The Daily News of Coconut Grove, FL

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Weekend morning

Early weekend morning in Coconut Grove on peaceful Florida Avenue.

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FAM Night felt quite neighborly this month

I had a good time at Saturday night's FAM Night. For some reason, it had a more neighborly feel than usual. I popped over to FrameWorks where they had student art like last month, the work was incredible; and Claire and Cris were telling me all about their plans for the building, now that they own it. They had live music out front which was excellent and a lot of the locals hung out and listened.

I hadn't been to the drum circle for awhile, so I stopped by outside The Barnacle, their new home. It was nice to see the usual members and I was told a lot of new people show up each month. So word is getting around. Of course FAM Night wouldn't be complete with live music, which is all over the Grove.

The Via Gallery, on Main Highway, had a nice crowd, I was a bit late in catching them all, but it was nice to hear from Les Roberts, the owner, that one of their original Warhols had an offer put on it.
Jose Regalado was the star of the Coconut Grove Arts Festival Gallery with his show, "Rapture of the Deep, "he's now one of the family," Lilia Garcia, curator, said in a speech.  This is Jose's first gallery show ever. Here Jose greets guests. Also, Monty Trainer and Mayor Tomas Regalado, Jose's father, greeted the guests.

While we have just a few galleries left in the Grove these days, the other businesses are all stepping up and making it a great night each month. I'll have more on The Bookstore BBQ and the fun at The Sale Rack, coming up this week. 

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Saturday, May 02, 2015

Bring your dog to Woofstock on Sunday

The Barnacle is holding Woofstock on Sunday, May 3.

Stop by from 11 am to 4 pm and bring your furry pals!

Park on the street and walk in for a howling good time! Pet tricks, a dog/owner look-alike contest, K-9 demonstration, adoptions, an animal blessing, hot food, and live music are all part of the fun. All dogs must be on a hand-held leash that does not exceed six feet in length. 

Admission: Regular $2 park entrance fee, kids under age 5 are free. 

The Barnacle Historic State Park  is located at 3485 Main Highway

For additional information: 305-442-6866 or thebarnacle.org

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FAM Night tonight in Coconut Grove

It's the first Saturday so it's FAM Night in Coconut Grove - Fashion + Art + Music. From 7 to 10 pm, enjoy all that the Grove has to offer.

The Spring-Summer Fiest has arrives at Isabel Riera boutique.a live DJ will be performing and enjoy Prosecco and fresh Italian food (courtesy of Sapore De Mare). There will also be a special guest, the founder of Ploosh, known for their unique luxury leather toy collection. The Sale Rack will be hosting live art by Courtneyballday and music by DJ Robbah. A few shops down, Frost School of Music favorite, Justina Shandler, will be doing what she does best – piano, singing and little bit of comedy outside Ramona LaRue by Arianne. Over on Commodore Plaza, Allie & Chica will be offering 20% off all items between 7 and 10 pm.

Frameworks Spring Gallery Walk on Commodore Plaza will feature the works of emerging artists from Ransom Everglades High School Students.

While on that end of town, check out the Drum Circle right outside The Barnacle, they love their new home and it shows.

Vino’s in the Grove invites you to their May gallery opening with new artists displaying pieces where they have captured moments of truth and treasure in overlooked and mundane subjects. Artists include: Alessandra Hally, Krizia Lopez, David Hollister & Megan Piedra. The Vinos gallery will be offering a wine tasting during the gallery event, between 7-10 pm, though Gallery doors will remain open all evening. While there, check out Via Gallery a few doors down, they always have top of the line art and lots of tasty hors d'oeuvres. 

The Michele Fontanier Pop-Up Gallery will be in front of CocoWalk, next to Starbucks, where there is usually someone doing live art right on the spot along with lots of other art for sale.

And last but not least, the Coconut Grove Art Festival Gallery will host an opening reception featuring a “Rapture of the Deep” exhibit of an award-winning underwater photographer, Jose Regalado.

