Journalism is publishing what someone else does not want published. All the rest is public relations. - George Orwell

Friday, July 31, 2015

Fairchild Garden contest is for the birds (lovers)

Photo courtesy Fairchild Garden
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is now accepting entries for its two "Birds of South Florida" Photo Contests as part of the Bird Festival presented by Fairchild and the Tropical Audubon Society. In addition to the annual photo contest for adults, new this year, is a bird photo contest for kids. Entering the contest is free and open to all amateur photographers. The deadline for entries is Friday, September 18.

Photo submissions must be taken in South Florida and sent with the Registration Form filled out and attached via email to bird@fairchildgarden.org. Participants must be 13 years of age or older. Expert judges will review each submission and select the top 20 photos. The judging panel will then choose the first, second, and third place winners, which will be announced before the Keynote Lecture at the Bird Festival on Saturday, October 3. The top three entries will receive a special prize, and the top 20 photos will be digitally displayed throughout the garden and on Fairchild's Facebook page during the Bird Festival, held from October 3-4.

Participants who submit entries for the kids' photography contest must be younger than 13 years of age and must submit a Registration Form with a parent or guardian's signature to littlebird@fairchildgarden.orgPhotos can feature any species of bird. A team of experts will choose the top 3 photos, and winners will be announced before the Keynote Lecture on Saturday, October 3 and will receive special prizes.

The Bird Festival will be held October 1-4 with two days of off-site field trips and two days of on-site activities at Fairchild. The event features bird walks, a photo contest, plant sales, and a lecture by Dr. James A. Kushlan Keynote Speaker Kenn Kaufman, author of "Kingbird 
Highway" and winner of the American Birding Association's lifetime achievement award.

To submit a photo, please visit fairchildgarden.org/Bird-Festival to fill out and email the 
Photo Contest Registration Form.

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Protecting our tree canopy

In light of all the tree hacking going on around town, Tree Watch has sent me an easy page to navigate on the City of Miami's website. It falls under Planning & Zoning.

You'll find the tree permit application and process listed along with phone numbers to report anything that you see that might be shady (no pun intended).

Many people in the neighborhoods contact me when it's too late, about destroyed greenery and the developers and builders and their employees are to blame. People just don't know that you cannot destroy trees in Coconut Grove.

The other day, a guy fell 15 feet from atop a tree that he was cutting down. Tree Watch is looking into this, as it is on private property, but still not allowed to be destroyed. 

To find out if a tree has a permit, you can call 305-416-1551 or visit: http://portal.miamigov.com/landmanagement

The main email address and phone number for Tree Protection is Email: EnvironmentalRes@miamigov.com or Phone: 305-416-1400.

This is for all of the City of Miami. Not just Coconut Grove.

If in doubt, please call or email (calling of course, is faster). You'll remain anonymous and you just might be saving a large part of our tree canopy. 

I'll leave a link to TREE PROTECTION at the top of the Grapevine next to the other links and you can refer to it whenever you need it. It will link to the Planning and Zoning website. 

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Tickets on sale for Vizcaya's Halloween party

When Vizcaya mixes outlandish costumes with a breathtaking sunset view of Biscayne Bay from their 10 acres of formal gardens, you can expect to have a memorable experience. For the 29th year in a row, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens will hold its Halloween Sundowner within the historic property. 

Joy Taylor, co-host of Miami’s sports talk radio The Ticket, will emcee and host Vizcaya’s Outrageous Costume Contest, which will crown Best Male, Best Female, Best Group and Best Historical Costumes. Each year, the event attracts 1,000 guests, making this event a favorite among professionals. Proceeds from the event benefit the protection and preservation of Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, which is a National Historic Landmark. 

“Vizcaya engages the community and its visitors in learning through the arts, history and the environment. The Halloween Sundowner is a great opportunity to express your creative side, while helping us preserve this extraordinary Miami treasure,” says Joel Hoffman, Executive Director at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens.

The Halloween extravaganza will feature alluring entertainment with bayfront music and dancing until midnight overlooking Biscayne Bay. It will offer five full bars by Premiere Beverage and Bacardi, which will also serve specialty drinks to guests upon arrival. Wynwood Brewing and Biscayne Bay Brewing Company will pour a selection of their craft beer, and guests will be treated to food by Whole Foods, 

The event is Friday, October 30 from 8 pm to midnight, which allows you to party a second night on October 31 in the Center Grove.

