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

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Parking issues discussed at BID meeting; again

At a BID board meeting on Wednesday, Coconut Grove parking issues were discussed, or lack of parking in the village.

The board came to the conclusion that will possibly force developers to provide their own off-street  parking for the construction workers who take up a large part of street parking. The City Commission will take up this issue at a future meeting.

The issue was discussed at a community meeting in October 2017, the subject of construction workers parking off-street and out of parking lots was discussed then, but nothing has been done so far.  

Too little, too late? Restaurant owners tell me that they lost a lot of business mostly do to congestion in the Grove, along with the lack of parking. It's impossible to get from here to there on any given day. Construction projects seem to be on every street, even in quiet neighborhoods, where developers and their crews seem to take up the streets at whim. I find it impossible to believe that permits and waivers are given to construction crews 365 days a year.

Driving up Bird Avenue is very difficult these days, every few blocks there is a mini-condo going up. Large machinery, cement trucks and the like blocks the streets daily; traffic is at a standstill and backed up for blocks.

This, along with parking is a major problem. Will the renovation of the Grove ever end, or is this an on-going thing until every building is replaced over the years?

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Saturday, November 17, 2018

Friday night traffic nightmare

You may have noticed that Optimum Development, that new office building next to Greenstreet, held up traffic during Friday rush hour. They had closed one lane of traffic in August. Notice was not given to the public ahead of time and unfortunately, the Grapevine received notice just before the work began, so we had no time to publish it in order to warn people. 

As if traffic wasn't bad enough in the village, the Water and Sewer Department started working on tying-in the new water lines at the Optimum building about 7 pm, which affected business and traffic on a Friday night.  The permit does not allow weekend work so they will be back again on Monday, cutting and plugging the old line, but an exact time has yet to been provided. 

Once the sewer work is done, they anticipate that milling, paving and striping Main Highway will come next.

According to Raquel Regalado, Director of Operations for Optimum, "The timeline is a difficult and ambitious one as we push forward to finish this work before the City of Miami Holiday Right of Way Moratorium. We regret any inconvenience that this may cause and remind you that the work is;  1. necessary to complete our project and 2. that the timing/details are unilaterally set by Miami-Dade County.  We will be providing more details as they become available and thank you in advance for your patience and support." 

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Free Christmas concert at St. Stephen's

St. Stephen's Episcopal Church is having a Christmas Concert featuring The Miamians on Saturday, December 15.

Join in for a fun-filled Christmas extravaganza as they celebrte the season in song in Four Part Barbershop Harmony.

The concert is free with a reception to follow (donations are accepted).

The event is at 7 pm.

St. Stephen's is at 2750 McFarlane Road.

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Friday, November 16, 2018

First challenger to Ken Russell registers

The first challenger to District 2 Commissioner, Ken Russell is in - Javier Gonzalez, local realtor, has registered for next November's race.

Javier would like to see changes in Coconut Grove and District 2, he says it's complicated and didn't get specific, but says, "It’s a build up of so many things that makes you realize that there needs to be a change in District 2 and the way it’s managed.”

Here's hoping it's not too late for that. As things stand now, the Grove is a mess with the over-development, blocked streets, massive traffic jams and diminishing quality of life.


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'Anote's Ark' featured at Mountainfilm Tour

Anote's Ark.

Mountainfilm on Tour returns to The Kampong on Friday and Saturday, November 16-17 in partnership with [STRANG] Design.

Celebrating its fourth year, this event is a two-night film festival at one of Miami’s most intimate, tropical venues.  Mountainfilm is dedicated to educating, inspiring and motivating audiences about issues that matter. Each year, a selection of films from the annual festival in Telluride, Colorado is taken on the road to reach audiences who otherwise would not have a chance to experience the festival.

The films selected for the show will explore themes connected to Mountainfilm’s mission of using the power of film, art and ideas to inspire audiences to create a better world.

Friday night will include a playlist of twelve "short" films.

Saturday night will include the feature presentation, "Anote’s Ark" and two other short films. A Q&A about Sea Level Rise and adaptation strategies will include invited guests Miami Commissioner Ken Russell, National Geographic Explorer Alize Carrere and Architect Max Strang FAIA.

