Written by Miami Today on March 20, 2003
Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead
of the news. Here are highlights from the most current edition.
CIRCLE SUPPORT: The US Senate has unanimously passed a bill supporting a study by the Department of Interior on how to make the Miami Circle archeological site a part of the Biscayne National Park System. Florida Sen. Bob Graham sponsored the bill. The site was uncovered in 1998 by developers tearing down an apartment building at the mouth of the Miami River. The 2.2-acre site was saved for preservation in November 2000 when it was purchased for $26.7 million in state, local and private funds.
BRAZILIAN LINK: Bay Harbor Islands has made the Brazilian town of Marechal Deodoro its first sister city. The Miami-Dade city known for boutiques and galleries was accepted last year into Sister Cities International, a 50-year-old non-profit that encourages links between the US and other nations. "This means we’ll start planning activities between the two cities like mayoral visits to each country and a special Brazil Day that will involve the city and schools," said Alice Fisher Edelman, a spokesperson for the city just west of Bal Harbour.
CARGO MOVING: Miami International Airport’s foreign cargo soared 21% in January from January 2002 while domestic cargo fell nearly 30%. Some 118,076 tons of international mail and freight came through the airport in January, the county aviation department reports. Freight rose 21.5% to 116,887 tons as mail cargo fell 10.8% to 1,189 tons. Domestically, 25,270 tons of cargo moved through the airport, a steep drop of 29.4% from January ’02. Freight fell 31.3%, to 22,601 tons, while mail (2,670 tons) fell 9.4%. Combined, airport cargo rose 7.5% , to 143,346 tons.
OUT OF COMMISSION: Miami Commission Chairman Johnny Winton – recovering from a March 10 tumble off a mogul on a Crested Butte slope – won’t lead this week’s tour as planned for the fifth annual Site Selector Showcase, a Beacon Council event geared to lure business to move here. Doctors also advised him to skip the March 27 commission meeting, said aide Jason Walker. "Obviously, we’re talking about Johnny Winton and he has other plans," Mr. Walker said. Mr. Winton – who oversees the downtown area – now has e rods pulling together damage from four breaks below one knee and is confined at home. Mr. Walker said it might be at least four months before he’s back on his feet.
NO-BID DEALS: Miami-Dade Commissioners allowed Manager Steve Shiver to waive formal bid and bid protest procedures for purchases totaling $34.9 million that can only be provided by one vendor. Contracts include software licenses, training and technical services, Oracle proprietary software, elevators, escalators and moving walks maintenance. The OK passed 9-2 this month, with Dorrin Rolle and Barbara Carey-Shuler against it. Jimmy Morales and Natacha Seijas were absent.
LEASES CHANGED: Miami-Dade Commissioners amended the Dadeland North Joint Development Lease between the county, the landlord and tenant Green Dadeland Station Ltd. to allow construction of condominium units in addition to rental market-rate residential units in Phases II and III. They also authorized a consent agreement for development of the Coral Station at Brickell Way. Coral Station is seeking approvals to build 400 residential units, 200,000 square feet of office space, restaurant/retail space and a garage.
LOBBYIST RULING: The Miami-Dade County Commission on Ethics and Public Trust found probable cause that lobbyist Sylvester Lukis was not properly registered as a lobbyist when he met with the county Public Works Department director to discuss two contracts on behalf of Edd Helms Electrical Contracting Inc., which was in the process of securing a contract. The county commission two months ago voted to start the bid process again.
AVIATION TRADE SHOW: Next week Miami will be home for the first time to one of the world’s largest airport exhibitions. Inter Airport Miami will attract hundreds of trade experts interested in anything needed to run anywhere from an airplane to an airport, said Dory Hulse, spokeswoman for the 30-year-old show. Open to trade professionals, the three-day show will be held March 25-27 at the Miami Beach Convention Center. Details: (434) 964-0287.
GOING SOUTH: The Metropolitan Planning Organization last week upgraded the priority of efforts to extend Metrorail from the Dadeland South station to Cutler Ridge and on to Homestead/Florida City. "Since the People’s Transportation Plan is moving forward in the north end of the county, I think it is important that South Miami-Dade also have a high priority in the process," said county Commissioner Dennis Moss, a sponsor of the resolution to fund environmental, social and economic impact studies for the rail link.
SECURING COUNTY: Miami-Dade County hired a Homeland Security Division director to coordinate anti-terrorism efforts. Joseph PiÒon starts Friday. He’s responsible for updating the county’s Terrorism Response Plan. County Manager Steve Shiver created the Security Division in December. Mr. PiÒon, senior assistant city manager for the City of Miami in 1998 and assistant city manager of Miami Beach from 1992-98, reports to Samuel Williams, assistant county manager for Homeland Security and Public Safety.
EUROPEAN AIR LINKS: Two European tour operators say they’re interested in starting summer weekly charter flights to Miami, says Julio Stieffel, Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau associate VP. He said a Zurich-based operator offered that service last year, when the bureau helped the operator pay for some advertising in Switzerland. A Vienna-based operator is also considering a similar service from Austria to Miami. Mr. Stieffel said the bureau is willing to help fund any advertising needed to promote the new service in Europe. He wouldn’t name the prospects he met during his participation in last week’s ITB Berlin 2003, world’s largest tourism trade show.
KEYED UP: Keyes Co. has started a major expansion. The realtor’s Coconut Grove office is moving from South Dixie Highway to the historic Gifford House at 2937 SW 27th Ave. The house, built in 1909, will be converted to 3,500 square feet of offices. A 1,000-square-foot expansion of the Miami Lakes Welcome Center office is planned, and moves are underway for several other branches. The Miami-based realtor reported a 21% sales increase in 2002 and recruited more than 1,050 associates.