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newspaper October 2013

Bidding

Wars Hit The Local Real Estate Market new

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Contents

Newspaper October 2013

Featured Editorial

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Bidding Wars Hit The Local Real Estate Market Bidding wars are becoming more and more popular in the South Florida real estate market. Some argue this new trend is due to high rent prices and low inventory, but could it be that homeowners are intentionally under-pricing their homes?

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CBS4 News Super Kids: A True Inspiration -- Zelda. A legendary teen, known in schools across the country as Zelda, is making history by making a difference in her community.

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Real Estate

Properties Sold in your area

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Should You Trust Electronic Cigarettes? A new alternative for millions of Americans who buy tobacco products each years has hit the market, but their popularity is rising questions: Are they safe?

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Special Sections

Enjoy A Getaway On Layaway! You probably associate “layaway” with the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, but some travelers have used the age-old payment plan to make an easy getaway.

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2013

HURRICANE SEASON Guide And Tracking Map

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Companies Run Off With Your Money Through “Grey Charges”

Presented By..

Sponsored By

Imagine paying out extra cash each month, even hundreds of dollars a year, but you have no idea! You may not know about what are called “grey charges,” but they are legal and companies are taking advantage of them!

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: info@cbs4newsmagazine.com. 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.


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Mobile

Banking Is Getting


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Easier & Faster

No question banking on-the-go is easier than ever thanks to our smartphones. And now many banks are offering more services than just paying bills and depositing a check with your phone.

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ant to split the check for dinner with your friends, pay the babysitter on-the-spot, or the neighborhood kid to mow your lawn? Now you can use your phone for that too. No cash, no checks required. It’s called person-to-person mobile payments and some banks like Rockland Trust and Bank of America allow customers to send a payment straight to another bank account. “Customers love it because now they can transfer to anybody that they want. They don’t have to write a check. It saves them money because they’re not buying as many checks as they used to,” says Stacey Coyne of Rockland Trust. Coyne says it’s important for banks to offer services on-the-go, “Customers are busy. They are working seven days a week. We want to make sure the mobiletechnology is available to them when they need it 24 hours a day, seven days a week.” A Federal Reserve report found about half of all smartphone owners are using mobile banking and one-quarter of these customers are also making payments by phone. Up until now the only option for direct mobile payments were services like Google Wallet or PayPal. These payments are free if it’s linked directly to your bank account. If you use a credit card expect to pay a fee. And now banks are finally catching on.

“Banks have been in some ways a little bit slow but purposely slow moving into the mobile space because examiners are looking over their shoulder to make sure banks are doing it correctly to protect customers’ security. So, that’s not a bad thing,” says Bruce Spitzer of the Massachusetts Bankers Association. Spitzer says when it comes to direct mobile payments, it’s important to use a company you know you can trust, “It’s your money and you don’t want to put it at risk.” And you can minimize your risk by always using a password protected account. So, if you lose your phone you won’t lose your money too.

“Customers love it because now they can transfer to anybody that they want.”

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October 2013

Coffee Shops

Limit Wi-Fi Discourage ‘Laptop Hobos’

By Vanessa Borge

It

is a common sight in coffee shops all over South Florida; a person with a cup of coffee, an opened laptop, and no intention of going anywhere. These patrons have even earned themselves a nickname: “Laptop Hobos.” “I am probably a laptop hobo,” said Kevin Kavanaugh. “I’ve been a free bird since last July and I spend most of my time at coffee houses. That is where I have my meetings.” Some coffee shops, like Starbucks, offer unlimited free Wi-Fi but not every coffee shop is as generous. Some shops, overwhelmed by people surfing the web and holding business meetings, are developing more restrictive policies with their Wi-Fi or getting rid of it altogether. Panera bread is one example. It’s cutting users off after a half hour during their busiest hours.

“Some shops, overwhelmed by people surfing the web and holding business meetings, are developing more restrictive policies with their Wi-Fi or getting rid of it altogether”


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Suzanne Mello uses the free-Wi-Fi at her local coffee shop and said policies like that are too severe. “I would probably just go to another store if that is the case. Where ever I can get free Wi-Fi and AC and they let me stay is good.” Michael Oshins, a professor of hospitality said it is a predicament for businesses. Disputes over outlets and cords dragged across busy lobbies are also common problems. “All of a sudden it kind of snowballs into, I can stay here for, this can actually become my office, I don’t have to pay rent any more, this can become my free space.” Oshins believes these shops have a tough balance to achieve. They obviously need paying customers, but there is also value in looking busy. “It’s like, this place is happening. I want to go there. So all of a sudden it creates that customers become part of the environment or the ambiance, if you will, and all of a sudden it is more welcoming,” said Oshins. So if a coffee shop or restaurant opts to make it a more welcoming environment, they may have to be prepared to manage tables and laptop electrical cords.

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Save Money On Your Auto Insurance Bill There are few bills more dreaded than the annual car insurance premium, but there are ways to avoid being one of the thousands of drivers who are paying more than they have to.

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mericans are missing a lot of discounts and that could really add up,” said Laura Adams of InsuranceQuotes. com. Adams said a recent survey found that most drivers aren’t aware they are eligible for discounts and there’s a reason. “If you think ‘well my insurance agent will just call me and say hey you are entitled to a discount,’ you are mistaken,” she said. Adams said consumers really need to be proactive and ask about specific discounts. Some examples include discounts for getting and paying your bill online, for married couples, and those who bundle their home and autoinsurance. You can even get a break if you switch jobs and have a shorter commute. But the biggest winners in the discount game may be young drivers, particularly college students, who can get a discount simply for being a good student. “As long as you are getting about a B average in school you can get a discount that can be as much as 25-percent,” explained Adams. Students at college more than 100 miles from home can also save on their bill if they don’t have a car on campus. This may sound extreme, but if you don’t mind the idea of your insurance company playing big brother, any age driver could save big if you let them install a device that tracks how many miles you drive as well as your speed and braking information. It may come down to what’s more important, your budget or your privacy.

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A True Inspiration By Michele Gillen

ZELDA You might think 17-years old is a bit young to be so legendary, that you’re known in schools across the country by just your first name, but that’s exactly the case for a young South Florida teen named Zelda.


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hile she is a member of the National Honor Society and class Vice-President, her success goes way beyond that. Growing up with barely enough to buy pens and paper for school, she’s shaking up how students perceive themselves and rocking our world enough to be a selected as a CBS4 News “Super Kid.” “You are never too young to be a mentor. Everything you get, you have to give back to the community,” explained Gricelda Ramos to CBS4’s Michele Gillen when the two met on the first day of her senior year at Mast Academy on Key Biscayne. “I am so ready to be back at school,” she joyfully told Gillen. At 17-years-old Gricelda, is considered a mentor extraordinaire, a modern day pied piper for kids, who she tutors and inspires for hours each and every day. They call her Zelda. That’s the name of a videogame princess but Zelda is writing her own legacy as a real life warrior. “When people see me I want them to see me not as a princess but as a warrior, and somebody who is going to make a difference,” said Zelda. “When I hear people say ‘Zelda,’ I want them to feel that I am fighting for everything, for my future, for my academics, for happiness, for everything. That’s what I feel when people say ‘Zelda’.” She explained she finds joy in being a warrior because “At the end of the day you have fought for what you believe in and others not only admire you, and it’s not about admiration, but you inspire others. It’s like a constant domino effect,” shared the 17-year-old. Zelda was born, raised and lives in Little Havana. She travels each day to Mast Academy where she scores top grades. This year, she got noticed by teachers across the country because she wrote a treatise on not being defined by your zip code.

