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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Learn about Soulful Power at Rotary Luncheon

Christian de la Huerta
Christian de la Huerta is speaker at the October 18 meeting of the Rotary Club of Coconut Grove. 

For more than 20 years, de la Huerta has been dedicated to facilitating personal transformation, to helping people tap into their Soulful Power – that deeper sense of purpose that lives within each and every one of us.  An award-winning author, he is a respected teacher and sought-after speaker whose unique spiritual journeys, spiritual workshops and self-development programs have been experienced in university lecture halls, non-profit organizations, houses of worship, corporate boardrooms and retreat venues around the world.  

His role can be described in a variety of ways: leadership consultant, group facilitator, relationship counselor and spiritual coach. All of de la Huerta’s work shares a common result: profound personal transformation.

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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Fairchild Palms Social Hour at Glass and Vine

Join the Fairchild Palms for a fun evening of networking, food, and drinks at Glass and Vine on Wednesday, October 24 from 6 to 8:30 pm.

The Fairchild Palms is the young professionals group affiliated with Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. All proceeds benefit the Fairchild Challenge environmental outreach program distributed to schools nationwide.

They are celebrating the work of Amy Padolf, Director of Education at Fairchild and The Fairchild Challenge program.

Ticket/Donation: 
Online - $10
At the Door - $15

Your ticket includes:

Happy hour menu pricing on a great selection drinks and bites.

All ticket sales/donations goes to support the Fairchild Challenge Program.

RSVP here 

Glass and Vine is located at 2820 McFarlane Road. Please take Uber or Freebee as parking is impossible at that location.

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Monday, October 15, 2018

Costume Gala - the event of the season

The Village Council's Grove Costume Gala is coming up fast - it's 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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Vote NO on Melreese amendment; save our parks

Wake up, Coconut Grove! 

There’s a category 5 political storm brewing, and we should all be trying to kill it before it kills any of Coconut Grove's beloved parks.

I’m referring to the Melreese Golf Course referendum, where the City has put a no-bid sweetheart deal on the November 6 ballot, to lease 73 acres of our park land to politically well-connected billionaire developers for 99 years, so they can build a high rise office tower, a hotel, an enormous shopping mall and a soccer stadium.  

Some current elected officials have lied to us, saying the golf course is not a park, despite the City telling us for years that the golf course is most definitely a park, as you can see for yourself in the Miami Parks Master Plan, chapter 3, pages 27 and 33: http://www.miamigov.com/parks/docs/masterplan/Miami_03.pdf

What does this have to do with Coconut Grove?

If we let this happen the City Hall shadow players will be emboldened to take over more park land in other places in the City of Miami.  

Should there be office towers in Peacock Park?

A hotel in Regatta Park?

A shopping mall in Merrie Christmas Park?  Or Kennedy Park?

The soccer stadium is only 10% of the deal, so it’s being used as bait.  The billionaires are sending out mailers promising jobs, jobs, jobs.

The billionaires met with City of Miami officials and cooked up a scheme behind closed doors before it was announced publicly.

The billionaires would be paying the city far below market value for 73 acres of land.

The billionaires can easily afford to buy their own land to create jobs, jobs, jobs, but why should they bother when the City is willing to be so generous with our park land?   

Miami is one of the lowest-ranked cities for acres of park land per 1,000 residents in the country.  Miami has supposedly been trying to increase the amount of park land in the City for years, but now it wants to lease away 73 acres of our park land to private developers for 99 years. 

That’s 8.2% of the 882 total acres of park land in the City.

Miami officials often say Miami is a “World Class City”, whatever that means, but Miami doesn’t even protect its own park land.  

A World Class City would protect its parks as sacred ground, and have a golf course.

But for some at Miami City Hall, there was little hesitation to deal away 73 acres of park land, and the only question was how much money they could get for it.

That land has had a golf course since 1942, but if the City of Miami no longer wants a golf course, it should turn ALL of it into a big, glorious, wonderful park.  Why isn’t that on the ballot?

And then there’s the City of Miami Charter, Section 29-A. (b), that says any private development proposed on City land put must be put out for competitive bidding.

If the City wants to put public land out for private development, why isn’t it going to the highest bidder?  

Because this is a sweetheart deal for politically well-connected billionaires.   

So, instead of obeying the City Charter, the City wants the voters to change the Charter to benefit these specific billionaires. 

