Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Please seek help from public to identify murderer of Palmetto Bay man -- Video released of June 16 Palmetto Bay homicide - MiamiHerald.com

Video released of June 16 Palmetto Bay homicide - Palmetto Bay - MiamiHerald.com
Victim’s family and Miami-Dade County police are seeking help from anyone who may have information on this June 16, 2012, murder.  Anyone with information should contact Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-8477, or Detective Jessica Alvarez at 305-471-2400. Detective Javier Baez said detectives are following leads, but are seeking more information. “We need the community’s assistance in gathering more information,” Baez said.
See the 3/26/2013 Miami Herald article for complete information. Also see  South Dade Updates prior post of June 16, 2012 for more info: Man killed in Palmetto Bay shooting - Palmetto Bay - MiamiHerald.com
Miami Herald – 3/26/2013, By David Smiley:   Miami-Dade Police have released video of a murder in Palmetto Bay last June in the hopes that someone will help investigators solve the case.
Frederick Duberry, 44, was gunned down about 3:40 a.m. on June 16 after he pulled his truck in the driveway at his home in the 17000 block of Southwest 97th Avenue, according to police. Surveillance video from a camera mounted on the house shows a man with a skull cap on his head and what appears to be an assault rifle in his hands pop into view and shoot Duberry.
The shooter than jumped into a car, described by a neighbor after the shooting as a blue Taurus, and then sped off.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Earth Hour 2013

Is anyone doing anything tonight in South Dade for Earth Hour 2013? 

I have always enjoyed promoting this very simple event. It only takes dimming your lights for a single hour to make a statement (but promotes activities and conservation that should be practiced throughout the year). When I served as Mayor, I enjoyed invitations to enjoy some great candlelit outdoor parties to jointly mark the event.

CLICK HERE to view Gallery: "Earth Hour 2013 marked around the globe" Cities around the world have dimmed their lights to take part in WWF’s Earth Hour 2013. Sydney’s Harbor Bridge and the Opera House had their illuminating lights turned off for an hour as part of the annual environmental campaign to encourage people to turn off unnecessary lights and waste less energy. London landmarks including the Palace of Westminster, the London Eye and the Gherkin are set to dim their lights for an hour starting at 8.30pm on Saturday.

Go to Earth Hour.org for more information.

Hmm, in considering a great place to spend Earth Hour, I am thinking that it would be a great night to take the family to Bill Sadowski Park,and Nature Preserve a County Park in Palmetto Bay, 17500 SW 78th Ave, where the Southern Cross Astronomical Society puts out its telescopes each Saturday evening from 8 - 10:00 PM, "weather" permitting. It is a great event to come to view, solo or with friends and/or the family.  

Round of 64 observations: My bracket is busted. Thankfully I don’t bet. Three Florida Schools advance to round of 32 and Cinderella has a monster dunk!

Best game so far? Florida Gulf Coast University defeats Georgetown. An number 15th seed, but as the tired cliche goes "that's why they play the game" – and why you have such a­­­ poor chance of filling out a perfect March Madness bracket.  I looked up “odds of winning NCAA Bracket” (the pools, not the games, obviously there is a 100 percent of a team actually winning the bracket smarty).  Here is what I found: “Odds of Picking a Perfect NCAA Bracket are One in Nine Quintillion.”

The article quotes Jeff Bergen, a math professor at DePaul University, who determined that we have a one in 9 quintillion chance of filling out a perfect bracket.  Really? Well show us your work professor. Professor Bergen details in the article that there are 64 teams in total, but only 63 are entered into the formula because one team will not lose any games.

Perfection is required in 63 straight games. Not so hard, right? After all, the Miami Heat is currently on a 25 game win streak.

This means you can determine the chances of getting a correct bracket by multiplying 2x2 63 times, which yields the number 9,223,372,036,854,775,808.

Professor Bergen details a formula for those who had knowledge of basketball, and determined that their chances of winning are one out of 128,000,000,000. So, OK, as the article states, someone who has this undefined “better knowledge” has a “better chance” but it is clear that neither should be playing their retirement money on a bracket in Vegas.  The article reveals that a person who knows basketball has less than a .25 percent chance of creating a correct bracket.

