Harassing Debt Collectors Fighting back can be frustrating but help is on the way
Doctors and hospitals Nationwide are
Adding Fees to Medical Bills
Sex Surrogates The controversial Therapy is gaining popularity
M O N T H LY
CBS4 News Magazine
A One-Time Cop Turned Serial Killer
Home Improvement pg. 41 Marketplace pg. 50
CONTENTS January 2013
04 06 10 14
Confessions Of A Serial Killer: A One-Time Cop Turned Serial Killer Reporter Gary Nelson Interviews Manny Pardo, a former cop convicted of killing 9 people during Miami’s “Cocaine Cowboys” era.
New Watchdog Group To Help Stop Harassing Debt Collectors Aggressive, harassing and abusive bill collectors are a top consumer complaint in the United States. If you’re one of the 30 million Americans being pursued by a collection agency, sometimes fighting back can be frustrating but help is on the way.
Doctors, Hospitals Nationwide Adding Fees To Medical Bills Hospitals and doctors offices across the country are tacking extra fees onto your bill. Fees for phone conversations with doctors, calling in prescriptions, or fees to cover malpractice insurance increases are among the most surprising, but the question is, can they be justified?
Sex Surrogates Growing In Popularity Sex therapists in South Florida say they are seeing an increasing number of patients using sexual surrogates to overcome intimacy and performance problems. While the use of this type of therapy remains mostly a taboo, therapists insist that it shouldn’t be.
Around Could Save 20 Shopping Owners Money on Pet Medications
22 Calendar of Events Can Be Hazardous 33 Lying to Your Health PRINTED IN THE USA, COPYRIGHT © 2013 BY MARCO G, INC. All rights reserved. The CBS4 News Magazine, a free publication, is published monthly by MARCO G, Inc. Material in this publication must not be stored or reproduced in any form without permission from Marco G. Inc. or WFOR CBS4. Requests for permission should be directed to: firstname.lastname@example.org. CBS4 and/or Marco G. Inc do not assume any liability for products and/or services claimed in advertisements herein. CBS4 and its logo (s) are protected through trademark registration. The use of logos, content and/or artwork in whole or in part is strictly prohibited. For more information please contact 305-477-1699.
[ 2 ] January 2013 CBS4 News Magazine Key Biscayne
VILLAGE Key Biscayne
M O N T H LY
A One-Time Cop Turned Serial Killer
I met Manny Pardo
22 years ago on death row at the Florida State Prison in Starke. “How many people did you kill?” I asked Pardo, a one-time cop-turned serial killer. “I was convicted of killing nine people,” he said. The qualifier was obvious. It has long been thought that Pardo, who did his murderous deeds in the height of Miami’s “Cocaine Cowboys” era, committed murders for which he was not charged. We had our cold-blooded chat, the serial killer and I, in a small room, surrounded by guards. “How many times, give or take, did you shoot each of your victims?” I asked. “Well, as many as I felt that was necessary,” Pardo said. “I felt good doing it so, if I ran out of bullets, I put another clip in my gun.” Pardo had been an Eagle Scout. He’d earned a master’s degree. He became a Florida Highway Patrol trooper and later a Sweetwater police officer. He would lose his license to be a cop after testifying falsely for a pal charged in a drug-running case. His work found him surrounded by the cash, bling, fast cars and fast women that came with the host of coke and pot dealers that crowded South Florida. He wanted some of it. He went after it homicidally, killing nine people that we know of, six men and three women in a three month spree. “It was my New Year’s resolution for 1986,” Pardo told me. “What did you resolve to yourself, what went through your mind?” I asked. “That I would systematically eliminate as many as I could before they finally caught me or killed me,” he said, a conviction in his voice. Pardo said he believed he was relieving the community of the “scum of the earth.” He was a vigilante, on a crusade to clean up the town. “Did you enjoy it?” I asked. “Yeah, hell yeah, I enjoyed it,” Pardo said, his feet bouncing up and down on the prison floor, shackles jangling. “Are you kidding me? Of course, I felt good. I felt great. I felt I was doing a service to mankind. They had no right to be alive.” At trial, Pardo’s attorney played an insanity defense amid the killer’s claim that he had the “right” to do what he was doing. Defense attorney Ron Guralnick told me, “He doesn’t have the right. That’s the whole point. He thinks he has the right, and therein lies his insanity.” There was a certain, well, crazy air to Pardo the day we spoke. His assertions were passionate, his appearance odd. At trial, Pardo had a full head of thick dark hair. On death row, he sported a pate shaved clean. He had a nervous disorder that caused him to pluck his eyebrows and eyelashes with his fingers. There was not a hair anywhere on his head. Our conversation returned to the killings.
“How would you feel after?” “Fantastic,” he said. “I would go home and go to sleep. Inside I felt great. I was proud of myself.” “How would you sleep?” I inquired. “Like a baby,” Pardo said. Among the claims at trial was that Pardo killed some who were innocent, in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sara Musa, a beautiful young woman, happened to be with one of Pardo’s darker victims when the ex-cop struck. She was killed execution style. There was nothing to tie her to any illicit activity. The suggestion was she died so no witnesses would be left behind. “She wasn’t a drug dealer, she was not,” Musa’s brother Gino said. “She had no criminal record.” Pardo maintained denial when we spoke. “I could never kill an innocent person, that I couldn’t live with. But one of these people,” Pardo said, referring to the so-called “scum” he was eradicating, “I cold put twenty bullets in them and go to sleep like a baby.” Prosecutor David Waxman, who convinced a jury to find Pardo guilty on all counts, told me the killer’s denials in our death row interview added to his list of transgressions. “I told the jury he’s a thief, he’s a robber, he’s a murderer,” Waxman told me. “And now he’s a liar.” The state wanted the death penalty and Pardo, at the sentencing portion of the jury’s deliberations, seconded the motion. “I’m a soldier, I accomplished my mission,” Pardo told the jury. “Give me the glory to at least end my days in a proper fashion, not be condemned to a state institution. That’s why I am ready for the death sentence.” The jury granted Pardo’s plea. Barring an eleventh hour intervention by the courts, an executioner will slip a hypodermic needle into Pardo’s arm Tuesday evening at six o’clock, and the serial killer cop will go to sleep like a baby…forever.
