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WEST PARK NEWS
In City Government
Looking Back and Moving Forward BY MAYOR ERIC H. JONES JR.
Mayor Eric H. Jones, Jr.
Vice Mayor Felicia M. Brunson
Commissioner Thomas Dorsett
Commissioner Sharon Fyffe
Commissioner Rita “Peaches” Mac k
City Manager W. Ajibola Balogun
As summer ends and fall begins many changes will soon be taking place. There will be things that require much adjustment. During the week of August 10-14 we attended the Annual Conference of the Legislative Policy Committee Meetings sponsored by the Florida League of Cities. These meetings are designed to review and make suggestions to the Legislature on various items that will be discussed in their next session. Some of the changes are new and frightening while others are encouraging. One of the key bills that passed pertains to Affordable Housing with regard to the State Housing Trust Fund. This is HB639 which removes the $234 million dollar cap on documentary stamp revenues to be deposited into the State Housing Trust Fund. Two other key bills dealt with ethics and Elections (SB 330 and HB1355). Standing on the brink of something new is scary – there is uncertainty and fear. Have you ever been faced with something new and been scared? I can remember when I was thinking about becoming mayor and how many fears arose. It seemed like such an enormous task. I didn’t know anything about politics and it was a bit daunting. I was uncertain and a bit fearful. Maybe you have faced a similar situation – standing on the brink of a major change – watching a new
day as it is dawning. Maybe it was a job change or a move or you were about to get married – that is scary isn’t it!!! Whatever your experience, whenever you stand on the brink of something new, there is excitement and adrenaline as well as uncertainty and fear. We look ahead into the unknown; we look back into the known. We can look back and see how we were provided for in the past - over the years. Over the last 6 years. We stand now on the precipice of a new fiscal year and our city is preparing for more great things. I must admit that standing on the edge is always scary. When we try to peer into the future, it is UNKNOWN. We wish we had a crystal ball, but I think sometimes that would just scare us more. Looking forward is SCARY – far more frightening than looking back. When we look back we see our history – where we have come from – it is KNOWN
and have a vested interest in our progress. There is far more in store for us than our present status reveals. Therefore get ready to go to new heights. But we must stand up against every challenge. Now we might not have all that we need right at the moment, but I firmly believe that there is more in store for us than what we have seen in the past six years, good as it has been. As a matter of fact there is more in store for us than what we have seen in the past 12 months, exciting as it has been. Wouldn’t it be tremendous to see our city become the city of our dreams? We’ve got a lot more hills to climb before that happens. What I know is that this overwhelming task is no more daunting than what we have faced in the past. We were charged with the task of making our city viable. We were facing some fairly big obstacles and some fairly strong opposition, but we did several things that helped us. We stopped looking back and reminiscing about our past and started moving forward to make our City what we desired.
AND SAFE. The past is comfortable. For the past six years we have met every challenge. Although some challenges weren’t pleasant we became familiar with the struggle and provided a SAFE PLACE in the storm for our City. We were provided for and blessed in incredible ways. I am convinced that there is a great future planned for us. To grasp this future we need to do several things - support the efforts of our City, trust the leadership,
I am still waiting to see more wonderful things happen. I firmly believe we are standing at the edge of a new era in West Park and we are predestined to succeed. We have to be willing to do it. Let’s look back and celebrate the past, but let’s prepare to move into the future and take ground. I hope you will commit to this journey with us. WATCH OUT FOR OUR KIDS SCHOOL IS BACK IN SESSION
CAMP BRAVERY CELEBRATION
CAMP B.R.A.V.E.R.Y. CELEBRATION! A Simple Thank You Is In Order From the Parks and Recreation Department Congratulations to all students who performed on Friday, July 29 to commemorate the end of our Camp B.R.A.V.E.R.Y. Summer Program! The summer camp was made possible through funding from the Children’s Services Council and the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program. Our children worked hard while having fun in what was for many the best summer ever! The children’s hard work and endless practice certainly paid off. The event was well attended by parents, elected officials, City staff
and residents. Students showcased their talents in jump rope choreography by SuperSonics Jumprope, public speaking organized by Shani Talks, and dance choreography by Nest of Living Arts. The event also included a free dinner for all program participants sponsored by Appetites Catering. Don’t forget to mark your calendars as registration for next year’s summer program will begin March 1, 2012. For more information, please contact the Parks and Recreation Department at 954.985.1990 or email email@example.com.
