Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Red-Tailed Boa encounter at Deering Preserve. Attempt made to catch and remove in order to protect our native habitat. Video and links to more information

I have been provided a video taken on Sunday, February 23, 2020, of area residents making a great attempt to remove an invasive red tail boa from the Deering Estate Preserve.

My first comment for those involved: "Great eyes!" You can see from the video just how effective this snake is at camouflage. They were really observant.

Video credit goes to Jeff Frette who both took the video (great work) as well as allowing me to share here on this blog. He advised that Rich McAlpin spotted the snake and called FWC. Jeff called someone who then called a professional snake catcher.  

The snake catcher called turned out to be Kristian Hernandez who won the Python catching tournament.  (See CBS4, January 26, 2020, Winners Of 2020 Python Bowl Showered In Prizes - h

Unfortunately for native wildlife, Kristian was 10 minutes too late. This was one lucky Red-Tailed Boa who got away to hunt native wildlife another day. May it not be so lucky next time. Eyes are out there, looking out for our native wildlife and engaged in the effort against invasive species.

MORE INFORMATION: I am posting a link to the official FWC Site relating to this invasive species. See: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission - Red-tailed Boa

Red-Tailed Boas do represent a significant threat to natives as they feed on lizards, birds, and mammals both on the ground and in trees. Established populations could potentially impact local populations of some vertebrate species. Anyone seen a spotted skunk in the area lately?

This is my 32nd blog post relating to Invasive Species. For similar encounters, see the prior post of December 27, 2015, Send me your python experiences - I am looking to uncover the extent of the population - and REPORT any sightings.

Thank you to Jeff Frette and Rich McAlpin for stepping in, making the call, seeing this through and most of all, watching out for our local nature.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Wasted time and effort - failing to provide for proper contract terms on a contract costing Palmetto Bay over $160,000 per year plus additional expenses.

Another special council meeting? How many does this make since January 1, 2019? THIRTY-TWO (32) since this current mayor and council took office 14 months ago. And yet this same council cancelled the Committee of the Whole meeting set for last February 18, a time when this item could have been heard, yet it wasn't on the radar of the mayor or council. This would be an example of poor clock management if this was the National Football League.

Don't get me wrong, special Council meetings are needed at times. I called them at times as have  others from 2015-2018, but it seems to many people that there have been more special council meeting over the past 13 months than there had been over the preceding six years. Apparently this council can enact a contract that automatically doubles the salary of a first-time Interim Manager to $160,000 per year, plus expenses, but they need to meet specially when they suddenly discover they don't have a replacement permanent Village Manager in place in less than three months. 

What makes this meeting so special?  CLICK HERE to view the full 8 page agenda. 


Item 3. A.

(Sponsored by Village Attorney John C. Dellagloria 
and Village Clerk Missy Arocha)
Really? Who prepared the original contract and resolution approving the hire of Interim Manger Truitt? The first agreement was approved at yet another Special Council meeting held on December 6, 2019. A competent agreement could have/should have provided for action at a regular Village Council meeting rather than requiring the time, cost to taxpayers and scheduling aggravation of yet another special council meeting to extend this contract.  

NOTE that the approved agreement is missing a day. This is a leap year - February 2020 ends on February 29, not the 28th, so this initial period fails to even include the entire month (but we have seen time and time again that this is not a detail oriented Mayor or Council)

Why call a special council meeting to take care of an item that could have waited just one day? Sunday, March 1, would be the only day dropped, until the March Regular Village Council meeting of March 2nd.  This is silly. Why did the original agreement not provide for a specified date and then automatically provide for “month-to-month” employment, or better yet, simply “month-to-month” until the hiring of the replacement manager - unless otherwise terminated or modified by the Village Council?

Note that this resolution is sponsored by the Village Attorney and Village Clerk. Perhaps it was one, or both of them who noted this conflict and determined the need for the meeting as this item is not sponsored by any member of the village council - to whom the Interim Manger reports to. This is yet another example of the failure to pay attention to detail by this current Mayor and Council that led to the lapse of the downtown moratorium (and resulting developer rush to the planning department).

ITEMS FOR PUBLIC HEARING: Item 3 A is the only item listed on the agenda. It should therefore be the ONLY item of business discussed. Let’s see if there are any last-minute (a/k/a improperly noticed, or worse), items not noticed for discussion/action heard at this special council meeting.

