Written by Miami Today on August 21, 2003
Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead
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CONSUMER PRICES DIP: The consumer price index for the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area declined to 179.4 in June from 180.6 in April, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor reported last week. That means that an array of goods that would have cost $100 in the 1982-84 period cost $179.40 here in June. Over the year ending June 30, consumer prices in this area rose 2.9%. Nationally in June the index for all US cities was 183.7, down a hair from 183.8 in April.
MORE JOBS: More than 85,000 new jobs were created in Florida during the year ending July 30, according to the state’s Agency for Workforce Innovation. That continued a 16-month streak of job growth. Miami-Dade County created 200 jobs during the period. Florida’s unemployment rate remained unchanged from June’s 5.4%.
AIRPORT SPREADS WINGS: Miami International Airport will open its fourth runway Tuesday with plans for the first plane to touch down at 9:27 a.m. The $145 million runway is the first major piece of the airport’s $4.6 billion expansion plan to be finished. The project was launched shortly before 9/11. At 8,600 feet, the runway is expected to increase airfield capacity by 25%. Construction on the runway began in April 2001 and was originally scheduled for completion in May 2003.
UNHAPPY LANDINGS: Miami International is on a MSN.com columnist’s list of airports to avoid. Miami International was joined by New York City’s three airports, San Jose International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport and Boston Logan International Airport. Miami International was criticized for congestion inside and out, long security lines and poor layout. "Just the thought of flying into Miami is enough to make me want to cancel my trip," wrote travel columnist Christopher Elliot at www.bcentral.com/articles/elliott/114.asp?LID=33292. A $4.8 billion capital-improvement program at Miami International aims to improve layout, cut congestion and add efficiency.
AIRPORT DECORATION: Celebrating a century of flight since the Wright brothers’ first powered takeoff in the 1903 Flyer, Miami International is displaying aviation-themed posters reproduced from the collection of the Wolfsonian-FIU museum on Miami Beach. They are on display between Concourses B and C through December. Details: www.wolfsonian.org.
STILL LOCKED OUT: Residents of an evacuated Brickell-area tower couldn’t return home Friday as expected. The 17-story Brickell Harbour Condominium, 200 SE 15th Road, was evacuated in March amid fears it could collapse. More than $1 million in repairs are being made by Structural Preservation Systems of Pompano to correct weakened cables that reinforce concrete floors. A return residents, yet to be rescheduled, depends on engineers’ recommendations, said condo association attorney Paul Breitner.
PUERTO RICAN TIES: Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner Anibal Acevedo-Vilaon on Friday will discuss issues concerning the commonwealth’s close ties with Florida’s economy and current legislative issues in the "Puerto Rico … Know the Facts" series. The Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration and the Puerto Rican Professional Association of South Florida sponsor the event. Details: (305) 448-5145.
ACTIVE DUTY: Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Lettie J. Bien expects to be sent to Iraq next month by the US Army for about a year, said chamber spokeswoman Jackie Gutierrez. Ms. Bien, a colonel with the 350th Civil Affairs Command, replaced Rob Robison as head of the chamber in April 2002. Ms. Bien received a commission to the Women’s Army Corps in 1976 and was in active military duty until 1981. She was also one of the promoters of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation.
BRAZIL MISSION: Representatives of Bay Harbor Islands will visit Marechal Deodoro, the island’s sister city in Brazil, at the end of this month. The group, led by Rony Curvelo, president of Relief for Life Foundation, and Miami Beach Mayor David Dermer also were to visit four Brazilian states and distribute 100 wheelchairs.
STATE STRATEGY: Regional priorities and strategies for South Florida’s economic future will be discussed at an 8 a.m.-noon workshop Sept. 4 at Deerfield Beach Hilton Hotel. It’s part of an effort launched by Gov. Jeb Bush to update the State Strategic Plan for a seven-county area including Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River, Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties. Topics include economic diversification and job creation; workforce development; infrastructure; and liveable communities. Attendees must register online before Aug. 28 at www.browardalliance.com.
REFINERY DEAL: Boca Raton-based Trigeant Petroleum has leased or purchased $90 million worth of refineries, asphalt facilities and rail cars from Houston-based El Paso Corp. Trigeant will lease asphalt terminals and rail cars in Florida, Georgia, Kansas and New Jersey and purchased a refinery and asphalt terminal in Alabama. Miami law firm Rafferty Hart Stolzenberg Gelles and Tenenholtz represented Trigeant in the purchase.
GOALS SURVEY: The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce is conducting an internal survey to determine how to format its Goals Conference next year. Chamber Vice President Betsey Greene Freeman said directors hope to learn whether participants find the present format efficient. She said the survey is part of the chamber’s goal to be member-driven as opposed to committee-driven.
AMARILLO PAGES: Ad Directions Publishing has delivered Miami Aqui, a Spanish-language telephone directory of businesses in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. The directory is available at www.miamiaqui.com, with a print version due Nov. 1. It is to be delivered free to subscribers of El Nuevo Herald and Americatel. For a free copy: (305) 871-0242.
SHOPPING-CENTER BUY: North Miami Beach-based real-estate investor Equity One Inc. has purchased a 396,408-square-foot shopping center near Atlanta for $47.2 million. The acquisition of Presidential Markets in Snellville, GA, about 20 miles east of Atlanta "continues our recent efforts to acquire larger, more dominant, supermarket-anchored power centers in urban areas of the southern US," said Chaim Katzman, chairman of Equity One.
CHILE TRADE: Business leaders from Chile will meet with their US counterparts here in the wake of a recent free-trade agreement signed by the two countries. The Chile-US Chamber of Commerce will host a seminar for the trade mission to help develop business contacts and improve trade relations 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Sept. 2 at JW Marriott Hotel Miami, 1109 Brickell Ave. Details: (305) 374-0697.
SPEAKER ANNOUNCED: Johnny Winton, chairman of the Miami City Commission, is to speak at the Coconut Grove Chamber of Commerce’s monthly economic-development luncheon at noon Sept. 9 at Grove Isle Club & Resort, 4 Grove Isle Drive. Mr. Winton represents the Coconut Grove district. The cost is $30 for members, $45 for non-members, with RSVP by Sept. 5 to firstname.lastname@example.org or (305) 444-7270.
BEACH BANKING: Colonial Bank has opened a full-service branch in Miami Beach at 1691 Michigan Ave. The 5,000-square-foot facility, which offers commercial and personal services, features work commissioned from five artists from the Lincoln Road Art Center of South Florida. Luis A. Castro is manager of the South Beach office.