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The only place for Coconut Grove, FL News, Views & Opinions - Sunlight is the best disinfectant

Friday, February 22, 2019

Should lights be added to volleyball courts?

There is a meeting tomorrow, Saturday, February 23 at Kennedy Park with Commissioner Russell. The subject is the volleyball court, where a group of players are asking for extended hours. They are asking for lights at the court to allow for night play. The meeting starts at 10 am at the courts.

Neighbors in the area are against this and would like the park to remain quiet at night, since it is in a quiet residential neighborhood and players want to play at night, in essence, lighting up the park, bringing people and cars to the area after dark. 

Presently the park closes at sunset.

It would seem to be a toss up only the people who want the park open and lit up at night don't live near the park and one guy who started a petition doesn't live in the Grove or the City of Miami at all - he lives in Miami Beach!

Back in August I asked people about the issue, what did they feel? I asked people in the North Grove, not necessarily those who live right at the park, but those who lived in the vicinity.

"Not sure what the big deal is with the lights taking so long to install. I approve the lights and think it would make the park a little safer after sundown; not just for the volleyball players, but for dog walkers, runners etc. So long as the lights are off around 10 pm, which is the time the public tennis courts shut down their lights."

"Count me as opposed to lighting up the courts at night. There will be more traffic (where will everyone park?), noise and people from all over the county coming to play volleyball at a facility that is not designed to handle it. Volleyball until 10 pm means people in the park until even later. A few years ago when the police were less vigilant about closing the gates at night, people came and stayed in the park until the wee hours, having a party and playing loud music. Use the money instead to repair the bathrooms, walking/riding path, footbridge and vitacourse equipment. Keep the park a daytime venue. And it would be nice if park officials would notify neighbors of a proposed change in use and provide an opportunity for input before ordering the lights to be put up (as occurred here)."

"People who opposed the lights being installed are selfish ridiculous people who have no sense of community! Why would you opposed making a PUBLIC park safer and more accessible for everyone to use?! Because you don’t want more people to have access to it at night? Get off your high horse and just be a decent human being! Find something nice to do with your time!"

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Whisk(e)y Mash, from fermentation to celebration

The Miami Whisk(e)y Mas a celebration of fine whiskies from around the world, returns for a fifth year on Saturday, March 2 at the Taurus: Beer & Whisk(e)y House (3540 Main Highway).

Showcasing over 100 different expressions of whiskies ranging from Ireland, Scotland, Canada, Japan, Taiwan and the U.S., this is the largest whiskey event in Miami. Attendees will be able to enjoy unlimited tastings plus delicious light bites by Chef Michael Beltran of Ariete, cigars by Drew Estate, live music, and much more.

“Whiskey is still the hottest spirit category in the World and the Miami Whisk(e)y Mash is the perfect way to celebrate this beloved class of spirits. The craftsmanship, authenticity, and traditions that are associated with Whisk(e)y deserves its own focused event. The fifth year of this event offers exploration, education and most importantly enjoyment of Whisk(e)y," says Frank Moreno, Miami Whiskey Mash Founder.

Whiskey Mash General Admission tickets will be available for $75 Online and $95 at the door and includes admission from 3-6 pm. A very limited number of VIP tickets are also available for $100 Online. Online tickets may be found here.

Featured Spirits include Bib & Tucker Bourbon, Bushmills Irish, Glenfiddich Scotch Whisky, Horse Soldier Bourbon, Jack Daniel’s Whiskey, Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky, The Macallan Scotch Whisky, Redwood Empire Whiskey, Russell’s Reserve Bourbon & Rye, Sexton Irish Whiskey, Stillhouse and so many more.

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Thursday, February 21, 2019

Gifford Lane Art Stroll back for 21st year

Now that the February art festivals are over, get ready for another! The Gifford Lane Art Stroll will return for its 21st year on Sunday, March 3. 

The annual stroll, on sleepy tree-lined Gifford Lane will take place from noon to 5 pm between Oak and Day Avenues. 

Grovite Glenn Terry will be there as always, he says, “In a world getting too fast and way too big, this slow, small show in the Grove is absolutely perfect.”  Along with Glenn showing his work, 72 artists will line the street showing and selling their art. 

Nathan Kurland, neighbor and one of the Stroll organizers for many years, says, “As far as I can tell, the Gifford Lane Art Stroll is Coconut Grove.”  Others have described the Stroll as “the Grove the way the Grove once was.”  One out-of-state visitor said,  “The people that come to this little festival are themselves the main attraction.  It’s happy, communal, and relaxed.  I think It’s about how these people see themselves.”

