Friday, May 30, 2014

Is your family hurricane plan updated? Ready or not, the 2014 hurricane season has arrived.

What have you done to prepare for this year? A single storm can cause more than just dollars in damages.  It can cost human lives. We know from experience that people are more likely to be safer and have the ability to recover more quickly when they are properly prepared. 

The 2014 hurricane season is here (June 1, 2014). You should have your disaster preparedness kit and have a plan to keep your family safe.  Is your insurance coverage adequate? Those living near the coast should be familiar with the applicable evacuation routes.  Everyone needs to take personal responsibility for yourself, your family and your pets.  By making proper preparations, you will allow the first responders to focus on helping the most vulnerable residents.  

I have posted several important links below for hurricane / Disaster Preparedness information from FEMA, Miami-Dade County, Cutler Bay, Pinecrest and Palmetto Bay in one location for you.  There is also information on how to register with Miami-Dade Alerts, a wireless emergency alerting system.  Register for this free service and receive local weather and hurricane alerts to your computer or cell phone.

Town of Cutler Bay Hurricane Preparedness Page
HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS Page - important links 

Please take the time to review Palmetto Bay on-line –
the Village of Palmetto Bay Disaster Preparedness Guide: 

Village of Pinecrest Hurricane Preparedness Page
HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS Page - important links
Listen to Pinecrest Radio on your car radio at 1590 AM. The station regularly broadcasts announcements and, during an emergency, will provide important information to Pinecrest residents. 

Miami-Dade County’s Emergency pages – Hurricane preparedness:

What about your pets?  Pet Disaster Preparedness 
Miami-Dade County has resources available online for Emergency planning for your pets:

Download the tip sheet from Miami-Dade Animal Services, Disaster Preparedness - Animal Supplies Checklist:

FEMA - Federal Emergency Management Agency. U.S. Department of Homeland Security: Plan and prepare for a disaster: 

Miami-Dade Alerts 
Miami-Dade County has some important resources to help keep you informed and prepared, like the free Hurricane Guide and Miami-Dade Alerts, a wireless emergency alerting system.  Internet users can register for this free service and receive local weather and hurricane alerts. 
I encourage everyone to register online at

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday - May 31 through June 8, 2014

Be prepared! Don't allow lack of significant storm activity over the last few years to lull you into misplaced complacency. Preparing now can save you headaches if storm warnings do go up.  Proper preparation will allow you to avoid the lines and possible short supply that will occur if storm warnings go up as well as provide peace of mind that you are ready, even if we have yet another (fingers crossed) storm free season.

The holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, May 31, 2014, and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, June 8, 2014. During this holiday period, qualifying items related to hurricane preparedness are exempt from sales tax. 

Please take the time to review the Florida Department of Revenue web page to view the details on qualifying items related to hurricane preparedness are exempt from sales tax. 

Again, the sales tax window is short, just from 12:01 a.m. this Saturday, May 31, 2014, ending at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, June 8, 2014. For more information, see the following:

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Photo of the Day - Maj. Flinn transferring into the Palmetto Bay post

Brother Walter Flinn, Major, US Army, transfers in to the American Legion post 133 - Palmetto Bay, on the 2014 Memorial Day remembrance.  Major Flinn has served 3 tours of duty overseas to date; 2 in Iraq and the last in Afghanistan.
 A big thank you to all members of our armed services who answered the call to serve.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Poetic insight in preparation for this Memorial Day: The remembrance poppy and the poem In Flanders Fields.

"In Flanders Fields" was written on May 3, 1915 by Lt. Col. John McCrae who was a physician, poet, author, artist and soldier serving in World I. Flanders is a region of Europe that comprises parts of Belgium and France. This poem resulted in the remembrance poppy becoming one of the world's most recognized memorial symbols for soldiers who have died in conflict.

This poem can be found online at
In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
 The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Memorial Day - 2014

Memorial Day 2014 is Monday, May 26.  This is a day to honor the brave men and women who gave up their lives in defense of our ideals and country. We owe our peace and democracy to them.

Please observe a minute of silence at 3:00pm local time to pay tribute to Americans who've died in military service.

Visit's Memorial Day page to learn about the origins of this federal holiday; read veterans' stories; find patriotic songs; get tips on barbecue, boating, and swimming safety; and more!

