Monday, December 28, 2015

Uber's Rival Lyft Plans to Raise Up to $1 Billion in New Funds (BusinessWeek)

Lyft Inc. Application
Ride-hailing company Lyft Inc. plans to raise as much as $1 billion in new funds, according to a Delaware state filing, in a round of financing analysts said could sharply boost the valuation of Uber Technologies Inc.’s largest U.S. rival.

Lyft didn’t indicate in the Friday evening filing how much had been raised, who was investing in the round or list a valuation. Sven Weber, a financial filings expert, pegged the pre-money valuation at about $4.5 billion while Justin Byers at VC Experts estimates it closer to $3.9 billion. Lyft was valued at $2.5 billion when it announced a previous funding round in March.

The latest fundraising round contained some downside protection for new investors, including the provision of extra shares should Lyft go public at a lower valuation.

“This is a very modest ratchet function,” said Weber, President of the SharesPost 100 Fund. 

“It’s not outrageous.

Fierce Fight

Fundraising documents prepared by Credit Suisse Group AG showed the company had been in talks to raise $500 million, Bloomberg reported last month.

A spokeswoman for Lyft declined to comment.

The price of the startup’s preferred stock is now $26.79, according to the filing. That’s up from $19.44 previously, Byers said.

Lyft is competing aggressively with Uber, which recently filed to raise $2.1 billion at a $62.5 billion valuation. The discrepancies in the valuations reflect Uber’s pole position in the U.S. and its global ambitions.

On Dec. 3, Lyft said it was teaming up with Uber’s biggest rivals in Asia, including China’s Didi Kuaidi, Singapore’s GrabTaxi, India’s Ola, to form a global alliance that will make their apps cross-compatible for travelers.

Lyft lost $127 million in the first half of 2015 on $46.7 million in revenue, according to fundraising documents obtained by Bloomberg. It said last month it has gained market share in key markets such as San Francisco, and has a gross revenue “run rate” of $1 billion.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Here's What Your Bonus Might Look Like This Year (BusinessWeek)

It's going to be a great bonus season (if you were already in line for a bonus).
Image result for Bonus money
While most workers don't expect to get a little extra something from their bosses this year, many companies are, in fact, doling out holiday bonuses.

Of 368 human resource professionals and executives surveyed in Bloomberg BNA's annual Year End-Holiday Practices survey, 42 percent said that they planned to give end-of-year bonuses, with most employers opting for cash over gifts. After a small dip during the recession, that number has stayed consistent over the past four years. In fact, over the past three decades, the share of companies offering holiday cash bonuses has steadily increased from about 10 percent in 1978 to around 30 percent this year.

Who gets a holiday bonus, and how much they get, depends on their jobs. "Workers in the nonbusiness sector (e.g., health care, education, government), larger establishments and union shops should not get their hopes up," the report said. Bonuses flourish at small, private-sector companies. Half of respondents with fewer than 1,000 workers will distribute bonuses in some form to their employees. Only about a quarter of larger companies surveyed said they would give out bonuses. 

Those who are getting bonuses, however, will get bigger ones than ever. The numbers vary depending on the institution and job type. At the high end, some managers will get as much as $40,000. Managers earning the median can expect a check for around $725, up from $500 last year. Nonmanagement employees will get around $500, up from $200 in 2014. 

A majority of employers still opt out of holiday, nonperformance-based bonuses. More common are incentive-based rewards. "Pay for performance is what it's all about today," John Challenger, chief executive officer of the Chicago outplacement company Challenger, Gray & Christmas, told the Society for Human Resource Management. 

An Aon-Hewitt survey found that variable pay made up 12.7 of paychecks in 2015 in the U.S., up from 8 percent a decade earlier, with 93 percent of the 1,064 companies surveyed offering some type of bonus program—although those bonuses are reserved for certain workers, too. Fewer companies are giving bonuses to "nonexempt" employees, meaning people in jobs eligible for overtime pay, such as administrative assistants and machine operators, reported the Washington Post earlier this year. 

