Saturday, August 31, 2013

Thank you to those who work hard to make America great: enjoy Labor Day Weekend!

To all those who work so hard to make America great enjoy a safe and relaxing holiday weekend, I wish a very happy Labor Day weekend.  This is also the official end of Summer.

The first Monday in September is recognized as Labor Day, dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.

The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation's strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker.

This information was obtained from the U.S. Department of Labor web site.   More information concerning Labor Day can be obtained from: http://www.dol.gov/opa/aboutdol/laborday.htm

Four Reasons Everyone Should Thank Unions On Labor Day

Four Reasons Everyone Should Thank Unions On Labor Day: It's worth remembering that Labor day is more than just a three-day weekend.  Read the article on Think Progress Blog about Labor Day. Here are the four bullet points covered in the post.

    1. Unions Gave Us The Weekend
    2. Unions Helped End Child Labor
    3. Unions Won Widespread Employer-Based Health Coverage
    4. Unions Spearheaded The Fight For The Family And Medical Leave Act

Friday, August 30, 2013

Congratulations Ana Garcia.Palmetto Bay alumna does well. North Miami Beach swears in new city manager

North Miami Beach swears in new city manager - North Miami / NMB - Miami Herald.com
Check out the link above for complete Miami Herald coverage.  I first passed on the good news for Palmetto Bay's initial Director of Parks & Recreation - Ana Garcia - being appointed the new City Manager for North Miami Beach on July 10. - It is now official, Ana Garcia was sworn in as Manager of North Miami Beach last Tuesday evening (8/27/13).

It was an exciting evening for her with Giselle, her mother and numerous other close family members, current and past co-workers in attendance to wish her the best.

I like her priorities. As reported in the Miami Herald, (Manager) Garcia said one of her first goals is to develop a strategic plan. “From that strategic plan, we need to come up with priorities.” 

I still say that one of the strengths of Palmetto Bay's first 8 years was in our developing the various master plans. It is troublesome to figure out why Palmetto Bay's current elected officials refuse to perform a comprehensive planning process.  Pinecrest has now completed its second. But I digress, that issue will be resolved come the 2014 elections.

Congratulations Manager Garcia. Those in attendance who represented your prior cities demonstrated how you build bridges rather than burn them. Good luck.  We all wish you the best!
Three of the mayors that Ana Garcia has worked with: Mayor George Vallejo (NMB), Eugene Flinn, Palmetto Bay; Ana Garcia & Julio Robaina, South Miami
Part of the team responsible for the 2002 - 2010 success.  Part of the PBay First Council Villagers in attendance: VM Linda Robinson, Manager Charles Scurr and Councilman John Breder with Julio Robina
PBay's First Lt. and second Village Commander, Captain Scott Dennis was in attendance

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The fight for quality libraries continues. The buildings may remain, but we need staff for programming and materials, e.g. books, etc. Get engaged.

There are some hard hitting comments to my August 24 post: A partial victory for a literate community. Miami Herald: Miami-Dade County will no longer close any public libraries. 2 are posted below. Click on the article link to read the others.

One commenter points out that perhaps Palmetto Bay, as a member of the MDPLS, should fight for a countywide quality library rather than stopping at protection of our own turf. Afterall, I would add that Palmetto Bay is party of the system wide book sharing. The Palmetto Bay Neighborhood Branch is not a self-sustained island onto its own.

Comment:
Anonymous August 28, 2013
Hey Palmetto Bay- no worries! You get to keep your 40 hours of library operations! Unfortunately, places like Little River, Lemon City, & Edison only get 16 hours a week. - Patti Antoncich


Pinecrest officials are actively engaged in this fight. Our Palmetto Bay elected leaders are waiting for the results before joining the victory parade for whichever side prevails. I recommend that the residents set an example for our unengaged local leaders by supporting the efforts of the Save the Miami-Dade Public Libraries.

Another comment details actual budget reductions and tracks them over the last few years. Read more to read this comment:

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Thursday, August 29 EDC meeting to feature 2013 Florida Session update.

The EDC of South Miami-Dade invites you to attend
the Community Outreach Speaker Series  Luncheon
 
Guest Speakers:

State Senator Dwight Bullard
State Senator Gwen Margolis


Topic:
"2013 Florida Session Update"
 
Open to the public
 
Thursday, August 29, 2013
Networking 11:30 a.m.
Speakers Noon to 1:00 p.m.

