Photo of the day - Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Wednesday, February 24, 2021
Saturday, February 20, 2021
Native Bee hive or MEGA wasp nest? Fell with the palm frond and broke up on the driveway. Any assistance on identification? Pictures provided.
Here are some photos of the nest that fell and broke upon impact with the driveway. I failed to notice it for the (obvious) long time that it spent up on the tree.
Thursday, February 18, 2021
Wow! Is there life on Mars?
Just minutes after landing on Mars, NASA's Perseverance rover beamed back this image to Earth. It is the first of many the rover will while it's on its mission on the planet (photo credit NASA-JPL/Caltech)
And NASA's Perseverance rover is on Twitter!:
This is exciting!
Today is the day! Exciting Mars mission - here is the official NASA Landing Toolkit: Perseverance Rover Event show starts at 2:15 p.m. EST
(Show starts at 2:15 p.m. EST)Landing Site:Jezero Crater, MarsMission Duration:At least one Mars year (about 687 Earth days)
Ways to Use this Toolkit
On Feb. 18, 2021, NASA's Mars Perseverance rover makes its final descent to the Red Planet. Here are some of the ways you can take part in this landing.
Now Through Landing
Monday, February 15, 2021
What have you been doing over this weekend? I have asked in prior year's posts whether you celebrate this federal holiday by reflecting upon legacies of past presidents; simply relax over a long weekend; take in one of the annual community events; take advantage of sales; or none of the above? This year is special, COVID edition. The predominant answer appears to be "none of the above" as the annual community events are not going forward due to COVID (in responsible communities). Next year. There will be next year, assuming the vaccine actually rolls out in time to meet that sweet spot where most or all are vaccinated before the prior vaccinations wear off.
Friday, February 12, 2021
Mango season is upon us. Yes, I suffered my mango sinus attack this year, but a bountiful mango season will be my (our) reward!
FOSDU know my fondness for growing Mangoes. My yard is blessed. Connie Ogle - your article spoke to me - this really happened this week. A few people from my office were concerned - until I exsplained it to them:
You step outside and breathe in fresh warm air, reveling in the thought that your family and friends in the north are much unhappier than you are on this Florida winter day.
Then you hack and cough. Your nose starts to run. Water pours from your eyes, which quickly shrink to slits. Your cheeks ache.
No, you don’t have COVID. It’s mango blossom season.
A great read about Mango season those who are Miami Herald subscribers - see ‘Mangoes are super happy right now’: What a big year for blossoms means for Miami, by Connie Ogle, FEBRUARY 12, 2021
Your sinuses haven’t been lying to you: this is a banner year for blossoms, says Noris Ledesma, president of the Florida State Horticultural Society. And a robust year for blossoms means a robust year for fruit.
“It’s a celebration, this blooming season,” says Ledesma, who retired last year from her post as curator of tropical fruit at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. “It’s amazing. I don’t recall a blooming extravaganza like this in my 20 years in the U.S. The mangoes are super happy right now. These are perfect conditions.”
What caused this blooming bonanza? South Florida’s streak of cold weather, Ledesma says. Not only that, but it was dry as well as cold; humidity and rain haven’t been a factor.
So once again, my friends can look forward to my annual (please take and keep my yard clean) mango giveaways. CLICK HERE to view some of my past SDU posts relating to neighborhood mango growing and giveaways.
(don't get excited - yet - the two photos above were taken as part of my 2020 crop giveaway)
Thursday, February 11, 2021
87th Avenue Bridge. IMPORTANT MEETING TONIGHT: Virtual Community Connectivity Committee Meeting, Thurs. Feb 11, 2021
IMPORTANT MEETING REGARDING THE PROPOSED 87TH AV BRIDGE
I have registered, have you? Members of the public may participate virtually and/or watch the virtual meeting via the Village’s official Facebook page and/or our Granicus web stream on www.palmettobay-fl.gov. This publicly noticed sunshine meeting will be recorded.
Please register to attend the session as follows: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4755197987539689232 After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
CLICK HERE to view the official online notice.
Friday, February 5, 2021
The next meeting of the TPO is currently scheduled for Thursday, February 18. The agenda is not yet set, so there is no guarantee what issues will be placed on it.
The TPO Governing Board meets once a month (on a Thursday), starting at 2 pm in the TPO Chambers located at 150 West Flagler Street, Suite 1900, Miami, FL 33130. CLICK HERE to view the County web page for the Miami-Dade TPO.
The Miami-Dade TPO Governing Board
Thursday, February 4, 2021
More on the failure to attend the very important County Commission meeting. It cost Palmetto Bay dearly. How it should have been prevented. Read the Village Charter.
I am not buying the “had to work argument” (and we know she was somewhere else at or about 9:00 am on that date). The Village Charter has provisions written into it designed to prevent such issues. The question is whether any of the current members of the village council read the Village Charter, and if so, do they understand how it provides for a process to ensure that important events are not missed such as appearing before the County Commission on Tuesday, February 2, 2021? There is no denying that the Council knew this important matter was coming before the Board of County Commissioners the following day. They discussed it in public the night before. They know their schedules. They know the importance of this issue to all involved. All five should have planned to, no, not planned to, they all should have actually attended the next morning – it was that important.
