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Community Newspapers SERVING MIAMI-DADE COUNTY SINCE 1958

OPA-LOCKA REVIEW

THE OPA-LOCKA REVIEW

JULY 2011

WHO’S WHO In City Government Mayor “Lady” Myra L. Taylor 305-688-4611

Vice-Mayor Dorothy “Dotty” Johnson 305-688-4611

Jamii Builders Graduates First Class from Pilot Construction Program Written by: Christina Gordon Co-editor: Ashley Rivero n Friday, July 15, 2011 at 12:00 Noon, 39 Opa-locka residents successfully graduated from the first class of the Jamii Builders Pilot Construction and Weatherization Program, a

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five-week training initiative which ensures career training and job placement to unemployed residents. Jamii Builders, a subsidiary of the Opa-locka Community Development Corporation (OLCDC) for which Willie Logan is Chief Executive Officer, is in partnership with local leaders, Miami-Dade County District 1 Commis-

Unity in the Community BY CHRISTINA GORDON

he Opa-locka Hurricanes (West side) and the Opa-locka Panthers (East side) met face to face, with the only competition in mind at that point was to be the team to recruit the most and the best players at the Annual “Unity in the Community” Football Registration and Fellowship Drive, sponsored by Mayor “Lady” Myra L. Taylor, the Opalocka City Commission and the Parks and Recreation Department at Ingram

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Commissioner Rose Tydus 305-688-4611

Commissioner Timothy Holmes 305-688-4611

Commissioner Gail Miller 305-688-4611

Interim City Manager Bryan Finnie 305-953-2821

City Clerk Deborah Sheffield-Irby 305-953-2800

City Attorney Joseph S. Geller 305-953-2808

The Jamii Builders Residential Construction and Weatherization Graduating Class of 2011, pose with program Instructors, sponsors and partners Photographer: Shawn Williams

sioner Barbara Jordan, Opa-locka Vice Mayor Dorothy “Dottie” Johnson and Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA). Jamii (pronounced Ja-my - Swahili for “Community”) Builders addresses the barriers that typically prevent low-income individuals from successfully obtaining or retaining employment, such as lack of trainMiami-Dade County District 1 Commissioner Barbara Jordan presents Dr. Robert E. Richardson, Sr. of LIUNA, with a proclamation during th graduation ceremony. ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– See

PILOT, page 2

Mayor Taylor gives a pep-talk to the Opa-locka Parks and Recreations Panthers and Hurricane football teams, as Opa-locka Police Chief Cheryl Cason lends support.

Park, 2100 Burlington Street, on Saturday, June 25, 2011. According to Panthers Coach William Bouie, both teams, with a breakdown of various groups, have room to accommodate players on all age and weight levels from the “Mighty PeeWees,” ages 4-5, to the 145 pound 13-14 year-olds. Johnny Fannin, President of ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– See

UNITY, page 2


PILOT,

from page 1 ––––––––––––––––––––

ing, lack of on-the-job support to address social/employment related needs and lack of employment growth and career opportunities. It provides construction, renovation, maintenance and repair services to developers, owners and contractors in South Florida. Upon graduation of the program, workers are expected to initially make

Union No. 1652 of LIUNA, with proclamations. Vice Mayor Johnson then designated the day (July 15, 2011) as their day! Commissioner Jordan commented, “This goes to the Heart of what I feel a community should be about!” She continued, “We used stimulus dollars and worked together to revitalize an entire community.” Dr. Wilbert T. Holloway of Miami-Dade County School Board, best summed the program in the quote, “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, teach a man to

sufficient recruitment, job training, longterm and on-site job retention. Three graduates, Leroy Sheffield, Nikita Shannon-Graham and Neville A. Williams summed the training, the time and the bond created with fellow classmates and instructors, as empowering, encouraging and enduring. According to Sheffield, it was a confidence and faith-building process, accompanied by hard work. Others said the non-paying, hands-on experience was worth being on the job every day, and according to sponsors, there was 100% attendance during the entire program. “It evened the playground, while bringing about a new beginning, with unlimited opportunities that will infinitely impact self, family and

UNITY,

from page 1 ––––––––––––––––––

the Hurricanes commented that his team extends the playing field a little further with 175 pounders, ages 14-15. Park Director Charles Brown said that aim of the Opa-locka Parks and Recreation Department is to promote good Sportsmanship in a healthy environment. The Mayor praised the President of the league, Mike Francis, along with the fathers

community,” stated another student. The success of the class is due in part to the talent, skills and experience of four instructors, Memo Media, Robert Kelly, Henry L. Harrison and Fidel Gonzalez. Jamii Builder’s affiliation with a minority-owned and operated non-profit organization also allows for unique teaming opportunities with leading construction and contracting businesses. For more information on Jamii Builders, contact: Denise Mincey-Mills denise@jamiibuilders.com 305-687-3545 Ext. 232 or Jewanna Porter jporter@golinharris.com on behalf of Jamii Builders, a subsidiary of Opa-locka Community Development Corporation Office: 404-367-2727 * Mobile: 404-934-0790 and coaches for volunteering, participating and mentoring the youth. She said, “There are some who want us to fail the time sensitive test. No more prison… you all are raising men!” The Mayor also stated that she and the Commission will help find the money to support the parks program and sustain the football program. She said the program includes Cheerleading which is also a sport. The Mayor said her favorite Football teams are… “The Hurricanes AND the Panthers, but as far as I’m concerned… Opa-locka already has the winning teams!”

Mayor Myra Taylor and Vice Mayor Dorothy “Dottie” Johnson present Dr. Robert E. Richardson, Sr. of LIUNA, with a “Key to the City” during the Residential Construction and Weatherization 2011 at the Graduation Ceremony of the JAMII Builders.

between $10 and $12.50 per hour, which can increase with experience. Many of the graduates will receive jobs with local contractors on the Magnolia North Redevelopment Project and be referred to other construction jobs after the project is complete. Trainees will become part of the Laborers International Union of North America. During the luncheon and graduation ceremony, Opa-locka Mayor Myra Taylor exclaimed to Jamii Builders and its partners, “You have provided opportunity for jobs in Opa-locka for 33 men and six women!” She went on to present a “key to my house” (key to the city) to Dr. Robert E. Richardson, Sr., LIUNA Vice President and Keynote Speaker at the graduation ceremony.” Later in the program, Mayor Taylor, Commissioner Barbara Jordan and Vice Mayor Dorothy “Dottie” Johnson presented Richardson, District 41 State Senator Steve Henson who provided the fund for the training classes, Dr. Donna Rose McDaniel, Assistant Director of LIUNA, and Mr. Albert Huston, Jr. President of Construction and Craft Workers Local

fish and he will eat for a lifetime.” “By having the know-how,” Holloway explained, “ allows the graduates to possess pride and take ownership.” Willie Logan, who was noted for once being the youngest Mayor of the City of Opa-locka at age 23, stated that the Opalocka Community Development Corporation’s goal is to achieve economic stability. “The Jamii Builder’s program is an investment in us as a community,” stated Logan. He said he is committed to insuring that every graduate of this class has a job. The first eight were hired directly from training. According to Logan, “This is about rebuilding a community, families and lives.” Jamii Builders started their construction training in mid June with the Opa-locka Community Development Corporation with a very competitive training program. There were 95 applications submitted, but only 39 participants were granted the opportunity to be a part of the program. Jamii Builders provided job preparation and sought to identify, train, and employ low-income and local residents, by creating new jobs in growth industries, provide

Coach William Bouie weighs in Seon, 12, to determine his weight class for the team, during this upcoming football season with the City of Opa-locka Parks and Recreations Department.

