gas station in order to get money to see his son, city police said. 

Middleton Henderson walked into a Citgo gas station at about 10:19 a.m. in the 4100 block of Okeechobee Road and asked the victim for a bathroom key, police said. When he was told that the bathroom was out of order, Henderson left the store, and loitered outside for an extended time. 

He then walked back into the store with a cattle prod in his hand and shocked the victim with it, police said. He then jumped over the counter and took money from a drawer before punching and kicking the victim. 

Henderson left the prod on the floor as he left the store, and the victim, who had injuries to his eyes, hands and body, called police. 

Shortly after the incident an officer spotted a man matching Henderson’s description inside an abandoned house in the 2300 block of South 29th Street.

Henderson was taken into custody shortly thereafter, and police found a large sum on money in his right back pocket, police said. 

After being read his rights Henderson agreed to speak to police. 

When asked why he was arrested, Henderson said “armed robbery I’m guessing,” according to an arrest report. 

He then said that he hadn’t seen his son in weeks and thought that if he could get some money then he would be able to see him, the report said.  Henderson went on to say that he recently lost his house, car and job and had been homeless. 

Henderson told police that he waited a while before going inside the store with the cattle prod and that his plan was to shock the clerk and stun him — leaving him with enough time to grab the money and go, the report said. 

Things didn’t go Henderson’s way when the clerk fought back, according to the report and that’s what caused Henderson to take the money and run. 

Henderson was arrested on charges of robbery with a weapon and aggravated battery with bodily harm. 

 

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Ricky Martin raises $3M of $10M goal for Puerto Rico

Ricky Martin was one of the faces behind an Ocean Drive magazine party Tuesday night, but the event proved to be much more than just another glamorous soiree.
 
Martin is currently on a mission to raise money for people in his native Puerto Rico, and partygoers were asked for their generous contributions. Martin’s goal is to earn $10 million.
 
Thanks to fan support, so far, Martin’s foundation has raised nearly $3 million. Martin just returned from his second trip to the island in just one week, with FedEx donating the plane.
 
Martin packed the aircraft with 150,000 pounds of desperately needed relief supplies. Three weeks after Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico, Martin said the need remains overwhelming.
 
“The images you see on TV don’t do it justice,” Martin said. “People are really struggling.”
 
“Despacito” singer Luis Fonsi, Latin pop star Cheyene and Gloria Emilio Estefan accompanied Martin last week on board a JetBlue flight that was also packed full with supplies. The stars were on the ground, personally distributing items to the people who needed them the most. They offered smiles, hugs and even a song. 
 
“We’ve received so much from the Puerto Rican people,” the group said. “They’re not alone.”
 
And although President Donald Trump boasts that no one could have done what he’s done for Puerto Rico, Martin said you’d be surprised.
 
“I think more needs to be done and more can be done,” Martin said. “(We’re) talking about 4 million people with no power, no water, no gas. Nothing.”

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Intoxicated football fan from Florida suffers burns trying to put on burning jersey

An intoxicated Florida man was taken to a hospital with second- and third-degree burns to his body because of a football bet gone awry.

Timothy Silyers, 27, and Brianna Hook, 22, both of Vero Beach,  made a bet Sunday involving their favorite NFL teams — Silyers’ Dallas Cowboys and Hook’s Green Bay Packers.

The bet was simple — the fan of the winning team would burn the losing team’s fan’s jersey, according to an Indian River County Sheriff’s Office incident report.

After the Packers won 35-31, Hook and Silyers went outside and lit Silyers’ Cowboys jersey on fire.

Silyers “then grabbed the jersey with his right arm and attempted to put it on while it was on fire,” he told the investigating deputy, according to the incident report.

He admitted to doing it because he was “under the influence of an alcoholic beverage,” the report said.

Hook said she and other family members got the jersey off Silyers and drove him to Indian River Medical Center.

Silyers had third-degree burns to his right arm and hand and second-degree burns to his back.

Hook and Silyers told the deputy that no crime occurred and that they were both intoxicated at the time.

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