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  • 07/05/15--23:00: On this day: July 6
  • America names it currency, a political party holds its first convention, and a first lady, media mogul, rocker, screen scream queen and religious leader are all born, all on this day.

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    The heat is on across the country. Learn how to stay cool -- and safe -- when the mercury rises.

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    A group of Florida prisoners are training therapy dogs for veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as part of a new program.

    Prisoners from the Blackwater River Correctional Facility will train three puppies for America's Vet Dogs Veteran's K-9 Corps with plans to expand to 10 dogs by the end of the year.

    The training program will teach the K-9s to do everything from retrieving medication, to turning lights on and off, to waking veterans from nightmares.

    The Pensacola News-Journal reports the prisoners care for the puppies five days a week providing basic obedience and behavior training, as well as feeding and exercising the pups during the roughly year-long program. The dogs go with community volunteers on weekends to get real world experience like shopping trips and car rides.

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    At first, the mother of an infant girl found on the side of a road told investigators she had no idea where the baby was.

    But now Sandra Clara McClary, 26, is facing child neglect and reckless endangerment charges, and police accuse her of taking her daughter out of a vehicle and leaving her in the roadside spot where a neighborhood resident discovered her.

    The Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland released a picture early Sunday of the little girl, estimated to be 2 to 3 months old, with the question, "Do you know the parent of this baby?"

    Officers found the baby girl shortly before midnight in a car seat carrier on the side of a residential street in Pasadena. A diaper bag was left with the carrier, which had scuff marks of indeterminate origin.

    The image was shared more than 27,000 times from the department's Facebook page, prompting rampant speculation over how she got there. Others urged against rushing to judgment.

    By Sunday morning, McClary had contacted police, claiming to be the infant's mother, police said.

    She first told investigators that the baby's father was supposed to have the child and that she didn't know her daughter's whereabouts.

    While questioning her, investigators determined that she had been in the area where the child was found, "removed the child from the vehicle and left her on the side of the road," police said in a statement Sunday night.

    "We're most fortunate that the child is not harmed and appears to be in good condition," Lt. T.J. Smith told reporters earlier Sunday.

    The case remains under investigation, police said. It was not immediately clear whether the mother had obtained legal representation.

    At a news conference hours before the charges against the mother were announced, Smith applauded the neighborhood resident who called police for being "observant enough" to take a closer look at the carrier instead of ignoring it.

    Smith called it a "natural reaction" to think a parent might have abandoned the child but cautioned against snap judgments.

    "At the same time, we need to make sure that there wasn't any foul play involved, and that this person wasn't a victim of a crime herself. So we don't know the answer to that. We're trying to figure that out."

    Police will consider charges of child abuse or child abandonment if warranted, but "we're not at that point just yet," he said. Maryland has safe haven policies for parents to leave their children in designated locations, including fire stations, churches and hospitals.

    "It's important for people to understand the laws associated with not being able to take care of your child," he said. "You can't leave a 2 to 3 month old on the side of the road. End of story. So it would be serious charges if we got to a point where we found out that someone did that on purpose."

    For now, the child is in the custody the Department of Social Services.

    "Our main concern is the safety and the well-being of the child," he said. "Right now, we're taking it slow to try to figure it out."

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    Five people have been sent to federal prison for their roles in a $25 million Medicare fraud scheme that involved people from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic posing as U.S. patients.

    The sentences imposed last week by a Miami federal judge ranged from 15 months to four years. The five defendants are among 10 who have pleaded guilty after they were charged last year in a 36-count grand jury indictment.

    One person, 70-year-old Jose Eloy Sanchez, remains at large and is believed to be in Nicaragua.

    Court records show the scheme involved use of foreign individuals to pose as if they were Florida residents in the filing of fraudulent Medicare claims. The group used false addresses and paid foreigners to travel to the U.S. to be seen by a doctor.

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    Three people were rescued off the Key Biscayne coast after their boat capsized overnight.

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    A woman is suing the Miami Marlins alleging one of its mascots seriously injured her neck during a game two years ago.

    Beth Fedornak said Bob the Shark pretended to bite her head to rile up the crowd. But according to court documents filed earlier this month, she felt immediate pain in her neck after the shark bit down on her head. The Miami Herald reports she claims the incident caused either permanent or continuing injuries in her neck and back, cost her more than $86,000 in medical expenses, and impaired her ability to work.

    She declined to comment.

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    A Margate man lost his hand Saturday while setting off fireworks for the Fourth of July.

    According to the Broward Sheriff's Office of Fire and Rescue, bystanders reported that the 24-year-old man was holding the firework in his hand when it went off.

    BSFR arrived in the 100 block of Northwest 13th Avenue and found the man on the ground bleeding profusely.

    He was taken to Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale in critical condition.