Community Newspapers

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July 2011

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Celebrating ‘Our Fathers’ in Opa-locka BY CHRISTINA GORDON

“Women make boys, but men make men,” stated the Honorable “Lady” Myra L. Taylor at the Third Annual Tribute to “Our Fathers,” hosted by the Opa-locka Mayor and City Commission at 11:00 AM on the second floor of the Municipal Complex building, 780 Fisherman Street, as they paid tribute to the “proud papas” of the community with a Complimentary Luncheon on Friday, June 17, 2011. According to Mayor Taylor, “The Commission takes great pleasure in honoring, saluting and celebrating our fathers.” She added, “We take our ‘Hats Off’ to those who have protected and dedicated their lives to raising their children and, at times, providing for other families within the Opa-locka community. We want them to know that they mean more than just a pair of socks, a handkerchief, a tie or a bottle of cologne on Fathers Day. We want to express appreciation for their sacrifice, contribution, compassion, inspiration, influence, wisdom and even their disciplinary actions, which is a direct result of their year-round love and concern for the well-being of their children and this community.” 101 years after the first father’s day celebration, Taylor said she looks forward each year to continuing the tradition and showing respect to the some of the most committed fathers in Opa-locka. The Mayor said, “Even on a Saturday, when there is nothing to do, a man has to get-up and always be prepared to protect his house.” She stated, “We want to embrace the significance of ‘Our Fathers,’ on this day, because fatherhood is not easy, especially when you are doing it for your children, AND as an outreach to others needing paternal guidance in the community.” Prior to lunch, Mrs. Luvenia Spears from the “Seniors on the Move” program performed a musical selection for the dads, followed by “Words of Encouragement” by Clarance Patterson on his last day as Opa-locka City Manager, trailed by comments from the “father of the commission,” Commissioner Timothy Holmes. Then, to the tune of “Precious Lord,” Pastor Ranzer Thomas from New Generation Missionary Baptist Church, circled the room and placed his hand on each father as he prayed for their continued strength, leadership and blessings. After

Oldest Father at the event Marcel Louisaint (84years old) standing with Mayor Myra Taylor.

Official Father of the City - Commissioner Timothy Holmes

Actor Lonnie Antonio Woods, raised on Rutland Street, returned home and celebrated “Fathers Day” in the City of Opa-locka with Mayor Myra Taylor.

Albert Jones, Robert Harris, Marcel Louisaint and Haguenot Noel. Ronnie King – Father, at the event, with the most children (9 children) standing with Mayor Myra Taylor.

which gifts were awarded to the oldest and the youngest fathers, as well as the father with the most children. The program concluded with the Master of Ceremony, former Vice Mayor Terence Pinder, and Mayor Taylor raffling prizes to other “deserving dads.”

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Ms. Edna Hardy serves Pastor Ranzer Thomas and the other Dads at the Father’s Day Luncheon


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COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

July 2011

‘Relay for Life’ of Northwest Dade BY CHRISTINA GORDON Contributing writer: Shaquellia M. Holmes

“Relay For Life” is a life-changing event that gives communities across the globe a chance to celebrate the lives of those who have battled cancer, as well as the opportunity to remember loved ones lost, and the support to fight-back against the disease. Because cancer never sleeps, each relay team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times during the overnight (18 - 24 hours in length) event. With the Office of Community Services (OCS) serving as team captain, The “Great” City of Opa-locka participated in the annual two-day overnight, Relay For Life of Northwest Dade, sponsored by the American Cancer Society on April 29-30, 2011, beginning at 6:00 PM at the Betty T. Ferguson Community Center, 3300 NW 199 St. Miami Gardens, FL 33056, where Opa-locka Mayor “Lady” Myra L. Taylor served as Honorary Chair and a guest speaker, along with Miami-Dade County District 1 Commissioner Barbara Jordan and City of Miami Gardens Mayor Shirley Gibson. The City of Opa-locka, “Friends For Life” of Miami-Dade County and North Dade Middle school partnered during the 10th Anniversary of the Northwest Dade’s “Relay For Life.” A number of teams participated in the Relay, including the neighboring cities of Miami Gardens and North Miami Beach, along with local sorority and fraternity chapters, churches, nonprofit organizations and a host of local businesses.

Relay For Life Honorary Chairs Miami-Dade District 1 County Commissioner Barbara Jordan, Miami Gardens Mayor Shirley Gibson, Opa-locka Mayor “Lady” Myra L. Taylor –––––––––––––––––––––––––

The First Lap of the Relay For Life is the Survivor Lap –––––––––––––––––––––––––––

As Mayor Taylor observed, she commented, “I am overjoyed to see the outcome, despite inclement weather during the start of the Relay.” Hundreds attended to walk around the track and participate in event activities in efforts to “Celebrate, Remember and Fight Back.” Celebrate - Relay starts with a Survivors Lap; an inspirational time when survivors are invited to circle the track together and help each other celebrate the victories achieved over cancer. The Survivors Lap is an emotional example of how Relay participants are creating a world with more birthdays like those of each individual on the

Carol, Ed and Bria Brown (award recipient), Opa-locka Mayor “Lady” Myra L. Taylor and Shaquellia Holmes

