Written by Miami Today on December 9, 2004
Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead
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MIA: SOME UP, SOME DOWN: Passenger and freight numbers are up slightly at Miami International Airport for 2003-04, but the number of flights has dropped. The number of travelers rose 2.4% to more than 30.2 million from October 2003 to September. International totals increased 0.7% to nearly 14 million, while domestic totals rose 3.9% to about 16.3 million passengers. Combined freight totals rose 9.4% to nearly 1.9 tons. International freight jumped 10.4% to 1.6 tons, while domestic tonnage increased 4.4% to more than 316,600. Flights arriving and departing dropped 4.3%.
PASSENGER RECOVERY: The passenger numbers are still below pre-9/11 levels, when about 34 million people flew in and out of Miami International annually. But Miami-Dade Interim Aviation Director Carlos Bonzon said he expects to see the number of passengers continue to grow, comparing it to the long-term increases of the stock market. "We’ll get there. The population will grow. People need to travel," he said. "Something that will not be taken from us is our location." Miami, Mr. Bonzon said, continues to be the city of choice for people traveling to the US from Latin America.
AIRPORT MOVER MOVING: Aviation officials expect this month to begin searching for partners to build, operate and maintain Miami International Airport’s Mover APM, an automated transit system. The county’s aviation department would contribute $160 million to $200 million for construction costs but wants private companies to take charge of the work. The mover would connect the airport to the planned Miami Intermodal Center, a transportation hub that would link all forms of transportation in Miami-Dade. It would stretch about 1.3 miles. Construction is to start late in 2006.
TRUST ON AGENDA: The Miami City Commission is to hold a hearing today (12/9) on transferring $631,050 from the home investment partnership program to the Little Havana Homeownership Zone Trust. The commission is also to discuss extending the term of the Community Redevelopment Agency Oversight Committee and the term of its members until March 15, 2005.
RECORDS GRANT: Establishment of a Criminal Justice Record Improvement Project fund is on the Miami City Commission’s agenda today (12/9). The $35,520 grant – $26,634 from the Miami-Dade County Department of Human Services and $8,886 from the Law Enforcement Trust Fund – is meant to increase efficiency in the city police’s records unit.
GRANT SHIFTS: Commission today (12/9) is to discuss shifting $305,000 in Community Development Block Grants to the Small Business Opportunity Center, which would pass on $100,000 to the Downtown Miami Partnership and $100,000 to the Latin Chamber of Commerce for commercial façade and code compliance programs. The rest would pay contractors for construction.
HOTELS STRONG: Hotels in Miami-Dade continue to have strong occupancy – 60.8%, versus 47.7% in the rest of the nation, Nov. 21-27, according to Smith Travel Research. Occupancy here was up 2.5% from the same period last year. "More importantly, the average daily room rate our hotels are able to command continues to be among the highest in the nation," said William Talbert III, president of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. The average rate here was $100.84, versus $78.60 in the rest of the US.
SCULPTURE RESTORED: Liberty Column, a sculpture unveiled at Bayfront Park in December 1994 and vandalized in June, has been restored and cast in bronze for protection. The sculpture portrays two hands reaching to the sky from the ocean that claimed many rafters’ lives. Y-100 talk-show host Footy created the Save the Hands Fund, which was capped by a $15,000 donation from real estate developer Terra International. "Every immigrant in the city of Miami can relate to this work of art. It is a unique landmark, and Terra is proud to have been a part of its restoration," said Pedro Martin, CEO of Terra. The restored statue was unveiled Tuesday.
MORE MUIR: The latest book by 93-year-old Miami chronicler Helen Muir, unveiled last week, won’t be her final opus, 160 lunch guests of the Prologue Society were told. She has written the first chapter of a book on the history of Miami to be called "Hail Miami" that the city’s former mayor Maurice Ferre and others are now editing, Mr. Ferre told the crowd at Northern Trust Bank. The Prologue Society published her current $15 memoir, "Helen Muir: Baby Grace Sees the Cow." Details: (305) 789-1592.
COURTING FAVOR: The 11th Circuit of the US Court of Appeals has chosen former South Florida television anchor and media consultant Jill Beach to testify in its favor. The journalist, whose company, Jill Beach Productions Inc., has provided media training to numerous companies and government departments, will handle all aspects of the circuit’s media relations from this week. She told an audience at the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce Women’s Business Network Luncheon Dec. 2 that, among other things, she hopes to publicize the accessibility to the courts that other countries may not enjoy.
ENTREPRENEUR AWARDS : Florida International University’s College of Business Administration is seeking nominees for its 2005 Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame Awards, which recognize South Florida entrepreneurs who contribute significantly to the business community. The college’s Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame committee will select inductees and announce them at a luncheon May 12 at Parrot Jungle Island. Nominations are due Jan. 19. Details: http://cba.fiu.edu/web/ehof/index.htm.
FRUITFUL CHANGE: Following the low-carb trend, Del Monte Foods, based in San Francisco, has launched Del Monte Carb Clever, a line of canned fruit it says has up to 70% fewer carbs with the same nutritional benefits as standard canned fruit. Carbs were cut by packing the fruits in water and sweetening them with Splenda, a no-calorie sweetener made from sugar, rather packing them in heavy syrup. "We’ve been watching the low-carb trend for some time, and our research shows consumers are cutting back on fruit as a result of a low-carb lifestyle," said brand manager Jason Daniel. Del Monte Foods, a producer, distributor and marketer, generated more than $3 billion in sales last year.
LEGAL SEPARATION: Our announcement in the Dec. 2 FYI Miami column about the opening of Douglas Elliman Florida in Miami Beach should have said the new company is associated with Douglas Elliman New York.
CORRECTION: Rebekah Poston has been elected chairwoman of the Lex Mundi board of directors’ Business Crimes and Compliance Practice Group. A People item Nov. 25 was incorrect.