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P u b l i s h e d i n c o o p e r a t i o n w i t h T h e M i a m i B e a c h C h a m b e r o f C o m m e r c e –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– C o n n e c t i n g L o c a l B u s i n e s s e s s i n c e 1 9 5 8

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Visitor Tax to Boost the Value of Miami Beach BY TASHA GIUDA

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he internationallyrenowned City of Miami Beach is more than just a top tourist destination: it is also a premier city in which to live and work. Residents benefit greatly from tourism revenue, which lowers property taxes, stimulates job growth, and supports city services. Thus, maintaining world class venues is a critical ingredient to both Miami Beach’s success and its residents’ welfare. An upcoming referendum vote on a resort tax increase to fund renovations to the Miami Beach Convention Center would achieve just this. This visitor tax will not go into effect until the project commences. Home to large-scale events such as the Miami International Boat Show and North America’s premier contemporary art fair Art Basel, the Miami Beach Convention Center boasts over 1,000,000 square feet of event space. Formerly ranked in the top five convention centers nationally, the Miami Beach Convention Center has fallen sharply to the mid-twenties in recent years after losing business to competitors’ newer and larger event spaces. To avoid the risk of losing corporate clientele like Nike, IBM and Microsoft which are the more lucrative conventions bringing the highest dollars to the area, the convention center is proposing improvements to its facility: renovation of its existing convention center and a 60,000 square foot ballroom. “An increased bed tax is not going to scare the tourists away, it’s going to produce a better time for them, if the money is spent correctly,” said Ray Breslin, President of the Collins Park Neighborhood Association & a city activist. ––––––––––––––

See

VISITOR TAX, page 4

Chamber of Commerce 90th Annual Gala Celebrates Success

STEVEN D. SONENREICH, JOSE ABREU, CHAIRMAN JASON LOEB, DR. ROSANN SIDENER, GARY R. GERSON AND TONY GOLDMAN (MORE PHOTOS INSIDE)

BY CHARLOTTE LIBOV

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nder a banner reading “Celebrating Success,” leaders from the worlds of business, historic preservation, education and tourism were all honored on June 2 as a sold-out audience of 1,000 paid homage to them at the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce’s 90th Annual Dinner Gala and Silent Auction. The elegant event, which was held against a backdrop saluting the contributions that arts and culture make to our

community through a variety of performances that paid tribute to the area’s cultural treasures. Upon approaching the Miami Beach Convention Center, guests were treated to music from members of the FIU Jazz Ensemble. Member of the Miami Beach Marching Band, flanked by a color guard, led the guests into the dining hall, where they were serenaded by America’s Orchestral Academy, the New World Symphony, which performed with great appropriateness “Serenatta Notturna,” –––––––––––––––––––––––––––– See

Phone: 305-669-7355

Letter from the Chair BY JASON LOEB

Chairman, Miami Beach Chamber I always like to recap a good party and our recent 90th annual Gala will certainly leave us with a lot of fond memories. Our “Celebration of Success” was yet another success under our belts. With more than 1,200 revelers, this record attendance proves that Miami Beach Chamber is in fact bigger and better than ever. I love the gala because it personifies our passion and hard work, as most prominently seen by our honorees. To n y G o l d m a n, Chairman and CEO of Goldman Properties and Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, is a true inspiration for seeing the possibilities and transforming a vision into reality. His belief in and dedication to our small Miami Beach paradise elevated the city to “America’s Rivera” and major international business hub. Steven Sonenreich, President and CEO of Mount Sinai Medical Center and Citizen of the Year Award winner, is a prime example of what can be accomplished when there is passion behind work. Under his leadership, our city has a premiere hospital focused on the health of its citizens and beyond with access to the latest medical care and techniques. G a r y G e r s o n , Founding Partner of Gerson, Preston, Robinson & Company, P.A. and National Bank Hi-Tides Outstanding Achievement Award recipient, restores confidence in business via his co-emphasis on philanthropy. Understanding the importance of an overall thriving community, he reminds us that our companies too need to be productive, contributing citizens. D r. Rosann Sidener, Principal of Miami Beach High School and Distinguished Service Award winner, is an incredible mentor. She taught me the importance of providing students with an inspiring education, but also real-world experiences that develop budding entrepreneurial minds. It is through her work that I am assured that the future of Miami Beach is very bright. Jose A b re a u, Director of the Miami-Dade

GALA, page 4 –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– See

LETTER, page 4


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LEADERSHIP SPOTLIGHT ALEKSANDRA MARZEC

Appointed to Pillar Board of Trustees Aleksandra Marzec was born quickly spread and her business in Olawa, Poland, a small city in took off. In September of the country’s Southwest corner, 2004, she started Florida where the Polish, Czech and Suncoast Properties , a fullGerman borders meet. Her parservice real estate brokerage. ents, Danuta and Zygmunt The company quickly expandMarzec were born and raised in ed and shortly thereafter this rural agricultural region as opened a Title and Mortgage well. Her mother was a teacher at division. The business was Aleksandra’s elementary school pouring in and Aleksandra and her father a professional sochired new agents to keep up cer player. Closest to her dad, with the sales. Aleksandra now Aleksandra soon developed was providing and covering all stamina to keep up with him and aspects of real estate. She was ALEKSANDRA MARZEC aspired to follow in his footsteps working with traditional sellers and become a professional athand buyers as well a growing lete. Her mother, however, had different plans list of foreign investors, covering residential for Aleksandra, pushing her to focus on aca- and commercial listings and sales. demics and a world outside the sports. In late 2010, Aleksandra was invited to Her father left the family when Aleksandra South Beach by one of her foreign investors was still quite young. He wound up continu- to meet with representatives from his compaing his soccer career in Canada where she ny. She immediately fell in love with the area would spend summers with him regularly all & decided that South Florida should be her the way into her teens. An extremely good next home. When she returned to Clearwater student, she earned the opportunity to attend she began planning an exit strategy. She the International Business College in decided to call one of her close friends and Wroclaw, Poland. where she studied lan- very successful real estate broker in guages, finance, administration and interna- Sarasota, Sandra Osorio and asked her if she tional relations and business. would be interested in becoming business One day, out of the blue, a close friend partners and moving to South Beach. Sandra would bring astounding news to her family. agreed and the Alek & Sandra team at She had secretly submitted Aleksandra’s name Coldwell Banker was born. for a U.S. visa in what was then a lottery sysAleksandra Marzec and Sandra Osorio, tem for immigration to America from Europe. both Broker-Associates, have a combined 20 Beating incredible odds, similar to that of win- years serving the needs of their clients, and ning the lotto, Aleksandra was selected. bringing a vital international background to Strangely enough the thought of living in the cosmopolitan business world of Miami Florida had never seriously crossed her mind Beach. The two top producers speak seven except for an occasional fantasy of going to languages, including Spanish, Italian, Polish, Orlando and doing all the scary rides at the var- and Portuguese – which is a key benefit in ious theme parks. She decided it was destiny assisting the wide array of international and Aleksandra journey to United States began. clientele living and investing in Miami A determined Aleksandra, finally on Beach. Sandra comes from an Italian backAmerican soil, hit the ground running by ground and has lived in England, Argentina, enrolling full time at the University of South Brazil, Colombia, Chile and Venezuela. The Florida at Tampa. The language barrier was Team takes great pride in their abilities to soon tamed as she began work on her BA. communicate successfully in today’s global Four years later she graduated with a real estate business environment. Sandra has Bachelor of Arts Degree and minor in a Business Marketing Degree from Brigham Business Administration, Marketing and Young University, and an MBA in Business Interpersonal Relations. Administration from the University of After spending a few years working for a Southern California. software company in Clearwater, she began Aleksandra is also a big believer in giving seeing indicators in the market which lead her back to her community. Upon moving to to believe that the real estate industry was Miami Beach, she immediately joined the ready to take off. She got her real estate Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce where license and quickly got into sales of high-end she immediately got involved in a number of residential properties in the Clearwater area activities. Her leadership ability was recently right before the upside explosion in property rewarded by an appointment to the chamvalues. Aleksandra’s reputation as a visionary ber’s Pillar Board of Trustees.

