Monday, October 31, 2011

POLICE HALLOWEEN PATROL – THE EVER-PRESENT “PUMPKIN PATROL”

HALLOWEEN NIGHT – MONDAY – OCTOBER 31:
PALMETTO BAY PUMPKIN PATROL:


There will be a return of the annual "Pumpkin Patrol" for Halloween night 2011.  Police will have extra units out and officers will have candy and safety glow sticks for our young trick or treaters as well as keeping a watchful eye out for safety this special evening

Be safe and have fun this Halloween evening.

I do want to thank our Village Police Commander, Gregory Truitt, Miami-Dade Police Department and the entire policing unit for their continued hard work to keep our children safe

Monday, October 24, 2011

Calling all blood donors. Are you available to donate at the end of this month? Southwood Middle School is calling.

Blood Drive
October 28 from 11:00 am – 4:00 pm

Southwood is sponsoring a Blood Drive to benefit the Community Blood Centers of South Florida.  The trailer will be in the teacher parking lot from 11 am to 4 pm on the Teacher Workday, October 28th. This blood drive is open to the public so if you have family or friends in the neighborhood, please feel free to invite them to donate that day.  National Junior Honor Society will have goodie bags for everyone who donates.

Thanks!

Dining for a cause. A flavorful way to assist the Tropical Audubon Society. How about a night out with friends and/or family this Tuesday, November 1st?

See the full details in the South Miami edition of the Community Newspapers (CN) - Dine Out with Tropical Audubon Society: Tropical Audubon Society hatches Dining Partnership with Trio of popular South Miami Restaurants (Click on the headline).

To help Tropical Audubon Society (TAS) feather its proverbial nest (don't blame this blogger, comment supplied by the CN), Whisk Gourmet and George’s are dedicating ten percent of dinner checks on designated dates to the local nonprofit conservation organization (consecutive first Tuesdays of the month).

Tuesday, November 1, 2011 – Dine Out with Tropical Audubon Society at Whisk Gourmet and help protect South Florida’s natural environment, resources and architectural treasures such as the historic landmark Doc Thomas House, which serves as TAS headquarters.

Ten percent of Tuesday, November 1st dinner checks (exclusive of sales tax) will be donated to Tropical Audubon Society, helping amplify the nonprofit Voice of Conservation in South Florida.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Please join us for another outstanding Miami event - Miami Greek Festival 2011, Nov 11 through 13.

Miami Greek Festival 2011

Mark your calendar and be there Friday, Saturday and Sunday
November 11th, 12th and 13th
11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.

St. Andrew Greek Orthodox Church
7901 N. Kendall Drive, Miami, FL 33156
305 595-1343

Please "Read more" below to view the official event flier and information on parking and shuttle bus provided in the official Miami Greek Festival ’11 poster.  
Please join us for another outstanding Miami event.

Downtown Bay Forum presents: Impact of school budget cuts: Luncheon meeting Wednesday October 26

School budget cuts:  we read about the numbers, but what do they really mean for our schools?  We will hear from three individuals who know.

Downtown Bay Forum

Luncheon Meeting

Wednesday October 26, 2011 at 11:30 am

The Impact of Spending Cuts on Our Public Schools

Speakers

Karen Aronowitz
President, United Teachers of Dade (UTD)

Raquel Regalado
School Board Member

Maria-Elda Castaneda
Concerned Parent

Moderator

Dr. Sean Foreman
Department of Government- Barry University

Wolfson Auditorium at Temple Israel, 137 NE 19th Street, Miami.  Free self-parking available.  To reserve, call Annette Eisenberg, (305)757-3633 or fax (305)754-2015.  Member with reservation, $22.  Non-member or member without reservation, $26.  Membership $30.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Is Bird Watching the new hit? No need to travel far for Miami -Dade County Residents

David Yarnold of the National Audubon Society penned the article How Hollywood will make birding cool (click the headline to review the complete article). The article is discussion piece of how the movie/story "The Big Year."  As stated by Mr. Yarnold, "The Big Year" is about three guys competing to see the most bird species in one year. To be sure, they're to birding what ultra-marathoners are to jogging. But from start to finish, the movie is about birds and the people who love to look at them.

Read the article.  Again, as Mr. Yarnold points out, “Even if you're not a birder, you're probably a lot more into birds than you know.

