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Written by on November 29, 2001

USED HOME SALES DIP: Miami-area real estate agents sold 11% fewer single-family homes in October than in October 2000 while brokers statewide were selling 6% more, the Florida Association of Realtors reports. But while prices of used homes sold were rising 7% statewide, the price of home re-sales in Miami jumped an average 13% from the prior October, hitting $157,900 – tops in the state – versus $139,000 last year. As prices rose in Miami, they passed last year’s leader, Fort Lauderdale, by a scant $300 per home sold. A total of 940 homes were sold in Miami, down from 1,059, while 1,187 were sold in Fort Lauderdale, the association’s figures show.

DOWNTOWN PLANS: The Florida Department of Transportation is seeking public input before completing plans to improve some roads in downtown Miami, said David Rosemond, department spokesman. Streets earmarked for improvements include Biscayne Boulevard Way, Biscayne Boulevard to Southeast Second Street and Second Avenue. Plans are to repave, replace traffic lights, add lights and modify the Interstate 95 exit and entrance near the Hyatt Regency, said Delfin Molins, community program coordinator. The project is scheduled to begin in mid-2004. The transportation department may start holding open meetings downtown next week. Details: (305) 470-5349.

HOLIDAY PARKING: City of Miami drivers caught by expired parking meters will get an hour of overtime during the holidays, a holiday season custom. Miami Parking Authority’s parking meter enforcement officers will put one-hour parking extension tags on windshields from Dec. 17-29. "We hope this will stimulate business traffic and facilitate shopping within the city," said Art Noriega, the authority’s executive director.

TRI-RAIL ONLINE: Commuters can now go on line to find out where Tri-Rail trains are and when they’re expected to arrive at tri-rail.com. Details: (954) 942-7245.

FORECAST 2002: The Beacon Council is holding its annual economic forecast at 8:30 a.m. Dec. 11 in the Hotel Inter-Continental Miami, 100 Chopin Plaza. Scheduled speakers include Mitchell Fromstein, chair emeritus and corporate advisor to Manpower Inc., and J. Antonio Villamil, CEO for the Washington Economics Group. Reservations are requested. Cost is $50; $40 for members. Details: (305) 579-1382.

DELEGATION HEADS: Miami-Dade County’s legislative delegation last week elected State Sen. Kendrick Meek chairman for the 2001-02. Elected to the Florida House in 1994 and the Senate in ’98, Sen. Meek will head the state’s largest delegation, with 27 people taking part. "I look forward to working with all of our members in a bi-partisan effort for the betterment of Miami-Dade County and the State of Florida," he said in a statement. Freshman legislator Rep. Rene Garcia was elected vice chairman.

JOINING MANHATTAN: The Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce and the Miami-Dade County Coalition of Chambers are providing assistance to the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce by becoming members. The Manhattan chamber is using membership money from other chambers to provide no-strings, free and clear loans for small Manhattan businesses affected by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. "The Miami Beach Chamber feels it is our civic duty to dedicate resources to the economic relief efforts in New York and here at home," said Bruce Singer, president and CEO of the Miami Beach chamber.

COUNTY ASSISTANT: Miami-Dade County Manager Steve Shiver named Tony Crapp assistant county manager. Mr. Crapp had served as director of the county’s Office of Community & Economic Development. In his new post he still coordinates economic development initiatives and is to oversee the Consumer Services Department, the Metro-Miami Action Plan, the Empowerment Zone Trust and the Urban Revitalization Task Force. "Throughout his career," Mr. Shiver said, "Mr. Crapp’s proven leadership skills have helped propel economic development in the county’s most distressed neighborhoods."

TRAUMA TALK: UM’s School of Medicine is holding a two-day continuing-education conference this weekend under the banners "Coping With Terrorism" on Saturday and "Terrorism Weapons of Mass Destruction: What Do Health Care Providers Need to Know" on Sunday. The sessions target a range of practitioners, say organizers, so they’ll have "the appropriate knowledge, skills and resources to identify and treat patients suffering from psychological traumas related to Sept. 11."

