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JULY 26 - AUGUST 8, 2011

Souto seeks WSD reform of ‘excessive’ water bills

BY RICHARD YAGER

N

ew legislation to ensure “pro-consumer reform” in the county’s Water and Sewer Department (WSD) billing is being sought by Miami-Dade District 10 Commissioner Javier D. Souto. His action are, in part, the result of 10 complaints against WSD handling of excessive charges and penalties in quarterly billings that Souto termed “unnecessarily punitive” in a statement issued by his office on June 30. “The Kendall Federation of Homeowners and many homeowners as well as businesses have reached out to me with a desire for change from a department they view as unresponsive to customers,” Souto charged. Sent a copy of the release with Souto’s statement, the WSD initially declined detailed comment until any legislative measures are proposed, according to Jennifer L. Messemer, public information officer for the department. In one instance, the Kendall Federation of Homeowner Associations (KFHA) Board of Directors pointed to the South Florida Water Management District’s “Water Restriction Charge” that assessed a laundromat $975 surcharge on a $4,012 quarterly billing. The surcharge is imposed by the district on all customer statements. Souto said he will ask WSD for “a tiered formula” for such payments to exempt customers experiencing “a high water bill due to leakage or theft” rather than paying the surcharge before a potential adjustment.

–––––––––––– See

WATER BILLS, page 4

Westwind Lakes campers begin countywide Morning Mile Run

Mayor to discuss proposed budget at July 28 meeting BY LEE STEPHENS

N

ewly elected Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez will discuss his proposed county budget with residents during a Kendall Federation of Homeowner Associations (KFHA) town hall meeting on July 28 at 7 p.m. The mayor’s first such gathering with citizens will take place at the Kendall Village Center Civic Pavilion, 8625 SW 124 Ave. (across from the Regal Theater). The mayor’s spending plan already has produced controversy and headlines as the proposed blueprint calls for the elimination of 1,300 county jobs, requires concessions from county employees and slates 13 libraries for closure. The budget also cuts property tax rates and generally protects services cur-

Miami-Dade Commission chair Joe Martinez (left) and Parks director Jack Kardys try one mile run.

––––––––––––––––– See

BY RICHARD YAGER

M

ore than 100 Westwind Lakes summer campers kicked off a countywide “Morning Mile Run” program as Miami-Dade Commission chair Joe Martinez urged them “to keep fit throughout your lifetime.”

BUDGET, page 4

“I try to stay in shape by jogging or at least walking the year-around,” Martinez added just before helping lead the inaugural mile run and walk at the West Kendall park on July 13.

––––––––––––––––––––––––––– See

RUN, page 4

www.westkendallbusiness.com


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COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

WE’RE WIRED

July 26 - Aug. 8, 2011

to serve you better Baptist Health has been named “one of the Most Wired healthcare organizations in the U.S.” for the tenth time by Hospitals & Health Networks magazine. Recognition like this is important to us — and to you. We continually invest in the latest technology to help ensure that our patients’ vital medical information is accurate and instantly accessible. That means patients get the correct medication and are constantly monitored to assess the state of their health. It also means that your confidential data is encrypted, making it more secure. And we provide free Wi-Fi for patients and visitors at all of our facilities so that families can always stay in touch with each other. At Baptist Health, technology isn’t a substitute for the personal touch. It’s an important tool that enables us to serve you better.

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July 26 - Aug. 8, 2011

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

Page 3

The night rocks at grand opening of Cadillac Ranch BY LEE STEPHENS

Cadillac Ranch All-American Bar and Grill celebrated its grand opening at The Palms in Kendall on July 7. Jorge Pena, founder of the West Kendall Business Association, Lourdes Folgosa, executive director of Autism Speaks, and Kristen Fraga and Blanca Blanco, Cadillac Ranch event and marketing managers, started the festivities with the cutting of the red ribbon. Doors opened at 4 p.m. to a celebration that included local VIP’s, officials and media. Guests were treated to complimentary cocktails and appetizers, ranging from Seared Ahi Tuna to Cowboy Bite Burgers. Following the VIP party was a ticket-only celebration from 6 to 10 p.m., filled with guests who enjoyed 50 percent off cocktails. Opening to the public at 10 p.m., Cadillac Ranch was wall to wall filled with locals who had been anticipating the opening. All night, outdoor guests were treated to the sounds of a live guitarist while enjoying their meal on the outdoor lakeside patio. Indoors, guests were lining up at the bar to get a taste of one of 40 beers on tap. The famous mechanical bull attracted guests all night long. With all bull-riding

proceeds going towards Autism Speaks there was not a minute that went by where somebody wasn’t on the bull. One in every 110 children is affected by autism and currently costs the nation more than $35 billion per year. With only 5 percent of research funding going towards autism research, Cadillac Ranch decided to pair with the organization to help raise funds, selling over 100 bull rides that night. Centrally located at The Palms at Town and Country, 11735 Sherry Lane, and open seven days a week from 11 a.m.-midnight Sunday through Tuesday and 11-4 a.m. Wednesday through Saturday, Cadillac Ranch is sure to bring the mixture of great food and nightlife for which the community has been waiting. Since 2008, Cadillac Ranch All-American Bar and Grill has expanded to 12 different locations taking the restaurant and its unique rock and country atmosphere across the United States. Serving a wide variety of AllAmerican classics, Cadillac Ranch has made the concept of food and fun famous. As a place where you can enjoy the sounds of classic rock and enjoy good times, while being served enticing appetizers and hearty entrees there is something to please every pallet.

Flanked by two Cadillac Ranch hostesses are (l-r) Kristen Fraga, Cadillac Ranch events and marketing manager; Jorge Pena, founder of the West Kendall Business Association; Felipe Cuellar, general manager at Cadillac Ranch; Lourdes Folgosa, executive director of Autism Speaks, and Blanca Blanco, Cadillac Ranch events and marketing manager. –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Cadillac Ranch also offers sports fanatics a place to enjoy their favorite teams’ games on a 10-foot video wall. Setting themselves apart from all other restaurants, Cadillac Ranch truly offers an AllAmerican feel with its exciting indoor

mechanical bull — a real hit at all its locations. A great place to host your next event, Cadillac Ranch has become the place for corporations and local businesses alike to leave their work at the office and come together for a good time.

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Page 4

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

RUN, from page 1

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“Of our more than 40 summer camp programs in Miami-Dade, Westwind Lakes is our biggest and busiest,” added Jack Kardys, Parks and Recreation Department director, who joined Martinez for the inaugural program. The park currently serves 280 youngsters in its summer camp activities in addition to 60 more in a special program for disabled youth, as well as 65 seniors, with 140 taking part in the inaugural run on behalf of all MDC parks. The morning run is part of an AvMed-sponsored fitness program that equips schools and parks with materials and guidance, and incorporates running into a daily curricula. The program is now spread through 20 summer camping locations in Miami-Dade. Martinez and Kardys took part in the initial run with Ed Hannun, AvMed Health Plans president and COO. “If I’m not running with you, I’ll be right

behind you to see that you all stay safe,” Kardys joked. The University of Miami Health System and the UM’s Miller School of Medicine are partner-sponsors of a “Fit-to-Play, Green-it-Up” summer camp program, noted Edith Torres, Parks spokesperson. “Children learn fundamentals of a healthy lifestyle through nutrition and fitness-exercise education and activities, as well as safety and preventative education,” she said. “Health benefits of going green are discovered by teaching recycling, water conservation, and other eco-friendly subjects that benefit the planet.” Miami-Dade Parks operates the special program at more than 40 parks through Aug. 19. Camps are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., offering early dropoff at 7:30 a.m. and late pickups until 6 p.m. For details, visit online at <http://miamidade.gov.parks>.

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WATER BILLS, from page 1 He also will ask for a county ordinance to revise WSD water bills charging customers who dispute amounts more than four times the past year’s average quarterly consumption, before such protests are resolved. Souto wants the department to “update and modernize” current billing methods, primarily by using Internet technology so customers can monitor metering of excessive use. He seeks a report by Sept. 1 to initiate a new billing system that would alert customers “within a reasonable period of time to an unusual water consumption pattern.” Those systems are in place elsewhere in the U.S. to upload timely water consumption data, he advised. “Quarterly billing is unnecessarily punitive against homeowners and businesses when they are victims of a water leak, water theft or other circumstances which causes a high water bill,” he said. “The customer has no way to detect a high volume of water use until the billing statement arrives three months later.” The commissioner’s four-and-one-halfpage release lists several resident complaints about WSD billings that in two cases resulted in quarterly charges of $3,500 and $5,000. Another carried a surcharge of $1,300 on one resident bill and a fourth billed total $24,567 billed to a Westchester business (owned by Souto), more than five times its average monthly consumption. In addition to similar complaints, Souto called attention to a four-year effort by Michael Rosenberg, a Calusa area resident and KFHA officer, who received a bill for $476 “after averaging $50-60 per quarter for many years.” Asked if he was aware of the commissioner’s actions, Rosenberg said, “Not only do I know about it, but this entire fiasco for WSD is because of me. It is my

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July 26 - Aug. 8, 2011

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– four-year battle with WSD that started by civic activism. “In July of 2007, I had a very high water bill,” Rosenberg said. “That simple event has led me down a road I would never imagine. Commissioner Souto is going to be a hero with what he is proposing…and he will be with these changes. “But, you can’t imagine what I had to go through to get my government to listen to me,” Rosenberg added. Souto proposed legislation to make the WSD more responsive to customers in February 2010, only to have the previous administration kill the proposal. He introduced legislation in 2004 to adjust high water bills of consumers who prove they have repaired leaks in service line pipes. “One only needs to examine the policies of the [WSD] to realize why the taxpayers and consumers may feel that the county is out of touch [and] want a county government that is fair and equitable in the treatment of people, not an oversized bureaucratic bully,” Souto concluded. In response to this newspaper’s inquiry, WSD provided this statement: “The Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department serves the daily needs of more than 2.1 million residents, businesses and visitors by providing high-quality drinking water and wastewater disposal services. “Miami-Dade Water and Sewer, a Miami-Dade County department, operates according to the established Rules and Regulations authorized by the Miami-Dade County Commission. Revisions to these processes whether it’s hearings, billing or other mandated protocols must be approved by the commission before applied by the department. The department cannot comment on legislative measures that have not yet been proposed.”