BY VICE MAYOR BRUNSON
The summer sun is beginning to set. I hope you were able to enjoy your time off. The lazy days of summer have been far from lazy for your Commission and Staff. We have been extremely busy preparing for the upcoming year. Over the summer months, your Commission and Staff have been working on a myriad of projects, some of them long-standing, that have significant impacts on our city well into the future. In the midst of all this, I wanted to take some time to just say “Thank You!” I am deeply honored to be elected to “serve” as Vice Mayor of this great CityWest Park. It has been the beginning of a new era… The City of Positive Progression. And I am privileged to have your support, your confidence, and your expectations. I am also filled with a sense of excitement and optimism as we continue to manage our magnificent City. I am aware of the serious responsibility which has been bestowed upon me and I continuously accept this responsibility willingly. Our vision is simple: Our residents deserve to live in the best City in Broward County. We as your Commission will work with staff and youthe community- to achieve this vision. That means strong schools, safe streets, clean communities, economic development, and beautiful parks. It means access to services and programs. It means quality services for seniors and youth. It means a rich social and cultural life through various activities in our parks. It means a vibrant economy. It means true inclusion - a seat at the table for all. It means taking advantage of our truly
unique assets-our lakes. In no way do I consider these accomplishments as being achieved exclusively by the Commission. Rather, these accomplishments are and will be achieved by all the residents who give us their time and talent to serve on committees; by all of the residents who provide their input; and by our very talented Staff who provide guidance as well as implementing our decisions with excellence. I refer to this three-pronged partnership of COMMISSION, RESIDENTS, AND STAFF as a triangle of achievement…as a triangle of togetherness. Many of you are responsible for selecting me to “serve” you… yet all of you are responsible for the success of our city. I thank all residents of West Park who have supported, encouraged, and helped us through the process. I look forward to serving and working with you, our beloved residents, to address the challenges that face our great City. Remember to contact me at City Hall with your ideas, suggestions or concerns. I represent you and appreciate your input into the continued success of our beloved city. I can be reached at (954) 889-4164 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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FROM THE DESK OF COMMISSIONER FYFFE Dear West Park Neighbors: I hope you are enjoying your summer. The afternoon showers now bring a fresh smell of green grass and growth, and it is a sharp contrast to the months of drought that we had here in West Park and South Florida. Every other month the City’s Special Magistrate Hearing is held to meet and hear code violation cases in our City. The last Magistrate’s meeting took place on July 12. Most of the code violations on the agenda for July were public nuisance violations, that is, storage of junk, overgrown grass and weeds, abandoned cars or inoperable cars parked on the property, house numbers not posted and hoarding of junk, junk, junk. These public nuisance items are listed under our City Ordinances. We are anxious to keep our City looking good, and we ask all our residents to help us with that. If you should get cited by the Code Enforcement Officer, immediately give him a call and work with him to correct the problem. If you have a property on your street that is in foreclosure with high uncut grass, please call code enforcement at 954-766-2715 and
leave an anonymous message. But remember, it takes time to make contact with the bank and to actually get them to do the cleanup. Often there are fines imposed on the banks because they are not responsive to the City. The fines accumulate at a rate of $50, $75 or $100 a day. Those of you that live next to a foreclosure property understand the problems it causes. Please do not hesitate to make a phone call and report the situation. Thank you to all the residents that had code violations on the magistrate’s agenda in July and graciously COMPLIED with our City ordinances. LET’S KEEP WEST PARK BEAUTIFUL For your information, FPL would like to blow insulation into your attic. This insulation will keep the hot air in your attic away from your ceilings and from getting into your house. Call and get signed up for this fabulous service. They work quickly, they are clean, there is no mess and this will help reduce your monthly electric bill. Also, ask FPL about their “On Call” Program. The “On Call” Program will help you save up to $135 a year on your electric bill. Both these services are FREE. Call 1800-226-3545 for more information. Is the street you live on a raceway? Do cars travel too fast down your street when young children are playing? Traffic Calming
