News Briefs: Miami Beach Announces Hispanic Heritage Month Award Winners

 MIAMI BEACH

The City of Miami Beach Hispanic Affairs Committee will honor Miami Beach’s Hispanic community leaders at the city’s annual Hispanic Heritage Month Festival that will be held on Friday, October 12, at 6:00 p.m. The event will be held at North Shore Park & Youth Center, located at 501 72 Street, Miami Beach. Hispanic Heritage Festival is October 12, 6PM, North Shore Park Youth Center

The Hispanic Heritage Month Award honors Hispanic individuals who have made a difference to the Miami Beach community. Each of the awardees is actively involved in fostering positive change in the community through involvement in civic and/or professional activities. This year, the Committee honors the following individuals in their respective categories:

Mark Causey (public safety)

Miami Beach Police Captain Mark Causey has been the recipient of many departmental awards through the years and an active member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). In 1997, he won the Civil Rights Award. As a caring philanthropist and neighborhood captain, his actions show he cares for the community he serves.

Bryant Del Toro (employee)

His charisma and musical talent brings joy to hospitalized children on a volunteer basis. He also serves as a role model and motivator to the children he coaches at the City of Miami Beach Parks & Recreation Department.

Samuel Karkassoni (youth)

As an honors student, he launched Project Pathway to Life that collects funds to purchase duffle bags and toiletries for foster children that reach the age of 18 and are displaced from foster care. He currently attends school full time while working full-time to support himself and his twin brother who live on their own.

Richard Martinez (education)

A fifth grade teacher at North Beach Elementary, Martinez has a special skill to reach and motivate students that have language barriers. He also teaches extracurricular sports and recently was able to move to Miami Beach to be near the school that he cherishes.

Mara Mignardi (social services)

As a job developer and case manager at UNIDAD of Miami Beach, Mignari has been instrumental in changing the lives of hundreds of senior citizens by training and placing them in jobs that not only serve as a financial source but also as a psychological boast too.

Bea Pernia (artist)

As singer, writer and actress, Pernia has proudly represented and promoted Miami Beach in many international galas and festivals including Miami Beach Music Festival, Funkshion Miami, Ultra, Fashion Week in Milan, Peru Fashion Week, and numerous film and television productions including “Er conden 007 Bond,” “Vive la Vie,” and Burn Notice” over the last 10 years.

“Hispanics are a powerful voice on Miami Beach,” said Ceci Velasco, chairperson, Miami Beach Hispanic Affairs Committee. “And the winners exemplify the values that we most cherish – integrity, professionalism and a true caring for the community in which we live.”

The Hispanic Affairs Committee serves as a vehicle for responsible persons to utilize and consult with, in attempting to understand and resolve the concerns of the Hispanic community, and make recommendations to the City Commission.

 Sunset Harbour Garage Now Open

Sunset Harbour, west of Alton Road between 17 and 20 Streets, is home to a unique mix of light industrial businesses, residential enclaves, unique boutiques and restaurants and two major grocery store chains. Locals liked to keep this neighborhood their little secret because they wanted access to scarce parking spots. The City of Miami Beach responded to theneed for parking with the construction of a mixed-use, public/private partnership facility thatfeatures retail units under a garage that now provides nearly 460 parking spaces.

The City of Miami Beach Capital Office of Capital Improvement Projects began construction of the Sunset Harbour Garage in March of 2011. The 30,000 square foot facility, designed by the localfirm Arquitectonica, is the result of a public-private partnership with the Scott Robins Companies, who funded nearly 20 percent of the $9.27 million construction budget.

“Completion of this garage is another example of the work we do with local residents in mind,” Kathie G. Brooks, Interim City Manager, said. “This was also an example of the effectiveness of combining efforts with local developers to deliver quality projects to the community.”

As of Wednesday, September 19, the five-story garage, operated by the City is open for traffic The retail shops, managed by the Scott Robins Companies, will be opening up individually in the next few weeks and months. A special ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for mid-October.

Mayor Matti H. Bower, the Miami Beach City Commission and Mrs. Brooks will officially kick offthe opening of the multi-use structure with an upcoming event that is open to the public.