Brief History:  The first Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868, by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. On Memorial Day, we honor the men and women in uniform who gave their lives in service to our Nation.  We must continue to remember the sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers who have lost their lives on our behalf.  May they rest in peace.  Thank you. 
Memorial Day is celebrated at Arlington National Cemetery each year with a ceremony in which a small American flag is placed on each grave. Traditionally, the President or Vice President lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The occasion is also marked in almost every State on the last Monday in May. 
Congress established the National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m., local time, on Memorial Day, asking Americans wherever they are to pause in an act of national unity. The Moment does not replace traditional Memorial Day events; rather it is an act of national unity in which all Americans, alone or with family and friends, honor those who died for our freedom.  
The flag should be flown at half staff until noon on this Memorial Day on all buildings, grounds and naval vessels throughout the United States, and in all areas under its jurisdiction and control. All people of the United States are requested to display the flag at half-staff from their homes for the customary period.

Questions about how and when to properly display the US Flag?  One of many online resources: E-Gov - How to Properly Display the American Flag

Thursday, May 22, 2014

A unique family nature produced event: Meteor shower to light up Memorial Day weekend - Miami-Dade -

Meteor shower to light up Memorial Day weekend - Miami-Dade -
There is no admission fee.  Mother nature is putting on a free family time for you night owls (or very early risers).  As reported in the Miami Herald: there will be a never-before-seen meteor shower will light up the night Friday night/Saturday morning.

Between 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. is the best time to witness the May Camelopardalids meteor shower, according to NASA.

The comet dust shower could outshine the Perseid meteor showers, which peak in August.

More than 200 meteors per hour are expected to shoot from the comet this weekend. But the shower storm could be unpredictable since it will occur for the first time, said Dr. Lester Shalloway, president of the Southern Cross Astronomical Society.

Reports are that we can expect clear nighttime skies.  There is only a 15 percent chance of clouds that night, this according to the National Weather Service.

To get a full view of the shower, Shalloway recommends, getting out of the city.
“You don't need any equipment,” Shalloway said. “Just lie there and look up.”

The Southern Cross Astronomical Society will open its site at 23325 SW 217th Ave. in Homestead to the public Friday night for the shower. 

for additional information, please review the information on the official Southern Cross Astronomical Society website which notes: Possible Meteor Shower, Saturday, May 24, 2014:
Description In the early morning hours of Saturday, May 24, the Earth will pass through the debris field left behind by a small comet known as P/209 LINEAR. Astronomers are predicting that this interaction may result in a brief but intense burst of meteor activity that could range from dozens to hundreds of meteors per hour. Nothing is certain, but many mathematical models are predicting that this could be the most intense meteor shower in more than a decade.

Read more here:

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Photos of the day - taking the time to appreciate nature in Palmetto Bay

There are too many good pictures to choose from today for the 'photo of the day' so I posted several. 

It was another wonderful morning to be out bicycling in Palmetto Bay today (Saturday, May 17, 2014).  This all is too good to miss.  Take the time to get out and see how blessed we are to have so much, so close for us to enjoy:
The wading birds are fishing for their breakfast (taken 5-17 at Deering's People Dock)
Sleeping in - PBay's resident crocodile.
How many other communities boast so much nature in their community?
Good advice
Bridge within Deering. This is a prime spot to for walkers, joggers and bicyclists.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

A most unusual event, but a warning to be wary: Crocodile attacks dog in Key Largo

Crocodile attacks dog in Key Largo
Click the link above to read the online Miami Herald article from or Crocodile attacks dog in Key Largo (I have posted some excerts from this article below):
The story is about pit bulldog named Tyson that escaped from an unusual crocodile attack in a Key Largo canal Tuesday.  The American crocodile -- an aggressive juvenile male measuring about 5 feet, 6 inches -- was captured by state wildlife agents for relocation. Dog owner Emilie Stewart said wildlife agents told her: "If it was a smaller dog or a bigger crocodile, Tyson would not have survived."
Small or not, this is one tough dog.  Though it was bitten and pulled under, but turned to snap at the toothy reptile and broke free.
Lindsey Hord, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission biologist in charge of dealing with South Florida's nuisance alligators and crocodiles indicated that "Usually crocodiles don't try to go after an animal bigger than they are," 
While there are no confirmed attacks on humans by the normally docile American crocodile, Hord cautioned residents "not to be ignorant of the possibilities."
Key Largo has the highest density of American crocodiles outside of Everglades National Park, Hord said. They seem to prefer bayside mangroves and creeks more than the open Atlantic Ocean waters, but they do roam.
Nearly extinct a few decades ago, American crocodiles have rebounded to an estimated population of about 2,000 animals larger than hatchlings.
A 10-foot crocodile killed a Key Largo family's 65-pound dog near mile marker 103 in March 2012.
Some Florida Keys residents would prefer to see all American crocodiles removed. Hord called that "unrealistic."
"Thirty years ago, we didn't have very many crocs. Now we do," he said. "We have to accept that reality, use common sense and make some lifestyle changes."

