Written by Miami Today on August 25, 2005
Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead
of the news. Here are highlights from the most current edition.
WORKERS, JOBS SOAR: Miami-Dade County’s labor force hit an all-time high in July – 1.15 million workers – and employment numbers also set a record as nearly 1.1 million persons worked in the county, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. The rising number of potential workers led to 5% unemployment even while the number of persons who were at work soared. The numbers were slight increases from previous highs, recorded in May.
TICKET TAKINGS: Sales of tickets and admissions to events and entertainment are on the rise, the Florida Department of Revenue figures show. In June, sales of taxable tickets in Miami-Dade County hit $32.3 million, up from $33.7 million the prior June, a 7.5% increase. Included are tickets to special events, golf rounds, attractions and park admissions.
CLOSING NURSING GAP: A $1.3 million federal grant will help the University of Miami jump-start a six-month certificate program in January to prepare instructors so nursing schools can increase enrollment to meet a projected shortage in Florida of 60,000 nurses in the next two decades, said Nilda Paragallo, dean of the university’s School of Nursing and Health Studies.
ATLANTIC TIES: A Canadian team seeking to build export partnerships and sales is expected in Miami May 14-18, led by the premiers of Canada’s Atlantic provinces – and, says Consul General Marcy Grossman, possibly by Prime Minister Paul Martin. Team Canada Atlantic targets advanced manufacturing, agricultural foods and seafood, building and construction, life sciences, technology and information and communications. Past trade missions have generated almost 2,500 meetings between Canada’s Atlantic province firms and US firms. The team represents Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador. Details: (305) 579-1600.
WIRELESS BEACH: Proposals are due Sept. 12 for a turnkey provider of a wireless and broadband network for Miami Beach. Finalists are to be chosen Oct. 3 and a winner Jan. 11, with the aim of beginning work Jan. 23. The network is needed for every inch of the 7.1-square-mile city, City Manager Jorge Gonzalez told commissioners in a July memo, for Miami Beach "to remain a competitive location for business, a world-class center for entertainment, and a destination for visitors. Wireless access is fast becoming the indispensable tool of the leisure and business visitors." He said the network will also speed delivery of city services and cut costs. The city commission unanimously approved seeking the proposals.
TEMPING ON THE BEACH: Miami Beach has requested proposals for a two-year contract to provide temporary workers to fill in for vacationing or absent employees, for temporary vacancies and for special projects. The temporary employees must receive at least $8.56 per hour plus at least $1.25 per hour in benefits – and the city must be able to turn the temps into permanent employees without paying the provider a fee.
BEACH CENTRAL: A proposal for a city center for Miami Beach in the form of a cultural plaza at Washington Avenue and 17th Street is working its way through city government. As proposed by architect Kenneth Treister, a traffic circle with a fountain or sculpture at its center would be spanned by four soaring pedestrian bridges over the four intersecting streets. Mr. Treister cited a local model: "Coral Gables’ beautiful traffic circles such as Cartagena Circle at Sunset and Old Cutler Road, which gracefully handles waves of traffic every day." The city commission sent his proposal to the Transportation and Parking Committee and then to the Land Use and Development Committee.
ZONING RECORDS ONLINE: A new on-line service reveals the zoning histories of all properties in unincorporated Miami-Dade County from 1975 to date and is adding records dating back to 1938. The county Department of Planning and Zoning’s site also allows viewers to track progress of zoning applications through agencies and agendas and offers unincorporated areas’ zoning maps on line. To access the site: www.miamidade.gov/planzone/track/.
FIRM’S 10th SHIP: Sparked by expected added garment trade with the Dominican Republic due to the new Central American Free Trade Agreement and buoyed by the ongoing dredging of the Miami River, Antillean Marine Shipping Corp. has added a new ship, fastest in its fleet. The Habibe Express, named for the grandfather of company president Sara Babun, arrived last week and was christened Friday. "We are looking to the acquisition of another new vessel in the near future," Ms. Babun said. The ship, she said, carries as much as the largest ships on the Miami River. It will fly the Bahamian flag.
GIVING AND GETTING: Charities are being asked to align themselves with Dadeland Mall for an event that last year raised $1.7 million for more than 2,300 charities at 61 malls nationally. Charities that join the Simon Evening of Giving at the Simon Property Group-operated mall will get to keep $30 of each $35 ticket they sell to the Nov. 20 sales event, with the other $5 going to the Simon Youth Foundation. Details: Idalia Salsamendia, (305) 662-7152, ext. 103.
BIG MONEY U: A Washington Economics Group study for the University of Miami says the university injected $1.5 billion into Miami-Dade County’s economy last year – $1.1 billion in the university’s home city, Coral Gables. With more than 10,000 employees who were paid $739 million last year, the study says, the university is the county’s largest private employer and sixth largest overall.
WORKFORCE PLAN: South Florida Workforce is unveiling a draft of its Workforce Investment Act plan, which identifies labor force needs with a focus on employer demands and growing industries, at 4 p.m. Aug. 29 at its Homestead Career Center, 140 NE Eighth St.; at 5 p.m. Aug. 30 at its Northside Center, 7900 NE Second Ave., Suite 200; at 10 a.m. Aug. 31 at its West Dade Center, 2700 SW 97th Ave. and 4 p.m. Aug. 31 at its Downtown Center, 3050 Biscayne Blvd. Details: (305) 594-7615, ext. 391, or (305) 470-5529.
GROVE BOOMING: Coconut Grove faces a potential ban on the boom of bullhorns after 10 p.m. The plan calls for a special City of Miami code enforcement permit to limit sounds to a prescribed maximum decibel level. City government is looking to the Coconut Grove Business Improvement Committee to propose specific legislation to stop the noise.
NEW ART FESTIVAL: The Coconut Grove Business Improvement Committee Tuesday viewed plans for a new mid-November art festival. The Home Grown Art Festival: A Fall Harvest of Regional Art in Coconut Grove would aim to attract customers to Grove shops and restaurants by showcasing South Florida artists. The festival is pending a name change and committee approval. Permit requests for all festivals or events in Coconut Grove must be submitted to the committee four months in advance.
CORRECTION: Northern Trust Bank’s Brickell Avenue address was reported incorrectly last week. The bank is at 700 Brickell Ave.