Anote's Ark is about Pacific Island Kiribati’s President Anote Tong who races to find a way to protect his nation’s people and maintain their dignity, many Kiribati are already seeking safe harbour overseas against sea-level rise.

The beneficiaries of this years event are South Florida National Parks Trust and Ocean Crest Alliance.

Tickets may be purchased here: mountainfilmmiami.org
A special promo code offered for discount to all students: students2018

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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Was there ever any doubt?

By a vote of 4-1, the Miami City Commission voted on Thursday to allow the Ultra Music Fest to be held on Virginia Key. Their event will take place in March 2019.

Commissioner Ken Russell was the one descending vote.

It's about money, greed and lack of environmental awareness when it comes to the City of Miami. 

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Will Ultra Music Fest hurt the area?

Those are people. Picture all these people on environmentally fragile Virginia Key.

Ultra Music Festival's plans to move to Virginia Key from downtown Miami, will be discussed by the Miami City Commission. 

Key Biscayne residents are having fits over this, a recent meeting notice read: "Moving Ultra to Virginia Key has serious complications for the health and safety of all regular users of Virginia Key and residents of Key Biscayne. Learn how you and your organization can help." Health and Safety issues? Maybe not. But traffic nightmares and probably destruction of a fragile environment - yes. Tickets are already on sale for the March event.

If you live on Key Biscayne, you have to pass through Miami to get in and out of the key and therein lies the rub. But should Key residents be subjected to the inability to leave the Key for the duration of the Ultra Festival? They are throwing the Grove into the equation, making it seem as if we will be affected by the festival. Will we be?

Having the City of Miami as your entrance and the only entrance - going through the City, is not really a great idea. Sort of like Miami controlling Coconut Grove. Nothing good comes out of it.

The City of Miami will always sell itself out when it gets the chance. Look at the over-development in every corner, and when the Boat Show wanted to start using Miami Marine Stadium for their show, they got a slap on the hand for destroying the fragile eco-system and removing mangroves at the site, and for that matter, so did big shot 
Arquitectonica owner Bernardo Fort-Brescia when he destroyed mangroves that were annoying him. If there is a buck to be made, the City always chooses that over quality of life.

Maybe Key Biscayne neighbors can start a GoFundMe page and build a second causeway at the south end. I believe the original plan was a causeway that was supposed to go from around the Matheson Hammock area to the key, maybe they can do that. This way they can avoid the City of Miami entrance altogether and have a back way in and out.

But seriously, will Ultra ruin the environment with that large mass of attendees? I think I liked Miami Marine Stadium when it was just sitting there rotting in the weeds. Right now it's turning into a large and destructive event space - starting with the Boat Show, then Ultra, what next 50 story condos?

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Consider Crisis Food Pantry on Give Miami Day

Today, November 15, is Give Miami Day, a day of giving to your favorite charities.

This year for the first time, the Coconut Grove Crisis Food Pantry, located at Christ Episcopal Church in Village West, will be participating in Give Miami Day. You can donate your tax-deductible donation to support those in our community who need assistance with weekly groceries. 

To donate directly go here.
  
Give Miami Day is all day Thursday between 12:01 am and 11:59 pm. It's  24 hour event.

This event will take place for only 24 hours.

Coconut Grove Crisis Food Pantry is a fixture in the Grove, making groceries available to neighbors who need them. The Pantry was founded in 1984 by Dr. David White, along with his wife Tessie, to feed the hungry in Coconut Grove.  As members of Christ Episcopal Church, the Whites developed a network with St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Plymouth Congregational Church and St. Philip’s Episcopal Church to collect and distribute food, toiletries and other items.

Today the Pantry is a registered, non-denominational charity and provides food for 75 of our neighbors and their families every Friday from 9:00-11:00 am at the church. The Pantry is committed to good nutrition and provides fresh produce, grains and meat.  Food donations originate from Feeding South Florida and Farm Share Inc.  Collection and delivery to/from the warehouse is dependent on a rental vehicle. Local businesses, civic organizations and schools also donate. Four churches who sponsor the Pantry give in-kind donations. Additional items are purchased at very low rates when shortages occur.

