FIRST COST: City of Miami Mayor Manny Diaz' swearing-in ceremony in the parking lot of City Hall Saturday could cost the city $11,195. The final sum has not been determined yet, said Frank Rollason, assistant city manager. Mr. Rollason said Mayor Diaz said he would reimburse the city for the costs of staging the event for more than 500 people. "What I understand," he said, "the mayor wants to know the exact amount. He will make a donation to the city for that amount." The expense would come from staff and police overtime, attendants, signs and $4,350 in revenue the city projects it would lose from parking fees around the Coconut Grove Convention.
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CARGO HEALTH: Domestic freight climbed 31.3% in September over the same period last year at Miami International Airport, county aviation reports. "The domestic cargo figures for September is welcome news given a nationwide aviation industry downturn following the Sept. 11 tragedy," said aviation department Director Angela Gittens. The growth was fueled in part by increased operations by Airborne, FedEx and UPS, she said. This is the 17th consecutive month that domestic cargo tonnage has risen at Miami International. International freight went down 23.1% in the month, a drop attributed to the interruption of international flights for four days following the terrorist attacks and softening economies in Latin America. Combined passenger figures decreased 25% to 1,704,816. International passenger traffic dropped 22.4% and domestic 28.6%.
DOWNTOWN PRISON CAMP?: To dovetail with its Downtown Miami Gateway project, members of the Downtown Development Authority wants to pressure owners of vacant lots and parking lots to improve their properties. "Miami Beach has ordinances for the maintenance of parking lots," which Miami could copy, suggested authority board member Jeffrey Bercow. Fellow board member Jorge Perez agreed, saying the authority should contact the owners of the proposed One Miami parcel to inquire about improvements. "I think that property is going to be vacant for a long time," said Mr. Perez, whose Related Cos. was involved in it at one time. "I couldn't agree more," board member Tim Prunka said. "It looks like a prison camp over there."
LOWDOWN ON CRIME: "Part one" crimes - defined as homicide, stolen vehicles, burglary, larceny, robbery, aggravated assault and sex offenses - in downtown Miami declined 22% this year, Miami Police Lt. Robert Reed told members of the Downtown Development Authority board last week. "That's the largest single drop in nine years," he said. "There's a perception of downtown that there's no parking and a lot of crime," said Wifredo Gort, former Miami city commissioner
PALMETTO BAY CITY?: Miami-Dade County commissioners in a 9-3 vote Tuesday chose to allow Palmetto Bay to hold a Feb. 5 election on incorporating as a municipality. The area is bounded on the north by Southwest 136th Street and Coral Gables, on the south by 184th Street, on the west by the right-of-way of the former FEC railroad and on the east by Biscayne Bay. According to county documents, the City of Palmetto Bay would still have to use the county's fire, library and garbage services, develop a contract for specialized police services and pay a $1.6 million mitigation fee to the county.
NEW VIZCAYA DATE: The Miami-Dade County Miami-Dade Parks Division of Arts & Culture has rescheduled "Cornucopia of the Arts," which was canceled in September, to Dec. 2 on the grounds of the Villa Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, 3251 S Miami Ave. The annual event is a showcase of talented youth from throughout the county. Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Details: (305) 693-6236.
HISTORICAL BUS: The Historical Museum of Southern Florida and the Wolfson II Media History Center are offering "Rockin' Around the Town" video bus tours from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Dec. 1 & 8. The offering is in conjunction with the Historical Museum's exhibit, "Florida's Rock & Roll Legends." Historian Paul George will serve as guide. The bus departs from 101 W Flagler St. Cost is $25; 20 for members. Details: (305) 375-1621.
HOMEGROWN ART: The Cultural Development Group is presenting Arts in the Tropics from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 1 & 2 on the grounds surrounding Rex Art, 2263 SW 37th Ave. Publicists said the event represents "a grass-roots, homegrown group of artists gathering together to create a `clothesline' sale." Music and performances are scheduled. Details: (305) 448-2021.