IMPORTANT: Has the original contract been complied with, specifically section 5, as to the surety bond?

This is another example of this Village being run by special council meetings due to ineffectiveness to complete agendas, or even to read what they are voting on; failure to give thought as to whether the items match up – ending dates that make sense.  Please, don't blame staff, the (current) Interim Village Manager or the Village Attorney (as I stated, they are sponsoring the 'fix'). The Mayor and Council are always kept up to date. Council Members can pick up the phone to call or personally meet with any Charter Officer about any item of concern. 

See section # 4. Council Voting Requirements for the specifics as to what votes and how many are required (page 2 of 4, of the employment agreement).

As stated by Attorney Dexter Lehtinen;  it is the council who votes – and they have the responsibility to listen to what they are told; to read and understand what they are voting on. See the video and prior related post: of October 28, 2019, Village Council Chaos - Interaction with Village Attorney at a council meeting - Village Mayor & Council: You have been told repeatedly. You are the voting body. You have responsibilities of reading and knowing what you are voting on.


This is a Village Council that cannot stop digging. I can only wait until Mayor Cunningham and company are required to bring forward a significant budget adjustment to correct all the waste and inefficiency and misspending in this current 2020-2021 budget.


Beginning at Page 1 of the agreement (this is page 1 of 4 of the employment agreement, beginning at page 5 of the 8 page agenda) 1. TERM: - No one had any illusions at the aforementioned special council meeting of December 6, 2019, that the permanent village manager would be selected AND ready to start prior to March 1, 2020. So then why was this contract written in such an inartful manner as to require a special council meeting? It could have simply gone month to month, or for a date that allowed for action at a regular council meeting - or even (horrors!) someone known at the time of the February Regular Village Council meeting that an extension would be required (do they even have any candidates for the full time manager under consideration at this time?)

Read your materials council members!

2. COMPENSATION: Some may have thought that this interim manager was earning a "starting salary" of $80,000 "per annum" (which usually means 'per year'). But read the details. 

The $80,000.00 annual salary was only from his initial date of hire (12/06/2019) to January 15, 2020.  The interim manager's salary doubled to $160,000.00 effective January 15, 2020, or slightly more than one month ago. 

We all should question why an $80,000.00 raise automatically occurred without any review by the Village Council, yet the Village Council is somehow required to hold a special council meeting to approve a simply  extension of this agreement. It was no secret that a permanent would not be in place by March 2020.

It just keeps getting better. ....

Friday, February 21, 2020

Tallahassee update – REVISED – I missed one significant appropriation regarding Pinecrest. A great request. Also, confirming my prior post as to the Palmetto HS Field request.

First: I left this worthy project from my list. Pinecrest is working on improving their jewel, Pinecrest Gardens. Palmetto Bay should do the same. Palmetto Bay has received millions in the past for our parks system that allowed us to claim the title “Village of Parks” – these parks are used by far more than our residents. The parks are open for all.

Pinecrest is getting aggressive in their appropriation requests; making some very reasonable and well researched requests to the Florida Legislature.

One such request is House Bill (HB) 2545 - Village of Pinecrest-Pinecrest Gardens ADA Upper Garden Initiative – the request is for $500,000

Title of Project: Village of Pinecrest-Pinecrest Gardens ADA Upper Garden Initiative
House Member Sponsor: Javier Fernandez
Stated purpose (“Village” below refers to Village of Pinecrest):
The Village proposes to renovate the existing playground, bathrooms, petting zoo, Inspiration (educational) Center and connecting paths to make them ADA accessible; it also intends to add new playground equipment and a unique, greatly expanded ADA accessible Sensory and Learning Garden. Additionally, creating new picnic facilities, a new nature trail and installing better lighting.
CLICK HERE to view the details of this request.

Second, I was contacted regarding my post of February 20, 2020, pointing out to me that the HB 5001 currently lists the appropriation level to the school at $100,000.
Miami Palmetto Senior High School Athletic Field (HB 4987) –  CLICK HERE to view the 8 page project details. HB 4987 is a request for $1,000,000 – One Million dollars.  But it appears (at this time) to be funded at only the $100,000 level that I reported on February 20. As I also said, nothing is ever final until an item makes in into the budget, avoids the veto pen and remains safe in a budget signed/approved by the Governor.  See numbered page 31 (it is actually page 32 of the posted .PDF) of the current list of appropriations listed in HB 5001 – again – no result is guaranteed. Changes can and often do happen, sometimes positive and often less than positive. 


