A bank robber in our midst

As it turns out, the story of the recent bold-daylight bank robbery on Bird Road has a South Miami twist. The van used in the robbery was discovered near 6300 Manor Lane by a South Miami resident and, as rumored, the bank robber may be hiding out right here in the “City of Pleasant Living.”

Sources close to the case state that several calls had to be made to the South Miami Police Department before they came out to “investigate” the abandoned van which was stolen from a bakery. Should be interesting if the bank robber, who fired several shots during the heist and is considered armed and dangerous, is finally captured by the FBI. Our city’s finest may want to sit this one out.

Golly folks, the long list of lawsuits plaguing South Miami seems to be growing faster than they are being resolved. According to the federal complaint, Venezia vs. the City of South Miami filed on April 2017, claims assault, battery, false arrest, and false imprisonment. Several concerned citizens, who attend commission meetings, do not recall mention of this serious and costly case by either the city attorney or the city manager. Come to think of it, rarely if ever mentioned are the Michael Gavin’s case nor the Orlando Martinez case which by the way,  should be ready for a final determination by the circuit court of appeals. And what became of the city resident, Beth Schwartz vs. South Miami case? Can’t help to think how rich attorneys on both sides are becoming at the expense of taxpayers.

Yes, these are things that make you say… hmmmm…

Bill Tompkins

Bill Tompkins

And then there’s the things that make you say… awww damn…

You know, the day we are born and the day that we die might be important to some, but clearly what we do in between is what really matters. I wish to share just some of the things that our friend Bill Tompkins did between those two days in his life, before passing away just last month.

Bill came into our lives at the Community Newspapers one day back in the early 1980s. Willie, Bill’s son, was working here and decided to go off to work somewhere else – and so we inherited Bill Tompkins. Before long, Bill became our friend and our conscience.

Bill would open up our office every morning, after which point he would turn on the a/c, take a look around, and then just sit down at the from desk and to read The Miami Herald, cover to cover. He read the local news, the letters to the editor and the sports section. He would frequently share the stories with us and did lots of bantering about local politics, which became a sport of sorts, which we both loved to play – and of course, he enjoyed talking sports with my brother Grant.

He’d be at the front desk to greet folks with a big smile as they came into work, and assigning each one of them their own special nickname. He loved being the greeter, the man with the big smile and heart of gold.

Each morning, as soon as the receptionist punched in for duty, Bill would gather up the pages of his Herald, along with a copy of the South Miami News, and he’d be on his way. Several hours later, the fun would start up again when he returned at 5 p.m. to lock up for the day.

One of his favorite things to do in the evening upon reclaiming his post at the front desk, was to wait for people to leave for the day, so he could toss them bag of popcorn or a small package of crackers, which he fondly called “Nabs.” He really loved doing that and it taught us lots of lessons – even to those who declined his treats.

Bill made us laugh and he made us smile, but today we cry and mourn the loss of our friend, Bill Tompkins. Godspeed Bill and as you told me so many times over so many years, “Ta Ta.”

Kelly Worthington – an amazingly skilled local Wood Turner.

Kelly Worthington – an amazingly skilled local Wood Turner.

Hey, I ran into one of the Turners the other day and what a delight it was. No, it wasn’t Ted or Tina, but Kelly Worthington – an amazingly skilled local Wood Turner. Now I’ve never met anyone with the skill and ability to turn wood from native trees into works of art, but here she was. I invited Kelly in to show me some of her wares, which she is now promoting as corporate gifts through her local business, Blue Tarpon Studio.

A long-time resident of South Dade, I know Kelly as a college teacher and a hospital operations consultant. So naturally, I was enthralled to learn about her new line of customized wood-crafted ink pens, envelop openers, and engraved business-card holders, along with an entire assortment of other wood-crafted gift items like bowls and vases. So as she’s laying all these high-quality items out for me to see and touch, I’m just dumbstruck, wondering how she – or anyone for that matter – goes from a pencil pusher to crating quality-crafted pens.

You know, there’s something irresistible about a fine turned, smooth-rounded wooden implement in your hand. And the soothing aroma of fresh wood – who knew every piece of wood has its own distinctive smell? She also rolled out a magnifying glass that tucks into the most velvety feeling handcrafted casing. Kelly packages up these top-quality items by the dozens, often in beautiful high-end engraved boxes, for her corporate clients these days.

Turns out (pun intended) there’s a big market for these items among boards of directors and corporate salesmen wishing to impress their fellow members or top-level clients, and for organizations to recognize high-achieving employees. I mean, does anyone still dare to give away a wrist watch to their most honored retiree? Stop it! Give them something they’ll truly remember and hold on to! Honestly, these items are a must-see – and a must give! So visit Kelly’s website at www.bluetarponstudio.com – and check out all her jewelry unique items, too.

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About the Author

Michael Miller
Michael co-owns Community Newspapers with his brother Grant and serves as Executive Editor of the group of newspapers. He enjoys writing about local politics and area businesses. Michael can be reached at michael@communitynewspapers.com

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