2 thieves try to break into BSO cruiser at Oakland Park apartment complex, deputies say

Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies are searching for two men who tried to break into a BSO cruiser in the parking lot of an apartment complex in Oakland Park, authorities said Monday.

The incident was reported about 4:40 a.m. April 30 near North Dixie Highway and East Commercial Boulevard. 

Surveillance video shows two people in hoodies pulling up in an SUV and parking next to the cruiser. In the video, one of the culprits acts as a lookout while the other attempts to break into the BSO vehicle. 

BSO spokeswoman Joy Oglesby said in a news release that one burglar tried to break the driver’s side window, while his partner mostly stood by. She said the accomplice eventually tried to help the other man before they gave up and left empty-handed. 

Anyone with information about their identities is asked to call BSO Detective Steve Upadayya at 954-202-3121 or Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-8477. Callers may remain anonymous. 

Follow this story

J.J. Watt’s history of giving back

To those who follow the NFL, the monstrous defensive powerhouse known as J.J. Watt needs no introduction.

The Houston Texans star is one of the biggest names in the NFL. He works out a lot. He has strategically uncontroversial views on things like the #TakeAKnee movement. Even though he was born and raised in Wisconsin, he has stepped up time and time again to support his adoptive home of Houston. In short, he’s basically a kind of Captain America, if Captain America also played football.

And this week, Watt made news when he offered to pay for the funerals of the 10 people who were killed in a shooting at Santa Fe High School.

His football history

Watt was born in Waukesha, Wisconsin, and played college football in the area, but has spent his whole professional career with the Houston Texans, who signed him in the first round of the 2011 draft. (Translation: he’s good, he’s rich and his team loves him.)

He’s a defensive end, which means he is both massive and athletic. The only place you don’t want to meet a man like J.J. Watt is on the wrong end of the football field. In 2014, he signed a six-year, $100 million contract extension with the Texans. (Again: good, rich, loved.)

In the last few years, Watt has suffered several major injuries, including a groin tear, a herniated disk and a leg fracture that have kept him off the field for prolonged periods of time. Nonetheless, his injuries didn’t stop him from using his wealth and influence to pursue some serious do-goodery.

His Hurricane Harvey heroism

After Hurricane Harvey devastated areas around Houston and the rest of the Gulf Coast in August 2017, Watt embarked on what would be his most career-defining charitable effort to date. Through a YouCaring campaign and plenty of social media attention and help from some famous friends, Watt raised more than $37 million for victims of the floods and damage Harvey left behind. Because of his fundraising, he was awarded the 2017 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, which is given to honor the charity and volunteer efforts of NFL players.

His previous work with shooting victims

Oddly — and sadly — enough, Watt’s offer to the Santa Fe High School shooting victims’ families isn’t the first time he has reached out after such a tragedy. After the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, Watt invited some of the children from Sandy Hook Elementary to meet him and participate in a day of football and much-needed fun at the Texans’ stadium.

His charity work and social views

In addition to his support in times of tragedy, J.J. Watt is also the founder of the (aptly-named) J.J. Watt Foundation. The foundation funds after-school athletics programs and organizations several high-profile charity events a year.

Watt’s reputation as an all-American good guy exists during a time when the NFL is facing questions about what it means to be an American and, indeed, what it means to be a good guy.

Watt has managed to stay at the margins of such controversies. During the #TakeAKnee movement, which headlined much of the 2017 season and intersected with Watt’s Hurricane Harvey fundraising, Watt had this to say:

“I think that I can speak to what I’ve seen recently in the last month or so and the incredible nature of people coming together and the unity people showed in the midst of Hurricane Harvey, in the midst of Hurricane Irma, everybody in Puerto Rico helping out. It’s incredible to see what people do when they come together for a common cause.”

In the spirit of those comments, it should be noted that while Watt is an extraordinary force for good in the NFL and in the Houston community, he is far from the only athlete — in Texas and in pro sports — who donates their time, talent and fortune to others.

During the same 2017 hurricane season that brought Harvey’s wrath to Houston, several MLB players from Puerto Rico raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to help out their homeland, which was crippled by Hurricane Maria.

And in another meaningful moment of unity and support after the Santa Fe shooting, Texans players Julién Davenport and Kendall Lamm joined members of the Houston Police Department for their Saturday night patrol.

