G.E.T. the real Picture
Serving South Florida's inspection needs.

South Florida Local News

Syndicate content Sun Sentinel
Sun Sentinel: Your source for South Florida breaking news, sports, business, entertainment, weather and traffic
Updated: 18 hours 29 min ago

Chris Perkins: Five things to watch for in Miami Dolphins-Buffalo Bills matchup

Thu, 09/28/2023 - 03:25

MIAMI GARDENS — You try to keep perspective about October games in the NFL. They rarely matter come December and January.

But throw that rule out the window for this one … this is Dolphins at Bills.

This is big.

OK, the winner isn’t definitely winning the AFC East or certainly even securing a playoff berth.

Still, it’s a juicy matchup.

This is the undefeated, high-scoring, title-hopeful first-place Miami Dolphins (3-0) squaring off against rugged and proven Buffalo (2-1), the three-time defending AFC East champions who have owned the Dolphins at Highmark Stadium. Owned them.

It’s a rematch of last season’s playoff game that the Bills won — in Buffalo.

Again it’s only October, but this is a big one.

Here are a few things to look for in this game: 

Dolphins offense

They scored 70 points last Sunday — 70! They rushed for 350 yards. They scored 10 touchdowns. Yeah, you’ve got to keep an eye on this offense, apparently whether or not wide receiver Jaylen Waddle is on the field. The architect, coach Mike McDaniel, has shown impressive growth as a play-caller. The triggerman, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who is first in the NFL in passer rating (121.9) and second in passing yards (1,024) and touchdowns (eight), has been excellent. The offensive line has been equally excellent, only allowing one sack and clearing holes in the run game.

Wide receiver Tyreek Hill (412 yards receiving) is on pace for an NFL-record 2,329 yards. Running backs Raheem Mostert (240 yards rushing) and De’Von Achane (208) are ranked sixth and 10th, respectively, in the league. The Dolphins are ranked No. 1 in the league in total offense (550.3 yards per game), passing offense (362.0 ypg), rushing offense (188.3 ypg), and scoring offense (43.3 points per game). We could go on and on, but you get the idea. This offense is good.

Related Articles Vic Fangio vs. Ken Dorsey

This is a big matchup because if the Dolphins defense can slow Buffalo’s offense even a little bit, it could be enough to provide a winning margin. The Bills averaged 33 points per game at home while beating the Dolphins twice last season. Both of those victories were by three-point margins (32-29 and 34-31).

Fangio, whose defense ranks 10th in the league overall (361.3 yards allowed per game), 20th against the pass (231.3 ypg), and 24th against the run (130.0 ypg),  just has to slow the charge. Interestingly, Buffalo is second in scoring offense (30.3 points per game) while Miami is 21st in scoring defense (21.3 ppg allowed). 

And considering Buffalo is at home, where it has dominated the Dolphins, as you’ll see below, advantage Dorsey.

Winning at Buffalo

Highmark Stadium has been a chamber of horrors for the Dolphins for the past 11 years. They’ve lost six consecutive and nine of the past 10 in Orchard Park, NY. Miami hasn’t won at Buffalo since Dec. 24, 2016. Prior to that it was Nov. 20, 2011.

During this span, Buffalo has hosted and chewed up Dolphins quarterbacks from Ryan Tannehill through Skylar Thompson, including Tua Tagovailoa, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jay Cutler. The Bills have hosted and defeated Dolphins coaches such as Mike McDaniel, Joe Philbin, Adam Gase and Brian Flores. Bills quarterback Josh Allen was a freshman at Firebaugh (Calif.) High School when this stretch began in 2011. 

Yeah, this Bills home dominance over the Dolphins has covered lots of time and eras.

(new Image()).src = 'https://capi.connatix.com/tr/si?token=40bacbdb-084a-4980-bafa-92da3b5cd8f1&cid=38d5daa3-18ac-4ee1-a905-373c67622f25'; cnx.cmd.push(function() { cnx({ playerId: "40bacbdb-084a-4980-bafa-92da3b5cd8f1" , mediaId: "ff418360-7cb0-400b-bc82-5b4b7ec9e5ed" }).render("8257c33da5ae42cbb83c6ec3e370146d"); }); Bills QB Josh Allen

You’ve got to account for Allen (five touchdowns, four interceptions, 90.3 passer rating). Always. Yes, he keeps both teams in the game at the same time, as the saying goes. But he’s the reason the Bulls beat the Dolphins, 32-29, in December. He threw four touchdown passes and led scoring drives on the Bills’ final two possessions. His leap at the goal line on a two-point conversion tied the game at 29 before they won on a 25-yard field goal as time expired.

Of course, Allen also lost a fumble after being sacked in the fourth quarter, leading to a field goal that gave the Dolphins a 29-21 lead. Still, the guy is a baller and does way more good than bad. Miami must keep him under control. That goes for wide receiver Stefon Diggs (25 receptions, 279 yards, one touchdown), too.

Dolphins special teams

This is the type of game where the special teams errors the Dolphins have displayed in the first three games — missed extra point, missed field goal attempt, blocked field goal attempt, 99-yard kickoff return touchdown allowed — could make the difference between winning and losing. Before we get too carried away with special teams blunders, let’s remember kicker Jason Sanders is the most accurate kicker in franchise history, hitting 82.3 percent of his field goal attempts.

Of course, what many remember right now is he’s 3 of 14 from 50 or more yards since the start of the 2021 season. But also recall the most notable in that group was the 50-yarder he hit with 18 seconds left against the New York Jets last season to send the Dolphins to the playoffs. Still, there’s a cloud of suspicion hovering over special teams right now and they must play well to lift the doubts. 

Who has the edge? Dolphins at Bills, for early AFC East supremacy

Thu, 09/28/2023 - 03:25

Here’s a look at how the Miami Dolphins and Denver Broncos match up in six key areas ahead of Sunday’s Week 3 game at Hard Rock Stadium (1 p.m., CBS):

When the Dolphins run: After having the No. 25-ranked rushing offense in 2022, largely from not running the ball enough, Miami has the league’s top ground game through three weeks in 2023. Three-hundred fifty yards in one game will do that for you.

The Dolphins discovered something new in rookie running back De’Von Achane in Sunday’s 70-20 win over the Broncos, two weeks after he was a healthy scratch in the season opener against the Chargers. He had a team rookie rushing record of 203 yards on 18 carries and scored four touchdowns — two rushing. Raheem Mostert went for 82 yards, three rushing touchdowns and another receiving score. The return of Terron Armstead at left tackle was instrumental in the team’s run-blocking for an offensive line that’s already been a plus.

The Bills have the league’s No. 14 run defense, but it’s largely because of the 172 yards surrendered to the Jets in the opening-week loss despite quarterback Aaron Rodgers going down four plays in. They’ve been better since with Ed Oliver and DaQuan Jones on the interior of the defensive line. Linebacker Tremaine Edmunds is no longer in Buffalo, though, but second-year player Terrel Bernard has a team-leading 24 tackles, along with two interceptions, two sacks and a fumble recovery. Edge: Dolphins

When the Bills run: Former Miami Central High standout James Cook is averaging a whopping 6.1 yards per carry, going for 267 yards on 44 attempts through three games. The Bills’ rushing attack overall ranks seventh in the league after outings of 183 and 168 yards in their wins the past two weeks. As always against the Bills, the Dolphins will also have to be weary of quarterback Josh Allen scrambling. He has 89 rushing yards on 12 carries this season.

The Dolphins are back on track in run defense since the Week 1 outlier of 233 yards allowed against the Chargers. They surrendered 88 and 69 rushing yards against the Patriots and Broncos, respectively. Linebacker David Long Jr. has been a plus in that department after he didn’t play much in the opener. The front of Christian Wilkins, Zach Sieler and Raekwon Davis is normally strong against traditional runs. Edge: Even

When the Dolphins pass: Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is playing extremely efficient football, completing his first 17 passes in Sunday’s win over Denver. He finished 23 of 26 for 309 yards and four touchdowns. His 155.8 passer rating in the 70-20 victory was the highest of his career. The completion percentage of 88.5 was a personal best in any start.

Tagovailoa’s on fire. He has Tyreek Hill, who is on a torrid pace with 412 receiving yards through three games. And he could be getting Jaylen Waddle back from concussion protocol this week. When he was out against Denver, it was the running backs that got more involved in the passing game as Mostert and Achane combined for 11 receptions, 90 yards and three receiving touchdowns. Cornerback Taron Johnson is a key piece for Buffalo that allows the Bills to stay in a base nickel. He, fellow cornerback Tre’Davious White, safeties Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde and even the Bills linebackers will have their hands full at every level.

Related Articles

Buffalo will remain without edge rusher Von Miller. Former University of Miami standout Greg Rousseau and Leonard Floyd lead the pass rush. Tagovailoa has only been sacked once in three games. The offensive line, which now has Armstead back on the left side, and his quick release can be credited on that front. But he also knows when he has time in the pocket to let a play develop, like on his opening-drive 54-yard touchdown to Hill where the quarterback watched a safety bite on an underneath route deep into his progression. Edge: Dolphins

When the Bills pass: In 10 regular-season meetings against the Dolphins, Allen has 27 touchdowns to five interceptions for 2,684 yards on 63.8 percent passing. He also has had success against new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio in two meetings when Fangio was head coach of Denver: Four touchdowns, one interception, 544 passing yards on 66 percent passing in a pair of wins. That said, when these teams last met in the past postseason, Allen looked very human with three turnovers. He’s been prone to be loose with the ball.

The Dolphins will try to bend but not break in the secondary. Cornerback Xavien Howard will see a familiar foe in Stefon Diggs as he still won’t have his new defensive backfield mate in Jalen Ramsey. Last Sunday, Eli Apple was out of the nickel package, supplanted by Justin Bethel, who played the slot and left Kader Kohou to remain on the boundary. It was Parry Nickerson when Miami went to the dime. Safety Jevon Holland can look to build off his ball-punching exhibited against the Broncos for two forced fumbles.

Although the Dolphins pass rush only had one Emmanuel Ogbah sack vs. the Broncos — the defensive end also got an interception — they hit Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson 12 times. Defensive tackle Christian Wilkins had three of them, so he’ll be eager to get a lick on noted rival Allen. Allen is similarly mobile, so pass rushers will have to make sure not to over-pursue and leave openings to run behind them. Edge: Bills

Special teams: Every week, the Dolphins still seem to be coming off a special teams blunder. Even in a near-perfect blowout win, Miami allowed Denver to return a kickoff for a touchdown. The week before in New England, it was a blocked field goal and a missed 55-yarder that would’ve sealed it. The week before that, kicker Jason Sanders missed a late extra point against the Chargers.

Sanders made all 10 of his point-after attempts against the Broncos, but didn’t get the chance to kick for the NFL team record for points in a game. While Sanders struggles from 50-plus on field goals — 4 of 13 since 2021 — Buffalo’s Tyler Bass thrives from distance, having converted 10 of 15 career attempts, including two this season. Edge: Bills

Intangibles: Both teams come in hot, the Dolphins a little hotter. Although Buffalo has won seven consecutive home meetings in the rivalry, including last season’s wild-card playoff game, this early-season pairing bodes well for Miami to avoid potential frigid weather late in the season. The Dolphins have only gotten better since last season, and even as the Bills were AFC front-runners in 2022, Miami gave them all they could handle in the December regular-season snow game and the postseason game with third-string quarterback Skylar Thompson starting. The Dolphins are much better-equipped this time around. Edge: Dolphins

PREDICTION: Dolphins 31, Bills 30

(new Image()).src = 'https://capi.connatix.com/tr/si?token=40bacbdb-084a-4980-bafa-92da3b5cd8f1&cid=38d5daa3-18ac-4ee1-a905-373c67622f25'; cnx.cmd.push(function() { cnx({ playerId: "40bacbdb-084a-4980-bafa-92da3b5cd8f1" , mediaId: "ff418360-7cb0-400b-bc82-5b4b7ec9e5ed" }).render("383dea09865d46bb8469e72a8c6586fd"); });

ASK IRA: Egg on the Heat’s face, or never a fair crack at landing Lillard?

