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JULY 20 - 26, 2010

State candidates crowd first of 3 KFHA forums

BY RICHARD YAGER

Boy Scout revives fencing tourney for Eagle project

F

rom equal rights for women to offshore oil drilling, lively exchanges sparked a three-hour “Candidates Night 1” hosted by the Kendall Federation of Homeowner Associations (KFHA) at Kendall Village Center Community Pavilion on July 12. Introductory remarks by candidates for state offices varied from simple name identity and background to mini-speeches before timelimits were called by Miles E. Moss, KFHA president, who moderated the first of three planned pre-election forums. Eight Florida legislative races dominated the program that saw three of five candidates appear from Senate Districts 36 and 38, and 16 of 32 active House candidates who represent six district races with partial constituencies in Kendall. Only business account manager Alexander Snitker, running on the Libertarian ticket, appeared among 22 currently seeking retired Sen. Mel Martinez’s U.S. Senate seat, now held by George LeMieux, appointee of Gov. Charlie Crist, who also is seeking the post. After Snitker pledged he would vote on principle rather than political promises, Denny Wood, activist for the disabled, spoke briefly for former Miami mayor and county commissioner Maurice Ferre, claiming Ferre failed to receive an invitation to the event. None of the 10 active candidates for the District 17 U.S. House seat attended with only spokespersons appearing to support Mariana Cancio, Paul Crespo and David Rivera, three of seven running for the District 25 seat. State Rep. Julio Robaina, now seeking the Florida Senate District 36 seat and

––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– See

KFHA, page 4

BY LINDA RODRIGUEZ BERNFELD

A

Miami-Dade School Board candidate Eddy Barea is pictured at the KFHA pre-primary forum on July 12.

‘Gold Ranches’ seeks new lake exca va tion BY RICHARD YAGER

P

ermission to excavate a 133-acre lake for an equestrian-styled community of 47 homes off Krome Avenue north of SW 136th Street was deferred until Sept. 2 by the West Kendall Community Council (Zoning Appeals Board) on July 14. Although initially approved by a simple 3-2 majority of its current five members, the board lacked a supermajority (4-1 or better count) to act on a request to sell excavated earth off-site. The application was sought by attorney Juan

Mayol on behalf of Krome Gold Ranches, a conglomerate of corporate and individual interests. Planned for a 466-acre tract 1.5 miles west of the UDB (Urban Development Boundary), the project was protested when details were disclosed in July 2008 as more than 20 residents objected to a zoning change from agricultural (GU) to single-family estate (EU-2). A 6-1 ZAB vote against that followed but was overturned in November 2008 by the county commission, which –––––––––––––––– See

EXCAVATION, page 4

fencing tournament that was going to die for lack of funding is now a healthy competition because of the actions of West Kendall resident and Boy Scout Sean Vilar. Proceeds from the event, called the David Berriman Memorial Tournament, are donated to the Leisure Access program, a Miami-Dade program for children with developmental challenges. Vilar saved the tournament by making it his Eagle Scout Project. “They donated the date of the tournament for the project so I kept the same name,” Vilar said. “The original plan of the project was to raise awareness of the program.” The idea also included keeping the project going in future years. The project was so successful — drawing 156 fencers — they ran it twice more in 2010, using the spreadsheet Vilar put together detailing exactly how to run the event. “Usually it would make enough money to pay for the expenses that were needed. I think the final profit was around $800 [to the Access program]. We also donated money to the school and to the referees that stayed extra,” he said. Under Vilar’s direction, the tournament drew more competitors than usual. “It was a really big turnout. A lot of different colleges like the University of Central Florida sent people to compete,” he said. “The University of South Florida

––––––––––––––––––––––––– See

EAGLE, page 4


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Adler Group, one of Florida’s oldest and largest commercial real estate firms, has announced that company brokers closed 8,840 square feet of new and renewed leases at Kendall Market Place, a 54,757-square-foot mainstay shopping center located in Kendall. The new and renewed lease agreements were inked with popular restaurants and eateries, including Sushi Maki, Chef Chen Chinese Restaurant, The French Bakery and Portofino Coal Fired Pizza. Sushi Maki, a South Miami-based chain, has leased 2,100 square feet of retail space at 11531 N. Kendall Dr., which will serve as the chain’s sixth fullservice restaurant and only location in Kendall. The restaurant, which serves Japanese cuisine, is scheduled to open before the end of 2010. Chef Chen Chinese Restaurant has renewed its lease of 1,440 square feet of retail space at 11557 N. Kendall Dr. The transaction makes this year Chef Chen Chinese Restaurant’s 25th year as a tenant of Kendall Market Place. The French Bakery has renewed its lease of 1,200 square feet of retail space at 11629 N. Kendall Dr. Portofino Coal Fired Pizza is leasing 4,100 square feet of retail space at 11535 N. Kendall Dr. and is scheduled to open before the end of 2010. This transaction brings Kendall Market Place to 89 percent occupancy. Portofino Coal Fired Pizza offers patrons a selection of tradi-

tional coal-fired Italian dishes. “It’s great to have newer businesses like Sushi Maki and Portofino Coal Fired Pizza join longtime tenants The French Bakery, Chef Chen Chinese Restaurant and a list of companies who have chosen Kendall Market Place and our flexible retail offerings, as the ideal location to grow their business,” said Dan Heisler, executive vice president of Adler Realty Services. Kendall Market Place, open since 1980, houses about 55,000 square feet of retail space and offers a vast selection of retail options for customers, including grooming salons, restaurants and a bank. Located less than one mile from Florida’s Turnpike, Kendall Market Place underwent a $2.5 million renovation in 2008 to modernize the exterior with new lighting and flooring, upgraded signage and landscaping, and to revamp hurricane safety features and additional parking for customers. “For some time we have been looking at the Kendall submarket and feel that Adler Realty Services has the perfect ‘end-cap’ location for us at the recently remodeled Kendall Market Place with fabulous co-tenants,” said Abe Ng, president and CEO of Sushi Maki. “Kendall is a desirable market with its tremendously dense population and steady traffic. Our new Kendall location will be a wonderful addition to our collection of Sushi Maki restaurants.” For more information, contact Dan Heisler at 305-392-4153 or visit online at <www.adlergroup.com>.


July 20 - 26, 2010

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

Scout builds horseshoe pits at Thompson Park

West Kendall resident Evan Burr plays a game of horseshoes while his sister, Sandy, watches. ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– BY LINDA RODRIGUEZ BERNFELD

Killian High School student Evan Burr needed to find an Eagle Scout project so he went to the manager of Larry and Penny Thompson Park, 12451 SW 184 St., to see if there was anything that needed to be done. “They usually have a lot of project opportunities,” he said. “The troop always goes camping there and we have a lot of Scout events there. I chose it because it sounded like the most interesting option that they had.” He chose to build horseshoe pits in the camping section of the park. “They said it was something they had lots of requests for,” he said. “The campers use the horseshoe pits.” While building pits to play horseshoes sounds like an easy and cheap project, it was not that easy and surprisingly expensive. The project cost $750 to build. Burr raised much of the money by hosting a car wash. The rest was taken from the money credited to him from such troop fundraisers as cleaning tables at the Coconut Grove Arts Festival and an auction. “I started in May and finished in December,” he said. “The planning and building of the horseshoe pit was harder than I expected. It involved cement and very precise measurements. The pole had to be a certain length, width and angle.” While many Eagle Scout projects are

done in one day, it actually took six or seven days to finish the horseshoe pits. “The first day we dug all the pits,” Burr said. “The second day we poured the cement.” The pits were dug three feet deep although in most places they are four feet deep. Burr said they only went three feet because that’s where they hit rock. The pits were filled with half cement and half sand. The second pit was dug 50 feet away. “We bought a bunch of bags and mixed the cement ourselves,” he said. Burr said 32 volunteers — Scouts and parents — helped him with the project. Burr added that he learned from doing the project how to plan a service project and how to lead people. “And I learned horseshoe pits are a lot more difficult to do than they sound.” Since finishing his project, Burr has continued in Scouting. At the beginning of the summer, he went to Ocala for the Four Corps project with the Scout Honor Society, the Order of the Arrow. That week, the worked with the Forest Service to plant 5,000 trees, clear out invasive non-native plants, and help restore wetlands. The boys lived in tents that week and worked from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Burr had his Court of Honor on July 11 in the recreation center at Larry and Penny Thompson Park. A Court of Honor is a ceremony where the Eagle badge is bestowed on the Scout.

Page 3


Page 4

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

EAGLE, from page 1 –––––––––––––– and the University of Miami sent representatives for the first time.” Then there were the competitors from the local clubs who also participated. “The plan was to try and make it an annual event with all the funds donated,” Vilar said. The first one took place in 2009 with the help of 30 Scouts. The second Berriman tournament was at the end of February with 10 more Scouts assisting. It drew 189 fencers. A third tournament was in May. It took Vilar six months of planning to bring the first tournament to fruition. He had to find a place to host the event for free. He had to contact referees and he had to get the word out about the competition — all while going to school and continuing fencing. “He helped to organize and run the tournament for us,” said Mike Elder, general manager of the South Miami Fencing Club.