The City of Opa-locka “Relay For Life” Team; Lorenzo Laidler, Dr. Susan McEachin, Ed Brown, Shaquellia Holmes, Maud and Fritz Armand, Clarance Patterson, Mayor Myra L. Taylor, Chief Cheryl Cason, Albertha Patterson, Admin. Ofc. E.M. Crawford, Major Evelyn Barrett, Reserve Asst. Chief James Smith and Howard Brown ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

track. Remember - After dark, participants honor those who have been touched by cancer and remember loved ones lost to the disease during the Luminaria Ceremony. Candles are lit inside sand-filled bags, bearing the name of someone touched by cancer, as participants walk a lap in silence. Fight Back – Finally, the opportunity to fight back against cancer through fundrais ing. In addition to the efforts before the Relay, there are endless fundraising opportunities available onsite. From food, face

painting, crafts and more, Relay teams offer numerous options for participants to support the fight against cancer. This year’s Northwest Dade Relay For Life Willis Murray Spirit of Community Award was presented to Bria Brown, 17, daughter of City of Opa-locka’s Ed and Carol Brown, a student and cheerleader at Monsignor Pace Sr. High, and a “survivor” who was diagnosed at age six with Osteosarcoma; a rare, progressive form of –––––––––––––––––––––––––––– See

RELAY, next page


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COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

July 2011

‘Relay for Life’ of Northwest Dade BY CHRISTINA GORDON Contributing writer: Shaquellia M. Holmes

“Relay For Life” is a life-changing event that gives communities across the globe a chance to celebrate the lives of those who have battled cancer, as well as the opportunity to remember loved ones lost, and the support to fight-back against the disease. Because cancer never sleeps, each relay team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times during the overnight (18 - 24 hours in length) event. With the Office of Community Services (OCS) serving as team captain, The “Great” City of Opa-locka participated in the annual two-day overnight, Relay For Life of Northwest Dade, sponsored by the American Cancer Society on April 29-30, 2011, beginning at 6:00 PM at the Betty T. Ferguson Community Center, 3300 NW 199 St. Miami Gardens, FL 33056, where Opa-locka Mayor “Lady” Myra L. Taylor served as Honorary Chair and a guest speaker, along with Miami-Dade County District 1 Commissioner Barbara Jordan and City of Miami Gardens Mayor Shirley Gibson. The City of Opa-locka, “Friends For Life” of Miami-Dade County and North Dade Middle school partnered during the 10th Anniversary of the Northwest Dade’s “Relay For Life.” A number of teams participated in the Relay, including the neighboring cities of Miami Gardens and North Miami Beach, along with local sorority and fraternity chapters, churches, nonprofit organizations and a host of local businesses.

Relay For Life Honorary Chairs Miami-Dade District 1 County Commissioner Barbara Jordan, Miami Gardens Mayor Shirley Gibson, Opa-locka Mayor “Lady” Myra L. Taylor –––––––––––––––––––––––––

The First Lap of the Relay For Life is the Survivor Lap –––––––––––––––––––––––––––

As Mayor Taylor observed, she commented, “I am overjoyed to see the outcome, despite inclement weather during the start of the Relay.” Hundreds attended to walk around the track and participate in event activities in efforts to “Celebrate, Remember and Fight Back.” Celebrate - Relay starts with a Survivors Lap; an inspirational time when survivors are invited to circle the track together and help each other celebrate the victories achieved over cancer. The Survivors Lap is an emotional example of how Relay participants are creating a world with more birthdays like those of each individual on the

Carol, Ed and Bria Brown (award recipient), Opa-locka Mayor “Lady” Myra L. Taylor and Shaquellia Holmes

The City of Opa-locka “Relay For Life” Team; Lorenzo Laidler, Dr. Susan McEachin, Ed Brown, Shaquellia Holmes, Maud and Fritz Armand, Clarance Patterson, Mayor Myra L. Taylor, Chief Cheryl Cason, Albertha Patterson, Admin. Ofc. E.M. Crawford, Major Evelyn Barrett, Reserve Asst. Chief James Smith and Howard Brown ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

track. Remember - After dark, participants honor those who have been touched by cancer and remember loved ones lost to the disease during the Luminaria Ceremony. Candles are lit inside sand-filled bags, bearing the name of someone touched by cancer, as participants walk a lap in silence. Fight Back – Finally, the opportunity to fight back against cancer through fundrais ing. In addition to the efforts before the Relay, there are endless fundraising opportunities available onsite. From food, face

painting, crafts and more, Relay teams offer numerous options for participants to support the fight against cancer. This year’s Northwest Dade Relay For Life Willis Murray Spirit of Community Award was presented to Bria Brown, 17, daughter of City of Opa-locka’s Ed and Carol Brown, a student and cheerleader at Monsignor Pace Sr. High, and a “survivor” who was diagnosed at age six with Osteosarcoma; a rare, progressive form of –––––––––––––––––––––––––––– See

RELAY, next page


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COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

July 2011

SILVER KNIGHT AWARD Winners from Opa-locka

Be smart, read a book!

On May 18, 2011, fifteen of MiamiDade County’s most outstanding high school seniors were honored at the 2011 Silver Knight Award Ceremony, and among the award winning recipients, from the City of Opa-locka, were Stephanie Jennings and Jazmine Lightbourn of Miami Carol City Senior High School. Since the students embodied service and self-sacrifice, while using their skills, knowledge and talents to make significant contributions to their schools and community, the City of Opa-locka Mayor and

Commission decided to give support and reward excellence by presenting the students with proclamations and cash (which staff members and residents also began making contributions as Vice Mayor Dorothy Johnson collected donations) to further encourage Jennings and Lightbourn’s continued commitment to superiority. The Silver Knight Award program was founded in 1959 by former Miami Herald publisher John S. Knight. More than 1,200 students have earned the Silver Knight distinction over the past 53 years.

(Above) Vice Mayor Johnson presents Stephanie Jennings her proclamation as Jazmine Lightbourn, Mayor Taylor and Elder Alfred Clark look on, as Commissioner Miller applauded from the dais. (Below) The Silver Knight Award winners in a group shot with Elder Clark and the City Commission. Photos by: Shawn Williams


July 2011

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

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COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