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“When I hear people say ‘Zelda,’ I want them to feel that I am fighting for everything, for my future, for my academics, for happiness, for everything. That’s what I feel when people say ‘Zelda’”

“Where I grew up, people center on drugs, alcohol, promiscuity and they infiltrate to kids’ minds that this is where you are going, this all that you are ever going to achieve. And I am showing that it is not,” she passionately shared. Raised by a single parent, her mom cleans homes for a living, scrubbing floors to polish a vision of the American Dream for her daughter. “School to me, it means the world to me. I love school,” she is proud to admit. But it is Zelda’s compassion that stands her apart. At 15, she and her good friend Camilia, also a Mast Academy student, created the non-profit campaign Temporary Pain/Enduring Beauty to raise funds for girls across the globe who’ve been bullied, abused, and disfigured in horrors like acid attacks. In particular shining light on the organization Acid Survivors Trust.

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heir lives have not ended because of how they look,” she explained to Gillen. The project grew from her own pain and tears; as an adolescent she was chided for not being pretty enough. “I was taunted for looks and appearances. At times I can resonate with these girls because I know what it felt like at one point to feel just worthless. God, myself, people have restored the feelings of beauty, outer beauty, inner beauty, inside of me. I want those girls to feel the same. Because at one point I felt alone but I realized you are never alone,” she explained. “Beauty is not everything. But as a young girl I understand how it feels like. When I hear stories of the young girls who say they want to die, I want to bring them back hope in any way that I can. That’s my message to them. You are not alone. Ever.” She said her heart burns for those girls who have paid such a price for wanting to learn and study, which is something she values so much. “Some girls are disfigured because they wanted to get an education, this is me saying they might have burned your face, but they have not burned your passion your determination, your fire.” For such a young girl, Zelda often speaks lyrically on issues of the heart. She reflected on the moment she decided she would not waste any more time on her own tears. “Sometimes you let it consume you and sometimes it becomes you. One day I decided I am not wearing this sadness anymore. I took it off,” she proudly explained. “I look in a mirror and I see a future now.”

“Beauty is not everything. But as a young girl I understand how it feels like. When I hear stories of the young girls who say they want to die, I want to bring them back hope in any way that I can. That’s my message to them. You are not alone. Ever.”


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She’s helping others have a chance at one as well. For $3.00 donations, she and her team take photo portraits and post them on their Facebook page with an inspiring message. “The picture is more like a memorandum. Hey you made a difference. You helped someone’s life,” said Zelda. Those photos were hard to take at one point because Zelda and her team didn’t have their own camera. They always had to borrow one. When the CBS4 Super Kid Team found out, they went into action and helped give her reason to smile. The first chapter of the surprise was unveiled at the place that is her home away from home, The Leadership Learning Center in Little Havana. It’s where she tutors other children and where she first met mentors who helped her with education, scholarships and more. Board member and philanthropist Norma Jean Abraham turned out to personally deliver a top of the line digital/video camera package for Zelda and her team. “We are really proud of you and I got you something that I think might help you out,” a glowing Abraham announced, “Yes, your own camera!”

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Zelda’s glee was infectious as she was surrounded by dozens of applauding children. Zelda cradled the brand-new camera and fought back tears of happiness, “For every kid with a dream this is for you!” Her next stop will be a private photography lesson with internationally renowned Italian artist Luca Arioli who is famous for his portraits of hope he captures in the most impoverished areas of the world. “This is what you have to capture, the smiles,” Luca explained as he walked Zelda through one of his award winning photo books. In poverty stricken villages in India, his pictures hauntingly captured smiles that bloom like flowers within barren desserts.” Zip codes don’t matter. Zelda tenderly touched each page as Luca gave her tips on how to photograph. The lesson was a perfect fit. “I’m honored to meet her. You have the strength, all the tools and you have this now and this will be an opportunity to capture amazing projects,” said Luca. So add a new mentor in Zelda’s corner, Luca’s heart touched by a Super Kid who found true beauty and whose fingerprint on life has already touched so many others. “I decided that I would try to be an inspiration to everybody. To kids, to adults, just inspire people because I knew that I’m never going back to that place again.” But the first person she had to inspire, “was myself,” she added.


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BEWARE.

A LITTLE BACK PAIN CAN BECOME A LONG-TERM

DISABILITY


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Just about everyone has back pain now and then, but, according to recent research, the back pain people suffer from now, could possibly indicate more back troubles to come.

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ccording to a study printed in the Journal of Pain, severe, short-term back pain could be a forerunner to long-term pain and disability. “Your body just gets old. Things get old, your spine gets old. The lubrication of the joints and all that,” said neurologist Dr. Jack Wilberger. “If you have it now it’s probably gonna come up again. We sort of nip it in the butt, so to speak. Hopefully we don’t have any long term issues.” The study followed after nearly 500 people who were treated for low back pain answered questionnaires every six months for a period of five years. People with high pain levels at the start had a 12 percent higher risk of back pain at six months, nine percent higher risk at five years. “This is the type of information that we really need to have particularly in a preventative way,” said Dr. Wilberger. Short-term low back pain isn’t necessarily due to a disc being

out of place, but rather inflammation in the joints from stress and strain. The customary approach is short-term treatment of the inflammation, but as the study suggests, long-term monitoring may be helpful. Short-term treatment includes rest and anti-inflammatory medication. Long-term includes weight loss, exercise to maintain good muscle tone along the spine, not smoking and good lifting technique with your legs muscles and not your back muscles can be ways to keep pain away. Keeping a bright outlook may help, too. In the study, those who believed they would have persistent pain had a four percent higher risk at six months and a six percent higher risk at five years. “There may be a secondary reason that they need to have low back pain, so to speak. Because it impacts a number of different areas of life, especially work,” said Dr. Wilberger.

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There’s nothing like a few drinks and a long line of novice singers belting out the hits to make you want to say, “Hey, I can sing better than that.” South Florida’s got a number of places where you can take up that challenge and sing “I Will Survive” better than Gloria Gaynor. Here’s a list of the venues willing to give you a shot at stardom, albeit, karaoke style.

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Titanic Restaurant & Brewery 5813 Ponce De Leon Blvd - Coral Gables, FL 33146 (305) 668-1742 - www.titanicbrewery.com

Featuring a microbrewery, a seafood restaurant, and, yes, karaoke, Titanic Restaurant and Brewery has been catering to a mostly collegeaged crowd since 1995. And when they’ve been hitting the books for too long, it’s usually time to hit the bar. On Sundays and Tuesday nights, the microphone gets handed over to the crowd who usually belt out the hits on Sunday nights with karaoke and Tuesday nights with open-mic night. Its style was made to resemble “the steam engine room of a huge ocean liner.” So when a four-day cruise is out of the question, cruise over to Titanic for the karaoke cruise ship feel.

Studio

1801 Collins Avenue - Miami Beach, Fl 33140 (305) 695-1770 - www.louiestudiosouthbeach.com

The Studio features more than 100,000 songs in 20 different languages. If being in the spotlight isn’t a big draw, the stage also offers customers the opportunity to play one of the numerous instruments on the stage including, drums, guitars and keyboard. The kicker: If a singer is called and fails to show up, be prepared to hear the whoosh of a flushing toilet. That’s their shtick and they are sticking to it.

John Martin’s Irish Pub & Restaurant

253 Miracle Mile - Coral Gables, FL 33134 (305) 445-3777 - www.johnmartins.com

John Martin’s pub draws many 80s music fan on Wednesday nights when they host the “I love 80s” karaoke. On Sunday nights, sing any song or recite poetry because that’s when they open up their microphone for anyone who has anything on their mind. Local celebrities are often spotted here including humorist Dave Barry. Built in 1989, the Irish pub throws an all-out St. Patrick’s Celebration that resembles a New Year’s Party.

Ye Olde Falcon Pub

2867 South Uinversity Drive - Davie, FL 33328 (954) 424-0300 - www.yeoldefalconpub.com

Ye Olde Falcon Pub offers karaoke on Mondays and the popular video game Rockband on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If you need a shot of courage, try one of the 50 beers on tap from AmberBock to the 8-Ball Oatmeal Stout. The pub isn’t as old as the name suggests. In fact, it was built in 1989 and has been serving up beer and fish and chips ever since.