    BSFR said another person, a 32-year-old man, had fingers blown off Sunday in a fireworks accident. He was dropped off by friends at Florida Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale with additional burns and shrapnel in his face.

    The man underwent surgery Sunday night at Broward Health. Officials said he was being uncooperative, so details about the incident are unknown.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10

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    Miami police are looking for the person who killed 41-year old Thomas Quass after he was gunned down early Saturday morning on Northwest 26th Street near North Miami Avenue.

    Police said Quass and his girlfriend left a Wynwood nightclub and were walking to his car around 1:15 a.m. when a man approached them and had a confrontation with Quass. He shot Quass and got away.

    "He was immediately transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where just minutes later he died," said Officer Kenia Fallat.

    Police said the shooter was 5 feet 10 inches tall and 170 pounds. He wore a black and gray shirt, black pants and a black hat.

    "We have a vague description of the suspect, but we do have a good description of the car he was traveling in," Fallat said.

    That car was either a 2013, '14 or '15 gray Hyundai Veloster (similar to image below).

    Police were seen going door to door with fliers in the neighborhood, hoping someone can lead them to Quass' killer.

    "We don't know what the motive is at this point," Fallat said. "There's a lot of things that we're looking at. We can't discard anything at this point, but we know there must be someone that knows what took place."

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10

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  • 07/06/15--23:00: On this day: July 7
  • Sliced bread goes on sale for the first time, Elvis Presley makes his radio debut, Led Zeppelin plays their last concert, Oliver North testifies at the Iran-Contra hearings, and Michael Jackson is remembered by family and friends, all on this day.

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    Some people just can’t put down their phones, no matter what's going on around them. Take a look at the places people most often dial up.

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    Police in Sunny Isles Beach, where a lot of people live in luxury high rises, say residents aren't immune to property crime. The department says officers on patrol keep a close eye on condos, and its crime prevention team works closely with building security.

    Last month, a man was caught on surveillance cameras at the Millennium condominium on Collins Avenue, allegedly stealing a pricey bicycle from the parking garage. But an alert security guard spotted the crime in action on closed-circuit TV. According to the police report, he chased the would-be thief on foot. The guard then called police.

    "Our officers were on the scene in less than a minute (and) detained the individual," said Officer Mitchell Glansberg.

    Glansberg said the relationship between police officers and condo security is crucial.

    "We have a great relationship with a lot of the security companies that provide security for the buildings. We work with the property managers," he said.

    But even a building with stellar 24-hour security can be vulnerable.

    "When you live in a fortress-style building, you sometimes feel as though you're in a castle and nothing can happen. Well, that's not always the case," said Sgt. Brian Schnell.

    Schnell said the department's crime prevention officers advise condo dwellers to be aware of their surroundings, especially when leaving their cars or using the elevator.

    "Know your neighbors," Schnell said. "In this day and age, how many people don't know their neighbors? If you know who your neighbors are, you're watching out for them, they're watching out for you, and suspicious activity is often reported."

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter@WPLGLocal10

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    The Miami-Dade Police Department is searching for the gunman who shot and killed a 22-year-old man on Sunday.

    Ronald Turner's body was found in the area of Northwest 20th Avenue and 60th Street.

    Details leading up to the shooting are unclear.

    Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. A reward of up to $3,000 is being offered for information that leads to an arrest.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10

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    Dominicans of Haitian descent and Haitians who lived in the Dominican Republic continued to abandon their homes to cross the border Monday, as the voluntary exit deadline for the undocumented arrived.

    Local 10 News reports from Dominican Republic as crisis in Caribbean heightens

    Haitian media personality Carel Pedre, reports on the entertainment industry in his popular radio show Chokarella, Creole for Carel's show. He recently interviewed deportees in Tete-a-l'eau in the Sud-Est region of Haiti.

    An unidentified woman said that she was often the victim of humiliating insults in the Dominican Republic. She was denied medical attention at a hospital and kicked out, she said.

    "'Leave, leave, get out, leave, respect, you are a demon,'" a woman said she was told.

    COMPLETE COVERAGE: Updates on the situation from Haiti-Dominican border

    Pedre shared the dramatic interviews in Creole on Sound Cloud with his 39,400 followers on Twitter. Pedre, who travels to Miami often, said Dominican officials pushing the immigration law were causing a lot of suffering.

    His interviewees said there was hunger, a sense of desperation and uncertainty about the job market. His post had been played about 2,398 times in four days.

    WATCH LOCAL 10 AT 11 P.M. Local 10 News' Neki Mohan and Samuel Darbouze traveled to Haiti. Their report airs on Local 10 News at 11 p.m.

    The immigration law -- endorsed by a small group of ultra nationalist politicians -- created a humanitarian crisis, Haitian officials said. According to Dominican authorities, the estimated affected were 450,000, about 290,000 were able to register and nearly 31,275 have left the country. 