plans are taking shape in our City. Each section of West Park will have an opportunity to meet with the traffic calming consultants hired by the City. The consultants will collect field data in your neighborhood, analyze the data and present their findings to you. The purpose of the traffic Calming Plan is to address cut-through traffic and speeding. The consultants will give us traffic calming options to consider. Roundabouts, textured pavement, raised intersections, speed bumps and center islands are some solutions that can be used. You must attend these meetings. You don’t want to lose your opportunity to give us input on what is happening on your street. Talk with your neighbors and come tell us what is happening. You will receive a blue notice on your door announcing the time and place for the meetings. If you have any questions, please call City Hall, 954-989-2688. The Broward League of Cities has set up its Committees for the coming year. This year there are five Committees. I have volunteered again to serve for my third year on the Blue/Green Sustainability Committee. Our Committee tries to promote green ideas to all residents of Broward County by sharing ideas city by city and especially giving help to the cities that have not begun any green initiatives. Let me tell you about Cooper City and their Water Conservation Program. Cooper city has a goal to reduce its water use five percent by 2013. Their program is designed for their residents to increase their awareness and understanding of water usage as well as the behavioral changes needed to effectuate a difference. Residents embraced their water conservation program so strongly that within the first year of the campaign, water usage in the City dropped nearly ten percent. First, the City engaged the homeowner’s associations and a competition was set up for
a three month period to see who could save the most water. Water usage was monitored on the utility bills. Members of the winning team received a gift. Also there was a focus on the commercial and institutional users of water within the City, they were provided with a water audit and a report recommending how to save water. Finally, the City instituted a rebate program offering rebates for high-efficiency toilets, rain barrels, ground moisture sensor irrigation systems and shallow irrigation wells. In just nine months 456 toilets, 31 rain barrels, three irrigation systems and four well rebates have been awarded. This year, Cooper City is asking residents to “Gimme5”. That is, Cooper City is asking every resident to save five gallons of water every day. Tips on ways to save five gallons of water a day can be found on the campaign’s website, www.YouWinWeAllWin.com. Sounds like a great plan. I will continue to monitor Cooper City and their water conservation program. And I ask all West Park residents to think about your own water usage and work out a plan in your own home for water conservation. Feel free to call me with some of your ideas and show me your reduced water usage on your utility bills. Let’s all think about conservation and spread the word around. As a reminder, our City Commission meetings take place on the first and third Wednesday each month in the Commission Chamber at City Hall. We start promptly at 7:00 p.m. If you wish to speak about any issue, come a few minutes early and sign in. Remember, we accept complaints, criticisms and compliments too. Please call me at 954-963-7745, if I can help you with any concerns. If we have not met, let’s schedule a time to talk, either on the phone or over at our City Hall.
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Happy Grandparentâ€™s Day West Park!!! BY VICE MAYOR FELICIA M. BRUNSON
Itâ€™s Grandparentsâ€™ Day and weâ€™re here to say, â€œWe love our Grandparents in a major way.â€? So sit right down and take a seat, And weâ€™ll put on a show that canâ€™t be beat! Some Grandparents are skinny. Some eat a lot. Some are funny. Some are not. Some short, some tall, some big, some small. It doesnâ€™t matter. We love them all! It all sounded so official in 1979, with words and phrases like â€œwhereofâ€?â€™ and â€œhereuntoâ€? and â€œjoint resolution.â€? But when President Jimmy Carter signed the proclamation creating a National Grandparents Day, little did anyone know how it would grow. At the time, Carter said the holiday would recognize â€œthe importance and worth of the 17 million grandparents in our nation.â€? Barely a generation later, there are now more than 70 million grandparents in the United States. Thatâ€™s a lot of recognition. And a lot of gifts, cards, and flowers, too. On September 11, 2011, Grandparentsâ€™ Day will reach its 32nd anniversary. Like Motherâ€™s Day and Fatherâ€™s Day, itâ€™s a time for family celebration, and a chance to honor the important role grandparents play in childrenâ€™s lives. In that original proclamation, Carter wrote that because grandparents, â€œare usually free to love and guide and befriend the young without having to take daily responsibility for them, they can often reach out past pride and fear of failure and close the space between generations.â€? Today, though, an increasing number of grandparents have actually assumed daily responsibility for their grandchildren. According to AARP, 4.5 million children are being raised in households headed by grandparents. For those kids and millions of others, grandparents create special relation-
ships and impart lessons that last a lifetime. As Carter wrote, â€œGrandparents are our continuing tie to the near-past, to the events and beliefs and experiences that so strongly affect our lives and the world around us.â€? A grandparent is the grandest mom or dad, not just because of all the kids theyâ€™ve had; Theyâ€™ve seen and done and known so many things. We honor them like preachers, priests and kings. They tell us of a way of life thatâ€™s past when the world wasnâ€™t moving quite so fast. When the family sat together every day - to eat, to laugh, to sing, to talk, to pray. The road we walk now they have seen before. The tears we shed, they shed a whole lot more. They understand our feelings, joy or pain. They know the path; theyâ€™ve walked the dusty lane. What can we do to honor these dear Grands? We have no gift to place in weathered hands, to adequately show how much we care. Or prove to them how great the love we share. Yet there is something awesome we can do to show beyond a doubt our love is true. If what theyâ€™ve taught is seen in how we live, this is the best gift we could ever give.
