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One of Miami’s Community Newspapers

Phone: 305-669-7355



FEBRUARY 7 - 20, 2012

PBSA marks 54th annual Opening Day Ceremony


Call out for artists to participate in two events at Deering Estate


he Perrine Baseball and Softball Association opened its new season at Cutler Bay’s Lakes by the Bay Park with the popular youth sports league’s 54th Annual Opening Day Parade and Ceremony. The event, which also featured rides for the kids, food and music, had a turnout of 800 young athletes and an overall attendance of some 2,000 people, according to PBSA president Bill Hurst. “We were very fortunate with the forecast of 20 to 30 percent showers that it ended up being a beautiful day. To open up at that fabulous new facility that the Town of Cutler Bay’s council has created with the help of Miami-Dade

––––––––––––––––– See

P.B.S.A., page 6



Young players, their coaches and families participate in the big Opening Day parade. (Photo by Bill Meiklejohn)

Whigham Elementary students picked for Arbor Day program BY GARY ALAN RUSE


tudents at Dr. E. L. Whigham Elementary School in Cutler Bay were selected by the South Dade Soil and Water Conservation District, sponsors of the Fourth Grade Forester of Florida Program, to take part in a special Arbor Day event on Jan. 20. Only 200 schools statewide are chosen from among those that apply for the program, according to Marilyn Horne, the science and social studies teacher who coordinates the program at the school. “They donate trees each year throughout the State of Florida,” Horne said. “Through this program approximately 2,000 fourth graders are given a small pine tree, it’s about a foot and a half tall, and all the instructions to care for it. They take it home and plant it and watch it grow as they grow.” Whigham Elementary has 88 fourth graders that Horne sees daily in four classes of 22 each. Pictured with their pine tree seedlings are (l-r) Tamaya Eutsey, Ashley Smith, Joseph Corona and Karina Gomez. (Photo by Marilyn Horne)

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– See

ARBOR DAY, page 6

call to artists is available currently for the following events at the Deering Estate at Cutler: “Affair En Plein Air,” a two-day outdoor juried painting event, and Youth Arts Day and Music Fest. GroveHouse Artists and the Deering Estate at Cutler will be hosting a two-day outdoor painting event on Saturday and Sunday, Apr. 14 and 15. Artists will be working throughout the estate on Saturday, Apr. 14, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on Sunday, Apr. 15, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Judging will take place on Sunday, Apr. 15, 1:30-2:30 p.m. Cash and merchandise prizes will be awarded at 2:30 p.m. Winners also will exhibit their work as part of the 2012 Summer Art Exhibit to take place in the Richmond Cottage at the Deering Estate at Cutler from midJune through August.

––––––––––––––––– See

ARTISTS, page 6



Savings & Service Since 1950

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February 7 - 20, 2012

February 7 - 20, 2012


Resident builds a lighthouse to show his love for the sea Gregg Stevenson, a 16year-resident of Cutler Bay, was inspired to build the lighthouse/mailbox in front of his home to show his love and respect for the sea. The structure is made of block and mortar with stucco on the top to smooth out. It is wrapped with solid brass for the top portion with chained walkway outside of crystal glass. He used sixsided crystal block for the light to beam out at night and added natural stone to give it a walled around look. The project took about three weeks to build.

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February 7 - 20, 2012

Commissioner Bell spends day as county trash truck trainee Join us for lunch and networking! February 9, 2012

Miami-Dade Commissioner Lynda Bell (left) learns the routine during her day as a trash truck driver trainee from Trash Truck Driver I Rhonda Buroker.

The CBBA will be hosting their Monthly Luncheon Palmetto Bay Village Center Between 11:00am and 1:00pm. Members $10 Non-Members $20

Speaker: Cutler Bay Police Department Topic: Protecting Your Business

Lunch provided by: The Butcher Shop Deli & Catering

WE HOPE YOU CAN JOIN US! To R.S.V.P. visit or call 305-609-1096


As part of her highly successful monthly program, designed to obtain a “hands-on” appreciation of the everyday pressures and challenges that local private and public sector institutions face on a daily basis, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Lynda Bell on Jan. 18 became a member of the county’s Public Works and Solid Waste Department as a trash truck trainee under the supervision of Trash Truck Driver I Rhonda Buroker. During her “Work Day,” Commissioner Bell and Buroker, took a full trash container truck and unloaded the refuse at the county’s Eureka Drive Trash and Recycling Center. Bell received a hands-on briefing on how the county uses residents’ garbage and converts most of it into reusable means like fuel that not only powers the plant itself but provides electricity to 50,000 households each year, as well as produce bio-mass fuel created from high-grade trash. Commissioner Bell completed her “Work Day” by inspecting the South Dade Landfill adjacent to the Town of Cutler Bay.

“As residents, we often take for granted the good people who collect and recycle our trash, but after today, I was very impressed by the way these very hardworking county employees commit to their jobs in keeping our communities clean,” Commissioner Ball said. “At a time where we must find solutions to our serious economic problems, this department uses every means necessary to maximize efficiency, care for the environment, and give back useable products that all the community can use.” The Department of Public Works and Solid Waste Management is the largest government owned and operated waste management system in the southeastern United States. Its workforce provides curbside collection of garbage and trash to more than 320,000 households, operates 13 Neighborhood Trash and Recycling Centers and administers the collection of recyclables from 350,000 homes. If you are a business owner who would like to invite Commissioner Bell for a “Work Day,” or if you would like more information on the program, contact her office at 305-3786677.

February 7 - 20, 2012


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Golf, baseball and ‘archery’ are big this month, folks Michael Mil er EXECUTIVE EDITOR

AROUND TOWN Golfers, take note! Dr. James A. Thomas, the new Chairman of the Economic Development Council of South Miami-Dade, reminds us that the 14th Annual Steven Cranman Golf Tournament takes place on Friday, February 24, so make your plans now. The annual event benefiting South Dade’s leading economic development organization will be at the Palmetto Golf Course. “Come join us at for continental breakfast, Bloody Marys, followed by an 8:30 a.m. Shot Gun Tee-Off, and a great day of golf,” says James. After Golf there’s an open bar, chicken wings, BBQ chicken, a raffle and, of course, awards. A foursome is only $400. There may still be some sponsorship opportunities available. For information visit <> or call

the Council at 305-378-9470. Batter up! Something else to mark on your calendars is the 2012 President’s Day Youth Baseball Clinic, which happens on Monday, February 20, at Coral Reef Park, Field #3. The park is on the corner of S.W. 152 Street and 77 Avenue, and the annual event runs from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. On-site Registration starts at 8:30 a.m. It’s for ages 5-13. If you’re interested, register now for $25 per player. After February 15th it will cost $30 per player. There’ll be supervised baseball instruction, skills competition, games and lunch. All proceeds from the clinic will benefit the Palmetto High School baseball program. Cupid’s arrows alert! Valentine’s Day is February 14, of course, so guys, don’t forget to buy that special gift and make those dinner plans. And if you can, shop local! Green it up... Business owners who care about the environment, want to reduce costs and take advantage of incentives offered to those who take a “green”

Promote Your Business In the

Cutler Bay News! For all your advertising needs call Roberta Bergman • 305-284-7380 or Georgia Tait • 305-284-7381 Cutler Bay News

6769 S.W. 62 Avenue, South Miami, FL 33143 • Phone (305) 669-7355, Fax (305) 662-6980

PUBLISHER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Grant Miller EXECUTIVE EDITOR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Michael Miller EDITOR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .David Berkowitz WRITERS, COLUMNISTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Ron Beasley, Kenneth Bluh, Robert Hamilton, Linda Rodriguez-Bernfeld, Gary Alan Ruse, Lee Stephens, Al Sunshine, Richard Yager ADVERTISING ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Albie Barnes, Beatriz Brandfon, Roberta Bergman, Ana Caceres, Celia Canabate, Diane Chasin, Henry Chau, Sharon Christian, Diane Maddox, Denzel Miles, Ann Robbins-Udel, Fara Sax, Lori Schwadron, Diane Sedona Schiller, Walter White LEGAL ADVERTISING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Georgia Tait BOOKKEEPING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Jesus Toledo PROOF DEPARTMENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Isabel Vavrek GRAPHIC ARTISTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Isabel Ortega, Cristian Ortiz, Catalina Roca PUBLISHER EMERITUS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Ron Miller COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS

Aventura News, Biscayne Tribune, Coral Gables News-Tribune, Doral Tribune, Kendall Gazette, Cutler Bay News, Palmetto Bay News, Pinecrest Tribune, South Miami News, Sunny Isles Beach We will not return solicited or unsolicited editorial material including stories, columns and or photographs. Please make sure that you have duplicate copies of the material.

approach should visit the county website and “Business Express” page for information. Find it at: <>. In case you missed it, Gov. Rick Scott snuck in and out of Kendall Jan. 27 to help publicize opening of a new eyeglass vendor (we won’t use the name!) at The Palms, the glossy makeover for the old Kendall Town & Country Center Mall. Seems the owner, who is expanding in Florida, was a big buck contributor to the governor’s campaign kitty…while our Gov’ says it’s part of his economic revival to create new jobs (still at 9.9 percent, above a national 8.5 percent average, last we checked). Big splash in the ayem papyrus announcing first Shula Burger franchise opening next to the Tiki Bar in Islamorada with a hint that No. 2 will open in June in Kendall at the new Market Square shopping center built by Pablo Casas of PLC Investments at SW 104 Street (Killian Drive) and SW 117 Avenue. Gadinsky Real Estate, leasing agent, has also

announced that Chase Bank, Haircuttery, Metro PCS, Miami Center for Dentistry, Pink and White Nails, and Menchie’s frozen yogurt, a national retailer, are expected to open in 2012. Driving out west? Be advised a major resurfacing project may delay you along SW 147 Ave. from Miller Drive (SW 72 St.) north to SW 47 St., even though most work has been scheduled during non-peak traffic hours (whatever those may be in Kendall!). Anyway, thanks for the tip Commissioner Joe Martinez! Thought of the Day: An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest. - Benjamin Franklin Gary Alan Ruse and Richard Yager contributed to this column. Got any tips? Contact me at 305-6697355, ext. 249, or send emails to <

