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Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Vegan Block party coming to Coconut Grove

The Vegan Block Party, South Florida’s first ever plant based party is coming to Regatta Park on October 6 from 5 to 9 pm.

Upon entry, attendees will receive Swag Bags filled with over $100 worth of free merchandise, product samples, and coupons. 

The event will feature food trucks, a local vendor marketplace, Kombucha brews, full vegan alcohol bar, live DJ, speaker stage, doggy adoption, and more.

"Vegan Block Party is open to everyone- not just vegans! Whether you are  vegan, veg-curious, or just want to come hang out, every is invited," says Ariel Levin, organizer.

General admission is $20 for adults and $10 for children (15 and younger). Admission gives you access to all festival amenities as well as some swag.Those who are 21 and older will be able to purchase alcohol at the event.

The party is centered around the three main components of Vegansim-health, environmental sustainability, and animal welfare. This event was created out of the desire to show people how incredible a compassionate, cruelty-free lifestyle can be.

Whether it is introducing friends to vegan fried chick'n, learning about animal agriculture, or trying out new sustainable products, they will showcase the multitude of positive benefits the vegan lifestyle brings.

​Sample bites from your favorite plant based brands, dine on vegan food from local restaurants, and sip on brews and beverages. 

Be prepared to shop the vendor marketplace for everything ranging from eco-friendly alternatives for everyday items, to organic clothing, to cruelty-free body care.

There will be live music from local artists, as well as other fun and entertainment. 

So, bring your friends, family, and fur children (yes, dogs are allowed, on a leash).

Purchase tickets at Eventbrite here.

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Monday, September 24, 2018

Grove costume gala

The Coconut Grove Village Council is throwing a party - its the Grove Costume Gala being held Friday, October 26 at the Cruz Building.

Dress up in your favorite costume, which is a requirement, and join the fun from 9 pm to 1 am. Cost of admission is $100 per person, which includes complementary cocktails, light bites and music.

All the proceeds go to supporting organizations that help Coconut Grove children, families, and the environment. No silent auction or raffles to buy. This will be a party with dancing, music, and fun in the true spirit of making Coconut Grove a better village.

Ticket holders must be 21 or older. Doors open at 9 pm.

Tickets may be purchased online here.

The Cruz Building is at 3157 Commodore Plaza.

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Owl-o-ween at The Barnacle

Celebrate our feathered friends at The Barnacle Historic State Park on Sunday, October 14 from noon to 4 pm. Learn about the fascinating lives of owls and their important
role in a healthy ecosystem. 


 Enjoy arts and crafts, games, storybook reading, and more. Enter one or both of the day’s contests: 1) Dress in costume as your favorite bird; 2) Practice your owl calls for the hooting contest. Each contest offers a chance to win free, one-year family membership in The Barnacle Society and tickets to The Barnacle’s next Up Past Bedtime Movie. 

The event is included with the regular $2 per person park entry fee. Children ages 5 and under are admitted free. The Barnacle Historic State Park is located at 3485 Main Highway.


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Sunday, September 23, 2018

Chamber networker at new Table 14

Grab your pirate hats and join the Grove Chamber for the One-of-a-Kind party as the Mutiny Hotel hosts, once again, their fabulous poolside Networker party featuring the newest restaurant in the Grove, Table 14.  

The Chamber networker is Wednesday, September 26 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.

Many people may recall the infamous power table at the iconic Mutiny Club called Table 14; well, it's back with a stand-out menu of food and drinks.

Come Network with the Grove's 'Power Chic' at this great opening celebration. Great bites, super adult beverages, raffles and prizes to dazzle everyone.

Come to our village's Magical Mutiny Hotel for an evening of great conversation, fabulous interaction and memories to be made.

Chamber Members and their guests $10.00 pre-registration
Non-Members $15.00 pre-registration
Members at the door $15.00
Non-Members at the door $20.00

Pre-register here.


The Mutiny Hotel is at 2951 South Bayshore Drive.

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Stoneman Douglas cottage receiving TLC

Marjorie Stoneman Douglas in front of the house in the late 1920s. (Photo courtesy Wikipedia).

There recently was a stakeholder meeting concerning the Marjory Stoneman Douglas House. 

The Division of Recreation and Parks (DRP) continues to consider possible options for the long-term management of the property. 