 Sixteenth Street Community Design Workshop

The Flamingo Park Neighborhood Association will host a Community Design Workshop to focus on city plans for infrastructure and streetscape improvements for Sixteenth Street, on Saturday, October 13, 2012, 1;00 to 4:00 pm, at Hice Hall, Miami Beach Community Church, 1620 Drexel Avenue, just south of Lincoln Road. All members of the community – from the street, neighborhood, and city and other community stakeholders – are invited to attend and participate.

Residents of 16th Street, the surrounding neighborhood, and the entire City as well as all other stakeholders are invited to attend and participate on Saturday, October 13, 2012, 1:00 pm. Hice Hall, Miami Beach Community Church, 1620 Drexel Avenue, just south of Lincoln Road

The City of Miami Beach Public Works and Capital Improvement Projects Departments are undertaking a major upgrade of the streetscape, storm water system, and related projects. The FPNA in partnership with these Departments and the Miami Beach CDC are reaching out for input on a broad range of issues – width of the auto travel lanes, parking lanes, green space and sidewalks, pedestrian amenities and bicycle access, and the impact upon adjacent properties and overall contribution of the initiative to the attractiveness of the street, neighborhood and City.
In announcing the Community Design Workshop, Flamingo spokesman Denis Russ said, “This is a multi-million dollar investment in our neighborhood. Everyone wants it to yield maximum benefit and value.”
All residents of Sixteenth Street, the surrounding neighborhood, and the city are invited to attend and participate in the exercises and discussions that will lead to an upgraded streetscape

Miami Beach Botanical Garden 50th Anniversary Bash

 Step back in time to 1962 as we remember the early days of the Miami Beach Garden Center. Mingle with celebrities of the time, enjoy great food, friends and fun in a spectacular setting.
On Thursday, October 25, we will celebrate our 50th Anniversary with a fabulous party highlighting the new Raymond Jungles design and spotlighting our future path.

The two-tiered event will run from 6 to 11 pm. From 6 to 8:30 our VIP’s will enjoy champagne greeters, an open bar, dinner and performances by the Rainbow Circus, the South Beach Chamber Ensemble and 60′s-era surprise celebrity guests. At 8:30, the After Party begins with dessert, open bar and dancing to till 11 pm.  Host Committee $500 – Includes 4 VIP Tickets & listing on the printed & electronic invitation’s, website and Facebook.

VIP (starts at 6-11 pm) – MBBG Members $125 / Non-Members $150
After Party (starts at 8:30-11 pm)  -MBBG Members $40 / Non-Members $50 / Door $60
50th Anniversary Host Committee include: Ray Breslin & Patrick Pecoraro, Harvey Burstein and Luis Iglesias, David and Mercedes Carlson, Diane Heller, Susan and John Rothchild,  Kandi and Rollin Stirman and Merle and Danny Weiss.  Want to join the Host Committee?  Contact Cindy Brown cbrown@mbgarden.org or 305.673.7256 x206. The  Miami Beach Botanical Garden, 2000 Convention Center Drive, Miami Beach.

 Ecoartccesories Family Challenge at Whole Foods, South Beach

On Saturday, October 13, 2012, from 2 – 4 p.m., Whole Foods Market – South Beach and EcoArtFashionÓ invites customers to join in and inspire the world by registering to create sustainable art and designs through the second edition of EcoArtccessories Family Challenge. In celebration of EcoArtFashion Week™ 2012, the Family Challenge calls for groups of 2 or more individuals, ages 6 and over, to create and submit a one-of-a-kind head, neck or wrist fashion accessory using eco-friendly techniques, recycled materials, and items from Whole Foods Market – South Beach. In order to participate, the first 50 applicants must fill out a registration form and pickup their $10 Whole Foods Market gift card to be used at the store to purchase materials for their EcoArtccessories creation.

Registration begins at Whole Foods Market – South Beach, Saturday, October 13th; 2 – 4 p.m. First 50 applicants fill out a registration form and pickup $10 Whole Foods Market Gift Card for materials for their EcoArtccessories. Download the registration here.