EXCAVATION, from page 1 ––– approved the project but required supermajority votes to change land use or zoning restrictions affecting the approved covenant and conditions. Only two protests were lodged against the project last week after an hour-long discussion of board members who were largely concerned with an exception allowing excavated fill to be transported off the site. Allowing excavation would “only build a new rock pit,” said chair Patricia (Shannen) Davis who wanted off-site fill donated to public projects. Mayol noted the lake size “has been reduced 30 per cent” from an original

“He brought in some of his troop to help set up, run the tournament and clean up afterward. They did some concession sales.” The funds are used to buy specialized fencing equipment for the children. “We have a fencing program that is run through the Parks and Recreation Department where they are given the opportunity to fence,” Elder said. Unfortunately, although the funds from tournaments were used to buy the special equipment for the Leisure Access program, budget cuts have forced the county to put the fencing summer camp on hold. Vilar is a talented fencer who earned his B ranking at the North American Cup, a tournament featuring the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico. He is now one rank away from the top ranking. Vilar will be attending Sacred Heart University taking the sports medicine premed program. One of the ways to get to the Olympics is to be on a university team. If he does well in college, he can try out for the U.S. Olympic team. For more information about the fencing program, go online to <www.miamifencingclub.com>. 173 acres but asked that a three-year period for its excavation be extended to 10 years, raising additional board criticism of non-concurrent housing development and marketing. While seven county departments voiced no objections, the Planning Department remained opposed, citing excavation would “result in the creation of a mining operation” inconsistent with the county master plan and “incompatible with the surrounding rural area.” Three members initially approving the changes were Davis, vice chair Jeffrey Wander and Joseph Delaney; objecting were Beatrice Suarez and Ileana Vazquez, thus lacking a fourth vote to pass. A simple 3-2 majority vote deferred the modifications.

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July 20 - 26, 2010

KFHA, from page 1 ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– well-known to KFHA as a leader of condo and homeowner reform legislation, urged careful review of Aug. 24 primary candidates “since there are races without twoparty opposition, so a primary win automatically elects the winner of a 50 percent or more majority next November.” Robaina faces attorney Miguel A. Diaz de la Portilla who often appears as a legal representative in Kendall zoning matters but didn’t attend or send a spokesperson to the KFHA forum. Wood, a candidates for the House District 114 seat, touched off the evening’s most avid responses when he asked all state candidates to give “yes or no” answers on adoption of the Equal Rights Amendment that he claimed has been pigeon-holed by Republicans in the legislature seven years with Florida as one 15 states delaying action. After Senate District 38 candidate David Nelson termed acceptance “a no-brainer,” opponent State Rep. Anitere Flores, said she “would support any civil rights action” but feared potential amendment “could legalize abortion” in Florida. Her comment raised a raucous audience reaction that quickly ended when Moss called for the next candidates as the panel’s Q&A time expired. Wood later disputed the issue with Community Council 10’s Carlos Manrique who debated the legality of amending a legislative resolution. Manrique appeared with Doral Mayor Willie Bermudez and Carlos Trujillo, three of six candidates for the House District 116 seat. Wood shared a panel with Millie Herrera, former East Kendall Community Council member who prioritized helping small business owners and funding education. Two candidates, School Board member Ana Rivas-Logan and Robert Blanco, were no-shows. The bulk of the evening’s time was taken with six contested House races. District 112’s lone appearing candidate, Doral Vice Mayor Robert Van Name, made an impassioned plea to “make Florida affordable again through across-the-board tax cuts” to overcome state budget deficits. Christopher Blau, Jose Diaz and Jeffery Solomon, three of four candidates for the District 115 seat, largely echoed a common

forum strain that newcomers to office will better serve the public than entrenched politicos subject to lobbyists and influential corporate interests. The fourth candidate, Carla Ascensio-Savola, did not appear due to a personal emergency that called her away from the session, Moss explained. A variety of opinions on offshore oil drilling resulted when four State House District 117 candidates (Ernesto Martinez, Jose Pazos, Marcus Rivchin and Juan Robaina) offered opinions in reply to a question: “Finding alternative energy solutions is the bottom line,” said Martinez, while Pazos said attitudes have changed sharply since “drill, baby, drill” days, adding that safety is now the primary concern rather than opening the doors deepwater drilling. Both Rivchin and Robaina agreed that safety was paramount, Robaina adding that the U.S. consumer market was becoming more “green conscious,” strengthening conservation objectives while diminishing unlimited oil exploration. Three of four House District 119 candidates (each with different party affiliation) wound up the evening. These included businessman Frank Artiles (Republican), Farm Bureau executive director Katie Edwards (Democrat), and Graziella Renee (no party affiliation). Not appearing was the evening’s only Tea Party representative, Alejandro Fernandez. Following the session, Marvin P. Stein, KFHA Political Action Committee chair, met with the board of governors to discuss candidate endorsements, which he said would be released prior to the next KFHA forum. Although the homeowner organization and PAC are separate entities, the slate advertised by the PAC carries strong weight with Kendall voters. Candidates Night 2 is planned for Aug. 2, 7 p.m., at the pavilion. Also before the Aug. 24 primary the KFHA will invite candidates for county commission, school board, and Kendall community councils, as well as presenting summaries of six state constitutional amendments. A third forum will take place on Sept. 13 for non-primary candidates, according to Moss, who has arranged the sessions, assisted by Lawrence Percival, executive vice president.

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July 20 - 26, 2010

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Page 5

Super-majority rules the farm Michael Miller EXECUTIVE EDITOR

AROUND TOWN Votess approving the new Golden Ranches plan have taken strange twists on its Krome Avenue path to approval the past two years. Because the equestrian community is an “unusual use” in an agriculturally designated area, super-majority votes are required to grant exceptions, a requirement of the county Comprehensive Development Master Plan. That means a 5-2 or better margin to make such changes that Golden Ranches would require by the local 7-member ZAB or 9-4 by a 13 member County Commission — when all members attend. The proportion changes if less than a full board but a quorum (majority of one) shows up and can still act to legalize CDMP action, as ruled the other night in West Kendall by Assistant County Attorney Tom Robinson. Two years ago, the West Kendall ZAB

(Community Council) approved the project by a 4-3 vote, not the super-majority needed to change the CDMP. Atty. Juan Mayol asked the Board to disapprove the project or else he’d just waste his time and his client’s money, returning to try to sway one ZAB vote. Willing to do so, the Board thereupon voted 6-1 to pass the matter to the County Commission, saving advertising and attendant meeting costs, as well. While there may still be scattered protests about the project, we recall that former Chair Domingo Castillo broke a 3-3 tie on the first ZAB go-round, voting “aye” because a planned community of estate homes in fiveacre densities was, to him, preferable to the jam-packed multi-family enclaves of two and three-story villas, town homes and garden condos that make up most of Kendall’s streetscapes. Whether or not you’re of the “horsy set, there’s no denying that has a certain logic for the conservation-oriented, environmental activists or anyone who hopes Kendall will look a bit more countryfied in the years ahead. Closing g out this week’s edition brings word that SW 157th Avenue remains closed,

postponing a planned opening last Friday, July 16. Seems a heavier cable than standard is needed to connect streetlights along the new four-laned roadway between SW 136th and 120th Streets, just west of KendallTamiami Airport. Plenty of lighting a good idea since stop signs at two new intersections may not be enough to avoid serious head-on accidents in that area, once midnight cowboys hit the road. Soccer 5 USA at the Kendall Soccer Fields off SW 127th Avenue kicks off next month (August) instead of July with Sports Authority retailer as a title sponsor, we’re reliably told. A Scottish family residing in Palm Beach began planning the program to coincide with the World Cup Championship but maybe those used vulvu-whatever horns can now trumpet big plans for the Kendall tournament. Planned USA-wide, the five-man sport now has a Coral Gables PR firm publicizing the program. Every y drop p countss reminds our water conservation pals Mary McCready and Laura Vasquez, agent and coordinator, respectively, for Florida Yards and Neighborhoods, a county extension service. They say the average person in Miami-Dade uses 138 gal-

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lons of water per day, almost half the total outside the home (often excessively) to water the grass and shrubbery. For information on a $200 monitoring system to reduce consumption, visit www.miamidade.gov/conservation on the Internet or tel. 305-2483311x230. Rebates are available on some installations. Somebodyy ringg upp DPW, Traffic Signalization, the cops or anyone else who can lengthen the waiting signal on northbound SW 122nd Avenue at SW 88th Street which during a recent twilight drive last week allowed motorists all of five seconds per two-minute cycle to cross Kendall Drive — including yrs trly! Thoughtt for thee Day: A dream doesn't become a reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work. — Colin Powell

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COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

July 20 - 26, 2010

Reality hits home on government spending R. Kenneth Bluh –– VIEWPOINT –– KENNETH’S COMMENTARY Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez recently released his proposed budget for the coming fiscal year. Facing an anticipated revenue shortfall of $400 million the mayor is proposing several basic adjustments. He wants to guarantee the community that he will not reduce police and fire-rescue staffing and maintain current senior and child social services’ levels. The mayor proposes reducing county staffing by 1,200 jobs and eliminating county road and building maintenance in the coming year. The mayor wants to modify our millage so that long-time homestead homeowners will pay a little more in taxes and owners of new homes and commercial properties will pay a little less. The logic behind the changes in real estate tax collections, it would seem, recognizes that longtime property owners have had the benefit of the Save Our Homes tax provision and can give a little more in taxes even

though their properties have gone down in value. Homeowners who have purchased their homes a couple years ago are paying taxes on a greatly inflated value and need a small break. Here is how it works: The mayor presents his budget recommendations to the county commission which studies, debates and, after receiving public input, determines how much we will need to collect in taxes, where the money will come from and how that money will be spent. Proposed adjustments to millage rates, changes in assessments and how the money will be spent is set out in black and white and easily studied and commented upon by the press and the public. A more subtle source of revenue is fee adjustments. It is easy to increase a fee for specific government approval and can be done without the general public’s knowledge. It is going to cost more to form a corporation, obtain an occupational license, get married, adopt a baby, build an addition to your home or anything else that a government can charge a fee to approve. President Obama is proposing a multi-billion dollar municipal and county government subsidy to help pay the bills. But, shouldn’t we ask: Is it appropriate for the federal gov-

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ernment to borrow billions more so municipalities and counties can continue to spend as if they really had the income? Isn’t this just an additional tax added on top of our real estate and sales taxes? What choices do we have? We can reduce government spending. This can come in several ways. Become more efficient. An example would be to consolidate department heads in our county government. We have more department heads, generally called assistant county managers, than we have cabinet members in Washington. In Washington, we have a government governing 320 million people. In Miami-Dade we have only 2.4 million residents to govern. Another approach to lowering the cost of government is adjusting the cost of funding our city and county pensions. In the beginning, when we created government pensions, we did not anticipate the money it would take to fund worker-retirement. The cost is breaking the budget. Unions must come to the table and volun-

tarily offer a benefit reduction plan or they may face federal bankruptcy judges “telling” them what their future retirement benefits will be. Unfortunately, the mayor did not address the subject of funding pensions. It must be discussed as it is a major expense in our budgets. Our elected officials, hand in hand with their constituents, must meet and determine what must be cut from the budget. We must police our streets; we must rescue those in need of emergency medical assistance, and we must keep the doors of our government open. The question: What can we survive without? We appreciate your opinions on this column whether in agreement or disagreement. Please send your comments to (fax number) 305-662-6980 or email to <letters@communitynewspapers.com>. The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of this newspaper, its editors or publisher.