Palmetto Bay Village Center
18001 Old Cutler Road
Palm Room
Palmetto Bay, FL 33157
 
Lunch Catering by Chef David
  Please RSVP for lunch at info@edcsouthdade.com
or call 305-378-9470

Monday, August 26, 2013

Conch Reef - off Tavernier, Florida Keys. Photo(s) of the Day

The family spent some time on the water Sunday, August 25, 2013. We stopped off at Conch Reef off Tavernier, Fl, in the Florida Keys.
A great family day on the water.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

A partial victory for a literate community. Miami Herald: Miami-Dade County will no longer close any public libraries.

Miami-Dade County will no longer close any public libraries - Miami-Dade - MiamiHerald.com

The people have spoken loudly and the message was heard, partially.  There is more work to do. We cannot allow our public library system to be rendered useless through lack of access (greatly reduced operating hours).

Thank you to those who fought so hard in the Save The Miami-Dade Public Libraries Campaign and many local elected officials such as Pinecrest Mayor Cindy Lerner (once again, Palmetto Bay officials are missing on this important issue of neighborhood protection).  There is more to do and ample opportunities to finish the fight to have a culturally literate community.

I never doubted that Miami-Dade County would find a way to keep OUR libraries open, (7/13/13, Here we go again with the same old tax time games: County may shutter 42 libraries, lay off 260 employees) but now we need to continue the work to also convince the County Commission that the programs are important as well.   169 librarians are at risk to their jobs by Oct. 1, and libraries would operate about three-quarters of the hours they do now. All libraries may see their hours and days of operation cut, including those in Cutler Bay, Pinecrest and Palmetto Bay.

All these facts are presented in the updated Miami Herald article Miami-Dade County will no longer close any public libraries (8/24/13, By Patricia Mazzei). The board is scheduled to meet Monday morning to discuss the most recent 2013-14 budget projections, following its decision last month to keep the property-tax rate flat despite the service cuts and employee layoffs that would follow as a result.

In a memo to commissioners, Gimenez said the county must consider the library department’s long-term future, including altering its funding structure. Libraries rely on taxes separately from those that go to the county’s general fund.

“To move toward a sustainable library system in the future, we must shift out perspective on how library services in Miami-Dade County are currently funded,” the mayor wrote in his memo.

I would argue that anyone who thinks libraries are irrelevant or obsolete have obviously do not have children or has not been to a library lately. Libraries (through the Librarians and Staff) provide significant programing for our readers and community in general.

Who here wants to speak up in support of illiteracy? Thank you Pinecrest for the support, you have been loud and clear, but the silence of the Palmetto Bay current electeds by not standing up for the libraries, speaks volumes. Silence is not golden on this issue.

6:00 PM Update: I was provided the URL for the Save The Miami-Dade Public Libraries blog. CLICK HERE. Thanks for the e-mail update!
 

Photo of the day - "The lookout"

A squirrel maintains a cautious lookout as his friends raid the bird feeder. It is a beautiful Saturday morning in Palmetto Bay. A stark contrast to 21 years ago when Hurricane Andrew arrived quite uninvited.
It is a great morning to sit on the patio, read the paper with morning coffee and watch the pets and local backyard wildlife run amok.

Hurricane Andrew landfall - 5 AM August 24, 1992. 21 years ago today

One of those defining periods in our lives. Where were you when Hurricane Andrew made landfall?


Life changed forever. 
Andrew came ashore near high tide with a near 17 foot storm tide on August 24, 1992.  Bye, bye Burger King World Headquarters in (pre) Palmetto Bay, one of the featured corporate victims of the storm. I recall the huge damage to the Datran Center and the inability to navigate back home immediately after the storm.

Stats:
  • Andrew was born as a result of a tropical wave which moved off the west coast of Africa wave and passed south of the Cape Verde Islands (Cape  Verde Storms are often known as creating the most intense) 
  • Andrew became a tropical storm on August 17, 1992 and became a hurricane on August 22.  It strengthened to a strong category 4 hurricane the next day. 
  • The central pressure was 922 millibars at landfall in southern Miami-Dade County. 
  • Andrew caused an estimated $25 billion in damage in Miami-Dade County. 
  • Andrew moved northwest across the Gulf of Mexico to make a second landfall in Louisiana as a Category 3 storm on August 26. 
  • Andrew directly caused 23 deaths in the U.S. and indirectly caused 38 more. 
  • 25,524 homes were deemed destroyed 
  • 101,241 homes were damaged. 
  • And, as a lasting legacy of Hurricane Andrew, Windstorm Coverage was created, eventually bringing us Citizen’s. Homeowner’s insurance has never been the same.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Friends Forever Rescue, Inc., a Palmetto Bay based pet rescue group is in desperate need of your financial assistance


CLICK HERE to read the full e-mail plea.