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GALA, from page 1

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from Mozart Serenade #6. During the awards ceremony, the honorees received a personally handcrafted original art piece designed by students of the FIU College of Architecture and the Arts, one of the newest institutions to now make its home on Miami Beach. Also, a video showing the accomplishments of all of the nominees, produced by Platinum Sponsor Sheila DuffyLehrman and Tropic Survival, was played for each presentation. At the start of the dinner, Chamber CEO and President Jerry Libbin set the tone by paying tribute to outgoing Chairman Jason Loeb, who he hailed for bringing the Chamber to a new level, setting the stage for the dinner’s record turnout. “This is the largest dinner gala we’ve ever had in the history of the chamber, and it is a great milestone,” said Libbin. “It is amazing to see so many figureheads gathered together in one room. Every person here is an example of what makes our city its Number One destination,” he added. The first honoree, Tony Goldman, Chairman, the Goldman Properties Company, was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for “seeing a dilapidated collection of buildings on Ocean Drive and being at the forefront of what it is today -America’s Riviera,” said Loeb.

Discovering America’s Riviera-our very own South Beach,” said Loeb. “Twenty seven years ago, when I first set foot on Ocean Drive and 6th Street and I looked to the north, I didn’t know I was setting foot on the American Riviera, all I knew was that I had fallen deeply in love. It was love at first sight and I remain deeply in love to this day,” said Goldman. But even though he is acclaimed as a visionary who has helped restore cities across the country, Goldman said, “I will always consider Miami Beach my shining achievement.” Steven D. Sonenreich, President and CEO of Mount Sinai Medical Center, was given the Citizen of the Year Award for building the medical center into a top-flight hospital. “I am delighted and humbled to receive this wonderful honor,” said Sonenreich, who worked his way up through the ranks of the hospital during his initial 20-year tenure, and then left to help build up Cedars Medical Center in Miami, before returning here to the Mount Sinai top post in 2001. The announcement of the next nominee for the Distinguished Service Award, Dr. Rosann Sidener, elicited much excitement, as the Miami Beach Senior High School Principal has been much in the news, having just been selected as the 2012 Florida Association of School Administrators’ Principal of the Year. Miami Beach Mayor Matti Bower introduced Dr. Sidener and congratulated the Chamber upon her selection, saying, “This

June 14 - 27, 2012

particular award is very special, and to have a principal receive it is also so important because this shows the Chamber recognizes the importance of education.” Principal Sidener turned her acceptance speech into a rousing affirmation of the importance of public education. Speaking from a podium she had draped with an American flag, which, she joked, she had “swiped” from a classroom, she told the Chamber she was accepting the award as an affirmation of the importance of public schools. “Public education is the foundation upon which this country was built. Public schools are what put this country on the map,” she said. Jose Abreu, Director of the Miami-Dade Aviation Department was then called to the stage to accept the Excellence in Tourism Award. Abreu, who took over the expansion of Miami International Airport in 2005, when it was at one of it’s lowest points, is credited with helping to complete the $6.2 billion renovation, and also leading the airport to it’s new top position as the fastest growing in the country. “I look at this award as confirmation that without question MIA is the front door to our community, and to have a community that supports us only makes our job easier,” Abreu said. Among the highest of the awards is the City National Bank Hi-Tides Outstanding Achievement Award, which is given to a graduate of Miami Beach High School, and this year’s honoree, Gary R. Gerson,

LETTER, from page 1

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Aviation Department and Excellence in Tourism Award honoree, is a true force. In an industry so critical to our sought-after city, he surpassed goals with Miami International Airport’s aggressive renovation project and has implemented processes that enhance the passenger and freight experience within one of the world’s busiest airports.

VISITOR TAX, from page 1

Miamii Beach h News

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The multimillion dollar project will be made possible by a simple increase of up to 1% in the Miami Beach resort tax, a fee which visitors and hotel or short-term rental guests pay to the city. Residents are not affected. Currently at 3%, the resort tax would increase to roughly 4% and increase Miami Beach’s total hotel tax to 14%, still keeping below other major cities such as Boston, New York City and Houston where the hotel tax can reach as high as 21%. The city needs the citizens of Miami Beach to approve this visitor tax increase, and in turn help the convention center become competitive once again. Renovations and expansion of this extent will enhance the quality of life for the residents of Miami Beach for many

Founding Partner, Gerson, Preston, Robinson and Co, PA. In the introduction, Gerson was lauded for his 40-year career, which has ranged from being the youngest person in the country to become a CPA (he was 21) to becoming the only accountant ever to be inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame for his role in creating an academic program to tutor athletes. In his acceptance speech, Gerson told the audience he was “a very lucky man,” because his family moved to Miami Beach to run a small hotel. “In those days, way before the Internet, we would have to go down to the Chamber to get brochures about Miami Beach to send to our prospective guests. This is how I worked my way through college,” he told the audience. During the dinner, a live auction, a silent auction, and the raffling off of an all-expense paid trip to London was also held. Afterwards, Chamber members proceeded to the “City National Bank Blue Room Dessert and After Party,” which included a live DJ and musicians, performers, tables filled with luscious desserts, and the opportunity to watch the hand rolling of cigars with the City National Bank logo and receive them as souvenirs.

