Archive for September, 2007

The Joe Cool Mystery Somewhat Solved?
September 26, 2007

I actually took the phone away from my ear and looked at it. I was not believing what I was hearing. When I went on air I did something I rarely do. I said, “just when you think you have heard it all, there is this.”
I had been covering the disappearance of the crew of four from the charter fishing boat the “Joe Cool.”
We had just learned that the two suspected boat hijackers had met years ago at a camp for Cuban Refugees at Guantanamo Naval Base Cuba.
I am talking about Kirby Archer, 35, and Guillermo Zarabozo, 19, both found clinging on a life raft about 40 miles north of Cuba. The two had chartered a sleek fishing boat with a crew of four to taxi them to the Bahamas where they were supposed to meet girl friends.
The boat never made it to the Bahamas, it was found abandoned near the Cay Sal Banks and there was no sign of the crew.
No doubt you are following this bizarre story on NBC6 and in the local papers. The crew is still missing, as of this writing no charges involving the disappearance of the crew have been leveled against Archer and Zarabozo. The FBI which jumped into the case is saying nothing.
What dripped off this case from the very beginning was how did Archer, an AWOL soldier and suspected thief from Arkansas, hook up with the young man from Hialeah? What brought them together.
The old rule of thumb is “to follow the money.” In this case we knew all about the money. Archer had, according to Batesville, Arkansas police had stolen $92-thousand from a Wall-Mart where he was an assistant manager. Our job, shifted to motive. What were these guys up to and how’d they get together? It just did not make sense.
We were aware of a nasty divorce that Archer had gone through, filings were on the web. There were allegations that he was gay, and had a relationship with a young man in a high school. We learned more, that Archer was a fluent Spanish speaker, that he had been a Military Police investigator, and that he had been stationed at the Guantanamo Naval Base during the Cuban Rafter Crisis which began in 1994.
It is here where, we were told, Archer met Zarabozo who at the time was around 8 years old. Zarabozo and his family had been plucked off a raft by the Coast Guard as they had attempted to float to the United States. The were detained at Gitmo.
Apparently there was a relationship that lasted even after Zarabozo, his family and thousands of other Cuban Refugees were settled in the U.S.
So now we know the connection, but what is the motive for the hijacking. What were these two guys up to? A run to Cuba? That makes little sense as Cuba is not gay friendly and no matter what two guys showing up in an expensive boat would certainly bring security agents into the picture.
Something, once again, does not add up. This is a story of many layers and we are just now, hopefully, getting somewhere near the bottom of it.
You just have to feel for the family of the crew members. The emotions of dealing with missing relatives is of course enormous but toss in the bizarre nature of this case and it must, for them, be overwhelming.
The suspects are now in federal prison beginning the judicial process. The Coast Guard continues to search the Atlantic between Cuba and the Northeast States.


Local Woman Makes Good At O.J. Hearings
September 18, 2007

You will see a lot of Nancy Oesterle in the next few weeks. She’s smack in the middle of the O.J. saga playing out in Las Vegas. Nancy Oesterle is the “media judge,” her mission is to explain the process O.J. will be going through as he requests bond, is arraigned and any other judicial functions that may impact “the Juice.” Oesterle is a Las Vegas Justice of the Peace who is media savy and is pretty high profile in Las Vegas.

Before we go further her name might be familiar to South Florida residents, especially in Miami-Dade. Nancy Oesterle’s family is well known here. She has relatives in South Florida business and politics. Clara Oesterle was a well known Miami-Dade county commissioner, other members of her family are tax consultants. Nancy is a graduate of South Miami High School. She went out to The University of Nevada later on to Cal Western and picked up a law degree.

Smart, attractive, well spoken she returned to Las Vegas and built a career in the Clark County DA’s office then was appointed in 1990 to the bench as a Justice of the Peace. She’s been reelected ever since

That Nancy is out front on the O.J. case is no surprise. Nevada, and Clark County(Las Vegas) have a long history of media trials, in fact after Florida, Nevada was one of the first states to allow camera’s in the courtroom on a regular basis.

What O.J. is faced with is a pretty well oiled Nevada Justice system. Prosecutors and police work very well together and you can bet the word is out at the courthouse and the cop shop not to drop the ball on the O.J. case. This case will have not have a Marcia Clark, a Judge Ito, a Marc Fuhrman and a jury that hates the local Cops. Las Vegas is not L.A. and the locals don’t like trouble at their hotels.

Nancy Oesterle is a TV Judge without the glamour of a network gig. She has for years produced and hosted Law for the Layman, which airs weekly on Las Vegas local TV. Sending in Nancy is a proactive strike by Las Vegas Judiciary, they want the process as transparent as possible, they do not want a repeat of the O.J. circus that surrounded his criminal trial.

Hank Tester worked in Las Vegas from 1966-1992.

The Garden is in. All is Well
September 13, 2007

My garden is well on the way to being ship shape by November. For once I got my strawberries planted in time so that the fruit will benefit from the cooler weather which brings out the flavor and size. Because of past years hurricane scares I have not been able to plant much before October and that’s just too late for strawberries and not real good for the tomatoes.
Tending to a garden is a real nice break from the news business. The work is slow, simple and predictable. Just getting hands dirty has rewards. Having grown up on a ranch, to me, there is nothing better than the smell of tilled earth. It is so productive. Over the years I have nurtured my 12×12 garden with some of the best compost I have ever produced. The leaves from my avocado tree really break down nicely and with the addition of some good old Black Cow Manure I get some real nice mulch/compost. I tossed a bunch of earth worms in the garden last year and they have thrived, working their magic on what otherwise would be a tightly compacted piece of dirt.
So far I have in, besides the strawberries and tomatoes, basil, rosemary, bell peppers and jalapeno peppers. I have planted seeds for hot weather lettuce, I am trying romaine, and experimenting with carrots and radishes which do not traditionally grow well in the South Florida heat. What baffles me is I have not found any parsley at my local Home Depot. This weekend I will hit the street and some of my favorite nurseries to see if they have any. I favor the Italian Parsley, the snails destroy the regular curly parsley.
So on the horizon are fresh lettuce salads, with tomatoes, pesto on my favorite whole wheat pasta and lots of sofritos with the green peppers don’t forget the parsely in the white clam sauce! With lettuce and spinach costing $3.00 dollars a bag my garden has really turned into a money saver. Seeds are cheap, lettuce shipped in is not, just check the prices!
Relaxing, rewarding, I love my garden. I think everyone should till a little dirt and plant a few seeds, it would make for a better world, mine sure is!