“How would you feel after?” “Fantastic, I would go home and go to sleep. Inside I felt great. I was proud of myself.”
January 2013 CBS4 News Magazine Key Biscayne [ 5 ]
New Watchdog Group To Help Stop
Debt ColleCtors Reporting Brian Andrews
Aggressive, harassing and abusive bill collectors are a top consumer complaint in the United States. If you’re one of the 30 million Americans being pursued by a collection agency, sometimes fighting back can be frustrating but help is on the way.
Bill collectors sometimes
call Kevin Lynn’s house up to 20 times a day and the debt they are calling about isn’t even his. “I always told them I don’t owe the debt, they had the
wrong person, that I don’t know who the person is,” explained Kevin. He said the debt belongs to the person who apparently lived in his house previous. Kevin filed three lawsuits to get the ringing to stop and he’s not alone. The Federal Trade Commission says it received more than 15,000 complaints about debt collectors last year, that’s more than any other industry. “Some of our number one sources of complaints for consumers are for harassment and abuse calling too often, using profanity, making violent or abusive threats,” explained Attorney Chris Koegel from the FTC. To crack down, a new federal agency, The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB, is going to start policing some of the largest collection agencies in the country. How bad can some company’s tactics get? Attorneys representing consumers say bill collectors have left people threatening messages such as, “I’m going ahead with a warrant for your arrest”, and “You will be behind bars for six months and once you go behind the bars you may lose your job.” In an FTC lawsuit filed against one bill collector, a grieving mother said she was asked how she would feel if the funeral home dug up her son’s body and “dropped it outside my house because I hadn’t paid my debt.” “Every industry is going to have bad apples,” said Pat Morris
In an FTC lawsuit filed against one bill collector, a grieving mother said she was asked how she would feel if the funeral home dug up her son’s body and “dropped it outside my house because I hadn’t paid my debt.”
from the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals. The debt collection trade association says it wants those using abusive tactics weeded out so others can do the job right. “Don’t shoot the messenger,” said Morris. “We’re here doing our job. We’re here respecting laws and regulations and we treat consumers with respect.” The CFPB will have new authority to make sure large collection firms are not harassing or deceiving consumers into paying debt and are using accurate data to pursue debts. Kevin said that’s good news because he’s still getting collection calls and feels helpless to do anything about the harassment. “Americans definitely need a new watch dog to help them,” said Kevin. The CFBP’S new authority starts January 2, 2013. The FTC and CFPB will work together and share information and complaints it gets from consumers.
“Don’t shoot the messenger, we’re here doing our job. We’re here respecting laws and regulations and we treat consumers with respect.”
January 2013 CBS4 News Magazine Key Biscayne [ 7 ]
Gift Store Reporting Marybel Rodriguez
There are many ways to shop nowadays. You can go online or you can go to the mall. But have you ever thought of going to Facebook for gifts?
The social network
is rolling out a new service called ‘Gifts’. Facebook users click on the gift icon on a friend’s timeline and a selection of items pops up. People can make a purchase, notify their friend that the gift is on its way or keep it private so it’s a surprise when the gift arrives. The service is free for users. Facebook earns a percentage from the businesses. The gift selection is wide. Choose from iTunes gift cards, cupcakes, cozy pajamas and gourmet coffee just to mention a few of the items. Not all Facebook users will find the gift store. A Facebook spokesperson said they are continuing to roll out the feature to more people throughout the coming weeks. But not everybody will be waiting for it. “When consumers go to regular websites they’re in the mood for shopping,” said marketing professor Burt Rosenbloom. “When they go on social networks like Facebook, it does other things, to keep friends informed, share photos, so this creates something of a barrier I would think compared to regular online shopping,” said Professor Rosenbloom. What happens to the information on what you buy? Facebook said it is not currently using gift data to target you for certain advertising.
B I L L I N G S TAT E M E N T
Doctors And Hospitals Nationwide
Adding Fees To Medical Bills Reporting Al Sunshine
Hospitals and doctors offices across the country are tacking extra fees onto your bill.
booked his appointment six weeks early with a doctor he’d seen for elbow problems five years earlier. But when Rischbieter arrived, he learned the hospital had changed his doctor. His elbow felt much better when he left, but he said the bill he received stung because it included a $164 new patient fee his insurance didn’t cover, he said. “They said they automatically charge it to anyone who hasn’t been to the facility in three years,” he said. “That does not seem fair,” said Amy Bach, a consumer advocate at United Policyholders. Bach said hospitals are getting creative with fees, not unlike the airline industry. Fees for phone conversations with doctors, calling in prescriptions, or fees to cover malpractice insurance increases are among the most surprising, she said. The new patient fee applies to patients who haven’t seen a doctor in the same subspecialty in three years. “Piling a fee like that, surprising somebody, is not the way to run a healthy medical services system,” Bach said. The American Medical Association adopted the new patient rule years ago after it was implemented by Medicare, and the policy is now followed by many doctors and hospitals nationwide. UC Davis Medical Center defended the charge. “Our new patient charge is a fair reflection of the additional time and resources required to get completely up-to-date on a patient who hasn’t been seen in more than three years,” public information officer Charles Casey said. “The charge is common nationwide because it reflects a clinical reality,
which is why health insurance typically covers much of this cost as part of a payer’s negotiated contract with providers.” Rischbieter’s insurance, however, did not cover the charge, he said. The medical center stood by its charge. Reluctant, Rischbieter said he will pay it. “I don’t think the charge is right,” he said. “I don’t want to get caught with collections or overdue bills.” As to why UC Davis didn’t disclose the additional charges when asked beforehand, according to Rischbieter, UC Davis said can’t anticipate every single charge. If you’re covered by a private health insurance plan and get hit by any extra charges, check with your plans’ administrators to see if extra fees are allowed. If you go to any independent clinics or out of network doctors, it’s a good idea to find out about all the extra charges before seeing a doctor.
