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Updated: 7 hours 33 min ago

China tightens access to Tiananmen Square, 24 detained in Hong Kong on anniversary of 1989 protests

9 hours 9 min ago

BEIJING (AP) — China tightened access to Tiananmen Square in central Beijing on Sunday, the anniversary of the military suppression of 1989 pro-democracy protests that left a still unknown number of people dead and discussions and commemorations forbidden within the country.

In Hong Kong, which had been the last Chinese-controlled territory to hold commemorations, eight people, including activists and artists, were detained on the eve of the anniversary of the crackdown, a move that underscored the city’s shrinking room for freedom of expression. Another 16 or more people were detained around Victoria Park on Sunday.

The large public space with its lawns and sports grounds used to be the scene of an annual candlelight gathering to remember the hundreds or thousands killed when army tanks and infantry descended on central Beijing on the night of June 3 and into the morning of June 4, 1989.

Discussion of the seven weeks of student-led protests that attracted workers and artists and their violent resolution has long been suppressed in China. It also became increasingly off-limits in Hong Kong since a sweeping national security law was imposed in June 2020, effectively barring anyone from holding memorial events.

The death toll from the 1989 violence remains unknown and the Communist Party relentlessly harasses those at home or overseas who seek to keep the memory of the events alive.

In Beijing, additional security was seen around Tiananmen Square, which has long been ringed with security checks requiring those entering to show identification. People passing by foot or on bicycle on Changan Avenue running north of the square were also stopped and forced to show identification. Those with journalist visas in their passports were told they needed special permission to even approach the area.

Still, throngs of tourists were seen visiting the iconic site, with hundreds standing in line to enter the square.

Ahead of the anniversary, a group of mothers who lost their children in the Tiananmen crackdown sought redress and issued a statement renewing their call for “truth, compensation and accountability.”

Human Rights Watch called on the Chinese government to acknowledge responsibility for the killing of pro-democracy protesters.

“The Chinese government continues to evade accountability for the decades-old Tiananmen Massacre, which has emboldened its arbitrary detention of millions, its severe censorship and surveillance, and its efforts to undermine rights internationally,” Yaqiu Wang, senior China researcher at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

While Hong Kong, a former British colony handed over to Chinese rule in 1997, uses colonial-era anti-sedition laws to crack down on dissent, the persistence of non-conforming voices “lays bare the futility of the authorities’ attempts to enforce silence and obedience,” Amnesty International said.

“The Hong Kong government’s shameful campaign to stop people marking this anniversary mirrors the censorship of the Chinese central government and is an insult to those killed in the Tiananmen crackdown,” Amnesty said.

Beijing-appointed authorities in Hong Kong have blocked the Tiananmen memorial for the last three years, citing public health grounds. In 2020, thousands defied a police ban to hold the event.

Despite the lifting of most COVID-19 restrictions, the city’s public commemoration this year was muted under a Beijing-imposed national security law that prosecuted or silenced many Hong Kong activists. Three leaders of the group that used to organize the vigil were charged with subversion under the law. The group itself was disbanded in 2021, after police informed it that it was under investigation for working on behalf of foreign groups, an accusation the group denied.

After the enactment of the security law following massive protests in 2019, Tiananmen-related visual spectacles, including statues at universities, were also removed. Most recently, books featuring the events have been pulled off public library shelves.

Asked whether it is legal to mourn the crackdown in public as an individual, Hong Kong leader John Lee said that if anyone breaks the law, “of course the police will have to take action.”

Many Hong Kongers, who were unclear what authorities might consider subversive, tried to mark the event in low-profile ways on Sunday.

Chan Po-ying, leader of the League of Social Democrats, held a LED candle in one hand and two yellow paper flowers in another. She was taken away by police officers from a stop-and-search area.

Public broadcaster RTHK reported that it understood police would deploy up to 6,000 officers to patrol the streets, including Victoria Park and government headquarters.

At Victoria Park, scenes of people rallying for democracy have been replaced by a carnival organized by pro-Beijing groups to mark the city’s 1997 handover to China.

By about 7:30 p.m., another 10 people, including activists and a former head of The Hong Kong Journalists Association, were taken away by police in shopping district Causeway Bay, where Victoria Park is located. It was unclear if they were being arrested.

Sunday’s events reflected the political chill that has sparked a rise in emigration to Britain and other countries and a deep ambivalence among a population that had been strongly engaged in local politics.

A commemoration was held in Taipei, the capital of the self-governing island democracy of Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory to be annexed possibly by force. More than 500 participants turned out to light candles, hear speeches and chant slogans under a heavy rain.

Kacey Wong, an artist who is among the scores of Hong Kong residents who have moved to the island, said the more than 30 years of commemorating the 1989 protests had made it a part of life.

Wong said an artist friend, San Mu, had been detained along with others while attempting to stage a public street performance in Causeway Bay in Hong Kong.

“So, it’s all engrained in our subconscious that we should care and practice our sympathy towards other people who are yearning for democracy and freedom,” Wong said.


Associated Press writer Kanis Leung in Hong Kong contributed to this report.

‘Blinding downpours’ possible Sunday in South Florida, forecasters say

9 hours 14 min ago

Short-lived Tropical Storm Arlene has fizzled out, but South Florida is not yet free from the rain and thunderstorms that have intermittently rolled in over the last week.

Thunderstorms are expected throughout Sunday, bringing the possibility of lightning, gusty winds and flooding, the National Weather Service Miami said in a briefing. A few storms may be severe, the weather service said Sunday.

Broward County can expect storms after 2 p.m. and before 10 p.m., forecasters said. Experts estimated at least an additional three-quarters of an inch of rain, with more possible during thunderstorms.

Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade County remain under a flood watch until midnight. Trees and powerlines could be damaged by winds, according to the forecast.

The center of what was Arlene was located just south of the Florida peninsula about 10:30 a.m., making for another storm-prone day until what is left of the system moves farther east away from South Florida, the weather service said in a tweet.

The center of the remnant low is just to the south of the FL peninsula and the majority of the unsettled weather is displaced significantly to the east of this circulation. One more active afternoon is likely until the center of circulation is able to push further east of SFL pic.twitter.com/L9f0PzytmO

— NWS Miami (@NWSMiami) June 4, 2023

Cities across Broward and Miami-Dade County have received between 1 and nearly 5 inches of rain between Friday and Sunday morning, according to the weather service’s data. Lantana in Palm Beach County had the most rain over the last three days, with a total near 6 inches.

After Sunday, showers aren’t likely until Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the forecast said.

Arlene formed Friday and dissipated into a remnant low Saturday night about 135 miles west-southwest of the Dry Tortugas. The National Hurricane Center does not predict any tropical cyclone activity during the next two days.

Colorado State University experts predict this hurricane season to see near-average activity, with 14 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

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The next named storm to form will be Bret. The Atlantic hurricane season runs until Nov. 30.

Tales from the NBA Finals: The Heat’s bad babysitter, Highsmith, Bam’s mom and Butler’s hero

11 hours 28 min ago

DENVER – It is a somewhat unrelenting process, the entire rosters of the Miami Heat and Denver Nuggets marched into the arena the day before game days for NBA Finals media sessions that range from televised podium Q and A’s in two separate broadcast areas to free run of the court with the other players.

Already there have been two such media days at Ball Arena, with two more this coming week in Miami at Kaseya Center ahead of Wednesday’s Game 3 and Friday’s Game 4.

But it also is a time to exhale from the rigors of practices, film sessions, and, yes, the games themselves, including Sunday’s Game 2 of the best-of-seven series.

So whether it’s why Haywood Highsmith is named Haywood Highsmith, to whom Kevin Love wouldn’t recommend from the Heat roster as a babysitter, there also has been the human side to the championship-series equation.

* * *

The name is Haywood Highsmith, as in the defensive-minded Heat forward, not Highsmith Haywood.

But not even intrepid investigation into the genealogy of the surname at the series’ first media day was able to unearth background on the surname.

Q. “What’s the story behind your first name?”

Highsmith: “I’m a junior, so it was my father’s name. You’d have to ask his father, but he’s not alive right now. I don’t know the story behind it, honestly.”

Q. “Do you hear about that a lot? That’s like a classic name.”

Highsmith: “Yeah, I’ve heard it’s like an old name. I’ve heard it’s a last name, too. So yeah, I don’t know. I’m a junior. I don’t know the story behind it.”

Q. “What about Highsmith? You’ve got an epic name.”

Highsmith: “I’ve heard that. Yeah, I don’t know. Just my father’s last name, as well. I don’t know. I guess I’ve got like H’s in my family or something.”

* * *

During that same media session, Heat forward Kevin Love was asked, “Who is the last guy on the Heat you would let babysit your kids?”

Love, 34, who is married to Canadian model Kate Bock, does not have any children.

No matter, Love, willing to play along, still mulled the question.

“Last guy on the Heat I would let babysit my kids? I don’t know,” he said. “Everybody’s pretty damn responsible. Probably Nikola [Jovic] just because he’s so damn young.”

Jovic, the rookie forward, turns 20 Friday.

“That’s the only thing I can think of,” Love said. “He’s still a child himself. That would be tough.”

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* * *

It is not uncommon for Bam Adebayo to pause even his televised media sessions to take a call from his mother, a concern the Heat center had during his first interview opportunity at the Finals.

“I hope she doesn’t call me during media,” he said with a smile in front of a microphone on the podium.

But the devotion and appreciation for what Marilyn Blount provided as a single mother runs deep.

Asked how he derived his confidence to make it to this stage, Adebayo did not pause.

“It’s been my mom because she’s been a leader in my life, since I’ve been born,” he said. “Seeing my mom go through every adversity, all the adversity she’s been through, my mom walked to work, my mom was a single parent, we lived in a single-wide trailer. I lived off of $12,000 a year from my mom. Having that type of person lead, I feel like it was just bound for me to be able to get in that mold.