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

rently afforded children and seniors. KFHA president Lee Zimmerman said he expects a tremendous turnout for the meeting. “Mayor Gimenez faces an extremely difficult task and there are no simple solutions,” Zimmerman said. “Taxpayers, county employees and union members will want to be heard and we’ll do our best to accommodate everyone. The KFHA is honored that

the mayor is allowing the KFHA to host his first town hall meeting.” The KFHA urges attendees to arrive early in order to guarantee seating. The Kendall Federation of Homeowner Associations is a community watchdog organization that provides a forum by which residents can learn about issues that impact their quality of life. Visit <www.KFHA.org> for more information.


July 26 - Aug. 8, 2011

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

Page 5

Kendall’s stake in charter reform Michael Miller EXECUTIVE EDITOR

AROUND TOWN Howwill willKendall Kendall support charter reform, How now that the county has spent $8 million on two recall elections? Along with “Strong Mayor” Carlos Alvarez, six County Commission proposals were tossed out last May and we’ve heard little about restructuring the county as Mayor Carlos Gimenez and the Commission work on the next budget. Meanwhile, long-time Miami politico Maurice Ferre recently notes that a piecemeal overhaul of the Metro Charter ought to be put on hold until the county knows what type of government it ought to have in the first place. Made us think about how charter reform may effect Kendall, Redland and other southwest areas west that represent close to two-thirds’ of unincorporated Miami-Dade’s 1,966 square miles. Just Google US Census maps that display “Census Designated Places” to see how unincorporated Kendall sticks out like a giant thumb among 35 incorporated cities,

towns and villages, all with their own governing commissions and boards, permitting authority and varied municipal services, in many cases. Questioning how this city-splintered county should govern itself, Ferre says we need first to redefine who is governing whom. “The Commission-Manager format is dead,” he says. “The elected mayor is not the professional manager of yesteryear. Does the mayor govern, or does the commission govern?” Adopted in 1958, the original Metro charter placed power in a nine-member commission with a city manager implementing its decisions. Now, much of the county’s work has been assumed by its 35 incorporated cities. County government gradually shifted emphasis to a “strong” mayor or managerempowered structure to manage the complexities of a county grown to Miami-Dade’s size. Now, with 16 percent of the county voters throwing out a “strong mayor” in the first recall, Ferre believes we’re going around in circles: “Miami Dade County desperately needs charter reform to better define the responsibilities of the mayor and the commission, relationships with cities, makeup of the commission and the creation of independent governing agencies. The city council format of governance for Miami-Dade County no longer works.

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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 ............................................................Catalina Roca, Isabel Ortega, Sergio Yanes PUBLISHER EMERITUS.......................................................................................................................................... Ron Miller MIAMI COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS Aventura News, Biscayne Bay Tribune, Coral Gables News, Cutler Bay News, Doral Tribune, Homestead News, Kendall Gazette, Miami Beach News, Miami Gardens Tribune, Palmetto Bay News, Opa Locka News, 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.

“It’s time to redefine our county government.” Kendall’s future as the county’s largest unincorporated area has a vital stake in how any new charter process works because the county government is Kendall’s only government. So let’s quit talking about “at large” districts and $90,000 salaries until we determine where unincorporated areas are headed in this new century. Determining executive and legislative responsibilities within a county splintered by 35 municipalities is the first order of business of charter review. Equally important: how does Kendall fit into a redefined Metro government even before drums again begin beating for incorporations in this neck of the woods. DogDays Days due in August reminds MiamiDog Dade County Parks and Recreation Departments and Continental Park’s HOA President Holly White to remind folks dogs are not allowed in the park... “Let’s keep our park safe and clean by honoring this request,” says Holly, adding “a resident of Continental Park is interested in creating a dog park.” If interested in helping, email hollybw@bellsouth.net. SeniorMoment! Moment! Alliance for the Aging Senior invites your nomination for a “Positive Living Award” to honor a deserving MiamiDade County senior in any one of 13 categories, from Animal/Wildlife thru Public

Service and Sports. Nominations accepted through August 22 from Susan Holtzman (305-274-4772) or see details on-site at www.allianceforaging.org. Volunteers Sought Sought to participate in a Volunteers “Natural Area Workday” from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday, July 30 at the Rockdale Pineland Preserve at SW 144th Street and SW 92nd Avenue. All ages welcome to help remove debris from site while getting a first-hand look to identify various invasive non-native plant life to better understand eco-system preservation, says the sponsoring Department of Environmental Resources (DERM). For information, call 305-257-0933 ext. 227 or e-mail: eel@miamidade.gov. Community service hours for students are available. Information also available at www.miamidade.gov/derm/endangered_lands.asp

Thoughtofofthe theDay: Day: Thought Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. — George Bernard Shaw

Richard Yager contributed to this column. Got any tips? Contact me at 305-6697355, ext. 249, or send emails to <michael@communitynewspapers.com>.


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COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

July 26 - Aug. 8, 2011

How can we ever bring our weight problem under control? R. Kenneth Bluh KENNETH’S COMMENTARY The newspaper story reads: “Joey ‘Jaws’ Chestnut, after the competitive eater won the Annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest at New York’s Coney Island by wolfing down 62 hot dogs and 62 buns in ten minutes...” Wow, Joey, what a good example you are setting for America’s youth. The whole world now knows that your 62-hot-dog and 62-bun binge crammed 19,158 calories, 1,246 grams of fat, 2,170 grams of cholesterol and 42,408 milligrams of sodium into your body. And, that was in 10 minutes. I wonder what you had for breakfast and dinner that day, Joey. Meanwhile our medical researchers are giving us so many confusing signals that we don’t know what is safe or not safe to ingest. We are getting fat. Better said we are getting obese. Life insurance companies have even adjusted upward their weight tables establishing what is consid-

ered the appropriate weight for men and women as it relates to height and age. Every day the newspapers, TV and radio programs tell the story of an overweight society and what we must do to bring our bodies under control. Yet medical research does nothing but confuse us with “the facts.” I am proud of that fact that we eat a lot, really a lot, of vegetables and fruits in my home. “Veggies, fruits and exercise” have been one of the rules by which I live. Dinner almost always contains two vegetables. I thought we were doing it right. Now the newspaper headline reads: “Why nuts and yogurt for dieters?” Harvard Medical School reported the fact “…that yogurt and nuts, not fruits and vegetables, were the two foods with the strongest relationship to weight loss.” Does this mean Publix will close down half their veggie and fruit department and expand their yogurt selection to meet the new passwords to great health — “nuts, yogurt and exercise?” No more eggplant or squash? Boy, am I glad I put raisins and almonds on my oatmeal every morning. Except for my fruit and nuts in the morning I could have been a contestant on The Biggest Losers TV show!

VIEWPOINT Coffee: I was always told “don’t drink too much coffee; it can cause problems with the stomach and keep you awake at night. Now I read that men who drink at least five cups of coffee a day will push Alzheimer’s 10 years farther into their futures. Am I lucky. I absolutely crave my café con leche in the mornings. “Caliente con espuma, por favor!” Wine: Let’s talk about wine, once a no-no, especially red wine. Now we are told that two glasses a day is great to stave off heart problems. How about eggs? Remember when eggs were considered detrimental to the heart? Too many and you cause a cholesterol problem. Now eggs are good for us. And white potatoes? Always told they made us fat? Now they say the opposite. Seems that white potatoes, especially mashed white potatoes, slows down digestion making us seem full early in the meal and not prone to eating more of everything. Last, but not least, let’s have chocolate for dessert. It was once bad for us. Made pimples when we were young? Right? Not

true. In actuality, chocolate suppresses our desire to eat “again” for a long time — a great dessert. And so it goes. What was bad for us yesterday is good for us today. I wonder how many of these unbiased studies are funded by some neutral sounding foundation that in fact is funded by growers or processors of foods that have bad “story” reputations and a need for an expanded market. Please, please let’s not go back to the World War II era and tell us that cigarettes are good for our health. That I couldn’t buy even from a combined Harvard and Cambridge, 50-year study of 50 million smokers. I guess we are all really on our own. 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.


July 26 - Aug. 8, 2011

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

Important to remember swimming safety during summer vacation

Al Sunshine CBS MONEY WATCH Every summer, we hear about the tragedies of kids drowning in the pool or at the beach. These accidents are unfortunate, but they also are avoidable. By following some simple safety guidelines, you can keep your kids safe this summer while also allowing them to have a good time.

KEEP A CLOSE EYE ON YOUR KIDS While this may seem like the most obvious tip, time and time again many drowning incidents occur because parents turn their eyes away from a child only momentarily. It can happen when you least expect it, and all it takes is a few seconds for them to slip out of your sight or go too far out into the water. All children should be supervised when they are in the water, no matter their swimming skill level. If you leave your child with a babysitter, make sure he or she knows the pool rules and that they will supervise pool activity. GET THEM INTO SWIMMING LESSONS Knowing how to swim does not guarantee that a child will never drown, but if your home has a swimming pool or is near any body of water, it is important that your kids at least know how to float and are comfortable when they’re in the water. FENCING Fences have been proven as the most effective means of preventing drowning accidents, even more so than pool covers and the alarms that are available. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission

(CPSC), fences should stand at least four feet tall, with no foot or handrails for kids to climb on. Slats should be less than four inches apart and, for a chain link, no larger than 1.75 inches. Gates should be self-closing and self-latching with the latch way out of childrens’ reach.