The ballot language says this sweetheart deal will be at “no cost to City”.   Hogwash.  We’re giving up 73 acres of public park land for 99 years!

This deal is supposedly “fair market value”, but how can anyone be sure without competitive bidding?

If the City of Miami needs to start monetizing parks to balance the books, what will it do when it runs out of public parks to monetize?

The billionaire developers' PR machine has cranked up to manipulate the voters into allowing a sweetheart deal that is not in the public’s best interest.  

They have lots of money to run their campaign.  

It’s up to us to spread the word to protect our parks.

Shame on City Commissioners Ken Russell, Joe Carollo and Keon Hardemon for voting to allow a referendum to turn public park land over to a private developer.

Thank you to Commissioners Willy Gort and Manolo Reyes for voting against allowing this land-grab referendum.

Please vote NO on The Great Golf Course Land Grab and ask everyone you know to also vote NO.  

The park you save might just be your own.

Elvis Cruz
Miami

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Sunday, October 14, 2018

They love their houses; historic designation or not



Frank Schnidman is a  land use attorney, who has been helping neighbors in Village West with their homes. These neighbors live in the wooden homes that have been declared historic by the City of Miami, only the owners don't want this designation. Frank made a little video here, a very interesting video, where the neighbors who own the homes speak out about their love for the homes but their disdain for the historic designation.

The homeowners want to have their homes removed from historic designation. They feel that they were pushed into it and feel the historic designation hurts their rights as property owners. They don't want to be dictated to as to what they should or should not do with their homes.

They were not consulted by the city before the issue came up. The owners feel that their hands will be tied every time they want to make a change to the house. Many of the house now have been renovated and were turned into affordable housing for the owners' tenants, along with being long-term investment for the owners.

Now here is another video below, these neighbors want the houses declared historic.

To me the solution seems to be to not force the historic designation, but have the City receive first rights of refusal if the neighbors would like to sell the homes. This way the City can pay the homeowners a fair price and then save the houses before developers get them. For those that want historic designation, maybe the City can help them out with repairs and other expenses. 


Earlier this week the City Commission voted 4-1 in favor of neighbors who wish to appeal historic designation to their houses. Remember those two houses on Charles Avenue at 3295 and 3297? Well they are not historic now, so the owner can demolish them now.




grovegala1

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Saturday, October 13, 2018

Kens Russell's new restoration project

OK, here's a project you may want to get into - saving this Bahamian Shotgun home in Village West. 

District Commissioner Ken Russell has started a GoFundMe page to do it. The page is to raise money for restoration, not to purchase the house. 

"The owner has offered to sell me the house for $1.00. The rest will go toward moving it and restoring it. This means a lot to me. If you want to help me raise funds, ask to join team Grove Love on gofundme," says Ken.

The goal is $100,000. This is a personal project, it has nothing to do with the city or Ken's office. I like the idea, so I am sharing it here.


The GoFundMe page is here.

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Shake-A-Leg is looking for volunteers

Every Saturday from noon to 3 pm, Shake-A-Leg Miami's weekend youth program, We Can Sail, matches high school mentors from the Education and Mentoring Training Program with kids with disabilities to have fun, learn new skills and develop self-confidence on the water. Activities include sailing, kayaking, power boat rides and rowing. If you know a child with a disability who would be interested in We Can Sail, please contact Danelys Hernandez at Danelys@shakealegmiami.org.

Shake-A-Leg Miami runs on volunteers. They're always looking for new volunteers to add to their team.

Their Education and Mentoring Training Program is tailored for high school students wishing to receive community service hours but leaving with much more. Their Mentors contribute and make a large difference in each of the programs. Their experience at SALM assists them in their college application process. To learn more please contact Cynthia Suarez at Cynthia@shakealegmiami.org.

The Adult Volunteer Program is looking for people who are passionate about the water and working with people with disabilities. For more information about the Adult Volunteer Program, please email Karis Starke at Karis@shakealegmiami.org.

This year, Shake-A-Leg's Veteran’s Program is starting strong with a newly released VA Adaptive Sports Grant. Their new schedule for vets includes fishing, adaptive kayaking, power boat rides, rowing and learning to sail courses. All programs are offered free of charge to veterans and their families. For more information about our Veteran's Program, please contact Karis Starke at Karis@shakealegmiami.org.

