Boat with 750 pounds of marijuana intercepted off Boca Raton coast

BOCA RATON, Fla. – Six people were taken into custody Saturday after a boat with 750 pound of marijuana was intercepted by the Coast Guard off the coast of Boca Raton.

Officials said a Coast Guard cutter conducted a safety boarding of a 35-foot sport fisher about 11 miles east of Boca Raton.

As the cutter crew came alongside the vessel, they saw a package being jettisoned overboard, which was later recovered by a Coast Guard Station Fort Lauderdale crew.

The cutter crew discovered an additional 17 bales and three packages aboard — seizing about 750 pounds of marijuana.

Aboard the intercepted vessel were three Bahamians, two Jamaicans and one Guyanese.

“This interdiction is a direct success of our focused efforts to defeat these transnational criminal networks,” said Cmdr. Willie Carmichael, acting chief of enforcement for Seventh Coast Guard District said in a news release. “Our newest fast response cutters have proven critical in defending our maritime border, which these criminal organizations seek to exploit.”

The Coast Guard says they are constantly patrolled the waters between the Bahamas and Florida to detect, deter and stop drug smuggling.

Miami-based @USCG cutter crew intercepts suspected drug-smuggling operation. Read more here https://lnks.gd/2/3mWW6d 

 

CHRIS SALAMONE

(LEADER, AUTHOR, ATTORNEY)

 https://vimeo.com/user37757029

 

Ariana Grande to leave Boca, return to Manchester for benefit concert

Pop star Ariana Grande, who returned home to Boca Raton after her Manchester, England concert was the site of a deadly terrorist bombing Monday night, will return to Manchester to hold a benefit concert, the singer announced on Twitter.

“Our response to this violence must be to come closer together, to help each other, to love more, to sing louder and to live more kindly and generously than we did before,” Grande wrote on Twitter.

Grande, a South Florida native, returned by private jet to Boca Raton Airport following the bombing. She had just finished her set at the Manchester Arena before the explosion killed 22 people and injured 59.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.

Grande shared plans to return to England to spend time with fans and honor and raise money for the victims’ families. The details of the benefit concert and her return to Europe have not been shared.

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

Grande shared a message of unity and positivity following the tragedy, encouraging her fans to not “operate in fear.”

“We will never be able to understand why events like this take place because it is not in our nature, which is why we shouldn’t recoil. We will not quit or operate in fear. We won’t let this divide us. We won’t let hate win.”

Grande, whose “Dangerous Woman Tour” began in February, thanked her fans and fellow celebrities who wished her well following the ordeal.

Friday’s tweet was Grande’s first since she previously shared her disbelief on Twitter shortly after the attack: “broken. from the bottom of my heart, I am so sorry.”

Grande had cancelled European shows through June 5, according to her website. Her next scheduled show is June 7 at AccorHotels Arena in Paris, France.

It’s unclear if the benefit concert will affect the rest of her scheduled tour. The tour is not scheduled to come to the United States.

Grande, whose family lives in Boca Raton, has strong roots in South Florida. She was born in Boca, and attended schools in Broward County, The Palm Beach Post has previously reported.

She appeared in children’s theater in Boca and Fort Lauderdale, and sand with Boca Raton-based symphonies.

Following the attack, an emotional Grande reportedly met boyfriend and fellow artist Mac Miller at Boca Raton Airport.

Grande tweeted that music will help heal her fans in the wake of the tragedy.

“Music is something that everyone on Earth can share,” she wrote. “Music is meant to heal us, to bring us together, to make us happy. So that is what it will continue to do for us.”

Salman Abedi, 22, was identified as the bomber and was believed to have been killed in the incident.

The bombing was another incident in which violent extremists have targeted mass entertainment venues.

Last year’s Pulse massacre in Orlando, a street-festiv

al attack in Nice and nightclub killings in Istanbul Kuala Lumpur and Tel Aviv all involved vulnerable, large gatherings of people.

The pop superstar’s worldwide fan base is primarily female and young. Ten of the 22 victims from the bombing were under 20 years old, including an 8-year-old girl. Grande, 23, broke into the national spotlight in 2009 with a powerful voice along with a four-season appearance on Nickelodian’s Victorious.