Thu, 09/28/2023 - 03:05

Q: I have some crow to serve you while you lick the egg off your face. You and the Heat blew it big time. When you have a superstar that wants to play for you and everyone agrees he’s the missing piece, you have to close the deal. – Brian, San Marcos, Calif.

A: Fortunately, I keep Acme Egg Remover available ahead of Halloween for when the neighborhood kids decide on tricks instead of treats, and I have a killer recipe for Crow Fricassée. Unfortunately, and this might come as news to some, I rarely receive calls from Pat Riley and Andy Elisburg soliciting advice on how I would handle a trade (as in I never receive calls, because . . . I . . . do . . . not . . . work . . . for . . . the . . . team.). But there is a greater point to all of this. If a team that is in control of a player’s rights does not want to talk trade with you, then there can be no negotiations. As stated previously in this space, it’s almost  as if Trail Blazers General Manager Joe Cronin was in a state of self-preservation, knowing what it would look like if it was perceived that he capitulated to the Heat. At the moment, it is too early to grade Portland’s return on Damian Lillard until we see what happens with the Jrue Holiday portion of the equation. But to dismiss the quality of Heat draft picks and then get a sole, single first-rounder from the Bucks seems light. Plus, the upside of landing Deandre Ayton could be nothing more than the empty stats that at one point attracted the Blazers to Hassan Whiteside. Beyond all of that, if Lillard’s Heat-or-nowhere ultimatum is what blew up the process from a Miami perspective, it wasn’t as if the Heat worked with him on that ultimatum (because if they did, there would have been way more than that July warning from Adam Silver).

Related Articles

Q: Hopefully Miami won’t give up too much for Jrue Holiday. I, for one, would hope Tyler Herro at 23 is not used to acquire 33-year-old Holiday, even if Jrue Holiday is a defensive asset. – Rodney.

A: For all the debate about whether the Heat held a line or not when it came to the play for Damian Lillard, I would think there assuredly would be limitations with what might be offered for Jrue Holiday. I would start with Kyle Lowry (for salary-matching purposes) and then a developmental asset (perhaps a pick, or Nikola Jovic or Jaime Jaquez Jr.). If the Blazers want to talk, then you do what you didn’t get the opportunity to truly do with Lillard, you negotiate. But I would hold the line at Tyler Herro. Scoring matters, and the Heat missed Herro’s scoring in the NBA Finals.

Q: So now we’re woefully behind Milwaukee and Boston in the East. What now? – Taylor.

A: Well, first finish high enough in the regular-season standings so that you don’t have to face either in the first round of the playoffs. I would think the last thing the Heat would want would be a first-round rematch with the Bucks. As for the Celtics, the Heat have planted ample seeds of doubt there. But based on the Heat’s recent playoff success (save for 2021), the postseason typically is a whole new game. So let’s see what the Heat (and the Bucks and the Celtics) look like when we get to the close of play on April 14.

Why so few police on I-95? | Letters to the editor

Thu, 09/28/2023 - 03:00

Thank you to Sun Sentinel reporter Lois Solomon for providing ticket statistics for Interstate 95. It’s just what I suspected.

Why is the Florida Highway Patrol writing fewer tickets in Broward than in Palm Beach County, when Broward has more traffic, more accidents and more fatalities?

FHP needs to move some troopers south or get them to write more tickets. I realize law enforcement has challenges, as you reported, but the situation on I-95 in Broward is a complete free-for-all, and as new lanes are added, it’s getting worse. I’m middle aged and grew up in Palm Beach and now live in Broward, and I drive back and forth several times weekly.

I never thought I would say I want more state troopers to write more tickets, but I rarely see troopers on I-95. I usually drive 74 mph, and people fly past me at 85 or 90 mph.

It’s mind boggling that this is allowed to happen.

Mike Allison, Fort Lauderdale

Dumped from Citizens

I want to thank Sun Sentinel reporter Ron Hurtibise for the informative article about Citizens’ efforts to get rid of insurance policies. I hope many people read about this “depopulation.” It certainly helped us understand our rights.

We received a letter from Citizens dated Aug. 28, asking us to consider switching to Slide Property Insurance Corp. This is the second such “offer” we received after we declined the first one.

This time the letter listed two offers: Citizens, whose price hike for next year was above this year’s premium by more than $1,000, at $5,033, and Slide’s offer of $9,146.

The letter indicated that if we did not register a choice by Oct. 5, Citizens would select an offer for us.

When I went to Citizens’ website, as instructed, to decline Slide’s “offer,” I got a message that “a policyholder choice selection had already been submitted for [our] policy.”

Is the decline automatic if the offer is more than 20% above Citizens’ offer?

This is all very confusing.

I’ll be calling my insurance agent to see if he can verify any of this. What a waste of time and resources on everyone’s behalf. I don’t know how older citizens and people on fixed incomes will manage. Please keep up the good work, Sun Sentinel. It’s nice to know that someone is looking out for us.

Christel Callahan, Boca Raton

Do your job, Congress

We need a federal budget that lifts up families, not a government shutdown. We are days away from the federal government shutting down because extremist House Republicans are choosing partisan antics over funding programs that lift up our families, communities and economy.

House Republicans want to shut down the government, collapse our economy, and jam their right-wing agenda through Congress, slashing funding for everything from WIC (women, infants and children) food assistance for postpartum moms and babies to K-12 education, while passing anti-immigrant policies.

We will not stand for this. Our elected leaders need to do their job, avoid a shutdown, and pass a budget that lifts up children, families and our economy, including fully funding WIC and childcare.

Cindy Araya, Miami 

Who’s the real lunatic?

Donald Trump continues to rail against federal prosecutor Jack Smith as a “deranged lunatic.”

This assertion should be considered in light of the fact that the former president is reported to have once thrown a plate of spaghetti against a wall in the White House in a fit of rage; that he believes that General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, should be executed for treason; and that he stated in a gaffe-filled speech in a recent rally that he defeated Barack Obama in 2016 and thereby avoided “World War II.”

A sense of irony is clearly not part of the former president’s DNA.

Jerry Barkan, Pompano Beach



Philippe drifts northwest as odds remain high for new system to form

Thu, 09/28/2023 - 03:00

Tropical Storm Philippe is expected to drift for the next few days as it nears the Caribbean, though it may curve and skirt that boundary. Following to the east, a second system is highly likely to strengthen into a tropical depression, or possibly Tropical Storm Rina.

The National Hurricane Center expects some slight fluctuations in intensity as Philippe moves west-northwest or west. It’s unclear at this point if the storm will maintain its tropical cyclone status if it reaches the northern Leeward Islands, or if it will weaken by that point. In general, forecasters anticipate an overall slow weakening trend later this weekend and weekend as the storm continues to encounter storm-shredding wind shear and dry air.

Tropical-storm-force winds from Philippe, which extend outward up to 175 miles from its center, could begin arriving in northern Caribbean islands as early as Friday, including Anguilla and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, according to the National Hurricane Center.

From Friday to Monday, Philippe could produce 2 to 4 inches of rain across the islands of the northeastern Caribbean, the Virgin Islands and eastern Puerto Rico. Western Puerto Rico could see 1 to 2 inches of rain. Areas hardest hit by rainfall could see isolated urban and small stream flooding.

As of 5 a.m. Thursday, Philippe was located about 560 miles east of the far eastern Caribbean, moving west-northwest at 5 mph. Its maximum sustained winds are holding steady at 50 mph.

The system that could soon become a tropical depression or tropical storm was located about halfway between the Cabo Verde Islands off Africa and the far eastern Caribbean and had a 90% chance of developing within two to seven days, the hurricane center said as of 2 a.m. Thursday.

Activity in the Atlantic includes a system with a 90% chance of developing. (NHC)

Its showers and thunderstorms had become more concentrated, and forecasters said conditions are favorable for it to develop if it stays far enough away from Philippe to its west. The hurricane center said it is expected to become a tropical depression or storm in about a day or so and will move northwest across the Atlantic.

So far this season in the Atlantic, there have been 16 named storms, six of which were hurricanes. Of those, three were major hurricanes, meaning Category 3 or above.

Those were Hurricane Lee, a rare Category 5; Hurricane Franklin, a Category 4; and Hurricane Idalia, which made landfall on Florida’s Big Bend region at Category 3 strength on Aug. 30.

Hurricane season officially runs through Nov. 30.

Weekend things to do: Drake and Eric Church, beer worship in Flagler Village, Taco Mania in Lake Worth Beach

Thu, 09/28/2023 - 00:41

You can tell the season has changed, with October nigh, as the chill in the air (meaning South Florida’s trademark mode of laid-back idling) starts to warm up with more interesting and invigorating ideas. This weekend’s music menu includes a dynamic range of songwriters, including Drake, Eric Church, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, Bacilos and the duo of Mary Chapin Carpenter and Shawn Colvin. Elsewhere, the local custodians of cool stuff are starting to break out their best ideas, from Taco Mania at Lilo’s Streetfood and Bar to Swamptoberfest at Invasive Species Brewing and, soon, Oyster Fest at Coconuts. Here’s what’s ahead … 

THURSDAY Shown performing at Lollapalooza Chile 2023 in March, Drake has two shows at the Kaseya Center in Miami Thursday-Friday. (Marcelo Hernandez/Getty Images)

Drake times two: Arguably the biggest performer on tour this year not named Beyonce or Taylor, Drake brings his It’s All a Blur Tour to Miami’s Kaseya Center for 8 p.m. shows on Thursday and Friday. Both are sold out, with Ticketmaster Verified Resale tickets starting at $400+. 21 Savage opens. Visit Ticketmaster.com

Mayer of Hard Rock: John Mayer is at  Hard Rock Live at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood at 8 p.m. Thursday for the second of two performances on his acclaimed solo acoustic tour. A sprinkling of tickets were still available last time we checked, starting at $305+. Visit MyHRL.com

Weekend pizza: Artisanal pie pop-up Good Days Pizza in West Palm Beach, source of more insistent buzz around Palm Beach County through the summer, has a collaboration Thursday night at Ravish Off Ocean in Lantana (worth checking for many reasons). You’ll find top-shelf pizza (see for yourself at GoodDaysPizza.com), small plates, cocktail pairings and a DJ from 5 to 9 p.m. You’ll need a reservation. Visit Instagram.com/ravishoffocean. On Friday night, you’ll find GDP at Fort Lauderdale nano-brewery LauderAle. Visit LauderAle.co.

Fall dinner: Bay 13 Brewery & Kitchen, the hospitable Australian brewpub in Coral Gables, will rekindle its Beer Paired Dinner series at 7 p.m. Thursday, with a five-course collaboration by brewer Greg Berbusse and chef Diego Armendaris. The fall-themed menu will highlight hearty flavors of the season in dishes including Wagyu and smoked duck. There’s an opportunity to substitute a wine-pairing option as well. Tickets cost $82.83 (includes tax and tip). Visit Instagram.com/bay13brewery.

Happy New Weir: In case you missed it, Grateful Dead icon Bob Weir and band will close out the year with a three-night New Year’s Eve residency at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale. Tickets for performances by Bobby Weir  & Wolf Bros featuring The Wolfpack Dec. 29 to Dec. 31 will first be available in a series of artist and venue presales at 10 a.m. Thursday, followed by the general ticket sales at 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 29 at BrowardCenter.org. For more information, visit BobWeir.net.

