Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead
of the news. Here are highlights from the most current edition.
FIRST FLAGLER: Miami-Dade commissioners Tuesday plan to discuss issuing a $10 million promissory note to back a construction loan for downtown Miami's first condominium with units at market rates. Mario Martinez-Malo, a member of the Miami-Dade County Housing Finance Authority, said if commissioners approve, his authority would automatically become owner of the $15 million, 15-story, 90-unit First Flagler Condominium, 101 E Flagler St., until developer Kapustin Corp. and partners pay off the construction loan for the project, which involves conversion of an old office building.
GROVE PARKING: Starting this week, Miami Parking Authority meters in Coconut Grove will charge 25 cents less hourly, or $1 an hour, and applicable times will be reduced five to seven hours a day, said Art Noriega, executive director for the authority. "These changes," he said, "are meant to stimulate traffic and business in Coconut Grove. They're the first part of an ongoing promotional plan that will continue to be implemented in the coming months." Drivers had been charged $1.25 an hour before the change, he said. New hours for Grove meters as of Monday are 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday and 10 a.m.-midnight Thursday-Saturday.
ADDING GERMANY: Miami-based GlobeCast, the broadcast services division of France Telecom, announced plans to add the Deutsche Welle's channel March 1. Robert Behar, president and CEO, said Deutsche Welle is the international public broadcast organization of the Federal Republic of Germany. He said the German-language network would complement the EuroNews channel GlobeCast added to its direct-to-home World Television Service last month.
SUBDUED HOLIDAY: A phone and e-mail survey by the National Association of Female Executives finds plans for bonuses and holiday parties in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties have been scaled back this year, with 54% of 68 respondents saying holiday bonuses were decreased or eliminated. Also, 63% said they have either cut back or canceled holiday parties to save money. On the brighter side, 87% said employees will get either a full or half-day off on Christmas Eve, a Monday.
EARLY SHOPPING: America's Research Group reports its survey of consumers found more than half plan to finish their holiday shopping by this Saturday. "Our surveys show that America is sleep-walking through Christmas, going through the motions," said Britt Beemer, chairman and founder of America's Research. He said people report making time with the family, relaxing or baking their priority over visiting malls. He said as of Dec. 11 a third of shoppers reported they'd already finished holiday shopping.
MAJOR ADDITION: Major Broadcasting Cable Network in Atlanta added the ministry program of Miami's Bishop Victor T. Curry to its M-Power Ministry Program block at 7 a.m. Tuesdays on cable channel 135 with plans to also add it to AT&T Broadband on a channel to be announced. Mr. Curry is pastor and founder of New Birth Baptist Church in Miami and chairman and CEO of New Birth Ministries, an umbrella organization for New Birth Broadcasting Corp., which operates 1490 AM, the first black-owned radio station in Miami, and Vision to Victory Human Services Corp.
FIRM ADDITION: Political campaign management, advertising and public relations firm Rosen Baker, 4500 Biscayne Blvd., added Emily Cardenas and changed its name to Rosen Baker Cardenas. Ms. Cardenas is a former executive producer of "This Week In South Florida" on WPLG Channel 10 and before that was with Hank Meyer Associates. DOWNTOWN JAM: The New Shiloh Missionary Baptist Gospel Choir is to perform at the monthly Thursday happy hour, JAM at MAM, from 5-8:30 p.m. Dec. 20 sponsored by the Miami Art Museum and the Historical Museum of Southern Florida, in the courtyard at 101 W Flagler St. Optional tours of exhibits at both museums are offered as well as hors d'oeuvres and drinks. Details: (305) 375-3000.
M-DCC HONORS: Three student newspapers at Miami-Dade Community College won awards from the Florida Community College Press Association at a conference. The Catalyst on M-DCC's Kendall campus won 12 awards, including first place for a general column and photo. The Metropolis, serving the Wolfson campus, and the North campus Falcon Times received three awards each, including one first place prize each.
NINTH ON THE 16TH: Proponents of designating two blocks of Southeast and Southwest Ninth Street in the Brickell area as Beethoven Way Ninth Symphony Street plan a public celebration Sunday (12/16) to toast Ludwig von Beethoven's 231st birthday. The 10:30 a.m. gathering offering beverages and food will be at Allen Morris Brickell Park, Southeast 10th Street at Brickell Plaza. German Consul General Volker Anding is to present a declaration proclaiming the Ninth Symphony a "heritage to humanity." Details: (305) 643-5952.
VISITOR FORECAST: At the Beacon Council's 2002 Economic Forecast breakfast Tuesday, Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau President and CEO Bill Talbert said he is "cautiously optimistic" about a recovery in Miami's tourism market. He predicted the market slowdown would continue through second quarter 2002. He said bookings for 2002 are ahead of the 2001 pace, with 16 citywide conventions already scheduled next year.
FLIGHT LEADER: Miami-Dade County Aviation Director Angela Gittens said at the Beacon Council breakfast that flights to Latin America were the least affected by route cutbacks since Sept. 11, making Miami International the nation's leader in international travel. Only two of Miami's international flight routes - to Istanbul and to Munich - were cut. She said Miami International has lost only 10% of its available seats as the result of cutbacks, ranking it in losses No. 23 of 33 major US airports.
COALITION CHAIR: Terry Cuson, president and CEO of the North Dade Regional Chamber of Commerce, takes office in January as chairman of the Miami-Dade County Coalition of Chambers. Mr. Cuson, who has held his post at the North Dade chamber six years, said his priorities include revisiting the coalition's by-laws, organizing and updating professional and educational programs for member chambers and holding goal-planning sessions. "It's really essential," he said, "particularly because the economic climate in Miami-Dade County has really changed drastically recently."
HUMID SHOW: Twenty-six international artists display their work starting Friday under the banner "HUMID" at the Moore Building, 4040 NE Second Ave. The theme of the exhibit, which runs through Feb. 1, is loosely inspired by Miami's climate, said curator Dominic Molon, associate curator for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. "The condition of humidity - a distinct and discomfortingly felt, yet unseen, atmospheric presence - captures," he said, "the pressures, passions, anxieties and tensions of the current moment and the manifestation of these sensibilities in the work in the exhibition."
REGIONAL POST: The Regional Transit Organization elected Miami-Dade County Commissioner Katy Sorenson chairman. The group of elected and appointed officials from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties was established in 1998 to improve transit services in the tri-county area. Ms. Sorenson is serving her second term as commissioner of District 9, which includes an area from Kendall to Homestead.
TRANSPORTATION PARTNERS: Florida International University is doing research with the Miami chapter of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials using an open forum, "Environmental Justice in Transportation," at 6 p.m. today (12/13) in the Jean Jacques Dessalines Community Center, 8325 NE Second Ave. The objective, say organizers, is to find ways to create partnerships between state agencies and community organizations as part of agency planning. A second session is scheduled at 9 a.m. Saturday in the Cutler Ridge Mall Community Room, 20505 S Dixie Hwy. The project is being supported by a grant from the Federal Highway Administration. Details: (305) 654-6519.
PAY PHONE PLAN: Miami-based Phonel declared a success a trial run in western Miami of a coin-operated, international long-distance phone service. The direct-dial phones give users up to 10 minutes of service for $1 in coins, said Jaime Gilinski, chairman of the Phonel Globalwide Corp. subsidiary. He said the firm has "signature, bright-yellow handsets hard to miss" and hopes they'll "become a symbol of simple, affordable international calling." He said the company plans to install more phones throughout South Florida and launch a campaign to promote their use.