By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By Keegan Hamilton and Francisco Alvarado
By Jake Rossen
By Allie Conti
By Kyle Swenson
By Chris Joseph
By Michael E. Miller
Last week, the Fort Lauderdale City Commission held a hearing on whether to allow Kevin Green and his Elite Bicycle company, owners of the pedicab in question, to stay in business. This surprised the hell out of Tailpipe. Even before the accident, Green had an apparently spotty record, including arrests for two assaults, one on a police officer. In addition, there was an alarming omission in Elite's city file. There was no record of the company's being insured for liability.
You mean this guy has been allowed to stay in business for almost five months since the accident? Ah, America, what a wonderful country.
The two accident victims showed up for the hearing. Finnerty, whose knee was injured, is OK now. But Perry's face is still swollen, hanging limp on one side, and she supports one arm in a sling. She wanted to know why she was getting no assistance in paying huge medical bills.
Green, a skinny, tanned man in a white T-shirt that read "Clean Air Taxi," said that he had paid for insurance but that it had turned out to be a worthless policy.
"I'm no insurance guy; I can't follow up on these things," Green told Tailpipe before the hearing.
"Kevin Green, or whatever he's going by these days... this man should never have been allowed to operate a pedicab," the diminutive Perry told the commission. "He was passed through even though the police said, 'Don't.' "
When she finished, there was no discussion for the City Commission. No questions. Kevin Green's permit: toast.
Afterward, Green was bewildered. He didn't know that Perry and Finnerty were going to be at City Hall, he said. He thought it was just about insurance (though, clearly, this hearing wouldn't have occurred without the accident).
Besides, Green said, he didn't even own the pedicab when it was struck. He showed Tailpipe a bill of sale. It was written in pen on notebook paper.
See, he said, it was sold.
The City Commission was not — though Green has a fall-back plan. He said he was going up to North Carolina to run a pedicab business for NASCAR fans. Those are some folks who know how to take their lumps.
Get Well Soon
The surf team from Jupiter High School is stoked about an upcoming trip to California to compete in the finals of a nationwide contest called the Red Bull Riders Cup. First, though, there are two obstacles to overcome: (1) getting the money to travel and (2) getting the team's star surfer back in shape following an unfortunate encounter with a dinner plate.
"It was just a fight with my brother," says Ryan Weiland, a 16-year-old sophomore, in a chill voice, explaining the incident that sidelined him.
No big deal, maybe, but Weiland's injury created a buzz at surf breaks throughout the county. It seems his older brother, Shawn, 21, got mad about "something stupid on his part, and he went crazy," Weiland explains. "A dinner plate went through my leg. I had to get 12 staples and 18 stitches." Since the cut was three inches deep, there's a chance he may need surgery.
A major bummer for the team. Weiland is one of four starters on the eight-man lineup. He won the MVP and the Most Radical Maneuver award during the April 17 regional championship that placed the team in the Red Bull finals. He's also ranked first in the Treasure Coast Eastern Surfing Association Junior Men's division, and he's sponsored by six companies.
Coach Bill Kovachik, who's also a ceramics teacher at the school, described the upcoming contest as a very big deal.
"This is first time in the ten years since I've been sponsoring the surf team that we're traveling to a national championship," he said. The competition began with 32 teams; the best eight made the finals, which begin June 13. Kovachik stressed that the team still needs to raise $4,000 toward its $12,000 budget. To that end, it's selling T-shirts and staging a bake sale at the local Wal-Mart on May 31.
Groundswell Surf Shop donated $600 in goods for the team and set up a collection jar in the shop. Store manager Jimmy West expected the other JHS riders to make a good showing even if Weiland's unable to compete.
"Every one of those kids has the potential to do well," West said.
Even if he can't surf, Weiland will still travel with the team — and stay in California, where he's slated to compete in the National Scholastic Surfing Association Championships two weeks later. With any luck, he'll be back in top form by then.