I again thank these exemplary members, but also thank you, our members, for your hard work on behalf of the Chamber. From the opening cocktail reception to the after-party, it was incredible to unwind and simply enjoy this year’s accomplishments together. I hope you too enjoyed the evening and look forward to an even bigger celebration next year. At your service, Jason Loeb Chairman years to come, allowing the innumerable tourists who use our services to re-invest in our community. “It has been more than three decades since the last renovation of the Miami Beach Convention Center,” says William D. Talbert, III, CDME President & CEO of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Our customers and potential customers tell us that the Miami Beach Convention Center is in need of improvements in order for them to bring their business to our community. The amendment to increase the resort tax for hotel guests on Miami Beach by up to one percent will be solely for expanding, enlarging, renovating and improving the Miami Beach Convention Center and will provide a vital source of funding. I want to re-emphasize that the [resort] tax is paid only by tourists/hotel guests on Miami Beach,” added Talbert.


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Commissioner Sally Heyman hosts Regional Hurricane Strategy meeting

Commissioner Heyman Discusses Hurricane Strategies –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Sally A. Heyman and Department of Emergency Management Director Curt Sommerhoff hosted a Regional Hurricane Strategy meeting at Florida International University Kovens Conference Center on Tuesday, May 29, 2012. Confirming plans, reviewing prevention measures, addressing “to-do” lists and solidifying preparation details; representatives from Miami Dade Emergency Operations Center; municipalities and UMSA areas in District 4; Federal and State representatives; Police and Fire Rescue Command staff; Public School and Hospital administrators; food and fuel distributors; FPL and others, came to discuss and revise their ‘plan of action’ and readiness for Hurricane Season 2012. “My office remains committed to working closely with all First Responders and service providers to ensure a coordinated hurricane

response and regional recovery plan, “said Commissioner Heyman. “We have an established resource network to address the unique needs of a large population living and working close to the shoreline. Annually we meet and update essential information.” Miami Dade residents need to get started on their hurricane plan and preparedness. If you have special needs, pets to shelter or need assistance in preparing; residents can call 3-11 to receive free Hurricane Preparedness Guides and information, or visit www.miamidade.gov/hurricane for details on what to do before, during and after a storm. MIAMI-DADE COUNTY COMM. SALLY A. HEYMAN DISTRICT 4

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Department of Emergency Management Director Sommerhoff answers questions from participants –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––


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Memorial Day Weekend crowd management a success Miami Beach Police Use High Tech Checkpoints to Curb Traffic Impacts BY CHIEF RAYMOND A. MARTINEZ

Memorial Day is observed throughout the country to honor those who have paid the ultimate price for protecting our freedom. But on Miami Beach, the Memorial Day Weekend is a holiday that attracts approximately 150,000 to 200,000 visitors looking to party. Following events surrounding Memorial Day Weekend 2001, the Major Events Plan (MEP) process was created by the City of Miami Beach in conjunction with the city’s partners, the Greater Miami and the Beaches Convention Visitors Bureau (GMCVB), the Hotel Association, area hotels, nightclub and entertainment establishments, area merchants and community leaders. The goal of the MEP process is to address the impacts of any event that is expected to bring an increased volume in visitors to the City. This process involves a high level of coordination among major City departments. A major component of the Major Even Plan

Skywatch tower on Ocean Drive. ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

is obviously public safety. As the Chief, my role is to ensure that public safety services are reflective of the wants and needs of the community. To address concerns expressed by both residents and businesses at the conclusion of the 2011 holiday weekend, the Miami Beach Police Department (MBPD) implemented a multipronged approach to ensure the public safety and safeguard the community’s quality of life. Our approach this year was centered on proactive policing and engaging the public in order to curb the potential for criminal activity. Traffic mobility and crowd management, along with the strict enforcement of all local laws, were the priorities for Miami Beach Police Officers. The development and implementation of a traffic or “cruising” loop, which routed traffic through and out the City, while reducing impacts to residential neighborhoods, was a critical component of this year’s plan. Police Officers manned posts throughout the route to ensure the integrity of the traffic loop, as well as assist with traffic flow. MBPD brought together tried-and-true strategies with new technology to assist in curbing the possibility of criminal activity wherever possible. A DUI check point at the MacArthur Causeway, coupled with automatic license plate readers at both the MacArthur and Julia Tuttle causeways, resulted in 21 arrests, 7 DUI arrests, 3 felony arrests, 4 guns seizures and 198 citations issued. The use of 4 Sky Watch Towers with additional lighting and video monitoring capabilities were deployed to monitor crowd conditions on Ocean Drive, Collins Avenue and Lincoln Road. 50 light towers were installed along Lummus Park, street ends along the Beachwalk, Collins Park and other locations to make areas safer for residents and visitors. In total, 373 arrests were made over the 5-day period – almost 15% less than in 2011 – with a majority (85%) of all arrests made for misdemeanors. More importantly, this year MBPD saw significantly fewer calls for service, with only 2,166 calls (versus 2,775 calls in 2011).

Captain Mark Causey and the Black Hawk crew from US Customs and Border Protection.

Detective Chris Mitchell addressing Goodwill Ambassadors. ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

By all accounts and measures, Memorial Day Weekend was a success. But it could not be a success without each and every member of the Miami Beach Police Department. As is required each Memorial Day weekend, it was all hands on deck for the MBPD for both sworn and civilian personnel. All 361 Miami Beach Police Officers were scheduled for 12hour shifts, alongside 155 officers from other

jurisdictions and law enforcement agencies. Further complimented by the use of event staff to assist with crowd control at key locations and Goodwill Ambassadors, MBPD Officers exemplified professionalism and showed their dedication to this community. As I said in our roll calls, “the eyes of the world are upon us” and our Officers demonstrated that the Miami Beach Police Department is second to none.

