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Man freed after 17 years in prison after lookalike raises doubts in case

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Richard Jones enjoyed his first weekend of freedom after nearly 17 years behind bars.

Jones always maintained his innocence when police in Kansas City, Kansas linked him to a 1999 robbery.

Now he has his life back thanks to his faith and the tireless work of wrongful conviction advocates.

Richard’s father, Fred, couldn’t believe it when he got the news his boy was free: “She said, ‘they let him go’ and I said, ‘Nuh-uh.’ She said, ‘Yeah, they let him go. He’ll be out first thing in the morning.'”

According to independent studies, between two and five percent of inmates in the U.S. are innocent. The Midwest Innocence Project says it takes 7 to 10 years to exonerate an innocent prisoner.

“I didn’t know what he looked like anymore because he was so young when he went there, I didn’t know what he looked like,” Fred explained.

But nearly 20 years ago, a robbery victim and an eyewitness apparently did know what he looked like. In court, there was no DNA, no fingerprints, no physical evidence, just testimony. But it was enough to get a conviction and a sentence of 19 years.

“It’s not something you wrap your mind around. It’s surreal. It’s hard to believe you’re actually going through it,” Richard said.

Maybe harder to believe are a set of inmate pictures. Another man — also named Richard — went to prison, and due to his uncanny resemblance to Jones, the Midwest Innocence Project began to surmise that Jones had been mistaken for him.

Two different men remarkably similar in appearance, they even share the same first name. It was all part of key evidence brought forward by the Midwest Innocence Project and presented to a judge who ordered Jones’ release.

“It doesn’t get the type of attention that it should get because it’s purely injustice,” Richard said. “And that’s not right. We’re supposed to be able to depend on our justice system.”

With no support from courts, Jones said he had to find it somewhere else.

“Believing in God, praying that kept me just that kept me strong,” Richard recalled. “I had my days but it was pretty much just praying.”

Jones said his family also kept him going.

“You know, having a support system, that’s the only way I got through it.”

His support system was in full effect this weekend: dad, brothers, sister, and friends hanging out, basking in his newfound freedom.

“This actually brought our family closer together, you know, but that’s what family does in times of tragedy and things of that nature: they come together,” Richard said.

“I think he’s going to take this, the negative, and turn it into something positive. I think he will,” Richard’s father said.

“Everything that happened, there’s nothing I can do to change it,” Richard said. “I move forward and I look forward to the future and what’s going on with me now and I just feel like this is giving me a platform to speak for people who can’t speak for themselves.”

While most states have laws that compensate wrongful conviction victims, Kansas does not.

A bill introduced this year would have changed that. SB 125 aimed to compensate people $80,000 dollars for each year in prison. In Jones’ case, that would come to $1.36 million.

But the bill wasn’t touched after going to a committee in February, according to online Senate records. Without a law like that, Kansas exonerees can still seek compensation through civil lawsuits.

In the meantime, a GoFundMe has been set up to help Richard get a solid financial footing for his new life on the outside.

Is the U.S. shooting itself in the foot with climate exit?

climate

The U.S. Capitol is seen behind the smokestacks of the Capitol Power Plant, the only coal-burning power plant in the nations capital, Washington, DC, 10 March 2014. (EPA/Jim Lo Scalzo)

By Sue Landau

There are only two real surprises in Donald Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement: the strength and immediacy of the global counter-reaction, and the prospect that damage to the environment may be outweighed by damage to the United States itself.

Instead of undermining the 2015 accord under which 195 countries committed to try and limit average global warming to under 2°C by 2050, the U.S. president’s move may have galvanized support for it.

“President Trump has managed to turn America First into America Isolated,” the New York Times said in a news analysis.

Leaders worldwide lost no time in condemning the move. Captains of U.S. industry tweeted their disagreement. Elon Musk of Tesla and Robert Iger of Walt Disney resigned from the presidential councils they were serving on.

Mayors of U.S. cities piled in to commit their urban patches to clean air and energy. And French President Emmanuel Macron made a short TV address in both French and English, saying the accord will not be watered down.

So now Trump has no way back. Any idea of working from within to weaken the accord, as some feared he would try and do, is dead in the water.

Economists dont see environmental and economic progress as contradictory.

His move is based on false arguments. Increasingly this century, climate studies across the world have supported the view that humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions are hastening our planet towards climate disaster.