POOL ETIQUETTE It’s important to teach your kids how to act when around the pool or at the beach. When kids get around their friends, they tend to like to horseplay and be silly. But it’s important to stress to them that they should not run around the pool, push others into the pool or dive into areas marked “no diving.” Also remind them to get out of the pool immediately if the weather starts to get bad. Teach kids to stay away from the pool when an adult is not around, so that they will keep that same mindset while at friends’ homes. KEEP A PHONE HANDY When supervising kids swimming, make sure a cordless phone or cell phone is at your fingertips. Every second counts when a child is in danger. If you receive a call while supervising, make sure to keep your conversation brief to keep from getting distracted. WAVES When at the beach, don’t allow kids to swim in large waves or to stand with their back to the water, as they can easily get knocked down. Make sure they are prepared for rip currents by teaching them to swim parallel to the shore, or to tread water and yell for the lifeguard’s help if caught in a rip current or undertow. Watch Al Sunshine’s “Money Watch” reports Monday-Friday beginning at noon. You may find Al’s blog at cbsMiami.com.

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COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

July 26 - Aug. 8, 2011

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Termed a “dream event” for soccer fanatics, an inaugural two-day Miami Soccer Festival and team competitions are expected to draw thousands to Kendall Soccer Park during the July 30-31 weekend. The festival, which will be open from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, is hosted by the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation and Soccer 5 USA, which installed special reducedsize fields for five-member team play last year. The festival, taking place at Kendall Soccer Park, 8011 SW 127 Ave., will feature a full range of youth, adult and coed teams playing in various 11 vs. 11, 7 vs. 7 and 5 vs. 5 tournaments on the park’s five regulation and its new 5x5 fields. Team tournament participation costs are $175-$325, depending on numbers of players. The weekend will have additional benefits. “New and gently used soccer gear will be collected onsite for international distribution to help grow the game in underserved communities,” said Scott Georgeson, Soccer 5 president.

Donations for the U. S. Soccer Foundation’s Passback Program are sought from both competitors and spectators. Since 2002, Passback has collected and distributed over 800,000 pieces of soccer gear. “Soccer is a unifying force that brings together people of all ethnicities and has the power to open doors, hearts and minds of those who play,” G e o r g e s o n added. “All clubs that register are entitled to a donation to use for their own programs. An international flavor will be added by a Soccer Village featuring live bands, special appearances by pro soccer players, Soccer 5 Live tricks, juggling, and world-record attempts at the sport’s specialties. Food and beverages from more than a dozen soccer countries such as Brazil and Italy will be featured, as well as merchandise and virtual FIFA PS3 and Xbox tournaments for soccer fans. For more information, contact Georgeson at 1-888-575-2976. Proceeds of the event will support the Soccer 5 Foundation and the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade to create additional playing venues.

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July 26 - Aug. 8, 2011

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

Page 9

Det. Alain Gomez recognized Mid-summer beauty fixes for catching burglars in ‘act’ With summer in full swing, skin and hair can become dry, irritated and damaged from the sun, salt water and chlorine. Keep yourself looking beautiful with The Palms at Town & Country’s sun-kissed beauty tips:

Pictured (l-r) are CAC chair Barry White; Det. Alain Gomez, Kendall Officer of the Month, Capt. Gregory Dohring, MiamiDade Police Kendall District.

BY RICHARD YAGER

Two burglary suspects “caught in the act” earned Officer of the Month honors for Det. Alain Gomez of Miami-Dade Police Kendall District. On patrol on May 2 in the area of Bird Road and SW 107th Avenue, Det. Gomez was notified of a burglary in progress at a SW 109th Court residence near the West Dade Academy, then covered by Midwest District. Kept aware of an escaping pair of suspects, Det. Gomez was able to spot two individuals get into a black Chrysler with a Florida tag that he relayed for identification to the Midwest District dispatcher. Because of his close proximity to the developing case, Det. Gomez stopped the vehicle while its occupants were leaving the Academy’s parking lot. A search

revealed two latex gloves in the subjects’ pockets. Both were taken into custody and following a review by Midwest District Det. Dennis Fernandez, the pair confessed to prying off a sliding glass door to enter a residence in the 3300 Block of SW 109th Court and were moving the car closer to the home from the Academy lot to begin removing goods when Det. Gomez nabbed them. “As a result of astute powers of observation, alertness and dedication, two felons were apprehended, and Det. Gomez’s actions are a credit to the Kendall District and the community you serve,” said Barry White, chair of the Citizen Advisory Committee, during the CAC meeting on June 29. With Capt. Gregory Dohring of the Kendall District, White presented the special citation to Det. Gomez as Kendall District’s Officer of the Month for June.

From m head…. Maintaining super-healthy hair during the summer can be challenging. Skip the blowdry to give your tresses a much needed break and opt for more natural styles, buns and braids. If your hair has had enough of summer, Hairr Cuttery and Cartoonn Cuts offer a variety of in-salon conditioning treatments and moisturizing products for at-home care. If you

can’t make it to the salon, CVS Pharmacy has affordable luxury hair products that can be customized to fit your hair woes.

Too toes…..Summer manicures and pedicures are vital during the hot months to maintain soft hands and combat dry cuticles. Tiffanyy Dayy Spaa and Asian Nailss & Spa offer exfoliating manis and pedis to slough off dry skin and keep hands and feet hydrated. For more information on stores and events at The Palms at Town & Country visit www.thepalmsshops.com or call 305-274-7982.


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COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

July 26 - Aug. 8, 2011

City National Bank of Florida opens new Bird Road Center BY JEFF BRAY

City National Bank of Florida (CNB) has expanded its high-touch, friendly service and experience to one of Greater Miami’s oldest neighborhoods, recently opening its newest banking center at 9696 Bird Rd. The 3,200-square-foot Bird Road banking center brings City National Bank’s total number of locations throughout Florida to 26. “This is a very exciting time for City National Bank,” said Jorge Gonzalez, president and CEO of City National Bank of Florida. “The Bird Road banking center puts us in a great position to better serve our residential and commercial clients in west Miami-Dade County.” City National Bank of Florida has seen significant growth and expansion of services and banking center locations during the past year. CNB prides itself

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July 26 - Aug. 8, 2011

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

Commissioners pay off wager by wearing Mavericks jerseys

Commissioners Joe A. Martinez and Jose “Pepe” Diaz make good on their bet by performing a community service project wearing Dallas Mavericks jerseys. –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

BY LEE STEPHENS

Miami-Dade Commissioners Joe A. Martinez and Jose “Pepe” Diaz may have lost their bet with Dallas Mayor Dwaine Caraway about the outcome of the NBA Finals, but some local patients definitely won as a result. The commissioners made good on their bet by performing a community service project wearing Dallas Mavericks jerseys, part of their wager with Mayor Caraway. The commissioners visited Miami Children’s Hospital on Friday, July 15, and participated in arts and crafts with pediatric patients who are all from the hospital’s oncology and hematology floors. The commissioners already have sent Mayor Caraway stone crabs from local

favorite Joe’s Stone Crab, a box of Cuban pastries, and hand-rolled cigars from Cuban Crafters, a care package that also was part of the deal. “We may have lost our bet, but Miami is still behind its team and we were able to bring some joy to kids in need, so there’s still a victory there,” Martinez said. “I thank Mayor Caraway for having a bit of fun with us during the NBA finals.” Diaz joked, “I think the children may have questioned our allegiance at first, but were more interested in showing us their artwork. Spending time with the kids at Miami Children’s certainly outweighed a small sting to our pride.” For information, contact chair Martinez’ office at 305-375-5511.

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July 26 - Aug. 8, 2011

The Environmentally Endangered Lands (EEL) Program of the Miami-Dade County Department of Environmental Resources Management (DERM), in conjunction with TREEmendous Miami, is offering a great opportunity for residents to participate in a Natural Area Volunteer Workday event on Saturday, July 30. The event, funded by a grant from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Forestry, will take place from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Rockdale Pineland Preserve on SW 144th Street and 92nd Avenue. Volunteers of all ages will help to protect and enhance a rare habitat in South Dade. Dozens of volunteers are expected to participate and together, they will contribute toward the restoration of this unique plant community. During the workday, volunteers will be taught to identify various invasive non-native plants while gaining a greater understanding of these ecosystems. They also may help to remove debris from this site, helping to keep this habitat pristine. Natural areas in Miami-Dade County

include hammocks, pinelands, freshwater wetlands, mangrove forests, and other habitats that once covered what are now urban areas in the county. Now only remnants of many of these ecosystems remain. These habitats, and the plants and animals that live there, are all a part of the countyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s natural heritage and a resource to be treasured and protected for generations to come. One of the threats to these natural areas is that non-native plants, introduced from around the world, have invaded these unique habitats. These exotics crowd out native plants, including rare species, seriously disrupting important natural processes such as storm recovery and natural fire cycles. The control of non-native plants is considered one of the most critical elements in the management of all natural habitats. Now more than ever, the support of the entire community and volunteers to restore and maintain our natural areas is appreciated. For more information, call 305-257-0933, ext. 227, or send email to <eel@miamidade.gov>. Community service hours for students are available. For more information, go online to <www.miamidade.gov/derm/endangered_lan

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July 26 - Aug. 8, 2011

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

Page 19

Kelbick named assistant coach of Maccabi USA basketball team

Don Kelbick is pictured (second from right). –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– BY SARA FEINSTEIN

Don Kelbick of Miami has been named assistant coach of the Open Men’s Basketball Team representing the USA at the 12th Pan American Maccabi Games in São Paulo, Brazil, Dec. 26-Jan. 2, 2012. Kelbick has more than 27 years of coaching experience including 25 at the college level — 14 years as a head coach and 10 years as an assistant coach at Division I schools — including stops at Hofstra University, Marist College, Keene State College and Florida International University. He also spent two years coaching at the high school level and in that time produced six Division I players. In 2004, Kelbick left college coaching to focus on individual player development. He has worked with a variety of great players including Raja Bell, Carlos Arroyo, Rasual Butler and many other college and NBA players. Kelbick also has coached on the

international stage, leading the Miami Tropics to the bronze medal in the first FIBA Liga de Americas. “We are thrilled that Don is joining our staff,” said team chair Barry Neuberger. “I have known Don since his days at Marist [College] and have a great respect for his ability to teach and coach the game. Our players will have a chance to add to their skill set and basketball IQ by being around Don during the time we are together. We look forward to his contributions.” Kelbick joins head coach Stu Wittner and Steve Rosner, director of operations/associate head coach, to complete the coaching staff for the Open Men’s Team. “Don Kelbick will be invaluable to our program,” Coach Wittner said. “His success on many levels of the game, including on the international stage, will help us prepare for the challenges in São Paulo. We welcome him to the team.”