 On Saturday, November 3rd; 2 – 4 p.m. Submissions at Whole Foods Market – South Beach. Participants are asked to deliver their EcoArtccessories entries.  Monday, November 5th, the Semifinalists will be announced.

The Semifinals will be Saturday, November 10th; 2 – 4 p.m. at Whole Foods Market – South Beach, followed by How to Create Your Own EcoArtccessory class at 4 p.m. The Top 3 Winners & People’s Choice will be awarded. Winners will create a collection of EcoArtccessories to be showcased at the main event for EcoArtFashion Week™ 2012 during Miami’s Art Basel as well as during Earth Day Miami in April 2013.

 On Saturday, December 1st; 2 – 4 p.m. Winners Final Submissions at Whole Foods Market – South Beach.

The culmination of the whole event will be the Finalist’s Silent Auction on Saturday, December 8th; 5 p.m. benefitting Whole Kids Foundation during EcoArtFashion Week “Global Cities” Table for Two event at Midtown. Address: Fountain Plaza 3201 North Miami Avenue in Wynwood Miami.

 Finally on Sunday, December 9th; 2 – 4 p.m. There will be a Finalist’s Showcase at Whole Foods Market – South Beach, followed by Eating for Beauty Superfoods class at 4 p.m.

 Whole Foods Market is located at 1020 Alton Road in South Beach. For more information call (305) 938-2800 or visit www.wholefoodsmarket.com/southbeach.

SUNNY ISLES

Visit Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens

Experience a taste of the Japanese arts and culture at this historical center that began in 1977. See a bonsai display and take home a little Japaneses treasure from this distinctive museum. For lunch, enjoy some pan-Asian cuisine at the Cornell Cafe or feel free to pack a lunch. Admission to gardens and museum, tea ceremony & transportation included. Lunch not included. Returns at approximately 5:00 pm. Heavy walking required. Fee: Resident $22.00; Non-Resident $27.00. October 20, 2012. 10:00am – 05:00pm. 4000 Morikami Park Road. Miami. For info: 305.792.1706.

SURFSIDE

 All Ages Halloween Block Party

Wondering what to wear for Halloween? Come join all of your fellow ghosts and goblins for an all ages block party in Surfside. Wednesday October 31, 2012.  6:00pm-8:00pm.  92nd Street from Byron Ave. to Dickens Ave.

Surfside police officers will be distributing candy and glow sticks. For further information please contact Sgt. Jay Matelis or Dina Goldstein at (305)861-4862.

NORTH MIAMI

 The Alvarez Brothers Honored in Hall of Fame Ceremony As A Part of  North Miami’s Hispanic Heritage Month

 As part of North Miami’s Hispanic Heritage Month festivities, Mayor Andre D. Pierre, Esq. will honor the Alvarez Brothers- Arturo Alvarez, Cesar Alvarez and Carlos Alvarez at a special presentation, Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 11:30 a.m.; The presentation will be held in the Council Chambers of North Miami City Hall, 776 NE 125 Street, where Mayor Pierre will induct the brothers into the City’s Hall of Fame. All three brothers grew up in North Miami and graduated from North Miami Senior High School. The Alvarez Brothers are the first Hispanics to be inducted into the North Miami Hall of Fame.

Cesar L. Alvarez is the Executive Chairman of the law firm of Greenberg Traurig. Cesar was recognized as one of the “100 Most Influential Lawyers in America,” by The National Law Journal, one of the top most powerful Hispanics by Poder Power Issue, and “The 25 Best Latinos in Business,” Hispanic Magazine’s Power Issue, both in 2008.

Arturo Alvarez is an accomplished attorney whose career has spanned public service and private litigation. Arturo Alvarez, Attorney at Law- now practices civil and criminal litigation. He is one of the founding members of the Cuban American Bar Association (CABA) and served as its president in 1994.

Carlos Alvarez is an accomplished attorney, specializing in alternative dispute resolution and environmental/land use issues. Born in Cuba, Carlos immigrated to the United States with his family as a young student. He attended the University of Florida on a four-year Intercollegiate Athletics Scholarship.

For more information please call the North Miami Office of the Mayor and Council at 305-895-9815 or 305-895-9818.

