Written by Miami Today on August 24, 2006
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WALK THIS WAY: Coral Gables city commissioners approved a resolution Tuesday in support of Miami-Dade County Transit’s plan to construct a pedestrian overpass connecting the University Metrorail Station to the northeast side of US 1. Transit officials project a November 2009 completion. "This will be the first major pedestrian overpass in Coral Gables," said Mayor Donald Slesnick at the commission meeting. The intent is to improve pedestrian safety at the perimeter of the University of Miami campus. Before passing the resolution, commissioners stipulated they have the final say in overpass aesthetics and signage.
SHOW THEM THE MONEY: During their first meeting in September, Coral Gables commissioners are to discuss Commissioner Rafael "Ralph" Cabrera’s proposal to increase commission salaries. They most recently were set in 1986 and have increased only in accordance with the cost-of-living index for urban wage earners. The mayor is paid about $30,000 a year, the vice mayor about $21,500 and the three commissioners just more than $19,000. Mr. Cabrera is proposing a raise in the mayor’s salary to about $32,000, the vice mayor’s to about $28,000 and the commissioners’ to about $26,000. He said current salaries deter people from running for public office and the mayor’s salary has become too high in proportion to the commissioners’. New salaries, Mr. Cabrera said, "will provide a closer gap between all elected officers without adversely affecting the mayor’s salary."
MORE MARLINS: Atlantic Broadband has cut a deal with Fox to televise all of this season’s remaining Florida Marlins games and all games in 2007 and 2008. The video, Internet and telephone service provider in several Miami-Dade County communities offered 95 Marlins games this season. Atlantic Broadband serves more than 90,000 Florida customers and is ranked as a top-20 cable operator in the US.
MORE WORKERS: While the labor force continues to grow, the unemployment rate in Miami-Dade County remained at 3.9% last month, a decline of 0.6% from July 2005, according to the Beacon Council’s latest report. The labor force in Miami-Dade, made up of 1.1 million workers, has grown 2% in the past year. The Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Miami Beach region continues to lead the state in new jobs created, 64,300 since July 2005.
WOMEN ON MARKETING: The Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce Women’s Business Network is hosting its monthly luncheon today (8/24) at the Hyatt Regency in Coral Gables. Danette Gossett, president and CEO of Gossett Marketing, will speak. She has spent 26 years in marketing, working as an advertising agency representative for several New York firms and a client. Details: www.coralgableschamber.org.
MIAMI GARDENS VISION: The Miami Gardens Planning and Zoning Department held the first of two planned visioning workshops last week to discuss redevelopment of State Road 7/US 441 as part of its State Road 7 Livable Communities Study. The study is included in the Florida Department of Transportation Livable Communities Initiative, and the workshop focused on transportation, transit and mobility enhancements to SR 7. Miami Gardens, home to Dolphin Stadium and Calder Race Track, was incorporated as Miami-Dade County’s 33rd city in May 2003.
TRADING WITH CHINA: The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade Xi’an Sub-Council signed a memorandum of understanding Friday at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables. The pact is intended to enhance trade opportunities for South Florida. China is the Port of Miami’s second-ranked trading partner. The port generally imports textiles, furniture, machinery and industrial equipment from China and exports spare parts and building and raw materials.
MISSION TO BRAZIL: Florida FTAA Executive Director Brian Dean returned from a weeklong mission to Brazil to advance Gov. Jeb Bush’s ethanol initiative and strengthen partnerships with the South American country. Mr. Dean and a team of colleagues had meetings with top trade officials in Sao Paulo. Gov. Bush has implored the organization to push for his 15 By ’15 initiative, a plan to pump 15 billion gallons of ethanol into the marketplace by 2015.
NEW TITLE: Gerardo Rodriguez-Menendez, chancellor of Carlos Albizu University’s Doral campus, was named president of the Florida Psychological Association’s Neuropsychology Division. He’ll be responsible for ensuring that members are made aware of the latest research and their legislative concerns are addressed. Carlos Albizu University is a private institution offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs in psychology, education and business.
UNION BANK CHIEF: Former Florida International Bankers Association president Fernando Capablanca was named president and CEO of Union Credit Bank. Since 1998, he had been president of a Banco de Credito e Inversiones branch in Miami. Pablo Alvarez and Sandra Rishmague have been elected executive vice presidents.
CAMILLUS FUNDRAISER: Gloria Barbier has been named vice president of institutional advancement at Camillus House, where she will direct fundraising and oversee strategic development of the planned-giving and major-gifts programs. She was executive director of World Vision, Florida, a relief and development organization. Camillus House operates 14 facilities in the county to serve the homeless.
