On September 1, 2019, Hurricane Dorian struck the Bahamas as a Category 5 storm. Reuters correspondent Zachary Fagenson reports from Great Abaco, which was nearly obliterated: “For the next three days, it would be our discomfiting task to point our recording equipment at piles of rubble that days earlier had been houses, and to extract stories from the occupants who’d abandoned them to the hurricane, who now were reduced to convulsive sobs at the sight of what had become of their homes and their lives.”
In Miami, a long-standing feud with his neighbor — a top-level cop with a history of making false accusations against people — leads graphic designer Mark Cantor to several wrongful arrests, expensive litigation, unsatisfying exoneration, and an ongoing civil suit.
In recent years, IV drips have become a status symbol, and osteopathic doctor, bodybuilder, and former model Ivan Rusilko is at the forefront of the craze.
A rivalry between two boxers becomes a one-sided case study in obsession and jealousy, culminating in a fatal bullet wound. Elfrink relays both men’s stories in the wider context of South Florida’s boxing history.
Michael Jackson’s former pet chimp Bubbles is living out his twilight years in a Florida nonprofit sanctuary alongside apes who have costarred with Clint Eastwood, Jim Carrey, and Kevin Smith.
Two sisters are helping police track down their father, who abused them and murdered their mother and younger sister in the 1980s:
“DNA analysis quickly confirmed that Gloria’s mother, Nilsa Padilla, was the murder victim known for decades as “Theresa Torso.” Gloria’s father, Jorge Walter Nuñez, instantly became the only suspect. For Miami-Dade police, it was a breakthrough in one of the department’s oldest and most vexing cases. For Gloria, it was salvation.
“‘They thought I was crazy,’ she says of the cops, foster parents, and caseworkers who ridiculed her claims for years. ‘Now they know I’m not.'”
An investigation reveals that Major League Baseball stars including the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez and the Giants’ Melky Cabrera allegedly received banned substances:
“Open the neat spreadsheet and scroll past the listing of local developers, prominent attorneys, and personal trainers. You’ll find a lengthy list of nicknames: Mostro, Al Capone, El Cacique, Samurai, Yukon, Mohamad, Felix Cat, and D.R.
“Then check out the main column, where their real names flash like an all-star roster of professional athletes with Miami ties: San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera, Oakland A’s hurler Bartolo Colón, pro tennis player Wayne Odesnik, budding Cuban superstar boxer Yuriorkis Gamboa, and Texas Rangers slugger Nelson Cruz. There’s even the New York Yankees’ $275 million man himself, Alex Rodriguez, who has sworn he stopped juicing a decade ago.”
The complicated business of helping Cuban baseball talent find their way to the U.S., and eventually the Major League:
“At some point — either before leaving Cuba or postdefection — every player needs a baseball agent. The seedier practitioners of this trade are often called buscónes, or searchers. Sometimes they bully clients into paying. ‘I’ve heard of agents who hold players at gunpoint,’ says Gus Dominguez, a Cuban-American from Los Angeles who has negotiated contracts for major-league Cuban exiles such as Rey Ordóñez and Yuniesky Betancourt. ‘I’ve heard of agents who threaten to break their clients’ legs or arms.’
“Dominguez should know about the dark seams of the business. In 2006, he was indicted for smuggling ballplayers through Key West. The feds built their case on the word of a convicted drug trafficker who claimed Dominguez had paid him $225,000 — borrowed from major-league catcher Henry Blanco — for the work.”
(AltWeekly Award Winner, 2011) When Scott Storch was 8 years old, he was dizzied by a soccer cleat to the head. His mom did not take such injuries in stride. She had been apoplectic when Scott lost his baby teeth in a living-room dive five years earlier, leaving him with a Leon Spinks grin. “I was an overly worrisome mother,” admits Joyce Yolanda Storch, who goes mainly by her middle name. “I was overbearing to a fault.”