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Friday, October 12, 2018

Grovetoberfest in Peacock Park this Saturday

If you're not into pumpkins at the Coconut Grove Pumpkin Patch, which is at Regatta Park this weekend, you can spend time at Peacock Park where on Saturday, October 13, beer lovers will enjoy Grovetoberfest from 2 to 7 pm.

This year they'll have over 500 beers with the largest selection of local craft beer anywhere in the state. Your favorite features are back like to Kitchen Lab, games and live music. Don't miss the biggest and best craft beer festival in Florida.


BizBash Florida has consistently put the festival on their Top Events list, and The Wall Street Journal included it in their coverage of iconic things to do in Miami. Recently, Yelp! placed Grovetoberfest and its sister craft beer festival, Sprung!, on their list of Top Ten Festivals. 

Grovetoberfest continues to be one of the top craft beer festivals in the country and the top festival in Florida. Last year, it attracted 6,500 beer enthusiasts and hundreds of breweries offering over 400 different brews. Many beer companies have used Grovetoberfest as a launching pad for new beers and even new brew houses. “A lot of brewers working here in Miami started off at Grovetoberfest; either as homebrewers or breweries in planning. The festival was the first time for them to meet the masses, and that’s something we’re very proud of,” explained Tony Abello, organizer of the event.

Event is rain or shine. 


Tickets are $44 to $89. Purchase here.





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'Strong Mayor is disastrous for our City'

Dear Grove residents:

Yesterday, after receiving many flyers asking me to vote for the Strong / Accountable Mayor, I received my absentee ballot and voted NO on the Strong Mayor. I urge you to do the same.

As you may have read in printed statements by Mayor Gimenez and Op-Eds by former City and County Manager Merrett Stierheim in the Herald and Miami Today, and others, the Strong Mayor initiative is not a good type of government for our City. Let us quickly examine some of the changes, even though there are many other issues that are quite worrisome.

Allow me first to clarify that my opposition to the Strong Mayor is not an indictment of our present Mayor, it is because of a huge fear of who comes after him. This change will not be reverted once the present Mayor leaves office. It will stay on the books until someone in the future changes the Charter again, which may be many years from now, or even never.

The flyers we have been receiving urging us to approve the Strong Mayor, state that this new form of government will bring us more “responsibility, transparency, efficiency and a recall process simpler and clear” and that it will do away with the “influence traffickers and special interests who think they own the city."   I fail to see how this is going to happen since, after all, the Mayor will remain the same, the commissioners will remain the same, the city manager will remain the same although without the written title, the employees will remain the same, the lobbyists will remain the same and the special interests will remain the same. The only real change is that the Mayor will receive an enormous amount of power which will be extraordinarily dangerous for the citizens of the city since our elected district commissioners’s powers will be highly diminished and diluted.

The Strong Mayor will be the direct boss of all City departments with the power to hire and fire at will, without any supervision. He will be conducting the business and be the boss of Code Enforcement, Building, Capital Improvement Program, Department of Real Estate Asset Management, Emergency Management, Economic Initiatives, Finance, Fire Rescue, Government Relations, Grants Administration, Hearing Boards, Housing & Community Development, etc., and hiring and firing the City Clerk and the City Attorney. Everyone, without exception, will be hired and fired by him. There will be no checks and balances in this proposed new form of government. If the commissioners do not vote the way the Strong Mayor wants them to vote, he/she has the power to order NOTHING done in those commissioners’ districts. This change is wholly undemocratic and a huge danger to the residents of the City.

Last but not least, let us address the so called “recall process simpler and clearer.”  We have always had the recall ability in the City of Miami Charter. However, the methodology was what was lacking. While providing methodology, it is an empty amendment because if the citizens do not have $1,000,000.00 laying around in their petty cash accounts, they will not be able to implement that methodology. We all know that the initiative to place the Strong Mayor on the ballot cost the committee that pursued the initiative, a $1,000,000.00 to gather the required signatures. So, if you have a million dollars to spend in a recall, set it aside for the future.  Otherwise this amendment is useless and a sham.

A Strong Mayor form of government is disastrous for our City. Let us retain the type of government that we presently have.

I respectfully urge you, again, to VOTE NO ON THE STRONG MAYOR - PUNCH #383

Grace Solares
Miami

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Thursday, October 11, 2018

Pumpkin Patch is back for the weekend

The Coconut Grove Pumpkin Patch Festival is this weekend -  October 13 and 14 in Regatta Park.