You also have a much better chance of getting struck by lightning inside your home in a thunderstorm if you are taking a shower.

Nice payoff if you can win it.  Your chance of winning the Florida Powerball lottery?  1 in 175,223,510

I think I will stick to watching the games and rooting for great play (and a University of Miami Final Four)

Click the headline to read Ben Chodos' column in CNN Sports online: "FloridaGulf Coast Stuns Georgetown in Shocking Upset" to read more coverage on the dramatic update as well as view embedded video of Chase Fieler's thunderous dunk. You have to love the announcer's comment ”Welcome to your Kodak moment!”

Thursday, March 21, 2013

18th Native Plant Day - this Saturday. Much more than the opportunity to buy native plants.

The Dade Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society invites you to its 18th Native Plant Day, Saturday, March 23, 2013 from 9 am - 4 pm.  CLICK HERE to view the full information online.

This is more than just a plant sale.  There will be activities for all ages: walks, programs, plants and merchandise for sale, raffles and more.

Explore the hammock full of ferns, forested wetland restoration and arboretum in this park as well as the exhibits at Native Plant Day.

Learn about attracting birds and butterflies to your yard and ask experts questions about plants, cuttings, insects, wildlife, the environment, and landscaping.

Date:       Saturday, March 23, 2013
Time:       9 am - 4 pm
Where:    Bill Sadowski Park at Old Cutler Hammock
                17555 SW 79 Avenue, Palmetto Bay, 33157

FREE and open to the public

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Update on the 3/19 MDX South MIami-Dade meeting. Toll hike on state roads 836 and 112 might not be final - MiamiHerald.com

Toll hike on state roads 836 and 112 might not be final - Miami-Dade - MiamiHerald.com

What will be the future for South Dade roadways? 

Pay significant tolls or have roads suffer from neglect? Will we be forced to pay a daily toll to travel in ‘Lexis Lanes’ on the former buslanes (RIP dreams of mass transit – there has been a huge backslide, why invest in mass transit when we can relieve the pressure, for revenue, and create more incentive to stay in your cars).  There are many transit needs and this is a discussion that must involve as many people and officials as possible. Decisions will impact home values and desirability due to practicality for residents in some areas to be able to commute to work in various areas of the County or may promote additional urban sprawl by moving highways out to areas not currently developed. How will future decisions affect infill?

The locally held March 19 MDX meeting was very well attended.  Well attended that is by Roll Back Tolls group and interested residents, but the local elected officials were suspiciously absent and conspicuously silent on an important issue; the future transit policy for south Miami-Dade.  

Cutler Bay Mayor Ed MacDougall was the only local elected official to attend. Thank you Mayor Mac. It is sad to report that there was not a single representative from Palmetto Bay present at the meeting. What a shame – an opportunity avoided to take some leadership or at least gather first-hand information from the MDX representatives as well as the many interested residents.

It would have been a good time for local leaders to share concerns and some constructive ideas with the MDX board. Perhaps even make some common sense proposals such as proposing that the Florida Legislature repurpose the proposed Hotel Bed Tax from funding for private sports stadiums for billionaire owners to instead a broad use, funding meaningful and widespread transit improvements rather than continue to literally ‘nickel and dime’ (or in some cases $2.40 each way) commuters to death. 
Read the Miami Herald article:
“All I hear is more tolls, more concrete and more cars,” said Cutler Bay Mayor Edward MacDougall, one of the speakers who addressed the MDX board.

Carlos Garcia, co-founder of the anti-toll group RollBackTolls.com, voiced the general feeling of people who spoke, urging board members to delay the increase.

“Please hold off,” said Garcia, who like other group members wore a T-shirt with signs saying “Enough is Enough.”

It is a shame that Palmetto Bay’s Mayor and council are missing in action on this debate. It could not have been the location.  The MDX board held this meeting in our neighborhood.  Palmetto Bay’s Mayor and council were not required to face rush hour traffic or car pool to downtown Miami, but despite the convenience, it is more than apparent that these horses could not be led to this water.

