Written by Miami Today on August 3, 2000
Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead
of the news. Here are highlights from the most current edition.
Florida International University has won a $4.2 million grant from
the National Science Foundation to study the Florida Everglades.
The Long-Term Ecological Research project, to get $700,000 annually
over six years, will monitor the ecological effects of the $8 billion
restoration of the Everglades, said Dan Childers, who heads the
project administered by the university’s Southeastern Environmental
ARGENTINE ADIOS: Santos
Goni, Argentina’s consul general in Miami for the past two years,
is preparing to leave his Miami post, returning to foreign ministry
work in Buenos Aires. Mr. Goni has served in Miami since September
1998. His past tours of duty have included Argentine embassies in
Chile, the US and France
The US-Panama Business Council is holding a reception in honor of
Dominador Kaiser Bazan, Panama’s vice president, from 6-8 p.m. Aug.
10 in the Inter-Continental Miami Airport West, 2505 NW 87th Ave.
The UM North-South Center and the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce
are co-sponsors. RSVP. Details: Tania Valenzuela, (305) 577-5472.
WEDNESDAY STARTUPS: The Minority Business
Development Center holds free orientations for minority-owned startups
and small businesses in Miami-Dade and Broward at 10 a.m. on Wednesdays.
RSVP. Details: (305) 591-7355.
URBAN INFILL: The City of Miami and
the Florida Department of Community Affairs have agreed to end a
dispute over the city’s comprehensive land-use plan. The state sued
last year, threatening to find the master plan in non-compliance
after the city tried to classify the entire city as urban infill.
In a settlement reached last week, city officials agreed to re-classify
Virginia Key and Watson Island. The change means the state must
review any large-scale development plans for the two islands, said
Clark Turner, chief of community planning.
Miami Commissioner Arthur Teele says he has a plan to redevelop
vacant land under I-395 as parking lots to serve the Omni area and
nightclub district. Working with the Florida Department of Transportation,
which owns the land, Mr. Teele said the city would develop parking
lots and direct parking revenues to the Community Redevelopment
Agency to fund Park West redevelopments. He said the deal includes
land on Northeast Third Avenue and Biscayne Boulevard between Northeast
11th and 14th streets.
Because a new parking garage under construction in Coconut Grove
blocks radio transmissions for the City of Miami police, fire and
other government departments, city commissioners have agreed to
spend $25,602 to re-tune and realign the city’s microwave transmission
system. Broadcasts will be directed over residential areas with
Miami police will soon get 656 portable radios to replace 14-year-old
models that have outlived their eight-year intended life and are
prone to malfunction. Miami commissioners approved $2.2 million
in grant funds for the purchase.
Miami commissioners have given a preliminary OK to hike solid waste
fees to move the item along. In the city’s fiscal year starting
Oct. 1, fees for garbage collection climb to $325 per single-family
home, up from $234, bringing in $22.3 million. The proposed increases
will be discussed at a hearing at 5 p.m. Sept. 14.
FIRE, TOO: That
hearing will also give Miami residents a chance to comment on fire
fees, expected to raise $18.7 million. Residential rates are $61
per single-family home. Other rates are based on a sliding scale
starting at $124 for commercial, $46 for industrial and $135 for
institutional uses under 1,999 square feet.
Also due for review at the hearing is the one-half mill tax downtown
property owners pay to fund Downtown Development Authority operations.
The Virginia Key Coastal Hammock Nature Trail will be built with
$79,873, including $19,973 from the South Florida Community Urban
Resources Partnership. Miami commissioners have approved funding
for the trail, including removal of exotic plants, installation
of guideposts and development of a guidebook.
LAW ENFORCEMENT: Over
the past five years Miami police have spent $23.8 million in monies
obtained through forfeitures, says Police Chief Ra£l Martinez. He
says the city spent about $13.9 million for investigations, equipment
and training and about $9.8 million for crime prevention programs
in the period. City commissioners have asked police officials to
review programs eligible for funding and form partnerships with
community development programs in the city to expand social service
The City of Miami may auction off five vacant lots at 5900 NW Seventh
Ave. after commissioners agreed to declare as surplus property bought
in 1991 and 1993 for a housing project that was never built. Lori
Billberry, director of asset management, said the site would be
rezoned for commercial use. Development proposals would be evaluated
based on the proposed use, number of jobs created and purchase price.
ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES: Miami Commissioner
Joe Sanchez is proposing an ordinance regulating the sale of alcoholic
beverages. Modeled after a Miami Beach law, the item would impose
a weekend curfew on package stores. He said tougher laws and law
enforcement are needed to curb late-night drinking and related issues
in the downtown nightclub district.
Miami commissioners in two separate actions have approved $112,800
in Community Development Block Grant funds to be administered through
Downtown Miami Partnership so that 87 downtown businesses get help
funding facade renovations, including painting, improved signs and
awnings and other upgrades.
The Miami-Dade County Aviation Department is getting $100,000 from
the Federal Aviation Administration for investigating its security
department and possibly developing a vendor security system at Miami
International Airport that can be used nationwide. A first payment
of $50,000 was presented last week. The effort had to do investigating
employees entering secure areas for possible criminal records and
other background information. In presenting the check, Diane Patrick,
an FAA representative, said "this is the first case of its
kind in the country."
Coral Gables is now the second US city to receive the highest rating
for enforcing building codes from the Insurance Services Office.
The office is a national firm that evaluates municipalities’ capabilities
for property and casualty insurers. Fremont, CA, was the first US
city to get the company’s Class I distinction in building code enforcement
last year. Details: (305) 460-5311.
Ramada Inn Miami Beach is reporting a 95.7% average occupancy during
the first quarter 2000. The large occupancy percentage can be attributed
in part to the hotel’s free car rental service for guests, says
spokesperson Bernard Resnick. The inn, he says, offers visitors
from the airport a free rental car from Alamo to view the sites
of South Beach and other areas. Details: (305) 531-5771.
The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce plans to soon reintroduce
Resident Pass to increase resident participation in local activities.
The pass, which was launched by the chamber’s hospitality committee
in the early 1990s, gives Miami residents discounts on local attractions,
among other things. Details: (305) 577-5442.
EVENT HONORS: The Miami-Dade County
Youth Fair & Exposition, Italian Renaissance Festival of Vizcaya
and the Bank of America Coconut Grove Arts Festival won 14 awards
from the Florida Festivals & Events Association. The July fair won
best newspaper special section, best print ad and best news media
kit. The Vizcaya festival won second place for best event newsletter,
print ad and souvenir. The arts festival brought in second place
awards for best VIP party invitations, best newspaper special section
and best commemorative poster.
COAST MEETING: The Internet Coast Tri-County
initiative will present updates on the group’s activities and will
unveil an official poster from 3-6 p.m. Aug. 3 at Florida Atlantic
University’s Boca Campus. Traver Gruen-Kennedy, director of Internetworking
Strategy at Citrix Systems Inc. is guest speaker at the by-invitation-only
meeting. Details: (561) 835-1008, ext. 2121.