Written by Miami Today on September 23, 2004
Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead
of the news. Here are highlights from the most current edition.
SPURRING TRANSIT USE: Miami-Dade County officials say they intend to increase transit use at least 10% within three years as part of a plan to stem traffic congestion. The county’s first strategic plan, released Tuesday, lists transportation improvements as a key component. The plan calls for 24-hour public transportation and shorter waits for buses and trains during peak hours. About 50,000 people ride public buses each day; county officials hope new programs will grow that number to 60,000 by 2007. During that period they plan Metrorail user to increase to 300,000 daily from 240,000. Officials say the plan has already seen some success, as Metrorail handles 30% of all trips on the busy US 1 strip between Vizcaya and Kendall Drive.
PRICES DIP: The consumer price index in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area dipped slightly in August from two months earlier, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Commerce reported last week. The price of a market basket of goods and services that cost $100 in the 1982-84 baseline period cost $182.90 in this region last month, down from $183.40 in June. Nationally, the same goods and services rose 0.1% during the same period, to $189.50. In the past year, prices here have risen 2.6%, the bureau reported – just less than the 2.7% national increase for all urban areas.
UNITED IN LAKES: BankUnited is opening its 47th branch, at 15201 NW 67th Ave. in Miami Lakes. "Most of our employees live in the local area, so our neighbors are our customers," said Steve Brimo, Miami Lakes market manager. The branch is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 9 a.m.- 6 p.m. Fridays and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays.
GROWTH AT CENTURY: US Century Bank, which incorporated in 2002, has opened its sixth branch. The new branch, 2295 NW 87th Ave., is in Doral. US Century is a Miami community bank that serves small to mid-size businesses. In June, it reported assets of $296 million and net income of $777,000 for the first six months of this year. Details: (305) 260-9400.
NEW PARK-ING PLACE: The Historical Museum of Southern Florida has named Dabney "Bud" Park Jr. vice president for institutional advancement. He is a founding partner and president of Performance Executive Search and Management Consulting Inc., specializing in executive recruitment and executive team development. His new responsibilities include overseeing the museum’s young professionals group, the Tropees, and designing and running membership and fundraising campaigns. A spokesman for the museum, 101 W. Flagler St., would not reveal whom Mr. Park replaced. Details: (305) 375-1492.
FREE PASS: Low-income motorists could soon find driving a little less taxing, thanks to a new program that will allow them to avoid toll charges. Miami-Dade residents who earn $22,500 or less can apply this week for SunPass Direct, a program in which the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority will issue $25 passes free to a target audience. "Taking the SunPass Direct Program into the local communities is an excellent way of reaching the drivers who need it the most," said County Commissioner Natacha Seijas. Drivers can apply for the pass 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday at Milander Auditorium, 4800 Palm Ave., Hialeah.
BUSY CHAIR: Alberto Ibarg¸en, publisher of the Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald, says he resigned as first vice chairman of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce due to the increasing amount of involvement the position requires. After accepting an unexpected nomination for a second term as PBS board chairman, he said, frequent traveling for the network would prevent him from having time to prepare to become chamber chairman in 2006. The chamber chose Rosa SugraÒes, chairwoman of Iberia Tiles Corp., to replace Mr. Ibarg¸en, who will remain on the chamber’s board.
WAGE LAW WRINKLES: Law firm Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson will host two seminars on new wage and hour regulations. The program, Nip and Tuck in Wage & Hour Law – Same Face But Some New Wrinkles, will be Oct. 12 at the JW Marriott, 1109 Brickell Ave. The program will also take place Oct. 14 at the Wyndham Airport Hotel in Fort Lauderdale. Both run 8:30-10:30 a.m. Speakers will be Stearns Weaver shareholder Robert S. Turk and the former district director of the Wage and Hour Division of the US Department of Labor, Jorge Rivero. Details: Margy Wilkoff, (305) 789-3380.
SPORTING CHANCE: Miami Exhibition and Sports Authority Executive Director and CEO James Jenkins said the authority has yet to decide where it will be based but predicts the group will be involved in projects such as the proposed Marlins stadium. A board meeting, tentatively set for Oct. 5, will include such topics. To date, Palm Beach Polo & Country Club owner Glenn Straub, winning bidder for the Miami Arena, has allowed the authority to stay at the arena. Miami City Manager Joe Arriola also indicated there would be space available at the Orange Bowl.
900 IN 2005: Work is to start early next year on a mixed-used condo tower at 900 Biscayne Blvd. by Terra International Developments and be completed in 2007. Features include a wet bar, two main pool areas, a garden lounge, massage rooms and sauna, and state-of-the-art technology including wireless access throughout the building. "The style and urbanism that’s driving Miami’s downtown renaissance is the essence of 900, our signature building," said Pedro Martin, Terra International CEO. The 1.5-million-square-foot tower will feature 516 units, of which 350 have deposits, priced from $400,000 to $3 million. Details: (305) 530-0200.
ARTS IN MIAMI: The 15-member Florida Arts Council, at its quarterly meeting today (9/23), is to elect officers for the year ahead. The council is also to set its grants budget for the year. Speakers at the meeting, 10 a.m. at the Miami Children’s Museum, 980 MacArthur Causeway, include Ellen Simmons of the Coconut Grove Playhouse and Sherron Long of the Florida Cultural Alliance. Other meetings are being held at the Bass Museum and the Miami Art Museum.
EXPOMEX IN GROVE: The fifth annual ExpoMex-Florida on Wednesday (9/29) at the Ritz-Carlton in Coconut Grove is promoting companies doing business not only in Mexico but all of Latin America, targeting both the Mexican market and Mexican markets in Florida. Details: US-Mexico Chamber of Commerce, (305) 738-6175.
BACK TO ITS ROOTS: The Pearson Group, a Coral Gables public-relations and marketing firm, is going back to its original name – David Pearson Associates. Founded in 1966, the firm specializes in the travel and leisure industry.
INNER CITY 100: The Initiative for a Competitive Inner City is seeking nominees for the 2005 Inner City 100, recognizing 100 of the fastest-growing companies in US inner cities. Sponsored by Merrill Lynch, last year’s ranking reported an average $26.5 million revenues for the 100 companies. Nominations will be accepted until Oct. 31. Details: www.innercity100.org.