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12 months ago

Chatham Lodging Completes Acquisition of the Residence Inn Fort Lauderdale Intracoastal | Reuters

Chatham Lodging Completes Acquisition of the Residence Inn Fort Lauderdale Intracoastal

Chatham Lodging Trust (NYSE:CLDT), a hotel real estate investment trust (REIT) focused on investing in upscale, extended-stay hotels and premium-branded, select-service hotels, today announced that it has completed the previously announced acquisition of the 105-room Residence Inn Fort Lauderdale Intracoastal/Il Lugano.

This is a great addition to our portfolio, further enhances its quality and geographic distribution, commented Dennis Craven, Chathams chief operating officer. Given the current disconnect in public pricing of our common sto

1 year ago

Real Estate Market Trends for Miami, FL

Summary for Miami

The median sales price for homes in Miami FL for Jul 15 to Oct 15 was $247,000. This represents a decline of 1.2%, or $3,000, compared to the prior quarter and an increase of 11.3% compared to the prior year. Sales prices have appreciated 65.8% over the last 5 years in Miami. The average listing price for Miami homes for sale on Trulia was $441,237 for the week ending Oct 21, which represents a decline of 2.7%, or $12,039, compared to the prior week and a decline of 2.1%, or $9,332, compared to the week ending Sep 30. Average price per square foot for Miami FL was $174, an increase of 6.7% compared to the same period last year. Popular neighborhoods in Miami include Coral Way, Wynwood - Edgewater, Upper East Side, Northeast Coconut Grove, West Little Havana, and East Little Havana.

1 year ago

Jury convicts Miami man who says he grew pot for cancer-stricken wife | Reuters

MIAMI A Miami jury convicted a man who faces up to 35 years in prison for growing marijuana in a bedroom of his house in what he says was an act of love to help his wife who is recovering from breast cancer, local media reported.

Ricardo Varona, 43, was arrested in July 2014 and charged with marijuana trafficking after police said they seized 15 live marijuana plants that could have produced more than 30 pounds of usable weed.

In closing arguments on Friday, Varona's lawyer, Jose Aguirre, told jurors in Miami state court that detectives did not find any money ledgers, drug scales or packaging equipment at Varona's house that would show he was selling pot for money.

"They want you to believe he is Pablo Escobar and Walter White," Aguirre said, referring to the deceased Colombian cocaine baron and the drug dealing protagonist of the TV series "Breaking Bad."

"All he was trying to do was give his wife the medicine she needs."

Prosecutors also failed to prove the actual weight of the plants, Aguirre added.

Prosecutors said Varona had set up lights to mimic the sun, air filters to mask the pungent odor, and fans to cool the operation, local media reported. The size of it was far more than could ever be consumed by one person, they argued, estimating the plants' value at $90,000.

"He was helping out his wife and he was helping out his wallet," said prosecutor David Emas.

Florida last year legalized a low-potency strain of medical marijuana to treat severe epilepsy though it has yet to select approved state growers. A petition is being organized to widen medical marijuana usage in the state.

Aguirre said his client faced a maximum of 35 years in prison if found guilty.

More than 20 states have passed laws legalizing medical marijuana in recent years, while a handful of others such as Colorado also allow recreational use of the drug.

Maria Varona told jurors during the trial she has to make the costly trip to Colorado to get marijuana edibles and pills.

Although her cancer is in remission, she continues to require cannabis edibles due to the prevalence of the disease in her family, she told the court.

The prosecutor accused Varona's wife of lying on the stand. "She is covering up for her husband," he said. "Who can blame her?"

(Additional reporting by Zachary Fagenson; Editing by David Adams and Diane Craft)

1 year ago

4 injured in gas explosion at Miami-area high-rise

SUNNY ISLES BEACH, Fla.-- Numerous people were injured in an explosion at a Sunny Isles Beach building in Florida on Friday, reports CBS Miami.

Fire officials say a gas leak caused an explosion in the boiler room of a penthouse at a Miami-area high-rise, injuring at least four people.

Muria Serrano, public information officer for Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, says two people were taken by air to a trauma center.


Scene of an explosion in Florida.