Future laughs: Comedian John Mulaney is bringing his new show to Hard Rock Live on Dec. 15. Tickets, starting at $108, will be available at 10 a.m. Thursday in a venue presale via the Hard Rock Facebook, Twitter/X and Instagram pages.  The general on-sale begins at 10 a.m. Friday at MyHRL.com.

Holiday show: Manchester Orchestra will perform at Revolution Live in downtown Fort Lauderdale on Thanksgiving Weekend. Tickets for the concert, on Saturday, Nov. 25, just went on sale (starting at $36+) at JoinTheRevolution.net. Doors open at 7 p.m., with Get Up Kids opening.

It’s 5 o’clock somewhere: Throw Social in Delray Beach will honor Jimmy Buffett with a luau at 7 p.m. Thursday featuring the Beach Bumz tribute band, specials on margaritas, fishbowls and other drinks, limbo, cornhole and more. Suggested attire: Tropical shirts. Visit Facebook.com/throwsocialdelray.


Outsiders unite: One of country music’s best songwriters and performers, Eric Church plays iTHINK Financial Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach on Friday at 7:30 p.m. with openers Whiskey Myers. Doors open at 6 p.m. Seats, of course, are scarce. Lawn tickets start at $64.75 at LiveNation.com

Night lights: Noches de Neon, the poolside party series in the glow of the Guitar Hotel at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, features a performance by Latin Grammy winners Bacilos on Friday from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m. Tickets cost $30+ or $75+ with VIP open bar. Visit MyHRL.com

Songs and stories: Mary Chapin Carpenter and Shawn Colvin bring captivating songwriting and warm interplay to the Broward Center’s Amaturo Theater at 8 p.m. Friday. Scattered tickets remain, starting at $54.50+ at BrowardCenter.org.

Weekend laughs: James Murray, the writer-producer and comedian better known as Murr on “Impractical Jokers” (truTV) and “The Misery Index” (TBS), brings his interactive (you’ve been warned) live show to the Dania Improv in Dania Beach for multiple shows Friday through Sunday. Murr will dip into his personal stash of never-before-seen videos from “Impractical Jokers” and reenact the show’s pranks live with the audience (you’ve been warned). Tickets cost $40+, or $140+ for VIP seats and a meet-and-greet. Visit DaniaImprov.com.


Take me to your liter: Events at Invasive Species Brewing always feel a little out of control (in a good, invigorating way), but there’s no way they are not the result of careful, thoughtful planning. For their Oktoberfest throwdown on Saturday, proper name Swamptoberfest, they have scored three quality German beers you won’t find on tap just anywhere: Krombacher Pils, Stiegl Hell and Ayinger Jahrhundert Bier, which will be served in liter steins. The party, beginning at 2 p.m. in Fort Lauderdale’s Flagler Village, will include the expected (food by Billy’s Curbside Grill, the live reptile show at 4 p.m.) and the inspired — a set of bluegrass music from Matthew Sabatella and the Rambling String Band (7-9 p.m.). Visit Instagram.com/invasivespeciesbrewing.

Knight fever: Because you can never have enough beer and turkey legs, LauderAle’s Renaissance Festival will take over the Fort Lauderdale brewery on Saturday for a day of good-natured mayhem beginning at noon. Highlights include combat by knights in shining armor (courtesy local club the Fort Lauderdale Storm), live music, renaissance-inspired vendors, fire spinning, tomato throwing, beer specials, food trucks (yes, turkey legs), new merch releases and steins for sale. Show your Uber receipt at the bar for a discount. Visit Facebook.com/lauderale.

Weekend tacos: Lilo’s Streetfood and Bar in downtown Lake Worth Beach will host its inaugural taco festival, a monthlong celebration called Taco Mania, promising an evolving menu of inventive and exotic tacos each day beginning on Saturday and continuing through Oct. 31. Visit LilosStreetfoodAndBar.com.


Classic rock: Thirty years after their hit anthem “Matador,” Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, adventurous ska-rock party starters and pride of Buenos Aires, will perform at Hard Rock Live in Hollywood at 8 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are available, starting at $52.99+ at MyHRL.com.

Boozy Brunch: The energetic ladies of Sunny Side Up Market will set up at the cozy Wine Garden in Fort Lauderdale’s North Beach Village on Sunday for their monthly Boozy Brunch Market, with local vendors, live music, yoga and more from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visit Facebook.com/sunnysideupmarketBGN. To ensure you’ll have a seat, reservations are highly recommended. Visit WineAndGarden.com.

Take the kids: FUNDarte and The Rhythm Foundation present “Actívate” by Latin Grammy-winning, husband-and-wife duo 123 Andrés at the Miami Beach Bandshell at 7 p.m. Sunday. Part of ZunZún Children’s Fest 2023, this is an upbeat, interactive performance set to a Latin beat, in Spanish but accessible for all-language speakers. Seats are free with RSVP. Donations ($5) also accepted. Doors open at 6 p.m. Visit MiamiBeachBandshell.com.


Oysters and more oysters! Just a reminder that Coconuts and G&B Oyster Bar on Fort Lauderdale beach will host the tented waterside gathering known as Oyster Fest on Oct. 6. The 5-10 p.m. party will include unlimited sampling of a variety of oysters (Rappahannock a specialty), along with dishes from other Be Nice restaurants (Foxy Brown, Top Hat Deli and Lunchroom Sandwiches). There will be liquid refreshments, including the savory splendor of Funky Buddha Brewery‘s signature Pearl Diver Oyster Saison (brewed with, yes, oysters), live music, slurping contests, speciality vendors and more. Tickets cost $75+ at Facebook.com/coconutsbenice.

Surf vibe: The third annual Surf Swap Festival & Flea is back on Oct. 7 at Grandview Public Market in West Palm Beach, with surfer-owned small businesses, a board swap, local shapers and live music from Brett Staska & the Souvenirs, Matt Walden, Barefoot Mailmen and others. The event runs from noon to 6 p.m., with an after party at Steam Horse Brewing.  Visit Instagram.com/delray.surf.club.

Staff writer Ben Crandell can be reached at bcrandell@sunsentinel.com. Follow on Instagram @BenCrandell and Twitter @BenCrandell.


What services and benefits are at risk if Congress fails to fund the government? Here’s what you should know

Thu, 09/28/2023 - 00:40

If there are any silver linings for South Floridians in the face of a potential U.S. Government shutdown, they are in the form of Social Security payments and other federal benefits that would keep flowing, a commercial aviation system that would still operate, and law enforcement and military service members who will remain at their posts.

But as of Wednesday, members of Congress remained sharply divided over how to prevent a federal shutdown by a Saturday midnight deadline, raising the likelihood of millions of furloughs of federal employees, and no pay for those defending the country and providing other critical services such as security at the airports and air traffic control.

The Senate has voted to continue government funding at current levels through Nov. 17 to buy time for a consensus on a bill for a full year of spending. It includes $6 billion for Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster aid, an extension of Federal Aviation Administration authorization that will expire Saturday, and money for 7 million people benefitting from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children. But House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., ruled out the Senate measure, saying the House would “probably” have its own version by Friday, according to reports.

For the thousands of tri-county area retirees who rely on monthly Social Security checks, word that money will continue during a shutdown came last month in a letter from a high-ranking official of the Social Security Administration to the Office of Management and Budget.

“We will continue activities critical to our direct-service operations and those needed to ensure accurate and timely payment of benefits,” wrote Chad Poist, deputy commissioner for Budget, Finance and Management for the Social Security Administration.

Other government benefits that would continue uninterrupted include Medicare and Medicaid, as well as veterans’ benefits distributed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Still, Social Security will furlough several thousand people whose duties are not related to “essential” services, Poist said. “We will cease activities not directly related to the accurate and timely payment of benefits or not critical to our direct-service operations.”

Such is the template for many federal agencies that only this week are updating plans to either continue to serve the public because they do not require funding authorizations from Congress, or cease operations because they are not considered as critical.

FEMA Holdbacks

As the deadline approached, the Biden administration started to delay about $2.8 billion in grants to allow FEMA to buttress a thinned-out budget to help victims of hurricanes, fires and other disasters, according to the Washington Post.

But the action reportedly disrupted recovery efforts in Florida and other areas struck by natural catastrophes.  The Senate bill that includes money for FEMA would head off a shortfall.


Spokesmen for two of South Florida’s international airports Wednesday said that so far, they expect flights will be operating as usual.

“We have not been advised to anticipate any disruption to air operations at this time,” said Joe Harrington at Palm Beach International Airport.

“Currently, we do not anticipate any disruption to operations at MIA,” said spokesman Greg Chin at Miami International Airport. “If MIA were to experience any delays attributed to the federal shutdown, we would notify travelers to give themselves additional time.”

The National Travel Association noted that during the 35-day government shutdown in 2018-19, lines at airport security checkpoints grew as workers at the Transportation Security Administration called in sick or resigned because they weren’t getting paid.

As if the memories were fresh, the association said a survey it conducted with the assistance of Ipsos found six out of 10 American travelers are canceling their plans in favor of later dates.

It estimates a federal government shutdown is estimated to cost the U.S. travel economy as much as $140 million daily if Congress fails to pass a short-term funding extension by Sunday.

Alan Diaz / APTravelers stand in line as they prepare to be screened at a Transportation Security Administration checkpoint at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. TSA workers would be expected to work during a government shutdown, but would not be immediately paid. (Alan Diaz/AP file)

“Each day that passes will cost the travel economy $140 million, an unacceptable prospect that Congress must avoid before the clock runs out and the damages mount,”  Geoff  Freeman, the association’s CEO and president, said in a statement.. “The federal government is already failing the traveler—a shutdown would be further proof of Washington’s inability to find reasonable solutions to problems that affect Americans nationwide.”

Travelers looking to head overseas still will be able to have their passports renewed, so long as the local State Department office that processes them is not located in a U.S. Government building that is ordered to close.

Back home, Amtrak, the national passenger rail service that operates daily trains in and out of South Florida, said it is “closely monitoring” the situation and plans “to continue normal operations.”

“Passengers planning to travel on Amtrak trains in the Northeast Corridor and across the country in the coming days and weeks can be assured that Amtrak will remain open for business,” the railroad said in a statement.

The popular national parks system has yet to disclose a current contingency plan.

“We are hopeful that a lapse in congressional appropriations will not occur, but as of right now we don’t have any updates on our contingency plan at this time,” Everglades & Dry Tortugas National Parks said in an unsigned email to the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

A National Parks Service spokeswoman in Washington did not respond to an emailed request for comment.

At least through Oct. 13, the federal court system would have enough money to continue criminal prosecutions, including the one under way against former President Donald Trump at the federal courthouse in Fort Pierce. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky) Justice and Law Enforcement

A two-year-old Justice Department contingency plan calls for law enforcement agencies to continue operating, which will require agents from the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and related agencies to stay on the job. Guards who work for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons also would remain at their posts.

The federal court system would remain operational for at least two weeks, according the Judicial Conference, the courts’ administrative arm.

Although the website of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida is silent on the issue, U.S. Circuit Judge Lavenski Smith, chair of the executive committee of the judiciary’s policymaking body, told reporters in Washington that the court system can use fees and other funds that are not sourced by Congressional appropriations. The money will allow the courts to avoid furloughing some 33,000 workers, according to Reuters.

It would also mean that as with past shutdowns, criminal prosecutions in the Southern District of Florida, which stretches from Key West to Fort Pierce, would continue. That includes the government’s classified documents case against former President Donald Trump.

Ask a real estate pro: Is it legit to require rent be paid in cash?