Free parking is available

TICKETS: $110 early bird special for members (offer ends September 1)
General Admission tickets start at $140 for members and $165 for non-members. To see all ticket options and to pre-purchase online, go to vizcayahalloween.org

Must be 21 and over to attend the event, rain or shine, tickets are non-refundable.

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is a National Historic Landmark that preserves the Miami estate of
agricultural industrialist James Deering to engage our community and its visitors in learning
through the arts, history and the environment. Built between 1914 and 1922, Vizcaya is one of
the most intact remaining examples from this era in United States history, when the nation’s most successful entrepreneurs built lavish estates inspired by the stately homes of Europe.

Vizcaya is located in the North Grove at 3251 South Miami Avenue, between Brickell Avenue.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Clearing up the Glass House issue

 I spoke with Ron Nelson, Commissioner Sarnoff's chief of staff, today about the Glass House.

I was told that the Gymagination program  guys were told to move their mats and other items from a common area but other than that, they are not losing space. Ron's office is trying to find them storage for the items. Mike Simpson and Stayc Sharrow Simpson showed up at the Commissioner's office yesterday to discuss the issue. I joked with Ron that they were there to "eye the office," since Mike is running for the Commissioner's District 2 seat.

The Eating House and the community center are splitting utilities in the Glass House. Each side will have their own air conditioning and electricity. There is a small office between the two sides which most likely will be home to the second air handler since now there will be two. 

The entire building is 3885 square feet, The Eating House has less than 50% of that with 1680 square feet. The community center has the larger area of the building. 

Now this is interesting - the restrooms are common area to both businesses. They were redone and made ADA accessible and there is a way to enter from either side so that occupants don't interfere with the children on the one side. This may be some of the complaints from the Simpson's about losing space, but the bathroom is still theirs, they will be sharing it.

Ron told me that there is no property management company or sublease. The lease is directly with the city and the restaurant.

As for the basketball court and soccer fields. They are open all summer, because school is out and St. Stephen's is not using them during the day. That is where some of us differ as I don't care for the idea of the school having any part of the park at any time. But there are those who feel that it is ok. But as of now, the courts and fields are open all day for summer, they are locked at night. And when school starts next month, the areas will be used by the school at certain times and open to the public the rest of the time.

There are those who feel that the Glass House should not have a restaurant in any part of it and that the City sold out to development. They feel that nothing in the park should be private business or locked up.

Kevin Kirwin, Director of Miami Parks and Recreation responded:

"The program that his wife is operating on a temporary park use permit is one of the many programs that are being offered at the Peacock Park Community Center. To be clear, there have been no impacts to the programs at this park and quite the contrary – the park has become an activated place for public enjoyment and is now being used more than ever. The improvements being made are to enhance access to this facility and all contracts for the facility are being adhered to. The City of Miami owns and operates the entire facility and there is a lease that is compliant with the terms of the RFP for the restaurant portion of the Glass House, there is no third party involved, period.  I would be happy to meet and listen to them regarding to the access to storage and any other questions that they may have."

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Disco Fever back for one night only

Catch the Fever, for One Night Only, Disco has come back to the Grove. On Saturday, August 15 from 7:30 - 11:30 pm, dance to the Disco Beat at the Woman's Club of Coconut Grove.

Tickets are $30 each or get a VIP table for 10 with 2 bottles of Champaign for $500.

There will be appetizers from local restaurants and a cash bar. Fred Astaire dancers will preform along with a dance lesson. There is also a costume and dance contest.

All proceeds benefit the Woman’s Club of Coconut Grove, on the National Register of Historic Places. Purchase tickets at womansclubofcoconutgrove.com/disco-party

For info: 305-446-2909 or womansclubcoconutgrove@gmail.com

The Woman's Club is at 2985 S. Bayshore Drive. 

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Eating House is eating up the Glass House

You know that community center in half of the Glass House? We'll according to reports, it's going to be cut down to about a quarter of the size of the building so that The Eating House restaurant can take over half of their space and then have three fourths of the glass house.

The director of the Center notified the community center of the "take over" recently. The restaurant will now claim almost all of the equipment storage space and the bathrooms, effective August 17, according to Mike Simpson, who is running for District 2 Commission seat. His wife Stayc Sharrow Simpson runs the Gymagination program at the Glass House.

"This will effectively kill all community programs in the Peacock Park Community Center," says Mike.