So how many of you are there are birdwatchers?  There are many varieties of enthusiasts.  Mr. Yarnold appears to be a top flight birdwatcher, the type who travels the glob to see all there is to see in nature.  For those more local, The Miami Herald followed up this article on October 20, 2011, with the feature entitled The Florida Big Week, In a state that’s a major stop on birds’ fallmigration route, here’s a guide for spotting some of the 485 species thatFlorida claims, by Chelle Koster Walton, Special to The Miami Herald.

Ms. Walton’s article is your state vacation guide and planner for anyone more local in bird watching. As the article points out, Florida holds some of the nation’s top birding refuges and parks. Florida claims 485 species of birds, many of them rare in the United States, because of our range of climates and the state’s positioning. Birders the world over have flocked to the state since the days of John James Audubon (1785-1851) and before.

Care to view some more local resources?  Check out Miami-Dade County’s own Tropical Audubon Society (TAS).  CLICK HERE to go directly to the TAS Bird Page.  There is a wealth of information on a listing of birding opportunities in Miami-Dade County, specifically where you are most likely to locate the specific birds listed on the site locations (CLICK HERE to view).

Some of us have never considered traveling specific to bird watching.  I will follow up this post in the near future with photos and information regarding the local birds that venture into our family’s suburban neighborhood.  Feel free to share what you have seen in your areas as well.

Pinecrest action that affects you. Want to comment on your power bill charges? PSC to Consider Approval of Early Cost Recovery Fees for Construction of Nuclear Facilities


PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION HEARING ON FPL FEES
PSC to Consider Approval of Early Cost Recovery Fees for Construction of Nuclear Facilities
____________________________________________

$1,079,000,000! ONE BILLION AND SEVENTY-NINE MILLION DOLLARS. That is how much the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) may allow Florida Power & Light and Progress Energy Florida to spend toward nuclear power plants, power lines in the Everglades and transmission lines on US 1 in Pinecrest under a process known as Early Cost Recovery. The hearing is scheduled for October 24, 2011.

FPL is collecting monies now from you for a project they have not yet had approved nor have guaranteed to build.

The Pinecrest Village Council recently passed a resolution urging the PSC to deny this request. An effort is also being coordinated by Citizens Allied for Safe Energy, Inc. (CASE) - please visit their web site at www.case-fl.org for more information.

You can send a letter to the PSC expressing your opinion. Click here for information on how to send a message to the PSC prior to the October 24th meeting.

Florida Today Article

Now is the time to comment if you have any concerns about how much you pay on your power bill.  Don't live in Pinecrest?  This action affects you as well.  What is your local government doing to protect what you pay on your power bill?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Chick Flick! It's a Girls Night Out! Friday, October 20, Pinecrest Gardens

Chick Flick Nights - at the GARDENS CINEMA

Get together for an evening of lounge music, movies and refreshments. Garden Cinema will present "Chocolate".
 

Since the weather is going to be super, be sure to take a stroll through the Gardens or enjoy the Gallery prior to the movie or just enjoy a glass of wine.

Hint to the men: What woman doesn't love a man who will go to a Chick Flick with her? This event is not an all chick event, it is an opportunity for the guys to do something special for their honey!

If you go:    Pinecrest Gardens
                 11000 Red Road
                 Pinecrest, Florida 33156
                 305 669-6990

 Time:       6:30 p.m. Piano Lounge

                8:00 p.m. Movie

Cost:        $5.00 General Admission

CLICK HERE to view the official Pinecrest Gardens Cinema web page

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What is planned for the 174 unit multi-family residential unit in Southwest Palmetto Bay? Public Notice posted in the Miami Herald regarding November 8 Public Hearing in Tallahassee regarding issuance of bonds to Finance Multifamily Residential Rental Developments


Very few people actually ever catch public notices.  This one can be found on the on-line Miami Herald, (CLICK HERE to read the actual online notice in Herald classified). The full text can be read either by clicking “Read more” below or by following the link.  This hearing affects the property known as Royal Coast Apartments, a 174-unit multifamily residential rental development located on 9001 SW 156th Street in Palmetto Bay, Miami-Dade County, Florida 33157.  I doubt anyone will attend or ever learn what occurs at this hearing.  It is being held in Tallahassee, Florida on November 8.
This might be worth looking into as to what future plans exist for this property.  It may be forecasting great improvements to this property. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Last call for 10th annual "Wine on Harvest Moon" Saturday October 15th at the Deering Estate