“Piling a fee like that, surprising somebody, is not the way to run a healthy medical services system,” January 2013 CBS4 News Magazine Key Biscayne [ 11 ]
PASADENA, CA. (CBSMiami.com)
Melt IncreasIng Each Year
Reporting Tim Kephart
A new study in the journal Science has found that the ice sheets covering Greenland and Antarctica have been melting at an increasing rate over the last 20 years.
The ice sheets at
both poles are losing more than three times as much ice each year as they were in the 1990’s, according to the study which was conducted by 47 researchers at 26 laboratories around the world. The ice sheet losses are contributing to a sea level rise of roughly 0.44 inches since 1992, or roughly one-fifth of all sea level rise over the last 20 years. The rest, according to the study, is caused by the thermal expansion of the warming ocean, melting of mountain glaciers and small Arctic ice caps, along with groundwater mining. “Both ice sheets appear to be losing more ice now than 20 years ago, but the pace of ice loss from Greenland is extraordinary, with nearly a five-fold increase since the mid-1990s,” Erik Ivins of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena said. Ivins continued, “In contrast, the overall loss of ice in Antarctica has remained fairly constant, with the data suggesting a 50-percent increase in Antarctic ice loss during the last decade.” The research findings would tend to support the claim that global warming is not only ongoing, but also increasing over the past two decades.
“The research findings would tend to support the claim that global warming is not only ongoing, but also increasing over the past two decades.”
January 2013 CBS4 News Magazine Key Biscayne [ 13 ]
Surrogates Growing InÂ Popularity Reporting Brian Andrews
Sex therapists in South Florida say they are seeing an increasing number of patients using sexual surrogates to overcome intimacy and performance problems. A sex surrogate is a licensed counselor who works with single people suffering from sexual problems to overcome their issues, often by serving as a surrogate to allow them to practice overcoming the sexual issue they are trying to overcome.
“It’s a taboo topic,
but it, shouldn’t be,” said Miami sex therapist Dr. Sonjia Kenya. The controversial therapy using sex surrogates is in the national spotlight as there is a new movie heading to theaters on the issue. “The Sessions,” which opens this month in South Florida Theaters, chronicles the story of a disabled man who enlists the services of a sexual surrogate to learn how to be intimate with a sex partner, despite his physical limitations. Dr. Sonjia Kenya said sexual surrogates working with patients in South Florida are helping adults with autism, wounded warriors, and mid-life virgins. “They’re professional and successful in every other capacity of their life, but they’ve never hugged anyone intimately, or been massaged without all of their clothes off or walked down the street holding someone’s hand,” Kenya said. Sessions with a surrogate range from learning to flirt, hold hands, and touch to full blown sexual intercourse. South Florida sex therapist Dr. Marilyn Volker says this isn’t for someone who is bored in their sex life and looking to bump things up. She said this therapy, which is perfectly legal in Florida, helps people with “terrible performance anxiety, horrible past experiences of rape and incest, and even adults with little or no sexual experience.” Dr. Kenya said surrogates are also working with transgender people in South Florida. “People who have transitioned from one sex to another, they’ve undergone a new gender assignment, they may use a surrogate to be comfortable now having sex in their new body,” she said. Dr. Volker said she was a sexual surrogate working with disabled people 35 years ago. She said most therapists will recommend a surrogate to a client. However, its up to the client and the surrogate if they wish to proceed. “It’s up to the patient and surrogate to set a program with a start and stop date. It’s important to point out both parties can stop at any time,” Volker said. Therapists said surrogate sessions are often happen in patient’s homes. “Often times its going to someone’s place of residence and…being sexually intimate with someone, even WITHOUT the physical act of sex,” said Dr. Kenya. “There are many
other activities involved in a successful intimate relationship and surrogates practice all of those.” Therapists said more satisfied people in the bedroom leads to less sexually-transmitted diseases, less divorce, and more happiness. “There is a lot more about sexuality than just what’s between the legs,” said Doctor Volker. Dr. Sonjia Kenya talks about the use of surrogate therapy in her new book “Sex on South Beach.” You can find out more at:
www.drsonjia.com or call 305-420-5739. You can reach Dr. Volker at
email@example.com or 305-443-8850.
“There are many other activities involved in a successful intimate relationship and surrogates practice all of those.”
January 2013 CBS4 News Magazine Key Biscayne [ 15 ]
More Parents Trying Melatonin To
Help Kids Sleep Reporting Marybel Rodriguez
As many parents know, getting your child to sleep can sometimes be a monumental task. Now, more and more parents are turning to a supplement called melatonin to get their children to fall asleep at night.
