Written by Miami Today on July 8, 2004
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ROULHAC GOING TO SCHOOLS: Peter Roulhac, Wachovia Bank vice president and former chairman of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, said Tuesday that he will leave Wachovia to become chief development officer for new Miami-Dade Public Schools Superintendent Rudy Crew. Mr. Roulhac said he will study corporate giving programs to understand how they are being utilized and identify resources that can be diverted to failing schools. He said he decided to accept the position after six or seven in-depth discussions in the past two weeks with Mr. Crew, who is selecting seven to nine cabinet members to guide the school district. Mr. Roulhac said he thinks he is one of only two local people hired for the cabinet. "I’m looking forward to a very challenging opportunity with the school system," he said. "I’m honored to accept the position."
IBERIA CUTS BACK: Spanish carrier Iberia Airlines announced it will close its Miami hub this year. It cited stiff competition and declining performance since Sept. 11, 2001. The airline will discontinue two daily flights from Madrid to Miami International Airport. Instead, it will fly from Spain to Guatemala and Panama beginning Oct. 1. It also will eliminate 67 weekly flights from Miami to several Latin American countries. Iberia’s only remaining Miami service would be a daily flight to Madrid. At least half of the airline’s 110 Miami employees will lose their jobs, according to published reports.
MARINE RIGHTS: The City of Miami will consider taking all rights to Miami Marine stadium and $2 million from Miami-Dade County in exchange for waiving its interest in about 1,800 acres the county has reserved for limestone mining. A 1975 agreement had given the city some control over the land. The swap would allow the city to redevelop the venue built in 1963 for concerts and boat races. The Virginia Key stadium has been closed since 1992, when it was battered by Hurricane Andrew. City commissioners are to consider the deal today (7/8).
ISLAND ISSUES: Debate over a $426 million retail-hotel-marina on Watson Island is to return before city commissioners at 5 p.m. today (7/8) at Miami City Hall. Commissioners are to consider special permits that would allow Flagstone Property Group to build Island Gardens on the northwestern tip of the island that connects mainland Miami to Miami Beach via the MacArthur Causeway. The project includes two hotels with 500 rooms and 105 shared-use units, 50 marina slips, 232,774 square feet of retail and restaurant space and a 4,000-square-foot maritime gallery.
TRAFFIC STUDY: Miami city officials could be working with Miami Beach counterparts on a comprehensive traffic study for Watson Island, as congestion has grown as a concern in the wake of development of the isle. City commissioners last month approved asking the Metropolitan Planning Organization to fund the study.
PUT OFF: Miami commissioners held off decisions last month on special permits for Tibor Hollo’s Villa Magna condominium, and a hearing is to continue at 5 p.m. July 22. The project at 1201 Brickell Bay Drive had been slated for 999 units and a hotel, but Mr. Hollo has said he has dropped the hotel in favor of 1,120 condo units. The project would be able to use discontinued bonuses because its application process began before the city ended incentives in April encouraging higher-density projects in the Brickell Avenue area.
LIVING WAGE: A draft of a minimum-wage resolution for Miami city workers has been scheduled for discussion during today’s (7/8) commission meeting. The draft, which doesn’t state what the amount of the minimum wage would be, says the city "wishes to serve as an example by providing a living wage to all city employees." The wage would be required for any worker employed by the city or a service contractor paid with city funds, according to the draft. The wage would not apply to contracts related primarily to the sale of products or goods.
BUILDING BAN: Miami city commissioners may give final approval today (7/8) to a 120-day moratorium on accepting development orders for buildings taller than 40 feet in the Silver Bluff area. Preliminary approval was passed unanimously June 24. The ban, scheduled for a public hearing during the city’s 5 p.m. planning and zoning meeting, springs from concerns raised by residents along Southwest 27th Avenue from Coral Way to US 1 over a 14-story development proposed alongside single-family homes. Properties on the west side of the corridor and between US 1 and Southwest 25th Street would be excluded from the moratorium.
CLANG CLANG: Here comes the trolley? An overview of streetcar technology will be presented at 10:30 a.m. today (7/8) during the Miami City Commission’s regular meeting. The presentation by consultant HDR Engineering includes a proposed concept route from downtown Miami to Little Haiti.
WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO …? Miami city commissioners are scheduled to hear at 10:30 a.m. today (7/8) an update on BayLink, a proposed connection between downtown Miami and South Beach. The project would be paid partly out of a half-penny sales tax approved in 2002 by voters. BayLink was projected in 2003 dollars to cost $400 million to build and $10 million annually to operate and maintain. Completion has been slated for 2023.
PHARMED GROWS: The Pharmed Group, a company with $600 million in annual revenue that distributes more than 25,000 medical products nationwide, has acquired 67,000 square feet of real estate on Northwest 107th Avenue near its corporate headquarters in Doral. The acquisition will become a "flexible service center," built to provide distribution services to Pharmed clients throughout South Florida, the company said.
EYES ON UM: The University of Miami’s Bascom Palmer Eye Institute was rated the nation’s top hospital for ophthalmology in U.S. News & World Report’s annual America’s Best Hospitals guide. Bascom Palmer has ranked first three times in the past 10 years and has never ranked below second in the 15-year history of the survey of 150 board-certified ophthalmologists, said Carmen A. Puliafito, institute chairman. "Because the rankings are so widely reported and respected, this is something that helps patients around the world learn about Bascom Palmer," he said. "It also helps us recruit faculty members, residents and researchers." Details: www.bascompalmer.org.
WOLFE AT THE DOOR: Miami International University of Art & Design has named its new learning center at 1501 Biscayne Blvd. for Gregory B. Wolfe, longtime member of the school’s board of trustees and former president of Florida International University. Wolfe Learning Center will provide academic tutoring in math and English by faculty members.
LEGISLATIVE HONORS: The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce will honor local legislators who it says has "demonstrated a pro-business agenda" this year. Its advocacy group will recognize the lawmakers as part of a July 16 meeting to review the 2004 legislative session. The group will host the Florida Chamber Federation, a statewide organization of 120,000 member companies. Leslie Dughi, the Florida chamber’s director of government affairs, will be keynote speaker. The session is set to start at 7:30 a.m. at Radisson Miami Hotel, 1601 Biscayne Blvd.
UNITED THEY SERVE: United Way of Miami-Dade’s board elected officers June 29. To serve one-year terms are Cesar Alvarez, chairman; Richard Fain, resource development chairman; Ann Pope, secretary; Peter L. Bermont, treasurer; William Graham, 2003 campaign co-chairman; Carlos Migoya, 2003-04 campaign co-chairman; and Donn Szaro, 2004 campaign co-chairman. "One of the true privileges of serving as chairman," said Mr. Alvarez, "is the opportunity to witness the true complexity of our United Way and the extraordinary impact it has on our community."
BAHAMIANS CELEBRATE: Bahamians in South Florida plan a weekend of activities July 16-18 to commemorate the Bahamas’ 31st anniversary of independence from British rule. The Commonwealth of the Bahamas, a nation that consists of 700 of the most northern islands in the Caribbean archipelago, observes the anniversary July 10. To mark the event in South Florida, Bahamian-American groups have organized a golf tournament, dinner reception and church service. Frederick Mitchell, Bahamian minister of foreign affairs and public service, is to attend some of the activities. Details: (305) 373-6299 or (945) 236-9292.
GET MOVING: A new 52-page booklet from the Metropolitan Planning Organization provides a pocket guide to Miami-Dade transportation. The publication includes information about air and seaports, driving and traffic regulations, citizens’ transportation committees, tips for new Florida residents, vehicle registration information, bicycle and pedestrian programs and even taxi contacts. For a copy: (305) 375-4507.
COMMUTER FRIENDLY: South Florida Commuter Services, a regional commuter-assistance program financed by the Florida Department of Transportation, is looking for nominations for its leadership awards. Honors will be given Sept 29 to individuals, government agencies and businesses that advocate use of commuter transportation. Deadline for nominations is Aug. 16. Details: www.1800234ride.com.
HEAT ADS: The NBA’s Miami Heat is retaining the services of Southern Brand Collective, a Miami-based advertising and branding agency in the Design District. The Heat had lined up 11 local and national challengers for its $1.2 million advertising account before announcing its decision. The Heat has used Southern Brand for six years. Details: www.southernbrand.com.
CORRECTION: A July 24 report about the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department inaccurately reported the schedule for a proposed fee hike. Department officials plan to complete a five-year budget forecast before asking for an increase. Bill Brant, department director, said the department is not seeking a rate increase fiscal 2004-05.