Economists now acknowledge progress in renewable energies and electric mobility, and no longer see environmental and economic progress as contradictory.

“The point is that while tackling climate change in the way envisaged by the Paris accord used to look like a hard engineering and economic problem, these days it looks fairly easy,” Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman wrote  in the New York Times.

Trump’s decision will no doubt hinder the quest to rein in rising temperatures through a shift away from fossil fuels because the United States is by far the biggest per-capita polluter on the planet.

In 2011, it belched out 17.6 billion metric tonnes of carbon dioxide per inhabitant, nearly triple China’s 6.5 billion and India’s tiny 1.5 billion. By 2014, U.S. emissions had dipped to 16.2 billion tonnes while China’s had risen to 7.5 billion and India’s to 1.7 billion. Yet Trump complained these countries get off easy under the Paris accord.

Over the short term, the absence of the United States may have no effect if China and India continue to surpass their targets for cutting carbon emissions, which is looking likely, Ronald Jumeau, Seychelles Ambassador to the United Nations, told the BBC.

The U.S. pullout facilitates China’s global ascendancy.

Perhaps what is most surprising is how much damage this could do to the United States itself.

In abandoning leadership in this area, Trump is precipitating a global realignment of power that leaves the Washington on the sidelines, many commentators say.

We have been anticipating this. We see climate leadership moving from the U.S. and China to an alliance between the European Union and Asia,” Jumeau said.

The U.S. pullout facilitates China’s global ascendancy. “It is the relative power balance with China that absorbs anyone who studies the dance of great powers,” the New York Times wrote, noting that hours before Trump spoke, China’s premier, Li Keqiang, stood alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel and described China as a champion of the accord.

The U.S. move undermines the competitiveness of American companies in emerging energy and transport technologies, which doubtless explains the opposition of a wide range of CEOs.

And it casts doubt on the value of a U.S. signature on any accord – something Trump the businessman must understand. “He has weakened American leadership and perhaps the strength of giving its word,” said Nicolas Doze, economics and business commentator, on France’s BFM TV.

So paradoxically, Trump may have injured the United States while doing environmentalists a favor. Pulling the U.S. out could cement a potentially fragile Paris Accord and place climate change at the center of the world political scene.

A final irony: the details of the accord mean the United States cannot withdraw until November 4, 2020. The next U.S. presidential election falls on November 3rd.

Sue LandauSue Landau is a freelance writer and translator based in Paris. She worked in financial and business journalism for 25 years at the International Herald Tribune, Reuters and the Investor’s Chronicle, chiefly in London and Paris. She reported on energy, new technologies, media and advertising, corporate and industry issues, wealth management and investment, and regional development.

The post Is the U.S. shooting itself in the foot with climate exit? appeared first on News-Decoder.

5 Best Performances From The 2017 Tony Awards

The 2017 Tony Awards featured multiple eye-popping performances from some of the biggest stars on Broadway. But which performances stood a step above the rest? See below for the five best performances from the 2017 Tony Awards.benplatt theo wargogetty images for tony awards productions 5 Best Performances From The 2017 Tony Awards

Photo redit: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions

Ben Platt

Ben Platt took to the Tony Awards stage to represent the critically acclaimed, Dear Evan Hansen. Platt, playing the role of Evan Hansen, performed Waving Through A Window, to thunderous applause from the Radio City Music Hall audience.kevinspacey theo wargogetty images for tony awards productions 5 Best Performances From The 2017 Tony Awards

Photo Credit: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions

Kevin Spacey

Kevin Spacey pulled double duty as host and performer at the 71st annual Tony Awards. In the shows opening monologue Spacey tried his hand Tony nominated shows Natasha Pierre And The Great Comet Of 1812 and Dear Evan Hansen.davidhydepierce theo wargogetty images for tony awards productions 5 Best Performances From The 2017 Tony Awards

Photo Credit: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions

David Hyde Pierce

David Hyde Pierce was seated right up by the stage for most of the night, but he also spent a fair amount of time ON it. The 2017 Tony Award nominee slipped into his Hello, Dolly! altar ego, Horace Vandergelder, to perform Penny In My Pocket.misssaigon tony awards productions 5 Best Performances From The 2017 Tony Awards

Photo Credit: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions

Eva Noblezada

Eva Noblezada delivered a powerful performance as she took on her role of Kim from Miss Saigon. Performing the song, Id Give My Life For You, Noblezada was joined on stage by Alistair Brammer who plays the role of her son, Chris.comefromaway theo wargogetty images for tony awards productions 5 Best Performances From The 2017 Tony Awards

Photo Credit: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions

The Cast Of Come From Away

The cast of Come From Away came together on stage to sing Welcome To The Rock. The performance effectively transported the audience to the small town of Gander, Newfoundland, where 38 planes and their 6,500 passengers were redirected after the terrible attacks of September 11th.

