Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Happy Halloween - Classic Peanuts trivia - guess the treat

Happy Halloween from our family to yours

Classic Peanuts trivia quiz - what "treat" does Charlie Brown usually receive at each house on Halloween?

Happy Halloween 2013 from Eugene, Alexandra and family.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pumpkin Patrol survives – for at least this year!

Sources have provided an update that our Palmetto Bay police are fully empowered to continue the Pumpkin Patrol tradition and continue with the great job they do at making our Halloween evenings safe!  This is great news for so many of us who want to continue the public tradition of an active Trick or Treat event throughout the village.  The question is which members of the council will be riding along with the police as if they planned to hold this event all along.
The Monsters at the Park event is a welcomed return to tradition as there was no Halloween movie in 2012. “Monster’s University” joins past Halloween movie night traditions like “Igor” held in the Halloween spirit at the Halloween Movie Night back on Friday, Oct. 30, in 2009.  That movie was sponsored by Gus Machado Ford, whose donations to the event included providing residents with microwave popcorn to bring to the park.
I like to see the family themed events continue in Palmetto Bay. Other past Halloween themed movie events included “Monster House” in 2010. The tradition really got its start in 2006 with the 1984 classic “Ghostbusters.”  Both Ghostbusters and “Night at the Museum” (I believe our second movie night) with both attracting overflow crowds of well over 500 (some counts had the “Night at the Museum” crowd over 700, a record still unmatched) with residents filling the larger green space located between the tennis courts and Coral Reef Drive.  The movie nights are presently held in a cozier venue, located at the large gazebo on the 77th Avenue side of Coral Reef Park.
Have a safe and fun Halloween.

Palmetto Bay photo sampling. Do any of these houses look like homes that would appreciate some neighborhood protection, aka the "Pumpkin Patrol" on Halloween night?*

I am posting some photos that demonstrate that the level of preparation that some of our neighbors have put into for Halloween, which has become a great tradition in Palmetto Bay (and yes, my Cutler Bay friends, in Cutler Bay as well).  I offer a sampling of some house decs which beg the questions: "Do you think these will be places to go on Halloween night? and "Do these homes (as all do) deserve the additional police protection of the "Pumpkin Patrol"? (Click "Read more" to view the photos.)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Additional thoughts on Palmetto Bay, Pumpkin Patrol and public safety. Just who wants to replace the Halloween tradition in PBay? Palmetto Bay should support, rather than try to replace traditional holiday celebrations.

I spoke with several of my neighbors while they were setting up their Halloween decorations over the weekend.  The predominate activities for this last weekend were the UM home game against Wake Forest (I don’t know what make us sweat more, the heat at the game or the last minute comeback), as well as the two big TV games: FSU Saturday evening and the Dolphin game on Sunday. Many people were at their children’s soccer practices and games or birthday parties.
Which bring me to my point. One of my neighbors suggested, and it does strike me as odd that the village would try to “replace” ‘Pumpkin Patrol with activities based at a single Palmetto Bay park, adding there is no way the village could hold an event for the entire village and guests who come into the village for a typical Halloween.  One neighbor suggested that the movie night would be better set not on a school night; stating it should have been held on the prior Friday or Saturday evening.  Another neighbor commented that it would be ill-advised to not have ‘Pumpkin Patrol’, the enhanced police, as there will be many kids going door to door seeking candy, regardless of whether there is a movie at the park. Yes, Palmetto Bay has traditionally enjoyed Halloween. OCPC has its traditional Fall Festival alternative to Trick or Treating.
The debate continued.  A friend came up to Alexandra and I at breakfast Sunday morning asking point blank if this is a plan by the current mayor and council to corral the kids and get these little monsters off the streets, so they are not making noise and bothering people by ringing door bells and soliciting handouts from hapless homeowners who may not appreciate the interruption of the quiet enjoyment of their homes! (Ah, sarcasm, or so I suspect.  However, when I did repeat this theory back to one neighbor, I was met with a “hmmm, let me think about that” rather than a dismissive laugh).
My goal as the first mayor of Palmetto Bay was not to replace or redirect activities, but to try to nurture and support the existing culture while trying to enhance our quality of life. Many people in our community have developed significant traditional activities. Many play golf or tennis, and/or support our kids as they engage in scouting, dance, drama, academic or sports activities.  That is why we fought hard and built library building to attract the County; an amphitheater, added walking paths and gazebos to parks and even more parks including a dog park.  Why? Because we did a master plan and that is what people wanted. 
So then who wants to ‘replace’ the traditional Halloween in Palmetto Bay?  It does strike me as unfair and unwise to stop the added police patrols on a very busy and traditional fun-filled evening – Halloween.  Trick or treating was an event that I enjoyed as a child, was disappointed to see it nearly die in the late 80s and 90s and was pleased to see it regain resurgence in Palmetto Bay. My mother still sees less than a handful of kids at Halloween, if any at all.  That is sad. We have parties here and travel in groups in Palmetto Bay.  I would like to see this family-friendly event recognized and nurtured here her in Palmetto Bay.
Happy Halloween to my friends, neighbors and fellow residents – and yes there will be candy for the trick or treaters on our street.  And, by the way, both our dogs, Ginger and Timmy will be in costume.  I look forward to another once a year night of fun.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

