Written by Miami Today on November 22, 2007
Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead
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PARKING PRESENT: The Miami Parking Authority is to introduce two holiday parking promotions to make visiting downtown more convenient. Beginning Nov. 24 and continuing every Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 23, shoppers may park for up to three hours free in the authority’s downtown garages between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. The Downtown Development Authority and Downtown Miami Partnership are to provide parking coupons to downtown businesses that shoppers must show to qualify for the free garage parking. Rather than receiving citations, on-street parkers with expired meters will be granted up to one free hour of parking beyond the expiration time weekends beginning Nov. 24. On Dec. 17, the on-street program applies daily all day through Dec. 30.
BONUS BABIES ON THE BEAT: Miami-Dade is looking at paying a $5,000 hiring bonus to lure officers from other Florida police forces into the county’s police department. Any Miami-Dade Police Department employee who referred a bonus officer would also get $1,000 under the plan, which goes to the county commission’s Health and Public Safety Committee Nov. 28. Commissioner Barbara Jordan, who introduced the package, states that "in order to remain competitive, the county must offer reasonable incentives to attract qualified police officer applicants." The measure would direct County Manager George Burgess to negotiate with the Police Benevolent Association, the police collective bargaining agent, to win its required approval of the package, which would put $80,000 into the bonus pool this fiscal year and another $130,000 into two mobile police recruitment units.
SEAWALL PROGRESS: Last week, the Florida Inland Navigation District voted to fund about $750,000 of the more than $2.2 million needed to replace the seawall at the Miami Circle site near the Brickell bridge. The remaining funding still needs state legislature approval. Florida’s Division of Historical Resources funded $150,000 in remedial shoring completed this summer.
DYNAMIC DUO: Hemingway & Gunter Commercial Group has merged into Integra Realty Resources-Miami. William R. Hemingway and Greg R. Gunter are now co-managing directors of the office. Michael Y. Cannon has been named executive director, and Mark A. Cannon is to continue as director for the residential division. Combining market and feasibility studies with financial evaluations "basically brings two reputable firms together and brings to the table a more diverse base of services," Mr. Gunter said. "It brings together full service valuation consulting capabilities."
KEEPING IT UP: Though nothing is set yet, Harve Mogul is in talks with United Way of Miami-Dade regarding extending his contract as president and CEO. He’s held the position since 1991.
SEEKING A VENDOR: The Virginia Key Beach Park Trust is requesting proposals for a company to operate, maintain and manage the soon-to-open facility’s concessions stand and satellite venues. The selected food service operator "will be required to serve a selection of wholesome, easily consumable foods," according to the trust, in addition to "nostalgic food items previously offered, such as corndogs." Details: www.virginiakeybeachpark.net.
HYBRID HUBBUB: The South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is to host a Nov. 29 luncheon, "Hybrid Days are Here." The conference, sponsored by General Motors, is to feature as its keynote speaker Joe Ponce, executive director of labor relations for the company. It is to begin at noon at The Palm Restaurant, 4425 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Coral Gables. The lunch costs $40 for members, $55 for others. Reservations: (305) 534-1903.
HE’LL MARKET TOURISM: Rolando Aedo, who had been acting as the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau’s top marketing and tourism official while a search was underway for a permanent leader, moved up to senior vice president for marketing and tourism permanently last week. He replaces David Whitaker, who on April 30 moved to chief executive officer of the Toronto Convention & Visitors Association from a role as executive vice president in Miami.
DIAMOND AWARDS: The Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce this month hosted its 10th Annual Diamond Awards, honoring businesses in seven categories: Go Green — Baptist Health South Florida; Small Non-Profit — Women’s Fund of Miami-Dade County; Large Non-Profit — Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation; Diamond in the Rough — Compass Office Solutions; Small Business — Earl M. Foster Associates; Medium Business — Victoria & Associates Career Services Inc.; Large Business — Berenfeld, Spritzer, Shechter & Sheer.
VACANCY: Jupiter-based Driftwood Hospitality Management has opened a 107-room Holiday Inn Express in West Kendall near Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport. "With so much business and residential development in West Kendall, we look to provide a high-quality venue for visitors to the area," said Carlos Rodriguez, Driftwood’s executive vice president. The hotel includes a business center and two meeting facilities totaling 1,600 square feet, a pool, a fitness center, valet and laundry service. Details: www.miamikendallhotel.com.
FUNDRAISER SUPREME: The Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater Miami Chapter gave its first lifetime achievement award to Betty and Alvah Chapman and the National Philanthropy Day Awards Luncheon last week at the Hyatt Regency Miami. Standing beside her husband’s chair on the dais, Mrs. Chapman told the large crowd that "Alvah’s voice is a little on the soft side so I would like to read his remarks." Among them, he observed after 47 years here — time that included a role as CEO of Knight-Ridder — that "this is a very generous community by all standards." Mr. Chapman has increased that generosity, fundraising for many causes. Mrs. Chapman recalled that one member of the community told her, "Alvah is my most expensive friend."
PHILANTHROPISTS ALL: Also honored on philanthropy day luncheon were Swanee and Paul MiMare, who were named outstanding philanthropists; Adalberto Vara, who received the James W. McLamore outstanding volunteer award; and José A. Concepción, retiring president and CEO of Ocean Bank, who received the Julia Tuttle corporate citizenship award.
SOUTHWARD EXPANSION: IDEA, a European-style contemporary indoor and outdoor furniture store, last month opened a second store, the 6,800-square-foot IDEA South, in Cutler Bay at 18750 S Dixie Hwy. The expansion follows its store in Brickell, 625 SW First Ave., opened in 2005. Founder Anselmo di Virgilio Hernandez says he plans to expand to Aventura and Doral next year.
MERGER: Accounting firm Berenfeld Spritzer Shechter & Sheer LLP is merging with Lefcourt Billig Tiktin & Yesner, whose four partners have joined the Berenfeld Spritzer Coral Gables office. Founded in 1971, Berenfeld Spritzer employs 200 who provide accounting, audit, tax, litigation-support and consulting services.