Friday, February 28, 2014

Palmetto Bay’s celebration 2014 picnic – an enduring legacy. Thank you volunteers, staff and fellow residents..

Come to Coral Reef Park on Saturday March 1, 2014, and join your friends and family in celebrating the 12th year of incorporation.  It is a time for celebration and family fun, as well as a time to remember how this event came charging out of the gate as a major village event from its very first year.  

I would be remiss if I did not give credit where credit is due, giving a huge “Thank You” to the special events committee set up under the original council, an outstanding group of volunteers.  The initial chair was Jacquie Sosa who was an anchor with Channel 10.  This position was held later by Jeanne Rothfield and finally Donna Coughlin, who served as our last chairperson.  The special events committee and staff, all working as part of the team under the initial village council, created events and interests including rides, city information, educational topics, wholesome family events, dunk tank -raising thousands of dollars at no expense to village taxpayers - for charity, & local school participation! Come on, who did not enjoy dunking me to raise money for charity?

The Parks Department, which has worked with our committee, continues to organize this event, even though there is no longer a citizen special events committee. Many people still volunteer Pat and Jim Gladieux still take charge of the ever-popular corn on the cob.

I look forward to the use of the I-Bus for the historic preservation committee’s tours, which were started under Palmetto Bay’s first Planning Director, Arlene Weintraub and the committee. We all enjoy watching the school children performing and of course, the staff of the Planning and Parks Department as well as our police work well to continue to make this event a success. I was proud to work with Palmetto High School to start the annual Mayor’s Cup game (can you name the winner and score from that historic first game?)

The yearly events have seen helicopters land in the field and firefighters come in their trucks, the start of the student safety and fingerprinting programs. The Voice of the Heat served in past years as emcee. Past years has seen well over 5,000 people for a picnic. We came in from year one with significant corporate donations from corporate neighbors including Starbucks, Home Depot, Dade Paper, local banks and Publix, we have had breaks on the food and coverage of costs through donations!

The efforts and impact that you and the Special Events Committee have been successful and has left an outstanding celebration legacy that continues through this day.  Thank you all who served at any time in the past on the Special Events Committee.

So please make sure you attend with friends and family on March 1. Look for me and say hi. Let’s continue the good will and let’s all work together to continue the vision of Palmetto Bay.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Fire Station will take a grass roots effort to get to resolution. Join us and others in this effort!

Such a shame.  I am compelled to post this update to the blog as I, like so many other residents, keep waiting for a substantive update from Shelley relative to the two fire station locations along Old Cutler Road. 

I am still trying to figure out why this issue had been neglected by the current mayor and council for so long. By way of past history, it was reported, including one by Hal Feldman, back on 9/23/2009, that the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill sponsored by (then) Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart, R-Miami, to allow for the construction of a new fire station in Palmetto Bay.  The bill would allow the USDA to sell about two acres of land on the east side of Southwest 67th Avenuesbetween Southwest 136th and 144th Street (within Palmetto Bay), to Miami-Dade County to build the fire station. This was the result of hard work, both locally and in Washington DC by the original Village Council in cooperation with the County officials and this (temporarily) put Palmetto Bay, Pinecrest and parts of both Coral Gables and Cutler Bay close to getting a new fire station.  Back in 2002, we could see the life saving proposition as it would reduce response times to the areas.  We were close in 2009, then came the change in Palmetto Bay administration and we heard nothing about finalizing the Fire Station for years. Years of hard work and set up appear squandered as we finally learned in late 2013 that there is a need to start over from scratch. That is unfortunate, given that this is a critical life-safety issue.

I am pleased that the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department invited residents to a public meeting they set up at Palmetto Bay's Village Hall back on December 11, 2013 (CLICK HERE to view the official notification).  The purpose of this meeting was to discuss M-DFR Station 62. Attendees then learned that this may be a 5 to 8 year project and that no specific site has in fact been selected.   This is in stark contrast to 2009.

