PRICE HIKES ACCELERATE: The consumer price index for the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area rose 3.2% in August from August 2002, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Tuesday. Nationally, the index rose only 2.2%. Of metropolitan areas reported, only the New York City region saw an annual increase as large as 3.2%. The pace of increase accelerated locally in the past two months, during which the index rose 0.8 percentage point.
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MINISTERIAL HEADS-UP: The International Roundtable in its first 2003-04 meeting will look at what to expect at the November ministerial meetings in Miami pointing to a Free Trade Area of the Americas. The roundtable will meet at 5 p.m. Oct. 16 at the Hyatt Regency Coral Gables, 50 Alhambra Plaza, sponsored by the City of Coral Gables and Miami Today. Admission is free. Reservations: Techy Fernandez, (305) 358-2663.
RETIRING: Clark Turner, City of Miami transportation planner, will retire Sept. 26. "It was a mutual decision," he said. With the city since 1985, he was central to creating the Downtown Transportation Master Plan. "I believe Clark Turner was one of the most creative long-range thinkers with the City of Miami," said Allen Harper, a member of the Regional Transportation Authority. "He was always a step ahead of where the community was going." Mary Conway of the Florida Department of Transportation will replace Mr. Turner, city officials said.
SHIPPING OUT: David Miller, managing director of the Miami River Commission, is leaving Oct. 31 to move closer to family in Cocoa Beach and Jacksonville. Mr. Miller joined the commission on its inception in 1998, when the state created it as a watchdog for city and county government on issues pertaining to the 5.5-mile river. "It has been a fantastic opportunity for me," he said. "The commission has been the driving force behind the revitalization of the river and has brought together those that represent the conflicting land uses on the river to create a plan for its development."
FRANCE MOVING: The French consulate has signed a 10-year lease for about 8,500 square feet on the 10th floor of Espirito Santo Plaza. The consulate, with a staff of 30, expects to move from One Biscayne Tower to the 35-story plaza under construction at 1395 Brickell Ave. at the end of next month, said Consul General Christophe Bouchard. Security walls and glass will be worked into the design of the consulate's offices. The building's 260,000 square feet of office space is more than 50% pre-leased, according to William Holly of Holly Real Estate, building leasing agent.
TAX BANKROLLS BUSES: Four hundred new county buses will hit the roads during the next four years at an estimated cost of $200 million. Miami-Dade Transit officials expect 90% of the funds to come from local sources and 10% from the federal government. County commissioners OK'd the purchase Sept. 11, but to use funds from the half-cent sales tax for transportation, a watchdog group overseeing its revenue must OK the expenditure. The buses will seat 28 and have a 10-year or 350,000-mile life. The first 150 new buses should be rolling next year.
TRANSIT MEETING: Citizens can voice their thoughts on a proposed transit center in Northeast Miami-Dade at a community meeting today (9/18). The facility would have a Park and Ride lot, a bus station, a police substation, retail stores, transportation information and a driver-comfort station. An exact location is in the works, but it would be between US 1 and Northeast Sixth Avenue between Miami Gardens Drive and Northeast 151st Street. The meeting, at 7 p.m. at McDonald Center, 17501 NE 19th St., is to be the first of several.
FEMALE PHILANTHROPY: More than 750 are expected today (9/18) at Parrot Jungle Island for the United Way of Miami-Dade's Women's Leadership breakfast. Created to promote giving by women, the group will hear Pat Moran, chairman of Deerfield Beach-based JM Family Enterprises Inc., a $7.6 billion automotive company. She founded non-profit Deliver the Dream, helping families facing crises. The leadership group has 2,318 contributors, United Way says, and this year aims to surpass 2002 pledges of $1.1 million.
AMBASSADOR SLESNICK: Coral Gables Mayor Donald Slesnick has been re-appointed for a three-year term as Army Reserve ambassador for Florida to promote the Army Reserve. The program was created in 1998.
BROKER FOCUS: While Midtown Miami's sales office at 3110 NE Second Ave. won't open until December, it will be the location for the next Master Brokers Forum event Oct. 15. Speakers include one of the project's developers, Dan Pfeffer, along with Miami City Commission Chairman Johnny Winton, urban planner Steve Lefton and Mr. Gordon.
IMMIGRATION FOCUS: The Association of Bi-National Chambers of Commerce and the law offices of Holland & Knight are to host a seminar on immigration law at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 30 at 701 Brickell Ave., Suite 300. Eugenio Hernandez and Luis Cordero of Holland & Knight are to speak on developments since 9/11 in security procedures and visa delays as well as details of H, L, E, tourist and business visas. Details: (305) 349-2356.
CAMPAIGN ETHICS: The Miami-Dade Ethics Commission will hold a one-hour workshop at 8 a.m. Sept. 30 on "How to Run an Ethical Campaign." The workshop will provide insight about the legal, ethical, and financial obligations of running for office. Details: (305) 579-2594.
MANDELA'S ART: The National Hotel on South Beach will host a private soiree at 8 p.m. Oct. 2 displaying South African civil-rights pioneer Nelson Mandela's artwork. Lithographs will be sold to benefit Bay Point Schools - an alternative boarding school offering educational, vocational and therapeutic services to antisocial or criminal teen-age boys - and The Nelson Mandela Foundation. Details: (305) 376-6093.
UPLIFTING AWARD: Miami marine architect Raymond Pearlson will be honored next month with a national award recognizing advancements in transportation technology. He will receive the Elmer A. Sperry Award for his invention and development of Syncrolift, a system for lifting ships weighing up to 25,000 tons out of the water for repairs. Syncrolift is now installed in shipyards in 64 countries. Past winners of the award, which has been given since 1955, have included the developers of global-positioning systems, the air-traffic control system and antilock brakes.
FOOTWORK: In a step-by-step moving process, Mia Shoes Inc. has purchased 4.43 acres for $2.3 million in the Airport West corridor's International Corporate Park. While the company's warehouse division is already in the park, it is to move its distribution facility there from Medley within a few months. According to Mike Rice of Easton & Associates, who handled the sale, Mia plans to move its executive and sales offices to Miami from New Jersey within a year.
VENTURE CAPITAL CONFERENCE: Innovation Florida 2003 - An Early Stage Capital Raising Conference is planned for 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 25 at Rosen Centre Hotel, 9840 International Drive, Orlando. The conference, sponsored by law firm Akerman Senterfitt, American Venture magazine, Business Wire and the University of Central Florida Technology Incubator, is designed to connect Florida's most promising private technology companies with leading private investors, venture capitalists and financiers, officials said. Cost is $285. Registration: (407) 277-5411.
FINANCIAL FAUX PAS: An Aug. 28 article about financing for the arts incorrectly reported the financial situation at the Miami City Ballet. While donations have been slow during a general economic slowdown, ticket sales are up, said Nicolle Ugarriza, ballet spokeswoman. Government funds, she said, have not filled the void created by declining contributions.