NORTH MIAMI BEACH

Cultural Cinema Night

 The City of North Miami Beach’s Multi-Cultural Committee, host Cultural Cinema Night featuring the movie Real Women Have Curves, Friday, October 12, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. Ronald A. Silver Auditorium (located in the McDonald Center) 17051 NE 19th Avenue. North Miami Beach. FREE! (Refreshments will be available for purchase)

AVENTURA

Halloween Harvest

The City of Aventura will hold its annual Halloween Harvest event on Sunday, October 28, 2012 from 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM at the Community Recreation Center. Children and families are encouraged to come in costume and participate in the Wonderland fun maze, bounce houses, carnival games, trick or treat trail, arts & crafts and costume parade. ??The Community Recreation Center is located at 3375 NE 188 Street. Parking is located at the Harbour Centre on the corner of 29 Avenue and NE 188 Street. A complimentary shuttle service will be provided. ?For more information, contact the Community Recreation Center at 305-466-3883 or visit the website at www.cityofaventura.com.

Celebrate Aventura with the entire family  at the 17th Annual Founders Day Weekend.

 Friday, November 9 at 8 PM: The Broadway Tenors perform at the Aventura Arts & Cultural Center.

Saturday, November 10 at 8 PM: Aventura Comedy Series: Bobby Collins performs at the Aventura Arts & Cultural Center.

Sunday, November 11 at 10 AM: Veterans Day Ceremony will be held at the Aventura Government Center.

Sunday, November 11 from Noon – 5 PM: Join us for Founders Day as Aventura “Salutes Our Veterans and Troops” at Founders Park. Enjoy the 10th Annual Aventura STAR Talent Competition, sample great cuisine from our food trucks, and participate in activities such as face painting, U.S. Army Obstacle Course, fun projects, Toddler Town play area, and watch Sunday afternoon football.

Tickets are available for The Broadway Tenors and Aventura Comedy Series: Bobby Collins at the Aventura Arts & Cultural Center, located at 3385 NE 188 Street, aventuracenter.org, or by calling 877-311-7469.

Founders Park is located at 3105 NE 190 Street. Parking for Founders Day will be available at the Harbour Centre, and the Aventura Express will take you to and from Founders Park from 11:30 AM to 5:30 PM on Sunday, November 11, 2012.

For more information, contact the Aventura Community Services Department at 305-466-8930 or visit the City’s website .

MIAMI

 Ultra Music Festival Creates $79 Million Bonus to Miami-Dade

An independent study on Economic Impact performed by the prestigious Washington Economics Group Inc. (WEG) illustrates that Ultra Music Festival has contributed $79 million/year to the economy of Miami-Dade County. Ultra Music Festival, which began in Miami 15 years ago, has become a worldwide brand and is one of the biggest Festivals in the country.

“We always knew from the huge crowds that we draw that we had a major impact on our local economy, but we did not realize it was this huge,” states Russell Faibisch,” Creator and Executive Director of the Festival. “Last year people in all 50 states and more than 75 countries bought tickets to attend.”

In arriving at their results, the Washington Economic Group, Inc. employed the professionally accepted and widely used IMPLAN Model, which is based on input-output methodology and explicitly considers the inter-industry linkages that exist within an economy. To this end, WEG was able to conclude, among other things that

“[t]he quantifiable economic impacts of the Ultra Music Festival on Miami-Dade County include the support of hundreds of jobs and significant contributions to Labor Income, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and fiscal revenues. This study estimates that the Ultra Music Festival supports 915 jobs annually in Miami-Dade County with an economic impact of $79 million each year.”

The study further illustrates that:

“The Ultra Music Festival’s yearly presence is a positive force and a key addition as it builds on Miami-Dade County’s global brand as a top entertainment and leisure destination for both domestic and international visitors. As such, the overall economic development value of the Ultra Music Festival goes beyond the quantification of its important economic impacts.”

Last year, Ultra Music Festival was virtually a three-day advertisement for the beauty and excitement of Miami-Dade County. With live streaming video that was seen by more than 2 million people worldwide, Ultra Music Festival showcased many of the top music entertainment acts in the world performing in the bucolic urban setting of Bayfront Park with Miami’s skyline and picturesque Biscayne Bay as the backdrop. Among the highlights of the Festival was a surprise guest appearance by music superstar, Madonna.