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Bidding

Wars Hit The Local Real Estate Market


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Brandt Elliot found his dream home the day it went on the market, and he knew he had to move fast.

“I

was the first one to see it at 10 o’clock. By 4 o’clock, when I had sent my wife over there in the afternoon, they had already had another offer,” said Elliot. Not sure he’d find another house he liked as much, Elliot placed a competing offer. “I was a little surprised to get in a bidding war because it was literally less than a day,” said Elliot. But bidding wars are becoming more and more the norm, according to Jennifer McKinney with the National Association of Realtors, who blames high rent prices and low inventory. “Inventory has everything to do with bidding wars right now. It’s basic economics. It’s supply and demand,” said McKinney. Some argue sellers are intentionally under-pricing homes — a tactic to get multiple offers and sell quickly — but McKinney disagrees. “I think sellers are really pricing their property to sell and it’s causing a flurry of activity and buyers are having to overbid in order to secure a property,” said McKinney. Real estate attorney Elizabeth Vinings sees it, too. “Just today, I have a seller who had 17 offers on their home,” said Vinings. Some of the contracts clearing her desk involve all-cash purchases — a strategy McKinney says typically gets the win when it comes to bidding wars. Many times it’s an investor making the cash offer, and that means the average homebuyer loses out.

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“Obviously, if you put a cash offer up versus a 5, 10 percent offer, and investors are willing to waive more contingencies, the investor’s chances are they’re going to win,” said McKinney. Contract contingencies are a big part of the bidding process, too, and Vining sees buyers putting themselves at real risk in order to beat out the competition. The three she sees most often: the seller negotiating to remain in the property, even after closing; the buyer waiving the right to a home inspection; and the third, waiving the mortgage contingency, which may mean the buyer has to bring a lot more money to the closing table. “If a year ago you were buying a house and you’re putting 20 percent down, you would have a mortgage contingency for a mortgage of 80 percent of your purchase price. To get a mortgage of 80 percent, the property has to appraise for the purchase price. And therein lies the rub right now. Because people are bidding with multiple offers, they’re often not supported by the appraisals,” said Vining. That means a buyer has to come up with the difference. “They are doing it, because I feel like a lot of buyers are desperate,” said McKinney. Elliot feels he was lucky with his bidding war. “The only compromise we made was price, and frankly, I think the seller was under-valuing the price,” said Elliot. Sellers face risks, too, and have to be careful to choose the right bid. The highest may not be the best. For instance, if the buyer’s financing falls through, you’re back to square one and it doesn’t matter how high the offer was. So there are several factors to consider when selling.

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New Apps That Help You

Buy Your Dream Car When it comes to buying a new car, many people have looked online. But now getting a new set of wheels could be more high-tech than ever. Car buying, leasing and even comparing can be done on the go. Everything from financing apps and pop up shops that feature digital dealerships are available to make the car dealership visit all worth it. Julie Dunn spent a lot of time in her car running errands. She said while she was parked and waited for her kids, she used to car shop. “I have been using my iPad and my smartphone and I’ve found two or three apps that I use,” said Dunn. Dunn prefers to use Cars.com and Autotrader.com. “I plug in my search, the kind of car I’m looking for and if something comes up in that area, it’ll send me an alert,” said Dunn. Scotty Reiss of SheBuysCars.com said technology has put more power in the palm of the buyer’s hand. “Every car maker, every manufacturer, every seller is making it easier for consumers to find them digitally,” said Reiss. Shopping apps like Dunn used are a good place to start, but experts said that consumers should check out other apps. Evaluative apps can tell a buyer what they should expect to pay for a specific car, consumer advocate apps to check the vehicle’s history or a dealer’s reputation and finally, car payment calculator apps to look into financing. Convenience is the key to the new high-tech trend. “In the past, customers were spending up to 6 hours searching for and trying to buy automobiles at the dealership,” said George Athan. Athan oversees sales for a large auto group and hopes technology will continue to drive down buyer’s time at the dealer, even to as low as one hour. Things like digital dealerships, where buyers can build a car on

the spot, could help speed things along in the future. “They can set up showrooms pretty much anywhere, whether it’s at the mall, or a music festival, or a local town fair,” said Athan. Audi has digital showrooms in London and Shanghai and other companies have planned similar projects. Athan believes these high-tech trends will continue to gain traction, with things like iPads on showroom floors. “It’s just exciting times. It’s changing at light speed,” said Athan. “The buyer is much different, better informed.” Experts said that with all the advancement, buyers still have settle the price the old fashioned way. “These apps are not going to negotiate for you the magic deal on your dream car that costs you nothing. You still have to do the negotiating in person,” said Athan. Dunn, who used technology for most of her research, agreed. “I would definitely have to go to the lot and see it before I agreed to anything,” said Dunn. Some deals are even handled via text message. SwapALease.com, the digital marketplace where you can find people to take over an unwanted car lease, reported that up to 25 percent of its transactions involve texts.

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Real Estate Sponsored By

Listings in this section are based on properties sold in the month of july 2013 and retrieved from zillow.com. Not all properties sold are listed. Not responsible for typographical errors and/or omissions. Photographs are for illustration purposes only.


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Content provided by www.Zillow.com

Looking For A

A Better Housing Finance Solution That Isn’t the Enemy of the Best Solution

After months of robust home value appreciation, the US housing market recovery is on very solid footing. We can now begin to turn away from housing’s ugly recent history and start contemplating its future, specifically the future of housing finance.

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hat President Obama and representatives from both parties in the House and Senate have recognized this fact as well is encouraging. The president has taken his housing message directly to consumers, through means both conventional — speeches and talking points — and decidedly 21st century, accepting questions via social media during a recent event hosted by Zillow. But for all the attention the president’s actions have generated, his largely non-controversial principles generally describe accepted points of consensus: Yes, we need more

private-sector participation in the housing market. Having two government-sponsored entities (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) responsible for the securitization of the majority of mortgages written in this country is anathema to an economy as promarket as the US. And yes, we do want to ensure widespread access to low-cost, fixedrate, 30-year mortgages. The 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage is the bedrock of the current housing finance system in the US. It has allowed tens of millions of low-income and middleclass buyers to achieve homeownership over the past several decades.

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Content provided by www.Zillow.com

But outside of the current system, which most everybody agrees needs to be changed, it’s very difficult to have this particular flavor housing cake and eat it too.

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here are currently two proposals for reforming the housing finance system. The first, more conservative proposal was recently introduced in the House of Representatives by representative Jeb Hensarling (a Republican

from Texas). It would essentially fully privatize the mortgage market, leaving private capital to take on all the risks— and reap the rewards—of mortgage financing. But for private lenders to accept that risk without any federal backstop, the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage would become very expensive for the typical consumer as lenders charged more to take on more risk, and/or would require potentially very restrictive credit qualifications. The 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage would likely be replaced by

adjustable-rate mortgages. I personally don’t think this would be such a bad thing (most other countries use them predominantly without major mishap), but most Americans disagree with me, and public policy should somewhat reflect public preferences. The second, less conservative plan has been introduced in the Senate by senators Bob Corker (Republican from Tennessee) and Mark Warner (Democrat from Virginia). It would replace Fannie and Freddie with a single, government-backed entity,

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Real Estate

Sold Properties Miami Dade County

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12701 SW 68th Ter, Miami, FL 33183 3 Beds / 2 Bath | 1,472 sq. ft. | 4,331 sq. ft. Lot | Built in: 1979 Sold: 8/22/2013 | $145,500

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485 NE 144th St, North Miami, FL 33161 3 Beds / 3.5 Bath | 2,922 sq. ft. | n/a Lot | Built in: 1969 Sold: 7/27/2013 | $425,000

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1025 88th St, Surfside, FL 33154 4 Beds / 2 Bath | 1,907 sq. ft. | 6,860 sq. ft. Lot | Built in: 1943 Sold: 8/27/2013 | $775,000

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8620 SW 208th Ter, Cutler Bay, FL 33189 4 Beds / 2.5 Bath | 6,000 sq. ft. | n/a Lot | Built in: 2005 Sold: 8/12/2013 | $240,000