    The Dominican deadline for Haitians to register -- and meet what were in most cases unreasonable requirements -- at overloaded registration centers was June 17. The deadline for voluntary exit if unable to register was July 6.

    Haitian ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Daniel Supplice, said Saturday in an interview with Le Nouvelliste that his government has not been able to help those requesting documentation.

    Families are being separated and the meager donations coming in are not enough to help the new arrivals, according to Haitian media.

    Pedre came in contact with the crisis back in June when the Haitian president's son, Olivier Martelly, organized a free concert featuring Lil Wayne and Chris Brown in Port-au-Prince.

    Follow Local 10 News reporter Neki Mohan on Twitter @NekiMohan

    Carel Pedre's interview in Creole


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    An elderly woman was found dead inside her Hollywood home Monday morning.

    Hollywood police officers were called to the Town Mar Apartments, 2842 Fillmore St., about 8:30 a.m.

    Officer Meredith Elrich said Helen Townsend, 90, was found dead inside one of the apartments.

    Elrich said there were no obvious signs of trauma, but her death could be suspicious.

    A man who identified himself as the apartment complex's maintenance man said he found Townsend on the floor, couldn't feel her pulse and called 911.

    "There's bleach stains in the living room," he told Local 10 News.

    The man also said he thought it was odd that the window drapes were closed.

    "I reached over (and) I tried to feel her pulse," he said. "I didn't get anything and the next thing I did was call 911."

    Detectives are currently investigating.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10

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    Broward County Commissioner Stacy Ritter has often complained about the attention paid to her by the media and authorities, but now she may finally feel some relief.

    After an investigation that looked back at her votes and actions spanning about eight years, the State Attorney's Office has cleared Ritter of criminal misconduct in three separate cases. Prosecutors wrote that they found insufficient evidence to prosecute, but spared Ritter few damaging details in its 26-page, close-out memorandum on the investigation.

    The report revealed, for instance, that bribe-paying developer Bruce Chait, who has been a key witness in several corruption trials, bought Ritter a $2,000 golf cart while she was campaigning for office -- just six months before she voted to approve Chait's controversial golf course development.

    Ritter claimed the golf cart was old and "worthless," but Chait produced the receipt for the E-Z-GO cart, which he told investigators that Ritter asked for personally and said she "would really, really, really appreciate," according to the report.

    Prosecutors also learned that Ritter's husband, Russ Klenet, paid $890 to replace the cart's six batteries two years after they received it.

    "Clearly the cart had value," prosecutors wrote in refuting Ritter's testimony.

    The investigation also found that Chait, now a convicted felon, helped influence Ritter to drop her bid for the state Senate in favor of the commission seat. Ritter testified that she used the golf cart once to campaign at a July 4 parade in Tamarac in 2006.

    "I think that's the only time I used it," she said under oath. "And it wasn't for the County Commission campaign, because I was giving out state Senate T-shirts."

    But prosecutors again questioned Ritter's truthfulness.

    "She denied that she used it during her campaign for the Broward County Commission seat. However, at the time of the parade ... Stacy Ritter was clearly a candidate for Broward County Commission and not a candidate for state Senate, having formally withdrawn from the [Senate race] on June 1, 2006, and filing [for the commission race] on the same day," prosecutors wrote.

    But they chose not to prosecute for unlawful compensation because they said there was "no evidence to prove that her vote was ... because the Chaits gave her a golf cart or benefit."

    A second investigation related to work done by Klenet, a lobbyist. When elected, Ritter promised the public that her husband wouldn't lobby her or any other county official while she was on the dais, but investigators learned that Klenet did work for the lobbying firm that employed him at the time, Dutko Worldwide, on behalf of Vista Health, while that company was vying for a $40 million insurance contract. It found that Klenet also charged a $550 dinner with Ritter and other family members to the Dutko Worldwide, while claiming it was a lobbying dinner for Vista with "commission staff."

    When the couple then went on a European vacation, Ritter voted by phone for Vista from a hotel room in Copenhagen, Denmark, after Dutko executives sent Klenet an email telling him, "We need to make sure Stacy is on phone."

    In a sworn statement taken in 2010, Ritter admitted to prosecutors that there was an appearance of impropriety in some of her husband's actions, but she was adamant his actions didn't influence her vote. The State Attorney's Office ultimately found that, despite the dinner charged as Vista lobbying, it couldn't be proved that Klenet, who was being a $375,000 annual salary, was paid specifically for his Vista work, or that Ritter had corrupt intent when she cast her vote for the company.

    After Ritter was hit with 14 election violations in 2012 for questionable campaign spending, including thousands spent by Klenet on dinners and other perks, the State Attorney's Office investigation determined there was no criminal wrongdoing, citing the wide "latitude" given to candidates by Florida law in campaign spending.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10

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    The last deadline for undocumented migrants to self-deport is past. The world now watches and waits to see what will happen next in the Dominican Republic.

