For Ben Brafman, Becoming A Leader In Mental Health And Addiction Meant Overcoming His Own Obstacles

It was supposed to be a normal day for one of Ben Brafman’s clients. But a simple trip to a meeting ended with the client in jail. The client, who was battling a mental illness, began acting out, which prompted a bystander to call the police. Brafman assured the officers that he just needed a few minutes to calm his client down and they would be on their way.

“They ended up arresting him for being loud and boisterous,” Brafman remembers. “As soon as they tried to handcuff him, he got aggressive, agitated.”

Brafman, 47, founder and CEO of Guardian Behavioral Health Foundation, says this incident and others aren’t uncommon in the arena of mental illness and addiction.

“We have a tendency to minimize things in society and not really put a lot of stock in it. We’re asking for trouble,” the Parkland resident says. “We need to crack some stereotypes and stigmas.”

Continue reading

Advertisements

This ‘gas highway’ across the Southeast is angering everyone in its path

by-jim-tatum-stt-pipe

Photo courtesy of Jim Tatum

When Jeb and Bob Bell’s mother was diagnosed with bone cancer in 1985, she purchased 100 acres of land in Mitchell County, Georgia, to grow timber on. She wanted her sons taken care of if she didn’t make it, and for them to have something they could pass on to their own children.

She survived the cancer, but a new threat to the land has emerged. Today, private companies want to build a natural gas pipeline through the Bell’s land to run south into neighboring Florida.

“In 2014 we received a letter saying they were interested in coming down through here and putting in the pipeline,” said Jeb Bell, a resource manager at Georgia State Parks. “I sent them a letter telling them to stay off my land. I did not want them on my land. Who in their right mind would want a 36-inch pipeline three feet under the ground in proximity of their house?”

Continue reading

How to fix Florida’s unbearable, sewage-driven algae blooms before they get worse

MIAMI—When Nadia Smart and her husband moved from Okeechobee to Stuart, FL, last fall, they were looking forward to spending the summer kayaking and swimming.

A year later, they haven’t been able to do any of that.

“We bought our house here because we like the beaches, we like the waterways, and we can’t use them,” she said. “It’s just been a dead summer, it’s sad.”

For the Smarts and other residents on Florida’s Treasure Coast a few hours north of Miami, the summer has been marred by an infestation of cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae.

Continue reading

This is where orphaned baby elephants go after their parents are killed by poachers

Photo by Christiana Lilly

Photo by Christiana Lilly

NAIROBI, Kenya—It was October, 2014 on the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya when a tourist saw a horrific sight on the plain.

A herd of elephants surrounded a downed female with a poisoned spear wound in her cheek, her face cut open, and her two tusks missing. The elephants mourned their family member—especially a tiny, 10-month old calf crying over her mother and resting her trunk on her belly.

When the team at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, which abuts Nairobi National Park, found out about the newly orphaned baby, they knew they had to rescue the calf, as she would die of starvation without her mother’s milk. They went into action, flying into the park, separating the calf from the herd, and taking her back to their center.

There, she was welcomed by more than two dozen other orphaned baby elephants and the staff named her “Roi.”

“They could have seen their mother killed before their eyes,” Rob Brandford, executive director of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, said of the orphans. “They’re completely lost. They don’t know what’s happened, they don’t know where they are.”

Continue reading

LGBT community grieves, pulls together in wake of Orlando slaughter

(Facebook)

(Facebook)

They called him Top Hat Eddie.

Eddie Sotomayor was witty, sarcastic, loyal to a fault, and he loved his top hat. On Saturday night, he posted a video to Facebook of a friend who had stolen his signature accessory while partying at the nightclub, Pulse.

“He said, ‘He’s trying to steal my top hat!’ And I just lay in bed and I laughed because he was so happy and he was so funny,” said Ryan Macauley, 27, who was scrolling through his Facebook feed before turning in for the night.

The next morning, Macauley’s phone woke him up when breaking news alerts went off — a mass shooting at Pulse. He jumped with shock and fell out of bed. He called Sotomayor a dozen times, but each call went to voicemail. No one else knew what had happened to him.

Continue reading

World’s largest ivory burn creates stunning image of harm caused by poaching

IMG_3033

105 tons of elephant tusks and 1.35 tons of rhino horn were burned in Nairobi, Kenya (Photo by Christiana Lilly)

NAIROBI NATIONAL PARK, Kenya—Before a crowd of hundreds, white smoke and a crackling fire billowed from 12 funeral pyres, rising into the sky and blanketing Nairobi National Park.