Friends Forever Rescue,Inc., has been forced to find additional housing for all the dogs due to mold in their shelter.
They will not be able to return until ALL the MOLD has been removed and the walls replaced.
This situation has put a halt to the number of dogs that can be helped!!!

Friends Forever Rescue is seeking ANY Donation!!!   Your donations would help Friends Forever Rescue, Inc.,  continue its mission to rescue as many dogs as possible!

Donations can be made Via Check, mailed to:

P.O. Box 163455
Miami, Florida 33116
786-229-9002

You can also visit the FFR website and click on the DONATE button

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Check out the Blue Moon rises, tonight, Tues, 8/20/13

This month's full moon, which rises on Tuesday (Aug. 20), is more than merely a "Blue Moon": it's also the Full Sturgeon Moon, the Full Red Moon, the Green Corn Moon and the Grain Moon.

Check out the article on Space.com for more information.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Great advice. Tune up for the start of a new school year. Crime Watch: Start of school year is a good time to talk to kids about safety - 08/15/2013 | Momsmiami.com

Crime Watch: Start of school year is a good time to talk to kids about safety - 08/15/2013 | Momsmiami.com 
Another must read by Carmen Caldwell, executive director of Citizens’ Crime Watch of Miami-Dade regarding child safety. Summer vacation is over, and it’s back to the books. It is also the end of the light commuting traffic so our work days are now going to be lengthened. 

Ms. Caldwell states that this is the time for parents to talk to their kids about safety. She offers her yearly review on what you need to do.  It is great advice and we all could use refreshers.  Do not assume that your child knows even the basic facts about safety and other risks.

Alexandra and I wish everyone a happy and safe school year 2013-2014. Always be cautious, but be extra careful in the next few weeks until everyone settles into their new school year routine.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Following the anticipation. Comet ISON: Hope or Hype? | canada.com

Comet ISON: Hope or Hype? | canada.com

Interested in following what could be a spectacular comet show toward the end of this year. Doubts are rising as to whether it will live up to expectations.  Check out the link above to read the discussion on whether Comet ISON may not be performing up to expectations.

The comet, hailed by the media as a possible “Once a century comet” that will shine “Brighter than the Full Moon” has made its appearance out from behind the Sun, and initial reports from ground-based amateurs has found its performance a bit lackluster.

The latest word on Comet C/2012 S1 ISON’s possible demise comes from a recent report online via Sky & Telescope by Arizona-based amateur astronomer Bruce Gary. Gary recovered ISON on August 12th, low in the dawn sky using an 11-inch reflecting telescope and estimated its current magnitude at just under +14, a full 2 magnitudes or six times fainter than predicted.

But are calls declaring ISON’s downfall warranted?

Read on and follow this next potentially great celestial event.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Saturday, August 10, 2013

FPL's Cutler plant demolisted - Channel 10 coverage. One heck of a morning wake up call.

Watch this video and see the final downfall of the Cutler Power plant located off Ludlum Rad, between 136 and 152 Streets.  The plant was fiorst operational in 1949, but has been obsolete for years.  It is a landmark that won't be missed. 

One day we will all be asking who remembers seeing this FPL Cutler power plant.

Check it out FPL implodes power plant, 64-year-old plant became obsolete 

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

MDX US1 Express Lanes Public Workshops to be held locally. Your opportunity to obtain information and ask questions.

US 1 Express Lanes Public Workshop
 August 13th & 14th in South Miami-Dade
Get engaged. There are two opportunities to attend a Miami-Dade Express Authority (MDX) public workshop regarding the US 1 Express Lanes Project (Tier 2 Alternatives).  The public will have an opportunity to obtain information and ask questions. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013
3:00 - 5:00 p.m. or 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Cutler Bay Town Hall/Council Chambers
10720 Caribbean Boulevard
Cutler Bay, Florida

or

Wednesday, August 14, 2013
3:00 - 5:00 p.m. or 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Coral Reef Branch Library
9211 Southwest 152 Street
Miami, Florida

MDX, in coordination with Miami-Dade Transit (MDT) and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is conducting a study that will evaluate the concept of express or managed lanes on the South Miami-Dade Busway including the use of the Busway be private vehicles paying a toll.