Just like benefits, bonuses are more attractive to recession-scarred organizations than salary increases. "Employers like the fact that it's not adding to their fixed expenses," said Ken Abosch, who heads up broad-based compensation at Aon-Hewitt. In case the economy tanks again, companies can forgo bonuses instead of firing workers or slashing salaries. "Organizations find it gives them more flexibility in managing their costs." 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Capitol Days Event : January 13-15, 2015 @ Tallahassee, Florida

Florida Cabinet Members Join
Florida Chamber for Board of Governors Capitol Days Event

I hope you will join us as we welcome Attorney General Pam Bondi and CFO Jeff Atwater on Thursday, January 14 during the Florida Chamber’s Board of Governor’s Capitol Days for Lunch With The Cabinet. Discussions will revolve around securing Florida’s long-term future and how business leaders like you can help move our state in the right direction. Be sure to register today and book your room- hotel deadlines are approaching soon!

January 13-15, 2016
FSU Turnbull Conference Center, Tallahassee, FL

Hotel Accommodations:  

Residence Inn Tallahassee Universities at the Capitol
Deadline to book: December 22, 2015
Rate: $190/night
Book your group rate for Florida Chamber of Commerce  Capitol Days Room Block

Four Points by Sheraton
Tallahassee Downtown

Deadline to book: December 23, 2015
Rate: $199/night

Book your group rate for Florida Chamber of Commerce Capitol Days Room Block

Contact Sarah Spagnola at 850-521-1292 or for sponsorship opportunities and more information.


Autism More Common When Antidepressants Are Taken During Pregnancy

Autism More Common When Antidepressants Are Taken During Pregnancy
New study's authors caution that disorder's cause remains elusive.
Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, and their generics are among the most commonly prescribed antidepressants in the U.S. Research now suggests taking them during pregnancy may increase the chances your child will have autism.

Autism spectrum disorder—a developmental condition characterized by trouble communicating and speaking—is estimated to affect 1.5 percent to 2 percent of U.S. children, depending on how it's measured, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Meanwhile, about 11 percent of Americans over the age of 12 take antidepressants, according to the latest data from the CDC.

A study published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics lends insight into one factor that may influence rising rates of autism spectrum disorder, including Asperger syndrome. Only a few other studies have examined links to antidepressants and pregnancy—the latest from the University of Montreal is the largest of its kind.

Researchers analyzed provincial health records of more than 145,000 pregnancies and births in Quebec from 1998 to 2009. Children with autism were found to be born more often to mothers who took antidepressants than to those who didn't. While the study offers no definitive answers, the effect persisted when researchers sought to adjust for the possibility that depression itself raised the risk. Psychiatric disorders, both during pregnancy and after birth, have been linked to other developmental problems.

Scientists don't fully understand the causes of autism, though many suspect a mix of genetics and environmental factors. Trying to gauge the role of medications during pregnancy is difficult—experts cautioned that there isn't any clear evidence that allowing depression to continue untreated is safer than taking antidepressants.

 “There’s no good study design to tease those apart,” said Siobhan Dolan, a professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine who isn't involved in the study. “It’s not, ‘medication is bad and being a depressed mother is a perfectly fine outcome.’ There’s an impact of having depression and trying to raise a child."

Bryan H. King, a psychiatrist at Seattle Children's Hospital, wrote in an editorial accompanying the study that further research is unlikely to reveal "a straight line" between the use of antidepressants during pregnancy and autism. Also, the Quebec study wasn't a randomized control trial, the gold standard for establishing the effects of a particular drug. Instead, it looked at medical records retrospectively, which means that unforeseen factors could account for any link between antidepressant use and autism. 

Still, the JAMA authors said women who took a common class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, during the second and third trimesters were more than twice as likely than other women to have children who later developed autism.

The overall likelihood of a child developing autism remains small. If taking antidepressants during pregnancy were to double the risk of a child developing autism, “it means going from 1 percent to 2 percent," says Anick Bérard, a co-author of the study and professor of pharmacy at the University of Montreal.