She has three American Music Awards, an MTV Video Music Award, three MTV Europe Music Awards and four Grammy Award nominations. All three of her albums have been certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.

She has close to 107 million Instagram followers, second only to Selena Gomez.

 CHRIS SALAMONE

 

Boca Raton firm sees mad scramble as foreign investors attempt to beat deadline to get green cards

BOCA RATON, Fla. – From hotels to restaurants, foreign investors have made their mark in South Florida. In some cases, investors earned American citizenship through their investment.

Now leaders in Washington, D.C. are debating how to move forward with the EB-5 program as it is set to end next Friday.

Just like fresh ingredients make the perfect meal, the right pieces have to come together to form a successful investment.

When Alex Rudolph took the Tap42 concept from Fort Lauderdale to Boca Raton, foreign investors were part of his recipe.

They’re not just paying for a green card, they’re investing in the business because they have faith in the business like we do,” Rudolph pointed out, adding his has personal relationships with his investors.

The program allows foreigners to fast track their green card by investing at least $500,000 in American projects that create a minimum of 10 jobs.

Families from Vietnam, India, Argentina, and Italy have all expressed interest in partnering with Rudolph. Many of his partners frequent his restaurants. Locations in Coral Gables and Midtown Miami were also funded through the EB-5 program.

“Restaurants, hotels, assisted living facilities, you see it all over Palm Beach County,” explained Lauren Cohen. She connects investors and businesses through her Boca-based company, e-Council, Inc.

Since the program is set to expire, Cohen said there is a mad dash from investors to find out what the future holds.

“Investors want to take advantage of the opportunity while it’s there,” Cohen said.

Critics argue the EB-5 program allows foreigners to buy American citizenship for their families and skirt traditional routes.

But Cohen said she believes EB-5 kept businesses pumping and Americans employed through the Great Recession.

“Projects need money and the country needs economic stimulation, that’s not going away anytime soon,” Cohen said.

She admitted the program could use reforms. It’s basic outline hasn’t changed since 1993. She expects Congress will extend the program at the last minute. And then increase the minimum amount the government requires investors to contribute.

Rudolph hopes Congress serves the program new life so he can open new restaurants. He has plans for two more locations. Each one would employ about 75 people.

“It’s a great opportunity for people from other countries to be able to live the American Dream, and also for us to get to interact and have investors from all over the world, as opposed to a bank giving us a loan, writing a check and saying, ‘We’ll see you later, good luck with your business,’ ” Rudolph said.

A spokesperson from Senator Marco Rubio’s office said Rubio supports the program, but would like to see changes to cut out abuse and fraud.

CHRIS SALAMONE

Boca Raton prepares for annual Boca Bash

On Sunday the party will be on Lake Boca. The annual Boca Bash is a grassroots gathering of people and their boats.

On Saturday boaters were busy prepping their boats for the Boca Bash event. Boca Raton Police and FWC will be out stopping boats.

Authorities will also be making sure captains have life jackets, flares and other legally required safety equipment.

Law enforcement will be out making sure people are being responsible and not boating under the influence.

The city does not control the event, however city leaders say they don’t mind if the event continues as long as people are safe.

“The city takes extra precautions to make sure that its safe. Boca Police and Boca Fire will be on hand along with the federal government. Boca has also closed down the boat ramp just to make sure that boaters can boat there just so that we don’t have people waiting to board boats to get into the lake,” says Councilman Scott Singer.

Rain is in the forecast and according to the event’s Facebook page, it could be rescheduled if the weather is too severe.

CHRIS SALAMONE

Masked Owl Vigilante Makes a Return to Boca

After being noticeably absent for the past year, the masked vigilante known to Boca Raton residents as “Owl Man,” has reportedly resurfaced.

A Florida Atlantic University freshman, who wishes to remain anonymous, was walking to his dorm at 2 a.m. this morning when two men approached him from behind, demanding his possessions. Unknowing of what to do, he shouted for help.