Read more here:

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

No rush on power lines - Editorials -

No rush on power lines - Editorials -
Click on the link above or the Editorial Headline "No rush on power lines." This is the Miami Herald editorial regarding the FPL power line issue posted online, Miami Herald (and published in the Tuesday, May 13, editorial section). As I have stated, this is a huge issue for hte community and time has passed on local leaders taking a stand to protect their communities, to weigh in and have an impact one way or another.

The Miami Herald Editorial Board acknowledges that (i)f approved, the plan could affect the scenery along one of South Florida’s heaviest traveled roads: South Dixie Highway.

The giant utility wants to erect two corridors of 80- to 100-foot high-voltage power lines to deliver electricity to customers. One of them stretches along U.S. 1; a less controversial one is further west.

Residents have pleaded with FPL to bury the power lines and pay for the cost. FPL says that’s not feasible, but cities affected can choose to have the lines buried — at a cost to them of up to $18 million a mile. Some of the cities are challenging that estimate.

THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE MIAMI HERALD EDITORIAL BOARD: What should the governor do? Take his time, and recommend that FPL, the municipalities and consumers themselves, better gauge who is prepared to pay for what. No one can be blamed for not wanting to invest the extra cost.

FPL still needs approval from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for the reactors, and at a time when the GreenLink park planned for the path beneath Metrorail is about to get under way, power lines alongside are regressive, so 1970s, not 21st century.


FPL’s forward thinking cannot be dismissed. Yes, our grandchildren will save money on their electric bills. The reactors are expected to represent a savings of $170 billion to Miami-Dade residents in the next 60 years.

But we also can’t ignore those packed town hall meetings where there has been little support for the above-ground power lines towering above the streets.

“Maybe a handful have spoken in favor of FPL’s plan,” Pinecrest Mayor Cindy Lerner told the Editorial Board. Ms. Lerner will be among those traveling to Tallahassee Tuesday.

 Ms. Lerner says that her city’s commercial corridor will be ruined by the power lines — “monstrosities” she calls them. She says FPL has painted her constituents with a broad brush. “They say this is just a case of an affluent community not wanting the power lines for aesthetic reasons. That couldn’t be further from the truth.”

Read more here:

Decision day in Tallahassee. Herald reports: In face of local opposition, FPL seeks Cabinet OK for transmission lines

TALLAHASSEE: In face of local opposition, FPL seeks Cabinet OK for transmission lines - Political Currents -
The leadership of Pinecrest and South Miami have taken the lead on this issue of neighborhood protection. The Miami Herald reports that these power lines are projected to run from Cutler Bay through Pinecrest, South Miami and Coral Gables to a substation in Coconut Grove. The towers would be built alongside Metrorail and down U.S. 1, past Cadillac show rooms, Porsche dealers, retail malls and through miles of concentrated development.

The issue is now before Governor Scott and the Florida Cabinet for what may be the final decision after years of local effort.  [see prior post: FPL Transmission Line Administrative Hearing begin today (After 4 years of preparation) - and without Palmetto Bay

The Florida Cabinet is made up of Governor Rick Scott, Attorney General Cabinet Pam Bondi, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater.

The Herald reports that the cities argue that if FPL needs the high-voltage wires, they should be built underground to protect property values and avoid the negative effects on economic development. They are asking the governor and Cabinet to reject the request, or defer a decision until more information can be obtained.

“This item is of extreme importance to our city and Miami Dade as a whole,” said Miami City Attorney Victoria Méndez at a meeting of Cabinet aides last week.

So how will South Dade's "main street" look in the future? 

There are those who have actively engaged in the effort to protect the US1 neighborhoods and those who have chosen to duck this controversial issue.  Even my prodding back in July of 2013, did not not draw any public discussion of the impact of this issue by the current Mayor at a council meeting.  Just more silence on this issue.  CLICK HERE. It truly is a shame that there has been no official input from Palmetto Bay since 2010 on this issue that will profoundly impact the future of US1.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day! 2014

Enjoy this very special day! We wish all of our mothers and grandmothers a very special Mother's Day.

This important tradition started back in 1914 when the U.S. Congress designated the second Sunday in May each year as "Mother's Day."  That year, President Woodrow Wilson declared the first official U.S. Mother's Day - then designated an official legal holiday.