The Tier 2 process is the next step in identifying alternatives for improving mobility on the US 1 corridor resulting from the improvements within the Busway right-of-way.

Information from the meetings will be posted at www.mdxway.com after the public workshops.  For additional information, please contact Public Information Officer Tere Garcia at US1Express@mdxway.com or 786-277-9299.

This is an important issue for neighborhood protection in Palmetto Bay, but it is not receiving the attention in required from its elected officials. Then Dist 2 Councilman Howard Tendrich attempted to bring discussion and action forward (seconded by Councilman Fiore) at a council meeting (CLICK HERE the official minutes page 4 of 9) but was denied 2 – 3 by Stanczyk, (former Vice Mayor) Pariser and Lindsay. This is not the time to sit idle, but to get involved and get active. There is both the possibility of a tax applied for use of US1 special lanes as well as potential impact for the US1 business corridor.

Pinecrest Mayor Cindy Lerner had previously expressed hope that Palmetto Bay and Cutler Bay would join her in this effort.This issue needs to be an ongoing leadership effort, not holding back to see which way the political winds are blowing, then a brief two-minute personal presentation. It is best to be involved from onset and try to guide a project rather than try a last-minute fight if the project turns unfavorable.

"If this passes, instead of living in a suburb, we are going to be living by I-95"  Cutler Bay Mayor Ed MacDougall, as well as south dade business/civic groups Chamber South and Economic Development Council are engaged, but only Howard Tendrich for Palmetto Bay, who is no longer in office.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Pinecrest proposed budget now available online. Town Hall, Workshop and 2 budget hearing dates posted

The Pinecrest Village Manager has submitted to the Village Council the proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2013-14 which commences on October 1st.  

The following public meetings have been scheduled to review and discuss the budget and seek public input:

"Town Hall" Meeting
Tuesday, August 13, 2013, 7:00 p.m.
Pinecrest Municipal Center, 12645 Pinecrest Parkway, Pinecrest, Florida 

Budget Workshop
Tuesday, August 20, 2013, 6:00 p.m.
Pinecrest Municipal Center, 12645 Pinecrest Parkway, Pinecrest, Florida

First Budget Hearing
Wednesday, September 11, 2013, 6:00 p.m.
Pinecrest Municipal Center, 12645 Pinecrest Parkway, Pinecrest, Florida

Final Budget Hearing
Monday, September 16, 2013, 7:00 p.m.
Pinecrest Municipal Center, 12645 Pinecrest Parkway, Pinecrest, Florida

Visit www.pinecrest-fl.gov/budget for a copy of the proposed budget.
All information above taken from official Village of Pinecrest update.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Observations of the Dolphins first scrimmage game. The games have officially begun. South Florida wakes from its summer vacations

I watched the Dolphins game and felt the rush that the season is finally here! Not necessarily the football season, (sorry Heat, I watch and root for you, but I still consider this a football town) but the early scrimmage start signals the beginning of life returning to South Florida. 

The South Florida season is when everyone finally returns from their travels and schools start - football through the end of the Art Show season.  It is participant and active time in South Florida once again.

This is the time that South Florida is at its best. I am looking forward to the end of summer and the start of a new year that for us football fans and/or with children in school, starts in late August, not in January.

The game, oh yeah, I read the laments about the Dolphins loss.  Several thoughts come to mind:

1.  It is a scrimmage. The Dolphins lost a game by 4 points after giving up two scores on turnovers, one a tipped ball intercepted and returned for a touchdown. I’d rather come up 4 points short in a game that does not count in the standings, having driven for points then be pleased that the Dolphins won on two mistakes by their opposition.

2.  It is a scrimmage.  Of course the game is going to be somewhat sloppy. That is why they play pre-season. Do you think they would risk injury to multi-million dollar players during preseason if everyone was expected to be ready to go day/game one? I want to see the new guys fight through the jitters and fight for roster spots than watch the veterans try to avoid injury.

