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NOV. 29 - DEC. 12, 2011

Residents oppose planned ‘turbo lane’ on SW 107th

BY RICHARD YAGER

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esidents of three nearby communities are protesting a 100-foot express lane proposed for a section of northbound SW 107th Avenue at the east entry to the Miami-Dade College Kendall campus. Objecting to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) project are residents of the Village of Kendale, Kendale Country Club Estates and Kendale South, comprising approximately 1,100 homes. To date, FDOT has conducted a single meeting on July 12 with residents, displaying maps and providing details to create an 11-foot-wide “go-at-all-times” lane from Kendale Boulevard to SW 100th Street, a distance of approximately one block. A traffic light at the intersection of SW 100th Street and 107th Avenue now allows left turns for northbound motorist into the MDC campus with traffic halted in both directions. The project, estimated at $805,000, would provide a through lane for northbound motorists on SW 107th Avenue after exiting the Shula Expressway at Killian Drive (SW 104th Street). Now

Farm Share helps families enjoy Thanksgiving dinner

Santa Claus is coming with help from KFHA BY RICHARD YAGER

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s a lift for Santa Claus, the Kendall Federation of H o m e o w n e r Associations (KFHA) will host its first “Holiday Toy Giveaway” to benefit for children of the statewide Farm Share program, based in Homestead. The Dec. 12 holiday program will feature the Ferguson High School Jazz Combo and Concert Choir in a combined musical concert of festive seasonal songs, accompanied by holiday treats. A Hanukkah menorah will be lit just prior to Santa’s arrival with gifts to be distributed to children whose families share in food distributions made possible by the statewide program that annually provides assistance through farm surplus produce These youngsters were looking forward to Thanksgiving dinner while adults waited in line for turkeys and fixings. (Photo by Michael Rosenberg)

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SANTA, page 6

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BY RICHARD YAGER

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Traffic traveling on SW 107 Avenue at MDC Kendall’s east campus entry.

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LANE, page 6

ore than 50 volunteers from Southwest MiamiDade organizations, including the Kendall Federation of Homeowner Associations (KFHA), joined Farm Share staffers to distribute Thanksgiving turkeys and fixings to more than 1,200 families on Nov. 12. Canned goods, corn, rice and fresh veg-

etables were topped with large-sized bottles of lemonade to fill waiting arms and shopping bags for three hours at South Dade Park off SW 167th Avenue. Commissioner Lynda Bell, who provided funding for turkey purchases through donations, was on hand to see that all who came left with a Thanksgiving bird.

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SHARE, page 6

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COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

Nov. 29 - Dec. 12, 2011

Choosing Your Medicare Plan The annual Medicare enrollment period runs from October 15 through December 7, 2011, so now is the time for Medicare beneficiaries to choose their coverage for next year. Baptist Health facilities in Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe counties accept Original Medicare and Medicare Supplemental Plans (sometimes called Medigap insurance) offered by private companies that pay for out-of-pocket costs not covered by Medicare. Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private insurance companies and replace Original Medicare coverage. These plans generally offer benefits not offered by Original Medicare, but they require that you obtain your healthcare through their private network of hospitals and doctors. There are no Medicare Advantage HMOs licensed in Monroe County, but members of Medicare Advantage plans can use Mariners Hospital in Tavernier in an emergency. Baptist Health does not accept members from non-contracted Medicare Advantage plans for elective services. Baptist Health is not a provider for any Medicare Private Fee for Service (PFFS) or Medicare Advantage Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plan.

Medicare Advantage Plans Accepted by Baptist Health Facilities in Miami-Dade and Broward AvMed — Medicare Advantage HMO only BlueCross BlueShield of Florida — BlueMedicare HMO only

Humana Gold Plus — Medicare Advantage HMO only

Medica Healthcare Plans — Medicare Advantage PSO only

UnitedHealthcare — Medicare Advantage HMO and HMO-POS (effective Nov. 15, 2011) Coventry Vista Plans — Medicare HMO only Coventry Vista Ideal and Coventry Vista Maximum participate with all Baptist Health facilities except Baptist Hospital and Baptist Outpatient Services.

For more information, call us at 786-662-7667.

Committed to our faith-based charitable mission of medical excellence BaptistHealth.net


Nov. 29 - Dec. 12, 2011

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

YWCA executive urges ‘giving of yourself’ during the holidays Chair-elect Jorge F. Peña greets YWCA of Greater Miami-Dade CEO Eileen MaloneySimon at West Kendall Business Association luncheon on Nov. 17.

BY RICHARD YAGER

“We make a life out of what we give,” said Eileen Maloney-Simon, YWCA of Greater Miami-Dade CEO, during a seasonal message to more than 100 West Kendall Business Association members on Nov. 17. Paraphrasing Winston Churchill, the energetic executive, named one of MiamiDade’s top woman leaders for 2010-11, urged a “different approach to giving of yourself during the holidays.” “Money is only one way of giving. You can also make a gift of time, your counsel and advice, and of your heart,” added the YWCA chief executive who has guided the organization now serving more than 15,500 women and children annually in Miami-Dade County. Among her most memorable achievements during a 20-year career with the organization is the establishment of a Child

Care Services unit to assist residents of Overtown. “Now, most recently that has been enhanced by the new Computer Clubhouse, a model for after-school learning for young people in under-served communities,” she added. Appointed to her first post with the ‘Y’ on June 15, 1995, Maloney-Simons, an FIU graduate and mother of four, emphasized that “fully 80 percent of our current yearly budget now goes into childhood learning.” Paralleling a need for the organization’s objectives, she urged WKBA members to take a different approach to giving besides money — through friendship or, as you have done today, with donations of food and service for those in need. “Put aside a few moments to help a relative, a neighbor or just someone you know,” she urged. “Giving of yourself is the greatest gift of all.”

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COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

Nov. 29 - Dec. 12, 2011

Good Shepherd Catholic School ties for second in spelling bee

Good Shepherd Catholic School tied for second place in the 2011 Independent Schools of South Florida (ISSF) Spelling Bee conducted on Nov. 8 at the Coral Gables Woman’s Club. Pictured (l-r) are team members: Isabel Rodriguez, Edhmenn Quintero, Ricardo Guerrero, Alejandra Mayor and Coach Aime Dominguez.


Nov.29 - Dec. 12, 2011

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

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Charter reform in West Kendall Michael Miller EXECUTIVE EDITOR

AROUND TOWN In the tradition of a well-known Big Apple magazine, our “Roving Reporter” reports from a mid-November Charter Reform meeting at Hammocks Regional Library. County Commissioners then asked how we could make the county run better. Her report, a la “Talk of the (Around) Town”: “Went to the meeting at the library this evening. Mostly reps from the Mayor’s office. Loosely-conducted so we got to speak at will. There was Lawrence P, and Michael R. and a woman, Kathy C., from the area south of Country Walk. The rest were County Commissioner reps (a couple from Joe Martinez who Lawrence nodded to a few times), one from Moss, and a few I didn’t really know. “We talked about the Charter reforms. Didn’t realize term limits were tied to the elevated pay (anything more than six thousand). Plus not having a ‘real job.’ Term limits? Two consecutive terms. ( I say it should be two terms but they should not be able to come back so

quick) Serve two terms, take one off and serve again? Nahhh! “The attorney from the Mayor’s office was pretty quiet, and the woman chairing the meeting seemed very competent. Didn’t get her name, but surely you know who it would be. They talked about getting rid of UMSA (Unincorporated Municipal Services Area) and how that may be happening. And how to change the Charter, allowing for more time to get signatures, and things to go on the next elections, no special elections, etc.” End of report. “Horrific accident” reported by Travel People’s Doug Kostowski at the new Killian intersection evening of October 10 with two cars towed away and damages to both vehicles totaling in the $8000 range, according to a Florida Highway Patrol report. No serious injuries. Comments Kostowski whose agency office adjoins the corner: “Drivers approaching the ‘new pattern’ continue to receive wrongful and confusing information. Corrective measures have been promised for months (since August 1st). MDX appears to be more concerned for landscaping the palm trees and sod.” Commissioner Lynda Bell recommends converting the County’s Adopt-A-Road Program

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

www.communitynewspapers.com 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 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

MIAMI COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS Aventura News, Biscayne Bay Tribune, Coral Gables News, Cutler Bay News, Doral Tribune, Kendall Gazette, Miami Beach News, Miami Gardens Tribune, Palmetto Bay News, Opa Locka Review, Pinecrest Tribune, South Miami News, Sunny Isles Beach Sun 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.

to an enhanced roadway beautification program. (The current program is closed to new groups participating due to the cost to County taxpayers, coupled with the existing County budget situation). Her proposed changes will allow incorporation of other ideas, including Sponsor-ARoad and Landscape-A-Road successfully elsewhere. Of no cost to the County, a report will be presented at the Regional Transportation Committee within three months, sez she. WSD installation of a new 16-inch water main on Coral Way between 147 Avenue and SW 147 Path began Nov. 14 with inside lane closures beginning the next day. Once the pipe is installed, the inside west lane will reopen but the eastbound inside lane will remain closed to install a fire hydrant. The project should be completed by Dec. 14. (Note to DPW: When did we start calling streets, “paths?”) Cuban Salsa by one of the “hottest young Latin bands around,” Tiempo Libre, the first 100 percent Cuban Timba band in the U. S. (says Laura Phillips of MDC Parks) will reverberate from the stage at Tropical Park Friday, Dec. 2, as part of a free “Noches Tropicales” concert series presented by the Parks Dept. and sponsored by Target. Admission and parking

are free with showtime at 8 p.m.. West Kendall Baptist Hospital will host a salon of photographs titled the “Art of Nursing” from Dec.5-9 daily, free and open to the public. “Nurses have always been the backbone of our organization; their dedication and professionalism is an endless source of pride,” said Denise Harris, Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer, adding that the exhibit serves as awareness for the hospital’s Center of Excellence in Nursing. The Center seeks to improve the quality of patient care through innovations in nursing care, education and research. Contributions can be made through the West Kendall Baptist Hospital Foundation. For information or donations, contact Régine Cambronne at 786-467-3401. Thought for the Day: “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” - Winston Churchill Richard Yager contributed to this column. Got any tips? Contact me at 305-669-7355, ext. 249, or send emails to <Michael@communitynewspapers.com>.