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Commissioner celebrates July 4 with local community residents

Has all types of birds!

• African Greys • Cockatoos • Blue Fronts • Amazons • Macaws • Love Birds Miami-Dade Commissioner Katy Sorenson (fourth from left, front) is joined by representatives of the Miami-Dade Park and Recreation Department, Town of Cutler Bay, Village of Palmetto Bay, and Village of Pinecrest at Black Point Park July 4 fireworks event. ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

BY LEE STEPHENS

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Katy Sorenson celebrated Independence Day by joining residents of her district in various festivities. The commissioner’s first stop was the 43rd Annual Cutler Bay-Whispering Pines Fourth of July Parade, organized by Whispering Pines Civic Association, Whispering Pines Woman’s Club, and the Town of Cutler Bay. Commissioner Sorenson sponsored the showmobile needed for presentations after the parade. The area residents enjoyed great music, delicious food, drinks, entertainment, raffle prizes, and Homestead Air Reserve Base (U.S. Air Force) flyover. The event was from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Later that day, Commissioner Sorenson attended the Village of Palmetto Bay’s

Independence Day Block Party at the corner of SW 156th Street and 77th Avenue. In the evening, the July 4 celebration ended with spectacular fireworks. The seventh annual community fireworks display at Miami-Dade County Park and Recreation Department’s Black Point Park and Marina, 24775 SW 87 Ave., was hosted by Perrine Baseball and Softball Association, a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) organization, in conjunction with “Save our Fireworks Sponsors.” “Black Point Marina’s Fourth of July fireworks has become a great community event,” Commissioner Sorenson said. “The collaborative efforts of Miami-Dade County and the municipalities of Cutler Bay, Palmetto Bay and Pinecrest, as well as numerous business partners, made this event a resounding success.”

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July 20 - 26, 2010

Times may be tough, but we’re still spending a good amount of money on cleaning supplies. The average person spends around $647 per year, based on the Consumer Expenditure Survey. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways we can keep our house clean and save money on cleaning products. When you’re cleaning your furniture, it’s a good idea to use water or mild dish soap. Many areas of your home can be kept clean by using those simple ingredients. In fact, dish soap can be used as a laundry stain remover, a window cleaner, a surface spray, a carpet stain remover, fruit and veggie wash, and to clean most surfaces in your home. It also is important to clean your house on a daily basis. The more you clean, the less cleaning equipment you will need. Most stains can be removed with water, dish soap, or laundry soap if they are treated quickly. Spills that are wiped up right away rarely need much cleanser at all to be cleaned. Make it a point to clean and maintain your home daily, and you’ll find much less of a need for specialty cleaners and expensive solutions. When purchasing your cleaning materials, remember that store brands are always the cheaper option. We get stuck on the brands we know and trust a lot, but sometimes there is a store brand of the same cleaner that may work just as well for a fraction of the cost. Also, buy products that are on sale and make sure you look to print out coupons. Manufacturer’s websites often have coupons to entice buyers to try their product. Grocery stores and drug store alike print coupons in their sale flyers. Look for sales on items you normally use and then buy extra if the price is right. Another tip is to make sure you store

your cleaning supplies properly Improperly stored cleaning supplies can turn into a mess. Make sure your supplies aren’t exposed to extremes in temperature or light. Keeping supplies from spilling and mixing also is a major concern. Cleaning supplies should also be stored away from areas where pets or small children might come into contact with them. Simplify your cleaning supplies. There is a cleaner for everything and if you got them all, your cleaning cupboard would be overflowing. The truth is that a lot of cleaners can pull double duty. If you really want to save on your household budget, pick allpurpose and multi-purpose cleaners. Save specialty cleaners for really tough jobs, and only if your others don’t work well. You may be surprised by how little you really need to keep your home clean. Also, choosing reusable cloths and mops are important to save money. Disposable items are handy, but they can quickly eat up a household budget. To save money, pick items that can be reused. Microfiber cloths are a great choice for cleaning, dusting and scrubbing. Instead of disposable mopping pads, pick a good reusable mop and take care of it. Choosing reusable items can save a lot of money. A fun way to save your money could be to create your own cleaner. There are a lot of ingredients around your home that can be used to make great cleaners at a fraction of the cost. Vinegar is a great all-purpose cleaner. Baking soda is gentle enough to use as a mild abrasive in many areas of your home. Lemons have a natural bleaching ability. Making your own cleaners can be a great way to cut cleaning costs. Controlling clutter is a major part of keeping a house clean. Removing unwanted and unnecessary items from your home means you have less to clean. The added benefit is that clutter can be turned into extra cash through yard sales. Getting rid of items that are not needed will cut your cleaning time and expenses drastically. Watch Al Sunshine’s “4 Your Money” reports Monday-Friday beginning at noon. You may find Al’s blog at <www.cbs4.com/4yourmoney>.

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July 20 - 26, 2010

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

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COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

July 20 - 26, 2010

Local program captures honor at dance competition BY ROBERT HAMILTON

The Roxy Theatre Group’s (RTG) Advanced Musical Theatre Dance Team has won the Federation of Dance Competitions (FDC) 2010 Judges Choice Award and will represent the Starpower Competition at the FDC Gala in New Orleans, Aug. 16-19. The ensemble of 24 students, ages 1222, were honored for the dance piece Temper, Temper performed for Starpower Talent Competition. Choreographed by Jill Torgas, RTG’s dance director, Temper, Temper is a musical excerpt from Broadway’s Mary Poppins, about a magical nanny who transforms the lives of the Banks family forever. Temper, Temper was selected as the top dance piece out of hundreds of performing arts programs that competed nation-wide. With graceful leaps and turns, Temper, Temper depicts the Banks’ children and an array of toys, which come to life and hold a mock trial in which the kids are found guilty for being disrespectful to their parents. The RTG Advanced Musical Theatre

Dance Team was to perform the award-winning piece at the International Dance Challenge competition on July 10 at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre in Orlando. “After I saw Mary Poppins on Broadway, I had to choreograph Temper, Temper with my students. The entire ensemble has grown immeasurably and it’s extremely gratifying to win this prestigious award,” said Torgas, 29. “Temper, Temper is unique from anything we’ve ever done for a dance class and to keep it fresh, we approach it differently each time we perform it. We’re honored to have been selected for this award,” said Amanda Del Risco, 14, part of the ensemble. The Roxy Theatre Group,(RTG) a nonprofit organization, offers classes in drama, voice and dance to children, ages 3-17, with year-round programs, including an after-school care program and a performing arts summer camp. For tickets or more information call 305226-0030, send email to <SusannePinedo@gmail.com> or visit online at <www.RoxyPAC.com>.

Roxy Theatre Group’s Advanced Musical Theatre Dance Team’s ensemble of Temper, Temper is pictured with Roxy’s dance director Jill Torgas. (Photo by Charles A. Sothers)

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July 20 - 26, 2010

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

Page 13

Simon malls to benefit Gulf wildlife affected by oil spill BY ASHLEY SUGARMAN

Dadeland Mall, The Falls and The Shops at Sunset Place are part of 15 Simon Malls across the state of Florida opening their doors on Saturday, July 24, and Sunday, July 25, to raise awareness and funds to help birds, other wildlife and our Florida beaches that are being threatened by the Gulf oil spill. To benefit Florida Audubon, Simon Property Group’s “Gifts for the Gulf” will showcase displays of shorebirds nesting on beaches and offer shoppers important information about the wildlife affected by the oil spill crisis. “Simon Property Group is proud to support Florida Audubon to raise awareness for our shorebirds and seabirds that are under potential threat from the Gulf oil spill,” said Lynnette Lauria, regional vice president of marketing, Florida, Simon Property Group. “We are thrilled that our malls will serve as a venue in support of this important effort as so many people want to help the many helpless creatures.” Mall shoppers on July 24-25, from noon to 5 p.m., will have the opportunity to learn about how certain birds nest on our beaches and are in harm’s way if clean-up operations are not carefully conducted. Florida Audubon leaders and volunteers also will share facts about a number of birds affected and offer tips on protecting wildlife and our beaches during this time. A coloring station will be available for children who will receive complimentary

coloring sheets of different birds. Special T-shirts will be on sale and monetary donations will be accepted to help support the goals of Florida Audubon’s “Gulf Oil Spill” response efforts, which are to rescue Florida’s coastal animals and assist in rehabilitating our birds and beaches. While area malls are educating shoppers, CBS4, WFOR-TV is doing its part by hosting a Neighbors 4 Neighbors phone bank during the 5-6:30 p.m. local news block at their studios on July 23. Station viewers will be encouraged to call the phone bank where they can speak to members of Florida Audubon and pledge their support for the Gifts for the Gulf effort. The station also will produce and air during the afternoon news a couple of special reports highlighting the work that is being done by Florida Audubon. “Florida Audubon is focused on protecting birds and habitats during and after this disastrous oil spill,” said Eric Draper, Florida Audubon president. “Audubon connects people with nature so we can all join in the fight to keep the sand clean, the marshes and beaches alive, and our birds flying. We welcome Simon Malls as collaborators connecting their customers with the great cause of protecting our beautiful state and living beaches.” For more information about Simon Property Group, visit online at <www.simon.com>. For more information on how you can help Florida Audubon’s Gulf oil spill response, visit <www.audubonoffloridanews.org>.