“Definitely uncomfortable when you first start being — when people start looking at you and saying you have to be more vocal, you have to be a leader of the ship. I just look back at those days how my mom just lived for me, and it was by example.”

* * *

For some, lining up tickets for the Finals is a distraction. For Heat forward Jimmy Butler, it is an expectation.

That had him during an initial Finals media session noting that he is counting on soccer star Neymar finding his way to Miami for one of the upcoming games.

“Yes, he’d better be there,” Butler said. “So Ney, I know you’re looking somewhere. You’d better be there. But that’s my guy, too.

“Part of my routine on game days and off days is I watch all types of sports of people who inspire me to be great. He’s one of them. So, I’ve probably seen each one of his highlight videos on YouTube way too many times, Sasha [Alexander Zverev] tennis, Carlito [Carlos Alcaraz] tennis, you go down – Serena [Williams], everybody. I love greatness in any way that you view it.

“He’s obviously a close friend of mine, so I pay attention to him a lot. But with him in my corner, I think I’ll be OK.”

* * *

As could be expected, with so much conversation during the Finals, there tends to be a fish story, or two.

In this case, an actual fish story.

With the Heat and Nuggets two of the final four teams standing in the 2020 pandemic quarantine bubble at Disney World, both coaching staffs gravitated toward the fishing area.

“We didn’t necessarily hang out with them in the bubble,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said, “but competitors recognize competitors and we would acknowledge them. We didn’t have to face them in the [2020] playoffs, but we always just seemed to bump into them.

“The staffs would bump into each other out on the lake. For whatever reason, we were all fishing out there, and those were the two organizations that were doing it. I have no idea why.”

Nuggets coach Michael Malone picked up the story from there.

“They had a guy,” Malone said. “I forget the coach’s name, but this guy was catching all the fish, so there’s no fish left for anybody else.”

The coach – and fishing magician – was Spoelstra’s lead assistant, Chris Quinn.

Broken promises at Lauderdale soccer stadium | Letters to the editor

11 hours 44 min ago

Hooray for Fort Lauderdale District 1 City Commissioner John Herbst for having the backbone to stand up to the dazzling notoriety of soccer star David Beckham et al and his pricey lawyer-lobbyist.

They can afford the best legal counsel on the market, so they know what’s in an agreement and what isn’t. Cities do not do multimillion dollar business agreements on a handshake unless they’re awe-struck by fame and forget the rules of law.

As a taxpayer, I’m not dazzled. Enough with the giveaways.

Michael Laughlin / Sun SentinelFormer Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler, an attorney, was hired by the city to mediate a long-running dispute over the redevelopment of the former Lockhart Stadium site.

Thank you, former Mayor Jack Seiler, for all you are doing to mediate the agreement and not caving to lobbyist pressure.

If people can’t attend games because there’s no place to park, then just cancel the games and send fans home. That’s on Beckham United, not the city of Fort Lauderdale, according to their signed agreement.

They broke their promise to us, and to all soccer fans in Broward County, plain and simple.

Shame on Beckham United and those who represent them.

Amy Hamilton, Fort Lauderdale

Conservative reverberations

As their annual Leadership Blue event approaches, it’s important that Florida Democrats remember the shortcomings of the previous election cycle. With a Gov. Ron DeSantis having carried 62 of 67 counties in Florida, it will take more than just opening checkbooks to support the issues Democrats care about.

As a recent University of Florida graduate, I like to think I have my ear to the ground. Former Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse’s recent implant into Gator Nation inspired me to listen harder, but I am only hearing more and more conservative reverberations — even in Broward County.

If you don’t want it to be assumed that your child is carrying a firearm in a backpack; if you worry that you might not make next month’s rent due to spiking insurance premiums; or if you want the freedom to make your own decisions about your body, you need to make that known. Not just to your family, but to your friends, neighbors and elected officials, too.

Spencer Bober, Hollywood

A warning from Canada

What will it take for our state to legislate against automatic weapons purchases? How many more shootings must we witness in schools, clubs and, most recently, on the Broadwalk in Hollywood? If for no other reason, when will this keep people from vacationing here, considering Canada just issued a travel advisory due to our high level of gun violence?

Stacie M. Kiner, Hypoluxo 

The spine that isn’t

In their usual self-congratulations for dubious achievements, such as building “bike boxes” when there is just one, the Boca Raton City Council is taking credit for the downtown spine.

The spine was meant as a wide pedestrian thoroughfare linking Royal Palm Plaza and Mizner Park. It would be lined with stores, restaurants, and entertainment venues — Boca Raton’s version of the Champs-Élysées in Paris, as it were.

It was never seen as just a path, straight or otherwise, because there were already sidewalks in place for that purpose.

But the city council is now championing an achievement that isn’t. City officials claim that a pedestrian path through Aletto Square is the new spine. In no way does this even partially fulfill the spine envisioned by the early giants of Boca Raton planning. They can all pat each other on the back as much as they want, the spine is dead.

Even Mayor Scott Singer can’t pull off this miracle.

Alan Neibauer, Boca Raton

SCOTUS will end affirmative action, and universities will keep doing it | Opinion

12 hours 44 min ago

It’s that time again — Supreme Court opinion time.

Sometime this month, our nation’s highest court will hand down the latest of its long (although for many, not eagerly) awaited decisions addressing a legal issue at the core of America’s cultural divide. This case — more accurately, these two cases — concern the use of race in admissions programs at colleges and universities.

The cases arise out of admissions programs at two institutions: Harvard and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Americans situated all across the ideological spectrum who hold views about the issue colloquially dubbed affirmative action can learn a great deal if they read the transcripts from October’s five hours of oral argument. And that’s saying something, because legal transcripts — even those from hot-button cases — have a reputation for being staid and unilluminating.

Among the exchanges to be gleaned from the transcripts, an especially telling one stands out. After Harvard’s lawyer reluctantly conceded that, for some applicants, race indeed proved to be the determinative factor, as it may for an oboe player during an admissions cycle in which the Harvard-Radcliffe orchestra found itself in need of an oboe player, Chief Justice John Roberts replied tersely: “We did not fight a Civil War about oboe players.”

Peter K. Rofes is professor of law at Marquette University Law School.

Challengers allege that the program used by Harvard — a private institution — clashes with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by using race and subjective inferences about race in a manner that illegally disadvantages Asian-American applicants.

These same challengers contend that the program employed by UNC — a public institution — violates not merely Title VI but the equal protection guarantee of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment. In the UNC case, challengers allege that white and Asian-American applicants get the constitutionally short end of the admissions stick because UNC’s process affords African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and American Indians an inappropriate bump.

Each case has consumed the better part of a decade of the legal system’s time and resources.

In each case, challengers contend that the university persists in employing a race-conscious admissions policy in ways forbidden by law and inconsistent with the constraints of Supreme Court precedent. By so doing, challengers contend, each program impedes our move toward a nation in which individuals, to borrow from Dr. King, no longer are judged by the color of their skin.

And in each case, the university has structured its defense around a pair of core propositions.

One is that, to the extent it employs race in its admissions process, it does so to achieve an objective approved by a majority of the nation’s highest court for nearly a half century: to secure the educational benefits alleged to flow from a diverse student population.

The other is that were it forbidden to take account of race in the admissions process — were it required to undertake the admissions process genuinely blind to the race of applicants — it would be unable to achieve that first objective, unable to matriculate a student class that produces the benefits of diversity that the university seeks.

At the trials, each side wove its story with facts, anecdotes, experts, empirical analysis, a bit of histrionics, and slices of law.

And in each instance, the trial court awarded victory to the university.

Those victories almost certainly will be short-lived.

Yet this fact, although it will dominate the national conversation for a day or three, will not be among the most important consequences of the announcements by the justices.

Far from it.

Instead, look for two other phenomena — one conspicuous, immediate, and ephemeral, the other hidden behind closed doors on campuses across the land — to represent the most significant takeaways after the justices deliver their pair of verdicts.

As to the first: The nation’s intelligentsia will swiftly seek to delegitimize the dispositions, often even without reading the decisions themselves. Airwaves and social media will be dominated by those who toss the pair of cases into a rhetorical bucket alongside the court’s recent decisions on abortion, religion in the public square, and threats to roll back rights of members of the LGBTQ+ community, including the right to marry the person they love. These critics will lambast the cases with allegations that they amount to a mix of nothing more than raw political power and a smug lack of respect for the accumulated wisdom of the past. These features, they will tell us, have infected a Supreme Court majority made possible only by the court gifting the 2000 election to the GOP and then fortified by Mitch McConnell’s refusal to give Merrick Garland a hearing in the wake of the death of Antonin Scalia. Expect, too, that critics will pepper their outbursts with shots at Justice Clarence Thomas, weaving in mention of both Harlan Crow and Anita Hill.

This will be the message.

It will be loud.

It will be repetitive.

It will be trumpeted by those who have devoted not a day of their adult lives working on university campuses, let alone doing the onerous admissions work on those campuses.

And, within a few days, the noise will recede — to be replaced by a development few commentators will ever see. Let us call this second development the civil disobedience of the American university.

Given the way our legal system works, the current affirmative action cases focus principally on the admissions processes at two institutions of higher learning: UNC and Harvard. Yet little doubt exists that the principles announced will be intended by the court to govern the actions of the nearly 5,000 colleges and universities not parties to the case. Indeed, a compelling slice of evidence for this fact is the massive time, energy, money, and expertise invested by these institutions over the past few years in crafting strategies to circumvent principles of constitutional and statutory law the justices have not even yet handed down. To put it in today’s vernacular: The writing is not merely on the wall. It can be found on whiteboards and PowerPoint slides, in electronic files and email messages, on campuses (real and virtual) spanning from New England to California, from the Pacific Northwest to the Deep South.

