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DECEMBER 15 - 21, 2009

CITT executive addresses EDC on future of transit F

BY GARY ALAN RUSE

New Metrobus Book lists route, schedule changes

ormer Palmetto Bay village manager Charles Scurr, who has for the past year been the executive director of the Citizens’ Independent Transportation Trust (CITT), addressed members of the Economic Development Council of South Dade (EDC) at the group’s regular monthly meeting on Dec. 8. Scurr spoke informally on the topic of transit service to the more than two dozen people attending the meeting at the EDC headquarters at 900 Perrine Ave. Included among the attendees were Palmetto Bay Mayor Eugene P. Flinn Jr.; village council members Shelley Stanczyk and Howard Tendrich; Cutler Bay Vice Mayor Ed MacDougall; Pinecrest Council member Joseph M. Corradino; County Commissioner Katy Sorensen, as well as business men and women, and others from the community. “I want to talk about where we’ve been, –––––––––––––––––––––– See

TRANSIT, page 4

BY LEE STEPHENS

M

CITT executive director Charles Scurr at EDC meeting Dec. 8 is flanked by Joseph M. Corradino (left) and EDC chair Richard Horton.

Gulliver junior raises money to help Nicaraguan students BY LINDA RODRIGUEZ BERNFELD

G

ulliver Prep junior Alejandro Perez is not your typical self-centered teen. Perez’s family has made sure of that. Perez and his sister, Andrea, work hard each year in order to raise money to help teens in Nicaragua go to school through a project they named “Feed and Educate a Child.” In order to raise money, Perez began a computer consulting business that repairs computers and uses the money he is paid for his charity. The funds are matched dollar for dollar by his parents, grandparents and family friends. “Just this past year we got close to $20,000 from matching donations from my family and the work I did,” he said. “We used Alejandro Perez and the children of Santo Domingo, Nicaragua, ride in the donated truck.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– See

STUDENTS, page 4

iami-Dade Transit (MDT) customers now can obtain a free Metrobus Book containing detailed maps and schedules of every bus route. Available while supplies last at all Metrorail stations, Miami-Dade public libraries and at the Transit Service Center on the second level of the Government Center Metrorail station, the Metrobus Book reflects the Dec. 13 service changes, which call for significant adjustments to improve the system’s overall efficiency. Several bus routes are being merged into other routes to eliminate service duplication, while service frequencies on a number of routes are being reduced during times of lower ridership. The new modified grid system takes advantage of the county’s arterial street pattern. The changes are the result of a comprehensive analysis of current ridership data, as well as coordination with municipal transit services to maximize interconnectivity. In view of the increased need for passengers to make transfers due to the streamlined bus network, MDT has eliminated bus-to-bus transfer fees for customers using an EASY Card or EASY Ticket. Transfers must be made within three hours and are not valid for return trips. The service changes also will feature improved service frequencies on some higher-ridership routes, as well as a new

––––––––––––––––– See

METROBUS, page 4


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December 15 - 21, 2009

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STUDENTS,

from page 1 ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

that money to buy a truck to take kids from their middle school to the high school. We set it so the kids can take a bus of sorts.” In the past, they have given the graduating middle school students in the town of Santo Domingo bicycles from donations, but Perez realized that the bikes weren’t good enough transportations during inclement weather, which is why they bought the truck. Perez is familiar with the town because his great grandmother owned a sugar plantation there and he would visit when he was younger. “I would see the poverty level,” he said. “They would go to sixth grade and then they would be pulled onto the farm. I wanted to give them a way to further develop their education.” His dream is that some of the students will not only graduate from high school, but go on to college. “At this point, we haven’t had a class that has graduated yet (from high school),” he said. “For the college, if they were to pursue college, we would try to help them. There is one student who was valedictorian who may try to go to college. We’re going to try and help them out.” Perez has tried to get Gulliver involved in

his efforts. He spoke with the administration and they offered old uniforms that can be given to the Nicaraguan students. He also collects clothing from friends and family to give to the needy students. “I’m going to work with the administration this year to see if we can get some boxes. I think the best way is to actively go out and ask, do you have some clothes,” he said. “Another important thing I found out was that a lot of the kids would show up to school every morning barely having had any breakfast. Therefore some of the funds were invested in buying powder milk, which is distributed to the kids at school every morning.” From the program Perez said he has learned to appreciate all that he has here in the United States. “It’s really an eye opener to go out there and see the conditions these people live in and then come back to Pinecrest and go ‘wow, it’s a completely different world.’” When he’s not repairing computers or gathering clothing donations, Perez works hard at school in the International Baccalaureate program. Until this year, he has participated on the cross-country and track teams. On the track team he takes part in distance events such as the 800 meters as well as the one-mile and two-mile runs.

December 15 - 21, 2009

TRANSIT,

from page 1 –––––––––––––––––––

where we are now and where we’re going,” Scurr told the group. “The Transportation Trust is the half penny sales tax that was very soundly approved by the voters. We collect about $180 million a year. Out of that, 80 percent goes to Miami-Dade County. The majority of that goes to funding the MiamiDade County transportation system.” Scurr said that when the discussion regarding the sales tax originally began, the first thought was for a full penny tax but that was scaled down to a half-cent. But, he said, while the amount of the tax decreased, the needs of the transit system in Miami-Dade increased, meaning a wider gap between available revenues and the costs of needed improvements. Scurr noted that most communities around the country are experiencing transit financing difficulties these days. It is not only because that with the current economy local revenues are down, but also because federal funding, which often used to cover 80 percent of project costs, is much lower and harder to get. “I think there’s a new realism that you’re going to have to scale your plans to what’s possible,” he said. He suggested that communities are less likely to jump directly into heavy rail transit systems and more likely to upgrade their bus and other systems, including