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6232 SW 29th St, Miami, FL 33155 4 Beds / 2.5 Bath | 2,265 sq. ft. | n/a Lot | Built in: 2007 Sold: 8/27/2013 | $540,000

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2301 Collins Ave, Apt 506, Miami Beach, FL 33139 2 Beds / 2 Bath | 1,230 sq. ft. | Condo - Lot | Built in: 1926 Sold: 8/12/2013 | $800,000

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450 NW 90th St, El Portal, FL 33150 3 Beds / 2 Bath | 1,495 sq. ft. | n/a Lot | Built in: 1955 Sold: 8/19/2013 | $345,000

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107 Sarto Ave, Coral Gables, FL 33134 3 Beds / 3 Bath | 1,584 sq. ft. | 5,270 sq. ft. Lot | Built in: 1925 Sold: 8/23/2013 | $605,000

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4180 Alton Rd, Miami Beach, FL 33140 3 Beds / 4 Bath | 2,488 sq. ft. | n/a Lot | Built in: 1925 Sold: 8/16/2013 | $930,000


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All Listings provided by www.Zillow.com

Sold Properties Broward County

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1401 NW 58th Ave, Margate, FL 33063 3 Beds / 2 Bath | 1,430 sq. ft. | 8,494 sq. ft. Lot | Built in: 1957 Sold: 8/2/2013 | $150,000

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6723 Mariposa Cir E, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33331 5 Beds / 2.5 Bath | 2,465 sq. ft. | 0.28 acre Lot | Built in: 1995 Sold: 7/12/2013 | $492,000

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2821 N Ocean Blvd, Apt 503S, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308 3 Beds / 3 Bath | 1,888 sq. ft. | Condo - Lot | Built in: 2009 Sold: 8/8/2013 | $729,000

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9084 SW 17th Ct, Miramar, FL 33025 4 Beds / 3 Bath | 2,338 sq. ft. | n/a Lot | Built in: n/a Sold: 7/18/2013 | $268,000

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5022 NW 112th Dr, Coral Springs, FL 33076 5 Beds / 3 Bath | 3,490 sq. ft. | 0.25 acre Lot | Built in: 1999 Sold: 9/3/2013 | $530,000

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10322 Emerson St, Parkland, FL 33076 4 Beds / 2 Bath | 2,300 sq. ft. | 10,454 sq. ft. Lot | Built in: 1991 Sold: 8/26/2013 | $829,500

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11716 SW 53rd Pl, Cooper City, FL 33330 4 Beds / 2.5 Bath | 3,225 sq. ft. | 0.41 acre Lot | Built in: 1983 Sold: 9/3/2013 | $345,000

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2165 NE 27th Dr, Wilton Manors, FL 33306 3 Beds / 2 Bath | 2,037 sq. ft. | 7,013 sq. ft. Lot | Built in: 1954 Sold: 8/29/2013 | $625,000

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2301 Castilla Isle, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 2 Beds / 3 Bath | 2,060 sq. ft. | 8,712 sq. ft. Lot | Built in: 1952 Sold: 8/7/2013 | $910000


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Real Estate

Lu x u ry P ropert i e s

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420 W Rivo Alto Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139 4 Beds / 3 Bath | 3,701 sq. ft. | 0.31 acre Lot | Built in: 1936 Sold: 8/16/2013 | $15,079,600

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100 S Pointe DrAPT 2008, Miami Beach, FL 33139 3 Beds / 3 Bath | 3,423 sq. ft. | Condo - Lot | Built in: 2002 Sold: 7/8/2013 | $6,730,000

Miami Dade County

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1 E Dilido Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139 6 Beds / 7.5 Bath | 7,829 sq. ft. | 0.39 acre Lot | Built in: 2012 Sold: 6/25/2013 | $14,000,000

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190 Casuarina Concourse, Coral Gables, FL 33143 5 Beds / 5.5 Bath | 7,795 sq. ft. | 1.12 acre Lot | Built in: 1980 Sold: 8/1/2013 | $6,172,000

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50 S Pointe DrAPT 3301, Miami Beach, FL 33139 3 Beds / 3.5 Bath | 4,933 sq. ft. | Condo - Lot | Built in: 2008 Sold: 6/24/2013 | $13,000,000

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1520 W 28th St, Miami Beach, FL 33140 6 Beds / 4.5 Bath | 7,909 sq. ft. | 0.46 acre Lot | Built in: 1956 Sold: 8/6/2013 | $5,617,000


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For Information Call: 305.477.1699

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All Listings provided by www.Zillow.com

Lu x u ry P ropert i e s

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710 Coral Way, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 4 Beds / 5.5 Bath | 4,445 sq. ft. | 0.87 acre Lot | Built in: 1940 Sold: 7/10/2013 | $7,445,800

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1 N Ft. Lauderdale Beach Blvd, Apt 2301, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33304 3 Beds / 3.5 Bath | 3,634 sq. ft. | Condo - Lot | Built in: 2007 Sold: 8/13/2013 | $4,200,000

Broward County

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3232 NE 31st Ave, Lighthouse Point, FL 33064 6 Beds / 11 Bath | 11,273 sq. ft. | n/a Lot | Built in: 2004 Sold: 8/29/2013 | $6,550,000

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1140 Hatteras Ln, Hollywood, FL 33019 8 Beds / 9.5 Bath | 8,300 sq. ft. | 0.3 acre Lot | Built in: 2007 Sold: 9/10/2013 | $3,500,000

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400 Royal Plaza Dr, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 5 Beds / 6.5 Bath | 8,205 sq. ft. | 0.76 acre Lot | Built in: 1993 Sold: 7/19/2013 | $4,287,500

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3055 Harbor Dr, Apt 1901, Ft Lauderdale, FL 33316 3 Beds / 3 Bath | 6,009 sq. ft. | Condo - Lot | Built in: 1999 Sold: 8/27/2013 | $3,100,000


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Content provided by www.Zillow.com

responsible only for insuring, for a fee, securities created by private lenders. Moreover, these lenders would have to absorb a 10% loss before the government steps in. I am generally a very pro-market economist, and there is a powerful allure to the idea of a fully private mortgage system. Were I designing a new system from scratch, I might prefer the challenge of going fully private. Given enough time, I think we could find ways to address the problems of reduced mortgage access in a fully privatized framework. But I’m also pragmatic. We’re not designing a system from scratch. In that sense, something similar to the Corker/Warner idea should be the pig iron from which we create the new housing finance plowshare. It would be easier to smoothly transition from Fannie and Freddie to a single insurance entity for mortgages (like the FDIC for bank deposits). It keeps a lot of elements of the current system—such as widespread access to the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage—and it likely has some protections built in for rainy days, including keeping credit flowing even when fully private credit might dry up. Of course, there is a third option. Now that the worst of the housing recession is behind us, and now that Fannie and Freddie are making the government (and by association, taxpayers) so much money, it might be very tempting to do nothing at all. But this is by far the least palatable choice. The time has come to move our mortgage finance system past the crisis-induced holding pattern it’s been in for so long. The consensus around an idea like that proposed by Corker and Warner seems to be growing. If that’s the case, it’s time to get something done. This article was provided by wwwZillow.com.

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Should You Trust

Electronic Cigarettes?

Forty-six million Americans buy tobacco products each year, but one alternative for them is getting a lot of attention – electronic cigarettes. This year they will become a billion dollar industry, but their popularity is raising questions.


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For Information Call: 305.477.1699

“I have a lot more lung capacity, more energy, pigmentation of my skin, I sleep better at night and I can go on and on” But,

Are They Safe?

“I’m

31 now and I’ve been smoking since I was 13 and gradually over the years I smoked more and more until I reached the two pack a day mark” said Oscar Rodriguez. Rodriguez made the switch to electronic cigarettes, or e-cigs. “I was lucky to have quit gradually and now I can’t imagine going back to cigarettes,” said Rodriguez. E-cigs are battery powered devices that mimic the sensation of smoking a real cigarette without tobacco and without combustion. They deliver nicotine through a smoke like vapor and when exhaled there’s no odor.