‘Monsters in the Park’ event is village’s treat for Halloween - But the Council must support our police to maintian safe streets for everyone

‘Monsters in the Park’ event is village’s treat for Halloween | Palmetto Bay
Say it ain't so! The mayor and council cannot allow neighborhood safety to end, but it looks like 2013 will be the year that the Pumpkin Patrol ends. We were close last year, but there was a last-minute reprieve thanks to then councilman Howard Tendrich, see: Pumpkin Patrol Update - public concern results in action.

I raise the concern again this year because it is stated by a village official that there will be a "replacement" (as opposed to "additional thereto") to the Pumpkin Patrol.  And although I welcome the ‘Monster in the Park’ event, it should be viewed as an additional event, not one that replaces neighborhood traditions.  See: ‘Monsters in the Park’ event is village’s treat for Halloween. 

We cannot cancel the annual added police protection.  Halloween in the neighborhoods will happen and we need to maintain safe streets for both the participants and homeowners.  Palmetto Bay residents have our long standing tradition of individual and neighborhood/block party celebrations going on Halloween night (a school night, Thursday, this year) as well as the parties held weekends that pre-and post-date October 31.

I am perplexed.  Mary S. Fernandez, the village’s special events supervisor, is mentioned as promoting this  "Monsters in the Park" event as “a safe and fun alternative to traditional trick-or-treating with a movie showing.”  This same article clearly advises us, the members of the public, that this event is in fact "... a replacement for the 'Pumpkin Patrol' done in previous years because it was difficult to get to all areas of the village in a timely fashion." (emphasis added). But what if some unintended "monsters" decide to make an unwelcome appearance in our quiet little community,i.e. Halloween evening vandalism or other nasty tricks?

And just who had difficulty getting to all areas of the village in a timely fashion?  Certainly not the police.  I guess it is too hard for the current elected officials to support the traditional events and reach out to everyone, so are they instead bringing the photo op to the village officials and partners, who are scheduled per Ms. Fernandez to be distributing candies and stickers for all trick-or-treaters at the park.

The Pumpkin Patrol is not a photo op, but it apparently has been viewed by the current administration solely as one.  The Pumpkin Patrol was an initiative I first supported with our Village Policing Unit which has a simple idea: Palmetto Bay would have 3 times the normal police on duty to participate; cruising the neighborhoods, making frequent stops along the way to hand out candy and safety glow sticks for our youngsters.  The Pumpkin Patrol has certainly assisted in fewer tricks and more treats in Palmetto Bay. 