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P.B.S.A., from page 1



County was great,” Hurst said. “We are very fortunate to have this facility which now gives us six fields and makes it possible to have our girls softball program come back both to Franjo and Lakes by the Bay Park. It’s great having our entire family back together again, with the boys and girls. The excitement is great and for me personally I love seeing the girls back there. It reminds me of the days when my mom was coaching and my sister was playing softball.” Attending were Jim Morris of the University of Miami; Mark Pavo from Barry University; Danny Smith, head coach of Palmetto High School; Dave and Marinka Bisceglia, the baseball and softball coaches from Coral Reef High School; Steve Rogers, the associate head coach for Southridge High School; Emil Castianos; Billy Colmer; David Thompson, one of the players who has committed to the UM and is projected to be a first round pick in Major League Baseball’s upcoming draft representing Westminister Christian School; Fred Burnside, representing South Dade High school, who

has been a legend for 30 years as a coach in South Florida; ex-PBSA alumni Vinnie Chulk, Mickey Lopez and Bill Hurst, a former PBSA player and major league baseball player. Local government officials present included Miami-Dade County Commissioner Lynda Bell, Cutler Bay Mayor Ed MacDougall, and Councilmembers Sue Ellen Loyzelle and Peggy Bell. Softball player Jalyn Ross sung the National Anthem. Pastor Amber Massengale gave an opening prayer and blessing, and one other special ceremony was also part of the event. “We gave our lifetime achievement award to Bill Reese, former baseball commissioner for 35 years at the park. He came back eight years ago to help coach his grandsons,” Hurst said. “It was a great day, a great event. We’d like to thank Whigham Elementary School for allowing us to use their parking facility.” For information on joining the PBSA contact Ronnie Young, the organization’s park director, at 305-975-1732 or by email at <>.

February 7 - 20, 2012

ARBOR DAY, from page 1 ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– The students each received a certificate to go along with their seedling. “The students take a pledge that they promise to care for the tree,” Horne explained. “By accepting the seedling tree they promise to plant it in a location where they can care for it ‘as the tree and I grow up together.’ The certificate declares them to be a Fourth Grade Forester of Florida and they pledge to be part of the program to preserve and protect our environment on Arbor Day and everyday.” The first Arbor Day took place on Apr. 10, 1872 in Nebraska, the brainchild of Julius Sterling Morton, a journalist and politician originally from Michigan who served as President Grover Cleveland’s Secretary of Agriculture. “I was really pleased to see the children’s interest in taking part in a program like this,” Horne said. “They were really excited not only to be presented with the

tree, but the proclamation, the pledge and everything that went with it. “We had to go through an application process, write a little thing as to why we wanted our school to participate. We were very lucky to be part of the program. It’s a unique opportunity for them to have.” The students of the school recently had helped design the playground at Lakes by the Bay Park through KaBOOM!, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to saving play for America’s children. They decided they wanted to do something else for the park as well. “E. L. Whigham Elementary School donated five of the seedling trees to the Town of Cutler Bay for the new park that’s behind our school,” Horne said. “It was actually one of the kid’s ideas that maybe we could plant the trees in the park because it’s so close to their school.”

ARTISTS, from page 1 ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Artists interested in participating in the two-day outdoor juried painting event must complete a formal application available on the Deering Estate website. The entry form and registration fee must be returned to GroveHouse Artists by Apr. 6. For more information, contact Barbara Tejada at 305-979-9534 or send email to <>. Youth Arts Day at the Deering Estate at Cutler is a community collaboration celebrating creativity, youth artists, and diversity. The event also helps create awareness of Miami-Dade County’s rich cultural resources. Youth Arts Day will take place on Sunday, May 6, with a day of youth performances and art. There also will be a month-long visual and literary art exhibition.

Youth groups and individual youth artists (visual, literary and performance) interested in participating as an artist in the Youth Arts Day and Music Fest must submit an application form and any digital samples by Apr. 1. The application form is available on the Deering Estate website. Submissions are limited to one per student. There is no cost to participate. Youth artists or their sponsoring organization are responsible for supplying his/her own equipment, exhibit materials, transportation and anything necessary to complete his/her submission. All youth visitors (grades K-12) are given free admission to the estate on May 6. Admission for adults is $12. For more information, visit online at <> or call 305-2351668, ext. 233.


February 7 - 20, 2012


Environment, high school among town’s priorities BY KARA BISCEGLIA

A “Go Green” initiative always has been important to the Town of Cutler Bay along with promoting environmental responsibility to the community. Town Mayor Ed MacDougall is most excited for the new green project, known as PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy). A resolution already has been signed and five cities have worked in cooperation to get the project underway. The project allows property owners to borrow money to buy solar panels, wind generators and insulation for their homes. MacDougall is looking forward to working on one of the largest environmental improvement projects in the county. Other local municipalities that have joined the cause are Palmetto Bay, Pinecrest, South Miami and Coral Gables. This green initiative not only has caught the attention of local cities, but the state as well. This should create one of the largest energy corridors (along US1) in South Florida and MacDougall cannot wait to organize prospective details on bahlef of the town. Alongside Cutler Bay’s commitments for going green, a master plan has been initiated for the town’s seven local parks. Besides environmental initiatives and facility improvements, Cutler Bay soon plans on having its own high school. Plans are underway to complete the steps neces-

sary in order to convert one of the town’s middle schools into a high school. MacDougall and his team are working with the Miami-Dade School District to undertake the tasks needed to make this happen for the school year beginning in August. MacDougall said the budget for this project would be around $3 million and the town is partnering financially with MiamiDade Schools to proceed with this project. “This year I’m looking forward to being able to complete the high school opening,” MacDougall said. MacDougall has been a Cutler Bay resident for about 50 years and believes the town is large enough to have its own high school. Creating this high school would encourage students to stay within their own community and not have to commute elsewhere, MacDougall said. New interactive technologies and science labs would be added to the facility. Plans would be in effect to condense Centennial Middle School and Cutler Ridge Middle School, converting Centennial into a high school. “It would be two different locations, but they complement each other,” MacDougall said.

Kara Bisceglia, 21, a senior at the University of Central Florida, is studying Radio Television with a track in Broadcast Journalism.

See us online at:

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February 7 - 20, 2012

Homestead teen Crystal Ruiz earns city council recognition BY LEE STEPHENS

Homestead teen Crystal Ruiz was recognized for her community service and dedication to helping young students during the January city council meeting. The presentation was made by Councilmember Judy Waldman. The former Miss Homestead Outstanding Teen 2010-11 currently holds the title for Miss Miami Outstanding Teen and is the founder of the organization “The Crystal Care Packages for At-Risk Children.” The organization fundraises to create care packages with uniforms and backpacks for underprivileged students in the Homestead community. “Making a difference is important to me and providing needy children with new school items and apparel that will help boost their self-esteem and make them feel good about the way they look,” said the 16-year-old South Dade High junior during the Homestead teen Crystal Ruiz (left) is recognized during the January city council meeting by Councilmember Judy council meeting. Councilmember Waldman, a Waldman. ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– champion of community service herself, presented Ruiz with a plaque honoring presented 25 students from Campbell her community service and congratulating Drive K-8 Center with care packages that her on recently winning “The Violet she put together through fundraising and Richardson Award” for her volunteer work. the help of NeatStuff, an organization that “I have seen Crystal grow to be an excel- provides new school uniforms for underlent representative of Homestead,” privileged children. Ruiz already is workCouncilwoman Waldman said at the meet- ing to put together another donation event. “None of this would have been possible ing. “In addition to her academic achievement she always finds the time to volunteer without the support of family, friends, Mayor Bateman, Councilwoman Waldman, and and make a difference.” On the day before Thanksgiving Ruiz many residents of Homestead,” Ruiz said.

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February 7 - 20, 2012


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Florida divided on impact of Vegas style casinos R. Kenneth Bluh KENNETH’S COMMENTARY Everyone has an opinion on the question of Las Vegas style casinos in our community’s future. Voters, surveyed statewide, are pretty much evenly divided on the question. Central and North Florida are slightly against major casinos. South Florida, especially Southeast Florida, favors the idea. Our state laws must be changed before Vegas style casinos can come to Florida. The question is should the Florida Legislature consider the question or should it be through a public referendum? One thing almost everyone agrees upon is that our legislature would vote on casino approval looking for additional revenue for the state. Voters would be voting on how casinos would impact our community and our way of life in the future. Florida’s voters should make that decision. Many in our community still are angry over taxpayers building a baseball stadium for the Marlins. Most feel that

approval or rejection on such major issues should be made by Miami-Dade voters, not the members of the MiamiDade County Commission or our elected officials in the state capital. After all we must live with the results of our election decisions. There are excellent arguments for and against the question. The owners of “local” casinos that we have permitted at our dog and horse racetracks and now at local jaialai are concerned about losing customers to the “big” glamorous establishments. Will they lose the little gambler is a good question. Perhaps with the big minimum bets the small dollar gambler will stay at the local casino. Hotel owners are concerned that the “big” spenders no longer will stay at the hotels on the beach, opting for the hotel/casino where they literally can roll out of bed and hit the tables. Others think that the casinos will bring a different type of high roller, who didn’t come to Florida before, but will now come and stay for the glitz of what was once limited to Las Vegas. Many in our community look to the casino as a source of adding employment. In addition to the many minimum wage jobs

VIEWPOINT there will be higher salaried positions such as floor managers, chiefs, accountants, etc. The hope is that the better paying jobs will not be held by out-of-towners brought in for the positions. Ask suppliers that will deliver tons of food, alcohol, laundry soap, suntan lotion to the casinos’ back doors and they will unanimously say “yes!” Ask law enforcement officers and they will be divided between more drunks to handle and opportunities for more police positions. Ask cab drivers and they will be overjoyed at the prospect of hauling gamblers to the casinos, to dinner, to the beach, and finally back to the airport to return north or travel home overseas. Whatever your opinion there is unanimity of opinion that Florida’s voters make the final decision — “yes” or “no.” Almost all agree that if approved it should contain a county option. More than likely the residents of Southeast Florida will say “yes”

looking for jobs and increased income. Perhaps the voters of Orange County (Orlando) will say “no” to protect their image as a family vacation destination. We should not turn our backs on change. However we should make certain that change will improve our community and make it a better place to live and raise our families. Once we have heard both sides of the debate, asked questions, discussed the options then we should be ready to make a decision, ether by our vote through a public referendum or by influencing our legislators in Tallahassee. We appreciate your opinions on this column whether in agreement or disagreement. Please send your comments to (fax number) 305-662-6980 or email to <>. The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of this newspaper, its editors or publisher.

