CREW'S IN: Former Bridgeport, CT, school superintendent Sonia Diaz succeeds Mercedes Toural as deputy superintendent of curriculum and instruction for Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Martin A. Berkowitz, a former vice president, comptroller and chief financial officer for Prudential Financial, succeeds Ed Marquez as chief financial officer. The school board last week approved the appointments by Superintendent Rudy Crew. Ms. Toural, the top education officer under former superintendent Merrett Stierheim, and Mr. Marquez have left the district.
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WHO ELSE? Other school cabinet members are Irving S. Hamer Jr., deputy superintendent for school improvement; Ava G. Byrne, deputy superintendent of professional development; and Ofelia San Pedro, deputy superintendent of business operations.
AND MORE: Mr. Crew's list of chiefs include Alberto M. Carvalho, associate superintendent for intergovernmental affairs and grants administration; Kriner Cash, chief of accountability and system-wide performance; Paul M. Cholak, chief personnel officer; Gerald L. Darling, chief of police and district security; Rose Diamond, chief facilities officer; Joseph Garcia, chief communications officers; Carolyn Spaht, chief of staff; and Willa Young, assistant superintendent of regional operations. Mr. Carvalho and Ms. Young are longtime employees of the school district.
WCI EXPANSION: Terranova Corp. this month signed Prudential Florida WCI Realty as a tenant in two shopping centers in the region. Mindy McIlroy, director of leasing FOR Terranova and landlord representative in the transactions, valued the deals at $2 million. WCI, a member of Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, took 9,800 square feet for five years at Suniland Shopping Center, 11325 S. Dixie Highway, Pinecrest, and 8,023 square feet for five years in Westfork Plaza in Broward County. Ms. McIlroy said the WCI lease brings occupancy in the 82,128-square-foot Suniland to 94%. The two deals, she said, bring to 28 the number of WCI outlets in South Florida.
CODINA DEALS: Bagel Mania parent Hometown Bagels is leasing 32,700 square feet of industrial space at Flagler Station, 10505 NW 112th Ave., and World Wide Parts & Accessories 28,382 square feet in Beacon Centre, 8500 NW 17th St., according to Codina Realty Services Oncor. Also at Flagler Station, Codina announced Water Whiz took 13,180 square feet.
AVENTURA SALE: Codina Realty Services Oncor sold Gary Weider 28,695 square feet of office space in Aventura Office Park, 21355 E. Dixie Hwy., Aventura. The price was not disclosed.
RETURN TO BROADWAY: Southwest 15th Road west from Brickell Avenue has been renamed Broadway, its original name, said Alicia Schreiber, Miami chief of operations. East of Brickell, it's still named for Lucia Lorenzo, a former Brickell resident who died in a shootout at a hospital protecting children while completing her residency in another state. "The road name change has been approved by the city commission," Ms Schreiber said, "and a $3,000 fee for the new plaques will be paid by local citizens."
GREEN FOR GREEN: Miami-Dade officials are considering using part of the former Florida East Coast Railroad corridor to create Ludlam Trail, a 7-mile nature trail. County commissioners have allotted $500,000 from the Florida Department of Transportation to study buying and transforming the area as part of the 1988 North Dade greenways network master plan. The greenway would run west of Ludlam Road, between the Dadeland North Metrorail station and Northwest 12th Street.
DEADLINE EXTENDED: The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneurial Business Group extended the deadline for nominations for its 2005 Cutting Edge Award to January. The annual award recognizes companies that have distinguished themselves in marketing, growth and management. The companies chosen as finalists are to be recognized at a luncheon April 14. Past winners include Bank Atlantic, El Dorado Furniture, Pharmed Group, IVAX Corp., Omega Research and Pollo Tropical. Nominations are due at the chamber's office, 1601 Biscayne Blvd., by 4 p.m. Jan. 5. Details: (305) 577-5462.