I say be safe and have fun this Halloween. There is room both for the police to perform their Pumpkin Patrol and have an outstanding Halloween Village event at the park. But there should be no room, nor tolerance, for sacrificing safety for those who choose to continue to participate in Halloween in their traditional manner.  I trust that Our Village Police Commander, Major Greg Truitt will not let our Palmetto Bay residents and neighborhoods go it on their own this year without the added police.  Major Truitt: There is still time to schedule and assign a 2013 Pumpkin Patrol.  After all, it should be about safety, not photo ops.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Tropical Audubon Society (TAS) native plant sale. Invest in your backyard oasis and TAS

Native Plant Sale: Create your Urban Oasis!
This Sat. - Sun., October 26 & 27 | 5530 Sunset Drive 

The next Tropical Audubon Society (TAS) native plant sale will be held this Saturday through Sunday, October 26 & 27 at the Doc Thomas House,5530 Sunset Drive.

Experts will be available to educate those interested in creating a wildlife oasis in their backyard.

TAS Members may also participate in an advance members-only early bird, pre-sale on Friday, Oct. 25 from 4:00- 7:00 p.m.  (TAS membership is $20).
The parking entrance is on 55th avenue.
TAS will be open on:
Sat.,   9 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Sun.,  9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Pet Friendly Howloween this Sunday, Oct 27, noon to 5 pm at Pinecrest Gardens

Pinecrest Gardens is literally going to the dogs this Sunday.  Admission is $3 for adults and $2 for Children 2 - 17.

benefiting Friends Forever Humane Society
CLICK HERE for more information located on the FFR official website.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

NCAA judgment day update. No Appeal. University of Miami Leadership Addresses NCAA Report

The UM will NOT appeal the penalties announced by the NCAA today, Tuesday, October 22, 2013.  The University of Miami has issued a report concerning the NCAA sanctions.  Click the following headline to view University of Miami Leadership Addresses NCAA Report.

Excerpts from the statement include:

The University accepts the findings and the additional penalties as detailed in the Committee on Infractions report and will not appeal. The University is grateful to the Committee for a fair and thorough hearing.

As a proud member of the NCAA, the University of Miami remains committed to its fellow institutions and to the core principles that we—the members of the association—have always believed in.

To read more about the NCAA Investigation of the University of Miami, visit

This report also includes detailed statements from the Chair of the Board of Trustees Leonard Abess, President Donna E. Shalala, and Director of Athletics Blake James.  Go follow the link above to review the statements

The NCAA sanctions are announced: Miami Hurricanes to lose scholarships but avert bowl ban - UM -

Miami Hurricanes to lose scholarships but avert bowl ban - UM -
The penalties are more severe than I would have expected under the circumstances, but it is reported in this Miami herald that the penalties are “in the tolerable range.” At least it appears over.

Here are the sanctions are reported in the Miami Herald:

·         Loss of nine scholarships for the football team over a three-year probationary period (2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17)

·         NO postseason ban.

·         UM basketball will lose three scholarships, one each for the next three years.

There were several former coaches and employees who were individually subject to the NCAA proceeding.  Here is how they reportedly fared:

·         Former UM and current University of Missouri basketball coach Frank Haith was suspended for the first five games of the 2013-14 season. He also must attend an NCAA Regional Rules seminar at the end of the 2013-14 academic year.

·         Former UM football assistants Clint Hurtt and Aubrey Hill and former basketball assistant Jorge Fernandez each received a two-year show cause order in effect from Tuesday through Oct. 21, 2015 – meaning each is effectively banned from coaching in college for two years. Hurtt, a current assistant at Louisville, was also penalized by his university, the NCAA said. Hill is the current head coach at Miami Carol City High.