Prior posts providing background:

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Tallahassee update - What monies are currently listed in House Bill 5001 - General Appropriations Act – a review of what is currently earmarked for our local Miami-Dade municipal communities –including Palmetto Bay, Pinecrest, Cutler Bay & Palmetto HS

Remember, nothing in the budget is final until the Governor signs the budget (after any line item vetoes) and please note: This post is part of an ongoing series and updates a PRIOR RELATED POST of February 6, 2020, Palmetto Bay legislative appropriations requests - Appropriations Project Request -Fiscal Year 2020-21

I have researched the pending appropriations bills and I am reporting on the local monies currently listed. Here are the highlights (click on the HB Numbers at right of each item listed immediately below to view the detailed documents relating to the specific Appropriations Project Request):

    100,000  Miami Palmetto Senior High School Athletic Field (HB 4987)
    250,000  Deering Estate Foundation’s Field Study Research Center Phase 2 (HB 2627)
    100,000  Cutler Bay Wetland Restoration Project (HB 3757)
    150,000  Homestead Automatic Flushing System (HB 3165)
    100,000  Palmetto Bay Sub-Basin 61 Construction (HB 3461)
    100,000  Pinecrest Stormwater Improvements (HB 3807)

Listed below is a larger current list of local monies currently provided for in House Bill 5001 - General Appropriations Act (HB 5001). Current listings for Coral Gables, Cutler Bay, Doral, Homestead, Palmetto Bay and Pinecrest are posted in BOLDFACE type below. This is merely the current list, everything is fluid in Tallahassee – The House and Senate have to agree on the budget – a budget conference will be held and then the joint budget is submitted to the Governor where staff goes through it with a fine tooth comb – this is where many items in the budget are removed through a line item veto. Only then, does the Governor approve the budget.

HB 5001 - General Appropriations Act: Provides moneys for annual period beginning July 1, 2020, & ending June 30, 2021, & supplemental appropriations for period ending June 30, 2020, to pay salaries & other expenses, capital outlay—buildings & other improvements, & for other specified purposes of various agencies of state government.
Effective Date: July 1, 2020

CLICK HERE to view all projects – search for the local projects - currently listed in HB 5001 as of 8:00 AM, Thursday, February 20, 2020 (again, subject to change):

Non-water projects:
1,000,000  City of Hialeah Educational Academy (HB 4499)
    250,000  Deering Estate Foundation’s Field Study Research Center Phase 2 (HB 2627)
    100,000  Miami Palmetto Senior High School Athletic Field (HB 4987)
    350,000  Doral Intersection Signalization Pedestrian Safety (HB 4201)

$30,002,907 is currently provided for in the House appropriations bill for "Grants and Aids to Local Governments and non-state entities ...." - commonly referred to as "water project money":

Water projects:
Listed as “From the funds in Specific Appropriation 1635A, $30,002,907 in nonrecurring funds from the General Revenue Fund is provided for the following water projects:”

    100,000  Aventura Curbing of Swale Flooding on Country Club Drive (HB 2875
    100,000  Bal Harbour Village Stormwater System Improvements (HB  2877)
    100,000  Coral Gables Canal Dredging (HB 2633)
    100,000  Coral Gables Comprehensive Inflow and Infiltration Program (HB 3035)
    200,000  Coral Gables Waterway Conveyance & Water Quality Imps (HB 3965)
    100,000  Cutler Bay Wetland Restoration Project (HB 3757)
    100,000  Doral Stormwater Improvements NW 89 Pl (25-20 St.) (HB 3205)
    170,000  Doral Stormwater Master Plan Update (HB 3447)
    100,000  El Portal Little River Septic to Sewer NE 2nd Avenue  Commercial (HB 3441)
    100,000  El Portal Sherwood Forest (NE 3rd Avenue) Little River Stormwater (HB 3417)
    150,000  Homestead Automatic Flushing System (HB 3165)
    150,000  Miami Beach Water Main Aerial Crossing MacArthur Causeway (HB 2539)
      20,000  Miami Gardens NW 159 Street Drainage Improvement Project (HB 3405)
      30,000  Miami Gardens NW 195 Street/NW 12 Ave Stormwater Drainage  (HB 3407)
1,000,000  Miami Lakes Loch Lomond Drainage Improvements Project (HB 3553)
1,000,000  Miami Lakes Royal Oaks Drainage Improvements Project (HB  3389)
    100,000  Miami Shores Village Shores Estates Drain Water System  (HB 3443)
    100,000  North Bay Village Treasure Island Pump Station (HB 2523)
    100,000  North Miami Beach Corona del Mar Phase II Sewer System (HB 2881)
    100,000  North Miami Beach NE 19th Ave Business District Sanitary Sewer System (HB 2883)
    100,000  North Miami Septic to Sewer Conversions (HB 3439)
    100,000  Palmetto Bay Sub-Basin 61 Construction (HB 3461)
    100,000  Pinecrest Stormwater Improvements (HB 3807)
    100,000  Sunny Isles Beach Golden Shores Pump Station (HB 2555)
    150,000  Virginia Gardens 37 Street Stormwater Improvements (HB 3751)
    150,000  Virginia Gardens 62 Ave & 40 Terr Stormwater/ADA  Improvements (HB 3401)
    200,000  West Miami Potable Water System Improvements Phase II (HB 3387)