Thu, 09/28/2023 - 00:38

Q: We had to move out of our rental, and after looking for several weeks, we found a house we like at a rent we can afford. The new landlord uses a different lease form that requires rent payments to be made in cash. We are worried we will be unable to prove we paid if something comes up. Is this legit? — Cindy 

A: A lease is a contract, and a landlord and tenant can agree to the form of payment. Some leases ban cash payments, while others require them. I have even seen some that require the tenant to deposit the rent directly into the landlord’s bank account.

Keeping good records is always important, but it is a must when paying rent in cash. Ensure you get a dated and signed receipt for every payment, including your first, last, and security payments. While you are at it, carefully review the entire lease to ensure you are good with its requirements.

While rental fraud is uncommon, it does exist. Check the property records online to make sure you are dealing with the actual owner of the property.

While it may be uncomfortable, there is nothing wrong with asking the landlord to see ID to make sure they are who they say they are. If something seems off, investigate further.

Do not be afraid to ask questions. If your gut tells you something is wrong, you may be better off walking away.

You should also review the law regarding rentals. The statute can be found by searching “landlord-tenant statute” online. These laws are designed to be user-friendly and relatively easy to understand. Read through it so you know your rights and responsibilities, bearing in mind that your written lease agreement can modify some of these rules and create additional responsibilities for you and your landlord.

Board-certified real estate lawyer Gary Singer writes about industry legal matters and the housing market. To ask him a question, email him at gary@garysingerlaw.com, or go to SunSentinel.com/askpro. 

Which portable vacuum is best for compact spaces?

Wed, 09/27/2023 - 23:04
Choosing the best compact portable vacuum

Whether you have limited space or need to tackle small areas, a compact portable vacuum is perfect for keeping your home clean. These machines are lightweight and small enough to tackle hard-to-reach places, such as underneath the furniture, in corners or even inside a car. This makes them a great alternative to traditional vacuum cleaners, especially for small cleaning tasks.

This article was reviewed and approved by Ketia Daniel, the BestReviews Cleaning Expert.

What to know before you buy a portable vacuum for a compact space Uses

Portable vacuums are designed to keep your home or vehicle clean. Unlike regular vacuum cleaners, which tend to perform well in larger spaces, they’re more efficient at getting into nooks and crannies. These compact devices are also great at:


There are many types of portable vacuum cleaners, but the main ones are:


Corded vacuum cleaners usually have more powerful suction than cordless options. However, both can be used to effectively clean up spills and remove debris. The best portable vacuums have 10 volts or more of power.

Bin capacity

The larger the dustbin, the more it can hold before needing to be cleaned out. Most compact vacuums have small dustbins that require frequent emptying. If you’re tackling a heavily trafficked area or a larger spill, prepare to empty the bin after every use. But if you’re doing touchup work or are cleaning small areas, such as behind a table or sofa, plan to empty it after every couple of uses.


Portable vacuum cleaners usually come with filters that collect and trap dander, pet hair, dirt and other allergens. For homes with pets, choose a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. Regardless of filter type, replace it every few months to keep down on allergens in the home.

Corded or cordless

Both corded and cordless vacuums have their advantages.


Depending on the type of portable vacuum you get, there are a few helpful accessories that can make it more effective without taking up much space:

Best portable vacuums for compact spaces

iRobot Roomba s9+ ]

This powerful compact device can effectively cover up to 1,500 square feet, making it ideal for both single-family homes and apartments. It has an internal navigation system that keeps it from bumping into objects. It’s also self-emptying and low maintenance.

Dyson V11 Torque Drive Cordless Stick Vacuum ]

Slim and compact, this stick vacuum is versatile, easy to maneuver into tight spaces and powerful. The battery lasts up to 60 minutes with constant use, and there’s no cord to deal with. It can also be converted into a handheld device.

Samsung Jet 75 Complete Cordless Stick Vacuum ]

Compact and lightweight, this cordless vacuum cleaner comes with several accessories, including a combo brush, soft action brush, crevice tool and flex tool. It’s highly versatile and is powerful enough to collect everything from pet hair to crumbs to dust.

Shark WV201 Wandvac Handheld Vacuum ]

Designed for tight spaces, this portable apparatus is cordless, lightweight and versatile. It’s especially effective at getting into the crevices, corners and around furniture.

Shark UltraCyclone Pro Cordless Vacuum ]

Convenient for small spaces, this portable vacuum can hold a lot of dust, dirt and pet hair before emptying. It’s powerful enough for light messes.

Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Angela Watson writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Which Ring doorbell should I get?

Wed, 09/27/2023 - 23:02
Which Ring doorbell is best for my home?

Modern technology makes it easy to protect your home and belongings while keeping your entire household safe. Ring doorbells are convenient, easy-to-use and allow you to view and monitor anyone visiting your home. Since you can utilize Ring doorbells even when you’re away by using the handy app, you can check in on your property to ensure everything is in order no matter your location.

Ring offers a variety of doorbell options designed for the needs of different homeowners. From basic wired models to more advanced alarm systems, a Ring doorbell can work with your personal lifestyle and requirements.

Benefits of Ring Doorbells  Enhanced security 

Whether you’re looking for improved visitor security, package delivery assurance, theft or break-in protection or simply better home security in general, a Ring doorbell can provide all of the above. The high-resolution camera can record all activity in its 180-degree field of vision, so if there are ever any security issues, you’ll be provided with clear and tangible video evidence.

Ring doorbells also utilize a night-vision mode, giving you security and peace of mind throughout the night.

Motion sensors

The motion sensor feature on ring doorbells also allows you to see who is on your property before reaching your door. Some options can even offer individual identification, alerting you when specific people you know have arrived.

Convenient alerts

All Ring doorbell alerts can be sent immediately to your phone, computer or tablet, making it easy to see all of your home’s outside activity whether you’re working from home, relaxing on the couch or out of town for the week.

While many people will be satisfied with alerts and notifications popping up on their device’s screen, Ring doorbells can also create a traditional doorbell alert when paired with a Ring Chime.

Two-way voice communication

Another intriguing aspect of the Ring doorbell is the two-way communication function. This allows you to listen and respond to anyone at your door, giving you even more advanced security and screening options. It can also come in handy for delivery instructions or communicating with guests.

Best Ring doorbells Best Ring doorbells under $100

Ring Video Doorbell Wired  ]

Though it may lack some of the more advanced features, such as Audio+, Birds Eye View and automatic greetings, it still allows for uninterrupted surveillance and security when you need it most. This wired model is affordable and still utilizes advanced motion detection, two-way communication and HD video recordings. This model is ideal for those interested in a Ring doorbell but don’t want the extra bells and whistles.

Ring Video Doorbell  ]

If you’re looking for a reliable and trusted Ring doorbell at a reasonable price, this may be the perfect option. The 1080 HD video will give you the clarity you need to monitor your home, even at night. The sleek and modern satin nickel finish will blend seamlessly with most exterior decor, and you can install the mountable design easily in minutes.

Best Ring doorbells under $200

Ring Peephole Cam with Ring Chime ]

Perfect for homes or apartments that feature existing peepholes, this Ring model lets you view your entrance through the device itself or by using the app on your phone or tablet. You can also adjust the motion sensor, so it doesn’t set off any unnecessary alerts or alarms. Plus, the included Ring Chime will keep you notified of any visitors, even if you aren’t near your smart device.

Ring Video Doorbell Pro  ]

The Pro model is a good mid-range option for reliability and durability without breaking the bank. This option comes equipped with built-in Alexa greetings that can welcome guests or give detailed delivery instructions. The dual-band wifi also makes for a more consistent connection to avoid missing critical alerts.

Ring Doorbell 4  ]

This updated Ring Doorbell option may come with a slightly higher price tag than the previous model, but you’ll be able to benefit from the color pre-roll video previews. There are also important privacy settings you can configure to your liking, along with extended battery life if you prefer not to connect to your home’s wiring.

Best Ring doorbells under $300

Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2  ]

As an updated version of the Ring Doorbell Pro, this newer model features all of the same desired functions while enhancing the video resolution, including a head-to-toe camera view and improving the motion detection by adding a 3D aspect. As with the previous model, you can install this option directly to your existing doorbell wiring.

Ring Alarm 8-Piece Kit  ]

This comprehensive alarm system is more than just a single doorbell camera unit. Anyone wanting to invest fully in security for their one or two-bedroom home will enjoy the easy setup process, emergency buttons on the simply designed keypad and ability to operate using voice-activated controls when using the included Echo Show 5.

Best Ring doorbells under $400

Ring Video Doorbell Elite  ]

While rechargeable batteries power some Ring Doorbell devices, this advanced model connects to its power source via an ethernet cable. Those who want to guarantee constant video access will appreciate this feature and the customizable motion sensor zones so that you can focus on specific areas of your property. The interchangeable faceplates also give you plenty of color and design options to work with all home styles.

Best Ring doorbell Accessories

Solar Charger for Ring Video Doorbell ]

If you plan on being out of town for an extended period, you may need to find a way to recharge the battery on specific Ring Doorbell models so that you aren’t stuck with a blank screen. This solar charger accessory can help keep your doorbell charged and functioning as long as it has adequate access to sunlight. The weather-resistant design fits neatly around your device, so you’ll barely even notice it’s there.

Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Matthew Young writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

ASK IRA: Where is the line in the Lillard cost-benefit analysis for Heat?

Wed, 09/27/2023 - 03:05

Q: Ira, let’s cut to the chase: Do the Heat want Damian Lillard? – Greg.

A: If only the chase was that elemental. Yes, the Heat want Damian Lillard. Yes, 29 other teams want Damian Lillard, likely including the Blazers, had Lillard not demanded out. But that is not the issue here and, truly, never has been. It’s a matter of how much a team wants a 33-year-old player with four years and more than $200 million left on his contract (let alone the luxury-tax multiplier for many potential suitors). And it’s also a matter for the non-Heat suitors of how much they are willing to risk that Lillard will accept a non-Miami relocation. Honestly, if Lillard was 25 and did not have so much ballast on his contract, I’m not sure the Heat could afford him. At that point, you would be talking about the type of All-Star in return that the Heat simply are not offering. So, to come full circle, the Heat want Lillard and are willing to perhaps even pay a premium, considering the win-now stage that Jimmy Butler has reached, having turned 34 two weeks ago. In fact, I’m not sure that any other suitor would be as willing to go above and beyond fair value as the Heat. But for anyone short of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nikola Jokic, you draw a line. (Yes, even a line with Joel Embiid, considering his injury history.) So to cut to that chase, there is a point where the chase is abandoned, need be.

Related Articles

Q: How did we go from the only team for Damian Lillard to not really in the conversation? Are the Blazers being petty? – David, Lake Worth.

A: No, just utilizing any and all leverage they have remaining until the clock strikes the midnight of media day and the start of camp. This is no different than the approach teams take ahead of the NBA trading deadline in February. The difference is that deadline is real. This deadline remains somewhat artificial since trade talks can continue for weeks and months, should the Blazers decide.

Q: The Damian Lillard talk at least kept me entertained for the summer. And now we should have a few players with clips on their shoulders. Brilliant. – Leo, Miami.

A: Which would come down to whether those chips elevate the play of the likes of Tyler Herro, Nikola Jovic and Jaime Jaquez Jr. or weigh them down. As for Kyle Lowry and Duncan Robinson, they have dealt with so many trade rumors by now that it seemingly has become part of their day-to-day routine. The greater concern could be if Jimmy Butler comes to believe that the Heat are not maximizing these prime moments of his career.

Condo Wars: Boards can use defamation laws to stifle dissent | Investigation

Wed, 09/27/2023 - 03:05

This is the first in a series of articles investigating life under the rule of condominium and homeowners associations in Florida.

First, he had a whiff of suspicion.

Simon Sherman, a retired university professor, started wondering about how money was being spent by the association at his oceanfront condo in Hallandale Beach.

