Filed under: Flotsam
On September 7, Skye Barth called her father with a random inquiry: She wanted to know how to spell his middle name. This was important, for it was going to be the name of his new grandson. The thing is, nobody had known Skye was pregnant. Not even Skye.
As the 25-year-old Kendallite later recounted on a friend's blog, which Riptide happened upon, Skye recalled having no symptoms, no noticeable weight gain, nothing. She said she even rode her bike with ease the day before giving birth.
"I went about my life normally since January, working, wearing the same size pants — that sort of thing. Nothing really changed," Skye tells Riptide.
Early on the first Friday of September, Skye woke up with painful cramps. She called a friend over for help, but ended up dialing an ambulance before her friend arrived. EMTs were clueless. While Skye reclined in a chair with heart-rate sensors attached to her, she says she felt a sudden urge to go to the bathroom. It was there she saw the baby's head crowning. Soon thereafter, she delivered the baby in the ambulance outside her house. Greyson Barth was born about five weeks prematurely and weighed a little more than five pounds — small, but healthy.
"A few of the younger ambulance men looked terrified, because I had called complaining about abdominal pain and they weren't expecting a delivery," says Skye.
Then again, neither was she.
"I was like, 'What is this? Oh my God!' I was terrified. Your whole life flashes in front of your eyes. There's really no way to quantify how it felt — like a great big question mark."
Dr. Kathleen Goodman, an OB/GYN in South Miami, "remembers hearing about a case like this years ago ... a 16-year-old girl. Her parents thought it was immaculate conception." Goodman says she has heard of two or three situations like this in her 20 years of practice. The bottom line? "It's extremely unlikely, but anything is possible."
Since giving birth, Skye has relocated from a house she shared with several roommates to her parents' place in Homestead. "Things have changed radically in the blink of an eye — everything's different," says Skye. "I still can't get over that he's here and he's in my arms.... And I'm still not so great around kids, but now that I have one, mine is cool. I've never felt such a love for a little being." — Alexandra Quiñones
All Is Right in Peach Bottom
Filed under: News
Last Tuesday a TV news station aired a tragic-comic investigation into security at the Peach Bottom Township nuclear plant in Pennsylvania. WCBS-TV New York broadcast a video of a roomful of armed guards asleep at the switch; the footage had been filmed by a disgruntled former employee who blew the whistle. Hours after the segment aired, the plant's security contract with Palm Beach-based Wackenhut Corporation was in the process of being terminated.
Oh, to live in good old Peach Bottom!
Here in Miami, things move a bit more slowly.
Cries of overbilling and fraud came from former guards at the Juvenile Assessment Center and Metrorail as long ago as 2003. They fell on deaf ears at the Office of the Inspector General; not until October 2005 did Miami-Dade County Manager George Burgess order an audit. Since then? A whole lot of nothing. The county refused to show its preliminary findings to Mark Veith, the attorney whose lawsuit prodded an investigation of Wackenhut's books. So Veith subpoenaed the findings. The audit was weak, comprising a tiny sample size and spanning only three years.
Still, the draft shows $12 million unaccounted for and offers a list of 38 employees who were on the books for working phantom hours. Former guard Roberto Pereira was documented as working 9079 hours for which, he says, he was never paid. If the company is found guilty of fraud, Wackenhut would have to pay back three times what it took. That stands at $36 million — $36 million we could all really use.
You'd think the county would want our money back. Cathy Jackson, head of audit and management, did not return phone calls seeking comment. Nor did Wackenhut respond to a list of questions.
Meanwhile Veith has begun his own audit. His crack squad of two investigators and five auditors has alleged to have found more than 107,000 fraudulently reported contract hours in 2001 and 2002 — years the county has not audited at all. — Calvin Godfrey
A Kinder, Gentler Sarnoff
Filed under: Politics
Despite Manny Diaz's surprise appearance at District 2 Commissioner Marc Sarnoff's recent fundraiser at Christabelle's Quarter in Coconut Grove, Sarnoff says rumors of the Miami mayor's political backing are false.
After all, since taking office, Sarnoff has been a thorn in Diaz's side. He has never hesitated to disagree with the mayor over various issues, especially development.
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Sarnoff took a moment from his busy schedule to downplay Diaz's appearance at the re-election campaign stop. "He just came in. He's the mayor of Miami; he's welcome to come to any of my events. But he is not — and I repeat not — fundraising with me." Still, Sarnoff admits a thawing might be under way: "Has my relationship improved with him? Yes ... but Manny and I disagree on many things, and I've learned to respectfully disagree with him."
Another surprise: In his speech, Sarnoff struck a rather statesmanlike pose and spoke repeatedly about the need for Miamians to take up a "social contract." "Spend 10 minutes each day being kind to each other," he urged. "If you take care of each other, I guarantee the City of Miami will take care of you."
We couldn't help asking the commissioner what he was getting at. "I'm trying to suggest to Miamians that we need to care for each other," he told Riptide. "There's nothing more important than making Miami a more friendly and better-spirited place."
Apparently the commissioner is serious enough about making Miami friendlier that he's willing to put it on paper (he is a lawyer, after all). Sarnoff says he actually plans to introduce his "social contract" at the next city commission meeting, on October 11. — Isaiah Thompson