Work at the house has continued and includes:

- Installation of a new air conditioning system
- Installation of a new alarm system
- Mold remediation project completed with the restoration of the plaster wall surrounding the fireplace. (Project was overseen by local architect Richard Heisenbottle.)
- Restoration and re-installation of the kitchen cabinets, counter tops and replica linoleum flooring.
- Lawn service hired and the state property is being mowed weekly.
- Park staff from the Barnacle continue to make regular trips to the house to maintain the state property.

The house was built between 1924-1926, it is located at 3744 Stewart Avenue. Mrs. Douglas lived in the house from 1926 until her death in 1998 at age 108. She left the house to the State of Florida.

DRP has issued a support letter for the installation of a historic marker on the property through the historic marker program managed by the State Division of Historic Resources. Members of the public expressed a strong interest in greater recognition of Marjory Stoneman Douglas and the designation of the house as a National Historic Landmark. DRP is pleased to support this effort to recognize of one of Florida’s most notable citizens.

"It is the responsibility of DRP to regulate public access to the property, promote public safety and provide a quality visitor experience. We want to ensure that we continue to serve as good stewards and good neighbors. We look forward to working with all of you to increase public enjoyment of this important historic resource," says Sine Murray, Planning and Policy Coordinator of the Florida Park Service. 

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Saturday, September 22, 2018

Million Orchid Project takes over Coconut Grove

Miami City Commissioner Ken Russell, the Coconut Grove Business Improvement District (BID) and botanists from Fairchild Botanical Garden, along with volunteers of all ages will mount 250 rare and endangered orchid seedlings onto tree trunks at the intersection of Main Highway, Grand Avenue and McFarland Road on Monday, September 24.

“Launching the Million Orchid Project to Coconut Grove brings all the things we love about the Grove together: environment, history and beauty," said Commissioner Russell. “This is just the beginning of a bigger vision for thoughtful beautification in Coconut Grove.”

To combat the near-extinction of South Florida’s native orchid population, Fairchild’s Million Orchid Program is helping reintroduce rare and endangered orchid species into our urban landscape. Schoolyards, hospitals and roadways are just some of the recipients of the reintroduction initiative, which aims to have the first generation of reestablished orchids blooming throughout South Florida within five years. 

The return of orchids to the Grove will reinforce the neighborhood’s ‘Garden District’ identity and beautify and enhance the street-level experience for workers, visitors, and residents alike. 

The agenda:
8:30 – 9:00 am: Welcome and coffee at The Bookstore and Kitchen (3444 Main Hwy) 
9:00 – 9:15 am: VIP remarks 
9:45 – 10:00 am: Orchid planting

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Friday, September 21, 2018

Local students named Obama Scholar

Noa Richard a Ransom Everglades graduate, has been named a Barack Obama Scholar by Occidental College, recognized as an exceptional student committed to the public good, in keeping with the principles advanced by the liberal arts college’s best-known alumnus.

As an inaugural Obama Scholar, she will receive a four-year scholarship that will meet the entire cost of her education, in addition to summer enrichment programs and access to the program’s advisory council.

Noa Richard
"Noa was selected for her kindness, her creativity and her sensitivity to issues of social and environmental injustice,” says Wendy Sternberg, Occidental’s vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College. “Noa has found her passion and voice with social causes, activism and volunteerism. She is a compassionate, intellectual activist—an amazing young woman." 

Noa is interested in becoming a writer and journalist and in pursuing the critical theory and social justice major at Occidental. At her high school, she was president of the Natural Rights Initiative, dedicated to raising awareness of and acting against human rights violations globally and in the Miami community; the founder of W.I.N. Miami, an organization that supports women at domestic abuse shelters; and a mentor at Achieve Miami, teaching reading to elementary-school students with low literacy levels in disadvantaged neighborhoods. She also created, directed and filmed a documentary, “Syrian Women in Miami,” using proceeds awarded from a fellowship grant, in which she interviewed recently arrived Syrian refugee women.   

Launched last year, the Obama Scholars program represents Occidental’s investment in students who aspire to become change agents but may lack the opportunity to fully realize their goals, and continues the legacy of leadership embodied by President Obama, a member of the Occidental Class of 1983.