"According to the parent of one of my wife's students (who was privy to the details of the final deal between the City & the restaurant) this can happen because the City did not lease half the building to the restaurateur--apparently they leased the ENTIRE building to a property management company who sublet it to the restaurant.  My wife will be demanding to see contracts that give them this right, but I'm sure there's paperwork somewhere," says Mike.

It makes sense as Peacock Park itself has sold out to the highest bidder, why not the glass house?  Kick ball teams have been thrown out of the park after so many years and the soccer field and basketball courts are controlled by St. Stephen's school. A friend told me that this was going to happen years ago, I didn't believe her but she was totally right.

Update: Grace Solares is on it. She sent this email this morning: "I have requested a copy of the Lease between the City and the Glass House.  This should tell us how much of the area they are entitled to use.   I received a copy of the Lease this morning and it is about 107 pages long.  I have also requested a copy of the actual RFP.  I have not received that one.  I just have to remind you that the Lessees of the Glass House are the same who received the RFP award at Grove Bay/Scotty's [Grove Bay Investment Group].  Surprised?"

Grace is also running for District 2 Commission seat.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A bike tour through Grove history

Last Saturday a group when on a bike trip through the Grove to learn about the history and vegetation of the Grove. The tour was guided by Frank W. Schena, Urban Naturalist from Royal Palm Tours of Miami. The weather sunny covered by clear clouds mixed cool winds.
The tour began at Peacock Park at the site of the Bay View Inn (1882) later its name was changed to The Peacock Inn. Coconut Grove roots date back to 1870 with approximately 82 residents. 

Everyone was fascinated to learn the past history of the Grove and about its vast sub-tropical vegetation. The majority of the riders were not from the Grove. Rafael Gutierrez, Coconut Grove artist and realtor was the only Grove resident present.
The story was told about the shocking news Northerners “bird nesters” heard when they returned to Coconut Grove for their winter stay about how “their town” had being absorbed by the City of Miami over the summer in 1925.

Most riders asked isn’t Coconut Grove its own city. The tour guide asked Rafael for an answer, he said, “The entire group of registered voters in the City of Miami will need to approved the separation through a ballot, that’s not going to happen.” Riding through the trail of vegetation at the Barnacle is breath taking; at the start it gives the feeling one is about to embark on a long trail, but it's actually short. The trip ended at the The Kampong, the former home of Dr. David Fairchild and currently home to many native and non-native plans.
The Coconut Grove Bike Tours take place every couple of weeks on a Saturday morning, details here.

Story and photos by Rafael Gutierrez

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Are people just lazy?

The story of the fill in mail lady reminds me of the pizza place we use. Like the mail lady who only has to deliver the mail and can't seem to manage that, the pizza place only has to take pizza orders and they can't handle that.

We have pizza night at my parents' house every week. We order pizza from the same place every week and the order is exactly the same every week. The only change is the amount of pizzas, sometimes there is more, sometimes there is less.

Every time we order, it's a project. The person on the other end cannot get the order straight. Their job is to take pizza orders and deliver them. That's it. But they can't manage to do it smoothly.

It reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where the car rental company can't keep the reservation. Jerry explains to the girl behind the counter, "You know how to take the reservation, you just don't know how to hold the reservation!" You can see that scene here.

How simple is it to deliver the mail and do nothing else or to take down a pizza order from people who call in the orders or to hold a car reservation? Actually, I've had this experience with Enterprise right here on US1. I've called to make a reservation and they have taken the reservation, but they tell me not to come until I call first the next day. When I do call, they tell me to call back because they don't have any cars available. In other words, they can't keep a reservation either.

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Another day, another tree

This is at the Kwik Stop at 3135 Grand Avenue. It was cut down earlier this week. People had been asking why we didn't mention this tree but made a deal out of the trees at the Farinelli 1937 restaurant. It's because, they too, did this under the cover of night. The trees are inside the parking lot, right on the post office/Kiwk Stop lot line. We didn't notice until the other day.

They basically left firewood. When I asked them what happened, they said the City did it. That is doubtful.

This image taken from Google Maps shows the tree before it was taken down. The white arrow points to the exact tree.

Tree Watch and I were rooting around (no pun intended) and we came up with this recent photo on Google Maps. You can see the trees in question, a the corner of Commodore and Grand, were not just a quick overnight massacre job, the photo here shows hat racking, the wanton destruction of the trees over a period of time. It was well thought out. 