2011 Wine on Harvest Moon
10th annual "Wine on Harvest Moon"  


Saturday, October 15, 2011
7:00 pm to 10:30 pm

Now in its 10th year, "Wine on Harvest Moon" caters to South Florida’s connoisseurs of fine wines and delicious foods by bringing fine wine, fine food and fine art together under the golden light of the Harvest Moon over Biscayne Bay at the historic Deering Estate at Cutler.

Please join us this year as we "Taste, Tango and Toast to the Andes" in celebration of the fine wines, flavorful cuisine and rich culture of Argentina and Chile. The evening’s activities create the ambience of the Andes and include:

Wine Tastings presented by Crown Wine & Spirits
Food Tastings prepared by top area restaurants and caterers
Entertainment including Argentine tango and Chilean folk dance performances
Music by the University of Miami Frost School of Music’s Stamps String Quartet
Preview opening of the Deering Estate’s Fall Fine Art Exhibit – "Just North of the South Pole"
Cooking demo center courtyard with celebrity Chef Timon Balloo of Sugarcane
Enticing live auction

The signature event is limited and sells out every year. Make sure to purchase your tickets early!

Tickets: $125 and $100 for Foundation members. Tickets can be purchased online for an additional fee or by calling the Deering Estate Foundation at 305-235-1668 ext. 263.

The annual fundraising event benefits the Deering Estate Foundation a community-based 501 (c)3 Florida Corporation dedicated to preserving, protecting and enhancing the Deering Estate at Cutler for this and future generations.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Florida's (State) Tax Collections expected to fall sharply. Palmetto Bay council should reconsider its stealth property tax increase for this budget year.

I have not been involved as much I would would like in Palmetto Bay since completing my two terms as founding Mayor. I am bringing more information to the present Village Council's attention and ask them to reconsider their budget decision to remove and spend $1,500,000.00 taken from the village reserves.  I read Grant Miller's recent opinion published in the Palmetto Bay News: Taxpayers: Watch the Village checkbook and I must say that I share many of the same concerns.  We are in a much darker economy than Palmetto Bay enjoyed for its initial eight years and we have to rein in spending, especially where we are now on our own financially, no assitance from Tallahassee in grants and appropriations for projects. 
 
Florida Trend reported an AP source on the Tuesday afternoon update (CLICK HERE to read the short, directly from the source) that State tax collections expected to fall sharply, by $1.3 billion to $1.7 billion over the next two years.   This same AP story was published both online and in the Wednesday edition of the Miami Herald: State tax collections down $1.5 billion, by Mary Ellen Klas, Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau
Economists began meeting Tuesday to draw up a new forecast on state tax collections amid signs that Florida's economy has been stalling over the last few months. The issue is whether more cuts will be needed in 2012 to schools, health care and other state programs.

This is an obvious sign that there will again be no money available for appropriations to local government. Under my leadership as founding Mayor, the original Palmetto Bay Council brought home well over $18 million in Grants and Appropriations to assist in the capital improvement program over Palmetto Bay's first 8 years. The current council brought zero back this last legislative session so I am asking the current village council members to reconsider taking $1,500,000.00 from the village unallocated reserves for new capital projects. 

The current economic information is telling us not to expect strengthening revenues for the foreseeable future. Now is not the time to spend from reserves for non-essential capital construction projects.

The present calculation is that $5,771,680 will be raised by Palmetto Bay from our property taxes. This sum, plus the other revenues received, are not sufficient for this current Mayor and council to spend on present level of services and the optional capital improvements. That is why the Mayor and Council voted to take a whopping $1,500,00o.00 out of reserves, our hard fought savings.  To demonstrate the magnitude, this $1,500,000.00 is more than 25% of the total property tax monies received from us, the taxpayers for the upcoming year.

Would you have voluntarily increased your Palmetto Bay property taxes by 25% to pay for this upcoming year's expenses? I bet you would not have. The current mayor and council decided to take the money from savings and deplete the reserves rather than ask you for a tax increase.

This is really a stealth 25% tax increase.
 