3. It is a scrimmage. I wonder, and I cannot answer this question, but do teams even scout other teams for a pre-preseason game like the Hall of Fame scrimmage? Who knows who is going to play, let alone what the expected play schemes will be. I assume they are looking to assess the players currently in their camp rather than worrying about opposing players who may be working in the real world outside of football in the next 34 days.

4.  I was wrong about the game last night being far from the Superbowl.  It was similar in one respect. I enjoyed some of the commercials.  I don’t know if it was new, but the Hyundai commercial (at least I think it was for Hyundai) with the kid putting together the team to get his ball back was enjoyable – so insofar as TV commercials; this was not a scrimmage, Madison Avenue is already in mid to post season form. 

Overall impressions:  Let the games begin.  Life is good.  I am looking forward to Friday, August 30 when UM (no preseason) kicks off against Fla. Atlantic. I am really looking forward to the UM/Gator game September 7.  Then we see the real season open for the Miami Dolphins on Sunday September 8 at Cleveland.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

And so it begins. Humble beginnings, but a start to the season nonetheless. Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys hopefuls play encore to Hall of Fame induction ceremony - MiamiHerald.com

Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys hopefuls play encore to Hall of Fame induction ceremony - Miami Dolphins - MiamiHerald.com
8:00 PM Tonight, Sunday, August 4, 2013. This is a network TV game! The Cowboys hoping to make the roster take on those who want to make the roster for the Dolphins.

No one will mistake this game for the Superbowl, but the game will be far too real for those unsure of making the final rosters.  Call it the undrafted free agent bowl.

I happen to like preseason games. Its an insight into team development. You can root for the little guys. Players soon find out whether they have an realistic opportunity or if they were hired as part time tackle dummies. Some years you get to watch place kickers duel it out.  Just please, take these games for what they are: scrimmages.  I recommend that you don't take these games too seriously.  The old Raiders in the Coach Madden days never did.

The preseason games will be all we have until the University of Miami opens its season on Friday (Friday?) August 30th against Florida Atlantic University at Joe Robbie Stadium.   Go 'Canes!

My oldest daughter became a gator, so we will have to sit far apart at the next UM Game, September 7.

Coming soon, ready or not. The 2013 Perseid Meteor Shower: An Observer’s Guide.

The 2013 Perseid Meteor Shower: An Observer’s Guide

Universe Today reports: Get set for the meteoritic grand finale of summer. We can begin to see this annual meteor show during the second week of August. The expected peak is August 12.  

Northern hemisphere summer that is. As we head into August, our gaze turns towards that “Old Faithful” of meteor showers, the Perseids. Though summer is mostly behind us now, “meteor shower season” is about to get underway in earnest.
  
Pronounced “Pur-SEE-ids,” this shower falls around the second week of August, just before school goes back in for most folks. This time of year also finds many the residents of the northern hemisphere out camping and away from light-polluted suburban skies.

This year also offers a special treat, as the Moon will be safely out of the sky during key observation times. 

The best viewing will be in the hours just before daylight, so this is more of an early morning excursion than an all-nighter.  No equipment is needed to view the metor show other than possibly coffee for some. The best viewing will be found farther away from the suburban lights.

Read more: http://www.universetoday.com/103826/the-2013-perseid-meteor-shower-an-observers-guide/#ixzz2azwOwAkf

Another great event to share with the family. Proof that sometimes good things do happen after midnight.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Charge (it)! Florida Sales Tax holiday has begun.

The Florida Sales Tax holiday began hours again (as of 12:01 AM, Friday, Aug 2.) and runs through the end of this weekend. See the E-flier courtesy of the Miami-Dade County School Board. 

No Florida sales tax or local option tax will be collected on sales of clothing, footwear, and certain accessories selling for $75 or less per item, on certain school supplies selling for $15 or less per item, and on computers and certain related accessories selling for $750 or less per item when purchased for noncommercial home or personal use.

CLICK HERE to view a list of both tax exempt and TAXABLE items covered by the sales tax holiday. 

This is the weekend for savings before the start of the new school year.

Photo of the Day! Surprise driving down 826

South Dade Update's Photo of the Day - (photo taken Thursday, Aug 1, 2013)

How many people spilled their morning coffee thinking this truck was coming
toward them during the Wednesday, Aug 1 rush hour?.
No, the truck is not driving the wrong way. It was being towed.
It was a great photo.