    A Local 10 News crew traveled to the Dominican Republic recently and found lines of frustrated people who at the time still had time to hand in paperwork.

    Anna Jean Baptista, a mother of two, said the process has been slow and feels abusive. Every day she takes public transportation from her home to get to Santo Domingo to stand in line at the government building to complete the paperwork registering her as a documented worker in the Dominican Republic. Baptista has been to this line for four days, waiting all day, never to be seen.

    "I have all my paperwork completed since February," Baptista said. "I come here every day and they just give an appointment. How many days do we have to be here?"

    Undocumented people were given until June 17 to register for legal status. More than 500,000 undocumented people are believed to be residing in the Dominican Republic, and more than 90 percent of those are Haitian descendants.

    A 2013 ruling stripped citizenship from anyone not born to a Dominican citizen before 1929. Less than half of all those undocumented are believed to have registered, leaving many to wonder what will happen to the remaining 200,000 people.

    So far, about 30,000 are believed to have gone back to Haiti, a place that many of them do not know or speak the language of.

    Families who have been in the Dominican Republic for decades are being forced to split up.

    Local 10 News was told by aid workers that some parents are leaving their children with other families because they feel the children will be safe if the parents leave voluntarily.

    Humanitarian groups gave Local 10 News video of military roundups of people they believe are undocumented Haitians. People report being snatched off the streets and thrown across the border.

    The residents of the border towns have said they are being harassed every day. Peter Song is a longtime teacher and has a family, but has been thrown over the border several times.

    "I am a professional with a masters," Song said. "I have been here 17 years in the Dominican Republic. My mom is here; my brother is here. I have a big family, but that hurts."

    Local 10 News reached out to officials from the Dominican Republic in Santo Domingo and Miami, but no one would comment officially on what is happening there.

    The international community is putting pressure on officials in the Dominican Republic not to do mass deportations. For Haiti, this would mean hundreds of thousands of people will cross the borders with nowhere to go, creating a humanitarian crisis in an already unstable economy.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10

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    Florida State University head football coach Jimbo Fisher announced Monday that De'Andre Johnson has been dismissed from the team.

    The announcement came hours after a video that shows the quarterback punching a woman in the face at a Tallahassee nightclub was made public.

    Surveillance video obtained Monday shows a man identified by police as Johnson punching the woman at Yianni's during a June 24 incident.

    The video shows Johnson and the woman apparently pushing their way towards the front of the bar. Johnson appears to be nudging his way behind her, at which point she turns around and exchanges words with Johnson.

    During the confrontation, Johnson appears to grab the woman's raised hand before she lunges at him with a closed fist.

    The video then shows Johnson punch the woman in the face with a closed fist, knocking her back and causing her to spill a drink at the bar.

    Johnson disappears from frame, and a few seconds later other women at the bar tend to her.

    The two bartenders were seemingly unaware of what happened.

    Fisher initially suspended Johnson indefinitely for a violation of athletic department policy.

    Johnson was initially suspended indefinitely by Fisher for a violation of athletic department policy. He was later arrested on a charge of misdemeanor battery.

    The 19-year-old freshman from Jacksonville enrolled early and completed 8 of 11 passes for 155 yards and two touchdowns for the Seminoles in April's spring game.

    Follow Local 10 Sports on Twitter @Local10Sports

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    Uber is suspending services in Broward County at the end of the month.

    The ride-sharing service said in an email Monday that it would cease pickups in Broward County beginning July 31.

    "Since Uber came to Broward County last August, thousands of local drivers have provided more than one million safe rides throughout the county. And during that time, dozens of states and municipalities have embraced innovation and consumer choice by passing sensible ridesharing regulations," the email stated. "Unfortunately, the Broward County Board of County Commissioners has taken the opposite approach, creating one of the most hostile regulatory environments in the nation."

    Uber users who open the app on their smartphones in Broward County receive a message that reads, "No pickups in Broward County starting July 31."

    "It is impossible for Uber to continue providing the high standard of service and affordability the community has come to expect under the burdens of these unnecessary regulatory barriers," Uber's email stated. "Rather than provide substandard service, we have decided to suspend operations while we seek a path forward. "

    Uber said riders will still be able to get dropped off in Broward County. Operations will still continue in Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties.

    The company announced last month that it was suspending pickups at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Port Everglades.

    "It is our hope that the Board of County Commissioners will revisit the issue and pass a sensible regulatory framework in line with the more than 50 other jurisdictions that have created a permanent home for ridesharing in their communities," Uber's email said.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10

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    Animals found living in deplorable conditions during a routine check were seized from a Davie petting zoo Monday.

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