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The only place for Coconut Grove, FL News, Views & Opinions - Sunlight is the best disinfectant

Monday, October 23, 2017

Village Council Candidates Forum - Johannah Brown

Nine seats are up for election on November 7, for the Coconut Grove Village Council. 15 people are running for the nine seats. The Grapevine is giving candidates a chance to tell their story as to why they deserve your vote.  We have asked all the candidates the same five questions and we'll post the results here as they come in.

JOHANNAH BROWN



Johannah Brown
GRAPEVINE: Why do you feel you would be a good Village Council Member?

JOHANNAH:

I am very engaged in important issues in the Grove.  I have been working since April of 2016 to unravel the problems associated with a weak and unclear NCD code that is causing discord, confusion, discontent among residents, developers and the city.
I have helped co-found a civic action group – Grove Watch Group that connects neighbors with information on how to protect their neighborhoods from improper development
I have been involved in a working group with members from various organizations – Grove 2030, Village Council, Coconut Grove Park HOA developing a series of comprehensive recommendations to amend and clarify the current NCD code.
I have a background in business which provides me the ability to understand complex issues dealing with development.
I lived and worked in the Bahamas for five years and continued to manage the same operation from Miami for another 5 years giving me invaluable experience working with different cultures and diverse organizations.
I have developed a unique set of problem solving skills by working in a small company in another culture, in a very remote area.   I find this helps me with trying to find creative solutions here in the Grove.

G:  What would you like to accomplish during your time on the Council? Objectives? Projects?

J:

Work with Council to push the City to adopt common sense recommendations to improve the NCD codes – namely clarify the restrictions on lot splitting; reductions in allowable FAR; tighter tree and green-space protections; protections against land banking in the Village West and others
Work with other members of the council to understand and prioritize the needs of the Village West Community – what are their immediate short term housing needs; what are the resources the city and county have at their finger tips that could directly assist the residents in need in the Village west; how does the TUA and NDZ designations affect these resources and the communities access to them;  What is the plan for the CRA;  if the GOB passes – does the city have a plan in place to spend the money; how do we think about Village West in the long term in terms of a vision (additional density, where and how, additional employment opportunities – where and how, commercial development that preserves the community at large rather than changing it completely.
Work to improve the function of the Council as the hub for information– Develop a plan to make the Council as a center for information for the community; improve the communication platforms; website; email lists; FB page – in order to keep people more engaged with what is going on in the Grove;

G: What is your favorite part of Coconut Grove?

J:

The People: The great diversity of people, backgrounds, ideas
Our Roots: Both figuratively and literally – Historic character of homes and neighborhoods as well as the big trees, canopy and the roots that ground them here
The Laid Back Attitude: Un-fancy, wild and low-key that makes turning down unfamiliar roads an adventure and fun.
Our Connectedness to the Water: the closeness of the water, ocean breezes, sailing, swimming are all things that make living here that much better

G: What is your least favorite part of Coconut Grove?

J:
Our inability to translate this laidback, historic nature into a coherent development vision - Center Grove/Business district needs is working on improvements but I don’t see (except for the workshop the BID had recently) any real attempts to create a vision that ties theses things together coherently with a plan.  My fear is this latest round of revitalization will just replace “Mediterranean” with “Modern” and we won’t carve out a long term vision that is economically viable, provides economic opportunity to our community and establishes and preserves this heritage and vibe in our community.  My fear is that we may become the next Miami Beach.


G:  How long have you lived in the Grove? Where are you from? What drew you here?

J:

We have owned a home here since 2004 and been full time residents since we returned from the Bahamas in 2007.
We were drawn by the people (friends), the landscape, the proximity to the water and the city and it is not lost on my husband and I, that we settled blocks away from the “Bahamian” section of Miami – the islands are in our blood.


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Sunday, October 22, 2017

The 'Come As Thou Art' party

To raise money for this year's Mad Hatter Arts Festival, which is November 18 and 19 at The Barnacle, the group held a "Come As Thou Art" fundraiser on Saturday night.  

To raise money for the event, there is a "Fun" Fundraiser for the festival - its called "Come as Thy Art" and it is a Costume Gala. This is Saturday, October 21 from 9 to 11:30 pm.

Best costume prizes went to Trina Collins (above) and Alyn Pruitt.