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COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

SANTA, from page 1

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and supermarket contributions. Festivities will take place in the Kendall Village Center Civic Pavilion, 8625 SW 124 Ave. (in front of the Regal Theater), starting at 7 p.m. The KFHA is collecting donations to purchase as many toys as possible, according to Michael Rosenberg, vice president of marketing and promotion. He asked that tax-deductible donations payable to KFHA be sent by Dec. 1 (c/o 13030 Calusa Club Dr., Miami, Fl 33186) so that “wrapped gifts” may arrive on time. “But most importantly, be sure to come with your family and help us make this a memorable holiday season for these special families in our community,” Rosenberg added. For information, call 305-439-3571 or visit online at <www.KFHA.org> or

<www.FarmShare.org>. KENDALL POLICE DISTRICT GIVING SANTA A HAND Miami-Dade Police Kendall District will add its helping hand to holiday visits with its annual toy distribution when Santa makes his appearance on Wednesday, Dec. 21, from 5 to 9 p.m., at the headquarters lobby, 7707 SW 117 Ave. Gifts will be presented to children of 15 families, thanks to participating students who provide gifts from three Kendall elementary schools, including William D. Lehman, Kendale and Sunset Park. Toys ‘R’ Us joins in the distribution which has been a tradition for 20-plus years according to Sgt. Angel Villegas of the Neighborhood Resources Unit. For information, call 305-279-6929.

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LANE, from page 1

Nov. 29 - Dec. 12, 2011

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completing design, the project is scheduled to be let for construction by July 25, 2012 with construction to begin in March 2013. “The work includes repaving the road, widening the east side of SW 107th Avenue to construct an 11-foot go-at-all-times lane (turbo lane) from south of Kendale Boulevard to north of SW 100th Street,” according to the FDOT Project Development website. Responding to a 2003 “citizen’s request,” FDOT undertook an investigation of the intersection to provide recommendations for improvements, according to Brain Rick, spokesperson for the department. Afternoon observations showed a high demand existed for left turn movements into Miami-Dade College from northbound SW 107th Avenue to westbound SW 100th Street, he said. Backups of waiting vehicles blocked northbound traffic flow and extended as far back as the Kendale Boulevard, 375 feet south of SW 100th Street. The backups caused some motorist on SW 107th Ave. to make illegal left turns at SW 100th Street from the through lane and others made illegal U-turns at Kendale Boulevard, Rick’s statement said. Residents turning left from Kendale Boulevard onto southbound SW 107th Avenue were observed “squeezing” their way in between the queue of vehicles on SW 107th Avenue, his report noted. Engineering analysis performed in October 2010, reaffirmed studies for a “turbo lane” T-shaped intersection at SW 100th Street “as the most feasible and beneficial intersection improvement,” he said. In response to citizens concerns, a new “Traffic Signal Warrant Study” for the intersections of Kendale Boulevard and SW 96th Street south and north of NW 100th Street, were begun in September and “will be completed very soon,” his report concluded. “I see absolutely no reason for it,” declared Diana L. Lawrence, corresponding

SHARE, from page 1 JUMPS FOR KENDALL GAZETTE

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“When I arrived at 9:40 [a.m.] the line was already up to about 500,” said Michael Rosenberg, KFHA vice president for marketing. “The front part of the line arrived at 7 a.m., three hours before we started. For me, this was a moving experience,” he added. “It’s really not unusual,” said Patricia Robbins, Farm Share executive and organizer of the program that distributes surplus Homestead-grown produce and contributes packaged food items the year- around to aid those in need. “Thousands of less fortunate people depend on Farm Share to provide nutritious food and we would not be able to regularly

secretary for Kendale Homeowners Association. “I use the Shula and have had no trouble driving north on SW 107th Avenue to the entry at SW 100th Street.” The resurfacing project includes widening SW 107th Avenue to construct a new 16-inch wide traffic separator for a “Continuous Green T-intersection” at SW 100th Street, according to an email written to Lawrence by Harold A. Desdunes, FDOT District Six Director of Transportation Development. “The department will present the project once again to update the community with the latest information in an effort to alleviate all remaining concerns which citizens may have and to gain consensus for the design,” he said. Lawrence has asked the meeting take place in mid-January. “We want to know if the widening will include elimination of the sidewalk on 107th Avenue between Kendale Boulevard and SW 104th Street, bringing east lane [northbound] traffic closer to our privacy walls. We do not want to wait for another meeting to get this fact straight,” Lawrence responded. Lawrence and others who commonly use SW 100th Street for access claim an express lane would make exiting with a left turn to go southbound an extreme hazard with nonstop “go-at-all-times” traffic. “It will bring traffic lanes closer to the walls we have built to shield our back yards from cars and trucks,” she stated. “These privacy walls have often been smashed down by vehicles.” David Lyons, former president of CANT (Citizens Against Nonconcurrent Task) said protests letters have been filed with State Sen. Ana Rivas-Logan, State Rep. Anitere Flores and County Commissioner Lynda Bell on behalf of the organization. CANT, organized in 2006 as Citizens Against Nonconcurrent Traffic, was then instrumental in mounting opposition to plans for an East Kendall commuter rail line proposed by County Commissioner Joe Martinez. provide this service, free of charge, without our supporters,” she explained. Florida Department of Agriculture provides facilities at three State Farmers Markets as well as equipment and management assistance, “a key ingredient in the tremendous success of Farm Share’s food recovery program,” she said. Commissioner Joe Martinez, who donated a transit bus to Farm Share for outreach, has distributed food at his annual Easter Festival for more than five years through the statewide program. “Farm Share greatly appreciates the assistance and services provided by our admirable supporters, who, without their help will have Farm Share with nothing to share,” Robbins added. To assist the program, send email to <mia@farmshare.org>.


Nov. 29 - Dec. 12, 2011

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

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Proposed charter changes: too little, too late? R. Kenneth Bluh KENNETH’S COMMENTARY Do you know anyone that has held the same job in Miami for 20 years? I don’t. Yet, our county commissions are asking us to approve a two four-year term limit for them. Sound good? Sure, until you realize that it doesn’t include the past terms served by sitting commissioners. That means, for example, a commissioner who already has served three terms can add another 8 years (assuming they are reelected) to the 12 years already served. That is a lot of time to hold an elected position. There is little chance that we would ever see “fresh new” ideas come before the commission — just the same old ideas over and over again. Nine times county commissioners have asked the voters of Miami-Dade for a pay raise. Nine times the voters have said “no.” We want the increase tied to term limits. This time the commissioners have come to the conclusion that they will never get a pay raise unless they agree to term limits. Commissioners hope that we will be dumb

enough not to see that the two-term limit is in addition to whatever number of years they have served already. We, the voters, always have said that in addition to term limits we want to see that the elected officials spend all their time working at being a commissioner. In other words, no outside jobs. The commissioners are smart enough to realize that without this proviso they will never get a raise, and so it will be on the ballot. The second commissioner-proposed charter change simplifies the signature requirements for petition gathering. The commission previously had made it almost impossible for any group to assemble sufficient number of signatures in the time allocated for gathering as they must use a single page for each signature and have a notary reaffirm the signature gatherer’s signature on each page. The commissioners have asked voters to approve a change that would eliminate the one-signature-per-page requirement. The question is, are these concessions enough to convince the voters to say “yes” to a pay raise? As Norman Braman said, “two charter amendments that will go on the Jan. 31 ballot are a step in the right direction but do not go far enough.” Braman, the father of the Carlos Alvarez and Natacha Seijas recalls, told Spanish

VIEWPOINT radio listeners that his next possible recall subjects might be commission chair Joe Martinez, a candidate for county mayor next year, and Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz. Braman said that, “they just do not want change.” Braman quoted Commissioner Martinez who said “that the people of Miami-Dade like their commissioners.” Braman’s comment: “There may be one way to find out [if Martinez’s comment is true] and that is to place a recall [on the ballot] for some of them to find out exactly how the people in their districts feel about their performance.” What greatly bothers me is that the commissioners appointed a Charter Review Committee to study the charter and make recommendations for bringing it up to date. Unfortunately, the only recommendations that they have passed on to the voters for consideration are those that favor the commissioners. My opinion is it is too little, too late. Our commissioners, in the main, are not sensitive to the needs of the community. Too many of our concerns are left unanswered. Too many

commission decisions are made for their benefit — not for us. After a time we become so jaundiced to their thinking that even those items approved by the commission that favor the residents of Miami-Dade are looked upon with suspicion and disbelief. It’s their fault. But, their actions in the past, right up to their selection of charter changes proposed for voter approval, have come too late. Let’s wait and approve a “complete” set of charter revisions when presented for our consideration — including a pay raise. It is time to replace the “old time” commissioners. We need new ideas to make our community a better place to live and raise our children and grandchildren. 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 <letters@communitynewspapers.com>. The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of this newspaper, its editors or publisher.