Photos: Stars come out for Tony Awards

NEW YORK (AP) — The Tony Awards always seem to attract stars from TV, films and music — and, of course, plenty of stage stars. This year, the lineup featured Josh Groban, Scarlett Johansson, Kevin Kline, Bette Midler, Orlando Bloom, Glenn Close, Cynthia Nixon, Sara Bareilles, Tommy Tune, Whoopi Goldberg and Anna Kendrick, among others.

The big winner was a show about outsiders — Dear Evan Hansen, which featured a lonely 17-year-old who gets caught in a web of lies. But the ultimate insider was first-time host Kevin Spacey, who danced, joked and sang his way through the telecast with ease.

Heres a gallery of images from inside Radio City Music Hall.

Tony Awards 2017

Photos: Stars come out for Tony Awards
Bette Midler accepts the award for best performance by an actress in a leading role in a musical for Hello, Dolly! at the 71st annual Tony Awards on Sunday, June 11, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Michael Zorn/Invision/AP)

Photos: Stars come out for Tony Awards Rachel Bay Jones, left, and Ben Platt, winners of the award for best performance by an actress in a featured role in a musical and best performance by an actor in a leading role in a musical for Dear Evan Hansen pose in the press room at the 71st annual Tony Awards on Sunday, June 11, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Photos: Stars come out for Tony Awards J.T. Rogers, second right, and the crew for Oslo, winners of the Tony award for best play, pose in the press room at the 71st annual Tony Awards on Sunday, June 11, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Photos: Stars come out for Tony Awards Stephen Colbert presents the award for best revival of a musical at the 71st annual Tony Awards on Sunday, June 11, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Michael Zorn/Invision/AP)

Photos: Stars come out for Tony Awards Kevin Spacey, Patti LuPone and Tony award winners perform The Curtain Falls at the conclusion of the 71st annual Tony Awards on Sunday, June 11, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Michael Zorn/Invision/AP)

Photos: Stars come out for Tony Awards Kevin Spacey, from left, Michael Kelly and Robin Wright appear as their characters from House of Cards as they present Lin-Manuel Miranda with the envelope for best musical at the 71st annual Tony Awards on Sunday, June 11, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Michael Zorn/Invision/AP)

Photos: Stars come out for Tony Awards Wendy Orshan and the cast and crew of Dear Evan Hansen accept the award for best musical at the 71st annual Tony Awards on Sunday, June 11, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Michael Zorn/Invision/AP)

Photos: Stars come out for Tony Awards Josh Groban and the cast of Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 perform at the 71st annual Tony Awards on Sunday, June 11, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Michael Zorn/Invision/AP)

Photos: Stars come out for Tony Awards Rebecca Taichman accepts the award for best direction of a play for Indecent at the 71st annual Tony Awards on Sunday, June 11, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Michael Zorn/Invision/AP)

Photos: Stars come out for Tony Awards Christopher Ashley poses in the press room with the award for best direction of a musical for Come From Away at the 71st annual Tony Awards on Sunday, June 11, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Photos: Stars come out for Tony Awards Alex Lacamoire poses in the press room with the award for best orchestrations for Dear Evan Hansen at the 71st annual Tony Awards on Sunday, June 11, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Photos: Stars come out for Tony Awards The Rockettes perform New York, New York at the 71st annual Tony Awards on Sunday, June 11, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Michael Zorn/Invision/AP)

Photos: Stars come out for Tony Awards Benj Pasek, left, and Justin Paul pose in the press room the award for best original score (music and lyrics) written for the theatre for Dear Evan Hansen at the 71st annual Tony Awards on Sunday, June 11, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Photos: Stars come out for Tony Awards Cynthia Nixon accepts the award for best performance by an actress in a featured role in a play for Lillian Hellmans The Little Foxes at the 71st annual Tony Awards on Sunday, June 11, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Michael Zorn/Invision/AP)