County mayor names leaders to the leaner 25 County Departments

Mayor Carlos Gimenez reduced the number of Miami-Dade County departments from 42 down to 25.
 
The 25 individuals were named as to who will lead the 25 departments.  This list became effective on Tuesday, October 11, 2011.  The new directors for the respective departments are as follows:

 
Animal Services: Alex Munoz
Audit Management Services: Cathy Jackson
Aviation: Jose Abreu
Community Action and Human Services: Lucia Davis-Raiford
Community Information and Outreach: Henry F. Sori
Corrections and Rehabilitation: Tim Ryan
Cultural Affairs: Michael Spring
Elections: Penelope “Penny” Townsley
Finance: Edward Marquez – Interim
Fire Rescue: William Bryson
Information Technology Department: Angel Petisco
Internal Services: Lester Sola
Juvenile Services: Morris Copeland
Library: Raymond Santiago
Management and Budget: Jennifer Moon
Medical Examiner: Dr. Bruce Hyma
Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces: Jack Kardys
Permitting, Environment and Regulatory Affair: Charles Danger – Interim
Police: James Loftus
Public Housing and Community Development: Gregg Fortner
Public Works and Waste Management: Kathleen Woods-Richardson
Seaport: Bill Johnson
Sustainability, Planning and Economic Enhancement: Jack Osterholt – Interim
Transit: Ysela Llort – Interim
Water and Sewer: John Renfrow

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

EYE ON MIAMI: Absentee Ballot Fraud: Commissioner Rebeca Sosa is Moving on Eye On Miami's Plea. By Geniusofdespair

EYE ON MIAMI: Absentee Ballot Fraud: Commissioner Rebeca Sosa is Moving on Eye On Miami's Plea. By Geniusofdespair

Click on the hyperlink above to read the Eye on Miami post regarding Absentee Ballot Fraud and County Commissioner Rebeca Sosa resolution regarding adding a penalty to Miami-Dade County's Absentee Ballot Code.

Commissioner Sosa will also sponsor a companion resolution urging the State Legislature to make improper collection of absentee ballots a felony.

Keep your "Eye" out for how this all ends up.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Deering Estate at Cutler offers a variety of Ghost Tours and Paranormal Investigations this month. Great "Halloween" events

Ghost Tours

Now you can have your own paranormal experience if you dare to join us! In partnership with the League of Paranormal Investigators, the Deering Estate at Cutler offers a variety of Ghost Tours and Paranormal Investigations. Hear about the sightings and experiences from the actual paranormal investigations of the Deering Estate and see for yourself the evidence recorded on video, photographs, and audio. For private tours or your own overnight paranormal experience, please call the Deering Estate Ticket Office at 305-235-1668 ext. 233.

DEERING ESTATE SPOOKOVERS - Experience the Deering Estate overnight when the LIGHTS ARE OUT!!!

GHOST TOURS "BE YOUR OWN INVESTIGATOR" - Become part of the Paranormal Investigative Team as we rediscover evidence and occurrences found on the Estate!

GHOST TOURS "VOICES OF THE PAST" - This is a three-part series of tours where each month we focus on different aspects of the paranormal investigations at the Deering Estate. Be sure to experience all three! 

Click "read more" immediately below for derailed information or CLICK HERE to go to the Deering Estate web site for information and online ticket sales.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Get Ready for Food Truck Friday - this Friday at the PBVC!

Get ready for another Food Truck Friday at the Palmetto Bay Village Center (PBVC).  This event is held each first Friday of the month in common areas around the main front courtyard.

There will be live music and PBVC, thru a vendor, will sell the alcohol.

Palmetto Bay Village Center is a great place to come and enjoy the Summer/moving into Fall breeze, live music, great picnic areas and of course, the Food Trucks. This time the Food Trucks are invading a beautiful property down the historic Old Cutler Road. Take the Old Cutler tree tunnels down South 4 miles past Pinecrest. The event is held in a gorgeous setting that hosts many weddings, TV & Film productions and huge events like the Taste of Cutler Bay.

There is a parking fee: $5 per car collected at the gate.

It should be a lot of fun. 5:30 – 10:30 PM!


CLICK HERE to view Miami Food Trucks dot com official information page.

