Written by Miami Today on June 21, 2001
Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead
of the news. Here are highlights from the most current edition.
BANK LICENSE: Colombia’s Banco de Bogotá, with reported assets of $3.7 billion, gained federal approval to open an agency at 800 Brickell Ave. within a year. The bank previously had an Edge office here. The OK marks the first time a bank from Colombia has been approved since standards were raised for foreign financial institutions to operate as agencies in the US under legislation passed in 1991. Other South American agencies since approved by the Federal Reserve Board represent banks from Chile and Argentina.
BRICKELL RETAIL: Brasilinvest & Partners announced this week that its $110 million retail and residential Brickell Village complex has letters of intent from retailers Starbucks and Latin American brands Oceanaire, Artefacxto, Recherche Biologique and Campiellor. The group also announced formation of a "Forum of the Americas," defining it as a think thank to promote trade and launch business partnerships. The forum, to be based at Brasilinvest’s $80 million 1500 Ocean Drive Complex, home to the Billboard Live Café and 110 apartment units, is due to open in September.
PARK BLANCHE: Miami city commissioners last week ruled that a fence in Coconut Grove’s Blanche Park stay put as a barrier between a children’s area and a section for dogs. Residents said they wanted the fence moved 44 feet to give children more room to play. But about 50 other neighbors who support using the park as a dog haven came to city commissioners wearing "Coconut Grove Dog Park" shirts to voice opposition. Commissioners approved some changes to the park, including raising the height of the fence in question by 4 feet, installing a plastic fence to replace a chain link fence, adding playground equipment and ordering the removal of rotting ficus trees.
PARKING CARD: The Miami Parking System is introducing $15 and $25 parking debit cards on July 1, said parking authority Executive Director Arthur Noriega. The cards, he said, "will facilitate parking and eliminate the need for coins at many meters in Miami." City of Miami residents can get a 10% discount on the cards. Details: (305) 373-6789 or miamiparking.com.
INFO POST: Florida International University named John P. McGowan vice president of information resources and chief information officer. Dr. McGowan comes to Miami from his post as chief technology officer for the University of Southern Mississippi.
MORE FIU: FIU’s College of Business Administration announced this week that it received reaffirmation of accreditation for its bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
BOMA DESIGNATIONS: The Miami-Dade chapter of the Building Owners & Managers Association International, or BOMA, is again offering a series of courses leading to designations as real property administrator and facilities management administrator starting July 20 with "Real Estate Investment & Finance." Offerings in August are "Fundamentals of Facilities Management" and "Law & Risk Management." The program continues with two sessions in September, October and November and one in December. Classes are held from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at BellSouth, 600 NW 79th Ave. Cost is $680 a course. Details: (800) 235-2664.
URBAN MEET: The Urban League of Greater Miami is holding its 58th annual meeting, "Making Achievement Matter," from 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Friday in the Arthur McDuffie Family Enrichment Center, 8400 NW 25th Ave. An awards ceremony and champagne reception are on the agenda. Details: (305) 696-4450, ext. 100.
FUTURE LINKS: The Miami Museum of Science is holding a grand opening for a state-of-the-art computer lab at 9:30 a.m. June 22 at 3280 S Miami Ave. Promoters say the lab has 21 computers with high-speed Internet access and video-conferencing and projection systems for instruction, community and business use. Public school teachers from Miami-Dade and Monroe counties are scheduled at the opening to show off interactive projects developed in the past week leading to the opening, part of a project called "Teach to the Future." Details: (305) 646-4247.
WATER LEVELS: The South Florida Water Management District is asking lawn sprinkler systems be shut off after rainfalls through late October or early November. As of June 15, officials said the depth of the Lake Okeechobee reservoir was at 9.3 feet and needs to reach 12 feet during the wet season to avoid water-use curtailments in the fall and winter.
COASTAL CLEANUPS: Volunteers in Florida picked up more than 1.064 million pounds of debris along 1,492 miles of beaches and waterways in 2000, says the Center for Marine Conservation. Topping the list of items in the trash were cigarette butts, which accounted for 23% of the volume, and plastic & glass bottles and food bags at 16.6% of the volume. The figures were released as part of a campaign to attract volunteers to the program this year. Details: (800) CMC-FLOR.
CARRYING ON: William O. Cullom and the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce have agreed to a two-year extension of his contract as chamber president.
PRAISE RETURNED: Miami Commissioner Johnny Winton received the Bill Colson Leadership Award from Marta Gutierrez representing Leadership Miami Saturday at the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s Goals Conference at the Doral Golf Resort and Spa. Mr. Winton, a long-time chamber member, said, "Without the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce over the 21 years I’ve been in Miami, our community would be nothing." He said that the chamber had filled a community leadership void.
WHAT’S IN A NAME?: In a sign of economic times, the Greater Miami Chamber’s Internet & e-commerce committee has been renamed the technology committee. Recognizing that not all related businesses are doing wonderfully, the nonprofit group has been renamed the not-for-profit group.
DADS DAY: When five contenders for Miami mayor stepped to the microphone Sunday to seek Greater Miami Chamber members’ votes and donations, each started by noting that it was Father’s Day – and asking family members to stand and be recognized.
NEED A SLIM JIM?: During his talk, candidate and former mayor Xavier Suarez presented his own honors, "the Coolness Under Fire Award," to candidate and former Miami manager Jose Garcia-Pedrosa. He said Mr. Garcia-Pedrosa and his wife, Judge Shelley Kravitz, had locked their keys in the car at the valet entrance to the Doral and had spent five to 10 minutes trying to get them out – just before the debate. Mr. Suarez, who said he used to carry a hangar in his car for such emergencies, had thoughts of lending a hand until he worried about the Herald’s headline the next day if he were observed: "Suarez breaks into Garcia-Pedrosa’s car."
DECORUM RECOGNIZED: Midway through the mayoral debate Mr. Garcia-Pedrosa drew the strongest applause of the morning when he commended his opponents for debating issues rather than personalities and pointed proudly to "how far we have come."
MANY A SLIP: At the chamber’s goals conference Saturday morning, new Chairman Ramiro Ortiz introduced Miami Mayor Joe Carollo as "Commissioner Carollo." Mr. Carollo laughed and, with sometimes-opponent Commissioner Johnny Winton nearby, replied with a smile: "Most of the commissioners nowadays think they’re mayors anyway." Laugh or not, the mayor didn’t return the next morning for the mayoral debate.
A MATTER OF DEFINITION: Philip Blumberg, outgoing chairman of Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber over the course of the next few months would "define itself on a regional basis as it never has before" in areas that will include growth, water management and higher education. He said the chamber this year sent 30 people, its largest delegation ever, to lobby the Florida Legislature.
KEY SUPPORT: Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Chairman Ramiro Ortiz called for public support to put a civil rights museum on Virginia Key during his inaugural address to chamber members June 16.