Artists come to sell; people come to buy.  It’s all here: sculpture, portraits, landscapes, jewelry, tile mosaics, the world’s most unusual potholders, large abstract paintings, nudes, mixed media, photography, found art objects, boiled books, seascapes, and what can only be termed “whimsies” with no category name.  In short, it is just the sort of stuff you might want to place in your home.  All afternoon you‘ll see people proudly--almost defiantly--marching up the lane with art acquisitions tucked under their arm. Make a deal with the artist, they are there to wheel and deal.

The Gifford Lane Art Stroll is put together by an energized group of some 30 neighbors.  

Each year, neighbors divide up all of the responsibilities that make the event a success.  Folks clamber up ladders to hang cross-street banners and strings of colorful pennants.  People get together to peel and slice hundreds of cucumbers and limes for the famous event beverage, the Cucumber Punch, the Stroll's main attraction it seems.  


This year's poster art.

This year’s Stroll poster is by artist Sheri Friedman who ran Blu Moon Studio in Coconut Grove for many years.  Posters will be available at the event.  Also this year the Stroll is proud to include an additional band in the mix i -  Jon Sullivan and Friends, known for their classic country tunes.


The live music at the Stroll provides a  soundtrack for the afternoon as it wafts through the crowd.  This year, featured as the band for the eleventh straight year, are the Grove's own Solar Dogs.  Band members are Eric Wagner (vocals, guitar, mandolin, banjo), Anthony Dick (bass player), Zip Robertson (guitar, harmonica, vocals), and Bill Kunz (fiddle, banjo, mandolin).  You haven’t danced until you’ve closed out a Stroll dancing in the street with someone you may not even know to their amazing music.

As it has for each of the past 21 years, at the end of the day, the Gifford Lane Art Stroll will give away all of its money including a percentage of each artist’s sales to two Coconut  Grove charities: the St. Stephen’s AIDS Ministry and the St. Alban’s Child Enrichment Center in the Village West.  Over the years, many thousands of dollars have been donated.

Participating artist, and one of Coconut Grove’s most respected painters,  Karen Deilke describes the day, “The Gifford Lane Art Stroll is the cream of the crop.  The old Grove at its best.  Laid back and fun!  Music, art, special punch, a trip back in time.  What more could you ask?  It is my favorite art show.” 

The Gifford Lane Art Stroll unfolds  under the huge trees that arch over a tiny Grove lane named after one of the most important environmentalists in the history of Florida, Dr. John C. Gifford. 

Bring the kids.  Have fun.  Sip the magic punch.  Buy the art.  Come as you are.  Be part of the show!  It comes but once a year.  Sunday, March 3, noon until 5:00 pm.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Tea tasting at the water's edge

Desert Sage is holding a Tea Tasting at the Water's Edge on Sunday, February 24.

The event is at The Barnacle at 3 pm. There's a special performance by international flutist Angela Uzcategui. 

Cost is $30 per person, 100% of the proceeds benefit the Barnacle.

Desert Sage teas are sourced from the 2% of best teas and botanicals in the world. They are custom blended by hand. Desert Sage represents healing, resilience, power and beauty, also a metaphor for life, not only how we survive but also how we thrive. They are a lifestyle company that also sells body wash and lotion and candles.

15% of the proceeds from the sale of their products is donated to Footprints Foundation.

For details, please email sales@desert-sage.co or call 305-505-5493.

The Barnacle is at 3485 Main Highway.s 

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Marketing via technology with help from UM

Noel Garcia of
New Age Body Piercing
John Gale, a business graduate student at the University of Miami organized an event with the assistance of university leadership, for 11 businesses in Coconut Grove to participate in a pilot pro-bono business consulting program called, "Organizational Management Consulting." John is co-teaching the program as well through the UM Business School. The program teaches the businesses how to use technology to better market their services.

"Each business has been assigned a group of graduate students who are evaluating each business and are providing them with technological digital solutions," says John. 

John and UM Professor Marina Portnoy, who designed the course, felt that smaller businesses were falling behind in the technology aspect of everyday life. Through this program their students get real experience in the market place while helping local businesses in the process.

A few of the local businesses that took place in the program are Atchana's restaurant, New Age Body Piercing and Sharp Dentistry.