Sara’s Homestay Quality Student Housing Around the World


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Survey Says: Miami Beach continues to be a better place Results from Residents & Businesses’ Opinions will Help Guide Miami Beach’s Future

According to the most recent Miami Beach Community Satisfaction Survey, a majority (89 percent) of resident respondents reported that their overall quality of life within the City of Miami Beach is either excellent or good. In addition, a record high, 89 percent reported Miami Beach as an “excellent” or “good” place to live. “We take public input very seriously. The survey results provide us general feedback on their [residents and businesses] level of satisfaction with the services we provide,” said Miami Beach City Manager Jorge M. Gonzalez. “They are also used in strategically planning our budget and resources.” The 2012 residential and business surveys, conducted by Kerr and Downs Research, are the Miami Beach’s fourth set of comprehensive statistically valid community satisfaction surveys since 2005. Over 1,800 residents and over 900 businesses were surveyed earlier this year. Overall, the 2012 results were similar to 2009 survey results. A substantial number of services received positive ratings ranging from 70 to 90 percent of the residents. As with the residential surveys, the overall snapshot of business ratings were not significantly different from the 2009 ratings. A substantial number of services received positive ratings from businesses ranging from 70 to 95 percent. When compared to the 2009 survey, several services were higher and generally up, rating in the 80 to 95 percent range by both residents and businesses. Some examples include the following: Public schools (91 percent of residents rating excellent or good) and fire (91 percent of residents and 93 percent of businesses rating excellent or good) were the highest rated overall services. Services that received comparatively high percentages of positive ratings from both residents and businesses included: appearance and maintenance of public buildings (87 percent of residents and 83 percent of businesses rating excellent or good); quality of beaches (84 percent of residents and 86 percent of businesses rating excellent or good); park maintenance (82 percent of residents and 86 percent of businesses rating excellent or good); garbage & trash pick-up (81 percent of residents and 71 percent of businesses rating excellent or good); landscape maintenance (79 percent of residents and 80 percent of businesses rating excellent or good). Customer service ratings remained mostly stable from 2009 to 2012 with high percentages of residents and businesses giving City employees’ high marks for professionalism (85 percent of residents and 81 percent of businesses rating excellent or good) and com-

petency (75 percent of residents and 74 percent of businesses rating excellent or good). In addition to the above positive results, residents’ standard of living outlook improved significantly from 53 percent positive ratings in 2009 to 80 percent ratings in 2012. Quality of life was up four percentage points from 2009 to 89 percent in 2012. Residents also provided positive ratings for recreation programs (85 percent); playground appearance (84 percent); neighborhood noise (75 percent); and capital improvements (81 percent). Business ratings for many other services were also high in 2012, with 80 percent positive ratings for business improvement compared to 49 percent in 2009. Additional areas showing improvement from both residents and businesses include parking availability; emergency response; cultural activities; and number of major events. Value of information from the City also received high ratings. Both residents and businesses rated neighborhood and commercial safety in both the daytime and nighttime as high. However, police department ratings dropped for both residents and businesses (from 84 to 66 percent and 81 to 71 percent, respectively). Ratings for cleanliness (74 percent of residents and 62 percent of businesses rating excellent or good) remained stable between 2009 and 2012, but continue to be significantly improved from the 2005 survey results. The survey also identified areas where improvements could be made. For both residents and businesses, these continue to be the following: storm drainage (37 percent of both residents and businesses rating excellent or good); addressing homelessness (42 percent of residents and 69 percent of businesses rating excellent or good), although homelessness improved from 2005 levels (31 percent and 25 percent respectively); traffic flow (27 percent of residents and 34 percent of businesses rating excellent or good); conditions of roads (44 percent of residents and 40 percent of businesses rating excellent or good). Over half of the businesses reported being inspected by the building department in the past three years, with the department receiving low to moderate ratings. Contact with the building department was also identified as an area for improvement, with only 47% of business describing their experience with building as positive. Business owners and managers identified high property taxes, high rent, and high insurance costs as their greatest challenges. Value of services, a difficult measure for cities to rate highly on, declined since 2009 with 56 percent of residents and 52 percent of businesses giving a positive rating for the

value of services for taxes paid. They do, however, remain above the 2005 survey levels (50 percent and 41 percent respectively). In 2005, the City of Miami Beach formalized a performance-based approach for allocating resources based on the City’s Strategic Plan priorities and supporting department work plans based on the City’s excellence

model. A key component of this process is the Community Satisfaction Survey. The first set of community surveys were conducted in 2005 and the second set in 2007. These were followed by focus groups in 2006 and 2008 to get more in-depth information on issues identified through each of those surveys. The third set of surveys were conducted in 2009.


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Miami Beach Chamber’s 90th Annual Gala and Silent Auction

Ballroom Overview

Miami Beach Senior High Cheerleaders Chairman Jason Loeb with 90th Annual Dinner Gala Honorees

Dr. Ino Halegua and Rita Rodriguez Fisker Karma from Warren Henry Auto

Honoree Tony Goldman and David Wallack of Mangos

Honoree Jose Abreu, Miami Dade Aviation Department

Live Auction Item: JXL Jaguary from Warren Henry Auto

Leslie and Wayne Pathman

Michael Grieco and Christine Klingspor

90th Silent Auction

Debra and Gerald Schwartz

James Anderson and Jeff Klein

Honoree Steven Sonenreich, Mount Sinai Medical Center, and Family

David Wallack and the Mango’s Family

See more photos next page


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Miami Beach Chamber’s 90th Annual Gala and Silent Auction LEFT: Debbie Quade, Kobi Karp, Nathan Lieberman, Jorge Moreno and Jay Parker

RIGHT: Sandra Goldberg and Barton S. Goldberg with Commissioner Ed Tobin and Yvette Tobin

LEFT: Barcardi Sponsor

Miguel and Stephanie Ruiz

Aaron Perry, Chairman of the Dinner Gala Committee and Amy Perry

Mayor Matti Herrera Bower hugging Dr. Rosann Sidener Commissioner Jonah Wolfson, Judge Andrea R. Wolfson, Robin Smith Jerry Libbin, President & CEO of the Miami Beach Chamber, Chairman Jason Loeb, Honoree and Former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz Tony Goldman, Jessica Goldman and Joey Goldman

Laurie Kaye Davis, Honoree Dr. Rosann Sidener, Miami Beach Senior High School, and family

Jerry Libbin, Raquel Libbin and Sari Libbin

Jerry Libbin, President & CEO of the Miami Beach Chamber, Citizen of the Year awardee Steven Sonenreich and Chairman Jason Loeb

Mike Johnston and Maria Johnston

See more photos next page


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Miami Beach Chamber’s 90th Annual Gala and Silent Auction LEFT: Jorge Gonzalez, City National Bank’s Hi-Tides Outstanding Achievement awardee Gary R. Gerson, Chairman Jason Loeb and Jerry Libbin, President & CEO of the Miami Beach Chamber

RIGHT: Jerry Libbin, President & CEO of the Miami Beach Chamber, Mayor Matti Herrera Bower, Distinguished Service awardee Dr. Rosann Sidener, and Chairman Jason Loeb