Melatonin is an
over the counter, natural hormone that comes in a pill. It’s produced by the brain and stimulates sleep. Blake Huddleston, an active 5-year-old, who loves to play with his older sister, has struggled with sleep issues. “He’d just be up all night, all wound up, not able to sleep,” said Heather Huddleston, his mother. So his mom recently tried melatonin. On most nights Huddleston crushes it into a powder, mixes it with juice and sends Blake to bed. “He seems to be just growing a lot more efficiently. He’s sleeping better, he’s eating better, it’s helped regulate his sleep cycles,” she said. More parents are discovering their children are better behaved at home and better performers at school after they take melatonin. Yet there are some concerns. Doctors said there isn’t enough research on the long-term effects. What’s more, melatonin does not have FDA approval for medical use. Dr Adiaha Franklin, a pediatrician, often recommends it for kids with developmental disabilities such as autism or ADHD.
She suggests trying other approaches first, such as turning off bright screens before bedtime, in order to increase melatonin the natural way. “For children it can actually take up to an hour for their brains to calm down in order for them to make their natural melatonin and go to sleep,” Dr. Franklin said. Melatonin doesn’t work for everyone. One mother said her teen daughter tried it last year after a neurologist prescribed it for dysautonomia, a nervous system disorder. Instead of sleeping, the 15-year-old complained of blurred vision and increased anxiety. “She said like the chalkboard would wave and stuff like that,” she said. “And then we started noticing she started having panic attacks.” It all stopped once she cut out melatonin. “Just went away slowly, after 24 to 48 hours,” she said. Doctors said other side effects could include drowsiness, headaches and even weird dreams. Huddleston said her son hasn’t experienced any of that, but she urges other moms and dads to talk to their doctor first before trying the supplement.
January 2013 CBS4 News Magazine Key Biscayne [ 17 ]
Doral At Top
In “Average” Florida Home Price A new survey of home prices based on comparing thousands of 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom homes in more that 2500 communities nationwide found that in Florida, the priciest homes surveyed were not in Coral Gables or Miami Beach, but in the city of Doral. The survey is the annual Coldwell Banker Real Estate Home Listing report, and looked at 72 thousand homes in 2500 communities. The average home used in the apples-to-apples survey cost almost half a million dollars in Doral, more than twice the state average and almost $200 thousand more than the national average. If your budget is less pricey, you can save a lot of money and still live in Florida by choosing another city. In the city of Poinciana you could buy 6 homes for the price of one in
Doral. The average survey home price there is $76 thousand. In South Florida, Homestead ranks as the least expensive city. Nationwide, 6 out of the 10 most expensive cities are in California, with Los Altos topping the nation. There, the average home surveyed is $1.7 million. Compare that to Redford, Michigan in the Detroit area. With an average price of $60 thousand, you could buy an entire neighborhood…28 homes…for the price of a single home in Los Altos.
January 2013 CBS4 News Magazine Key Biscayne [ 19 ]
Shopping Around Could
Save You Money On
Do you go into sticker shock every time you need medicine for your pet? Well, consider shopping around the next time your pet gets sick. Your veterinarian is not the only place selling the drugs you might need for Spot or Fluffy.
Bubba Snider loves
his Bernese Mountain Dog, but he’s not thrilled at how much it costs when Bam-Bam gets sick. “When we first got him, he had a weird parasite,” said Snider. “And he was on different medications for eight months, and it cost us a fortune.” According to the Federal Trade Commission, Americans spend $50 billion on their pets each year; $7 billion of that is for prescription and over-the-counter pet medications. A majority of consumers get those meds from their veterinarians. “The only place I know to get them is at the vet, and they say, ‘Here’s what you need, and here’s the bill,’” explained Snider. But medicine for your pet can be found at plenty of retailers like Costco, 1-800-PetMeds, and even Target, which means consumers can shop around. At Target, you can get everything from Rimadyl, a pain reliever for dogs, to Heartgard. On its website, you can see all of the pet meds they offer, some for as low as $4. “You do need to get a prescription from your veterinarian, just like you would a normal medication from your doctor,” said Megan Waltenbaugh, a Target pharmacist. So how do prices compare? Here’s an example, a common antibiotic for a dog cost $15.80 at the vet’s office. That same prescription at 1-800-PetMeds was $14.89 cents, including shipping and handling. At Target, it was $11 dollars. “My bottom line advice to people is talk to your vet about what things cost,” said Dr. Lawrence Gerson, a veterinarian. “Ask them; is there a cheaper way to buy the product?”
Dr. Gerson said he sends customers to human pharmacies for pet meds all the time, but it is a hot button issue. Remember what the pharmacist at Target said? “You do need to get a prescription from your veterinarian,” Waltenbaugh said. In some states, vets aren’t legally required to give you one. “There are some vets that will not write a prescription to get the product elsewhere,” said Dr. Gerson. Veterinarians and the American Veterinary Medical Association have concerns about retailers offering pet medications, including inappropriate counseling, dosing and substitutions by pharmacists and the failure of pet owners to fill the prescriptions. “I’ve had one animal, he didn’t die but he got sick when they didn’t fill the prescription properly,” said Dr. Gerson. There is no doubt that competition in the market can affect prices and benefit consumers. Here’s another example to consider, Metoclopramide is a common drug used for nausea and vomiting in pets. At Target, it’s $15.99 cents for 30 five milligram tablets. At 1-800-PetMeds, the price is $12.79 including shipping. And Costco has it for $7.79 cents. Snider wants the best for Bam-Bam, but he likes what shopping around will mean for his wallet, too. “I would love to shop around,” Snider said. “I know that when we take him to the vet we are going to need some skin medicine and they are going to hand me something, and now I can say wait a minute let me shop the price.” When buying any pet medications online, experts say make sure the pharmacy has the Vet-VIPPS logo, which means it’s a vet-verified pharmacy and it follows federal and state requirements. January 2013 CBS4 News Magazine Key Biscayne [ 21 ]
CALENDAR OF EVENTS / JANUARY 2013
BISCAYNE Ringling Brothers Dragon JANUARY 10 - 21, 2013 800/745-3000 w w w. t i c k e t m a s t e r. c o m For the first time in circus history, myth and majesty will share the arena during this must-see family event that can only be witnessed at The Greatest Show On Earth速! Experience circus spectacles so incredible that once again you will believe in the unbelievable! Dragon tribes from the far reaches of the earth are brought together in a single performance, displaying their breathtaking skills in a circus tournament of champions.