For more information about the Coconut Grove Crisis Food Pantry:

www.coconutgrovecrisisfoodpantry.com

www.facebook.com/coconutgrovecrisisfoodpantry

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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Village Council meeting is Monday

The next Village Council meeting is Monday, November 19 at 6:30 pm.

On the agenda:
- NCD – Proposed changes –
- Abandonment Properties/Demolition by neglect
- Sea Level Rise presentation by Grove 2030 –
- Transportation Committee items –
- 32nd / Day Ave. traffic circle update
- Trolley route staffing and logistics
- Scooter pilot program
- Sidewalk reconstruction
- Playhouse
- Charles Avenue Reconstruction 

The meeting is at City Hall, 3500 Pan American Drive.

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Memorial for Charles Corda is Saturday

There will be a Memorial for Charles Corda on Saturday, November 17, from 11 am - 2 pm at the Gallery @ Coconut Grove Arts Festival, 3390 Mary Street, suite 128.

Grovite Charles Corda, passed away Saturday

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Unique Holiday Bazaar at Women's Club

The Woman's Club of Coconut Grove is holding a Holiday Bazaar on Saturday, November 17.

Stop by for unique items and holiday gifts. There's a silent auction, a photographer to take your Christmas photo, a bake sale, food trucks, gelato and so much more

The Silent Auction Prizes include:
Sunset Sailboat Cruise
3 Night Stay at Vermont Inn
Artwork by Notable Artists
among other items

The event is from 10 am to 4 pm. For more info, please call 818-469-0119 or email: SamNordin@gmail.com

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

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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Super Duper Fun Day coming to Regatta Park

Super Duper Fun Day is coming to Regatta Park on Saturday, November 17.

For the past seven years, thousands of South Floridians have gathered for annual 5K races which raise awareness and funds for the patients and families at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. This year, they have made the event even bigger. Join Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Foundation, along with your friends, family, neighbors and colleagues in Coconut Grove for the first ever Super Duper Fun Day! 

This event will feature a colorful one-mile walk along South Bayshore Drive along with lots of hands-on, imaginative activities and experiences that kids of all ages will love. Enjoy a mega dance party and have a relaxing picnic style lunch from the many vendor on hand.

Super Duper Fun Day this Saturday, Nov. 17, from 9 am to 2 pm.

They will offer free bike valet parking at the entrance to Regatta Park at 27th Avenue and South Bayshore Drive, courtesy of Bike Coconut Grove. Bike to the event, leave your bike with the valet, and enjoy the day.

Agenda:
9 am - Festival Area opens
10:00 - 11:30 am - Interactive, Imaginative Walk along South Bayshore Drive
Noon - Kids Run
2 pm - Festival Area closes

Register or donate here.

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4th annual Trot for Turkeys on Thanksgiving day

This Thanksgiving, save some turkeys! The 4th annual Trot for Turkeys will take place on Thursday, November 22.

The idea is to bring awareness to keeping turkeys off the dinner table. Join the fun-run on Thanksgiving morning. All proceeds will go directly to Florida Rescue Farm.

Everyone will meet at the vShops in Coconut Grove at 9 am. The run will begin around 9:15.

All levels of walkers and runners are welcome. It is stroller and kid-friendly too.

The course will cover approximately three miles, and will start and finish at the vShops.

Hang out after the run for complimentary organic kombucha shots, organic smoothie shots, gluten-free biscotti bites, coffee, and camaraderie.

The vShops are located at 2895 McFarlane Road.

Tickets start at $15. Please purchase them here.

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Monday, November 12, 2018

The Fairchild condo has been put on notice

Remember this petition about the noise and dust complaint regarding The Fairchild condo? Well the city has denied their future Noise Waivers. They are now confined to regular construction hours - Monday through Saturday from 8 am to 6 pm, which seems like plenty of time to make their noise and mess.

I think the Saturday hours should be eliminated in neighborhoods or at least shortened. But anyway, it's nice to see the City is cracking down due to the petition and complaints from the neighbors.

Now if they can stop the non-stop street closures caused by The Fairchild. Do we need to start a petition for that?



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Volunteer Day: Giving Thanks by Giving Back

Take a day to enjoy the great outdoors and give thanks by giving back to the community. On Saturday, November 17 . Join Park Rangers from 9 am to noon for a morning of coastal cleanup, landscape beautification, and exotic plant removal at The Barnacle. 