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July 26 - Aug. 8, 2011

Gourmet food trucks coming to Tropical, Tamiami parks BY LAURA PHILLIPS

The Miami-Dade Park and Recreation Department has announced the arrival of gourmet food trucks to Tropical Park and Tamiami Park. There will be music and food choices galore, with a popular assortment of participating food vendors each week, offering everything from Cuban influenced burgers and Asian-style chicken wings to a crab grilled cheese sandwich and even deepfried Oreos and cupcakes. The food truck events will be a permanent feature taking place every Tuesday from 6 to 10 p.m. at Tropical Park, 7900 SW 40 St. (Bird Road and 79th Avenue entrance), and every Friday from 6 to 11 p.m. at Tamiami Park, 10901 SW 24 St. (The Fair’s main entrance, Coral Way and SW 112th Avenue). Patrons are invited to bring along a picnic blanket or folding tables and chairs to

enhance their dining experience. Glass containers and pets will not be permitted at this activity. Event admission and parking is free. CheeseMe Mobile, Dim Ssäm à gogo, The Fish Box, The Flying Saucer, Grill Master, Café Latin Burger and Taco, Latin House Grill, The MexZican Gourmet, Mr. Good Stuff, Ms. Cheezious, Muscle Truck, The Red Koi, Sir Pizza Mobile, and Sugar Rush, are among 30 food trucks participating in the ongoing events. This brings the total number of MiamiDade parks hosting food truck events to three, including Haulover Park, which began hosting food truck events from 11 a.m. to sundown, Saturdays and Sundays, in April. For more information about MiamiDade Parks food truck events and its other activities at Tropical Park, call 305-226-8315, and for Tamiami Park, call 786-315-5295, or visit online at <www.miamidade.gov/parks>.


July 26 - Aug. 8, 2011

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

Page 21

Sanchez Arango Landscaping sets high standards for performance BY MILLIE HERRERA

When Lazaro Arango and Rouget Sanchez became friends in the sixth grade at the Interamerican Military Academy in Miami, little did they know that four decades later they would still be best friends and business partners. Together, they founded Sanchez Arango Construction in 1995, a commercial and residential construction, outdoor advertisement and landscaping company. Sanchez has a degree in Construction Management from Florida International University and is certified as a general contractor by the State of Florida. Arango is certified in architectural and mechanical drafting, and has been active in construction and outdoor advertising management since 1986. Both share a passion for high-quality craftsmanship and durable construction, performance and reliability, and these principles serve as the guiding mission of every Sanchez Arango project. This passion for providing their clients with the best materials, design, construction and on-time performance inspired the pair to create Sanchez Arango Landscaping, now one of Florida’s largest contractors for landscape installation, maintenance, hardscape and irrigation. “We repeatedly ran into situations where the landscape company retained by our client did not perform to our standards,” Sanchez said. “These companies would not complete their work on time, would use sub-standard materials or do shoddy work. Many times we would end up completing the landscaping work ourselves to make sure it was done correctly.

The team at Sanchez Arango Landscaping installs palm trees at local residence. –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

So, in 1999 we decided to expand our services to include landscaping so we could control the quality and performance for our clients.” Sanchez Arango Landscaping has one of the best safety records in the industry. They are licensed, bonded and insured with an A-plus carrier. The company’s weekly in-house safety program ensures employees are trained and safe when working on a project. “Our investment in state-of-the-art equipment, vehicles and the latest technology means we are more efficient, reliable and make safety our No. 1 concern,” Arango said. Both Sanchez and Arango stress their commitment to use Florida-friendly landscaping techniques whenever possible. This includes the use of green, conserva-

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July 26 - Aug. 8, 2011

Teens get opportunities to win Quinceañera of their dreams BY CHUCK HAMBY

South Florida teens will have the chance to win the Quince of their dreams by submitting an essay by Aug. 31 in Verizon’s national My Fabulous Quince contest. The grand prize winner nationally will earn an all-expenses-paid Quince for up to 200 guests, a $5,000 college scholarship, three Verizon smartphones and an exclusive performance by multi-platinum recording artist Prince Royce who will sing his greatest hits including: Stand By Me, Corazón Sin Cara and Mi Ultima Carta. One regional finalist from South Florida is guaranteed a prize package of a Quince for 100 guests with all expenses covered by Verizon, a $2,500 college scholarship and a Verizon smartphone. The winner will be announced this autumn after a review by judges and voting by the public. Essays should answer these three questions: • What does a Quince mean to you? • How do you make a difference in your community today? • What are you planning to accomplish after high school? Answers must be between 100 and 500 words each. The South Florida region contest is open to teens who have turned or will turn 15 this year and who reside in Monroe, Miami-Dade and Broward counties. To enter, or for full content details/rules, visit

online at <www.myfabulousquince.com>. South Florida teens also can submit their contest entries in person at a free My Fabulous Quince expo on July 31 at the Verizon Wireless store, 1599 W. 49 St. in Hialeah. In addition to a performance by Prince Royce, expo attendees will receive tips on how to plan a Quince celebration on any budget, as well as special offers from local vendors. Attendees can donate no-longer-used wireless phones to HopeLine from Verizon to help support victims of domestic violence and help protect the environment by disposing of wireless phones in an environmentally sound way. Attendees who donate a phone will receive a VIP pass to meet and pose for a photo with Prince Royce. “At Verizon, we recognize that our customers celebrate different types of traditions.” said Elva Lima, executive director of community relations and multicultural communications at Verizon Wireless. “The Quince tradition marks a coming of age milestone has long been celebrated by Latino families across the United States. This contest will give a teen the Quince of their dreams. We encourage teens of all backgrounds to join us by participating in My Fabulous Quince.” For more information, visit online at <www.myfabulousquince.com>.

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July 26 - Aug. 8, 2011

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

Page 23

The Alliance for Aging Inc. seeking Would You Like Your Children Positive Living Awards nominations to Pay for College Without Needing Financial Aid?

What Financial goal should I have with paying for my children’s college? When planning to pay for college for your children, I encourage you to establish clear goals. First, you need to determine if you want to have your child’s education be paid with or without the need for financial aid. If you do not want your child or yourself to be burdened with a loan to have to pay back, then set the goal of having enough money saved before they enter college so that the college is paid.

Pictured are 2010 Positive Living Awards winners: (l-r, back row) Allan Kolsky, Sang Y. Whang, Cecilia Hunt, Robert Gintel, Dr. Freeman Wyche, Owen S. Freed; (front row) Marian Cline Krutulis, Irving R. Eyster, Dr. Carol HoffmanGuzman, Barbara Erickson and Belkis Frangente. ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

BY SUSAN HOLTZMAN

The Alliance for Aging Inc. currently is accepting nominations for the fifth annual Positive Living Awards. With nearly 500,000 people age 60 or older, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties are national examples of America’s future. Older Americans make tremendous differences in the quality of life in South Florida by “giving back” to their communities. Chaired by Rene Cibran, Long Term Care Planning Specialist, and Jerry Santeiro, executive director of the Guardianship Program of Dade County Inc., the Positive Living Awards is a nationally recognized event that honors individuals in 13 distinct areas — Animal/Wildlife, Arts and Music, Corporate Service, Education/Mentoring, Environmental Protection, Faith/Interfaith, Health Care, Inter-Generational, Legal, Philanthropy, Positive Living, Public Service, and Sports and Entertainment. “This is a wonderful celebration that recognizes South Florida’s senior community and their commitment to the Miami-Dade and Monroe counties,” Cibran said. Nominations are being accepted through

Aug. 22 and will be judged by a panel of distinguished community leaders. Winners will be announced in September. The Positive Living Awards will be presented during a special dinner event on Wednesday, Nov. 16, at Jungle Island. Sponsors include Sabadell United Bank and the Guardianship Program of Dade County Inc., as well as Miami’s Community Newspapers as the official media sponsor. The Alliance for Aging Inc. is a private, not-for-profit organization committed to improving the lives of older people by funding more than $60 million annually to local agencies. Through a network of providers, a wide range of services are provided to elders including meals, transportation, in-home services such as homemaking and personal care and services to caregivers. Answering more than 25,000 calls annually, the Alliance’s Aging Resource Center provides accurate information and referral services to elders and their families. For more Information about nominating a deserving individual or to obtain a nomination form, call Susan Holtzman at 305274-4772 or visit the Alliance for Aging website at <www.allianceforaging.org>.

Who should pay for my children’s college? As parents we feel motivated or obligated to take on the full responsibility of paying for our children’s college education. The second goal is to establish a clear understanding with your child that if they want a college education they should invest in it by saving for it with earnings from a job. If they invest in their education, your child will value it more. What is an attainable financial goal? Harvard cost $52,000 a year for the 2009 – 2010 academic year. Saving $208,000 based on current costs is not attainable for most people. The University of Florida cost $16,690 a year for the 2009 – 2010 academic year. Saving $66,760 based on current costs is more attainable. Florida International University total matriculation and fees are $4,580.38 a year for the 2009 – 2010 academic year. Saving $19,215.20 is even more affordable. I suggest that you set your goal on a specific college and save enough to cover the actual cost when your child enters as a freshman. Your child should consider a job on campus during the school year and summer jobs during the college years.