Gablestage At The Biltmore: Hamlet Pinecrest Gardens Fine Arts Festival
JANUARY 12 - FEBRUARY 10, 2013 305/445-1119 w w w. g a b l e s t a g e. o r g
JANUARY 19 - 20, 2013 305/669-6990 w w w. p i n e c r e s t g a r d e n s. o r g
The American Premiere of a 90-minute, high energy version of the most powerful and important tragedy in the English language, adapted for London's Royal Shakespeare Company by Miami's own Award-Winning playwright, Tarell Alvin McCraney, who will also direct.
The festival features a generous representation of the best artists and artisans in this area and beyond. Find the perfect piece of art, original jewelry, a great selection of delicious food, live music, and other activities for the entire family. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Justin Bieber JANUARY 26 - 27, 2013 800/745-3000 w w w. l i v e n a t i o n . c o m Justin Bieber performs live at the American Airlines Arena.
International Chocolate Festival JANUARY 25 - 27, 2013 305/667-1651 w w w. f a i r c h i l d g a r d e n . o r g There will be three days of wonderful chocolate treats, tastings, cacao tree sales, the ChocoKids area, cooking demonstrations, our ChocoWalk, lectures and much more. 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
InG Miami Marathon And Half Marathon JANUARY 27, 2013 305/278-8668 w w w. i n g m i a m i m a r a t h o n . c o m Join the massive crowds as the internationally acclaimed marathon and half marathon takes to the beautiful streets of Miami, South Beach, Downtown Miami, Coconut Grove and Key Biscayne, and ends with a great finish festival at Bayfront Park. 6:15 a.m.
The 62nd Annual Beaux Arts Festival at the University of Miami
JANUARY 27 - 28, 2013 305/223-7060 w w w. m i a m i o r c h i d f e s t i v a l . c o m
JANUARY 19 - 20, 2013 L o c a t i o n : U M g r o u n d s. C o s t : F r e e.
Over 200 juried exhibitors from around the US and abroad will be featured at the Festival. A signature event on the South Florida cultural circuit, the Beaux Arts Festival of Art offers visitors the opportunity to meet exhibiting artists, sample fine cuisine and enjoy live entertainment. Kids too can enjoy the family zone, with special entertainment and a "Children's Art Activity Area" where kids can make arts and crafts for free.
Orchid Festival South Florida's winter orchid extravaganza, featuring more than 40 commercial orchid growers from around the nation and the world. Beautiful displays, plant sales, art and supplies. Sat 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sun. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
January 2013 CBS4 News Magazine Key Biscayne [ 23 ]
Local Cemetery Targeted by
Thieves Reporting Michele Gillen
Jessica Williams is the caretaker to one of the oldest African American cemeteries in South Florida, where community pioneers have been laid to rest. But recently, criminal acts have been disturbing the bodies resting at this cemetery which houses 538 burial plots at in Miami. CBS4’s Chief Investigator Michele Gillen spoke with Jessica Williams about recent body thefts. “And when you came upon finding one of these coffins broken into what did you think?” Gillen asked Williams. “I cried. I cried. I cried. Then I cried,” Williams said. Her tears are mixed with outrage and despair. “I just want them to stop because it’s not right, it’s just not right. These people are here and they’re resting. They are resting. They don’t need to be bothered with, you know, they really don’t,” Williams said. Williams is the niece to the ailing matriarch Elyn Johnson who’s family founded this landmark. And now, Williams is speaking out in desperation. “And so when I came over here I seen this casket open,” Williams said. “Are you scared?” Gillen asked “Very much so. Very much scared,” Williams replied. Life at the cemetery has become the stuff of the nightmares. “The most recent break -in was right here. They took all the bones,” Williams said. “All of them.” Break in’s to tombs, the thefts are horrible to describe. Coffins holding the remains of children are being broken into and robbed. “The whole top was off and you could see the casket. And I freaked. I freaked out, I screamed,” Williams said. “I have pictures on my phone from the casket when it was first open. I don’t think this baby lived more than a month, a month, and they went in the plastic and took the baby’s head… Just the head. That’s what they do with these kids, with these babies, that’s mostly what they do. They just take the skull.” Williams said she filed a police report. In the past year– at least 6 tombs have been broken into and some body part or bone stolen, and in one case an entire body.
“Are they taking the remains to sell? Is it a satanic ritual? If they break in here and steal bones and remains, why? What’s the reason? A cult? A satanic ritual?” “Yes, the whole body was gone. Yeah. The whole body,” Williams said. Williams has called the police to report the thefts and they have documented the problem. But they have not been able to stop or solve the break ins. So, Williams has turned to the community and the media for help. Gillen brought in security specialist Wayne Black to size up clues — and questions. “You’ve investigated so many different types of crimes.
