SCHOOL ON COURSE: With financing nearly nailed down and a building permit in the works, Miami's Downtown Development Authority is scheduled to hold groundbreaking for its long-anticipated charter school today (10/25). Joaquin Avino, president of Charter Schoolhouse Developers, which will run the school, said he expects financing through Union Planters' Bank to be complete within three weeks. A letter of intent and a 10-month construction schedule are in place, said Patti Allen, authority executive director, and opening is expected in time for the 2002-03 school year. "The DDA deserves nothing but credit for taking the initiative to do this," Mr. Avino said. "It's the typical story of the chicken or the egg." Miami will be able to attract residential development with a school in place, he said, "and the DDA had the courage to do what's necessary for the future of downtown."
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WINDS OF CHANGE: Oct. 18 marked Miami commissioner and mayoral hopeful Wifredo Gort's last meeting as the chairman of the Downtown Development Authority. According to city code, Mr. Gort, who has chaired the authority for more than six years, is required to step aside so that the incoming city commission, of which he may be a member, can appoint a new chair. The Nov. 6 election decides the mayor's race and three commission seats.
BUY LINKING: The first of two programs organized as part of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Local Purchasing Initiative and sponsored by Union Planters Bank is scheduled at 2 p.m. Nov. 14 in the Renaissance Miami Hotel. Purchasing personnel from South Florida corporations will meet with representatives from qualifying businesses about contracts for goods and services. To participate, a firm must have been in business for at least three years and have annual revenues less than $10 million. Applications are due by Nov. 1. Details: Olivia Carey, (305) 577-5443.
COUNCIL POST: The Perrine-Cutler Ridge Council installed Barry E. Johnson as chairman of its board of directors. Mr. Johnson is vice president of corporate affairs for AT&T. Among his other community posts, he is past chairman of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and chairs the chamber's governmental affairs committee.
HOTEL REALITY: The Palms South Beach, 3025 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, announced a Nov. 1 opening. Hans Krause, proprietor, said the "concept of affordable luxury has been used much too freely" and his 242-room property "will make this concept a reality." Introductory rates through Dec. 26 start at $99 and are $129 "for superior ocean view accommodations." Details: (800) 550-0505.
H & K POST: Holland & Knight Consulting named Thomas J. McMenamin manager of a newly create information research division for H&L Investigative Solutions. Tom Dyer, president and CEO, said the division "will provide state-of-the-art investigative research and database technologies." Mr. McMenamin is a former regional senior director of operations for IPSA International. Also named to the division is Diane L. Goolsby, who has been with H&K Investigative Solution since 1999.
FIRM AWARD: The Spain-USA Chamber of Commerce named Business Technology Services Inc. business of the year. The company's services include domestic and international direct dialing, promotional phone cards, debit & credit phone cards for wholesale and retail, telecom network solutions and Internet support services.
MUSEUM BOARD: The Miami Art Museum board of trustees elected Susana L. IbargŁen president. Ms. IbargŁen has been on the museum's board since 1999 and was co-chairman of the 2001 Museum Ball. He other community services include serving on the boards for Fairchild Tropical Garden and Fifty Over Fifty.
VACANCY AT SOUTHCOM: Almost a month after Marine Gen. Peter Pace - former commander in chief of the US Southern Command - left Miami to become vice chairman of the joint chiefs of staff at the Pentagon, SouthCom has yet to learn who will succeed him. Spokesman Lt. Col. Bill Costello said Congress must act on the president's selection from a list of candidates after Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld screens nominees. Gen. Pace left Oct. 1 and the deputy commander, Maj. Gen. Gary D. Speer, is now heading operations.
NEW ROLE: Former Miami Beach Assistant City Manager Matthew Schwartz - who left the city's payroll in September - has opened a Miami office for The Chesapeake Group, a planning and economic consulting firm based in Baltimore. Earlier in his career he headed Miami's Downtown Development Authority. His replacement at Miami Beach, Robert Middaugh, began work in April.
PLAYHOUSE SLOT: Orlando L. Alvarez Jr., chief marketing and development officer for Mercy Health System, was tapped to serve on the Coconut Grove Playhouse board of governors. Mr. Alvarez, who lives on Miami Beach, is president of the Coconut Grove Chamber of Commerce and is responsible for all marketing functions - including public relations, physician development and international marketing - for Mercy Health System.
RIVER HEARINGS: Two public hearings are scheduled on development plans around the Miami River. The first focuses on the area between Northwest Fifth and 22nd avenues from 7-9 p.m. Oct. 30 in Curtis Park Community Center, 1901 NW 24th Ave. A second looks at Northwest 22nd to the Salinity Dam from 5-7 p.m. Nov. 1 in Miami-Dade Transit Authority Auditorium, 3300 NW 32nd Ave. The City of Miami and Miami-Dade County, in cooperation with the Miami River Commission, are spearheading the redevelopment efforts. Details: (305) 361-4850.
INTEL WORKSHOPS: Intel Corp., which bills itself as the world's largest chipmaker, selected the Little Haiti Housing Association as host for an Intel Computer Clubhouse program designed to develop skills and foster creativity. Organizers said it would give youths from low-income homes access to high-tech equipment and mentoring. Those attending the 54 after-school workshops planned would learn how to create digital art, produce music CDs and short movies, and design websites, said Samuel Diller, deputy director of the Little Haiti Housing Association. Intel publicists said the company has committed $32 million to open 100 such computer clubhouses around the world by 2005, including two more in the Miami area.
NOVA PACT: Nova Southeastern University's law school announced an agreement with the University of Barcelona law school, founded in 1450. The pact means students can study common law and civil law, publicists said, because the countries use different judicial systems. Students need to be fluent in English and Spanish to participate. Details: (954) 262-5354.
SECURE DISNEY: The Miami Arena is using extra security measures at Disney on Ice events through Oct. 28, said Betty Segui, general manager. She said additional police and security personnel have been retained and patrons will be subjected to pat down and wand searches. Baby-strollers, backpacks, duffel bags, video and audio devices are prohibited, she said. "Our goal is to provide enjoyable family entertainment in a secure environment," said James Jenkins, director of the Miami Arena Sports & Exhibition Authority, the arena's landlord.
SECURE AIR: Organizers said airport and air cargo security are to be the central topics at the VI Air Cargo Americas Congress & Exhibition sponsored by the World Trade Center Miami Oct. 31-Nov. 2 at the Radisson Mart Hotel, 777 NW 72nd Ave. "We need to ask ourselves what have we learned and what have we changed," said Tom Cash, executive managing director of risk consulting company Kroll and a congress speaker. About 5,000 cargo executives from 43 countries are expected to attend. Cost is $400. Details: (305) 740-5579.