July 2011

Producers take ‘Notice’ of the ‘Magic’ in Opa-locka BY CHRISTINA GORDON For the fifth time in as little as three months, the City of Opa-locka has been one of the most desired backdrops for the film industry in Miami-Dade County and as a result, most recently, scenes for the television show “Burn Notice” and the independent movie “The Magic City,” were shot on the intersections of Pervis and Sharar, as well as Sharazad and Bahman, along with other areas of the City, as residents either observed, volunteered to become “extras” or benefited by leasing their property for either parking or as a part of the set design during the productions. With the increasing movie and television productions occurring in the South Florida area, it was only a matter of time before the City of Opa-locka was in demand for its unique architecture, historical significance or welcoming ambiance that “the industry” has been scouting the county for, Opa-locka resident and movie extra Donald Thompson looks on as Writer/Director R. Malcolm Jones films. as they look to locate just the right atmosphere for creating pictures. Although “Burn Notice,” for safety reasons, was a semi-closed set, residents were allowed to watch from afar as filming took place on Pervis (President Obama Ave), but during the taping of “The Magic City,” everyone in the City was invited by Vice Mayor Dorothy “Dottie” Johnson via Code Red Message, to become an EXTRA in the A scene from the scene recorded on the lot across from TV Show Burn Historic City Hall. The Vice Mayor also Notice was filmed participated in scenes, during the filming of on Pervis “The Magic City” written and directed by (President Obama R. Malcolm Jones. Ave) and Sharar At the very early start of his career, in the City of independent film Director R. Malcolm Opa-locka. Jones was noted for planning, promoting and successfully executing a Tupac Shakur concert. With a full scholarship to the University of Miami, Jones pursued a career in film where, during his sophomore year, he was granted the prestigious Eastman Kodak Scholarship, an honor that few undergraduates receive. He also received the Merritt Scholarship and at graduation, he was encouraged by legendary music producer Quincy Jones to continue his film career. From that point, Jones began directing music videos working with artists such as Nas, Avril Lavigne, Pharrell Williams, T.I., The Game, Fat Joe, Jermaine Dupri, Lil’ Wayne, Diddy, Clipse, Rick Ross, Paul Wall, Pitbull, Trick Daddy, Birdman, Yummy Bingham, Slim Thug, Jadakiss, Eightball and MJG. His most recent works include “Sexy Can I” by Ray J, “My Drink N My 2 Step” by Cassidy featuring Swizz Beats, “Crying Out For Me” by Mario, “Hairbraider” by R. Kelly, Lil’ Mama’s dramatic short film-like video, “L.I.F.E.,” as Local Extras show-up for the filming of “The Magic City” well as her video “Shawty Get Loose” (fea-

turing Chris Brown and T-Pain). Jones also filmed a commercial for Country Music Television starring the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and a documentary on cancer for the University of Miami-Jackson Memorial Hospital. A short clip from the movie “The Magic City” previewed during the Black Film Festival Friday, July 8, 2011, at the Marlin Hotel on Miami Beach, during a special screening hosted by Flo Rida who also appears in the film. “The Magic City” is scheduled to be released in the spring of 2012. Burn Notice is a television series created by Matt Nix. The show stars Jeffrey Donovan, Gabrielle Anwar, Bruce Campbell, Sharon Gless and Coby Bell. The series currently runs in the 9/8c pm slot

Writer/Director R. Malcolm Jones with Vice Mayor Dorothy “Dottie” Johnson.

on USA Network, and repeats on other days. On April 15, 2010, the show was renewed for the fifth (beginning June 23, 2011) and sixth seasons. The title refers to the Burn Notices issued by intelligence agencies to discredit or announce the dismissal of agents or sources who are considered to have become unreliable. When spies are burned, their connection to an espionage organization is terminated, leaving them without access to cash or influence. According to the narration (during the opening credits), the burned spy has no prior work history, no money and no support network – in essence, no identity. After fleeing a blown operation in Nigeria and being kidnapped and beaten, covert-operations agent Michael Westen, played by Jeffrey Donovan, finds himself in his hometown of Miami, Florida. He is tended to by his exgirlfriend, Fiona Glenanne, but he has been abandoned by all his normal intelligence contacts and is under continuous surveillance with his personal assets frozen. ––––––––––––––––––––– See

THE MAGIC, next page


Page 8

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

July 2011

Producers take ‘Notice’ of the ‘Magic’ in Opa-locka BY CHRISTINA GORDON For the fifth time in as little as three months, the City of Opa-locka has been one of the most desired backdrops for the film industry in Miami-Dade County and as a result, most recently, scenes for the television show “Burn Notice” and the independent movie “The Magic City,” were shot on the intersections of Pervis and Sharar, as well as Sharazad and Bahman, along with other areas of the City, as residents either observed, volunteered to become “extras” or benefited by leasing their property for either parking or as a part of the set design during the productions. With the increasing movie and television productions occurring in the South Florida area, it was only a matter of time before the City of Opa-locka was in demand for its unique architecture, historical significance or welcoming ambiance that “the industry” has been scouting the county for, Opa-locka resident and movie extra Donald Thompson looks on as Writer/Director R. Malcolm Jones films. as they look to locate just the right atmosphere for creating pictures. Although “Burn Notice,” for safety reasons, was a semi-closed set, residents were allowed to watch from afar as filming took place on Pervis (President Obama Ave), but during the taping of “The Magic City,” everyone in the City was invited by Vice Mayor Dorothy “Dottie” Johnson via Code Red Message, to become an EXTRA in the A scene from the scene recorded on the lot across from TV Show Burn Historic City Hall. The Vice Mayor also Notice was filmed participated in scenes, during the filming of on Pervis “The Magic City” written and directed by (President Obama R. Malcolm Jones. Ave) and Sharar At the very early start of his career, in the City of independent film Director R. Malcolm Opa-locka. Jones was noted for planning, promoting and successfully executing a Tupac Shakur concert. With a full scholarship to the University of Miami, Jones pursued a career in film where, during his sophomore year, he was granted the prestigious Eastman Kodak Scholarship, an honor that few undergraduates receive. He also received the Merritt Scholarship and at graduation, he was encouraged by legendary music producer Quincy Jones to continue his film career. From that point, Jones began directing music videos working with artists such as Nas, Avril Lavigne, Pharrell Williams, T.I., The Game, Fat Joe, Jermaine Dupri, Lil’ Wayne, Diddy, Clipse, Rick Ross, Paul Wall, Pitbull, Trick Daddy, Birdman, Yummy Bingham, Slim Thug, Jadakiss, Eightball and MJG. His most recent works include “Sexy Can I” by Ray J, “My Drink N My 2 Step” by Cassidy featuring Swizz Beats, “Crying Out For Me” by Mario, “Hairbraider” by R. Kelly, Lil’ Mama’s dramatic short film-like video, “L.I.F.E.,” as Local Extras show-up for the filming of “The Magic City” well as her video “Shawty Get Loose” (fea-

turing Chris Brown and T-Pain). Jones also filmed a commercial for Country Music Television starring the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and a documentary on cancer for the University of Miami-Jackson Memorial Hospital. A short clip from the movie “The Magic City” previewed during the Black Film Festival Friday, July 8, 2011, at the Marlin Hotel on Miami Beach, during a special screening hosted by Flo Rida who also appears in the film. “The Magic City” is scheduled to be released in the spring of 2012. Burn Notice is a television series created by Matt Nix. The show stars Jeffrey Donovan, Gabrielle Anwar, Bruce Campbell, Sharon Gless and Coby Bell. The series currently runs in the 9/8c pm slot

Writer/Director R. Malcolm Jones with Vice Mayor Dorothy “Dottie” Johnson.