Quite simply, America’s institutions of higher learning will continue to craft and administer admissions programs that take account of race — even after the nation’s highest court instructs them in no uncertain terms to cease doing so. They play the long game, comfortable that the obstacles rejected applicants must surmount to learn the truths about their rejections are sufficiently burdensome that those truths will continue to go undetected.

Nor should this impending development surprise us.

After all, American educators have an impressive history of acting as if they are entitled to flout the law; that they — rather than those who make, construe, and enforce the law — should be the ultimate arbiters of the legality of their own actions.

Beginning in 1954, a unanimous declaration from the nation’s highest court that racial segregation in K-12 public schools violated the constitutional equality owed to African-American schoolchildren met with a generation of resistance. Educators played no small role in that resistance. Moreover, even a cursory study of mid-20th-century American history makes clear that such resistance proved as vigorous and unstinting in the Northeast and Upper Midwest as it did in places the nation’s intelligentsia enjoys mocking as populated by hayseeds, bumpkins, and, yes, racists.

In the aftermath of an 1832 Supreme Court decision rarely mentioned in American law schools these days, President Andrew Jackson is said to have observed to the effect that, fine, now that Chief Justice John Marshall has made his decision, let him try to enforce it. The remark may well be, you should pardon the expression, fake news.

Later this month, the nation’s highest court will tell the nation’s colleges and universities once and for all to stop perpetuating race-consciousness in their admissions programs.

Do not for a moment believe that the pronouncement will serve to end such race-consciousness.


Because the resistance to that command — a resistance that will unfold for decades out of view of Americans and those whose collective job it is to deliver news to Americans — will be anything but fake.

Peter K. Rofes, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is professor of law at Marquette University Law School. The views he expresses are his alone and should not be attributed to Marquette University.

Could Broward soon host a cricket World Cup? A stadium would first need upgrades

13 hours 44 min ago

Broward commissioners will consider a request to double, if not triple, the number of spectator seats in the county’s international cricket stadium, among other upgrades, in the hopes of turning it into a “world cup”-caliber destination.

The estimated cost: $3 million.

Cricket, a bat-and-ball game, has long been common overseas, but it’s still growing among Americans.

Broward’s Central Broward Regional Park in Lauderhill, situated near West Sunrise Boulevard and State Road 7, is home to the only stadium in the United States sanctioned by the International Cricket Council. And although Lauderhill has been the site of games with international teams over the years, including India and the West Indies, Broward has its eyes on the big prize: the June 2024 World Cup Games.

It could be the first time the cricket World Cup is played in the U.S. But at least two other venues are working to get sanction approval to try to become the host, said Dan West, the county’s Parks and Recreation director.

The $3 million request by the county’s Parks and Recreation Department would be used for a new scoreboard and to build new seats to better position the county’s stadium to be chosen, he said.

“In order to host a World Cup game you have to have certain criteria that has to be anywhere in the world,” he said. “They have identified certain things they need to have.”

There are now 5,000 seats, when there could instead be 12,000, maybe even 15,000. There also needs to be a media staging area. And the scoreboard is from 2007 and has “outlived its usefulness” and getting repeated electronic repairs.

The cost will probably exceed $3 million, but it’s a start, county officials said, and reoccurring funding could make more changes.

The county’s budget hasn’t been signed off on yet — further discussions will happen this summer and approval will come in the fall — but departments will make their appeal to fund their wish lists.

If approved, the $3 million would be funded by taxpayers through property taxes in the next fiscal year, which starts in October.

Last month, a team from the ICC and Cricket West Indies “spent several days assessing the stadium and grounds, making recommendations to enhance the facilities to bring them to the standards for a World Cup,” West said.

West called more seating a “crowd pleaser.” And he’d like to see a second scoreboard as a backup, and that could eat up at least $1 million alone.

The goal: “billions” of eyeballs on those televised games, which will have video snippets of not just the stadium, but the surrounding community. And West hopes that translates to future tourism.

Former Lauderhill Mayor Richard Kaplan, who wrote a book called “Cricket, Lovely Cricket: How International Cricket Came to the United States,” turned pursuing cricket into part of his legacy. The stadium was built in November 2007, and the first international game was played May 2010, he said.

In 2012 he was inducted into the Cricket Hall of Fame in Connecticut for his efforts to bring cricket to South Florida and to build the Central Broward Regional Park cricket stadium.

Kaplan said the creation of the multi-use park “was to create an economic engine to not only Lauderhill, but Broward County, mostly on an international scale was the intention. We were trying to make this a signature place to be.”

“I applaud them for wanting to put more resources into the facility,” he said. “I met people around the world and Lauderhill is a known city in India and Sri Lanka, they’ve never heard of Fort Lauderdale but they heard of Lauderhill, because of the cricket.”

Lisa J. Huriash can be reached at lhuriash@sunsentinel.com. Follow on Twitter @LisaHuriash

ASK IRA: Are Heat already at make-or-break in NBA Finals?

14 hours 39 min ago

Q: Lose Sunday and it’s over. – Davis.

A: Just like it was over after losing to the Hawks in the play-in opener? Just like it was after trailing the Bulls in the fourth quarter of the ensuing all-or-nothing second play-in game? Just like it was over when the Heat were reduced to No. 8 playoff seed against the No. 1 Bucks? Just like it was over when having to play as the road team at Madison Square Garden? Just like it was over after Derrick White’s putback winner with one-tenth of a second to play in Game 6 against the Celtics? (OK, starting to sound like John Belushi as Bluto in “Animal House,” when he rousingly offered, “What? Over? Did you say ‘over’? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no! It ain’t over now, ’cause when the goin’ gets tough, the tough get goin’. Who’s with me? Let’s go! Come on!”)


Q: Memo to Nuggets: Please give us the same looks on Sunday. Please. – Douglas.

A: And they likely will, particularly if Nikola Jokic continues to play in a drop on defense. But the Heat also have to be careful about being seduced into solely accepting midrange jumpers, which was part of the reason Bam Adebayo exceeded his career high for shots in a game in Game 1. Some of those Heat looks have to continue to come from behind the 3-point line. The Nuggets are going to score; they have reached the point of almost unstoppable. That means generating enough points to stay competitive. And that means scoring in threes at least part of the time. Open two-point shots are good. Open three-point shots are better. The open shots will be there. It’s about eating from the correct shot menu.

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Q: “Lead Us” Omer Yurtseven. – Ronnie.

A: I can almost guarantee that if there is a Heat “Lead Us” moment in the postgame locker room after a victory in the NBA Finals, it will not be coach Erik Spoelstra having Omer Yurtseven bringing the team together in the locker-room huddle. With all due respect to Omer and his still-intriguing NBA possibilities, that ship has sailed. You don’t go from not playing someone at all to any type of leading role. Omer already is an NBA-level rebounder and scorer – which also tells you, by his lack of playing time, what the staff thinks about his defense. The Heat are at the stage of the season where it’s about solutions, not experiments. Omer’s struggles with lateral movement on defense are not something a staff turns to at moments like this. Yes, I, too, would have liked to have seen more of Omer during the regular season. But I’m also not in practices, where the staff makes such determinations about playability.

Dave Hyde: Paul Maurice shows Panthers how to handle Game 1 loss — ‘Everybody can breathe’

18 hours 36 min ago

LAS VEGAS — How did they take that dismal third period?

How do you think they took it?

“On the gradation of tough, root canal to eating oatmeal, it was closer to a root canal,’’ Florida Panthers coach Paul Maurice said.

He followed that good line with a purposefully deadpan stare, his flat, facial features saying it was OK for you to smile, even beckoning you to do so, even if his comic delivery demanded no reaction himself.

Less than an hour after the Panthers played their biggest and sloppiest period of the playoffs to turn a tie game into a 5-2 loss to Vegas, there was Maurice explaining what it all meant. And, more importantly, how his team should digest it heading into Monday’s Game 2.

“Everybody can breathe,’’ Maurice said in a crowded press room asking what went wrong in this Stanley Cup Final opener. “I feel like you people, you’re tight.”

That deadpan stare again. His exercise at humor is, in an entertaining way, also an exhibition of clenched strength. His mind is no doubt breaking down tactical issues even as his voice is dripping with some necessary perspective.

“The losing team talks of too many of something and the winning team talks about the fabulousness of all the other things and it’s 2-2 until that puck’s turned over,’’ he said.

It was actually 2-2 until Zach Whitecloud put the kind of distant shot that’s not eluded Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky these playoffs, then 3-2 until Matthew Tkachuk turned over the puck for a point-blank goal, then 4-2 until an empty-net score sent Vegas happy into the night.

Here’s the larger point: Maurice understands there will be strategic refinements to make, starting with a power play that’s fueled many good nights these playoffs but was 0 for 3 in Game 1.

“I’ve got faith in my group that we’ll learn,’’ he said.

The other side, the mental ability to manage a tough series, is equally as important. That demands the coach understand what moves his team, to tap into the team’s emotional taproot.

This brand of humor and perspective wouldn’t work for the Miami Heat, a defiant team playing on the edge of angry. Coach Erik Spoelstra talked after that crushing Game 6 against Boston with a raw and real voice about how they’d be ready for Game 7. That was their way.

The Panthers are a different animal. They’re a team with constantly evolving player nicknames. They award an actual T-bone to the player with the most “dog” in him in a particular game (meaning a winning game). The player has to then gnaw on it before everyone.

This is armor the Panthers use to help this run. They’re laughing as they line up outside the locker room to take the ice, though what they’re often laughing at is known only to them.