Chairman Jason Loeb, Excellence in Tourism awardee Jose Abreu, and Jerry Libbin, President & CEO of the Miami Beach Chamber

Tony Goldman and Goldman Properties Family

Shareef Malnik and Gabrielle Anwar

Mr. and Mrs. Pardo, Rona Rose Witek and Commissio ner Deede Weithorn

True Cuban Cigar Roller at the City National Bank Blue Room Dessert and After Party

Chair Elect Alan Lips, Michael Milberg, Executive Director of Mount Sinai Medical Center Foundation, and Chairman Jason Loeb

Loeb Family

Honoree Gary Gerson and Niety Gerson with Glenna Milberg and Michael Milberg

After Party in the Blue Room


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Positive Signs: Miami leads the way in Real Estate Turnaround BY ALEKSANDRA MARZEC

Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate For those who may still have doubts as to whether the real estate market has reached the bottom and is beginning a comeback, there are new reports that back up those claims. According to Realtor.com, Miami is the nation’s number one city currently experiencing an impressive turnaround, as the inventory of existing properties for sale dwindles and prices are beginning to rise. Savvy buyers are seeing real opportunity here, and are either purchasing real estate for future investment or buying a home or condominium for their personal residence. Realtor.com’s Top 10 Turnaround Town Report, which is based on third quarter 2011 sales figures, indicates that six Florida markets - Miami, Orlando, Fort Myers-Cape Coral, Fort Lauderdale, Sarasota-Bradenton, and Lakeland-Winter Haven – are leading the country in positive market growth. These markets have shown positive median price appreciation, as well as reductions in inventory counts, when compared to the same period of the prior year. One reason is the dramatic increase in foreign investment in Florida real estate, as noted by Miami Beach REALTOR® . In 2007, 10% of those purchasing a Florida home or condominium were from outside the US, and in 2011 that number grew to 31%”. We are a true global destination for those seeking the most attractive prices in years, and I see no end to that trend in the near future. If you are considering the purchase of a property in Miami-Dade County – either as an investment or your primary residence – you may want to consider acting soon. The dramatic reduction in the number of available properties on the market - from 17,897 one year ago to 11,878 as of April of this year – is causing multiple offers reminiscent of the robust market activity of 2003. Condos have seen a 30% increase in pricing from a year ago, and single-family home prices are up 8.2%. And those who may have been waiting out the market to see what happens are responding - The Miami Association of REALTORS® reports that compared to a year ago, condominium sales have increased an impressive 79%. We are seeing a definite increase in activity from not only people outside the United States – most notably Canada, Brazil, Russia and China – but also from those living here who feel now is the time

to make their move up to a new home or condo. And the vast majority of our transactions – nearly 75% - are all cash deals. The foreign investors are back in a big way, and they realize the attractive opportunities represented by the current prices here. Further indications of these upward market trends can be found in pricing per square foot, and the number of days a property remains on the market as compared to the same period a year ago. In zip codes 33139, 33140 and 33141, the average price per square foot of all properties sold in April 2011 was $466.00, and in April of this year that number was $529.00. In April 2011, the average days on the market for properties in those zip codes were 136, which dropped to 109 in April 2012. People are becoming more comfortable getting back into ownership positions as they continue to be confident about the stability of the market. It looks like the heat of the summer months will continue to bring increased activity in the Miami-Dade real estate market. Whether it’s a small, winter getaway condo or an ultra-luxury mansion on Indian Creek Island, people continue to realize the allure of living the good life in Miami Beach. Aleksandra Marzec Coldwell Banker 305-760-9121 www.SearchMiamiRealEstate.com

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BY WILLIAM D. TALBERT III, CDME

HOW’S BUSINESS RECORD ARRIVALS AT “THE NEW MIA” (MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT) FOR THE FIRST FOUR MONTHS OF 2012 Passenger arrivals at MIAMI International Airport (MIA) increased in the first four months of 2012 with international passenger arrivals up +10.3% and domestic arrivals up +7.3% when compared to the same time period last year. Total arrivals increased in the first four months of

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2012 by +8.7%.

INTERNATIONAL MIA PASSENGER ARRIVALS JANUARY – APRIL 2012 3,282,495

JANUARY – APRIL 2011 2,976,653

% CHANGE +10.3%

DOMESTIC MIA PASSENGER ARRIVALS JANUARY – APRIL 2012 3,511,929

JANUARY – APRIL 2011 3,272,119

% CHANGE +7.3%

TOTAL MIA PASSENGER ARRIVALS JANUARY – APRIL 2012 6,794,424

JANUARY – APRIL 2011 6,248,772

% CHANGE +8.7%

UPCOMING MEETINGS… CITY OF MIAMI BEACH PROCLAIMS JUNE 9-12 AS NUCLEAR AND MOLECULAR IMAGING WEEK Over 6,500 medical professionals from all over the world will be gathering at the MIAMI Beach Convention Center, June 9-12th, for the 2012 Society of Nuclear Medicine Annual Meeting. This convention was booked by the GMCVB sales staff back in June 2004, so we are delighted to finally see it come to fruition. The premier event will provide attendees, which include physicians, technologists, pharmacists, laboratory professionals, and scientists an in-depth review of the latest technologies, clinical applications and advanced research topics. It will also feature more than 75 continuing education sessions on the most cutting-edge topics in nuclear medicine and molecular imaging. The Mayor of the City of MIAMI Beach, Matti Bower, has even issued a proclamation declaring June 9-12, 2012 as Nuclear and Molecular Imaging Week! The convention is expected to generate over 15,500 room nights and will have an estimated $11.4 million economic impact on our destination. The GMCVB Meeting Services Department has worked with the various city and county agencies to roll out the “red carpet” and welcome our visiting delegates. JUNE IS MIAMI ROMANCE MONTH Celebrate romance during the month of June with money-saving deals for all. Take your sweetie out for a fabulous Miami meal, plan a “weekend getaway” at a Miami boutique hotel or savor some spa time for two! Miami Romance Month offers something for everyone! For details, visit www.MiamiRomanceMonth.com.