on USA Network, and repeats on other days. On April 15, 2010, the show was renewed for the fifth (beginning June 23, 2011) and sixth seasons. The title refers to the Burn Notices issued by intelligence agencies to discredit or announce the dismissal of agents or sources who are considered to have become unreliable. When spies are burned, their connection to an espionage organization is terminated, leaving them without access to cash or influence. According to the narration (during the opening credits), the burned spy has no prior work history, no money and no support network – in essence, no identity. After fleeing a blown operation in Nigeria and being kidnapped and beaten, covert-operations agent Michael Westen, played by Jeffrey Donovan, finds himself in his hometown of Miami, Florida. He is tended to by his exgirlfriend, Fiona Glenanne, but he has been abandoned by all his normal intelligence contacts and is under continuous surveillance with his personal assets frozen. ––––––––––––––––––––– See

THE MAGIC, next page


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M-D CAA & VM Dorothy Johnson beautify homes Celebrate National Community Action Month BY CHRISTINA GORDON

“You are reaping back what you have sown,” stated Vice Mayor Dorothy “Dottie” Johnson to 80-year-old, long time Opalocka resident George Bullens, 13895 NW 22nd Place, who she complemented for paying forward through 40-years of good deeds and contributions to the neighborhood, as he watched volunteers from the Miami-Dade County Community Action Agency’s (CAA) Opa-locka Home Beautification Program, the Greater Miami Service Corp and the City of Opa-locka put the final touches on the exterior painting, landscaping and new bathroom fixture installations to his house during the commemoration and celebration of National Community Action Month on Thursday, May 26, 2011. Vice Mayor Johnson, a neighbor of Mr. Bullens, was instrumental in guiding him through the process of obtaining the services provided through the District 1 Beautification Project, an initiative of the Honorable Commissioner Barbara Jordan. The Home Beautification project sign. According to the Vice Mayor, “Mr. Bullens –––––––––––––––––– was the first coach of the Opa-locka Demons Roller Hockey Team, which at one time had the only AfricanAmerican player in the league, and,” she added, “…he used to also repair bicycles for the youth of the community among other contributions.” Like Bullens, Hazel Spivey, 1121 Opa-locka Blvd, also joined the ranks of 85 other qualified homeowners in the Great City of Opa-locka, since 2009, to meet all the necessary requirements which permitted her to participate in the Opa-locka Vice Mayor Dorothy “Dottie” Johnson applies a coat of paint to home and landscape the home of Mr. George Bullens. makeovers program for her owner-occupied, sinpurposed intend as outlined in its by-laws: gle–family detached home, where work To provide financial support and in-kind began Monday, May 23, and was complet- contributions to various programs operated ed on Thursday, May 26, 2011. Spivey, liv- by the Miami-Dade Community Action ing in her house for over 30-years, said she Agency (CAA) for the benefit of those in learned a few weeks after the application need. was submitted that she was approved to In addition to the paint, Spivey said she receive support from the program, which also appreciates the high efficiency toilet provides financing through the Housing installed through the water conservation Finance Authority. Funding for the project program, which will reduce water flow and was made possible by the Community will consequently help save money. Action Agency Foundation (CAAF). The Spivey exclaimed that she was especially Foundation was chartered in 1981, for its grateful for having the opportunity to take

Mrs. Hazel Spivey expresses joy to Opa-locka Vice Mayor Dorothy “Dottie” Johnson and Shaquellia Holmes of the City of Opa-locka Office of Community Service (OCS) over the improvements to her home.

During Miami-Dade County Community Action Agency’s (CAA) Opa-locka Home Beautification Program, Vice Mayor Dorothy Dottie Johnson interviews Mr. George Bullens for Opa-TV, Channel 77, as Opa-locka City Clerk Deborah Sheffield Irby; Shaquellia Holmes, City of Opa-locka Office of Community Service (OCS); Project Manager Corey Jones, Miami-Dade County Community Action Agency’s (CAA); Portia Thompson, Greater Miami Service Corp; and Karen Jackson from Commissioner Richard Dunns office, look on.

part in the process by being allowed to choose the colors for her home. While staring at her newly painted peach and white house, she declared, “My spirit has been boosted, I feel like I’m a queen in my home again… I am in hog-heaven!” She said her appreciation is extended to Vice Mayor Dorothy Johnson, the Opa-locka City Commission, Commissioner Barbara Jordan, the Miami-Dade County CAA, the Greater Miami Service Corp, Project

Manager Cory Jones and all the volunteers involved in the Home Beautification Program. Cyrus McArthur III of the Greater Miami Service Corp., commented on how wonderful it felt “to give back to the community from my heart,” as he marveled at the work on the Bullen and Spivey homes, number 86 and 87 in Opa-locka, that were ––––––– See

DOROTHY JOHNSON, next page


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July 2011

M-D CAA & VM Dorothy Johnson beautify homes Celebrate National Community Action Month BY CHRISTINA GORDON

“You are reaping back what you have sown,” stated Vice Mayor Dorothy “Dottie” Johnson to 80-year-old, long time Opalocka resident George Bullens, 13895 NW 22nd Place, who she complemented for paying forward through 40-years of good deeds and contributions to the neighborhood, as he watched volunteers from the Miami-Dade County Community Action Agency’s (CAA) Opa-locka Home Beautification Program, the Greater Miami Service Corp and the City of Opa-locka put the final touches on the exterior painting, landscaping and new bathroom fixture installations to his house during the commemoration and celebration of National Community Action Month on Thursday, May 26, 2011. Vice Mayor Johnson, a neighbor of Mr. Bullens, was instrumental in guiding him through the process of obtaining the services provided through the District 1 Beautification Project, an initiative of the Honorable Commissioner Barbara Jordan. The Home Beautification project sign. According to the Vice Mayor, “Mr. Bullens –––––––––––––––––– was the first coach of the Opa-locka Demons Roller Hockey Team, which at one time had the only AfricanAmerican player in the league, and,” she added, “…he used to also repair bicycles for the youth of the community among other contributions.” Like Bullens, Hazel Spivey, 1121 Opa-locka Blvd, also joined the ranks of 85 other qualified homeowners in the Great City of Opa-locka, since 2009, to meet all the necessary requirements which permitted her to participate in the Opa-locka Vice Mayor Dorothy “Dottie” Johnson applies a coat of paint to home and landscape the home of Mr. George Bullens. makeovers program for her owner-occupied, sinpurposed intend as outlined in its by-laws: gle–family detached home, where work To provide financial support and in-kind began Monday, May 23, and was complet- contributions to various programs operated ed on Thursday, May 26, 2011. Spivey, liv- by the Miami-Dade Community Action ing in her house for over 30-years, said she Agency (CAA) for the benefit of those in learned a few weeks after the application need. was submitted that she was approved to In addition to the paint, Spivey said she receive support from the program, which also appreciates the high efficiency toilet provides financing through the Housing installed through the water conservation Finance Authority. Funding for the project program, which will reduce water flow and was made possible by the Community will consequently help save money. Action Agency Foundation (CAAF). The Spivey exclaimed that she was especially Foundation was chartered in 1981, for its grateful for having the opportunity to take

Mrs. Hazel Spivey expresses joy to Opa-locka Vice Mayor Dorothy “Dottie” Johnson and Shaquellia Holmes of the City of Opa-locka Office of Community Service (OCS) over the improvements to her home.