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February 7 - 20, 2012

Bummer: Some people are giving ‘bums’ a bad name BY ERNIE SOCHIN

Vice Mayor Most of the responses I get to my articles are complimentary and for the most part thank me for my sense of humor, but not always. Take a look at this one that I received recently: “Please — you are not funny. Get a real job where you can contribute something of substance to the world — either that or just retire and stop using your minimal small town venue as a soapbox. We have so many REAL concerns without pandering to the public with silly junk. You are not Dave Barry. Don’t kid yourself. Help CUTLER RIDGE instead of using our town as a springboard for your frusterated [her spelling] comedic efforts.” Of course the spelling and reference to Cutler Ridge are hers (we are now Cutler Bay) but in a way it was complimentary, being mentioned in the same letter as Dave. No, I am not a Dave Barry, although I wish I had his talent. I know Dave and he had been a guest on my past radio show several times. I have seen that genius mind of his make fun of just about anything. After digesting the email, I began wondering just what might have triggered such a venomous response to a humorous article, and then I looked at my next email. This one was from a woman, who like most, found my article entertaining but then went on to tell me her tales of woe. She lost her husband, her job, and was about to lose her house to foreclosure and asked for any help I could offer. I will try, believe me! This made me think that perhaps the first email sender had similar or worse problems and needed someone at whom to vent. My wife uses me for this purpose on occasion, so I am used to it. My mind being what it is started expanding on these thoughts and wondering just how many people are really suffering so badly in this economy that they have nowhere to turn. Just the other day at Old Cutler Town Center a woman stopped me as I was leaving a store and asked for a handout. Naturally I said “no” and got into my car to drive away. As I was doing this, the lady stopped a woman who was passing by and begged her for some change. This woman actually handed her some. I began to feel bad, and thought that maybe the beggar actually needed help, so I shut off my engine and went back to her and asked her for what she needed the money. She replied that she was thirsty and wanted to go to Publix and get something to drink. I gave her a dollar and she spun around and walked right into the liquor store

behind us. I was upset but learned another lesson in life. Years ago, in Boston, I worked at a business that had a back alley, where “bums” used to congregate to escape the cold. When I would park my car behind the building they would make their pitch about being hungry or needing a warm drink. Each time, I would offer to take them all to a small coffee chop near us and buy them something to eat. I never got a taker. They were content with a bottle of cheap Muscatel or whatever other booze they were drinking. Nowadays it would probably include some Crack or other drug. I know it sounds harsh, but I have little sympathy for

Beggars can be choosers. ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

these folks because at some point in their lives they made decisions to live this way and I am not at fault. Remember those bums up in Fort Lauderdale who were living in a field and claimed to be Vietnam veterans? Of course they weren’t, but they did cause quite a stir until the truth was discovered. Back to today. Lately I have been seeing younger people that actually look decent with those same cardboard signs: “LOST MY JOB, KIDS TO FEED, Etc” Is it possible that some of these folks actually are that desperate and that there is no one to care for them anywhere? I know of Camillus House and other places that are supposed to offer shelter and food to these people, so why aren’t they there rather than on street corners. I have heard stories of people begging from wheelchairs and at the end of the day, putting the chair aside and walking away. Geez! So was the nasty emailer one of these or someone who just hated me for some other reason. I may never know, but she did get me thinking — a dangerous thing!

February 7 - 20, 2012


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MCH breaks ground on six-story Advance Pediatric Care Pavilion BY JENNIFER CAMINAS

Miami Children’s Hospital broke ground in December on a planned six-story Advanced Pediatric Care Pavilion, a state-of the-art facility that will optimize the care environment in the hospital’s pediatric and neonatal intensive care units. The 212,000-square-foot pavilion will incorporate the latest medical technology and familyfriendly enhancements, including converting beds in the hospital’s critical care units to private-bed rooms. The MCH Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit provide care for critically ill newborns and children referred for advanced care by hospitals throughout Florida as well as the Caribbean. All construction is confined to the center of Miami Children’s main campus in the community of Schenley Park, near Coral Gables.

Children from Miami Children’s Hospital’s Child Care Center take part in a groundbreaking for the hospital’s planned new Advanced Pediatric Care Pavilion. Pictured (l-r) are Joshua Casuso, Timmy Kinnebrew, Mia Campbell, Nicholas Acebal and Vincent Abreu.


“The planning process for these new facilities has included extensive guidance from patients, families and caregivers to ensure that they meet the needs of those we serve,” said Dr. M. Narendra Kini, president and CEO of Miami Children’s Hospital. “We look forward to offering a care environment that is consistent with the standard of care for which the hospital is renowned.” The project, to be completed in 2014, is expected to infuse approximately $90 million into the local economy and will create approximately 678 new jobs in construction, manufacturing and transportation. “Our Advanced Pediatric Care Pavilion is not only a gift to the children and families for whom we provide care, it is our hope that it is a tremendous blessing to the larger community we call home,” said Gary Gregory, chair of the hospital’s board of directors.

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February 7 - 20, 2012

Lauren’s Light to celebrate fundraiser in Grove, Feb. 18 BY ROBERT HAMILTON

Lauren’s Light, a non-profit charity that empowers and supports families with young children in which a parent has cancer, will celebrate its annual fundraiser, “Family Matters,” on Saturday, Feb. 18, 7 p.m., at 3390 Mary St. in Coconut Grove. Family Matters will be a light-hearted conversation with syndicated humorist, author and Pulitzer Prize winner Dave Barry, his wife and Miami Herald sportswriter Michelle Kaufman, and Books & Books owner Mitchell Kaplan.

There will be complimentary food and beverages donated by Town Kitchen & Bar, Bacardi, and Milam’s Markets. A live auction will feature an Azamara Club Cruise European Cruise for two, and fabulous silent auction items will include hotel stays, top restaurants, jewelery, and sports, gift, and personal items. One hundred percent of all proceeds will go to Lauren’s Light, a 501(c)(3) public charity founded in Coconut Grove. Tickets are $75. Purchase tickets at <> or call 305-2851202 for more information and to RSVP.

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Boys and Girls Clubs-Kendall ready to ‘shoot some hoops’ BY DUREE ROSS

CUSTOM SUITS • EXPERT ALTERATIONS At John the Tailor our mission statement is “to produce high quality men’s custom suits and shirts that fit as close to perfect the very first time. Also, we know how important alterations are to you, and we offer the best alterations Miami has to offer.” We have served the Miami community for over 28 years, Call us to schedule an appointment, at:

(305) 667-8768

5609 South West 74th Street, South Miami For more about this extraordinary family of tailors, visit:

Many Miami children ages 10-16 soon will be “shooting some hoops” and having fun through the Boys and Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade’s basketball program at its Kendall Club, 9475 N. Kendall Dr. Registration at the Kendall Club begins on Feb. 7. Boys and Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade’s sports programs are designed to provide a safe and healthy environment so that children can learn team skills, increase selfesteem, build character, become positive role models, and increase motivation as

well as specific skills related to the sport. Sports programs are available during the afternoon to the early hours of the night, Monday through Saturday. This is the time of day when children, especially teens, are more likely to engage in harmful activities. Coaches are volunteers who help the children learn proper techniques for the sport. Registration fee of $135 (includes uniform, trophy and insurance) per child for the season. For more information call the Kendall Club at 305-279-3013 or visit online at <>.

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Farm Bureau to honor Alice Pena as agriculture’s Woman of Distinction BY ROBERT HAMILTON

The Dade County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee has announced that Alice Pena of PNS Farms is the 2012 Woman of Distinction in Agriculture. Pena will be honored during the seventh annual Women in Agriculture Luncheon on Friday, Feb. 10, 11:30 a.m., at Schnebly Redland’s Winery and Brewery in Homestead. Pena was selected based on her valuable

contributions to South Dade agriculture and agribusiness. Previous recipients of this award are Sally Stribling, Denisse Schnebly, Medora Krome, Angela DelliVeneri, Joann Spears, Maria Costa Smith and Mary Burr. Miami-Dade County Commissioner Lynda Bell is the featured speaker for the luncheon. Tickets for the event are $35 each and RSVPs are required. Call Theresa Smith at 305-246-5514 to RSVP.