METROBUS, JUMPS FOR PALMETTO BAY

from page 1 ––––––––––––––

express bus route connecting Miami International Airport with Miami Beach. For just $2.35, the Airport Flyer (Route 150) will shuttle airport passengers to the beach in about half an hour, making only one stop along the way at the Earlington Heights Metrorail station. And coming in January, the new I-95

light rail. He estimated that the cost of extending heavy rail to the north county line in Miami-Dade would be about $1.2 billion. He said they are seeking innovative ways to finance new projects and extensions of Metrorail, and seeking more economical approaches. “We are looking at the entire FEC corridor going north, into Broward and Palm Beach County, for possible commuter rail use,” Scurr said, referring to the Florida East Coast Railway tracks that closely parallel US1. “The good thing is that there’s high density all the way along there.” Scurr said that the only east-west linkage for Metrorail that they are considering currently is along the Dolphin Expressway (SR 836), and a CITT draft report handed out at the meeting suggests that the MiamiDade Expressway Authority (MDX) is open to making portions of its right of way available for transit systems and possibly invest some of MDX’s capital in projects. The cities get 20 percent of the CITT funds and Scurr said that the fact that Palmetto Bay and Cutler Bay may be working jointly on some projects, such as shuttle buses, is a good way to go. “We really encourage the cities getting together and pooling their money,” Scurr said. When the question was raised regarding coordinated computerized traffic signals in the county and beyond, Scurr was optimistic. “Traffic signaling is 85 percent complete,” he said. “In six to eight months it should be 100 percent complete.” Dade-Broward Express will transport commuters via the I-95 high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes from downtown Miami to either Sheridan Street or Broward Boulevard in Broward County. Customers who don’t have a Metrobus Book can visit <www.miamidade.gov/transit> for detailed descriptions of the Dec. 13 service changes. For more information, call 305-770-3131 (or 305-891-3131 if south of SW 216th Street). TDD users should call 305-499-8971.

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December 15 - 21, 2009

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

Page 5

Patrick Fiore tosses his hat in the ring for 2010 Michael Miller EXECUTIVE EDITOR

AROUND TOWN Patrick Fiore has just announced that he is joining those who are running for a seat on the Palmetto Bay Village Council in the November 2010 Election. “I’ve filed my papers and opened a campaign account for District 1, Dr. Feller’s seat. I want to be a voice for the residents in the north part of the city,” Fiore tells us, since he’s a resident there. “A lot of the things the current council has done I want to maintain. I want to continue and enhance the basic services we receive from the city.” Dr. Feller is on the last year of his second term and cannot run again. Fiore thinks the coming election is the natural time for the village to shift gears for its projects. “Now that all the big ticket items (parks, library, the village hall, etc.) are in the pipeline I would like to focus on infrastructure and city services, including enhanced services for seniors, such as activities, and youth programs. I would also like to see the

planting of more trees.” Community involvement is nothing new to him. He was on the Kendall Community Council for a number of years. “I like to serve,” says Fiore. “I moved to Palmetto Bay two and a half years ago to give my family a better quality of life, and now I’d like to give back to the residents.” Fiore tells us that he’s already started going out on weekends, walking through the neighborhoods in District 1, meeting people. Christmas can be rruff for homeless animals. That’s why Miami Veterinary Specialists, Miami’s premiere emergency and critical care facility, is bringing in the holidays by hosting a donation drive that will benefit the animals currently being cared for by Miami-Dade County Animal Services, which takes in over 34,000 dogs and cats every year. You can help the shelter animals by donating the following items: rubber toys suitable for sanitizing, dog/cat treats and food, dog leashes, dog collars, bandanas, puppy housebreaking pads, Frontline Plus for all dog sizes, Advantage for cats, fleece mini blankets, and fleece dog sweaters. To find out more about Animal Services or to make a monetary donation, please visit

http://www.miamidade.gov/animals//. Miami Veterinary Specialists is located at 8601 Sunset Drive. For more information call 305-665-2820 or visit http://www.mvshospital.com. The Area Stage Conservatory Program invites you to a fundraising event, Big Band Christmas, on Sunday, December 20th at 6:00 p.m. Under the direction of Luis Espindola, students from local schools will perform traditional carols and villancicos from around the world in English and Spanish. The Luis Espindola Band and the Area Stage Conservatory Singers will offer a concert to celebrate the season and raise funds for the Scholarship Fund at the Conservatory. The Scholarship Fund was established by John and Maria Rodaz to offer talented students the opportunity to attend their conservatory program. To date, more than twenty scholarships have been granted to underprivileged children. Tickets for the event are $10 for students and $20 for adults. To make reservations, or if you can’t attend but wish to donate, please call 305-666-2078. The Area Stage Conservatory is located at the Riviera Plaza, 1560 South Dixie Highway. Visit their web-

site at www.areastagecompany.com. In the pipeline for legislative action are multiple bills to help speed up the foreclosure process in civil courts due to the mounting numbers creating a backlog of cases, comments Atty. Maria V. Arias to KFHA members. She predicts the lack of significant changes in statutes during 2009 will accelerate foreclosure process changes during the during the 2010 session. P.S. To help reduce the paper trail, a report is due out by February 1 with recommendations on how foreclosures can be filed electronically — from start to finish! It’s supposed to alleviate the six-month “routine” procedure and up to a year in court decisions, due to the turtle pace of paperwork in ‘hard copy’ filings. That’s all for this week, but remember to shop local! Thought for the Day: Ideas without actions are worthless. — Harvey Mackay Richard Yager contributed to this column. Got any tips? Contact me at 305-6697355, ext. 249, or send emails to <michael@communitynewspapers.com>.