West Park, on Grandparentsâ€™ Day and every day, letâ€™s celebrate, cherish and love on our Grandparents for they are truly gifts to us!! Remember to contact me at City Hall with your ideas, suggestions or concerns. I represent you and appreciate your input into the continued success of our beloved city. I can be reached at (954) 889-4164 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Labor Day Wishes! BY VICE MAYOR FELICIA M. BRUNSON
MA glorious Labor Day weekend unfolds before us, as the new school year begins. MLabor Day is dedicated to the achievements of American workers and the contributions they made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. Labor Day weekend also marks the end of the 101 Critical Days of Summer- a period historically associated with increased mishaps. The first “Workingmen’s holiday” was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882. The idea spread and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country. However, it was not a legal holiday until 1894 marking a time when the nation pays tribute to the strength, freedom, and leadership of the American worker. West Park has its own record of labor activity and strife for our residents have worked for many years and made many sacrifices. Labor Day is a time to recognize the contributions that make West Park a stronger and more vibrant city. West Park has a bright and promising future thanks to our cooperative spirit and the good work you, the residents, do every day. On Labor Day, let’s honor the workers of West Park, who fought so hard to secure a safe and fair portion of the American dream. We are thankful to our teachers, police, and tradesmen, who add so much to all of our lives. And they in
turn enjoy the benefits that unions have brought them: representation and a middle-class lifestyle that forms the backbone of our community. We rarely consider this on Labor Day – but it’s real and part of our city’s fabric. West Park, over this Labor Day weekend take a well-deserved break and recharge. Bear in mind we must always exercise safety and continuously manage risk. So Have Fun – Be Careful – Be Safe – Obey the Rules – Leave No Litter – If you Drink, Don’t Drive – and – If you Drive, Don’t Drink. MOn this holiday, thank you for your commitment to your fellow West Park residents. I hope you enjoy your long holiday weekend with friends and family. Happy Labor Day West Park!!! Remember to contact me at City Hall with your ideas, suggestions or concerns. I represent you and appreciate your input into the continued success of our beloved City. I can be reached at (954) 889-4164 or email email@example.com.
Get Your Step On! West Park Silver Steppers Offer Free Exercise Program
The West Park Silver Steppers program is an exercise fitness/dance class modeled for our active seniors who want to get together and have some fun. The Silver Steppers have become a staple in the community performing at fairs, city-wide special events, and festivals. The group of over-40 year olds loves to dance and have fun! The programâ€™s goal is to bring the joy of dance to everyone whether they feel they can dance or not! Dancing promotes social, physical, intellectual, and emotional health while creating fun exercise and activity for those involved. It provides a great way for seniors
to stay active and meet people with similar interests without going far from home. The program is free to all participants and includes instruction from a certified nutritionist. Class Dates/Times: Tuesdays from 6:00 to 7:00pm. Cost: FREE!!! Location: Mary Saunders Park, 4750 SW 21st Street, West Park Florida, 33023 For more program information, please contact Florence Thomas at (954) 966-6399 or Sara Snell at 954-966-7149
PEPPERMINT PROM 2011 FROM VICE MAYOR BRUNSON
Realizing that many of our beloved senior citizens never had the opportunity to attend a Prom, every year during Older Americans Month (May), Visions of Images, Inc. hosts a Peppermint Prom for Senior Citizens. In partnership with the VFW Post #8195, over 75 senior citizens put on their finest red and white clothing and are showered with fabulous door prizes, an exquisite meal, live entertainment and just simple fun! The highlight of the event is when seniors select amongst themselves a Prom King and Queen. Visions of Images, Inc. is a caring 501(3)(c) corporation that volunteers invaluable services, initiatives and opportunities that are directed toward nurturing seniors and youth. Through two distinctive programs, Aged with Dignity and PreCision Teen Mentoring, the organization has seen many lives changed for the better by providing an intergenerational connection. Aged with Dignity provides a comprehensive program of Social Services that is responsive to and representative of the diverse needs of seniors and/or limited mobility residents while enabling selfdetermination, independence, increasing
dignity and supporting autonomy. PreCision (a 12-14 week female youth development program) provides resources for todayâ€™s young ladies that empower and cultivate their individual self-love while imparting various opportunities that are needed for them to become productive citizens. By hosting events like the Peppermint Prom, Visions of Images, Inc. continues to work to help make a difference in the lives of senior citizens. Each and every senior citizen has a reason to hope, dream and bring to fruition their heart desires. For more information about Visions of Images, Inc. please call (954) 963-9687 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
West Park Welcomes Hallandale High Schoolâ€™s New Principal Ms. Estella Eckhardt
Estella Eckhardt , Principal, Hallandale High School
Spotlight on School Back To School Message From Principal Estella Eckhardt, Hallandale School Welcome to the 2011-2012 school year! At Hallandale High, we focus on high student achievement, positive interventions, improving self-esteem, ensuring safety, and embracing individual differences. Our central purpose is to improve student learning and teaching practices by aligning the curriculum and instruction with the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards. Our goal is to teach for understanding and mastery of critical content. Our commitment is to increase the capacity of student learning by building a school-wide professional learning community that involves shared decision making and collaboration of all stakeholders. We strive to ensure continuous open communication and transparency as we provide excellence
in teaching and promote a lifelong love of learning in a caring environment where students develop and reach their physical, mental, emotional, social, and aesthetic potential. For more information please contact Ms. Estella Eckhardt, Principal, Hallandale High School, 954-323-0900.