DOUGLAS UPDATE: The Douglas Entrance office complex in Coral Gables, recently purchased by New York-based Colonnade Properties, will be recruiting tenants for about 50,000 square feet of office space next year in the 463,632-square-foot property. The space, at 800 Douglas Road, houses Phelps Dodge, Hispanic Broadcasting Corp., Westinghouse and SmithKline Beecham. Cushman & Wakefield directors Maggie Kurtz and Diana Parker said they would be marketing the complex to companies looking for homes for Latin American bases.
FURTHER SOUTH: Paul Vrooman, longtime marketing director for Chamber South, has left the organization to serve as marketing director for the Zoological Society of Florida. Mr. Vrooman, who began working at Chamber South in 1991, started working with the Zoological Society on Monday. "It was a great opportunity a really great position with an organization that I think is outstanding and a real nice change for me," said Mr. Vrooman, who was honored Nov. 14 at a farewell reception by Chamber South.
MULTI E-LAUNCH: FIU this month launched versions of its website in both Spanish and Portuguese to reach potential students in Latin America and the Caribbean. The school offers courses in Mexico, Jamaica and Bolivia. "We have so many people coming from Latin America that we want to use this as a vehicle," said FIU spokesman Todd Simmons. "If I were trying to get information from the university and I was from Brazil, this would be a real easy way to do it." The Spanish and Portuguese sites are available off of the school's main page at fiu.ed or la-u.org.
TOY DRIVE: The South Beach & Greater Miami Hispanic Chamber of Commerce will be collecting toys for underprivileged children at its annual holiday party at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 6 on the pool deck of the South Beach Holiday Inn, 2201 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. Cost is $5; free to members. Details: (305) 534-1903.
CITIGROUP POST: The Miami office of Citigroup Private Bank named Jeffrey A. Pfleger vice president and senior private banker reporting directly to Hunting F. Deutsch, managing director and global marketing manager. Mr. Pfleger had been a principal and senior vice president with Bessemer Trust.
BAL HARBOUR GANT: Gant USA is opening its first Florida store in 2,000 square feet in the Bal Harbour Shops, 9700 Collins Ave., Miami Beach on Friday with plans to open another store in February at the Boca Town Center in Boca Ration. Gant publicists said the outlets here open on the heels of an expansion by Gant in its stores in New York City. Gant, which sells casual shirts, jeans, sweaters, jackets and sportswear for men, operates more than 140 stores in Europe.
LEGAL CHANGE: The law firm formerly known as Cole White & Billbrough - which has offices in Miami, Tampa and West Palm Beach - this week announced a name change to Cole Scott & Kissane with the addition of Thomas E. Scott, a former US attorney, and Gene P. Kissane, a former Federal law clerk. The firm, its publicist said, concentrates its practice in nursing home and health care litigation, accountant and medical liability and general civil trail litigation.
OFF-SITE FAIRCHILD: Fairchild Tropical Garden announced it has opened its first off-site retail outlet in The Palms Hotel, 3025 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. The store sells home and garden items, books on tropical plans and landscaping and hotel logo souvenirs.
FIU SERVICES STUDY: The Florida Institute of Government at Florida International University announced it is doing a study in a collaborative effort with city officials in selected municipalities in South Florida to "identify the aspects of service delivery that are of greatest importance to residents." Primary participants in Miami-Dade County are parks and sanitation officials representing the cities of Aventura, Hialeah Gardens, Miami, North Miami and Pinecrest. In Broward, their counterparts in Coral Springs, Hollywood, Lauderdale Lakes and Oakpark are also participating. Details: (305) 349-1440.
MAYORAL CANDIDATE: New York Times correspondent Rick Bragg announced his candidacy for the next Miami mayoral election at M-DCC's International Book Fair over the weekend. "I lived in Miami for two years, so I meet the residency requirement," he said. "I want the job because the mayor of Miami can do any dang thing he wants."