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Mount Sinai Medical Center welcomes cardiologist Juan Rivera, M.D. Mount Sinai Medical Center and the Columbia University Division of Cardiology at Mount Sinai welcome Dr. Juan Rivera in his new role as Director of Cardiology Prevention Education. Mount Sinai’s partnership with New York’s Columbia University Division of Cardiology is the only Ivy-League collaboration of its kind in the region and offers the ultimate in world-class cardiac care to residents of South Florida and beyond. In his new role, Dr. Rivera will be part of Mount Sinai’s teaching program, helping to prepare cardiology fellows for a future in medicine. Dr. Rivera is a board certified internist and cardiologist who specializes in the prevention, early detection and treatment of cardiovascular diseases. He completed his internal medicine internship and residency at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He then completed his cardiovascular disease fellowship and obtained a master’s degree in cardiovascular epidemiology at the prestigious Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. During his years in Baltimore, he became a prolific researcher and won the Johns Hopkins Stanley Blumenthal Clinical Research Award given to the best research project at an institutional level. Dr. Rivera has published many peerreviewed articles and is a reviewer for The American Journal of Cardiology and Journal of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography. He also serves on the editorial board of the American Heart Hospital Journal. Dr. Rivera is also the Chief Medical Correspondent for the Telemundo/NBC Network with weekly appearances on Telemundo’s national shows Al Rojo Vivo and Noticiero Telemundo. In 2008, he was

Juan Rivera, M.D. –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

the recipient of Vista Magazine’s Health Specialization Award for his commitment with the Hispanic community in the area of health education and wellness promotion. Dr. Rivera is fluent in both English and Spanish. For more information on or to contact Dr. Juan Rivera, please call 305674-CARE (305-674-2273) or visit www.msmc.com.

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Are you suffering from Sleep Apnea? Most of us know someone who snores during sleep. You may also know someone who has commented that their partner has stopped breathing during sleep for seemingly long periods - long enough to be frightening. While snoring is often made the subject of jokes or teasing, it could be an indication of a serious health problem called Sleep Apnea. Sleep Apnea ranges from snoring that irritates your partner to life-threatening medical conditions. WHAT CAUSES OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA? OSA describes an effort to breath, but there is a physical obstruction of the airway causing Apnea. It may be caused by a collapse of the soft tissue at the back of the month and in the throat, sometimes related to the inability to properly breathe through your nose. If the jaw is too small to accommodate the tongue, the tongue has a tendency to fall back, further restricting your airway. As you inhale and exhale, the soft tissue of the throat vibrates and causes the sound of snoring. This tissue gets flabbier over time. In more severe cases, when apnea occurs- you literally stop breathing for 10 seconds or more. When breathing stops, Blood oxygen levels fall forcing the heart to work harder, causing blood pressure to rise. Some of the conditions associated with OSA include high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, gastric reflux, depression, and diabetes. It is important to note that you do not have to be overweight to have OSA. WHAT ARE THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF SLEEP APNEA? The more common sayings and symptoms including:

Snoring, waking up tired, dry-mouth and throat, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, weight gain, sleepiness, and irritability. It is also interesting to note that some studies have shown that sleep disordered breathing is common among children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). HOW IS SLEEP APNEA DIAGNOSED? Talk to your dentist who can refer you to a qualified physician with specialized training in the field of sleep medicine. WHAT ARE SOME OPTIONS FOR TREATING OSA? In some cases, surgery to remove obstructions or to stiffen the flabby throat tissue may be recommended for treatment. For cases of severe sleep apnea, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is often the first choice for treatment. However although painless and effective, some patients and their partners do not tolerate sleeping with the CPAP machine very well. In those cases, and in many moderate cases, oral appliances are often a good choice. WHAT IS THE DENTIST’S ROLE IN TREATMENT? Properly trained dentist can make custom fitted oral appliances that are worn over the teeth at night to prevent the jaw from falling back during sleep, keeping the airway open. They can be very valuable in moderate cases of OSA or when the patient cannot tolerate CPAP. If you or someone you know exhibits any of the symptoms listed in this article please contact Dr. Escoto, a Neuromuscular Dentist Practicing Sleep Medicine. She is located at 2895 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33140 (SoBeDENTIST.com) Offering complimentary screenings for TMJ and Sleep Apnea.


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Community Association Beat

Everything you wanted to know about collections - but didn’t ask! BY MITCH DRIMMER, CAM Community Association Manager

Boards of directors, managers, and even attorneys in Florida are more confused today about the complexities of community association collections than ever before. So how should an association approach the problem and devise the right solution? There’s so much disparity in opinions given by association attorneys regarding collections that boards need to first establish a procedure and move forward confidently in the knowledge they have chosen wisely. So who do you believe — and how can you choose “wisely” when authorities don’t agree on a standard of what can or cannot be done? Or even worse, what should or should not be collected? Answers lie in the questions boards should ask their collection solution, whether an attorney or collection agency. Among those questions: • How is the association being charged for services rendered? • How are the fees structured by your collection solution? • Does the collection solution defer fees, or is the association required to pay as they go? • Will your attorney defer costs for court actions? • Has your collection solution proposed that if they don’t collect their fees from a delinquent owner, subsequent purchaser, or foreclosing bank, will they then forgo their fees? Those just begin the kind of questions your board needs to ask. Others: • How does your correction solution define “statutory cap?” • Does it believe the association is only entitled to recover the lesser of 12 months

or 1% of the first mortgage, or does it believe the association is also entitled to recover all late interest, late fees, collection costs, and reasonable attorney fees? There’s a tremendous spectrum of opinion on answers to such questions and the company you choose that believes an association is entitled to more will invariably collect more. That’s why the collection solution should be carefully questioned about what entitles a foreclosing entity to “safe harbor” provisions. Some maintain that a first mortgage forecloses is entitled to receive a write off. Others say that a bank needs to comply with a stringent procedure to qualify for “safe harbor,” i.e., the lesser of 12 months or 1 % of the first mortgage. Boards should know whether the entity collecting money is going to put up a fight by reviewing service, notices and assignments to uncover defects, and then negotiate a settlement beyond the paltry amount a “safe harbor”allows. Answering a question with a question has been dubbed by some as the “Socratic Method” but clearly, boards of directors cannot make decisions unless they have solid answers to those questions. If you ask your collection partner: “What will happen if that is done?”, they may give you various scenarios. So perhaps it would be best to rephrase the question this way: “Do youu believe that if we do this, the result will be that?” The only way to best do this is to know the right questions to ask in the first place, and understanding what the various answers could mean. Mitch Drimmer is a licensed CAM, an instructor at FCAP, and is the Vice President of Association Financial Services, an accredited collection agency and specialty finance company specializing in community association collections. For more information, visit www.associationfinancial.com, Tel: 305-677-0022, ext. 804.

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The $outh Florida Gaming Repor t

What If... BY ISADORE HAVENICK

WHAT IF Governor Rick Scott agrees to let counties decide through voter referendums if they want casino gaming within their borders. Miami-Dade county voters have already made their decision known. The resounding “yes” vote in 2008 led to the opening of the Magic City Casino in 2009 and then the Calder Casino in 2010. Casino Miami Jai-Alai opened their doors in early 2012 and through an expanded definition of eligible facilities Hialeah Racetrack is under construction and expected to join the others in offering expanded gaming in 2013.