CARIBBEAN LINKS: Our next International Roundtable will focus on Miami’s growing links to the Caribbean at 5 p.m. Dec. 6 in the Hotel Sofitel, 5800 Blue Lagoon Drive. The session, being co-sponsored by Air Jamaica and Miami Today, begins with a panel discussion and ends with refreshments. Panelists include Marlon A. Hill, president of the Caribbean Bar Association and founding partner of delancyhill; Pearlie Drakes, regional business development officer for Barbados, and Alan Chastanet, vice president of Air Jamaica. Miami Today International Editor Michael Hayes is to moderate. RSVP. Details: Techy Fernandez, (305) 358-2663.

WORK WORKSHOP: A workshop, "Creating opportunities for the Economy," is being held by the M-DCC Entrepreneurial Training & Technical Assistance Program at 8:30 a.m. Dec. 1 in Room 2106 on the Wolfson campus, 300 NE Second Ave. Topics include certifications for startups, loans, financial assistance, preparing proposals, bidding, vendor contracts and subcontracting. Jose Abreau, secretary for District 6 with the Florida Department of Transportation, is keynote speaker. Cost is $35, including a continental breakfast and light lunch. Details: (305) 237-7665.

NONPROFIT DAYS: The 30th annual Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations & Voluntary Action conference is being held at the Hotel Inter-Continental Miami, 100 Chopin Plaza, through Dec. 1. Among features is "Miami Day," being held Friday. The event will be a showcase of nonprofits in the area. About 500 delegates are attending the sessions, organizers said. Details: (317) 684-2120.

EDISON HOLLYWOOD: Normandy Bay Corp., a local group of investors, announced acquisition of Planet Hollywood, 960 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, formerly owned by an Orlando-based restaurant chain, for an undisclosed sum. Edison hotel co-owners Steve Levinson and Judith Berson, principals with Normandy Bay Corp., called the acquisition part of "a strategic marketing plan." Ms. Berson said the 5,000-square-foot restaurant, which is in the Edison, will retain its "all-beach theme and prized memorabilia."

AWARD LUNCHEON: The Anti-Defamation League is presenting Miami attorney Ira Leesfield with its 2001 Jurisprudence award at noon Dec. 6 in the Wyndham Miami Biscayne Bay Hotel, 1601 Biscayne Blvd. Mr. Leesfield is a partner with the law firm Leesfield Leighton Rubio Mahfood & Boyers. Among his national service posts, he was on a presidential advisory commission on holocaust assets in 1998 and the President’s Council on Physical Fitness in 1993. The award recognizes contributors to the legal profession and community at large for "their passion for excellence, high ethical and professional standards, dynamic leadership and social responsibility," said Sonny Holtzman, partner with the law firm Holtzman Equels & Furia and luncheon chairman. "Ira Leesfield has worked hard to improve our community, our state and our nation," Mr. Holtzman said.

BREAKFAST TALK: The newly formed Blue Lagoon Chamber of Commerce is holding a talk, "The Impact of the Florida Legislature’s Action on Your Business in the Coming Year," from 7:30-9:30 a.m. Dec. 12 in the Miami Airport Hilton, 5101 Blue Lagoon Drive. Rep. Marco Rubio, an attorney with the law firm Becker & Poliakoff and Florida House Majority Whip, is to speak. RSVP. Details: Dean Barclay, (305) 261-222233.

BEACH TALK: The next installment of the "Up Close & Personal" series organized by the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce will look at "Business Development in Miami Beach" at 8:30 a.m. Dec. 6 in the Ocean Resort, 3025 Collins Ave. Scheduled speakers are Cristina Cuervo, assistant city manager for the Beach, and Kevin Crowder, city economic development specialist. Reservations are required. Cost is $15. Details: John Ingram, (305) 674-1300, ext. 316.

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