February 7 - 20, 2012


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February 7 - 20, 2012

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February 7 - 20, 2012

Office Depot celebrates grand re-opening of W. Kendall store

Pictured at the check presentation are (l-r) Bill Haag, Office Depot district manager; Pat Morris, chief development officer, YMCA of Greater Miami; Andrew Weighill, executive director, YMCA of Greater Miami, and Lazaro Hernandez, Office Depot store manager. –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––


Office Depot, celebrating 25 years as a leading global provider of office supplies and services, conducted a ribbon-cutting celebration for the grand re-opening of its newly remodeled store, 8950 SW 137 Ave in West Kendall, on Thursday, Jan. 12. During this ceremony, the Office Depot Foundation donated new children’s sackpacks with essential school supplies and made charitable contributions to three local non-profit organizations: Miami Coalition for a Safe and Drug-Free Community, Read2Succeed, and YMCA of Greater Miami. The newly remodeled store features a number of upgrades designed specifically

with the customer in mind. Colorful and helpful signage, carpeted floors and a simple-to-navigate floor plan are just a few of the positive changes implemented at this location. The Office Depot store employs approximately 32 associates. It houses more than 7,500 products — everything from furniture and office supplies to technology and copy and print services — in nearly 19,000 square feet of selling space. Store hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-9 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. This location can be reached by phone at 305-388-0041. To learn more about the products and services available at Office Depot, visit online at <>.

February 7 - 20, 2012


Deputy Mayor Hudak to receive National Public Service Award BY SUZY TRUTIE

encountered in the work place and offer creative solutions. The American Society for Public Hudak learned Miami-Dade County Administration (ASPA) has selected from the ground up, beginning her career Miami-Dade County Deputy Mayor Alina with the county in 1984 as a management T. Hudak as a recipient of the 2012 trainee. Upon completion of this program, National Public Service Award. she was selected to serve as the county Established in 1983, the National Public manager’s liaison with the South Florida Service Awards honor Employment and Training individuals whose accomConsortium and became the plishments are models of executive assistant to the public service within and assistant county manager. outside the work environIn 1993, she was the first ment. The program recogHispanic woman ever nizes individuals who appointed as assistant exhibit the highest stancounty manager and in dards of excellence, dedi1996 was appointed direccation and accomplishtor of the General Services ment over a sustained Administration, one of the period of time and who county’s largest and most are creative and skilled complex operational funccareer managers at all levtions, then composed of Deputy Mayor Alina T. Hudak els of public service. seven divisions and more ––––––––––––––––––––– “Alina is a proven than 800 employees. leader. Her knowledge of government In 1998 she returned to the County operations and our community, as well as Manager’s Office as an assistant county her philanthropic and volunteer work, are manager where she led an extensive probeyond compare,” said Miami-Dade curement reform effort that culminated in County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. “She is the creation of the Department of truly deserving of this honor and we are Procurement Management. very proud of her accomplishments.” Her responsibilities have included overThe award will be presented during sight of the nationally acclaimed police ASPA’s annual conference in Las Vegas on and fire rescue departments, the county’s Mar. 5. The conference brings together first stand-alone Animal Services government and nonprofit professionals, Department and an Elections Department scholars, students and citizen groups to that completely has reinvented its systems learn what is happening in various areas twice, while creating unprecedented voter and obtain skills that they can implement confidence and convenience. She also has in their communities, states and countries. managed the county’s intensified overThis year’s conference theme, sight of the Jackson Health System. “Redefining Public Service Through Civic In 2011, she was the first woman to Engagement,” will be a central focus for serve as county manager, and later that more than 400 public service experts who same year she was appointed deputy will be on hand to address concerns mayor.

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February 7 - 20, 2012

‘Barkkupy Miami’ rally organized to put Pets Trust issue on ballot BY RITA SCHWARTZ

You probably have read about Occupy Wall Street. Now there is an effort to “Barkkupy Miami” on Saturday, Feb. 11, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Tropical Park (Bird Road just west of the Palmetto Expressway). The event is to encourage Miami-Dade County residents to bring their dogs and hold signs that say “LET US VOTE.” Participants are

going to rally to get the right to vote on the Pets Trust, a dedicated revenue source that will save more than 20,000 animals’ lives annually. That’s how many die at Animal Services in MiamiDade alone. The organizers’ petition is getting more than 200 signatures a day and are hoping to get thousands to attend with their dogs wearing red scarves symbolizing unity. Dogs will be marching to save the lives of their fellow dogs and cats.

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Woman’s Club of Homestead sets charity-scholarship dinner/dance BY ROBERT HAMILTON

A dinner/dance will take place at GFWC Woman’s Club of Homestead on Saturday, Feb. 11, from 6:30 p.m. until midnight. A slow-cooked smoked prime rib dinner cooked by Steve Losner will be served at 7 p.m. Full bar service will be provided by the Capri Restaurant. Deejay Tony Martin will provide the music for your dancing

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and listening pleasure. All profits will be used for local scholarships and local charities. There also will be a 50/50 drawing with tickets only $1 or six for $5. Dinner/dance tickets are available from all Woman’s Club members or by calling Meda at 305-248-0976 or the clubhouse at 305-248-8001. The Woman’s Club is located at 17905 SW 292 St.

February 7 - 20, 2012


Everything’s coming up roses at landmark Hirni’s flower shop BY JOSE CASSOLA

If you ask high school sweethearts Ted and Janice Tate if they ever expected to be running a flower shop together after 38 years of marriage, the answer is a straight-forward “yes.” “He knew when he married me, he was marrying into the family business,” laughed Janice, 59, who lives in Pinecrest near the florist shop her parents opened nearly 50 years ago. Hirni’s Wayside Gardens Florist, located at 9950 SW 57 Ave., originally was an outdoor Hirni’s Wayside Gardens Florist owner Janice Tate (left) and daughter-in-law flower stand started by Kimberly Tate (center) assist longtime customer and Kendall resident Robert William and Evelyn Hirni Malec with a last-minute flower arrangement for his wife’s birthday. –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– on Ludlam Road. The roadside stand evolved into the full-grown family operation. Her father died in 2004. But Janice has a backup plan to keep the flower shop it is today back in 1966, where it has been serving neighboring residents ever family business going. She recently hired her daughter-in-law, Kimberly Tate, 31, to help since. As little girls, Janice, her twin sister Jeanie, and learn the business. “My intention is for her to hopefully like it as well as older sister Marilyn, 65, would come to the shop everyday after school to help and carry it on, keep it in the family,” Janice their parents grow flowers, water plants and said. “She seems to love it and has a nice way take care of customers. Younger brother, Billy, with people.” Kimberly said she is having a great time 53, also helped, but the girls were the most devoted. Their dedication to the family busi- learning the business and looks forward to ness blossomed through young adulthood the possibility of running it full-time one day even when the sisters held careers as nurses at with her daughters, now ages 4 and 18 months. South Miami Hospital. “It’s a happy place to work at, very neighWhen their mother died in 1981, the Hirni girls began to run the shop full-time with help borly,” she said. “I have a background in sales from their father, who then was a retired police and merchandising and I’m a people pleaser officer with the Miami-Dade County Police like my mother-in-law. Keeping the Hirni Department. By this time, the family operation family business going was an opportunity I had stopped growing flowers onsite and started couldn’t resist.” Fran Berrin, 60, who lives in Pinecrest, has ordering their best sellers — including roses, lilies, snap dragons, hydrangeas and orchid been a customer at Hirni’s Wayside Gardens plants — from mostly South American vendors. Florist for at least 30 years. She said Janice For Janice, already a mother of two girls and the staff are like her extended family, and one boy, the transition from nursing to “always pleasant, upbeat and creative with managing a florist shop full-time actually took their arrangements.” “They’ve seen me through so many special some pressure off her. “It was much easier and more beneficial to occasions, from birthdays to bar mitzvahs,” raise my kids,” she said. “At the hospital, I Berrin said. “What keeps me coming back is couldn’t leave to go on a field trip or attend the personal touch and sincere interest they one of my kids’ programs. At the flower shop, put in everything they do. That human conI could. Looking back, I can’t imagine having nection, that willingness to go the extra mile and add that perfect finishing touch — that’s done anything different with my life.” Husband Ted, also a Miami-Dade Police what’s made me a customer for life.” Hirni’s Wayside Gardens Florist is open officer like Janice’s father, helped out at the shop when he was off duty. He retired in 2006 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through and has helped Janice full-time ever since. Her Saturday, and closed on Sunday. For more sisters have since retired from the business, information, call 305-661-6266 or go online to leaving Janice the remaining Hirni to run the <>.

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PTS soccer players get kick from helping others

Community Association Beat

Setting Uniform Collection Policy for Condos, HOAS BY MITCH DRIMMER, CAM

In 2010, the Palmer Trinity School varsity boys soccer team (pictured) began “Project Kick-Start Christmas” as a way to give soccer balls to children whose families are unable to buy them presents over the holidays. This past year, the team reached out to other PTS soccer teams in an effort to donate even more. With the help of players and parents from the PTS soccer program, the boys collected more than 50 soccer balls and donated them to families throughout Miami as well as an orphanage in Haiti.

February 7 - 20, 2012

Condos and HOAs have been plagued with owners not paying their dues to the association. This has always been a problem but it has not become a crisis until the last five years when delinquency rates have soared. Before the meltdown the banks were the first to act and the problem was often solved by their taking action. Now with banks reluctant to foreclose on units a new dynamic exists that requires boards of directors to take action because the banks will not. The question remains is what action does the board take and when does it take it? The first thing that has to be done is to have the board of directors sit down and establish a “uniform collection policy” that conforms with its governing documents, and, as with any business decision, needs to be tempered with good business judgment. If a board of directors has a “selective” approach regarding its actions, it is doing the association a disservice, and perhaps even putting the association in harm’s way if there is selective enforcement of a collection policy. By not taking quick action it isalso doing a disservice to the delinquent owner, because by allowing a delinquency to grow, owners will often find themselves way behind and impossible to dig their way out. The first thing that must be determined is the time line as to when action is taken. The second thing that needs to be done is to determine what the form of that action will be. Thirdly, if the association has to bring

in outside help, it needs to make a decision as to who will be their collection provider, for it can be a collection company or an attorney. So let’s talk about the time line. Every board of directors knows when a payment is due, the grace period, and when a payment is past due. This information is often in the association’s very own governing documents. The next step is to establish a plan as to what will be done after the first payment is late. Why not send a kindly-toned letter reminding an owner they have missed a payment and to please be sure to send it in right away. This “courtesy letter” should be sent out within a week of the expiration of the grace period. The next step on the time line is a difficult one but necessary for the board now needs to send the unit to a professional company to move the file forward. Associations can use their own legal consul or specialized collection agencies to engage owners and take action. When a unit goes this route, it is up to the board, but once determined to act, they also need to take positive action. In my next column I will discuss the options and what “positive actions” can be taken.