On your stroll around the Grove, you will pleasantly come across musician’s playing under the tree canopy. Locations include GreenStreet Café, The Loft Salon & Boutique, CocoWalk, Clyde Butcher Gallery, Vino’s in the Grove, Silverado and Golden Bar on Fuller Street, and more.

At the Bookstore in the Grove, you will find open mic musicians and the Saturday Night Dinner Card. Enjoy the Bookstore BBQ Smokehouse dinner menu with tasty items such as crunchy cucumber mint and chili salad, BBQ brisket, baby back ribs, bbq crispy skin salmon, pineapple cole slaw, smokes, BBQ banana split and more! Oh wait, but I almost forgot sangria and dark and stormy’s will be brewin up behind the coffee bar.

And don’t forget, the fight of the century, Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, will be televised at various locations in the Grove. 

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Friday, May 01, 2015

Capturing the light in a dark underwater world

I stopped by the Coconut Grove Arts Festival Gallery to say hello to my friend Jose Regalado, who was helping them set up his work for the premier of "Rapture of the Deep," an exhibit of Jose's work opening Saturday night, May 2 at the gallery. 

Jose has one of the best jobs ever; if you can call it a job - he's a camera man, mostly an underwater cameraman for television, you've seen his work on the Discovery Channel and Travel Channel and TBS, VH1, just about everywhere. He's been to over 50 countries and while on his assignments, he takes the most amazing photos of underwater life. 

What's intersting about this, as Jose explained it to me, is that the deeper you get the less color is shown on the fish and plant life, they actually lose color, for instance you go down a certain amount of feet and you can't see red, go down further and you can't see blue and so on.

Jose gets the colors in his photos simply by using a high powered flash. In the deep, dark ocean, he snaps the photos and the portion that is in the light is bright red and oranges and blues. The portion that is in the shadows is a dark blue or purple. It's quite beautiful. Jose prints the photos on staineless steel, which offers a reflective look to them.

Jose not only works for tv, but his photos have been featured in Scuba Diving Magazine, Sport Diver, Scuba, National Geographic and the Miami Herald. I think when you have your work in National Geographic, that says it all.

Come out and meet Jose on Saturday, he'll be at the gallery from 7 to 10 pm. There's food drink and lots of friends. 

The Coconut Grove Arts Gallery is at the Mayfair Atrium, next to the bull sculpture off of Mary and Grand.


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Lots of changes taking place; good changes

Changes taking place in the Grove this week:

Spartico at the Mayfair Hotel and Spa finally got their outside seating on Virginia Street, shown here. It's been years in the making. When the sidewalks were recently redone, they filled in two parking spaces to allow for the tables. The city was already out there measuring and doing their pesky things like they do. I'm sure the cab drivers aren't thrilled (that's where they used to park and wait for hotel fares), but we are. 

I thought it was funny that people may mistake Ling Chow the hair salon next door, for a restaurant because of the tables outside and the "chow" in the name.

Lasso the Moon will be moving into the former Improv space. Lasso the Moon is an event planner and caterer. They are now known for their Typsy Mermaid weekends where they serve the best of the best in seafood. They should have plenty of room for outdoor seating at their new location at the Mayfair Promenade. They are moving from Main Highway.

Speaking of Main Highway, a couple of doors down is Panther Coffee which is now advertising for employees for their new location, so look for them to open soon, the space inside looks almost complete. Not so much for Harry's Pizzeria. They're still dragging their heels. Both are part of the Engle Building owned by Arquitectonica.

Word is that a hotel is going in behind the building. Some say it will be a few stories high, some say it will match the height of the Sonesta. No comment from Arquitectonica when I reached out to them.

LoKal has a new restaurant opening across from the new Lasso the Moon space at the Mayfair Promenade. It's a seafood place going into a former gallery space, which was a former fast food chicken space. Stay tuned.

I met a guy who owns Cuban restaurants in New York, upscale restaurants. He was at one of the gallery walks a few months ago. Since then, he's been searching for restaurant space in the Grove in order to open a Cuban restaurant. He was interested in the former TK's space on Florida Avenue, but Bombay Darbar hopped on that space right away and hopefully they'll open next month. Our friends at FrameWorks bought their building, and in June they will start making changes - they will move the frame shop and gallery upstairs and are looking for a restaurant to rent the whole bottom floor, right on the corner of Grand and Commodore, an excellent location. Maybe the Cuban place will be interested.

