Written by Miami Today on June 5, 2008
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CAB FARES RISE: Taxi fares will rise 50 cents after the Miami-Dade County Commission Tuesday without debate agreed 8-0 to a surcharge the industry sought because of rising gas prices. The commission’s Economic Development and Human Services Committee held a hearing on the issue May 14 and recommended that the commission approve the surcharge. The change begins June 13 unless County Mayor Carlos Alvarez vetoes it.
AMAZON EXHIBIT ON TRACK: The $50 million Amazon and Beyond exhibition at Miami Metrozoo is on track and should open by January 2009, Jack Kardys, director of the Miami-Dade Parks Department, told county commissioners Tuesday. The exhibit will "usher us into a new era," said Mr. Kardys, who added that the zoo is a "world-class zoological park in the hemisphere." Zoo officials said they would soon know what developers will team up with the county to build a water theme park and family entertainment center at the zoo. "Great things are happening at our zoo," Commissioner Dennis Moss told colleagues.
MULTINATIONAL RELOCATES: The lure of Miami International Airport’s large international flight offerings and the area’s diverse workforce has reeled in a multinational to Coral Gables. Technology firm eLandia International Inc. moved its corporate headquarters to 133 Sevilla Ave. from Fort Lauderdale this week. The move allows the company to be closer to a multilingual workforce and have greater access to Miami International, a "key piece of infrastructure" because the company is focusing on emerging markets in the "South Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean," said CEO Pete R. Pizarro, who joined the 1,300-member firm this year after leaving his post as CEO of Telefonica USA Inc.
GLOBALLY CONNECTED: Fourteen employees began work this week at eLandia International’s Coral Gables office. They and the firm’s representatives around the world will be helping companies make the most of the technology they have on hand, said CEO Pizarro. He said the firm serves clients in 18 countries.
COUNTY TO EXPLORE ETHANOL: The Miami-Dade County will explore use of an ethanol-blend gasoline in county vehicles. County documents say those vehicles can run on gasoline that contains 10% ethanol "without any modification or breach of the manufacturer’s warranty." Miami-Dade is home to ethanol gasoline distributors and could quickly implement the change, according to Tuesday’s resolution. The commission asked the mayor’s office to report back within 30 days on the feasibility of the change.
A TOAST IN THE PARKS: Miami-Dade commissioners Tuesday amended a parks ordinance to allow the sale of alcohol at some county parks and facilities during athletic events. The change is effective in 10 days unless Mayor Carlos Alvarez vetoes it. Alcohol could be sold at Tropical Park stadium, Ronald Reagan Equestrian Center, Crandon Park Tennis Center, Amelia Earhart Park and other facilities.
PET IDEA: The Miami-Dade County commission Tuesday asked the administration to study building pet hotels at Miami International Airport and the Port of Miami. Americans spend $3 billion a year boarding and grooming their pets, county documents say, and other US airports are getting into the pet hotel business. Some are near airports in Jacksonville, New Orleans and Portland, OR, the resolution says. Airports in Dallas, Chicago and Houston plan to open pet hotels. One hotel already in operation in Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport accommodates up to 141 pets and the airport stands to gain about $4 million in rent and concession fees as a result. Commissioners asked the administration to report back in 30 days.
BOSTON WEDS GABLES: Generations of brides have found their perfect gown at one of the numerous bridal boutiques in Miracle Mile. Soon, brides-to-be will have one more option. Priscilla of Boston, a bridal company that has been around almost 60 years, is opening a 6,900-square-foot space at 340 Miracle Mile. Priscilla’s location, the retailer’s first in Florida, is to begin showcasing its bridal designs in the fall. The $3.3 million deal was closed Tuesday by commercial real estate firm Terranova, which represented the landlord in the 10-year lease. The upscale bridal retailer has expanded its business to 11 salons and other specialty boutiques.
MARLINS ON HOOK: The Florida Marlins’ $525 million stadium deal with Miami-Dade County calls for the team to pay to insure a new ballpark, unlike the liability Broward County residents would incur should a storm destroy the home of the National Hockey League Florida Panthers in Sunrise. Broward residents would be liable for any damage of more than $150 million to the BankAtlantic Center, which would cost over $300 million to rebuild, according to media reports. Under the contract between the Marlins and Miami-Dade, the team is responsible for "property insurance on an all-risk basis for the baseball stadium, with coverage limits and sub-limits in customary amounts on a replacement cost basis in an amount acceptable to Miami-Dade County." The contract adds that the team must "carry and maintain insurance from financially sound carriers."
BUS ROUTE CHANGES: Miami-Dade Transit will do away with nine bus routes and adjust service to others June 15, the agency said. Being eliminated are 68 Gratigny connection, 82, V, 147, 216 Goulds connection, 241 North Dade connection, 242 Doral connection, 245 Okeechobee connection and 278 Flagami connection. Midday service on the 95 Express to downtown Miami and the Civic Center is also being eliminated. Routes 10, K and the 51 Flagler Max will end at the Omni Metromover Station/bus terminal, the agency said. "Passengers should plan on getting to their bus stop a few minutes earlier than usual the week of June 15 to ensure they arrive on time," the agency said.
GREAT PERFORMANCES: McKinley Financial Services Inc., FPL, KIRA Inc. and Morrison, Brown, Argiz & Farra LLP received top honors Friday in the annual South Florida Good to Great Awards, presented at the Doral Golf Resort & Spa during the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s 2008 Goals Conference. The competition, sponsored by the chamber, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce and the Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce, is based on principles laid down in Jim Collins’ best-selling business book, "Good to Great."
TOP EDITORIAL: Miami Today was awarded first place in editorial writing among Florida newspapers of less than 100,000 circulation in the Sunshine State Awards last week. The awards, presented by the South Florida Pro chapter of the Society of Professional journalists, honored a June 28, 2007, column by Miami Today Publisher and Editor Michael Lewis headed "Let’s decide what will keep Miami alive after Castro dies." The Naples Daily News received the second and third place awards.
NEW NOBOX HOME: Nobox Marketing Group, an interactive marketing agency with offices in South Florida and Puerto Rico, moved last week from Coral Gables to a larger US commercial headquarters at 180 NE 39th St. in Miami’s Design District, according to a company statement. The move was made to increase its presence in South Florida and further facilitate links with the international community, the company said. Nobox, whose clients include Mozilla, Verizon Wireless, Toyota, Lexus and Banco Popular, will continue to operate another administrative headquarters office in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the company said.
BRUMMER GETS BUILDING: The Public Defender’s Office building has been renamed after Bennet H. Brummer, who has led the office 32 years and is retiring. He was honored last week by local and state leaders. The office is charged with defending juveniles and adults who cannot afford legal counsel when they are charged with crimes. The county says in a statement that Mr. Brummer is one of the longest-serving elected officials in the county. One who served longer is the late US Rep. Dante Fascell, who was in office from 1955 to 1993, the county said. The Bennet H. Brummer Building is at 1320 NW 14th St.