Again, the fair question: what “scheduling conflict” did each of them have that prevented them from attending the Board of County Commission meeting the following morning? It strikes me similar to the famous Bill Murray (playing John Winger) quote in the movie Stripes, when his character objects to the drill sergeant waking them up early for a morning run:
Sergeant Hulka: We got a full day ahead of us. We're gonna start out with a five-mile run.
John Winger: I know that I'm speaking for the entire platoon when I say this run should be postponed until this platoon is better rested.
Sergeant Hulka: Well, I'll tell you what, soldier. Let's make it ten miles.
OK, so many of you don't have the movie Stripes memorized like I do, but the dialogue quoted above does make a serious point - not everything is life is scheduled to meet with your convenience. And, if you thought the bridge issue was tough, the issue just doubled in effort by their failure to appear, the Mayor and Council have to reverse what occurred on February 2, 2021; which is going to be much, much, more difficult than a ten mile run.
Read the Charter. It provides for the ability to designate others to appear.
Here are some important provisions placed in the Palmetto Bay Village Charter:
CITIZENS' BILL OF RIGHTS (CLICK HERE to view the full charter section)
(A) This government has been created to protect the governed, not the governing. In order to provide the public with full and accurate information, to promote efficient administration management, to make government more accountable, and to insure to all persons fair and equitable treatment, the following rights are guaranteed:
*** *** ***
(2) Truth in Government. No municipal official or employee shall knowingly furnish false information on any public matter, nor knowingly omit significant facts when giving requested information to members of the public.
*** *** ***
(13) Representation of Public. The Mayor shall endeavor to designate one or more individuals to represent the Village at all proceedings before County, State and Federal regulatory bodies whose actions may significantly affect the Village and its residents.
ARTICLE II. - MAYOR, VICE-MAYOR AND VILLAGE COUNCIL
Section 2.1. - Mayor and Vice-Mayor. (CLICK HERE to view the full charter section)
(A) Powers of the Mayor. The Mayor shall preside at meetings of the Council and be a voting member of the Council. In addition, the Mayor shall have the following specific responsibilities:
*** *** ***
(3)The Mayor shall be recognized as head of the Village government for all ceremonial purposes, for purposes of military law, and for service of process.
(4)The Mayor shall be the official designated to represent the Village in all dealings with other governmental entities.
*** *** ***
(B)Vice-Mayor. During the absence or incapacity of the Mayor, the Vice-Mayor shall have all the powers, authority, duties and responsibilities of the Mayor.
WHERE WAS THE VICE MAYOR? This meeting was important. At least it may have saved the folly of an “Emergency” Meeting” (It’s only an emergency because the council failed to attend the commission meeting). Note that our current Vice Mayor is an attorney and nearly all attorneys have occasionally been called to short notice or "emergency" hearings where they are expected to attend and participate. (Unless our current vice mayor has lived a truly charmed professional life where everything is scheduled with never an unexpected conflict)
Final Editor’s Note: Fairness in scheduling events to enable public participation: If the Mayor, Vice Mayor and Village Council can’t attend County Commission meetings because they ‘have to work’, then why are they scheduling Palmetto Bay sunshine meetings, visioning sessions and other sundry meetings to take place during the regular work days? It seems kinda contradictory, doesn’t it? Contradictory or hypocritical, you decide.
Wednesday, February 3, 2021
80 percent of success is showing up. Palmetto Bay's residents, for and against, were left hanging by the failure of the Mayor, Vice Mayor and 3 council members to show up and advocate.
Why were the residents of Palmetto Bay left without any representation on Tuesday, February 2, 2021, before the Board of County Commissioners?
Fair question: I would like each and every member for the Village Council, from the Mayor, the Vice Mayor and each of the three district Council Members to advise the village residents what was more important than participating before the County Commission on Tuesday, 2-2-2021. in writing so we are all sure that we all receive the same answer, not one that differs based upon the audience.
Remember, the Mayor and all members of the Village Council are paid, and provided with health insurance benefits. Their expenses to and from the Commission Chambers would have been reimbursed. No excuses.
It looks bad to fail to show up. Did they oversleep? Was it non-feasance? Or perhaps fear of public speaking or having to articulate a position that differed from what was told some during the election?
Perhaps they should dock themselves some of their pay and benefits for pulling a disappearing act when they were needed. its easy to participate in a ribbon cutting. It takes leadership and preparation to advocate on the tough issues.
I leave you with a quote from Dr. Jill Biden, educator and First Lady of the United States, about showing up when you are needed:
Tuesday, February 2, 2021
Cutler Bay's Mayor Tim Merbott appeared before the Board of County Commissioners and plead his case for building the bridge.
There was no appearance, no speakers, from the Palmetto Bay Mayor or Village Council.