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COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

Nov. 29 - Dec. 12, 2011

Layaway offers an alternative for holiday season shopping

Al Sunshine CBS MONEY WATCH “I spend more, and I’m spending more than last year,” sighs Theresa Rodriguez as she walks through the shopping aisles of her neighborhood superstore. Like so many other careful shoppers, Theresa has to save money. But she also has to make sure she has gotten all the holiday presents she can afford for her family. So this year, she is starting early and putting it all on layaway. That way she can spread out her payments. “I like it because it gives me the opportunity to pay little by little,” she said. “Sometimes you just don’t have enough money.” Local retailers tell me they expect layaways to be a lot more popular this year, but some local consumers tell me they are still not sure how it really works. They say layaway is a little more complicated because of the recordkeeping. They say it is all computerized now and some plans also are accessible online to their customers. Adrian Fernandez manages the Coral Gables Sears store. “Things are a little bit tough,” he explained. “However, it does allow the customer to use a different payment plan other than credit cards to actually make a purchase.” Shoppers still have to be careful to understand how layaway plans work. Consumer World’s Edgar Dworksy says he

believes layaway can be a great tool for keeping spending in check and spreading out payments. But he warns, you have to do the math and factor in additives like extra layaway fees. “You can only buy certain items,” he explained. “You either can or cannot buy on line. You have to make a minimum deposit. There will be a certain penalty if you cancel and that fee varies from store to store.” Theresa Rodriguez hopes to have her latest layaways all paid off over the next few weeks — or at least prior to the holidays. She also will be happy if all the bills will be paid by then. “If I don’t have to worry at the last minute, that’ll be great!” To make sure layaway shopping is right for you, go over any contracts and understand all the fine print. Ask about the store’s policy if something is on sale and marked down. Can you lock in the lowest price? You also need to check about cancellation charges or deadlines that dictate how long you can extend your purchase before having to pay it off. Here are some good links for more “Lay Away Shopping” tips to see if it’s right for you: • <http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2009/11/layaway.shtm> • <http://vi.bbb.org/article/holiday-shopping-tips-layaways-23734> • <http://blog.creditkarma.com/creditcards/pros-and-cons-of-using-layawaythis-holiday-season/> • <http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news 04/2009/11/layaway.html> Watch Al Sunshine’s “Money Watch” reports Monday-Friday beginning at noon. You may find Al’s blog at cbs4.com/4yourmoney.


Nov. 29 - Dec. 12, 2011

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

Jorge Peña back to lead WK Business Association BY JOSE CASSOLA

But Peña said that all started to change when London Square was built. West Kendall insurance agent Jorge Peña “Now suddenly we have all these stores has devoted musch of the past six years of his and restaurants in the area and we’ve become life to helping grow the business community more self-sufficient as a community,” Peña in West Kendall. said. “We’ve changed the traffic patterns. In January, Peña will reassume the position Instead of driving east, more and more peohe held for the first four years at the West ple are now staying in the area.” Kendall Business Association (WKBA) — West Kendall is roughly bounded by SW chair. The former presi56th Street to SW 152nd dent and founder of the Street and everything west WKBA, Peña, an insurof Florida’s Turnpike ance agent with Aflac, will extension. The area has take over as chair for one attracted about a quarter of year when current chair a million residents and has Frank Irizarry steps down the most public schools in at the end of December. any concentrated area, For Peña, taking over Peña said. Kendallthe reins of the WKBA Tamiami Executive again is something he Airport is the center point proudly accepts. of the West Kendall area. “It is truly a joy for me The WKBA recently to accept this position conducted its sixth annual and return to grow and West Kendall Business expand the association to Expo at Lexus of West greater heights,” Peña Kendall at SW 136th said. “We’re all volunStreet and 137th Avenue teers here but we are all next to the airport. very passionate about The expo, aimed at Jorge Peña what we do at the West drawing new businesses to –––––––––––––––––––––––– Kendall Business the area and new members Association, which is attract new business- to the association, previously took place at es to the area.” Signature Gardens before it was sold and Peña is no stranger to leading business closed at the end of 2010. associations. It is one of several events the WKBA conA graduate of Coral Park High School and ducts annually to attract new blood to West alumnus of Miami Dade College’s Kendall Kendall, including monthly networking Campus, Cuban-born Peña first ventured into luncheons every second Tuesday of the production design and printing for The month at alternating member businesses and Miami Herald and managed his own printing every last Thursday of the month at the company in Coconut Grove before joining Grand Salon at Killian Palms Country Club, the Coconut Grove Chamber of Commerce 9950 SW 104 St. as a member of the board of directors and “The West Kendall Business Association eventually as a trustee. has certainly done a lot of good for the Peña then became an active board member community and much of that is attributed of Chamber South. By this time, he already to the leadership of its founder, Jorge had switched from printing to the insurance Peña,” said Miami-Dade County business. Commissioner Joe Martinez, whose district A West Kendall resident, Peña wanted to includes West Kendall. “Jorge is a beacon promote his insurance business closer to of not only the association but of the West home and founded the WKBA. When the Kendall business community he helped association formed in 2006, the nonprofit develop. I have no doubt he will help the organization, formerly known as the association accomplish many more great Tamiami Airport Business Association, things next year.” boasted 13 members. The group grew to Peña hopes through aggressive marketing about 100 members in its first year and now of the association, the WKBA’s membership boasts more than 300 members. will grow to at least 400 members by the end “Before this association existed, West of 2012. Kendall had no representation, no chamber of “It can be done,” Peña said. “Many excitcommerce, nowhere to meet and do busi- ing things will happen next year, none of ness,” Peña said. “There were no businesses which I can reveal now. But I can tell you I’m in the area, no stores or restaurants. Everyone happy to lead this association in the coming used to go east to Dadeland, Pinecrest and year and hopefully attract more members in South Miami to do their shopping.” 2012.”

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COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

Nov. 29 - Dec. 12, 2011

Dadeland Mall invites children to have breakfast with Santa BY LISA GLUCKSTERN

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Santa will be making an early visit from the North Pole for a cozy breakfast with youngsters at Dadeland Mall on Saturday, Dec. 10, 8:30-10 a.m. Kids are invited to take photos with Santa and the Eat Mor Chikin Cow, creating incredible holiday memories to last a lifetime. Attendees also will enjoy festive activities including story time with Santa, arts and crafts, letters to Santa, cookie decorating and more. Radio Disney will be on site with additional fun games and activities. The adorable Elf Magic mascots, Jingle and Jangle, will be on hand, visiting with Santa at Dadeland Mall on one of their many Santa Claus hears Christmas wishes from one youngster during last â&#x20AC;&#x153;Elfcapades.â&#x20AC;? Join in on the yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s breakfast. â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C; fun and learn more about their tradition, where the Elves magical- Churromania, and Auntie Annieâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s. Dadeland Mall (Villagio Restaurant) is ly visit children during the Christmas season and return with Santa to the located at 7535 N. Kendall Dr. The Simon Kidgits Club events are North Pole on Christmas Eve to help deliver presents. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t miss out on your free to members. Families can sign up chance to meet the magical elves before for the Kidgits Club during regular mall hours for a membership fee of $5. they disappear. For more information about Elf Magic, Membership includes a Kidgits Club membership card and T-shirt, scheduled visit online at <www.Elf-Magic.com>. Space is limited so RSVP by Dec. 1 to entertainment and activities for families, Jose Llorca at <JLlorca@simon.com> or a Birthday Club (including birthday card call 305-665-6227. Breakfast with Santa is and gift redemption certificate), unique free for Kidgits Club members; $5 for gen- programs and offers, discounts and a quarterly newsletter. eral public. For more information, visit online at Breakfast with Santa is presented by Florida Blue, Starbucks, Chick-Fil-A, <www.simon.com/kidgits>.

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The Art of Thomas Paul Muhl on exhibit at the Alper JCC BY SHEILA STIEGLITZ

Thomas Paul Muhl’s own history is as colorful and amazing as his artwork. Painter, writer and designer, Muhl was born in Budapest, Hungary. He made his debut as an artist in high school by drawing uncomplimentary caricatures of his teachers during class. Fortunately for him, his art teacher intervened and saved him from expulsion. During World War II, he and his mother were confined to the Budapest Ghetto, where he witnessed the atrocities committed by the Hungarian Nazis. Miraculously, his family survived the war. As a young adult, he found employment in an art studio run by the Hungarian army where he painted billboard-size portraits of political heroes of Bolshevik history. The political climate was changing and Muhl soon realized that he could not abide by the rules of the regime. Following the 1956 revolution, he and his family made a dramatic Unidentified artwork by Thomas Paul Muhl escape across the Hungarian border ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– into Austria. From there he immigrated to England and then to the United ther twists and turns of fate. Living in South Florida since 1974, Muhl States where he worked as an award-winning creative director for prominent advertising has dedicated his art to depicting the beauty agencies and created film scripts for docu- and richness of the tropical environment. The artwork of Thomas Muhl will be on mentaries and television. The events of his life and harrowing escape exhibit at the Alper JCC Futernick Family are all documented in his acclaimed book, Gallery, 11155 SW 112 Ave. The opening Retouching Stalin’s Moustache. He describes reception on Sunday, Dec. 11, from 1 to 4 his life as an artist, as a survivor of 20th p.m., is free and open to the community. Century Europe under both fascism and com- Muhl’s painting will be on exhibit and his munism, and then one who copes with sur- book for sale during the reception. Call 305vival in America in a life complicated by fur- 271-9000, ext. 265, for other gallery times.