During Miami-Dade County Community Action Agency’s (CAA) Opa-locka Home Beautification Program, Vice Mayor Dorothy Dottie Johnson interviews Mr. George Bullens for Opa-TV, Channel 77, as Opa-locka City Clerk Deborah Sheffield Irby; Shaquellia Holmes, City of Opa-locka Office of Community Service (OCS); Project Manager Corey Jones, Miami-Dade County Community Action Agency’s (CAA); Portia Thompson, Greater Miami Service Corp; and Karen Jackson from Commissioner Richard Dunns office, look on.

part in the process by being allowed to choose the colors for her home. While staring at her newly painted peach and white house, she declared, “My spirit has been boosted, I feel like I’m a queen in my home again… I am in hog-heaven!” She said her appreciation is extended to Vice Mayor Dorothy Johnson, the Opa-locka City Commission, Commissioner Barbara Jordan, the Miami-Dade County CAA, the Greater Miami Service Corp, Project

Manager Cory Jones and all the volunteers involved in the Home Beautification Program. Cyrus McArthur III of the Greater Miami Service Corp., commented on how wonderful it felt “to give back to the community from my heart,” as he marveled at the work on the Bullen and Spivey homes, number 86 and 87 in Opa-locka, that were ––––––– See

DOROTHY JOHNSON, next page


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TOWN HALL MEETING On Tuesday, June 14, 2011 The Mayor and City Commission held a Town Hall Meeting, hosted by Vice Mayor Dorothy “Dottie” Johnson, where residents filled the chambers to express concerns, give input and participate in the budget process. Among the topics raised were furlough days, take-home vehicles, deferring

the cost of items to next year’s budget, litigation, general fund, lift stations, car allowances, revenue streams and more. The Commission encouraged feedback through Town Hall Meetings, comment cards and/or one-on-one with the Commissioners. They assured the community that they are working hard to balance the budget!

The Commission listens diligently, as the community gives input to the budget process at the City of Opalocka Town Hall Meeting! ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Linda Parker, third generation family member living in the City of Opa-locka, suggested the City “Weed out the bad wood” and put the Community first. She said “We’ve got good people in Opa-locka, we can turn it around!” –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Be smart, read a book!


July 2011

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

CLASS OF 2011

(Left to Right) Newly sworn-in Officers – Bryant Colebrooke, Mario Fernandez, Hans Gonzalez, Cindy Charlisme, Dominique Hanies , Chief Chery Cason, Dwayne Ramikie, Johane Taylor, Scherry Thomson and Ricardo Mendigutia ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

CONGRATULATIONS On June 3, 2011, in a graduation ceremony on the second floor of the Municipal Complex Building, 780 Fisherman Street, The City of Opa-locka Mayor Myra Taylor, Vice Mayor Dorothy Johnson and Commissioner Timothy Holmes welcomed nine new Officers to the Opalocka Police Department. Although two of the Officers were raised in the City of Opa-locka, one of the officers stated that they are ALL now brothers and sisters, with one primary goal… Public Safety! –––––––––––––––––––

(Left to Right) Chief Cheryl Cason presents Officer Ricardo Mendigutia with his badge as Commissioner Timothy Holmes, Mayor “Lady” Myra Taylor and Vice Mayor Dorothy “Dottie” Johnson witness. (Below) Group shot of Officers present.

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Mayor Myra Taylor Celebrates Mother’s Day with Seniors WRITTEN BY: CHRISTINA GORDON, SHAQUELLIA HOLMES & ASHLEY RIVERA

Although the City had previously scheduled an Employee Appreciation Picnic for Friday, May 6, 2011, the same day that Mayor “Lady” Myra Taylor planned a luncheon to honor the “Golden Mothers” of Opa-locka, Taylor said her tribute to the seniors would continue, because she believes that the Mothers of Opa-locka deserved to be honored for their contributions to the Community. Therefore, just two days before the actual Nationally celebrated holiday, the Mayor opted to be on the second floor of the Opa-locka Municipal Complex Building with “my mothers” she stated. Attendees included seniors from the Arch Bishop McCarthy Residence and the Opa-locka “Seniors on the Move” program. The afternoon began with a full-bodied dis-

catered by Berry’s Catering, the “Golden Mothers” were serenaded by former Opalocka Mayor John Riley, who sang “Motherless Child.” The fathers in the room sang “Happy Mother’s Day.” After which, Mayor Taylor passed a microphone around and each mother shared a little information about themselves. Some of the mothers spoke of struggles, such as the loss of a child or surviving battles such as cancer. As a token of love and appreciation, Mayor Taylor presented all the mothers a red rose and a small gift box. For Taylor, this was an opportunity to thank all mothers for their love and wisdom, because, she affirmed, “Mothers make the world!” Mother’s Day was established on May 9, 1905 and officially declared a holiday 1910. Four years later, on May 8, 1914, the U.S. Congress passed a law designating the second Sunday in May, as Mother's Day. By May 2008, the U.S. House of

Mayor “Lady” Myra Taylor wishes “Golden Mothers” Jessie Owens and Lollie McCollough. a HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY! Photos by: Shawn Williams –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Mayor Taylor listen to motherhood stories of the days “Way Back When” when seniors Mattie Scott, Jeanette Cottle and Clara Way share about times when things were a lot different than they are today! ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

cussion on how things used to be “Way Back When.” Mayor Taylor and the seniors reminisced about everything from hand washing cloth diapers to making homemade baby food. Prizes were distributed for accomplishments such as, having the most children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. At age 97, Ms. Jeannie Orrion was honored as the oldest mother in the room. Before being served a delicious lunch

Representatives voted twice on a resolution commemorating Mother's Day, the first one being unanimous so that all congressmen would be on record showing support for Mother's Day. On May 6, 2011, “MOTHER” Mayor “Lady” Myra L. Taylor continued with tradition and celebrated “her mothers.” But like any good mother would, after leaving the luncheon, she stopped by the Employee Picnic to check on all of her children!

www.communitynewspapers.com


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Commissioner Timothy Holmes Has Bumper Stickers Limited Supply for Opa-locka Drivers and Businesses BY CHRISTINA GORDON