Photos: Stars come out for Tony Awards Gavin Creel accepts the award for best performance by an actor in a featured role in a musical for Hello, Dolly! at the 71st annual Tony Awards on Sunday, June 11, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Michael Zorn/Invision/AP)

Photos: Stars come out for Tony Awards A view of the stage at the 71st annual Tony Awards on Sunday, June 11, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Michael Zorn/Invision/AP)

Photos: Stars come out for Tony Awards Kevin Spacey performs at the 71st annual Tony Awards on Sunday, June 11, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Michael Zorn/Invision/AP)

Photos: Stars come out for Tony Awards James Earl Jones accepts the special Tony award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre at the 71st annual Tony Awards on Sunday, June 11, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Michael Zorn/Invision/AP)

Photos: Stars come out for Tony Awards Rachel Harry accepts the 2017 Tony Award for Excellence in Theatre Education at the 71st annual Tony Awards on Sunday, June 11, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Michael Zorn/Invision/AP)
Photos: Stars come out for Tony Awards Gavin Creel arrives at the 71st annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, June 11, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Photos: Stars come out for Tony Awards Kevin Spacey arrives at the 71st annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, June 11, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Photos: Stars come out for Tony Awards View of the red carpet during the 71st annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, June 11, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP) Filed under: Entertainment, National, Photo Galleries

Services to mark 1 year since 49 killed in Orlando gay club

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Church bells will toll throughout the Orlando area as residents reflect on the 49 patrons killed during a massacre at the gay nightclub Pulse in the worst mass shooting in recent U.S. history.

Starting in the early hours Monday, and continuing almost 24 hours later, survivors, victims’ families, city officials and central Florida residents will remember the victims with four services.

The first service is closed to the public, and it’s being held at the nightclub for survivors, local officials and club employees. It will overlap with the exact time that gunman Omar Mateen began firing shots — a little after 2 a.m. on June 12, 2016.

Runners Randa Black, left, and Elizabeth Anne-Noles cry after stopping in front of the Pulse nightclub during the CommUNITYRainbowRun 4.9K road race, Saturday, June 10, 2017, in Orlando, Fla. The race is one of many events across central Florida commemorating the one-year anniversary of the June 12, 2016 massacre at the club that left 49 people dead. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP)

It is followed by another midday service at the nightclub, and an evening gathering in the heart of downtown Orlando. A final, music-filled late-night service is being held at the nightclub.

Mateen pledged allegiance to the Islamic State during the attack and was eventually killed by police during a shootout after a three-hour standoff. His wife, Noor Salman, is facing charges of aiding and abetting and obstruction in federal court, and she has pleaded not guilty to helping her husband.

On Monday, local churches throughout Orlando have arranged for church bells to ring simultaneously, 49 times at noon.

Local officials also have declared the one-year mark as a day of “love and kindness,” and they are encouraging residents to volunteer or perform acts of compassion.

An exhibit of artwork collected from memorial sites set up around Orlando after the massacre will be shown at the Orange County History Center, and a giant rainbow, gay-pride flag will be unveiled at the Orange County government building.

Pulse nightclub owner Barbara Poma holds up a sign for runners passing her club during the CommUNITYRainbowRun 4.9K road race, Saturday, June 10, 2017, in Orlando, Fla. The race is one of many events across central Florida commemorating the one-year anniversary of the June 12, 2016 massacre at the club that left 49 people dead. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP)

Not all the survivors planned to attend the events, saying it would be too difficult.

“There’s going to be so many things going on that I feel it will be overwhelming for those affected,” said Ricardo Negron, who managed to escape the club without physical harm after the shooting started.

Demetrice Naulings said he would likely go to some of the commemorative events but he wasn’t looking forward to it. Naulings also escaped from the club but lost his best friend, who was fatally shot.

“Seeing all of the other people from the club, I’m pretty sure the hugs will be teary. I’m not looking forward to that,” Naulings said. “I’m not looking for ‘I’m sorry.’ I feel like that doesn’t help me. I feel like that is pity and I don’t want pity.”

Two shot within minutes of each other, Norfolk Police investigate

NORFOLK, Va. Police are investigating two shootings Monday night.