HOLIDAY GIFT: Looking for the perfect gift? If money is no object, Coral Gables public-relations firm KWE Group is offering an $8.4 million vacation for you and a friend. You'll get a private concert by Carlos Santana and a round of golf with Jack Nicklaus or golf-course designer Robert Trent Jones II at Marquis Los Cabos resort in Mexico. You'll have use of a fully crewed luxury yacht, a Michelin star chef, a private jet and a round trip to the resort from anywhere in the world. KWE CEO Karen Weiner said the resort has had inquiries from Switzerland, Italy and Oman for the package and is confident it will sell at least one package. KWE is partnering with Marquis Los Cabos to sell the package. Details: www.marquisloscabos.com.
DESIGNS ON DESIGN DISTRICT: 27th Street Artist Way, a warehouse in Miami's Design District, changed ownership in a $3.2 million deal between developer Tibor Hollo and investors Joanne Mitchell and Ron Simkins. Mr. Hollo provided $2 million toward the sale of the property at 62 NE 27th St. to holding company Artist Way Warehouse. "We are very excited about the renaissance in the Wynwood area," Mr. Simkins about the community that has attracted investor interest.
PLANT MEDICINE: The National Tropical Botanical Garden and The Florida Medical Association will hold a course Jan. 27-29 for physicians and health-care professionals on herbal remedies derived from plants. Subjects include plant identification, medical botany and plant origin of pharmaceutical products. The course will be held at the Kampong part of the garden, 4013 S. Douglas Road. A $25,000 grant from the Marmot Foundation funds the course. The 25 seats are $400 each. Details: (305) 442-7169.
ENGINEER TRAINING: Miami Dade College and the University of South Florida College of Engineering are working to encourage local high-school students to pursue an engineering career. The college and university next year will hold information sessions at Miami Dade and private school to recruit students to a joint educational program. Under the agreement, students who complete two years of general and engineering courses at the college may transfer to the university's bachelor's degree program in Tampa.
HONORED: Coral Gables developer Stuart Meyers won a merit award for community advancement from the Florida Builders Association. Mr. Meyers is chairman of Cornerstone Group, developer of the 240-unit Alhambra Cove Apartments. The award recognizes outstanding direction and leadership in building Florida communities.
NO STRINGS ATTACHED: Attendees at a Sino-American technology convention at Florida International University this month were treated to the first cross-border musical master class conducted electronically. A violinist from the New World Symphony instructed a student in Beijing over the Internet using Internet II and the Transpacific network before an audience of 75 at the Chinese American Networking Symposium at the university Nov. 30-Dec. 2. "It was an unprecedented event," said Julio Ibarra, executive director for the Center of Augmented Research and Assessment, who devised some of the technologies used in the broadcast.
PERKING UP HOMES: Sunbeam Products, maker of Mr. Coffee, has donated 5,000 coffeemakers to five South Florida locations of Habitat for Humanity, a non-profit group that has built more than 150,000 homes worldwide. It has locations in West Palm Beach, Miami-Dade County and South Palm Beach County. The coffeemakers will go to current and future homeowners and be sold in Habitat for Humanity stores to raise money.
DEVELOPING MANAGERS: Florida International University is offering Miami-Dade County workers an MBA in public management. In August, 18 students began the 18-month MBA program with 13 traditional courses and two electives in fields like public administration, said Flavia Iuspa, a program manager at FIU's Chapman Graduate School of Business. The program is open to county employees with five years' managerial experience, she said. The county reimburses half the tuition. A second group is to start classes in August. Details: http://www.miamidade.gov/emprel/mba'upd.asp.
GOOD READING: The Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department received a certificate of achievement for its 2002-03 financial report from the Government Finance Officers Association, which recognizes reports that clearly communicate a financial story and motivate others to read them.
HUMAN RESEARCH: The Wallace H. Coulter Foundation gave the University of Miami School of Medicine $13 million to establish the Wallace H. Coulter Center for Translational Research, where scientists are to design human trials to test discoveries and turn them into patented products. The projects are to originate at the Diabetes Research Institute, the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute and the Department of Biomedical Engineering. Details: (305) 243-4853.