Reporters are a pushy lot, always demanding police reports and video, stipulating that these must arrive "before my deadline," an addendum that tends to sound like an ultimatum. And when the police departments' public information officers deliver those goods in a timely fashion, there's no guarantee that the reporter will produce a piece that's flattering to the department. The unflattering ones tend to get a spokesperson in trouble with his or her other constituency — the chief's office. Somehow, Stephanie Slater of the Boynton Beach Police Department manages to please both these masters. No one in local law enforcement is quicker to return a call or fire off a requested document. And Slater is adept at showcasing her department's investigative triumphs. When a SWAT team prepared to swarm the Platinum Showgirls strip club in Boynton, Slater made sure that television cameras could swoop in a moment later to watch the high-heeled beauties do a perp walk. Slater played a role in crafting one of the year's most memorable pieces of news footage, in which an officer informed Dalia Dippolito that someone had murdered her husband. The surgically enhanced gym bunny wailed ridiculously and collapsed in the officer's arms, only to be told in the moments to follow that the man she thought she hired to be a hit man was working for BBPD. Not long after, the video was available on YouTube and DVD, supplied by deadline.
Poorhouse
When the U.S. economy hits the gutter, Americans head to the movies. That cheap, clean fun turns into free depraved escapism at the back bar at the Poor House, the darkest, dankest watering hole in downtown Fort Lauderdale. In addition to strong booze, Poor House's back bar serves some of the most horror-ific and deliciously politically incorrect films, often from Lloyd Kaufman, director of cult favorites like The Toxic Avenger. Films here are not for the easily offended, but the selection doesn't skimp on variety for the sake of provocation. You're as likely to see the queasy-violent mainstream The Hills Have Eyes or cult classic Evil Dead as you are Rob Zombie's wildly politically incorrect monster-sex comedy The Haunted World of El Superbeasto or the Russian vampire film Nochnoy dozor. These films might not offer the feel-good element of crashing a wedding or masturbating in apple pie, but considering the economic climate, a car chase in a Ferrari may be even more fantastical.
Curious about Jeffrey Epstein's egg-shaped appendage? What about a father who's in the witness protection program for ratting out the Mob? Jane Musgrave is the veteran reporter who brings you these lovely news items, always with an air of tongue-in-cheek amusement. While most daily newspapers beg for fleeing readers with breaking news and bloody-crime headlines, Musgrave's stories remind us of what's fun about reading a fish wrapper. Her byline is inevitably attached to something intriguing or hilarious about life in South Florida: the woman who gave birth while driving on Dixie Highway, the UPS driver who alleged he was attacked by Joe Namath's dogs. And when Bernie Madoff's Palm Beach mansion was seized by federal agents, Musgrave was on the scene, reporting that the Ponzi schemer's house was filled with pictures of... bulls.
As a Plantation police officer responding in 1995 to a hostage situation, Joe Alu was blown up by a bad guy — and that was before his life became interesting. Alu was at the scene of another explosion in 2009, when the investments by his boss, Scott Rothstein, went up in flames. Alu, who has the tan and tattoos, the muscles and mullet of a professional wrestler, enjoyed a lucrative job as the Fort Lauderdale attorney's bodyguard. In the days after Rothstein bolted for Morocco with Ponzi loot, Alu defended his employer's reputation, declaring the allegations of fraud to be all "bullshit." Since that November, Alu has remained the soap opera's most colorful character. There was the falling-out between Alu and his fellow bodyguard, Bob Scandiffio, Alu's former best man, who was accused by Rothstein of extortion. Then there was the apparent tiff between Alu and Kim Rothstein, the pretty, diminutive blond whom Alu swore he'd protect from harm as long as he had a breath in his body and for whose sake he tussled with a pushy TV reporter after a January news conference. In February, Alu cryptically remarked that he wasn't going to be "baby-sitting" Kim Rothstein anymore only to reverse course yet again and insist that their partnership was hunky-dory. Alu also had a link to that other huge Broward news story — the federal sting that snared a county commissioner, a county School Board member, and a Miramar commissioner. It just so happened that an informant in that case was also named Alu — Joe's ex-wife, Sheila, a Sunrise commissioner. Somehow, one retired cop lingered near every major news story of the past year.
Weather is the great unifier. No matter who you are — young, old, white, black, Democrat, Republican — we all share the warmth and the cold, the sun and the rain. The weather is the only part of the news everyone cares about. So a good weathercaster must have the manner of an international diplomat — friendly but not sleazy, unusually upbeat but not obnoxious. The right weatherperson is like a pleasant parent in your living room, concerned you might leave the house in the morning without the weather-appropriate wardrobe. Here, that weathercaster is Steve Weagle, chief meteorologist at WPTV in West Palm Beach. Every weekday at 5, 6, and 11, Weagle delivers the weather with a precise mix of modest charm and polite swagger. He's the man we turn to when we want to know what the world will look like in the future. To top it off, he also takes an annual 120-mile bicycle ride across South Florida to raise public awareness of hurricane season — and he gives all the money he raises to the Red Cross.

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