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The Daily News of Coconut Grove, FL

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Family Square Dance Night

Family Square Dance Night is being held Saturday, February 28 at St. Stephen's Great Hall. The yearly event raises money for the church's AIDS Ministry.

The dance is from 5:30 to 9 pm. Cost is $25 for adults, $1-0 for youth ages 7 to 16 and children under 7 are free.

Western attire is encouraged. Enjoy a chuckwagon dinner, open bar, there's a professional dance caller and a 50/50 raffle. Parking is free with advance ticket purchase.

Get your tickets at sseccg.org/support/purchase.

St. Stephen's is located at 2570 McFarlane Road).

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Black History Living Museum at KROMA

The Black History Living Museum returns for it's 2nd annual event in honor of Black History Month. One Grove Foundation invites everyone to the KROMA Art Gallery to hear students honor influential African American figures.

Each child will be given an African American person that contributed to society and are required to learn information to present to the audience. There are 20 students participating.

The event serves as an educational aspect of bringing awareness to children and families of the achievements of their ancestors.

Admission is free, light refreshments will be served. Stop by from 4 to 8 pm on Saturday, February 28.

KROMA is located at 3670 Grand Avenue. 

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Are there too many people running for office?

Now that there are seven people running for District 2 Commission seat. Now what? There may even be one more, making it eight.

Is this good for Teresa Sarnoff who many feel is the front runner already? Will the others all split the vote and allow her name recognition carry her to the finish? I am sure she has all that money behind her from the local developers and builders, but maybe they want a change and some of the developers will put their money behind others.

I see a few good people in the running, I also see a couple who should drop out, now, but of course they feel they are right for the job, who knows, maybe they are.

The subject of debates comes up often, some don't see Teresa debating. Thinking that she doesn't need to. I would agree if this was a city-wide vote, but it's District 2, which consists of very well-informed people and her absence may be detrimental to her, but then again, if the numbers from the last commission race are any indication, most people don't bother to vote anyway. So it may all just be a toss up.


As you know, these are the people running: This brings the total to seven who are running for the office being vacated by Commissioner Marc Sarnoff who is out due to term limits. Others running are Grace Solares, Mike SimpsonRosa Maria Polamino, Teresa Sarnoff, Lorry Woods Ken Russell and Javier Gonzalez.

I'm thinking of posing some questions for all the candidates and posting their answers. I know they all have bios and have plans for office, but that doesn't really give us a reason to vote for one over the other.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Javier Gonzalez to run for Commission seat

Another hat in the ring with Village Council member Javier Gonzalez. Javier stepped down as president of the Village Council on Tuesday night so that he can now run for District 2 Commissioner in the November elections.

He is still on the Village Council,, he is just not president as of last night; he announced his decision to run at Tuesday's meeting, but he did not file yet. He will file to run on March 2. The reason he made the announcement before he filed, was to give the Village Council time to find a replacement and not have any disruptions.


This brings the total to seven who are running for the office being vacated by Commissioner Marc Sarnoff who is out due to term limits. Others running are Grace Solares, Mike SimpsonRosa Maria Polamino, Teresa Sarnoff, Lorry Woods and Ken Russell.

Javier is a Coconut Grove realtor. He knows Brickell and Downtown, too. He has been here since 1965. 

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Artopia on Miracle Mile; art, fashion, food and more

Artopia Miami is coming to Miracle Mile on Thursday night, February 26.

From 6 to 10 pm, Miracle Mile will become home to a celebration of art, fashion, music and food. 

Circ X, the traveling performance group will be performing along with Amber Monique and others. Restaurants include Divnino Ceviche, Tokyo Blue and Los Ranchos. 

Tickets are $25 presale and $40 at the door. The tickets include food samples from local restaurants, liquor and beer samples and full access to Artopia.

VIP tickets are $45 in advance and $60 at the door. This includes early access to Artopia, open bar, exclusive restaurant samplings which are not part of general admission, access to VIP lounge and exclusive DJ along with access to all of Artopia.