I read an erroneous comment here in the Grapevine saying that Bombay Darbar was forced to vacate their former space on Commodore to make way for the new restaurant taking over the corner there called Farinelli 1937, because it's a Sarnoff friend who pushed them out. That's not true. Bombay Darbar never had a decent kitchen and this was their chance to grab a super kitchen. When their rent went up, they jumped on it.  Plus we all know they needed lots more seating space. By the way, Farinelli 1937 is owned by Maurizio Farinelli, who owns Strada, across the street. It will be a pizza-style place with not only pizza, but pasta, salads, etc.

That one area of Florida Avenue down to Grand Avenue with the Promenade in between seems like it's the new restaurant row in Coconut Grove. Add the Bookstore and Blond Tulip who are both mobbed at lunch time daily, and add The Grove Spot and we really have something great going on in that end of town.

What I do find very interesting is that those who are are moving are moving inside the Grove, they could easily leave the Grove and head to any other entertainment district in Miami, but they want to stay put. And others who are opening a second location, are opening it up inside the Grove, where they too, can easily go anywhere else. It's very interesting to think about. They believe in Coconut Grove.

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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Art Box is celebrating its first birthday

Art Box, the kids arts studio in Coconut Grove is celebrating it's first birthday on Saturday, May 2.

Stop by from 10 am to noon

Whether you have signed up with them during the first days as an art school or in the past couple of weeks, they would like to thank each and every one of you for making their year so memorable. 

The event will include complimentary refreshments, a student art exhibit, a free workshop to create a collaborative piece that will remain permanently in their studio, a $50 gift card rewarded for every new member you refer and a raffle to win a week at their summer camp or after-school art lessons. 

Please RSVP to: info@artboxmiami.com

Art Box is located at the Mayfair Promenade.

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Lincoln Road Social Club party

There is a special event this weekend in South Beach. Celebrate ArtCenter’s history, its future and the closing of its iconic 800-810 building. Enjoy drinks and appetizers and dance the night away with DJ Jody McDonald. The event is Saturday, May 2, from 7 to 11 pm.
Lincoln Road Social Club will take you back to the 1980s & '90s on Lincoln Road for one night only. Enjoy the underground closing party to discover a piece of Lincoln Road in every ArtCenter studio. The studios will feature resident artists’ site-specific installations, performances by Adora, Bistoury Dance Theatre, alumnus David Rohn and much more!
This event is free, but you need to click HERE to RSVP to receive the code word for the event.
Host Committee
Merle Weiss | Reagan Pace | Octavio Campos | Susan Caraballo | Maria del Valle |
Jenni Person
Art2O | Mahou | Societe Perrier | Titos’ Handmade Vodka | Zignum Mezcal
ArtCenter/South Florida 
800 & 924 Lincoln Road
Miami Beach, FL 33139 

Ph: 305.674.8278

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Tamiami Trail celebrated at The Kampong

Portraits of plants found along the historic Tamiami Trail will be on view at The Kampong May 4  through June 13, 2015. “Tamiami Trail: In the Beginning” is the title of the exhibition of original works by members of the Miami-based Tropical Botanic Artists collective. It marks the 100th anniversary of the start of work on the Tamiami Trail, which was begun in 1915 in Miami and now stretches across the Everglades through former wilderness areas from Miami to Naples and northward to Tampa. Above is a Fragrant waterlily Nymphaea odorata by Beverly Borland.

The exhibition, and a related children’s painting workshop on May 13 at The Kampong, are part of a series of Tamiami Trail celebrations by Florida International University about the Trail’s effect on South Florida’s landscape. Scientific information about the route’s flora and fauna was developed by Florida Coastal Everglades Long Term Research Program (FCE LTER), part of the network established by the National Science Foundation.