“I don’t understand half of what they’re saying,’’ Maurice said.

Maurice has been a NHL head coach since 28, and one manner he’s improved besides the tactical ideas of hockey is in loosening up his personality. He’s talked of the importance of letting others see he’s having fun. To laugh, when a human touch is needed.

Sometimes a good coach pretends it’s all fun, too, if it serves the larger purpose of keeping his team relaxed. That’s the idea after an odd opener. Both teams played physical, but neither team looked singularly sharp. Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy said they didn’t play their best game. Nor did the Panthers.

“We didn’t score on our best chances, they didn’t score on their best chances,’’ Maurice said. “A couple (Vegas) point shots snuck there way through. We sneak one through. The best chances teams had the goalies made gave saves on.”

The Panthers power play has to have impact. So does Tkachuk, who didn’t influence the game much beyond a few scrums, the final of which got him and Sam Bennett kicked out of the game after it had been decided.

“Eh, so, they got the first one,’’ veteran Eric Staal said.

“This is going to be fun,’’ Carter Verhaeghe said of the physical style this night took. “That’s how you want it.”

One game, they were saying. One missed chance. The Panthers haven’t missed many chances in winning 11 of their previous 12 playoff games. They also haven’t started a series with a loss since the first round against Boston.

“We lost the first game against Boston and got a little better,’’ Maurice said. “We lost two more and then got a little better.”

The idea is to get a little better in Game 2. At least the tact the coach will push. And this team will accept. All the while, telling themselves: Breathe.


New coach, same outcome as Inter Miami dispatched at home by D.C. United

20 hours 20 min ago

FORT LAUDERDALE — Christian Benteke scored an insurance goal in the 90th minute that proved to be the difference as D.C. United held off Inter Miami 2-1 on Saturday night.

Benteke used an assist from Victor Pálsson to score his eighth goal of the season, giving DC United (6-6-5) a 2-0 lead.

It was the difference in picking up three points after 20-year-old defender Ian Fray took a pass from Robert Taylor in the second minute of stoppage and scored his first career goal in his fifth appearance for Inter Miami (5-11-0).

Neither team scored until United defender Donovan Pines found the net for the third time this season, scoring unassisted in the 76th minute.

Inter Miami lost its fifth straight match. The club’s struggles continued under interim manager Javier Morales, who was handed the reins after Phil Neville was fired earlier in the week.

DC United improves to 4-1-1 all-time in the series and 2-0-1 in road matches with Inter Miami. United got back in the wins column after struggling to a 1-3-3 record in May. It was the fourth win in the club’s last 20 road matches in all competitions.

Inter Miami has interim manager Javier Morales after Phil Neville was fired this week with the club losing 10 of its first 15 matches.

Drake Callender turned away four shots in goal for Inter Miami. Tyler Miller did not save a shot for DC United.

DC United travels to play Atlanta United on Saturday. Inter Miami travels to play the New England Revolution on Saturday.

Vegas dominates third period, lands first punch in 5-2 win over Panthers in Game 1 of Stanley Cup Final

Sat, 06/03/2023 - 20:15

LAS VEGAS — The Stanley Cup Final started with lasers and fireworks, decibel-deafening music and boom-boom sound effects, all in a technologically entertaining pre-game package off the Vegas Strip right down to Michael Buffer’s “Let’s get ready to rumble” throwback cheer.

And then the show started.

And they did rumble, and tumble, all the way until the Vegas Golden Knights took over a tie game in the third period Saturday night for a 5-2 win in Game 1 of the best-of-seven series.

It was physical, sometimes breathtakingly brutal, start to the Final as each team tried to mark its territory in Game 1. Whether it was stage-setter for as physical a series as the Panthers’ opening one against Boston will take form in Game 2 on Monday night in Vegas.

This one ended in an uncommon way for a Panthers’ postseason that’s thrived on close wins. In a 2-2 game, defenseman Zach Whitecloud made a somewhat pedestrian shot from inside the blue line for the game-winner, one that found its way under Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky’s glove nearly seven minutes into the third period.

The Panthers had an ensuing power play that didn’t produce, a theme this night as they went 0 for 3 on the man advantage. Vegas then put away the game when Matthew Tkachuk’s clearing pass was batted down by the Golden Knights’ Mark Stone in front of the Panthers’ net.

His shot and goal made it 4-2 with just 6:28 to go. Reilly Smith, another former Panther, added an empty net goal for the 5-2 final.

There was an on-ice melee soon after that to close the game and the Panthers’ Smash Brothers, Tkachuk and Sam Bennett, were given game misconducts, as was Vegas center Chandler Stephenson.

That’s pretty much how Game 1 opened, too. Even Vegas goalie Adin Hill was involved in the pushing and punching midway through the first period as team made on-ice introductions in the Final.

Only Panther wing Nick Cousins was hit with a two-minute roughing penalty after that first-period scrum. (“Shame! Shame!” the Knights fans chanted at him.)

The result wasn’t the scripted one here. The Panthers’ Eric Staal took the puck behind the Vegas net and scored on a short-handed wraparound.

The Panthers’ penalty-kill gave that back later in the period. Jonathan Marchessault, who went to Vegas from the Panthers in the expansion draft in 2017, scored on a tic-tac-toe passing-sequence play.

Both goalies had their moments. Vegas wing Brett Howden and Stone each broke in alone on Bobrovsky in the first period and came up with nothing.

Early in the second period, Cousins had the puck at the goalmouth of an empty net when Hill reached back and somehow stopped the puck with his stick.

Midway through the second period, Vegas began controlling the puck in the Panthers end. On one sequence, Shea Theodore walked in from his defensive position and beat Bobrovsky low for his first playoff goal.

It looked to stay that 2-1 into the second period when Panthers center Aleksander Barkov won a face-off with 12 seconds left. Anthony Duclair picked up the pick behind Barkov and put it in the net with 10.2 seconds left in the period.

For the Panthers, the power play will be a point of focus entering Game 2. They’d scored on a healthy 27.9 percent of power plays these playoffs and were four-of-16 in the previous series against Carolina’s top-killing unit.

Vegas entered Game 1 killing penalties at a 61.7 percent, the worst of any team that advanced past the first round.

But Vegas killed all three penalties this game. They also came up with some third-period heroics like the Panthers have. And so they’re up 1-0 heading to Game 2.


15 year old hospitalized in serious condition after Lauderhill shooting

Sat, 06/03/2023 - 08:21

A 15 year old was hospitalized in serious condition after a shooting in Lauderhill early Saturday morning, officials say.

The shooting occurred around 5 a.m. in the 5900 block of Northwest 21st Street, Lauderhill Police Chief Constance Stanley told reporters at an anti-gun violence event in Lauderhill that took place later the same day.

Lauderhill Fire Rescue transported the victim to Broward Health Medical Center in serious condition, Deputy Fire Chief Jeffrey Levy said.

The victim was in surgery, Stanley said around 9 a.m. Police had no information on the suspect.

Shootings among young people have become a growing problem in Lauderhill over the last few years, according to Stanley, one of many things touched on at Saturday’s event.

“We have seen an uptick in youth playing around with guns,” she said.

Chris Perkins: Dolphins’ needs should override fantasy of DeAndre Hopkins

Sat, 06/03/2023 - 08:12

The Miami Dolphins don’t need wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.

The Dolphins do, however, need a quality backup left tackle, a quality receiving tight end, a workhorse-type running back, and better interior offensive and defensive line depth.

For those reasons, I’m not in favor of the chatter that says the Dolphins should acquire Hopkins.

Let’s be clear. Hopkins would make the Dolphins’ wide receivers better as a group.

But the Dolphins have more important needs, and filling those needs would make the entire team better.

Plus, Hopkins, the 30-year-old star free agent who was recently released by the Arizona Cardinals, would likely consume a large portion of the $13.6 million that became available to the Dolphins on June 1 via the Byron Jones release. That’s not good.

I understand the chatter. I understand the Hopkins interest.

Hopkins is a beast. I like Hopkins.

He’s a three-time All Pro and a five-time Pro Bowl selection in 10 seasons.

Hopkins could use his strong hands, physicality and route-running skills to work underneath, almost in the fashion of a tight end for the Dolphins.

In that role, Hopkins would be a great complement to speedy wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, and a great help to quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

Hopkins would also be a great aid to Mike McDaniel, giving him more viable options in his second year in his roles as head coach and offensive play-caller.

Going a step further, Hopkins would be one of the league’s best No. 3 wide receivers, far better than the Dolphins’ likely No. 3 receiver, Braxton Berrios. 

But that’s part of the problem with the Dolphins acquiring Hopkins – he’d be a No. 3 wide receiver.

And in that role, he’d be too expensive.

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The Dolphins have about $13.9 million available, according to overthecap.com.

If big money is a major factor in where Hopkins signs, and if Hopkins seeks anything close to the one-year, $15 million deal Odell Beckham Jr. got from the Baltimore Ravens, the Dolphins should keep it movin’.

It’s not financially wise for the Dolphins.

Whether or not money is a major factor it’s interesting to note Hopkins has hired an agent after previously representing himself. 

The most recent reports say there’s a chance Hopkins goes to Cleveland to reunite with Browns quarterback DeShaun Watson, who he teamed with in Houston.

He’s also reportedly expressed interest in reuniting with Houston, the team that drafted him in the first round in 2013, and that possibly gives him a way to create a market and play teams against one another. In other words, it might be enough to create a bidding war.

The Dolphins don’t need a star No. 3 wide receiver, and they certainly don’t need to engage in a bidding war for a No. 3 wide receiver who might want upwards of, say, $8 million per season, just to be conservative. 

One of the most urgent needs right now is backup left tackle. Starter Terron Armstead, a Pro Bowl selection in 2022, nursed several ailments last season and remains a major injury concern. 