For more info, the website is microapp.miaminewtimes.com/artopia/2015/

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New green market in Wynwood includes art

A new green market, incorporating art, is having its inaugural opening on Sunday, May 1 at the Bakehouse Art Complex. The Wynwood Green & Art Market will take place in the Bakehouse's courtyard from 11 am to 3 pm weekly.

Craft foods and artisan products will be sold along with seasonally locally grown food. Art will be a big part of the market. The hope is that it will eventually become a meeting place and location for community activities including art shows, performance art, hands-on activities for kids, free yoga and more. It will be the place for locally grown and crafted goods.

It seems as if it will be a place where artists, art lovers and foodies will all congregate weekly.

The ribbon cutting ceremony will take place at 11 am this Sunday. Civic and community leaders will be present. The dates of the market this year will be March 15, 22 and 29; April 12 and 26; May 10 and 24; and June 14 and 28.

Vendors interested in a booth can apply at bacfl.org/marketvendors.

The Bakehouse Art Complex is located at 561 NW 32 Street in Wynwood.

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They look like a stack of bar napkins

I took this photo at the Arts Festival last week. As I took the photo a friend said that the new Grove at Grand Bay Terra Group buildings look like a stack of bar napkins, I had to agree. A lady  walking by heard us and she said she agreed, we are now calling these the Stack of Bar Napkins Buildings. 

This lady, who wishes to remain nameless, told me that she's an interior architect and she says the buildings make her physically ill, due to the waviness of the way they are being built. "It's an abomination," she says. Her friend who had not been in Coconut Grove for years was mortified. She missed the Grand Bay Hotel. But the finished product will be a lot of glass and sort of blend in with the skyline. I'll bet the lady gets seasick on cruises, too.



I was talking to a mover and shaker in our community over the weekend and he would love to talk about placing a moratorium on any more high rise buildings being put up in Coconut Grove. Ironically, right in the shadow of the buildings was this art, by Mark and Julie Glocke, looks as if they were inspired by the towers.


The inspiration?
This isn't a personal attack on these buildings, but we need to do something fast before we become Brickell South. Right now Little Havana is on the verge of becoming Brickell West. When is the greed going to stop? As one lady says in the New Times article on the subject "These high-rises are going to come, and they're going to eat us if we don't act quickly." I think most of us in Coconut Grove feel the same.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Ken Russell running for District 2 Commission seat

It seems that each time the calendar months change, another person steps into the District 2 Commission Race. Grovite Ken Russell (left) has announced that he will be running for the office, too.  Others running are Grace Solares, Mike SimpsonRosa Maria Polamino, Teresa Sarnoff and Lorry Woods.

Ken's qualifications, from his website: "I believe that an experienced business person skilled in communication, negotiation, and management is very well equipped to be a successful and effective Commissioner.  An entrepreneur knows how to listen to the needs of the people and find creative ways to meet those needs.  I've always held a business philosophy of building relationships through collaboration."

Ken is concerned with traffic, green space (he's been very active in getting Merrie Christmas Park cleaned up) and smart development. More at his website here: kenrussellformiami.com.

I have a friend who approached me recently suggesting that he might run. Is there room for one more? We'll see, I don't know if he was serious, but he seemed to me as if he was.

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Meet community development professionals

Miami-Dade's community development professionals are holding an event on Thursday, February 26 at KROMA. Stop by for wine, hors d'oeuvres and great conversation. 

Learn about South Florida Community Development (SFCDC), Collaborative Development Corporation, and its projects - as well as the history of Coconut Grove Village West.

In addition to networking with SFCDC's diverse 80+ members, celebrate Black History Month with us at KROMA Miami Art Gallery in Coconut Grove Village West where "The Beast" exhibit is currently showing. 

The event is from 5:30-8 pm

Complimentary parking is available behind the Thelma Gibson Health Initiative as well as free curbside parking.

KROMA is located at 3670 Grand Avenue, please RSVP here. The cost is free for members, $10 for non-members.