·         Miami Herald reported that it is unclear whether former UM basketball assistant Jake Morton received any penalties

What now?  UM has 15 days to submit in writing if it intends to appeal any or all of the sanctions and/or the findings of violations, according to NCAA bylaws. The Herald reports that a source said UM will not appeal the penalties.
And – Nevin Shapiro, remains in jail, serving a 20-year prison sentence for a $930 million Ponzi scheme where he can no longer slime anyone. In reviewing the Miami Herald reports, it appears that at least part of Felon Shapiro’s ill-motives against UM may have been personal anger because “once the players became pros, they turned their back on me. It made me feel like a used friend.”  Could felon Shapiro been angry that these players failed to invest in his scheme?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Bring it on Undead! Hungry Animals Would Take Down a Zombie Invasion | Smart News

Hungry Animals Would Take Down a Zombie Invasion | Smart News
I don’t know about you, but I am going to sleep better.  Read (October 16, 2013) reports: Hungry Animals Would Take Down a Zombie Invasion.

It appears that we only need to shelter in place or at worst, be able to run faster than you, for about 5 -6 hours. 

Apparently if a zombie virus ever did begin turning humans into flesh-craving animated corpses, Mother Nature would quickly quell the invasion, the article allows naturalist David Mizejewski to make the point that in the wild, flesh is considered a delicacy, and, to many a hungry creature, zombies would be walking buffets rather than menaces.

I'm glad to receive the reassurances.  Read the entire article, if you have the stomach for it.

A fine example of teamwork and leadership. Coral Gables mayor, attorney talk with state pols about FPL lines - Coral Gables -

Coral Gables mayor, attorney talk with state pols about FPL lines - Coral Gables -

The theory is that there is strength in numbers.  That is one reason why I started the South Dade Municipal Coalition with Pinecrest and Cutler Bay leaders. 

Teamwork means that you assist others on their items of importance, at least if you expect support from your fellow team members on issues important to us.  Palmetto Bay remains little more than a spectator.  See: Palmetto Bay is missing in action on this important fight to protect the quality of life for our South Dade Area, FPL’s plan to place transmission lines along U.S. 1.  Again, Kudos to Pinecrest Mayor Cindy Lerner and South Miami Mayor Dr. Phillip Stoddard who have shown true leadership and dogged determination in this tough effort. Please also see FPL Transmission Line Administrative Hearing begin today (After 4 years of preparation) - and without Palmetto Bay.

No one is against power lines; it is all about when we finally get the power lines where they belong: underground. When if not now? How long do we wait? Hurricane Andrew was 1992 and there has not been much, if in fact any, progress on undergrounding the power lines. And nothing will happen until enough people get involved and are willing to stand up politically and financially to work for positive change.

So then, why does Palmetto Bay continue to have their collective heads in the sand on this one? A two minute courtesy speech, reading off talking points given you moments earlier by others is insufficient.  Teammates need to be on the same page and push together. Palmetto Bay remains stuck in neutral on this effort. There is occasional lip service, but no action.

Coral Gables has been a very active in the effort.  The Palmetto Bay mayor and council need to see the significance of this issue.  Read the Howard Cohen report in the Miami Herald: Coral Gables mayor, attorney talk with state pols about FPL lines.  Coral Gables Mayor Jim Cason and City Attorney Craig Leen traveled to Tallahassee earlier this month to meet members of Gov. Rick Scott’s cabinet who will vote on Florida Power & Light’s plan to run two towering power-line corridors through Miami-Dade County.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Photo of the Day - Trader Joe's opens in Pinecrest

I will venture over shortly to see what all the advance excitement was about. Trader Joe's formally opened today, Friday, October 18, in Pinecrest.  This is the view from Datran II. I will be walking over from my office.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Not a moment too soon. I'm looking for relief. Read: Microsoft releasing Windows 8.1, a year in making - Technology -

LOS ANGELES: Microsoft releasing Windows 8.1, a year in making - Technology -
This is good news.  I am finally starting to make my peace with Windows 8, but I like my start button. My threshold question is who the heck thought it was a good idea to put Windows 8 on a NON-touch screen computer?

I hope to resolve my current personal lap top issues with the upgrade to Window 8.1, which, as reported, is a free update for current owners of Windows 8. It's available starting at 7 a.m. Thursday in New York.

We are told to “simply go to the Windows Store app to find it. It may take a few hours for updates to reach everyone.” Now I have to figure out the “Windows Store app” and learn why I may have to wait “hours” for it to reach me.  "App Store" = a new road block to simply going to a "website" and clicking on "downloads."