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December 15 - 21, 2009

If they ‘need’ ethics training, why elect them? R. Kenneth Bluh KENNETH’S COMMENTARY Miami City Commissioner Marc Sarnoff wrote a letter to the editor of The Miami Herald suggesting, perhaps I should say strongly recommending, that we should have mandatory ethics training for elected officials. My first reaction to his letter was: Why would we want to elect anyone who would “require” training in ethical conduct as an elected official? I thought one of the reasons we would elect someone to a position of authority, someone who would set the rules by which we as a community function, was their ethical background. I can’t visualize myself voting for someone who is publicly understood to be “unethical.” Wanting to know more, I Googled Miami-Dade’s Commission on Ethics and Public Trust’s website. I have not had the time to talk to any of the staff of the com-

mission or to Robert Meyers, its executive director. However, after reading its website I realize that it “offers” training in ethics for county and municipal staff and elected officials, but it is “voluntary.” It would appear from its website that it is charged more with the responsibility of monitoring and bringing violators before its commission than it is in preventive action — training elected officials. Again, I strongly feel that if a candidate exhibits “unethical” tendencies or has a history of unethical actions, either as a holder of previous elected positions or as a member of the business community, we should not elect the candidate to public office. However, it does happen; we do elect individuals to public office who have demonstrated unethical behavior or who, once elected, start to demonstrate poor ethics. How would you design a curriculum for the ethics classes for newly elected officials? Let’s see, one of the subjects could be: “Thou shall not steal public funds.” But wouldn’t a candidate for public office already understand this? How about:

––– VIEWPOINT ––– “Thou shall not direct county or municipal business to a relative or friend in exchange for financial remuneration.” How about their acknowledging that the reason they were elected was to protect the interest of the residents of the county or their city while we, the voters, go about our daily lives earning a living? “The citizen comes first” could be their sworn motto. They should acknowledge that they were not elected for their personal enrichment. They should pay at least a modicum of attention to the wishes of those that elected them to public office once they are sworn in. I do agree with Commissioner Sarnoff who wrote: “Any momentum toward regaining public confidence in government is lost each time one of our elected officials is involved in scandal.” It is like taking 10 steps backwards for every one step forward when an elected official performs well.

However, in the final analysis I must admit that we as voters keep electing and reelecting the same individuals who are ripe candidates for the commissioners’ ethics training program. Perhaps we could include already-elected officials in the classes. I suggest that each official, when graduating from the ethics-training course, sign a pledge acknowledging the pitfalls of public office and the penalties when caught and found guilty. Knowing the downside of violating the public trust might encourage a higher level of ethical behavior. I hope! We appreciate your opinions on this column whether in agreement or disagreement. Please send your comments to (fax number) 305-662-6980 or email to <letters@communitynewspapers.com>. The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of this newspaper, its editors or publisher.


December 15 - 21, 2009

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

Page 7

The best and the worst of times for economy Al Sunshine 4 YOUR MONEY Charles Dickens once wrote, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness.” This is probably the last time I will use a quote from Charles Dickens to describe the recovery and economy of the United States. Oddly enough, the lines mean as much to us today as they did to Dickens when he first wrote them. With executive bonuses, Wall Street has seen the best of times. It set record highs for the year and reached an all-time nearrecord level. Money spent, money gained! As stressed out workers are being asked to do more to keep their jobs, the United States productivity also keeps growing. The latest sentiment survey shows that consumers are starting to feel better about the economy and are considering spending again, according to a Rutgers and University of Michigan survey. Interested in buying a new home? Record low mortgage rates and expanded homebuying tax credits have helped push the housing markets forward. According to the U.S. Commerce Department, overall sales of new homes have jumped 6.2 percent nationally. New home sales in the South grew by 23 percent, making South Florida one of the hottest areas of the country for housing’s rebound. The latest figures from the U.S. Labor Department show that 35,000 fewer people have applied for new unemployment benefits than from previous weeks. For the first time in more than a year, fewer than 500,000

applied for federal unemployment assistance. Unemployment, however, is in the “worst of times.” New job hiring remains stalled. Homeowners also have been swimming through some rough waters. It is estimated that one out of every four people who own a home owes more to the bank than their home is worth. Unfortunately, foreclosures are expected to worsen through 2010. Banks are under increasing pressure to help struggling homeowners refinance their properties to more affordable mortgages. There are a growing number of complaints that banks are not doing enough to speed up mortgage refinance applications to keep families inside of their homes. The FDIC reports that about 552 financial institutions are on a “troubled banks” listing. Bank failures remain at record high levels. More are forecast to be taken over before the end of the year. Don’t be surprised to hear about an increase of credit card use among consumers this holiday shopping season. Conversely, in January, don’t be surprised to hear about credit card defaults, bankruptcies and foreclosures, as families struggle to pay off stacks of bills. The cycle of recession is not over yet. With the possibility of recovery slipping back into a recession next year, you also may hear about a “double dipper” in the financial forecast soon. For now, there are still strong signs that our economy is improving. As we enter the 2009 holiday season and the new year, we cannot forget Dickens’ words written so many years ago: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness.” Watch Al Sunshine weekdays on CBS4 beginning at noon. You can also read Al’s blog at <www.cbs4.com>.

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December 15 - 21, 2009

Coral Reef Elementary students’ service project helps homeless BY LEE STEPHENS

During the early part of November, Mrs. Johnson’s second grade class and Mrs. Basulto’s first grade class at Coral Reef Elementary School, in their commitment to community service, collected gently used clothing, household items, new toiletries and baby items for their fall community service project. In partnership with the Community Partnership for the Homeless (CPHI), the students learned about the serious issue of homelessness and its impact on families and children within their community. As a result, the children were First and second graders at Coral Reef Elementary School are pictured in front of a van loaded with items they collected to help the homeless. determined to make a differ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– ence to help those in need and they lifted bags, boxes and even bicycles, In addition, the children also created collected items, including their own toys tions about homelessness. The project culminated on Friday, Nov. and doll furniture. Their donations filled placements on which they colored and and other personal favorites. Arlene Peterson, the director of devel- 20, when a collection van from CPHI the van to capacity and the children walked wrote inspirational Thanksgiving mesopment for CPHI, and Coral Reef’s parked on the Coral Reef Elementary PE happily back to their classrooms with a sages. The placements were to be placed in school board representative Dr. Larry field to collect the items that were person- sense of satisfaction and pride that they the dining area of the homeless shelter to Feldman came to speak to the children ally brought by the children to the van. The made a difference in the lives of those less brighten up and bring cheer to the residents as they ate their Thanksgiving meals. and answered their often poignant ques- children were excited and full of energy as fortunate.