Now, his quest for accountability is careening toward financial ruin. He’s accused of defaming condo board members. The association says Sherman engaged in a damaging smear campaign even after his suspicions of wrongdoing were disproven.

“They have money, they have power, they have attorneys,” Sherman, a Russian immigrant, said from his Parker Plaza Estates condo. “I didn’t recognize that it could happen in the United States.”

A months-long investigation by the South Florida Sun Sentinel found that condo and homeowner associations regularly use Florida’s defamation laws to silence critics. The laws were written to allow a victim to recover financial damages from someone who spreads lies about them and harms their reputation.

Were it City Hall, a critic’s accusations would carry some free-speech protections, allowing citizens to act as watchdogs of public spending and decision-making. But under the shadow government of a condominium or homeowner association, residents who suspect wrongdoing speak up at their own peril.

Sherman and his wife, Lyuba, are among the millions of Floridians — nearly half the state’s population — living under community association rule. One attorney called it a “sub-democratic society.” In this sub-America, the laws favor the few who sit on association boards.

Sun Sentinel reporters interviewed attorneys, legislators, association board members and activists, and examined court files, state complaint records and emails to regulators. The documents read like cries for help — yet help rarely materializes. But the lawsuits sometimes do.

(new Image()).src = 'https://capi.connatix.com/tr/si?token=40bacbdb-084a-4980-bafa-92da3b5cd8f1&cid=38d5daa3-18ac-4ee1-a905-373c67622f25'; cnx.cmd.push(function() { cnx({ playerId: "40bacbdb-084a-4980-bafa-92da3b5cd8f1" , mediaId: "e153bd8c-f4bb-48a5-adfa-10f0dfab71e5" }).render("f6800dffc8a64994aa68ac5f56bcb0ca"); });

Even critics acting in good faith can end up bullied into silence and stuck with a large legal tab.

Before Marglli Gallego, president of the board at the sprawling Hammocks Community Association, was arrested in April 2021 in a corruption case, she and the association filed defamation claims against three unit owners, saying their accusations that she stole money from the association hurt her reputation and caused police to investigate her. The association even sued two Miami-Dade Police Department detectives on the case, for defamation, for publicly accusing Gallego of theft during their investigation.

Gallego lost one case, settled another and a third was voluntarily dismissed. The case involving the detectives continues. Gallego, who is awaiting trial, pleaded not guilty to charges of grand theft and subsequent charges of money laundering, racketeering and organized fraud.

Before Ben Dvir, then-president of Blue on the Bay condo in Miami, was arrested and charged with grand theft, he sued a unit owner in his building for defamation. He called the man, who is a police officer, “an owner with too much time on his hands that represents a thorn in the side of every condo board.” Dvir also initially sued a consulting firm the officer had hired to investigate potential wrongdoing. The case against the unit owner, who Dvir said accused him of defrauding the association of money, continues.

Dvir was arrested Sept. 13, accused of embezzling $32,905. His arraignment, where he will enter a plea, is scheduled for Oct. 13.

A successful defamation suit in Florida must prove that the person negligently communicated false statements that hurt the victim’s reputation and caused damage. Slander is spoken defamation; libel is written. If it concerns a public official, the standard for winning a lawsuit is higher — the official has to prove the speaker had actual malice, either by knowingly spreading falsehoods, or showing reckless disregard for the truth. Association board members are not considered public officials, in the eyes of the law.

Although winning a defamation lawsuit is difficult, said University of Florida constitutional law Professor Lyrissa Lidsky, filing one is easy. That enables association boards to use the law as a weapon, she said.

“You can cause a lot of pain with a lawsuit,” Lidsky said, “and defamation law lends itself to inflicting that kind of pain.”

In South Florida, the heart of Florida’s condominium society, residents have been sued for comments that legal experts said are specifically protected in Florida law — allegations contained in litigation, or statements of opinion, or communications to local government and the police, for example.

“Very often [associations] get away with doing whatever the hell they want,” said attorney Richard Lubliner, who has been involved with numerous association legal battles, including Sherman’s case. “Because nobody has the money to stand up to them.”

The lesson many activists take away is that condos and homeowner associations, or HOAs, are not a place for dissenters.

“It’s an uphill battle if you’re an individual taking it on,” said Shawn Brown, a Tampa-based attorney specializing in condominium law. “Conformity is more or less mandated in an association.”

Charles Moerdler, a unit owner in the Parker Plaza Estates building where Simon Sherman is battling the board, has vast experience in defamation law, including as past general counsel for the New York Post. Moerdler said heated community association quarrels are endemic to Florida because retirement can breed boredom and a yearning for continued relevance.

“When you’ve got nothing else to do, it’s something to do,” Moerdler said.

Association wars have escalated since the Covid-19 pandemic, he believes, because the forced isolation sent retirees to their computers.

At 88, Moerderl is still working. He said he’s advised Sherman — unsuccessfully — to stop the quarreling.

“There is one truth I’ve learned,” Moerdler said. “Any relationship involving home ownership… is the second most difficult relationship that man has, close on the heels of matrimony.”

Behind the facade Condominium buildings line the coast from Hollywood and Hallandale Beach down to Miami. South Florida has the state’s largest condo population. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

The high drama of condo-living that was famously parodied on the television sitcom Seinfeld is a reality in South Florida, where the show’s creator, Larry David, got his inspiration. David’s father was the president of his condo association in Sunrise.

The cases reviewed by the Sun Sentinel carry similar themes: allegations that board members gave lucrative contracts to family members, took kickbacks from vendors, rigged board elections to defeat enemies and more. Wafting from the South Florida court files is widespread anger, passion, fear and disgust.

And behind those cases are people risking financial devastation.

One defamation lawsuit begins colorfully, with the sexy allure of Florida condo life: “Nestled within a Iuscious seascape and nuzzled gently by soothing sea breeze, Sea Air Towers must have been named in a moment of reverent exhale.”

Then it exposes a meltdown within the Hollywood condo, which is undergoing renovations: The new board sued four unit owners for allegations they made to the media, city inspectors and state officials. The board says the owners have “feigned, forged, and fraudulently flung baseless allegations, rumors, innuendo, and lies.” The unit owners argued that the lawsuit is an “unlawful, frivolous” attempt to shut them up in order to cover up mismanagement. The case is still pending.

What trivialities condo boards of yesteryear faced — complaints about splashing in the swimming pool, or the color of paint — have yielded to much more serious and costly priorities: preventing another disaster like the 2021 collapse of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside.

The tragedy, which killed 98 people, prompted more rigorous inspections and maintenance standards. The requirements led to dramatic and often unaffordable increases in fees and assessments that have inflamed confusion and distrust. Thousands of condos and HOA neighborhoods in South Florida are 50 years old or older.

At the Pointe South Condominium in Boca Raton, a former board member was sued for comments she made to the Sun Sentinel shortly after the Surfside collapse. She cast doubt on the structural integrity of her condo building, but the association’s leadership said she was wrong. The case was settled in April.

In Broward County, there were 23 community association-related defamation lawsuits filed from 2020 to mid-2023, the Sun Sentinel found — about 13 percent of the 179 defamation cases filed in that time period. Two of the most recurrent provocations were negative online reviews and community association infighting, reporters found.

In one Miami-Dade County case that spanned three years, three residents of El Dorado Condominium in Aventura and the Diario Las Americas newspaper were sued by the condo association for libel after the residents participated in a news report about suspected mismanagement of funds. The attorney said the accusations were false and that the negative publicity caused property values to decline.

One ruling in that case underscores the difference between speaking out in a community association versus a City Hall.

Diario Las Americas claimed that the association’s defamation suit was an illegal Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, or SLAPP suit. Florida has anti-SLAPP laws specifically intended to protect people who are speaking out on public issues. Florida law prohibits condo or HOA boards from spending association funds to engage in a SLAPP suit.

But Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Abby Cynamon disagreed with the newspaper’s argument, explaining in an August 2019 ruling that Florida’s anti-SLAPP law does not apply, because in this condo case, “no public issues are involved.”

Judge Cynamon also noted that condo critics don’t have the protections a person would have when criticizing a mayor or some other public figure. There is no case law in Florida that holds “a condo board member can be considered a public or semi-public figure,” the judge wrote.

The case is now closed. The newspaper agreed to a confidential settlement after mediation; one of the three residents was voluntarily dismissed, and then the case went inactive.

Tampa attorney Brown said defamation filings are an emerging trend used by both sides of disputes. Typically, they’re borne of a personal conflict between a board member and a resident. And sometimes it’s the resident — rather than the board — who files the defamation claim.

In one Broward case, a unit owner sued the board president for calling him a “fat crybaby” and rendering him “persona non grata” among his neighbors. One of the president’s defenses: “The plaintiff’s reputation is so dismal that any purported statements … could not have harmed it or made it worse.”

In multiple cases reviewed by the Sun Sentinel, residents who were sued for speaking out agreed to be quiet, and issued public apologies or retractions. In a Boca Raton case surrounding a concrete restoration project, the residents promised to “never do anything like this ever again.” A Davie woman who was sued by her association apologized for speaking out about “illegal and unethical activities,” then was sued a second time when she sent neighbors another letter warning she was being retaliated against by the board.

In a Boca Raton case last year, unit owner Alison Landes was threatened by the Boca Lakes Condominium Association’s attorney with costly mediation and a potential lawsuit if she didn’t apologize to all the neighbors and “cease from emailing anyone now or in the future,” according to court files.

She had emailed neighbors suggesting that gatehouse work at the association was improper. Attorney Guy Shir told her she’d violated the condo documents by committing a nuisance. Her association ultimately did sue her for defamation. Landes’ attorney argued she was being hit with an illegal SLAPP suit.

“Under the demand in the letter,” her attorney wrote in a court motion, “she can never email another member about anything forever.”

In mid-August, Landes filed a handwritten letter to the judge, saying she’s 74, has health issues, is a caregiver for her sister, and was preparing to settle the case.

Shir also filed defamation lawsuits against four residents on behalf of the Boca Grand Condominium Association.

Among other things, the residents had questioned an association contract with the brother of one of the board members, alleging corruption, the lawsuit said. One of the statements that was described as defamatory was a resident’s claim that “the board is not being transparent regarding Association general business.” The lawsuits were voluntarily withdrawn months later. Shir said a new board decided to drop them.

Shir said he demands an apology, or evidence that the allegations are true, before moving ahead towards a lawsuit. He said lies are powerful, and cause harm.

“You can ask any questions you want about anything a board does that’s an agenda item, and nobody is doubting that,” Shir said. “When you start referring to actions as illegal, improper, questionable … to allege wrongdoing, that’s when it becomes defamation.”

Conspiracy theories spread

When Michael Perkins was president of Southwind Lakes Homeowner Association in Boca Raton, he initiated a libel lawsuit against a resident who’d set up a website to criticize the board.

Perkins said his plan to build reserves and improve the community — which meant increasing its $35 monthly association fees — sparked revolt from the resident, O. Michael Gray.

Some neighbors latched on, he said, taking it all for truth.

“The website was basically him tearing these guys apart and saying how inept they are and they were wasting everyone’s money,” his son, Michael Gray, recalled.

Gray had the community’s best interests at heart, his son said.

In some cases, though, residents can indeed go too far.

“You do have the owners out there who consistently disregard or confuse the truth with what they would like the truth to be,” said Plantation attorney Joel McTague, who often represents associations.  “I think sometimes the board is justified [in suing].”

Gray accused Perkins of committing crimes, including taking illegal kickbacks.

“He crossed the line,” Perkins said, “and when he crossed the line, that’s when we decided we’ve got to put a stop to this.”

Gray’s lawyer argued it was a SLAPP suit. But Gray lost the suit when he failed to show up in court. The association was still pursuing him for damages when he died.

Freedom of speech?