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Tow trucks are lurking

Grove Isle developers, Grove Isle Associates, the ones that want to build on the island, issued a hand-delivered letter to the condo association's management office requiring that all vehicles parked in three specific lots be gone by 6 am Monday morning, February 23, or they would be towed.  The parking lots included surface lots between buildings 1 and 2 and 2 and 3 and a parking garage, too. The purpose was to give the valet parkers more spaces for them to park cars, but the Preserve Grove Isle group, who has been ad odds with the developer over building plans, believe it was harassment.

To that effect, tow trucks were at the ready this morning, ready to tow vehicles.

In response to a counsel filed request for an emergency injunction which would stop the developers from going through with their threat, the request was granted at 8:19 pm on Sunday evening and an order was signed by an emergency duty judge. The City of Miami police received the court order and the tow trucks were ordered to leave early Monday morning. 

The spiteful developer lost this round. 

Speaking of tow trucks, there is a parking space right in front of Florentine Plaza on Main Highway. Cars are carted off daily from that space by tow trucks who seem to be around the corner lurking. There are three signs that make it confusing for what seems to be mostly tourists. One sign states that the cars will be towed during business hours; at that time it's a loading zone. We've seen unhappy tourists come back to their car to find it isn't there. It's true that they are rental cars usually and the tourists should not be concerned, but in some cases, their luggage is in the trunk and they have missed flights home due to this confusing parking situation.

I would think it is innocent except for the hovering tow trucks. That makes this harassment.

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Village Council meets Tuesday

The Village Council meets Tuesday, February 24 at 6 pm at the Coconut Grove Elementary School Auditorium on Matilda Street.

On the agenda:

Roll call & Approve previous months Minutes
Opportunity for Members to add agenda items
Treasury & Budget Update

Presentation:
- Kevin Kirwin; City of Miami Parks Director
- Grove 2030 Work Shop Groups: Housing; Commercial/Retail; Transportation; Parks & Public Space; Civic & Cultural Life. 
- Lucas Azar, Katrina Boler, Erin Clancy, Lalo Durazo, Ruth Ewing, Raymond Fort, Javier Gonzalez, Thorn Grafton, Joanna Lombard, David Martin, Charles Munroe, Rachel Silverstein, Dave Villano.

Discussion Item:
- Floridians for Solar Choice Resolution
- UnderLine Resolution
- Kroma Resolution 

Project updates:
- Crime Watch 
- Playhouse

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Gables Bike Day back for 4th year

Bike Walk Coral Gables is celebrating celebrate the 4th Annual Gables Bike Day on Sunday, March 1, from 11 am to 3 pm, in front of historic Coral Gables City Hall. 

The move to City Hall gives organizer, Bike Walk Coral Gables great space to expand on the family fun and festivities. This year the event coincides with Florida Bicycle Month and is the premier kickoff event for the start of the county’s Bike305 Month, which will also help to draw even more attention to this worthy cause.  Biking is not just a sport or form of exercise, for many it is also a mode of transportation. The city of Coral Gables is one of the first in South Florida to create a master plan for cyclists that will include more bike lanes, linear trail parks, bike racks and other facilities throughout the City Beautiful.

Bike Walk Coral Gables invites all cyclists, skaters, parents and children to this free community event. Shake 108, a local non-profit radio station, will be providing the live music. This day is all about promoting health, physical activity and bike safety and includes guided bike tours throughout Coral Gables, healthy food and drink vendors, Bike Rodeo (teaching kids safety), live music, art bike exhibit, scavenger hunt, giveaways, fitness classes, kids entertainment and much more.

“Gables Bike Day helps call attention to cycling in the Gables and the benefits of having an area to do it in. The reason we do the event is to keep the needs of cyclists at the forefront, with a goal to make our streets safe for the many residents and students that ride in the city,” said Chairman of Bike Walk Coral Gables, John Swain. 

The organizers of the first Gables Bike Day formed Bike Walk Coral Gables in 2011. BWCG envisions a community that values cycling and walking as safe and healthy forms of transportation and recreation. Their mission is to promote a safe and friendly environment for cyclists and pedestrians by advocating programs and events to educate the community.

