Miami has some of best drivers in America, study claims

Buckle your set belts for this one, folks.

Miami, the Magic City, is considered one of the best driving cities in America, according to a new study.

QuoteWizard published a new study ranking the best and worst driving cities in America, ranking 75 cities, and Miami was fourth best behind Detroit, Providence and Orlando!

The final rankings are sum of weighted means calculated from these parameters:

  • Accidents
  • Speeding tickets
  • DUIs
  • Citations (running a red light, using a cellphone while driving, etc.)

Using this data, QuoteWizard ranked each US city from worst to best.

Top Driving Cities in U.S.

  1. Detroit
  2. Providence
  3. Orlando
  4. Miami
  5. Little Rock
  6. Allentown
  7. Baton Rouge
  8. Las Vegas
  9. Tulsa
  10. Birmingham

The worst driving cities were Sacramento, Salt Lake City, Riverside, Richmond and San Diego.

Sacramento is the capital of California. They’re also the capital of bad drivers. That’s right, Sacramento: you’ve earned the dubious honor of being America’s worst driving city. Sacramento finds itself in first due to the highest rate of traffic citations in the country. They’re also close to the top for accidents and DUI’s, at fourth. Yes, America’s largest tree canopy lines Sacramento’s streets, but the streets themselves are filled with dangerous drivers. Perhaps Sacramentans should consider commuting by boat on Sacramento’s numerous waterways, ala Venice. Fortunately, Sacramento’s sorry drivers can always take solace in the fact that they’re not from SoCal.

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Portion of Seminole girl statue stolen in Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale police are investigating after someone stole a portion of a bronze statue along the New River.

Robin Haines Merrill, executive director of the Upper Room Art Gallery, said the Seminole girl statue was created by Nilda Comas, who donated the statue last year to the city.

The statue is located at Smoker Family Park at 501 S. New River Drive East. 

Merrill said Comas, who is currently in Italy, asked her to file a police report after neighbors notified her about the vandalism.

“It was a labor of love,” Merrill said. “It took many, many years, and we all have to protect each other. We can’t have art and culture vandalized out in public. There has to be more respect.”

Merrill said the palm fronds were removed from the statue, which would have required a ladder, saw and more than one person.

Merrill said the palm fronds are worth $25,000  and weigh more than 100 pounds.

She said it’s possible that someone stole them to sell for scrap metal.

There are no security cameras in the area.

Anyone with information is asked to call Fort Lauderdale police or Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. 

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Coral Springs police find numerous credit card skimmers at gas stations

Coral Springs police are warning people about credit card skimmers that have been found numerous times in recent months throughout the city. 

In just the last month, there have been more than 30 credit card skimmers found in gas pumps in Broward County, authorities said.

More than 20 percent of them were in Coral Springs.

“Right now, we’ve been seeing an abundance of gas pump skimmers which are internally wired into the central processing unit of the gas pumps,” Detective Jason Deluca said.

The Coral Springs Police Department has found a half-dozen credit card skimmers so far this month.

“As your card goes through the card reader, it will actually extract the information, store it and it’s possible that it transmits it to a nearby device that the suspect has set up,” Deluca said.

Police advise people to keep an eye out for stickers at the pump that might be broken or removed if a pump has been tampered with.

Police said technology from the skimmers now allow crooks to retrieve victims’ personal information through Bluetooth, and often times the suspect never touches the device again.

Then it’s just a few simple steps and suddenly, a victim’s card data is on a fake card.

“After he has the card information on a card with the magnetic strip, he then uses a device to emboss the card and make it appear to be genuine,” Deluca said.

A quick Google search shows that the skimmers cost only a few dollars to make and catching the crooks without good surveillance cameras is nearly impossible.

In addition to the rise in credit card skimmers, Coral Springs police have also seen a new crime wave of stolen vehicles due to residents leaving key fobs inside their cars.

Authorities said they’ve seen about a dozen car thefts in just the last month.

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Local 10 explores underground world of tattooing in Cuba

With fewer Americans visiting Cuba under President Donald Trump’s new policy, private businesses on the island are fearing less profits. 

A lack in tourism could also lead to a lack in materials to run a successful business. 

“They’re almost like outlaw artists,” Amigo Skate Cuba founder Rene Lecour said about tattoo artists on the island. “They don’t feel like that they’re taken seriously as artists.”

Tattooing is illegal in Cuba and not recognized by the state.

“To them, it’s a respectful way to make a living,” Lecour said.  

Local 10 News reporter Hatzel Vela spoke to a tattoo shop owner in Havana, Tere Padilla, who said no one can get a tattooing license on the island.

Without a letter from the state run Health Department, she said artists don’t have credibility.

To help with that, a class has been organized by artists from abroad, like Clay Montgomery, an American specialist on sterilization, who re-shaped his message toward his Cuban audience.

“Based on what they have access (to) as far as equipment and chemicals and things like that,” he said.

The artists packed a small room on a hot afternoon to learn about blood-borne pathogens, cross contamination and sanitization.

The class gives them some legitimacy, despite the fact that the certificate they get is not valid in Cuba.

But Padilla said it gives them a sense of pride and brings tattoo artists from all over Cuba together to unite and learn.

“I would say 90 percent of them right now are just as sterile and professional as any shop in the states,” Lecour said.