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Village Council Candidates Forum - Zachary Elliott

Nine seats are up for election on November 7, for the Coconut Grove Village Council. 15 people are running for the nine seats. The Grapevine is giving candidates a chance to tell their story as to why they deserve your vote.  We have asked all the candidates the same five questions and we'll post the results here as they come in. 

Zachary Elliott

GRAPEVINE: Why do you feel you would be a good Village Council Member?


Zachary Elliott
ZACHARY: I would be a good addition to the Village Council because not only am I an enthusiastic supporter of our community, but I am hardworking, honest, and want to dedicate my energy to continue to make the Grove prosper. Furthermore, as both a local small business owner and a licensed attorney, I can bring both a practical business perspective as well as my legal understanding to help develop and execute plans and projects that will have a long-term positive impact on our community.

G:  What would you like to accomplish during your time on the Council? Objectives? Projects?

Z: First and foremost, the Council’s bylaws should be reformed. Councilor’s terms should be reduced from four years to two years in order to make the positions more responsive, efficient, and have a greater opportunity for diverse perspectives to be involved. The Council should also incorporate Florida’s Sunshine Law into its bylaws, to ensure business and communications are more transparent to the public.  Not only is transparency an issue, but basic communication with the community needs to be heavily improved upon. After going door-to-door, I found that many of the residents I spoke with were unaware that there even was a Council. If I’m elected, I will make sure meetings are video-streamed live through the Council’s Facebook page and that meeting minutes are posted both on the Facebook page and the Council’s website (something that has not been done since 2014). The Council cannot appropriately represent the community if it is not communicating with everyone in the Grove. Once the above is accomplished, we can tackle issues such as getting the Playhouse moving forward, designing and implementing a plan to rebuild the canopy, fix traffic issues on our side streets and putting together a plan to bring more affordable housing projects to the West Grove.

G:  What is your favorite part of Coconut Grove?

Z: My wife and I chose Coconut Grove as our home because it really offers a young family everything they could want: the ability to walk everywhere, the ability to live in a beautiful community with easy access to green spaces and a lively downtown, friendly, eclectic and vibrant neighbors, and a rich cultural history that really brings the community together. I have lived in many places, and Coconut Grove is a rare gem that I am very proud to call home. 

G:  What is your least favorite part of Coconut Grove?

Z: Crime – There is simply far too much crime taking place for a community that has so much to offer. It is unsafe for residents and one of the few blemishes we have on our community, and more needs to be done to fight these opportunistic crimes. I believe that since these crimes are opportunistic, in that they are mainly crimes against property, better coordination between our community and city hall, better lighting at night, as well as a higher police presence should help make this issue more manageable and rare. The Grove is a great place, but it can be even better, and that should be on the top of everyone’s list of priorities for the future of Coconut Grove.

G:  How long have you lived in the Grove? Where are you from? What drew you here?

Z: I have lived in Miami for four years, and one and half years of that has been in the Grove. I moved around a lot as both a child and an adult (I have lived in nine different cities) and feel very lucky to be able to call the Grove home.

My wife and I chose to move to the Grove and start a family here because we love the community, we think it’s one of the most beautiful places in the world, and because it really has something for everyone: lush greenery, charm, vibrant city life/small town feel, water, the arts, peacocks...you name it. While I may not have lived here my whole life, my enthusiasm, my drive, my love for this community, and my desire to make this community safe and prosperous for everyone is what matters most. I wanted to get involved because I care and I think I can do a good job that will make a positive difference. 

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As these forums come in, they will be all listed here for you to see.

 VC-Candidates-2017

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Saturday, October 21, 2017

Open House Brunch at The Bookstore in the Grove

The Bookstore in the Grove needs to bring back a decent menu, like those healthy bowls and the big burgers and the brisket, etc. But anyway, there is an event on Sunday called Open House Brunch. It's hosted by Miami Church. 

There is a brief gathering at 10 am and then you're on your own to roam the "entire bookstore" as their schpeil says.

There is brunch and live music.

It's free to attend, but they would like you to RSVP so they know how many will show up. You can do that here.

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Grove Pumpkin Patch is back for the weekend

That loud head banging music you heard Friday night in Center Grove was the Shark After Dark concert in Regatta Park. We wrote about it here. Strange event to have in the Grove after dark, but this is the new Grove. Sell million dollar condos and across the street have loud, window-shattering concerts.