At left is Pine Rockland Twinflower by Pauline Goldsmith.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, The Kampong was the historic home and personal garden of famed plant explorer Dr. David Fairchild, and later of philanthropist and preservationist Catherine Sweeney. The waterfront estate features a Mission/Spanish Revival style house designed by Edward Clarence Dean, now called the Fairchild-Sweeney House. The garden is renowned for its irreplaceable collections of rare and unusual varieties of tropical and subtropical fruits, palms and flowering trees, shrubs and vines–more than 2,000 plants fill the eleven acres.

The Kampong is located at 4013 S. Douglas Road.

Guided Tours: Wednesday and Saturday 10:30 am and noon. Self-guided tours Monday-Friday Reservations required.

Admission: $20 adults, $10 students and children.

Contact: 305-442-7169

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Live painting by Courtney B. during FAM Night

The Sale Rack has something special for FAM Night on Saturday, May 2. From 7 to 10 pm, and watch one of their very own, Courtney B., shown here,  live paint a special "Ode To The Grove" as DJ Robba provides the beats for Coconut Grove’s first Saturday of the month community art walk.

Sale Rack, a buy sell trade boutique in the heart of The Grove, invites you to spend your Saturday with them for a night of sights, sounds, sipping, and shopping.

They are located at 3444 Main Highway, #20.

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Why don't people vote? It's time to Emerge, Miami!

I don't think I have ever missed voting since I first started at age 18. And I have never voted by absentee ballot. I actually show up at the polls and cast my vote.

I am against absentee ballots. I feel that most people are too lazy to get out and vote and I don't trust absentee ballots. I do think that while it is legal to vote that way, that that will be the deciding factor in the District 2 commission race. Only because people don't get out and vote. If people would physically get out and vote, things can be different.

I never understand the reasoning behind not voting. We have two weeks to vote, it's usually 75 and sunny with a beautiful breeze, if you vote early, there is no wait, they are usually falling all over themselves at the polls in order to assist you. Why don't people vote?

I wonder what it will take to get people out to cast their ballots. Last time, some of the commission candidates were so hurt by the fact that people didn't get out and vote that the candidates are still reeling from it today,  almost four years later. It's quite insulting that the candidates go door to door, they hold debates, they work non-stop for months and then when it's time to vote, the people they met and partied with and went to church with and the people they thought they persuaded to vote for them, don't even vote for an opponent. They just don't vote at all. They don't want to be bothered.

In the District 2 commission race, a few votes can sway the election, so your vote does count. Instead of being an armchair activist, you can make a difference by actually casting a vote.

In the last District 2 race, only 5,450 of 41,000 registered voters cast a ballot. 

Emerge Miami wants to change that, they want to get more people out to vote. That is now their main goal. Emerge Miami all started with a small group of UM students and local organizers. Since then, they have been open to anyone who wants to make Miami a better place. Emerge Miami has met weekly for 10 years at round table discussions. They started the monthly Critical Mass bike ride and also helped community groups organize marches, parades and parties. If they could get the same amount of new voters as they have that are part of Critical Mass, that is really doing something. Thousands of new voters, who actually will vote, is  needed.

Talking about the District 2 commission race, Justin Wales, an Emerge Miami member says, "This fight is for Miami's soul." He believes that developers are taking over the city at a rapid rate, too rapid and that a handful of politicians are calling the shots, these politicians controlled by the developers. They are in their pockets. And just a handful of people are voting, allowing this to happen.

Emerge Miami will be out in the streets signing up new voters from now until election day in November. The first event will be this Friday, May 1 from 6 to 8 pm at the Arts + Entertainment District’s Performance Pavilion (90 NE 17 Street), preceding a circus performance, which is free, but you have to be on the wait list here for the circus. Voter registration will be available at the event.

Emerge Miami meets every Tuesday from 7 to 8 pm at Sweat Records (5505 NE 2nd Avenue). You're invited to attend.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

I met my match with Matcha

The new big miracle cure is Matcha Green Tea, you may have heard about it. I've been reading about it and I've seen reports about it on tv, so I've now been drinking and eating it.