Commissioner Timothy Holmes is encouraging City of Opa-locka residents who own a car, motorcycle or other means of registered transportation to stop-by his office to pick-up a FREE “NO Ifs, Ands or Butts” Bumper Sticker, while supplies last. In an effort to promote, support and uphold the Ordinance which was signed into effect in November 2007, setting precedence for Opalocka as the FIRST City in the State of Florida to pass the “No Saggy Pant” law. Holmes has also requested that ALL City vehicles adorn the signature sticker with the same message that could be found on signs throughout City parks and facilities. Commissioner Holmes has gone a step further by asking all business owners and vendors to purchase the mini (8x10) versions of the signs to display in their windows or exhibit on site at all shop locations, when renewing their licenses. But more importantly, he is asking everyone to enforce the law by requiring all potential patrons, customers or clienteles to understand that in order to enter a business in the City of Opa-locka, they

MUST obey the law. “Publically showing your underwear or your posterior is considered indecent exposure, and we will not have that in the City of Opa-locka,” stated the Commissioner. He said he feels a lot more support now that Florida Governor Rick Scott and Senator Gary Siplin of Orlando are in the

same lane. Although request for the Opalocka “No Saggy Pant” signs have come from various educators at local schools since the posters were exhibited, Commissioner Holmes believes that having the Governor sign a law banning students from wearing Saggy Pants to school will help him reach

young people, in and out of Opa-locka. “With the school system involved, there’s no reason or excuse for any students to “get caught with their pants down,” stated Commissioner Holmes over this triumph.


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The Mayor, The Commission and The Community City of Opa-locka Has An International Appeal BY CHRISTINA GORDON

While The City of Opa-locka may only be comprised of 4.2 miles, it has an International appeal and outreach, which is accompanied by a reputation for having some of the most beautiful Moorish Revival Architecture in the Western Hemisphere, as well as one of the best locations for businesses to take advantage of tax incentive programs to increase profit and promote rejuvenation. For years, the City of Opa-locka has been host to visitors from France, Thai, Alhambra and other “far-away” places. Recently, the Mayor and the Commissioners were invited by members of the Opalocka Paraguayan Community to go “home” with them for a visit to Paraguay. Since this was impossible for now, the Paraguayan Association honored Mayor Taylor on Sunday, May 1, 2011 at Florida Memorial University, for providing assistance to the Hispanic community in Opa-locka where about 14 families from Paraguay currently reside. The main focus of the event was to celebrate the 200 Paraguay Bicentenario; 1811-2011. The association would like to build a tighter relationship between the City of Opa-locka and the people of Paraguay. On May 19, 2011, also seeking to build sister relationships with various U.S. Cities, but in particular, create a strong Economic Development with the City of Opa-locka, were his Majesty Nii Dr. Kpobi Tettey Tsuru III and Queen Doris Pobbee from La Accra, Ghana. The two sides discussed recycling and other areas of common interest. Seated, left to right: Mrs. Mayor Taylor, His Majesty Nii Dr. Kpobi Tettey Tsuru III; (La Traditional Area Accra, Ghana), Queen Doris Pobbee. Back row standing, left to right: Mr. Jonas Coleman and Ms. Vivian Coleman (Back bone Cultural Group), Mr. Novalis Lartey; Ms. Liana Grant; Dr. Preston Marshall.


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COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

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Gun Buy Back Initiative BY CHRISTINA GORDON

“I don’t want THIS in the house, because my three-year-old great-grand son could get hurt,” stressed Mrs. Mozelle Dixon who has for the second time since 2008, turned-in a weapon to the Gun Buy Back Program at St. Andrew Missionary Baptist Church on Saturday, June 25, 2011, where the Opa-locka Police Department, in cooperation with The Florida Highway Patrol, The Miami-Dade County Police Gun Bounty Program and other partnering agencies and businesses, hosted its bi-annual Gun Buy Back Initiative from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. at 15000 Northwest 27th Avenue in Opalocka, Florida, in an effort to curtail the increasing level of gun violence and accidental shootings in the North Dade area during the Fourth of July Holiday. Although unlawful, the Fourth of July is a time when many people use guns in the celebration of Independence Day. Many of these guns have been used in criminal activity. According to Opa-locka Mayor “Lady” Myra L. Taylor, “Many Fourth of July casualties are unintentional, but it is no accident that ‘what goes up, must come down,’ …that’s the law of gravity.” She added, “Since we can’t predict where these bullets will land or who they will strike as they descend during these celebrations, we need not discharge these weapons at all. Just turn them in before somebody gets hurt.” The objective of the Gun Buy Back is to remove as many weapons off the streets as possible, and out of circulation. There were no questions asked of anyone who brought weapons to the Gun Buy Back. All participants were asked to transport ALL UNLOADED firearms in the trunk of their vehicle and enter the church lot on the South side of the property (NW 27th Ave, just before 151st North bound). From there, officers removed and secured the weapons by checking to assure they were not loaded or by clearing the chambers, in a safe area. After which they ran the serial number and then paid the individual with $50 -$100.00 cash, based on the type of weapon submitted. The final count for Saturday’s Gun Buy Back was seven rifles, two saw-off shotguns, six revolvers and five pistols, totaling 20 weapons. The Miami-Dade County Gun Buy Back program was originally initiated by The Late Rev. Dr. Arthur Jackson, Jr. of New Shiloh Baptist Church. This year, New Shiloh Baptist Church joined the Gun Buy Back program, which was dedicated in honor and memory of Rev. Dr.

Property and Evidence Specialist 1, Michelle Fink at the Opa-locka Police Department signed-in weapons that were brought to St. Andrews Missionary Baptist Church for the Gun Buy Back program.

Two shotguns, six revolvers and five pistols were among the 20 weapons collected on Saturday at the Gun Buy Back Program. One of Seven rifles, along with two sawed-off shotguns, six revolvers and five pistols were among the 20 weapons collected on Saturday at the Gun Buy Back Program. Officer Robert Bell ran the serial numbers of the weapons that were turned-in to the Gun Buy Back Program.

Arthur Jackson, Jr. During the Gun Buy Back, representatives from the Crime Stoppers program also encouraged the community to get involved by offering a $1000.00 reward to any tip, leading to an arrest of a suspect with an illegal firearm. Although Mrs. Dixon said she doesn’t know anyone with illegal weapons, this is news she would be glad to share with others. All tips are kept anonymous when called in to Crime Stoppers at 305 471-8477. To make a donation or to obtain more information on future Gun Buy Back initiatives, call 305.688.3510 or email the office of St. Andrew’s Missionary Baptist Church at info@standrewmbc.org .