I have a 401k plan at work; can I set up a matching savings plan with my child? Yes. If you can afford it and feel motivated to do so, you can match your child’s earnings dollar for dollar. My son, Steven, did pizza delivery for 4 hours on Friday, Saturday and Sunday for a total of 12 hours a weekend. Back in 1995 – 1996 he earned $10 an hour which was $120 a weekend or $480 a month. I matched it $1 for $1. Our goal college was the University of Florida, and in 1996 the 4 year cost was $32,000. When he graduated from high school, we had $32,000 in the savings account. $16,000 he earned and $16,000 I matched. No financial aid was needed. Does a Matching Savings Plan have other benefits? The matching savings plan may create a new dimension in the relationship you have with your child. You become partners in achieving a long term goal. Your child should be motivated to in essence to earn twice as much as their pay check. Your child may begin to ask you how to red the account statement and how to invest the savings. Their buying habits may be influenced by their employment. Those $150 sneakers may mean 20 hours of their work so maybe they are not so motivated to buy them because it is not worth 20 hours of their life to have them after all. They may start to look for value in what they buy. They may even appreciate you a lot more for working for a living and paying the bills. Rick Tonkinson is a Certified Financial Planner™ Practitioner who started his first job as a paperboy at age 12. Rick Tonkinson and his family focus on the financial planning needs of working people. Tonkinson Financial Inc. is located at 2398 South Dixie Hwy, Miami, FL. 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.


Page 24

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

July 26 - Aug. 8, 2011

Dry cleaners collecting used clothing for Camilus House BY JACLYN LARKIN

Sir Galloway Dry Cleaners, Rey’s Cleaners and Sudsies.com — three of Miami-Dade County’s premier dry cleaning and laundry services — are collecting their customers’ gently used clothing and other household items to be donated to Camillus House for distribution to persons who are poor and homeless in the community. All three establishments provide customers with specially designed plastic collection bags for the clothing drive, which can be turned in at any of the five Sir Galloway and 23 Rey’s Cleaners locations in Greater Miami, or to Sudsies.com delivery personnel. All donated clothing will given directly to Camillus House for distribution. The used clothing drive was the joint idea of Sir Galloway president Mark Mills, Rey’s president Angel Suarez and Sudsies.com president Jason Loeb. The three competing establishments kicked off the clothing collection in January and plan to conduct it on a long-term basis. “All three companies share a commitment to serving the people in our community,” Mills said.

Pictured (l-r) are Bob Dickinson, chair of the Camillus House Board of Directors; Jason Loeb, Sudsies; Dr. Paul R. Ahr, president and CEO of Camillus House; Angel Suarez, Rey’s Dry Cleaners; Mark D. Mills, Sir Galloway Cleaners; Brother Bill Osmanski, BGS, and Brother Raphael Mieszala, BGS.

“So we are working together to support the vital social services provided by Camillus House and to connect our customers with the Camillus mission of ending chronic homelessness in Miami,” he added. “Camillus House plays a very important part in bringing homelessness to an end by helping people not only at the moment of need, but helping them reinvent themselves and become part of the society at large,” Suarez said. “We have great expectations for this drive and hope the partnership we’ve created with our dry-cleaning colleagues and Camillus House will make a difference in Miami,” he added. “It’s critical that the community is aware of what we’re doing and gets involved,”

Loeb said. “Camillus House has such an important purpose and message. If everyone helps out, it makes our community a better place to live and do business.” The program also has created a unique opportunity for outside sponsors to support Camillus House. Any business can have its name printed on 10,000 clothing drive collection bags for a $5,000 donation to Camillus House. Brown & Brown, a Miami Lakes insurance group, already has stepped forward as sponsor of the program’s first 10,000 collection bags. For more information about participating in the clothing drive or sponsoring the program, contact Camillus House vice president Sam Gil at 305-374-1065, ext. 328, or by email at <samgil@camillushouse.org>.

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July 26 - Aug. 8, 2011

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Visit International Collision Repair Center and you drive away happy The International Collision Repair Center team works to make your vehicle “as good as new.” Pictured (l-r) are Frank Martinez, shop manager; Carlos Tabraue, parts manager; Ernie Tabraue, outside sales, and Celso Corrales, owner.

BY NANCY EAGLETON

Owner of International Collision Repair Center in West Kendall, Celso Corrales, is the first to admit that he meets most of his customers under unfortunate circumstances. “People come to us because their car has been damaged, so we are a place that they really don’t want to visit,” Corrales said. “Because of this, we work very hard to make our customers’ experiences as pleasant as possible.” Corrales, a certified master technician, has been in the auto body industry for more than 30 years and opened International Collision Repair, located near Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport, in 1993. “Because I’ve been in in the auto body business all of my life, I know how to get it right,” he said. “Our customers can expect a high quality professional repair along with outstanding customer service — service that is unlike any other auto body shop.” Corrales and shop manager Frank Martinez are the “face” of the business and are always onsite to ensure customer satisfaction. The center’s team includes seven certified technicians, each of whom specializes in a facet of auto body repair, such as paint, auto body or mechanical. International Collision services all vehicle makes and models, from Honda and Toyota to Mercedes-Benz and Bentley. The technicians at International Collision Repair Center use state-of-the-art auto body repair equipment, including structural diagnostic equipment that detects frame and suspension damage. The European PPG computerized paint matching system — a system that Corrales calls the “best in the market” — ensures a perfect paint match. Proper welding is critical in order to ensure structural integrity and the technicians at International

Collision Repair use a welding machine that fuses just like the factory. Corrales and team restore vehicles to their pre-accident appearance and are confident that customers will be happy with their results. “We offer a lifetime warranty on all repairs that we make,” he said. Repairs are scheduled so customers have the least amount of downtime and minor repairs may be completed in the same day. “We keep our customers updated on the progress of their repair with a phone call, text or email — whichever way they prefer to be contacted,” Corrales said. “We are large enough to handle big jobs and a large capacity, but small enough to offer our customers personalized service.” The bilingual and friendly staff assists customers with the daunting task of working with insurance companies to receive proper payment for repairs. They also will help arrange rental cars, if needed. To further enhance the customer experience, all vehicles are washed and detailed prior to pickup and a customer feedback card is left on the rearview mirror. A percentage of clientele is contacted by a customer service company and asked to participate in a brief telephone customer service survey. “It’s important to know how our customers feel about our service so we can maintain and improve our standards,” Corrales said. International Collision Repair Center is located in a stand-alone building at 13470 SW 128 St., just off SW 137th Avenue and easily accessible from Florida’s Turnpike, Kendall Drive and SW 152nd Street. Shop hours are Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., and the phone number is 305-233-4555.

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Commissioner encourages development of an EV charging station master plan BY BERNARDO ESCOBAR

Miami-Dade Commissioner Javier D. Souto is looking to make Miami-Dade County a more convenient place for local electric vehicles (EVs) on the go. The Miami-Dade Commission adopted a resolution authored by Commissioner Souto in early July that may be the starting point for a countywide EV charging station master plan. In April, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced a grant of $5 million to fund EV infrastructure, including charging stations, in an effort to spur the deployment of EV facilities through local government and private company collaborations. The grant minimum and maximum awards are $250,000 and $500,000 respectively. The South Florida Regional Planning Council, through its role as the South Florida Gold Coast Clean Cities Coalition, submitted a proposal on behalf of a sevencounty region consisting of Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River counties to the DOE requesting funding to prepare an EV charging master plan which will examine deployment issues, such as the appropriate locations and equipment for such facilities. Commissioner Soutoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s resolution directs the Mayorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Office to work with the South Florida Regional Planning Council to prepare an application for a master plan and/or future funding that assesses the feasibility of using locations on Miami-Dade County rights-of-way, including but not limited to the South Dade Bus Corridor and the Metrorail Corridor leading into downtown Miami, locations in or around Miami-Dade County park facilities, and other public rights-of-way, such as the median on State Road 836 between

Floridaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Turnpike and the Palmetto Expressway. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The demand for electric vehicles is growing, but Miami-Dade County needs to be able to provide a charging station infrastructure in order to keep up with that demand,â&#x20AC;? Commissioner Souto said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Despite the increased driving ranges of the new generation of EVs, a major obstacle to overcome is the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;range anxietyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; of drivers. An expanded network of EV charging stations will help promote the countyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sustainability efforts while assisting residents who use electric vehicles.â&#x20AC;? A number of charging stations can be seen throughout the country offering varying â&#x20AC;&#x153;levelsâ&#x20AC;? of electricity. Level I stations fully charge a vehicle in 8-12 hours, Level II in 4-6 hours, and a Level III station in approximately an hour. These stations are typically located in places where there is a concentration of vehicles such as parking garages and lots, shopping centers, educational facilities, hotels and major employment sites. According to the DOE, Florida is ranked No. 3 behind California and Washington with more than 50 existing and planned charging locations. The majority of these facilities are located in the Central Florida, but Miami-Dade already has a few. The Dadeland North Metrorail parking garage has several Level I and Level II chargers. A solar-powered EV charging station facility also is located in the Downtown Omni area offering Level I and II chargers to the public. The county maintains its own charging stations for its fleet of retrofitted and plug-in hybrids, as well as for the public free of charge. For more information, contact Commissioner Soutoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s office at 305-2222116.