Palmetto Bay Village Center
18001 Old Cutler Road
(Old Cutler & SW 184th Street)
Palmetto Bay, FL. 33157

We hope to see you there!

Wings Over Miami two-day aircraft filled festival October 29 and 30th. Be there!

Wings LogoBuy Your Tickets Now!
October 29th and 30th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Enjoy the excitement! This event is a two-day aircraft filled festival! Come over to Tamiami Airport and watch the planes as they fly-in to the museum! Bring the camera for some close-up shots of warbirds, classic aircraft and other flying dreams! Meet the pilots! Let the kids enjoy the amusements. Get some eats! Visit the gift shop for your Wings Over Miami flight gear!

This is a fund raiser for museum operations. The museum is not publicly funded and depends on donations and events for its support.
Wings is looking for sponsors, vendors and community groups interested in participating. Volunteers are welcome and students can be extended school service hours for this event.

Go to www.wingsovermiami.com for more information. Use the information request form for questions. Tickets may be purchased online and are good for both days of the event.

It is art festival season

Information below taken from the official Chamber South e-mail
40th Annual South Miami Art Festival
Art Festival
Join us November 5th & 6th, 2011
Produced by Chamber South, the 40th Annual South Miami Art Festival is sponsored in part by Presenting Sponsor - First National Bank of South Miami, with support from the Miami-Dade County Cultural Affairs Department, Tourist Development Council, Miami-Dade Expressway Authority, Florida Blue and the City of South Miami.
The festival will be held on Sunset Drive in South Miami (between US1 and Red Road) nestled between wide sidewalks, caf├ęs, quaint shops and lush landscaping. The event will feature more than 100 artist booths from around the country. 
Join the fun! Sponsorship, Volunteer and Advertising Opporunities are availalable. Click here for more information.

To Volunteer, click here to download adult application or student application.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Charter School for Palmetto Bay? The Palmetto Bay Village Council will provide the answer on October 17

The Palmetto Bay council appears poised to approve the first charter school to be located within Palmetto Bay.  This action will occur on Monday, October 17, 2011, when the village council takes up the application brought by the Shores at Palmetto Bay, LLC, which is requesting to establish a Charter School facility for 1,400 students, specifically on a five (5) acre parcel near the corner of SW 97th Avenue and SW 180th Street (immediately east of Village Hall).
 
The public hearing on this application will be held on Monday, October 17, 2011.  You can read the full Zoning Analysis by clicking HERE.   

CLICK HERE to review the plans filed by Shores at Palmetto Bay, LLC, with Palmetto Bay (90 page .PDF file)

A brief history of Charter Schools:

Liberty City Charter School in Miami became the state’s first charter in 1996, the same year that Florida approved Charter Schools. The number of charter schools have grown steadily since that first school, reported now to number more than 500 with over 154,000 students for last school year (2010-2011 school year).  This number approximates 10% of all students enrolled in Public K – 12 for last school year.

These facts are discussed in a recent online article of StateImpact Florida: From Minnesota to Miami: The History of Florida Charter Schools

StateImpact Florida bills itself as a collaboration of local public radio stations and NPR. Reporters John O’Connor and Sarah Gonzalez travel the state to report on how education issues affect you. Read their reports and listen to them on NPR member stations. Click on the headline above or CLICK HERE to view the recent article “From Minnesota to Miami: The History of Florida Charter Schools” posted September 28, 2011, by reporter John O’Connor.

Is the Palmetto Bay Council following a trend? 

Finally, back to the source, StateImpact Florida, an article was posted on September 27, 2011, entitled The Three Types of Florida Charter Schools.  (Click on the headline to view) All of the 500 Charter Schools within Florida gall into one of three categories, ranging from:
1. Non-profits founded by local activists, to schools set up by cities or towns; 
2. Private, for-profit companies managed charter schools; and 
3. School district managed charter schools

The legislature has granted more flexibility to charter schools than traditional school boards in operation of schools.  Charter school liberties intrigue district, posted September 26, 2011, by Palm Beach Staff Writer Allison Ross online with the Palm Beach Post presents action going on within the Palm Beach School District in regard to actual district-run charter schools.  The article details how school districts have grumbled about the flexibility charter schools have compared with traditional public schools and the recent action to incorporate district-run charter schools within their district plan to obtain some of the breaks that charter schools get.