Saturday and Sunday is the Coconut Grove Pumpkin Patch at the same location - Regatta Park. I stopped by early this morning before they opened. Looks like they have larger and more rides than previous years. There is food, beer and lots of pumpkins.
The pumpkin patch is open from 10 am to 8 pm on Saturday, October 21 and 10 am to 6 pm on Sunday, October 22. Tickets start at $20 and may be purchased at the gate. 
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Check out the Arbor, Coconut Grove's Boutique Eco-Living Community 
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CGVC Candidates Forum - Marcelo Fernandes

Nine seats are up for election on November 7, for the Coconut Grove Village Council. 15 people are running for the nine seats. The Grapevine is giving candidates a chance to tell their story as to why they deserve your vote.  We have asked all the candidates the same five questions and we'll post the results here as they come in. 

MARCELO FERNANDES

GRAPEVINE: Why do you feel you would be a good Village Council Member?

MARCELO: I have been in and around the Grove all my life. I see changes the past few years that are taking it in the wrong direction with too much development that is not being controlled.


Marcelo Fernandes
As a real estate professional (Broker and Developer) I have seen firsthand the cause and effect of our current zoning codes and lack of enforcement by the City. I consider myself an expert in Miami 21 codes and the NCD overlays. I also own my business in Coconut Grove (Grove Properties) and spend most my leisure time in the 33133 zip code. I want this place to maintain the village lifestyle and encourage smart development that keeps up with the needs of our changing society but does not take the “nut” out of Coconut Grove. I am passionate about our village and I have the skills, experience and time to dedicate to preserving it intelligently. I have also been very philanthropic for the past many years. I donate to local charities at every closing from Grove Properties. The main groups we support are associated with sustainable environmental issues (ARC+ and Miami Waterkeepers) and helping our children with education and proper nourishment (Breakthrough Miami & Joshua’s Hart Foundation).

G: What would you like to accomplish during your time on the Council? Objectives? Projects?

M: Main objective is to reform the NCD overlays to help guide the future of the Grove while maintaining the village ambiance that we all love. The needed changes to NCD will directly affect the housing the and lack of affordability we are seeing for all low, medium and upper medium income levels. Creating opportunities to allow for more housing that is attainable will create a stronger “village”, which will in turn allow for more local business opportunities that are sustainable. Businesses will be able to hire locals as its employees which will keep our village together and create better youth programs. I also have dedicated to only building green and sustainable homes and buildings for the past few years and will encourage incentives to increase this effort. I am on the Board of Trustees for Miami Waterkeepers and will support all efforts to keep our bay clean, support improvements to tackle sea level rise and global warming initiatives. I am a big believer in thinking globally and acting locally.

G: What is your favorite part of Coconut Grove?

M: The ability to walk or bike from your home and be in the village center offering schools, shopping, restaurants, entertainment and events. Also being a Bayfront community with multiple ways to  access Biscayne Bay. I love the live, work, and play lifestyle all wrapped up in one great community.

G: What is your least favorite part of Coconut Grove?

M: The way that village West has been torn apart. The Grove would not be what is it today without the village West. Commodore Munroe brought over the original settlers from the Bahamas to help establish our village. They were an integral part of our community. They were allowed to purchase real estate and live as one community sharing our schools and lifestyle. It was an utopia for the black community at that time. Only when the City of Miami incorporated many years later did segregation take place. Regardless, for many years thereafter most of the original families of the settlers still thrived in our community but now they are facing very difficult times. We must find a way to stop gentrification of the West Grove and build towards a future Grove that creates one Coconut Grove, undivided, once again.

G: How long have you lived in the Grove? Where are you from? What drew you here?

M: I was born in New York City and my parents are originally from Brazil. My family moved to Miami in 1970 and I spent most my childhood living in Coral Gables just south of Cartagena (Cocoplum) Circle. I rode my bike to school attending Ransom Everglades and graduated in 1984. I returned to Miami after attending Washington & Lee University in Virginia in 1988 and never left. I am passionate about the ocean and grew up on and in Biscayne Bay. I am an avid boater and free diver. I have a captain’s license and built a wooden sailboat in southern part of Brazil that I sailed up here myself. I have lived in the north, center and south grove during my adult life. I met my wife when we both lived on Glencoe Street in the North Grove. We have been married for 16 years and have an 18 year old son, Deshay (we adopted at the age of 5 here in Miami) and a 12 year old daughter, Maya. My son attended Coconut Grove Elementary and two years at MCA academy at Mayfair. I love raising my family here in the village the same way I experienced it as a child. I am not moving out and have no desire to live in any other place.