January 2013 CBS4 News Magazine Key Biscayne [ 27 ]
Breaking into a coffin and stealing bones is a crime?” Gillen asked. “It certainly is. And possession of human remains in South Florida depending on the situation may be a crime too,” Black said. “Were they taking them for the jewelry? Are they taking the remains to sell? Is it a satanic ritual? If they break in here and steal bones and remains, why? What’s the reason? A cult? A satanic ritual?” An expert in Afro Cuban religions, author and anthropologist, Mercedes Cos Sandoval says the skull is considered the part of the body with the most power – that those who practice in black magic believe they can use for good or evil. “It could be voodoo,” Sandoval said. “They control the head of a person they feel they can control the soul.” Williams said she was shocked when she found one of the coffins had all the bones missing. “I screamed all the bones were gone. When I saw this picture, I screamed,” Williams said. “This is a reason to have a meeting with police,” added Wayne Black. Williams said she spends her days chasing off strangers. “When you see someone you can tell they don’t have family here,” Williams said. And she takes photographs of possible suspects. In this one- two women who Williams says have no relatives buried here. One is seen carrying a plastic bag, while the other is holding “a machete,” Williams said. “And the other lady had a bag. I asked where are you going? You got a machete in your hand?” Pressing the woman on why she was at the cemetery, the
woman answered Williams. “She says to me her baby is sick,” Williams said. “I thought normal people go to the hospital. I ran her off.” At first glance Black sees why the historic cemetery-which has seen better days…is a magnet for trouble- whether driven by money or the occult. “Well, part of it is the fence is broken down,” Black said. “They’ve stolen your weed eater so you can’t even weed properly. The foliage is growing down over causing natural hiding places.” Tombs mixed within the remains of some very important black families, some buried here in the 1950’s. Sadly, not all the coffins can be traced and so the now missing can’t even be reported to their heirs. “And their families, we don’t know where they’re families is at,” Williams said. “So this family doesn’t know that their loved one’s body is somewhere in the world we don’t know where?” Gillen asked. “Exactly. Exactly. I don’t even know how to get in contact with half these people’s families. I wish I did. I really wish I did,” Williams said. Black said that when crimes like these occur, they hurt a community. “There are multiple victims. The living victims are the family members of those who are buried here,” Black said. In the meantime, Williams waits. “They’re not stopping and I can’t take it,” she said. “I have to stay on patrol. Not guard, patrol How can they sleep? I say how can they sleep?” CBS4 News has requested an update on the body theft investigation from Miami-Dade police and is awaiting a response.
January 2013 CBS4 News Magazine Key Biscayne [ 29 ]
94% Of Individuals Qualify For a Mortgage or Refinance Specifically those who have recently been turned down by one of the following financial institutions:
New government backed mortgage programs such as Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA now allow consumers to bypass their financial institutions and go directly to the source for a new mortgage or refinance. These programs were specifically designed to help consumers with an imperfect credit history secure a fixed rate as low as 2.375% by bypassing their financial institutions and calling Government Loan Assistance at 1-877-719-HARP (4277). Call Government Loan Assistance today and take advantage of the following: • • • • •
Fixed rates as low as 2.375% 15 and 30 year fixed rate programs All credit applications accepted Same day credit approval process All loans are government backed
Avoid the credit restrictions and overlays from your financial institution and call the Government Loan Assistance Program at 1-877-719-HARP (4277), today.
TESTIMONIAL “My wife and I were solicited by our current lender, Wells Fargo, to refinance our current home loan with them. We submitted all the paper work and shortly there after we were turned down. We talked with Suntrust, who we do our personal banking with, and again we were turned down. We called the Government Loan Assistance Program and they were able to get us approved the same day. We are now saving over $750.00 per month.” -- James B. Coral Gables, FL.
Government Loan Assistance Program 1-877-719-HARP (4277) * Terms and Conditions Apply -The payment on a $160,000 15-year Fixed Rate refinance loan in Florida at a 2.375% rate and 70% loan-to-value (LTV) primary residence single family home is $1,057.47 with .875 in points due at closing and $3,290 in fees, minimum credit score of 740, and verifiable income for the borrower(s). The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is 2.785%. This loan may not be available in all states, and not all consumers will qualify for these monthly payment terms. Rates mentioned in any advertising are based on a sampling of available rates from our lender network. Specific rates and terms offered to our applicants may vary. Rates are subject to change daily without notice.
d i a p e PCerllphone Plans ls
a u id iv d In r o F f f Can Pay O
Reporting Al Sunshine
Paying-as-you go can pay off handsomely for some smartphone users. According to one estimate, some consumers could save as much as $1,000 over two years by opting for a prepaid or month-to-month plan, instead of a contract plan.
Aubrey Gates switched to a prepaid plan more than a year ago, and has already saved hundreds of dollars. “It’s been a great choice,” said Gates, who pays $56 a month for her unlimited plan with Metro PCS. According to the website MyRatePlan.com, the cost is about half what Gates would pay under a contract plan with AT&T or Sprint. “No-contract plans are sometimes an overlooked option,” according to Jessica Dolcourt of CNET. Dolcourt said the big cell phone companies don’t go out of their way to tell customers about prepaid plans because they’re less profitable. “The national carriers, they’re interested in signing up people for a contract,” she said. According to Dolcourt, the smaller companies that offer prepaid plans don’t do a lot of advertising. “They don’t have the marketing budget,” she said. Dolcourt said no-contract plans are best suited to individual users who don’t use tons of data. “But there’s a lot of math involved,” she warned. Smartphone users must consider coverage and speed. “Some prepaid carriers are going to be faster than others, so you might find yourself on a carrier that has a much slower
data network than you want for a smartphone,” Dolcourt said. Another drawback to prepaid, you will have to buy your own phone, and the price could be two to three times more than contract customers pay. “Sometimes the price will shock people in the U.S. who are used to seeing subsidized prices,” Dolcourt said. On the positive side: prepaid customers now have more phone choices than ever. Over the summer, several carriers began offering prepaid plans for Apple’s iPhone, and some big Android phones are now available through prepaid phone companies. Should you switch? Dolcourt advises doing some homework first by comparing plans, something that can be done on websites like MyRatePlan and BillShrink. “There is no one size fits all. You really have to educate yourself,” she said.
