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Front Page » Top Stories » Fyi Miami

Fyi Miami

Written by 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

Research Center.


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

fewer high-rises.


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.


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.


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.


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.

First Bank