Bérard says women with mild or moderate depression may want to consider non drug approaches, such as therapy or exercise, that have been shown to alleviate symptoms. “What we’re trying to do with this study is basically to give data to women,” she says. “I’m not trying to scare women, but women need to be aware of the risks and benefits of what they’re doing."

Pfizer, the maker of Zoloft, hasn't identified autism as a safety risk of taking the drug during pregnancy, company spokesman MacKay Jimeson said in an e-mail. "There is extensive science supporting the safety and efficacy of sertraline," he wrote, using the drug's generic name.

Sarah Spencer, a spokeswoman for GlaxoSmithKline, developer of Paxil, said doctors should advise women before prescribing antidepressants, ``recognizing that for some the benefits of therapy may continue to outweigh the potential risks." 
Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

IBM makes Munich its global centre for industrial Internet push

A man walks past the headquarters of IBM Japan in Tokyo March 18, 2010. REUTERS/Toru Hanai/files
A man walks past the headquarters of IBM Japan in Tokyo March 18, 2010.

IBM will make Munich the global headquarters for its push to build out the industrial Internet, capitalizing on a critical mass of automotive, electronics, healthcare, insurance and manufacturing companies centred in southern Germany. 

    IBM said on Tuesday that it will employ 1,000 staff to work with customers on industrial Internet projects in the Bavarian capital and is opening up eight satellite centres worldwide to help clients create smarter network-connected services. 

The move comes amid press reports that the U.S.-based firm may cut around 18 percent of its German workforce over the next two years.

Munich is home to Europe's largest manufacturing company, Siemens, as well as carmaker BMW and truck firm MAN SE. Insurers Allianz and Munich Re < MUVGn.DE> have their headquarters in the city.

IBM said it is working with Siemens Building Technologies and auto parts supplier Continental AG, among other major firms.

The additional offices will be in Beijing, Tokyo and Seoul, as well as three U.S. cities, Sao Paulo in Brazil, and Boeblingen, a second city in Germany located near Stuttgart, a hub of the country's car industry.

    IBM said it aims to help businesses figure out how to make use of the dizzying amount of data that will be generated by network-connected devices, sensors and systems known as the Internet of Things (IoT).

Increasingly, everything from cars to health monitors to industrial parts are becoming Internet-connected. Market research firm Gartner Inc. forecasts there will be 6.4 billion connected devices in use next year, up 30 percent from 2015, and the market will mushroom to 20.8 billion devices by 2020.

In all, 2,000 data scientists, developers, researchers, designers, consultants and salespeople will work in the company's IoT business on six continents.

    IBM, which specialises in software and services, said opening the Munich IoT office marked its biggest expansion in Europe in two decades. However, the decision comes amid dramatic shifts in its business.

IBM is considering laying off up to 3,000 employees in Germany over the next two years, business magazine Wirschafts Woche reported last month. IBM has declined to confirm or deny the report, saying that it does not comment on speculation.

    The world's largest technology services company has been divesting low-margin hardware businesses, but has so far failed to make up the shortfall in more lucrative areas such as cloud and mobile computing and data analytics and security software.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The 50 Best Places to Work (BusinessWeek)

Not only has Airbnb made its first appearance on career website Glassdoor's list of best places to work, it has taken the top spot.

The company beat out previous title holder, Alphabet (formerly Google) for top honors from Glassdoor, which publishes an annual ranking based on ratings submitted to the site by employees. Airbnb, founded in 2008 as a way to facilitate short-term rentals by homeowners, has expanded to more than 34,000 cities. It has seen its fair share of controversies, but if Glassdoor's survey is any indication, this hasn't damaged its appeal with employees.

“Amazing people, vibrant workplace, and an unbeatable culture that is real and not just something posted on a wall/website. I literally could not ask for a better work experience. Also, pay, insurance, perks, food, parties, and growth opportunities are top notch,” an anonymous Airbnb employee from San Francisco wrote on the website. 