This image from the Bed Race a few years ago, shows the actual size of the trees that were killed. Tree Watch is all over this. The county is working with them and the actual tree cutter should lose his license if he even has a license.

That property is owned by Commodore Corner LLC, mangaged by the PointeGroup.

From the TreeWatch Facebook page:

During the week we heard from many of you about how upset you are regarding the recent illegal tree removals within the private property on the corner of Grand and Commodore.
We are upset too!
We let the office of Commissioner Sarnoff know, and we also let Code Enforcement, the Director of the Coconut Grove BID, the NET office for Coconut Grove and the representatives for the owners of the property know how upset we, and many who have contacted us, are about the illegal removal of the two trees.

Although these trees were on private property, they provided shade to the sidewalk on Grand Avenue, the street and the bus stop beneath the trees. The trees would have been afforded the opportunity of an appeal had a permit been requested for their removal.

Ron Nelson, Chief of staff for Commissioner Sarnoff indicated that Code Enforcement has fines in place, and that mitigation is also mandated as per the Tree Ordinance. We imagine this case will go before the Code Enforcement Board, where it will be heard, and fines and mitigation will be determined. We have asked to be informed as to the date of the hearing.

We request that as part of the mitigation for the removal of these two trees, that two trees be planted in the same spots of similar size and girth; and that they be planted in accordance to the Tree Ordinance and the City's guidelines for the planting of urban trees, so that their survival and welfare is of the same level of quality as those trees which were recently planted to replace the ones that were moved from Commodore Plaza during the Sidewalk Improvement project. We know that the sooner that there are two new, big trees restoring canopy in that spot, the better this will be in restoring goodwill within the community.

A new study found "that living on a street with 10 more trees than average (both on the street and in people's yards) makes you feel as healthy as if you were seven years younger—or as if you were making an extra $10,000 a year."

Welcome to the new Coconut Grove.

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

New trolley service to start in Village West

The Coral Gables trolley will be running in Village West, making five stops, starting on Monday, July 27. This is great for Village West. Along with the opening of the new visitor's center recently at the KROMA Gallery this is excellent news for the neighborhood.

"The Grand Avenue Route" will come from the Douglas Metrorail station and head into the Grove. 

The five stops are

▪ Douglas and Percival

▪ Grand Avenue and Douglas

▪ Grand Avenue and Brooker Street

▪ Grand Avenue and Jefferson Street

▪ Grand Avenue and South Dixie Hwy

The trolleys will pass by about every 15 minutes, Monday through Friday from 6:30 am to 8:00 pm. 

This is all mitigation due to the trolley folly, where the Gables built a trolley garage in the Village West neighborhood, which was deemed to violate the Civil Rights act of 1964 and took advantage of the Village West neighborhood.

The Center Grove is still set to have a trolley service hopefully by the end of the year.

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Fitness lifestyle for the busy bee

Trying to balance work, family, friends, hobbies, committees, responsibilities, and some you-time is not easy. We know you’re busy, but neglecting fitness and exercise won’t do you any favors. People who workout regularly tend to feel more healthy and energized throughout the day. Check out some ways that even the busiest people maintain a fitness lifestyle.

Pencil it in: Make your exercise routine a staple of your day. Just like you would schedule a meeting with a client at work, set aside time in your schedule and actually write it on your calendar. This will be a daily reminder of your commitment, and you can’t use the excuse that you didn’t have time.

Make your workout fun: It is hard to make time for a workout when you are dreading it each time. One of the best things about exercise is that there are so many ways to do it. Find a fitness routine that you enjoy and look forward to doing, whether that is taking a deep breath with some yoga, putting on your favorite playlist and going for a run, or pushing yourself with the help of your personal trainer.

Be sneaky about it: Exercise does not have to be a whole workout each time. To help get your blood flowing, sneak some exercises into your everyday life. Do some calf raises as you wait to cross the street, take the stairs, try some squats when you take a bathroom break at work, or suggest a walking meeting with your friend or client. Anything to get you moving more is going help you feel more energized.

Combine fitness into your social life: Making time for friends and family are important. Instead of meeting up with your friends for a drink after work though, try a round of tennis in one of the many Coconut Grove tennis courts, go for a causal bike ride through the Grove, or try a fitness class or training session together. You’ll have time to catch up with your friend, and catch a workout at the same time.