For Simon Sherman, a retired biomedical informatics professor at the University of Nebraska, silence at Parker Plaza Estates would have been a betrayal of his values.

Simon Sherman, a retired university professor and Russian immigrant, said he’s too far into a legal fight with his condo association at Parker Plaza Estates in Hallandale Beach to turn back now. He stands to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars, his former attorney said. He sold another unit he owned, for $415,000, to help pay his legal bills. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

He and his family left Belarus in the former Soviet Union more than three decades ago, carrying two suitcases and $1,000 in cash.

They idealized America’s freedoms, especially the Constitution’s protection of free speech from government interference. But a condo or homeowner association isn’t the government — a limitation the Shermans were not expecting.

Though community association board members have similar responsibilities to govern and spend other people’s dollars, they rule over a private, non-profit organization, and can restrict speech.

The law is complex and evolving, lawyers said, but courts have ruled that a resident voluntarily agrees to abide by private restrictions in condos or HOA neighborhoods. The rules are laid out in the association master document — known as a declaration — and in the bylaws.

“There is no freedom of speech within condos or HOAs per se,” said attorney McTague. If someone’s looking for their rights, they should first examine the rules they agreed to live under, he said.

“There is a Bill of Rights,” he said. “It’s called the condo declaration or homeowner association declaration.”

Sherman and more than a dozen allies in the 520-unit, oceanfront Hallandale Beach tower were suspicious about association money spent inside the units of some board members — part of a vast mold removal project. That part was true, everyone agreed in court filings. The board spent nearly $1 million removing mold from 192 condos after a contractor’s mistake.

Simon Sherman in the lobby of the Parker Plaza Estates condo in July. The tower is one of many high-rises in South Florida working to meet state 50-year maintenance requirements. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

Sherman alleged there were improprieties in the mold project — one of many accusations Sherman lobbed at board members and then-board President Michael Fagan. He claimed extra work was done in one of Fagan’s condo units. He called the city to report work being done on a community room without permits. He raised red flags about a $27 million loan the association took out for work to meet the state’s required 50-year maintenance certification.

His emailed accusations went to residents, realtors and more, the association’s court filings recounted.

The association’s attorneys said there was nothing improper about any of it and claimed Sherman was simply disgruntled after losing his reelection to the condo board.

‘Abusive attacks’

Eventually, Fagan and the board decided they’d had enough of his accusations.

An August 2020 letter to Sherman from association attorney Matthew Maranges was painfully blunt.

“Perhaps you — little more than a recalcitrant, gadfly ‘condo commando’ — seek to restore some semblance of credibility after the Condominium community overwhelmingly rejected your bid to continue serving on the Association’s Board,” it read. “But neither the Association’s current hard-working, diligent Board of Directors, nor the Condominium’s residents, should be embroiled in such delusions of grandeur.”

Maranges footnoted William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, accusing Sherman of weaving “a tale … full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

The board carried through with its threat, suing Sherman in federal court for defamation, slander, trade libel, behaving as a private nuisance and interfering in business relationships. They accused him of infringing on an “unregistered trademark” because they claimed the email address he used, PPLoudSpeaker@gmail.com, made his emails appear to come from Parker Plaza.

They said he made “frivolous requests” for information that were “cumbersome and a nuisance.”

The association’s current attorney on the case, Luis Konski, called Sherman’s actions “harassment” that caused delays to building repairs.

Sherman said in a court affidavit that he had “engaged in protected speech to educate the members of the Association of what I believe, and have evidence to support, is substantial misconduct on the part of the Board.”

The association also pursued Sherman in state court, saying he defamed Fagan in social media posts, mass emails and a lawsuit against the board.

Fagan, who owns four condos in Parker Plaza but lives in Plantation, declined to comment to the Sun Sentinel because of the ongoing litigation, but argued in one of the lawsuits that he “did absolutely nothing wrong.” He expressed pride in the tower where he grew up, designed by the late Morris Lapidus, the architect famous for designing glitzy Miami hotels, including the Fontainebleau in Miami Beach. He volunteered his time on the board, the lawsuit says, and was subjected to Sherman’s “unhinged and abusive attacks.”

‘If I go quiet’

Sherman and his allies were motivated by a prior controversy at Parker Plaza Estates, when a small group of owners brought down a corrupt administration.

In 2005, three retired professionals at the condo sifted through documents to ferret out a vast corruption scheme. Their probing led to the arrest of the condo president, building manager, a plumbing contractor and a maintenance supervisor on charges of engaging in a kickback plot. The condo president and plumbing contractor pled no contest, paid restitution and served probation. The building manager pled guilty and went to prison and the maintenance supervisor was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and died without facing trial.

In Sherman’s case, he said he met with local police but nothing came of it. He used GoFundMe donations to hire an investigative firm, and it found no criminal wrongdoing, according to court filings. And two committees empaneled by the condo board investigated and found no impropriety.

Sherman said he has a following in the building and garnered 199 signatures in a failed attempt to recall board members. But most of the financial risk is his. Sherman sold a second unit he owned in the building for $415,000 to pay his legal bills. He hasn’t tallied his expenses, he said, in part because he doesn’t want to have to tell his wife, Lyuba, if she asks.

Plus, their oldest son gave him advice.

“My son told me, he said, ‘Father, you must not think about money, or you’ll lose all your cases,” Sherman recalled. “ … ‘You are right, and you will win.’ ”

But Sherman isn’t winning.

The two defamation cases against him are ongoing. And Sherman and 13 neighbors recently lost a lawsuit they filed against the condo association about alleged financial and election improprieties.

The lawsuit is a so-called derivative action, filed on behalf of the entire association. But Florida law allows the courts to dismiss such a lawsuit if an independent committee acting in good faith and conducting a reasonable investigation determines that the lawsuit is not in the condo association’s best interests. The accused condo board is allowed under Florida law to choose its own independent committee, a setup Sherman says is unfair.

The committee empaneled by Parker Plaza Estates consisted of two people, including one of the accused board members. It concluded that the lawsuit should be dismissed and, in July, Broward Chief Judge Jack Tuter agreed. The case was not appealed.

Parker Plaza Estates has been working to rebuild balconies for six years, to meet state requirements. Some residents had no access to their balconies for years. During the project, mold intruded into 192 units. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

In an email to residents, the condo board vowed to recoup more than $150,000 in legal fees from Sherman’s side.

On a recent afternoon, Sherman sat in his marble-floored condo on the 14th floor, holding a stack of legal bills, condo documents and more, that are his daily homework. His balcony was sealed up for construction and loud machinery squealed and screeched.

Lyuba Sherman brought out a fresh raisin cake, and said she’d seen a therapist to work through her emotions about their legal entanglement. She got a toy poodle, Teddy, to cheer her up.

Simon Sherman’s wife, Lyuba, got a toy poodle, Teddy, to provide emotional support as she struggles with the couple’s legal predicament. Simon Sherman has been sued for defamation by their condo association at Parker Plaza Estates in Hallandale Beach over accusations he made about the board’s management and spending. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

Sherman’s attorney, who recently withdrew from the cases, said Sherman stands to lose more than $200,000 — perhaps much more — if he’s forced to pay legal fees in all three cases.

It’s too late to turn back now, Sherman said. He’s in too deep financially to stop.

Sherman’s hands twisted as he described his predicament, like he was wringing the last drops of moisture from a rag.

“They put me in a situation in which I cannot go quiet, because if I go quiet,” he said, glancing toward the kitchen, where his wife was just out of hearing distance, “I will lose everything.”

Reporters David Fleshler, Ron Hurtibise and Danica Jefferies contributed to this report.

Next in the investigation
  • Part 2: A South Florida homeowners association board ran its community like a racketeering enterprise, prosecutors say, threatening homeowners and embezzling millions. Is a new state law enough to stop this from happening again
  • Part 3: Living under a homeowner or condo association can drive some people to behavior that they would never otherwise contemplate — from corruption and fraud to assault and, even, murder
  • Part 4: The state agency charged with keeping condos honest is an overwhelmed, underfunded bureaucracy that regulates barbers, electrical contractors, hotels and veterinarians. Condo owners who suspect wrongdoing report long delays and frustrating encounters with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

Governor puts Iowa farmers before Floridians | Letters to the editor

Wed, 09/27/2023 - 03:00

Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed a bill (SB 284) that passed the Legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support for state and local governments to buy and use electric vehicles instead of gas-powered cars and trucks, leaving taxpayers on the hook for millions of dollars more in fuel and maintenance costs.

Why? Because he’s running for President, and he doesn’t want to risk losing votes of Iowa farmers who grow corn that produces ethanol for internal combustion vehicles. So we get stuck paying millions to help DeSantis’s flagging presidential campaign.

He also rejected $346 million in Inflation Reduction Act money for Floridians.

So if I buy a heat pump to replace my tired 17-year-old AC unit, I can’t get the rebate of up to $3,200 advertised on TV by air conditioning companies.

That could have come to me via the feds, but DeSantis blocked it. Just like Trump, everything DeSantis does is about him, not us. Remember this when you vote. And when Republicans claim to want low taxes, they mean low taxes for the wealthiest — not the average Joe or Jane.

Frederick Mitchel, Fort Lauderdale

A clear difference

I have read that some young people can’t decide which political party to join. I’m puzzled.

The differences used to be straightforward. Republicans believed in less government and letting markets prevail, and Democrats believed government should play a bigger role.

Republicans now believe that the 2020 election was stolen, in spite of their own experts and officials. Some of them believe that climate change, our biggest crisis, is a hoax. They believe abortion should be illegal but assault rifles are fine. They believe that safe vaccines are evil. They blindly follow a narcissistic, compulsive liar with no morals or concept of decency.

Now more than ever, there’s a clear difference.

David Kulick, Delray Beach

Stop GL Homes now

Environmentalists and many citizens question the rationale of a majority of the Palm Beach County Commission giving its initial approval for a housing development in the protected Agricultural Reserve.

In a 5-2 vote on May 3, the board voted to accept a privately initiated zoning amendment to allow GL Homes to build housing in the reserve, including about 1,000 homes worth over $1 million each and 277 workforce homes west of Boca Raton.

Opponents fear that if final approval is granted on Oct. 24, the project would contribute to sprawl and open the door to destruction of the Ag Reserve, which preserves our land and filters our water.

The proposal involves an unprecedented swap of preserving more land at a site outside the reserve to allow GL Homes to get more development rights inside the reserve. A planning official calls it a fundamental upheaval of the comprehensive plan and environmentalists and citizens fear it will set a precedent for other developers to do the same.

The planning commission recommended rejection. Two reasons cited by staff are that the proposal lacked adequate justification and is not consistent with county growth plans.

To win approval for the deal, GL Homes plans a number of projects that opponents see as sweeteners. One is a water reservoir opposed by environmental groups and residents who claim it’s unnecessary and too costly.

Sondra Levin, Boca Raton

V.P.’s new assignment

I’m sure the NRA is pleased with President Joe Biden putting Vice President Kamala Harris in charge of the new federal Office of Gun Violence Prevention.

She will probably do as good a job reducing gun violence as she did securing the southern border.

This is another ploy by Biden to make people think that he’s doing something about gun violence. It’s another waste of taxpayer money.

Peter Eckert, Plantation

How to make the most out of your product warranty

Tue, 09/26/2023 - 23:21

A warranty can provide peace of mind and protect your investment in the long term, but it can also be tough to take advantage of. It can even be difficult to parse exactly what kind of damage or defects each warranty covers. There are some important tips to keep in mind when deciding just how much value an advertised warranty adds.

What a warranty is and is not for It’s not exactly an insurance plan

Warranties exist to provide the consumer with the peace of mind that the product will last for a certain length of time without failing due to manufacturing defects. A warranty rarely covers accidental damage such as physically breaking a device or dropping it in water. For the most part, any damage or malfunction caused by the user won’t be covered under warranty.