“My years at Occidental sparked my interest in social and political causes, and filled me with the idea that my voice could make a difference,” President Obama said. “I’m proud of the Obama Scholars mission to identify promising young people from all backgrounds, not only to give them access to higher education, but to train the next generation of leaders and active citizens, and fill them with the conviction that they too can change the world.”

Obama Scholars will have the opportunity to take full advantage of Occidental’s wide range of academic programs, hands-on experiences such as working at United Nations-related organizations in New York or on a major political campaign, full access to summer internships, support in conducting research projects and study abroad.

For more information on the Barack Obama Scholars Program at Occidental College, please visit obamascholars.oxy.edu

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Thursday, September 20, 2018

BINGO at the Woman's Club next Thursday

The Woman's Club's last BINGO of the year is Thursday, September 27.

Stop by and try your luck. Prizes include gift certificates and other things along with $1000 grand prize for the last game played. The card has 46 numbers called.

Doors open at 6:30 pm. There's a cash bar, too! And free refreshments and snacks.

Admission is $5 for adults, children under 12 are free. $1 per card with minimum of 5 games.

It's "Football Kick-off" night - wear your favorite team jersey.

This is a community event, everyone is welcome. All proceeds benefit the club. Public parking is at St. Stephen's church for a flat rate of $3.

The Woman's Club of Coconut Grove is at 2985 South Bayshore Drive.

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It's what the Grove should be

I was at a little shopping village with a bunch of "micro boutiques" in Upper Buena Vista yesterday. It reminded me so much of what Coconut Grove could and should be. It's called a "retail sanctuary." 


What's great about it is that they kept the foliage and worked around it. It's shady and cool and a tropical oasis amid the cement that makes up a big part of the rest of that neighborhood.


The little shops surround a 90-year-old banyan tree (very Grove-like) and the small boutiques all flow around a small market area at 50th Street and 2nd Avenue. It was originally little bungalows on one plot of land.
The inter-connected micro boutiques are 500 square feet  and smaller and art, fashion and food and drinks co-mingle at the space. Cory Finot's second Café Crème faces the main street, the original Café Crème is in North Miami Beach, I've been to both now, it's a bakery/coffee shop. There is also Kraken Lab, a sushi place; Amazonica, a tropical food and drink place and Vista, an Italian restaurant and rooftop bar.


Wooden walkways tie it all together. There are over-sized pieces of public art strewn around like Mickey Mouse and Pinocchio. Many boutiques fill the space from clothing, art, handmade sandals, sneakers, cabinets, sunglasses and so much more.

Their manifesto says, "This is the place where curious discovery meets thoughtful craftsmanship. An escape from the fast-paced bustle of a growing city reminding you to relax at every turn and breathe." Sort of like all of Coconut Grove used to be. Huh?

So many people are trying to make the Grove into something it isn't. This is what the Grove should be. This is what Florentine Plaza could be, CocoWalk, too, and so many other places in the village. This is what the Grove is.




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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

2018 Craft Spirits Fest now in its 6th year

The Craft Spirits Fest -Spirits & Cocktails, the largest exhibition of spirits and cocktails in Miami returns for its sixth year on October 12. The festival showcases and celebrates today’s resurgent spirits and cocktail culture. They also provide the opportunity for consumers to learn, interact and truly experience the spirit of the industry.  

The week-long celebration will peak at the Cruz Building in Coconut Grove, the preceding days are packed with bartender competitions, happy hours and more.  

Here’s a look at what's on tap for Craft Spirits Fest Week 2018:

Monday, October

BareKnuckle Bartender at Mama Tried (201 NE 1st Avenue) at 8 pm.  

Watch Miami bartenders compete to make their best cocktails to earn the coveted title of BareKnuckle Bartender Champ. Free and open to the public. 

Wednesday, October 11

Women, Whiskey & Wieners at The Mighty (2224 Coral Way) 6 - 9 pm. 

In honor of the Breast Cancer Awareness month, they feature the finest women in the spirits industry representing amazing whiskies and cocktails. Open to the public. 

Friday, October 12

CSF: Spirits & Cocktails 2018 at The Cruz Building (3157 Commodore Plaza) 6:30 - 10:30 pm

This event brings together 30+ spirit producers from across the country/world for a comprehensive, large-scale tasting event. Over 120 different spirits and cocktails will be available to sample. Food samples from local restaurants, Prohibition Era Live Jazz and a rooftop cigar lounge. Tickets start at $75 and are extremely limited. 

