Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Unincorporated area taxes drop while Palmetto Bay taxes continue to rise. Separating fact from fiction in the Palmetto Bay tax, tax and more tax form of governance. Examining the FPL Franchise fee (update, part of a series).

Something is wrong, very wrong here. We incorporated Palmetto Bay on the promise that a Palmetto Bay municipality could do more with the amount of taxes paid to Unincorporated Area (UMSA) without raising taxes, yet in an ironic twist, it is the County, as administrator of UMSA, that is showing tax restraint. Now, the current Palmetto Bay elected officials are set to raise taxes yet again - in consecutive years no less.

There are many ways to collect taxes. Previously, we have looked at the property taxes – that which show on your tax bill (TRIM notice). Those taxes are obvious - listed on a specific tax bill mailed to the taxpayer. But this post is to look at the sneaky side of taxes - those you may not know you are paying such as the portion collected by FPL on your electric bill and paid over to the Palmetto Bay government – what I have talked about previously as the FPL Franchise Fee (CLICK HERE to view past relevant posts).

BRIEF HISTORY: The FPL Franchise Fee (tax) was part of Palmetto Bay taxes originally collected through unincorporated Miami-Dade County and was paid at the same rate  by FPL customers located in both Palmetto Bay and Unincorporated Miami-Dade. This special Tax was approved by the voters in a 1992 referendum for a specified period and was set to expire in 2020. The FPL Tax did expire for UMSA residents in 2020, so we would no longer be paying this tax had Palmetto Bay remained unincorporated. Rather than keep pace with UMSA, the current Palmetto Bay mayor brought forward a 30 year extension of this FPL tax that was not put to the voters. Instead, it was approved by the Village Council by a mere 3-2 vote. And, compounding the bad news, the FPL Tax actually set to increase from the current 3.5% to a full 6%.

This money is too easy for the current mayor and council to pass up. I have posted below a recent FPL bill from a valued reader for review. Note that the current FPL Franchise Tax collected on behalf of Palmetto Bay is $9.63 for the month (would be $115.56 annually) at 3.5%. It is important to remember that all of us here in Palmetto Bay would now being paying ZERO had we remained unincorporated. It is important to note that when the tax goes to 6%, all of us will pay more and by example, this tax payer’s bill will go from $9.63 to $16.10 ($193.20 annually) - another $77.64 in tax increase for those keeping track - but remember, those in Unincorporated Miami-Dade are now paying ZERO. Not the former 3.5% and certainly not the new, soon to be inflated 6%. 

Members of the Village Council consider these tax increases “Pennies per day”. Hardly. The "pennies per day' has become a sick joke foist upon the taxpaying residents of Palmetto Bay.

BREAKING THE PROMISES MADE REGARDING INCORPORATING PALMETTO BAY: The current mayor and council are violating the original promise of incorporation by increasing the tax burden of living in Palmetto Bay versus unincorporated Miami-Dade. Look at the FPL bill for this Palmetto Bay taxpayer. Assuming the usage to be constant, the overall tax will go from $115.56 at 3.5% per year to a whopping $193.20 when it increases to the full 6%. This is for the FPL franchise fee alone. And note, FPL has sought a recent rate increase. Your Franchise Fee obligation increases as rates increase. Our local government has no control over any future rate hikes as well as a disincentive to oppose any hikes in your electric service rate as higher power rates equals more money for the local politicians to spend. 

Will Palmetto Bay officials explain to me again how this is all “pennies per day”? The pennies are adding up and beginning to overwhelm the livability of Palmetto Bay when compared to unincorporated Miami-Dade.

Why were the voters excluded from the decision on this tax? FAIR QUESTION: Why were the residents of Palmetto Bay disenfranchised, deprived of their right to vote on this new tax? We were allowed to vote to approve to initiate the franchise tax and we granted ourselves the assurances that it would not be extended without another voter referendum. But that right apparently did not transfer to us when we incorporated (I actually think it did, but I personally did not get a vote on that consideration).

