Written by Miami Today on October 19, 2006
Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead
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DOMINO PARKING: The Miami Parking Authority broke ground Tuesday on a 44-space lot in East Little Havana next to Domino Plaza, between Southwest Eighth and Ninths streets on the former Southwest 15th Avenue. The project is a joint venture with the City of Miami, which funded construction. The land was purchased from McDonald’s Corp. Estimated completion is early next year. "This new lot is another important step in the revitalization of the neighborhood, where organizations like the East Little Havana Community Development Corp. have worked so diligently to create jobs, rehabilitate commercial facilities and provide affordable housing," said authority Executive Director Art Noriega.
TRAFFIC (CHANGE) JAM: A city consultant is analyzing traffic for a Dupont Plaza project in which one-way streets might become two-way to keep traffic from backing up when the Brickell Bridge is up. A City of Miami hearing on easing downtown traffic originally slated for summer was rescheduled for fall, but the consultant only recently has met with developers of the nearby MET 2 to discuss the traffic impact from changes to their project. The study encompasses Southeast Fourth Street/Biscayne Boulevard Way to the south, Southeast Second Street to the north, Biscayne Boulevard to the east and Southeast Second Avenue to the west.
SHIPPING IN: When Assistant County Manager Bill Johnson, Miami-Dade County’s point man on construction of the Carnival Center for the Performing Arts, settled into his box seat before the Oct. 7 gala, he shook off his jet lag. Mr. Johnson, who also is the Port of Miami’s acting director, had just returned from a five-day visit to major port customers in Copenhagen, Marseilles and London. "This was far from a junket," he said. "We visited three cities in five days, so when I got back for the center’s black-tie event, I had been up 24 hours. But it was all worth it." The center "looked spectacular," he said. As for the port, he said he hopes to announce "exciting" new London business soon.
SHOW ME THE MONEY: President George W. Bush’s recent signing of the Port Security Act is all well and good, but Mr. Johnson wants to know specifically "where the money is." While he said he doesn’t believe the port will have problems complying with the new regulations, he wants to make sure the port has funds to implement them. "Money for security grants is great," he said, but the port needs added money for past mandates that haven’t been funded.
BRIDGE LOANS: The Miami-Dade Department of Business Development is to hold a reception at 6 p.m. Nov. 8 at the Continental National Bank of Miami, 1801 SW First St., to kick off a program to guarantee loans to Community Small Business Enterprise and Small Business Enterprise firms working on county contracts. The program, through a partnership with the bank, is intended to bridge the gap between submission of requisition and the payment. Details: (305) 375-3121.
IN TOP 20: Maria Sastre, vice president of Royal Caribbean International and chairwoman of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, was named one of the 20 most influential and outstanding Hispanic Women in Business by Hispanic Trends Magazine in its September/October issue.
TRADING PLACES: A measure sponsored by Natacha Seijas to be heard by Miami-Dade County commissioners Tuesday would reduce the size of the Jay Malina International Trade Consortium of Miami-Dade County, stripping four groups of appointments to the consortium’s board. Ousted would be the Association of Bi-National Chambers of Commerce, the US Department of Commerce, the City of Miami’s International Trade Board and the Mayor’s International Trade Council. Added to the board would be an appointment by the "Free Trade Area of the Americas Inc." & presumably Florida Free Trade Area of the Americas. Other groups would retain their appointments, as would each commissioner. The mayor gets three appointments to the board.
TALL STORY: Miami’s Planning Department has vowed to keep Coral Gables in the loop when tall buildings are sought near the City Beautiful. It all started with a 146-foot building planned for Southwest 38th Avenue near the Village of Merrick Park. That triggered a Coral Gables City Commission resolution last week asking Miami to notify Coral Gables’ city manager and planning director of requests for height variances adjacent to the Gables. "This issue is something that has recently come up, and the Planning Department has already reached out to Coral Gables to discuss their concerns and improve the communications between both municipalities," said Luciana L. Gonzalez, the department’s special projects coordinator. "This resolution is about those projects 20 to 30 stories high that could be built around us," said David Brown, Coral Gables city manager. "Of course, we would offer the same courtesy to municipalities adjacent to us."
STORM-RESISTANT: The Miami Beach Community Development Corporation has been awarded a $612,500 grant from the Volunteer Florida Foundation to help low-income homeowners fortify their homes against hurricane damage. Eligible residents must have an annual income of less that $35,760 & or 80% of $44,700, the median annual income for a family of four. The dwellings must be single-family and have a homestead exemption. Details: (305) 538-0090.
CALLING ALL EXPORTERS: The Florida Foreign Trade Association will host a US Census Bureau Automated Export System compliance conference Nov. 8 at the Sheraton Miami Mart Hotel, 711 NW 72nd Ave. The conference will feature seminars and workshops run by US Department of Commerce foreign trade experts about new export regulations and how to electronically file mandatory export information. The seminars cost $199, the workshops $60. Details: www.census.gov/mso/www/ftd.