Fair questions: Return on investment. How often are Palmetto Bay officials traveling to Tallahassee, how much 'quality time' are they spending in Tallahassee and what are the local taxpayers receiving in return? When I say "spending", I am looking to travel and related budget costs as well as time. 

We should consider whether the current Palmetto Bay Mayor and members of the Village Council are being realistic in their budget requests or are they merely star struck tourists spending the Village budget chasing sexy, but wholly unrealistic goals? Is work being done in Tallahassee or does the time spent amount to little more than the taking of self-promotional selfies, with no real substantive results? I’m not buying the scheme of this is all a set up for next year – that appears to be a self-repeating mantra for this current crew. Each and every budget year is unique – the State of Florida does not prepare rolling budgets.

Remember the original 2020-2021 appropriation requests from Palmetto Bay officials totaled $ 3,245,900. This is a HUGE request, a number that appears worthy of significant travel and constant advocating in Tallahassee, but not the $100,000 total that is currently earmarked in the State budget. 

The extensive travel time and expense does not appear to be an effective use of Palmetto Bay taxpayer dollars, especially when so many deadlines, e.g., blowing the downtown development moratorium, are being missed here in Palmetto Bay.

Or, some have asked me whether any of our electeds are traveling to Tallahassee at Palmetto Bay cost in order to chase other goals?  Interesting.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Lawsuit for personal injury filed against Palmetto Bay. Does the Street by Street initiative have any responsibility for the alleged condition? is it an improvement or a tool for avoidance?

An interesting lawsuit was filed against the Village of Palmetto Bay for personal injuries alleged to have occurred on May 18, 2019. The reason – poorly maintained sidewalk along SW 82 avenue causing a cyclist to go down. The lawsuit is styled ANGELA POLLY MASE VS VILLAGE OF PALMETTO BAY, 2020-003056-CA-01, complaint filed February 10, 2020. Defendant Palmetto Bay does not appear to have been served with the complaint as of the date this article was posted.

What happened? The description of this accident is contained in the allegations of the complaint for damages - paragraph 6:

6. On or about May 18 2019, Plaintiff XXXX XXXX was lawfully riding her bicycle southbound along the subject sidewalk. The subject sidewalk was defectively dangerous, it was uneven, protruding up from the ground and creating a hazard to pedestrians using the sidewalk in its intended manner. As (Plaintiff) traveled on the sidewalk the front tire of her bicycle hit the uneven lip of the sidewalk slab. The abrupt change in elevation of the sidewalk caught the tire of her bicycle and caused her to flip over the handlebars and smash violently upon impact. She suffered serious personal injuries as a result.
Did the Plaintiff comply with Section 768.28, Florida Statutes, prior to filing this lawsuit? The Plaintiff made a “boilerplate” reference in paragraph 10, merely alleging that "All conditions precedent and statutory requirements for the filing of this Complaint have been satisfied or waived." Florida Law that must be followed before filing suit: Section 768.28, Florida Statutes, requires that a plaintiff must put the municipality on notice of the claim and must wait at least 180 days after the notice to file a lawsuit (there can be waiver of the length of time in certain circumstances).  We will see if  Section 768.28 was complied with prior to filing this lawsuit. 

Was the sidewalk poorly maintained? I don't know the condition of the sidewalk on May, 18, 2019, the date when the alleged injuries occurred. I can only see the condition of that section as of February 19, 2020:

Photos above taken on 2/19/2020
Sidewalks or bike lanes - either way, there should be a safe way to travel 82nd Avenue by bicycle.  

