The Florida Research Institute for Equine Nurturing, Development and Safety Inc. ranch is just a good place — for birds, for raccoons, for pigs and goats and donkeys, for a family of very happy old farm cats, and especially for the 40 horses rescued by the ranch. The horses are available for sponsorship, but their full-time caretaker and custodian is 60-year-old woman Lynne Mandry: a no-shit-taking kind of chick who most every morning loads 40 horses' worth of hay and alfalfa onto a tractor, distributes it to the horses, brings the animals in from pasture, loads and distributes a bunch of feed, checks the horses for wounds or signs of illness, gives them their meds, tops off their water, and then preps their feed trays for the next day. She moves tons of grain, gives lime dips and baths, tends to the pigs and goats, and generally keeps the ranch's animal populations alive and healthy. It's a lot for a lady to do, and she's always grateful for help. Those who decide to offer it wind up grateful too — for the opportunity to get out in the air, befriend some fantastic creatures, and do good for their fellow mammals.

It was a banner year for white-collar criminals, and it seems that every single one of 'em had Boca Raton stomping grounds. Bernard Madoff suckered Boca members of the Palm Beach Country Club. Alleged mini-Madoffs R. Allen Stanford of the Stanford Group and $700 million man Marc Dreier both kept Boca Raton offices, presumably to tap into a vein of wealthy, miserly retirees liable to look credulously at fairly incredulous investment returns. So by the time the feds busted Boca accountant Steven Rubinstein in early April, the financial-fraud superstar trope had run its course. And that's a shame, because if the case against him is any indication, Rubinstein deserves his place on the region's Mount Rushmore of fraudsters. Where his cohorts were flamboyant and reckless in their greed, Rubinstein was modest, punctilious even — his alleged crimes swimming in a sea with those of hundreds, maybe thousands of other filthy-rich Americans who relied upon the secrecy of Swiss bank accounts to swindle the U.S. of A. out of tax dollars. In Rubinstein's case, it meant the alleged failure to report millions of dollars held in UBS accounts. But after the U.S. Justice Department and IRS caught the Swiss bank in its cheat, UBS had to pay a $780 million settlement and betray the confidences of its wealthy clientele. The first sacrificial lamb to be offered: the suddenly luckless Steven Rubenstein, a 55-year-old with a pristine legal history who probably never imagined he'd see the inside of a jail cell. Surely, as the feds pry open this massive can of worms, there will be many more Rubinsteins. But if Swiss tax shelters were a Garden of Eden to the nation's most affluent, then Rubenstein is Adam, alleged committer of the original sin whose exile may stand as a lesson to all who come hence.

You don't have to agree with Greenbarg's politics or her stance on every issue — but you better give Charlotte her respect. Because when it comes to activists and political watchdogs in Broward County, there's not one who is more vigilant than Greenbarg, president of the nonprofit Broward Coalition. She keeps an eye not only on her home city of Hollywood but on the construction department at the Broward County School Board, where she sits on the audit committee. There, Greenbarg holds the often buffoonish officials' feet to the fire with her no-nonsense questions. She has been at the forefront of ending the "Pay first, ask questions later" mode of business at the district and has given much-needed moral support to School Board auditor Dave Rhodes, a man who has the fortitude to tell the truth in that house of lies and who actually tries to keep waste and corruption down to a low roar. Greenbarg is one of the good ones — and Lord knows Broward needs all of those it can get.

When then-Deerfield Beach Mayor Al Capellini was charged by the State Attorney's Office with a felony corruption charge in December, you had to wonder how the longtime politico would handle it. For the answer, all you had to see was his mug shot, where he took on a Zen-like pose of calmness and peace. The deep lines running like dry and rocky ravines across Capellini's face and the swollen, dark bags under his eyes, however, portrayed another picture — one not unlike Dorian Gray's. Still, it was obvious Capellini was going for a variation of fellow Republican Tom DeLay's approach of trying to make people see Jesus in his jailhouse photo. His words, though, seemed more like another notorious GOPer, Richard "I Am Not a Crook" Nixon. After he was tossed from office by Gov. Charlie Crist, Capellini told the Sun-Sentinel: "I am not corrupt." Of course not, Al.

While modern radio is largely polluted by classic rock, tasteless fart jokes, crazy preachers, fraudulent "alternative" stations, and American Idol rejects, 88.5 FM has thrived since 1983 because of an increasingly novel concept: "We play almost a straight hour of music," says DJ Thayne Brown, a student at Piper High School. The School Board-owned station gives the airspace to kids from Piper until 7 p.m., when students from Nova Southeastern University take over. The station draws 1 percent of local listeners at any given time — even without snarky morning hosts or songs about boot-knockin'. Station adviser John Farley tells students to avoid "too much sex, drugs, alcohol, violence, religion, or even anti-religion." Because some students have a fondness for death metal, he adds: "That includes Satan; he's out." Beyond those ground rules, kids are not bound by Top 40 lists or financial incentives from Clear Channel; they can play hip-hop mixtapes, breakthrough indie bands, and requests. On a recent Thursday afternoon, for example, the playlist jumped from Incubus to Matt & Kim to Rancid to Coldplay. The tunes were punctuated by charming teenager banter (in which nearly everything is described as "like, really weird") and adorable homemade Public Service Announcements. "Kindness is a favorable and friendly act. This message brought to you by all your kind friends at WKPX." With that, a DJ named Reggie fired up a ferocious Fugazi classic — "We owe you nothing/You have no control" — reassuring us that teenage angst is alive and well — no fart jokes required.