Armstead, one of the team’s best players regardless of position, can’t be replaced directly. But having a quality backup helps cushion the blow greatly. The Dolphins might not have such a backup now, but perhaps that player becomes available after training camp cuts, or early in the regular season, or at the trade deadline. It’d be nice to have money available for such an acquisition.

The same goes for Minnestoa Vikings running back Dalvin Cook and his possible availability. Cook would be much better use of a salary that’s upward of $8 million than Hopkins.

Going in a different direction it’s tough to gauge the Dolphins’ depth at interior offensive and defensive line at this point. For the most part, we know the starters. But we haven’t seen the backups in pads. If changes are necessary, and that’s sometimes the case, it’d be nice to have money available.

The same goes for a receiving tight end, which remains a need, although it’d likely be a low- to mid-priced option.

Acquiring quality talent is almost always a good thing. But in this case the Dolphins must strike a balance with the Jones money.

Consider this:

The Dolphins could have perhaps the best trio of wide receivers in the league and (again) struggle on the offensive line, or they could have the perhaps the best duo of wide receivers in the league and, for a change, be pretty good on the offensive line.

I’d rather try playing a season with the second option.

Knocking DeSantis simply isn’t enough | Letters to the editor

Sat, 06/03/2023 - 08:00

Democrats need to stop their incessant negative bashing of Gov. Ron DeSantis. They already know all the anti-DeSantis viewpoints.

They must band together and put forth a united program that will negate the Republicans’ far-right agenda. We used to have groups that made phone calls, sent postcards and actively sought to register people to vote. Please, no more negativity. Let’s push forward with our positive agenda.

Barbara B. Green, Boynton Beach

Remember these words

As a retired Marine helicopter pilot, I was again reminded on Memorial Day of all of my brother and sister Marines who are no longer here because they gave their lives for our freedom.

I also remember what former President Trump said when he was scheduled to visit the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in 2018.

“Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers,” Trump said.

“Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.”
Trump said of visiting US war dead at Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris in 2018, sources tell @JeffreyGoldberg. He also referred to the more than 1,800 Marines who lost their lives at Belleau Wood as “suckers.” https://t.co/nvpV9RH4uA

— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) September 3, 2020

In a separate conversation on that trip, Trump referred to the more than 1,800 Marines who lost their lives at Belleau Wood as “suckers” for getting killed. He made these comments while he was with his chief of staff, retired Marine Corps General John Kelly, whose own son died in combat.

How any veteran can vote for this person is beyond my understanding, unless they’re living in a Fox News alternate reality bubble. I know what “cognitive dissonance” is, but this is the first time I have seen it on a national scale. No Trump male family member has served in the military since his grandfather fled Bavaria to avoid military service. Draft dodging must be in the Trump DNA.

Remember this in November 2024. Semper Fi.

Ray Belongie, Lt. Col. USMC (Ret.), Sunrise

History must be remembered

What has happened to the United States of America and the principles upon which it was founded?

My country was never perfect, but it’s so much better than anywhere else.

Politicians today seem to put their interests ahead of the citizens they serve. They overrule educators by doing away with public schools, banning books, denying history and discriminating against anyone who’s different, and in general taking away the education of our children — our future — from those best qualified.

History must be remembered to reflect and hopefully prevent the bad parts from being repeated. Parents, educators and students: Don’t let this happen. Let your voices be heard in newsprint, and vocally in Tallahassee and in Washington. Our children are our future. They, and it, must be secure.

Audrey Frieman, Pembroke Pines

Hard work, unrewarded

Thank you so much, Cynthia Murray, for sharing your very special sincere feelings about working at Walmart and being unable to retire reasonably well after 22 years of hard work (“Another Viewpoint,” May 25).

It is very sad and hard to believe that you could not afford to get two weeks off from work. It would never happen in other countries.

Hopefully, (the Walton family) will read your essay and immediately change the company’s time-off rules and others. I agree with you that America cannot be known for being the richest country in the world with such disgusting employee benefits. I was very impressed for what I read. Kudos and good luck to you. You have my 100% support.

Sarina Eliyakim, Fort Lauderdale

Tropical Storm Arlene weakens to depression; rains and flooding likely in Florida

Sat, 06/03/2023 - 07:48

Tropical Storm Arlene weakened to a tropical depression Saturday morning, and should continue to weaken throughout the day as it moves on a track southwest of the Florida coast, the National Hurricane Center said in its latest advisory.

Although Arlene, which formed on Friday, is not expected to make landfall in Florida, it may bring heavy rainfall with the potential for localized flooding to parts of South Florida and the Keys.

Air Force Hurricane Hunters investigated the storm Saturday morning and found that its 40 mph winds had decreased to 35 mph.

“This weakening trend is due to strong vertical wind shear and dry air that has wrapped into the circulation, and continued weakening is forecast,” the 11 a.m. advisory said.

The center of Arlene was located about 145 miles west-northwest of the Dry Tortugas, moving south-southeastward at 7 mph with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph.

The system is expected to turn east by Saturday night, and continue moving in that direction until it dissipates. It should become a remnant low later in the day.

No coastal watches or warnings have been issued. However, South Florida will stay under a flood watch until at least midnight Sunday, National Weather Service Miami meteorologist Robert Garcia said.

The biggest threat from Arlene will be the potential for heavy rain through Saturday, forecasters said.

“The main concern right now is the potential for significant flooding across areas under the flood watch,” Anthony Reynes, a forecaster for the National Weather Service Miami, said earlier in the week.

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Rain and gusty winds are expected across South Florida, experts said. The region could see 1 to 2 inches with localized amounts up to 5 inches.

The weather service said in a tweet that the storm patterns will continue during the weekend.

Areas of Broward County received between just over 1 inch of rain and up to 4.8 inches between Tuesday and Friday morning, according to weather service data. Palm Beach County areas have received between 1 and 5.9 inches, while areas in Miami-Dade County have received between 1 and 4.85 inches.

The hurricane names for 2023 are: Arlene, Bret, Cindy, Don, Emily, Frankin, Gert, Harold, Idalia (ee-DAL-ya), Jose, Katia (KAH-tya), Margot (MAR-go), Nigel, Ophelia, Philippe (fee-LEEP), Rina, Sean, Tammy, Vince and Whitney.

Colorado State University researchers increased their forecast for the 2023 hurricane season Thursday, estimating more named storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes than previously expected in an April forecast. Previously forecasting “slightly below average activity,” the season is now predicted to see near-average activity, Thursday’s predictions said.

Experts predict 14 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes to develop in the season, which runs until Nov. 30.

A strong El Niño weather pattern is expected during the peak of this season, which can decrease cyclone activity in the Atlantic because of increased vertical wind shear. But ocean temperatures are the highest on record since 1979 based on recent 30-day averages, the CSU forecast said, and the unusually warm temperatures could counteract the typically decreased during an El Niño.

A tale of betrayal and a lost battle to save natural Florida | Editorial

Sat, 06/03/2023 - 07:00

In 2007, a retired scientist in Maryland still reminisced about a special corner of Florida where he roamed as a boy. The land, near Mount Dora north of Orlando, belonged to him now, and he wanted to know it would be preserved. He did what he thought he needed to do to save it.

Kenneth Rubinson had no way of knowing that he’d placed his trust in an organization that would renege on its promises. That the Oklawaha Valley Audubon Society would plead poverty but spend thousands of dollars to argue in court that those promises didn’t count. He didn’t foresee that the sign that proclaimed it to be a nature preserve, named for his mother and himself, would be torn down and replaced with a sign declaring it open for sale. Or that the Florida Legislature would gut the laws that promised permanent protective status to the property Rubinson wanted so badly to save.

Rubinson, now in his late 70s, recently learned in the dry legalese of a judge’s order that he may live long enough to see that land clear-cut for yet another gas station.

Former Audubon pres: Group’s action a gut punch to the cause of conservation | Guest Commentary

This, in microcosm, is the story of environmental “protection” in Florida. What’s happening to our beloved state may be legal, but only under laws that have been twisted, bent and broken by lawmakers and regulators serving deep-pocket developers and donors. While many environmental groups still fight valiantly to preserve this state’s natural treasures, their mission can easily be undermined by oath-breakers and dealmakers, even among their own ranks.

It’s a sad, harrowing story, but it should inspire Floridians to fight harder to demand ironclad protections and to remind elected officials that their first duty is to the people who elected them, people who have voted time after time to tax themselves for land preservation in Florida in the belief that forever means forever.

It’s important to understand exactly what happened with Rubinson’s six acres of wilderness.

Promises made

When he decided to donate his land, Rubinson took rational precautions under the law at the time. He hired an experienced land-use attorney — Tim Hoban, who arranged the donation of the property to OVAS, the Audubon group, with the understanding that it would be preserved, and backed it up by securing a conservation easement that should have protected the property in perpetuity.

A few years ago, Hoban said he drove past the property and realized that the sign for the preserve had been replaced by a sign offering the land for sale. He contacted the listing Realtor and was told there was no easement on the land.

That turned out to be true: Prior to listing the property, OVAS took advantage of the Legislature’s decision to gut state law, making conservation easements easy to remove.

Rubinson then contacted OVAS and asked that the land be transferred to a nearby Catholic church. They refused.

He sued. A judge ruled that since the original transfer didn’t formally create a charitable trust, Rubinson didn’t have a case.

Meanwhile, there’s a movement among the environmental community that devalues small, isolated patches of wilderness in favor of saving large, connected corridors. That doesn’t make what OVAS did right: If they didn’t want the responsibility of maintaining the property, they should have honored Rubinson’s request to give it back. Instead, they called his bewilderment “absurd” and “frivolous” and waged a legal war based on laws and precedent that weren’t in place when the original deal was struck.