It may take a while to process

In most cases, processing a warranty takes from days to weeks (or more in the case of hard-to-find electronics such as graphics cards). Keep the practicality of the process in mind when deciding whether a manufacturer’s warranty is worth it.

How to make sure your purchase will be covered Read the terms and conditions closely

Ultimately, you’re looking for the warranty’s exclusions — the things the warranty doesn’t cover. As the saying goes, this is where they get you. You might spend two years at ease that your laptop’s three-year warranty covers anything that could go wrong, but discover after a rainstorm that water damage isn’t eligible for repair.

Since all warranties are different, the only way to stay on top of exclusions is to do your homework. Research what’s most likely to go wrong with the device in question. Then, make absolutely certain of what the warranty does and doesn’t cover before you decide to invest. Companies usually have different warranty conditions for separate types of products, so make sure you’re looking at the right documents.

Follow all warranty rules and restrictions

The most common example is an automotive manufacturer’s warranty that requires you to have the oil changed exclusively by licensed technicians at one of that manufacturer’s dealerships. If you change it yourself or take it to a third-party mechanic, you can void part or all of your warranty.

Pay attention to the warranty period

While you’ll see the term “lifetime warranty” on plenty of marketing materials, this doesn’t usually mean for the owner’s lifetime but rather the product’s lifetime. Different types of products and their manufacturers have varying definitions of a product’s lifespan.

Is it transferable?

Some high-value items such as gaming graphics cards have impressive multiyear warranties, and a few manufacturers let you take advantage even if you bought the card used. Some luxury car companies also offer transferable warranties. In those cases, make sure to get all the documentation from the original owner.

Keep all your documentation

Archive every piece of evidence that you bought the item. This includes the order confirmation, all receipts, and any communications with the company. If you buy a lot of expensive products, it’s advisable to keep all your purchasing and warranty information in one place.

Avoid most extended warranties

There are some situations where a third-party extended warranty makes sense, but they’re extremely rare. Third-party warranty providers such as SquareTrade have shockingly restrictive terms and are notorious for refusing reasonable repair and replacement requests. It’s not just limited to small electronics, either.

Manufacturers’ warranties and professional repair service contracts are always a better option. AppleCare+ is one such example. While you still have to do your due diligence, manufacturer’s warranties and even third-party service contracts tend to be more up-front and accepting of repair claims. For many service contracts, expect to pay a monthly fee for as long as you want coverage.

Some notes on car warranties: Car warranties typically last for three years or 36,000 miles, and most drivers reach the mileage limit first. Many automakers also offer extended warranty options. If you’re hoping to keep a new car in perfect condition for a decade or more, an extended warranty can make sense.

In all cases, however, general wear and tear to many parts won’t be covered. The definition of wear and tear changes for each manufacturer. All manufacturers will do whatever they can to avoid paying for repairs during an extended warranty period. Rarely is it hassle-free to fix a part during a seven-year extended warranty, even if that part shouldn’t need repair yet.

With that said, they’re not all bad. Mercedes, for example, has a reasonable list of exclusions plus an explicit set of warranty-covered inclusions, giving them one of the best extended warranty packages in the automotive market. In fact, Mercedes lets you transfer an extended warranty to the next owner.

What you should always avoid at any cost is a third-party car warranty. There’s so little chance that important issues and commonly broken parts will be fixed that you’re basically burning money.

Extended warranties on smartphones: Smartphone warranties are exploding in popularity as the devices themselves reach higher prices. Most phone carriers such as Verizon and AT&T offer in-house extended warranties through a company called Asurion.

It’s crucial to closely review the plan details to ensure the most common issues are covered. Asurion tailors their warranty services to each carrier’s request, and plans differ greatly between companies. If a warranty covers common problems like water damage and cracked screens, it may be worth it to protect a $1,000 phone.

Check your credit card’s warranty extension program

Many popular credit cards offer integrated manufacturer’s warranty extension programs. Some offer as much as a doubling or tripling of the original warranty’s length. In fact, some include post-purchase service contracts such as AppleCare+. This is the most effective way to make sure your premium laptop is protected for years to come.

Beware of warranty scams

You’ve probably heard of them before, and you may have gotten a phone call like this yourself. Whatever you do, don’t fall for unsolicited calls, text messages, or emails offering to renew or set up an extended warranty for a product you may or may not own. These kinds of communication are always scams and could lead to fraud and identity theft.

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Chris Thomas writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

7 best noise-canceling headphones for people who live in loud cities

Tue, 09/26/2023 - 23:21

 Noise-canceling headphones are often the best way to get the highest quality out of your favorite songs. Audiophiles enjoy this style of headphones for their ability to eliminate background noise, allowing you to hear songs the way they’re meant to be heard. If you live in a loud city, noise-canceling headphones may be necessary to listen to your music without interruption.

Types of noise-canceling headphones Passive noise cancellation vs. active noise cancellation

Passive noise-canceling headphones are less expensive than active noise-canceling models. Most passive models feature thick foam and other materials that block outside noise. Over-ear headphones with passive noise cancellation usually rely on dense materials and are often the most effective passive noise-canceling headphones. Still, in-ear models molded to the size and shape of your ear do a great job. Many in-ear models include multiple tips so you can choose the one that fits your ear best.

Active noise-canceling headphones are more expensive and more effective than passive models. These headphones use microphones that identify the outside sounds around you. Then, the headphones produce a sound that ensures you can’t hear anything but your music. Unlike passive models, active models require an additional power source, such as batteries.

Wired vs. wireless headphones

Wired headphones are usually less expensive than wireless models, but, in many cases, they produce a higher-quality sound. Still, wired models can be annoying if the wire gets tangled and many smartphones don’t have headphone jacks.

Wireless headphones are relatively expensive but significantly more convenient than wired models. Many higher-end wireless headphones produce sound on par with wired options but you will likely pay more for these models. Many wireless headphones can last two to three hours on a single charge. Still, you’ll have to ensure you regularly charge your battery to get the most out of your device.

Noise-canceling headphones with microphones

If you use your headphones for taking calls, you’ll want a model with a built-in microphone. In many cases, these models also feature noise-cancellation technology in their microphones. Additionally, most noise-canceling headphones allow you to listen to music at a low volume while taking a call.

Features worth considering Voice controls

Many high-end models feature Amazon Alexa and Google Voice Assistant capabilities. Voice assistant capabilities are ideal for users who want hands-free control and added features such as navigation, weather and reminders.


Devices featuring speak-to-chat functionality automatically pause your music when you begin a conversation. This feature is ideal for users who wear their headphones in cafes, restaurants and stores.

Ambient sound control

Noise-canceling headphones are great for loud cities, but you’ll still need to hear vehicles and other potential hazards. Headphones with ambient sound control block out most noise while still allowing you to hear sounds essential to safety.

Pair with multiple devices

Many headphones give you the ability to pair with multiple devices simultaneously. This feature allows you to listen to music on one device while taking a call on another. With multiple-device pairing, you can effortlessly switch from one device to another at the push of a button.


Buying headphones with included accessories is a great way to get a lot of bang for your buck. Many wireless headphones have auxiliary cables that you can use when their battery dies. Choosing foldable over-ear headphones with included carrying cases makes the bulky devices easier to take on the go. Many in-ear headphones include carrying cases that charge the earbuds, extending their battery life when you’re away from home.

Best noise-canceling headphones for people who live in loud cities

Bose Noise-canceling Headphones 700 ]

These wireless headphones feature high-end active noise cancellation, Amazon Alexa voice control and a quality noise-canceling microphone for calls. Many users praise these headphones for their sleek, comfortable design.

Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Noise-canceling Overhead Headphones ]

Most users loved that they were able to switch between multiple devices seamlessly. This model features ambient sound control, speak-to-chat and high-quality noise cancellation. These comfortable headphones come in three different colors.

Beats Studio Buds True Wireless Noise-canceling Earbuds ]

These stylish earbuds feature active noise cancellation and a built-in microphone for phone calls. This option includes three sets of silicone tips in various sizes. Although many users felt these headphones weren’t as good as over-ear models, they’re superior to most in-ear headphones.

Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) ]

These popular earbuds feature active noise cancellation and a transparency mode that allows you to hear outside sounds. This model includes a wireless charging case that allows you to charge your AirPods on the go. These earbuds last up to 6 hours with active noise cancellation enabled and over 30 hours when stored in the included case.

Bose QuietComfort 45 Bluetooth Wireless Noise-canceling Headphones ]

These headphones fold, allowing you to store and carry them easily. Many users felt this option didn’t have excellent bass quality, but they’re ideal for acoustic and classical music. This model lasts roughly 24 hours on a single charge.

Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Hybrid Active Noise-canceling Headphones ]

These budget headphones feature active noise cancellation and up to 40 hours of battery life on a single charge. This model includes a travel pouch and an auxiliary cable you can use when your battery dies. Many users loved these headphones for their loud bass tones.

Apple AirPods Max ]

These capable headphones come in five different colors. Apple’s active noise cancellation does an excellent job at blocking outside noise and the transparency mode allows you to use the device safely in busy areas. Many users praise these headphones for their sound quality, comfort and ease of use.

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Cody Stewart writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Marlins-Mets game postponed due to unplayable field conditions; teams will play doubleheader Wednesday

Tue, 09/26/2023 - 17:36


NEW YORK — The series opener between the Miami Marlins and New York Mets was postponed Tuesday night because of unplayable field conditions caused by Tropical Storm Ophelia.

The game will be made up Wednesday as part of a single-admission doubleheader beginning at 4:10 p.m.

It’s a crucial series for Miami, which began the day one game out of a National League playoff spot with six to play. The Mets are eliminated from postseason contention.

Three straight days of rain in New York left the Citi Field infield a soggy mess when the showers finally subsided late Tuesday afternoon and the tarp was removed.

Members of the Mets’ grounds crew worked for about three hours attempting to dry and smooth the infield and get the surface in playing shape. A message on the scoreboard long before the scheduled 7:10 p.m. start alerted fans the game would be delayed, and another message read: “Tropical Storm Ophelia brought heavy precipitation to the area. We are trying to make the field conditions playable.”

Major League Baseball representatives huddled on the field with Marlins general manager Kim Ng, manager Skip Schumaker, Mets manager Buck Showalter and others at 6 p.m. and then again at 8 p.m.

Approximately 20 minutes later came an announcement that the game was postponed and rescheduled for Wednesday.

Defense asks judge to dismiss double murder case against YNW Melly

Tue, 09/26/2023 - 17:12

Defense lawyers in the YNW Melly double murder case are demanding a dismissal of the charges, accusing prosecutors of withholding incriminating information about their lead detective.

Over the summer, attorneys for the rapper, whose real name is Jamell Demons, filed a complaint against Miramar Police Detective Mark Moretti, accusing him of forcibly taking a cell phone belonging to Demons’ mother while he was questioning her in connection with the case at the Broward courthouse in downtown Fort Lauderdale in October 2022.

According to the defense, Moretti was outside his jurisdiction when he executed a search warrant for the phone, “willing to lie as to who served the search warrant” to cover his tracks, and “willing to conspire” with a Broward Sheriff’s deputy who was not in the room when the phone was seized.

That summary was based on a statement given by Assistant State Attorney Michele Boutros, who was in the room. According to Boutros, Moretti told Sheriff’s Deputy Adam Gorel to say he was in the room when the warrant was executed. “I can be if you needed me to be,” Gorel replied.

The exchange, Moretti later told prosecutors, was intended as a joke. In his official report on the incident, Moretti wrote that he was in the room with Demons’ mother (Jamie King), Boutros and King’s lawyer, Robert Trachman.