“We are working on plans for 2013, our 15th Anniversary Edition, that will bring additional positive growth for the Festival and Miami-Dade County,” says Faibisch. “We see ourselves as partners in the economic prosperity for Miami-Dade County and hope to continue and expand our contribution to the magic that makes our area unique.”

Florida’s Silver Alert Plan is four years old

The Silver Alert Plan that sends out statewide alerts shortly after a senior suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s goes missing, is four years old. Since Silver Alerts began, 539 Florida seniors have been located safety – 68 of those a direct result of a Silver Alert.

“Seniors who become lost or disoriented face risks of serious injury,” said Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey. “The Silver Alert system has exceeded our expectations for both usage and successful recoveries.”

“Seniors make up almost a quarter of Florida’s population, and that is expected to increase to 35 percent by 2030,” said Florida Department of Elder Affairs Secretary Charles Corley. “The success of the Silver Alert program demonstrates the commitment by all of Florida’s citizens to protect vulnerable members of our families and our communities.”

Florida’s Silver Alert Plan was initiated by an executive order signed on Oct. 8, 2008, and was codified into law by the Florida legislature in 2011. It is a standardized system to aid local law enforcement in the rescue of an elderly person with an irreversible deterioration of intellectual faculties (such as dementia or Alzheimer’s) who goes missing. The plan calls for the broadcast of information via the media and highway message signs (when a vehicle is involved) to enlist citizens in the search for an endangered senior.

Under the Silver Alert Plan, local law enforcement agencies are encouraged to develop policies and procedures that work best in their respective jurisdictions. If the missing senior is driving a vehicle, local agencies contact FDLE’s Missing Endangered Persons Information Clearinghouse to request activation of a State Silver Alert and use of the Florida Department of Transportation’s dynamic message signs.

Once the person has been recovered, the Department of Elder Affairs, in coordination with the Area Agencies on Aging and Florida’s Memory Disorder Clinics, works to provide follow-up assistance to the senior.

Customs and Border Protection Officer Gropes Women at Miami International Airport

Paulo Morales, 48, of Miami, was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Robin S. Rosenbaum to 33 months in prison along with one year supervised release, the Justice Department announced. In July, Morales, a former Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer, pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor counts of deprivation of rights under color of law.

During the plea proceedings, Morales admitted that on various dates in January 2011, while working as an officer with CBP at the Miami International Airport, he groped the breasts of three separate women without their consent and while they were in the custody of CBP.

“My office and the Department of Justice are fully committed to protecting the civil rights of our citizens from all types of abuses,” said Wifredo A. Ferrer, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. “In this case, the harm to the victims and the general public cut deep because it came at the very hands of someone who was sworn to serve and protect the public, and instead breached that trust.”

“This officer abandoned his commitment to legitimate law enforcement and used his power to abuse women in his custody,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department is committed to holding officers who engage in such conduct accountable.”

David P. D’Amato Special Agent in Charge for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Office of Professional Responsibility stated, “The sentencing of Morales should send a strong message and serve as a reminder that we will not tolerate the abuse of authority by anyone privileged to wear the uniform of Customs and Border Protection.”

This case was investigated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Office of Professional Responsibility and CBP Internal Affairs and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William White of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida and Trial Attorney Henry Leventis of the Civil Rights Division.

Four Defendants  Pled Guilty in Multi-Million Dollar Mortgage Fraud Scheme at Jade Apartment Complex on Brickell

Defendants Lilia Casal-Diaz, 42, a real estate attorney, Raquel DeJesus Martinez, 36, a former mortgage broker, Andres Mendez a/k/a “Andy Mendez, Sr.,” 47, and his son, Andy Mendez, a/k/a Andy Mendez, Jr.,” 26, who both worked as real estate brokers, all of Miami-Dade County, have pled guilty to charges involving a multi-million dollar mortgage fraud scheme at the luxury Jade apartment complex, on Brickell Bay Drive, in Miami, Florida. According to court documents, the mortgage fraud scheme resulted in more than $5.6 million in mortgage proceeds that were fraudulently obtained from various lending institutions.