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This chalk festival would be perfect in the Grove

Every year we go to Lake Worth, FL for the Street Painting Festival. It's a Saturday and Sunday event; we usually head there on Sunday, because most of the art is complete, or at least near complete. This year, we brought a friend who had never been and as we all do, he fell in love with the place. The Chalk Festival is celebrating 21 years this year. This is the biggest event of its kind.

It's not just the chalk, but the town itself is what a lot of Coconut Grove should strive to be. The center of the small town has every business you could imagine from shoe repair to upscale restaurants, there's a bike shop, a cigar shop, a playhouse and so much more strewn around the main shopping area. This is where the chalk event takes place.

Two main streets, Lake Avenue and Lucerne Avenue, and a few side streets are closed and the artists do their thing. There's a section for invited professionals to draw and there's an area where anyone can join in and take part, there is also a children's area, where the kids do some very nice work.

This past weekend the weather was perfect. We ate, we drank, we listened to live music and we people watched. Of course we enjoyed all the artwork which would be gone in the next day or so. The streets are open again to traffic at 7 pm on Sunday night and within a day or so, this chalk art will be gone. Truly ephemeral.

Lucille Ball and Captain America were two of my favorites. Picture them on Commodore Plaza.
A friend joked about not letting the developers know about Lake Worth, as they would devour the place as they have done here in the Grove. But I don't think Lake Worth would allow that to happen.

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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Tuesday nights at Shake-A-Leg

A reader sent this in:

There is a great music event that takes place every Tuesday night at  Shake-A-Leg Miami. Acoustic music is played while hamburgers and hot dogs are grilled. Beer and Wine are also available as well as soft drinks. The event is free but donations to Shake-A-Leg are welcome. 

It starts around 8 pm every week on the third floor of the beautiful open pavilion. The view of the Bay is second to none and the vibe is all Coconut Grove. Come by and check it out. Just a really good time.

Shake-A-Leg is at 2620 S. Bayshore Drive.

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S. Grove community group elects new board

The South Grove’s oldest community, Utopia, has been a leader in neighborhood organization and security since the 1920s. They recently had board elections at their general meeting held at The Kampong.

During the meeting, the 2015 Board of Directors of UHSA was proposed, voted on and ratified. Members of the Board of Directors are: Gale Patron, President;  Jo-Ann Forster, Vice President; Ron Morgan, Secretary;  Hardy Katz, Treasurer; Castor Fernandez, Police Liaison;  Sam Dobrow, Digital Manager;  Lucas Azar, Membership;  Cheryl Andrews, Communications; Sean Reichert, Corinne Collins and Camella Rhone Members at Large.  All board members are volunteers.


In the photo above, from left, seated: Sean Reichert and Maureen Pelham, Members at Large; Lucas Azar, Membership; Camela Rhone, Member at Large; Sam Dobrow, Digital Manager. Standing, from left: Cheryl Andrews, Communications; Corinne Collins, Member at Large; Ron Morgan, Secretary; Gale Patron, President; Castor Fernandez, Police Liaison; Jo-Ann Forster, Vice President; Vicki Katz; Hardy Katz, Treasurer

The boundaries of Utopia include the areas between Poinciana Avenue to the north, Bonita Avenue to the south, LeJeune Road to the west and Douglas Avenue to the east. The UHSA, formed over 25 years ago, has as its mission to preserve safety and security for member homeowners.

The Utopia Homeowners Security Association, in addition to helping ensure safety and security in the neighborhood, organizes and hosts social events during the year including free movies in the park, neighborhood garage sales and progressive dinners.  Homeowners and residents living within the boundaries are encouraged to join and may contact Azar at Lucasazar@aol.com.

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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Special wedding at the Grove Arts Festival

Elsie and Christina Ruiz
After 18 years of being together Elsie and Christina Ruiz, moms of 4-year-old Meredith, were finally able to tie the knot last weekend. Following Florida’s decision to make same-sex marriage legal, they began dreaming of their "big day" almost immediately. And the big day ended up being in front of hundreds of people last weekend at the H&H Jewels booth at the Coconut Grove Arts Festival.