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Miami-Dade Parks announces free concert at Tropical Park Get ready for a night of full-throttle Cuban salsa with one of the hottest young Latin bands around — Tiempo Libre. Referred to as the “first 100 percent Cuban Timba band in the United States,” Tiempo Libre will take the stage on Dec. 2 at Tropical Park, 7900 SW 40 St., as part of the free Noches Tropicales concert series presented by the Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department, and sponsored by Target. Admission and parking are free for this event. Showtime is 8 p.m. The group will perform songs from their latest album, My Secret Radio, a tribute to the members’ teenage years in Cuba when they managed to circumvent the Castro government’s American radio ban, crafting homemade antennas that would allow them to listen to Miami music stations and fuel their dreams of living in America. For more information on Miami-Dade Parks’ Noches Tropicales free concerts at Tropical Park, call 305-271-0812 or visit online at <www.miamidade.gov/parks>. CHURCH’S CHRISTMAS BAZAAR OFFERS ITEMS MADE, GROWN IN THE REDLAND Would it be Christmas in Redland without the Silver Palm United Methodist

COMMUNITY NEWS BRIEFS Church annual Christmas Bazaar? On Dec. 3, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the ladies of the church will offer the public their handmade items, homemade tropical fruit jellies, fresh Redland-grown produce, plants, nuts and an eclectic offering of items from Aunt Lydia’s Attic. The bazaar will be in the Fellowship Hall toward the back of the campus at 15855 SW 248 St. (not 232nd Street) next to Redland Middle School and across from the famous Knauss Berry Farm. A “scoop” luncheon of items from their new cookbook will be available at noon. Buy a scoop of whatever looks good to you. And buy the cookbook at $10. What better time to purchase specialty Christmas gifts? For more information, call 305-2473769. ‘CHOPIN FOR ALL’ FREE CONCERT AT GRANADA PRESBYTERIAN The Chopin Foundation of the U.S. and

Southern Wine & Spirits of America present the second concert in our annual series of free concerts, “Chopin for All” on Dec. 4 at 3 p.m. All seven monthly concerts are presented on Sundays at Granada Presbyterian Church, 950 University Dr. in Coral Gables. This time the featured artists are the phenomenal sisters, Anna and Katherine, the Karkowska Sisters Duo. In the program “Chopin and 19th Century Paris” they will play music by Chopin, Liszt, Henryk Wieniawski and Paganini. For a detailed program, and more information, contact Viga Gewert at 305-868-0624, email at <info@chopin.org> or visit <www.chopin.org>. ‘SIMPLY SINATRA CHRISTMAS’ HOLIDAY SHOW ON DEC. 4 “Simply Sinatra Christmas” is a holiday show presented by Homestead Community Concerts featuring pops sensation Steve

Lippia on Dec. 4 at 2:30 p.m. It will be in the new auditorium at South Dade High, 28401 SW 167 Ave. The show is a wonderful blend of holiday cheer and swing standards with an energetic flair that only a big band can provide. This concert alone is probably worth the $50 price for the four-concert series which will include “Three Men and a Maestro” on Jan. 6, 2012; “An American Portrait from a Nation’s Heart” on Feb. 5, and saxophonist Ed Calle and his band on Mar. 10. Single concert tickets are available for $25 at the door. Full time student tickets are $5 per concert or $15 for the four-concert series. For more information go to <www.homesteadconcerts.com> where subscriptions can be purchased by credit card, or call 305-235-8818 or 305-2536620.

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COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

COMMUNITY NEWS BRIEFS, from previous page TEENASPRIDE CSA HOSTS COOKING DEMOS AT FARMER’S MARKET Come and join in on Dec. 4, from 1 to 4 p.m., at the Farmer’s Market located at 20025 SW 270 St., as the TeenasPride CSA shows you how and where your food is grown. There will be cooking demonstrations as well as the opportunity to taste the wonderful heirloom tomatoes grown. Join a greenhouse tour. See how a hydroponic farm works and watch a master chef create wonderful dishes using the fresh vegetables and herbs grown here. Bring your children. For more information, visit <www.teenaspridecsa.com>. MADD EVENT TO REMEMBER VICTIMS OF DRUNK DRIVING Mothers Against Drunk Driving, MiamiDade County Chapter, (MADD) is sponsoring a vigil to honor the memory of people who died or were injured in crashes involving drunk or impaired drivers in Miami-Dade County. This year’s vigil will take place on Dec. 7 at 800 Douglas Entrance Ballroom in Coral Gables. Family victims and friends are invited to pay tribute

Nov. 29 - Dec. 12, 2011

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

by lighting a candle and reciting the name of their loved one. For more information, call Janet Mondshein at 305-273-3744. FIU, CHILDREN’S MOVEMENT OF FLORIDA TO PRESENT ‘THE NUTCRACKER,’ DEC. 8 FIU’s Alternative Theatre Festival and School of Music, in collaboration with The Children’s Movement of Florida are pleased to present a special holiday performance of The Nutcracker on Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. This is a holiday benefit event to help raise funds for The Movement and will take place at the Coral Gables Congressional Church, 3010 De Soto Blvd. Come and enjoy the musical magic of the stellar Amernet String Quartet, accompanied by actors from FIU Theatre, dancers from the Roxy Performing Arts Center, and 15 sensational artwork submissions from schools throughout the community as scenic backdrops. For more information call 305-646-7138 or send email to <info@childrensmovementflorida.org>. CIVIC CHORALE OF GREATER MIAMI TO PRESENT CONCERT, DEC. 11 The Civic Chorale of Greater Miami will

present a brief concert featuring music representative of both the Christian and Jewish holiday traditions on Dec. 11, 4 p.m., at the First United Methodist Church, 6565 Red Rd. Following this, all community singers are invited to join the Chorale in the singing of the Christmas sections of Handel’s beloved Messiah. Singers are asked to bring a Messiah score, if possible. A limited number will be available for use on the day of the concert. For more information, call 305-4905930 or send email to <kboos@mdc.edu> or <pheeprice@gmail.com>. LONG-TERM CARE OMBUDSMAN PROGRAM SEEKING VOLUNTEERS The Florida’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman program needs volunteers to join its corps of dedicated advocates who protect the rights of elders who live in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and adult family care homes. The program’s local councils are seeking additional volunteers to identify, investigate and resolve residents’ concerns. Special training and certification is provided. All interested individuals who care about

protecting the health, safety, welfare and rights of long-term care facility residents, who often have no one else to advocate for them, are encouraged to call 1-888-8310404 or visit the program’s website at <www.ombudsman.myflorida.com>. For more information call 305-6717245. WIN A SEASON ADMISSION TO SANTA’S ENCHANTED FOREST Pollo Tropical is helping South Floridians enjoy the holiday season with a special free contest for a season pass to Santa’s Enchanted Forest. The South Florida-based grilled chicken chain also is offering a discount to the popular Santa’s Enchanted Forest for all of its Miami-Dade County customers. To make the holidays even a little brighter, any resident of Miami-Dade, age 18 or older, can text the word “SANTAS” to 30241 for the chance to win one of 10 season pass tickets. One text per phone number, limited to residents of Dade County. Winners will be selected via random drawing on Monday, Dec. 5, and will be notified via text message. For more information visit <www.pollotropical.com/community>.


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COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

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Seraphic Fire schedules Dec. 17 Christmas Concert at SMDCAC

Seraphic Fire will present “O Holy Night, Christmas With Seraphic Fire” at the South Miami Dade Cultural Arts Center on Dec. 17.

BY NICOLLE UGARRIZA

Intersecting imagination with tradition, South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center (SMDCAC) and Seraphic Fire present “O Holy Night, Christmas With Seraphic Fire” on Saturday, Dec. 17, at 8 p.m. Tickets at $25, $15, $10 and $5 are available on CultureShockmiami.com. A $5 discount on orchestra level seats is available for students and seniors. SMDCAC is located at 10950 SW 211 St. in Cutler Bay. For tickets call 786-573-5300 and for information visit <www.smdcac.org>. O, Holy Night, the stars are brightly shining!, Adolphe Adam’s timeless carol, has signaled Christmas for countless listeners across the ages. This spectacular holiday program will feature arrangements of O Holy Night and Silent Night by Seraphic Fire’s artistic director Patrick Dupré Quigley, as well as a combination of classic carols, gorgeous motets and Gregorian chant. Now a South Florida holiday tradition, Seraphic Fire’s Christmas concerts always sell out. “O, Holy Night” is a stunning choreographed musical experience in which the singers envelop the audience with candlelit processions and carols sung from all sides of the venue. Now a gem among South Florida’s cultural institutions, Seraphic Fire has garnered high praise since its inaugural season 10 years ago. The South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, designed by an internationally acclaimed design team that includes Arquitectonica International Inc. (architects), Fisher Dachs Associates, Inc. (theater design), Artec Consultants Inc. (acoustics), and AMS Planning & Research Corp. (theater management), provides, for the first

time, a state-of-the-art cultural venue and community gathering place in the southern part of Miami-Dade County. The center features prominent works of art created by Miami artist Robert Chambers who was commissioned by Miami-Dade County’s Art in Public Places program to design a kinetic light wall and sculptures for the theater. The center is an integral part of the economic and cultural development of the area, offering quality artistic programming and community accessibility. The South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center is managed by the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, with funding support from the Office of the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners. The Center is dedicated to presenting and supporting arts and culture and providing access to the arts to the entire Miami-Dade County community. South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center serves as a showcase for the performing and media arts, welcoming people from all backgrounds and economic means. The facility includes a 966-seat state-of-the-art theater, which features a fly tower, orchestra pit, front of house spaces (box office, lobby, concessions, etc.) and back of house support spaces (dressing rooms, storage and work areas, administrative offices, etc.). The site also includes an activities building which houses lab/ experimental theaters, and may be used for classrooms, rehearsals, and small-scale performances. A beautiful outdoor plaza allows for festivals, art shows, and other outdoor activities. The concert lawn “back yard” slopes to the Black Creek Canal, and can host outdoor concerts, performances and events.