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December 15 - 21, 2009

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Children from A+ Early Learning Center display some of the cards they made for the residents of Gramercy Park Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Palmetto Bay. –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– BY ROBERT HAMILTON

In honor of “National Home Car Month” Amedisys Home Health Services of Palmetto Bay sponsored “Greek Night” at Gramercy Park Nursing and Rehabilitation Center on Nov. 20. Volunteers from St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church gave their time to put on a spectacular dance for the residents of the

facility. Children wore traditional Greek costumes and dances to traditional Greek music. Maria Pitsoulakis, LPN, account manager, arranged for three Kendall area schools to participate by making Get Well and Thinking of You cards for residents. Students from A+ Early Learning Center, Cypress Elementary School, and Riviera Middle School made more than 200 cards.

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December 15 - 21, 2009


December 15 - 21, 2009

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Financial Planning During the Holidays? Are you a spender or a saver during the holidays? To a lesser or greater degree, we are either savers or spenders. The commercialization of the Holiday season is certainly there to constantly remind us to spend as much as we can. May I suggest that you keep your bearings with your financial condition during these frenzied shopping days. What you have minus what you owe equals what is left over. If the left over is a positive number then you are still on track toward financial stability. How do you approach holiday gift giving? In terms of gifts, does the person you are buying for really need another sweater in Miami? Perhaps

a gift of letting them know how special they are to you and how they make the world a better place would stay in their heart long after the sweater is worn out. As for saving, I suggest that you can be kind to yourself by improving your financial condition by opening or adding to your IRA as a Holiday present to yourself. There’s more excitement in paying down on those credit cards rather than adding to their balances. There’s no one there to say thank you for doing it, but your peace of mind should not need the compliments of others. The road to financial independence is unfortunately the road that is less traveled, especially in the “spending season”. How will your gift giving give “meaning to the season”? May I respectfully suggest that you look beyond your needs and

desires to think of a person less fortunate than you. You do not have to think a lot to realize that your life would be happier if you stopped your routine to provide someone some kindness. Then you will have a real gift that no store or online service can provide. Rick Tonkinson is a Certified

Financial Planner (CFP™). The family business office is located at 100 Almeria Ave, Suite 310, Coral Gables, FL 33132. Tel #305-4476617. Securities offered through Securities America Inc member of FINRA/SIPC. Rick Tonkinson Registered Representative. Advisory Services offered through Securities America Advisors, Inc. Rick Tonkinson Investment Advisor Representative. Rick Tonkinson and Associates, Inc. & Securities America companies are not affiliated.


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COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

December 15 - 21, 2009

Art-based therapy enhances lives of The Palace residents BY KERRY T. GREEN

It’s not often that a masterpiece is created in 30 minutes. But ask Pauline Bida’s family and they’ll tell you her painting, Flowers for Buddy the Cat, is more meaningful than the famed Mona Lisa. Bida created the artwork — a blue vase filled with an assortment of blue and pink flowers — during The Palace Management Group’s newly launched “Art Without Boundaries.” The program uses MnemeTherapy, which combines singing, movement, painting and story telling to stimulate positive changes in the brain. It has been successfully used for individuals with variety of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s as well as stroke victims. “MnemeTherapy is another example of the cutting-edge programming provided to residents,” said Palace president Helen Shaham. “We continually seek out activities which keep them engaged, active and socially stimulated.”

Named after the Greek goddess of memory, MnemeTherapy at The Palace involves a personalized half hour session with Certified Mneme Therapist April Atlas, who heads the Miami-Dade chapter of the Art Without Boundaries Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Atlas begins each session with a song to help the residents relax. This also engages both sides of the brain: The right side is the intuitive, creative side where music comes from and the brain’s left side is the logical, sequential center providing language. After a brief assessment by Atlas, the resident reviews samples and selects a painting he or she would like to recreate. Palace Renaissance resident Roxanne Manos was a bit apprehensive because she had no experience; however, her hesitation was replaced quickly by excitement once her painting, Beauty of Nature, neared completion. “MnemeTherapy is neither an art lesson nor traditional art therapy. Residents choose what they like; I simply provide a

Frieda Mitzenmacher proudly shows off her creation, Renaissance, at The Palace Renaissance’s Art Show.

Delia Ferrer’s Trees in Puerto Rico was exhibited during The Palace Renaissance’s Art Show ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

step-by-step guide,” Atlas explained. “I use singing, movement, patterning, painting, story telling and praise to help stimulate sustained attentive focus and produce an amazing painting.” The sessions often evoke memories for residents. For example, Leticia Villasanez, a resident at The Palace Royale, recalled her days in Cuba by naming her artwork Beautiful Palm Tree in Cuba. Once the painting is completed and named, residents develop a short story. In doing so, an old memory is now linked to a positive event. The artist and his or her work then are introduced to an audience that provides positive feedback. Atlas said this praise increases dopamine levels in the brain, key to alleviating some of the mood and emotional balance issues affecting Alzheimer’s patients. Recently, the MnemeTherapy artists and their work were recognized during a spe-

cial art show and exhibition held at The Palace Renaissance. “MnemeTherapy extends well beyond the half hour sessions,” Atlas said. “There’s a sense of pride and accomplishment as residents show off their creations to family and friends. One family was so excited about the painting that they took it home and framed it.” In addition to embracing activities for residents with dementia-related illnesses, Shaham also believes it’s important to provide programming that stimulates the brain prior to the onset of these diseases. The Palace recently partnered the University of Miami’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute to bring adult education courses to Palace residents as well as Kendall’s older adults. For more information about the MnemeTherapy at The Palace, call 305-271-2220 or visit online at <www.thepalace.org>.