The pumpkin patch has 5000 pumpkins for sale, along with the carnival rides, scarecrow village, pumpkin decorating tent, pumpkin food court and so much more. It's a really fun family event.

The Miami Marlins Pep Squad will be present along with the Fusion Dance Team. There's authentic Polynesian entertainment and belly dancers from Belly Motions. The Miami Children's Museum has some fun things to do, too.

The Mad World Orchestra is a live band that will perform MTV hits from the 1980s.




General admission is $20 per day, which includes unlimited rides and the cornstalk maze.

Pumpkins are for sale and range from $1 to $15 depending on the size. 

The Pumpkin Patch is open from 10 am to 6 pm both days.

Get tickets here: http://www.coconutgrovepumpkinpatch.com/

Photos by Pumpkin Patch 


grovegala1

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Rally to support the Grove Playhouse

There is a "Save the Playhouse" rally planned for next Friday, October 19, in Peacock Park. The rally, at 5:30 pm, is designed to protest the county and developers of the current Coconut Grove Playhouse plan.

I've often thought of having rallys in front of many of the development in Coconut Grove to protest them, not just the Playhouse.

The county feels that the citizens have no right to question their plans. The county and their staff seem to forget that the citizens pay their salaries.

There will be speakers at the rally who will answer questions regarding the current playhouse plans.

At the end of the rally, everyone will march to the Playhouse in a large show of support.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Three Sheets to the Wind to perform Saturday

Tim Charron will not be able to perform at the Barnacle Under Moonlight on Saturday, October 13, as we previously reported. He could not make it down from Nashville and had to cancel.

Instead, Three Sheets to the Wind will replace him. I'm familiar with Three Sheets to the Wind and they are excellent. 

Three sheets performs a lively mix of bluesy Americana—classic & contemporary—with a splash of originals. You will know many of the classics they perform.

"This professional group plays upbeat and worldly songs that festival goers recognize and love to hear. You can tell how much they love performing by their easy smiles and soulful singing,” says Mary Seabrook, great-granddaughter of Commodore Ralph Munroe who built The Barnacle back in 1891.

The Barncle is at  3485 Main Highway. 

Purchase tickets at the gate beginning at 6 pm, and enjoy the music from 7 to 9 pm. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for members of The Barnacle Society, $3 for children ages 6 to 9, and free for children 5 and under. Picnics, blankets, lawn chairs and flashlights welcome. No pets, please. 

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Next chamber mixer is at The Commodore

The Chamber's next network mixer is at The Commodore, a new bar inside the Ritz Carlton at 3300 SW 27 Avenue.

The event is Wednesday, October 17 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.

Ritz Carlton's Commodore Cocktail Club invites guests to sample their fine bar food and their mixologist's bar specialty cocktails. This elegant and comfortable after work destination is a unique oasis in 33133 with its sumptuous leather seating and seductive decor. Indoor and outdoor seating surrounded by perfect music to soothe the beast in everyone.

Members: $10 online Purchase or $15 at Door 
General: $15 online purchase or $20 at Door
Price includes first drink ticket and complimentary light bites.

Additional drinks available at Happy Hour prices.

Register here.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Refugee Assistance Director to address Rotary

Jamie Scotti Everett
Photo courtesy Facebook
Jamie Scotti Everett, Director of Operations for Refugee Assistance Alliance, will be the guest speaker at the October 11 meeting of the Coconut Grove Rotary. She runs the day-to-day operations of the organization from connecting English tutors to refugee families in South Florida to representing RAA in the community, and has prior experience working with refugee women for the International Rescue Committee’s Women’s Empowerment and Protection program.

Everett is currently on the board of Set Her Free, a Ugandan non-profit that rescues girls from brothels, shelters and educates them. She circumnavigated the globe in 2015 on a Semester at Sea ship with 600 undergrads where she mentored students and led Impact Travel Excursions in China, India, Myanmar and South Africa. 

Everett holds a B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh and an M.A. in Theology as well as an M.A. in International Administration from UM where she studied human rights and non-profit management.

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. 




grovegala1

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The Miami Blogger Flea

For the first time in Miami, meet your favorite local Miami Bloggers and shop their closets!