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P e rf e c t l y t i m e d f o r h o l i d a y g i f t giving, the five-day event is S o u t h F l o r i d a ’s l a rg e s t b o o k s a l e , with tens of thousands of donated books, DVDs and CDs. tion created in 1974 to support the library system. The Friends assist the library by promoting library interests within the community, supporting volunteers in the branches and raising funds to sponsor library programming. For information on the book sale or to become a Friend, call 305-375-2665 (BOOK) or send email to <friends@mdpls.org?>.


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COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

Page 21

Friends of the Orphans event raises $50,000

Mexican actress/comedienne Angelica Vale and singer PeeWee hosted the gala event. –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– BY LEE STEPHENS

Celebrities and more than 200 guests at the second annual “All the World to One Child” cocktail gala on Friday, Oct. 21, planted seeds of hope for the thousands of orphaned and abandoned children living at the Friends of the Orphans network of homes in Latin America and the Caribbean. By the end of the evening, at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, nearly $50,000 was raised in support of Friends of the Orphans. Following a red carpet entrance by the evening’s hosts, singer PeeWee and Mexican actress/comedienne Angelica Vale, actress and guest of honor Angelica Maria, actress Laura Zapata, international model Blanca Soto and broadcast journalist Neida Sandoval, the guests were treated to a sultry fire dancer performance, culinary delights by the chefs at A Joy Wallace catering and cocktails courtesy of Bacardi USA. Guests then made their way to the upstairs ballroom and enjoyed delectable food stations that included sushi, fresh made risotto and sliced churrasco steak with signature chimichurri sauce. Wine was provided generously by Agostón Wine. PeeWee and Vale hosted the evening’s festivities, introducing Aurora Zacarias of Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos Mexico, who shared her touching and inspirational story of resilience and success, defeating all odds as a young orphan to become a successful businesswoman and traveler.

Aurora was later serenaded by singer PeeWee, who uplifted the crowd with his voice. Guest of honor Angelica Maria was later surprised with the second Friends of the Orphans Humanitarian Award with a presentation of a Phil Fung painting in her likeness. The actress has been a long-time supporter of Friends of the Orphans and other organizations that support disadvantaged children around the world. Once the presentation concluded, guests took to the dance floor with the deejay sounds of the evening and at one point were escorted around the room by samba dancers in full carnival dress. The silent auction and raffle — which included a Cartier watch, several Tiffany jewelry items, exotic vacation packages, and artwork by international renowned artists — were major attractions. “The outpouring of support for Friends of the Orphans was obvious at the gala with our sold out attendance and incredible number of celebrity guests who all shared a common bond and goal that evening, to improve the lives of the children that benefit from our organization’s network of orphanages, hospitals and community outreach programs in nine countries throughout Latin America and the Caribbean,” said Ana Martinez, Regional Development Manager, Friends of the Orphans Southeast Region. For more information on Friends of the Orphans, visit the website at <www.friends oftheorphans.org> or call 786-286-2656.

“SEARCHING FOR THE KING” A Dramatic Christmas Musical Arranged and Orchestrated by David T. Clydesdale Presented by

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Two different worlds seeking the truth. Come and experience the Christmas journey of two travelers separated by two millennia, searching for the same thing. Admission is free! There will be a live nativity!


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COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

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COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

Junior Orange Bowl ready for Sports Ability Games BY ALEX MARKEL

For the past 30 years one of the most inspirational South Florida youth sporting events has been the Junior Orange Bowl Committee’s (JOBC) Sports Ability Games. A three-day series of events for physically challenged youths, the Sports Ability Games includes one day each of sailing, swimming and track and field events. The theme for this year’s JOBC festival season is “Soaring To New Heights!” and the Sports Ability Games provides the perfect environment for these young athletes to do just that. The event, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary, gets underway with a sailing regatta at Shake-A-Leg Miami on Thursday, Dec. 1, and is followed by swimming events at Miami Springs Aquatic Center on Dec. 2. The Games conclude with track and field events at Tropical Park Stadium on Saturday, Dec. 3. Each event location provides a venue for disabled children to compete in sporting events at their own developmental level, while meeting and interacting with other children who may share similar physical challenges. The events are designed to accommodate children with a wide range of physical disabilities including amputation, blindness, deafness, cerebral palsy, spinal lesions, dwarfism and les autres. “Our games are developmental in nature so participants can take on new challenges in a non-threatening environment with the

appropriate encouragement and support,” said Richard Naue, event chair. “It also provides our volunteer community with the opportunity to make a difference in a child’s life even for just one day or event.” The event typically draws more than 300 athletes, more than 200 volunteers and hundreds of family members and friends who come out to support the athletes and witness this amazing event. For information on how to participate or volunteer at the Sports Ability Games visit online at <www.jrorangebowl.org/sports-abilitygames> or call the JOBC office at 305662-1210. The three days of athletic events are followed by an awards ceremony, which will take place on Saturday night at Melreese Country Club that celebrates the athletes’ tremendous accomplishments. A dinner and dance party after the awards ceremony gives the athletes an opportunity to socialize and is a fun way to conclude the threeday long event. “I am extremely proud that the Sports Ability Games has been able to provide youths the chance to participate in these athletic events for the past 30 years,” Naue said. “The inspiration that the kids provide is sometimes overwhelming for everyone involved as they are able to accomplish so much despite their physical challenges. The ability to believe in themselves and push through the finish line when so many have doubted what they can accomplish is truly an emotional scene.” For more information on the JOBC, call 305-662-1210 or visit the website at <www.jrorangebowl.org>.

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Nov. 29 - Dec. 12, 2011

MCC shares the magic of the holidays in Voices of Angels BY ANALY MENDEZ

Deck the Halls with members of the Miami Children’s Chorus (MCC) as they perform some of the most beloved holiday songs, this season. Voices of Angels — the MCC annual holiday concert, will take place on Sunday, Dec. 11, 4 p.m., at the First United Methodist Church of Coral Gables. Voices of Angels gives audiences the opportunity to witness the artistry and purpose of all three ensembles of the MCC, which will perform traditional holiday favorites as well as other more contemporary music of the season. Led by Timothy A. Sharp, music director, and accompanied by Alan Ngim, principal accompanist, and other instrumentalists, the members of the Miami Children’s Chorus will embody the spirit of the holidays and share the message of peace, joy, and love. Musical selections for Voices of Angels also aim to display the cultural diversity in South Florida and as such span

Voices of Angels gives audiences the opportunity to witness the artistry and purpose of all three ensembles of the MCC, which will perform traditional holiday favorites as well as other more contemporary music of the season. a wide range of genres and represent many cultures. First United Methodist Church of Coral Gables is located at 536 Coral Way in Coral Gables. For more information about the Miami Children’s Chorus and its complete concert schedule call 305-662-7494 or visit online at <www.miamichildrenschorus.org>.


Nov. 29 - Dec. 12, 2011

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S. Florida leaders and celebrities coming together for annual gala BY MATTHEW BEATTY

Tracy Wilson Mourning, Doug E. Fresh and Frederica Wilson are just three on a stellar team joining the Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce (M-DCC) for its signature event. Set for Dec. 3 at the Hyatt Regency Miami, the annual gala continues to attract business, political and civic leaders from across the region for a night of fanciful fun and entertainment. The event will be hosted this year by Mourning, founder of Honey Shine Mentoring Program, and Eric Knowles, senior director of government affairs for the Miami Dolphins. More than 600 are expected to attend celebrating the 2011 theme “Unmasking Business Success” and unlocking the economic potential every business has waiting to break out of it. “Year after year, our annual gala ignites the South Florida business and social scene,” said Bill Diggs, president and CEO of the M-DCC. “The entire community supports the chamber’s effort to provide a joyous atmosphere for connecting our town’s power players. We have more up our sleeve than ever before to make this gala the best one yet; you won’t want to miss it!” This year’s gala promises to pop with legendary hip-hop icon Doug E. Fresh providing the night’s entertainment. Dubbed “The World’s Greatest Entertainer,” Fresh is recognized nationwide for rocking “old

school” and “new school” crowds alike at formal events and concerts. The M-DCC will continue the tradition of recognizing preeminent South Floridians at the gala. The chamber’s most distinguished recognition, the H.T. Smith Lifetime Achievement Award, will go to U.S. Congresswoman Frederica Wilson (D-FL). She will be honored for her lifelong contribution of community leadership and philanthropic effort to improve quality of life for Miami-Dade County residents. Alberto Carvalho, superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, is being honored with this year’s Distinguished Service Award for his work aiding children and youth in their quest for excellence. Thelma Gibson also will be acknowledged for her celebrated work in volunteerism, education, healthcare and service to the wider South Florida community with the Citizen of the Year Award. “From education and networking to expert advice and promotional opportunities, the chamber helps unlock the resources right at your fingertips,” Diggs said. “This gala season, we’re celebrating our collective effort to prosper.” For more information on the corporate benefits of becoming a Sixth Annual Gala sponsor, or to reserve your space, contact the Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce at 305-751-8648 or visit the website at m-dcc.org.

