Written by Miami Today on May 19, 2005
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AVIATION COMMITTEE ENDS WORK: A screening committee helping in the search for a new Miami-Dade aviation director is not expected to continue meeting. County Manager George Burgess disbanded the committee Friday after members interviewed Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Jose Abreu for the position. They previously interviewed three other candidates – Bruce Baumgartner, former manager of aviation in Denver; Mario C. Diaz, deputy general manager in Atlanta; and Steve Wareham, director at Minneapolis-St. Paul. "I don’t anticipate them reconvening," said Aimee Artiles, a county spokeswoman. An announcement is expected in the next one to two weeks. Mr. Burgess will make the ultimate hiring recommendation, she said, but any employment contracts would have to be approved by the county commission.
BOND AND BRICKELL: How spending of money from the county’s General Obligation Bond will affect the Brickell area is the topic of the Of Importance to Brickell Luncheon scheduled for noon June 8 and sponsored by the Brickell Area Association and Miami Today. County Manager George Burgess is to speak. The event will be at the Sheraton Biscayne Bay, 495 Brickell Ave. Association members $30, others $35. Details: (305) 375-0080.
VICE SQUAD: The makers of "Miami Vice" will hold a casting call 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday. Shooting of the film version of the 1980s TV series is to start at the end of next month. Producers are casting for speaking roles and walk-on parts. Hopefuls should attend the Miami International University of Art & Design, 1501 Biscayne Blvd., or send resumes to Miami Vice Extras Casting, 1221 Brickell Ave., Miami, FL, 33131. Meanwhile, Skyline Features is auditioning Latin women 20-80 years old for a documentary recording their experience in the US. Details: Louis Perego Moreno, (917) 535-4333, email@example.com.
HOTEL FOR KENDALL: Miami developer Morlin Hospitality Group said Monday that it will build a hotel in Kendall, breaking a hotel-development drought of almost 10 years in the area. Holiday Inn Express, which will be at Pinelands Airport Center business park next to Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport, will be the first hotel to rise in Kendall since 1996, the company said. Construction is to begin in December for the five-story, 107-room hotel and take 10 to 12 months, said Seth Fellman, Morlin president. The project will cost more than $10 million, he said. "The growth in the area is just tremendous."
GAS LEAK: A proposal to cut a 3% gasoline tax that would generate $14 million to support public transportation is to be considered by the Miami-Dade County Commission today (5/19). The local option tax was created at five cents in 1993. "Public works and our transit agency would share that $14 million annually," County Manager George Burgess told commissioners Tuesday when the item was deferred so co-sponsor Natacha Seijas could participate. "It’s part of the commitment to ensure we resource our transit agency correctly. Any reduction to this would adversely impact immediately our workout plans for the Public Transportation Plan." If passed, the local option tax would become 1% on Jan. 1.
FOLLOWING RULES: The Miami-Dade County Commission gave thanks Tuesday for doing things by the book. Following deferral of a resolution relating to development of Opa-locka Airport, Commissioner Dorrin Rolle asked Chairman Joe Martinez whether the item would be time-certain on the agenda for the meeting today (5/19). "There are rules," Mr. Martinez said. "Once you start something, you have to finish it." "Praise God for rules," responded Mr. Rolle, "though it’s baptism by fire here."
GOOD GUYS: Chivalry is not dead, at least not at the Miami-Dade County Commission. Attorney Milton Ferrell made statements Tuesday about how a resolution adopted four years ago has impeded development of Opa-locka Airport, quoting comments the absent Commissioner Seijas made at that time. "I was kind of disturbed listening to this presentation," said Commissioner Javier Souto, springing to her defense, "because it refers to somebody who’s not here today, and the comments are not very appropriate." Despite his concerns, Mr. Souto said he thought Mr. Ferrell had integrity. "I can tell you’re a wonderful guy just by watching you," he said. "I can tell you’re a quality guy."
COMMISSIONER’S BITE: A county commissioner didn’t allow an unpleasant experience to block a proposal Tuesday to change a street name. Jose "Pepe" Diaz voted to co-designate 118th Avenue from Northwest Second Street to Southwest Second Street as Shark Way though he has been a victim of the predator’s bite. "I remember he was bitten by a shark," said Commissioner Katy Sorenson. "Is this your way of becoming one with your oppressor?" She then helped him hold up his thumb for others to view. "A shark will be placed there," she said, "and it will remind local students of you."
HEADS CITY OFFICE: Albert Zamorano has been named administrator of the Wynwood/Edgewater office of the City of Miami Neighborhood Enhancement Team. The team, which has 13 locations, aims to link the community and city government. Mr. Zamorano had been training officer and supervisor for the city’s Office of the Code Enforcement. He also served as code-enforcement inspector in charge of the Edgewater area. He was selected from a pool of six aspirants.
ADDING UP: The Florida chapter of the International Advertising Association, based in Coral Gables, added five members this month, taking companies represented to 75. Executive director Muriel Sommers said she sees the 7% growth as a sign the economy is recovering. "If this is any indication, then the money’s loosening up," she said. The next breakfast meeting of the 11-year-old association is today (5/19), when members will consider one of the most recognized brands in Latin America, Volkswagen. Details: www.iaaflorida.org.
FRENCH TOAST: Miami Dade College President Eduardo Padron is to receive an honor from the French government this week for his service to education. Consul General Christophe Bouchard is to present the Commandeur de l’Ordre des Palmes Academiques to the head of the nation’s largest college. The award, first granted in 1808 by Napoleon Bonaparte, honors those who excel in education, research, the arts and sciences or cultural and academic heritage. The accolade ranks only below chevalier and officer of the order.
GABLES PROGRAM: The Urban Land Institute Southeast Florida/Caribbean will conduct a case study spotlighting the strengths and challenges of Coral Gables. The program, slated for 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m. May 26 at Coral Gables Country Club, will include government and industry experts such as Mayor Donald Slesnick and Codina Group CEO Armando Codina. Details: (954) 783-9504 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
ASTI CALLING: A 10-person mission from Asti, Italy, will visit June 6-13 seeking food and wine business in the US and Latin America. The wine producers, restaurant owners, artisan candymakers and culinary-school staff from Academia de la Cucina Italiana will be led by Roberto Marmo, president of Asti province. The school and restaurants are interested in setting up chefs training. The mission will be sponsored by the Italian consulate general, the Italian-American Chamber of Commerce, the Bankers Club and Trattoria Sole. Details: Miami-Dade County’s International Trade Consortium, (305) 375-1254.
CORRECTION: The name of Bay Harbor Islands Councilwoman Ileene Wallace was misspelled in a May 12 story on development projects in the city.
CORRECTION: A May 12 article headlined "County panel to eye funds for arts center" should have reported that the parking consultant chosen for the Performing Arts Center is Javier Soto, former chief of staff to Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez and predecessor Alex Penelas.