CBS Miami

The explosion happened Friday at the top of a high-rise residence in Sunny Isles Beach, a city about 20 miles north of Miami.

Around noon, fire rescue trucks could be seen near the Chateau Beach Residences building.

CBS Miami's chopper was over the scene as a section of the top of the building could be seen apparently collapsed near a room that looked like a boiler room.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated.

1 year ago

Florida to go blue versus Tennessee

The rivalry between Tennessee and Florida is a fierce one. Nearly 100 years ago (1916) is when the two teams first faced off versus one another. Both programs have sustained great success over the years, and there was time in which the SEC East Division went through Gainesville and/or Knoxville. As a result, the pageantry surrounding this game is usually considerable, and carnival-like in nature.

This upcoming weekend, Florida will play host to Tennessee in The Swamp. A "blue out" will be in effect. Although Orange is part of Florida's color scheme, the home team is hoping to create a crystalline sea of blue within Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

1 year ago

$4.5 million-worth Spanish gold coins discovered on 300th anniversary of 1715 shipwreck

Exactly 300 years to the day after a hurricane destroyed 11 Spanish ships off the coast of Florida, a salvage company made an incredible discovery worth $4.5 million.

Brent Brisben, 1715 Fleet Queens Jewels CEO, said the July 30 find was "magical" and "surreal."

"Not only to have these incredible artifacts come up with their great value, but to have it actually happen on the 300th anniversary is really something I can't articulate," Brisben said Wednesday on "CBS This Morning."

Brisben's team recovered 350 sunken gold coins including nine Royals, artifacts he said haven't been found since 1998.

"These Royals are perfect specimens of coinage of the time and they we

1 year ago

Cheap, synthetic 'flakka' dethroning cocaine on Florida drug scene | Reuters

MIAMI For decades, South Florida has battled drug traffickers who ship boatloads of cocaine from South America. Now the region is dealing with a new epidemic - cheap, synthetic drugs that arrive from China through the mail.

As authorities in the Sunshine State battle with the surge of Alpha-PVP, better known as "flakka" or "gravel," police departments have begun equipping officers with field detection kits, employing sniffer dogs at mail facilities and training patrol units to look for signs of delirium.

The drug's popularity, however, is only growing. In 2014, the first year

1 year ago

Florida State Coach Reportedly Bans Players From Bars After Incidents Of Violence

It wasn't a happy hour for the Florida State Seminoles.

In the aftermath of two football players being accused of assaulting women in bar-related incidents, Coach Jimbo Fisher told his players Saturday that going to bars is now forbidden, according to a reporter from the Tallahassee Democrat.

The reporter, Jim Henry, also tweeted that the coach indicated the university was bringing in "professionals" to counsel the team.

Star running back Dalvin Cook was suspended from the team Friday after he was charged with punching a woman outside of a bar. Cook's suspension followed the release of a video last week that appeared to show quarterback De'Andre Johnson striking a woman in the face in a bar. He was booted permanently from the squad last Monday. (Johnson's lawyer says the alleged victim provoked the player by using the n-word.)

In a public statement Friday, Fisher said, We spend a good deal of time educating our student-athletes about appropriate behavior and their responsibilities as representatives of Florida State. The majority of our players are exemplary, but clearly we must place an even stronger emphasis on this, and I personally promise we will.

One media outlet is less than impressed with the new prohibition: CBS Sports' Tim Fornelli wrote, "Just because both De'Andre Johnson and Dalvin Cook allegedly struck women in bars doesn't mean bars are the problem. Plenty of Florida State players, and people in general, have gone to bars without punching anybody."

The Huffington Post reached out to Florida State's athletics department for comment, but didn't receive a response by press time.

H/T Deadspin

1 year ago

GarminĀ® Stores Coming to Miami

OLATHE, Kan.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Garmin International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN), the global leader in satellite navigation, today announced that it will open new brick-and-mortar stores in the greater Miami area. These Garmin showcases will offer the companys most popular products, combined with renowned customer service and in-depth, hands-on product demonstrations.

The Garmin stores are located in high volume traffic areas that draw a mix of locals and travelers from around the globe, said Dan Bartel Garmin vice president of worldwide sales. Customers can engage with a team of knowledgeable Garmin associates who can answer questions, demonstrate products, and help select the perfect device. Its another way to demonstrate that Garmin has a very diverse product portfolio with devices that can benefit virtually anyone who leads an active lifestyle.