Tickets available at: CSF2018.eventbrite.com

Friday, October 12-13

CSF Beer Chaser at Taurus: Beer & Whisk(e)y House (3524 Main Hwy) 10 pm - 2 am. 

Any great Party needs a great “After Party."  After imbibing all those great spirits and cocktails, nothing is better than a nice cold brew. Attendees of the CSF receive a complimentary brew plus other food and drink specials throughout the night! Special late night menu at Ariete by Chef Michael Beltran.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Looks like the booters are gone

Good news. The car booters are gone. For now anyway.

The city is trying to work out a new plan with them and hopefully they never return.

The parking lot behind Florentine Plaza, on Fuller and Grand, now has an attendant and it's monitored now and sneaky booters can't get in there and boot people. Southpark Management runs the lot now. Nicole Singletary, BID director, tells me that the BID got involved and helped make this happen.


Also, the booters are gone from the lot near the 24 Hour Gym on Grand Avenue.

Also, some good news about the Optimum Development office building going up next to Greenstreet. One traffic lane had been closed for a few weeks due to construction. It's open now. It could possibly close if inspections don't pass, but for now, drive freely on Main Highway.

I'm not sure what the rates for that lot is, but the Florentine Plaza lot charges these rates seen here. They're a bit more than street parking, but much less than the flat $10 rate that was previously the rule in the lot, whether you parked for one minute or an hour or more.



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Monday, September 17, 2018

Village Council meets Friday

The Coconut Grove Village Council is holding its next meeting on Friday, Sept. 21, at 6:30 p, at Miami City Hall (3500 Pan American Drive).

To view the Sept. 21 agenda, click here. The meeting will also be live streamed from their Facebook page.

Village Council meetings for the remainder of 2018

Please note that most but not all meetings will be on Mondays. In two cases they will meet on Friday. We will make every effort to secure Monday meeting dates for all of 2019 and thereafter.

October: Monday, Oct. 29
November: Monday, Nov. 19
December: Friday, Dec. 14

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What's going on with the destroyed docks?

Nice picture, huh? Well not for the many people who are still waiting for the docks at Dinner Key Marina to be repaired. They are still in bad shape after last September's Hurricane Irma.

The city finally met with their insurer along with FEMA officials last week. They now know that the City of Miami has $8.9 million in insurance claim money for repairs.

The estimated hurricane related repairs are $10.3 million.

The city's Director of Capital Improvements tells me that the estimated non-hurricane related repairs (primarily utility repairs required before the storm) are $3.2 million.

Taking into consideration design and other general and administrative costs, the total repair is $15 million.

I've been told, "We are working with FEMA to identify what they will cover of the difference between the $10.3 million and $8.9 million."

The city is also working with FEMA to determine if they will cover any future mitigation costs above the $15 million. In other words, if there are ways to build the marina to better protect against future storms, what and how much will FEMA cover?

The city intends to proceed with a design-build for the marina repairs. "We are setting up an Industry Day in a few weeks to attract marina construction firms to present their interest, capabilities and experience," says the Capital Improvements director.

A month or so after that the city will release a design-build RFP.

People are still paying for their dock space and the city is receiving business interruption insurance for those that are not usable. Another of the complex insurance issues is how long and for how much will that insurance cover?


Most boats are still there, some are either at other locations or no longer have a need for a slip.  As construction begins, it will be done in phases in order to try to keep as many boats at the marina at a time.  In the end, they will do their best to ensure people get the slips they have historically had, but, no promises.

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Sunday, September 16, 2018

Join The Barnacle for Make A Difference Day

Take a day to enjoy the great outdoors and give back to the community. On Saturday, October 27 join The Barnacle's Park Rangers from 9 am to noon for a morning of coastal cleanup, landscape beautification, and exotic plant removal on Make a Difference Day. 

The park will provide free same-day park admission, lunch, and a tour of the house museum for registered volunteers. 

Space is limited and pre-registration required. To register, please call 305-442-6866
or email Jessica.Cabral@dep.state.fl.us.

Minors require parental consent, and volunteers ages 14 and under must be accompanied by a participating adult. 

Participants must wear closed-toe shoes. Long pants and sleeves, sun protection, and a water bottle are strongly recommended. No pets while volunteering, please.

The Barnacle Historic State Park is located at 3485 Main Highway. 

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