Remember the lack of attendance in the very new future when you find that you had no voice in the direction of the transit policy for US1 and South Miami-Dade in general or when you travel the local highways and find yourself paying more in tolls than in gas while billionaires are collecting tax dollars from tourists for their private property instead of investigating in the common good and community infrastructure.

Thank you Cutler Bay Mayor Ed MacDougall for showing interest and political spine. A rose to you for your participation.  And thorns to all those elected officials who choose to avoid participating in the dialogue in setting long-term policy for South Miami-Dade transit. Showing up after others do the heavy lifting and trying to jump to the front of the parade Madam Mayor and Council members is worse than never showing up at all.

Get involved. The future is being determined now.

Monday, March 18, 2013

CNN Report online - Stargazers capture images of comet - photos

CLICK HERE to view images of comet Pan-STARRS posted on CNN online. Come on readers, did anyone in South Miami Dade get a chance to photograph, or even see this comet?  Please feel free to send me any photos.

There may be yet another comet-viewing opportunity, one that may be far more spectacular.  This opportunity will not come until nearly the end of this year. Comet ISON is expected to make an appearance sometime around November 28.  Comet ISON might glow as brightly as the moon and be briefly visible in daylight. Its tail might stretch far across the night sky.  How much of a visible impact comet ISON’s makes for us depends upon it surviving its close brush with the sun's atmosphere. A lot remains to be seen. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Mayor’s rock band to headline Seafood Festival - Cutler Bay - MiamiHerald.com

Mayor’s rock band to headline Seafood Festival - Cutler Bay - MiamiHerald.com
Ed MacDougall is returning to his rock ‘n’ roll roots.

The mayor of Cutler Bay will reunite with his band, the Mosquitoheads, to close out the ninth annual Deering Seafood Festival on March 24.

Click on the headline at top to read the entire article about both Mayor MacDougall and the Seafood Festival.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/03/14/3285618/mayors-rock-band-to-headline-seafood.html#storylink=cpy

Roll Back Tolls update – two MDX Planning Workshops scheduled to be held in the South Miami-Dade area

Public meetings about South Dade Busway scheduled in Cutler Bay and Homestead

Read "Get MDX Off the Busway" Blog for more information.  Also see "Cityof Pinecrest Passes Resolution Against MDX Busway Project" (contains a copy of the Pinecrest resolution)

Attendance at these MDX meetings are important for those concerned about our community, our tax dollars and how the road-toll charges are set and spent in Miami Dade.

Please attend, get informed and speak your concerns!

Meeting one – Wednesday, March 20, 2013
WHAT:           MDX “Planning Workshop”
WHEN:          Wednesday, March 20, 2013
TIME:             6:00 pm to 9:00 pm
WHERE:        South Miami Dade Cultural Arts Center
10950 SW 211th Street
Cutler Bay, FL 33189

Meeting two – Thursday, March 21, 2013
WHAT:           MDX “Planning Workshop”
WHEN:          Thursday, March 21, 2013
TIME:             6:00 pm to 9:00 pm
WHERE:        Phichol Williams Center
951 SW 4th Street
Homestead, FL 33030

Petition available to review and sign at www.RollBackTolls.com
CLICK HERE to download the flyer from Roll Back Tolls to share this information with your neighbors.

Don't miss it! 9th annual Deering Seafood Festival on the Bay - Sun, March 24, 2013 from 10 am to 6 pm

The Deering Estate Foundation's 9th annual Deering Seafood Festival on the Bay will be held Sunday, March 24, 2013 from 10 am to 6 pm.  Will we see you there?

Late March has become known for Deering Seafood Festival time in South Dade. CLICK HERE or HERE to view past photos and coverage of this wonderful event. Once again, I plan to travel by bike in order to work up an appetite before as well as some after event exercise. Alexandra and I will again be again traveling the green route, via bike and using the FREE BIKE VALET SERVICE at the Main Gate courtesy again of Green Mobility Network! (including Palmetto Bay bike advocate Eric Tullberg)

Official information can be found on the Deering Estate website: www.deeringestate.org.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Snakehead in freshwater, mounting a challenge like lionfish in local reefs. Broward canal yields dubious record – biggest invasive snakehead fish - Environment - MiamiHerald.com

Broward canal yields dubious record – biggest invasive snakehead fish - Environment - MiamiHerald.com

This is not your average fish story and certainly not your average invasive fish: The Miami Herald reports that a 14-pound, three-ounce bullseye snakehead caught in a Margate canal. This fish was so large that it would have beaten the all-tackle world record had it been caught with a hook and line.