Mitch Drimmer is a licensed CAM (Community Association Manager) and is the Vice President of Association Financial Services, an accredited collection agency, specializing in finance, business process outsourcing, and in community associations. For more information, visit 305.677.0022 ex 804.


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February 7 - 20, 2012


Dade County Farm Bureau announces 2 promotions BY LEE STEPHENS

Dade County Farm Bureau president Alice Pena has announced the promotions of Debbie Brady to executive director and Theresa A. Smith to associate director at Dade County Farm Bureau. “We are very proud of the work that both Ms. Brady and Ms. Smith have accomplished for our organization,” Pena said. “Their loyalty and hard work for the Farm Bureau, our members and affiliates have allowed us to become a stronger voice for agriculture. “They have carried out their duties in the

most responsible, professional and courteous manner; their outreach has touched not only our agricultural industry as a whole in all its facets, but our communities at large and all that it encompasses as well. Kudos to them both.” Dade County Farm Bureau represents more than 4,000 members, over 1,000 of whom are involved actively in agribusiness and represent over 900 agricultural operations. Dade County farmers provide an economic impact of more than $2.57 billion to the local and state economies. For more information, visit on the Internet at <>.

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Romance your sweetheart with a ‘Singing Valentine’ BY LEE STEPHENS

The Singing Miamians of Pinecrest again this year are offering Singing Valentines on Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day. Recipients are entertained in their home or office with two love songs performed by a tuxedoed barbershop quartet. They also receive a rose, a card with a personal note from the sender and a digital photograph to preserve the event. For 35 years The Singing Miamians

have been saying “I love you” in song while leaving sweethearts speechless. Often the unique gift draws a crowd and usually some tears as well. Singing Valentines cost $75 for a fourhour delivery window and are delivered anywhere in Miami-Dade County. More time precise delivery options are available at an additional cost. To schedule a Singing Valentine for your sweetheart, call 305-274-7464 or go online to <> before Feb. 14.

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Alhambra Orchestra to present compositions by Brahms, Grieg BY HELEN HAUSER

The Alhambra Orchestra, with principal conductor Alfred Gershfeld, piano soloist Mia Vassilev and guest conductor Scott Flavin, presents “Classic Celebration” featuring Brahms’ Symphony No. 2 and Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor on Sunday, Mar. 4, 7 p.m., at RansomEverglades School, 3575 Main Hwy. in Coconut Grove. Admission and parking are free; no reservations needed except for large

groups. Call 305-668-9260 or visit online at <>. Dr. Vassilev, a Barry University faculty member, has performed throughout the U.S., Mexico, China, Germany and Italy, and has been broadcast on the Classical Radio Network in Bulgaria. Gershfeld, conductor and composer, had an extensive career in his native Russia and toured around the world before coming to Miami where he is associate professor and orchestra director at the New World School for the Arts.

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February 7 - 20, 2012

All-County Middle School Honor Orchestra returns

Conductor Brian Powell is pictured with the students at the rehearsal before the concert. (Photo by Tinder Burris) ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––


The Miami-Dade County Public Schools All-County Orchestra, a tradition for 30 years in South Florida, was eliminated seven years ago due to budget cuts. It was reinstated this year thanks to the efforts of music teacher Tinder Burris who taught at Southwood Middle School in Palmetto Bay for a number of years. Burris left Southwood to tackle some new challenges. One of them was especially close to her heart. “This year I took on a new project to reinstate the All-County Middle School Honor Orchestra, except it will not be sponsored or supported through the school system,” Burris said. “I secured a grant from the American String Teachers Association. Our grant proposal was one of only five in the country to receive funding.” Burris also was able to secure the

University of Miami Gusman Hall free of charge through the generosity of School of Music Dean Shelly Berg. The composite orchestra featured 82 of the top middle school string students from Miami-Dade public and private schools. The conductor was UM Professor Brian Powell, and the concert took place on Jan. 21. “This is a tremendous boost for our local middle school string music teachers and students,” Burris said. “It gives credibility and prestige to what I and middle school orchestra teachers do on a daily basis.” The concert, the first of what is hoped to once again be an annual event, had a turnout of about 200 people. “When planning this event we wanted to make sure every middle school aged child in Miami-Dade County had a chance to participate. We even had some home-schooled students in the orchestra.”

February 7 - 20, 2012


Loretta Armada Vengoechea thinks that love is in fashion

Loretta Armada Vengoechea is pictured in her shop, The Closet Boutique.

––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– BY GARY ALAN RUSE

Loretta Armada Vengoechea, who left the fashion world of New York City more than two years ago to settle in South Florida and open a shop, called The Closet Boutique, at 6354 Bird Rd., loves the area, her work and Valentine’s Day. “What I love about South Florida is that it is so rich in culture,” Vengoechea said. “People live life to the fullest and are truly passionate about everything they do. From the beautiful weather, fabulous fashion and gorgeous beaches, it is an ideal place for all fashionistas to see and be seen.” Vengoechea is a fashion graduate from Parson’s University in NYC, worked at Elle magazine in New York and was a fashion publicist for Etro magazine for several years. Her shop is packed with trendy, yet affordable, ladies wear and with February a peak month for romance, she expects more shoppers to drop by. “Valentine’s Day is a great way to tell that special someone you love them, especially with a new outfit or accessory,” she said. “The ideal gift for anyone is usually a gift certificate so that special someone can come in and pick something that they love. “We also carry a wide selection of jewelry including ‘Love’ necklaces and bracelets for under $100. If you’re looking for a fabulous outfit for a night out, The Closet Boutique has a variety of clothing including amazing dresses, tops, colored skinny jeans, jumpers, skirts and so much more in sever-

al colors, styles and prints.” Vengoechea said that her interest in stylish clothing goes back a long way and might not have happened without family encouragement. “I have always been in love with fashion and how one can express themselves with clothing and accessories,” she said. “My mother had a lot to do with my passion for fashion. She always supported me from eight-hour shopping trips searching for that perfect outfit, going to fashion school in New York City and, most importantly, opening up my own boutique. There would be no Closet Boutique without my mother.” Vengoechea said The Closet Boutique is known for its quality clothing and accessories at extremely affordable prices, inspired by the trendy LA nightlife and NYC street scene. “Ladies can leave the store with an entire outfit for less than $100 and, of course, a smile,” she said. “We pride ourselves on exceptional service and I use my background as a fashion stylist to help each and every one of my customers come up with the perfect look for any occasion. “We build friendships with our customers and really try to provide a friendly environment where they can have some retail therapy, come home with a great outfit and, most importantly, feel amazing about themselves.” The Closet Boutique is open Tuesday through Saturday, from noon to 8 p.m. For more information call 305-668-6472.

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February 7 - 20, 2012

Pine Lake Shopping Center welcomes Arcade Odyssey BY LEE STEPHENS

Miami-based Suchman Retail Group (SRG) recently welcomed Arcade Odyssey as a tenant at Pine Lake Shopping Center, which is located at SW 120th Street and 117th Avenue in Kendall, joining Island Spice Jamaican Restaurant, Lillo’s Pizza, Cingular Wireless, Pool Zone and others. The 2,475-square-foot arcade features black light reactive carpeting and paint, and offers gamers the thrilling experience of dozens of video games from the 1980s through present day. The arcade’s owner, Rick Medina, has been an avid collector for decades and is a master craftsman at restoring and maintaining old arcade games. Medina’s arcade game collection numbers more than 300, which allows him to change games out on a monthly basis in order to keep the gaming experience at Arcade Odyssey fresh and exciting. In a nod to video arcade nostalgia of the ’80s, the facility’s play runs on a token system. Arcade Odyssey also boasts a number of extremely rare arcade games in addition to

Arcade Odyssey offers gamers the thrilling experience of dozens of video games from the 1980s through present day. –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

many others only seen in Japan, and features a menu of exotic snacks and beverages from Japan and several other countries around the world. The facility offers regularly scheduled events including a weekly Ladies’ Night on Thursdays, where ladies can play at the Tournament table free of charge from 5 p.m. through closing, as well as CosPlay Saturday occurring the first Saturday of every month, where patrons are invited to show up in costume, receiving $2 in free tokens. The winner of the night’s CosPlay contest receives an additional $5 in tokens plus a snack and a beverage of his or her choice. “I’ve really enjoyed turning a career and

hobby into an enterprise that everyone can enjoy,” Medina said. “We try to offer a little bit of something for everyone, from arcade classics like Pac-Man and Joust to rider simulation games like Sega Wave Runner, NASCAR Racing and Tsumo, to the latest arcade titles from around the world such as Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition and King of the Fighters XIII.” Arcade Odyssey also features several pinball machines which will be changed out every couple of months to keep the pinball enthusiasts coming back, and a room with networked player-vs-player games with 3D, 180-degree rotating monitors and rumble seats, which simulate the sound and vibrations of the game as it is being played. The facility was scheduled to host the first of its monthly tournament series on Saturday, Feb. 4. “Arcade Odyssey will appeal to everyone from video game purists to children and teens — and their parents,” Medina added. “Arcade Odyssey offers a terrific alternative to the usual family night or date night outings, as well as a haven for gaming enthusiasts,” said Lawrence Suchman, president and CEO of SRG. “We’re thrilled to welcome them as a tenant and to our community.” Arcade Odyssey is located at 12045 SW 117 Ave. in Kendall. It is open MondayThursday from 2 to 9 p.m., Friday from 2 p.m. to 1 a.m., Saturday from 1 p.m. to 1 a.m., and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. Anyone interested in leasing space at Pine Lake or another of SRG’s centers with availability can call Ana Vega-Garcia at 305-667-6461, ext. 11, or email <>. Information about available spaces also can be found on the company’s website at <>.

