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Front Page » FYI Miami » Fyi Miami

Fyi Miami

Written by on August 17, 2006


Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead

of the news. Here are highlights from the most current edition.

   CFO HUNT: Miami City Manager Pete Hernandez said he and Larry Spring, chief of strategic planning and budgeting, are looking to hire a chief financial officer, probably from outside city government. The chair was vacated when incumbent Linda Haskins was appointed to replace suspended commissioner Johnny Winton. Ms. Haskins said that as CFO, she worked in community development, finance, purchasing, labor relations, public facilities and asset management. "The mandatory jobs are the finance and budget director positions, but the chief financial officer is important because someone needs to have a finger on all these different areas," she said. A state advisory board that oversaw city finances from 1997 to 2002 mandated the budget and financial director positions. Mr. Spring said separating the jobs "provides checks and balances between financing and budgeting" and they were carved from the CFO post during the city’s financial crisis.

   ANOTHER SEARCH: Assistant Miami City Attorney Jim Villacorta is temporarily handling Frank Rollason’s old job as executive director of the Southeast Overtown ParkWest/Omni Community Redevelopment Agencies. "They’ll go through a search" for a permanent replacement, said Mr. Rollason, who resigned to run against incumbent Linda Haskins for the District 2 commission seat. "I’m running because I have 40 years with the city in various administrative jobs," said Mr. Rollason, who started with the city as a firefighter. Also running are resident Maria "Betty" Gutierrez and Marc David Sarnoff, an attorney with Sarnoff & Bayer.

   ARGENTINA FARE: As LAN Argentina launched its nonstop overnight flight between Miami and Buenos Aires on Wednesday (8/16), the airline offered a $399 round-trip fare for bookings before Sept. 4 of trips that begin in Miami. Three flights per week leave Ministro Pistarini de Ezeiza airport in Buenos Aires at 10 p.m. and arrive at Miami International Airport at 5:50 a.m., in turn leaving Miami at 9 p.m. and arriving in Buenos Aires at 6:40 a.m. Details:

   TOTAL VICTORY: Four officers of Miami bank TotalBank won first place in Florida School of Banking operations competition Monday. Senior Vice President Maritza Jaime, Senior Vice President/Legal David Schlosberg, Vice President Robert Revilla and Vice President Janet Acosta spent a week participating in a bank operations simulation at the school.

   FROM CANADA TO MIAMI: Canadian delivery service AppleExpress opened an office in Miami on Aug. 10. The company plans to hire 45 full-time employees and invest about $1 million within three years. AppleExpress will occupy 30,000 square feet in west Miami-Dade County with plans to expand to 75,000 within three years.

   COLLEGE NAMES PRESIDENT: Miami Dade College has appointed Gregory Gray president of the Kendall campus effective Sept. 5. He spent the past eight years as chancellor of the Fayette Campus of Pennsylvania State University.

   SALES CENTER OPENS: Gables Centre, developer of the $70 million St. George Residences and Condo-Hotel, opened a sales center at 351 Minorca Ave. in Coral Gables. The St. George features 83 condos in one- to three-bedroom floor plans ranging from 792 to 1,418 square feet and priced from the mid-$400,000s. The complex will have 117 studio and one-bedroom hotel-condo residences from 428 to 928 square feet starting in the mid-$200,000s. Construction is to begin in the fall. Details: (305) 949-0223.

   NOMINATOR: Gov. Jeb Bush appointed Mark Romance, a shareholder at Miami law firm Richman Greer Weil Brumbaugh Mirabito & Christensen, to the Eleventh Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission for four years. The nine-member commission interviews candidates for appointment to trial-court judgeships in Miami-Dade County.

   ROOF AID: The Partnership for Recovery and its No Blue Roofs campaign is reopening applications Aug. 21 through Sept. 1 to assist low-income Miami-Dade homeowners in repairing and replacing roofs damaged during Hurricane Wilma. To qualify, residents need proof of damage, must live in a single-family home, townhouse or duplex and must prove residency during Wilma’s landfall. Details (305) 935-1866.

   DOG TALES: China Grill on South Beach is preparing for a visit from NBC’s "Today" show, coming this month to tape a segment on Dogs Gone Wild, the 404 Washington St. eatery’s new event, according to owner Steven Haas. The restaurant features a canine menu, play areas and a puppy lounge 5-10 p.m. Sundays. Mr. Haas launched his promotional idea after Gov. Jeb Bush signed a law permitting dogs to eat in outdoor cafés. Later in the year, accompanied pooches can bar hop over to Hotel Victor, 1144 Ocean Dr., which hosts a Dog Happy Hour 5-7 p.m. Sundays, currently suspended but to resume when the weather cools, a spokesman said. Details: (305) 534-2211.

   A CHISPA NEAR YOU: As Doral adds residents, Chispa Restaurant & Bar, a Coral Gables eatery, is building a sister restaurant there that is to open soon, says Landy F. Labadie, who will director operations at both locations. The 8,500-square-foot restaurant, at 11500 NW 41st St., is to feature the contemporary Latin cuisine for which the Coral Gables establishment is known. "The city of Doral is truly a perfect match for Chispa," he said. "It’s a thriving city that is developing upscale homes and living communities daily. Over 125,000 people pass the location daily."