H&H Jewels called the local couple saying they wanted to host a same sex wedding and reception, gratis to the couple, during the Festival.  “I asked Elsie and Christina if they would be interested in being our couple and their reaction was beautiful and amazing – they were so excited,” said H. Bredemeier, owner of H&H. “We started working on it right away and what was just as exciting was all of our friends and neighbors in the Grove sharing our enthusiasm!”

4-year-old Meredith
A half dozen other companies joined H in making Elsie and Christina’s day extra special. While H provided the catering, photography, music and more, there were wedding bands by Furrer Jacot, flowers by The Blonde Tulip, a weekend stay at the Sonesta Coconut Grove, the chocolate wedding cake by JoAnna’s Marketplace and, of course, hair and make-up for both brides – provided by the other H, across the street neighbor Hair by Hisham.

“We were elated to find out that the only thing we had to do was invite our family and friends to our special wedding day and pick out our rings,” said Elsie.

The ceremony began at 4 pm, last Saturday, on Valentine’s Day in the H&H tent area on Bayshore Drive. The emotional exchanging of the vows took place in front of 100+ guests along with festival onlookers.

Then, the party began. After the “I dos,” the reception got underway in the H&H showroom. Music, amazing food, champagne and endless words of congratulations were the ultimate culmination of an event so many years overdue. “It was the most amazing day of my life to marry my love of 18 years,” said Christina, “it was a storybook ending where H & H Jewels made our dream a reality.” 

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A trip back to the 1930s


A readers sent this in she must have been reading my mind, I was trying to explain this exact scene to my cousins last weekend. It shows Pan Am in the 1930s right behind Miami City Hall, which was the Pan Am terminal back then.

From the YouTube write-up: "Excerpt from a family film showing two Pan American Airways Service Clippers, a Sikorsky S-40 and a Sikorsky S-42 landing and berthed at the Pan American terminal on Dinner Key, Miami, Florida.  Also glimpsed: A Loehning 'shoe.' "

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Friday, February 20, 2015

Coral Gables Farmer's Market is Saturday

Check out this Saturday's Coral Gables Farmers Market on Saturday, February 21 from 8 am to 2 pm. The market runs every Saturday through March 29.

This is the 24th year for the popular market, held right in front of City Hall at 405 Biltmore Way.

The market offers farm-fresh produce, baked goods, juices, honey, herbs, jams and jellies, gourmet specialty foods, and a variety of plants for the home or garden. Market-goers also can enjoy live music, take a relaxing Tai Chi class or pick up useful tips at the free gardening workshops and cooking demonstrations, while children can partake in fun activities for all ages.

There is a free bike valet.

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Master Guitar Class by Jason Vieaux

Master Guitar Class with 2015 Grammy Winner Jason Vieaux: Grammy-winning guitarist, Jason Vieaux, will be conducting a master class at the Miami Conservatory of Music on Saturday, February 21. This will be a great chance to witness what happens behind the scenes when preparing repertoire for performance. Free Admission!  2911 Grand Avenue in the MCM Recital Hall at Mayfair miamiconservatoryofmusic.com/

The event starts at 1 pm.

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Saturday bike tour features "Bahamian side"

The next free Coconut Grove Bike Tour is Saturday, February 21. The Bahamian side of Coconut Grove is featured, the tour is called, "The Way Showers of Coconut Grove."

Meet at the corner of Franklin and Main Highway. The tour is from 9:30 am to noon. 

Bring your own bike, sunblock, water and whatever else you may need. The Bike tours are sponsored by the Coconut Grove BID.

Please register online here.

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Don't drink and walk

I don't know if my family is over-drinking or what, but I noticed something weird at the arts festivals this past weekend, it's a city rule which I don't think makes sense. When you buy a drink at one location, you are not allowed to carry it through to another, even though everything is gated in and the drinks are in plastic glasses or bottles.

What I don't get is that right outside the gates where you pay to enter, they sell beer and liquor, so a person buys that drink and a few feet away is the entrance where you are told you cannot bring your drink in. This happened all day. You literally could not walk with your drinks (including water).