Not to be confused with the local Mudfish (or bowfin).  Do you know how to tell the difference between the two? Check out: Bowfin and Snakeheads: Distinguishing Features (posted on Texas Parks & Wildlife page)

As reported, Scientists fear snakeheads, predators that will eat just about anything and are generally larger than most native freshwater fish, could take a big bite out local populations if they spread unchecked. The fish’s freakier attributes added to the curiosity. Much like the infamous walking catfish touted as a scourge of the Everglades in the 1960s, snakeheads can survive out of water for several days. And like the catfish, a few species purportedly can wiggle across short distances on land on their fins.

Like other exotics, the four species documented in the United States didn’t swim here. Federal and state wildlife managers believe they were likely released by aquarium owners or breeders for Asian seafood markets, where live specimens were illegally sold in the past.

Also see Kayak Club of the Palm Beaches message board: "Snakehead - A really good eating fish" This source advises that the Bullseye gets it's name from the prominent eyespot, or ocellus, which is a black spot rimmed with orange near the base of the tail fin. These Snakeheads are an invasive fish and predominately found in an area north of SR-84 near the Ft. Lauderdale Airport (New River) up to and somewhat into Palm Beach County west of Boca Raton.

Any guess on what our local fish population will look like in 20 years given the massive influx of exotics like the snakehead in our local freshwater and lion fish in local reefs? 

CLICK HERE to view my post regarding the results and official photographs from the 2012 Everglades CISMA non-native fish round up.  The largest Fish was a 2 lb, 14 oz, Bullseye Snakehead which was nowhere near the size reported in this Miami Herald Story.

I find it interesting that the post states that that this is a prized fish.  So read up on where some recommend to find 'em and go get them.  The article provides some guidance.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Follow up on the expressway toll increases. Are you ready to participate?

Ready to pay more to use the roads that your taxes built?  Do you feel it is time to get engaged on the issue.  Can you afford not to? This is more than consideration of a one-time toll adjustment.  MDX wants to implement automatic toll rate increases that would start in 2015. They would ensure regular toll hikes down the road would match inflation - and would be done automatically, with no future hearings needed.

See Channel 10 report, March 12, 2013: "Toll hikes proposed for Miami-Dade expressways, MDX considers increasing price of tolls on SR 836, SR 112"

This is what you missed if you failed to attend the KFHA meeting (see prior post: The Kendall Federation of Homeowner Associations (KFHA) and RollBackTolls.com want you to attend a public meeting to help them Oppose Planned Toll Hikes).

Drivers will have a chance to sound off on the proposed toll hikes in a meeting at the MDX offices on March 19th.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Update on the Russian Meteor - a cosmic warning shot?

CSI Space? It is always impressive to read the science and investigation of all things celestial. However, I do not have the tools at my disposal to verify or disprove. I thought I would pass on this interesting online article in follow up to the Russian meteor event: Russian Meteor Likely An Apollo Asteroid Chunk posted in Discovery.com

I had posted regarding Close call documented. AP PHOTOS: Meteor explodes over Russia - Nation Wires - Miami Herald.com. Fox News historical reference of 1908 Tunguska event.

The article identifies the meteor by type, labeling it an Apollo asteroid, stating that the group is a well-known near-Earth asteroids that cross the orbit of Earth. Around 5,200 Apollo asteroids are currently known, the largest being 1866 Sisyphus — a 10 kilometer-wide monster that was discovered in 1972.

Large Apollos are identified as being a significant risk to our planet, so the Chelyabinsk meteoroid acted like an Apollo warning shot.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Unless you can wait 100 million years, Time is short to see Comet Pan-STARR

Tonight (Sunday, 3/10) may be the night we attempt to see the comet. Has anyone seen it?