          

 

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July 26 - Aug. 8, 2011

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COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

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July 26 - Aug. 8, 2011

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IS FULLY EQUIPPED TO ASSIST ANYONE PURSUING A HIGHER LEVEL OF FITNESS. The Pinecrest Community Center now offers more than 4200 square feet dedicated solely to getting fit. The facility proudly provides the latest equipment from industry leaders Precor, Lifefitness, and Hampton. Village of Pinecrest • Parks and Recreation Department, Pinecrest Community Center

5855 Southwest 111 St. Pinecrest, FL 33156 • 305-284-0900 You can register online for all classes and programs at: www.pinecrest-fl.gov/parks


July 26 - Aug. 8, 2011

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

Page 29

Evos Pinecrest celebrates a healthy first year of business BY SUSAN SMITH

“People tell me all the time: ‘I thought of this idea years ago’ and they then commend me for following through on the dream,” beams Evos Pinecrest Franchise Owner Roland Rafuls. Evos is a fast casual themed restaurant serving healthier burgers and fries along with salads, wraps, shakes and a diverse kids menu sure to please. The concept began in Tampa over a decade ago according to Mr. Rafuls and today the Pinecrest location is celebrating the success of its first year. “We started out here in 2008 during bad economic times for restaurants and we persevered because we had the faith to believe this would be a good service to the South Florida community and that young parents especially would value the eatery,” explains Mr. Rafuls. The Dadeland Plaza Mall at 9537 South Dixie Highway appears to be a perfect location for families to enjoy an Evos adventure with several children oriented businesses along the mall and a “Kidsville” early childhood development center opening next door in July. And what began as a temporary promotion has evolved into a staple of what Evos represents with kids eating free every Sunday. Evos also offers the community “Spirit Nights” whereby they will host local not for profit organizations’ fundraising events at the restaurant and donate food as well as a proceeds percentage to organizations like the American Cancer Society, University of Miami’s OceanKids, and the local Girl Scout troupe. “Roland and Keidy are super supportive. They told me about the fundraising program and even helped me with the flyers. We really don’t do much fundraising beyond selling cookies so this was a great option for us,” says Pinecrest Girl Scouts

community response has been tremendous. We are partnering with schools like Carrolton and Saint Thomas Episcopal on their lunch programs,” Mr. Rafuls continues. The menu dining options are made

Co-Manager Heather Rivera. As he sits in a comfortable booth in the well lit inviting atmosphere of the restaurant sharing his thoughts on the smooth launching of Evos Pinecrest; mom Darcy and her seven year old son James stand nearby choosing condiments to compliment their meal. Darcy says she keeps coming back to Evos because it’s a healthy and fast option. Addressing the need for kids to eat healthier is part of the mission behind Evos. “Kids love it and feel good about it. The

without deep frying but rather are baked with hot air industrial convection ovens that circulate the hot air evenly throughout the food. And it sure tastes great. Vegetarian and vegan options are available as well; offering a diet conscious foodie the feeling of eating decadently without the guilt. “Of all the thankyou’s I typically receive for being here, the vegans and vegetarians are often the most enthusiastic,” recalls Mr. Rafuls. Evos was voted the greenest burger chain in America for the third consecutive year by Greenopia.com. The Earth Day Every Day philosophy Evos embraces is demonstrated by their sustainable business practices, renewable wind energy usage and alternative eco friendly cooking methods. Mr. Rafuls recently brought his newborn six week old daughter to the restaurant and said it was a touching moment for the family. “I believed in the dream because I live it every day. My daughter is going to grow up here. We have all this here for her too,” smiles Roland Rafuls. Evos Pinecrest at 9537 South Dixie Highway is open seven days a week from 11am to 10pm. Contact Evos at 305-7403433 www.evos.com


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July 26 - Aug. 8, 2011

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July 26 - Aug. 8, 2011

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Ferdie Pacheco to exhibit paintings at AC Fine Art BY LEE STEPHENS

AC Fine Art will be featuring original oil paintings by Ferdie Pacheco, aka The Fight Doctor, from Saturday, Aug. 6, to Aug. 31. Also being featured will be photos taken by Ferdie’s wife, Luisita, during his years with Muhammed Ali. Opening night will include a book signing by Pacheco and live music in conjunction with the Coconut Grove Gallery Walk. Pacheco has exhibited his works throughout the U.S., France and in London. Pacheco was born on Dec. 8, 1927 in the immigrant community of Ybor City in Tampa. Boxing was a popular sport in Ybor City, and Pacheco took an early interest. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and his medical degree from the University of Miami. After graduation, he set up practice in Little Havana and began working with boxers alongside Angelo Dundee at the Fifth Street Gym on Ferdie Pacheco is pictured with his wife, Luisita, and some of his Miami Beach. In 1962, Pacheco began working paintings. ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– with Muhammad Ali when the then-Cassius Clay was training in Miami. mended that he retire, but Ali continued to Pacheco became Ali’s cornerman and physi- fight. Due to this difference of opinion, cian and would remain so until the latter parts Pacheco left Ali’s camp. Despite this disagreeof Ali’s career. In 1977, Pacheco noticed that ment, he and Ali are still friends to this day. Pacheco moved on to become a television Ali’s reflexes were slowing down and recomboxing analyst, working for NBC and Univision. He became Showtime’s featured boxing analyst in the early 1980s and continued his association with that network until his retirement from TV in the late 1990s, covering many memorable fights along the way. Pacheco is the author of 20 books, most recent Tales from the Fifth Street Gym. He also has written plays, screenplays, and short stories. Many of his books are set in the Ybor City neighborhood where he grew up. Among his works, he has written a memoir (Ybor City Chronicles), an autobiography (Blood in My Coffee) and a cookbook (The Columbia Restaurant Spanish Cookbook, coauthored with longtime friend Adela Gonzmart). Coming out soon is an updated ebook version of the Fight Doctor. AC Fine Art is located in the Grove Retrospective Gallery at 2911 Grand Ave. in Coconut Grove. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Thursday, 1 to 5 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 1 to 9 p.m. Also open by appointment. Contact Steven Steele at 305-742-7071.

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U.S.A. WIRELESS OPENS FIRST AT&T AUTHORIZED RETAILER EXPERIENCE STORE IN SOUTH FLORIDA New Store Offers Hands-On, Interactive Experience MIAMI, June 15, 2011 — AT&T* today announced the opening of its first South Florida authorized retailer Experience Store. Experience Stores give shoppers an innovative way to shop for and experience a variety of communications and entertainment services from AT&T. The new U.S.A. Wireless store is located at 900 S. Miami Avenue in Mary Brickell Village in downtown Miami. With the look and feel of an AT&Towned store, the 1,200 square-foot U.S.A. Wireless location features a hands-on design with a Guided Information Station and “live bar” of devices and services to provide an interactive, “try before you buy” shopping experience. Trained consultants provide demonstrations of a wide range of products and services, including the latest in mobile devices, such as the Samsung Infuse 4G, HP Veer 4G, Motorola ATRIX 4G, and the HTC Inspire 4G**, and AT&T U-verse services, including AT&T U-verse TV, AT&T Uverse High Speed Internet and AT&T U-verse Voice. Customers can also test drive various wireless data applications, including AT&T Navigator, which provides GPS navigation with turn-by-turn directions, or AT&T Family Map, a family locator service designed to help give parents peace of mind. “We’re excited to have another AT&T authorized retailer location opening in South Florida,” said Carlos Blanco, vice president and general manager of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets for AT&T South Florida. “There’s a growing demand for advanced wireless data products and services, and we want to make our services and products easily accessible to consumers.” The Mary Brickell Village U.S.A. Wireless location is managed by Mike Awada and has a staff of five employees who are trained to assist both consumer and business customers with purchasing decisions, customer service and technical support. Store hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Sunday, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. A grand opening celebration is planned for the weekend of July 15. There are more than 100 AT&T authorized retailer locations from Key West to Vero Beach. AT&T owns and operates more than 40 stores in the same territory,

including 16 stores in Miami-Dade County, 11 in Broward County and nine in Palm Beach County. AT&T products and services are also available at more than 250 national retail locations throughout South Florida. Find More Information Online: • Web Site Links: http://www.att.com • Related Fact Sheets: http://www.att.com/Common/merger/files /pdf/experience_fs.pdf http://www.att.com/Common/merger/files /pdf/ATT_Online-FS.pdf *AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc. **4G speeds delivered by HSPA+ with enhanced backhaul. Available in limited areas. Availability increasing with ongoing backhaul deployment. Requires 4G device. Learn more at att.com/ network.

About AT&T AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is a premier communications holding company. Its subsidiaries and affiliates – AT&T operating companies – are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and around the world. With a powerful array of network resources that includes the nation’s fastest mobile broadband network, AT&T is a leading provider of wireless, Wi-Fi, high speed Internet and voice services. A leader in mobile broadband, AT&T also offers the best wireless coverage worldwide, offering the most wireless phones that work in the most countries. It also offers advanced TV services under the AT&T U-verse® and AT&T DIRECTV brands. The company’s suite of IP-based business communications services is one of the most advanced in the world. In domestic markets, AT&T Advertising Solutions and AT&T Interactive are known for their leadership in local search and advertising. In 2010, AT&T again ranked among the 50 Most Admired Companies by FORTUNE® magazine. Additional information about AT&T Inc. and the products and services provided by AT&T subsidiaries and affiliates is available at http://www.att.com. This AT&T news release and other announcements are available at http://www.att.com/newsroom and as part of an RSS feed at www.att.com/rss. Or follow our news on Twitter at @ATT. Find us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/ATT to discover more about our consumer and wireless services or at www.Facebook.com/ATTSmallBiz to discover more about our small business services. © 2011 AT&T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved. Mobile broadband not available in all areas. AT&T, the AT&T logo and all other marks contained herein are trademarks of AT&T Intellectual Property and/or AT&T affiliated companies. All other marks contained herein are the property of their respective owners.