BOTTOM LINE: 3 out of 5 members of the village council have placed a 30 year encumbrance on all electric service in Palmetto Bay, first at 3.5% and then increasing to 6%. Your money. Love the tax or hate it, where's your voice?

I warned you about this on September 9, 2019, see: FPL Franchise Fee Reboot. Once again, first attempt rendered invalid. Will a 5 year phase out become a 30 new encumbrance?

Monday, August 30, 2021

Palmetto Bay – bucking the trend. Raising the tax rate when 29 other local governments are either holding the line or reducing. Your money at risk (part of a series)

29 local governments plan on holding the line or actually reducing the upcoming property tax rate. But bad news for Palmetto Bay residents as our village is not one of those 29 municipalities. This is great news for most that live in Miami-Dade. 

Why is Palmetto Bay trending the other way; one of only 6 to raise the rate. Why? When did the Palmetto Bay officials blow up our budget? Government lite is dead in Palmetto Bay. 

The Miami Herald ran a story regarding the property tax status for Miami-Dade County Governments over the weekend (Sunday, 8/29/2021), please look for it if you are a Miami Herald subscriber.

And Palmetto Bay's current elected officials can't point fingers. The current mayor was left flush with money and reserves and even touted the strong financial state of the Village at her first State of the Village Address. That in itself is an admission that it has all gone south under her watch, her administration. This is also the second consecutive year that the property tax rate is being increased in Palmetto Bay.

Please note that this is part of a series. I still have to cover the non-ad valorem tax increases slated for the upcoming year. As I have stated before, your current elected officials are wrong, it is not 'pennies a day'. Tracing the true tax increases in Palmetto Bay since Dec 2018. Property taxes 101. How “pennies a day” actually equals a $138.40 increased tax bill for a $400,000 tax value home.

Where did the current Palmetto Bay officials go wrong? I'd like to look at the budget, but it still remains hidden from the public! (See: Where's the budget? What happened to transparency in Palmetto Bay?) - there was once a time when Palmetto Bay officials had the proposed budget posted online for all to view well in advance of the September budget season. Times have changed. This government believes that we the residents are on a need to know basis and they obviously don't want to upset up having to read this upcoming tax, tax and tax budget too early. 

Palmetto Bay sure has a new direction: Higher taxes and no transparency

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Where's the budget? What happened to transparency in Palmetto Bay?

There was once a time when Palmetto Bay officials had the proposed budget posted well in advance of the September budget season. Times have changed. Palmetto Bay sure has a new direction:

Higher taxes and no transparency as this current mayor and her councils have seen fit to post a mere 4 sets of meeting minutes for the 118 meetings she as chaired since January 1, 2019 (see bottom of this post)

Two possible reasons come to mind (neither are good):

1. The current mayor, council and staff are not close to preparing a first draft budget and are going to be required to cobble the items together during September, budget month; or

2. The draft budget is prepared, but they simply refuse to post it. 

We could file a public records request, but this current village administration likes to wait 30 days to provide; meaning that a request today would not be responded to until after the second budget hearings. Palmetto Bay's first budget hearing is set for 7:00 PM, September 13, 2021. They have a lot of catching up to do. So do we.

Neighboring Pinecrest and Miami-Dade County have posted the draft budgets:

Meanwhile, while lil Palmetto Bay waits to divulge, Miami-Dade County has posted the County budget ($9 Billion plus) for anyone to see (no formal public records request required) CLICK HERE.

Pinecrest has their proposed 2021-22 budget posted online. CLICK HERE to view.

Transparency ignored. A slap in the face to residents.

It was once said by a local opposition group that 

This government in sorely lacking in transparency, openness and accessibility when residents don't have access to the most basic information on what is going on in the Village and what the Council is doing.

