After Hurricane Irma, Bahia Cabana falls apart

Conrad Lauzon used to be a regular at Fort Lauderdale’s Bahia Cabana, a 70-room hotel and marina complex built in 1972.

Lauzon misses it, but wants what it’s left of it gone. 

“This special thing that they had, this happy hour from 7 to 9 in the morning, it was somewhat exclusive to Florida,” Lauzon said. 

Lauzon said the hotel at 3001 Harbor Drive is a mess. There is caution tape marking the perimeter, empty beer bottles and crushed cans. There is a ripped roof. There is trash scattered throughout and there is a polluted pool. 

Neighbors are complaining that it’s not only an eye sore, but it’s creating a health hazard.

“It can’t stay like that. It’s a hazard especially for kids,” Lauzon said. “Young people can go in there to that pool it’s not closed in.” 

Last September, a Bahia Cabana employee said they were on shaky ground after taking a hard hit from Hurricane Irma.

“For the resort, it consists of seven insurance companies, seven adjusters and we’re trying to go ahead and deal with it and get everything back on schedule,” said Bryan Cohen, of Bahia Cabana. 
“When it will be? I can’t tell you.” 

Jaohnny Engstrom, a tourist from Sweden, said he was surprised to find the disarray. 

“The last time was last year. We were here,” Engstrom said. “Now it’s looks like there’s not going to be any more Bahia Cabana, sad.” 

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Teen accused of being serial car thief will be tried in adult court

A Broward County judge ruled Wednesday that a 16-year-old Fort Lauderdale boy accused of being serial car thief is competent to stand trial as an adult.

Despite his young age, Jeremiah LePlace has a long history of arrests and dealing with juvenile courts. He will now face 36 criminal charges including grand theft, burglary and weapons violations as an adult.

In August of last year, he and four others were charged with stealing a dozen vehicles from a car dealership and later ditching them.

Police said Jeremiah also purchased two BB guns in March 2016 at the Swap Shop to rob someone at a nearby Pet Supermarket.

Jeremiah’s defense attorney had argued that his client was not competent to stand trial in adult court, but psychologists testified Wednesday that he was well-spoken and articulate. 

“He presented stable. He was compliant. He was cooperative. He was fluid in his speaking,” Dr. Karen Dann said.

Jeremiah’s stepfather testified that Jeremiah’s disruptive behavior became all too common for him as his family struggled to keep in him on the right track.

“He was a major problem in school— we’d have to go to school for conferences— ya know he would just tear up stuff,” Terrence Lemon said.

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Boat owners see insurance premiums rise after Hurricane Irma

Hundreds of boats across the state of Florida were damage by Hurricane Irma, and now, boat owners are dealing with damage to their insurance policies.

“The hurricane put us out of business for about a week and a half,” Tom Zsak, captain and owner of Top Shot Sport Fishing, said.  

Zsak, whose fishing charter company operates in Fort Lauderdale, said he has been in business since 1974.  But following the high winds, rain and damage from Hurricane Irma last September, it’s his business  that took a direct hit.

“A1A was shut down. All the debris all around, no electric, no water,” he said.

Now that his clients have returned and his charters are becoming more frequent, he said he’s worried about the aftermath of the storm that, for him, comes in the form of increased rates from his boat owners insurance.

“I imagine it will go up, just like everything else,” Zsak said.

While Zsak said he won’t know for sure if his provider will raise his rates until it is time to renew in April, other boat owners said theirs has already risen.

“Some of the insurance companies’ premiums went up, some of them stayed the same. I don’t know any that went down,” John Jarvie, vice president of Oversea Yacht Insurance, said.

Jarvie is a broker who represents dozens of insurance companies. He said that while he has seen some provider’s rates increase, it’s not across the board — at least not in the state of Florida. 

“It mostly depends on the success or failure of these underwriters during the storms and how well they fared,” he said.

John said for those customers who have seen their premiums rise, they still have options to search for another insurance provider.  

He recommends going with an insurance broker who can show boaters all of their options.

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Trump plans America First ‘vindication tour’ in Davos

President Donald Trump’s announced trip to an annual gathering of the rich and powerful in Davos, Switzerland, seemed to some a strange match: the populist President meeting the internationalist elite.

But people involved in planning the trip say Trump is enthusiastic about taking his unapologetic brand of economic nationalism to the World Economic Forum, where his presidency has been mostly met with turned up noses. Instead of adjusting his message for the free trade-and-multinationalism-loving crowd, he’ll reinforce the very views that some at Davos find worrying.

“It’s a vindication tour,” one person familiar with Trump’s thinking said, describing the President as looking for a “victory lap” on the world stage after he and fellow Republicans successfully slashed the corporate tax rate. He’s also likely to tout record-breaking markets and solid job growth as evidence his economic policies are working.