We were in the hospitality area, and told we could not bring out drinks from the hospitality area into the main festival. We were at St. Stephen's Art Festival and told we could not bring out drinks into the Coconut Grove Arts Festival, we bought drinks right outside the Grove Festival and were told we could not bring the drinks into the festival. In the meantime, all the festivals were enclosed and selling liquor all over the place. I wonder what would have happened if I slipped out of the tea room with a cuppa.

Very strange. I like the idea of this guy above, who has a flask in his pocket.

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Pearl the Mermaid is back

The Typsy Mermaid made its debut last weekend and now Pearl the Mermaid is back. Typsy will be open Thurdsay through Saturday, February 19-21. Thursday and Friday, the hours are 4 to 8 pm; Saturday the hours are noon to 8 pm. Stone crabs have been added to the menu this weekend, which will be featured along with Lobster Rolls and other delicious seafood. There is champagne and ale and check out the "Sassy Oyster Bar." Typsy is located next to Lasso the Moon at 3415 Main Highway).

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The Arts Festivals

In spite of my complaints about the overpriced vendors at the Arts Festivals this past weekend, I have to admit that it's one of my favorite times of the year. The Village turns into one big party for three days, it's sort of a mini Mardi Gras or Fantasy Fest, in a way. The weather was perfect, too, all three days.

During the long weekend, there's so much going on in all corners of the Center Grove and you see people who you may have not seen for awhile. It's nice to see so much activity in town. I love all the energy.

I had breakfast one day at the Coconut Grove Gallery and Interiors on Bird Avenue, they also had a free shuttle service to and from the festivals where I continued to eat my way through the weekend. I was at the English tea room a lot. And I enjoyed the company I was with and the art, there really is something for everyone regarding the art with so many styles and artists. And you can't beat those glimpses of the bay, just a few feet away from it all.

One day I attended the festival with eight family members, another day, I was with four friends, another day I was with five people, a mixture of family and friends. It was really a lot of fun. I know so many people leave the Grove during the madness, but I don't live in the center of it so I love it all.

I had a couple of cousins drive down from Broward County just for the festival, I don't see them often and it was so nice to spend time with them. They found a couple of pieces that were images of where they live in Lighthouse Point. They loved that. 

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New community center open at Peacock Park

You might have noticed movement at The Glass House in Peacock Park. No, it's not The Eating House, which is supposed to move in on the east side of the building, but the west side of the buidling boasts many fun activities available to everyone from Monday thru Friday from 10 am to 8 pm and Saturday and Sunday 8 am to 4 pm.

Inside the new community center there is ping pong, foosball, air hockey, table pool, and board games. There are also three Yamaha piano keyboards for walk-in piano play and practice. Plug in your computer and play music aloud or play quietly with headsets. 

The keyboards have fun tutorials too and over one hundred songs to play. They were donated by the DuBéarn family; several more keyboards for free walk-in use are at Simpson Park, the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science, and for free classes at Virrick Park and the Arts for Learning Lewis Center on Grand Avenue.

Peacock Park is inviting student mentors who would like to teach piano, chorus, and poetry with the keyboards and earn community service credits.

Outside, the new swing set has been installed. The park also has one basketball court, two turf soccer courts and one softball field. 

New to Peacock Park is an after-school program with open registration. For details, contact Patrice Godbolt Jackson, the Peacock Park manager at pgodbolt@miamigov.com or call 305 443 2604.

As for the rest of Peacock Park, the park itself, there are changes going on regarding festivals and other events. I'll let you know about that soon.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Bookstore's Grand Re-Opening celebration

The Bookstore in the Grove is having a Grand Re-Opening party on Saturday, February 21 to celebrate lots of changes, mostly to introduce their new, larger menu.

There will be 30% off food orders and free snacks and beverages. Also, 15% off all gifts and books.

Local artists will be performing live and for the kids, there will be fingerpainting, dancing, book readings and more from 5 to 7 pm. The celebration itself will be all day.

Stop by 3390 Mary Street and see what's new!

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Washington's Birthday Regatta and more at Barnacle

The Barnacle has a full weekend of activities planned for the Washington's Weekend Birthday Regatta. It starts on Friday, February 20 with the Regatta Moonlight Concert from 7 to 9 pm. Captain Josh (shown here) will be performing.