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305-256-3002 The law office of Dennis R. Haber P.A. has been providing legal services to our community for over 25 years, however this information is of a general nature and is not intended to answer any individual’s legal questions. Do not rely on information presented herein to address your individual legal concerns. If you have a legal questions, you should consult an attorney experienced in that area of the law. Moreover, the hiring of an attorney is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you hire an attorney, you should request information about attorney’s qualifications and experiences.


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Nov. 29 - Dec. 12, 2011

Edna Buchanan launches her new novel at Books & Books BY GARY ALAN RUSE

Veteran crime reporter turned novelist Edna Buchanan brought a standing room only crowd to Books & Books in Coral Gables on Tuesday, Nov. 8, when she launched her new book, A Dark and Lonely Place. It is the 18th book written by the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and her 15th work of fiction, although it is partially based on fact. The book, an ambitious effort that took her more than two years to complete, interweaves the exploits of real life criminal legends John Ashley and Laura Upthegrove from a century ago with their fictional descendants in the present day. They are star-crossed lovers who seemed destined to repeat history although today’s John Ashley is a Miami homicide sergeant and his modern Laura is a stunning model. “This is the book I’ve wanted to write for more than half of my life,” Buchanan told her audience. “The dark story whispered down generations about notorious outlaw John Ashley and his sweetheart, Laura, haunted my dreams, stirred my soul, from the moment I first heard their names. I’ve always loved news and history.” Buchanan explained that she first had run across stories about John Ashley when she worked as a reporter at the Miami Beach Sun, fascinated by the couple’s exploits as related in

Author Edna Buchanan signs books for her fans. ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– the yellowing pages of the newspaper’s decade later. John and Laura’s outlaw adven“morgue” or archive of past editions. tures included prison breaks, bootlegging, Buchanan told of how Ashley, accused of bank robberies and piracy on the high seas. murder and sentenced to hang, protested his Then she discovered accounts stating that innocence and went on the run with his sweet- the original story of Ashley’s death in a gunheart, Laura, in a crime spree that was longer fight wasn’t true — and that some things never and deadlier than that of Bonnie and Clyde a change.

“John, his nephew and two friends peacefully surrendered to St. Lucie and Palm Beach deputies who handcuffed and then executed them,” Buchanan said. “There’d been a vendetta by the Palm Beach County Sheriff who had been trying to stop the gang for more than a decade and they finally gave up trying to take them in because every time they did they would escape from jail and be back out on the loose again. You had suspicious deaths in police custody…how shocking.” Buchanan said that she later found an old photo of Ashley while working at the Miami Herald and began to wonder how he and Laura might fare in modern day South Florida. She wondered how powerful the past is, and whether anyone can truly change their destiny. That led her to write a book, which explored those very questions. She related stories of Miami’s violent history to her audience of long-time fans and new admirers, evoking laughter as well as gasps, and mentioning that as a crime reporter she once covered 630 murders in one year. “The more things change, the more they remain the same,” Buchanan said. “Miami has always been the last stop for sun-seeking drifters and people on the run from trouble. I think some of them are here tonight.” Her novel, A Dark and Lonely Place, is published in hardcover by Simon & Schuster.


Nov. 29 - Dec. 12, 2011

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

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Nov. 29 - Dec. 12, 2011

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Nov. 29 - Dec. 12, 2011

Old Cutler Presbyterian Church Hosts Free Christmas Concert traditional orchestra, modern jazz pieces, Christmas favorites and sing-alongs. Performances will include selections from Handel’s Messiah, selections from the Nutcracker Suite, “T’was the Night Before Christmas”, “Silent Night” and many others. “We’re hoping this concert brings families together, both young and old,” says Shawn Sutta. “We are excited for this opportunity to get some of the city’s greatest musicians together, groove to some Christmas music, and celebrate a day that is truly special. ”

BY RAYMOND RIVIERA Old Cutler Presbyterian Church (OCPC) www.ocpc.org hosts its 35th Annual Christmas Concert on Saturday, December 3rd at 7:30pm (Doors open at 7pm). Old Cutler Presbyterian Church invites the city of Miami to enjoy the sights and sounds of Christmas during its annual concert performed by an array of musicians and vocalists from their church choir, orchestra, worship band and children’s choir. “We invite every family in Miami to get together and join us for this beautiful Christmas concert. It’s free and it’s our gift to the community,” says Senior Pastor Dr. Stephen Clark. “The musical talent we have at our church is amazing and we wanted to share their talents with the community as we celebrate Christmas.” The Old Cutler Christmas concert is directed by two graduates of the University of Miami Music program and a

###

current professor. U.M. graduates, Shawn Sutta and Jamie Sutta who are on staff at Old Cutler Church, lead the worship band and choir and plan on injecting the concert with soulful jazz, beautiful solos,

and powerful orchestral pieces. Dr. Dennis Kam, the chair of the Department of Music Theory and Composition at the University of Miami, also a staff member at Old Cutler Church, plans on delivering a healthy blend of

Located at Old Cutler Presbyterian Church in the Worship Center. 14401 Old Cutler Rd. Miami, FL 33158. Saturday, December 3rd at 7:30pm. (Doors open at 7pm) Free! For more information, contact church office, 305-238-8121.


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Nov. 29 - Dec. 12, 2011

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Nov. 29 - Dec. 12, 2011

“YOUR AD HERE — BIG YELLOW SCHOOL BUS” BY KAREN ARONOWITZ, President, United Teachers of Dade

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Imagine the yellow school bus so covered with ads that we smack right into the back of one, our attention diverted by 3D, strobe-lit, hologram movie ads, flashing, pulsing lights for caffeine-laden power drinks, logoencrusted sportswear, and other trinkets and trash we sell to move our economy. It’s the American way! All supposedly G-rated, although what passes for G in our overly sexualized consumerism makes the letter blush like a scarlet A. Still, our schools are so cashstrapped from the decrease in funding to public education that school boards are putting out the for-sale sign themselves. No space need be uncovered. Will students pay any attention to the work teachers place on white boards, smart boards, or, in a few impoverished public schools, chalk boards, when bells and whistles from advertisers compete for their attention? It is not philanthropy that drives companies into our schools. It’s

the thrill of a captive audience, an audience that will have no Parental Control button to screen what’s seen in a school, an audience that is just learning to think about the the credibility of a source, an audience that, by age and maturity, will believe what is placed before them. One does not challenge authority until enough learning has taken place. We will abandon four-year olds and fourteen-year-olds to the hands of advertisers. I suppose the next step is to make each teacher responsible for selling enough advertising to “endow” their position. A sort of commission sales requirement to add to the idea of “pay-for-performance.” It’s not surprising that the hallowed halls of our schools will be turned into the inside of a casino, where the lights are low, there are no windows or clocks so that no one knows whether it’s night or day, and flashing, strobing lights, bells and whistles convince even the losers they’ve won. Lock up your children, folks. Throw them an iPad, a Twinkie, and a bottle of water and call it home schooling. You might not be there, but it could be a safer space than school. The United Teachers of Dade represents 35,000 teachers and school support personnel in MDCPS. The union is committed to being a leader in creating public school reform, fostering a quality public education for all students and elevating the professional status of teachers, paraprofessionals, office employees, and all school support personnel.


Nov. 29 - Dec. 12, 2011

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UM Sports Hall of Fame introduces 2012 class The University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame introduced its Class of 2012 inductees during the Hurricanes’ Homecoming game victory over the Duke Blue Devils on Saturday, Nov. 5. Pictured (l-r) are University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame president Wally DiMarko, track Olympian Patrina Allen, All America lineman Rich Mercier, basketball player Desma Thomas Bateast, women’s tennis coach Paige Yaroshuk Tews, the school’s first African American football player Ray Bellamy, and UM athletic director Shawn Eichorst. Unable to attend was baseball player Robbie Morrison, and football All Americas Bryant McKinnie and Ed Reed. The 44th annual University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame Induction Banquet will take place on Thursday, Mar. 29, 2012 at Jungle Island. Go to UMSportsHallofFame.com for more details.

(Photo credit: JC Ridley)


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Football Finals, Finally! Tips for Tailgating Family and Friends gather together before the big game, grill up some burgers and have some fun. Add 100,000 swirling, tipsy, fans to the mix and things get a bit dicey. Everyone likes to party and have a good time, but being prepared to handle the pre-game partying and party goers will keep you safe, and assure your spot in the parking lot for the next game. If you’re grilling, make sure the raw meat is kept in a separate container from the food you’ll be eating without cooking. Keep mayonnaise, potato salad and other sides spoiled by heat, refrigerated. Most importantly, wash your hands, and makes sure your kids wash theirs too! If you’re bringing friends or kids with you, you must be ready to reunite with them if they wander off. Make sure you designate a meeting spot, if your separated from them, before the festivities begin. You can check the stadiums website before heading over. The website may have some handy information regarding lost children, security and other safety regulations. Be Cool. Be careful, exercise restraint in expressing your devotion for your team, or the sport generally. In September a Wales fan died after a clash between rival fans at Wembley. The stadium may seem safe, but there are extreme instances of tragedy, when caution is not exercised. A father fell from a stadium balcony trying to catch a ball, this summer.