I am very disappointed. This is a huge step backward.  Back in 2009, not that long ago, everything appeared to allow the County to purchase the land and construct a fire station. Congressman Diaz-Balart called back then for immediate resolution. Miami-Dade County had indicated it would build a 7,000 square foot fire station that will house eight full-time firefighters and will conduct 24/7 operations.  Check out Palmetto Bay’s official e-currents for September 2009 for a full update from back then then see what a difference years of neglect makes. 

I had been prodding current mayor Stanczyk for years and back in June asked about the USDA location Fire Station - also see  Nov. 30, 2012; A holiday wish list for the new Palmetto Bay council | Palmetto Bay. Wherein I asked for "The status of two fire stations that the original Palmetto Bay village council worked with Federal, State and Local (County Commission and Fire Department) officials." I should have picked up from the deafening silence from Mayor Stanczyk that the news would not be good,  and this was proven not only by the lack of response from her, but in the failed panicked rush in late 2013 to pick up a long-neglected project apparently on life-support if not now dead.
As I said back in 2009, “Nothing is more important than life safety.''  This is true neighborhood protection.

Well, the December 11, 2013, meeting is now firmly in our rear view mirror, forgotten by many, but not by me.  So what has happened since County Fire reached out and provided their update? There has been no comment or acknowledgement of plan of action from Palmetto Bay officials. The mayor appears only to have moved onto a new road show, the Downtown redevelopment. I would like to see a completion of at least one new fire station before we start this process once again of getting close, then dropping the project and moving on to the next headline generating project. Is this past behavior a foreshadowing of what we can expect for the DRTF, a public effort currently creating public attention, but to be dropped once attention wanes and the 2014 elections are over?

It is clear that the effort falls upon all of us to step up to reinvigorate the fire station effort and bring additional fire service to Palmetto Bay.  And we all should get involved and stay involved in the DRTF.

Join your neighbors. This could save a life. And all these projects will impact our quality of life. 

And what would I like to see?  Completion of the two Old Cutler Fire Stations - north and south locations. It is time for a full accounting from Shelley as to the actual efforts made to date, rather than simply tell how important this effort is - everyone agrees that the increased fire service is important.  Less talk/more do, fewer update meetings and providing proof of hard work and actual progress.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A long time dining location bites the dust. Betty's Best Burgers location meets the demo crew.

Things you take note of while riding down the South Dade Bike Greenway to work: History has closed on this location. The demolition crews are currently working over the former Betty's Best Burgers location.  I have no knowledge as to what, if anything, will replace it.

I ate here with the family when it was the Black Angus, then Fuddrucker's and finally Betty's Best Burgers. Did this location ever serve as anything else? 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Alternative transportation to work day from Palmetto Bay to Datran - Friday, 2/21/14

The morning fell together. The car is in for repair and I have a beautiful new model loaner car at home to use. So what do I do? I mixed business casual [there is a difference in my office from 'actual casual' and 'business casual' (as it should be)]. It is nice and cool morning (78 degrees at start) and who among us couldn't use more exercise? So, I bicycled into work today. It was a brief and very pleasant 20 minutes, which is almost too few for aerobic exercise.
Do I really want to attempt this, biking to work?
I took 82 Avenue to 120th, up US1 to 112 and crossed US1 at 112 to ride the bike lane in the remainder of the way to the Datran Center. OK, the computer bag work across by back may have been a bit over the top, but it was still a fun, healthy and different way to get to work on a Friday.
That is NOT a bike in our file room - don't rat me out!
I am here.  The real test will be how much fun it is to navigate the Friday rush hour drive home.  Have a great and healthy weekend everyone!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Devo's Bob Casale Dies At 61 | Billboard

Devo's Bob Casale Dies At 61 | Billboard

Horrible news for all those DEVO-tees.  Billboard (and many other news outlets) reports that Devo guitarist Bob Casale died Monday. Casale was 61.