A SLICE OF HOME: Interstate Brands Corp. has signed a long-term lease valued at $1.7 million for a 45,030-square-foot warehouse at 8101 NW 21st St. The local division of the Kansas City company, which distributes bakery items, was in the Holsum bakery site at Palmetto Expressway and US 27. CB Richard Ellis represented the landlord, Severson Ranch Partnership, headquartered in Bozeman, MT. Walter Byrd of Trammell Crow represented the tenant. The location is a one-story industrial building in Miami International Commerce Center.
CHIHULY REDUX: Those suffering from Dale Chihuly withdrawal following the end of the glass artist’s exhibition at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden can look forward to the opening of Karu & Y, a restaurant and entertainment venue at 71 NW 14th St. Besides having his pieces and drawings throughout the restaurant, Mr. Chihuly has designed a "spectacular" sparkling chandelier, dubbed Blue Icicle, said Elliot Monter, restaurant co-owner. "The theme of our restaurant is water and the elements of the earth," he said. "We had asked Dale to do something that related to water, so he gave us a choice of several designs."
FIGHT ON FILM: The Grove First, residents and merchants who oppose a Home Depot in Coconut Grove, will screen "Don’t Box Me In" by Richard Fendleman, which chronicles efforts to keep the company from building near US 1 and Bird Road, at 7 p.m. Sept. 9 at the Woman’s Club of Coconut Grove, 2985 S. Bayshore Drive. Home Depot scaled back its design from 130,000 square feet to 125,000 and made it look more affluent, but residents didn’t buy it. Home Depot received a Class II permit from the Miami planning department but failed with the city’s zoning board, which voted 8-1 to oppose. Company representatives said in July that they would take the case to the City Commission to appeal the zoning board’s denial but haven’t done so.
BIOTECH BUZZ: The Life Sciences Roadmap, a study assessing what types of life-science companies – including biotechnology businesses – are operating in Florida, is expected to be finished this fall. The study by the Milken Institute of Santa Monica, CA, on behalf of Enterprise Florida, the Florida High Tech Corridor Council and Workforce Florida Inc. was to have been done this summer. It’s to include data on how many people life-science companies employ, the types of projects they are working on and other factors. The aim is to craft a strategic plan for the life-sciences industry in Florida.
TASTY RECIPE RECEIPTS: The 19th annual Share Our Strength Taste of the Nation Miami raised a record $111,000 for charities that fight childhood hunger, including the Daily Bread Food Bank, Camillus House and People Acting for Community Together – bringing contributions in Miami since 1987 to $1.4 million. More than 700 who attended the event at the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne sampled cuisine prepared by 43 Miami chefs.
STILL SOME GELS: While some airports have banned terminal sale of liquids and gels to comply with new security regulations, Miami International Airport hasn’t done so completely. It’s part of "an effort to provide the best customer service possible," said Sari Koshetz, a Dade Aviation Consultants spokeswoman. She said concessionaires with outlets past security checkpoints voluntarily agreed to remove items such as cough syrup, peroxides, acetone products like nail-polish remover, disposable cameras with flash and gel products such as eye masks. But they are allowed to sell miniature or single-use versions of liquid and gel products such as toothpaste and mouthwash.
MAGAZINE HONORS: The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau received 2006 Florida Magazine Association Charlie Awards, which honor magazine excellence, for the Greater Miami and the Beaches Vacation Planner 2006 and the Greater Miami and the Beaches Calendar of Events. The guide also received an award for best calendar of events design in the 2006 competition hosted by Publications Management.
CROSS-COUNTRY SHIFT: Calixto Garcia-Velez, chairman of the Beacon Council in 2003-04 while he was president of Citibank Florida and business manager of Citibank North America’s South division, has been appointed chairman and CEO of Doral Bank Puerto Rico, it was announced Tuesday by Glen Wakeman, president and CEO of parent Doral Financial Corp. For the past year, Mr. Garcia-Velez had been in California as president of Citibank West. He and his wife, Carmen, and family are to move to Puerto Rico in September.
CORRECTION: An item in last week’s People column should have reported that Cynthia Ruiz, executive vice president of LPR Builders, received her law degree from American University in Washington, DC.
CLARIFICATION: A file photo of developer Evangeline Gouletas published last week showed her standing beside a model of a project other than Skyline at Mary Brickell Village, which was mentioned in the accompanying article.