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Page 14

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

Letters to the Editor

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July 20 - 26, 2010

Letters to the Editor 6796 SW 62 Ave. • South Miami, FL 33143 E-mail: letters@communitynewspapers.com

Reader takes issue with ‘bloated pensions’ article To the Editor: In Kenneth Bluh’s article titled “bloated pensions” he briefly describes how firemen/policemen could receive 90 percent of their last year’s salary after retirement. He skips along to then suggest that municipalities and county governments can file bankruptcy to cancel employment contracts and start negotiating more workable retirement programs for such personnel. My father worked in our community as a firefighter/paramedic. I noticed nowhere in the article was there a mention of the lower average life-expectancy, poor quality of health, or types of fatal illnesses that these personnel typically contract before they even reach retirement, which is often due to their continuous exposure to highly toxic flammables that people keep in their homes. If Mr. Bluh did any research whatsoever to substantiate his article, he might have mentioned that many of these personnel do not make it past their fifth year of retirement and, once deceased, the widows of these officers and firefighters often receive less than half of their husband’s remaining pension. I suggest in the future that Mr. Bluh provide a little more depth than the unfounded and under-educated interpretation of a “government’s ability to survive” worded within the title of the article. William H. Arthur IV Gainesville

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Now is time to answer new expressway tolls with vote To the Editor:

SAME DAY DELIVERY AVAILABLE We’ll help you find the perfect arrangement or gift.

With respect to MDX “open road tolling” I am reminded by the Eli Wallach character in move The Magnificent Seven telling the Yul Brenner character, “If God had not intended them to be sheared he would not have made them sheep.” Your statement in the June 12 Kendall Gazette that “We’re resolved that it will cost us upwards from two bits per trip…” reminds me of the Mexican villagers until they grew a pair and hired Mr. Brenner and his group. Look, there a lot of things that can be done, and the press must lead the way. For example: Vote to turn the expressways over to the Florida DOT and get the money from gas tax and eliminate all the tolls; Vote to move the half-cent sales tax away from Miami-Dade Transit and eliminate all the tolls. After all, the tax should go to the most people with the most need who pay the tax in the first instance. Now with open road tolling that is the users of the expressways, not Metrorail or Metrobus. The ballot and the vote — that is the answer. Joel Gaulkin

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July 20 - 26, 2010

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

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COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

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Pictured (l-r) are Harve A. Mogul, president and CEO, United Way of Miami-Dade; JosĂŠ Abreu, Miami-Dade Aviation Department; Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez, and Gustavo Pego, secretary, District Six, Florida Department of Transportation. 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; BY STEPHANIE SERIANE-CONSUEGRA

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More than 500 business and community leaders joined Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez for the 12th annual Mayorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Ball on Friday, June 25, and got a sneak peek at the brand new Rental Car Center (RCC), being constructed just east of Miami International Airport (MIA). The charity ball raised $200,000 to help improve lives in Miami-Dade through United Way. The venue, designed to look more like a modern airport terminal with ultra-high ceilings that allow for natural light and wide-open spaces, encouraged guests to indulge in a culinary adventure as they enjoyed tasty treats from around the globe. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It was with great pride that I participated in this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Mayorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Ball to help support the community through the work of United Way,â&#x20AC;? Mayor Alvarez said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;And it is only fitting that a wonderful event such as this was the first of its kind at the new Miami Rental Car Center.â&#x20AC;?

Sponsors of the 12th annual Mayorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Ball included: American Airlines and Duty Free Americas at the Business Class level; Florida Power & Light and Telemundo at the Jet Setter level; AT&T, HNTB, Florida Marlins, Morrison Brown Argiz & Farra LLP, Miami Dolphins, Odebrecht, Parsons Transportation Group and Pirtle Construction at the Frequent Flyer level. Mayor Alvarez was the honorary chair of the event. Event co-chairs included George M. Burgess, county manager; Jose Abreu, director, Miami-Dade Aviation Department, and Gus Pego, secretary, District Six, Florida Department of Transportation. The Mayorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Ball began 13 years ago as a way for the Mayorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Office to promote the importance of philanthropic giving. United Way of Miami-Dade was selected as the beneficiary given its broad reach across the county to its residents. United Way works to advance the common good by creating opportunities for a better life for all.


July 20 - 26, 2010

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

Bank of America Student Leaders receives 8-week paid internships BY BROOKS WALLACE

Empowered with the knowledge that changing the world starts at home, 230 civic-minded high school juniors and seniors — including five from Miami-Dade County — have been selected as 2010 Bank of America Student Leaders for their leadership and passion for community service. As part of their award, the selected high school juniors and seniors headed to Washington, DC, July 18-23, for the Bank of America Charitable Foundation’s weeklong Student Leadership Summit. The summit aims to inspire students, who already are answering the nation’s call to service, to continue serving their communities and effect a lifetime of positive change. In addition to attending the summit, student leaders participate in eight-week nonprofit internships, paid for by Bank of America, at organizations in their local communities. Students gain hands-on experience and learn the finer points of nonprofit management and leadership while the nonprofit organizations benefit from the additional resources and support. Local student leaders are: Nielsen Dias, a rising senior at Coral Gables High School; Lida Esfandiary, a recent graduate of Felix Varela High School; Amalia Mariaca, a recent graduate of Westland Hialeah High School; Ronald Page, a recent graduate of Miami Central High School, and Jorge Riera, a recent graduate of Belen Jesuit Preparatory School.

All will be interning at Boys and Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade. “At Bank of America, we strongly believe that an investment in future leaders plays a pivotal role in revitalizing our communities,” said Gene Schaefer, Miami Market president, Bank of America. “Providing opportunities for our youth to be leaders in their communities today is important not only to our long-term success in Miami but also as a nation and world. “Through our Neighborhood Excellence Initiative and our larger corporate social responsibility efforts, we’re helping to create a culture of global service — one that benefits individuals, families, nonprofit organizations and the neighborhoods they serve,” he added. At the weeklong leadership summit, students learn how service benefits communities economically; how corporate, nonprofit and government collaboration is instrumental in community revitalization, and the important role that nonprofit organizations play as community anchors, particularly during times of economic stress. Through a series of interactive workshops and hands-on activities, the summit includes educational seminars and the participation of several special guests. The Student Leaders program is one component of Bank of America’s signature philanthropic program, the Neighborhood Excellence Initiative. Since the program’s inception in 2004, it has recognized more than 1,200 student leaders, many of whom have gone on to leadership positions at colleges and universities while continuing to lead civic engagement efforts.

Page 17


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COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

July 20 - 26, 2010

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COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

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6300 SW 126 Street... Pinecrest Deep Pinecrest Acre! Gorgeous mature oaks, cozy 3/2 house w/2 car garage and pool/patio. Ready for your updates or rebuild. Reduced $749,000

LD SO Gated “Davis Gardens”…..South Miami....$494,000 6610 Acacia Ct. - 3/3 with 2 car gar, over 2,500SF, community pool and tennis court M1395162

167800 SW W 788 Ave – Palmetto Bay $515,000 Back on Market-Short Sale 5/3/2, pool/patio Over 3,400sf. D1304052

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12055 S.W. 73 Ave... Pinecrest Walk to Pinecrest Schools. Private tropical setting -4/3 with open pool and lush gardens, 2 car garage, over 3,100 sq ft. new roof, immaculate! $639,000 D1396891 Sold 7/9/10 $610,000

550 S. Dixie Highway • Coral Gables, FL 33146


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COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

July 20 - 26, 2010

Teacher takes students on tour through her art BY JASMINE BERRY

The students of Patricia Cummins’ K-5 art classes at Palmetto Elementary often find themselves living and learning vicariously through her. As a landscape artist who has participated in six National Park Artist-inResidence programs and painted landscapes throughout the world, Cummins has a plethora of cultural knowledge and first-hand artistic experience that she infuses into her lessons. After taking part in an Artist-in-Residence program at Mesa Verde National Park, CO, Cummins had her students learn about the native pueblos of the area and weave paper sandals. “My students get some geography lessons,” she said. “They learn a little bit of history and culture.” A native New Patricia Cummins Y o r k e r , –––––––––––

Pilot Rock from Residency Cabin by Patricia Cummins, oil on canvas, Petrified Forest National Park, Artist in Residence August 2007

Cummins first was inspired to paint landscapes by the city’s park system. After receiving her BA in Art Education from the City University of New York, she moved to Miami and received her MS in Art Education. She has spent 34 years as an art educator in South Florida. Aside from her time at Palmetto Elementary, she has taught at Barry University’s Adrian School of Education, served as the Fine Arts Department chair at Richmond Heights Middle School and lectured at the Metropolitan Museum and Art Center of Coral Gables.

Cummins has won a number of awards and displayed her work in many exhibitions, including at Florida’s State Capitol. Her current studio is located at ArtSouth in Homestead. Once classes resume this fall, Cummins will have a whole new set of experiences to share with her students. This month, she is traveling to the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area in northern California for three weeks. This is her seventh National Park residency. The rugged landscape is poles apart from South Florida’s tropical scenery, but

Cummins welcomes the challenge. “I’m looking forward to painting things that are new to paint,” she said. “The landscape is quite different there. I’m hoping I will appreciate a totally different landscape.” There is one particular part of the residency Cummins is anticipating. “The California condor is endangered. I’m hoping to paint the condor or its habitat.” To contact Patricia Cummins or to see some of her work, visit her website at <www.patcummins.com>.


July 20 - 26, 2010

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

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Scholarship winner recognized during celebration in Chicago

Victoria Morrow (left) receives her award from Ulta CEO Lyn Kirby.