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July 26 - Aug. 8, 2011

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Award-winning Deering Wines now on sale in South Florida BY SHEILA STIEGLITZ

The award-winning Deering Wines sold worldwide recently made their Florida retail debut at Crown Wine and Spirits Palmetto Bay/Pinecrest store, with all other store locations following in the next few weeks. Proprietors Blair Collins Maus and her husband, Todd, run the boutique vineyard in Sonoma County, California. Blair is a descendent of the Deering-McCormick family, who were early developers of farming technology, and she is the great-great granddaughter of Charles Deering. In honor of the event, the historic Deering Estate at Cutler is giving Crown patrons one free admission pass to the Estate with each bottle of Deering Wine sold at the Palmetto Bay/Pinecrest store. Limit 2 passes per customer. In 2010, Blair and her husband introduced their wines to South Florida during the Deering Estate Foundation’s signature event, Wine on Harvest Moon. The guests’ response to the wines were overwhelmingly positive. “Todd and I have loved coming to

Blair Collins Maus and Todd Maus are owners of the Deering Winery at the historic Deering Estate at Cutler. ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

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Florida to share our wines and have learned by our visits that Florida has very sophisticated wine consumers who are also a lot of fun,” Blair said. “The Deering family has such a rich history in the Miami area. Both my great-great grandfather, Charles Deering, and my great-great uncle, James Deering, built winter homes in the Miami area and they both loved wine. For our family, it feels like the wines are coming home.” The four wines being sold are: • 2008 Zinfandel Maus Vineyard — Best of Class Winner, 93 points. This is an incredibly smooth and well-balanced wine packed with ripe fruit and spice — a hallmark of the Maus Vineyard. • 2008 Deering Ideal — “A Better Red.” Rich, full-bodied flavor, full of dark fruit and spices. • 2008 Chardonnay Bendimia Vineyard — Gold Medal Winner. A fruit forward French style chardonnay. • 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Nelligan Road Vineyard — Just released For more information call your local Crown Wine and Spirits store.

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July 26 - Aug. 8, 2011

Florida Grand Opera brings free zarzuela to Coral Gables BY STEPHANIE NECUZE

Whether a first-generation Miamian or native of Latin America, most Hispanics can recall enjoying theatrical performances with spoken language and singing on their local town square or TV station. Known as zarzuela, this Spanish musical theater tradition comes to South Florida’s main stage straight from Madrid’s Teatro Real through Florida Grand Opera’s (FGO) first production of Luisa Fernanda, which opens in November to begin the 2011-12 season. In celebration of this Hispanic cultural cornerstone, FGO presents Cine Zarzuela, a summer-long film series designed to introduce Miami audiences to the lively music and romance of zarzuela through a sneak peek of Luisa Fernanda. The third event in a previously sold-out series, “Cine Zarzuela: Coral Gables” takes place on Aug. 16, 7 p.m., at the Coral Gables Art Cinema. Guests attending the event will be joined by local Hispanic celebrities and leaders for a casual evening of film. The festivities

begin with a brief lecture on the zarzuela tradition by Justin Moss, resident opera expert and FGO director of communications, followed by a screening of scenes from Teatro Real’s production of Luisa Fernanda, featuring Plácido Domingo in the leading male role of Vidal. Among the featured scenes is the wellknown love song Ay, mi morena, first heard when Domingo’s character professes his love for the heroine and then again with a melancholy tone in the zarzuela’s final scene. At the screening’s conclusion, attendees will gather in the cinema’s courtyard for a complimentary wine reception and flamenco performance by local dancers. The Cine Zarzuela series is free to the public. However, seating is limited for all events and reservations are required. RSVPs are accepted by phone by calling the Box Office at 1-800-741-1010 or by email at <lmerritt@fgo.org>. More information about upcoming Cine Zarzuela events can be found on Florida Grand Opera’s website at <www.FGO.org>.


July 26 - Aug. 8, 2011

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Volunteer as Master Gardener; open to county residents only BY ROBERT HAMILTON

Do you have spare time to volunteer? Do you like plants and want to learn more about gardening? Do you like to help others by sharing your gardening knowledge? Become a Master Gardener volunteer for Miami-Dade County Extension. Join this elite group of dedicated gardeners who help others solve their plant problems. Preview sessions of what this program is about are Aug. 5 at 3 p.m. and Aug. 9 at 10 am at the UF Miami-Dade Extension office in Homestead. Each preview session lasts one and one half to two hours. You need to attend only one of these previews. This program is for Miami-Dade County residents only as each county has its own Master Gardener program. Through the Master Gardener training program, participants receive more than 70 hours of classroom and field training from University of Florida faculty. You’ll learn about: flower and vegetable gardening, fruit trees, insects, disease and plant identification, landscape care, proper pesticide and fertilizer use, and more. Master Gardeners are individuals who are interested in gardening, educating and helping others, and making civic contributions through volunteer work. They help answer gardening questions on the phone at the Extension office, help establish demonstration and school gardens, are plant consultants at local events, and more. Even if you aren’t physically able to do much gardening, there still are plenty of volunteer opportunities for you. Once you are selected to take the Master Gardener training, you will be notified about the class schedule. Classroom training is one day during the work week from

Through the Master Gardener training program, participants receive more than 70 hours of classroom and field training from University of Florida faculty. You’ll learn about: flower and vegetable gardening, fruit trees, insects, disease and plant identification, landscape care, proper pesticide and fertilizer use, and more. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and lasts for 11-12 weeks, beginning in September. Volunteering opportunities are at the Homestead office and at other selected sites throughout the county. Contact Patty for an application at 305248-3311, ext. 225, or write to: UF/Miami-Dade County Extension, 18710 SW 288 St., Homestead, FL 33030. Visit the website at <http://miamidade.ifas.ufl.edu/lawn_and_garden/master_gardener.shtml> For information on Florida friendly landscaping, visit the Florida Yards and Neighborhoods website at <www.greenyardsmiami.blogspot.com>. The Miami-Dade Cooperative Extension is a partnership of the Miami-Dade Consumer Services Department and the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Page 35

Miami Soccer Festival July 30-31st to Offer Tournament, Activities & Family Fun The 2011 Miami Soccer Festival at Kendall Soccer Park, 8011 SW 127th Ave., was organized to promote, celebrate and share “The Beautiful Game” of soccer with the community of Miami. Organized by The Parks Foundation of Miami Dade and the Soccer 5 Foundation, all proceeds benefit youth scholarships and park improvements. More than 5,000 participants and visitors are expected at the two-day festival. On July 30th and 31st, this free family event will feature a full range of youth, adult and co-ed teams playing in various 11v11, 7v7 and 5v5 tournaments, while a popular mix of local bands will perform throughout the weekend. “We’re planning to make this an annual event to attract soccer players, families and teams from throughout the area,” said Scott Georgeson, coordinator and president of Soccer 5 USA, the family organization that established 5-on-5 Soccer venues at the SW 127th Avenue complex during 2010. Completed four years ago, the Kendall Soccer Park now hosts both daytime and nighttime soccer, including 5-on-5 fields, five full-size soccer fields, a walking trail, stage area, soccer village and spectator bleachers. Spectators or folks not registered to play in the two-day festival will also enjoy additional entertainment – Soccer 5 Live Tricks, juggling, worldrecord attempts, soccer walk and get-in-the-game fitness and fun. The Soccer Village will feature foods from around the world, including Cuba, Ireland, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Trinidad, Ecuador, Brazil, Columbia, and the Dominican Republic. A variety of kids’ activities, including face painting, video gaming and bounce houses, will be offered within the soccer village. Soccer merchandise, soccer games, and a virtual FIFA tournament played on PS3 and Xbox will also be available for fans of the sport.

The Soccer 5 Foundation supports the growth of soccer in Miami to promote and encourage a healthy, active lifestyle within the community. Funds are to be distributed in order to create spaces to play, grants for coaching, tuition, and developmental scholarships, amongst other initiatives. “It’s our way of helping popularize the sport and helping it grow at one of South Florida’s leading soccer complexes,” Georgeson stated. The mission of Soccer 5 is to promote participation in 5 v 5 soccer in every city around the USA, via its platform of Soccer 5 USA operations, live video and forums, and the Soccer 5 Academy. The event is free and open to the general public. To participate in the tournament, team costs range from $175 to $325. Sponsors of the event to date include Costco, RedBull, Soccer Locker, Sports Grill, Miami Chamber South, Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes, and the Sports Authority. Additional sponsorships at four contributory levels are available. To register for the tournament or for sponsorship information, please contact Scott Georgeson, Soccer 5 Miami President, at 1-888-575-2976, or visit www.miamisoccerfestival.org or www.soccer5usa.com/miami. Proceeds of the event will support The Soccer 5 Foundation (www.soccer5foundation.org) and The Parks Foundation of Miami Dade (www.parksfoundationofmiamidade.com), working together to create more spaces to play and learn the world’s most popular game.


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COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

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July 26 - Aug. 8, 2011

Take your four-legged best friend out to the ball park BY ALICE FISHER

Bring your dog to watch the Florida Marlins battle the San Francisco Giants on Friday, Aug. 12, 7:10 p.m., at Sun Life Stadium and help raise money for the Humane Society of Greater Miami. Here’s how it works. To purchase tickets contact Cynthia Coutard at 305-749-1842 or send email to <Cynthia@humanesocietymiami.org>. Tickets are only $12 for adults, $6 for kids and $6 for dogs. Dog owners must carry proof of the rabies vaccination with them to the game. You can download and sign the waiver document you can find by going to <www.humanesocietymiami.org> and clicking on 2011 Bark at the Park, and bring it with you to the game. Proceeds

from all dog tickets will benefit the Humane Society of Greater Miami. Day-of-game sales for Bark at the Park will take place at Gate B beginning at 5 p.m. and concluding in the second inning of the game. Fans and their dogs should enter the stadium through Gate B, with disabled fans and their dogs using the Gate G entrance starting at 4:30 p.m. Seating will be general admission in the upper deck sections 401-404. Doggie pools, water dishes and a dog-walking area will be available throughout the game. Group tickets are also available by calling 305-626-SAVE. For more information and to purchase individual tickets contact Cynthia Coutard at 305-749-1842 or by email at <Cynthia@humanesocietymiami.org>.

www.communitynewspapers.com


July 26 - Aug. 8, 2011

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

Get Some Summer Lovin’ at July 31 pet adoption event BY ROBERT HAMILTON

Animal Services invites you to celebrate its summer Pet Adoption Event, Get Some Summer Lovin’, on Sunday, July 31, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The adoption celebration of pets, life, loyalty and love will take place at the Animal Services Shelter located at 7401 NW 74 St. in Medley. The event will give residents the opportunity to adopt dogs and cats who are in need of a loving home and find true unconditional love. Anyone who adopts a pet at the event will receive a complimentary picture with the new family member. Interested adopters must be at least 18 years old. Adoption fees apply, including a $50 refundable deposit if pet is not yet spayed or neutered. Only Miami-Dade County residents may adopt pets under the spay/neuter agreement. Attendance is free and open to the public. Donations of dog and/or cat toys are appreciated.

