Written by Miami Today on April 3, 2008
Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead
of the news. Here are highlights from the most current edition.
MUSEUM MONEY: The City of Miami increased its grant contribution toward building a new Miami Science Museum in Bicentennial Park from $700,000 to $1.43 million to provide matching funds to a grant from the US Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory. The funds come from the $2 million set aside for the museum in a voter-approved 2005 bond issuance, commissioners noted.
MARQUIS MOVEMENT: Marquis, billed as the second-tallest building in Miami, topped off this week at 67 stories. With the structure in place, developer Leviev Boymelgreen Marquis Developers LLC, can begin work on exterior elements. The building, 1100 Biscayne Boulevard, is to be comprised of 306 luxury residences and a boutique hotel and spa operated by RockResorts.
FUNDING NEW AIRLINE: Miami-Dade County commissioners are being asked today (4/3) to appropriate up to $196,000 from general revenues to help lure a startup airline here instead of Queens, NY. The airline plans a capital investment of $14.8 million to carry passengers and cargo between the US and the Caribbean. It plans to renovate a 52,000-square-foot facility to place its international headquarters here. The airline has applied for $980,000 in incentive funds from the county and the state combined; the county would pay 20% of that. The airline’s 245 jobs are to average more than $65,000 annually, according to the Beacon Council, the county’s economic development organization, which is working with the company.
"GET OFF THE POT’: The Bayfront Park Management Trust will have 120 more days to negotiate with Live Nation in hopes of the company taking over management of the park’s amphitheater. One Miami city commissioner was concerned, however, about giving the extra leeway after 90 days of initial talks. "Live Nation has historically been a very slow negotiator," Marc Sarnoff said, referencing the months-long period it took to set a deal for the company to run Miami Beach’s Fillmore at the Jackie Gleason Theater. "Get off the pot — let’s move them along as quickly as we can," Mr. Sarnoff said. "I don’t want to see what happened to the Beach happen to us." Tim Schmand, the trust’s executive director, said he believes the deal can be ironed out before the 120 days are up.
NURSING DOCTORATE: Barry University’s School of Nursing is to begin in August offering a doctorate of nursing practice degree to those who hold master’s degrees in nursing. The degree is to be a practice-focused doctorate, an alternative to the research-focused doctor of philosophy, which the school will continue to offer. The 38-credit program may be completed in seven semesters of part-time study. Details: Dr. Andra Hanlon, program director, (305) 899-3811.
GLOBETROTTING: The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce is to embark on its international business development programs, Americas Linkage and European Linkage, this month. Americas participants are to have the opportunity to travel to Brazil April 14-19, Argentina May 5-6, Colombia May 15-16, Panama May 19-20 and Chile and Peru in September. European participants are to arrive in Madrid April 20, head to Pamplona April 23, Bilbao April 24 and Barcelona April 25. Details: Liane Ventura, (305) 577-5445, or Juan Gonzalez (305) 577-5477.
SMALL FIRM TRADE: US Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez will be here April 7 to answer questions at the Small Business International Trade Symposium. From 8:15 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Milander Auditorium in Hialeah, 4800 Palm Ave., the symposium will provide information on accessing services for small business exports and opportunities created by US Free Trade agreements, among other things. It’s being hosted by the City of Hialeah. Details: Mary Hernandez, SBA Regional manager, US Export Assistance Center, (305) 536-5521, ext. 183.
CHARTER CHATTER: When Miami-Dade County commissioners today (4/3) receive a report from the Charter Review Commission that spent almost six months reviewing the county’s charter, its equivalent of a constitution, they will also be asked to vote on 23 resolutions that would put potential charter changes on the ballot. Of those, 13 are sponsored by Commissioner Carlos Gimenez, and he’s co-sponsoring two more. He’s asking in one that the charter be changed so that in future reviews of its provisions the county commission will not be in a position to block the public from voting on any of the charter team’s recommendations.
LOCK DEVELOPMENT LIMITS: Among the 23 charter changes commissioners are being asked to place on the ballot, Chairman Bruno Barreiro is asking that voters be asked to amend the charter so that a permanent development boundary would be established that only voters — not the county commission — could modify.
ELECT ‘EM: Another resolution, from Commissioner Joe Martinez, would place on the ballot a charter amendment that would transfer the duties of the county tax collector from control by either the mayor or the mayor’s appointee and make the tax collector an elected office subject to recall by voters. He’s asking exactly the same for sheriff, making the office elected and subject to recall.