We, the residents, have not heard much on the alleged “Street by Street” initiative for some time. Is this lawsuit part of the reason?  Rumors, some may call them concerns, include:
  • Why is maintenance becoming ‘political’ – shouldn’t village maintenance be done through operation by staff and not subject to the political patronage of elected officials? (setting up the potential for a district v district fight for attention)
  • Are some areas receiving their ‘Street by Street’ attention based upon political support, either past or expected future, rather than a prioritized level of need?
  • Is political interference causing some areas to be ignored while other areas are receiving disproportionate attention?
  • If no requests are made by affected residents, or if officials don’t inspect a certain street, does that mean there is no need to provide maintenance to that area? – in other words – does this mean we all need to be squeaky wheels?
Palmetto Bay has budgeted for sidewalk repair in each and every budget year. In the past (and maybe still to this day) the repairs are made annually based upon staff survey and priority. The repairs documented in the photos above appear relatively fresh, but one needs only to move mere blocks south on 82nd Avenue to find another section of sidewalk that appears to require 'street by street' attention:
Photo taken 2/19/2020
The uneven condition was once marked in orange paint with a temporary patch put in place. Both the paint and patch appear well worn due to time and weather. I am unaware as to whether this current section is scheduled for a more permanent repair or if it was taken off line pending revised priorities of this current mayor and council.

Fair questions, but back to the lawsuit. 

The lawsuit alleges that this accident occurred on May 17, 2019. 

I have a couple of concerns – first –to the cyclist – why on the sidewalk – that is not a safe place for a cyclist to ride. Sidewalks are best suited for pedestrians who should not have to compete with a cyclist. I have blogged about this before – See: November 28, 2018, Bicycling rules of the road - for cyclists and motorists

Why was this cyclist not in a bike lane? I worked hard to obtain a $1 Million TAP grant to update 82 avenue. But, to date, only the section between SW 160 and 168 have received the promised bike lane improvements.  This money will not last forever; there usually is a 5 year cycle to use this money. I have not personally checked up on this grant in a while.

see: November 21, 2018, Follow up – requesting status of the $1,000,000.00 TAP grant, will the new council follow through to maintain our priority for bicycle lanes, attempt to repurpose the money or reject this grant? 

Obviously, this suit is covered by our insurance, both any judgement and cost of defense, but claim loss history does impact premium costs (borne by the Village Taxpayers) as well as insurability. Regardless, coverage for personal injury should never replace maintenance and other preventative measures designed to prevent personal injury. 

Those interested in legal proceedings will certainly keep an eye on this case to see how it is resolved.

Other relevant Prior Related Posts:

July 20, 2017, Palmetto Bay Awarded $1 million TAP grant for bicycle lanes project The request was for bike lanes on 82nd avenue, partially completed between 160th south to 168th Street.  

April 3, 2019, POD - Bike transportation - not sport - along 82nd Avenue. Will I get a response to my request? Dumping $1 million?

Monday, February 17, 2020

Why I bike - local nature, environment and other eclectic sights seen via cycling South Miami-Dade County. Presidents Day 2020 excursion

From the "Why I bike" series. Presidents Day weekend 2020 was yet another great weekend to be active outside and view our South Miami-Dade County communities.

Above - seen along the Biscayne Trail - an abandoned bike carelessly thrown into the canal adjacent to SW 87th Avenue - south of SW 216th Street.

Above left & right: The infamous bike pose- #BAAW - where it crosses over the Deering Estate Flow-Way -along the Old Cutler Trail that runs from SW 87th Avenue Traffic Circle in Cutler Bay, through Palmetto Bay and Pinecrest - ending at the Cocoplum Traffic Circle in Coral Gables. 

Looking over the bridge, looking West (back toward Old Cutler Road) at some of the water flowing properly (as best as possible) back through the Deering wetlands into Biscayne Bay. The photos were taken attempting to book end parts of the Deering Estate Flow-Way - This is a (CERP) project that I am proud to have been involved in advocating for. This was a South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) project (CLICK HERE for more). 

The Deering Estate project is part of a larger master plan to restore Biscayne Bay, known as the Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands Project. This plan is part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), which is helping to restore the quantity, quality, timing and distribution of fresh water in the South Florida ecosystem.