According to reports, One serving of matcha tea has the nutritional equivalent of 10 cups of brewed green tea. The matcha tea is the whole leaf, where you usually brew tea throw away the leaves, with matcha, you are ingesting ground up tea leaves, all of it.

I've tried the tea in various places around the Grove like the Bookstore and Starbucks, it comes either cold and frozen or as a latte. I wasn't crazy about those. I got a powder at Whole Foods and I sprinkle a little on food, it's good, but it still has a wheat grass taste. But now I have found something delicious, it's Bianco Gelato's version of Matcha Green Tea Gelato. It's very light in taste and delicious. I've been having some as often as I can. They don't have any of the popular gelato pops yet, but they plan on that, right now it's the gelato in a cup.

Some benefits of matcha green tea are that it is very high in antioxidants, it enhances calmness, it boosts memory, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol and detoxes the body and helps the immune system.

Bianco Gelato is at 3137 Commodore Plaza.

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How do we become a 'nice downtown'?

There is an article in The Atlantic called, "Nice Downtowns: How Did They Get That Way?"

It says: "The down phase includes hollowing-out and pawn-shop-dominated decay. Then there is spotty and tentative improvement. Finally, if all goes well, full-scale health through a combination of stores, restaurants, theaters, downtown condos, and all the other elements of a region that attracts commercial and human activity through most hours of the day."

This sounds like what the Grove needs and the trajectory that it is on now. Luckily we are not at the point of pawn-shop dominated decay, but we are at the point of spotty and tentative improvement. But we are at a standstill.

We can have all of the things mentioned from new stores, restaurants and theaters, well, one theater in particular, the Coconut Grove Playhouse.

Last week, the County Commission made some sort of decision, but it could be years before anything is done with the playhouse. 

As for the stores and restaurants, it would be nice to see more movement and activity. We're still waiting for Harry's Pizzeria and Panther Coffee to open, but what about all the empty spaces that just sit there  rotting like the Playhouse. Will it take nine years to fill those with new businesses? 

We need businesses to rent out what we have empty now. We need a destination business or two. The rumor is that CocoWalk has sold, or it has not sold yet, but it is being sold and that the center area where Starbucks and Tervis Tumbler are will be knocked down, opening the space up and on and on. I have heard about H&M coming to CocoWalk. That is a start. A great start. Someone asked me the other day what I thought about H&M as if it was up to them to decide on whether they come to the Grove or not, of course I said it was a perfect fit for CocoWalk. This person does have pull, so who knows.

The Atlantic article received a lot of buzz, they published a second part: "More on Nice Downtowns: Do they just happen? Or are they made?"

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Monday, April 27, 2015

The Village Council meets Tuesday

Cocoanut Grove Village Council
Monthly Meeting Agenda
April 28, 2015
6 pm Start at Coconut Grove Elementary (Auditorium)

  1. Pledge of Allegiance
  2. House Keeping
Roll call & Approve previous months Minutes
Opportunity for Members to add agenda items
Treasury & Budget Update
Maimi-Dade Public Works (tentative)
Discussion Item:
Choose New Chair, Vice Chair and Treasurer
UnderLine Resolution (same)
  1. Project / Topic updates:
Crime Watch (Thad & Commander Morales)
FPL (Javier)
Playhouse (Javier)
Grand Ave Properties (Javier)

*After Meeting Q/A always welcomed*

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More condos are not needed

This was sent in by a reader. Feel free to send in your own Coconut Grove observations (good or bad) and we will run it as a "Postcard From a Friend." Any observation, long or short, if it's not good, please try not to use names of people or places. Email address is to the right, you can email your "postcard" there. We'll keep it anonymous. 

Wynwood has surpassed Coconut Grove in just ten years. Wynwood was a blighted neighborhood that even the cops would not venture to enter, so graffiti artists had all the blank canvases they desired. It took visionary developers like Tony Goldman and David Lambardi to invest, repurpose (not up-zone) and attract art galleries, shops, restaurants and nightlife. 