   HEALTHY DIFFERENCE: Nominations are due Oct. 3 for the Health Foundation of South Florida’s Concern Awards, which honor individuals and organizations making a healthy difference in the lives of others. Two winners will get $25,000 grants, while four runners-up and one new nonprofit health organization each receive $10,000 for the health-related non-profit organizations of their choice in Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe counties. Recipients will be honored at a Dec. 5 lunch at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Miami. Details: (305) 374-9199 or

   LOCAL ANGLES: Travel writers and photographers from Island Life magazine were to be in town this week researching travel, culinary, accommodation and shopping angles. The Caribbean lifestyle magazine cites a circulation of 500,000.

   WOMEN’S SERIES: The Women’s Fund of Miami-Dade and Culture in the City are jointly presenting a series to explore cutting-edge women’s issues such as women artists as role models for at-risk young women and the impact of media on current sexual scripts for African-American girls. Future events are to explore traditional women’s roles as an avenue for activism, Indian culinary art, and faith and feminism. Details: (305) 441-0506.

   TASTY NAME: Michael Schwartz, former chef/owner of South Beach dining spot Nemo, is creating Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, to open at 130 NE 40th St. in late fall. Envisioned as an unpretentious bistro, the Design District restaurant is to seat 106, feature an outdoor and bar area and showcase Mr. Schwartz’s new American cuisine. Since opening Nemo in 1995, he says, he has been involved with a number of restaurants but has longed to open under his own name. "I think the name Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink says it all."

   WHAT’S IN A NAME: Global headhunter A.T. Kearney Executive Search has become Edward W Kelley and Partners. The local office remains at 200 S. Biscayne Blvd. A.T. Kearney Inc., now solely a management-consulting firm, no longer has a Miami presence. "Now that we’re a standalone firm, we can make decisions to make investments, which fuels our growth," Lauren Smith, vice president in the Miami office, said Monday. She said the name change shouldn’t affect the business. Since the division, Edward W Kelley and Partners has opened offices in Vienna, Boston, Calgary, Sydney, Melbourne and Moscow. A.T. Kearney Inc. began as a management consultant in 1926 and began executive searching in 1946. A.T. Kearney Inc. in January left Electronic Data Systems, which bought the company in the mid-1990s. During the split, A.T. Kearney Executive Search separated from A.T. Kearney Inc. in a management buyout led by Edward Kelley and most of A.T. Kearney’s Executive Search’s senior managers.

   NEW TO NAP: Miami Beach and Doral officials have hired Terremark Worldwide Inc. to relocate critical communications systems to the firm’s NAP of the Americas as part of their disaster-recovery plans. "By deploying at the NAP, both the City of Miami Beach and City of Doral will have easy direct access to a multitude of carriers allowing them to realize cost savings in a highly secure environment," said Manny Medina, Terremark chairman and CEO. Miami-Dade County’s agreement with Terremark enables Florida’s public schools, counties and cities to buy services at savings under the Miami-Dade Unified Access Program contract.

   SOLUTIONS WANTED: Florida House speaker-designate Marco R. Rubio will join other state legislators, representatives of the state’s insurance and financial regulatory agencies and insurance professionals Saturday for a forum on the state’s windstorm-insurance crisis. Residents and elected officials are invited to suggest solutions at the forum, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Coral Gables High School auditorium at LeJeune and Bird roads. Details: (305) 442-6868.

   TUNE UP: Among those scheduled to arrive today (8/17) at the Carnival Center for the Performing Arts are members of the Cleveland Orchestra, which will be in winter residence here. They are coming "to help us tune the concert hall," said Suzette Espinosa, a center spokesperson. She said the acoustics of the concert hall can sound different when an audience is present, so the orchestra will perform Sunday for center members.

   WORKINGMAN’S SPECIAL: For months, crews working on the Carnival Center for the Performing Arts have enjoyed periodic "hardhat concerts," said spokeswoman Suzette Espinosa. "We’d hire all different kinds of musicians who would come and perform for the workers at lunch, and they’d dance and sing and have a good time." Now the construction workers will be hosted Sept. 23 at a special concert in thanks for their hard work, she said. "This time, they won’t be wearing hardhats."

   AVMED CHANGE AT TOP: Doug Cueny, president and chief operating officer of Miami-based AvMed Health Plans, billed as the state’s oldest and largest not-for-profit health plan, will take over as president and CEO Jan. 1, the company announced Tuesday. He replaces Robert C. Hudson, who recently announced his retirement after more than 28 years with AvMed. "Doug Cueny has already played a significant role in AvMed’s history, and he will now have the chance to contribute greatly to its future," said Joe Dunlap, chairman of the board.

   CORRECTION: Funding sources to Miami’s Department of Community Development were incorrectly reported last week. The correct figures are $9.3 million from community development block grants, $3.7 million for Section 8 housing, $2.2 million in state housing-initiative funds and $4.9 million in Home Investment Partnership funds.

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