TEAMING FOR TELECOM: A Coral Gables management and real estate firm is partnering with a Miami forensic accounting firm to offer auditing services to telecommunications companies. Lotterman Companies, which has provided consulting for telecommunications companies since 1984, formed an alliance with Lewis B. Freeman & Partners accounting firm to perform forensic audits for Lotterman’s telecom clients with as many as 2,000 to 6,000 sites. " This is an opportunity for us to transfer our extensive forensic accounting expertise to the growing telecom industry," said Lewis B. Freeman, founding principal.
ETHICS FORUM CANCELLED: The Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust’s Candidates Ethics Forum for Miami city commission hopefuls slated for today (10/19) was cancelled, county officials said. The forum was to be held at American Legion Hall at 6445 NE Seventh Ave. to give Miami voters a chance to hear candidates’ views on integrity and accountability.
UTILITY BILL RELIEF: Miami-Dade residents who are having trouble paying their gas and electric bills might be eligible for assistance from the county’s Community Action Agency. County officials will distribute applications for a one-time $100 to $200 utility bill credit this month through the Home Energy Assistance Program at distribution sites throughout the county. About 20,000 applications are available and will be accepted as long as funds for the program last.
LATIN LINKAGE: To promote commercial relationships among Central America, Nicaragua and Miami-Dade County, the Beacon Council recently signed memorandums of understanding with the Central America-US Chamber of Commerce and the Nicaraguan-American Chamber of Commerce, officials announced Tuesday. The Beacon Council plans to target development and investment in industries such as aviation, biomedical, international commerce, telecommunications, insurance and real estate. Later this month, Beacon Council representatives will join the Nicaraguan-American Chamber of Commerce in an economic development mission to Central America. " By agreeing to these memorandums of understanding with the Central America-US Chamber of Commerce and the Nicaraguan-American Chamber of Commerce, we are ideally positioned to seize on the various business opportunities that arise from these areas in Latin America, especially with the ratification of the DR-CAFTA agreement," Beacon Council President and CEO Frank Nero said in a press release.
NORTHERN TRUST SHUFFLES: Doug Regan, former CEO for Northern Trust Bank’s Southeastern region, is heading the company’s wealth-management group in Chicago, according to Sheldon Anderson, president of Northern Trust for Miami-Dade County. Bill Morrison, co-president of personal financial services, is assuming Mr. Regan’s former role as Southeastern CEO in addition to continuing in his current post. Mr. Morrison was in Chicago and unavailable for comment.
PORT IN MOTION: Changes are in the works at the Port of Miami offices, starting with the appointment of Juan Kuryla as assistant director for maritime services, a new department designed " to bring our cargo and cruise operations closer together," said Bill Johnson, interim port director. Mr. Kuryla, an assistant port director, has been a Miami-Dade County employee for 18 years, the past nine at the port. Mr. Johnson said he plans to announce two more major appointments within a week. " This is all about making the experience here better for our cargo and cruise tenants."
STAYING PUT: Concern about hurricanes, the high cost of living in Miami and the appeal of a quieter lifestyle led award-winning advertising agency Crispin, Porter + Bogusky to open an office in Boulder, CO. But the company has no intention of pulling up its Miami roots, according to Katie Kempner, vice president of agency communications. She said the company employs 460 workers here and 130 in Boulder and gives employees the choice of being in either location. " It’s a matter of choice. Some people prefer the Miami lifestyle, some people like the Colorado lifestyle," she said. Employees work on the same client accounts. The agency maintains a Los Angeles office for purchasing media. No account work is done there. The company has no plans to leave Miami, she said. " We love it here."
REALTOR RALLY: Five hundred people, most of them commercial real estate professionals, are expected to attend CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women)-Miami’s Cocktails, Community and Connections networking event Nov. 9 at the Freedom Tower. The $50 tickets will benefit the Women’s Fund of Miami-Dade, funding grants to aid women to be awarded in January that are to target education and mentoring programs, skills improvement to increase employability, increased access to healthcare and increased access to affordable and sustainable housing. Tickets may be purchased at the door or by calling (305) 284-0118.
MATCHING UP: Matchmaker, a state-sponsored event that provides a forum for women and minority entrepreneurs to share ideas and develop business partnerships, is set for Nov. 15-17 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. " Matchmaker is a one-stop shop for minority businesses, state purchasing officers and private industry to share ideas and develop business partnerships," said Windell Paige, director of the Office of Supplier Diversity. The program is an outgrowth of Gov. Jeb Bush’s One Florida Initiative. Total minority spending among Florida government agencies has risen to $397 million from $150 million in 1999, when the initiative was introduced. Details: www.flmatchmaker.com or (850) 487-0915.
CORRECTION: An Oct. 12 story misidentified the Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies. Also, the story misidentified the M. Christine Schwartz Center for Nursing and Health Studies.