Adoption Gift Certificates also are available. If you are thinking about giving a pet to someone as a present, you may purchase an Adoption Gift Certificate so they choose the pet best for their lifestyle. Donation Gift Certificates are ideal presents for any occasion. It’s the perfect gift for everyone and a gift that will help the shelter animals. Animal Services is responsible for enforcing Chapter 5 of the Miami-Dade County Code, as well as Florida Statute 828, which deals primarily with animal cruelty issues. Unlike private shelters that have limitations on the number of pets they accept, Animal Services accepts all dogs and cats. Each year, the shelter impounds 36,000 pets. The goal at Animal Services is to reunite lost pets with their families or find life-long homes for as many animals as possible. For more information visit online at <www.miamidade.gov/animals> or call 3-1-1.

Page 37

ASK YOUR PROPERTY APPRAISER…

Miami-Dade Property Appraiser Pedro J. Garcia Answers Questions From Property Owners

Miami-Dade County Property Appraiser Pedro Garcia has identified community education and outreach as being among the important tasks for his office. He frequently attends meetings of professional organizations, community groups and homeowners associations. Additionally, he has makes himself and his senior staff available to the media, granting interviews to radio, television and newspaper reporters. This newspaper column is his latest outreach effort to property owners and other residents, providing an opportunity for them to ask questions and hear from their Property Appraiser. QUESTION: Last year, the value of my home along with all the others in my community, declined substantially. However, the Property Appraiser increased my assessment and my taxes went up. How can you increase my assessment when property values are going down? PEDRO GARCIA: This subject was raised indirectly last month. Thank you for the opportunity to explain it more fully. In 1992 Florida voters overwhelmingly approved Constitutional Amendment 10, which is generally known as the “Save Our Homes” amendment. This amendment passed out of concern for rising property values, which resulted in higher property taxes. The idea, as some supporters of the amendment put it, was to prevent homeowners from being taxed out of their homes. The Save Our Homes amendment

created a second value on properties with a homestead exemption, called the assessed value. Unlike the market value, which must show the full value of the property as of each January 1, the assessed value only increases by 3% or the Consumer Price Index (CPI), whichever is lower. Therefore, even as the market value of a home increased by whatever the market dictated, the assessed value increase could go up by no more than 3% or the CPI. Amendment 10 saved homeowners hundreds and thousands of dollars in taxes in those years when the market was increasing by double digits. Market values have been decreasing in the last few years. However, the law requires that properties, which still have a Save Our Homes assessed value that is lower than their market value, must be increased by up to the 3%. This is called the Recapture Rule. What does this mean in taxes? Let’s use 2010 data as an example. The CPI that year was 2.7%. As such, a property with homestead exemption in unincorporated MiamiDade County with an assessed value of $100,000 in 2009 was increased for 2010 by 2.7%. This increased the assessed value by $2,700, resulting in the homeowner paying $55.24 more in taxes because of this Save Our Homes increase. For 2011 the CPI is 1.5% and unless the law is changed, or the Recapture Rule eliminated, any homesteaded property with an assessed value lower than the market value, will be subject to this 1.5 percent increase in assessed value. Over the last several sessions, members of the Florida Legislature have talked about changing the law to eliminate this Recapture Rule. This year, there are bills making their way through the legislature which do just that; stop assessed value increases in declining markets. I have given these efforts my full support and I encourage you to contact your representative in Tallahassee and make your opinion on this matter known. To ask the Property Appraiser a question please write to: Ask the Property Appraiser 111 NW 1st Street, Suite 710 Miami, Florida 22128


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Audi R8 Spyder named best convertible by SAMA BY RON BEASLEY

Audi R8 Spyder named best convertible in SAMA inaugural “Topless in Miami” event. –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Automotive Editor Members of the Southern Automotive Media Association (SAMA) named the new 2012 Audi R8 Spyder as the best convertible in the inaugural “Topless in Miami” event conducted recently at the Ritz-Carlton Resort on Key Biscayne. At the same time, the beautiful new 2012 BMW 650i was named Best Luxury Convertible in a close competition that saw the Jaguar XKR and Mercedes Benz SLK350 finish closely behind the winner. The Audi A5, Infiniti G37, Lexus IS250 and Mercedes Benz SLK350 also were contenders in the Luxury Convertible category. SAMA members judged a total of 19 vehicles entered in the competition by 15 different manufacturers and selected the unique new Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet as the Best Family Convertible; the venerable Chevrolet Corvette as the Best Sports Car Convertible, and the all new Fiat 500C as the Best Small Convertible. More than 40 SAMA members participated in the ride-and-drive competition, spending the day driving each of the convertible automobiles on the roads of Key Biscayne, then scoring them on overall design, ease of operating the convertible top and the driving characteristics of each car. “It was a wonderful event and everything went very smoothly,” said SAMA president Paul Borden. “Even the weather cooperated; it rained all around South Florida, but not a drop fell on Key Biscayne until our event was finished. And we had some of the most beautiful and impressive automotive machinery in the world to drive and grade. “Our membership did an exceptional job of picking the winning automobiles and I think the manufacturers were satisfied with

Pictured (l-r) are SAMA officials Ron Beasley and Paul Borden with Audi regional communications director Andrew Lippman, Fiat USA President Laura Soave, Nissan-Infiniti regional communications director Steve Parrett, General Motors regional communications director Araba Dowell, SAMA Treasurer Marcello Serrato and SAMA Vice President Jaime Florez.

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the event and the results.” The winners were announced at an awards ceremony at the Ritz-Carlton that same evening. Other convertibles that were entered in the competition included the Chevrolet Camaro, Ford’s Mustang GT, Chrysler 200 and Volkswagen Eos in the Best Family Convertible category; the BMW Z4 and Nissan 370Z Roadster in the Sports Car bracket, and the Jeep Wrangler, Mazda MX-5 Miata and MINI Cooper in the Small Convertible category. SAMA is an organization made up of journalists, media organizations, corporate communication specialists, marketing and advertising specialists, and auto manufacturers specializing in the automotive industry. Formed in 2007, the organization now has more than 100 members throughout Florida and the Southeastern United States. Each year, SAMA hosts a luncheon at the South Florida International Auto Show and recognizes the outstanding vehicles in the show, including the coveted “Star of the Show.” Many of the SAMA selections have gone on to win national honors in the automotive media industry. SAMA also sponsors the annual RidesN-Smiles event in conjunction with the Homestead-Miami Speedway and the support of many auto manufacturers. The event is intended to bring smiles to patients and families in programs at Baptist Children’s Hospital and Miami Children’s Hospital by giving them rides in “dream cars” around the speedway’s road course. For more information, contact SAMA president Paul Borden at 305-807-0454 or send email to <pborden41@yahoo.com>.


July 26 - Aug. 8, 2011

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

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July 26 - Aug. 8, 2011

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

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Fiat returns to United States with nifty little 500C Ron Beasley LETâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S TALK CARS I was prepared not to like the little Fiat 500C that was delivered to me for a week of test driving, but the more I drove it, the more I liked it. Fiat has partnered with Chrysler to return to the United States after almost three decades â&#x20AC;&#x201D; the first South Florida dealer is Rick Case in Broward County â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and they are launching the effort with a nifty little product that many are going to hate, and just as many are going to love. Certainly, the Fiat 500 is a cute little car and it does have an appeal to women. Just about everywhere I went, women approached and asked about the car. So, if youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re looking for a â&#x20AC;&#x153;chick magnet,â&#x20AC;? this might be the ticket. The 500 is a small car â&#x20AC;&#x201D; itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s about as big as a Smart Car or a MINI â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and Fiat has done a good job of updating the original

version, keeping the bubble appearance and rounded fenders, and a front end that is mostly headlights and the Fiat logo. As for performance, there is a lot to be desired. The 1.4-liter, 101 hp four-cylinder engine simply does not have the power to play in U.S. urban traffic. Stomp the gas peddle and you wonder if youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re going to beat the traffic bearing down on you. But you soon learn the limitations of this little car and how to deal with them. After all, this is a commuter car, a vehicle made for commuting to work and getting around the city. Our test vehicle came with an automatic transmission and it was a little dicey in highway situations, even in the sport setting, and I would have liked to have driven it with a manual gearbox. I think the response would have been much better. The 500C is labeled as a cabriolet or convertible, but the top really is more of a sunroof, the fabric top sliding back in accordion style at the push of a button. The 500C handled well â&#x20AC;&#x201D; even with a little body roll in sport driving situations â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and overall this is a car that Americans are going to accept, particu-

Fiat 500C has rounded fenders and corners, and a front end that is mostly headlights and the Fiat logo. 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;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;

larly with the price of gas sitting at about $4 a gallon. Fuel economy on this car is good, with the automatic transmission model recording a 27/32 mpg EPA estimate and the manual transmission version notching a much better 30/38 mpg estimate. Fiat 500 models include the Hatchback and Cabriolet, with a starting price of

$15,500. Options can quickly run the price up and our test vehicle with leather seats and navigation listed at $23,300. Ron Beasley is the automotive editor for Miamiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277, ext. 261, or by addressing email correspondence to <LetsTalkCars@aol.com>.

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Page 56

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Kendall Gazette 7.26.2011