Time is short to see Comet Pan-STARRS - See: 6 Surprising Facts About Comet Pan-STARRS

While it only just appeared in the Northern Hemisphere this week, Pan-STARRS will be a temporary visitor. It will be gone before you know it. The comet may be difficult to locate.

"There is a catch to viewing Comet Pan-STARRS," Amy Mainzer, the principal investigator of NASA's near-Earth object hunting NEOWISE mission at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., said in a statement Thursday (March 7). "This one is not that bright and is going to be low on the western horizon, so you'll need a relatively unobstructed view to the southwest at twilight and, of course, some good comet-watching weather."

After Pan-STARRS makes its closest brush with the sun on Sunday, the comet will begin to dim. Stargazers with telescopes and binoculars might still be able to see the sungrazer until early April, but it will fade out of naked-eye visibility before the end of March.

This is your only chance to see Comet Pan-STARRS - the comet's orbit is 100 million years. I somehow doubt that any of us will be around to see it the next time.

How to see Comet Pan-STARRS (Space.com) - stargazing tips.

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Kendall Federation of Homeowner Associations (KFHA) and RollBackTolls.com want you to attend a public meeting to help them Oppose Planned Toll Hikes

Did you ever want an opportunity to speak out to prevent a tax increase rather than suffer in silence after finding your tolls have increased?  HERE IS YOUR CHANCE!  The groups want you to attend a public meeting 7:00 PM this Monday, March 11, 2013 and learn more.

Kendall Village Center          CLICK HERE to view the downloadable event flier  
8625 SW 124 Avenue
Miami, FL 33183

KFHA and RollBackTolls.com want to discuss with you the plan of the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX) to raise the per mile toll rate by 50% on the Dolphin (SR836) and Airport (SR112) Expressways by June 2014 as well as incorporate Consumer Price Indexing (CPI) on tolls for automatic toll increases after 2015 without oversight.  The CPI indexing will affect toll rates on all MDX highways including SR 874 and SR 878. This is an outrageous rate increase to place on the already financially burdened commuters of Miami-Dade County.

For additional information or to sign the on-line petition in opposition to MDX’ 50% toll rate increase and CPI indexing , visit: http://www.RollBackTolls.com or www.facebook.com/rollbacktolls 

RollBackTolls.com is a grassroots watchdog group for toll roads in South Florida .CLICK HERE to view and sign the online petition.

Cutler Bay Mayor Ed MacDougall in Tallahassee: Stadium renovation bill survives amendments, wins House panel approval - Legislature - MiamiHerald.com

TALLAHASSEE: Stadium renovation bill survives amendments, wins House panel approval - Legislature - MiamiHerald.com

Follow up to prior article Cutler Bay Mayor Ed MacDougall says "Stop the Stadium Madness!" and he wants other elected officials and everyone to join him.

Cutler Bay Mayor Ed MacDougall traveled up to Tallhassee today, Friday, March 8, 2013, and testified against use of taxpayer dollars for Dolphin Stadium. 

“I have spoken to almost all of the mayors of Miami-Dade County and they have asked me to share their opposition to this bad bill,” MacDougall said. “If Stephen Ross feels these improvements are necessary to keep his team competitive, we believe he should pay for them himself.”

The Dolphins proposal made it through its first committee stop in the Florida House, passing by a 12-4 vote. 

It survived numerous amendments including a proposal from Rep. Carlos Trujillo to have Broward County help foot the bill for proposed improvements to SunLife Stadium.  Rep. Trujillo said Broward had amassed $58 million in revenue in 2010 when the Super Bowl was held in South Florida, while Miami-Dade had collected $40 million.   “I think it is fair that if some people are going to receive the majority of the benefit, they should at least pay half the tax,” Trujillo said.

I am not surprised that the Herald reported that Broward officials thought otherwise.   Bottom line for now is that the Miami-Dade taxpayers are closer to being handed the entire costs for a project that enriches Broward County more than Miami-Dade. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Cutler Bay Mayor Ed MacDougall says "Stop the Stadium Madness!" and he wants other elected officials and everyone to join him.