Dr. Browne’s 2009 Health Care Plan Acupuncture and Massage Treatments as low as:

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December 15 - 21, 2009

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

Page 13

FAMILY DINING YOU CAN AFFORD

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Page 14

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

December 15 - 21, 2009

Heat up your Holidays

WITH COOL JAZZ

The South Florida Sax sensation

Joe Donato and the Brian Murphy Trio

Sunday, December 20th, 2009 Unitarian Universalist Congregation 7701 SW 76th Avenue • 3:30 p.m. South Florida Youth Symphony Scholarship Benefit Concert $12 Adults • $5 Students and Child Call 305.238.2729 for tickets and information


December 15 - 21, 2009

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

Page 15

Celebrate the holidays with an old-fashioned hayride Miami-Dade County invites the community to celebrate the holidays with an oldfashioned hayride through the streets of South Dade, on Saturday, Dec. 19, from 6:30 to 9 p.m., at Camp Owaissa Bauer, 17011 SW 264 St. in Homestead. Hayrides will leave the park every 30 minutes and travel through the neighboring community singing Christmas carols and enjoying the decorated houses and lights. The fun will continue back at Camp Owaissa Bauer around the campfire ring where patrons will enjoy holiday-themed storytelling and more singing around the campfire. Patrons are encouraged to bring their own marshmallows to roast over the campfire. The cost is $4 for adults and $1 for children. JUNGLE ISLAND TRANSFORMS INTO WINTER WONDER ISLAND Jungle Island will bring all of your favorite winter dreams to life this holiday season when it transforms into Winter Wonder Island. Some signs of the transformation will be a magical snowfall, amazing synthetic ice skating rink, special holiday-themed show starring the Winter Princess and photos with Santa Claus.

Plus, as a special holiday gift to everyone who purchases a general admission ticket during Winter Wonder Island, Jungle Island will offer them a free Annual Passport to come back and enjoy the park for a full year. Winter Wonder Island starts on Saturday, Dec. 19, and continues through Saturday, Jan. 3, each day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Free Annual Passports are offered only in this time period. For activity and special show times, visit online at <www.jungleisland.com/snow>. The passports are not valid with any other discounts and will expire in 365 days. THE ROXY THEATRE GROUP TO SPREAD HOLIDAY CHEER Dadeland Mall, 7535 N. Kendall Dr., invites families to experience the holiday sounds of the Roxy Theatre Group’s Senior Voice Troupe on Sunday, Dec. 20, from 10 to 11 a.m., in front of the JCPenney store. Attendees will enjoy classic winter songs loved by all, including Hallelujah, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and Joy to the World. For more information on this event, contact Dadeland Mall at 305-665-6226 or visit <www.simon.com>.

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LOCAL GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE FOR VICTIMS OF CHINESE DRYWALL Miami-Dade County is eliminating permitting and inspection fees for single-family homeowners in unincorporated MiamiDade County who are victims of defective Chinese drywall. Homeowners will save an average of $1,200. Prior to beginning any associated repairs, homeowners must first apply and obtain a building permit. Residents of unincorporated Miami-Dade County and the City of West Miami should visit the Miami Dade County Permitting & Inspection Center, located at 11805 SW 26 St., to request the waiver. The permit applicant will be required to provide a statement attesting that the existing drywall was confirmed by testing to be Chinese and that the scope of the permit is limited to its replacement and does not include additional improvements or alterations.

The Miami-Dade Property Appraiser’s Office also has introduced a program to provide relief to defective Chinese drywall victims. For information on the Property Appraiser’s Assessment Relief program, which allows homeowners to establish that their properties have been impacted by defective Chinese drywall, go to <www.miamidade.gov/pa/whats_new.asp>. MIAMI CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL LAUNCHES PATIENT SUCCESS STORY CAMPAIGN Miami Children’s Hospital (MCH) will celebrate 60 years of providing world-class pediatric healthcare services on Mar. 20, 2010. MCH has touched the lives of thousands of children throughout the years. The hospital is soliciting patient success stories from current and former patients and their families through an online appli-

––––––– Continued on next page

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COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

NEWS,

December 15 - 21, 2009

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

cation form at <www.mch.com>. These amazing stories will be posted on the hospital’s website and utilized for the hospital’s yearlong 60th anniversary campaign.

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SPEAKERS ON LEGAL ISSUES AVAILABLE FREE TO PUBLIC The Florida Bar Speakers Bureau is an assembly of more than 4,000 attorneys dedicated to educating the public about legal issues. At no cost, experienced attorneys can inform schools, libraries, businesses, community groups and organiza-

tions across the state about Elder Law. Other available topics include living wills and trusts, estate planning, asset protection and preservation, assisted living facilities, nursing home issues and death and dying rights. Groups seeking a speaker for a coming meeting or event can find a request form on The Florida Bar website at <www.floridabar.org>. For more information, contact Mirieth Valenciano at 850-561-5773 or send email to <mvalencianomarin@flabar.org>.

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*Not redeemable at the Jim McLean Golf School. © 2009 Marriott International, Inc.


December 15 - 21, 2009

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

Page 17

CATERING • TAKEOUT • DELIVERY For more information and reservations call

305-279-3606 or online at www.SiamPalacemiami.com

Celebrate 20 years with South Florida’s #1 Thai Restaurant as Siam Palace introduces Miami’s Best New Sushi Bar Enjoy 20th Anniversary Thai and Japanese Specials including: “Monday Madness” is 2-for-1 on all Thai beer, featured wines of the month bottles of wine & wines by the glass. Tuesday night is “East meets West” for half-price Miami & California rolls. Wednesday night is “Sake Bomb Night” featuring a new Sake & beer creative concoction for only $4.