In order to be considered for Glassdoor's survey, a company must have at least 1,000 employees. It is then ranked on its overall employee ratings over the previous year. Rounding out the top five employers were Bain & Co., Guidewire, Hubspot, and Facebook.
This year’s list has 50 companies from a variety of industries; 13 made the cut for the first time in the eight years since Glassdoor began publishing the survey. Other newcomers included Expedia, Delta Air Lines, and Red Bull. According to Glassdoor, some of the common themes among these companies are a clear direction, a sense of feeling valued, advancement opportunities, and great benefits.

Although Alphabet slipped from first place, it remained in the top 10 and is one of only four employers that have made the list each year. The others are Apple, Chevron, and Bain & Co. 

“For anyone hoping to find a job and company they love, these companies stand tallest for providing outstanding work environments and company cultures,” Robert Hohman, Glassdoor's chief executive officer and co-founder, said in the press release.
Here’s a the full list of 50 and their scores, based on a five-point scale:

Glassdoor's Best Places to Work
Previous winners include Google, General Mills, Southwest Airlines, Facebook, and Bain & Co. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Worst at security: IT personnel and executives

It's not always external attacks that can hinder network performance and put data at risk. 
Sometimes the problem exists with your users--especially the ones who should know better.

Managing the corporate network means two things: Keeping the users safe and keeping the corporate data even safer. This is a heavy task for IT managers to shoulder, and often the users themselves are a significant threat to the corporate network. Sadly, executives and IT staff are the absolute worst when it comes to keeping the network healthy. The worst!

What makes executives and IT staff the worst users?

IT department members and executives are difficult for two reasons: They're too smart for their own good and they wield a lot of power.

"I am in IT. Therefore I know it all."

Tech-savvy users generally have a high aptitude. They've spent countless hours, possibly years, honing their skills. Be it a developer who's set to build the best HR database or a CIO who's climbed up through the ranks, these users tend to believe that their brainpower trumps all computing scenarios in front of them. Even common sense computing scenarios.

"Our corporate antivirus isn't as good as the one I purchased for home. I should install it on my work laptop for better security," Mr. Telephony Administrator says.

No, you shouldn't. Why would you remove corporate-approved software that's been vetted by the company's information security and software administration teams? You know that rootkits and keyloggers are true threats, so you assume the so-called "top-rated" antivirus package you found on will make you less vulnerable. Mr. Telephone Admin, you may know the intricacies of mapping VOIP, but malware prevention isn't on your corporate task list. Allow the network and software admins to manage these assets.

"I am in the C-suite. I do what I want."

Corporate management may be your toughest challenge when it comes to protecting the network. In between conference calls and a calendar full of meetings, you'll find an executive who's begging for time to relieve stress at the office. A walk around the corporate park, a coffee break, or just jamming out with some iTunes. But even though iTunes itself doesn't pose a risk, problems could arise if it's used inappropriately.

"Hmmm, the corporate NAS has plenty of space available. I could dump my personal library onto the corporate network," Ms. CFO says.

Any network administrator will tell you that this is a big no-no. There should not be a mix of personal data and corporate data on workstations, laptops, or even the network storage. This includes games, photos, and other multimedia files. It's not only the concern of capacity and network performance, but also the issue of security and compliance. Unfortunately, C-level executives may feel this is something they can do because of general entitlement.
A little tact
Your users may not like what you're telling them when you address these problems, but most will eventually realize that it's better for the network and the company if they adhere to policy. Here are a few suggestions to make such conversations less painful and more effective:

Put on your people-skills hat. These users tend to have sensitive egos. They may even become combative, as they will almost always feel there's no real problem. Try to keep your cool. It won't help your cause if you lose your temper or argue with them.

  • Make sure users understand why their practices are problematic. In the case of installing nonstandard software, for instance, explain the potential for incompatibilities and the complications involved in supporting and managing applications that aren't company-approved.
  • Have a copy of the corporate standard operating procedures (SOP) on hand. It will be vital since it proves that the practices have been approved and documented to be part of company guidelines. Be ready to explain the rationale behind the rules.
  • Listen. Sometimes users need to vent for a while before they're ready to hear what you have to say. Patience on your part is likely to pay off in the long run.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The US Postal Service is testing a “notification” service

The US Postal Service is testing a “notification” service that emails customers images of the envelopes of their letter-size mail.