Computers with Windows 8.1 already installed will go on sale Friday local time. That's also when people will be able to buy stand-alone copies of Windows 8.1.

To be balanced, I loved Windows 95, so I know I am not resistant to change. We never upgraded to Windows ME or 98. My daughter had a Windows 7 OS and I did like that version.  Our family suffered absolutely none of the rumored problems of Windows Vista.  Windows 8 nearly made me chuck our PCs and move into Apple for home computing.

This will be my first experience upgrading an OS.  I am sure that my family is much like most non-computer geek households that only upgrade their OS through the purchase of new computer hardware.  Few are the good news stories from those who upgrade their operating systems on older equipment.

Upgrade here we come, feel free to send any helpful advice on the change.

Breakfast at Palmer. An open invitation to meet and discuss Palmer Trinity future plans

The Palmer Trinty School Board of Trustees invites everyone to a community breakfast to discuss their future plans.

Don't leave the discussion for others. It is time for you to get involved and be part of the solution. Forget the second hand information and political posturing (we have enough of that in Washington). Your attendance may make a difference.  Pictured below is an advertisement posted in the current Palmetto Bay News - Page 7, October 15-28, 2013, edition (CLICK HERE to view, go to bottom of page 7).

The breakfast will be held this Saturday, October 19, 2013, from 9:00 to 10:30 AM, in the Palmer Trinity School Gymnasium. Call (305) 969-4297 for official information.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Photo of the day - Good morning crocodile - the things you run across in Palmetto Bay

An interesting bike run on Sunday, Oct 13, 2013. Alex and I took the route less traveled and stopped by to say hello to one of the resident crocodiles. It appeared to be asleep, but then again, how many meals thought the same thing?

The diversity of area wildlife so accessible to our hometown is one of the perks of living here in Palmetto Bay, South Miami-Dade.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Village update: The potential for Fire Station Land; new green space and new homeowners coming to Palmetto Bay – on the site of the former Cutler Power plant

New neighbors in our near future? August 10, 2013: FPL's Cutler plant demolished. It was one heck of a morning wake up call. So when will us regular Palmetto Bay residents be brought up to date on the FPL plans for this location?

Look for homes to go into this site.  FPL is investigating selling off much of the property to be platted into homes, but retaining part of the property for the FPL power substation.

My suggestion is for the village to negotiate in good faith with FPL and work to obtain two things; land for the fire station as well as land for public green space. What about the existing picnic/party pavilion and BOAT RAMP! Exciting opportunities abound.

Maybe it is time for a scaled public master plan process for this area.

I would suggest that Palmetto Bay’s leadership notify neighbors and bring them in early to work out in advance any issues on fire station or park rather than creating last-minute controversy.  Be inclusive; don’t play this too close to the vest – let potential neighbors in on the plans earlier and work to gain support rather than subject them to surprise.

Palmetto Bay now has jurisdiction over the FPL site. Original County-imposed restrictions mandated into Palmetto Bay's Charter divested jurisdiction over the site so long as it was used as a power plant. It is no longer a power generating plant and, therefore, the restrictions no longer apply.  This is a good opportunity for this current Palmetto Bay council.

Still worth watching:  CLICK HERE to watch the channel 10 video of the final downfall of the Cutler Power plant located off Ludlum Rad, between 136 and 152 Streets.  The plant was first operational in 1949, but has been obsolete for years.  It is a landmark that won't be missed.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Deering Estate activity: Birdwalk - Tomorrow, Saturday, 10/12/13

The Deering Estate at Cutler is part of the Biscayne Bay IBA – Important Bird Area - recognized as a globally important habitat for the conservation of bird populations Are you anxious to cross the thick-billed vireo, mangrove cuckoo, or white-crowned pigeon off your life list? These are just 3 of the more than 170 species that can be found at the Deering Estate at Cutler. Enjoy a Bird Walk tomorrow, Saturday, October 12th from 7:30 am to 10:30 pm. Bird Walks are offered on the 2nd Saturday of the month and are free with regular Estate admission.