February 7 - 20, 2012


Letter to the Editor Operation Christmas Child says ‘thank you’ Miamians To the Editor: Thanks to the generous efforts of Miami residents, thousands of hurting children worldwide had, or will have, the opportunity to experience the joy of Christmas. Miami residents joined Operation Christmas Child, the world’s largest Christmas project of its kind, to pack 5,428 shoeboxes with toys, school supplies and necessity items. These giftfilled shoeboxes are making their way — or have already made their way — into the hands of needy children in 100 receiving countries. On behalf of our community, I would like to thank the volunteers at local collection sites and everyone who packed an Operation Christmas Child shoebox gift. For many of the children receiving these boxes, the simple shoebox will be the first gift they have ever received. Although the Miami drop-off locations are closed until November 2012, gifts are received throughout the year at Samaritan’s Purse, 801 Bamboo Rd., Boone, NC, 28607. If you would like to get involved year-round in helping children in need through Operation Christmas Child, go online to <> or call 1-407-852-3727. Thanks again to everyone who participated in this project. A simple gift, packed with love, can communicate hope and transform the lives of children worldwide. Sincerely, Cindy Beyer Regional Director, Florida/Puerto Rico Operation Christmas Child

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February 7 - 20, 2012

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February 7 - 20, 2012

Biscayne NP Family Fun Fest looks at animal superpowers BY GARY BREMEN

Batman, Catwoman and Spiderman are cool, but the real stories behind the superpowers of some of Biscayne National Park’s animals are mindblowing. The Feb. 12 installment of Biscayne National Park’s multiple-award-winning Family Fun Fest will look at animal communication, navigation, defense and predation. The free event takes place from 1 to 4 p.m. at the park’s Dante Fascell Visitor Center, nine miles east of Homestead. Free bus transportation will be provided from Florida City City Hall and the Homestead YMCA. Family Fun Fest participants receive a passport that will guide them through five hands-on and engaging activity stations located around the visitor center. Stations include: Sensitive Sharks — Some of the ocean’s most fear-inducing predators are actually pretty sensitive in ways humans can hardly imagine. Ready! Aim! Fire! — If you think snails are just slow-moving vegetarians, think again! Watch Me Disappear — Camouflage so amazing, it seems like magic. Tawk on Tawk — A seahorse, a fiddler crab and a treehopper meet on the set of the zaniest TV talk show this side of New Yawk City. Tu rtle Travels — Sea turtles travel thousands of miles in their lives. How do they know where to go? Participants who complete all activities will earn a specially designed button to remember the day. Earning

all five buttons in a season earns a Family Fun Fest Fanatic award in April. Fans of the park’s Facebook page will receive a clue to a special “Bonus Station” on the Facebook page on Sunday morning. Future Family Fun Fests are: Biscayne Wr ecktacular!, Mar. 11 — Discover the mysteries of the deep from five wrecks along the park’s Maritime Heritage Trail. Skeleton Crew, A p r. 15, (a week later than usual due to Easter) — Take a look inside all kinds of critters, from corals and fish to manatees and dolphins. Free bus transportation, made possible by the event’s sponsors, will be available from the Florida City City Hall (departing at 12:45 p.m.) and the Homestead YMCA (departing at 1:45 p.m.); call 305-230-1144, ext. 007, for details. Family Fun Fest’s Season 12: Myth, Magic and Mystery is made possible through a generous grant from the Captain Bob Lewis Billfish Challenge and the Bobby Duryea Fund at the South Florida National Parks Trust, with additional support from the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves and a host of dedicated volunteers. The Dante Fascell Visitor Center is located at 9700 SW 328 St., nine miles east of Homestead. Call 305-230-7275, ext. 0, or visit the park’s website at <> for more information. For regular updates from the park, “like” on Facebook at <> and “follow” on Twitter at <>.

February 7 - 20, 2012


Hansen releases second novel using Miami as its backdrop BY LINDA RODRIGUEZ BERNFELD

Miami author Joan Hansen’s latest book, Miami Revisited: Decade of Deceit, a follow-up to her novel 100 Years in Miami: Betrayal Under the Palms, has been released. Her first book, 100 Years in Miami, covered the era from 1896 to 2000 and was popular enough that her readers requested a sequel. The first book is about two brothers coming down to clear the land for Henry Flagler’s railroad and the first hotel built in Miami, the Royal Palm. “It’s a family saga,” Hansen said. “Even though that part is fictitious, it weaves in the history of Miami in the first 100 years.” The second book continues to follow the Donegon family and explores the drama of the next decade. In the book, Kaitlin Donegon carries on the family tradition but suspicion runs high as it becomes clear someone is trying to wrest the company away from her. The history of earned a master’s degree at Western Florida, including the Carolina University. elections and other In Chicago, she worked as a newsFlorida controversies paper reporter and as an advertising are highlighted in the copywriter. Then, when she married book. and had children, she moved to “The fictitious part is Miami with her young family. what happened to the “My mother and dad had retired family,” she said. down here,” she said. “This was This is Hansen’s third Joan Hansen where we wanted to live. We came book. The second book, ––––––––––––––––––– down and I got my first teaching job Bitter Tears, came out in at Perrine Elementary. I was in the old one 2010 but is not about the Magic City. that was right on the highway.” The historically set books were inspired As Joan Rindfuss, she worked her way up by her mother, grandmother and great-grand- to assistant principal at Coral Reef mother. Elementary and stayed there for 11 years. “My mother came down in 1926 and She spent summer school as principal at taught one of the first kindergarten classes in Palmetto Elementary and F.C. Martin. She Miami Beach,” Hansen said. “There were 80 married Claude Hansen in 2000. children in that kindergarten class.” “I’d always wanted to write a novel. I’d Her family lived in the Allapattah district been in journalism,” she said. “It wasn’t until at the time. my retirement that I actually sat down and Hansen said her family came down to escape the cold, first her mother and then her wrote this novel that my mother had encouraged me to write. It took me a few years to grandmother and great-grandmother. “I grew up hearing stories,” she said. get around to it. Once I got into my research “They had always asked me to write a book I found it fascinating.” She arrived in Miami in 1962. about Miami. That’s what inspired me in the “It was the year for the Cuban Missile first place. Crisis,” she said. “The equipment for war Hansen’s mom went up north to marry Hansen’s dad and they came back down to came down right by the school on the tracks.” Miami when Hansen was 4. Miami Revisited: Decade of Deceit is “I was in her kindergarten class.” Her family went to Chicago when Hansen available on Amazon and at Barnes and was 6 and that’s where she grew up. Hansen It is available in an e-book ediattended Hillsdale College in Michigan and tion and soft cover.

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February 7 - 20, 2012

GrassRoots Music Festival to take centerstage at Virginia Key Beach BY ANTHONY JACKSON

In the spirit of family, cultural celebration and fun, the Historic Virginia Key Beach Park will serve as home to the world-renowned GrassRoots Festival of Music and Dance, Feb. 9-12. The four-day event will showcase some of the world’s most amazing and respected talents from over 50 performing groups whose genres include: Roots Rock, Reggae, Hip-Hop, Latin, Funk, Cajun, Bluegrass, African, Kompa, World Beat and Zydeco. Grammy Award-winning performers Chaka Khan, The Del McCoury Band and Arrested Development will headline the inaugural festival along with the legendary ska/reggae band Fishbone, Donna the Buffalo, BeauSoleil avec Micheal Doucet and several South Florida local favorites such as Locos Por Juana, Suenalo and ArtOfficial. Founded 22 years ago as a not-for-profit supporting arts, education, and the fight against AIDS, the GrassRoots Festival Organization has grown into a multi-dimensional and multi-state platform for community engagement.

The Virginia Key GrassRoots Festival of Music and Dance is the inaugural winter season GrassRoots Festival and will take place at Miami’s Historic Virginia Key Beach Park. The Virginia Key GrassRoots Festival joins New York’s Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival and North Carolina’s Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival in a not-for-profit festival triumvirate that spans four seasons. The four-day festival will include a Kids’ Village with interactive programming and a Healing Arts Area hosting daily movement workshops, massage and other bodywork modalities. Local and visiting artisans will showcase and offer for sale their handcrafted works in the festival’s Crafts Area. Four-Day Tickets are available for $100 for adults and $50 for teens (13-15). Individual day tickets are available for Thursday at $30; Friday and Saturday, $35, and Sunday, $30; children 12 and under are free. To learn more about the Virginia Key GrassRoots Festival, performers, or to purchase tickets contact Emma Hewitt at 786332-4630 or visit online at <>.