E-cigs have actually been on the market for almost a decade but in the past few months the industry has exploded. In 2011, sales of e-cigs were around $300 million. In 2012 they doubled to $600 million. This year analysts say that number will most likely triple to nearly $2 billion dollars. But that’s just a fraction of the $80 billion dollars Americans will spend on traditional smoking products. So with so many Americans opting for them many have wondered if e-cigarettes safer?

Lung specialist Dr. Richard Thurer, from University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine believes they are – somewhat. “While e-cigarettes, as far as the lungs are concerned, are somewhat safer the cardiovascular effects of nicotine still remain,” said Thurer. The effects of nicotine include high blood pressure and constriction of the body’s arteries. It’s still unclear how much safer e-cigarettes mostly because there is no federal oversight over them. The FDA does not currently regulate e-cigs meaning manufacturers don’t have to disclose what’s inside. “There’s not been very many studies on them and studies they have done indicate that there are different compounds that differ between different manufacturers,” said Thurer. Despite the question marks surrounding their safety, Rodriguez said there is no question how much they have helped him. “I have a lot more lung capacity, more energy, pigmentation of my skin, I sleep better at night and I can go on and on,” said Rodriguez. Big tobacco companies are not watching the booming sales of e-cigs from the side lines, they are cashing in too. Each of the three big tobacco companies has introduced its own e-cigarette or bought an existing brand.

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Small Cars Struggle In

New Crash Tests


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nly two cars, the two-door and four-door Honda Civic earned a top rating of good from the IIHS. The Dodge Dart, Hyundai Elantra, and 2014 Scion tC earned acceptable ratings in the overlap crash tests performed by the insurance group. The overlap test tries to simulate what happens when the front corner of a vehicle hit another vehicle or an object like a tree or utility pole. The test features one-quarter of the front end hitting a five-foot-tall barrier at 40 miles per hour. “The small cars with marginal or poor ratings had some of the same structural and restraint system issues as other models we’ve tested,” says David Zuby, the Institute’s chief research officer. “In the worst cases safety cages collapsed, driver airbags moved sideways with unstable steering columns and the dummy’s head hit the instrument panel. Side

curtain airbags didn’t deploy or didn’t provide enough forward coverage to make a difference. All of this adds up to marginal or poor protection in a small overlap crash.” The new VW Beetle had problems during the test with the steering column moving five inches to the right while the crash test dummy’s head moved forward and to the left. The Beetle’s seatbelt also spooled too much sending the dummy forward 13 inches and the side curtain airbag didn’t deploy, according to the IIHS. As a result, the Beetle received just a marginal rating overall. The worst performer in the small group though was the Kia Forte. From too much seat belt slack to lack of airbag deployment, the IIHS said the Forte’s crash allowed the dummy’s head to hit the windshield pillar and the instrument panel. “Manufacturers need to focus on the whole package,” Zuby says. “That means a strong

For Information Call: 305.477.1699

occupant compartment that resists the kinds of intrusion we see in a frontal crash like this, safety belts that prevent a driver from pitching too far forward and side curtain airbags to cushion a head at risk of hitting the dashboard or window frame.”

“Manufacturers need to focus on the whole package”

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October 2013

calendar of

events

Ruthless! The Musical Book and lyrics by Joel Paley, music by Marvin Laird October 9 - November 3, 2013 Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables Visit: actorsplayhouse.org or call: (305) 444-9293 for more information Winner of a Drama Desk Award and an Outer Critics Circle Award, Ruthless! The Musical is a gem of a satirical musical about the consuming drive for stardom. Move over Honey Boo Boo, this outrageous and hysterically funny runaway hit garnered rave reviews during its Off-Broadway run in the early 90s, and is ripe for a revival in today's celebrity driven world.

City Tour: Ghosts Of Miami City Cemetery Night Walk October 25, 2013 Miami City Cemetery - 1800 NE 2nd Ave. Miami, FL 33130 - 305/375-1492 The ghost of Julia Tuttle might be encountered on this tour, as you join HistoryMiami historian Dr. Paul George and lurk through Miami’s oldest cemetery. Visit the final resting places of Miami’s notables, famous and infamous. Bring a flashlight. Halloween costume optional. Park inside the cemetery. Advanced payment required. Price $35. Time: 8 p.m.-10 p.m.

Jazz at Pinecrest Gardens Shows at 8:00 PM

October 26; South Florida Jazz Orchestra Big Band Swing and Song November 16; Sammy Figueroa – Vintage Latin Jazz December 14; Maria Rivas—Sultry Brazilian Bossa Nova and Jazz Standards January 11; Leon Foster Thomas—Tropical Splendor Jazz Steel Drums February 15; Batuke Samba Funk—Afro-Brazilian Beat, and a fusion of Samba and Funk March 15; Shelly Berg & the Frost Concert Jazz Band – Great American Jazz April 5; Ed Calle Big Band –Tribute to Gershwin and Saxophone Legends


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JUNIOR ORANGE BOWL PARADE DECEMBER 1, 2013 Come to downtown Coral Gables for a day of fun and excitement that culminates with the Junior Orange Bowl Parade, now in its 65th year!! Floats, bands, horses and other spectacular units will make their way down Miracle Mile. Parade start time is 6:30 p.m. For more information, go to jrorangebowl.org or call (305) 662-1210.

Florida: 500 Years Of History Until October 26, 2013 Tues & Thurs 10am-4pm, Fri 12-4:30pm, Sat 10am-5pm plantation historical museum 511 N. Fig Tree Lane, Plantation, FL 33317 954-797-2722 - Admission: FREE In celebration of the 500th anniversary of the discovery of Florida, the Plantation Historical Museum presents Florida: 500 Years of History. Featuring conquistador display and period items, Florida memorabilia, post cards, flags, photos and artifacts.

Craftoberfest October 12, 2013 - 11am-2am downtowner saloon 10 S. New River Dr. E., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 954-463-9800 Admission: free Our version of the old Munich Oktoberfest, showcasing craft beers from local, Florida and national breweries and German food specialties. An all day outdoor festival on the bank of the New River with MC Sylvia leading the chicken dance (11 am -2pm ), Fourth Dimension (two shows 2-6pm & 10pm-2am) and Mr Nice Guy (6-10pm) providing all day entertainment.

M I R A C L E

Fort Lauderdale Gay & Lesbian Film Festival October 10, 2013 - October 13, 2013 sunrise cinema at gateway (gay friendly) 1820 Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33311 305-751-6305 The Fort Lauderdale Gay& Lesbian Film Festival is new and emerging with a goal of bringing the best in LGBT cinema to Fort Lauderdale and the Broward County community. Screenings will be held throughout the greater Fort Lauderdale area but our major cinema venue will be The Classic Gateway. The 5th Annual Fort Lauderdale Film Festival will take place Thursday October 10th through Sunday October 13th. The Fort Lauderdale Gay & Lesbian Film Festival is committed to its mission: To enrich, entertain and educate the public, encourage a sense of community through the presentation of international and culturally diverse film, video and other media that offer historical and/or contemporary perspectives on the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience.


2013 CBS4 Hurricane Guide Special Section


2013 CBS4 Hurricane Guide Special Section


2013 CBS4 Hurricane Guide Special Section


2013 CBS4 Hurricane Guide Special Section


2013 CBS4 Hurricane Guide Special Section


2013 CBS4 Hurricane Guide Special Section


2013 CBS4 Hurricane Guide Special Section


2013 CBS4 Hurricane Guide Special Section


2013 CBS4 Hurricane Guide Special Section


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New Products Available to

Detect Date Rape Drugs In Drinks

It’s a scary thought: having an illegal drug slipped into a drink at a bar or nightclub. But now an entrepreneur has developed a line of products to detect date rape drugs in cocktails. That’s a good thing because the night scene can get a little crazy when the alcohol flows.