They accomplished all this with no nearby condos. So the theory of building more condos to generate traffic for an area just does not fly.

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Mixing local businesses and national chains

I was mentioning H&M and the rumor that they are interested in coming to Coconut Grove. I've never been big on chain stores as part of the Grove, but I do think they are needed to drive traffic. They are destination places. People will come to the Grove to shop at H&M.

That being said, I do think our one-of-a-kind Grove-y stores are very important. Where would the Grove be without Grove Ink or the piercing store or the smoke shop or the little one of a kind boutiques like Silverado or The Sale Rack or Golden Bar or The Bookstore or Bianco Gelato or our local restaurants like GreenStreet and Lulu and Mr. Moe's and LoKal, The Grove Spot and Le Buchon, Barracuda, The Sand Bar and and Via Art Gallery and First Flight Out and The Olfactory and Revolution Bicycles. These are all Coconut Grove businesses.

I think a few big chain stores mixed with our one-of-a-kind local businesses is what is needed.

I ran into an older man a couple of weeks ago, we were on Lincoln Road. He has lived in the Grove for about 50 years, he had businesses here. He says the solution to our slow market is free parking. Is it? I mean at this point you have to park all over South Florida, even Wynwood had to cave into the parking meters where for years, there were none.

In most parts of Florida there is no metered parking, in South Florida there is. The Grove has competition now from Wynwood, Midtown, South Miami, South Beach when it comes to entertainment districts. Years ago we were the only game in town. I remember it was Coconut Grove, Dadeland and maybe the Omni. I used to drive all the way up to the Omni on Biscayne Blvd, with my friends, just to go to the movies. It was a big deal then.

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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Helping out the Youth Empowerment Program

The Youth Empowerment Program is in their initial steps and are in need of professional attire for our youth, they are looking for gently worn suits, dress shirts, ties and dress shoes. They are getting young men measured, but will accept all items as they move forward with the program.

Grove Neighborhood Resource Officers Maguffey and Vasquez have partnered with the One Grove Foundation and the West Grove Crime Watch and are embarking in this Youth Empowerment Program.

The Program has identified 15 young men that will be mentored in various areas, to include: 
Positive Self Identity
Life Skills and Etiquette  
Career Building
Moral Character 
Personal Fitness
Please contact Police Commander Manuel Morales directly if you can assist at manuel.morales@miami-police.org or 305-643-7170.

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We like it quiet, but we need to share the Grove

The Bookstore's vintage 1940s truck on a side street
is very reminiscent of the old days.
There is a little secret that I think most locals have and that is, we don't really care if people come to Coconut Grove from the outside. In fact, we would love to be insulated and not have outsiders, which I am sure is true of most places where people live. It's not to say we don't want people here, but if we don't own a Coconut Grove business, the slow, quiet village is a plus for residents. But for the businesses that do operate here, we need people to come in to support them.

It's sort of like towns up north like Cape Code, Newport, The Hamptons that only have a handful of residents for most of the year and from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the population explodes. I'm sure that most of the year-round residents appreciate the quietness of the majority of the year, but the businesses rely on the money that comes in during the summer season.

That is sort of Coconut Grove, year round. The locals like it quiet, but the businesses rely on outsiders  along with locals to support them. It's always been like that in Coconut Grove. There is a new restaurant coming to the Grove and I mentioned to the owner that he's lucky that we have all the new office workers here in the day so that he has a lunch crowd. He doesn't think that is enough. With all the hundreds of workers that are here in the day now, he feels that we still need people from outside the area to come in and support his new business.

I had mentioned that a condo builder thinks we need to build more condos in order to support the local businesses. No thanks, we gladly welcome those from other parts of the county to visit, shop, dine and unwind. We don't need more high rises to accommodate the local businesses. I don't even think the local businesses want that. They are in the Grove because they love the Grove the way it is, if they wanted to be surrounded by buildings, they would move their businesses to Sunny Isles or Downtown Miami or Brickell.

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Saturday, April 25, 2015

I thought it was Noche Buena

But it's not. 