The service, called Informed Delivery, will send out an email to customers each morning with that day’s mailbox contents. The images are only of the exterior front side, and the mail will not be opened.

Informed Delivery has been live in seven Northern Virginia zip codes since 2014 and is now expanding to the New York City metro area, with more coverage planned in 2016. The service is free, but customers have to sign up online. It is not available to businesses and will not apply to packages, though the agency said it may include scans of catalogs and magazines in the future.

In 2013, the postal service acknowledged that it photographs every letter and package mailed in the US. The process helps it sort mail, according to the postmaster general. But the USPS has also provided the photos to law-enforcement agencies in criminal cases, including ricin-laced letters sent to US president Barack Obama and Michael Bloomberg, then mayor of New York City. Its mail-tracking program was created after the anthrax attacks in 2001, which killed five people, including two postal workers.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Tesla’s cheapest Model X SUV will set you back $80,000

Electric car maker Tesla released its pricing for the upmarket Signature edition Model X SUV earlier this year, and now it has revealed what the cheapest model will set you back – $80,000. And that’s before adding any options.

Your $80,000 will get you the 70D model, which is an SUV with all-wheel drive. It has a range of 220 miles, does 0-60 in 6 seconds, with a top speed of 140 mph.

The base version is a five seater, but you can add an extra $3,000 to that price tag if you want a six seater, or $4,500 for the seven seat version.

Pricing for the faster and higher spec 90D and P90D models is yet to be revealed.

When Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, described the Model X range, he said the aim was to make an SUV that had the function of a minivan. This is being achieved by the Falcon wing doors, which open up and out to give you more access to the back seats .

Model X customers can now go through Tesla’s configurator to choose between the 70D, 90D and P90D, as well as selecting the additional options like color and interiors.

General production of the 70D Model X has not yet begun, but is expected to get underway in the first quarter of 2016 with delivery dates listed on Tesla’s site for mid-to-late 2016.

In the meantime, you can start saving your pennies since you know what you’re aiming for now.

Friday, December 4, 2015

City Beat News Awards Avant-Garde Salon and Spa with 2015 Spectrum Award

Coral Gables, FL -- (ReleaseWire) -- 11/25/2015 -- Avant-Garde Salon and Spa is proud to have been awarded the 2015 Spectrum Award for excellence in customer service. Avant Garde strives to always provide the best customer service to all their hair salon and spa customers. 

Visit Avant-Garde Salon and Spa to get the latest hair styles by a master hair stylist and achieve the perfect look for your this holiday season. Known throughout South Florida as well as beyond, Avant Garde provides professional hair and beauty services. They staff expect to create the best looking Balayage hair styles, Ombre and hair highlights. Avant Garde is certified in Great Lengths hair extensions and uses Olaplex to achieve the healthiest hair looks! Balayage hair styles, Ombre and hair highlights.

About Avant-Garde Salon and Spa

Established in 1976, Avant-Garde Salon and Spa in Miami is a South Florida premier salon located in Coral Gables. Avant Garde motto, "Experience the Experience", prides itself on providing not only the best salon and hair styling services. They offer fully equipped beauty and spa treatment rooms where you can enjoy facials with the exclusive French skincare line, CARITA or rejuvenate with a relaxing Swedish spa massage.

The salon prides itself on only using the best products on the market, including Olaplex, Kerastase, Moroccanoil, L'Oreal and Great Lengths Hair Extensions.

Avant-Garde Salon offers a wide array of hair styling and beauty services; the professional salon staff is known for creating some of the best hairstyles and up-dos for special events, weddings, local TV station celebrities and celebrities. 

Call the Salon to schedule an appointment with an Avant-Garde Salon and Spa!

For More Information on Avant-Garde Salon and Spa please visit:

Thursday, December 3, 2015

News from the State Attorney's Office...


I am thrilled to announce that we have partnered again with the Cuban American Bar Association (CABA) to collect and distribute hundreds of toys to needy children and families of our community.