Choose a fitness diet: We’ve all done it. We eat a greasy burger and fries, or a whole plate of fettuccini alfredo, go into a little food coma, and blow off our workout for the day. For the busy bee, you will avoid that feeling and feel lighter and more energized if you eat healthy, light meals and snacks throughout the day. Incorporating more healthy and fresh foods in proper serving sizes throughout the day will leave your body energized and ready for a workout rather than ready for a nap.

For more fitness tips and information, check out Fitness Together Miami at fitnesstogethermiami.com). They are a private, personal training gym in Coconut Grove and South Miami. Stop in or give them a call to try a free session today!

Coconut Grove: 3333 Rice St Suite 101  |  305-648-2202
South Miami: 1st Floor of South Miami Municipal Garage  |  5829 SW 73rd St Suite 2  |  305-665-3694

This is an advertorial. Want one? Check out here.

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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Halloween store is ready to open on Grand Avenue

Halloween in Coconut Grove 2015 has begun! Well, almost.

It's still July, but the Halloween store has set up on Grand Avenue. It's at the former Rainbow clothing store, the old Sephora space where it has been many times over the years, next to 24 Hour Fitness.

It's all new and fresh and ready for you to explore. We'll announce their opening when they are ready to open.

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Creative cruise conference planned for the fall

Coconut Grove-based Art Therapists are hosing an interdisciplinary conference which will provide both a mini-vacation, continuing education, and valuable networking with seasoned art therapists, creative professionals and human resources experts. This conference seeks to further inspire the already vibrant and growing art scene in the Grove.
This inaugural  3-day cruise sails from Miami to the Bahamas from Friday, Oct 9, at 4 pm - to Monday, Oct 12, 8 am.

“This will be a party-down and learn situation,” says Amanda Pike, PhD and owner of Art Therapy and Services in Coconut Grove. Each evening there will be a free, open bar, happy-hour to ensure lots of networking. During the day, the schedule is open so attendees can enjoy the beach and boat. During the late afternoon and evening, presentations and workshops on the therapeutic role of community art will take place. 

As an added bonus, Call-for-Art information will be provided by an international organization seeking art for corporate offices. The goal of the art selection and office placement is to enhance employee emotional intelligence through work-day, collaborative art-viewing.

Families and friends are all welcome.

The conference is $95 per person. The 3-day cruise ranges from $352 to $592 per person. More info and you may reserve here.

The List of Speakers, who talk about incorporating art into their daily lives, including health and well being is hereDr. Parag Shah MD, MBBS, MBA, FRCS (I), FRSA is the Keynote Speaker.He has broad experience in wellness and staff engagement through his medical practice combined with business consulting in the UK and US. Since 2008, Dr. Shah has been celebrated for pioneering the accredited Optamize program, which delivers emotional intelligence training, and leverages art as a learning tool

Coconut Grove-based, Art Therapy Consulting and Services is a group art therapy practice of registered and board-certified art therapists. The mission of Art Therapy Consulting & Services is to strengthen communities and organizations in ways that enhance dignity, pride and relationships.

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Friday, July 24, 2015

A piece of Grove history just keeps going on

Miami Racked did a nice little feature on Maya Hatcha, one of the oldest, if not the oldest businesses in Coconut Grove. In 2008, we did a story on their 40 year anniversary called Fierce at 40. Now it's almost 50 years - same location all these years.

Here's the Miami Racked feature called, A Little Piece of 1969.

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Natalie Pacheco

I was sorry to hear of Natalie Pacheco's passing. Many of you know her from The Bookstore and Lulu, she worked at both places.

Natalie was killed by a person who was texting while driving a truck. Natalie was walking on the sidewalk, on her way to the bus stop. This was July on 8, 2015. Natalie was 19.

I was shocked and saddened to hear of her passing.

There is a fundraiser for her family here.

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I think this is everyone's worst nightmare

This letter is heartbreaking. It so much reminds me of the Sandra Bland incident. I know the officer he speaks of here and after doing this for much of his career in Coconut Grove, he is finally being taken from the district on July 30 and being moved to some unlucky neighborhood. I have had run-ins with this same cop, and just yesterday, a friend told me how he almost man handled her because of the same three parking spaces in front of The Bookstore. And she was legitimately using it for loading and unloading for a business. This was at the same time as the car on Virginia Street was almost car jacked.

One day I was walking by and he was talking to a friend, while doing his favorite thing, ticketing a car. I made a remark, just to make small talk, the officer didn't like it and I feared that something would happen and if my friend wasn't present and a community leader in Miami, I may have ended up in jail. The look he gave me made a chill run up my spine.