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July 20 - 26, 2010

BY EMILY THOMAS

Victoria Morrow, a recent graduate of Coral Reef High School, was honored on July 9 during a luncheon in Chicago to celebrate the winners of the 2010 Ulta Enrich, Empower and Enlighten Scholarship Fund. Out of the hundreds of students who entered nationwide, Victoria was selected among 28 deserving young women based on their academic achievements, community involvement, leadership qualities and commitment to continuing their education. In addition to receiving a $2,500 scholarship to the educational institution of her choice, each of the winners were offered a special trip to the Windy City for a shopping spree at Ulta State Street, mini

makeovers and a personal meeting with Ulta CEO Lyn Kirby. During the luncheon Victoria shared that this scholarship is especially helpful for her family because her father has been out of work for two years. She learned that she received the scholarship at the most opportune time. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I actually found out that I won the scholarship while I was at orientation,â&#x20AC;? Victoria said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;My mom called me on my cell phone.â&#x20AC;? Victoria will use the scholarship funds for her text books this fall. She will attend Florida State University and aspires to earn a PhD in Medieval and Renaissance Studies. To find Ulta locations near you, visit online at <www.ulta.com>.


July 20 - 26, 2010

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

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Friends of Miami-Dade Library launch ‘Ten By Ten Challenge’ BY ROBERT HAMILTON

If you are looking for a quick and easy way to help support children’s programs at your local branch of the Miami-Dade Public Library System, now is your chance. Use your phone, go online, or mail the selfaddress stamped envelope which you can find at your neighborhood branch — it’s that simple. And the rewards are huge — more money to help support more library programs that promote children’s literacy and the arts. The Friends of the Miami-Dade Public Library has launched the “Ten By Ten Challenge,” an integrated fundraising campaign in partnership with the Dade Community Foundation that runs now through Oct. 10. The goal is to raise $100,000 by 10/10/2010, from 10,000 donors giving $10 each. There are three easy ways to donate: Text the word “TEN” to 50555. When prompted, reply with the word “YES” to confirm a $10 donation to the Friends of the Miami-Dade Public Library through its partner, the Dade Community Foundation. Your $10 donation will be added to your wireless bill or deducted from your prepaid balance. Message/data rates may apply. Go to <www.mgive.com/A> for terms and help. You also can visit <www.friendsofmdpl.org> to make your credit card donation, or pick up an envelope at your local library branch and mail your donation to Friends of the Miami-Dade Public Library, 101 W. Flagler Street, Miami, FL 33130-1523. All donations are tax deductible, as permitted. Your $10 gift, when combined with donations from 10,000 others, will create a $100,000 fund which will help to support many library programs that highlight literacy, reading and the arts as pathways to lifelong learning and success. The programs are like the Art of Storytelling, a six-month literacy program that culminates in an International Festival Day that is attended

by thousands annually. Raymond Santiago, director of the MiamiDade Public Library System supports the Friends’ Challenge. “For more than 35 years, the Friends organization has provided essential support to the library system,” Santiago said. “Their efforts have helped to make possible many important library programs and services, provided staff the opportunity to participate in workshops, seminars and conferences and have even advocated on the library’s behalf in front of our legislators both locally and in Tallahassee. I urge everyone who values our public library system to participate in the Challenge.” Other essential library programs that will receive financial support from the Challenge, include: the Reading Ready Early Literacy Program which provides programs and materials that encourage and support the early literacy skills that children must learn before learning to read and write; the Summer Reading Program, which offers more than 1,500 literacyenhancing activities and encourages reading during time off from school; Storytelling Camps, a unique spring break camp that lets children become storytellers while gaining confidence and self worth, and Storytelling Workshops which give those who tell stories the opportunity to learn tales and techniques through workshops led by nationally and internationally acclaimed storytellers and authors. Created in 1974, the Friends of the MiamiDade Public Library is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) charitable organization that provides support to and advocates for the Miami-Dade Public Library System. The Friends is best known for its annual book sale — a four-day sale that takes place in the Main Library the second weekend in December. For more information, contact Nicole Chipi, administrative coordinator at 305375-4776 or via email to <friends@mdpls.org>.

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COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

July 20 - 26, 2010

Excellent Energies: Save money, energy and the planet BY NANCY EAGLETON

Excellent Energies can save you 35 to 70 percent on your annual energy costs by converting your home or business to a source of clean and abundant energy — the sun. When you go “green,” you not only will help save the planet, you’ll save some green, too. With the current government rebate program and a tax credit of 30 percent of the system’s cost, you can get an alternative energy system installed virtually free. “Government rebates range from $200 to $20,000 for residential energy conversions and can reach $100,000 for business customers,” said Rene Vicente, owner of Excellent Energies. “On a 2,500-square-foot home, the system is almost free after the rebate. What’s more, the savings to the monthly energy bill is substantial. Some systems take clients ‘off the grid,’ resulting in no electric bill, and some clients are actually selling energy back to the utility companies.” Excellent Energies’ interactive showroom is located in Medley and offers a variety of systems to convert your home or business to solar power. Solar electric sys-

The Excellent Energies team, ready to convert your home to solar power, includes (l-r) David Moreno, owner Rene Vicente, Bob Schermerhorn Sr. and Robert Schermerhorn Jr. –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

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tems, which consist of solar panels mounted on the southwest side of the roof or on the ground with a bracket system, provide customers with the largest savings in kilowatt hours. The system partners with the traditional, electric power source to provide constant energy. “Our trained energy analysts evaluate the home or business and the current kilowatt consumption in order to recommend the system that best suits the property,” Vicente said. “The customer rebate will be determined during the evaluation and once the system is installed, the rebate paperwork is processed.” Solar water heaters are the first energy efficient products that Excellent Energies installed when Vicente began the company

two years ago. These systems are eligible for a Federal Tax Credit of 30 percent of the system’s cost. Excellent Energies also offers the Green Power Box, a capacitor that cleans energy and increases its efficiency. Customers can save up to 50 percent on their energy bill with this system. Vicente recommends EEC plug-ins for every home. These mini capacitors retail for $79, operate through an A/C outlet and will save clients 15 percent on their utility bills. For another layer of energy savings, Excellent Energies’ technicians can install foam adhesive insulation in a property’s attic. The insulation is 99 percent fireproof and can reduce the monthly energy bill by 30 percent. “For the maximum savings on utility bills, we work with our clients to combine these systems,” Vicente said. “When clients can create their own energy with systems that have a very small final cost and realize huge savings on their utility bills, it’s a very powerful combination.” Vicente, who has been a computer system designer since the early ’80s, always has been a part of the technology movement. Excellent Energies will stay on the cutting edge by offering solar ranges, ovens, air conditioning units and magnetic energy systems by the end of this year. Vicente practices what he preaches and he and his business partner, Roy Cao, who joined Excellent Energies at the end of 2009, aspire to run the company like Google, energy efficient and paperless. “I’m doing this to make a difference in this country and in the lives of my children,” said Vicente, who is married and the father of four children. Excellent Energies’ showroom is located at 8251 NW S. River Dr. in Medley. To make an appointment for a free evaluation of your home by an energy analyst, call 305-359-3987 or visit online at <www.es777.com>.


July 20 - 26, 2010

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

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WANTED

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Attended by over 1,200 last year

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July 20 - 26, 2010

Gymboree Play & Music announces launch of ‘Playdate with a Purpose’ BY ROBERT HAMILTON

Gymboree Play & Music, the global leader in classes for kids for more than 30 years, recently announced the launch of “Playdate with a Purpose” in Miami in cooperation with Jumpstart and Parents. Gymboree Play & Music will be holding Playdates with a Purpose for parents and children 1-5 years of age. They will take place on Tuesday, July 27, at 8530 SW 124 Ave., and Thursday, July 29, at 11845 S. Dixie Hwy. Both sessions start at 6:15 p.m. “I’m excited to bring this wonderful philanthropic program to our community,” said Coni Ensor Goudie, director of the Kendall and Pinecrest Gymboree Play & Music centers. “From the moment they walk in the door, parents can see that we’ve created an environment where kids are free to explore and participate in uniting activities plus use this valuable time together to give to such a worthwhile cause. “Each child at the Playdate with a Purpose will be asked to make a bookplate for $5 and that bookplate will be located on the inside cover of a book that will be donated to a less fortunate child.”

Playdate with a Purpose provides parents with an easy, fun and interactive way to engage with their children. It also helps combat the nation’s early literacy crisis through the play it forward component of each Playdate, which provides the funds for books, supplies and quality programming for children in need. Also, the child-friendly charitable activity in each Playdate helps parents instill the importance of philanthropy in their children at an early age. Tips on how to talk to children about the importance of giving are provided by Dr. Dale Atkins, a licensed psychologist with over 30 years experience focusing on families, early childhood development and communication, and a frequent expert on NBC’s Today show. “Learning the power and joy of giving starts early, earlier than most would ever imagine. Even children of 3 and 4 can understand and actively participate in helping others,” Atkins said. “Lessons of giving are important to learn at an early age as they contribute to teaching compassion and empathy in children, important life-long lessons.” For information about Gymboree Play & Music, visit online at <www.gymboreeclasses.com> or call 1-800-520-PLAY.


July 20 - 26, 2010

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

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July 20 - 26, 2010

Barbara and Jack Nicklaus to join MCH Hall of Fame BY MEGAN CONNELLY

Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation president Lucy Morillo-Agnetti recently announced that Barbara and Jack Nicklaus will be inducted into the Ambassador David M. Walters International Pediatric Hall of Fame during the Foundation’s 2010 Diamond Ball. The gala, “Diamonds…Forever: Honoring the Past. Celebrating the Future,” will take place on Saturday, Oct. 2, at the iconic Fontainebleau Miami Beach. One of South Florida’s most anticipated charity events, the Diamond Ball will commemorate Miami Children’s Hospital’s Diamond Anniversary — 60 Years of WorldClass Care — and honor the legacy of medical excellence while celebrating the future of our children. Named after the first chair and president of Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation, the Ambassador David M. Walters International Pediatric Hall of Fame was created in 1986 to recognize and honor individuals who have made significant contributions to the health and happiness of children everywhere. It is the highest honor bestowed by the Foundation. With their induction into the Ambassador

David M. Walters International Pediatric Hall of Fame, the Nicklauses join an exclusive group of legendary children’s advocates, including Beyoncé, Dwyane Wade, Kelly Preston, Jonas Salk and Walt Disney, to name a few. “We are privileged to recognize Barbara and Jack for their unwavering commitment to children, not only in South Florida but across the country,” Morillo-Agnetti said. “The 2010 Diamond Ball will be a perfect place to celebrate all those who support our mission of reaching out to children no matter where they live.” Long known as the first family of golf, Barbara and Jack are the passion and guiding lights behind the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation. The organization supports numerous pediatric healthcare services and projects aimed at children’s health, safety and well-being. Jack is a National Trustee of The First Tee and has twice spoken before Congress about the character-building values of the organization and golf in general. Additionally, the Barbara and Jack Nicklaus Junior Golf Endowment Fund supports youth programs across the country. For a complete list of previous Hall of

A Nicklaus Care Center patient is visited by Barbara and Jack Nicklaus accompanied by Dr. Prasanna Jayakar. (Photo credit: Jim Mandeville/The Nicklaus Companies) –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Fame inductees, visit online at <http://mchf.org/2079/Benefits-ofGiving/Hall-of-Fame.aspx/>. To learn more about becoming a part of the 2010 Diamond Ball, contact Morgana Rolle

at via email at <mrolle@mchf.org> or call 786-624-2038. To learn more about the Foundation and offer support, visit online at <www.mchf.org> or call 305-666-2889.