We have set up collection boxes in the lobbies of our different SAO office sites to gather toys for children victims of the State Attorney's Office and community agencies Centro Mater and Abriendo Puertas that serve our most needy.

Of all the things available during this holiday season, the gift of hope is often the one that can do the most good. If a small present lights up a child's eyes and brings a smile to a parent, then we have done some good and lessened the weight that trouble and misfortune carry with it.

You can help us put a smile on the face of children who otherwise would not have a present to open during the holidays. We will be accepting all types of contributions through December 15, 2015. The toys must be new and unwrapped.

For more information regarding this initiative or to organize a pickup of your donation, please email our Community Outreach Division at or contact us directly at 305-547-0724.

Let's fill these boxes as much as we can and make 2015 the best holiday season ever for our precious children.


State Attorney Attends Important Community Forum

    State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle and panel at New Birth Baptist Church

State Attorney Speaking at Forum
State Attorney and Ms.Tara Michole Parks
State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle participated in a panel at an important Community Forum hosted by Bishop Victor Curry at his New Birth Baptist Church in Opa-Locka. The event was organized by the National Action Network.

The forum brought together key leaders in the community who listened to and addressed the concerns primarily of grieving mothers who tragically lost their sons to senseless killings. Members of the audience in attendance also had the opportunity to address the panel.

"I had the opportunity to embrace State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, commented Ms. Tara Michole Parks, whose son was a victim of this senseless violence. "The sincerity of her heart for families who have lost a loved one was real. We had questions she had answers. I'm thankful that she was there and she's going to address matters."

Conviction in Facebook Murder Case
 Source: Miami-Dade Corrections
Derek Medina, the man who uploaded a photo of his wife onto Facebook after murdering her, was found guilty of 2nd Degree Murder by a Miami-Dade County jury. He was also found guilty of Shooting a Deadly Missile and Child Neglect.

Medina, who claimed self-defense, shot his wife Jennifer Alonso eight times and admitted to taking the photo on his phone and posting it on to the social media site.

Domestic Crimes Division Chief Leah Klein, Assistant Chief Scott Dunn, and Assistant State Attorney Joshua Hubner presented the case before Judge Yvonne Colodny.

"No family should ever have to see their daughter killed and then exhibited world-wide on the internet like some macabre trophy to a husband's anger as was Jennifer Alfonso," commented State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle. "Far, far too often this kind of domestic violence leads to injury and death. That's why we all must end all forms of domestic violence. The jury carefully viewed all the evidence and came to the correct conclusion that Derek Medina coldly murdered his wife to heal his own injured ego. When he is sentenced, we will be seeking a life sentence."

Two Charged in Insurance Fraud Scheme
As a result of a joint investigation by the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office and the Miami-Dade Schools Police Department, 55 year old Violeta Otero, the owner and operator of the Sunshine Wellness Clinic, and 52 year old Ida Mercado Rico, a patient broker, were charged in an insurance fraud scheme which targeted the Miami-Dade School System by defrauding its self-insurance plan.
Utilizing forms previously completed at the Sunshine Wellness Clinic, insurance accounts of a number of Miami-Dade School District employee patients were filed for medical treatments and injections which never occurred. Many of these patients were initially recruited to come to the clinic by Ida Mercado Rico and were often paid in cash by Ida Mercado Rico.
Violeta Otero and Ida Mercado Rico have been charged with Organized Scheme to Defraud, Grand Theft and various other Felony charges.
"Insurance fraud is an attack on every individual on every person who pays an insurance premium," commented Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle. "Insurance fraud scams that steal from our public school system take dollars intended to make our schools function, dollars that can educate our children, and put those dollars into the pockets of thieves. I applaud this partnership which allows my prosecutors and the Miami-Dade Schools Police to effectively shut down such swindlers."

State Attorney's Office Alumni Profile
 Judge Ilona Holmes, Criminal Division, 17th Judicial Circuit
Judge Ilona Holmes, presently presiding on the criminal court bench of Florida's 17th Judicial Circuit, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. "I'm originally from North Philly. We moved to Deerfield Beach, Florida in 1974 after my father died. My mother had family here including her mother Ella Nobles who lived to be 108 years old!"