I know most of the local police, they are all the complete opposite of this guy. They are part of the community, friendly, helpful and honest people. I always stop and talk with them when I see them in the village. I'm not sure how this one cop got mixed in with our NRO's and others in the Grove, but it is good to hear that he will be gone soon.

The letter is anonymous because the writer is afraid it may hurt his court case if he signs it. But he did give me permission to add his name if I felt it was needed. I don't think it is.

How would you feel, if you were a resident of Coconut Grove, or any other city, village or state, handicapped, senior citizen, not having any traffic violation for the last five to ten years, and never been arrested in your life?

Unfortunately it happened to me, this July, at 9:50 am. I drove to the Bookstore, on Florida Avenue, a policemen was there and I tried to call his attention since I wanted to asked him to please allow me to park in one of the three parking spots available for loading, I just wanted to buy the newspaper and was going to quickly leave. I had asked to park there because, I just had a hip replacement (three weeks prior to the arrest) and it was very difficult for me to walk, and the nearest available parking to the Bookstore was these three parking for loading.

The sequence of the events go like this, I called the police to ask for permission to park there, he did not hear or did not want to hear what I had to say, and he said I must move, I tried to talk to him, and he said he will write me a ticket and I left.  Since he was writing the ticket I went around the block and returned knowing I should probably go back, I did not want to be accused of abandoning the scene, and I asked the officer, did you write me a ticket?  He said yes, and so asked for my copy, and I said to him, “Well if you gave me the ticket I should be able to park for a minute or two, since it is very difficult for me to walk, because I just had an operation," so for trying a second time, I was arrested for not obeying a police order.

In a matter of a seconds,  I lost all my rights, the officer handcuffed me, took all my belongings, wallet, cash, phone and keys and he put me in the back of his car, a sergeant arrived minutes later and I spoke to him, I indicated that in my wallet was a card that proved I had a hip replacement done on June 15, 2015, and that I am handicapped but he refuse to look at it, I asked him if he could ask someone at the Bookstore to move the car and the answer was no. They toweded the car which cost me an additional $187.00.

The way to jail was a bumpy ride, it took several hours, first they took me to the Miami Police Department to do the paper work, I was then taken to a Police Center where there were six other people arrested, throughout this entire time I was handcuffed, and around 4 pm they took me to jail, where I was processed again, they took my blood pressure, a picture, finger print, and I was interviewed, I think by a paramedic. He asked me at the end what had happened, and his comment was “Bad luckyou got a 'bad officer.' "  

There perhaps were 100 people arrested for all type of felonies, at that time, I was able to call my wife around 5 pm, and let her know where I had been the whole day, I asked her to come to prison with $500 for a bond. I was released a little after 2 am.  As a result I was arrested and in prison for approximately 16 hours for not obeying a police that never wanted to understand I was simply asking for a favor, since I am a handicapped. 

 The Miami Police Department core values are:

1. - Integrity and ethical behavior at all times.
2. - Respect for the rules of law and the dignity of all human beings
3. - Acceptance of full responsibility and accountability for our actions.
4. - Empathy and compassion for others.
5. - Direct communication that permits and encourage healthy disagreement.

I question myself how many of these Core Values were violated?

Based on the Miami Police Department Core Values, I believe this is an abuse of authority, I never should have been arrested, but the officer refused to believe what I was telling him, and he refused to see the card I had in my wallet that proved I had a complete hip replacement recently. From one minute to the next, I was a prisoner, because this officer was not willing to help, or did not have the capacity to discern that I was not disobeying, but asking for help. One of the Core Values of the Miami Police is to have compassion.

I believe the majority of the police force is professional, and able, and willing to understand and work with the community, as well as understand and work within The Miami Police Department Core Values. Their motto to Serve and Protect and the fact that they respond to people in distress via 911 always provided me the comfort that my family was safe even when I was half way around the world, but perhaps there are some officers that are not professional with whom have a tremendous amount of power, and who can affect your life significantly.

We need a professional police force; I would like to see that officer like the one I had to deal with, be dismissed or retrained, because I think he is not able to understand, or not willing to work within the framework of the Police Department Core Values.   

I called my three children and I told them about my experience. I advised them, if a police officer stops you, don't take a chance, regardless if you are right, just say, yes officer, wait for whatever he has to do, and say, thank you, and go!

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Is it any wonder why people don't vote?