PLANNING AND ZONING New Business Comes to West Park! BY SARAH SINATRA Planning and Zoning Director
On August 3, 2011, the City Commission approved a Special Exception request by Amazinn Cars to permit a car dealership at 3801 South State Road 7, West Park, the former site of Acura of South Florida. The proposed use is an automotive car dealer that will primarily sell used vehicles, but will also service and detail vehicles onsite. The site has been owned by the applicant since 2004 and has been vacant for some time. There is an existing one-story 28,350 square foot building on the site that will be used for the sales office, garage and showroom. Certain uses within the City are listed as special exceptions and are permitted in zoning districts subject to the approval of the City Commission. These uses are considered basically suitable for the district in which they are listed, but the character and
nature of the uses are such that they may necessitate controls and safeguards on the manner of establishment and operation which, by being determined by the City Commission at a public hearing, would better serve the interests of the community and the owners of the property in question. City Staff found that the use was consistent with code requirements; however, additional conditions were needed to assure there would be no negative impacts to the surrounding neighbors. Staff recommended mitigation, such as requiring a landscape buffer on Harvard Road and State Road 7, a prohibition of test driving vehicles in the residential neighborhood and funding for the installation of traffic control devices in the adjacent single family neighborhood. The City Commission approved the use with 15 conditions. These efforts are expected to reduce any potential effect of the new use on the residents and enhance the community.
CITY DEPARTMENTS DIRECTORY CITY COMMISSION Mayor Eric H. Jones 954.889.4153 email@example.com Vice Mayor Felicia M. Brunson 954.889.4164 firstname.lastname@example.org Commissioner Thomas Dorsett 954.889.4163 email@example.com Commissioner Sharon Fyffe 954.963.7745 firstname.lastname@example.org Commissioner Rita “Peaches” Mack 954.889.4156 email@example.com ADMINISTRATION City Administrator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .954.989.2688 City Attorney . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .954.768.9770 City Clerk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .954.989.2688 Building & Permits Dept. . . . . . . . . .954.989.2688 Business Tax Licenses . . . . . . . . . . . .954.989.2688 Public Works . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .954.964.0284 Trash/Recycling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .954.964.0284 McTyre Park . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .954.964.0284 Mary Saunders Park . . . . . . . . . . . . . .954.985.1990 Code Enforcement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .954.766.2715 Planning and Zoning Dept. . . . . . . . .954.266.6495 Finance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .954.689.4804 Police Dept./BSO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .954.765.4321 Fire Dept./BSO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .954.831.8200
West Park Hurricanes Score Big
From the Parks and Recreation Department There were many hot summer afternoons in July and early August where our new West Park Hurricanes football players and cheerleaders may have questioned why they were working so hard. Well their questions were answered on August 19 and 20 when football season began. Our football program took off as we defeated almost every opponent we faced. It all started Friday night as we hosted the South Miami Grey Ghosts Pee-Wees and sent them home quickly after a 34-13 defeat. Our successes continued Saturday as the West Park Hurricanes defeated the South Miami Grey Ghosts 75-lb team 18 to 0, the 90-lb team 13 to 6, and the 120-lb team by
a score of 13 to 0. Our only loss of the day came in a sudden death overtime match against South Miami which we lost 18 to 19. But the winning quickly continued as we sprung back into action later Saturday evening against Leisure City where we beat their 150-lb team by a score of 21-0. Overall, the program had 4 wins and only 1 loss in the first weekend of action. Make sure you donâ€™t miss any of the action as we compete against the very best talent in South Florida in the coming months. For more information, please call the Parks and Recreation Department at 954985-1990.
West Park Hurricanes 2011 Season Schedule
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FROM THE DESK OF COMMISSIONER DORSETT BY COMMISSIONER THOMAS DORSETT
With the support of my colleagues on the City Commission, we are pleased to bring the National League of Citiesâ€™ (NLC) Prescription Discount Card Program, administered by CVS Caremark, to West Park residents. This program helps residents save money on prescription medications at NO COST to the City. Since we are NLC members, our residents qualify for this benefit. The Prescription Discount Card Program offers savings on prescription drugs to residents with or without health insurance or with a traditional pharmacy benefits plan, and to those who need prescriptions not
covered by insurance. Residents will be able to save an average of 20% of the full retail cost of prescription medication. Best of all, there are no enrollment or membership fees, no age requirements, no income requirements and all family members are covered. Also, there is no limit on how many times your card can be used. Pet medications used to treat human conditions are also covered. As soon as the program is officially implemented in October, 2011, printed ID cards and display materials (customized with the Cityâ€™s name and logo) will be provided to give West Park residents easy program access. Additional details are provided in the notices on this page. If you wish to speak with me on any matter of concern, please call me at 954.889.4163.