Police said there were two gunshot victims. Both victims were adult males.

One victim was taken to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital with non-life threatening injuries and the second was treated at the scene.

Police said both shootings were reported at 6:25 p.m.

One victim was found in the 300 block of E. Little Creek Road near a Farm Fresh and the other was found in the 3500 block of Tidewater Drive near a Food Lion.

The two scenes are about three miles from each other.

Police do not know if the two shootings are related at this time.

Download the News 3 app for updates.

(Courtesy of Google Maps)

Community rallies behind Fort Lauderdale firefighter injured in crash

A South Florida community is coming together to help a Fort Lauderdale firefighter, days after he was critically injured in a car crash.

Hes used to being the one to rescue others, but now Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Firefighter Sauvens Vince Castelly is in need of help himself.

Officials said Castelly was driving home to West Palm Beach from work at Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Station 46, Wednesday evening, when a car hit him, causing his vehicle to strike a tree and roll over.

Castelly ended up being trapped underneath his car, and had to be extricated by West Palm Beach firefighters. He was then airlifted as a trauma alert to St. Marys Hospital.

FLFR said Castelly is in critical but stable condition, with multiple broken bones and severe trauma to nerves in his neck. Officials said spinal injuries have left him paralyzed.

Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Capt. Greg Schutzer said Castellys fellow firefighters have rushed to his side. [Ive] been at the hospital every day since the accident happened, especially since it was so close to the house, he said.

Fellow firefighters made it clear that Castelly has a lot of people in his department pulling for him. I call him a workhouse. The guy would constantly be working, said Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Firefighter Ryan Zauner. The truck he was on that one night was a peak-hour truck, and he was constantly on it. Guys would actually call him up because they know that he would take it.

Castelly, a 10-year veteran of the fire department, and his wife are expecting their second child, due in July.

But now his fellow firefighters are raising money to help with his medical costs during his road to recovery. They have already raised more than $50,000 on a GoFundMe page.

Please donate any amount no matter how small to assist the family of @FtLaudFire FF Vince Castelly injured in crash https://t.co/I2t2uqnm1v pic.twitter.com/l4vFBt8hOd

Arnold Piedrahita Jr (@LTArnoldP) May 19, 2017

Cooper City resident Sean Arana, whose mother is also a Fort Lauderdale firefighter, began raising money for the injured firefighter through a lemonade stand.

I came up with, like, an idea for the summer to help Castelly, said Sean.

Sean Arana

7News cameras captured Sean and his mother, Tammy Arana selling lemonade to people in their neighborhood, this weekend.

Arana and his mother are using social media and their neighborhood app to help support a friend in the fight of his life.

We are trying to do anything we can do to help him and his family out, said Tammy.

He is an inspiration for me, said Zauner.

Its so surreal that he was so active, and now hes fighting for everything he can get, said Schutzer.

If you would like to make a donation to the GoFundMe page set up for Castelly, click here.

Swim instructor accused of molesting children testifies in his defense

A South Florida swim instructor accused of sexually assaulting three young girls, testified in his own defense in court.

Twenty-nine-year-old Francisco De Aragons trial continued into its fourth day, Thursday.

De Aragon faces five counts of child molestation after he was accused of inappropriately touching three girls at the Deerfield Beach Aquatic Center while he was giving them swim lessons in 2015. The girls were only 6 years old at the time.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys delivered closing arguments at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale.

While on the stand, De Aragon denied the charges against him.

No, no, never, I would never do that, said De Aragon.

When asked whether he molested each the three girls, the defendant replied no.

I would never, ever, in a million years, molest a child, De Aragon added.

When a prosecutor asked him why he was facing child molestation charges, De Aragon said, I have no idea. This, to me, I cant explain it.

De Aragon said he did touch the girls because they were having swim lessons. The defendant said he may have accidentally brushed the girls while teaching them to swim. He demonstrated how he interacted with the girls while in the pool with them.

Its very well possible that, when Im pushing them back to the wall, and Im pushing them back, there could have been accidental contact, said De Aragon.

Related: Trial enters second day for swim instructor accused of sex assault

Two of the girls testified earlier this week that he put his hand inside their bathing suits.

When asked what part of his body De Aragon used to touch her privates, one of the girls said, His whole hand.