The park will provide free same-day park admission and a tour of the house museum for pre-registered volunteers. Space is limited and pre-registration is required. To register, please call 305-442-6866 or email Michael.Pinate@FloridaDEP.gov.


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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Sunday, November 11, 2018

New location for tree lighting this year

CocoWalk tree lighting in the past.

The 6th annual Coconut Grove tree lighting ceremony is Saturday December 1 this year, but of course, since CocoWalk is not CocoWalk this year, the location has been moved.

The new location is Florentine Plaza - that's at 3444 Main Highway.

The event is from 4 to 8 pm, co-sponsored by CocoWalk and the BID.

Live music and performances by local schools and dance groups will be part of the fun. Santa and his elves will be available for photos and Olaf the Snowman will be around. There will be arts and crafts for the kids along with face painting.

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New London dreaming

New London, CT. Photo courtesy Destinations 360

I've been thinking of New London, CT as a place to live. No seriously. I'm very much over the Grove. It's not the Grove I love anymore. There is too much traffic, too much development and nothing that made the Grove the Grove is left anymore. Coconut Grove has been handed over to developers who don't care about the village. It's all about money. I'm not sure how this happened and I haven't met anyone who likes what the Grove has become.

I found New London on one of my many trips through New England, it's right next to Mystic, CT, both rugged, waterfront villages on the Long Island Sound. Both places were founded in the 1600s, with so much history and architecture still left from the 1700s and 1800s, like so much of southern Connecticut. History folks; respect for history, that's what it's all about.



New London has had the same view for hundreds of years. (Photo via New England Insurance).

One issue I have with Mystic is that it is part of Groton, another historic village, but being part of Groton, like the Grove is part of Miami, makes me uneasy, you know, Mystic not being in control of itself. But Groton and New London and all of the small villages in seaside Connecticut have their own government; they have their own mayor and city councils and sense of history.


The advantage of New London is that is equidistant to New York City and Boston, about an hour and a half by Amtrak, which goes right through the town; it's quite easy to get to and you can use the train and get to anywhere in New England by commuter rail. There is also a car ferry from New London to the tip of Long Island, which makes that trip easy. I'm in Riverhead, on the North Fork of Long Island and the Hamptons, in the South Fork, often, so the ferry would take me right there.

The only disadvantage of the area is the harsh winters. But I would like to spend my winters here, in Miami, but probably not the Grove.



I love walking these old streets. Photo courtesy Mayflower movers.

Anyway, that's on my mind these days.

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Saturday, November 10, 2018

Charles Corda passes away at 66

Grovite Charles Corda, passed away Saturday. A fellow neighbor on Palmetto Avenue stopped by and found him deceased, lying on the couch; it looks like natural causes according to police. Charles was 66.

I met Charles about 15 years ago, I knew him as one of the Grove artists, but he was a local activist, too, and his profession was interior designer. A friend used to house sit for Charles when he would leave town for the summer. He sent the Grapevine many stories regarding development projects and he liked to comment on stories.

Last time I saw Charles was at the Gifford Lane Art Stroll in March, he was in line for the Cucumber Punch.

Charles was a New York native and a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. He lived in the Grove, on Palmetto Avenue, since the 1980's and kept busy designing interiors for commercial buildings. 

Charles stayed out of local politics until, he said, "The Grove Bay developers pushed me over the edge."  He fought their efforts to tear down Scotty's Landing to build it with what he described as "an ugly mall in the bay."  He jumped into the fray then with gusto.  

He wrote a lot of opinion pieces on local issues and sent them out, he'd say, to his "5000 friends."

His neighbor, Glenn Terry,  said, "He was always friendly to me, and loved talking politics in our street side chats. Charles loved fighting for tall trees, historic buildings, and everything associated 
with the history of Coconut Grove."

He is survived by his mother, a sister, two daughters, and his beloved basset hound, "Chuck."

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The parade was over before it started

The Veteran's Day Parade was awful this year. You would think the City of Miami could do something nice to celebrate our Veterans who deserve it. They fight for our country, come back wounded or not at all and this is what they get - a half assed effort?  If it was David Beckham or one of the developers around here, they would be kissing their asses.