WHAT IF The residents of Miami Beach realize that some form of expanded gaming on the beach will create jobs, increase the demand for hotel rooms, drive up restaurant revenues, and all without increasing crime. WHAT IF Big casino companies have already decided it is Miami not Miami Beach that they want to call home. Miami is where they want to build a new convention center and present headline entertainers. Miami is where New York’s top restaurants will set up new outlets with beautiful views of Biscayne Bay. The gamblers will spend their money in Miami but have no fear if they want to take a little dip in the ocean they will take a short cab ride across one of the causeways. They might even buy some suntan lotion from a kiosk on the beach.

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Never Pay Another Expensive Repair Again

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Baptist Health graduates inaugural class of Nurse Executive Academy BY STEPHANIE ROJAS

opportunity to work on individual career development plans through Baptist Health South Florida organizational projects. graduated the inaugural class of “Many of the participants in its Nurse Executive Academy on our Nurse Executive Academy May 14. have made great advancements in The talent management protheir careers at Baptist Health,” gram was launched in 2010 to said Marlly Cadavid, Baptist reinforce Baptist Health’s goal of Health’s director of Nursing developing and promoting nursWorkforce Development and ing leaders from within the organcoordinator of the inaugural ization. The Academy aims to Nurse Executive Academy. mold the future of Baptist Health “Seven of our academy graduates by creating a talented pool of canhave already been promoted to didates for chief nursing officer assistant vice president and direcand other executive positions. tor positions, which speaks to the “The Nurse Executive caliber of our participants.” Academy is just one example of Baptist Health South Florida is how Baptist Health strives to prothe largest faith-based, not-formote exceptional leadership in profit healthcare organization in nursing,” said Deborah S. the region. Baptist Health Mulvihill, MSN, RN, FACHE, includes Baptist Hospital, South Baptist Health’s corporate vice Miami Hospital, Baptist Pictured are members of the first class of Nurse Executive Academy graduates. president and chief nursing offiChildren’s Hospital, Baptist –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– cer. “We are very proud of our Cardiac & Vascular Institute, inaugural class and we look forward to the academy’s inaugural class. The exec- porates human resources talent manage- Mariners Hospital, Homestead Hospital, seeing the academy graduates continue to utive training program includes mentor- ment and leadership development best Doctors Hospital, West Kendall Baptist ships, projects and formal classes with practices to enhance the participants’ Hospital and Baptist Outpatient Services. succeed at Baptist Health.” Fifteen nurse leaders were selected participation from Baptist Health execu- leadership capacity. For more information, visit online at The academy members also had the <www.BaptistHealth.net>. from across the organization to make up tives and managers. The academy incor-


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Nelson Diaz elected board An Extraordinary School president of Kristi House for Extraordinary Students BY LEE STEPHENS

The Kristi House, the non-profit child sexual abuse agency which serves as the Children’s Advocacy Center for MiamiDade County, has announced that the board of directors elected Nelson David Diaz as its president during its annual meeting on May 10. Diaz will serve a twoyear term as president. Diaz, an attorney and lobbyist with Becker & Poliakoff, has served on the Kristi House board since 2007 and is a leading fundraiser. He was elected vice president in 2011. Diaz is credited with leading Kristi House’s effort in the successful passage of the Florida Safe Harbor Act which changes how commercially sexually exploited children are viewed and treated in Florida. As Kristi House’s pro bono advocate lobbying for the passage of the legislation, he described this legislative victory as the conclusion of a long and, at times, arduous road, but the beginning of many, many success stories for all child victims of sexual abuse. “Human trafficking, in particular the sex trafficking of children, is a pandemic in this country,” Diaz said. “The Safe Harbor Act will allow first responders the option of treating commercially sexually exploited children as victims, and not criminals, by placing them at private treatment centers, or Safe Harbors, to treat these children and offer them hope for a brighter future.” Diaz represents local governments, businesses, trade associations and other corporate clients before the legislative and executive branches of state government and has successfully guided many pieces of legislation into Florida law. His previous expe-

Nelson David Diaz –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

rience as chief legislative aide to the former Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives and now U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, along with a history of election campaign and fundraising work, make him ideally suited to lead the Kristi House organization, which is supported by public and private sector grants and philanthropy. Diaz is joined on the executive board by newly elected officers: Bobbie JonesWilfork, vice president; Lauren Harrison Genovese, vice president; Antonio Zamora, treasurer, and Chuck Vodicka, secretary. The officers and board members will assist Kristi House in its mission of healing and ending child sexual abuse, and will be dedicated to ensuring services remain free to children and their nonoffending family members and that no child is turned away for help. For more information visit <www.kristihouse.org>.

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After more than a year of preparation, children in Kindergarten through 4th grade who have been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, PDD-NOS, ADDADHD, mild Dyslexia, and auditory processing issues will have the opportunity to attend a private elementary school created exclusively for them. “Rosemont Academy is a school for extremely bright children who simply learn differently,” says Lainie Hansen, Rosemont’s owner/Director and the mother of a daughter with high functioning Autism. “I wanted to offer a program that was like no other,” Hansen states. She worked for months with Curriculum Coordinator, Vanessa del Campo, to create the academic aspect of Rosemont’s program. Hansen then moved on to creating the Rosemont Method™: a carefully crafted adaptation of scaffolding techniques, gifted elements, differentiated learning applications, and cooperative learning strategies. Finally, Hansen turned her attention to finding the perfect staff. Each member of the teaching staff is state certified and possesses specialized skills and experience that makes them outstanding in their field. “I have never and will never underestimate the role a great teacher plays in the lives of their students,” notes Hansen, who also happens to be a Florida certified Language Arts teacher with a Gifted Education endorsement. “We consider Rosemont the bridge to mainstream classrooms and schools,” Hansen explains, sitting in one of her sunny, spacious classrooms located on the campus of Temple Bet Breira Samu-el Or Olom in east Kendall. Tanya Tepper agrees. Tepper, whose daughter just completed Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ LEAP pre-school program feels Rosemont’s small, specialized kindergarten class is the logical step before the jump to public elementary school. “We are so excited to know that at Rosemont our daughter will be given the chance she needs to maximize her potential at this critical age so that we can fulfill our goal of mainstreaming her down the road.” Hansen has also assembled an impressive roster of therapists to help her Rosemont Falcons soar. Included in Rosemont’s tuition are weekly Language and Social Skills Circles created by Wendy Nottoli, M.A., CCC, BCaBA; Occupational Therapy groups facilitated by Nicole Hanna, OTR/L, C-SIPT; and Music Therapy provided by Jillian Mehler, MT-BC, NMT. Art, yoga, P.E, computer lab, and Skill Builder Groups will round out each student’s academic experience. “We even threw in all of the school supplies,” Hansen says with a smile. “I listened to what parents wanted in a school.” Listening to parents of kids with special needs is nothing new to Hansen. She is also the founder of Moms Reach—Miami, a local organization that serves as a clearinghouse of information and source of support for families with kids on the Autism Spectrum in South Florida. “Moms are hearing that there is a new school out there created exclusively for their high functioning kids,” Hansen says. And the word is spreading. Aura, the mother of an incoming fourth grader sums it up nicely, "I feel like someone read my mind on what I wanted from a school and its curriculum, and that includes a huge faith in my son's potential. I have been searching extensively and could not find a better place for my son.” For more information about Rosemont Academy visit www.RosemontAcademy.com