The student told police a large man emerged from the shadows and rendered the men unconscious.

“It was the strangest thing I ever saw,” he said. “I thought it was Owlsley at first but this guy was a lot more fit. It felt like something straight out of a movie. Before I could even get a good look at him he was gone.”

He was able to give a vague description to police however, and explained that he had a beard under an owl mask, with what looked like wings coming from his back.

Police instantly recognized the description of the vigilante and turned to the Boca Raton Tribune, whose top sketch artist was able to create an image of him when he was first spotted last April.

It was previously concluded that he was an FAU student, as his heroic acts have only been spotted on campus. Students who attended FAU last year recalled the last sighting of Owl Man and were surprised to hear of his return.

“It was my second year here when I saw him,” one student said. “I was in GPT (Glades Park Towers) at the time and was playing some video games with my boys. Heard a girl screaming and looked out the window to see some owl dude beating some guys up. Can’t believe he’s back. It’s good to know that he’s here to help.”

His friend believes that he may know the reason Owl Man has not been seen since last year.

“I bet he took a semester off. That’s why he hasn’t been around,” he said. “I thought that maybe he graduated or something, but now that he’s back, that’s got to be it.”

Last April, a Facebook page was created called “Who is Owl Man,” which quickly gained thousands of likes in hopes of finding information regarding the vigilante’s identity. The page has since been deleted, however a new one has been created. Not everyone actually wants to know his identity though.

“I don’t really want to find out,” another student said. “It’s cool that it’s sort of a mystery. Just let the dude do his thing.

CHRIS SALAMONE

 

Boca Raton’s Lexi Thompson loses LPGA Major after email from TV viewer

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. (AP) — Lexi Thompson had no idea why LPGA Tour rules official Sue Witters was approaching her on the way to the 13th tee at the ANA Inspiration.

When she found out, Thompson still couldn’t believe it.

A television viewer’s email had alerted officials to a day-old rules violation by Thompson for improper ball placement. Her three-shot lead had just been wiped out by a four-shot penalty.

“Is this a joke?” Thompson asked Witters.

After being assured it wasn’t, she responded: “This is ridiculous.”

Thompson survived the shock, and she forced a playoff with three gutsy birdies that had the Dinah Shore Course crowd on its feet.

But So Yeon Ryu managed to take advantage of the break created by Thompson’s extraordinary penalty.

Ryu birdied the playoff hole to win the LPGA Tour’s first major of the year Sunday after Thompson was blindsided for an infraction she had accidentally committed 24 hours earlier.

Thompson, the 22-year-old U.S. Olympian who won here in 2014, was left stunned by the decision that stopped her from cruising to an easy victory.

“Every day is a learning process,” Thompson said. “I wasn’t expecting what happened today, but … it happens, and I’ll learn from it and hopefully do better.”

The fateful email arrived during Sunday’s final round, alerting officials to the violation committed Saturday. Thompson marked a 1-foot putt with a coin on the 17th green during her third round, but she replaced the ball perhaps 1 inch out of position.

After an extensive video review, Thompson was penalized two strokes for an incorrect ball placement and two strokes for an incorrect scorecard. Witters regretfully explained the penalty to Thompson.

“I can’t go to bed tonight knowing I let a rule slide,” Witters said. “It’s a hard thing to do, and it made me sick, to be honest with you.”

Thompson fought back tears after getting the news, but she incredibly birdied the 13th hole. She battled back into a five-way tie for the lead, making three birdies and a bogey on the final six holes of regulation at Mission Hills Country Club.

“It’s unfortunate what happened,” Thompson said. “I did not mean that at all. I didn’t realize I did that. I felt strong through the finish, and it was great to see the fans behind me.”

Golf fans on the course and the internet reacted with bewilderment and outrage when the LPGA’s decision became understood. Tiger Woods immediately came to Thompson’s defense on Twitter.

“Viewers at home should not be officials wearing stripes,” Woods wrote . “Let’s go @Lexi, win this thing anyway.”

As awkward as the situation was, it could have been worse: If golf officials hadn’t made a rule change before last year, Thompson would have been disqualified entirely.