Back-To-School Supplies Giveaway PARKS AND RECREATION DEPARTMENT
On Saturday, August 20th, the City of West Park held an inaugural Back-toSchool Supplies Giveaway for students going back to school. In an effort to get the children ready for their first day back to school, over 800 bags were given to children containing grade appropriate supplies for the upcoming school year. The event also included a free basketball clinic hosted by the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity and Florida Memorial College’s Men’s Basketball Team, free haircuts to visiting children, music, and performances to get
everyone in the back to school spirit. The event was made possible by many donations from the following groups/individuals: The Runway Salon, Fire for Hire Music Group, Shani Talks, Nest of Living Arts, Better Sports Corporation Basketball, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Keyes Realty, TD Bank, the Broward Sheriff’s Office, Vice Mayor Felicia Brunson, and the City of West Park. Plans are already in place to make the event bigger and better next year so make sure you plan to attend! Thanks to all who participated and supported this event!
2012 Audi A7 is a work of automotive excellence Ron Beasley LET’S TALK CARS It’s early yet, but the new 2012 Audi A7 is on my short list for “Car of the Year.” This automobile is really special. From a purely technical standpoint, the A7 is a marvel of automotive engineering. It’s manufactured with aluminum, high-end steel and other lightweight materials using a hybrid aluminum construction that melds the lightweight metal with steel of various strengths. The A7 weighs about 15 percent less than a comparable all-steel body. The A7 sits on a sporty, lightweight chassis and is powered by a highly efficient supercharged 310 hp V-6 (18/28 mpg) that is incredibly responsive and fast. It also comes standard with the latest generation of Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive and the latest advanced driver assistance and multimedia systems. The A7 clocks 0-60 mph in 5.4 seconds and has an electronically limited top speed of 130 mph. All A7 models
come with a state-of-the-art, eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission. As for design, the A7 is a piece of automotive art on wheels. The five-door design combines the appeal of a coupe with the prestige of a sedan and the functionality of a station wagon. It is the next step in the Audi design scheme, with short overhangs, a long wheelbase, an expansive hood and low-slung, sporty proportions. With a low roofline and integrated rear doors, the A7 has a coupe-like silhouette, with frameless door windows and side mirrors mounted on the doors. The C-pillar stretches to the rear and flows into the shoulder, while the sharp tornado line begins at the headlights, extends across the fenders, over the doors and ends in a slope toward the taillights. An integrated spoiler automatically extends at 80 mph and then retracts at 50 mph. It also can be deployed and retracted manually via the push of a button. The two large, round tailpipes of the dual-branch exhaust system are incorporated seamlessly into the bumper and benefit from an attractive chrome application. The A7 comes standard with Audi’s xenon plus technology, complete with new all-weather lighting integrated into the headlamp housings, including two radar
Audi A7 has a coupe-like silhouette, with a low roofline and integrated rear doors, frameless door windows and side mirrors mounted on the doors. –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
sensors in the air intakes for optional adaptive cruise control. The signature LED daytime running lights are standard. Optional full LED lighting blends visibility and style with low energy consumption and an extended service life. In addition to the 18 LEDs used for the daytime running lamps and 11 LEDs employed for the turn signals, two powerful LED units comprise the low- and high-beam head-
lamps on each side. Taillights are fitted with LED bulbs, too. Base price on our 2012 Audi A7 test car was $59,250. 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>.
I’m looking for contributors to my ‘legal’ Ponzi scheme BY ERNIE SOCHIN
Back in 1920, even before my time, a guy named Charles Ponzi developed a scheme to make money by having others invest in stuff that didn’t really exist. He paid back some of the original investors with the investments of newer clients. As long as there were new clients sending money in, everyone was happy. Actually Ponzi didn’t originate the idea. Another Charles started it — Charles Dickens in an 1857 novel called Little Dorrit. Being the financial genius that I am, I realized that there are apparently millions of people in the world wanting to invest in these schemes. The problem is that they are illegal. Not with my plan however. My plan is simple. If you have a strong desire to invest, simply send money to me c/o this newspaper. I promise to use it in a most appropriate way. You will have the pleasure of seeing your money provide a great deal of happiness for me
and all those around me. My grandson Julian expressed an interest in having one of those Segway things that police use in shopping malls. I might like one myself. My home investment counselor thinks that investing in gold jewelry might be a good idea. Done on both counts. I seem to be the only one at my tennis club without a Mercedes Benz. No problem! You see, unlike all the other schemers such as Nevin Shapiro and the Miami Hurricanes; Scott Segal, who stuffed his girlfriend in the trunk of her car; Felipito Perez, who even got a mayor to invest, and of course my idols, Bernie Madoff and Scott Rothstein, I promise nothing but the satisfaction of seeing your money well spent and enjoyed. What could give you greater pleasure than that? If I get enough, I might even give a small amount to charity and post pictures of myself handing out checks to the “Three Headed Orphans of Claustrophobia Fund” for example. Maybe I can get a lounge named after me if I throw a few bucks at a school. “The Ernie Sochin Kindergarten Reading Room” Sounds nice huh? Perhaps I could “hang out” with the soccer team and be on the sidelines for their games.