That was based on a few weeks or two months delay. But what about years? Now that's some pretty steep stonewalling. I hate to sound like a broken record, but let's check the record. What we find is a total lack of a published record since January 1, 2019. Where should be look? Start at the agenda center set up under my administrations to provide transparency and to provide records available 24/7/365 with need to make a request. 

Agenda Center

View current agendas and minutes for all boards and commissions. Previous years' agendas and minutes can be found in the Document Center. 

Or so the Village alleges. They say one thing but where are the minutes. ZERO minutes are posted on this page for any meeting held in 2021 (26 meetings held to date in 2021) , 2020 (49 meetings) and only four (4) for the 43 meetings held in 2019. Are minutes from meetings being approved? Are they being signed and properly filed? We don't know. as there are only minutes for four (4) council meetings posted on the village's official Agenda and Minutes page since this January 2019.  These meetings are limited to: January 7, 2019, 2 sets for the regular council meeting as well as the special council meeting of February 4, 2019, and May 21 (all not posted November 5, by the way).

4 meeting minutes posted out of 118 meetings held to date. A failing grade.

This current mayor and the councils that have been part of her administration have held a grand total of 118 meetings to date for which a pathetic total of 4 meetings (back in 2019) have been posted. That's 3.4% of the meetings. That is a failing grade on a High School grading scale!

That is not transparency. CLICK HERE to view the Agendas and Minutes page. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Tracing the true tax increases in Palmetto Bay since Dec 2018. Property taxes 101. How “pennies a day” actually equals a $138.40 increased tax bill for a $400,000 tax value home.

SPOILER ALERT: The proposed tax increases are far from “pennies a day” promised by certain Palmetto Bay officials. They add up. And please note that this post is limited to Palmetto Bay portion of your property tax bill. There will be additional posts regarding your other Palmetto bay taxes that are not included on your property tax bill. Other Palmetto Bay taxes include Stormwater, FPL Franchise Fee and park user fees (all of which have been increased since December 5, 2018).

Property taxes go up in several ways. The most obvious way is through increasing the property tax rate.

The starting point for this analysis is 2019 when Palmetto Bay assessed a property tax rate of 2.2000. The proposed for this coming tax year is 2.400. Note that the rate was raised to 2.235 for last year (2020).

2.4000 for 2021 proposed
2.2350 assessed for 2020
2.2000 was the rate in 2019 (starting point)

I see a trend here - a trend for increased taxing and spending.

The second way property taxes go up is assessing the same tax rate against a property that has appreciated in value.  The average property in Palmetto Bay appreciated in value by over 4% for this current year. However, a homeowner cannot be taxed on more than 3% (0r the Consumer Price Index, whichever is lower) in any single tax year (see note at end of the post for additional explanation).

Doing the math: Taxes for a home with a $400,000 taxable value tracked since 2019*, taking both the appreciation in value (3% value) and the property tax rate applied for that year:

2019      $400,000 at 2.2000 (2019 rate) =  $    880.00 (Palmetto Bay only)  Starting point
2020      $412,000 at 2.2350 (2020 rate)=   $    920.82 (Palmetto Bay only)  $40.82 increase
2021      $424,360 at 2.4000 (Proposed)=   $ 1,018.46 (Palmetto Bay only)  $97.64 proposed increase**

Note 1 * - I have calculated only the Palmetto Bay portion of the tax bill. Other property taxes include Countywide, School Board, SFWMD, Library and Fire District (and others).

The result**: consecutive years of tax increases for Palmetto Bay homeowners result in a $97.64 for this year, but actually represents an increase of $138.46 tax increases based upon increased values and rates (Palmetto Bay taxes only) for a homeowner who owned a home with a value of $400,000 in 2019.

Pennies a day? Hardly. The documented taxes increases discussed here are limited to the Palmetto Bay portion of your property taxes. I will post on those less obvious fees (taxes) in a subsequent post.

All these taxes. They all add up. $138.00. That's 13,800 pennies - about 276 rolls of pennies. 