Take your family out there sometime when the water is running. The otters seem to like it, but good luck spotting them.

And of course, Deering Point (17350 Old Cutler Road  Miami, FL 33157) is located adjacent to the C-100 Canal at the southern point of the Deering Estate property. It’s almost like being in the Florida Keys as there is free public access to Biscayne Bay for canoeing, kayaking, wildlife viewing, watching a sunrise, and fishing. 

Below – families enjoying kayaking and a beautiful flat water day. (photo credits - all photos on this page were taken by me on the 2/17/2020 Presidents Day Ride)

The Ride route:

Prior related post in the "Why I Bike" series: June 30, 2019, Why I bike - local nature seen via cycling South Miami-Dade County. Bears, tortoises, fish and Iguanas - also known as Palmetto Bay resident Mike Estevez and team run across a wild bear (and thankfully, it got away - eluding capture)

Have a happy and safe Presidents' Day Weekend – a short history of this long weekend holiday

What have you been doing over this weekend?  Do you celebrate this federal holiday by reflecting upon legacies of past presidents; simply relax over a long weekend; take in one of the annual community events; take advantage of sales; or none of the above?  (I wonder what "none of the above" would entail?)

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 (alleged) great deals! Including 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, 2020

Valentine's Day as a day of remembrance for Parkland victims - WLRN - 'Anguish In The Aftermath': MSD Survival Stories On Display In Tallahassee By Caitie Switalski

Lives lost and other lives irrevocably changed forever. Remembering February 14, 2018: 
Teachers, students, and families from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School don't want people to forget how their lives were changed when a shooting claimed 17 lives on campus a year and a half ago. 
See WLRN Valentine's Day as a day of remembrance for Parkland victims -  'Anguish In The Aftermath': MSD Survival Stories On Display In Tallahassee By Caitie Switalski 
Photo - CBS News

See: CBS local 4 - Remembering The Victims Of The Parkland School ShootingFebruary 14, 2019

Happy Valentine’s Day - 2020

Elizabeth Barrett Browning:

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
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 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)] 
Both national chains have locations here in Palmetto Bay.
 [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. ****

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Fact Checking: There never was any $7.5 million in County Transportation money available to the Village to use as it wanted, or to repurpose. There was a County proposal to 4 lane SW 87th Avenue beginning from 216th Street north into Palmetto Bay. I opposed that in 2003

Urban legends and myths. Some people love a good conspiracy. Here is the myth of the day:
I have a question...
Our Founding Mayor likes to brag about turning down 7.5 million dollars from the county.
Did he do that unilaterally or did the council vote on it.
He talks about 4 laning 87th but he never mentioned the 87th Avenue bridge.
Was what the money could be used for negotiable??
Asking for a lot of Friends.
My answer: No. A grant or appropriation from government requires significant work through applications. I know, under my administration, Palmetto Bay brought in tens of millions of dollars – from as small as a thousand or two for our police DARE programs to $3.2 million through the Florida Communities Trust (for Thalatta Estate) to a GOB appropriation of $7.5 million (Franjo Road). 

Here was my response. I’d love to see the alleged documents. 
Please have your friends provide me with the actual documents for this alleged grant. There was never any $7.5 million to use as the village likes. I post links to documents (when available, so please, have your sources show me theirs). I did OPPOSE the widening of 87th avenue as the County has never wanted to relieve congestion for our neighborhoods, only open up a flood gate of traffic. I take it that you want our 87th avenue to look and flow as 87th avenue from Kendall Drive north through Doral. That is where the County is going and that is a great example of your ‘complete grid’.  
SEE: Palmetto Bay Resolution 03-22 , March 3, 2003
If this was a $7.5 million project, I guarantee you that they were not going to allow the Village to repurpose this money for a park or a butterfly garden.And yes, I unabashedly OPPOSE any widening of 87th Avenue.
And yes, at one time, Palmetto Bay was recognized as a partner with Miami-Dade County on projects (WHEREAS, the cities presently incorporated were made an essential partner with the County in the selection of projects and in working hand in hand with Miami-Dade County for approval of the Transportation Plan: ...")
I will wait for the production of some actual documents, not rumors, to review and respond.

Recognizing the birthday of President Abraham Lincoln, February 12

“Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.”
                                                    Abraham Lincoln

Great reading - National Review online: Abraham Lincoln, Epitome of Political Civility, by JEREMY J. LLOYD, February 12, 2020