FULL TIME COMMISSION? Another proposal on the table today (4/3) by Mr. Gimenez would ask voters to amend the charter to make each county commission post a full-time job, permit commissioners to have no outside employment and get a salary of $91,995 or more, based on a population formula used by some other Florida counties.
MS WORKPLACE: Monster.com and The National Multiple Sclerosis Society have launched MS Workplace, a national employment program to support the about 400,000 Americans and more than 5,000 South Florida residents living with the disease. The site is to provide career advice, workplace tips and job postings for the multiple sclerosis community and their employers.
STARTING EARLY: Long-time Miami Commissioner Tomás Regalado announced this week he is to run for mayor in 2009 when term limits end Manny Diaz’s eight-year incumbency. His campaign theme: "It’s time to listen to the people." Mr. Regalado, in office since 1996, has proven to be the commission’s maverick, opposing Diaz-backed measures such as the mega-project plan between the city and Miami-Dade County. In announcing his candidacy now, "some people will say that it’s too early," Mr. Regalado said. "But I feel that I need the time to talk to the people of Miami."
COMP PLAN CARE: Insisting on a thorough process, Miami Planning Advisory Board members decided not to vote on amendments to the city’s comprehensive plan this week as scheduled. They are to take up the revisions — part of a state-mandated review process — April 16. "We felt that we wanted more time to mull over what we heard" at Monday’s five-hour meeting, Chair Arva Moore Parks said. "We will get it done, but we will get it done right," board member Beba Mann said. The board agreed also to work on improving the plan’s Port of Miami River element though they are to be asked by city staff on the 16th to eliminate it. "We don’t know that that’s going to pass, so we have to continue," Ms. Parks said.
PAINFUL PENALTY: Those who post illegal outdoor advertising murals are to be fined $1,000 a day, up from $250, after Miami commissioners approved the increase last week. Maria J. Chiaro, the city attorney’s land-use division chief, said this brings the fines "up to the statutory maximum." City Manager Pete Hernandez called the measure "an enforcement tool" for the newly approved murals ordinance that provides for 35 legal signs. Both ordinances are to come up for final approval April 10.
CLARIFICATION: An article in last week’s Education Trends section about the University of Miami School of Law seeking a new location should have noted that the school also may renovate and expand its current facility.
CORRECTION: An incorrect photograph and caption appeared on last week’s Dining Out page. The photograph and caption are republished with the correct article on page 18 this week.
WE’RE NO. 2: The Miami area and the beaches ranked second among the top 25 markets in the US for hotel occupancy in February compared to the same month in 2007, according to the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. Occupancy was 83.4% in February, compared to 83.1% the prior year, the bureau said. The Hawaii Island of Oahu was No.1, at 84.6%. Orlando was fifth at 75.1%. The bureau also reported that the Miami area was second among top markets in average daily room rates, at $212.38, although it was higher in 2007 at $231.41. The bureau said the rate was higher last year because the area hosted the Super Bowl. The February 2006 rate was $184.19.
SPORTS OPPORTUNITIES: Miami-Dade County’s Sports Commission Facility Development Committee will meet April 16 to solicit ideas on sports-related facilities and activities so it can report on critical needs and major event possibilities. The committee, established by county commissioners in 2003, is responsible for evaluating county facilities and creating opportunities for hosting major events. The panel was expected to hold the first of two meetings April 1 at Barbara Goleman Senior High School. The April 16 meeting is at 6:30 p.m. at Frank Rolle Community Center, 3750 S Dixie Hwy., Coconut Grove.
NEW CARGO SERVICE: Luxembourg-based Cargolux Airlines International, an all-cargo air hauler, will begin weekly service to Miami International Airport on April 6, according to the Miami-Dade County Aviation Department. The flights are expected to strengthen the cargo airline’s service to the Americas. The Cargolux flight will depart Luxembourg on Sunday morning, arrive in Miami about 1 p.m. and continue on to Houston. It is to return from Houston to Miami on Monday evening before returning to Luxembourg. The airline will carry to the US such items as machinery, oil well equipment and automotive parts. It will offer connections through the consignment of goods to Manaus, Brazil; Lima, Peru; and Caracas, Venezuela.
WATER SUPPLY SITE: Miami-Dade County’s Water and Sewer Department has launched a Web site focused on its 20-year water use permit, which was granted by the South Florida Water Management District in November 2007. The site, called WUP Central, has news items, reports and documents related to the permit and water supply projects the department is working on. It’s at http://www.miamidade.gov/wasd/wup.asp.