RE-APPOINTED: Miami-Dade County School Board member Marta PÈrez of Coral Gables has been returned as a member of the South Florida Regional Planning Council by Gov. Jeb Bush. The term lasts until Oct. 1, 2004, and still requires Senate confirmation. Florida's 67 counties are split into 11 planning regions, each represented by a regional planning council. The councils are composed of 19 voting members including county and municipal elected officials and governor's appointees. The South Florida region covers Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties.
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PRINCIPAL OF PARKS: The principal of Miami Edison High School will soon be leading the City of Miami's Department of Parks and Recreation. Santiago Corrada was appointed to replace Albert Ruder, who is retiring. City spokesman Carlos McDonald said Mr. Ruder would stay on through a transition to assist Mr. Corrada when he starts April 7. Mr. Corrada, earlier a principal at Campbell Drive Elementary School, in 1999 was Miami-Dade County Public Schools' Region IV Principal of the Year.
FINALLY: Though several months late, the Miami City Commission has approved a 2002-03 operating budget for the Miami Sports & Exhibition Authority. The delay came as the authority board had to work out how last year's takeover of management of the Miami Arena affected the budget. As landlord, the authority provides exhibition space and sponsors community and sports events. The $1.15 million budget includes a $150,000 increase due to authority sponsorship and support of the Downtown Holiday Village event. Expenditures have been trimmed 16% by cutting staff and renegotiating service agreements and contracts, according to authority documents.
TOP HISPANIC MARKETER: The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce last week honored Bruce Nelson, chairman and CEO of Delray Beach-based Office Depot, as the Hispanic marketer of the year. He joined the corporation in 1998 in an acquisition, became CEO in July 2000 and added the chairman's title in December 2001. Emily Marquez, sales and marketing director of Parrot Jungle Island, and Alexandra Villoch, sales and marketing director of the Miami Herald, made the award at the chamber's board of governors and trustee luncheon at the Renaissance Miami Biscayne Bay Hotel.
OFFICE DEPOTS EVERYWHERE: Office Depot plans to triple its presence in South Florida within three years and open 10 to 15 new stores in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties within two years, CEO Bruce Nelson told the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce. Last year, he said, the chain's 1,038 stores had 140 million individual sales at an average of $39 per sale. The company opened its first store in Fort Lauderdale in 1987 and went public the following year.
POLICING MIAMI: The new look for Miami's police department will be detailed March 19 by Chief John Timoney at a Brickell Area Association noon lunch at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 500 Brickell Key Drive. Members $35, others $40. Details: Gloria Konsler, (305) 375-0080.
ROAD TO BALI: Construction of the Sayan, a 30-story condo tower planned to rise out of the rubble of a former motel on Sunny Isles Beach, is to begin in June, developers J. Milton & Associates said. The future Balinese-themed residence at 16275 Collins Ave. will take the place of the former Mandalay motel, a 1950s lodging razed in late February. The site is still being cleared. More than 70% of Sayan's 90 residences, including six penthouses, are sold, developers said. Pre-construction prices range from $467,000 to $3.87 million.
GUIDING GUIDES: Students, history buffs and prospective tour guides can sign up for a two-day immersion course on leading tours in South Florida. The semi-annual Tour School, sponsored by the Miami Design Preservation League, is from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on consecutive Saturdays, March 15 and March 22, at the league's center, 1001 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach. Fees for the two-day course are $20; successful completion earns a certificate. Details: (305) 627-2014.
ACCESSIBLE MINIBUS: Miami-Dade County on March 17 is to begin handicap-accessible minibus service between Northwest Miami-Dade and the new Palmetto Metrorail station. The 5:30 a.m.-9 p.m. daily service will temporarily detour to the Okeechobee station pending opening of the nearly complete Palmetto Station. Service eventually is to connect the Super Wal-mart, Hialeah Gardens City Hall, Barbara Goldman High School, Lakeview Commerce Park in Medley, portions of the Miami Lakes Business Park, and neighborhoods in Miami Lakes, west Hialeah and Hialeah Gardens. Details: (305) 770-3131.