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Hectorr Wiltz,, MD.,, CPI. Board Certified Dermatologist FXM Research Miami

Do you or someone you know have Rosacea? FXM Research in Miami is looking for males and females 18 years or older that suffer from Rosacea “Redness on forehead, cheeks, and nose with acne type lesions on your face” to participate in an eighteen [18] study-visit clinical research study. Medical Insurance is not required for study participation. Qualified participants will receive: • Evaluation by a Board Certified Dermatologist. • Investigational Study Medication at no cost. • Reimbursement for time and travel up to USD $800.00.

¿Tiene usted o alguien que usted conozca Rosacea? FXM Research en Miami está buscando hombres y mujeres de 18 años o más que sufran de Rosacea “Enrojecimiento en la frente, mejillas, y nariz con lesiones similares al acné”, para participar en un estudio clínico de investigación que requiere dieciocho [18] visitas. Seguro Médico no es requerido para su participación en el estudio. Los participantes que califiquen recibirán: • Evaluaciones por un Dermatólogo Certificado. • Los medicamentos bajo investigación a no costo. • Compensación por tiempo y transporte hasta $800.00.

For more information please call / Para más información por favor llame:

(305) 220-5222

11760 0 Bird d Road,, Suite e 452

Miami,, Florida a 33175 5 • www.fxmresearch.com m

Hectorr Wiltz,, MD.,, CPI. Board Certified Dermatologist FXM Research Miami

Do you or someone you know have Psoriasis? FXM Research in Miami Miami is looking for males or females 18 years or older that suffer from moderate to severe plaque Psoriasis to participate in a clinical research study. Medical Insurance is not required for study participation Qualified participants will receive: • Evaluation by a Board Certified Dermatologist. • Investigational Medication at no cost. • Compensation for time and travel.

¿Tienee ustedd o alguienn quee ustedd conozcaa Psoriasis? FXM Research in Miami está buscando hombres y mujeres entre 18 años o más que sufran de Psoriasis moderada a severa para participar en un estudio de investigación clínico. Seguro Medico no es requerido para su participación en el estudio. Los participantes que califiquen recibirán: • Evaluaciones por un Dermatólogo Certificado. • Los medicamentos bajo investigación a no costo. • Compensación por su tiempo y transporte.

For more information please call / Para más información por favor llame:

(305) 220-5222

11760 0 Bird d Road,, Suite e 452

Miami,, Florida a 33175 5 • www.fxmresearch.com m

June 14 - 27, 2012

Team Florida Baseball to host first Golf and Poker Tournament, July 7 BY RAQUEL GARCIA

While a junior at Ransom Everglades High School, Dan Otero, now a pitcher for the San Francisco Giants, said one of his best opportunities to prepare for a future with Major League Baseball came from his days with Dave Westberry’s Team Florida Baseball. “Dave is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet in baseball,” Otero said during a recent telephone interview. “He never wants to take credit for anything but he gives high school players an incredible chance to compete and learn the sport.” Team Florida was established in 1985 by president and head baseball coach Dave Westberry to assist young players with the college recruitment process and get them to the next level of play. The not-for-profit organization, Team Florida, is hosting its “First Annual Golf Extravaganza and Poker Tournament” on Saturday, July 7, at Redland Golf and Country Club, 24451 Krome Ave. Registration opens at 11 a.m. and a shotgun start is set for 1 p.m. “We want to reach out to past players and bring them back to the family,” Coach Westberry said about the fundraising event. “We haven’t seen some of these guys in a while. It’s a great way to find out where they are and what they have been up to while helping the kids.” Team Florida competes in the American Amateur Baseball Congress (AABC) and Continental Amateur Baseball Association (CABA) by bringing promising young ball players from as far north as Pensacola to the Euclid, OH, CABA High School World Series every July. More than 400 former Team Florida players have gone on to play at the college level and beyond. Major League Baseball clubs such as the California Angels, Chicago White Sox, Minnesota Twins, San Diego Padres, Seattle Mariners and Florida Marlins have

welcomed alumni players onto their rosters. “We have had kids graduate from West Point and Harvard and go on to the big leagues,” Westberry said. “Our coaches have all been or currently are high school coaches. I work for the Department of Corrections and we have veteran police officer coaches. We know how to instill values for success on and off the field.” Otero said Coach Westberry also was a strict disciplinarian and no one got special treatment. “We learned how to follow instructions and discipline ourselves to be on time and play hard. It didn’t matter who you were; if you didn’t follow the rules, you didn’t play.” The Golf and Poker Tournament will help raise funds for this summer’s CABA World Series trip. “The first year we went to Ohio was in 1988 and there were 12 college teams represented,” Westberry said. “This is a national tournament and a showcase tournament. Last year there were 65 college teams watching and this year there may be more.” Eligible students for Team Florida must have played and passed high school baseball (along with SAT and ACT pre-college exams) and have a potential future in the sport. The Golf and Poker Tournament will help raise money to finance the trip for players from varied socio-economic backgrounds so everyone has a chance to travel and play. “We have been doing Team Florida for 27 years now and we are getting support from guys who have played in the past,” Westberry said. “Everybody is excited about the tournament; it is something new and we’re trying to get the word out. It’s really ultimately all about the kids saying they had a great time playing, and the parents, too, who I have met over the years and become friends with. The camaraderie is the best reward.” For more information contact Coach Dave Westberry at 786-258-6184 or Coach Phillip Wisser at 305-283-5277.


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Profile for Community Newspapers

6.14.2012 Miami Beach News  

Miami Beach News PDF

6.14.2012 Miami Beach News  

Miami Beach News PDF

Profile for cnews
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