The Integrity Florida watchdog group says Florida leads the nation in government corruption Florida had the most criminal convictions among people in government. 

This reminds me of a story my neighbor Jorge told me once. Jorge was new to this country, from Argentina. He came to the US and was transferred to Des Moines, Iowa. He was a doctor.

While in Des Moines, he was stopped by a cop for speeding. He tried to bribe the Des Moines police officer with his broken English. The cop was taken aback and insulted. He said, "How dare you try to bribe me! You barely speak English, you are new to this country and I don't think you  know what you're saying!"

My friend apologized and said that he heard that that's the way it is in the US. He had heard that that's how Florida operates. I can't remember the rest of the story, I guess he just got the ticket and paid it. But it's interesting to know that he learned about Florida politics as an immigrant to this country. He would always get a good laugh telling me that story.

This was maybe in the 1970s. Jorge is gone now, a few years. I don't think he would mind if I shared that story.

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Lionfish Bash is this weekend

The Woody Foundation’s 5th Annual Lionfish Bash is this weekend, on July 24 and 25. A lifelong fisherman and diver, the Foundation’s namesake, James “Woody” Beckham, suffered his spinal cord injury making a rugby tackle in January 2011 that rendered him a quadriplegic. Since then The Woody Foundation has raised more than $500,000 to help improve the lives of those with paralysis.

The bash is at 2540 S. Bayshore Drive, the Lion Fish is an invasive species. 

Cost to join is $500 per boat, which includes five ranglers. This includes the awards dinner, t-shirts, raffle tickets, goodie bags and more. For the award dinner only, it's $75 per ticket.

Based in Miami, The Woody Foundation supports locally and internationally: 

Proceeds from the Lionfish Bash will go to Miami’s Jackson Rehabilitation Memorial Hospital a leader in spinal cord injury rehabilitation, and where Woody spent his first months recovering from his injury

They also raise funds so that they can continue to distribute Woody Packs around the world for free, the Woody Pack is a collective of assistive devices that helps people with limited hand functioning live a more independent life 

Help surpass last year’s total donation of $25,000, help support those with paralysis.

Please call or email The Woody Foundation’s executive director, Lucy Foerster at 305-586-3107 or lucy@woodyfoundation.org to get started.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Near car jacking on Virginia Street

Virginia Street isn't a sleepy little street like we all assume. There was an almost car jacking there earlier today, about 11:30 am.

This car was left on the side of the road with the motor running. The lady here is a courier, she ran into Sapient like she does daily and while she was inside, a guy came up to the car and tried to drive off with it - with the person who was in the back seat!

The lady in the back seat started yelling and a couple of guys at Sapient saw it from the conference room window and ran out to help. They grabbed the guy but he took off.

There was a cop on a big white horse at CocoWalk, across the street, he came by and was told what happened and he took off, McCloud-style. He managed to get a glove that was dropped and they won't try to fit and acquit, but what they will do is match the DNA from the glove to the thief. I believe the cop on the horse was David Patton, long time Grove cop.

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Luncheon to support Grace Solares

County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava and Event Chairs Christian Ulvert and Carlos Andrade are holding a luncheon reception in support of Grace Solares on Monday, July 27. Grace is running for Miami City Commission, District 2. The luncheon is at Berries in the Grove from noon to 1 pm.

Cost is $100 per person to attend, Event Chair is $1000 and host is $500, co-host is $250.

Please RSVP to kay Cook at 571-235-0318 or kay@gracesolares.com

Berries is located at 2884 SW 27 Avenue. The event is in a banquet room.

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There's a new food truck in town

I found a cheap place for a cheap lunch or breakfast - Shell Lumber! Yup, they have their own food truck, right on premises. 

The truck is spotless and has a lot to offer for such a low price. Omelets are only $3.85 to $5.50. French toast is $4.75, Cafe con Leche with Cuban toast is $3.50.

As for lunch, the prices are from another time - a hot dog with all the fixins is only $2.00! A BLT is $3.75; a Cuban sandwich is $5.00 and so is Grilled Chicken and a Club Sandwich. A burger is $4.00, a double is $5.50. Water is .75 and soda is $1.00.

Chili is $3.00 and Cheese fries are $2.50. There are baked beans, French fries, coleslaw and more. It's madness! And now with 27th Avenue open, you can just ease on down the road for a quick, cheap meal!

Shell Lumber is at 2733 SW 27 Avenue.

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