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Page 18

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

December 16 - 21, 2009

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BY SUSSET CABRERA

Men’s suits are no longer expensive investments, but rather, attainable luxuries thanks to the “Deal of a Lifetime” offered by Men’s Designers Outlet. The retail chain launched its fifth store in November at the Shops of London Square in West Kendall, just in time for Black Friday shoppers. The Deal of a Lifetime was conceptualized by the owner and founder of Men’s Designers Outlet, Pedro R. Nunez. After 14 years in business, Nunez realized that suits should be affordable to every member of society. The “Deal” consists of three suits, three shirts, three silk ties, three sets of socks and three hankies for $299.95. These 15 items regularly cost $1,200 at any other retail store. His distinctive deal includes a wide selection of both modern and classic suits. The stores offer prominent designer suit brands ranging from domestic to international imports. Nunez provides every customer with an enjoyable shopping experience by tailoring suits to his client’s optimal fit. Once a client has selected their combination of suits, they can compliment their new wardrobe with silk ties, dress shoes or accessories like belts, cufflinks and socks. Suits should be an essential part of every man’s closet. Thus, Men’s Designers Outlet is dedicated to providing their customers with high quality menswear one location at a time. The newest Men’s Designers Outlet is located at the Shops of London Square,

Pedro R. Nunez ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

13630 SW 120 St., Suite 208. Customers can expect to experience an intimate setting where the goal is to feel comfortable and relaxed while choosing their best suit. The store features a flat screen television for inhouse entertainment. To further satisfy his clients, Nunez provides dry cleaning and alteration services. For more information regarding Men’s Designers Outlet or to find a store location, visit online at <www.MensDesignersOutlet.com> or call 305-233-4403. Additional inquiries may be emailed directly to <Pedro@mensdesignersoutlet.com>.

PROPERTY TAX APPEALS For houses, hotels, apartments, shopping centers, office buildings, restaurants, warehouses, hospitals, commercial properties. Contingent basis. $20 filing fee. Law Offices of

Post & Gonzalez, P.L. 66 W. Flagler Street, Suite 300 • Miami, Florida 33130 (305) 379-1500 The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience.


December 15 - 21, 2009

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

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COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

December 15 - 21, 2009

9500 S.W. 97 Ave. â&#x20AC;˘ Miami, Fl. 33176 www.pinewoodacres.org Pinewood Acres School provides an educational environment designed to foster leadership skills and to stimulate and nurture the academic, physical and developmental needs of children. Located on a beautiful 10-acre campus, Pinewood Acres continues a strong commitment to academic excellence and good citizenship. Pinewood Acres takes pride in providing small classes and experienced teachers to create a nurturing environment where each child is encouraged to flourish.

REGISTRATION FOR THE 2010-2011 OPENS IN JANUARY. Located near the Falls, Baptist Hospital, Dadeland and the Don Shula Expressway

For more information on a personal tour and classroom visit call

305-271-3211

www.pinewoodacres.org Accredited by the National Independent Private School Organization (NIPSA), Florida Council of Independent School (FCIS) and the Florida Kindergarten Council (FKC).


December 15 - 21, 2009

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

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COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

December 15 - 21, 2009

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December 15 - 21, 2009

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

Page 23

Christmas Festival of Song features music of season BY GARY ALAN RUSE

It is impossible to imagine this time of year without the beautiful and uplifting music of the season and St. Richard Catholic Church will present a Christmas Festival of Song on Sunday, Dec. 20, at 3 p.m. The parish’s Father Stephen Hilley promises a memorable event. “You are invited to celebrate the holy season of Christmas with the choirs and instrumentalists of St. Richard Catholic Church,” Fr. Hilley said. “The festival will feature the children’s musical, Calling All Angels, as well as seasonal carols, and Christmas choral music.” The combined choirs and instrumentalists of the parish will celebrate the season with prayer, carols and readings from the scriptures in honor of the Nativity. Calling All Angels will feature the children’s choir. Church choral director Michael Derrick said that, as in past years, there will be a wide variety of musical styles, from traditional Latin motets, Bach chorales, and carols from various countries and traditions: Spain, Wales, France, the Caribbean, the Taizé community and the American South. “We’ll have a mixture of Advent and Christmas music, music which sings of the prophecies of Isaiah as well as of the actual birth of Jesus,” Derrick said. “Then we go into the congregational carols. People’s response is always enthusiastic, and we have some new children in the choir this year. It’s not just a concert, it’s a spiritual experience.” Admission to the concert is free. An offering will be taken to support the St. Richard Music Ministry. St. Richard is located at 7500 SW 152 St. (Coral Reef Drive) in Palmetto Bay. For more information, call 305-233-8711, ext. 118.

Pictured are members of the children’s choir from a previous concert, with choral director Michael Derrick (right). –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––


Page 24

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

December 15 - 21, 2009

Do Your Holiday Shopping at Orlando’s many Factory Outlet Malls and Enjoy the best Hotel Rates of the year!

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You’ll enjoy cooler temperatures and shorter lines at all the Theme Parks! Choose from our four Orlando locations: Quality Inn International, Rodeway Inn International or Quality Inn Plaza located on International Drive, and Comfort Inn located in Lake Buena Vista.

Ask for our “Florida Resident Shopping Special” Book this rate and receive a VIP Shoppers Discount Book to Orlando Premium Outlets®. *Based upon availability. Book now through 12/24/09. Not valid for groups, during special events, holidays or convention dates. Cannot be combined with other offers.