The program seems to have been a success and all of the businesses are ready to make themselves more tech-friendly in and outside their businesses. Look for them to ramp up their social media as well as making use of their new tech skills inside their businesses.


Noel Garcia owner of New Age Body Piercing (along with Grove Ink and Lucky 14 smoke shop) said, "The program was better than I expected. I was very impressed. And I'm not impressed easily. They actually paid attention to what I had to say and they were interested in what the business was about and what I was trying to accomplish."

The Coconut Grove Chamber of Commerce, BID and Commissioner Ken Russell have taken interest in the program. The program lasted about a month and ends on Thursday, February 21, when there will be a final presentation delivered to each business at UM's business school (5250 University Drive, Coral Gables) from 5:30 - 9:50 pm. It's open to the public where everyone can learn more about this community program.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

No shooting - guns or photos

So the Coconut Grove Arts Festival and the St. Stephen's Art Show are done for another year. It was a hot, eventful weekend.

I was dubiously curious about this sign at the entrance to the Coconut Grove Arts Festival, it was at a few locations. Number one on the list - "No weapons of any kind," is kind of frightening, but I guess it's the world we live in. No photography either, but I did photograph this sign, is that alright?

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And so comes the end of another art weekend

Monday was the final day of the festivals. The weather was brutal. We took it easy and mostly ate and drank our way through Monday with hot dogs, Italian ices, gyros, mojitos, conch fritters and lots of water.

I saw many of the artists I had interviewed previously in the past few weeks leading up the shows and we visited for a bit. 






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Monday, February 18, 2019

SOS Dragon Boat Racing Team

Kim Bonomo
The guest speaker at the February 21 Rotary meeting will be Kim Bonomo, president/captain of SOS (Save Our Sisters), a dragon boat racing team comprised entirely of breast cancer survivors. Founded in 2007, SOS now has 50 active members and Bonomo has led her team to many victories locally and internationally. 

Dragon boat teams consist of 20 paddlers, one drummer, and one steer sperson. Racing combines teamwork, enthusiasm, and strategy; it is a lot of fun and great exercise.  Team SOS is committed to educating the public about breast health, serving as role models, mentoring those newly diagnosed, and assisting under-privileged women in providing screening and treatment. 

The Rotary Club of Coconut Grove meets every Thursday at the Coconut Grove Sailing Club, 2990 South Bayshore Drive at 12:30 pm. The cost of the meeting is $25 with lunch or $10 without lunch. Open to the public.

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Monday is the final day for the art shows

Zip Robertson performs at the Makersfest at the St. Stephen's Art Show on Sunday.

Sunday afternoon saw massive crowds for both the St. Stephen's show and the Coconut Grove Arts Festival. By 1 pm, there were long lines to get in.

It felt like August, so hot, and so humid.
But the sky was blue and there was plenty to eat and drink as people enjoyed the shows.
A strange juxtaposition as the new Mr. C hotel stands above the art booths below.


Around the village there was lot of art going on, these two ladies painted Sunday afternoon at The Spillover at the Mayfair.

Day three of the Coconut Grove Arts Festival and St. Stephen's Art Show start at 10 am and run to 5 pm through Monday, when the artists and crafts people pack their stuff and move on to another show somewhere else in the country.

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Sunday, February 17, 2019

Arts Festivals take over Grove for the weekend

It's a hot weekend, but lots of fun. Day two of the Coconut Grove Arts Festival and St. Stephen's Art Show start at 10 am today and run to 6 pm all weekend through Monday. 




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Saturday, February 16, 2019

Fireman Derek's Bake Shop opens its doors

Fireman Derek's Bake Shop opened in Coconut Grove this weekend, Saturday was the first day of what is a soft opening. I'm told that sometime next week will be their grand opening. But if you want to try something rich and delicious, stop by their new location at 3435 Main Highway.
Here are Gigi Leyva and the man himself, Derek Kaplan. Fireman Derek's story is about two firefighters, Derek Kaplan and his benefactor Patrick Murdock. Patrick would always brag to his wife Kim about the incredible pies Derek would make. Patrick passed away suddenly at age 45 and left an insurance policy for his family. Kim knew what to do with that and she promptly invested in Derek, and Fireman Derek's Bake Shop was born.


Patrick Murdock Jr. and Kim Murdock. When she was 21, she bought Hattie's Place and turned it into Tavern in the Grove, across the street, so Fireman Derek's is a homecoming for Kim.
The pies are very rich. You could pierce a slice with a fork and hold it up like a lollipop, it is that thick and rich. 
The space had been empty and gutted for such a long time. They did an excellent job renovating. It's a bit rustic and modern and clean, all in one - brick, steel and murals, all mix well.