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February 7 - 20, 2012


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From Savannah • Classic Rock • Fine Arts thermometer in his mouth and started working on the painting. It is her first oil-based work. By the reaction she got at the show, there is no doubt she has a future in oil painting too. She was very adamant that Sick Daddy was not for sale. Renee Espinosa, a Booster Mom, was glad to report, “Things went really, really well. Tons of people, lots of sales, and even when the pieces were only there for exhibit, we had people asking how to get in touch with the student to convince them to sell!” Pinecrest Gardens’ Director, Alana Perez, said, “The 63-artist juried show exceeded all expectation. We are thrilled with the participation and look forward to an even larger one next year.” _________________________________

From Savannah With A Smile While you can get your Girl Scout cookies at nearly any grocery market or outdoor event these days, I encourage you to seek out Troop 57’s Lauren Teller (pictured above, left) and Rebecca Bogert and buy your Thin Mints or Savannah Smiles from them. Not only are they Girl Scouts, they also volunteer at Miami Children’s Hospital singing to patients as their Gold Award project. For the past 6 months, the musical theater students leave school each Tuesday and head right to the hospital for 3 hours of singing. Dressed as Disney princesses and handing out homemade stickers, their group, Pigeons for Patients, puts a smile on so many faces. When Lauren and Rebecca graduate they want the program to continue, so they are organizing a group at the New World School of the Arts to ensure others take their place. I found these two community-minded Pinecrest residents outside Wagons West a few Sundays ago. Business was good. They were proud to be helping Miami Children’s Hospital with sales proceeds and appreciative of the ability to learn through their efforts. The sale runs through February 12th. This year also marks the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts. I predict New Year's resolutions will crumble, much like the cookies on sale. _________________________________

Classic Rock Gets Classier If you enjoy live music and 60s, 70s & 80’s classic rock is your thing, look no further than Mr. Nice Guy. On January 13, this amazing

Hal’s Homeowner Help Lauren Teller (left), mom Fanny Teller and Rebecca Bogert with her mom, Aileen Bogert, selling cookies outside Suniland’s Wagons West Restaurant. ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

group just celebrated their 10th anniversary together at the place it all began… Little Hoolies (across from The Falls). Just two weeks prior, Mr. Nice Guy played at Palmetto Bay’s New Year’s Eve event Starry Night. Many at the event say that they even upstaged the headliner, American Idol’s Ruben Studdard. With selections from Cream, Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, Eric Clapton, Steely Dan, Joe Cocker and more, this band shows off their talent and range every show. Pictures and words don’t tell the story here. Music does. If you want a sampling, just point your browser here: and remember to support your local live musicians. You can see Mr. Nice Guy’s schedule at: _________________________________

eye was Coral Reef Park Senior High’s Art Academy display. Inside the old Pinecrest Gardens entrance, nearly 120 students’ works consisting of photographs, paintings, drawing and jewelry graced the walls and shelves. Patrons poured over the works with delight. Isabella Rodriguez had two of the larger pieces in their show. When I arrived, she had just sold her acrylic Self Portrait. “I was at home and one of the parents called to tell me a couple had purchased it. My Mom was screaming she was so happy,” Isabella said. It’s not the first sale for her either… an amazing accomplishment for such a young artist. Her other featured piece is of her Dad. She came home to find him sick and lying on the kitchen counter. She told him to freeze, put the

As a RE/MAX Realtor®, I am often asked for house tips and tricks. As such, I will provide helpful home hints each issue. If you own an air conditioning system, use the arrival of your electric bill as the day you perform your preventative maintenance. Make sure to change filters regularly (check every 30 days) and pour one cup of bleach into the drain line monthly to ensure it stays clear of organic build-up. This is the first Hal’s Happenings column. I welcome hearing about interesting people and events for consideration in upcoming issues. You can contact me at, or miHal. MiamiHal (Hal Feldman) is a Realtor® with RE/MAX Advance Realty. He is always available for any real estate questions you may have.

Coral Reef Senior High Defines Art

(left to right) John Quinn - keyboards, Magoo - bass, Dave Webster - drums, Louis Cheramie - vocals, Johnny O - vocals, sax, etc., Tommy Hall - guitar ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

By the gridlocked traffic and 30minute search for parking, it was clear that the Pinecrest Gardens Arts Festival had a hit on their hand. Now in it’s 9th year, I think they’ll need a “bigger park” for the next one. On January 14th & 15th, over 16,000 people took in some amazing art, craft and food. Oh, and the weather was just perfect too. What caught my

Senior year student, Isabella Rodriguez, stands between Sick Daddy and Self Portrait ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

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One Two Tree helps rejuvenate Chapman Field Park’s ball fields

One Two Tree uses this spray boom to bring the fields at Chapman Field Park back to good health. ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––


The baseball fields at Chapman Field Park always have been beautifully maintained, but an attack of webworms was destroying the turf. And budget cutbacks meant the fields couldn’t get the quick and concentrated attention needed to fight the infestation. Officials at Howard Palmetto Baseball Softball Association, which has a permit to use the fields, called on Marc Terwilliger, owner of One Two Tree Pest Free, to help save the grass. “For about three and a half months we have been there every five weeks,” Terwilliger said. “It’s not 100 percent, but we are making great headway.” Terwilliger said at this time of year, the grass is going into a dormant stage but the weeds will be growing. “We will be working extra hard. This property did not get this way in three months. The budgets started getting cut in ’08.” Terwilliger figures the cutbacks might include the frequency of fertilization and weed control as well as manpower. “That stuff is expensive. They figure we’ll keep the grass cut and it has to survive,” he said. “But if you don’t keep the nutrients… they [the fields] were in terrible, terrible shape.” He said in this economy, even the major golf courses in Doral and Miami Lakes have cutback maintenance. Since the call for help, One Two Tree has done three treatments with fertilization. “We’ve had great results,” Terwilliger said. “The gentleman who works with the parks out there, he has been amazed with what we have been able to do.” Terwilliger began One Two Tree, a pest control/tree trimming business, with his late brother Paul. The company is an integrated pest

management (interior and exterior) and tree service company. It employs 28-30 people. “We started by trimming the trees,” he said. The company grew naturally. The graduated from just trimming to fertilizing trees and then they started fertilizing the grass and so forth. This year they purchased a vehicle to be used only for pest management services for home and office interiors. One Two Tree is a pioneer in modern pest control methods. Terwilliger said they always have been a leader, not a follower, in going to the new, more environmentally friendly pest control standards and products. It used to be that pest control services would go out and spray the entire yard if one small area had a problem. Now, if there is an insect problem, One Two Three sprays that one area. “It’s better for the environment,” he said. “If we have red bugs on the palm tree, we treat the palm tree not every tree in the yard.” The company conducts weekly training for its spray techs. And they do extensive testing to make sure everyone is up to date on the latest techniques and products. They already have switched from granular fertilizers to liquids for 95 percent of the work they do. Terwilliger said it will not be long before granular fertilizers will be banned because of environmental concerns. “The products are safer compared to what they were 20 years ago,” he said. Because homeowners are not always aware of the new regulations and the need to cut back on pesticides, the folks from One Two Tree do homeowner education as well. When the customer calls to complain of a sickly lawn, a representative will visit to see the problem. “We have a lot of brochures on how to have a healthy yard,” he said. “It’s a partnership.” For more information, call 305-267-1426 or go online to <>.

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February 7 - 20, 2012

‘Homestead Al Gusto Winter Harvest’ coming to downtown Krome Avenue BY LEE STEPHENS

Homestead Main Street presents “Homestead Al Gusto Winter Harvest,” an event designed to bring out the public to enjoy a new phenomenon exploding across South Florida and the nation — The Food Truck Invasion. Due to the success of the first “Homestead Al Gusto,” which took place on Nov. 11, 2011, the gourmet food trucks will revisit downtown Krome Avenue on Saturday, Feb. 11, from 6 until 11 p.m. Along with the amazing variety and professional culinary talent that comes with the Food Truck Invasion, the event will feature local natural produce with a Chef’s Challenge. Each truck will be asked to prepare a dish in its style using produce from the Chef’s Challenge basket for a chance to win a prize.

In addition to the Food Trucks Chef Challenge, there will be a Farmer’s Market, a Children’s Corner, where the kids will be putting together “veggie” creations, as well as music and other entertainment and lots of fun things for the family. The goal of Homestead Main Street is to promote the nationally designated Historic District as a center of commerce, culture and community. The organization aims to create an attractive place for shoppers, investors, business owners and visitors by creating a cultural center and encouraging building rehabilitation, as well as improving the streetscape to create a positive impression of Downtown Homestead. Homestead Main Street also works to strengthen existing businesses and to encourage economic growth by identifying and facilitating opportunities for the commercial district.

February 7 - 20, 2012


St. Stephen’s Art Show presents annual ‘Art in the Heart’ Festival BY ROBERT HAMILTON

Entering its 24th year, the highly anticipated St. Stephen’s Art Show (SSAS) will be celebrating its three-day festival from Saturday, Feb. 18, through Monday, Feb. 20 (9 a.m.-6 p.m. each day). The show is presented by St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, a 100-year landmark in Coconut Grove. The show, known as one of South Florida’s most popular outdoor arts festival, will take place at the St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 2750 McFarlane Rd., in the heart of the Grove. The St. Stephen’s Art Show long has been considered a nationally important industry event. What started out as a simple hot dog stand during the Coconut Grove Arts Festival, the show has grown into an event all on its own. Ranked top in the country by Artist magazine and Sunshine Artist magazine, the St. Stephen’s Art Show is a not-for-profit

event that helps raise funds for outreach programs in the Coconut Grove and Miami area. The show’s proceeds allow St. Stephens to offer a range of cultural, spiritual and entertainment activities to the community, as part of its vision to be “The Heart of the Grove, and Reaching Beyond.” This show will feature local artists and others from across the nation who have been accepted into the show for 10 years or more as well as a purposeful sampling of new artists never seen at the show. For a $2 entry fee, visitors can enjoy artwork from more than 150 renowned artists, an international food court, children’s activity area, an authentic English tea room and musical entertainment, all on the shady campus of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. For additional information, visit online at <> or call 305-6480056.