Watt’s latest offer of comfort to the Santa Fe High School families has netted him widespread support from fellow celebrities and athletes, and echoes a sentiment he tweeted out just days before the shooting.

“If you have the power to make someone happy, do it,” he wrote. “The world needs more of that.”

Follow this story

South Florida still feeling effects of weekend downpours

South Florida was hit hard by heavy rainfall over the weekend, and many areas were still feeling the effects Monday.

“It was up to my knees. From right here, it was up to my knees until the road,” Davie resident Frank Torres said.  

Torres said this weekend’s downpours left him with a flood of trouble and a big mess. He said he tried his best to prepare for the heavy rainfall.

“(I had) 62 sandbags,” he said. “I need more. Look where the water is coming up to here.”

Flooding is a reoccurring problem for Torres’ Davie community just south of Interstate 595.

“Streets are cracking. You know, when the water reaches that far, it’s bad,” Torres said.  

INSIDE: Interactive Radar | Weather Warnings

Drainage pumps worked throughout Monday morning to help clear Torres’ neighborhood.

The city of Hallandale Beach was also drying out after receiving nearly 8 inches of rainfall in the course of six hours Sunday. Several parking lots filled with ankle-deep water.

And over in Lauderhill, close to 4 inches of rain made it into one woman’s garage, and the roads looked more like rivers.

“Sure enough, the garage was flooded and the street was flooded and the backyard was flooded,” Tammy Wisell-Hubbard said.  

With more rainfall expected later on this week, homeowners are weary and nervous.

“It’s so mucky how much water it’s going to take,” Torres said. “It’s not going to take no more.”


Follow this story

NRA appeals ruling that it must name 2 teens in lawsuit challenging Florida’s new gun law

The National Rifle Association is appealing a ruling that required it to disclose the names of two teenagers that it wants to include in a lawsuit challenging Florida’s new gun law.

This latest legal move has resulted in a judge putting the group’s lawsuit on hold while the appeal is considered.

The NRA is suing to block a Florida law requiring a gun buyer to be at least 21 years old. The restriction was enacted shortly after the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland that left 17 people dead, including 14 students.

NRA attorneys wanted to keep the names of the teenagers confidential so that they would not be harassed.

U.S. District Judge Mark Walker ruled Sunday that parties in lawsuits must use their real names.

Follow this story

Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich left waiting for UK visa

Roman Abramovich, one of the world’s highest-profile Russian oligarchs and owner of the London soccer club Chelsea, is facing a longer than expected delay in renewing his UK visa.

A source close to Abramovich told CNN on Monday that the billionaire’s visa expired about three weeks ago and an application was made for a new one, but the process of renewal has taken longer than expected.

There has been no indication about why the process is taking so long, the source said. The assumption on the Abramovich team is that the visa will be granted, but he will know for sure only when it is in his passport.

Answering a question from CNN during a call with journalists, Russian President Vladmir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said businesses there were “facing various manifestations of unfriendly and unscrupulous competitions.”

Peskov said he did not have any information relating specifically to Abramovich’s case.

Abramovich, who bought Chelsea in 2003, missed seeing his team win the FA Cup at Wembley Stadium in London on Saturday.

A CNN review of the flight plans of Abramovich’s plane suggests he has not been in the UK since April 1.

Spokespeople for Abramovich, Chelsea Football Club and the British Home Office all declined to comment.

Abramovich’s visa delay comes amid a deterioration in relations between London and Moscow over the poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

According to Forbes Magazine, Abramovich is Russia’s 11th richest man with a worth of $10.8 billion.

Follow this story

Misty Copeland wants to help fix ballet’s race problem

The world knows Misty Copeland as the first African-American principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre — her image splashed across billboards from coast to coast. But her purpose, Copeland says, is far greater than making history on stage or in print.

And, she insists, being a first in no way erases the ballet world’s race problem.

“The ballet world doesn’t really celebrate or have women of color,” she tells CNN’s Poppy Harlow in the latest podcast episode of “Boss Files”.

“There’s not a day that goes by that I feel like this is normal — or that this should’ve happened for me,” Copeland says as she recounts the unlikely path she took from living in a motel with her single mother and five siblings when she was just 13 years old to becoming one of the most famous dancers in the world.

“I still feel like I’m so grateful for the journey that I’ve been on and for the opportunities that I have now.”