Upcoming post: We will take a serious look at how many pennies a day are required for the non-property taxes raised (and created) in Palmetto Bay since December 5, 2018.

NOTE: Homeowners are protected by the Amendment 10 to the Florida Constitution, otherwise known as Save Our Homes Amendment (SOH) which limits annual increases in property taxes that are based upon increased value.  Amendment 10 is a benefit of the homestead exemption that provides homeowners protection by limiting the maximum that the assessed value of their home for tax purposes can be raised to 3%, or the CPI whichever is lower (with some exceptions). Voters approved this amendment to the Florida Constitution, which was effective January 1, 1995.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

It is important that you carefully review your 2021 TRIM notice, just released. Palmetto Bay's temporal reframing in full spin mode.

Look for your TRIM notice in the mail or go online to view it.  I did. Before I discuss mine, look to see how your proposed bill will affect you and your family. TRIM Notices are sent to all property owners by August 24. The Notices include property values, exemption benefits, proposed taxes and budget hearing information. 

The Office of the Property Appraiser urges you to read your TRIM Notice carefully (TRIM Notices are mailed at the end of August). Although the Notice states, “This is not a bill”, it reflects what your property taxes are likely to be on your November property tax bill.

The Notice contains very important information pertaining to your property taxes. CLICK HERE to start your own search for your current TRIM Notice.

At least one Palmetto Bay official has promised that the proposed increases will amount to mere pennies a day! It is far from it and it is not just this current budget cycle. Past relevant blog posts on the recent tax increases reveal that it is not just this year. Palmetto Bay has been going through a stealth Tax and Fee creep since December 5, 2018.  CLICK HERE to read more.

"Pennies a day"? What does that mean? It means WATCHOUT!

The true meaning of "Pennies A Day": 

The pennies-a-day offer is what consumer psychologists call “temporal reframing” of the price. A larger total expense that the consumer will incur once is converted into a series of small daily or ongoing expenses solely for the sales pitch.

Read: Psychology Today, The Powerful Influence of Pennies-a-Day Price Offers, When marketers quote prices in pennies-a-day terms, many consumers get hooked. by Utpal Dholakia Ph.D., Posted April 22, 2019

Why does pennies-a-day framing work?

The goal of the pennies-a-day price offer is to lower the price hurdle, making the shopper think about how much buying the item will cost them in terms of small daily chunks.

Did everyone come out way ahead on their finances in 2020 and into this 2021? Well Palmetto Bay officials want a cut of your recent financial windfall, whether you received one or not. 

Keep an eye on the following high cost ticket items here in Palmetto Pay:

  • Property Taxes 
  • Homeowners Insurance - Property, Windstorm & Flood
  • Health Insurance costs
  • Gas prices 
  • FPL Franchise fee (tax)
  • Storm Water Fees
  • Park User Fees
  • and others 

Thursday, August 19, 2021

I bettcha our Palmetto Pay officials were unaware; who here knew that Miami-Dade County has a FIXED-GUIDEWAY RAPID TRANSIT SYSTEM—DEVELOPMENT ZONE code already in place? It’s there on Municode (this is part one of a series). Links provided.

Does any remember Ronald Reagan? For those that do, I must employ his words, “there you go again…” to our current elected officials who (once again) are not properly focusing on the issues at hand and instead, are relying upon catchphrases, hyperbole, or even hysterical comments in regard to the latest issue to hit Palmetto Pay: the Rapid Transit Zone (RTZ). Could the RTZ be the next 87 Avenue bridge fiasco for Palmetto Bay*? I am hopeful it won’t be and I raise that hope as we should have multiple communities pushing in the same direction. That is, until such time as those other communities cut their own deals and pull out, leaving others to suffer from this high density overlay known as the Rapid Transit Zone (RTZ).