KEYS FERRY RUNNING: After months of permitting delays, Florida Express Boat Lines has launched its four-day-a-week ferry service between Miami's Bayside marina and the Holiday Isle Resort in Islamorada. The Island Rocket II, a 65-foot, high-speed catamaran the company cruised down from Ohio, can haul up to 149 passengers along the Intracoastal Waterway between Miami and Islamorada in less than two hours, beating average the drive time. The bright yellow vessel, based at Bayside, departs Thursday-Sunday at 8:30 a.m. and returns at 4:30 p.m., with charters also available. Unlimited annual passes cost $350, with travel based on availability. Details: (305) 299-7999.
PARKING SURCHARGE: A bill to allow parking surcharges by major metro cities has quickly moved through Florida's House. Subject to approval by referendum, it would allow a surcharge of up to 20% of parking fees at public facilities. Rep. Manuel Prieguez filed House Bill 237 Feb. 6, and on March 6, it got unanimous approval from the local government and veterans affairs committee. Following a September 1999 class action suit alleging that a Miami parking surcharge was unconstitutional, a settlement set up a $14 million fund to refund fees collected from Sept. 1, 1999, to Sept. 30, 2002.
HEALTH AWARDS: A publication will honor the University of Miami Health Services, Aventura Orthopedic Care Center and Miami Plastic Surgery among the health industry's leaders at an awards show. Florida Medical Business will host its 14th Medical Business Awards on April 25 at Billboard Live on Miami Beach. The awards honor hospitals, physicians and other Florida medical professionals.
LOFTS: Citrus Bank is financing WSG Development's two-story North Bay Village loft project, Sky Lofts. Groundbreaking of the West Drive site's buildings is set for April with completion due in fall 2004. Designed by Chad Oppenheim, each of the planned 49 units boasts 18-foot ceilings. Two-bedroom, two-story lofts cost from mid-$300,000 to mid-$500,000 and are 1,320 to 1,719 square feet. According to marketer Majestic Properties, 31 of the 49 units are sold. Three of four penthouses - larger than 3,150 square feet - are also sold, with the remaining unit priced at $915,000.
AND MORE LOFTS: Argentine architecture and design firm G&D plans a 22-unit loft-styled condominium on Normandy Isle in Miami Beach called Bayview Lofts. Fortune International Realty will be sales and marketing agent for the North Beach project at 200 Bay Drive. The units offer 18-foot ceilings and terraced balconies and range from 1,345 to 1,762 square feet. Prices start at $299,000. The sales office opens this month.
WHO FLIES?: Miami-Dade Commissioners Tuesday approved hiring a consultant to survey passengers to learn who uses Miami International Airport. Results from surveys to be conducted every six months for three years would help compare Miami to other major US airports. The information would also shape plans to remodel and redesign concourses and select retail merchandise more appealing to airport users. Synovate, a global research firm with offices in more than 50 countries, was selected for the $350,875 job.
LOAN ACTION: The nation's largest nonprofit micro-lender, ACCION USA, plans to launch its Miami office April 7 at 111 SW Fifth Ave. It will provide "micro" loans to those who have been shut out of the traditional banking sector, agency officials said. Details: (305) 548-3360.
EAT UP: The Association of Bi-national Chambers of Commerce in Florida is beginning its third World Business Week 2003 with an International Wine, Liquor and Food Tasting. Guests can sample specialties from 30 nations from 6-9 p.m. March 17 at the Hotel Inter-Continental in downtown Miami. Admission is free. Sponsored by The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the event will be the first in a week of seminars and conferences on global business opportunities, luncheons and receptions, said Lita Haeger, chamber president and CEO. Details: (305) 365-7247.
MORE AIR LINKS: An international roundtable March 13 presented by the Miami-Dade County Aviation Department and Miami Today will discuss growing international air travel links to South Florida. Panelists are Regina Bereswill, sales manager for Florida for British Airways; Stanley Bodner, president of the Greater Miami Aviation Association; Angela Gittens, Miami-Dade County aviation director; and William Talbert III, president and CEO of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. The 5 p.m. session is in Concourse E, Miami International Airport, in the MIA Hotel, 7th floor conference center. Details: Techy Fernandez, (305) 358-2663.
MINT CONDITION: The winning concept for a new Florida quarter will be the "Gateway to Discovery" design juxtaposing a Spanish galleon with a space shuttle. Florida residents and visitors chose from five designs, many voting via the Internet. The top pick received 123,515 votes; 424,346 people participated. The image will grace the back of the state quarter that the US Mint is to circulate in spring 2004. More than 1,500 designs were submitted to the Governor's Office. Details: www.usmint.gov.