Palm Beach County’s top 3 plagiarism snafus

Melania Trump’s speech – was it plagiarism?

We realized – as so many things in Palm Beach – that there’s some connection to that issue here, and it’s been in the past year: In just the past year, Palm Beach County has seen at least three high-profile events concerning plagiarism. Here they are:
Plagiarizing principal
Former West Boca High teacher Mark Stenner used vast swaths of two popular speeches for two commencement addresses two years in a row. In the school district, students generally get an “F” when between 15 and 25 percent is taken without attribution.
Stenner was baffled at the brouhaha.
“Using copyrighted material or going word for word for the entirety of the speech. The speeches weren’t word for word, I took large chunks of them. The speech is famous on the Internet, it had a couple of million hits on YouTube, so I didn’t give it a second thought. … If I had used ‘Fourscore and seven years ago’ would I have needed to credit that author?”

And a soon-to-be school superintendent …
Anthony Hamlet, former Palm Beach County administrator and chosen superintendent to lead Pittsburgh school, used words that were not his own on his resume and during his first news conference.
“A successful superintendent has to satisfy many constituencies, keeping high achievers in the system while devoting resources to those who need them the most,” Hamlet wrote in his resume. It came from a February 2015 Washington Post editorial about a superintendent in Maryland.
Also, his issues about school grades.

And finally, ask not what you can do for your city
Steven Grant, Boynton Beach’s mayor, chose a great speaker to inspire his first public speech as mayor. He said he used John F. Kennedy’s famous inaugural address as a guide, got all ideas from him, changed some words around, but failed to tell anybody he did so — until he was asked by The Palm Beach Post.
Some excerpts:
JFK’s words: “For I have sworn before you and Almighty God the same solemn oath our forbears prescribed nearly a century and three-quarters ago.”
Grant goes on to say, “Let the word go forth from this time and place to friend and foe alike, that the torch is passed to a new generation of Americans, tempered by terrorism, disciplined by technology, proud of our ancient heritage and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of human rights to which this nation has always been committed…”
The 33-year-old mayor is defending himself saying, “I don’t think that the whole having a speech at a legislative session requires me to cite my sources.”

Aaron Hernandez friend, shot in Palm Beach County, gets immunity in double murder

A former friend of Aaron Hernandez, shot in the face in an industrial park near Riviera Beach while he was riding in the former NFL star’s car, has received immunity in the case of two men police say Hernandez killed in Boston in 2012.

Hartford Police mug shot of Alexander Bradley
Hartford Police mug shot of Alexander Bradley

Hernandez shot the friend, Alexander Bradley to shut him up about the double murder, Massachusetts prosecutors alleged when they charged Hernandez with witness tampering in May. Hernandez is set to stand trial in December in the July 2012 killings of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in Boston’s South End.

Interactive: Many Florida ties to Aaron Hernandez cases

 Just after dawn on Feb. 13, 2013, Bradley was driven to an industrial park outside Riviera Beach, shot once in the head and left to die.

A man, who had just arrived at work, heard a gunshot and spotted an SUV driving away. Minutes later, he found Bradley curled up in a fetal position and telling him to call 911.

NORTH ATTLEBORO, MA - AUGUST 22: Aaron Hernandez is escorted into the courtroom of the Attleboro District Court for his hearing on August 22, 2013 in North Attleboro, Massachusetts. Former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez has been indicted on a first-degree murder charge for the death of Odin Lloyd. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Aaron Hernandez is escorted into the courtroom North Attleboro, Mass. Former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez has been convicted of first-degree murder for the death of Odin Lloyd. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Bradley, who lost his eye as a result of the shooting, never cooperated with Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputies, so no criminal case was opened.

Bradley did, however, file a federal civil suit against Hernandez in West Palm Beach. Bradley’s lawyers filed a motion in that case Monday, saying they were giving documents about an “Agreement for Immunity” in the double murder case over to Hernandez’s Florida attorneys.