As a child, Judge Holmes decided that she was going to be a lawyer. This momentous revelation happened one evening while watching television with her father.

"I remember being 7 years old watching Perry Mason with my dad. I turned to him and said 'Daddy, I can do that'. He looked at me and said 'Well then, go on and do it'. That is when I decided that I was going to be a lawyer".

Judge Holmes always felt her parents' deep emotional support. "My dad never finished high school though my mother did. They were hard working people. We didn't grow up rich but we grew up happy."

Unfortunately, that happiness was impacted by the death of Judge Holmes' father and the family relocating to be with relatives in Florida. "I remember when we moved to Florida, my sister and I didn't like it here. It was a very different culture than our hometown. So my sister and I plotted to run away and go back to Philly," she chuckles. "Now I can tell you that I never want to live anywhere but Florida!"

Judge Holmes received her B.A. degree in Political Science from Florida Atlantic University and her Juris Doctorate from Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law.

The summer before her third year of law school, Judge Holmes was already a Certified Legal Intern working at the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office.

During her internship, Judge Holmes received a call from then State Attorney Janet Reno to come to her office. "I panicked and tried to think of what I had done wrong. I waited outside her office for about 20 minutes before I was told to go in. I kept trying to think about any errors and trying to come up with a defense. Then Ms. Reno said 'I have been going over your work. Everybody including the judges you have appeared before love your work. I am prepared to make you an offer to come and be an Assistant State Attorney once you graduate."

"I was so excited! It was unbelievable that I was actually getting a job before graduation. I was the only 3L in my school who did not interview because I already had a job."

"Once I graduated, I packed my used 1980 Caprice Classic that I had purchased for $400 and had a lot of miles on it. I packed all my stuff in it and drove to Florida. It actually broke down in Bonifay, Florida, but at least I got out of Texas!"

Judge Holmes became an Assistant State Attorney at the SAO in July of 1982. She remembers that Judge Ellen Morphonios, a Miami legal legend, swore her in. Judge Morphonios then immediately made her pick two juries that very day, even before she could go and celebrate with her proud family.

She remembers the support and guidance that she received from State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle. "I remember that Kathy helped me and she was instrumental in my growing at the SAO. I would go to her office and she would answer all of my questions. I know that she went to bat for me and I am grateful."

"I always knew that Ilona would make a great judge," said State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle. "It wasn't just that she worked hard as an ASA and was dedicated to the craft of being a lawyer. It had more to do with her firm grasp of the concept that the law is intended to serve the people, not the people intended to serve the law."

Judge Holmes also attended Florida Atlantic University/Florida International University, Miami, Florida, from 1984-1987 taking courses toward a doctorate (PhD.) in Public Administration.

She served as an Assistant United States Attorney from 1991 until being appointed to the Broward County Court bench by Governor Lawton Chiles in 1995.

From May 1995 until June 3, 1998, Judge Holmes served as a County Court judge. On June 3, 1998, she was appointed to the Broward Circuit Court assigned to the Criminal Division. Judge Holmes served in the Civil Division of the courts from 2003-2005 and has presided over many multi-million dollar cases.

She returned to the Criminal Division in 2005 where she served as Administrative Judge over the Criminal Division from 2008-2010. Currently Judge Holmes is assigned to the Criminal Division presiding in the Extended Trial Division (ETD) trying murder, sexual battery and robbery cases of persons incarcerated more than 750 days.

Judge Holmes is heavily involved in judicial education. She is on the Florida Court Education Council and the Education Committee for the Conference of Circuit Court Judges as well as being on the faculty of Florida's Judicial Colleges for Phase I (for newly appointed and elected judges) and Phase II ( for newly appointed judges and for judges changing division assignments). Judge Holmes has been reappointed as the Criminal Track Head for Florida's College of Advanced Judicial Studies (2013-present).