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February 7 - 20, 2012

Historic Miami Marine Stadium may be given new lease on life BY RON BEASLEY

The long dormant Miami Marine Stadium on Virginia Key soon may be given a new lease on life, thanks to the efforts of a group of concerned and very active citizens. The City of Miami closed the stadium after Hurricane Andrew swept across south Miami-Dade County in 1992, although the storm did little damage to the concrete structure. It has lay unused and neglected for almost two decades, open to vandals, thieves and graffiti. Now, the not-for-profit Friends of Miami Marine Stadium (FMMS) is set to offer a plan to restore the bayside facility and operate it independently as an entertainment venue, at no cost to the city. “We are the first group to come along with a serious proposal to restore and operate the stadium,” said Donald Worth, co-founder of FMMS. “The Orange Bowl, Bobby Maduro (Miami) Stadium and Miami Arena all were demolished and lost because no one could come up with a feasible plan to restore, operate and maintain those facilities.” Worth said his organization will restore and operate the stadium without receiving any funding from the city. He explained that the estimated $30 million restoration cost will be funded through the sale of historic tax credits, a $3 million grant from a county historic preservation bond fund and a capital campaign. “The Miami Marine Stadium will be an asset to all of South Florida and an economic generator capable of hosting one-of-a-kind events,” he said. “Visitors and Miami residents alike will once again have access to one of the best outdoor entertainment venues in the United States.” The FMMS was formed in January 2008 under the umbrella of the Dade Heritage Trust. It recently incorporated as a standalone non-profit entity with an impressive six-member board of directors that includes Hilario Candela, co-founder of the group and the original architect for the stadium; Jorge

Marine Stadium on Virginia Key is a striking Miami landmark. (Photo by Steven Brooke Studios)


Hernandez, University of Miami professor of architecture and vice chair of the National Trust for Historic Preservation; Charles Urstadt, real estate veteran and chair of the Miami Design Preservation League; Jose Mendana Jr., a CPA and champion boat racer, and Worth, a retired businessman and champion of a variety of local preservation issues. The Marine Stadium has a colorful history. Candela was a 28-year-old Cuban with a degree from Georgia Tech when he was commissioned to design the Marine Stadium in the early 1960s. The 6,500-seat grandstand and adjoining basin were built and dredged in 1963 at a cost of $2 million. The iconic stadium was an instant landmark and the basin became a paradise for powerboat racers and fans alike. The stadium’s origamilike folded plate roof was then the largest span of cantilevered concrete in the world.

During its years of operation from 1963 to 1992, the Marine Stadium was a popular venue and hosted many events, including powerboat races, symphonies and rock concerts, Easter sunrise services, presidential appearances, talk shows and countless community events. Performers played on a floating stage anchored just a few feet from the grandstand and oftentimes hundreds of boats would surround the stage, creating a unique entertainment environment. The roster of stars that appeared at the stadium included Jimmy Buffett, The Who, Ray Charles, America, Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops, and many others. Over the years, a great deal of work has been done to save the stadium from the wrecker’s ball. In October 2008, the Marine Stadium was designated historic by the

Miami Historic Preservation Board. Then, in July 2010, the city’s Master Plan for Virginia Key was approved with the Marine Stadium designated as a key component. At the same time, Mayor Tomas Regalado made restoring the stadium a key priority of his administration. Meanwhile, the plight of the stadium generated national interest and it was named to the “11 Most Endangered List” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation (2009) and placed on the “Watch List” by the World Monuments Fund (2010). Jimmy Buffett also made a video endorsing preservation of the stadium and the Miami Herald printed six editorials supporting restoration. The next step is approval of the FMMS plan by the Miami City Commission. For more information, go online to <>.

February 7 - 20, 2012


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All-new 2012 Toyota Camry is the best yet Ron Beasley LET’S TALK CARS You would think that after seven generations, a company would have the idea fine tuned and honed to precision. And that is certainly the case with Toyota and the all-new 2012 Camry. This latest version of the popular frontwheel drive, five-passenger, four-door sedan is simply the best yet and only cements a reputation for safety, reliability and quality. The new Camry is lighter and has a simple but modern form, emphasizing a wider, lower stance than previous models. The character lines are crisp and precise, with a more strongly curved door cross-section and more defined rocker panel molding (chrome accented on LE and XLE) contributing to a more expressive look. Even the headlights have a more pronounced curvature of the main-beam unit merging into the bumper cover, while the taillight clusters wrap tightly into the body sides, the top sections extending into the

trunk panel. Fog lights are standard on the XLE and SE grades. Camry is available in four trims — L, LE, SE and XLE — and three engine choices, all enhanced for better fuel economy and more responsive performance. A 178-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission is standard power. The SE and XLE trims are available with a beefier 268-hp 3.5-liter V-6, also with a sixspeed automatic. Camrys with the revised 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine now offer 178 hp (an increase of nine) and 170 pounds-feet of peak torque. The EPA says the Camry delivers fuel economy figures of 25/35 mpg and the 28 mpg combined is two mpg better than the previous generation. The 2.5-liter engine has Dual VVT-i (Dual Variable Valve Timingintelligent), which controls valve timing on both the intake and exhaust camshafts for optimal performance and efficiency at all engine speeds. The Acoustic Control Induction System (ACIS) helps optimize torque over a broad engine speed range. The DOHC 3.5-liter V-6, available in the SE and XLE grades, delivers 268 hp at 6,200 rpm and 248 pounds-feet of peak torque at 4,700 rpm. Enhancements boost fuel economy to 21/30 mpg, which Toyota claims is the

New Camry is wider and lower, with headlights that merge into the bumper cover and taillight clusters that wrap into the body sides and into the trunk. –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

best for any V-6 midsize sedan on the market today. The V-6 uses chain-driven camshafts and Dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (Dual VVT-i). The all-new Camry Hybrid debuts a highly revised version of Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain, including a new 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. The 2012 Camry Hybrid LE, with EPA-estimated 43/39 mpg gets a better than 30 percent boost in fuel economy compared to the previous gen-

eration, thanks largely to the new hybrid powertrain, but also due to lighter vehicle weight and optimized aerodynamics. Pricing on the 2012 Toyota Camry ranges from $21,955 to $29,845. Ron Beasley is the automotive editor for Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277, ext. 261, or by addressing email correspondence to <>.

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February 7 - 20, 2012

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South Miami Mayor Stoddard Election Interview BY RAQUEL GARCIA

Due to charges from Mayor Philip Stoddard questioning the integrity, intelligence, and judgment of writers and editors covering issues for the South Miami News, South Miami News has decided to print Stoddard’s election interview for the paper verbatim. Clarifications are in parentheses and extraneous commentary was edited out due to space constraints. Although the case (FEC 12-006) of elections violations against Stoddard remains open, the Florida Elections Commission sent an initial review indicating “there is no

evidence to show Mayor Stoddard campaigned based on party affiliation.” Chair of Parks and Recreation, Richard Ward, had filed an official complaint against Stoddard stating he violated his Loyalty Oath of Office and nonpartisan status by including a disclaimer (political advertisement paid for and approved by Philip Stoddard Campaign) on an event flyer sponsored by area democrats. Interview transcription from 1/18/12 “This election is about trust. I’d like to read you a note I got from a neighbor. It reads ‘Hi Phil, more than my support you have my trust. Honesty, competence, expertise and hard work count with me.’ To me that is what it is all about. The reason I’m running is to continue progress we’ve made in the past two years. On the financial side we’ve done wonders, the lowest property taxes in the history of the city, at least going back 30 years (earliest records) We’ve cut the budget by eight and a half percent this year. In the last two years we’ve lowered pension costs by 20%. Moving forward we’ve reduced the size of city government, the number of city employee positions. We’ve worked pretty hard to protect the hometown

character of the city. I’m not against development but as we build up the city and tax base we preserve the reason people moved here and want to live here. No one wants to wake up and see a wall blocking the sun into their yard and the other thing is one of the biggest issues is safe streets. You want to be able to walk and not get taken out by a car. We’ve budgeted for traffic calming and this way we are going to keep working for the residents. We’ve put our first bike lanes the city has ever had and a bike network in the city. The city is getting the Tree City USA Award. (Stoddard then went on to explain this was a committee of his own creation that awarded the honor). On police and public safety—we brought back Chief Martinez de Castro who initiated community policing for safer neighborhoods. We created a new bike patrol downtown. We replaced broken police cars and equipment, fixed the broken 911 system and radio system and connected police computers to the state data base to work with other area law enforcement. (Stoddard goes on to explain a new credentialing the SMPD is undergoing-edited out due to space restrictions). (New subject) Increasing government transparency: Monthly budgets are available online, meetings can be watched on television from home. We inherited terrible bandwidth and infrastructure (internet capacity) and are upgrading for problems. The commission has repeatedly turned down no bid contracts. The attorney for annexation said no, the residents don’t want it. On the FPL issue, I have a meeting with the City of Miami (day of the interview) to work out an area wide strategy to fight the transmission lines, meeting with attorneys from the City of Miami, Pinecrest and Coral Gables. On the question of decorum during televised commission meetings: I have asked Sharon McCain (on many occasions) to stop and leave the room. Every time I ask her to leave Newman brings her back and supported by Harris and Palmer, (she was) brought back by a vote of three to two. If the commission wants a peaceful meeting they must stop overriding the chair and allow him to maintain decorum. This did not begin here, it goes as far back as at least three administrations, three different mayors with the same people and when the city unites and agrees they want orderly chambers we will have it, when they stand behind me. There’s active undermining of the chair, and it’s been every chair. Everybody wants the rules of order to be stronger when you are telling someone else

to be quiet but don’t want the rules imposed on them. My job is to make sure everyone gets a fair chance to speak their mind. On Annexation: Let the residents discuss, have a workshop for more information. I’m with the residents I don’t have the information either. Maintaining the character of the city is the one unifying principle I heard from the residents when this came up before. Everyone who wrote me wanted to maintain the character of the city. On Murray Pool: I’m in favor of the pool for many reasons. The city accepted the grant with the promise they’d build the pool and to go back on that promise would be taking the people’s money and throwing it away. On Madison Square: I’ve been pushing to get Madison Square to move forward and it

feels to me like there are still people dragging their feet on it. If re-elected: My number one objective for the next two years would be to continue doing the good things we’ve been doing for the past two years. To continue fiscal responsibility, continue making streets safer, continue protecting the quality of life of city residents. I want an affordable pool to be built, get Madison Square off the ground, would like to see the city join the Early Childhood Literacy Initiative; the best way to improve job prospects and reduce crime. I want to see the city keep the supermarket inside the city limits and want to see improved maintenance of our infrastructure. I want to make sure we keep a city government the citizens can trust.

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Cutler Bay News 2.7.2012  

Newspaper PDF