Those present on the County Commission joined in a unanimous vote to approve the resolution. agenda item 11(A)(12). The item moves forward.Sad, but I predicted this back on December 15, 2021, when I asked the questions, raised the issues, and asked a fair question in the Tuesday, December 15, 2020, post “2021's first test - the bridge is back. Will it unite or divide Palmetto Bay? Will it happen without input from Palmetto Bay's so-called leaders?”
Let's be clear, my opinions in that post concern much more than to bridge or not to bridge. It is about issue straddling and pandering misstatements passed along in Palmetto Bay, much of the time done through proxy. The conflicting promises made, talking points specially developed for whomever the candidates are speaking, the underground attacks and rumor mongering (and preventing debates where the truth would be aired).
Distractions, misdirection. A local government of bread and circuses.
Questions from concerned residents: "Will Palmetto Bay leaders support or oppose the bridge?"
(Non) Response from elected officials: "Look! Over there! Palmetto Bay is holding birthday drive bys, would you like one? Don't miss out"
What is the plan? I heard the rumors made in the door to door personal campaigning - to vote against Silva and David Singer as they were “pro-bridge”. So now we have a District Commissioner who is on board with the bridge. So again, I ask, What is the plan from Palmetto Bay leadership?
Sad. No leadership. React rather than advocate. Allow things to happen and then blame those who are successful at pushing forward their competing agenda.
Bridging Palmetto Bay - the plan is back and apparently this has been put together without any opposition or input from current Palmetto Bay officials.
What did they know and when did they know it?
The late US Senator and statesman Howard Baker is known for his famous query of then President Nixon: "What did the President know and when did he know it?" Well, I have the same thought today. Apparently our Palmetto Bay elected leaders were caught flat footed, blissfully unaware of a plan pushing through the County Commission to bridge Palmetto Bay, starting at 87 Avenue. This is kind of important information to stay on top of - both for supporters and objectors.
I served with two different county commissioners and both would meet regularly with me to discuss issues and projects that concerned and/or impacted Palmetto Bay. I am quite taken aback by this alleged lack of knowledge by the Palmetto Bay Mayor and Council. Commission Danielle Cohen Higgins has been accessible to those who have questions or concerns. I could not see how it is any different for fellow elected officials. There are also the South Dade Municipal Coalition meetings where transportation issues have been discussed as well. In any event, there was a Palmetto Bay Council Meeting last night (Monday, 2/1/2021). Do the current council members support this proposal or not? Do they have an action plan either in support or opposition? If so, could they please share it with all of us?
Here is a link to the Miami Herald Article - viewable by those who subscribe to the newspaper. See: The fight over the 87th Avenue bridge is back, and up for a last-minute county vote, by Douglas Hanks, 2/01/2021
Finally – here is a link to the Miami-Dade County Commission item set for today, yes, TODAY, Tuesday, February 2, 2021, beginning at 9:00 AM.210164ResolutionDanielle Cohen Higgins, Prime Sponsor RESOLUTION ESTABLISHING COUNTY POLICY THAT THE COUNTY ARTERIAL NETWORK EXTEND WITHOUT DEAD-ENDS, WITHIN TRAFFIC ENGINEERING STANDARDS, THROUGHOUT THE COUNTY AND IN FURTHERANCE OF THAT POLICY, DIRECTING THE COUNTY MAYOR OR COUNTY MAYOR’S DESIGNEE TO TAKE ALL ACTIONS NECESSARY TO CONSTRUCT A BRIDGE THAT WOULD EXTEND SW 87TH AVENUE FROM SW 164TH STREET TO SW 163RD TERRACE CROSSING OVER THE CUTLER DRAIN CANAL C-100 (“BRIDGE PROJECT”); APPROPRIATING $3,100,000.00 IN UNENCUMBERED ROAD IMPACT FEE FUNDS, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO ANY CARRYOVER FUNDS, FROM THE FISCAL YEAR 2020-2021 COUNTYWIDE GENERAL FUND BUDGET FOR THE DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION OF THE BRIDGE PROJECT; AND FURTHER DIRECTING THE COUNTY MAYOR OR COUNTY MAYOR’S DESIGNEE, SHOULD ADDITIONAL FUNDS BE NECESSARY, TO IDENTIFY AND APPROPRIATE, IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 2-1796 OF THE COUNTY CODE, LEGALLY AVAILABLE FUNDS FROM THE FISCAL YEAR 2020-2021 COUNTY BUDGET FOR THE BRIDGE PROJECT, AND TO INCLUDE THE IMPLEMENTATION OF SAID BRIDGE PROJECT, AS NECESSARY, IN THE MAYOR’S PROPOSED BUDGET FOR FISCAL YEAR 2021-2022Add-on PDF 1/29/2021Per Ord 20-38, item placed by BCC Chair without committee review and is not subject to 4-day rule
I hear the lamentations of the current mayor and council. I want to hear the plan, and see it effectively put into operation, either in support or in opposition to this bridge plan.
Recent meetings documented on official's social media:Is there actual conversation of substance between our elected officials when these events take place or its it merely posing for the camera?