He was known by fans as "Bob 2" since he played alongside guitarist Bob Mothersbaugh, the
brother of Devo co-founder Mark Mothersbaugh.

"As an original member of Devo, Bob Casale was there in the trenches with me from the beginning,"
his brother Gerald Casale said in a Facebook posting. "He was my level-headed brother, a solid performer and talented audio engineer, always giving more than he got."

Monday, February 17, 2014

Happy Presidents' Day - 2014. A short history.

Presidents' Day is celebrated on the third Monday in February. Sadly, by some, it is better known commercially as the Presidents' Day Sale where we celebrate and save with great deals! Providing for an extra 15 - 20% off plus free shipping (online)!
A short History of Presidents’ Day
Presidents’ Day was first celebrated in the 1880s, with the birthday of George Washington was first celebrated as a federal holiday.
Controversy: long weekends versus recognizing the actual date:
In 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Bill in 1968. This moved federal holidays to Mondays. The intent was to provide for long weekends. There was opposition to this move, by those who believe that those holidays should be celebrated on the dates they actually commemorate.
And then there was one national day for all presidents:
How many of us remember celebrating both Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays as separate events? Presidents' Day became the officially celebrated holiday in 1971, to honor the birthdays of both Washington (February 22) and Abraham Lincoln (February12). Note that Abraham Lincoln’s birthday was celebrated in many states, but was never an official national holiday (I wonder which states celebrated? Extra points awarded for those who can answer)

Friday, February 14, 2014

Amateur cell phone video catches a fireball over Maine, 2/12/14

Has anyone ever seen a UFO?
Great amateur video.

Space junk?  well then, a little vintage music video to honor its appearance is in order:

Happy Valentine’s Day - 2014

See for interesting history on a worldwide holiday, all in the name of St. Valentine. Who is this saint? The site describes where these traditions come.  Click on the link to find out about the history of this centuries-old holiday. interesting factoid: Approximately 150 million Valentine's Day cards are exchanged annually, making Valentine's Day the second most popular card-sending holiday after Christmas.

I have to now ask how many e-cards are now traded? (thank you family and friends)

[Editor's note: The description of this holiday would not be complete without mentioning the more recent tradition of special themed donuts created by the national donut chains(4th of July, Halloween, etc., but in this case,  special Valentine's donuts (noting also, that donuts are not recent)] 

 [OK, link-lovers, here is some historical reading on the modern donut: The History of the Doughnut, A look back at the men, women and machines that made America’s favorite treat possible, by David A. Taylor, Smithsonian Magazine, March 1998 – don’t spend too much time reading or your eyes may start to glaze over]

Origins of Valentine's Day: A Pagan Festival in February 

While some believe that Valentine's Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine's death or burial--which probably occurred around A.D. 270--others claim that the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine's feast day in the middle of February in an effort to "Christianize" the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.
Valentine's Day: A Day of Romance 

Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, though written Valentine's didn't begin to appear until after 1400. The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. (The greeting is now part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England.) *** 

Typical Valentine's Day Greetings 

In addition to the United States, Valentine's Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia. In Great Britain, Valentine's Day began to be popularly celebrated around the 17th century. By the middle of the 18th, it was common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes, and by 1900 printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology. ****

Thursday, February 13, 2014

What’s happening at the Wings Over Miami Air Museum? Feb 2014 updates

CLICK HERE to read the February 2014 edition of its e-updates, "The Flight Log" - current updates include:

Did you make it to the Fly-by-Wire event?