But yet again, like the 87th Avenue bridge, it is clear that the current Palmetto Bay officials (once again) have a late start and are moving forward completely oblivious to the fact that precedent was laid in the 1970s for this current effort. This blog post is intended to educate them to the extent that I am able.

It is also important to note that the current mayor and council are neither fast studies nor will the react fast as it is documented that the current mayor knew of the bridge issue in the discussions held with County Commissioner Cohen Higgins in December 2020. It is also unfortunately that not a single member of the Village Council or Charter Officers could (or would) attend a very important County meeting on the bridge, this despite the fact that the  next day County meeting was discussed at a Village Council meeting. That's right, no one attended from Palmetto Bay. Facts are facts. The mayor felt her time was better spent the morning of the TPO meeting at a photo op at Coral Reef Park. Fine, photo ops trump the people's business in the mayor's mind, but why did she fail to at least  designate any other member of the village council or staff to attend and object on behalf of Palmetto Bay.  I mean really? Not a single member of the 5 member village council nor any of the 3 charter officers could attend in order to place an objection on the record? They must really have some very demanding, inflexible, schedules. 

The acts (inaction) revealed above is how the people of Palmetto Bay end up under represented and lose before the County. 

RTZ BACKGROUND: Miami-Dade County, Florida, implemented the beginnings of Rapid Transit Zone (RTZ) in the late 1970s concurrent with the approval of its heavy rail system. It makes sense. The heavy rail has but one owner,  Miami-Dade County, which is also the regional government responsible for the delivery of mass transit through a divided metropolitan area that presently includes 34 individual municipalities, each with its own zoning regulations and processes. It was back in the 1970s that the County first set the ground work for a RTZ code that preempts zoning and permitting jurisdiction to the County for all property under and around the heavy-rail system.

LEADERSHIP LESSON ONE – you must research and understand an issue before you can begin to mount a quality defense.

THE RTZ CODE, AS IT CURRENTLY EXISTS: Here is the applicable county codes, that, by the way, have long been posted on Municode. See Chapter 33C


Sec. 33C-1. - Legislative intent, findings and purposes.

            The Board of County Commissioners for Miami-Dade County, Florida, hereby declares and finds that the uncoordinated use of lands within the County threatens the orderly development and the health, safety, order, convenience, prosperity and welfare of the present and future citizens of this County. Pursuant to Ordinance No. 75-22, the Board adopted and accepted the Comprehensive Development Master Plan for Miami-Dade County whereby it specifically declared that it was the continuing policy of Miami-Dade County, in cooperation with federal, State, regional and local governments, and other concerned public and private organizations, to use all reasonable means and measures to:

                        (a) Foster and promote the general welfare;
                        (b) To create and maintain conditions under which man and nature can exist in productive harmony; and
                        (c) To fill the social, economic and other requirements of the present and future generations of citizens of Miami-Dade County, Florida.

Footnote*: The lack of proper legislation management is why I term the 87 Avenue bridge process a fiasco. Those in favor of the bridge may disagree, stating that it was time, but all much acknowledge that current Palmetto Pay officials failed to put up an real roadblocks to the most recent bridge effort looking unprepared and out maneuvered, regardless of whether you are pro or anti- bridge. The officials made some noise to appear as if they were anti-bridge (usually limited to caustic emails or constrained one minute statements before the various County hearings) but the County paid little if any attention to the noise created by current Palmetto Bay officials. CLICK HERE to view prior posts relating to the ineffective bridge defense.

THE GOAL: Let’s hope the neighboring communities can prepare and organized effort that our Palmetto Pay officials bay hitch our hopes to and ride their coattails to success.


Friday, August 13, 2021

This (BLOG) space gets attention – and results!

Wow, that was fast. The sign is gone.

AFTER PHOTO - sign no longer present on site 8/13/2021

A little birdie suggested that I should accept advertisements on this blog. Nice complement, but no thanks. 

It is clear that my blog is well read and generates community input and results!