Fashion and Beauty bloggers get insane amounts of product on a regular basis. They wanted to bring a unique experience to Miami where you can meet your favorite local bloggers and shop the products they have never worn, maybe just used once or even shop their favorite pieces that they no longer have space for. 

This isn't a regular Flea, it's a Blogger Flea.

The event is at the Woman's Club of Coconut Grove on Saturday, October 13 from 10 am to 4 pm. There will be a live DJ playing all day, along with adult beverages and food vendors.

Tickets are $10 each, with admission, you receive one drink ticket.

Bring your own re-usable bags and be prepared to take a lot of social media pictures!

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

Tickets may be purchased here.



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Monday, October 08, 2018

Tim Charron performs at Moonlight Concert

Enjoy evenings of live entertainment by beautiful Biscayne Bay during The Barnacle under Moonlight Concert Series the second Saturday of each month, September through May.

On Saturday, October 13 Tim Charron brings a little “Country Rock with a twist of lime” to The Barnacle’s front yard.

Originally from Warwick, RI, Charron now divides his time between Nashville and Florida. If you asked Tim to name some of his greatest influences he would cite musical greats like John Mellencamp, Bruce Springsteen, Kenny Chesney, Eric Church and Nirvana. However, one of the
greatest influences on his life (and in his music) has come from Mother Nature herself, the beach. The beach lifestyle has permeated the singer’s sound propelling him to career that has led to sharing the stage with Bret Michaels, Willie Nelson, the Charlie Daniels Band, Clint Black, Randy Travis and many others who have reached the pinnacle of music. 


Charron currently has three albums out, including Chasing The Sun which was recorded with country mega star Jason Aldean’s band, and he still brings his zest for the stage to his live shows today.

Purchase tickets at the gate beginning at 6 pm, and enjoy the music from 7 to 9 pm. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for members of The Barnacle Society, $3 for children ages 6 to 9, and free for children 5 and under. No pets, please.

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

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Regatta Park turns vegan for the day

The Vegan Block Party took over Regatta Park for a few hours on Saturday. It was very well attending for the their first event.

Food trucks, a local vendor marketplace, Kombucha brews, full vegan alcohol bar, a live DJ, speaker stage and doggy adoption were all part of a day of being green.

The event was centered around the three main components of Vegansim: 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 plant based brands were shared, and vegan food from local restaurants was for sale.

Photos by Eileen Seitz

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Sunday, October 07, 2018

Keeping playhouses historic

I was in Westhampton yesterday. It's an historic town as are all of the Hamptons on Long Island, New York. As I passed the old Westhampton playhouse I got a bit jealous as to how wonderful the place is. It sits right in the center of town at 76 Main Street. The actual name is the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center. As we passed by we watched some of the staff change the letters on the marque. Another staff member was watering the flowers and locals would stop and chat with them as they walked by. I saw a Melissa Etheridge concert there a few summers ago. It's a 400 seat theater.


Just like the Coconut Grove Playhouse, the Westhampton playhouse started out as a movie theater and was transformed in to a live stage theater where they show plays and live performances and live music.

From Westhampton we visited the north fork of Long Island and stopped by Riverhead, another old, historic town. They have a theater in the center of town, too, where live theater and music is performed. A big common denominator of these two theaters is that they are the same place, the same building for almost 100 years. There is no large parking garage attached, there are no high rises or anything new attached or associated with the theaters. They are surrounded by structures that have been there the same amount of time or longer. They are surrounded and are a part of history. These towns are not over-built. Oh, they are quite popular, it's wall-to-wall people during summer months, but the towns do not give their rights away to developers. They keep the towns small and quaint, the very reason people love them so much.


Theaters should remain intact, they should be historic, not be remodeled and remade at the whim of some developer. They should wear their history proudly and represent what they are and were to so many people and performers over the years. What is the point of remaking a theater other than to line the pockets of those involved?

As we drove back to the city along the Southern State Parkway, we noticed that the expressways are surrounded by trees, large old, 200 foot trees, these line the drive for most of the way, almost 80 miles. There are no over built structures that line the roads, no malls, no high rises, no offices - just greenery.

As the Coconut Grove Playhouse saga drags on, there is another meeting, it's actually a court hearing on Thursday, October 25 at 12:15 pm.  The County vs the City regarding an extension regarding their plans for the playhouse. The courthouse is at 155 NW 3 Street.

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