Casal-Diaz pled guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry L. Garber on October 4, 2012, to conspiracy to commit tax fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371, in connection with creating false documents to conceal from the IRS loan proceeds that were derived from the mortgage fraud scheme. According to court documents, Casal-Diaz, who practiced law in Coral Gables, falsified HUD-1 documents to support the loan fraud scheme, and then failed to report on IRS Form 1099-S the sales proceeds from the transactions, or otherwise intentionally under-reported such proceeds. In addition, when approached by IRS-CI agents, Casal-Diaz provided the agents with a phony Form 1099-S document, falsely indicating that proceeds from one of the real estate closings was properly reported to the IRS. Sentencing is scheduled for November 27, 2012. At sentencing, the defendant faces a possible statutory maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and a possible fine of up to $250,000.

Also on October 4, 2012, also before Magistrate Judge Garber, Raquel DeJesus Martinez pled guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and money laundering, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371, in connection with the same mortgage fraud scheme. According to court documents, DeJesus Martinez falsified mortgage paperwork and created false documents to falsely represent to lenders that straw buyers involved in the scheme had sufficient assets and income to qualify for million dollar mortgages, when such straw byers would not have otherwise qualified. Sentencing is scheduled for December 18, 2012. At sentencing, the defendant faces a possible statutory maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and a possible fine of up to $250,000.

Previously, on September 6, 2012, Andy Mendez Sr. and Andy Mendez Jr. pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks to conspiracy to commit mail fraud in connection with the same mortgage fraud scheme, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349. According to court documents, Mendez Sr. recruited others to participate in the scheme and used shell companies to receive and pay kickbacks to other conspirators. Mendez Sr. recruited his son, Mendez Jr., to falsify documents and provide false notarizations to make it appear that straw buyers were qualified for loans. In exchange for his participation, Mendez Jr. received undisclosed kickbacks to a shell company that were paid by other conspirators acting at the direction of Mendez Sr. Sentencing for both Mendez Sr. and Mendez Jr. is scheduled for November 27, 2012. At sentencing, the defendants face a possible statutory maximum sentence of up to 30 years in prison.

The convictions of Casal-Diaz, DeJesus Martinez, Mendez Sr. and Mendez Jr., bring to eight the total number of persons convicted in connection with the same mortgage fraud scheme involving the Jade Apartments. Earlier, defendants Josephine Santana, 57, a mortgage broker, Jose Rafael Martinez, 36, a straw buyer, and Basilio Gomez, 52, also a straw buyer, and all of Miami-Dade County, pled guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud in connection with a multi-million dollar mortgage fraud scheme, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349. Sentencing is scheduled for October 29, 2012.

In a related case, defendant Jose Arnaldo Rosario, 55, of Miami-Dade County, was sentenced on August 5, 2011 for his role in the scheme. Rosario was sentenced to 46 months in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release. Rosario previously pled guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering and wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. Rosario provided false information to the lending institution and received two kickbacks from the purchase of two apartments.

In a related case, defendant Jose Arnaldo Rosario, 55, of Miami-Dade County, was sentenced on August 5, 2011 for his role in the scheme. Rosario was sentenced to 46 months in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release. Rosario previously pled guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering and wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. Rosario provided false information to the lending institution and received two kickbacks from the purchase of two apartments.

Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Supports Improvements to Crandon Park Tennis Center

The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce has voiced its support of Miami-Dade Public Schools’ capital bond referendum, as well as the referendum question before Miami-Dade County voters on November 6, 2012 to permit the erection of permanent structures and expansion of existing structures at Crandon Park Tennis Center, including the modification and extension of agreements with the current operator of the Sony Open Tennis Tournament or its successors.

The Chamber recently issued its resolution backing The 21st Century Schools Initiative, a $1.2 billion General Obligation Bond for renovating facilities, updating technology, building school replacements, expanding capacity and enhancing facility safety.

They strongly believe that approval by voters of the bond referendum is essential to the school district and the business community as they seek a sustainable long-term solution to providing 21st century schools for all of Miami-Dade County’s public school students, ensuring that every student is prepared for the evolving workforce.