We’re in the money. ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
Another benefit would be to society in general. With no need for prosecution — court costs, defense attorneys, etc. — millions of dollars in taxpayer money would be saved because the plan is perfectly legal. Reading the newspapers and my volumi-
nous emails, there must be a burning need in people to throw money away. I receive literally hundreds of emails from Nigeria where recently departed relatives have been hoarding millions of dollars just waiting for me to claim them. I just got one from a “soldier” in Iraq who actually has all of Saddam Hussein’s hidden money and wants to share it with me. I thought for a while that I was the only lucky one receiving these emails. The fact that they show up on all my email accounts is further proof that they are dying to reach me so that they can send me this money. Obviously there are perhaps millions of people receiving these valuable pieces of correspondence and at least some of them are sending the money necessary to transfer these vast sums, or giving out their bank account passwords, etc. Otherwise they would stop doing it and the entire Nigerian economy might collapse. I ask that these same people just send the money to me and again, at least they will know where it is going. I might even set up a website listing my expenditures. Of course I ask that in order to save the cost of expensive bank accounts that you send cash only.
Seaquarium: Back to school with educational programs BY MICHELLE PALOMINO
For more than 50 years, Miami Seaquarium has been a firm advocate of marine life education and conservation. Through its current interactive educational programs, Miami Seaquarium works to continue its mission of educating students of all ages about the wonders of marine life. Miami Seaquarium hosts several educational programs, such as: Day Camps; Home School Days, and “Mommy and Me,” a program for mothers and young children. Day Camps are offered as alternatives to Miami-Dade County Public Schools teacher workdays. Kids in grades K-12 will explore various marine mammal species, what they need for their survival, their diet and what makes them unique. Additionally, students will enjoy exciting animal interactions, shows, art projects, games and marine biology fun. Dates include: Sept. 29, Interesting Invertebrates; Oct. 28, Fabulous Fish, and Nov. 11, Radical Reptiles. Home School students can participate in the educational programs offered at Miami Seaquarium. The program teaches students from pre-K to high school about marine plants, animals and many other
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aspects of marine life in an interactive, hands-on way. Dates include: Sept. 14, Invertebrates; Oct. 12, Fish; Nov. 9, Marine Reptiles, and Dec. 14, Marine Mammals. Mothers and their children between the ages of 2 and 5 may enjoy “Mommy and Me.” During the program, mother and child will learn about different animals, from sea turtles to reptiles. The program will offer mothers and children the opportunity to interrelate and bond with these unique animals. Dates include: Sept. 7, Fabulous Fish; Oct. 5, Magnificent Manatees; Nov. 2, Beautiful Birds, and Dec. 7, Leaping Lizards. 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 provides visitors with a greater understanding and appreciation for marine life through shows, presentations and exhibits. For more information on Miami Seaquarium visit online at <www.miamiseaquarium.com>. For more information regarding schedules or to register for a program, call 305-361-5705, ext. 207.
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Miami-based MeetOnCruise.com launches social media network BY CLAUDIA VITULICH
that takes place on those floating cities, they also were very familiar with what they MeetOnCruise LLC, a website dedicated lacked — namely, a good way to meet peoto networking cruise enthusiasts was ple. So they built a way to make it happen. launched in August of this year. The webDubbed “A Social Network for site offers a social media platform for Cruising” by the LA Times, MeetOnCruise cruise passengers that facilis a fast growing communiitates relationships and ty of people who love to enhances the cruising expecruise. The website sucrience even before their cessfully marries the best ship sets sail. features of mainstream “We have both had the social media to create an experience of meeting new original, easy-to-use netfriends the last few days of working platform exclua vacation or cruise and sively for cruise enthusistarted thinking how much asts. It aims to appeal to more fun we would have people who are new to had if we made these cruising as well as seasoned friends on the first day, or cruisers. even earlier,” said MeetOnCruise changes MeetOnCruise co-founder the way cruisers prepare Eddy Garrido, along with and experience their cruise. Faraz Qureshi his business partner Faraz Coupled with a newly –––––––––––––––– Qureshi. launched iPhone app, Growing up in South Florida and cur- MeetOnCruise has built an intuitive, userrently residing in Cutler Bay, the two local friendly website that even allows users to entrepreneurs have seen more than their log in via Facebook. Prior to sailing, users fair share of cruise ships come and go from can interact with others on their cruise, so port. Fascinated with the big ships and all that they can plan on doing things together
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during the cruise, and stay in touch after automatically added. the cruise. Qureshi and Garrido, both Florida Members of MeetOnCruise can take International University alumni, recognize advantage of the following key features: the value of enhancing the cruiser experi• Find your roll call easily by selecting ence and already have gained the attention your cruise line, ship and sailing date. of major cruise lines. • Join the roll call and “The benefit of a captive post messages in the discruising audience is undecussion. Other members on niable and we know it will the same roll call are notilead to unique promotions fied that you joined and/or and opportunities for active posted a comment in the users,” Garrido said. discussion. “Cruising doesn’t have • Create your “Cruise to be a solitary experiResume” — one place to ence,” Qureshi said. “There store your pictures, past and are lots of people cruising upcoming cruises, and more with you with similar interinformation about yourself. ests. Using MeetOnCruise, • View member profiles you can find folks to have while browsing newsfeed, dinner with, a family like roll calls and reviews your own to share an (emails and names are never excursion, a scuba partner Eddy Garrido shown). or even just someone to –––––––––––––––– • MeetOnCruise iPhone share a laugh with. There is app, available for free in the iTunes store, no need to cruise with strangers, when you allows users to keep track of their roll call can cruise with friends.” community anywhere. For more information about • Don’t see your cruise schedule? MeetOnCruise, visit online at <www.meeFill out the info and the roll call is toncruise.com>.
