Shppers got more than they bargained for at the Mall of the Americas yesterday. That and more in today's Cooler.
A- Herald: While the arts and park budgets are decimated...
MIAMI -- The Florida Marlins are preparing to pour concrete for their new, retractable-roof stadium near downtown Miami.B- Herald: And as if on cue...
The first foundation pour for team's long-awaited ballpark in Miami's Little Havana neighborhood is scheduled to take place Friday morning.
Miami commissioners will gather Friday afternoon to begin the public process of what promises to be a complicated budget season.C- Herald: Wacky day at the mall.
Miami is staring down what is believed to be a $60 million shortfall to balance its books by the time the fiscal year ends Sept. 30. The city also expects a hole as large as $118 million for the 2010 budget, which must be completed by the same day.
The difficulties commissioners face in creating next year's budget are exacerbated this year because Mayor Manny Diaz has yet to forward his budget recommendation -- an outline the commission is usually given to work with, though commissioners have the final say in creating the budget.
As horrified shoppers watched, a woman doused her body with a fire accelerant, set herself ablaze and then silently walked through a crowded Miami-Dade mall and out the door.D- Herald: Video, a Marine returns home to South Florida...
``It was a big fireball,'' said John Torres, a shopper who grabbed a fire extinguisher. ``It was movie-style stuntman stuff.''
The scene unfolded just after 3 p.m. in the Mall of the Americas, 7795 W. Flagler St., just south of the Dolphin Expressway and west of the Palmetto Expressway.
The woman had been inside the Savage Boutique. Witnesses said she left two dozen red and white roses on the counter. Then, she doused herself with a flammable liquid -- authorities could not say what it was -- and set herself on fire.
Some onlookers screamed. Others tried to put out the blaze.
The flames shot several feet into the air and encircled the woman, witnesses said. At least a few shoppers, thinking the fire was a hoax, snapped photos of the woman and the efforts to help her.
The woman then opened an exit door and walked out to the parking lot, witnesses said. Torres, the other man who tried to help, followed with a fire extinguisher and was eventually able to put out the fire.
After the flames were out, the woman continued to walk around in a trance-like state. Her hair and clothing had been burned off. Morales said the woman's skin was charred and bubbling.
E- Palm Beach Post: Big Brother?
JUNO BEACH — Another roadside camera is in town, this one taking photos of license plates to check if drivers are wanted on warrants.F- South Florida Business Journal: MIA #1 for international travel.
Under a trial program started in March, the camera on a 15-foot-tall pole has been photographing the license plates and feeding the information into a state and federal crime data base, said Juno Beach Police Chief Dennis Weiner. The camera is at the intersection of A1A and U.S. 1.
U.S. air travel in May was down 9.3 percent from a year earlier, the 14th consecutive monthly year-to-year decline in air passenger totals nationwide, the U.S. Department of Transportation reported Thursday.G- WSVN: Stay away from Pines and University today.
More total system and domestic passengers boarded planes in the first five months at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International than at any other U.S. airport; and more international passengers boarded U.S. carriers at Miami International than at any other U.S. airport, according to the report.
The Chevron Gas Station located on the corner of Pines and University is giving away 10,000 gallons of gas. Several drivers are lining up to to save money during these tough times and get their free gas.
Local radio station, 105.9 has teamed up with Chevron to help give away the free gas.