Here's what I found interesting in this morning's mainstream media.
A- Herald: Not worth the drive anymore.
TALLAHASSEE -- Smokers, beware: If you have relied on the Seminole and Miccosukee tribes' smoke shops as a tax-free haven for cigarettes, think again.B- Herald: Video, tattoo convention in Miami Beach.
The tribes have begun charging the state tax on cigarettes for the first time since Florida imposed it 66 years ago, coinciding with the $1-a-pack state tax hike that took effect July 1. The new tax is $1.34 a pack.
Tribal members still can get untaxed cigarettes for their personal use, but non-Indian visitors to the reservations must now pay the levy.
For South Florida smokers, though, the tribes' decision is more unwelcome news. It shuts down a convenient source of discounted smokes at a time their habit is becoming more and more expensive. The federal tax also went up 62 cents, to $1.01 a pack, in April.
'When I went the other day [to the Seminole smoke shop] and saw the sign, I went, `What? Another $13 -- $56 for a carton?' '' said Cathy Hoffman of Hollywood. ``I was shocked. I think I'm going to have to switch to a cheaper brand.''
C- Herald: How BankUnited failed.
Alfred R. Camner, the founder and biggest shareholder as well the chairman and chief executive until October 2008, led the bank in an ambitious foray into option ARMs -- a product many consider the riskiest mortgage ever created.D- Herald: They write letters.
''The big question is why would Camner bet the bank on one product that turned out to be the most toxic,'' says Ken Thomas, an independent Miami banking analyst.
Catch of the dayE- Herald: They write more letters.
It's Friday night and on the way home you stop to pick up a couple of steaks. Or, how about an exotic alternative like iguana? Yes, iguana. Here in South Florida we have Central American iguanas cavorting around our properties eating every plant and flower in site.
How do we get rid of them? We don't. What we have is probably the cleanest protein food right in our backyards. It tastes like chicken, but unlike much of our chicken, is not pumped up with any growth hormones.
So the next time you are thinking chicken, stop and with a bit of dexterity catch a nice organic iguana for dinner.
JACK WATTLEY, Fort Lauderdale
Brave officersF- Sun-Sentinel: Three hots and a cot.
On May 14 two Hollywood police officers fought deadly rip currents to save three men from drowning. They did so without hesitation or concern for their own well being. Officers Michael McBride and Richard Losenbeck responded to a 911 call about three men drowning about 100 yards off Hollywood Beach at a time when there were no lifeguards on duty. Both officers stripped down and jumped into the water, working together with the aid of an off-duty lifeguard to pull all three men to safety.
To date, this story remains untold by the media. I have to wonder why that is.
The public is regularly bombarded with negative pieces about law enforcement, but it is a rare thing to see police officers lauded for the heroic deeds they perform every day. The job these men and women do is thankless and often times dangerous, yet each day they don the uniform and go out and do it again.
It is time to hear the other side of the story. Ask Marco Popescu, Vasile Modovan and Carlos Escobar -- the three men rescued on May 14 -- how they feel about the job the police are doing.
JEFF MARANO, senior vice president, Broward County Police Benevolent Association, Fort Lauderdale
Ten days after leaving prison, Raphael Marquez made an unusual request to a Broward County judge: Put me back behind bars.G- WPLG: I-95 Lexus lanes head north?
Marquez, 38, is a sex offender who was released June 20 after serving seven years of his eight-year sentence for sexual battery on a minor, records show. Two years of house arrest were to follow.
But for Marquez, the hardest part was finding that house, said his attorney, Cheryl Koewing.
"Every place he looked he couldn't afford or had a restriction," she said.
Marquez hopped from one cheap Hollywood motel to another until he ran out of money. At one point, officials found him a rehabilitation home for sex offenders in Pahokee, but Koewing said her client couldn't afford to travel and move there.
Marquez came to believe the only place he had left was under a rat-infested overpass next to Broadview Park.
Officials who have declared the pay-if-you-drive lanes a success, are now asking if they'd be a good idea to alleviate traffic to the north.
As a result, Broward County officials have given the green light to a federally-funded traffic study to see if express lanes should be expanded into the Broward-Palm Beach County line.
The timing of any project is yet to be announced.