On Tuesday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said it was Trump’s decision to travel to Davos and that his message there would be the same one he’s offered for the past year.

“This is very much an America First agenda,” she said.

Unclear agenda

It’s not yet clear what exactly Trump’s time in the Swiss Alps will look like, but officials expect at least one formal speech to the gathering, which they say will touch on the America First economic themes he’s touted elsewhere in the world over the past year.

Trump was convinced by aides that Davos would prove a more forgiving venue than the G-7 or G-20 summits — where he felt cornered at times by his global counterparts — in which to tout his record. At Davos, he’ll have the microphone to himself, at least for some period of time, and won’t be forced to sit through meetings where other leaders criticize his positions.

Aides likened the President’s message in Davos, where the conference will run January 23-26, to the one he delivered in November at a CEO summit in the Vietnamese resort city Da Nang. There, Trump offered a hard-line economic message and accused his predecessors of adopting trade policies that harm American workers.

Even as Trump was delivering that speech, however, the consequences of his protectionism were already becoming apparent. Other Pacific leaders announced a revamped Trans-Pacific Partnership — the landmark trade accord negotiated by the Obama administration but scrapped by Trump — that didn’t included the United States.

That dynamic will likely be at play again in Switzerland, though Trump’s aides and allies have expressed little concern that countries are taking steps to work around the US.

“I think the decision to go was a brilliant decision. He’ll stand up on that world stage and talk about why the American economy is growing more rapidly with even more to come,” said Larry Kudlow, a conservative economist and commentator who has advised Trump.

As the for attendees, a rarefied group of business leaders, financiers and world leaders, Kudlow believes Trump’s ability to get tax reform passed and roll back regulations will have earned him a warm welcome.

“He’s compiled a very good record this year,” he added. “I think they’ll receive him quite well.”

‘An odd decision’

At least one Trump ally, however, was skeptical the Davos trip could amount to a success.

“It was an odd decision to me. Those are 500 of the intellectual bureaucratic elite. They’re not Trump supporters,” said Stephen Moore, the conservative economist who advised Trump during the campaign.

Moore noted that Trump would be speaking before a group that disdains his populist politics.

“I was disappointed that he’s going to Davos because I think it’s a lot of self-important people who have a totally different view of the world than he does,” he added.

One of the open questions is whether Trump will participate in the sideline hobnobbing where the real business of Davos is conducted. That includes evening parties in hotels and chalets, where the CEOs of the world’s largest companies — including China’s Alibaba, Google parent Alphabet and Microsoft — mix and mingle with heads of state, media power players and the financial elite.

Trump’s short-lived communications director Anthony Scaramucci has been known to host extravagant wine tasting parties at the mountainside summit. He represented the administration at last year’s World Economic Forum.

Officials said they doubted that Trump, a homebody who rarely dines out, would find the party scene appealing. Instead, his stop at the forum is likely to be short. It’s not yet clear who will travel with him, though Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and National Economic Council Chairman Gary Cohn appeared to be likely candidates.

Sanders said this week that some members of the administration would remain at the forum “for a more extended period of time than the President.”

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‘This one deserves to be killed,’ man says after allegedly slashing woman’s throat

A Miami man was arrested Tuesday after he slashed a woman’s throat while she was sitting outside a home on Northwest 34th Street, authorities said.

According to an arrest report, the victim was sitting on a chair in the front yard when Gregorio Oquendo, 78, pushed the woman and cut her throat with a knife.

Miami police officers said the woman collapsed in the arms of a witness, who asked Oquendo, “Why did you do that?”

Police said Oquendo responded numerous times, “This one deserves to be killed.”

Oquendo then went inside his bedroom and came out when police officers arrived, the arrest report stated.

Authorities said an officer saw Oquendo walking out of the front gate and two witnesses pointed to him and told the officer, “That’s him. He did it.”

The officer pointed a gun at Oquendo and told him not to move, authorities said. He was then taken into custody after another officer arrived at the scene to assist.

The victim, who was bleeding profusely from her neck, was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center. Her condition has not been released.

Police said Oquendo claimed that he couldn’t remember what occurred because he was too intoxicated.

He faces one count of second-degree attempted murder. 


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Boatyard bandits make off with expensive marine gadgets

Broward County sheriff’s deputies are searching for several men they say broke into a Dania Beach boat dealership and made off with thousands of dollars worth of equipment.

Deputies said sometime in the early morning hours of Dec. 17, the men cut a hole through a fence and entered the boatyard for World Cat of South Florida in the 2500 block of West State Road 84.

Security footage shows at least two men rifling through a boat. 

Deputies said the stolen goods included an open array radar antenna, two Yamaha gauges, two Garmin GPS devices and a GMR Fantom 6 radar antenna. The equipment stolen was valued at at least $25,000.

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Giovani Zamora at 954-518-0156 or Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-8477.


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