On April 30, Kenya hosted the world’s largest ivory burning, sending a message to poachers, sellers, and consumers that it will not stand for the illegal practice.

“This trade means death of our elephants and the death of our national heritage,” said Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in a speech before the burn. “Ivory belongs to our elephants.”

Continue reading

South Florida Springtime Music Fests

17181387875_dd7ba67e80_z

Courtesy Tortuga Music Festival

What’s your musical style—spurs and cowboy hats, head-banging, a smooth sax, or getting lost in electric tunes? Is it new underground artists that pique your interest, or major acts touring the nation? Whatever gets your body moving and your toes tapping, South Florida’s endless springtime music festivals—big and small—keeps music lovers of all kinds happy.

39th Annual Calle Ocho

Considered the largest block party to celebrate Hispanic cultures from around the world, the Calle Ocho festival (March 13) on Miami’s legendary SW 8th Street, spans 19-city blocks in Miami’s Little Havana. Get your dancing shoes on to vibrate with the hip-shaking rhythms of Latin music from salsa, reggaeton, merengue to hip-hop, including street dancers and eight dedicated stages of performances.

Enjoy hundreds of international food kiosks simmering with authentic local and Latin flavors, sample the latest food from many national brands and more. Free admission. From 8th Ave. to SW 27th Ave., Miami.

Continue reading

Culture Couture

A brides dressed in a colorful silk sari, adorned with sequins and beads is truly a sight to behold. It’s no secret that South Florida is a favorite destination for couples planning Indian fusion weddings. And Rupees, Inc, a Wynwood boutique specializing in traditional Indian wear, outfits bridal parties from head to toe. The owners travel multiple times a year to India to find the newest designs in silk and chiffon. “A lot of our clients aren’t necessarily of Indian heritage, but they are guests who are attending Indian weddings,” says Sachin Dhupelia, co-owner of Rupees Inc. “They want to become immersed in the culture and enjoy the whole experience.”

Continue reading

Just Keep Swimming

Swimwear designer Cayetana Uranga de la Borda has never let anything stand in her way – including cerebral palsy, which she’s lived with since birth.

Cayetana Uranga de la Borda has probably visited every beach in Palm Beach County, riding her bicycle or driving with her sisters to lay out in the sun. As Peruvian girls, they love the water and have more bikinis than they can count. It’s when she steps into the water and the sense of weightlessness sets in that she’s truly happy.

Uranga, 29, was born in Lima, Peru, and diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth, a condition that impacts the brain’s ability to control muscle movement and tone. Doctors told her parents that their daughter would never be able to walk, talk or lead a normal life.

But she has done all of those things, and more – she drives wherever she pleases, has a degree in fashion management from Lynn University and a year ago launched her own line of swimwear and online store, Lolita’s Beachwear.

Continue reading

Miami Live Month: Miami’s Hottest Live Music Venues

Courtesy Fillmore Miami Beach

Courtesy Fillmore Miami Beach

No matter what part of the Magic City you visit, there’s almost always a live band playing for an eclectic and international audience.

And throughout the year, Miami hosts world-class music festivals, offering even more opportunities to catch your favorite musicians or discover new ones. Each February, Little Havana comes to life with the annual return of Calle Ocho, a 23-block festival of hip hop, Latin, and reggae music. Ultra Music Festival and the Winter Music Conference flood the city with electronic music, events and artists each March. For lovers of jazz, R&B and soul, Jazz in the Gardens brings some of the biggest names to Sun Life stadium in Miami Gardens each spring.

Here’s a round-up of top-notch venues divided by neighborhood:

SOUTH BEACH

Miami’s hub for all things nightlife, South Beach is a great place for music lovers. Here, you’ll find the legendary Mango’s Tropical Cafe on Ocean Drive. A vibrant bar featuring lively dancers with colorful costumes, Mango’s is open until the wee hours of the morning, every night of the week. The Fillmore Miami Beach at Jackie Gleason Theater is a popular concert venue that brings both national acts and local singer-songwriters to the stage.

Sway to the sounds of live jazz at Jazid, a cozy venue located along the Washington Avenue strip. Featuring live music nightly, acts include mostly local jazz artists and bands, although other musicians specializing in genres like funk/soul, R&B and reggae also find their way to the stage.

Miami Beach’s hotels also provide a wide variety of musical entertainment. The iconic Fontainebleau Miami Beach hosts their regular Bleau Live concert series, featuring some of the biggest acts of the year. Or head to Lapidus Lounge, at The Ritz-Carlton South Beach, where you can experience a more laid-back lounge music scene.

Continue reading