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As these forums come in, they will be all listed here for you to see.

 VC-Candidates-2017

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Friday, October 20, 2017

CGVC Candidates Forum - Hank Sanchez-Resnik

Nine seats are up for election on November 7, for the Coconut Grove Village Council. 15 people are running for the nine seats. The Grapevine is giving candidates a chance to tell their story as to why they deserve your vote.  We have asked all the candidates the same five questions and we'll post the results here as they come in. 

Hank Sanchez-Resnik

GRAPEVINE: Why do you feel you would be a good Village Council Member?

HANK: I’ve been a dedicated community activist for most of my adult life. I’ve participated actively in community affairs and decision-making in several different places where I’ve lived (primarily, before Miami, Berkeley, Calif. and Key Biscayne, Fla.). I’ve founded, led, and sustained five successful nonprofit organizations. I’m an excellent communicator and organizer. I keep my commitments and my word. People know they can rely on me to get things done.

G: What would you like to accomplish during your time on the Council? Objectives? Projects?

Hank Sanchez-Resnik
H: My main focus during my volunteer career has been transportation, especially promoting bicycling as a form of everyday recreation and transportation since I’m an avid bicyclist and rarely drive a car. I want to address the Grove’s transportation problems as a member of the Village Council, and I intend to participate in the Transportation committee. Improving conditions and infrastructure for bicycling benefits the entire community. It doesn’t mean everyone has to ride a bike. For various reasons some people can’t ride a bike. But when you improve safety and conditions for bicycling you also improve conditions for walking. And in order to do that you have to calm and slow traffic. Cars speeding through Coconut Grove on their way to somewhere else, often from somewhere else (not Grove residents) is one of our most serious transportation problems.

G:  What is your favorite part of Coconut Grove?

H: My house on Gifford Lane. My wife and I were thrilled when we bought the house. We had lived in another part of the Grove, and one of the reasons we moved to Gifford Lane (in addition to our former townhouse not being appropriate for our approaching old age) was Gifford Lane is our favorite street in the Grove. We’re active participants in planning and organizing the Gifford Lane Art Stroll. Our street and our neighborhood are our idea of a true community.    

G: What is your least favorite part of Coconut Grove?

H: The intersection of Grand, MacFarlane, and Main Highway. This is a complete abomination, ugly and unsafe for everyone who uses it. My dream is that someday there will be a beautiful island in the middle of the intersection separating and directing traffic and acting as a refuge for pedestrians, almost like a minipark. Even then it won’t be anywhere near one of my favorite places because my guess is there will always be far too much traffic, but at least it would be a lot better than what it is now.

G: How long have you lived in the Grove? Where are you from? What drew you here?

H: My wife and I moved to Coconut Grove in 2013. Prior to that we lived in Key Biscayne for seven years. And prior to that we lived in Berkeley, Calif. for 36 years. What drew us to Florida is that my wife, who’s Afro-Cuban, really wanted to be warm. The San Francisco Bay Area has about 10 warm days per year (in normal times—the current fire disaster is, I hope, an exception). So I agreed to try renting a place in the Miami area for a couple of months. It turned out the best and most affordable furnished apartment we found was in Key Biscayne, hard as that may be to believe, and our first year we rented for nine months. We were happy in Key Biscayne, rented for several years, then bought a condo. But Key Biscayne never felt like home. One day we joined a friend for dinner at his townhouse in Coconut Grove. Although we’d visited the Grove often while living on Key Biscayne and it was our favorite place away from the Key, we suddenly realized we belong in the Grove. Soon we’d sold our Key Biscayne condo and bought a townhouse in Center Grove. It was the best move we’ve ever made.
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As these forums come in, they will be all listed here for you to see.

 VC-Candidates-2017

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Is it more about development than a playhouse?

Michael Spring addresses
the audience.
The County hosted a meeting Thursday night regarding the latest plan for the Coconut Grove Playhouse. Michael Spring, Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, and head of this playhouse project reinforced that the GableStage will be the operator of the playhouse, with 300 seats. He felt that was intimate and worked with the stage and the patrons. "It wasn't designed for chamber music or Broadway musicals," he said.

Bob Ingraham in the audience, brought up the 300 seats planned for the theater, which he felt was too small, he asked if it's more about building and development around the area rather than actual theater. Bob was the technical director of Ransom Everglades across from the playhouse, which has 1000 seats, by the way. He also worked with Sunrise Theater, Parker Playhouse and the Broward Center, which has two theaters - 2500 and 600 seats (they called "the small hall.")