July 20 - 26, 2010

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

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July 20 - 26, 2010

Bloomingdale’s names new GM for store in The Falls BY EILEEN ALKABES

she advanced to Liz Claiborne, where she worked for 10 years yielding much success. Bloomingdale’s has announced that Beth There, she accomplished various endeavors Rosenstein will now serve as general manager including launching the Sigrid Olsen brand and opening the first signature for the Miami at The Falls store. Juicy Couture store in Las Rosenstein continues to grow Vegas, NV. At Liz Claiborne, with the Bloomingdale’s family Rosenstein was named the and was most recently promotregional manager covering 12 ed from her position as regional states in her region. merchandise manager for cosA South Miami resident from metics for all 15 stores in 1981 to 1997, she is pleased to Florida; Georgia; Washington, be back in the area to hold the DC, and Chicago. position of general manager of Rosenstein began her retail Bloomingdales Miami at The career at Ann Taylor as a manFalls. agement trainee. She proBeth attended Rhode Island gressed through various posiJunior College and majored in tions and was eventually proBeth Rosenstein Fashion Merchandising. moted to regional manager. ––––––––––––––– Bloomingdale’s, a division of While working for Ann Taylor, she played an active role in opening the first Macy’s Inc., was founded in 1872 and operstores in Florida. Following her decade of ates 40 stores in New York, New Jersey, achievements with Ann Taylor, she contin- Massachusetts, Nevada, Pennsylvania, ued her retail career with A Pea In the Pod Maryland, Virginia, Illinois, Minnesota, Florida, California and Georgia. where she held the title of district manager. For more information, visit online at She then joined The Nature Company as the business development manager. In 1997, <www.bloomingdales.com>.


July 20 - 26, 2010

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

‘Back to School Splash’ at The Falls, Aug. 7-8 BY ASHLEY SUGARMAN

The Falls has teamed up with South Florida Parenting to welcome back the annual “Back to School Splash.” Families can soak up some fun during this free event, which will take place on Saturday, Aug. 7, and Sunday, Aug. 8, from noon to 5 p.m., at The Falls. The two-day event will feature free activities including paddle boats, inflatable rides, water and fishing games, and a dunk tank. A Pirate Scavenger Hunt will heat up some fun and dozens of family friendly exhibitors will provide kids activities, free samples and demonstrations plus loads of fun to beat the summer heat and get ready for school. “Back to School Splash” activities will also include: • Bring in new back to school items like uniforms, pens, pencils, notebooks, backpacks and more to benefit the Children’s Home Society; • Enjoy a real-size Hamster Ball ride, “car wash” inflatable to help you beat the heat and paddle boats, courtesy of PowerAde; • Design your own pirate hat or princess crown, courtesy of South Miami Hospital. • Children can bandage and cuddle bears that need some TLC at the Holtz Children’s Hospital’s Teddy Bear Clinic; • Sample some Pirate Booty, a healthy back-to-school snack from Pirate Brands; • Dunk someone in the dunk tank, courtesy of Bath Fitter; • Visit with Curious George and stay informed for back to school with Parent Academy; • Miami Children’s Theater will provide

face painting and balloon art, and • Enjoy live entertainment on stage with emcee James Changefield and live music, magic and game shows. “The Falls is dedicated to ensuring that Miami-Dade residents make the necessary preparations for the new school year,” said Dailen Rodriguez, director of mall marketing at The Falls. “Our shoppers will benefit from finding some real bargains and many stores are eager to offer incredible markdowns to get ready for the new school season. Families will be able to save on products ranging from clothing, footwear, athletic goods, back-to-school supplies and electronics.” The “Back to School Splash” also will launch the The Falls’ “Back-to-School Savings Card.” Families can pick-up a free Back-to-School Savings Card that will offer great discounts at participating stores at The Falls. The Back-to-School Savings Card will be available throughout the month of August and will be valid Sunday, Aug. 1, through Thursday, Aug. 31. For more information on the “Back to School Splash,” visit online at <www.sfparenting.com>, <www.simon.com> or call 305-255-4571. The Falls, located at S. Dixie Highway (US 1) and SW 136th Street is one of Florida’s largest open-air retail and entertainment destinations, featuring Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, more than 95 stores, restaurants, cafés and Regal Cinemas. For more information about The Falls, go to <www.simon.com> or call 305-2554570.

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July 20 - 26, 2010

Seaquarium offers charities an opportunity to fundraise BY MARILYN LUNA

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Need to raise money for a South Florida based charity, church, community organization or school? Consider Miami Seaquarium Gives Back, an innovative program that offers not-for-profit organizations the opportunity to raise money, while their donors receive discounted admission to Miami Seaquarium. The program is simple. Miami Seaquarium will give not-for-profit partners a $5 donation for every person who uses a 20 percent discounted coupon to the park. Coupons will be uniquely coded for each partner that participates. The organization will be responsible for disseminating the coupons to its donors. Donors must present the uniquely coded discount coupon at the time of ticketing in order for the organization to receive the donation. To get involved in Miami Seaquarium Gives Back visit online at <www.miamiseaquarium.com/miamiseaquar iumgivesback> or call 305-365-2525. Organizations must provide proof of tax-

exempt status to qualify. â&#x20AC;&#x153;While many charities are seeing a decline in donations, Miami Seaquarium is happy to partner with local not-for-profit organizations to offer them another tool for fundraising,â&#x20AC;? said Andrew Hertz, general manager at Miami Seaquarium. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We encourage all local charities to take advantage of this amazing opportunity. The benefit to each charity will be determined by how much they are able to garner the participation of their supporters.â&#x20AC;? Participating organizations will be provided with either digital or hard copies of the 20 percent discount coupons. Each charity will be responsible to mark their coupons with the approved identification code that will be provided by Miami Seaquarium. Coupons may then be distributed to all of the organizations supporters and friends. Each coupon is good for up to six people. Miami Seaquarium, South Floridaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most popular tourist attraction, is a family-oriented marine-life park open to the public 365 days a year. General admission to Miami Seaquarium is $37.95 and $27.95 for children (ages 3-9).

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July 20 - 26, 2010

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‘Sea Turtle Release’ scheduled at Biscayne Nature Center The Marjory Stoneman Douglas Biscayne Nature Center, located at 6767 Crandon Blvd., will host a series of “Sea Turtle Release” events July 23-26, from 7:30 to 10 p.m. The evening will include refreshments, music, an art exhibition, children’s activities and environmental education presentations, all leading up to the release of the sea turtles under the light of a full moon. To attend the event, reservations and a Nature Center membership are required. For more information or to make reservations, call 305-361-6767, ext. 119, or visit online at <www.biscaynenaturecenter.org>. ‘SAFE SUMMER’ EVENT SET AT DADELAND MALL A fun and free educational day awaits kids of all ages at Dadeland Mall, as the Simon Kidgits Club hosts a “Safe Summer” event on Friday, July 23, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., in the Kay Jewelers area of the mall located at 7535 N. Kendall Dr. The event will help parents teach their chidlren to play it safe by featuring demonstrations and allowing kids to

interact with the Miami-Dade Police Department, Citizens Crime Watch of Miami-Dade County and Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department. The event also will feature fingerprinting for kids, an appearance and photo opportunity with McGruff the Crime Dog and a helicopter display. To sign up for the Simon Kidgits Club, visit <www.simon.com/kidgits> or visit the mall during regular hours. 60 CUBAN ARTWORKS ON DISPLAY AT CERNUDA ARTE A showing of 60 Cuban artworks are on display at Cernuda Arte, 3155 Ponce de Leon Blvd., now through Aug. 23. The artists showing include Wifredo Lam, Victor Manuel, Amelia Pelaez, Rene Portocarrero, Gina Pello, Flora Fong, Vicente Hernandez, Miguel Florido, Ramon Vazquez, David Rodriguez, Giosvany Echevarria, Li Dominquez Fong, Irina Elen Gonzalez, among others. For more information, call 305-4611050 or visit online at <www.cernudaarte.com>.

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COMMUNITY NEWS BRIEFS FREE WORKSHOP JULY 24 ON SMART LANDSCAPING The Miami-Dade Cooperative Extension Division’s Florida Yards and Neighborhoods program will be hosting a free workshop on Saturday, July 24, from 2 to 4 p.m., at the Coral Gables Branch Library, 3443 Segovia St. Attendees will learn how to properly maintain their irrigation systems with hands-on activities, the best time of day to program your irrigation timer and how to select plants that flourish on minimal water. Some lucky attendees also will have a chance to win plants during a raffle at the end of the workshop. Space is limited. To register in advance, contact Laura Vasquez at 305-248-3311, ext. 239, or send email to her at <lavasquez@ufl.edu>.