“I

t is always something a single woman should worry about, single or married,” said Alexis Johnson. “When everyone is partying, it is really easy for something like that to happen,” said Annie Murawski. It just takes a small amount of a date rape drug to knock out an unsuspecting victim. The most common is rohypnol, also known as roofies, and it’s dangerous. It has no taste or odor. The victim is unconscious in about 15 minutes and is like that for up to 24 hours. When they recover, they can’t remember what happened. It happened to Michael Abramson when he was out one night. “I went to the bar to get my first drink of the night and not long after that, it started to feel much like my 15th drink,” said Abramson. Drinking that tainted cocktail is what inspired him to start DrinkSavvy, Inc. which is developing cups, straws and stirrers that can detect the presence of these so called predator drugs. When these drugs come in contact with their products, sensing strips change color to warn the drinker that something about their cocktail has changed. Abramson, who worked with scientists to develop this technology, said it is not expensive. “The costs will be very competitive with normal drink ware that the clubs and bars are already using so there shouldn’t be any financial disincentive not to really swap out their entire plastic cups straws and glasses for DrinkSavvy straws and glasses.” DrinkSavvy’s products are expected to be widely available early next year. Testing strips on glassware is targeted for 2015. This rollout is all part of Abramson’s larger goal. “That can prevent at least one drug facilitated sexual assault from happening, and I think that would make this an incredible success.”


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October 2013

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For Information Call: 305.477.1699

This Year Make It A

Season of Giving For The Holidays

It’s never too early to start thinking about the holidays. This year, why not make it a season of giving, through the Niegbors4Neighbors Adopt a Family 4 the Holidays program. Families and individuals in need are submitted through Neighbors4Neighbors parnter agencies.

L

ast year, our partners at MACTOWN submitted several of their clients to the Adopt a Family 4 the Holidays program. For more than 50 years, MACTOWN has served thousands of adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities. One of their clients is Ernest Mintmire. He is deaf and confined to a wheelchair. Despite these challenges, he is highly independent. He lives in his own apartment and helps teach American Sign Language. What Ernest really wanted for the holidays was a digital camera and a printer. Through an interpreter he shared with Neighbors4Neighbors, “I love taking pictures. I enjoy it so much. Every where I go, I take pictures.” His story and wishes were on the Neighbors4Neighbors website for the Adopt a Family 4 the Holidays program. His story grabbed the attention of South Florida couple, Twila and Gonzo Gonzalez. “We really wanted Christmas to be about someone else. We just really wanted to remember the spirit of the holidays,” said Twila. Gonzo related to Ernest’s wish. “Ernest’s request was a

camera and a printer and I said ‘hey, that’s what I do,’ and we went out there and did the bundling thing, got a camera and a printer.” “I just got a phone call and they said that someone wanted to adopt me. I was very surprised, they came and I was in awe.” Ernest’s bright and enormous smile didn’t need any interpretation as he recalled the time he met The Gonzalez’s and when he opened his new digital camera. “They are very friendly people, they helped me learn how to use it.” It’s an experience that touched The Gonzalez’s, “It was a gift for us to be able to do this for him, to open your heart to individuals or families.” Consider making room on your holiday shopping list for someone in need in our community through the Neighbors4 Neighbors Adopt a Family 4 the Holidays program. The process is simple. Just go online to www.neighbors4neighbors.org to register and you can start reading through the profiles submitted.

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Parents:

Bully

Proof Your Kids! By Natalia Zea


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For Information Call: 305.477.1699

As the kids head back to school, parents have prepared them for the typical ups and downs that come with any school year. Some parents have even prepared their kids for what to do if they encounter a bully.

“Ever since people knew I do MMA now they haven’t really wanted to mess around with me”

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At Extreme Mixed Martial Arts in Kendall, instructor Michael Cardosa teaches his students self-defense to help protect themselves against a bully. Many of his students said they have experienced a bully before. Justin Perez said he’s been called bad words and bad names. Perez has been taking classes for 11 months. “Ever since people knew I do MMA now they haven’t really wanted to mess around with me”, said Perez. The kids learn how to fight but it is not the fighting the instructors promote. “We do what we call – talk – tell – battle,” said Cardosa. The ‘talk’ is for children to talk to their bully in effort to get them to leave them alone. The ‘tell’ is for them to tell their parents, school administrators or teachers that they are being bullied. The last one, ‘battle’, is for them to defend themselves if they have to. Cardosa said they work with the kids to build their self-confidence. Perez is smaller in size compared to other kids. He said since taking classes at Mixed Martial Arts his confidence has improved dramatically. “When I was in soccer, before I did this, I was afraid of getting hit and once I started doing this my confidence was much higher”, Perez said. Justin’s father, Alex Perez, put him in MMA because he was worried about his son’s future in middle school. He said he wants his son to be comfortable in his own skin. Cardosa said learning self-defense skills will not bully proof kids but it does teach a set of skills that will likely prevent them from becoming victims. “The kids are more likely to stand up for themselves when they know they can defend themselves. When kids can’t back it up, they really won’t stand up for themselves,” Cardosa said. Miami-Dade and Broward counties have anti-bullying policies. Both school districts have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to bullying, harassment and intimidation. Bullying does not just happen at school it can happen online too — so parents keep a close eye on your children’s online activities.


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“Cardosa said they work with the kids to build their selfconfidence�

For Information Call: 305.477.1699

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Beware of A New & Dangerous Disorder Mesmerized by magazine covers, fixated on diets and addicted to working out, many men are focused on getting that hot beach body. However, more men who started out muscle training are now obsessed with bulking up.


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A

lfonso Moretti, a successful personal trainer who helps his clients stay on track through healthy routines, had to stop early in his career after he became obsessed with muscle building. “It takes over your life, so every decision you make becomes about the workout and how your body looks. I used to track and weigh every single ounce of food that went in my body,” said Moretti. “I used to wake up at 3 o’clock in the morning to drink protein shakes. I never missed a workout, ever, ever, ever.” Moretti’s desire to bulk up is known as muscle dysmorphia, or “bigorexia,” and the number of men susceptible to this disorder has grown over the years. Dr. Michele Kerulis said about 45 percent of men claim to be dissatisfied with their body image. “One in ten people who are diagnosed with an eating disorder is a man,” said Dr. Kerulis. She added that men of all ages have fallen

victim to muscle dysmorphia and the emotional effects can be severe. “This obsession can start quickly or it can begin over a period of time. We see psychological abnormalities including irritability, angry outbursts, which sometimes people would call a “roid rage,” said Dr. Kerulis. “We see depression sometimes mania.” For Moretti, the desire to be big started at a young age. “I can remember as young as 13, 14 looking at some of these muscle magazines and I was conditioned to think that’s what a man looked like, so big shoulders, big legs, just big muscles with veins everywhere,” said Moretti. His routine wasn’t just emotionally debilitating, his extreme workouts caused physical damage which was a wakeup call for Moretti. “I finally came to a revelation only after 11 or 12 years because I had neck surgery. I had major neck surgery,” said Moretti. “I had ruptured a disc

For Information Call: 305.477.1699

77

in my neck and it basically paralyzed me on the right side of my body.” Dr. Selene Parekh said that physical injuries caused by “bigorexia” can range from muscle strains and stress fractures to organ failure. “So individuals who have bigorexia, a lot of them tend to use supplements and if you overdose on these supplements, without having a balanced diet, you can develop kidney and liver failure,” said Dr. Parekh. “As that happens you may need a liver or kidney transplant or you could eventually die.” Moretti still encourages a healthy body image and a realistic workout, but he urges other men not to go down the same path that he did. “I look back now and I see pictures and I’m like, ‘wow,’ like I would never want to look like that guy,” said Moretti. Dr. Kerulis said that with the help of a medical doctor, nutritionist and psychologist, it is possible to combat the disorder through therapy and a healthy exercise regimen.