“Big cell phone companies don’t go out of their way to tell customers about prepaid plans because they’re less profitable.”
January 2013 CBS4 News Magazine Key Biscayne [ 31 ]
Bargain Hunting May Backfire When Buying New Clothes
Reporting Vanessa Borge
Buying new clothes can make us feel good; add a bargain price tag and it can become an obsession. “The average American consumer buys 68 garments and seven pairs of shoes a year,” explained Elizabeth Cline, author of “The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion.” Cline spent years researching the clothing industry and discovered to get the most for their money, Americans need to change the way they think about clothing and that may mean passing on that really cute $30 dress. “You are essentially buying garbage and you’re throwing your money away,” she said. According to Cline, you’ll save money in the long run if you spend more on fewer pieces that last. It’s a philosophy designer Sara Campbell built her business on. “There’s just more construction,” Campbell said about her clothes in comparison to cheaper brands. “More construction makes it more durable.” Learning to spot good construction is at the heart of Cline’s book.
“It’s always good to flip it [garment] inside out to see what it is made out of,” she explained. She explained that linings, hems and other details can tell you a lot about the quality of a piece of clothing. “This is a dress to aspire to own,” she said describing a dress that was fully lined with a blind hem, beautiful pleats and details. To compare the difference in quality, she also showed a ten dollar dress that had no details and no lining. “The waist on this dress is an elastic waistband and that’s just a way to cut costs, whereas this dress, they actually made an effort to cut into the pattern so it fits your waist,” Cline explained. According to Cline, when you pay for quality you are more likely to take care of a garment and the longer you wear something, the better it is for your bottom line. Campbell agreed. She said you are better off buying a great dress that will last and change up your shoes and accessories to give it a new look. In the end, you’ll save money and look great.
January 2013 CBS4 News Magazine Key Biscayne [ 33 ]
â€œThe process of being authentic, or being honest and open in meaningful relationships, is significantly related to feeling less depressed and having higher self-esteem,â€?
Lying Can Be
Hazardous To Your Health
People who make an effort to lie less say they have better relationships and report fewer health complaints, according to new research.
“Our findings support
questions about their close relationships and about their the notion that lying mental and physical health each week. less can cause better health through improving relationships,” For instance, they reported if they had trouble falling says researcher Anita Kelly, PhD, a professor of psychology asleep or had headaches. at the University of Notre Dame. “Improvements in the relaOver the 10-week study, both groups lied less. However, tionships accounted for a significant improvement in health.” the group told they couldn’t lie told fewer lies than the Although other research has focused on how to detect a comparison group. lie or how often people lie, Kelly wanted to look at whether By week 10, the no-lie group was telling, on average, less she could convince people to lie less, then look at the effects than one white lie, down from more than three in week two. of less lying. The comparison group was still telling more than three, down She presented her research at the annual meeting of the from nearly six in week two. American Psychological Association in Orlando. Both groups reduced their major lies, but the no-lie group On average, Americans lie about 11 times a week, says reduced those lies much more. Kelly, citing surveys by others. The link between less lying and improved health was seen Some of those are whoppers. Other are white lies, often in both groups, Kelly found. meant to spare feelings or save face. “In a given week, if they told fewer lies, they also reported Kelly and her co-researcher, Lijuan Wang, PhD, assistant their health was better,” Kelly says. professor of psychology at the University of Notre Dame, “The connection between lying less and improved health, assigned 110 people, aged 18 to 71, to one of two groups. following the people over 10 weeks, was amplified by being Both groups came to the lab each week to take a polyin the no-lie group,” she says. ”The connection was even graph test. stronger.” One group was encouraged to stop telling major and minor For instance, in a given week, if a member of the no-lie lies for the 10-week study. The researchers suggested strategroup reduced white lies by three, they had more than four gies for lying less, such as declining to answer questions. fewer mental health complaints. The comparison group got no special instructions about In the comparison group, if someone reduced their white lying. They were simply told that they would have to tell the lies by three, they had just two fewer mental health researchers how many lies they had told that week when they were “There are different motives for lying — to protect a child’s sense of magic is one given the lie detector thing, but it’s another thing to tell your boss that you’ve completed a project when test. you haven’t.” Each group answered
January 2013 CBS4 News Magazine Key Biscayne [ 35 ]
complaints, she says. “When a given person was lying less, they also reported their relationships were better,” she says. That, she says, explains the link between lying less and better health. Why? “What we are suggesting is, not violating others’ expectation of honesty is likely to build trust, which may be key to good health through improving our relationships.” The study was funded by the John Templeton Foundation. The findings echo some other research findings by Sally Theran, PhD, assistant professor of psychology at Wellesley College in Wellesley, Mass. “My research on girls and boys … indicates that the process of being authentic, or being honest and open in meaningful relationships, is significantly related to feeling less depressed and having higher self-esteem,” she says. Honesty is also related to feelings of intimacy in friendships, she has found. “There may be increased conflict, as a result of being open and honest, but it leads to better quality of friendships,” Theran says. Telling the truth can feel risky, she says, but when you do so, you can feel less inner conflict. “When we lie,” she says, “it
adversely affects our self-esteem and increases our sense of shame. So, it’s not surprising at all that the authors found that telling the truth was related to all these positive outcomes.” Total honesty is not realistic,Kelly and Theran say. “The goal is a reduction in lies,” Kelly says Theran distinguishes between major lies and white lies. This hit home recently when her 6-year-old daughter asked: “Is the tooth fairy really real?” “In that case, in my opinion,” Theran says, “a lie is OK.” “There are different motives for lying — to protect a child’s sense of magic is one thing, but it’s another thing to tell your boss that you’ve completed a project when you haven’t.” These findings were presented at a medical conference. They should be considered preliminary, as they have not yet undergone the “peer review” process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal. SOURCES:American Psychological Association annual meeting, Aug. 2-5, 2012, Orlando.Anita Kelly, PhD, professor of psychology, University of Notre Dame, South Bend, In.Sally Theran, PhD, assistant professor of psychology, Wellesley College, Wellesley, Mass.