He called the current state of the playhouse "designed neglect." He, as many do, felt that the current theater could be renovated and not destroyed just to usher in development around the whole area. 

The pending appeal was brought up. The City Commission will hear that next week. So I'm not sure what the point of this meeting was, other than to appease the developers and new land owners in the Grove. 


County's design for the Playhouse


One interesting thing that came up was that the debt owed to the city ($2 million or so) will be wiped out if a deal is made with the Miami Parking Authority to put a garage next door, which is part of the plan. Still a bone of contention are the condo units that will be part of the that garage.

It is becoming quite clear to many that the whole project is reversed. Rather than have a theater with amenities, the buildings and amenities now overpower a small theater, like an after thought. It's about the development opportunities, the playhouse is just an annoyance. 


Someone brought up the fact that part of the plan is to have a restaurant or two and a bar as part of the playhouse. How will this help businesses in the area if the whole thing is self contained? 

It seems as if Grovites will have no say in what they would like for the theater. Just the fact that this meeting was held on Flagler Street at the Miami-Dade Auditorium, was an insult. The auditorium was not very full and I suspect most Grovites are weary of the whole project at this point.

The current design renderings and drawings can be seen here.

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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Village Council candidates forum

The Coconut Grove Village Council is having a Candidates Forum to introduce the candidates for the upcoming elections.

Meet your fellow residents vying to serve their community on this elected body. Hear their vision for Coconut Grove and how they intend to help fulfill it.

The event is Friday October 20, at 6 pm at Miami City Hall, 3500 Pan American Drive.

Candidates are:
Johannah Brown
Rachel Cardello
Steve Dloogoff
Sacha DuBearn
Zachary Elliott
Greg Eversole
Marcelo Fernandes
Ijamyn Gray
Courtney Omega
S. Larissa Ozols
Eduardo Nagy
Hank Sanchez-Resnik
Thaddeus Scott
Jodi L. Stang
Linda Williams

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Shark After Dark Halloween Carnival

This is something new, sort of reminds me of when I was younger and they used to have radio station sponsored events on Halloween in Coconut Grove. They were usually on McFarlane or in Peacock Park, but on Friday, October 20, 104.3 The Shark is having an event in Regatta Park called Shark After Dark Halloween Carnival. 

From 7 to 10 pm, there will be carnival rides and a live concert featuring Walk on the Moon, Welshly Arms and The Heirs. Doors open at 6:30 pm.

The Coconut Grove Pumpkin Patch follows the next two days on Saturday and Sunday, October 21 and 22. More here.

The Shark After Dark Highlights:

Get lost in the cornstalk maze
Take fun, Halloween photo opps
Enjoy unlimited carnival rides included with your ticket
Rock out with a live concert featuring Walk the Moon, Welshly Arms and The Heirs
Drink up in our beer garden
Come dressed up – The best Halloween costumes win great prizes!
Enjoy everyone’s favorite fair food at our Pumpkin Food Court
Tickets are just $25 for general admission and $60 for VIP, but prices will go up! Get them here now ...Because this one is worth every single drop of blood you own!

VIP Tickets include General Admission, PLUS:

Prime concert viewing from our Shark Cage right up front
Private bar with 2 free, complimentary beers (for guests 21+)
10 Fast Line Coupons: Each coupon allows one guest to skip the regular standby line and use a special Fast Line at a carnival ride 

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Check out the Arbor, Coconut Grove's Boutique Eco-Living Community 
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Another Playhouse meeting

Commissioner Xavier L. Suarez, in conjunction with City of Miami Commissioner Ken Russell and Miami- Dade County School Board Member Maritere Rojas, is hosting a Town Hall Meeting to discuss plans for the Coconut Grove Playhouse, proper use of General Obligation Bond funds, and the Historic and Environmental Preservation Board (HEPB) that calls for restoration.  

Constituents and stakeholders are invited to attend as well as other prominent figures of the community.

Town Hall Meeting
Date and Time: Thursday, November 30
5:00 to 7:00 pm
Location: City of Miami City Hall, Chambers
3500 Pam American Drive.

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They are not happy with the County's Playhouse plan

 Katrina Morris posted this on one of the Facebook groups. I thought it was important to share it as you may remember that Katrina, along with Barbara Lange filed an appeal in April regarding the current Playhouse plans. 