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October 2013

For Information Call: 305.477.1699

How To Make And Keep

A Budget “P

eople are not very good with their money,” said financial planner Andrew Rolnick. “But the reason I have a job is to help them try to get better with it.” Rolnick worries about the social pressure people seem to put themselves under. With a constant stream of posts and pictures on social media sites, it’s a different kind of keeping up with the Joneses. “The most common thing I hear is, ‘How are my neighbors having a new car, a new addition?’ And I say they probably don’t have any wealth built up. They’re literally spending what they can,” Rolnick said.

He believes setting a budget is step number one and suggests taking an hour to write everything down in three categories: bills that have to happen, things that are likely to happen like dinners out or buying clothes, and luxury items like vacations and gifts. “It’s starting with a basic budget. Understanding why you’re trying to reach the goal you’re trying to reach, and then trying to figure out the numbers to make those goals happen,” Rolnick said. Rolnick has seen the most successful savers continue to check in on where they’re moving their money. He doesn’t think most people are motivated to do it daily but says checking in monthly or even yearly makes a difference. “It does take a while but you eventually compare it to the person that hasn’t and you’re miles ahead,” Rolnick said. He added that making a budget can also be easier now because there are great free websites and apps that do the math for you, such as Mint, BudgetTracker and BudgetPulse.

Should tracking your money be a part of your daily routine? Or is it better to set a plan, sit back and watch? Budgeting is more important now than ever before, but one study found 32 percent of us put together a monthly budget and only 30 percent have a long-term financial plan.

“successful savers continue to check in on where they’re moving their money”

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Enjoy a

On

Getaway Layaway!


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81

Most People ofof taking a fabulous vacation, but ManyDream people dream

paradise is often financially out of reach. Now, a new trend lets travelers book their trips and pay for them later.

M

ost people probably associate “layaway” with the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, but some travelers have used the age-old payment plan to make an easy getaway. “You can put any kind of trip on layaway,” said AirfareWatchdog.com founder George Hobica. Savvy travelers have started using layaway to book dream vacations and pay for them at a later date. “It offers me the opportunity to put down very little money at the beginning,” said Richard Popkin. Experts said that most families can’t afford to pay for a vacation up front. “A typical vacation will cost $2,000 or $3,000 for a family of four,” said Hobica. “People just don’t have that money saved up.” “Vaca Layaway,” as it is called, can help travellers pay for a trip over time in installments or in a lump sum before they take off. “We empower the consumer to have the flexibility to book a vacation up to 18 months before the trip is going to take place,” said travel expert Marty Seslow.

Tough economic times have brought vacation layaway to the forefront, but it isn’t just for the budget conscious. “We see the folks that are on a budget and a shoe-string budget taking advantage of this,” said Seslow. “And then we see folks at the higher end of the spectrum buying a more deluxe vacation experience.” There are other benefits to traveling on layaway. According to experts, it affords travelers the opportunity to lock in the price of a trip and avoid credit card interest charges. However, not all plans are created equal. Some will refund money or help defer certain costs if problems arise, while others will not. “You really have to make sure that you have some travel insurance and study the cancellation policies,” said Hobica. Popkin said he will be going to South America in the fall. “It’s a lot easier to make that decision to pounce or don’t pounce when it’s only a small amount of money,” said Popkin. More cruise lines, resorts, and many travel agents are offering layaway as an option.


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Do Multivitamins Do

More Harm Than Good? By Rhiannon Ally Many people use vitamins to make up for shortcomings in their diets but taking big doses could actually do more harm than good.

Dr.

Olveen Carrasquillo, the Chief of General Internal Medicine at the University Of Miami School Of Medicine, told CBS4’s Rhiannon Ally, “Leading a healthy lifestyle is difficult.” While taking a multivitamin may help, a new book, “Do you Believe in Magic?” warns that taking supplements in super high doses may be dangerous. “There are 20 studies that show too much vitamins can actually shorten your life,” said author Dr. Paul Offit. Mega-doses of certain vitamins may increase the risk for heart disease and cancer, according to Dr. Offit. Specifically, doses that are 5, 10, sometimes 20 times greater than the recommended daily allowance for these nutrients. “By challenging mother nature in taking these vitamins and concentrating them

to these exceptionally large quantities that you would never normally eat, you’ve got to be careful,” said Dr. Offit. Dr. Carrasquillo believes there are certain high doses you need to avoid more than others. “In general as doctors, we advise the fat soluble vitamins: A,D,E,K, but the evidence is best for limiting vitamin E.” But, he also said moderation is key when taking any vitamin. Unless you are under a doctor’s advice to take a higher dose due to a vitamin deficiency. “A lot of people have vitamin D deficiencies, even places with a lot of sun and sometimes we’ll place people on high doses of vitamin D to replace it, but that’s short term, medical monitoring,” said Dr. Carrasquillo. Dr. Carrasquillo and Dr. Offit both say there is no magic pill, but for most people, taking a regular multivitamin is fine, but there is no substitute for eating plenty of fruits and vegetables.

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Companies

Run Off With Your Money Through “Grey Charges”

Imagine paying out extra cash each month, even hundreds of dollars a year, but you have no idea! You may not know about what are called “grey charges.”


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“They’re legal. They’re sneaky. And they’re ways for companies to make big bucks”

T

hey’re legal. They’re sneaky. And they’re ways for companies to make big bucks. From the bottom of the ocean, to snow top covered mountains, travel blogger Kim Orlando writes and tweets about her many adventures. To make life on the road easier she paid a company for a trial subscription to track reaction to her tweets. “I thought I was going to pay $149 for that one month,” said Orlando. Instead she was billed four months in a row, which is something Orlando said she never signed up for and referred to an email from a company representative as proof. She said, “I thought well this is fishy.” Experts said a “trial subscription turned permanent” is just one type of “grey charge.” Financial expert Jeffrey Cutter explained, “Grey charges are unwanted sneaky little charges that are, that are starting to show up on consumers’ credit statements and bank statements.” So how do businesses get away with it? A survey found “8 out of 10 people merely skim their credit card and bank statements”. “I’m embarrassed to say that it took me four months to figure out I had been billed every month,” said Orlando. What other grey charges could pop up on your bills? “Unknown subscriptions” are when you make an online purchase and forget to click or unclick one little box, so you end up opting in for another purchase. Another way for companies to run off with your money are zombie subscriptions. If you cancel a gym membership or a magazine subscription, sometimes a few months later the charges come back from the dead.

One more creepy charge? “Cost creep” is where a monthly subscription slowly increases in price. Many grey charges are legal if businesses spell them out in those “terms and conditions” most of us just gloss over. “Make sure when you are purchasing anything, or uh that you read everything and understand exactly what you’re doing; that’s partially your job,” Jerry Cerasale of the Direct Marketing Association. Federal regulations require that offers be “clearly and conspicuously” disclosed. The Federal Trade Commission said sometimes they’re a misunderstanding but admits other times companies just don’t follow the rules. “There are bad actors, but don’t let that stop you. Trust the good marketers,” said Cerasale. Kim challenged her grey charges, but says the company insists she signed up, so it’s now in dispute with her credit card company. Despite her busy travel schedule, she’s now going to check every charge on her statements and had this message for those “bad actors”. “That’s just going to make me an unhappy customer. I’m certainly not going to sign up for anything that they have to offer in the future,” said Orlando. The Direct Marketing Association and Federal Trade Commission have taken action against companies who charge consumers without properly disclosing the conditions of an offer.

If you feel you’ve been unfairly charged, you can report it by visiting: www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0068-how-buyingplans-work


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October 2013

CALL

FOR

ACTION After Third Inmate Dies on The

FORGO T TE N TH 9 FLOOR By Michele Gillen


cbs4 newspaper

For Information Call: 305.477.1699

“Human beings should not be treated like this. No blankets, no beds, no mattresses’. We sleep on the floor.”

Calls for action and change are echoing across the South Florida community as the MiamiDade Jail and the Department of Corrections comes under scrutiny and the spotlight.