The trust they have shattered is reverberating in expressions of disgust across social media and the hasty statement issued by National Audubon and the Florida Audubon Society that they “take seriously their responsibility to honor donors’ intent when accepting gifts,” but have no authority to reverse OVAS’ decision.

While Audubon Florida cannot direct the Oklawaha Valley chapter to act in a particular way, we have counseled the chapter in the past about respecting the intent behind this property donation. While we disagree with the chapter’s course of action, we respect the court’s decision and continue to encourage the chapter to protect the donated land.

But the national and state groups should take whatever action they can to keep OVAS from further sullying the Audubon name if the local chapter refuses to reverse course. Other environmental groups should, too.

More is at stake here than the fate of six acres in Orange County. It is the concept of trust, not its legal definition. And it is about the meaning of the words “preserve” and “forever.” In a state that has invested billions of taxpayer dollars in conservation lands, the stakes couldn’t be higher.

The Sun Sentinel Editorial Board consists of Editorial Page Editor Steve Bousquet, Deputy Editorial Page Editor Dan Sweeney, and Editor-in-Chief Julie Anderson. Editorials are the opinion of the Board and written by one of its members or a designee. To contact us, email at letters@sun-sentinel.com.

Ira Winderman: How recency bias and playoff success could change the face of the Heat

Sat, 06/03/2023 - 06:20

DENVER – A former NBA executive this past week referred to it as the NCAA Tournament effect, a few shining moments over a matter of weeks impacting the longstanding perspective on a player.

A current NBA scout equated such snap judgements to the Jeremy Lin Effect, greatness with the risk of a rapid expiration date.

The context of the discussion was the Miami Heat’s unexpected rise to the NBA Finals as viewed through the prism of NBA talent evaluators.

Because nothing is more dangerous in such a process than recency bias.

And yet, with what is happening now, as the Heat compete against the Denver Nuggets on the league’s largest stage, that recency bias could go a long way toward determining what the Heat look like next season and in coming seasons.

In particular, the impact and the increased exposure, mostly in a positive light, on:

– Gabe Vincent.

– Max Strus.

– Caleb Martin.

– Duncan Robinson.

Until this postseason breakthrough by the Heat – Thursday’s Game 1 loss to the Nuggets notwithstanding – it would not have been a stretch to consider the quartet The Expendables, ancillary contributors on a 44-38, seventh-place team.

Now, as the Heat play into June, the calculus has changed, with Vincent and Strus impending unrestricted free agents, with Martin eligible for free agency in 2024, and with Robinson adding value with a heretofore largely unseen off-the-dribble game.

Gabe Vincent: Earning an NBA-minimum $1.8 million this season, Vincent emerged as a full-time starter when Kyle Lowry was sidelined in February by knee soreness.

Now, amid a solid postseason that included 19 points, with 5-of-10 3-point shooting, in Game 1 against the Nuggets, the price point has escalated.

“If you asked me back in February, I would have said, ‘Hey, probably part of the mid-level,’ ” ESPN analyst and former Brooklyn Nets executive Bobby Marks told the Sun Sentinel this past week. “I think Gabe can now get the full mid-level somewhere, which is $12.2 million.

“I mean, you go down the list of teams that need point guards, I think he’s the third best point guard on the board behind Kyrie [Irving] and I guess you could put [James] Harden up there. I think he’s shown his toughness; he can make big shots in big games. He could fit off the bench. He could start for you.”

A veteran NBA scout, not at liberty by league rule to publicly discuss impending free agents still under contract, agreed.

“The full mid-level? That’s in the ballpark,” the scout told the Sun Sentinel. “He’s had a very good run. I think he’s a backup; I cannot get to him as a starter.

“But you know what? That’s what quality backups are getting in this league, the full mid-level. He’s a combo guard in the best sense of the word.”

Max Strus: The playoffs also have reshaped the thinking on Strus, his 0 for 10 in Thursday’s Finals opener notwithstanding, a starter since the outset of the postseason.

“I think he’ll get that $12.2 number from the Heat or someone else out there,” Marks said, noting he has Strus valued at a slightly lower number.

“I don’t see one of these cap-space teams coming in and giving him like four for $60 million. Like I don’t see Orlando, who needs shooting, coming in all a sudden giving him $15 million. $16 million a year.”

The veteran scout said the full mid-level also might be a stretch for Strus, but not because of a single off night such as Thursday.

“I think it’s an overreach to say, ‘I’m going to pay this guy and he’s going to be my starting small forward,’ ” the scout said of Strus, who is earning $1.8 million this season. “He’s a solid backup. You still got to guard him. And he’s got a little more game than catch-and-shoot threes. He’s not a bad defender.”

Even with a return to the Heat, it could be difficult to view Strus as a starter, in light of Tyler Herro next season beginning his four-year, $130 million extension.

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Caleb Martin: No, not an impending free agent. And yet based on this playoff breakout, there already has to be future thought.

With Martin already considered at a price point beyond his $7.1 million player option for 2024-25, it means the Heat having to be prepared for such a jump in 2024 free agency.

And that could create pause when it comes to locking in Vincent and/or Strus this summer for two seasons or beyond at significant raises, even with Lowry coming off the books after next season.

“I think the one thing that Miami is going to have to be careful of is Caleb has that player option,” Marks said. “I still think you want to see more of a body of work. But you have to be prepared.”

Having a season to further assess should be helpful in the Martin deliberations.

“He’s gone up two levels, three levels,” the scout said of Martin’s postseason breakout. “He hasn’t gone up just one standard deviation higher. Sometimes you have to be careful with that.”

Duncan Robinson: No, Robinson isn’t hitting free agency any time soon, under contract through 2025-26,

But with these playoffs shedding new light on Robinson’s ability to play off the dribble, his value has moved closer to the $18.1 million he will earn next season.

And that could come into play as soon as next month, should the Heat look to free cap and luxury-tax space to address the free agencies of Vincent and Strus, or even take a long view with Martin.

“I think the days of having to attach draft picks to get rid of him are over,” Marks said of a possible Robinson trade. “I don’t think that applies anymore.”

The NBA scout wasn’t quite as certain.

“He’s shown he’s clearly more than a shooter in the playoffs,” the scout said. “He moves well without the ball, drives to the basket. But still he’s got to make shots, and he has. I’d say the sweetener could be a little less sweet now. But you still might have to toss something in to get off that contract.”

In an either/or scenario, the scout said he would move off of Robinson if it meant being able to accommodate retaining Strus in free agency.

“Strus is a better player,” the scout said. “I think Robinson is a specialist. when you get down to it. You’d rather have a rotation guy.”


THE RILEY WAY: Ahead of the NBA Finals, Nuggets coach Michael Malone said he took a page from the Pat Riley playbook by issuing a quiz to his team. That test came hours before Riley, in his role as Heat president, was at Ball Arena for Game 1 of the series. “I remember reading something about Pat Riley,” Malone said, “and he talked how he would quiz his players often. You think the main reason you’re quizzing them is to see if they are locked in, focused and paying attention. That’s part of it. But I thought the second part of Pat Riley’s reasoning for doing that was really – what stuck with me is that it also allows you to see if you’re doing your job as a coach. If they don’t know the answers, you’ve failed, not just them.” Malone’s players clearly had the answers in the series opener. For his part, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, who has worked under Riley for decades, said he was unaware of Riley’s quizzical approach. “I’m glad Pat has never given me a quiz,” Spoelstra said with a smile. “I probably would have failed.”

RESPECTS PAID: The face of the Heat-Boston Celtics rivalry certainly has changed toward the more civil since the days of Riley-Danny Ainge sniping (also known as the STFU Era). That had Celtics President Brad Stevens taking time to praise the Heat’s victory in the Eastern Conference finals when he held his postseason state-of-the-team media session Thursday. “The competition is real; the competition is tough,” Stevens said of the seven-game loss in the series. “Miami played a terrific series. The Miami series was a lot harder. They went small fast and spread us out and were running great action. They made it tough for us to defend those guys on the perimeter. They made a ton of shots from a lot of different places from a lot of different people.”

JOY OF DEFEAT: Among those who took particular pleasure in the demise of the Celtics in Game 7 against the Heat was Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green, who found himself the subject of profanity at TD Garden during the 2022 NBA Finals. “I must say, it did not hurt me to watch the Boston Celtics fans suffer,” Green said on his podcast. “Those people were really rude to me last year and I like to see them suffer.” Green said he sensed Celtics arrogance after tying that series 3-3 from a 3-0 deficit. “I texted a friend and told him it would not shock me if Boston goes out here and chokes,” Green said. “Because they’re going to go back home and they’re going to feel like they won already. If I’m on Miami’s team and I saw the way they were celebrating and the things they were doing after Game 6, I’m immediately showing this to my teammates like, ‘Look at these dudes. They think they already won something. Let’s go smack them.’ ” Which the Heat did, 103-84.

THANKS OFFERED: In his 15th season, Nuggets forward Jeff Green at Finals Media Day cited Heat forward Udonis Haslem as a reason for his longevity. “He’s been a good mentor, friend of mine for a while. Watching him from afar, seeing how he’s went about his business,” Green said of the Heat captain who is retiring after this 20th season. “Also, I live in Miami, so seeing his work from afar, studying that, allowed me to get in this position. I just took it and put it to my use, now I’m in the position I am in today. I just try to relay that message to the young guys to be in this league for a long time.”