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Please open your hearts this holiday season This three year old yellow female lab mix was rescued from Miami-Dade Animal Services on December 9. She needs immediate medical attention so Paws 4 You Rescue has created a special fund for this sweet girl we named Trixie. Please go to www.paws4you.org/donate and make a donation in the name of the Trixie and the contribution will go directly towards her care. If you would like to send a check, please make it payable to Paws 4 You Rescue and mail it to PO Box 561163, Miami, FL 33256. On the Memo Line, please write Trixie. All donations are tax deductible. For more information, please email jen@paws4you.org. Thank you in advance and Happy Holidays!

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COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

Miami-Dade Parks offering winter camps, Dec. 21-31

UNIVERSAL HOME HEALTH CARE is committed to providing highquality, compassionate care. Our medical training and health care background means that your loved one will be in good hands. Universal Home Health Care is Medicaid/Medicare certified. Located in Pinecrest. â&#x20AC;˘ Alzheimerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Care â&#x20AC;˘ Medication Management/Teaching â&#x20AC;˘ Blood Pressure Monitoring & Care â&#x20AC;˘ IV Administration & Monitoring â&#x20AC;˘ Physical/Occupational/ Speech Therapy â&#x20AC;˘ Cardiac Care

BY EDITH TORRES

Winter break from schools starts on Dec. 21 and Miami-Dade Parks has camps all across the county for every childâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s interest and needs, starting on Dec. 21 and continuing through Dec. 31. Winter camps will be conducted Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with early drop-off available at 7:30 a.m. and late pickup until 6 p.m. All camps will be closed Friday, Dec. 25, for the Christmas holiday and Friday, Jan. 1, for the New Yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s holiday. General program camps will feature field trips, fitness and sports activities, arts and crafts, and games. Specialized camps offered during the winter break include EcoAdventures nature camps, performing arts camps, camps for children with disabilities, and the Deering Estate at Cutlerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Kids Camp. EcoAdventures nature camps will offer nature-based activities, including trail adventures, field trips, animal exploration, fishing and hiking. Arts and culture camps are offered at African Heritage Cultural Arts Center (AHCAC) and Raices Hispanic Cultural Arts Center (Raices). At AHCAC, students will take classes in various arts disciplines and learn of the importance of Kwanzaa. At the end of the two-week period, the students will perform in a workshop showcasing the skills they learned. At Raices, students will learn music, dance and crafts relating to the Hispanic traditions, as well as enjoying other holiday activities including a fiesta with Santa Claus. Miami-Dade Parksâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Leisure Access Services, in conjunction with The Childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Trust, is offering winter break

EcoAdventures nature camps will offer nature-based activities, including trail adventures, field trips, animal exploration, fishing and hiking.

Page 25

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Universal Home Health Care also supports families and friends with the following services: â&#x20AC;˘ Care Giving Education â&#x20AC;˘ Community Support and Resources â&#x20AC;˘ Planning of Care and Evaluation of Needs â&#x20AC;˘ Ongoing Assessment â&#x20AC;˘ Equipment, Medication, and Medical Service Referral

CALL FOR A FREE CONSULTATION!

305.665.8101 programs for children with disabilities at six locations. The program will provide children and adults with physical and developmental disabilities, ages 6-21 years, with an enriching experience that will help them improve literacy and social skills, while participating in adaptive sports, arts and crafts, and field trips. In addition, the Deering Estate at Cutler will be offering the 2009 Kids Camp winter session where children, ages 6-13, will learn about early South Florida history, archeology and nature. To register your child, you must contact the specific park where you wish your child to attend. Prices vary. For more information, visit <www.miamidade.gov/parks>, or call Miami-Dade Countyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s information hotline by dialing 3-1-1. The Childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Trust is a sponsor of the 2009 Miami-Dade Parks winter camp program.

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COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

P U B L I C A U C T I O N

Several Estates, Divorces, Liquidations plus storage packed to the walls with treasures.

Seaquarium lights up at night for holiday winter wonderland BY MICHELLE PALOMINO

Saturday, December 26, 2009 Inspection: 11:30 AM • Auction: 12 NOON LISTED ITEMS FOR SALE

FINE JEWELRY COLLECTION: that would surpass most jewelry stores from European and Asian Estates well over 200 certified and appraised pieces including GIA & EGL certified solitaires, 15 cts Diamond necklace; 8.24 cts Diamond solitaire plus Ruby, Emerald, Tanzanite, Sapphire and diamond, rings, earrings and necklaces. An Emerald and 4.0 cts dia solitaire ring, 2.01 cts VVS2 Princess cut ring, various Rolex watches, plus other fine jewelry pieces. FINE ART COLLECTION: Tarkay Watercolors; Marc Chagall Lithographs, Rare Salvador Dali Lithographs; Original Peter Max and Pino Giclee all signed; Also Serigraphs / Etchings / Oils from 20 different artists, Icart dry point etching, Disney cells, Original Miro lithograph / Picasso lithograph. A DESIGNER’S TREASURE: Bronze Statues including signed Dali and Erte pieces and object d’ art. Also Tiffany- style lamps, porcelain, Bohemian crystals, etc. HANDMADE RUGS: A handmade rug collection from Iran, India, Pakistan, Tibet silk and wool. to be conducted at the Hyatt Regency Coral Gables 50 Alhambra Plaza, Coral Gables, FL 33134

From Miami International Airport (4 miles) - exit Lejeune Road South to Coral Gables, turn left on Alhambra Circle, also 20th Street, Pass 3 traffic lights, the hotel is located on the right, pink Mediterranean style building. For more info please call Burton Auctions: 561-807-8868 Auctioneer: D. Blumberg • 14% Buyer’s Premium • Lic. AU2686 AB2870 All items subject to prior sales, errors, omissions or exclusions. • Delivery Service Available. Visa, MC AX, Check, Cash Accepted.

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We buy, sell and consign estates.