Enjoy a concert with a nautical theme. Lawn chairs & picnics welcome. Gate opens 6 pm. The cost is $10 Future members. $8 Members. $3 ages 6-9. Under 6 free.

On Saturday, February 21, the annual Washington’s Birthday Regatta takes place. Sailors are invited to participate in sailboat races and a Chowder Party. Registration is open to vessels of traditional design.  

Advance registration is $50. Same-day registration $75. Includes chowder for registered sailors. $10 per additional guest. The registration onsite is at 10 am. Skippers’ Meeting 10:30 am. 1st Signal at noon. Chowder Party 5:30 pm.

To top the weekend off, is the popular Old Time Dance where The Barnacle heads back to it's roots. Dance contras, circles, squares and waltzes to traditional American music.  Gate opens at 6 pm. Introduction to the Dance at 6:30 pm.

Cost is $10 for adults. Ages 9 and under free.

The Barnacle Historic State Park is located at 3485 Main Highway. For info: 305-442-6866.

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Gifford Lane Art Stroll is on the horizon


Just as the Coconut Grove Arts Festival gets under way, thought are already on the Gifford Lane Art Stroll, which is coming in March. This is the winning poster art for this year's 17th annual Gifford Lane Art Stroll, which will be held on Sunday, March 1, 2015. Grove artist Eileen Seitz is the artist. The piece is called, "A Peaceful Place to Contemplate."

"As I lived on Gifford lane in 1984 in a hut behind a house, I always felt Gifford Lane and center Grove has its own magic; its my power spot for sure," says Eileen.

Stop by Gifford Lane for the yearly trip down memory lane from noon to 5 pm. Visit friends, eat, drink, dance and of course buy art from more than 60 local artist showing their work on the shady old world street.


The Gifford Lane Art Stroll was started 17 years ago by a half-dozen artists who lived along this block.  Most of them have now moved away but a hearty band of some thirty neighbors have made the little event a Coconut Grove tradition. They meet on weekends for months to hold planning pot-luck supper gatherings to map each year coming up. 


“The thing is,” says Trina Collins, a painter and one of the founders of the Stroll who lives on the block, “at lots of art festivals, artists are primarily interested in just having their work seen.  But at the Gifford Lane Art Stroll, artists come to sell.  And sell they do.  The price is right.  The quality’s good.  You see tons of people going up the lane with a new treasure tucked under their arm.  It’s a people party.  I’ve known people to arrive not knowing anybody and leave with new friends.  We have one accomplished artist living on the street who bought her house on Gifford Lane as a result of the Art Stroll.”

Performing for their sixth year are the high-energy folk and rock group Solar Dogs.  In addition to original material, the band covers an eclectic mix of blues, folk and rock. Band members are Eric Wagner, Zip Robertson, Bill Kunz, and Robert Grabowski.  Coconut Grove music legend, guitarist, and singer Bobby Ingram will also perform. Bobby has performed alongside David Crosby, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Jimmy Buffet, and Fred Neil, among others. 

Every year the Gifford Lane Art Stroll gives away its profits to two Coconut Grove charities. A percentage of each art piece sold, as well as all of the contributions received for the now-world-famous Cucumber Punch.  Also the sellers’ fees for delicious ribs, shrimp, burgers, hot dogs, and arepas go directly to charity.  Over the past 16 years, the Stroll has donated more than $40,000 to the St. Stephen’s AIDS Ministry and the St. Alban’s Child Enrichment Center in the Grove Village West. Virgin Vanderlugt, administrator at the AIDS Ministry, says, “Over the past decade and a half the Gifford Lane Art Stroll has really stepped up to the plate and been a major financial supporter of our AIDS efforts.”

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Wasting taxpayer money. Again

Looks like the city is removing those ugly sidewalk extensions that were in the middle of Commodore Plaza (see the photo at left). Do they just do this on purpose? You know, do an expensive job and then pay lots of money to undo the job?

Who is responsible for this waste of taxpayer money? Same people that are still working and reworking on SW 27 Avenue I'm assuming.