Jurors also saw video of the girls meeting with a police detective after the alleged crime. One of the victims told the law enforcer, We were playing, and then when I was trying to try to swim, he was touching my bathing suit, and then he went under his hand, and then he touched my privates.

When the detective asked one of the girls whether De Aragon touched her inside or outside her bathing suit, the girls replied, Inside.

The jury now has the case and is currently deliberating.

De Aragon faces life in prison if convicted, but the jury can also return a lesser conviction.

Las Vegas AT&T Workers Walk Off The Job

LAS VEGAS (KXNT) Their slogan is mobilizing Your world, but many of their workers are immobilizing and using picket signs as well.

As part of a 36-state strike, wireless and wireline workers in California, Nevada formed picket lines at AT T stores to protest companys failure to bargain fairly.

AT and T workers, who are members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), walked off the job in 36 states Friday, protesting what they said is the companys failure to present serious proposals that invest in good jobs with a future. Hundreds of the striking wirefline technicians, call center representatives, DIRECTV workers and wireless workers from Las Vegas picketed in front of an ATT wireless store located at 325 N. Nellis Blvd., starting at 2 p.m. Friday afternoon. Jared Pratt is a worker who walked out.

The three-day strike is the first time wireless workers walked off the job over the companys failure to bargain fairly and the first time the company has faced possible retail store closures nationwide. ATT workers are standing up to the company in effort to put an end to unnecessary frustrations and poor service for customers and employees due to the companys lack of investment in its core business.

This afternoon, KXNT received a written statement from Lead Public Relations Manager with ATT, Scott Huscher.

The statement reads:

A strike is in no ones best interest, and its baffling as to why union leadership would call one when were offering terms in which our employees in these contractssome of whom average from $115,000 to $148,000 in total compensationwill be better off financially.

Were prepared, and we will continue working hard to serve our customers. This involves less than 14 percent of our employees.

Whats most important is were all family, whether youre a union member or not. Like any family we have our disagreements but well sort them out. Weve reached 29 fair agreements since 2015 covering over 128,000 or our employees, and were confident we can do the same here.

City leaders, businesses prepare for Memorial Day crowds on Miami Beach

Everyone from law enforcement to business owners on Miami Beach are getting ready to host two big events this Memorial Day weekend.

City leaders said the holiday weekend is one of the biggest ones happening on Miami Beach, especially with the young crowds coming in for Urban Beach Week. This year, however, leaders said they want to attract families to join in on the fun too.

Visitors from New Jersey, Delaware and Illinois have already started to pour into South Florida for the weekend, and its only Wednesday.

The annual Urban Beach Week is expected to draw in a young crowd, along with some of the biggest names in hip-hop. It gets crazy. It gets kinda congested, but its all fun and love, said Dominique Ellis, whos visiting from Chicago.

The chaos from summers past now have Ocean Drive businesses on their toes and increasing staff. Last year was kind of crazy, but this year, we got it under control, said Andrew Medina, with Fat Tuesday. Well be able to handle everybody at the same time.

Police are also going to be out in full force. Every one of the 390 police officers who wear this uniform will be working, and were bringing about 150 additional police officers from around the county a day, said Miami Beach Police Chief Daniel Oates.

With the family-friendly Air and Sea Show joining the list of events this year, the City of Miami Beach is hoping that South Beach has something for everybody.

Were changing the narrative in a positive way, said Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy Morales. Its not a message of certain people shouldnt come here, its a message of everybody should come here and enjoy it.’

Consider the show as a national salute to Americas heroes. Planes will take over South Beach skies to perform stunts in the air and on the water.

Were doing our best to anticipate when the crowds will be here and how to manage, what we think is the biggest challenge, which is traffic, Oates said.

Police said the traffic loop has worked for the last four years and will be in place on both Saturday and Sunday.

To keep traffic moving in one direction, motorists will be guided to drive northbound on Collins from Fifth Street to 17th, and then back down southbound on Washington Avenue. Ocean Drive will be closed off to traffic.

Absence of traffic and vehicle, pedestrian sort of conflict in crowd creates a very different environment, Oates said.

No Parking signs are already in place along Ocean Drive, Wednesday to warn drivers that they cannot drive nor park along the roadway starting on Friday at 7 a.m. Those parking changes will run until Tuesday at 7 a.m.