Bird Walk: 2nd Saturday of the month.  CLICK HERE for full and official details
7:30 am - 10:30 am
$15 per person – see note above regarding the info that Bird Walks are offered on the 2nd Saturday of the month and are free with regular Estate admission.

I’m a card carrying member of the Deering Estate (family membership), are you?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

St. Andrew Greek Orthodox Church - Greek Festival 2013

Please join us for another outstanding Miami event - Miami Greek Festival 2013, Nov 8 through 10.

Miami Greek Festival 2013

Mark your calendar and be there Friday, Saturday and Sunday
November 8th, 9th and 10th
11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.

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

Please click and view the links above for official information on the Miami Greek Festival ’13.  
Please join us for another outstanding Miami event.
GROUPON available!  CLICK HERE -  Miami Greek Festival - Kendall One-Day Festival Admission for Two or Four with Gyros at the Miami Greek Festival on November 8–10 (Half Off)

Saturday, October 5, 2013

UM Held hostage - 781 days. Can we replace the Federal shutdown with an NCAA shutdown

781 days and counting!

Feel free to correct me, but I calculate that it has been 781 days from August 16, 2011, the date I have that the Charles Robinson Article was published on Yahoo Sports until today, Saturday, October 5, 2013.  Yes, I mean it, UM Held Hostage.  2 years, 1 month, 19 days. This is a long time to be punished by a holding a big black cloud over one’s head, especially where UM has applied probably the harshest self-imposed penalties while we all wait for a NCAA to complete its so-called investigation and impose its ruling.

By the way, the NCAA has investigated and absolved itself for its own wrong doing, using an “outside” counsel. What happened since then?

More dates: UM did not receive the NCAA's Notice of Allegations from the NCAA until February 19, 2013.  The hearing was held beginning June 13, 2013.  What’s that been?  115 days or 3 months, 23 day. What are the tribunal members doing?  To each of them I ask: What do you call an order that is released from a tribunal more than 115 days after hearings? Answer: “Stale”  I can think of many courts and administrative agencies that would reverse an order delayed so long and possible rebuke the Judge for the delay in timely rendering.

How can student athletes properly concentrate on school and athletics while they wait for a decision that decides how much they pay for the sins of others long since departed?

Wish of the week: An end to the Federal shutdown to be replaced by an NCAA shutdown.   

NCAA Member schools need to start acting like participating members a/k/a directors over the NCAA, rather than subjects to a monarch and demand better from the NCAA. Any one of them could be next.

Friday, October 4, 2013

2013 Wine on Harvest Moon - don't miss this great event!

Make plans to attend one of Palmetto Bay’s “A” List events held annually by the Deering Estate Foundation: 2013 Wine on Harvest Moon.  This event is scheduled this year for Saturday, October 19, 2013:

Aussies, Kiwis and Didgeridoos at Deering’s Wine on Harvest Moon
Saturday, October 19, 2013
7:30 pm to 10:30 pm

Capacity is limited and tickets are: 
$150 General admission
$125 for Deering Estate Foundation Members

Proceeds from the event are dedicated to environmental conservation and historic preservation of the Deering Estate at Cutler.

CLICK HERE to view the official Deering Estate Foundation page for the 2013 Wine on Harvest Moon event.

This is a great event.  I encourage you to attend.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

POD - Dadeland Plaza working to dry out after the 10/2/13 deluge. Kendall, Pinecrest, Palmetto Bay and Cutler Bay areas hit hard.

Photo evidence taken from Datran of impact on area businesses working to dry out and open for business.
Did you get your text alert about the urban flood advisory?  I did.  Many did, make sure you have signed up.  A flash flood warning was issued overnight until 4:30 a.m. for areas.  The flood advisory was scheduled to remain in effect for portions of Miami-Dade until 11:15 a.m. Thursday, including Kendall and South Miami.