Cook County prosecutors drop all charges against ‘Empire’ actor Jussie Smollett

In a stunning move, Cook County prosecutors on Tuesday dropped all charges against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett on disorderly conduct charges for allegedly staging a phony attack and claiming he was the victim of a hate crime. “We believe this outcome is a just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case,” a prosecutor said in court in announcing the dismissal of all 16 counts. There had been no clue that prosecutors planned the about-face move before the... Read More

Watch spring breakers foil gas station gunman who wanted to rob them

Four young men came to South Florida from Indiana for spring break and ended up in a life or death struggle with a gunman at a gas station in Oakland Park. When it was all over, they were shaken up but unhurt, the man with the gun got away — but his alleged accomplice was later arrested. It happened just before 3:45 a.m. Sunday, outside a Mobil gas station at 901 W. Oakland Park Blvd., the Broward Sheriff’s Office said. The four were returning from a night out in Miami Beach and were... Read More

Smash and grab car burglars take only paperwork from ‘numerous’ vehicles, cops say

Electronic devices, designer sunglasses and other valuables were left behind, but one or more car burglars made off with a bunch of owners’ manuals after shattering the passenger side windows of “numerous” vehicles during a car burglary spree in Wilton Manors, police said. It happened between 3 and 5 a.m. on Monday in the parking lot at a residential condominium complex at 2124 N.E. Fifth Ave., investigators said. The burglar or burglars broke into the vehicles’ glove compartments,... Read More

Ultimate Software top executives to reap millions from buyout

Top executive officers of Ultimate Software would be collectively $102 million richer as result of a planned buyout of the company by a private equity firm, according to the Weston-based company’s recent securities filing. Founder and CEO Scott Scherr alone would gain $37 million as a result of the $11 billion transaction, should it be approved by shareholders. Many other Ultimate Software employees are likely to benefit from the transaction as well, as the company gives restricted stock... Read More

Here’s where the next Brightline stations may one day open in South Florida

Brightline, the South Florida commuter train line being rebranded as Virgin Trains USA, may add a pair of stations at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and PortMiami. Launched last year as Brightline, the line’s trains now operate daily service under the Virgin Trains moniker among the downtowns of West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami. The new stations at the airport and seaport would cost between $20 and $30 million and take 18 months to build, according to a proposed... Read More

School district appeals to parents after suicides: ‘Take time to speak to your children every day’

Recovering from the heartbreak and trauma of a school shooting is a marathon, not a sprint. Those sage words come from Frank DeAngelis, who was principal of Columbine when 12 students and a teacher died in a mass shooting at the Colorado high school in 1999. “People say time will heal all wounds — but the scars we have will be with us for a lifetime,” DeAngelis said Monday. “And certain things will trigger that pain.” But those in pain need to know there’s support out there to... Read More

Criminal charges dismissed against Broward Health leaders

A Broward County judge on Monday dismissed criminal charges against five current or former leaders of Broward Health who were accused of violating Florida’s open-meetings law. The charges stemmed from a series of one-on-one meetings at a hotel and restaurant between board members and former Broward Health General Counsel Lynn Barrett as well as an outside lawyer. The meetings culminated in a board vote in December 2016 to fire interim CEO Pauline Grant on kickback allegations and report... Read More

Broward law enforcement agencies push bill to arm paramedics

Paramedics would be allowed to carry a gun when responding to hostage standoffs and mass shootings under a bill supported by Broward County law enforcement agencies. The proposal (HB 487) advancing in the Florida Legislature would authorize trained paramedics and physicians attached to a SWAT team to carry a firearm during operations for defensive purposes only. It would grant medical professionals the same immunity and privileges as law enforcement officers, which include the ability to... Read More

Fort Lauderdale Woman’s Club added to National Register of Historic Places

The Fort Lauderdale Woman’s Club, a small, concrete-and-stucco community center in the heart of downtown, has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. For more than 100 years, the club has served as a meeting place for social, political and educational change, led originally by “mother of Fort Lauderdale” Ivy Julia Cromartie Stranahan, the application for historic status says. “The seemingly ever-evolving city has a modern theme, with few surviving historic... Read More

Woman accused of stealing $60,000 from casino card player

A card player woke up late and groggy in his Hollywood hotel room and discovered about $60,000 was gone from the pockets of his jeans. Police say the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino guest met a woman at the blackjack tables and she accompanied him to his room. The woman was wearing a short, olive-colored dress that zipped up the back and had a colorful tattoo on her left forearm. Before they began the massage that she offered, the woman suggested the man take a sip of his drink. ... Read More