The Chamber also issued a resolution in support of an upcoming ballot question asking voters to approve permits for certain structures and improvements to the Crandon Park Tennis Center for public park and tennis tournament use, which would solely be funded by tennis center and tournament revenues and private funds. The same ballot question also asks voters to consider approval of modifications and extension of agreements with the current operator of the Sony Open Tennis Tournament.

They recommend approval of the referendum because it would provide sustainability, predictability and a long-term presence of the Sony Open Tennis Tournament in Greater Miami and will vastly improve the quality of the current public park and tournament facilities to world-class levels. The long-term benefits of the improvements to the Crandon Park Tennis Center would generate thousands of full and part-time jobs, including construction-related jobs during the course of multi-year improvements to the facilities contemplated by the approval of the referendum.

South Florida’s First Law Firm on Wheels Is Driven to Help Teen Dads

 Miami Dade County‘s Child Support docket is 93,000 active cases. To put this in perspective, the entire state of Florida’s foreclosure docket is 275,000 active cases. Miami –Dade County runs its child support enforcement program out of four courtrooms, located separately from the county’s gigantic family law courthouse, several blocks away. Of those cases, only about 5% of obligor fathers are represented, compared to 100% of Moms, who are benefitted from free representation by the State Attorney’s Office.

DADvocacy is seeking to change that. Free representation of teen Dads is a no brainer. Helping teen fathers helps their babies, which in the long run, will help Mom. Some surprising numbers evidencing the involvement of teenage Dads was published by the Ford Foundation in 2005. The study followed 400 teenage fathers in 15 cities. Surprisingly, teenaged fathers are not irresponsible young deadbeats society makes them out to be; in fact 82% reported having daily contact with their children, even when living in a different household than the mother. 74% reported contributing financially to their children.

When teenaged fathers are backed by their communities with job programs and educational opportunities their children benefit. In the Ford Foundation study, 2/3rd’s of young fathers entering programs designed to assist and guide teenaged Dads found paying jobs, thereby enabling them to bear financial responsibility for their children, whether through a court order or not.

It is on these promising numbers, that DADvocacy thinks some of the best work it can to is to help our community’s youngest fathers. For one, DADvocacy wants to ensure that the young man facing nearly two decades of child support payments truly is the biological father.

DADvocacy is working towards legislation that would prohibit all types of paternity admissions and acknowledgements without DNA testing for fathers under age 18 years of age. In the meantime, the DADvocacy, will file a motion for DNA Testing in Miami –Dade County for any teenage father who asks and will charge no attorney fees at all.

Second, DADvocacy is seeking to ensure that ensnarement by child support enforcement does not destroy a young father’s credit rating, thereby destroying his opportunity for educational loans. DADvocacy can provide any teenage father who asks for a credit bureau letter that he can send out before his applications for student financial aid come due.

Third, and most importantly DADvocacy can help a teenage father facing problems with access and visitation to his child. Miami-Dade child support cases have a tendency to get stuck in the child support division, where presiding judges have no legal authority whatsoever to order and enforce visitation (now called timesharing). DADvocacy® can file the appropriate Motion to get a young man’s case out of child support division, and in to a courtroom where his rights can be adjudicated. Spending time with his child at an early age helps both father and child establish early childhood bonding that is so critical to development. Helping all fathers is the goal and mission statement of DADvocacy.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade to Host Sixth Annual “Wild About Kids” Gala at the Four Seasons Hotel Brickell

 Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade will host its sixth annual “Wild About Kids” black-tie optional gala at the Four Seasons Hotel Brickell. Gala proceeds will benefit Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade and its many positive programs for 10,000 area children who need them the most.

The Gala was voted one of BizBash’s Top 100 Events of 2011. BizBash selects annual gatherings based on their impact on their respective industries and communities (and on the city) while innovating to stay on top.

Danell Leyva, who won the bronze medal at the London 2012 Summer Olympics for men’s gymnastics, will be honored at the event with Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade’s Hometown Hero Award. He will also be speaking, and taking photos/having a meet & greet with Bronze Sponsors and higher. Leyva, who came to the US from Cuba when he was a young boy with his mother and sister, is an inspirational example of the American Dream.