Panter’s Pointers for fun and safe Tailgating: 1. Have a plan: have a designated meeting place in case you’re separated from family or friends. 2. Be Cool, be cautious and aware of your surroundings. 3. Make sure your food is fully cooked. 4. Report unruly fan behavior. 5. Stay hydrated: Drink lots of water. 6. Have a GREAT TIME. “Serving Our Community For More Than 20 Years”

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Nov. 29 - Dec. 12, 2011

‘Can the Grease’ this holiday season, avoid costly repairs BY JENNIFER MESSEMER

The Miami-Dade County Water and Sewer Department (WASD) and the Permitting, Environment Regulatory Affairs Department (PERA) remind everyone to “Can the Grease” this holiday season and not dump cooking grease or oil down your kitchen drain. In doing so, you will help protect the environment and avoid a potentially costly repair bill. Grease and oil poured into a kitchen or other drain, even a toilet, can harden inside your home’s plumbing pipes. This can lead to a clog and sewage backing up into your home — something nobody wants at any time, let alone during the holidays. And if the blockage in your pipes is bad enough, you

may have to call someone to your home for a costly repair that can become even more expensive if it has to be done on a holiday. To avoid this, don’t empty oil or grease into your kitchen sink, even if you have a waste disposal system. Instead, pour your used grease and oil into a metal can or a heat resistant oven bag, let it cool a few minutes, and then throw it in the trash. To further reduce the amount of grease that enters your home’s pipes, be sure to scrape or wipe as much food as possible off dishes and pans before putting them to wash in the sink or dishwasher. For more information on how you can “Can the Grease,” visit online at <www.miamidade.gov/wasd> or <www.miamidade.gov/pera>.

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Nov. 29 - Dec. 12, 2011

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Nov. 29 - Dec. 12, 2011

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Take relaxing holiday cruise on bay from Deering Estate BY CATHY GUERRA

Take a break from holiday shopping and enjoy a relaxing bay cruise on Sunday, Dec. 18, while discovering South Florida’s nature and history aboard the Pelican Island Skipper pontoon boat, a 45-foot Corinthian Catamaran. A Deering Estate Education and Interpretive staff member will talk about birds, sea mammals, Native Americans, and early pioneers. The boat will pass Chicken Key, a seven-acre mangrove island and restored bird rookery. The two-hour cruise departs at 2 p.m. from the Deering Estate at Cutler and returns at 4 p.m. Passengers are required to arrive at the Deering Estate at 1:30 p.m. The cost is $35 per person. Additional bay cruises will take place on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012 (Valentine’s Bay

Cruise) and on Sunday, June 17, 2012 (Father’s Day Bay Cruise). For more information, visit online at <www.deeringestate.org>. To purchase tickets, contact the Deering Estate Ticket Office at 305-235-1668, ext. 233. The Deering Estate at Cutler, a MiamiDade County park, is located at 16701 SW 72 Ave. in Palmetto Bay. This 444acre natural and archeological preserve and historic site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and serves as a center for education, culture and recreation. Historic house tours are offered daily (10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.) with admission to the estate. EcoAdventure Tours also are offered throughout the year for an additional fee. For more information on the Deering Estate’s educational and cultural programs, visit <www.deeringestate.org>.

See us online at: www.communitynewspapers.com

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Financial Planning During the Holidays? Aree youu a spenderr orr a saverr during thee holidays? To a lesser or greater degree, we are either savers or spenders. The commercialization of the Holiday season is certainly there to constantly remind us to spend as much as we can. May I suggest that you keep your bearings with your financial condition during these frenzied shopping days. What you have minus what you owe equals what is Rick Tonkinson left over. If the left over is a positive number then you are still on track toward financial stability. How w doo youu approachh holidayy giftt giving? In terms of gifts, does the person you are buying for really need another sweater in Miami? Perhaps a gift of letting them know how special they are to you and how they make the world a better place would stay in their heart long after the sweater is worn out. As for saving, I suggest that you can be kind to yourself by improving your financial condition by opening or adding to your IRA as a Holiday present to yourself. There’s more excitement in paying down on those credit cards rather than adding to their balances. There’s no one there to say thank you for doing it, but your peace of mind should not need the compliments of others. The road to financial independence is unfortunately the road that is less traveled, especially in the “spending season”. How w willl yourr giftt givingg givee “meaningg too thee season”? May I respectfully suggest that you look beyond your needs and desires to think of a person less fortunate than you. You do not have to think a lot to realize that your life would be happier if you stopped your routine to provide someone some kindness. Then you will have a real gift that no store or online service can provide. Rickk Tonkinsonn iss a CERTIFIED D FINANCIALL PLANNER™ ™ Practitionerr who startedd hiss firstt jobb ass a paperboyy att agee 12.. Rickk Tonkinsonn andd his familyy focuss onn thee financiall planningg needss off workingg people.. Tonkinsonn Financiall Inc.. iss locatedd att 23988 Southh Dixiee Hwy,, Miami,, FL. 305-858-1628. Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network, Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser. Fixed insurance products and services offered by Tonkinson Financial Inc. are separate and unrelated to Commonwealth.

Happy Holidays! from Tonkinson Financial


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Nov. 29 - Dec. 12, 2011

Florida Pioneer Museum reopens with exhibits of area’s history BY BOB JENSEN

The Florida Pioneer Museum, 826 N. Krome Ave. in Florida City, has reopened for the season. The museum is open Wednesdays and Saturdays from 1 to 5 p.m. with volunteer docents present. Admission is free. The museum is housed in the original Florida East Coast railway Homestead station agent’s house, which was constructed by Henry Flagler’s railway in 1904 for about $1,500. It was one of the first buildings constructed in South Dade. Artifacts in the museum vary from archeological items dating back hundreds of years to Florida East Coast Railway memorabilia. Mainly, life in early South Dade County is shown in rooms outfitted much as they were 100 years ago. A special exhibit area highlights Florida City history. Local early churches are highlighted in a photo display of church buildings and other items associated with the houses of

Artifacts in the museum vary from archeological items dating back hundreds of years to Florida East Coast Railway memorabilia. Mainly, life in early South Dade County is shown in rooms outfitted much as they were 100 years ago. worship including commemorative china plates. Items associated with the area’s early tourism industry are of particular interest. Books and videos about the area’s early history also are on sale. Special tours for schools and other groups can be arranged by calling Meda Jensen at 305-248-0976.


Nov. 29 - Dec. 12, 2011

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

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Criminal escapades chronicled in book, American Desperado BY SARAH BREIVOGEL

When award-winning journalist Evan Wright (Vanity Fair contributing editor, twotime National Magazine Award winner, and author of the New York Times bestseller Generation Kill) began a series of conversations with super criminal Jon Roberts, star of the hit Showtime documentary Cocaine Cowboys, he realized that Jon was much more than the Medellín Cartel’s ace drug smuggler during the 1980s. As Roberts shared his jaw-dropping life story, it became clear that perhaps no one in history had broken so many laws with such willful abandon. The result of their collaboration is American Desperado: My Life-from Mafia Soldier to Cocaine Cowboy to Secret Government Asset (Crown; Nov. 1, 2011), a shockingly unique publication that represents a serendipitous, never likely to be repeated matchup of bloodhound journalist and fascinating criminal subject. Imagine sitting in a shadowed alcove and listening as one of the most resolute, imagi-

native, and ruthless criminals ever spills it all. That’s what the reader gets in American Desperado — an adrenaline-soaked immersion in the life of Jon Roberts, whose criminal escapades are colossal in scope. We see Jon witness his first murder at age 7. We are with him in the jungles of Vietnam as he carries out his missions as a trained assassin. We watch Jon become, at the age of 20, one of New York’s biggest nightclub impresarios, rubbing shoulders with everyone from Jimi Hendrix to John Lennon. We see him go toe-to-toe with the Hells Angels and John Gotti, and we journey with him to sunny Miami, where he becomes the chief smuggler for the Medellín Cartel. We watch as Jon and his MacGyver-like tech-wiz partner Mickey Munday design stealth boats and planes, and transport drugs through Mexican tunnels. We see Jon become a champion horse breeder, work for the CIA, run guns to the Contras, get invited into the Republican inner circle, engage in dozens of erotic liaisons, wrestle alligators, bribe judges, stash $300 million in secret bank accounts, enter prison, escape prison, all along the way offering vivid descriptions of murders, beat downs, kneecappings, burials at sea, and the mayhem that can be inflicted with Popsicle sticks. Roberts is a criminal mastermind, and his account has set Wright the challenge of documenting every claim his subject has made, every jaw-dropping story — including true tales of murder that will be disclosed for the first time. Paramount Pictures already is on board to produce the film, with Mark Wahlberg set to play Roberts and with Peter Berg to direct. Four years in the making, American Desperado is, as many early readers have stated, “unputdownable.” But it also is revelatory, because it exposes as no other book has the thought process of someone who determinedly pursues evil over good. This is a one-of-a-kind book by a duo of authors determined to tell it as it happened.

Co-authors Jon Roberts and Evan Wright ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

ABOUT THE AUTHORS: Jon Roberts, now a resident of South Florida, was, prior to his incarceration, among the most successful drug smugglers in American history, at one point overseeing an operation that accounted for more than half of the cocaine entering the United States. He collaborated with some of the most notorious criminals of his era, including Pablo Escobar and General Noriega, was a key player in the

Iran-Contra affair, and starred in the hit documentary Cocaine Cowboys. Evan Wright is the author of Generation Kill, one of the most celebrated books on the Iraq War, recently adapted into a seven-hour HBO miniseries. He is a recipient of the National Magazine Award, a Los Angeles Times Book Award, a PEN/Faulkner Award and a Lukas Prize. He is also a contributing editor to Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair.