I keep picturing that big bully of a woman who conducted the meetings regarding the street scape, she and her staff were know-it-alls about everything from which flowering trees to put in to what type of bricks; yet they let this nonsense happen?

At least we gained some parking spaces back. I would suggest those underused CitiBike racks in front of the The Grove Spot go away, too, and the parking spaces be returned to the citizens. When the residents on Brickell demanded that the bike racks be moved, they were moved. We need these moved to another area, out of much needed parking spaces.

I would suggest we really take a look at future projects like Main Highway coming up and South Bayshore Drive. Are these jobs needed? Obviously this mess on Commodore Plaza wasn't and neither is half the work being done on 27th Avenue.

Please let's remember all this waste of time, money and nonsense at election time. Most of it is just being done to put in the infrastructure to allow for massive high rises up and down the main streets. 

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Why are prices so high in Coconut Grove?

Why are these ice cream pop from Just Desserts $7 each at the Coconut Grove Arts Festival and $4 to $5 at all the other festivals? Is $10 for a gyro the way it is now? They are $7 at other festivals.

I'm really getting tired of being ripped off every year. I guess I could just say, "no," but I'm there, I'm hungry and I think, "well, it's just a few dollars more."  Also, these scammers never have the prices listed so you don't know what you're paying until it's too late.

The Tea Room that I wrote about charges such great prices, they are able to make it with fair market value and their proceeds go to the church charity. $5 for two scones with whipped cream and strawberries and unlimited refills of hot tea is a bargain.

The girls who sold ribs for $10 for 4 small pieces that you  needed a hammer and chisel to navigate and $3 extra for coleslaw should not be allowed back. Their solution for cold ribs was for me to take them home and put them in the microwave.

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Havana Night at Coral Gables Woman's Club

The Coral Gables Woman's Club is hosting "Havana Nights," their annual Casino Night fundrasier, on Saturday, March 7. This even supports their May Van Sickle Children's Dental Clinic. 

The night will offer casino games, a silent auction, a cash bar and dancing. Doors open at 8 pm. 

Tickets are $50 in advance, $60 at the door. Price of admission includes one drink ticket and hors d'oeuvres. 

Reserve your tickets today with Carmen Suarez at c_suarez@bellsouth.net or do it online here.

The Coral Gables Woman's Club is located at 1001 E. Ponce de Leon Blvd. 

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Sprung! is back with lots more craft beer

Sprung!, the beer fest is back in the Grove on Saturday, March 7, featuring over 200 Spring and Summer ales. The festival will be held from 4:00 to 7:00 pm at Peacock Park.

4,000 beer fans will “get sprung” on unlimited samplings of New Belgium, Founder’s, SweetWater, Green Flash, Sierra Nevada, Brooklyn Brewery, Kona, Magic Hat, Shiner, Shipyard, Harpoon, Blue Moon and many others will showcase their spring and summer ales. There will also be a complete lineup of Florida beers from Schnebly, Cigar City, Tequesta Brewing and Florida Beer, along with local breweries such as Hialeah Brewing, Funky Buddha, Wynwood Brewing, and M.I.A. Beer enthusiasts will also be treated to a selection not available in South Florida, and in keeping with tradition, the homebrew section will showcase brews created by locals who are passionate about their beer. Keep an eye on these brewers, because more often than none, they end up opening a brewery of their own.

Sprung! will also bring back the Orange Pride Games Arena & Bar -- a dedicated game section, which includes the ever-popular Human Bowling, Corn Hole, Giant Jenga, Beer Pong, and Mega Twister. The Bougainvillea’s Music Stage will feature live music, and The Gold Coast Beverage Distributor Culinary Experience will pair beer with the talents of four local chefs.

Time of admittance depends on the ticket. 

$40 – General Admission (4 pm entry)
$70 – Beer Socialite (3 pm entry + souvenir bag with swag)
$90 – VIP (2:30 pm entry, VIP Lounge with special selection of food & beer and air-conditioned bathrooms)

Ticket info: Pre-purchase tickets by visiting IGotSprung.com or calling 305-461-2700

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