January 2013 CBS4 News Magazine Key Biscayne [ 37 ]
More Dangerous Than DrivingÂ New Killer
There’s a new killer in Florida, more dangerous than drunk driving.
It’s already outlawed in 44 states but it’s still legal in Florida.
It’s the “new” drinking and driving, known as texting and driving,
but should it be outlawed in Florida?
If you ask Yessica Torres,
the answer is definitely yes. On September 11, 2008 Yessica Torres’ parents, Myriam and Wilson, were driving home. They turned left onto SW 127th Avenue from Bird Road. At the same time, 17-year-old Luis Cruz-Govin was speeding down Bird Road. Records showed he sent a text at 8:19 p.m. At 8:20 p.m. his car slammed into the passenger side of the Torres’ car, right where Myriam sat. “I could feel it inside me, that something bad was about to happen,” Yessica recalled. “I called and got a ride to the hospital. They had told me that both my parents were airlifted. When I got there only my dad was there,” recalled Yessica. Myriam died on impact. It took Yessica and her attorney Alan Goldfarb three years to prove that Luis Cruz-Govin killed
her mother because he was texting. Yessica and her family filed a civil lawsuit against Cruz-Govin who declined to speak with CBS4 about the accident. Late last year, a jury awarded them $8.8 million dollars after proving Cruz-Govin was in fact texting and driving. “No text is important. It can wait while you’re driving,” Yessica said. Yet 30-percent of drivers ages 16-21 admit they text and drive in a Consumer Reports survey. Texting and driving is the new driving drunk. David Strayer, a psychology professor at the University of Utah, has been studying texting and driving for over a decade. “If you are texting and driving you are twice as likely to be involved in a crash than if you were driving drunk,” Strayer said. Florida is one of just 6 states in the U.S. without a ban on texting and driving. Why is that? State representative Irv Slosberg is an advocate for traffic safety regulations who has tried for six years to pass the ban. He blamed former Speaker of the House Dean Cannon for the stall in legislation. “Unfortunately the Speaker of the House, Dean Cannon, would not pull this out of the drawer, he was the worst thing for road safety,” said Slosberg. In fact, last year the Senate passed an anti-texting bill in Florida, but it stalled in the House. Cannon sent CBS4 an email in response, in part it read: “We must be careful to weigh a proposed regulation with the potential infringement on personal liberty. Personal responsibility remains the primary means to increase safety on our roadways.” Former speaker Cannon’s term ended November 6th, and Speaker Will Weatherford now has the reigns. “All that I can hope for is that Speaker Weatherford will realize that public safety is our number one priority in the state of Florida,” Slosberg said. Yessica hopes legislation will stop others from losing the people they love too. “If they would have banned this a long time ago maybe this accident would have never happened, maybe my mom would still be here,” said Yessica. In Florida’s next legislative session, Representative Slosberg said he will introduce a ban on minors who text and talk on cell phones while driving. Congress has recently approved $50 million in financial incentives for any state that passes “anti-texting” legislation. Without a texting while driving ban, Florida stands to lost millions in federal dollars.
“No text is important. It can wait while you’re driving”
January 2013 CBS4 News Magazine Key Biscayne [ 39 ]
Improvement M O N T H LY
Ten Ways to Make a Small Room Look Larger Before traveling for the holidays, safeguard your home and valuables. Taking a few precautions before you leave town will ensure a happy return home. Enhance Your Small Space
6. Increase the appearance of the size of the room by
Most of the following designer tricks can be applied to
adding wall mirrors. They not only reflect images, they
reflect light and color. Be a little daring! Use mirror tiles to mirror an entire wall. Your room will appear to double
1. For the illusion of a larger room, use a color scheme
that is light rather than bright or dark. Pastels, neutrals
7. Don’t place too many pieces of furniture in a small
and white are all color possibilities.
space. A love seat may work better than a full-size sofa
2. Use a monochromatic color scheme on the furniture,
depending on the size and shape of the room. Add two
rugs and walls. Select different shades and textures of
medium-sized chairs or two small wood chairs. Place the
your single color.
chairs closer to the wall and then pull them into the area
3. Lighting is a key element in opening up a space.
when additional seating is needed.
Recessed spot lighting is visually appealing and is
8. Add paintings or prints to the walls. One large painting
perfect for a small space. A torchiere light is great for
works better than a group of small paintings.
bouncing light off of the ceiling and back down on the
9. The visual balance of a room is also important. A large,
room. Skylights and solar tubes are natural alternatives for
brightly colored element can overwhelm a room and
adding light to a room.
decrease the appearance of space.
4. Limit the number of accessories to avoid the cluttered
10. A glass table, whether it is a dining, coffee or end
table, will keep the appearance of a open and free space.
5. The floor and the ceiling are the fifth and sixth walls of every room. A light-colored flooring such as light oak or a light-colored carpet will make the room appear brighter and more open. The same applies to the ceiling—use a
A RT I C L E B Y W W W. L O W E S . C O M
light color or white to “open up” the space above.
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