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Nov. 29 - Dec. 12, 2011

State representatives host ‘There Ought to be a Law’ essay contest BY ALEX GARCIA

State Representatives Michael Bileca (RMiami), Jose Felix Diaz (R-Miami) and Carlos Trujillo (R-Miami) recently hosted a “There Ought to be a Law” essay contest. The contest, which was open to high school students within their respective districts, took place at South Miami High School. Eighteen finalists from more than 150 entries were chosen to present their essays. The three winners of the contest were: Ian Escalante of Miami Coral Park High — The proposed bill would require recipients of welfare to perform a certain number of hours of community service in conjunction with the required job search. Mercedes Ortiz of South Miami High — The proposed bill would require restaurants to clearly post the calorie count of all food items on every menu. Nicolas Suarez of Belen Jesuit Prep — The proposed bill would create fixed property tax for seniors on a fixed income. The tax break would be for seniors who have been in their home for a number of years and would only be applied for their homesteaded property. Proposed laws varied from increasing the

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difficulty in public school curriculum to banning texting while driving. “I was very impressed with the quality of the ideas and, more importantly, with the presentations that the students prepared,” Rep. Jose Diaz said. The purpose of the contest was to help give insight into the state’s law making process. Three winners were chosen at the end of the contest, one from each of the members’ districts. The winners were awarded with the opportunity to become a messenger during the 2012 legislative session. The messenger program has been in place for many years and affords the opportunity to 14- to 17-year-olds to work in the Capitol for a week. Messengers are sponsored by members of the legislature and there only is one position available per legislator. “This is a great opportunity for these winners to experience firsthand how the legislative process actually works,” Rep. Bileca said. “We were happy to facilitate this learning experience and see the enthusiasm of these students, their teachers and schools in getting a deeper understanding of how ideas can become laws,” Rep. Trujillo said.


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Local chef creates menus for Royal Caribbean cruise ships BY MIKE BERK

Local chef Michael Schwartz has been selected to create new menus for Royal Caribbean International’s upscale dining venue, 150 Central Park, located on the cruise line’s two largest ships, Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas. Known for his commitment to sustainable and seasonal food sourcing at Miami’s Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, Schwartz is offering his expertise as the cruise line selects local produce farmers to participate in 150 Central Park’s supply chain. “Royal Caribbean continually looks to deliver the Royal Advantage to its guests through diverse and innovative dining concepts and the freshest possible ingredients,” said Frank Weber, vice president Food and Beverage for Royal Caribbean International. Honored with the prestigious James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: South in 2010, Schwartz is recognized by his peers and the diners that flock to his restaurants for his fresh, simple and pure cuisine incorporating locally sourced seasonal ingredients. Schwartz is the chef/owner of Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink in Miami and Grand Cayman, and the recently opened Harry’s Pizzeria, a casual neighborhood joint near his flagship in Miami’s Design District. His first book, Michael’s Genuine Food: Down-to-Earth Cooking for People Who Love to Eat (Clarkson Potter; $35,) became available online and in bookstores nationwide in February. For more information, visit online at <www.genuinehospitalitygroup.com>. First introduced on Oasis of the Seas, 150 Central Park

Pictured during a media preview of the new 150 Central Park menus aboard the Oasis of the Seas are Adam Goldstein, Royal Caribbean International president and CEO, (left) and Chef Michael Schwartz. (Photo by Mike Berk) –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

is the centerpiece of the lush Central Park neighborhood with its 12,000 plants and trees, and its variety of specialty dining and retail venues such as the Coach store. Guests dining at the upscale and intimate restaurant enjoy a seasonal tasting menu and customized wine pairings delivering an exclusive culinary experience comparable to the finest land-based restaurants. Opened daily for

dinner, it features two rotating six-course menus per voyage, which now incorporate produce from small Florida farms like Swank Specialty Produce in Loxahatchee. “I am thrilled for the opportunity to collaborate with such an acclaimed global brand as Royal Caribbean and to work with them to further the important sustainable philosophies I care so much about,” Schwartz said. “It is so exciting for me to bring some of my favorite farmers’ local products onboard for the first time, adding to the already impressive food and beverage offerings available to guests on Oasis of the Seas.” Chef Schwartz has handpicked Chef de Cuisine James Seyba, from Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, to oversee the execution of the new menu and to engage with guests daily. On hand to share her expertise will be Chef de Cuisine Molly Brandt who is at the helm of the 150 Central Park restaurant on Oasis’ sister ship, Allure of the Seas. Completing the gastronomic experience at 150 Central Park is the most dynamic wine-pairing program of any Royal Caribbean restaurant, created with the direction of with Michael’s Genuine Sommelier Eric Larkee. The new menus were launched with the sailing of the Oasis of the Seas on Oct. 29. New pairs of menus will be rolled out every three months. The Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, the world’s largest and most revolutionary cruise ships, sail on weekly voyages to the Caribbean from Port Everglades. For additional information or to make reservations, call your travel agent, visit <www.royalcaribbean.com> or call 1-800ROYAL-CARIBBEAN.


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2011 Nissan Quest is a step forward for minivans Ron Beasley LET’S TALK CARS I’m not a big fan of minivans; they’re just not something I enjoy driving. That said, let me say a few nice words about the all-new fourth generation 2011 Nissan Quest. I don’t drive a lot of minivans — probably because the suppliers know of my distaste for them — so, when I say that my week in the Quest was an enjoyable experience, the thought occurs that perhaps the minivan has been improved by all manufacturers and maybe I should drive more of them. But then I just shake my head and say, “Nah! Not gonna do it.” However, Nissan is billing the new Quest as “an entirely new take on the minivan — with bold styling, an extensive list of family friendly innovations and amenities a family can enjoy together.” I have to admit that much of what they say holds water. I especially liked the onetouch power sliding doors, the quick release fold-flat seats, the Advanced

Climate Control System and the rear storage well. I also like the more-than-adequate 260 hp 3.5-liter DOHC V-6 (19/24 mpg) that develops 240 pounds-feet of torque. Quest is available in four models: Quest S — Has 16-inch steel wheels with full wheel covers; rear roof spoiler; six-way adjustable driver’s seat; front door map pockets, wood-tone trim (instrument panel, front doors and sliding door window switch); fold-flat second and third row seats; permanent rear storage well; first and second row center consoles; Nissan Intelligent Key with Push Button Ignition, and AM/FM/6CD audio system with four speakers. Quest SV — One-touch power sliding side doors; 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels; Tri-Zone Auto Temperature Control; power driver’s seat lumbar adjustment; six speakers; fog lights; Conversation Mirror; 4.3inch color audio display; USB port with iPod connectivity; Bluetooth Hands-free Phone System with steering wheel controls; RearView Monitor, and leather-wrapped steering wheel. Quest SL — Leather-appointed seating and door trim; 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels; power liftgate; eight-way poweradjustable driver’s seat; Quick Comfort heated front seats; HomeLink Universal

The new Quest is offered with power sliding side doors with one-touch open/unlock feature and power-opening windows.

Transceiver; auto-dimming inside mirror with compass; roof rails; auto on/off headlights; leather-wrapped shift knob; Quick Release fold flat third row, and heated outside mirrors with integrated turn signals. Quest LE — Nissan Navigation System; Bose Audio System with 13 speakers; XM Satellite Radio; memory system for driver’s seat and outside mirrors; auto tilt-inreverse outside mirrors; second and third row manual blinds; four-way poweradjustable front passenger’s seat; eightinch VGA color display (dash mounted); DVD Entertainment System; rear 11-inch

display for DVD Entertainment; Advanced Climate Control System (ACCS) with auto recirculation; Blind Spot Warning (BSW) system, and High Intensity Discharge (HID) xenon headlights. Base price on our 2011 Nissan Quest LE was $41,360, although Quest S prices start at $27,750. 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 <LetsTalkCars@aol.com>.

The Children’s Bereavement Center, South Florida’s only comprehensive bereavement support program for children and families who have experienced the loss of a loved one, has opened a new site in North Dade. Offered in partnership with Vitas Innovative Hospice Care and Miami Country Day School, the Center is now able to support the needs of even more children and families. “Steps for Healing” a 5K run/walk scheduled for Saturday, December 3rd has been organized to promote and support the new CBC program. Walkers and runners are welcome to attend this officially timed run in support of the CBC and the programs they provide throughout Miami Dade County.

For more information and to register please go to the CBC website at www.childbereavement.org and click on “Steps for Healing”. Or call 305-668-4902 for more information.


Nov. 29 - Dec. 12, 2011

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

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Fine Wine & Italian Cuisine EARLY DINNER SPECIAL AVAILABLE UNTIL 6:30 PM Enjoy a complimentary glass of wine with your meal Since opening in 2005, Caffe Portofino has been a superb addition to the South Florida scene. Our cuisine reflects the diversity of South Florida by introducing an International fusion with an Italian zest and a touch of Caribbean flavors. Here you will taste and experience South Florida’s eclectic style. Our haute cuisine is sure to please any palate and our friendly service will provide the ultimate dining experience. We are sure you will enjoy your visit to Caffe Portofino.

Enjoy a dining experience that will keep you coming back for more

Caffe Portofino has put Miami on the culinary map.

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“THE BEST RISOTTO IN MIAMI” 13615 5 Dixiee Highway,, Suitee 117 7 • 305.252.2869 www.cportofino.com


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Kendall Gazette 11.29.2011