Patrick Jr. says they also have a machine that makes pie ice cream! Check it out if you can!


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It's Arts Festival weekend!

I walked around the Coconut Grove Arts Festival yesterday afternoon as they were setting up. Apparently I was there too early. I caught the animals undressed. Well, not undressed - they were headless! Sort of like seeing Mickey Mouse at Disney World without his head on. Traumatic!

Anyway, the Coconut Grove Arts Festival and St. Stephen's Art Show start at 10 am today and run to 6 pm all weekend, Saturday through Monday. 

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Friday, February 15, 2019

Meet new friends, network at Women's Happy Hour

The next Women's Happy Hour is Monday, February 25, at the Mayfair Hotel.

This happy hour is the last Monday of the month, a standing date for women (and men) from all professional backgrounds to meet, network, share ideas, promote their businesses and endeavors, learn from featured speakers and enjoy happy hour cocktails and complimentary small bites in a relaxing, casual atmosphere.

It's free, and open to men, too.

Stop by the Lobby Bar from 5:30 to 8 pm.

The Mayfair Hotel and Spa is at 3000 Florida Avenue.

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Her art is a colorful homage to the past

The Coconut Grove Arts Festival and The St. Stephen's Art Show are this weekend, February 16-18, 2019. We have been profiling some of the artists who are participating this year. 
Rachaela and her youngest child

Our last artist in this year's series is Rachaela DiRosaria. I just met her, but I love her spirit and lifestyle and she is already a friend in my head.

Rachaela is from Indiana, but now lives in Algiers, a suburb of New Orleans with her her husband Chris and their three children, ages 10, 7 and 2, who she home schools among her colorful, creative art that fills the house.
Rachaela will be presenting her work in Coconut Grove for the first time this year, in fact, this will be her first time anywhere in Florida. It's supposed to be a hot weekend, but coming from New Orleans, I'm sure she is used that type of weather.

I asked her about her work, it seems like a lot of old advertisements are the main theme, "You nailed it on the old advertisement theme - much of my work is inspired by the many nameless folk artists of the past who are responsible for everything from drug store signs to barn side paintings to circus banners. I love the bold use of color and often primitive look to the characters. I am interested in the concept of advertisement over reality and feel that in many cases, the art is better than the actual product (or person in cases of show business)," says Rachaela.


She's been on the road, doing art shows for about four or five years, "But in that short time I have been lucky to get into some of the finest shows I could have asked for. Some of the more prominent ones would include Cherry Creek in CO, Artisphere in SC, Jazz Fest in LA, Plaza Arts Festival in MO, and Utah Arts Festival in UT. Lately I have been doing shows with a traveling Expo called the Oddities and Curiosities Expo," she says.

She has received awards over the years; 2017 and 18 were especially nice to her, she received Best of Show at Jazz Fest in 2017, Best in Category at Artisphere and Second in Show at Utah Arts Festival. 


Her work is classified as a mixed media, primarily done in wood and secondarily, in acrylic. She said, "I incorporate fabric, lighting, found materials, reclaimed architectural elements and hardware and anything else that may be prudent to the work in my eyes."

Rachaela says that her studio is "fairly humble." "It started as on small work desk in my living room and the porch in my back yard and has grown to an entire room inside my house and my carport is now a full blown wood shop - you could expect to see a wooden work bench, Miter saw, drill press, jig saw (so many saws actually!) sanders, band saw, table saw and piles and piles of wood -  I have shelves and cabinets with various objects, wood, fabrics, nails, tools. You name it.  A far cry from even a year ago when I had one power tool and couldn’t ever find my pencil.


The DiRosaria family

"I have always been an artist and at the same time always tried to NOT be an artist. We are taught that artists are unorganized, impractical, and are financially unstable. I left art behind when I left high school. I was a young mother and wasn’t able to attend school past high school, and just wanted to support my self and my son. Eventually art came back to me, and it quickly became obvious that not only was it an option, it was the best option. I am largely self-taught and and honestly pretty uneducated in terms of art, so I would say that life and all the unknowns are what inspires me most, the desire to inspire and be inspired drives me to move forward," she went on.