December 15 - 21, 2009

In a dazzling display of holiday splendor, Miami Seaquarium will transform into a winter wonderland for its annual Winter Nights & Lights Celebration from Dec. 19 through Jan. 2. Complete with nightly snowfall, carnival rides, a Kids Winterfest, extended park hours and holiday themed shows and exhibits, Winter Nights & Lights will light up the holidays with colorfully illuminated sculptures of reef fish, flamingos, dolphins, seals, sea lions, killer whales and other marine friends. Gates are open from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Rides will remain open until 10 p.m. except for Dec. 24, 25 and 31, when the park will close at 6 p.m. “Miami Seaquarium is pleased to make

the holidays come alive with Winter Nights & Lights,” said Eric Eimstad, vice president of sales and marketing at Miami Seaquarium. “Quickly becoming a South Florida holiday tradition, Winter Nights & Lights promises to bring the holiday spirit to South Florida.” Miami Seaquarium, South Florida’s most popular tourist attraction, is a family-oriented marine-life park open to the public 365 days a year. The park, accredited by the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums, provides visitors with a greater understanding and appreciation for marine life through shows, presentations and marine-life exhibits. For information on Winter Nights & Lights, call 305-361-5705, ext. 225, or visit online at <www.miamiseaquarium.com>.

www.communitynewspapers.com


December 15 - 21, 2009

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

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Are you a crime victim? Become a crime survivor. BY MICHELLE ESTLUND, Criminal Defense Attorney

Victims of crime often are completely unsure about what to do after the police have taken the initial police report and the case is referred to the Office of the State Attorney for

227 Aragon Avenue • Coral Gables

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prosecution. Here are specific steps that you can take to gain some control over the situation. Be swift. Immediately find out the names of the detective or police officer and the Assistant State Attorney assigned to your case. These people are your contacts with the court and will assist in conveying your wishes to the judge. Call and introduce yourself to them. Be certain. Be your own advocate. Make use of the victim/witness coordinator in the office of the State Attorney. Attend every hearing in court so the judge is aware that an interested victim exists and cares about the outcome of the case. Monitor the case progress via the court clerk’s office online services, and

call or email the prosecutor for updates. Be strong. Make your voice heard. If you believe you are entitled to restitution or if you expect to undergo future medical treatment or mental health counseling due to the crime, tell the prosecutor in person and in writing. Provide detailed receipts and accurate information. If you have a preference on whether the defendant does or does not serve jail or prison time, speak up. A victim who needs restitution may want a defendant out on probation and working rather than in jail. On the other hand, a victim of a violent crime may feel that jail or prison time is more appropriate. Finally, go to court, go to court, go to court. If you are not present you will not know what happens. You risk the case being resolved in a manner other than the outcome you seek. Taking these steps ensures that you have done everything possible to make the transition from victim to survivor.

Michelle Estlund is a criminal defense attorney practicing in Florida since 1995. She can be reached at 305-448-0077. For more information go to <www.estlundlaw.com>

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December 15 - 21, 2009

COMMUNITYNEWSPAPERS.COM

Page 29

2010 Dodge Challenger is ‘Great American Muscle Car’ Ron Beasley AUTOMOTIVE EDITOR

LET’S TALK CARS The Dodge Challenger continues to lay claim to the title of the “Great American Muscle Car.” It’s big and fast, and cut from the mold of the 1970 original, but packed with modern technology and all the latest safety equipment. This latest incarnation of the Challenger was introduced in 2008 and it has been a big hit with aging male Baby Boomers. It’s a five-passenger, two-door coupe that rides on a rear-wheel-drive platform and is available in three models — SE, R/T and SRT8 — with a choice of two V-8 engines — a 5.7 liter 372hp version and a 6.1-liter 425 hp Hemi or a 3.5 liter 250hp V-6. For 2010, there are more than 25 safety and security features and modern amenities, including Uconnect Navigation with voice commands and optional real-time traffic. The base SE model most resembles the original 1970 Challenger. It has no rear spoiler and comes with 17-inch wheels

with high-profile 215/65 tires. Eighteeninch wheels are optional, as are fog lamps. The R/T model makes the fog lamps standard, and adds 18-inch aluminum wheels with bigger 235/55 tires, a body-color rear spoiler, polished fuel-filler cap and black hash-mark fender stripes. Twenty-inch five-spoke chrome wheels with 245/45 tires are optional. The SRT8 has much nicer 20-inch wheels with still bigger tires that are flush with the wheelwells. Faux carbon-fiber stripes mark the hood and there’s a deeper front air dam with functional brake ducts, xenon lights and a matte-black deck spoiler. The SRT8 also comes with Brembo brakes, a sport suspension, bi-xenon headlamps and heated leather sport seats. On the inside, Challenger is comfortable and functional, with excellent rear seating for a two-door coupe. There’s a roomy 37.4 inches of rear headroom and 32.6 inches of legroom. There’s also good storage space in the trunk at 16.2 cubic feet. New for 2010 is the Challenger 1320 Street Pak for drag racing fans. The package revises the intake and exhaust systems to boost the Hemi’s power to 556 horses and adds Viper sport seats, a Hurst shifter and a sport steering wheel. It comes with a six-speed manual transmission, coil-over

Dodge Challenger is a two-door coupe with sensual lines, a lot of power and retro appeal.

suspension and Mickey Thompson dragster radial tires. The Challenger 1320 Street Pak has a power dome hood with an integrated air scoop, an aggressive front fascia and a bright yellow paint job with black graphics. Also spicing up the 2010 lineup is the new SE Rallye package that enhances Challenger’s sensual styling. The package adds dual racing stripes on the hood and deck-lid, a chrome gas cap door, 18-inch rallye wheels with all-season performance

tires, a body-color deck-lid spoiler and Micro Carbon interior accents. Pricing on the 2010 Challenger ranges from $23,460 for the SE to $41,230 for the high-performance SRT8. 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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Palmetto Bay News, December 15, 2009 Edition - Local, Education News - Miami, Florida  

Find local news, multimedia, reviews & opinion on Greater Miami, business, sports, movies, columns, events, community, education, real esta...

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