Garmin will open a 2,600 square-foot Garmin store in Miami, located at the Lincoln Road Mall. Located at 511-513 Lincoln Road, this space will allow guests to receive concierge-like customer service while experiencing dozens of different products in the Garmin lineup including wellness, running, cycling, golfing, marine, automotive, aviation, and outdoor recreation devices. Lincoln Road is a popular pedestrian mall that features an array of high-end brands, galleries, and restaurants.

Also in the greater Miami area, Garmin will open a smaller kiosk-format showcase in the upscale Aventura Mall. Situated between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Aventura is home to many luxury brands and is the third largest mall in the United States.

For nearly a decade, Garmin has maintained a very popular store in Chicago, located on Michigan Avenues Magnificent Mile. The company intends to maintain its presence in Chicago.

For over 25 years, Garmin has pioneered new GPS navigation and wireless devices and applications that are designed for people who live an active lifestyle. Garmin serves five primary business units, including automotive, aviation, fitness, marine, and outdoor recreation. For more information, visit Garmin's virtual pressroom at, contact the Media Relations department at 913-397-8200, or follow us at,, or

About Garmin

Garmin International Inc. is a subsidiary of Garmin Ltd. (Nasdaq: GRMN). Garmin Ltd. is incorporated in Switzerland, and its principal subsidiaries are located in the United States, Taiwan and the United Kingdom. Garmin is a trademark of Garmin Ltd.

All other brands, product names, company names, trademarks and service marks are the properties of their respective owners. All rights reserved.

Notice on Forward-Looking Statements:

This release includes forward-looking statements regarding Garmin Ltd. and its business. Such statements are based on managements current expectations. The forward-looking events and circumstances discussed in this release may not occur and actual results could differ materially as a result of known and unknown risk factors and uncertainties affecting Garmin, including, but not limited to, the risk factors listed in the Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 27, 2014, filed by Garmin with the Securities and Exchange Commission (Commission file number 0-31983). A copy of such Form 10-K is available at No forward-looking statement can be guaranteed. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date on which they are made and Garmin undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.

1 year ago

Landmark Bank, N.A. Assumes Deposits of Valley Bank, Fort Lauderdale, FL

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Landmark Bank announced today that it has assumed essentially all of the assets and deposits of Valley Bank, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, after Valley Bank was closed by the Florida Office of Financial Regulation. Valley Banks four branches, located in Fort Lauderdale, Davie, Hollywood and Tamarac, will reopen as branches of Landmark Bank on Monday, June 23, 2014 for normal business hours. Deposit accounts remain fully insured up the FDIC limits, and will automatically become Landmark Bank deposits, so customers do not need to change their banking relationship. This evening and over the weekend, Valley Bank customers can continue to access their money by writing checks or using ATM and debit cards or online banking.

We extend a warm welcome to Valley Bank customers, and want to reassure them that their deposits are safe and easily accessible, and their loan terms remain unchanged. The Landmark Bank team looks forward to building long-term relationships with our newest customers and serving all their financial needs, said Landmark Bank President & CEO Perry A. LaCaria.

From a business perspective, this acquisition builds the Landmark Bank brand and supports our planned expansion in a market that presents tremendous growth potential. As the economy continues to recover and businesses rebound, they will require more sophisticated financial services. We are excited by the opportunity to bring our quality banking products and services to even more customers who will benefit from a banking relationship with us, LaCaria said.

Landmark Bank specializes in business banking solutions, including commercial real estate loans and lines of credit, commercial and industrial loans, and homeowner and condo association financial services. Additional business services include Mobile Banking, Online Cash Management, Remote Deposit Capture, Merchant Services, Business Credit Cards, Courier Service, deposit accounts and more.

Landmark Bank, N.A., a locally-owned community bank established in 1998, has $335 million in assets, including assets assumed in the Valley Bank transaction. It now operates six full-service branches in Broward County. An additional branch is scheduled to open in Boca Raton this summer. For more information, visit, or contact Landmark Bank at (954) 958-0001 or via email at