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“I’m speaking “I am speaking on behalf of Jaoquin Cairo and Juan Mator-Flories. Jaoquin and Juan could not be here tonight because they are dead. Both died recently while in the custody of Miami-Dade County,” said Terry Murphy, a public affairs consultant who advocates for the mentally ill. Murphy recently addressed a town hall meeting where attention turned to two inmates of the 9th floor of the jail. Troubling questions over their deaths were first exposed by the CBS 4 News investigative team. The community is now speaking out for urgent change and asking questions about the 20 million dollar- plus bond that was approved six years ago to be directed toward creating a mental health diversion facility. “The voters asked you to do it. They gave you the authority to spend the money. So do it and take care of these people,” said Murphy. Before that budget meeting, Miami Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez sat down with Chief Investigator Michele Gillen to discuss the jail, telling her; “We understand it’s been neglected for a long time, we are talking the steps now to rectify it.” Steps that cannot happen fast enough, according to Miami-Dade Commissioner Sally Heyman, who presided over a public safety and corrections hearing that happens to follow the death of another 9th floor inmate. Inmate Joseph Wilner is the 3rd death on the Forgotten Floor that is now currently under investigation. “I am frustrated and saddened by the turn of events of late. I can’t tell you how hurt I am that we have people dying in our system and I question if they should be there in the first place,” Heyman told the commission chambers. Heyman has requested a management watch be placed on Miami-Dade Corrections, meaning that the mayor’s office would play a larger role in running it. That request under review. Gillen asked the Director of Corrections, Tim Ryan, if he saw the request for a management watch as a lack of confidence in those running the system. “I think what the commissioner indicated was that we are already looking for a better way to do business and anything that will help us do that, we look forward to achieving it,” Ryan said. Meanwhile, at a recent hearing, commissioner Audrey Edmonson asked that the Miami-Dade Inspector General open an investigation into what’s happening in the jail and while some of talk turned to the need to urgently correct conditions, which CBS4 recently exposed. Heyman reminded the audience, “We all saw the rat the size of a liter bottle.”


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For Information Call: 305.477.1699

91

“We understand it’s been neglected for a long time, we are talking the steps now to rectify it”

“We understand it’s been neglected for a long time, we are talking the steps now to rectify it”


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October 2013

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Grooms Go All Out With

extreme

Wedding Proposals You can count on most weddings to be elaborate affairs that come with an equally fancy price tag, and now big price tags are also accompanying the wedding proposals. Extreme proposals are becoming the latest trend to pop the question.


cbs4 newspaper

“T

he wedding itself is really about what the bride wants, but actually, the proposal is really the groom’s chance to shine,” said proposal planner Sarah Pease. And according to Pease, the groom can expect to pay for all the luster. “I mean, I plan marriage proposals well over $50,000 plenty of times,” said Pease. She added that not all proposals are in that rarefied air, but a big plan to pop the question can cost a lot. A proposal on a ice rink cost more than $5,000 and a sweet musical serenade in a specially-decorated hotel room was about $9,000. “Whenever you get engaged, the first question that people ask you is, ‘How did he pop the question?’” said Pease. “And I think that people are starting to realize that and they want to have a great story to tell.” Derek Mitchell of GoSeeDo.org specializes in extreme wedding proposals. “There’s nothing more cool than a surprise,” said Mitchell. And a surprise proposal with a flash mob is Mitchell’s specialty. “In a flash mob, you’re getting this grandiose presentation.

For Information Call: 305.477.1699

But then a marriage proposal tends to be that romantic one-on-one presentation,” said Mitchell. “So I think it’s kind of a nice hybrid of bringing the two worlds together.” That was what he did recently for Ken Klavon and Paule Simon. It cost $3,000. “It was? That’s fine. I said I would have said yes in the bathroom,” said Simon. But Klavon said the expense was worth it. “I would have spent $10,000 for this,” said Klavon. Location permits and casting costs can be a big surprise. “Usually they’re done in the $2,000-$3,000-$4,000 range,” said Mitchell. Groom-to-be Salman Ali said it was money well spent when he surprised his fiancée with a $2,000 Bollywood-style flash mob in Times Square. “I have to be loud. I have to be out there. I have to do something different,” said Ali. Brides and grooms have had no regrets about spending the money. “You know what? It’s a lot of money, no doubt about it,” said Pease. “But you never get a second chance to pop that question.”

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Is It Too Early To Start

Christmas Shopping? It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in many stores, since early September!

It was still summer, but some retailers like K-mart were already freezing the moment with holiday ads on TV and online. K-mart started promoting its layaway program. Last month, the retailer released a holiday ad with the gingerbread man sneaking up on a woman reminding her not to let the holidays do the same. A voice-over said, “Don’t let the holidays sneak up on you. Shop early.” Ray Hilema, a shopper who watched the video said, “Oh. Well my goodness uh pretty soon they’ll be starting on the 4th of July,” On K-mart’s Facebook page, there was outrage. Shoppers sounded off saying, “What happened to Halloween and thanksgiving?” Last month in Doral, CBS4 found people who didn’t mind the early advertising blitz. “It made me think that it’s around the corner, I was like, ‘Oh my God I really do have to start!’”, said Blanca Vazquez. At Walmart, the Halloween decorations and products are still on the shelves and it will still be a while before it looks like Christmas in

here. But their official holiday season has already started– kicking off their new layaway promotions. Rehana Khan, a Walmart Manager said, “It’s never too early. At Walmart we give customersas long as we can.” Walmart is now letting customers’ layaway much earlier and for free. According to retail experts the early Christmas campaigns could bring forward the holiday cycle by a few weeks. The National Retail Federation says 40 percent of shoppers start buying before Halloween. 20 percent by the end of September. Maria Nibot is one of those shoppers. She heard about Walmart’s holiday layaway launch today and didn’t waste any time. She said, “It’s a convenience for me. I’m being able to break my payments through a longer time.” While Maria gets ahead with her budget the Christmas controversy will continue to brew after K-mart unleashed its advertising blitz six to eight weeks earlier than normal. Outdoing Target’s promotional launch last October.

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October 2013

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Could Swimming Be

Bad For Your Eyes? Swimming with your contact lenses could be.


cbs4 newspaper

T

wenty-four-year-old Katie Clare can finally text again, but for awhile, she had trouble seeing. “It was just really horrible. I mean, I was depressed. I was just so upset. I mean I couldn’t — I wasn’t — sleeping. I was just miserable,” said Katie. She’d been enjoying an active summer, swimming a lot. Then she started to feel pain in her left eye, and her vision got fuzzy. “Really terrifying, really terrifying. One of the first things the doctor said was, ‘You’re going to lose your eye if you don’t take care of this right now,’” Katie explained. She had a severe infection in one eye that caused a corneal ulcer, which is a sore on the clear tissue at the front of the eye, and it was all from one simple mistake. “I swam in a pool with my contact lenses. Never would have thought, and I think the worst part is that I was just never told not to do that. I was never told,” said Katie. The infection was caused by a parasite called Acanthamoeba, which lives in water. “Water is very dangerous. It has a lot of pathogens,” said Dr. Kristin Hammersmith.

For Information Call: 305.477.1699

She said the infections mostly happen to people who wear the same contact lenses for too long, allowing bacteria to grow and penetrate the eye. It’s more common this time of year with all the outdoor activities. “We see a lot more corneal infections, and they can be very serious. They can be very serious. They can be very painful. They can reduce vision and even cause patients to lose their vision and need surgery,” said Dr. Hammersmith. Traditional medications, including antibiotics, were only marginally successful for Katie, and her eye was permanently scarred. She ended up having a cornea transplant to restore her vision. “It’s already been two surgeries. I probably have a couple more ahead of me. It’s a lot to deal with,” said Katie. It’s not clear why Katie, who regularly swam in her contacts, only got the infection in one eye. Still, people with contacts are advised to use daily disposables and never sleep, shower or swim in lenses.

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October 2013 Edition

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