One of my neighbors, an older vet, almost came to the parade with me in his wheelchair, I'm glad he didn't, I would have been mortified.

Traffic was backed up for blocks because Grand Avenue was closed, so all traffic was rerouted to Main Highway. All for a five minute parade.

I didn't see any politicians this year, there was not much of a crowd and there weren't even police on horseback, the fun part of the parade every year. When I asked one of the cops on duty why this was, he said that the parade was poorly organized this year and they didn't have enough funding. I didn't realize people were paid to be in the parade.

To be fair, there was an event at the cemetery beforehand and an event at Arbrister Park after the parade, where a few politicians showed up. 



The parade is every year, not quite sure what organization they need - the King Mango Strut goes off without a hitch each year without a problem.
Residents and people who work here couldn't be bothered to come out. There were more spectators last year when it was on a Friday.
I'm really disappointed in the City and the planners. People who did show up, sat in the hot sun for an hour waiting for a five minute parade. There literally was a street sweeper right behind the parade. I'm not sure what they were cleaning up since there were no horses.

Cleaning up after non-existent horses - and spectators.

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Friday, November 09, 2018

Gas leak at CocoWalk shuts down Mary Street

Mary Street was shut down at about noon Friday due to a gas leak at CocoWalk. Workers hit a pipe while working on the property.

Looks like the whole fire department came out to handle the problem - they're just a block away, on Oak Street, so why not?

All's well according to one of the firemen on site. The gas was turned off and capped. Just don't light a match too close to the area in the next few hours.

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Shake-A-Leg Bay Day is Saturday

Shake-A-Leg Miami invites the community, especially Veterans, children and adults with disabilities, to enjoy a special Bay Day in honor of Veterans Day on Saturday, November 10 from 10 am to 2 pm. 

It’s all free to the public. There will be exciting hourly boat rides, music, food and fun on Biscayne Bay.

Please join in for some fun, make friends and learn about the organization's fall season of programs for kids and adults with disabilities, disabled veterans and the general public.

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

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Survivors Gala dinner auction at Cruz Building

The inaugural Survivors Gala dinner and auction is Sunday, November 11, at the Cruz Building.

Comedian Jasmin Brown is the host. The event honors members in the community who have fought and survived illnesses. Proceeds from the event will benefit the C.A.R.E. for Crohn’s Foundation and grant scholarships to students living with Crohn’s Disease and/or Ulcerative Colitis.

C.A.R.E. for Crohn’s Foundation is a non-profit organization based in Miami. Their mission is to provide resources and supportive services to individuals living with Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis. They provide the educational tools necessary to improve their quality of life by understanding the importance of nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.

Survivors Gala is an evening of glamour and entertainment with elite members of the community. Walk the purple carpet at this black tie affair and support this worthy cause in luxury and style. The gala will begin with a cocktail reception on the rooftop terrace of the Cruz Building, featuring hors d'oeuvres and a complimentary cigar bar. Guests will then make their way to the event hall where they will enjoy a full-course dinner provided by Celebrity Chef Felix Alexander, who has prepared outstanding meals for well-known area favorites Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade, President Bill Clinton and many more. Dinner will be complimented by an open bar and delectable desserts. And you can dance the night away with an outstanding performance by a secret celebrity guest and take home an item from the silent auction.

Be inspired by guest speaker two-time Grammy Award winning music producer Cool of "Cool and Dre", and by stories of students living with Chrohn's or ulcerative colitis who will be awarded scholarships after winning C.A.R.E.’s essay competition. Show community support for this important healthcare organization and the many people it helps.

The Cruz Building is at 3157 Commodore Plaza.

Tickets start at $150 and may be purchased here.

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A Taste of John Drew Spirits at Azul

Azul Coconut Grove is having a special Sunday afternoon on November 11 with a taste of John Drew Spirits.

Meet artist Mark Cherry and receive gifts from Johnny Was, Hudson Jeans, Luis Aponte, Spazio and other designers with purchases, all while tasting John Drew Spirits.

The event is from 2 to 5 pm.

Azul Boutique is located at 3444 Main Highway #1, for info, please call 305-301-9626

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