The roles our mothers have played in creating a beautiful and vibrant community cannot be overstated. Beyond their own careers and successes, their love and attention can be seen throughout our communities in the quality and success of our youth. 

On this special day, we also must remember and thank the mothers whose sons and daughters are serving in our nation's armed services. Please also remember the mothers who shoulder the burden as a single parent as their loved one serves our great county.

Happy Mother's Day!

Eugene & Alex Flinn

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Photo of the day - Nearing the end of season for Burr's

Home from completing her freshman year at college. Daughter is taking in a strawberry shake on the second to the last day of Burr's Berry Farm season.  Mother's Day - 5/11/2014 signals the close of the 2014 season.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Florida Communities Trust (FCT) requires Palmetto Bay to change its operation of Thalatta Park – This is good news for area residents

I have received a copy of the letter from Jerry Taber of the Florida Communities Trust (FCT) to the Palmetto Bay Parks Director.  (Click on 'Read more' below to view the two page letter).

This confirms what many of us have said for so long – Thalatta Estate is to be a Park open to the people first. CLICK HERE to see my prior postings on Thalatta.  Grant Miller of the Palmetto Bay News: It’s wrong to open Thalatta only to the highest bidder.

It is sad that official action from the Florida Communities Trust is required to force Palmetto Bay’s hand in following the commitments I made in order to obtain the $3.6 million in funding to purchase and preserve this outstanding bayfront park. The current Mayor, council and staff were warned many times.  Numerous requests from the public continued to fall upon deaf ears.

Thank you Florida Communities Trust for holding Palmetto Bay officials to the commitments made. Area residents now have guaranteed greater access to enjoy our bay, putting, as I stated about Thalatta, “The ‘Bay’ back in “Palmetto Bay.”’

Note that the village can have some runoff on their existing rentals, but going forward, it may no longer close the park for exclusive private events.

Palmetto Bay must also follow up on the educational and museum commitments and it appears that the FCT will be following up (setting up a timeline for completion?) in order make sure this commitment is not forgotten.

The village website must also be changed to properly reflect that this park is a park first, moving the wedding events as a secondary function.  This clarifies the intent of the FCT grant – this is preserved land, public access park first.

In short, the public (us) can no longer be shut out from our park.  Palmetto Bay officials must keep their commitments made.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Photo of the Day - I'm very proud of my daughter. Congrats to all who earned their Gold Award

I am a big fan of scouting.  Some of my greatest memories are from my time as a Boy Scout. Last Sunday was very special to me as my oldest daughter participated in the Girl Scout Council of Tropical Florida, Inc, 2014 Gold and Silver Award Ceremony, that was held Sunday, May 4,
27 scouts were recognized for attaining their Gold Award on Sunday.  Congratulations to all of them who worked so hard to attain this unique and wonderful honor. This is an outstanding achievement that will follow (and benefit) them for their entire life.
I also want to congratulate and thank all those hard working and dedicated Girl Scout leaders for a job so well done!

I am a very proud parent. Thank you for this honor of making a parent of a Gold Award Girl Scout.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

What is reverse spot zoning? A (re)examination of the ongoing Palmer issue.

I have been asked whether Palmetto Bay’s Ordinance 30-110: DIVISION 30-110. RELIGIOUS FACILITIES, PRIVATE SCHOOLS, CHILD CARE FACILITIES, AND OTHER NON-GOVERNMENTAL PUBLIC ASSEMBLY USES, enacted/last modified (Ord. No. 2012-23, § 4, 11-5-2012) is discriminatory.  CLICK HERE to read the minutes from the 11/5/12 Village Council meeting, when the ordinance section on lighting was adopted by the 2012 village council.  Then Councilman Tendrich asked if (the section) concerning prohibiting lighting of recreational areas is more restrictive. The answer from the Village Attorney was that it was more restriction (page 10 of 14 of the minutes).

Palmetto Bay has been through this before.  See Palmer TrinityPrivate School, Inc., vs. Village of Palmetto Bay, Florida, et al., 3rd DCA Case No. 3D09-1587 (opinion filed March 24, 2010).  This is written opinion from the Third District appeal which came to be known as “Palmer I”

Please feel  free to read my February 5, 2012, post entitled “An(unofficial) update on the Palmer Zoning litigation; Palmer I, II and III. The present standard of court review” for greater detail.

