While You Were Out

While You Were Out
Filed Under: News
While you were out partying, doing hallucinogenic drugs, and having hedonistic (and maybe unprotected) sex during the recent Winter Music Conference, the University of Miami's medical school provided New Times with some astonishing, sobering facts: The AIDS rate among young people in Miami-Dade County went up 27 percent in 2006. Teenagers and young adults between ages thirteen to 29 represent 24 percent of the 15,565 HIV cases reported in the past five years. Fourteen percent of the 29,580 people with AIDS in Miami-Dade are between the ages of thirteen and 29. Black females account for 77 percent of those infected.

Since this past November the medical school's division of adolescent medicine has had seven kids test positive for the HIV.

"And these are just the kids who get tested," says Alex Moreno, the division's director of adolescent outreach and education. "There are countless others who just don't care or don't bother."

The problem is a lack of funding to educate youths on the perils of doing it bareback. "As you may well know, Florida's educational system leaves a lot to be desired," Moreno says. "Zero dollars are dedicated to HIV/AIDS education." And forget the Bush administration, since it only provides federal funding programs that advocate abstinence.

"Each year we are getting more and more kids with HIV," Moreno says. "Yet we get the same amount of funding every year. What can we do?"—Francisco Alvarado

The Hard Sell
Filed Under: News
Call the job line at Miami Gardens' fledgling police department and you'll likely hear this: "Due to the volume of calls," a message says, "we ask that you leave only your name and a telephone number."

Waves of applications, 730 by last count, have flooded the mailboxes, fax machines, and e-mail inboxes at City Hall. The draw? One of Florida's best employment packages for cops — if not the best.

"It's the Cadillac" of police contracts, said Miami Shores Police Chief Kevin Lystad. He should know. Several of his officers have considered bailing out for Miami Gardens.

While first-year City of Miami officers can expect to make $37,818, they can pull down $45,100 in Miami Gardens. A first-year applicant with a master's degree will earn $54,183, about 50 percent more than he'd make on the Miami force, which offers no salary bonus for a graduate degree. Veteran officers can make up to $76,396 in Miami Gardens, while veteran sergeants can earn up to $93,361 and veteran captains $114,080. It's not just the salaries that have officers from area departments drooling.

In what Miami Gardens City Manager Danny Crew calls a "shockingly aggressive program" to compete for the best and brightest, the department offers new hires a signing bonus of $12,000 (detectives get $14,000), $7000 in relocation money, $5000 for a home's down payment or closing costs, and an extra $2000 for living in Miami Gardens. There are "special discounts, interest rates, and incentives" to buy a house in the area. The health insurance plan covers officers 100 percent and their families 50 percent. The pension plan, part of the Florida Retirement System, doesn't require a pay in. The department will reimburse up to 100 percent of in-state school tuition costs for officers seeking degrees and will give an eight-percent raise to any officer who obtains a master's degree.

Officers will get to take their patrol cars (with a free SunPass) home at night. Did we mention that in addition to 22 days of paid leave per year (for a starting officer), new hires get an extra week off for signing up, and are credited with any sick leave time left over from the last year at their previous job?

The county's third-largest city after Miami and Hialeah, Miami Gardens is the largest predominantly black municipality in the state, with a black woman mayor. Long unincorporated, Miami Gardens became the county's 33rd municipality in 2003. Unsatisfied with metro police, city leaders this past September approved a property tax increase in order to fund the police department. Hiring began in January, and so far the department has hired a chief, deputy chief, three majors, and four captains. The 150-strong force is set to be operational by December.

"I don't know if anyone in the nation has started from scratch a department this large," Crew said. —Rob Jordan

The Legend of Ned The apotheosis of A'mod Ned continues. Ned, the injured FIU football player who was photographed walking onto the field on crutches to enter the notorious brawl between UM and FIU players last fall, is becoming the stuff of legend. The bloggers at Deadspin.com and The Big Picture (zachls.blogspot.com) began Photoshopping the be-crutched Ned into legendary battles and other dust-ups. And now you can join Ned's team: A new T-shirt features Ned's jersey, supported by crutches, and the slogan NED IS MY HOMEBOY. "I was hesitant to do it," T-shirt maker Matt Johnson tells New Times. "There wasn't going to be much profit in it, but I figured out something really quick. An hour later it was up. There's been three orders so far which is two more than I honestly expected." Ned fans can buy theirs at www.twoeightnine.com. Soldier on, A'mod! —Frank Houston

Get Air-Humped Tonight When I was a wee chick dance floors were for dancing and when you wanted to swap spit or grope your lover, you practiced discretion and moved off the dance floor. And surely, if you wanted to have sex, you went to the parking lot or the beach. Good lord, what has happened to the art form in the last twenty years? Was I in a clubbing coma when "get down tonight" became an orgy of dry humping?

Taken from Sex and the Beach (sexandthebeach.blogspot.com)

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Francisco Alvarado was born in Nicaragua and grew up in Miami, giving him unique insight into the Magic City and all its dark corners. An investigative reporter with a knack for uncovering corruption, Alvarado made his bones as a staff writer at Miami New Times and remains in dogged pursuit of the next juicy story.
Frank Houston
Rob Jordan
Contact: Rob Jordan