That delicious smell wafting up and down Florida Avenue is the roasted pig in this caja. Jason here, at The Bookstore, is roasting it for Saturday night's Latin Night dinner starting at 6:30 pm.

I think I got Jason to change the Grapevine shake into an egg cream. He says they may do it when the menu is reprinted. I'll let you know. I'm still working on the staff there who insist that eggs are part of the recipe. They're not.

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Javier's response to the FPL plan

This is District 2 Candidate, Javier Gonzalez's response to the Nuclear Regulatory Committee regarding the Nuclear Power program at FPL. I only post it here, because it is also a response to activist Charles Corda's letter.

Yesterday the president of the United States visited the Everglades and in listening to his remarks a couple of comments stood out:

There are 1.5 million acres of Everglades and over 1 million visits by individuals yearly in a state that generates over 82 Billion in tourism dollars but the main comment that caught my attention is that OVER 7 MILLION Floridians get their drinking water and I quote, “from this incredible bounty of land," or one which Marjorie Stoneman Douglas said “there is no other Everglades in the world."

BTW; Yesterday her home in my neighborhood of Coconut Grove was designated a Landmark.

What I cannot understand, and I am a simple fellow, is if the President of the most powerful and respected nation in the world AND our federal government acknowledges and accepts that Climate change is playing a role in endangering our water and air, how can FPL deny that their increase in footprint and power output will not stress and already endangered environment?

They have already asked for higher acceptable water temperature levels (108 degrees), they are already using water from canals that were set aside for restoration; they are already using water from our aquifers on emergency needs.

Like I mentioned earlier, I’m just a simple fellow with no degree in Law, or science and I don’t know all the fancy language that are being used BUT I do know that if someone like the President is concern about and said, “That climate change will have no bigger impact then in South Florida," then maybe, just maybe all of us Simple & Smart folk should revisit FPL’s expansion plan, or at the very least conduct a supplemental EIS to review water quality and climate change impact.

Thank you,
Javier Gonzalez
Coconut Grove

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TREEmendous Miami - adds more greenery

TREEmendous Miami (TM) is the premier all volunteer, nonprofit tree planting group in South Florida.  It works to restore and increase the tree canopy in Miami-Dade County. In its 16-year history, TREEmendous Miami has planted more than 25,000 trees. This has been done through city, county and state grants as well as private donations. The group has planted and maintained trees at schools, in parks, in blighted areas, along main thoroughfares, numerous neighborhood streetsand the restoration of the historic Miami City Cemetery. 

They are the only tree planting group that goes back and maintains its trees. TM has engaged thousands of volunteers in the process, including more than 6,700 students who have earned community service hours by volunteering, while learning about the importance of trees in our environment. Coconut Grove is full of greenery, but there is never enough.

An ongoing project is along US 1 from the end of I-95 to Bird Road; the Metrorail route, our Cococonut Grove "front door." Its colorful design is viewed by a captive audience of rush hour drivers, moving slowly enough to appreciate the great variety of tropical plantings. This project is a model of linear landscaping for the thousands who see it every day.

Additionally, TREEmendous has been at the forefront of restoring Virginia Key Beach. Invasive trees had to be removed which left the island in a precarious position. Since 2007, TM has been responsible for numerous plantings and guidance as the ecosystem is restored.

In particular they have put in thousands of trees, shrubs and vines. Recently the group with their volunteers, planted 11,000 sea oats. The restored habitat will provide food and a resting area for the song birds returning from Central and South America and nesting places for the sea turtles. 

Their next event is on May 2, join in for the Semi Annual Beautification and Maintenance Day Project at the historic Miami City Cemetery. Bring gloves and a shovel and or rake, if you have them. Come dressed to work outside, Light refreshments served.

After the project, Penny Lambeth, Chair of Dade Heritage Trust’s City Cemetery Restoration Committee and board member of TREEmendous Miami, will talk about Miami’s pioneers buried there and a brief history of this important historic cemetery.

