Miami crane operator seriously hurt after falling from ladder

A crane operator was seriously hurt Tuesday afternoon after he lost his balance and fell several feet from a ladder, officials said.

Capt. Ignatius Carroll, a spokesman for Miami Fire Rescue, said the operator was working on a residential building under construction near Northwest 2nd Avenue and Northwest 25th Street in city’s Wynwood section.

The man was nearly 70 feet above the street when he fell. Carroll said fellow workers used a basket and rope to bring him to the ground.

The man was rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he is listed in serious condition. 

The Miami Police Department and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating the fall.

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Miami man kills woman who ‘disrespectfully’ texted that she cheated on him

A Miami man confessed to killing a woman and setting her mobile home on fire early Saturday after she “disrespectfully” told him in a text message that she had cheated on him with another man, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said.

Yulexis Rodriguez was arrested on charges of first-degree murder, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, armed burglary, first-degree arson and false imprisonment.

Deputies said he choked Lianet Denis and hit her with “an unknown object,” according to the arrest report obtained Monday.

Rodriguez, 40, told investigators he was so upset with Denis that he bought a gas can in Miami, filled it with gas and drove north on Florida’s Turnpike to Palm Beach County, where he confronted her, according to the report.

Deputies were called to a fire at the home on Belvedere Road about 12:45 a.m. When deputies arrived, they found three burning vehicles next to the burning home.

Denis, 22, was pulled from the home by firefighters and pronounced dead at the scene.

Deputies said they detained Rodriguez after they saw him escaping through a broken window in the mobile home.

After the fire was extinguished, deputies found a large amount of blood on the bedroom walls, ceiling and bedsheets inside the home. They also found a bloody hand print and a gardening hoe under the bed.

One of four witnesses told detectives that he heard a loud explosion and saw Rodriguez standing outside the neighboring home holding a red gas can. He said Rodriguez was still pouring gasoline on the burning vehicles and home.

The witness said Rodriguez threw the gas can at him, grabbed a gardening hoe from his pickup truck and tried to hit him with it several times.

Another witness said he was attacked by Rodriguez with the gardening hoe after Rodriguez entered the home. The first witness tried to stop Rodriguez, who grabbed him by the neck and threatened to kill him, the report said.

The witnesses said Denis tried to run outside, but Rodriguez grabbed her by the neck and forced her back inside the burning home. The witnesses said they heard Denis begging Rodriguez to let her go and not to hurt her, but the flames were too intense and they ran to safety.

“I am going to kill you,” the witnesses heard Rodriguez telling Denis, the report said.

One of the witnesses had to be treated at a hospital for injuries suffered during the attack.

During an interview with detectives, Rodriguez said he was upset with Denis after she left him for another man. However, Rodriguez said he was even angrier after she sent him a text message that said, “Are you dumb or something I cheated on you when we lived in Cuba also.”

Investigators said Denis had “extensive facial trauma, head trauma, excessive swelling to the face, head and neck area, coupled with defensive wounds on both her arms.”

Rodriguez was being held without bond at the main Palm Beach County jail.

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Miami police seek help identifying toddler found wandering

Miami police are asking for the public’s help in identifying a toddler found wandering.

Police said the toddler was found near Northwest 14th Avenue and 63rd Street.

The toddler’s first name is possibly Chanel, police said.

Anyone who may know who she is is asked to call Miami police at 305-579-6111.

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Miami police arrest woman accused of botching cosmetic procedure

Police have arrested a woman accused of performing unlicensed cosmetic procedures in Miami. One customer fell ill and was left with scars on her face after receiving treatments at the woman’s spa, police said.

Claudia Hernandez Mesa, 53, faces charges of causing serious injury and acting as a health care professional without a license.

Police said Hernandez Mesa worked out of the Cryoxtreme Spa in the unit block of Southwest Third Street.

The victim told police that her face began to swell after a procedure by Hernandez Mesa. Police said the victim eventually sought treatment at a local hospital, where doctors found the procedure had caused a massive infection. The victim underwent surgery, but was left with permanent scars on the left side of her face, police said.

The Florida Department of Health assisted with the investigation, police said.

Hernandez Mesa is currently being held in Miami-Dade County’s Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center without bond.

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Native American tribe in Miami pushing for release of Seaquarium orca

A delegation of the Lummi Nation is now in Miami, fighting for the orca release from the Miami Seaquarium. The tribe wants to return her native waters, Salish Sea.

“We come in peace. We are not protesters. We are protectors of this great earth,” Lummi Tribal Council member Freddy Lane said.

In August 1970, a baby orca – then known as Tokitea — was taken from her family and sold to the Seaquarium.  For 47 years, she has lived in the smallest whale tank in the country, performing two shows a day, seven days a week. She is known to all as Lolita. 

“Many other who protect the Salish Sea are calling for her to come home. We are the voice for the voiceless,” said Lummi Tribal Council Chairman Jay Julius.

The Lummis are now calling on the Seaquarium to bring Lolita home.”If the Seaquarium joined forces with us they can be a part of it and they can be so instrumental in making this happen and doing the right thing,” Julius said.

But the Seaqurium has been unwilling to even come to the table.  

Florida gubernatorial candidate Phillip Levine who, while he was mayor of Miami Beach lobbied for Lolita’s retirement, knows that all too well. 

“The Seaquarium does not want to hear about it. They are more interested in profits than releasing this beautiful orca,” Levine said.

The Seaquarium has argued that moving Lolita would be too risky.  She’s now 52 years old and the second-oldest orca living in captivity.

But those pushing for her release said that their argument has no merit.

“At what point is this entire plan — transition, transport, immersion into her native waters — where is the point that there is great danger?” said Howard Garrett, of the Orca Network.  “If we took an objective look and saw that it was going to be dangerous to her, we wouldn’t touch it. We wouldn’t push for her to come back,” Garrett said.

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