BACKGROUND - PRIOR RELATED POST: August 12, 2021, Wow. New direction for Palmetto Bay code? Is this the vision for the current mayor and council? Photos

Have a happy and safe Friday the 13th (8/13/2021)

Happy Friday the 13th! Don't let superstitions get the best of you, though why not avoid ladders and breaking mirrors today.

Good news? No full moon for tonight, August 13, 2021. The Moon's current phase for today and tonight is a Waxing Crescent Phase.

Recommended reading:

Friday the 13th, HISTORY.COM Editors (note: this story was originally posted on October 10, 2017, and was updated August 10, 2021)   Long considered a harbinger of bad luck, Friday the 13th has inspired a late 19th-century secret society, an early 20th-century novel, a horror film franchise and not one but two unwieldy terms—paraskavedekatriaphobia and friggatriskaidekaphobia—that describe fear of this supposedly unlucky day.

USA Today Why Friday the 13th is known as a day of bad luck, by Jolie Lee, USA Today, posted Friday, June 13, 2014: Everyone knows Friday the 13th is considered an unlucky day. But why does it have such a bad reputation?

Trail Cam - upstate NY 8-3-2021 - just what goes on at 3 AM in the Adirondack forest?

The weekender. Ever wonder what native animals are out wandering around the Adirondack forest in the early predawn hours?

Most don't. My daughter does.  I am interested as well. She set up her trail cam. Here is one video she sent me (I am hoping for more).

Racoons! Really? These little scavengers are out looking for unsecured food.

I have to admit. I was hoping for some bears. At least a video of the groundhog that she has been seeing around lately.

I will post any additional videos that merit posting.

Enjoy your weekend. Stay dry. This may be a very wet weekend here in South Florida.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Wow. New direction for Palmetto Bay code? Is this the vision for the current mayor and council? Photos

Wow, things sure have changed since I was mayor. Is this the new realtor sign size approved for use in Palmetto Bay? A friend of South Dade Updates (FOSDU) sent me photos of a massive (or is it a "MEGA") "For Sale" Realtor sign installed on a property on Old Cutler Road at 164 Terrace.

This sign must be permitted under that new code we keep hearing about. Signs this large were never permitted when I was mayor.

I will admit that the sign appears to be well constructed and installed, but this is not my vision for signage in our residential areas.

Update on the SW 136 Street project. Village renderings as well as private photos and video are provided.

EDITOR'S NOTE:  Who doesn’t love Sesame Street? "One of These Things" was a song regularly used on the show where the children would be shown a group of four items, one of which was different from the other three. Viewers would learn to identify the item which didn't belong. Not everything is equal. This game provides a lesson in learning to look to find the detail and discern subtle differences.  Some differences are not subtle. 
It’s a good game for children, but it is not a game that local governments should be inflicting on residents. This is especially true when the actual differences impacts their homes, which for most, is the largest investment we make in our lifetime. It is not a game.

So with that lead in, Palmetto Bay residents once again are called upon to play the game of "some of these sections are not like the others". People are starting to compare - sections of the so-called shared path.  And affected residents are starting to notice that not all sections are created equal. Why do some residents have the full 10 feet imposed while others suffer less, 8 feet or worse, at least one section where the sidewalk is the standard 5 feet? That is right! Five (5) feet!

This 5 foot section is located just east of 77th Avenue
Not really much of a so-called bicycle upgrade

It is a fair question to ask who made these decisions that impact their property values and ability to park on the swale? Were there private, unadvertised meetings? 

It is also a fair question to ask whether Pinecrest officials would ever consider inflicting such a project on their residents, on their side of SW 136th Street (or anywhere else in Pinecrest for that matter)? I bet not.

Why are trees being knocked down in some areas while the path was reduced to the standard 5 feet to save the trees. 

Many want to know how residents in that area pulled off 5 feet while they are suffering 8 to 10 feet.  