As for Trump’s changes toward Cuba, supporters said if there are fewer Americans coming from abroad, there may be less access to tattoo equipment.

“They’re super, super intelligent and creative and they’re figure out ways to get around it and figure out ways to keep doing what they do,” Lecour said.
 

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Officers, good Samaritans honored by Miami-Dade police

Miami-Dade police honored both fellow police officers and members of the community for acts of bravery and saving lives during a ceremony Tuesday.

“(It’s) a testament to their love of law enforcement,” Miami-Dade police Director Juan Perez said.

Officer Yovani Sosa, Officer Joseph Vallejos, Officer Gepsy Perez and Officer Edward Brochu were honored for assisting Florida Highway Patrol with a car fire on the Palmetto Expressway, near Bird Road on Dec. 22, 2016 and helping a man trapped inside.

 “(They) risked their lives for a stranger,” Juan Perez said.

Sgt. John Saavedra was also honored.

On July 31, 2012, Saavedra was shot on duty after discovering a grow house in southwest Miami -Dade.

Five years later, he’s still on the force.

 He was given several awards, including a purple heart.

“This is a special profession and I take it to heart. I love what I do,” Saavedra said.

On May 7, Major Ricky Carter crashed his motorcycle on I-75.

He was aided by three good Samaritans after the crash, in which he lost both of his legs.

Those three people were honored as well.

“It was remarkable what they did that day,” Juan Perez said. “Thanks to the three of you he’s still alive.”

All of today’s recipients were met with cheers from the crowd, which included undercover Officer Terence White and Officer Charles Woods, who survived an armed ambush in March.

 

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Alton Sterling’s children sue Baton Rouge police over his death

Alton Sterling’s five children have filed a wrongful death lawsuit, claiming their father’s fatal shooting last year by a Baton Rouge police officer violated his civil rights and fits a pattern of excessive force and racism within the police department’s ranks.

The suit, filed Tuesday in Louisiana state court, claims the two white officers who encountered Sterling, who is black, on July 5, at a Baton Rouge convenience store used unnecessary force.

The suit’s claims mirror allegations that federal prosecutors weighed when they considered — but last month declined — to lodge civil rights charges against Officers Blaine Salamoni and Howie Lake II. Those case files were handed over to Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, who is contemplating charges.

‘Shocked and appalled’

Without divulging specifics, the suit highlights a letter sent May 25 to Police Chief Carl Dabadie in which Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Weston Broome refers to “very disturbing details surrounding the actions of Officer Salamoni” that both officials received “during a consultation with the Department of Justice.”

Salamoni’s “termination is warranted,” writes Broome, who notes she was “shocked and appalled by this information.”

The Baton Rouge Police Department declined to comment on the lawsuit, citing “pending litigation,” Sgt. Don Coppola told CNN. Salamoni and Lake remain on paid administrative leave, he said.

The Sterling family’s lawsuit names as defendants the city of Baton Rouge and its police department, along with Dabadie, Salamoni, Lake and the department’s liability insurer.

The lawsuit, which seeks an undisclosed amount for punitive damages, comes on the heels of settlements this month in two other high-profile cases that left black men dead at the hands of police.

The family of Philando Castile, who was shot and killed last year by a St. Anthony, Minnesota, police officer, reached a $3 million settlement with the city days after the officer in that case was acquitted of second-degree manslaughter. The family of Michael Brown, who was shot and killed in 2014 by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, settled its wrongful death lawsuit against that city for an undisclosed amount.

‘Tolerating racist behavior’

Sterling, 37, was selling CDs and DVDs outside the Triple S Food Market when the officers approached him in response to a 911 call that a man with a gun was near the store. Sterling “displayed no aggressive behavior or manners,” the suit claims. Sterling at the time was carrying a .38-caliber revolver, with six rounds in it, the Justice Department has said.

Almost immediately, Salamoni pointed his service weapon at Sterling’s head and yelled, “B**ch I will f***ing kill you,” “I am going to shoot you in your mother f***ing head,” the suit claims.

The officer should have known that the “continued escalation and provocation would have caused a negative encounter with Mr. Sterling,” the suit states.

“In less than one second, Officer Salamoni yelled at Mr. Sterling and then pulled his gun and fired three shots into Mr. Sterling’s chest,” it states. “Officer Salamoni then fired three more rounds needlessly and excessively into the back of Mr. Sterling.”

The fact that Lake did not fire a single round proves that Sterling was not an imminent risk, the lawsuit notes, adding that the officers did not render “urgent medical care or first aid” after mortally wounding Sterling.

The suit also takes aim at Dabadie, claiming the police chief failed to properly “train all active police officers under his control and supervision.”

Dabadie’s department “failed to have a written policy on the use of deadly force, and has a history of incidents of excessive force, racism in the BRPD towards members of the African American community and inadequate oversight by decision makers in the BRPD and the City,” the suit states.

The suit accuses the department of having “a long standing pervasive policy of tolerating racist behavior of some of its officers.” It cites local news reports of alleged racist behavior by Baton Rouge officers beginning shortly after Hurricane Katrina and continuing through protests that followed last month’s Justice Department announcement.

It also claims the city “did not properly examine and scrutinize the backgrounds of Officers Lake and Salamoni.”

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