FYI Miami: October 22, 2020
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UNEMPLOYMENT SOARS: Miami-Dade’s unemployment rate jumped in September to 13% from 8.1% in August, according to figures from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The new high figure was second-worst among the state’s 67 counties. Only Osceola County – home of Walt Disney World – was worse, at 13.2%. In South Florida, Broward County’s September unemployment was 8.2%, Palm Beach County was at 7% and Monroe County was at 5.9%.
TROLLEY TALK TABLED: Miami Beach commissioners plan to address next month the resumption of trolley services in the city, which were suspended in late March due to plummeting ridership and public health concerns in the pandemic. This item was originally scheduled for discussion at last week’s commission meeting, and had already been deferred at the September meeting. Per the item, city administrators recommend resuming service at a reduced rate and with safety precautions in place.
BRANCHING OUT: Miami Beach commissioners passed without objection last week a comprehensive forestry plan to increase the city’s tree canopy and species diversity over the next 20 years. The $5 million plan, which is to rest on general obligation bond funds, aims to plant 5,000 trees to increase tree canopy reach from 17% to 22% of city area. It also suggests reducing the percentage of palms relative to the total canopy, as these decorative trees don’t reap the same environmental benefits as other species such as oaks.
PRICE-WILLIAMS RETIRES: After 30 years of service, Miami-Dade County Attorney Abigail Price-Williams officially retired Tuesday to praise and warm wishes from every commissioner, Mayor Carlos Giménez and her replacement, Geri Bonzon Keenan, over a nearly hour-long farewell. Chairwoman Audrey Edmonson proclaimed Oct. 20 “Abigail Price-Williams Day” and presented to her – by Zoom – a crystal vase inscribed with a quote by former US First Lady Michelle Obama. “We got this because Abbie was the candy lady … when we met in person, so I’m getting her something real huge and beautiful so she can continue keeping her candy in this vase,” Ms. Edmonson said. Ms. Keenan said of Ms. Price-Williams, “Abbie embodies the qualities of kindness, laughter, generosity, respect and love – that’s her superpower.” Mr. Giménez said, “She’s not just an exceptional lawyer, she’s an exceptional member of our community.” An emotional Ms. Price-Williams said she was grateful for the sentiments. “It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve you,” she said. “I’ve enjoyed it.”