I am documenting here that 5 feet has been poured in at least one area (photo above), yet village officials continue to advise residents that this project includes an 8 to 10 foot "shared use path" (see rendering immediately below), 

Note: The Village representation as to the 8' to 10' width are identified with red arrows and circles

You can't hide the cement. The 8 to 10 foot width range is far from the truth. The cat is out of the bag as a friend of South Dade Updates (FOSDU) called me out to the scene to witness the in fact all sections are not being treated equal. Please view the videos and photos.


The dirty little secret (until now) is that shared path narrows as the standard 5 foot sidewalk in at least one section (see video above and photo below). Who else will get a special dispensation for a reduced 5 foot wide path? Remember, the project is far from complete.

Saving the trees - a worthy goal: An unnamed source within the project contractor advised that the reduction to 5 feet for the section documented above was done in order to save the trees. Save the trees! There is otherwise sufficient right of way to pour a 20 foot path.  Wow. let's work together to save more trees.

why are changes keep being made for some, but not all. My purpose here is to really keep you in the loop as to this SW 136 Street Project. Perhaps more affected residents need to speak out and make their voices heard before the fate of their property is sealed in concrete.

Path section located west of 77th Avenue. No parking.
Essentially all green space removed.

For background, please see my post of August 2, 2021: How will SW 136th Street look and function when completed? Some fair questions. Remember, this shared path will have all the effectiveness of the Old Cutler Shared Path. It is a shame. I have always keep my constituents, now my readers in the loop.  Please review my concerns expressed about the many questions about the final look and function of SW 136 Street. I have also heard that there have been some changes made based upon special input. The path with has shrunk in some areas. It may zig where it was programed to zag or go straight. We will all just have to wait and see as no one is keeping us all in the same loop as to those pesky details. It is strange (and sad) that some people have been provided significant input while others have been kept in the dark or told simply that this is 'a county project'. That is not true, this is a JPA and Palmetto Bay has designed it.

Monday, August 9, 2021

Photo of the Day - Its often Groundhog's Day in upstate NY or is this a woodchuck?

My daughter provided photos on a ground hog that has taken up residence nearby in upstate NY.

Groundhogs are also known as woodchucks. They are the largest-bodied members of the squirrel family in upstate New York. An adult groundhog weighs around ten pounds on average, and they are easily recognizable for their chunky bodies and stubby legs.

Some areas apparently consider them a pest. Geez, can't we all just get along? They are part of nature.

For the record, ground hogs are correct only half the time in predicting the end of winter. 

Finally, a woodchuck would chuck “As much wood as a woodchuck could chuck, If a woodchuck could chuck wood.”

Enjoy your summer

Friday, August 6, 2021

Term of the day: Shoe horn or shoehorning


Shoehorn - verb per Merriam Webster dictionary



Definition of shoehorn (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1to force to be included or admittedshoehorned irrelevant arguments into his essay
2to force or compress into an insufficient space or period of time SQUEEZEshoehorn the past, present, and future into about 500 pages— Otis Port

EDITOR'S NOTE: Where am I going with this? Wait and find out. Watch this blog.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Norman Brothers Produce Inc. will be officially closing on August 8th, 2021 at 5PM. An end of an era.

I saw the notice online and it caught my attention. Last call is set for 5 PM on August 8. I bet the lines will be long.

I had many good times there. I am old enough to remember Norman Brothers before their current (for now) location as it existed prior to SW 87 Avenue widened to four-lanes.  I am a long-time customer starting through my parents. Alexandra and I went there while at UM and then introduced our daughters to their shakes. We have most recently used it as a bicycle destination, where we earned a guilt free shake! 

Norman Brothers will end at 3 generations of the Flinn family. I know some families went longer into their family tree. Norman Brothers is a Galloway Road classic, much like Arbetters Hotdogs (Bird & 87th, close enough) and Frankie's Pizza (if you generously include a turn west onto Bird Road). Relax, neither Arbetters or Frankies are going anywhere anytime in the foreseeable future. 