The search warrant identified King as the person being investigated for witness tampering. Investigators believed she was helping her son hide incriminating evidence in his murder case. Demons is accused of two counts of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of fellow rappers Christopher “YNW Juvy” Thomas and Anthony “YNW Sakchaser” Williams.

King was never charged with witness tampering. The cell phone records included a host of text messages that were introduced at Demons’ trial, which ended in a hung jury. His retrial is scheduled to begin in October.

Demons is due in court Wednesday morning. The rapper faces the death penalty if convicted.

Hurricanes’ full basketball schedule released, will host Duke and North Carolina

Tue, 09/26/2023 - 17:12

The Miami Hurricanes are coming off their first Final Four appearance in school history, and now they know what teams they will be facing as they try to punch their ticket back to the NCAA Tournament.

The ACC released the full men’s basketball schedule live on ACC Network Tuesday night a little more than a month before basketball season begins.

The Hurricanes open their season with a non-conference slate that starts with a home opener against New Jersey Institute of Technology on Nov. 6. That non-conference schedule runs through Dec. 29 and includes a trip to Baha Mar Bahamas Hoops Championship to face Georgia and either Kansas State or Providence, as well as a matchup with Kentucky in the ACC/SEC Challenge.

The ACC slate starts on Dec. 2 with a game against Notre Dame. The non-conference schedule ends on Dec. 29.

Miami will host crucial ACC games against North Carolina on Feb. 10 and against Duke on Feb. 21. UM will travel to Virginia on Feb. 5 and UNC on Feb. 26.

The Hurricanes will play rival Florida State at home on Jan. 17 and in Tallahassee to end the regular season on March 9.

Here is Miami’s complete regular-season schedule; all games are at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted:

Nov. 6: vs. NJIT

Nov. 10: vs. UCF

Nov. 13: vs. FIU

Nov. 17: vs. Georgia, 3:30 p.m. (Baha Mar Bahamas Hoops Championship)

Nov. 19: vs. Kansas State/Providence, TBD. (Baha Mar Bahamas Hoops Championship)

Nov. 28: at Kentucky, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 2: vs. Notre Dame, 12 p.m.

Dec. 6: vs. LIU

Dec. 10: vs. Colorado, 2 p.m. (NABC Brooklyn Showcase)

Dec. 16: vs. La Salle, TBD

Dec. 21: vs. Stonehill, 8 p.m.

Dec. 29: vs. North Florida, 6 p.m.

Jan. 3: vs. Clemson, 8 p.m.

Jan. 6: at Wake Forest, 2:15 p.m.

Jan. 10: vs. Louisville

Jan. 13: at Virginia Tech

Jan. 17: vs. Florida State

Jan. 20: at Syracuse, TBD

Jan. 24: at Notre Dame

Jan. 27: vs. Pittsburgh, TBD

Jan. 30: at N.C. State, 9 p.m.

Feb. 3: vs. Virginia Tech, 12 p.m.

Feb. 5: at Virginia

Feb. 10: vs. North Carolina, 4 p.m.

Feb. 14: at Clemson

Feb. 17: at Boston College, 4 p.m.

Feb. 21: vs. Duke

Feb. 24: vs. Georgia Tech, 4 p.m.

Feb. 26: at North Carolina

March 6: vs. Boston College

March 9: at Florida State, 4 p.m.

General Daily Insight for September 27, 2023

Tue, 09/26/2023 - 17:02
General Daily Insight for September 27, 2023

Cosmic power is ours for the taking! While we may feel cast adrift as the Moon in Pisces stumbles over the Sun in Libra, making it difficult to know whether to lead with our minds or our intuition, it won’t be impossible to find a solution. Our strength should arrive around 7:46 pm EDT, when the Moon sextiles lucky Jupiter in Taurus, creating possibility and opportunity where there wasn’t much before. We can move mountains if we believe we can.


March 21 – April 19

A little daydreaming could net you some major manifestation. There is a useful sextile between the Moon in your fantasy-fueled 12th house and Jupiter in your income-focused 2nd house, and together they are going to strengthen your ability to bring profitable ideas all the way to the bank. The 12th house is a very inspired sector, so let your mind wander! You could come up with an unexpectedly brilliant idea that’s worth its weight in gold. Sometimes the path less taken is the most lucrative.


April 20 – May 20

You’ve got an undeniable shine at present. The Moon in your 11th House of Friendship is sextiling Jupiter in your indulgent sign, making you the most popular person in just about any room. You could have more invitations than you know what to do with, but that doesn’t mean you need to wait for other people to call the shots. Feel free to assume a leadership position and round up the gang. Folks will likely be more than happy to follow wherever you may go.


May 21 – June 20

The thing about a lucky break is you rarely see it coming until it’s arrived! You may encounter one today as the Moon in your 10th House of Career makes a special alignment with bountiful Jupiter, currently rotating through your 12th House of the Subconscious. Jupiter is working away behind the scenes in this position, but it could make itself felt when a benefactor emerges from the wings to offer you a major boost up the professional ladder. Don’t waste this opportunity.


June 21 – July 22

People can expand your current world when you give them the chance. It’s the perfect day to do just that as the Moon in your adventurous 9th house sextiles Jupiter in your social 11th house, linking grand ventures and enjoyable socializing together. Take time to speak to people you may not know very well, be they acquaintances or friends-of-friends, because those extended contacts are the ones who could really open your mind. A little friendliness can carry you unbelievably far.


July 23 – August 22

A job done well is a job worth paying for. You could receive such a reward as the Moon in your big-money 8th house sextiles Jupiter in your professional 10th house. Perhaps a project you’ve been working on finally earns you a nice payout. This might also boost you to sell something, whether it’s tangible or simply an idea, so have your elevator pitch ready to go at a moment’s notice. You never know when the next momentous opportunity will strike.


August 23 – September 22

Distant lands are calling your name, but they are likely calling at least one other name as well. The Moon in your 7th House of Partnerships is coming into a wonderful alignment with Jupiter in your journey sector. So while you may desire to break out of your usual boundaries, you probably won’t want to do this by yourself. Someone important could come forward to spur you on, and you can soar further together than you’d ever go just flying solo.


September 23 – October 22

You could score a big win today. The Moon in your 6th House of Daily Work is coordinating with Jupiter in your 8th House of Shared Resources, which is going to stir up all sorts of opportunities for you on the professional front. A co-worker or client might let you in on to a new gig that comes with a handsome payout, or you may realize you possess an innate skill or talent that people will pay big bucks for. Don’t underestimate yourself.


October 23 – November 21

You have so much to look forward to! A special sextile between the Moon in your fun-loving 5th house and lucky Jupiter in your people-focused 7th house is offering you an exciting source of fun, and you shouldn’t have to experience it all on your own. One particular person could give you the push you need to chase after your joy, so give people the space in your life that they deserve. You’ll get more out of it than you might guess.


November 22 – December 21

Everything CAN work out in your favor! Life is taking on a positive and easy energy as the Moon in your emotional 4th house lends a hand to your ruler Jupiter in your efficient 6th house. Even the most boring or complicated tasks may feel easy as pie, so don’t let yourself get bogged down with tedious tasks. Then again, with the Moon in such a favorable position, you can find ways to brighten your day regardless of whatever is on your plate.


December 22 – January 19

There shouldn’t have to be anything but fun on your personal program! A special sextile between the Moon in your chatty 3rd house and Jupiter in your delight-filled 5th house is going to make you feel like you just got on a roller coaster, or a merry-go-round if that’s more your speed. Since the Moon is in such a busy sector, you may feel like you’re being driven all over the place, but it’s okay — try to sit back and enjoy the ride.


January 20 – February 18

You’re now gifted with cosmic stability. The very ground beneath your feet likely feels that much firmer as the Moon in your 2nd House of Material Wealth aligns with Jupiter in your 4th House of Foundations, which could leave you feeling a certain sense of gratitude for the abundance in your life. Even if you sometimes worry you don’t have enough, the planets are coming together to change that! Embrace the universe’s gifts and the knowledge that you can provide for everything you need.


February 19 – March 20

Something exciting might occur outside your front door at any moment. The Moon is in your sign, so you’re especially knowledgeable regarding your inner needs, but you may find the answers to all your prayers when the Moon sextiles lucky Jupiter in your 3rd House of Communications. Even the most mundane interactions could be worth their weight in gold, so make an effort to get out and about and engage with anyone and everyone. The smallest conversation can create wonderful results.

Rabid river otter attacked man who was feeding ducks and then a 70-pound dog

Tue, 09/26/2023 - 16:53

A Jupiter man was out by a pond feeding ducks on Wednesday morning last week, something he typically does. But as he turned his back to the water to walk to his home, he heard something startle the ducks.

A 3-year-old river otter that was infected with rabies had emerged from the water onto the bank.

“He began to back up slowly still facing the otter,” a case report from Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control said. “That is when the otter went and attacked him for several minutes.”

After attacking the man, the rabid otter attacked a pet dog before it was trapped in someone’s driveway in the 100 block of Florida Avenue, across the pond from where the man was attacked.

The man was treated at Jupiter Medical Center for bites to his arms and legs. At the time of the report, the dog’s owner took the animal to a veterinarian, leaving animal control officials without any information about the attack.

David Walesky, assistant director of Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control, said Tuesday evening that the 12-year-old male dog weighed about 70 pounds and was attacked while being walked by the owner.

The dog was vaccinated and had one bite on its nose, Walesky said. Officials recommended a booster vaccine and that the owner quarantine the dog at home for 45 days.

When an animal control officer arrived at the home on Florida Avenue, a Jupiter Police Department officer was watching over a rattling recycling bin containing the trapped otter, held down by two cinder blocks on top, the report said. The animal control officer captured the otter with a net and put it in a carrier.

“The animal was showing signs that were abnormal,” the report said. “The animal was hyperactive and then down. In the transfer carrier, it bared teeth and was biting the metal.”

A 3-year-old, medium-sized brown male river otter attacked a man in Jupiter and a pet dog on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023. Officials later confirmed the otter had rabies. (Courtesy/Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control)

Walesky said the otter was euthanized and its brain was sent for testing. The results came back Saturday, confirming it was infected with rabies, he said. The Palm Beach County Department of Health issued a statement Monday confirming the testing results and warned residents in the area to avoid contact with any wild animals, including stray cats.

“For Palm Beach County, we have not seen a confirmed positive rabies in an otter since 2010,” Walesky said. “We’ve seen it in other animals, but we’re in a low period right now to where actually our most recent rabies case besides this one was almost two years ago.”

River otters are found throughout the state, except for the Keys, and the largely nocturnal animals prefer freshwater areas, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. They live in burrows on the water banks.

The predominant sources of rabies from wildlife in Florida are raccoons and bats, according to the Florida Department of Health, with outdoor cats the most common domestic animal found with the viral disease. The disease is spread through an infected animal’s bite and is deadly to humans and other mammals.

“Animals with rabies may show strange behavior — they can be aggressive, attacking for no apparent reason, or act very tame (especially wild animals),” the health department says in its informational page on the disease.

Palm Beach County Health Department officials offered the following advice in their statement Monday:

  • Keep rabies vaccinations updated for all pets.
  • Supervise pets so they don’t make contact with wildlife.
  • Seek medical and veterinarian care immediately if bitten by wildlife.
  • Do not handle or feed wild animals or attract them with unsecured garbage cans.
  • Never adopt or bring wild animals into your home.
  • Teach children not to handle wild or unfamiliar domestic animals.
  • Prevent bats from getting inside.

$10,000 Honor Guarantee, Backed by InterNACHI

Inspected once, inspected right. ® 

Thanks LogoUp.com for the best embroidered apparel!

G.E.T. Home Inspections, LLC is a top Coral Springs, FL home inspector on Inspectopia.com!

Admin Login