Cutler Bay Mayor Ed MacDougall has announced his opposed to spending tax payer dollars for stadium renovations; and the use of general funds from the County to pay for a special election for a private entity. Mayor MacDougall has accepted the position as Honorary Chair of "Stop the Stadium Madness!" and is seeking support from the fellow Mayors of incorporated Miami-Dade County. Mayor Ed MacDougall hopes that the County's Mayor's unite in opposition.

·         Listed below are actions that Cutler Bay Mayor Ed MacDougall has taken or will take to demonstrate that he is fully committed:
·         Accepted the position of Honorary Chairman for the (ECO) Stop the Stadium Madness! This political committee will be the vehicle to be used to fight this waste of tax payer dollars 
·         Invested thousands of dollars from his personal assets to fund the outreach process because, as he states, he feels so strongly about this wasteful spending
·         Proposed and unanimously passed a resolution in the Town of Cutler Bay to oppose the  stadium renovation proposal (CLICK HERE to view a copy of that resolution)
·         Will speak in opposition to the stadium proposal and the special election when the issue comes before the Miami-Dade County Commission (he is looking for others willing to attend the Commission Hearing)
·         Cutler Bay Mayor Ed MacDougall is also scheduled to speak in opposition of the stadium proposal at the next League of Cities meeting scheduled for March 7, 2013 (A Dolphin's representative will also be speaking at the dinner)
CLICK HERE to view the official white paper of the Stop the Stadium Madness! organization. This provides details on the effort and reason they are engaged in the fight.   
Mayor/Chair Ed MacDougall is looking for support in a County wide opposition effort. He states that together, we all can convince our county commissioners and state officials that the stadium proposal is a bad idea. The Dolphins will spend millions of dollars to seek this 199 million dollar windfall.

Cutler Bay passed their resolution opposing the spending tax payer dollars for stadium renovations; and the use of general funds from the County to pay for a special election for a private entity on February 20, 2013. The resolution opposes House Bill 165 and Senate Bill 306 currently pending before the Florida Legislature.  

The Palmetto Bay council met on March 4, 2013, holding no discussion of this issue, even though the current mayor sponsored numerous resolutions regarding various legislative issues.  A bill is presently pending in the Florida Legislature and it is important to get on board, one way or another if Palmetto Bay is going to weigh in on this issue. Perhaps the vice-mayor or other member of the Palmetto Bay Village Council can move this item to discussion and action, if the council agrees to take a position on this matter.
The Florida legislature is in session from March 5 to May 13, 2013.  Once again, we are waiting to hear from Palmetto Bay. The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Palmetto Bay council is April 1, 2013.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Asteroids, meteors and now 2 upcoming comets. This will be a great year for those interested in astronomy. Next up: Comet Pan-Starrs

Two comets are beginning to make their way into our evening sky. How many of you will take an interest personally observing in these celestial events?  If so, are you ready for the next great evening fireworks show?

This is shaping up to be a very busy year for celestial events. This year has seen the expected close call from a passing asteroid with the unplanned meteor explosion over Russia, injuring thousands. The meteor certainly peaks some interest in many who formerly did not concern themselves with the possibility, or probability of Earth impacts during our lifetime.  See prior post of Feb 16, 2013, Close call documented. Meteor explodes over Russia.

First up is comet Pan-STARRS, which will possibly come into our view beginning March 7.  It will stay close to the horizon, so you'll need to get away from trees and buildings to see it

Comet ISON will pass by this year, but scientist is skeptical of "Comet of Century" predictions.

More information can also be found at space.com. where you can already find video and photos posted online of comet ISON: NASA Probe Snaps Photos of Potential 'Comet of the Century'

Comets are part of our solar system, leftovers from the original creation. Modern astronomers have determined that comets originate from three areas: near Jupiter; the Kuiper belt which is bounded by the orbit of Neptune; or from a surrounding sphere called the Oort Cloud.

Don’t forget, we are blessed with the Southern Cross Astronomical Society (SCAS) Star Gazing - Every Saturday evening from 8 to 10 pm at Miami-Dade County’s Sadowski Park, celestial observing at the free SCAS outdoor observatory where the public is welcome.

This is a great year to get interested in our night sky. It is a great family activity. Enjoy nature's night viewing over the next few months