With that opportunity, she is adamant that a large part of her purpose as a public figure is to make sure up-and-coming black and brown dancers know they belong in the world of classical ballet — and feel welcome there.

Before Copeland, only several African-Americans had danced in principal dance positions in a major ballet company in the United States. And all but one were men.

Lauren Anderson of the Houston Ballet became the first African-American principal ballerina in 1990. Desmond Richardson held the post with the American Ballet Theater during the 1997-98 season. At the New York City Ballet, Arthur Mitchell was featured as the principal dancer in 1962, and Albert Evans held the post 33 years later in 1995.

‘You don’t belong here’

Copeland hopes those who follow in her footsteps will not face the judgment she so often did. She recalls being told as a young dancer that she didn’t have the “right” body type to be a professional ballerina. Translation, she says, “It’s an acceptable way to say ‘you don’t belong in the ballet world’ without saying ‘you have the wrong skin color.’

“I have a body that a lot of white dancers have and there’s white ballerinas that are principal dancers that have larger chests than me and bigger muscles and broader shoulders and they are not told they don’t belong.”

Copeland laments the fact that this continues today.

“At 7 years old, being a black girl in their school and they’re being told by their teachers ‘you don’t belong here, your skin is the wrong color, your feet are too flat … we can’t work with your hair.'”

‘I am a ballerina’

In 2015, Copeland catapulted to the highest ranks of the American Ballet Theatre as its principal ballerina and landed on the cover of Time magazine.

She joined ABT in 2001 and in 2007 became the company’s second African-American female soloist and the first in two decades. Although there was anticipation that she would eventually be named the company’s principal ballerina, her introduction to ballet started relatively late at age 13.

She stumbled on to the basketball court of her local Boys & Girls Club in California for her first ballet class, which would change her life.

Copeland can pinpoint the moment she realized she could rise to the top of the predominantly white world of classical ballet. She recalls watching a documentary and seeing the ballerina Raven Wilkinson for the first time.

“This black woman came on the screen and she started speaking and it was the first time that I felt like I recognized myself in another dancer and it was so powerful,” Copeland recalls.

Wilkinson was the first black woman to dance for a leading classical ballet company — signing with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in the 1950s.

“I think something that’s hard for a lot of um, black and brown dancers is that we don’t see or know our history within the classical ballet world, and there is a history,” Copeland says.

Knowing that history armed Copeland with the strength to strive for the top.

“When I became a professional, you know, that was when it was really eye-opening. I was the only black dancer, black female dancer in American Ballet Theater for over a decade,” she recalls.

In her memoir, “Life in Motion,” Copeland repeats the refrain “this is for the little brown girls” — as if foreshadowing the larger role she would come to play in America’s race conversation.

“I slowly started to realize that my purpose was bigger than just being a dancer. And I felt like what I stood for and, and my voice and what I represented was more than me,” Copeland recounts. “It was an opportunity for these little brown girls and boys to be able to look at me and see themselves and see a future for themselves in a space where they’re not really celebrated. …This is for them, everything I’m going through, it’s to make it easier for them.”

Why representation matters

The way Copeland sees it, this discrimination only widens the opportunity gap.

“How many amazing artists have we missed out on, because they weren’t given support and an opportunity? So I feel like I want to be the voice of so many that didn’t have what I have,” she says.

Part of effecting change, Copeland says, is through programs like Project Plié, focused on expanding diversity and inclusion within the world of classical ballet.

Copeland mentors a number of young dancers — like Makita Ronnie, who approached Copeland when she was in her early teens and sought out her guidance.

“I’d go over to her house and have dinner with her family. It’s so important, I think, for people to see people like me, especially as a black woman setting a positive example — to see that I’m real, to see that I’m not this celebrity they only see on TV, but that they’re me,” Copeland says.

To this day, Copeland says, before each performance, Raven Wilkinson calls her and says, “May I be the wind at your back.”

Copeland says that when she mentors young African-American dancers she tells them, “It’s about how we approach it … it’s very easy to get emotional and to get angry.”

But she argues educating others on race can have a meaningful impact.

“I feel like a lot of people just are ignorant to other people’s experiences — and I feel like if we don’t come together with that common ground of not feeling like we’re attacking each other, that it’s easier to hear and to learn.”

Copeland — in many ways — now carries that torch on for countless black and brown girls and boys.

“I think that’s my purpose — to bring people in, to make them feel that they belong.”

Follow this story