Palmer I was the 2006 – 2008 zoning application proceedings which resulted in the first Palmer zoning hearing which denied the application by Ordinance 08-06, on the basis that the rezoning sought by Palmer was not consistent with the Village's Comprehensive Plan and Future Land Use Map," and that "Palmer Trinity failed to adequately establish through its traffic studies that its site specific application is compatible and within the proper level of service, and failed to establish the proposition that the proposed use would not negatively impact the community. . . ."

The Third District Court of Appeal cites to a flagship decision on spot zoning: Richard Road Estates, LLC v. Miami-Dade County Bd. of County Comm’rs, 2 So. 3d 1117, 1118 (Fla. 3d DCA 2009) (county’s refusal to grant a change in zoning resulted in impermissible reverse spot zoning). This decision was cited in Palmer I:

“Reverse spot zoning occurs when a zoning ordinance prevents a property owner from utilizing his or her property in a certain way, when virtually all of the adjoining neighbors are not subject to such a restriction, creating in effect, a veritable zoning island or zoning peninsula in a surrounding sea of contrary zoning classification. Reverse spot zoning is invalid, as it is confiscatory.”

In short: impermissible spot zoning occurs where Palmer Trinity is not afforded the same beneficial use and restrictions that are enjoyed by the owners of the surrounding properties. This includes how the government (Palmetto Bay - in this instance) chooses to regulate itself - the rules for lighting and noise in government building and parks.  You cannot have two sets of rules.  There needs to be a single unified set of rules.

NOTE: this ordinance was NOT in place during the initial zoning hearing on the site plan (SEE Palmer II) - wherein part of the Palmer conditions did include elimination of the field lighting. My personal concern was its affect on other nearby activities such as the Southern Cross Stargazing that would go on, weather permitting, each Saturday evening at neighboring Sadowski Park.

I thought this was a pun from a TV show, but no, some people actually ... Celebrate ‘Star Wars’ Day With ‘Star Wars Rebels’ Trailer

Celebrate ‘Star Wars’ Day With ‘Star Wars Rebels’ Trailer: Say “May the 4th Be With You” out loud and you’ll hear the pun that “Stars Wars” fans worldwide have turned into a rallying cry and an unofficial holiday to proclaim their love of the beloved “Star Wars” story. Yes, today is “Stars Wars” Day,...

ABC US News | ABC Business News

Photo of the Day - invasive bufo toad looking for an easy meal

Look at the size of this thing. This is a bufo marinus toad, or cane toad. This toad can kill pets who ingest the milky toxin it secretes when threatened. This toad is just where you don;t want it to be - in the pet's food area providing far too easy access to a pet. 

These toads can reach 2 pounds and live up to 15 years in captivity. 
Read the article Bufo Toads in South Florida, a threat to your pet, by Dr. Mary C. Fondren. This article provides some historical background on the introduction of this non-native invasive species as well.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

I love the reunion good news stories. EATONTOWN, N.J.: Family who lost dog during Sandy finds it at pound - Weird News -

EATONTOWN, N.J.: Family who lost dog during Sandy finds it at pound - Weird News -

A good news read in the Miami Herald: A New Jersey family whose terrier-pitbull mix escaped from their backyard during Superstorm Sandy went to an animal shelter this week to adopt a new pet and came home with their old dog.

Chuck James tells The Associated Press that his family searched for their brown-and-white dog named Reckless for months after the October 2012 storm before finally giving up hope.

Read more here:

EYE ON MIAMI: Palmetto Bay: The Village of Lights. By Geniusofde...

EYE ON MIAMI: Palmetto Bay: The Village of Lights. By Geniusofde...:

This item is coming for a public hearing at the Palmetto Bay regular council hearing this Monday, May 5, 2014, 7 PM. A public hearing is required so any interested person will have the opportunity to address their comments and concerns, pro or con.

Agenda Item 12B (scroll down to “B”)
includes changes to Ordinance 30-110. These proposed changes will allow stadium style lighting across all the residential districts of the village on outdoor athletic fields/recreational areas at religious facilities, private schools, child care facilities, and other non-governmental public assembly. 

One reader commented (to a prior unrelated post) that:
I strongly recommend that all Palmetto Bay residents attend the upcoming Village Council meeting on Monday, May 5th at 7PM, where council will hold, one of two, up or down votes on allowing Palmer Trinity School, a change in the present village ordinance, to light all athletic fields. This new ordinance will allow PTS to install lights on all present and future athletic fields daily, to 10 and 11pm. In addition, email your Mayor and village council with your wishes on this important decision that many individuals believe will effect the quality of life and potential crime issues in your neighborhood, if passed. This is not a time to remain silent, your council should be made aware of your wishes for your neighborhood. 
Where do you stand?