Massachusetts prosecutors have not said for certain that Bradley will testify against Hernandez in the double murder trial. Four months after Bradley was shot near Riviera Beach, Hernandez shot and killed Odin Lloyd in a secluded industrial park near Hernandez’s home in Bristol County, Massachusetts. Hernandez was convicted of Lloyd’s killing in April and has received a life sentence.


What churches should do if they have a shooter

If the notion of children practicing “active shooter” drills weren’t enough, it turns out the federal government has already thought of ways houses of worship can prepare for the worst.

fema guideIn the wake of the December 2012 shootings of schoolchildren in Newtown, Ct., the federal government issued guidelines for emergency operations at schools and at houses of worship, including what to do if someone starts shooting at a church.

The Insider found it looking for news of the massacre of nine people shot to death at a Charleston, S.C. church during Bible study Wednesday night.

Among the recommendations for things to plan:

  • How to evacuate.
  • Hiding places “Optimal locations have thick walls, solid doors with locks, minimal interior windows …”
  • How to communicate – “Familiar terms, sounds, lights and electronic communications such as text messages or emails.”
  • How everyone will know when it’s safe to emerge.
  • Most highly recommended is sharing with first responders, letting police and firefighters know such things as up-to-date exits, alarms control and locks.

What police want you to know when you’re stopped

During Saturday’s police symposium, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Terrence Carn and Capt. Jeffery Lindskoog held a question-and-answer session about how to interact with police during traffic stops. It was a blunt conversation that showed the officer’s perspective. Lindskoog, for example, said he personally didn’t want to give people traffic tickets because he knows the fees are high.

“Traffic fines in Florida have gotten so ridiculous, truly ridiculous, that I truly feel guilty striking a ticket for someone because the fine is onerous,” Lindskoog said.

For the best chance to avoid getting a ticket — and, more importantly, have a safe outcome — they had the following advice:

1. Stop. Do not flee.

2. If you have tinted windows, roll them down.

Members of the Boynton Beach police department hand out tickets to drivers that made an illegal right turn from the center lane of the southbound exit ramp at I-95 and Gateway Blvd. Monday, June 17, 2013 during rush hour. Cars in the center lane can only legally turn left at the light and head east over the overpass. The cars were trying to avoid waiting in a long line of traffic that was backed up in the turn lane to head west. (Damon Higgins/The Palm Beach Post)
(Damon Higgins/The Palm Beach Post)

If it’s night, turn on your car’s dome lights.

3. Put your hands on the steering wheel. Don’t reach for anything.

4. Provide your driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance when asked.

5. Explain your movements before making them. Tell the officer you’ll be reaching into your glove box for your registration, for example.

6. After receiving your documents, the officer should say why you’ve been pulled over. If not, you can ask why you’ve been pulled over.

7. If you get a ticket, do not argue with the officer at the scene. Argue the ticket in court.

8. Sign your ticket. Refusing to sign your ticket can result in an arrest, according to Florida law.

Commend or complain about a police officer in Palm Beach County

Has a police officer or deputy treated you particularly well or poorly?

Police chiefs at Saturday morning’s Community Safety Roundtable said they want to hear about it.

So we’ve put together some ways to do that at the agencies represented on the panel, which heard from residents about police concerns.

Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office

File complaints at PBSO: sheriff badge

Internal Affairs  561-688-3035

West Palm Beach Police

Criminal Justice Advisory Board, meets at 8:30 a.m., second Tuesday of the month open to the public

Commend or complain about an officer:

Boynton Beach Police

Email addresses and phone numbers for Chief Jeffrey Katz and other brass, submit feedback, tips, etc:

North Palm Beach Police

From web site on filing a complaint: The department will investigate any complaint made by a citizen. Complaints may be received in person, via written correspondence, telephone calls, or anonymously. Please call 561-848-2525 and ask to speak with the supervisor on duty.

Riviera Beach Police

Internal Affairs: Step-by-step ways to file a complaint