Guests will enjoy a unique “live” red carpet welcome as they enter a cocktail reception and silent auction featuring one-of-a-kind items, dinner program, live music, dancing and much more.

Miami’s own South Florida celebrity artist David “LEBO” Le Batard, who previously created a “Wall of Art” for the Kendall Boys & Girls Club with LeBron James, is donating a piece of his original artwork inspired by the organization’s mission statement to the silent auction. A step-by-step photographic exhibit and short video of his painting’s creative process will be displayed. LEBO is also leading two to three workshops at Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade’s after school programs throughout the year to help enrich and awaken the “artist” in the Club’s children between his commissions.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade alumna 13-year-old Elizabeth Elias will sing the National Anthem to kick off the dinner program. A singer, dancer and model, Elias recently sang the US and Canadian National Anthems at Marlins Park.

Attendees, including South Florida’s top community leaders, will have the opportunity at the event to sponsor a child through donations. Once again, the gala emcee will be Lynn Martinez, anchor of WSVN’s Deco Drive.

The gala is chaired by Lana DeSimone, Irene Korge and Eris Thomas.

Sponsorship opportunities are available. Current sponsors are: Presenting Sponsor Miami Marlins Foundation, Silver Sponsor Hamilton Yacht Group South Florida, Bronze Sponsors Jorge Luis Lopez Law Firm, Matty’s Sports, Coral Gables Executive Physicians, The Bermont Advisory Group and Irene Korge; Media Sponsor Miami magazine, Liquor Sponsor Bacardi and Wine Sponsor Epica Wines.

An after party at the Four Seasons Hotel Brickell, which will include music, dancing, a full bar and tapas-style food, will continue the celebration. Tickets for the after party are $50 per person

TO GO: Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, Cocktail reception begins at 7 p.m. Meet & Greet/photo opportunity with Danell Leyva for Bronze Sponsors and higher from 7:30-8 p.m. Dinner and program begins at 8 p.m. After party begins at 11 p.m. Gala tickets are priced at $325 per person. After party tickets are priced at $50 per person. Four Seasons Hotel Brickell, 1435 Brickell Avenue, Miami. For information about tickets, table and sponsorship opportunities, please contact Astrid H. Ehrenstein, director of special events and development at 305-446-9910 ext. 30 or aehrenstein@bgcmia.org.

CORAL GABLES

 Alzheimer’s Association to Host Walk to End  Alzheimer’s 5K

Participants to Raise Critically Needed Funds for Alzheimer’s Care, Support and Research

The Alzheimer’s Association will host its yearly Miami-Dade Walk to End Alzheimer’s event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research on October 27, 2012. The Southeast Florida Chapter is inviting Miami-Dade residents of all ages to unite and participate in the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s®. The walk will start at Merrick Park – across from Coral Gables City Hall; located at 400 Biltmore Way, Coral Gables, FL at 9:00 a.m. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m.

“As many as 5.4 million Americans currently have Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in Americans age 65 or older, and these numbers continue to increase. These alarming statistics show the importance and urgency of finding a cure and treatment for Alzheimer’s disease,” said Chief Executive Officer of the Alzheimer’s Association Southeast Florida Chapter, Ellen Brown. “Many people are not aware that Hispanics are about one and one- half times as likely to have Alzheimer’s and other dementias as older whites. It’s time to take action and fight against Alzheimer’s. The time is now! Alzheimer’s can’t wait!”

Walk to End Alzheimer’s is more than a just a walk. Miami-Dade participants also will learn about Alzheimer’s disease and how to get involved with this critical cause, from advocacy opportunities, the latest in Alzheimer’s research and clinical trial enrollment to support programs and services. Each walker will join in a meaningful ceremony to honor those affected by Alzheimer’s disease. Funds raised will provide care and support services to the residents of Southeast Florida living with Alzheimer’s, while also contributing to advancing critically-needed research.

In addition to the 5K walk; participants will enjoy family activities, music and much more. Start or join a team today here. For more information, or call 800-272-3900.

 

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