It takes some nerve to run for reelection as mayor a few months after you've been indicted on felony corruption charges. But it's a truly colossal feat of hubris to run that campaign as "Mayor Al Capellini" despite having been removed from that position by order of the governor, based on said corruption charges. Capellini published newspaper advertisements with his old title, claiming with stunning dishonesty that his was a "reelection" campaign. In Century Village, a sprawling condo complex with elderly voters who tend to turn out in droves, Capellini circulated a flier that said in big, bold letters: "Mayor Capellini: Total Commitment to Century Village." It contained no footnote warning that, if elected, Capellini would be able to honor that "commitment" only if he weren't totally committed to a prison cell later this year. And yet, who are we to question his methods? Capellini still finished a close second in a five-way mayor's race — losing to Peggy Noland by fewer than 400 votes. So now it's merely "Deerfield Beach resident Al Capellini," and if things don't go well in his upcoming trial, that too will be an oxymoron.

Back in 1996, Wilton Manors was an ugly little blight of a town with terrible restaurants, a high crime rate, and two — two! — Bible stores. Then the gays came. Goodbye, violent crime! Goodbye, bad food! Hellooo, manicured lawns! Thanks to SoFla's huge and still growing local population of gays — which clusters around Wilton Manors, Poinsettia Heights, Lake Worth, and Victoria Park — SoFla has been saved from the worst ravages of the economic crisis. Gay households tend to be "DINK" — Double Income, No Kids — and queers love to spend their money. When the real estate market stabilizes, you can bet that home prices will begin climbing in our gayborhoods first.

This Week in South Florida is to local politics what NBC's Meet the Press is to national politics: a place where major figures must face tough questions from an informed, skeptical interviewer. That's Putney, an old-fashioned newsman in the tradition of PBS' Jim Lehrer. Now in his 28th year in South Florida television, Putney has no patience for the equivocation and platitudes that sneaky politicians use to duck questions. It's no use declining his invitation — Putney will tell that to his viewers, who will then wonder whether the person has something to hide. On the contentious issue of the new Marlins stadium, Putney took the hard, common-sense line: If fans aren't going to the current stadium, why would they go to the new one? And aren't there more worthy investments? The closing segment, "Putney Perspective," is devoted to an issue of immense local importance or to chastise a public servant who didn't do his duty. In one recent broadcast, Putney gave the name of the police officer who failed to show up for a court appearance, allowing a drunk driver to get back behind the wheel only to plow into a minivan and kill three children. Putney demands accountability from anyone in a position of power — from the traffic cop to the Florida governor.

Sometimes you can hear the whispers around the Broward County Courthouse, and they come in voices that tremble: Carmel Cafiero is about to come out with a new report. It was Cafiero, the orange-haired muckraker for WSVN (Channel 7), who broke stories about former Judge Robert Zack's bad debts and who once followed Judge Larry Seidlin around for a few days to discover that the guy spends more time on the tennis court than in the courtroom. In short, she loves to get down into the dirt and dig. The downside to Cafiero is that she's known to pull punches — and drop entire investigative reports — at the behest of her sometimes nervous bosses. But when it comes to hard-hitting TV news reporting, she's the best we've got by a long shot.

Behind the bland façades lining University Drive from Copans to Sunrise boulevards, a diverse and inspired bunch of shop owners and restaurateurs is doing great and sometimes even transcendent work that hardly anyone knows about. Walking this stretch, you may eat ridiculously proportioned Korean entrées at Gabose, take a mind-melting trip through Tate's Comics, giggle at the dissident art hanging upstairs in the Bear and Bird Boutique + Gallery, and satisfy your spouse's annoying vegan palate at the meatless Indian joint Woodlands. Broward's pretensions to urbanity have always come off as a little derivative, but out here, this stretch of University is groping its way toward a vibrant identity of its own.

Here's what the weather will be like tomorrow, South Florida: Between 72 and 86 degrees, chance of rain or hurricane. It doesn't make for a terribly exciting weather report. So a truly great South Florida weathercaster must be well-versed in the nuances of climatology studies and be able to translate the complex, multifaceted meteorological algorithms into digestible forecasts that will keep people tuning in. Julie Durda might be able to do those things. But it doesn't matter, because Durda is hotter than the sun itself. The former San Francisco 49ers cheerleader and Bachelor contestant makes sure WSVN (Channel 7) viewers always wake up to a warm front. Her smile. Her hair. Her legs. Her adorable skirts. Julie could have a map of Pakistan behind her while she reads from Charlotte's Web and it would still give every viewer an extended forecast. So it doesn't matter what the sky will look like tomorrow. As long as Julie Durda's on the screen, there's no need to go outside.

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