Barbara Lange and I met with Michael Spring (Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, and head of this playhouse project), and the County to go over the proposed plans for the Coconut Grove Playhouse and Barbara and I walked out almost in tears. We had high hopes after a meeting with them in June that they would take the community's concerns into consideration while fleshing out their plans. This was so obviously not done.

The excuse we were given was that the original building was a movie theater and that it couldn't be restored, so they would just keep the facade, put in retail, restaurants, a parking garage and residences and demolish the theater and rebuild. Their plan to "incorporate original elements" is to stick them in the lobby with plaques.

I find this personally insulting. I think they chose the wrong firm for the job. As far as I know there was no bidding process (even though public funds will be used) and Arquitectonica was chosen without any public input. There is no doubt they are spectacular architects, but not for a restoration project like this. They are trying to modern the crap out of this thing.
I am attaching three images. One of the playhouse as it is now, one of a rendering by Richard Heisenbottle, who oversaw the restoration of the Colony Theater (which is gorgeous and was originally a movie theater) and the AMAZING Olympia Theater, and the Arquitectonica plan as it stands now. Please tell me what you guys think.
There is a community meeting tonight October 19 to discuss the plans. I encourage everyone to show up and voice their opinions.

Katrina Morris



Heisenbottle's design.


The current plan.

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If only it could last forever . . .

The City of Miami has implemented a moratorium on construction during the holiday season starting November 21 and ending January 2.

This includes Coconut Grove, Brickell, downtown Miami, Wynwood, etc.

All contractors and utility companies "shall be demobilized" and adhere to the requirements: all equipment and materials shall be removed from the right-of-way; all trenches shall be back-filled and restored with hot asphalt patch; all sidewalks shall be restored in like condition.

Utility companies will only be permitted to do emergency work.

This is fantastic. The Grove is impossible to get around these days, it seems like every other road is blocked or under construction. I forgot what it's like to just have peace and quiet in the village. Let's savor it for this brief period of time!

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

UM law students to discuss CRAs

Commissioner Ken Russell proposed a Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) for the West Grove.

The Grove United Environmental Health Coalition will host law students from the University of Miami School of Law Environmental Justice Clinic for an educational presentation on the pros and cons of CRAs (Community Redevelopment Agencies).

The presentation will take place Thursday, October 19 at 6:00 pm at St. James Baptist Church (3500 Charles Avenue).

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Commissioner Russell is guest speaker at Rotary

Comm. Russell
District Commissioner Ken Russell is the guest speaker at the rotary luncheon on Thursday, October 19.  

First elected in 2015, Commissioner Russell is an International Business Executive having done business in over 40 countries. As Commissioner, it has been his goal to bring a new generation of leadership that seeks to usher positive solutions to City Hall.

Prior to his election Commissioner Russell was an activist for a better quality of life in Coconut Grove. He led the cleanup efforts for Merrie Christmas Park and founded an event that raised $125,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters. His priorities include forward-thinking transit solutions, smart development, reducing homelessness, prioritizing green space, and developing affordable housing initiatives in the City of Miami. 

Commissioner Russell will talk about the City's efforts in dealing with Hurricane Irma and its aftermath in the cleanup, as well as the issues of rising sea levels in the City. He will also address the need to renew the City's General Obligation bond that is on next month's ballot.  

Everyone is welcome.  RSVP to coconutgroverotaryclub@gmail.com.

The luncheon is at the Coconut Grove Sailing Club (2990 South Bayshore Drive) at 12:15 pm. The cost for lunch is $25.

Parking at the club is reserved for Sailing Club members; please park at local lots or on the street.

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Saying goodbye to our friends at 33 Kitchen

Chef Sebastian Fernandez and Leslie Ames of 33 Kitchen.

On Sunday, October 29, 33 Kitchen will say goodbye to Coconut Grove after two great years.

Chef Sebastian Fernandez and his wife and partner Leslie Ames, need to evolve and start working in their upcoming project, Leslie at Little Havana, their new restaurant which they plan to open in the fall of 2018. 

Sebastian is creating two restaurants at 7th Street, one with fresh ingredients over a wood oven and the second, more refined where he can create his recipes from around the World.

"In the meantime, this October, as a way to say farewell to our beloved Coconut Grove, we created a $33 Menu honoring the Peruvian food that put us in the spotlight as one of the best restaurants in Miami by The Miami Herald and Best Peruvian by the New times," says Leslie.