Ryu birdied the 18th hole in regulation and again in the playoff, but she didn’t find out she was in serious contention to win until officials informed her of Thompson’s penalty on the 16th tee.

“I just cannot believe the situation,” Ryu said. “I didn’t even check the leaderboard. I thought Lexi played really, really well. I didn’t expect what happened to Lexi.

“It’s a very unfortunate situation. I didn’t expect it. I thought I’m well behind, so all I wanted to do was play my game.”

They both finished regulation at 14-under 274, but Thompson still nearly won it in regulation after crushing her approach shot on the 18th.

With emotions visible on her face amid loud chants of her name, Thompson gathered herself — and left a 15-foot winning eagle putt inches short.

Ryu, who also won the 2011 U.S. Women’s Open in a playoff, claimed her second major title with an excellent playoff hole after her final-round 68, burying a 5-foot birdie putt.

Although she cried with joy on the green for what she said was the first time in a U.S. tournament, her celebration was a bit muted because of the bizarre circumstances — at least until she made the traditional leap into Poppie’s Pond with her caddie and friends.

“It definitely feels a bit weird,” said Ryu, who is expected to move to No. 2 in the world. “It was kind of a weird atmosphere, even after I won the tournament.

“But I think the most important thing is no matter what happened during the round, we ended up going to a playoff. Then I was able to handle the tough situation well.”

Norway’s Suzann Pettersen barely missed a birdie putt on the 18th to force a three-way playoff. She finished tied for third with Inbee Park and Minjee Lee.

DIVOTS: Michelle Wie shot a final-round 69 and finished three shots off the lead in sixth place, her best finish in a major since she won the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open. … Cristie Kerr finished seventh for her best performance in a major since the 2014 event here, when the tournament was known as the Kraft Nabisco Championship. … World No. 1 Lydia Ko finished in a tie for 11th at 7-under 281.

 CHRIS SALAMONE

From Failure to a Five-Star Review

Matt’s chest tightened as he listened to the voicemail from Roger, an unsatisfied client. What he was hearing was something no businessperson wants to hear: “Matt, we will not be needing your services any longer. Your company dropped the ball on this project.”

Initially, his reaction ranged from disappointment to feeling disheartened. Instead of making excuses or begging for a second chance, however, Matt responded out of conviction that he needed to do the right thing. He called the client, offering a 100 percent refund on the fee that had already been paid, as well as his personal guarantee to correct the problem.

Somewhat surprised that Matt did not respond in a defensive manner, the frustration and disappointment of his client, Roger, suddenly softened. Encouraged by the professional and caring manner by which Matt handled the situation, the client responded with a 5-star online review of Matt’s company. In addition, this turned apparent disaster into an opportunity to continue and even expand their business relationship.

Because Matt had been quick to acknowledge his company’s poor performance, potential failure turned into a stellar, 5-star review and recommendation.

Too often we are tempted to offer excuses when things go wrong, or shift blame elsewhere, rather than recognizing our personal and corporate shortcomings. However, as the Bible’s Old Testament book of wisdom points out, “He who conceals his sin does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).

This is not a guarantee that admission of unsatisfactory service will always result in retaining customers, but it is a good principle to follow for these reasons:

Wronging a customer is also wronging God. “When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because your people have sinned against you, and when they pray toward this place and give praise to your name and turn from their sin because you have afflicted them” (1 Kings8:35).

Righting a wrong through restitution restores the relationship. “Speak to the sons of Israel, ‘When a man or woman commits any of the sins of mankind, acting unfaithfully against the Lord, and that person is guilty, and must confess the sin they have committed. They must make full restitution for the wrong they have done, add a fifth of the value to it and give it all to the person they have wronged&rsq uo;”(Numbers 5:6-7).

Acknowledging a wrong brings healing for ourselves. “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed” .

These principles offer powerful motivation for recognizing and making amends for doing wrong or failing to live up to our commitments in business. By taking ownership of our mistakes and admitting our failures can become an opportunity to showcase your heart. God, and others, will honor.

CHRIS SALAMONE