More background on why it is closing, see the Miami-Herald (for subscribers): ‘End of an era’: Zoning approved to replace Norman Brothersmarket with seniors home, by Douglas Hanks, May 19, 2021.

An end of an era. We still can ride to Pinecrest Wayside Market (10070 SW 57 Avenue) as well as Robert is Here [waaaaay out there (a great ride, BTW)].

I will miss Norman Brothers. Some great times. I watched that business evolve as I grew up. Another area that I saw move from farm / horse country to what makes up Miami today. I pass by it each and every time I head home from my mother's house. It will not be pleasant to see it go.

Monday, August 2, 2021

How will SW 136th Street look and function when completed? Some fair questions. Remember, this shared path will have all the effectiveness of the Old Cutler Shared Path. Photos and links provided.

There are many questions about the final look and function of SW 136 Street. I have also heard that there have been some changes made based upon special input. The path with has shrunk in some areas. It may zig where it was programed to zag or go straight. We will all just have to wait and see as no one is keeping us all in the same loop as to those pesky details. It is strange (and sad) that some people have been provided significant input while others have been kept in the dark or told simply that this is 'a county project'. That is not true, this is a JPA and Palmetto Bay has designed it.

One thing is important: safety. The Old Cutler Path was built in different times and has not been updated in years by Miami-Dade County other than striping and other markings on the path. Shared paths are far from immune to car versus cyclists or pedestrian accidents. See a prior related post of June 24, 2020, Yet another car v bike conflict along the Old Cutler Trail – a multi-use path, not a dedicated bike lane. I have posted other significant past posts that will provide information as to sharrows and shared paths in general, other posts provide information and opinion as to Old Cutler Road and the Old Cutler Trail specifically.

New construction should be built to take advantage of the latest safety updates.  I post here some photos taken at another Miami-Dade County shared path/trail.  Please view the safety equipment.  Simple, but include lighted crossing fixtures and painted crosswalks. Most importantly, there are bollards installed to prevent motorized vehicles from using the trail path. 

And think again if you don’t think there is a risk of cars will be using the 136 Street shared path.  Take a look at this video documenting a frustrated driver taking to the Old Cutler Shared path on February 19, 2021. You can see the foreshadowing of intent from the very beginning of the video. The driver finally reached the breaking point 50 seconds in the video and begins the long drive down the shared path all the way down or at least much closer to the intersection at Coral Reef Drive. Wow a private lane!  


Outta the way walkers, joggers and cyclists!

What we know. 

  • We know about the significant loss of trees along SW 136 Street (with some 40 year trees being replaced with some new much smaller plantings). 
  • We know there will be no bike lines, so cyclists will still be legally permitted to use the street (so no gain for the motorists), but again, what about the safety enhancements for the shared path. 
  • Will there be anything better than a curb?
  • We know that some get modifications while others are definitely not being kept in the loop.
  • Most of us will have to wait for the project to take shape to be able to envision what the final project will look like,

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Break out your telescopes (or binoculars) if you got ‘em – Saturn will be a spectacle. Evenings of Aug 1 & 2.

Photo credit: NASA.gov

Saturn will be visible to the naked eye, but the details visible from a telescope or even binoculars will be spectacular. 

Saturn will be at opposition, on August 1 and 2. This means the Earth will be located between the ringed planet and the sun. Saturn will be at its most luminous, making for a brilliant night sky view.

For more, see EarthSky Saturn At Opposition August 1-2, Near Jupiter, posted by Bruce McClure and Deborah Byrd

Saturn continues to provide local viewing pleasure - see a prior related post of December 22, 2020, POD - Photos from the #GreatConjunction. This occurred on Monday evening, December 21, 2020. This apparent event occurred on December 21, 2020, when Jupiter and Saturn aligned to appear as one single bright point. 

This is a recommended family time event, sponsored by Mother Nature. Enjoy.