LoJack device designed to track people with autism, Alzheimer’s BY JEANNE BOCK
One year ago this September, an 8-yearold boy with autism wandered into the ocean in Quincy, MA and fortunately was rescued from the sea in only 14 minutes — thanks to the valiant efforts of local police and his SafetyNet by LoJack tracking bracelet. In an effort to provide this type of valuable protection to others at risk of wandering and as part of the celebration of its 25th anniversary, LoJack Corporation and its wholly owned subsidiary LoJack SafetyNet Inc. are offering 1,500 free SafetyNet devices for a limited time in the greater Boston, Miami and Philadelphia markets. The initiative, called “SafetyNet Race to Keep Safe,” is valid only through Sept. 30, or while supplies last — hence the “race” to keep safe those in danger of wandering. The device is just one element of the SafetyNet Service, which helps caregivers provide an added layer of protection for loved ones with autism or Alzheimer’s who are prone to the dangerous habit of wandering. The “SafetyNet Race to Keep Safe” initiative includes a SafetyNet Bracelet, batteries and straps along with instructions and information on the SafetyNet Service, all shipped at no cost. The enrollment and monthly fees are waived, allowing families to experience the service without any financial commitment for a full six months. There is no obligation to continue the service once the sixmonth period has ended. “As part of our 25th anniversary celebration, LoJack Corporation and LoJack SafetyNet are giving back in a variety of ways to each of their audiences,” said Kathy Kelleher, vice president, LoJack SafetyNet. “We felt that the best way to show our appreciation and commitment to the autism and Alzheimer’s communities was to provide some comfort for families who live with the ever-present fear that their loved one might wander and not return. “Our hope is that this offer will encourage people to try this valuable service,
which in turn could offer protection to those at risk of wandering and much-needed peace of mind to caregivers,” she added. To receive a free SafetyNet device, caregivers should go to <www.safetynetbylojack.com> and fill out a simple online form that includes information about the client, which will be entered into a secure database that will be used to assist in search and rescue. Within 7-10 business days, caregivers will receive the bracelet that is worn by the person at risk typically on their wrist or ankle. “SafetyNet Race to Keep Safe” also includes access to LoJack SafetyNet’s 24/7 emergency caregiver support. The SafetyNet Bracelet constantly emits a Radio Frequency signal. Radio Frequency is the technology of choice because, unlike cellular and GPS technology, its signal doesn’t rely on cellular networks or satellite signals and can often be tracked when a client wanders into a shallow body of water, a densely wooded area, a concrete structure such as a garage, or a building constructed with steel. SafetyNet Search and Rescue Receivers are used by public safety agencies and can detect the Radio Frequency signal emitted from the SafetyNet Bracelet typically within a range of approximately one mile in onthe-ground searches and five to seven miles in searches by helicopter. SafetyNet personnel provide certified training for public safety agencies that focuses on the use of its specialized electronic equipment, its technology and procedures, and on how to effectively communicate with and approach individuals who have cognitive conditions. The information that has been provided by the caregiver and stored in SafetyNet’s secure database gives the search and rescue team insight into the individual’s personal habits and how he or she should be approached, spoken to and comforted. To see if the SafetyNet Service is available in your area and/or to receive a free SafetyNet device, go online to <www.safetynetbylojack.com>. For more information about the SafetyNet Service, call 1-877-4FIND-THEM (1-877-434-6384) or visit <www.safetynetbylojack.com>.
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