TREEmendous  Miami is supported by memberships, grants and donations. Please consider joining or a corporate sponsorship. Help make Miami even greener! For more info: http://treemendousmiami.org/

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Friday, April 24, 2015

Ken reads Charles the riot act

Activist Charles Corda sent us a Letter to the Editor, calling out the District 2 Commission candidates for not being up front with their feelings about the Nuclear Reactors planned for Turkey Point. I don't understand how this is an issue in this election, but apparently it is.

Here is Commission Candidate, Ken Russell's response to Charles:

Hi Charles, 

It's a wonder that candidates don't take the bait when you start with insults and end with an impending declaration of candidacy. 

I responded to your unrelated comments on my website a couple weeks ago asking to speak further with you about upzoning and appreciating your words whenever I've heard you speak at meetings.  You didn't reply.

But the way you write here is not a conversation or an invitation for intelligent discussion. You're on a witch hunt to hammer candidates.  Who wants to participate in that?

Regarding more local nuclear power, my mother is from Japan. She grew up a few hours away from the Fukushima nuclear plant.  What happened there is devastating.  A natural disaster breached the reactors poisoning the area with radiation.  Of course I'm concerned that we are so susceptible to hurricanes and sea level rise.  We already have a nuclear facility there, but how will the construction and operation of the new ones affect the surrounding environment?  

And of course, Nobody wants new giant power lines and poles along the proposed Underline green space that is meant for us to enjoy.

So the bandwagon you'd like to drive and have all the candidates jump on is pretty obvious. You've already got your torch lit and pitchfork raised, and anyone who doesn't answer you is a coward, right?  But who wants to engage with a hostile one-sided challenge?  

What are the Nuclear alternatives to serving the power needs of the growing community?  If nuclear is the best option, is it just a case of "not in my backyard?"  Where is better?

Is there a possibility of burying lines instead of stringing wires on poles down US1?   

Of course I don't want this.  Nobody does so It's a ridiculous question.

But let's talk about alternative solutions.  Figure out a better way. 

As for you entering the race, If you're going to join our circus of a candidate pool, you're very welcome (I call it a circus affectionately--I'm part of it).  You know the issues and you've paid your dues.  You have as much right to run as anyone.  But it sounds like you'd be another angry candidate who's doing it out of frustration.  We've got that position filled in spades.  I'm excited about what Miami can be moving forward. 

I'm not perfect and I don't have all the answers. That makes me a good Grapevine punching bag.   But everyone has seen that I'm willing to engage and keep a level head.  Let's keep talking...

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'Poetry for All' continues through April

For the 2015 O, Miami Poetry Festival South Florida, residents submitted ideas that attempted to deliver a poem to all 2.6 million plus Miami-Dade County residents. The goal is to reach everyone with at least one poem, there are 40 events in 30 days. It includes workshops, too.

O, Miami tests the limits of what’s possible when circulating poems among a community,” says Executive Director Scott Cunningham. “Miamians should watch out for poems on buildings, on fences, in the mail, even in the bathroom.” O, Miami started on April 1 and ends April 30.

The Festival produced 30 events and 23 projects in the course of 30 days, spreading poetry all the way to the edges of our county. And we’re hoping you encountered one…via a Poetry Popsicle, a boat trip up the Miami River, on a dog wearing a poetry bandana, walking around Kendall, or maybe in a fashion magazine.

 Courtesy of Ana Maria Caballero, she tucked poems inside fashion and beauty magazines in salons around town. In Coconut Grove, look for them at JohariMaurizio DistefanoManolo GroveUgo di Roma and La Fenice; on Key Biscayne at Glamour, D'lunaPrestigeNino'sD'lun, Maria's Salon, Ceci's Hair SalonVelisa SalonKB Unisex and Martha's Unisex.
"Poetry is a living, breathing force that can light up the city. O, Miami is its platform. With poems on popsicles, lamp posts and other unexpected places, and coming alive on the radio, stage and in the streets, the festival helps this artform become part of people’s everyday lives,” said Victoria Rogers, the incoming vice president/arts of Knight Foundation, whose mission to make art general in South Florida inspired the festival.

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