3.Times the Heat have won an NBA championship, the franchise’s only titles, after losing Game 1 of the NBA Finals, which they did on Thursday night to the Nuggets. In 2006, the Heat lost Game 1 in Dallas 90-80; in 2012, they lost Game 1 in Oklahoma City 105-94; and in 2013, they lost Game 1 vs. San Antonio 92-88. In their only other three previous NBA Finals appearances, which they lost, the Heat won Game 1 vs. Dallas 92-84 in 2011; they lost Game 1 in San Antonio 110-95 in 2014 (the “air-conditioning game”); and lost Game 1 against the Lakers 116-98 in 2020 in the Orlando quarantine bubble.

Florida Democrats are dwindling. Why? | Steve Bousquet

Sat, 06/03/2023 - 06:00

BOCA RATON — It wasn’t long ago that Joni Albrecht walked door-to-door for Barack Obama. But she’s not a Democrat anymore.

Albrecht, 63, a physician and a highly active and reliable voter, sounds disillusioned with the state of partisan politics generally, and has re-registered as an NPA voter with no party affiliation. She said she may return to her old party as the 2024 election draws closer.

“We don’t have a democracy in this country, and neither party is representing the people,” Albrecht said. “They’re funded and indebted to big money corporations and they forgot their purpose.”

Mike Stocker/Sun SentinelSteve Bousquet, South Florida Sun Sentinel columnist.

Plenty of voters are turned off by extreme partisanship on both sides, and the number of voters nationally who call themselves independents is at an all-time high, according to a recent Gallup survey.

For years, NPAs in Florida have grown steadily and at a much faster rate than in either party — even though the state’s closed primary system systematically shuts out NPA voters.

Albrecht, and many others like her, are part of a troubling trend that Democrats need to study closely. In Palm Beach, a solidly Democratic county where Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis pulled off a surprisingly impressive victory last November, Democrats are leaving their party to become NPAs twice as often as Republicans.

The numbers aren’t huge, but the trend is clear. In the 10-week period between Feb. 1 and mid-April of this year, 1,537 Democrats in Palm Beach re-registered as NPAs, while 864 Republicans made the same change, according to the county elections office.

Kim Mann, 66, a Boca Raton accountant, said she became an NPA voter because she feels safer, considering the highly tense political climate. “It hasn’t changed my political views,” Mann said. “For right now, I just feel it’s prudent to do this.”

Cary Glickstein, 64, a Delray Beach lawyer, was a lifelong moderate Democrat before he switched. A former Delray Beach mayor, he’s also from a family of llfe-long Democrats, but he sees the party moving more to the left and that public safety isn’t enough of a priority.

“I’ve always been a moderate Democrat,” Glickstein said. “But I haven’t felt close to the party like I used to feel. I feel more comfortable calling myself an independent.”

Mindy Koch, the chairman of the Palm Beach County Democratic Party, has many ambitious plans to rebuild the party, expand youth outreach, train volunteers to register voters, create a vote-by-mail task force. They may be quitting, but Koch believes they’ll still vote for Democrats.

“They may be leaving the party, but they’re not going to leave us on the issues,” Koch said, citing abortion, climate change and gun control. “I believe they’re still going to vote Democratic.”

Our focus is on Palm Beach because DeSantis did so well there, and the county is critical to Democrats in statewide elections. One hopeful sign was that voter turnout in Palm Beach in the 2022 midterm (54.4%) was higher than the state as a whole and much higher than either Broward or Miami-Dade.

The Florida Democratic Party’s long, slow descent is a result of many factors. After two decades of Florida having premier battleground state status, the national party wrote off the state in the 2022 cycle. The lack of money makes it harder to recruit candidates, and the accumulation of losses naturally is discouraging to rank-and-file activists.

On top of that, Republicans have repeatedly enacted measures designed to make it more difficult for people to vote and to register new voters. The latest changes, in the 2023 legislative session, are the focus of multiple lawsuits in Florida courts. Local activists say state party chair Nikki Fried wants detailed plans from all 67 county organizations on how to register voters.

Republicans have steadily grown their statewide voter registration advantage over Democrats. It stood at 473,000 as of April 30. In yet another sign of trouble, routine list maintenance work by counties is resulting in more Democratic losses and an increasing Republican advantage in both Palm Beach and Broward counties.

List maintenance is required to keep the voter rolls as accurate as possible. Voters who die or move away are scrubbed from the rolls and voters who do not vote in two consecutive general elections and do not respond to a mailing can be moved to inactive status, a preliminary step to being removed from the rolls (any contact by voters with the elections office will restore their status to active).

The Sun Sentinel compared the party voters from October’s deadline to vote in the November election to the figures on election websites as of June 1. The number of active Democrats in Palm Beach was 398,918 in October and is 383,119 now, a decrease of 15,799. By comparison, the number of Republicans in Palm Beach has dropped by only 2,073, from 290,623 to 288,550. Democrats are dwindling. Republicans aren’t.

In Broward, the number of Democrats has fallen by 5,118 since October, while the number of Broward Republicans has increased by 4,063 in that same period. Democrats still have an overwhelming advantage in Broward, and will for a long time to come. But those numbers cry out for an explanation.

Statewide, there were 36,650 fewer active registered Democrats in May than there were in October — in a state that attracts a thousand new residents a day. These numbers are worrisome but they should motivate true Democrats to work harder than ever before. A Democratic turnaround needs a lot more voters — not fewer.

Steve Bousquet is Opinion Editor of the Sun Sentinel and a columnist in Tallahassee and Fort Lauderdale. Contact him at sbousquet@sunsentinel.com or (850) 567-2240 and follow him on Twitter @stevebousquet.

Falls are more hazardous than you think, and we’re not sandbagging you

Sat, 06/03/2023 - 05:30

Before you pass judgment on the tumble President Joe Biden took on onstage at the U.S. Air Force Academy graduation on Thursday, take note: Falls are the number one reason Floridians land in the emergency room for non-fatal injuries.

In the Sunshine State, it is not just senior citizens who are driving this trend.

Nearly 500,000 Floridians of every age visited hospital emergency departments for falls in 2021, more than any other source of non-fatal injuries, including car accidents and poisonings. Indeed, in 2021, the most recent year for which Florida Department of Health data is available,  75- to 84-year-olds made up the largest group of those injured by falls, but nearly 31,000 people in their 20s went to hospitals for falls, too.

Lawn workers are falling while trimming trees. Roofers are falling while pressure cleaning. Seniors are falling in their condos. Shoppers are falling in the grocery aisles, and all kinds of people are falling in the shower.

Falls from ladders also play a role, something to consider during hurricane season when you hang shutter panels.

Nearly 100,000 ER visits from falls in 2021 were children under 15. They fall from monkey bars, out of trees, and off their bicycles, among other childhood activities.

“Kids have lower center of gravity, bigger heads, so they fall often,” said Candace Pineda, trauma administrative director for Memorial Regional Hospital and Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood.

‘In our younger population, falls outweigh your heart attacks and your strokes,” Pineda said. “Falls count for about 50% of all injuries. So falls is number one followed by motor vehicle/motorcycle crashes.”

Biden says he got ‘sandbagged’ after he tripped and fell onstage at Air Force graduation

Patients between 20 and 50 often come in to the ER because they hit their head during a fall and feel dizzy or nauseous.

“The vast majority of those injuries are benign and just mild concussions,” said Dr. Cory Harow, medical director of the ER at West Boca Medical Center.

Falls can cause fractures or broken bones, like wrists, arms and ankles. People are most often hospitalized from a fall because of a head injury or hip fracture.

Seniors tend to fall because balance declines with age, as does vision, and many are taking medications that cause dizziness.

For older American, falls can be life-threatening.

Older Americans are dying of falls at more than double the rate of 20 years ago, according to a 2020 study of 36,500 Americans age 65 and up published as a letter in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“With older people, their reflexes are not as sharp so they are unable to protect themselves as quickly,” Harow said. “A fall that would be trivial in a 20-year-old can be a catastrophic hip fracture in a 70-year-old.”

Harow said the majority of head injuries in the older patients who arrive in the emergency room are from falls. Those head injuries can be particularly dangerous for anyone on blood thinners.

“What I have noticed is one of major causes of falls is seniors walking in the parking lot and trip over the cement blocks that signify where to park the car,” he said. “They shuffle their feet and go right over.”

Harow said nationally, about 25% of seniors who come to the ER with an injury from a fall get admitted, a significantly higher percentage than younger patients. He advises Florida seniors to be mindful of their surroundings, remove loose carpets and look down as they walk.

And, he adds, consider adding a grab bar in the shower: “Make sure the environment in your home is as safe as possible.”

Sun Sentinel health reporter Cindy Goodman can be reached at cgoodman@sunsentinel.com.

Carnival embarking drug dogs to stop onboard weed use

Sat, 06/03/2023 - 05:00

Sorry, weed smokers. Carnival Cruise Line has become what those who imbibe might consider a buzzkill.

Despite continued momentum in the U.S. toward decriminalizing the drug or making it legal for medical and/or recreational use, Carnival has recently taken a sharp turn in the opposite direction by deploying drug detection dogs to deter passengers from bringing weed aboard its “fun ships.”

Dogs are routinely brought on board to inspect embarking passengers and their carry-on luggage, according to social media posts by recent cruisers.

It’s part of a new crackdown not just on weed, but on “people behaving badly” aboard cruises, Carnival CEO Christine Duffy explained in a video distributed to passengers in late February, just as spring break sailings were getting underway.

Carnival Cruise LineA drug detection dog looks through carry-on bags of embarking passengers in this screenshot from a video released by Carnival Cruise Line last spring. (Courtesy Carnival Cruise Line)

“It’s happening at stores, restaurants, sporting events, at schools, on airplanes, at theme parks, and yes, on cruise ships too,” Duffy said in the video.

Measures include adding security personnel to all of the cruise line’s ships, “and we’ve introduced narcotics-sniffing dogs at home ports to screen luggage on both a routine and random basis,” she said. “So our guests shouldn’t be surprised if they see guests come on board at both our home ports and our destination out-ports to make random searches.