MIAMI HEART GALLERY EXHIBITION ON DISPLAY AT FAIRCHILD GARDEN The Children’s Trust Miami Heart Gallery exhibit will be on display from July 20 through Sept.15 at the Garden House on the grounds of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Rd. The venue is open to the public daily from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Children’s Trust Miami Heart Gallery is a traveling exhibit featuring portraits of children in Miami-Dade County’s foster care system who are available for adoption. This year’s theme is Art Deco, inspired by Miami Beach’s historic Art Deco district where all 44 portraits were photographed.

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from previous page –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

To visit the exhibit, a regular admission fee to Fairchild is required. Adult admission is $20, senior citizens are $15, children ages 6-17 are $10, and children age 5 and under are in free. Fairchild members also are free, and Sundays in August as well as the first Wednesday of every month are free. For more information, visit online at <www.miamiheartgallery.org>. FRUIT AND SPICE PARK SLATED TO HOST TOUR AND WORKSHOP Miami-Dade County’s Fruit and Spice Park, located at 24801 SW 187 Ave., will host a tour and a workshop for nature lovers. The garden tour of Incredible Acres and Excalibur Nursery will take place all day on Saturday, July 24. The Banana Workshop will take place on Saturday, July 31, from 10 a.m. to noon. The garden tour through Incredible Acres and Excalibur Nursery will allow participants to see rare tropical plants and fruits from around the world. The cost for

the tour is $40. Don Chafin, the “Banana Man,” who will show participants how to grow thriving bananas, will teach the Banana Workshop. Participants also will get to dig plants to take home from the park’s collection. The cost for the workshop is $25. Reservations are required and space is limited. To make a reservation, call 305247-5727 or send email to <fruitandspicepark@miamidade.gov>. For more details, visit online at <www.fruitandspicepark.org>. SCHOOL SUPPLIES DRIVE TO HELP HOMELESS SEEKING DONATIONS It’s nearly back to school time for the children of South Florida. The Community Partnership for the Homeless is asking for donations for the nearly 200 children who reside at the two homeless assistance centers. Uniforms, backpacks, shoes, socks and school supplies are needed. To make a donation, call the donation hotline at 305329-3030.


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Financial Planning for FPL Employees This is Part II of an article published in a previous issue. These suggestions are specifically geared toward FPL employees by Rick Tonkinson who has been working with FPL since 1991 (18 years). These suggestions should apply to all employees regardless of age or time with the company. This is the second part of an ad series that began in the last issue. 4th: Before you retire become debt free. This means getting the kids raised, educated and maybe married off. It also means a zero balance on the credit cards, car and truck loans, home equity loan and house mortgage. If you have a choice to reduce debt or save an extra dollar you should consider putting the extra dollar towards reducing the debt. This process of debt reduction should be a priority and it may take several years to attain. Proper use of your net pay will shorten the time to attain this. Extra money from an outage or overtime can be extra money towards your debt. Try to live on your straight time income only. 5th: If you can afford it and have family to take care of, then purchase the most group term life insurance. You can purchase as much as 4x

your salary. This benefit is often not taken full advantage of. 6th: Purchase the disability insurance. Your job is stressful and your work is often dangerous. FPL focuses on your safety but people still get hurt. The disability insurance is a must. 7th: Live where you want to but if Miami or Homestead is too expensive consider moving to a cheaper state. Miami is one of the most expensive areas to live in the USA.The homeowner insurance, property taxes and car insurance rates are so high that it chases retirees out of town. States such as Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and South Carolina are much cheaper to live. People move to be with their families (grandkids) but these states are more affordable and often times a lot friendlier and a lot less congested. These are suggestions that apply to all FPL employees. Management has merit raises in March that we can discuss what to do with. Some managers have stock options that we can also discuss. Rick Tonkinson is a Certified Financial Planner (CFPâ&#x201E;˘). The family business office is located at 100 Almeria Ave, Suite 310, Coral Gables, FL 33134. Tel # 305-447-6617

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July 20 - 26, 2010

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Dealing with downed power lines BY KENT CROOK

President, Wiremasters Electric When a hurricane or a nearhurricane comes through our metro area, the newspapers predictably print stories of people who survived the storm but killed themselves by coming in contact with downed power lines after the storm. With the goal of saving your life, I offer some basic facts you need to know about power lines and how to deal with them. Power poles are shared by utility, cable, and telephone companies. A downed electrical line can energize the other lines as well. Even non-conductive materials such as pieces of wood can become a path for electricity. Metal security fences can become electrified fences, creating a death trap if you come in contact with them. The basic rule is: Stay away from downed power lines. Don’t try to move them out of your way. If you’re driving, don’t try to drive around them during or immediately following a hurricane. Don’t drive over the lines because if your car makes contact, it can become energized. In such a case, stay in your car, roll your window down to call for

help or use your cell phone to dial 911. If the car makes contact with a downed power line and catches on fire, the way you exit the car will determine whether you live to tell about it. Open the car’s door and stand on the floorboard of the car. Then jump away from the vehicle with both feet together, landing as far as possible from the car. Don’t hang on to any part of the car during the jump, including the car handle. You may have noticed that after the hurricane passes through your area, you will see streets covered with tree branches and litter. Power lines have a way of getting entangled with these branches, becoming a serious hazard for the person trimming the branches with a chainsaw. Litter debris — such as a lawn chain, a piece of metal siding or a ladder — can present hidden dangers. Before you do any yard cleanup, take a thorough look at your surroundings. As a safety precaution, have someone with you so that if you come in contact with energized power lines, that person can call for help. Power lines on the street or in your yard can be killers. Use common sense to survive the storm and that tricky period after the storm. For more information, call 305-378-4011 or go to <www.kcwiremasters.com>.


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Space technology helps children and adults “Play Attention” The same technology that helps astronauts stay attentive in the cockpit now helps students and adults overcome attention, concentration and focus issues. The Space Foundation announced that Play Attention from Unique Logic and Technology is recognized as a Certified Educational Product (tm) for its feedback based educational attention training system based on NASA technology.

NASA scientists developed computer systems for improving the concentration skills of astronauts and test pilots. NASA attached sensors to pilots' heads to capture their brain waves and learned to identify the kind of brain activity that occurs when a person is concentrating on a task. They developed software that lets pilots control images on a computer screen; the more the pilots focused their minds and set aside distractions, the better they performed. The Play Attention Learning System is a patented advance of the technology originally developed at NASA. "The Space Foundation is pleased to certify the Play Attention system, recogniz-

ing the technology advances and applications Unique Logic and Technology made to help students and adults overcome attention disorders," said Kevin Cook, director of Space Technology Awareness for the Space Foundation. The Play Attention system uses a helmet containing special sensors that accesses brainwaves indicative of focus and cognitive processing. The sensory information is fed into a small interface system that attaches to the user's home computer. Users complete a series of video game-like exercises (cognitive exercises), that are controlled by the mind alone, seeing and hearing real-time feedback of how they are progressing in focusing and finishing tasks. Children, as well as adults, use their minds to make screen characters fly, swim, jump, and more. With practice they learn to apply these skills to educational objectives such as reading, completing tasks on time and attentive listening. A Play Attention coach helps

shape behavior to minimize distractions and improve focus. “Both NASA and Play Attention have proven that feedback-based learning empowers individuals to deal with their personal challenges by increasing mental capacity and skill," said Peter Freer, chief executive officer of Unique Logic and Technology. "This produces a sense of accomplishment, self-worth, and success. We owe NASA a great debt." Play Attention is currently in use in the United States, Puerto Rico, China, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Canada, Singapore, Taiwan, South America, and Europe. For more information please contact The Miami Institute of Training and Neurofeedback 2645 SW 37th Avenue, Suite 505 Miami, Florida 33133 305-448-5111 www.BrainTrainingServices.com Also on Facebook under Play Attention Miami


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Don’t let your party be ruined by scams BY SONYA M. PEREZ

Throwing together an event is no easy feat. The words, “the devil is in the details,” ring true when it comes to party planning because as much as you can possibly prepare, some things are just out of your control and may go wrong. Your wedding photographer may not show up as promised or an undelivered bounce house for your child’s birthday party may leave you feeling deflated. To make sure your next affair goes off without a hitch, the Miami-Dade Consumer Services Department suggests avoiding some common mistakes and preparing for the unexpected. COMMON RIP-OFFS No shows. There’s nothing worse than having spent thousands of dollars for your wedding — flowers, dresses, catering, and the photographer doesn’t show up. How else will you document the big day? Overcharges. It’s the day of your party. The kids are excited about the big castle bounce house they were promised. Upon

delivery, the company rep explains they ran out of the kind you ordered and only have more expensive ones available. You’re put on the spot to make a decision and risk losing your deposit and/or the bounce house. CONSUMER SMARTS Get everything in writing, and read it carefully. Do you understand it, and is it fair? If you do not read everything in contracts, orders, and instructions, then you are exposing yourself to a tremendous amount of liability and financial risk. When signing a contract, make sure the vendor spells out the factors of compensation should they fail to perform the task they were hired to do. Remember, only what is written really counts, not what was promised. Consider p u rchasing event insurance. This is especially crucial for expensive affairs such as weddings and conferences. Inclement weather, disruptions in travel itineraries and other factors can delay your event indefinitely. Rest easy that you will have your special day just the way you

planned it by mitigating your losses. Don’t leave anything to chance. Double check and triple check every detail. Often with large events the planning will take place over several months, if not years. Do not assume the vendor who promised to deliver flowers and décor remembers all that you discussed. Always stay on top of things at all times and follow through. Develop a budget and a timeline. Keep a spreadsheet of your expenses, detailing what deposits have been made and what remains to be paid. List the form of payment used. This way, it will be easier to keep track of what you owe and to whom. A timeline also will help you keep track of tasks that need to be performed. It will aide you in following up with vendors as your event day approaches and alleviate your own stress by avoiding last minute, unforeseen challenges, helping you to complete tasks in a realistic time frame, and create a seamless and positive experience for all which will make the whole process a lot easier. This detailed

timeline should include all of the preevent tasks; who are responsible for accomplishing the task, and the time frame for completion. Ask for references. Not sure the person you hired is cut out for the job? Then ask them for references. Call up former clients and see how pleased they were with the results. Shop around. Find out who has the best offer based on value and what you’re getting for your money. It’s human nature to miss some things in the planning phase of your event. Keeping a detailed log of your activities, contacts and what needs to be done will take a lot of the stress out of planning and allow you to enjoy and look forward to your party. It’s a long hard journey. Don’t forget to enjoy the experience! For additional consumer tips, or to check the complaint history of a company, file a complaint or ask consumer-related questions, visit the Miami-Dade Consumer Services Department website at <www.miamidade.gov/csd> or call 305375-3677.