"I have always wanted to travel and never felt like I had the time and resources to do so to the extent that I had wanted to. Art has made it possible for me to go places I would have never seen without it and meet people that I wouldn’t have otherwise. Seeing parts of America, the different cultures, people and ways of life are honestly a huge inspiration.  I love seeing our beautiful country and all the people and towns."

These are the other artists we profiled who will be at the arts festivals this weekend:
Richard Lorenz
Joyce Nelson
Josh Brooke Coté
Larry Shane
Kyle Pearce

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Thursday, February 14, 2019

Does current building code violate fair housing?

Is the Village West and it's history being destroyed by greed? University of Miami law professor Anthony Alfieri things so. 

“By displacing and resegregating Black tenants in Coconut Grove and elsewhere, the city’s zoning and demolition policies are causing a significant disproportionate impact and segregative effect on predominantly Black neighborhoods,” he said. “Black tenants are getting evicted and their apartment buildings are getting demolished.” 

This is from an article in the Miami Times, which continues: "Some landowners are up-zoning to allow for the construction of condominiums and large residential and commercial projects.

“That is not happening to white renters at the same rate or with the same adverse effect,” Alfieri said.  

"The Fair Housing Acts protects minorities homeowners and renters from direct discrimination, as well as unintended effects from building policies in place. 

"The city’s current building policies and practices are promoting displacement and “that is a disparate impact directly traceable to the city’s policies and practices and that is a violation of the Fair Housing Act,” Alfieri said. “And the city refuses to do anything about it.” 

Read the whole story here.

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Village Council compiles NCD concerns

Commissioner Ken Russell hosted two Sunshine meetings regarding the NCDs on Monday and Tuesday of this week, while they weren't broadcast on tv or internet, they were shown live on the commissioner's Facebook page. Here is Monday's meeting.

The Village Council met Monday night and discussed the meetings. On Tuesday, they sent out a letter to the city's Planning Department who agreed to review and respond to the issues. The Village Council sent out a broad reaching email to gather more comments and questions from the residents and was successful in getting a good response.

CLICK "READ MORE" TO SEE THE REST OF THE STORY



Read more »

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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Barnacle hosts Washington's Birthday Regatta

Follow in the wake of yacht designer and founder of the Biscayne Bay Yacht Club, Commodore Ralph Middleton Munroe, with boat races and a Chowder Party on Saturday, February 23 at The Barnacle. 

The 23rd Annual Washington’s Birthday Regatta honors the spirit of the first boat races held on Biscayne Bay in 1887 and is open to all vessels of traditional design regardless of construction. Skippers of mud hens, sea pearls, bullseyes, sharpies, Bahama dinghies, cat boats, etc. can register in advance for $50 per entry or for $75 on race day. 

Custom designs or other non-traditional modern designs are welcome and will be assigned to the Open Class Pursuit Race by the Race Committee. Please call the park at 305-442-6866 or visit TheBarnacle.org for a registration packet. 

Registration and a Skippers’ Breakfast begin at 10:00 am at The Barnacle, and the regatta starts at noon on Biscayne Bay. Sailors meet back at The Barnacle at 5:30 pm for the customary post-race Chowder Party where sailors trade tales of the day’s adventures and trophies are awarded to the winners in each division. Registered skippers and crews eat free, and non-sailing guests can join for $10 each.

The Barnacle is at 3485 Main Highway.


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I love our small town homeyness

This is such a great Coconut Grove story. I guess it's a small town story.

I was talking to Louis at the information booth and I ordered coffee from Starbucks using the iphone app, I was about to walk across the street to pick up the coffee when a guy came over, I didn't know him, but I think Louis did. Well, the guy kept us talking there for about 15 or 20 minutes. By the time I excused myself to walk across and get my coffee, I realized the coffee must be cold and the whipped cream must be melted.

I walked into Starbucks with Louis and someone handed me the coffee. It was piping hot! I said to Louis, "The coffee is still hot!" Tara, who usually prepares my coffee heard me from across the room and said, "That's because I just made it. I saw you across the street talking and I didn't think you were ever going to get here, so I waited until I saw you starting to make your way over before I made the coffee!"

Isn't that great? It really made my day; not so much that the coffee was fresh and hot, but because she cared enough to do this. This small gesture said so much about her; and about our small community.

I think many of us fear that this will change when we see all the changes going on around here. The new construction represents something new and unknown. Some say we can't live in the past, and it's not that we want to live in the past; we don't want our current aspect of life to change.

People make up the community and let's hope with all the construction and changes going on around here, this small town homeyness doesn't go away. It's special.





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