“Illegal drugs, including marijuana, on cruise ships and at cruise terminals, is prohibited,” she said. While marijuana may be legal in some states, “We are required to follow federal law, irrespective of the law in the state where you may be boarding your ship,” she said.

Guests who use medical marijuana should “consult with your physician about an alternative therapy during your cruise,” she said.

“Consequences” for not complying with Carnival’s code of behavior include fines, being confined to cabins, or being removed from the ship and banned from future sailings, she said.

Other measures to deter misbehavior include a 1 a.m. youth curfew for passengers 17 and under unless with adults 21 or over and a $500 fine for fighting, unwanted touching or pushing, she said.

In addition to alerting future passengers about the heightened enforcement measures, Carnival is reinforcing the message onboard it ships in videos featuring Shaquille O’Neal, the cruise line’s “chief fun officer.”

Carnival spokesman Matt Lupoli declined to answer specific questions about the frequency of drug dog deployment, or whether specific complaints or incidents prompted the new policies.

“I can’t go into further detail because it’s part of our security operations,” Lupoli said by phone.

The drug detection dogs, first deployed last fall, are owned by Carnival, he said, and not by law enforcement agencies, U.S. Customs and Border Protection or the Transportation Safety Administration. Headquartered in Doral, Carnival Cruise Line currently sails from Florida ports in Miami, Brevard County, Jacksonville, and Tampa.

Though disclosed in videos this year, attention to Carnival’s use of the dogs was amplified in a recent Facebook post by John Heald, the company’s “Fun Ambassador.”

Heald disclosed that the policy was working and would continue. “Let me say that they have, along with our no-tolerance rules and enforcement, made a massive difference to the problem of people thinking it is legal and [that they are] allowed to use marijuana on their cruise. It isn’t.”

Heald continued, “These uber-intelligent and highly trained dogs are used at embarkation and occasionally, not every cruise on every ship, will sail as well with their handlers.” Passengers who are allergic to dogs need not be concerned, he said. The ships “are large enough for this not (to) be a concern.”

Responses from Heald’s Facebook followers was overwhelmingly positive.

One follower said that “the smell of weed was so strong on our balcony, on our last few cruises, that it made me nauseous to set out there.”

Another follower said, “We sailed on New Years Eve, and the smell of pot was everywhere, it was bad. We sailed again in March and the dog was there, and no smell of pot on board.”

Marijuana has always been illegal onboard ships operated by every cruise line that sails from the U.S., and likely, everywhere else in the world.

Yet on a three-night cruise to Bimini in June 2022, the smell of marijuana flower was pervasive even in Carnival Conquest’s pre-cruise check-in area, and onboard, the smell of burning weed was unmistakable from private balconies and around the ship’s outdoor smoking area.

Other major cruise lines, including Norwegian, MSC, Royal Caribbean and Virgin, did not respond to emails asking whether they also are deploying drug detection dogs. Carnival’s ticket contract, similar to other cruise lines’, states that marijuana and other controlled substances are prohibited and may not be brought on board any Carnival ship.

Guests agree that Carnival can search their cabins, luggage and personal effects “at all times and without notice” to ensure compliance. Guests who refuse such screenings or are caught with such items “may be denied boarding or disembarked” with no refund, the policy states.

Despite Carnival’s enhanced enforcement, weed users who cruise have some options.

Some states that have legalized recreational use have allowed dispensaries to open near cruise ports. Port states that allow recreational use by adults include New York, California and Alaska. A handful of international cruise destinations have also legalized weed, including Canada and Uruguay.

In January, the U.S. Virgin Islands authorized recreational and sacramental use of marijuana for anyone 21 and older.

Other nations that show up on lists of “pot-friendly” locations have varying laws that users should learn about ahead of time. In The Netherlands, for example, long famous for its tolerance to marijuana use, residents are allowed to buy and use it in certain coffee shops, but tourists legally are not.

While many Caribbean nations have begun decriminalizing marijuana, it remains illegal throughout much of the region.

Meanwhile, there’s no shortage of sellers converging on disembarked cruisers in island nations where it remains illegal, including in The Bahamas, the closest island destination for cruise lines with home ports in Florida. Would-be buyers should be extremely careful, however, as the internet is full of stories of undercover police targeting American tourists looking for weed.

Jim Walker, a Miami-based maritime attorney, scoffed at Carnival’s new drug-detection policy, noting that the cruise line, like most cruise lines, heavily promote alcohol sales. “It’s obviously geared toward making certain that the only depressants used by cruise guests is booze sold by Carnival,” Walker said in an email.

Ron Hurtibise covers business and consumer issues for the South Florida Sun Sentinel. He can be reached by phone at 954-356-4071, on Twitter @ronhurtibise or by email at rhurtibise@sunsentinel.com.


Stop the bleed: When gunshots ring out, the first five minutes are pivotal to survival

Sat, 06/03/2023 - 04:00

Parkland, Pulse nightclub — and now Hollywood Beach.

Floridians know firsthand that any public place can instantly turn into a shooting range, where multiple victims are wounded or killed. Such incidents have been escalating in the United States, which has more mass shootings than any other country.

Surviving a gunshot often depends on what happens in the first five minutes after a bullet enters the body and where the metal lodges.

The Memorial Day incident on Hollywood Beach in which nine people were shot illustrates just how much those initial minutes count.

Sean Bennett had been eating at Hollywood Beach on Memorial Day when he heard multiple gunshots and saw a teenage boy drop to the ground. He approached the boy, 15-year-old Kyan Reddix, and asked if he was okay. “I’ve been shot,” Reddix replied.

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Bennett quickly jumped into action, rolling the teenager onto his back and putting his hand over the chest wound from which blood gushed out. Reddix also had a small hole on the side of his stomach. “I shouted out to people around me for a clean towel, and when that filled up with blood, I asked for another,” Bennett said. “Even though there was a whole lot of blood, I kept the pressure on.”

Within minutes, a Hollywood police officer, equipped with a tourniquet, chest seal, and quick clot, arrived and worked with Bennett to control the blood loss. Hollywood Fire & Rescue eventually brought the teenager, shot four times, to Memorial Regional Hospital and after surgery, he survived.

The others who were shot also benefited from good Samaritans and police officers working quickly to control bleeding. They, too, survived. On Friday, all but two had been released from the hospital, including a 1-year-old boy.

“Everyone thinks the ER docs save the lives of gunshot victims, but that’s false,” said Dr. Peter Antevy, EMS medical director in Broward and Palm Beach counties and an emergency physician.  “It’s everything that happens before someone gets to the ER. If you have an arterial bleed and pressure is not applied before you get to the ER you are not going to make it.”

Gunshots more common, but survivable

In an average year, 2,849 people die and 5,267 are wounded by guns in Florida, according to EveryStat.org’s analysis of CDC data.

Nationally, more than 320 people a day are killed or wounded by a gun, the CDC’s WONDER online database shows.

More Americans died of gun-related injuries in 2021 than in any other year on record. That included record numbers of both gun murders and gun suicides, the CDC data shows.

Experts believe 2022 and 2023 will surpass those records. On May 31, the 150th day of 2023,  there have been 263 mass shootings (incidents with four or more people shot) reported in the U.S., with 327 victims killed —  the highest ever recorded this early in a year.

While firearm deaths and injuries already were rising in the United States, the pandemic fueled more gun ownership and more casualties.

Studies show that victims can survive gunshots, even those to the head, heart or torso. Most victims of fatal firearm injuries, however, die at the scene of the shooting, which is why new efforts have focused on the immediate response.

Memorial Regional Hospital Trauma Administrative Director Candace Pineda demonstrates a tourniquet in a stop-the-bleed kit in the emergency room at the Hollywood hospital. (Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

If someone has life-threatening bleeding, all of their blood can come out of their body in three to five minutes, said Candace Pineda, trauma administrative director for Memorial Regional Hospital. “So that’s why the moment anyone recognizes that there’s bleeding, they have to take the initiative right then to get it to stop,”

“The only place that is a little tricky is your abdomen,” she said. “If you have an injury in your chest or your abdomen the only way we can get bleeding to stop is for somebody to go inside … If you are at the scene, just cover it and get them to the hospital as soon as possible.”

Over the last few years, bleeding control kits have been placed next to AED defibrillators in airports, schools, malls and other public places where there are more than 100 people.  “There’s a big push to put the kits where they need to be,” Antevy said.

Minutes — actually seconds — count.

If there isn’t a kit around, which happened at Hollywood beach, the first step is to apply direct pressure and then, with shots to the legs or arms, look for something to use to make a tourniquet high up on an extremity to cut off circulation, like a belt or rope, said James Roach, Broward Health chief of emergency medicine and Broward Sheriff Office’s EMS medical director for Fort Lauderdale and Sunrise.

“The bystanders and police need to do something immediately to stop bleeding,” Roach said. The next step is a quick transport. “You want the victim to be off-scene in 10 minutes and on their way to the hospital.”

In most cities, 911 operators have been trained to instruct callers how and where to apply pressure to a gunshot wound and how to use a bleeding control kit.  Police officers, who typically arrive before fire rescue, now come with kits that include tourniquets, chest seals, and packing gauze.

On Memorial Day, when 911 calls came in about the beach shooting, officers “immediately responded,”  said Deanna Bettineschi, a spokeswoman for the Hollywood police department. “They found the nine victims with gunshot wounds. They immediately rendered aid.” Bettineschi said all officers arrived with a tourniquet, chest seal, and quick clot. Videos and photos show police officers using their bleeding kits on the injured people before the arrival of EMS.

Tourniquets were used today at the #hollywoodbeach shooting….

…this one placed by a police officer.

Well done HPD

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