"I also teach at The University of Ft. Lauderdale, which is fully accredited, and where I am also chairperson of the board of trustees."
Judge Holmes is always involved in the community. "It is the most rewarding thing that I do outside of the courtroom," she admits. "I always say that unless you get involved, don't complain."

"What I can tell young prosecutors is to follow your passion. If you are at the SAO, you will learn about the law and about justice. I am so glad to know that State Attorney Fernandez Rundle has established a six week training for new ASA's to teach them how to deliver true justice."
"I also want them to know that Rules are there for a reason. Follow them because when you cut corners, you earn a reputation that you cannot live down."

Judge Holmes has a passion for the law and for people. When she dismisses individuals not selected to participate in juries, she does it personally. "I get off the bench and go outside to the hallway and thank them for being a part of the process."

When trials are concluded, Judge Holmes personally gives each juror their certificate and shakes their hand. "Juries remember me because I make court interesting. I teach them about the process and value the role that they play in it."

"I am the only African American woman on the circuit bench in my circuit. I tell the younger lawyers that my job has been to hold the door open for them. And I've had to put up with a lot of stuff. I've been on the bench for 20 years and I tell them they have to come up and take over."
Although she has had many accomplishments over the years, has received numerous awards and is highly regarded in both the legal and overall civic community, she remains a humble person. "I'm just a poor girl from North Philly that God has tremendously blessed."

Courthouse Highlights
Hand and GavelSexual Battery Division Chief (DC) Laura Adams, assisted by Trial Coordinator Charlotte Haslem, got a guilty as charged verdict in a Kidnapping, Aggravated Child Abuse, and Sexual Battery on a Child Less than 12 case before Judge Colodny. 
Assistant State Attorneys (ASAs) Serahi Pelayo and Amanda Daniels obtained a guilty verdict on a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) case in front of Judge Newman.
ASAs Ethan Timmins and Shaun Quinn got a guilty verdict on a DUI case (3rd w/in 10 years) and the defendant was sentenced to 180 days in the county jail and a 20 year license suspension.
Don't Allow the Public's Trust to be Jeopardized.

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Grand Jury Reports
Need the latest Grand Jury Report or any other Grand Jury Report dating back to 1965? Click Here

Our Community Outreach Events
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December 2 - Juvenile Justice Community Forum, New Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, 6700 NW 14 Avenue, Miami, FL, 33147, 4:00PM - 8:00PM

December 5 - La Catedral Del Pueblo Community Health Fair, La Catedral del Pueblo, 190 NW 79 Street, Miami, FL, 33126, 10:00AM - 2:00PM

December 5 - Celebrating Safe Communities, Homestead Hospital, 975 Baptist Way, Homestead, FL, 33033, 1:00PM - 5:00PM

December 5 - Coconut Grove Ministerial Alliance, Greater St Paul AME Church, 3680 Thomas Avenue, Miami, FL, 33133, 8:00AM - 10:30AM

December 7- Walking One Stop at Little Haiti,City of Miami Model City Police Sub-Station, 1000 NW 62 Street, Miami, FL, 33150, 9:30AM - 12:00PM

December 8 - Creating Harmonious Communities, Edison Community Center, 212 NE 59 Terrace, Miami, FL, 33137, 8:00AM - 4:00PM

December 10 - Chapman Partnership Fingerprinting Event, Chapman Partnership, 1550 North Miami Avenue, Miami, FL, 33136, 6:00PM - 8:00PM

December 10 - Coconut Grove Crime Watch, Greater St Paul AME Church, 3680 Thomas Avenue, Miami, FL, 33133, 6:30PM - 8:30PM

December 12 - 16th Annual Bike Rodeo & Safety Day, Royal Oaks Park, 16500 NW 87 Avenue, Miami, FL, 33018

December 19 - 2nd Annual South Dade Community Health & Resource Fair, Homestead/WIC Florida City Clinic, 753 W Palm Drive, Florida City, FL, 33034, 8:00AM - 1:00PM

January 28 - Sealing & Expungement Event, Joe Celestin Center, 1525 NW 135 Street, North Miami, FL, 33167, 4:00PM - 7:00PM

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