Veterans Dinner brought out WWII veterans
Saturday, February 1, 2014

Ros Lehtinen Honors WASP Fran Sargent

Don't forget the Ford Tri-motor
February 13th-16th at LandMark Aviation

Wings Over Miami Air Museum is located at the Kendall - Tamiami Executive Airport
14710 SW 128th St
Miami, FL 33196
(305) 233-5197

Museum Hours
Wednesday - Sunday
10:00 am to 5:00 pm

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

2014 Walking4Friendship event -Feb 23. Request from Grant & Michael Miller to participate

A special request from Grant & Michael Miller:

It's not every day you see a child or teenager with special needs being embraced and accepted for who they are. But at the Friendship Circle of Miami it is a part of every day life for many special needs children living in Miami. The Friendship Circle provides their "special friends" a chance to learn and socialize in an environment that not only accepts them, but celebrates their spirit. The Friendship Circle of Miami offers many different programs and services to these special children and their families, and by incorporating their teenage volunteers a simple act of friendship is developed and lasts for many years!

You see, the spirit of a child with special needs is one of loving friendship. Their ability to love others and see the world through innocent, nonjudgmental eyes is a quality that most people only hope to one day achieve. This quality is a gift given every day between the volunteers and their "special friends" at the Friendship Circle.

The work of the Friendship Circle of Miami has inspired us and touched our life in many ways, and that is why I have chosen to participate in OUR Walking4Friendship 2014 3K Walk and Community Carnival on February 23, 2014. We am writing today to ask you for a donation. By donating to the Walking4Friendship fundraising event, you can join us and the Friendship Circle of Miami in our mission to open loving arms to our "special friends". 100% of your donation will go toward their programs servicing children and teenagers with special needs and their families. Your feelings of making a genuine difference in a child's life will last a lifetime.

To donate to our team please click the link below. Your response to our request would really mean a great deal to us, but more importantly, it will mean a great deal to families in this community who really need this relief and support.

If you are in the area on February 23, 2014, please come to the Walking4Friendship event with your family and friends! And if possible, please continue to share this email with your friends and family and open the opportunities of more support for this amazing community organization!

Thank you so much!!

In Friendship,

Grant & Michael Miller

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Is it responsible to promote a redevelopment plan by crying "the (financial) sky is falling" in Palmetto Bay?

Every truth has two sides; it is as well to look at both, before we commit ourselves to either.
Is Palmetto Bay on schedule to deplete our reserves in 5 years?  Comments were made at the special council meeting held just prior to the regular scheduled February council meeting from 2 residents (the only speakers) who were concerned about the process and how money is being spent. The financial model still has yet to be properly presented. 

The answer appears to be that there is a slide show of renderings, which is a sort of dreamer's recitation of what could be, but no hard numbers.  Neither private investors or a bank would lend money based on renderings. They want to see a solid business plan with credible, objective numbers before they would invest money. Why should Palmetto Bay taxpayer dollars be spent based upon a much lower standard? After all, it is our money.

The following was taken from the official village web site (as of Feb 6, 2014):

BLOG #2 - Sept. 5, 2013
Downtown Outlined to Local Business Association...
When it comes to the future of Palmetto Bay, there is little doubt that the finances of the Village need to change. Several independent studies estimate that within five years, Palmetto Bay will have no reserves and will be forced to raise taxes and cut services. So, right now is the right time to face facts and plan for fiscally responsible change. No matter what side of the political fence you sit on, the adage "You’ve got to spend money to make money" rings true... And that, plus a grand plan, may just be the saving grace for Palmetto Bay. (Emphasis added)

View the actual website comments by CLICKING HERE.

It is one thing to take action on redevelopment because you think it is the right thing to do, but it is shameful to raise support based upon a threat that Palmetto Bay will fold financially if we all do not support this ever-evolving plan.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

6 more weeks of winter! Punxsutawney Phil says so.

Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this morning and proclaimed another 6 weeks of winter. A big disappointment on Superbowl Sunday for all northerners.  Another fun Weather Channel coverage as Punxsutawney Phil provided his wisdom on Groundhogs day 2014

But did Phil make the safe choice? Not many will fault him for winter ending earlier than promised. 

Happy Groundhogs Day.

Morning update: Click the headline to view the coverage online in the Miami Herald: Handlers: Punxsutawney Phil predicts longer winter By Gene J. Puskar and Michael Rubinkam, The Associated Press