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2011 Hyundai Sonata is best buy for the money

Ron Beasley AUTOMOTIVE EDITOR

LET’S TALK CARS After spending a week behind the wheel of the new 2011 Hyundai Sonata, I can only say that this is one of the best cars on the market today for the money — it’s just that good. The all-new Sonata is beautifully designed, has excellent power, is amazingly responsive, has a near-luxury interior and the fit-and-finish is perfect. Not bad for a company that was ridiculed as an embarrassment to the industry when it entered the U.S. market 25 years ago. This latest version of the Sonata (offered in three models — GLS, SE and Limited) was conceived under Hyundai’s new Fluidic Sculpture concept, a cohesive design language that will influence the entire Hyundai model lineup over the next few years. Hyundai says it was inspired by nature and is “an interplay of natural, fluid elements with more rigid surfaces and structures to create the illusion of constant motion.” The Sonata is long and low, with a high

beltline that allows for a long, sleek roofline accented by the third window. A monoform side profile includes flowing lines highlighted by a Hyundai signature chrome accent that spans the length of the car, with the trim extending out from the headlights up along the hood and through the beltline. Up front, the face is bold with a large chrome grille and headlights that integrate precise details. A choice of 16-, 17- or 18-inch multi-spoke wheels is offered. The sophistication continues inside with an upscale ambiance accentuated by the flowthrough center console and instrument panel. The flowing surfaces complement the exterior design and wrap around the driver and passengers. A sleek roofline usually compromises headroom and interior volume but, at 120.2 cubic feet, the Sonata has as much interior volume as its key competitors. Even in trunk room, the Sonata shines with 16.4 cubic feet of space. Under the hood, there’s Hyundai’s new 198 hp Theta II 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with a Gasoline Direct-Injection (GDI) fuel delivery system for improved fuel efficiency and lower emissions. The high-tech, all-aluminum, 16-valve engine features Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing (DCVVT) and a Variable Induction System (VIS) for better engine breathing. The engine is mated to an all-new A6MF2

2011 Hyundai Sonata is long and low, with a high beltline and a long, sleek roofline accented by the third window.

silky-smooth six-speed automatic transaxle transmission with SHIFTRONIC. The gearbox is smaller, more compact and lighter than any other six-speed transmission on the market today. As for the fantastic ride and precise handling, chalk that up to an advanced four-wheel independent suspension system that uses MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension systems with increased travel for improved wheel control and a smoother ride.

Pricing on the 2011 Hyundai Sonata ranges from $19,195 for the GLS model with the six-speed manual transmission to $27,395 for the Limited with navigation model equipped with the six-speed automatic transmission.

Ron Beasley is the automotive editor for Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277, ext. 261, or by addressing email correspondence to <LetsTalkCars@aol.com>.

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Fundraising event to kick off 2010 Miami Spice activities on July 31 BY ROBERT HAMILTON

The Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) will conduct the inaugural Miami Spice Kickoff Event and Fundraiser, according to William D. Talbert III, CDME, president and CEO of GMCVB. The event, which will launch the muchanticipated ninth annual Miami Spice restaurant program, is scheduled for Saturday, July 31, from 7 to 10 p.m., at the Miami Beach Convention Center in Hall D. It will showcase a sampling of delicious culinary specialties from Miami Spice participating restaurants. A VIP reception, hosted by Miami Spice presenting sponsor American Express, and official sponsors Moët Hennessy USA and Stella Artois, slated for 6-7 p.m., will include an open bar and complimentary valet service. Advance tickets, available now for purchase via TicketMaster are priced at $35 for general admission; $75 for the VIP reception. Tickets available at the door, will be priced at $50 for general admission; $100 for the VIP reception. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Share Our Strength and Madison’s Wish. “The GMCVB is grateful for the enthusiastic participation of our restaurant partners, our sponsors and the generous assistance of

the Miami Beach Convention Center,” said Steven Haas, chair of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We are proud to bring our community together for this first annual event in celebration of Miami’s renowned culinary experience.” Some of the destination’s top restaurants already onboard for the exciting launch event include Michy’s, SRA. Martinez, BLT Steak, D. Rodriguez Cuba, Red-The Steakhouse, and Ocean Prime, among many others. Miami Spice participating restaurants that wish to take part in the Kickoff Event and Fundraiser may do so at no additional cost and will be provided with a $500 stipend to cover food costs. Restaurateurs who wish to participate in the kickoff event and/or Miami Spice can send email to Madeleine Paredes at <Madeleine@gmcvb.com> for application forms. The ninth annual Miami Spice restaurant program takes place Aug. 1-Sept. 30. During that time, Greater Miami’s finest restaurants will offer three course prix fixe lunches at $22 per person, and dinners at $35 (excluding taxes and gratuities). Each menu will include an appetizer, entrée and dessert offering an average discount of 30-50 percent off the regular value. For details on Miami Spice and the launch event, visit <www.iLoveMiamiSpice.com>.

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Customers can now use cash to add to SunPass accounts BY JORGE MARTINEZ

Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise (FTE) has introduced a first-of-its-kind program that helps cash-based customers access electronic toll collection (SunPass) services more readily and conveniently, even if the customers don’t have a bank account or credit card. PBS&J assisted FTE in designing and implementing the program. Customers now are able to use cash to add money to a prepaid SunPass account at hundreds of locations throughout Florida. “The SunPass prepaid electronic toll collection system significantly reduces traffic congestion on Florida’s roads,” said Richard (Rick) Nelson, FTE’s director of Toll Operations. “Customers have a safer, faster, and more convenient ride to their destination-and vehicle emissions are reduced. Around 70 percent of our customers now use SunPass. We’re now making electronic tolling much more convenient for our cash-based customers.” To date, FTE has encouraged customers to purchase and/or replenish their SunPass accounts via a bank account or credit card. However, on average — according to a study by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) — about a quarter of the U.S. population overall transacts financial obligations either entirely or mostly in cash. The new cash-based retail locations will consist of a combination of computerized kiosks (similar to ATM machines) and staffed facilities (such as check cashing and money transfer outlets). As the

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program gains recognition, FTE and its authorized vendors plan to open additional retail locations. FTE has selected Blackstone, ePay, and TIO Networks to provide cash-based services to its customers over the next several years. A video on how the new system works can be viewed at <www.wesh.com/ news/23990219/detail.html>. FTE also recently announced its program to implement all-electronic tolling (AET) on the Homestead Extension of the Florida’s Turnpike in 2011. AET will result in the removal of tollbooths and the discontinuation of the option to pay cash tolls along the roadway. FTE’s new cashbased program allows customers to continue to pay cash via their SunPass account. Although SunPass remains the safer and more preferred payment option, FTE also plans to offer a Toll-By-Plate product if a customer does not have a valid SunPass account. The customer can pay cash for a bill that is generated from a digital photograph taken of their license plate as they drive through the toll gantry. Within the next year, FTE plans to roll out additional services for cash-based customers including purchasing new SunPass transponders, and rolling out the TollBy-Plate payment options when this program is available. “FTE’s new outreach to cash-based customers will enable as many people as possible to access FTE’s AET facilities,” said Nelson. “We’re excited about the opportunity to offer even better service to Florida’s traveling public.”

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Page 48

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H E A L T H

&

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D I R E C T O R Y

July 20 - 26, 2010

C A L L

( 3 0 5 ) 6 6 1 - 9 2 0 0

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Te e n a g e g i r l s n e e d e d f o r a B o n e D e n s i t y St u d y We are currently conducting a year long trial to determine how investigational, FDA-approved birth control pills (oral contraception) affect bone mineral density in teenage girls. Participants need to be: • 12 to 18 years old, generally in good health

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www.tanbyisis.com

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July 20 - 26, 2010

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If you’ve ever thought about being a Cheerleader, Dancer or an amazing Performer then here is where you need to be this Summer! • Get in shape while having FUN • Build confidence in a Team Environment • Learn how to flip in the air like a pro • Dance like the Top Performing T.V. Stars For more information, call or visit us at Spiritt off Florida a Training g Center 6800 S.W. 81 Terrace, Miami, FL 33143 • 305-264-1103 www.SpiritofFlorida.net

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July 20 - 26, 2010

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T H E

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( 3 0 5 ) 6 6 1 - 9 2 0 0

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( 3 0 5 ) 6 6 1 - 9 2 0 0

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If you are preparing for auditions in school, state, county bands, or just have a love for music and want to learn more;

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BIO

Also Available: Music Entertainment For All Occasions

Florida Interational University 2004-Present Music Education/Performance Lead Saxophone player in FIU’s Premiere Wind Ensemble ALL STATE Baritone player - 2004 All County Jazz/Concert band 1996-2004

At our office or in your home Mark Elman, MS. English Ed & Ulises Ordunez, MS. Math

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1231DS

0727KS

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COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

H O M E

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D I R E C T O R Y

C A L L

( 3 0 5 ) 6 6 1 - 9 2 0 0

“Call Us”We’d like to get to “MOW” you!

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1231DS

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0927MYERS

T R E E

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T H E

July 20 - 26, 2010

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305-216-4717 Para asistencia en Español llamar

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Residential & Commercial

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0929SC

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• Wood Replacement/Repair

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July 20 - 26, 2010

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THE ROOFING EXPERTS Repairs New Roofs Re-Roofing Coatings

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CLOSED 0913DS

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Call Lou


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July 20 - 26, 2010


Kendall Gazette Online edition July 20 2010