The gossip here is juicy. Palm Beach County Sheriff's deputies dish anonymously about everything from a high-profile murder case to a lieutenant with an alleged pain-pill addiction. Founded by Mark Dougan, an ex-deputy who left the force in 2008, PBSOtalk.com makes no attempt to hide its contempt for Sheriff Ric Bradshaw. On the messageboards, it's tough to sort fact from fiction. But some of the most helpful info comes from the documents Dougan has posted on the site — the probable-cause affidavit in the pain-pill case, purchase orders showing that the Sheriff's Office spent more than $60,000 on barbecue grills, a copy of an internal-affairs complaint filed against Bradshaw. Although the site offers no smoking gun, it is a rare window into the internal politics of a sheriff's office few outsiders would otherwise glimpse. After all, it's fun to spy on the cops once in a while.

Worried about an electromagnetic pulse from solar flares wreaking havoc on the modern world? How about a global pandemic or a complete devaluation of the dollar? No? Well, maybe you should be. Here to guide you gently into that dark night are the South Florida Preppers, a congenial bunch of folks who are preparing, in their own particular ways, for a collapse of society as we know it. They trade pointers and theories about "shit hits the fan" scenarios at a monthly barbecue meeting that's open to all and features free lectures. The local survivalists range from camouflaged gun nuts to checkbook-balancing moms. Underneath their morbid anticipation of total disaster is hope — and faith in the human ability to overcome tragedy in this overpopulated, hurricane-swept land.

World Thrift

A quick scan around this bustling mecca of secondhand finds can leave even the most avid garage-sale warrior with that sinking feeling of being in over her head. With its ten cash registers, internal ATM machine, bright fluorescent lighting, and metal railings for growing lines, World Thrift could have easily been a Winn-Dixie in its former incarnation, but it remains the only place in town to score a vintage silk kimono, a $3.99 collection of mint-condition '70s-era teen magazines, a plethora of options for the next ugly Christmas sweater party, and a White House Black Market dress with the tags still on for ten bucks, all in one afternoon. First visits can be daunting, so here are some survival tips from World Thrift regulars. First: Embrace the sports bra and bike shorts. While this thrift shop has aisles of clothing, it lacks dressing rooms. Experienced thrifters show up in skintight options so they can layer on finds in front of several mirrors. Second: Pay attention to color. Everything is broken down by color, which makes finding that little black dress a breeze. And clothes with select colored tags are half-off daily. Third: Show up twice a day. Serious shoppers come by at the 9 a.m. opening time and then again around 3 p.m., when the staff brings out the second shipment of stuff from the backroom.

The man who runs Abernathy's is not named Abernathy — he's Tom Tahmasebi — but don't let that turn you off. He comes highly recommended, and for good reason: On cars he fixes, he gets the paint a near-perfect match to the original color and makes sure it looks as good as new. The waiting room smells reassuringly of solvents, and the workers are friendly. It's never nice to have to shell out hundreds or thousands of dollars for a messed-up car, but even if this place doesn't offer the biggest discounts, it's a reassuring experience every step of the way.

The animal advocates at Sea Turtle Oversight Protection (STOP) don't have a beef with the Hillsboro Lighthouse — just with the particular way that its beam shines onto the beach, thereby disorienting sea-turtle hatchlings to the point that many completely miss the ocean and end up dying. The turtle protectors have been trying to get the Coast Guard to fix this problem for years and have even offered up a list of solutions that don't in any way involve turning off the century-old light. Just change to a yellow instead of a white light bulb, they've pleaded, or use a type of glass that won't confuse the poor baby turtles. The Coast Guard then turned around last year and misrepresented STOP's argument. The Coast Guard asked for community input, essentially saying, "We're thinking about turning out the lighthouse because of these sea-turtle folks. Do you think we should turn out the lighthouse?" Politicians, historians, and neighbors, of course, freaked out and yelled "Keep our lighthouse on," and now all the turtles are going to die.

Few attorneys would clamor for a government job representing juvenile delinquents. Broward Chief Assistant Public Defender Gordon Weekes treats his clients as he would any other kids — with dignity, respect, and a fierce sense of protection. When a 14-year-old boy alleged he was repeatedly sexually assaulted by a guard at the Thompson Academy detention center, Weekes got the teenager released from jail. He also defended Michael Bent, the 17-year-old accused of orchestrating an attack on 15-year-old Michael Brewer, which ended in Brewer's being lit on fire. In each case, Weekes stood up for kids others might shun. Weekes writes letters to Tallahassee complaining about maggots in his clients' food, abusive guards, and other problems at state-funded juvie lockups. He refuses to accept that dysfunctional government agencies such as the Department of Juvenile Justice and Department of Children and Families will never change. He keeps shining a light on the dark places, insisting there is a better way to help troubled kids.

It certainly wasn't the first time something racist was said on the internet, but Santaluces High School was briefly on alert for "cracka beatdowns" after girls posted an outrageous video in February. Turns out, saying "So, guys, if you are watching this video right now and you have a weave and you are black, please be offended, 'cause we are making fun of you" offends people. The same thing happened in Gainesville when two girls posted a 14-minute rant about blacks in their community that got national attention and "response videos" from all over the place. After the video blew up, so did their academic careers at Gainesville High — they never went back. So next time you have a hankerin' for some genuine race-fueled outrage, just say the same thing Michael Scott did in The Office: "I've got to make sure YouTube comes down to tape this."

They say the man who represents himself has a fool for a client, but this long-running David-and-Goliath case just might end with a local government looking like the fool. It all started in 2006, when Lozman, a retired Chicago financier with plenty of money to burn on justice, claimed he had been illegally evicted from his floating home in Riviera Beach because of his activism against last-minute plans to sell the marina to a developer using eminent domain. He won that case, but the city stayed on his heels, coming after him with all kinds of accusations (he owed fees to the marina; his ten-pound dachshund was too dangerous). Lozman resisted, and — long story short — the feds towed away his house. Last year, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that federal authorities had the right to do so, since his house was technically a vessel, subject to federal maritime law. Lozman balked at the ruling — his house, since destroyed, didn't even have engines or steering — and petitioned the highest court in the land to decide what, exactly, distinguishes a boat from a house. The court picked his case, and it will be heard in October.

Driving drunk, plowing your Bentley through a stop sign, and capsizing a Hyundai into a canal is one thing. Leaving the 23-year-old driver of the Hyundai to drown while you stumble off down the road to call your girlfriend is a whole different universe of awful. A Palm Beach County jury convicted Wellington polo mogul John Goodman of all of these crimes in March. A few months before the trial, Goodman added salt to the wound by adopting his 42-year-old girlfriend — a move many observers saw as a way to protect the millions of dollars in his kids' trust funds. By the time Goodman took the stand to defend himself against charges of DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide, and failure to render aid, much of South Florida had already turned against him. Jurors said they didn't believe much of Goodman's testimony. Can you blame them?

Swap Shop

Taking a potential love to the Swap Shop is great place to show your quirky side without having to go out and buy any artsy posters of men covered in body paint. There's no one thing about the place that will make you look cool, but where else in South Florida can you buy hot dogs, studded belts, and flowers before bringing a bottle of booze into a first-run movie (it's a drive-in, no less!)? Plus, it'll be a helluva story telling your grandkids about how Grandpappy wooed Nana over a folding table of old earrings.

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