Chief Cheryl Cason (center) demonstrating the type of weapons turned in during the BiAnnual Gun Buy Back as she is flanked by Mayor “Lady” Myra L. Taylor and Reserve Assistant Chief James Smith.

Admn. Ofc. E.M. Crawford carefully handle a gun as Sgt Quiñones at the Florida Ha Patrol prepares to check the weapon that was turned in by a resident during the Gun Buy Back Program.


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Vice Mayor Dorothy Johnson Hosted Tree Planting Ceremony Written By: Christina Gordon Co-editor: Ashley Rivera With a vision to create a healthy environment, healthy lifestyle and a healthy community through Community Educational Gardens, on Saturday, July 16, 2011 at 8:00 AM, City of Opa-locka Vice Mayor Dorothy “Dottie” Johnson, The Mayor and Commission, along with Citizens for a Better South Florida and Opa-locka Community Development Corporation joined residents at the Gladys Coachman Community Educational Garden, next to the Burlington Canal (across from Nathan B. Young Elementary), for the First Annual Tree Planting Ceremony. “Trees were here in the beginning and they will be here in the end,” reminded Mayor Myra Taylor after an opening prayer. The Mayor, surrounded by nature, reminded participants to enjoy the garden, but more importantly RESPECT what God has made.” Although the actual ceremony occurred on Saturday, several of the trees were positioned during a pre-planting on

the day before. The remaining trees, along with plenty of herbs and spices (oregano, thyme, parsley, cilantro...etc), were placed in or near the garden by volunteers, residents, neighborhood children, students from Nathan B. Young and Dr. Robert B. Ingram Elementary schools, along with youth from various programs such as The Portrait of Empowerment, Crime Prevention and the Opa-locka Parks and Recreation Department. Vice Mayor Johnson used the opportunity to share many “teachable moments,” beginning with the importance of trees for oxygen, water for earth, plants and flowers for attracting butterflies, bees for pollen and other beneficial insects for the food chain and the circle of life. The Vice Mayor addressed the significance of a good education, reading and social etiquette. She also branched into an impromptu question and answer session about the event, with the ––––––––––––––––––––– See

PLANTING, next page

Daniela Bueso, an FIU Intern volunteers to help plant trees in Opa-locka, along with Project Assistant Juan David Araque, Director Gloria Anita, Maria Duran and other members of the Urban Greening and Community Forestry, CITIZENS for a Better South Florida.

Vice Mayor Johnson, Amber Dyer, Dr. Susan McEachin, Ananete Mitchel, Dr. Raymond Sands, Micah Michel and Zictone Jacque-Ford Addissa Gordon, age 3, prepares to a hole for a plant of her The Public Works Department assist with planting own in the garden. the trees.

Community members line-up at the ceremony, to begin dedicating the trees to their loved ones.

TPOE- STEPPERS performed at the Tree Planting Ceremony.


July 2011

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

Page 21

Vice Mayor Dorothy Johnson Hosted Tree Planting Ceremony Written By: Christina Gordon Co-editor: Ashley Rivera With a vision to create a healthy environment, healthy lifestyle and a healthy community through Community Educational Gardens, on Saturday, July 16, 2011 at 8:00 AM, City of Opa-locka Vice Mayor Dorothy “Dottie” Johnson, The Mayor and Commission, along with Citizens for a Better South Florida and Opa-locka Community Development Corporation joined residents at the Gladys Coachman Community Educational Garden, next to the Burlington Canal (across from Nathan B. Young Elementary), for the First Annual Tree Planting Ceremony. “Trees were here in the beginning and they will be here in the end,” reminded Mayor Myra Taylor after an opening prayer. The Mayor, surrounded by nature, reminded participants to enjoy the garden, but more importantly RESPECT what God has made.” Although the actual ceremony occurred on Saturday, several of the trees were positioned during a pre-planting on

the day before. The remaining trees, along with plenty of herbs and spices (oregano, thyme, parsley, cilantro...etc), were placed in or near the garden by volunteers, residents, neighborhood children, students from Nathan B. Young and Dr. Robert B. Ingram Elementary schools, along with youth from various programs such as The Portrait of Empowerment, Crime Prevention and the Opa-locka Parks and Recreation Department. Vice Mayor Johnson used the opportunity to share many “teachable moments,” beginning with the importance of trees for oxygen, water for earth, plants and flowers for attracting butterflies, bees for pollen and other beneficial insects for the food chain and the circle of life. The Vice Mayor addressed the significance of a good education, reading and social etiquette. She also branched into an impromptu question and answer session about the event, with the ––––––––––––––––––––– See

PLANTING, next page

Daniela Bueso, an FIU Intern volunteers to help plant trees in Opa-locka, along with Project Assistant Juan David Araque, Director Gloria Anita, Maria Duran and other members of the Urban Greening and Community Forestry, CITIZENS for a Better South Florida.

Vice Mayor Johnson, Amber Dyer, Dr. Susan McEachin, Ananete Mitchel, Dr. Raymond Sands, Micah Michel and Zictone Jacque-Ford Addissa Gordon, age 3, prepares to a hole for a plant of her The Public Works Department assist with planting own in the garden. the trees.

Community members line-up at the ceremony, to begin dedicating the trees to their loved ones.

TPOE- STEPPERS performed at the Tree Planting Ceremony.


July 2011

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

Commissioner Gail E. Miller Presents Proclamations to Sagemont Lions Girls Varsity Basketball Team Commissioner Gail E. Miller along with the City of Opa-locka Mayor and Commission proclaimed Wednesday, March 9, 2011 as “Makai’la McCloud and the Sagemont Lions, Class 2A, District 14, Girls Varsity Basketball Team Day” for a hard-fought, successful season of dedication and commitment, for being the Runner-Up in Region 4, for their excellent performance, and for being a source of admiration and inspiration to the citizens of the City of Opa-locka.

According to Miller, who is especially proud of her granddaughter Makai’la, stated, “The team played the game so well, with a show of strength, hard work, brilliant strategy and persistence which outmaneuver other teams, making this awesome group power the key to their pursuit of the same goal.” The great City of Opa-locka acknowledges the outstanding achievements and contributions by the Sagemont Lions and encouraged each team member to continue accomplishing great things.

Members of the winning Sagemont Girls Varsity Basketball Team displaying the Proclamations presented to them by City of Opa-locka Commissioner Gail E. Miller.

(L) Makai’la McCloud of the Sagemont Lions Basketball Team proudly hugs her Grandmother Commissioner Miller. (R) Coach David Correa and Commissioner Miller

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

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

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

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

$15,500. Options can quickly run the price up and our test vehicle with leather seats and navigation listed at $23,300. Ron Beasley is the automotive editor for 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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Opa-Locka Review 7.2011