The $33  menu includes an appetizer, a main dish and a glass of Wine.

They will be taking reservations only these last days. You can make a reservation at 33kitchen.com, email at dinnerthirtythree@yahoo.com or by phone at 786-899-0336. 

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Village Council Candidates Forum - Steve Dloogoff

Nine seats are up for election on November 7, for the Coconut Grove Village Council. 15 people are running for the nine seats. The Grapevine is giving candidates a chance to tell their story as to why they deserve your vote.  We have asked all the candidates the same five questions and we'll post the results here as they come in. 

STEVE DLOOGOFF

Grapevine: Why do you feel you would be a good Village Council Member? 


STEVE: My business experience has instilled in me the importance of working as a team, and the ability to accept the responsibility of an issue, analyze it carefully and create reasonable solutions to resolve the issue.  As a retired business executive, I have the time and energy to contribute to the position of a member of the Coconut Grove Village Council.

G: What would you like to accomplish during your time on the Council? Objectives?
Steve Dloogoff

S:
Recognize we are one Coconut Grove, understanding there are specific issues that need to be resolved throughout The Grove. Respectably work with the entire community working together to resolve specific issues for in The Grove.  Projects? Affordable housing, Integrity in zoning of all Coconut Grove, Safe Bicycle Lanes, Crosswalk Safety in Center Grove, Replace trees that were lost in the storm, and raise private funds to plant 1,000 trees in 1,000 days, Residential speed limits, Attract new business to The Grove, and work to help resolve the Old Smoky issue. 

G: What is your favorite part of Coconut Grove? 

S: The togetherness of the community, tree canopy, the feeling that we are a community that cares for each other and all issues, as a small town community within a big city.
   

G: What is your least favorite part of Coconut Grove? 


S: The bureaucracy that exists between the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County.   Many times, neither one seems to take ownership of an issue, and will say:  “That’s a City of Miami Issue OR that’s a Miami-Dade Issue.  The preverbal: “good guy bad guy routine.”


G: How long have you lived in the Grove? 


S: 29 years, from 
Omaha, NE; a new job drew me here.



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As these forums come in, they will be all listed here for you to see.

 VC-Candidates-2017

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Another Grove Playhouse meeting is Thursday

The county sent out background materials regarding the Coconut Grove Playhouse meeting which is Thursday, October 19 at the Miami-Dade County Auditorium. I'm not sure why this is not inside the Grove, but that bothers me.  What's ironic is that this meeting would have been held inside the playhouse in better times.

So these are the current plans with changes made since the April meeting.  There have been other plans and ideas, but the City's HEP Board approved the county's plans. I really feel that this should have been voted on by the public. You know, have a bunch of plans, whittle it down to three and vote. 

This image above does not bother me except for the buildings all around the playhouse, but that's progress, I guess. It sort of reminds me of those old photos you see where there is one house standing or one building in 1909 or something, and then you see today's image of the same space and it's all high rises and the original building is gone or dwarfed.

The main issue is the main theater inside and that's going to be an on-going fight for a long time. Save it or rebuild it? That's the never ending debate.



The meeting is from 6 to 8 pm. Please RSVP here.

The material can be found here.

And the design renderings and drawings can be seen here.

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Welcome back to the Grove, Grovetoberfest!

Grovetoberfest came back to Coconut Grove on Saturday, they ended up at Miami Marine Stadium for a year. But now it's back in the Grove, but with a new and probably better location - Regatta Park.


As usually is the case, thousands came out for beer, music, food and lots of fun on a beautiful day. I can't help but smile when I look at these photos. This is what Coconut Grove is all about.
BizBash Florida has consistently put the festival on their Top Events list, and The Wall Street Journal included it in their coverage of iconic things to do in Miami. Recently, Yelp! placed Grovetoberfest and its sister craft beer festival, Sprung!, on their list of Top Ten Festivals. 


Grovetoberfest continues to be one of the top craft beer festivals in the country and the top festival in Florida. It attracts 6,500 beer enthusiasts and hundreds of breweries offering over 400 different brews. Many beer companies have used Grovetoberfest as a launching pad for new beers and even new brew houses. “A lot of brewers working here in Miami started off at Grovetoberfest; either as homebrewers or breweries in planning. The festival was the first time for them to meet the masses, and that’s something we’re very proud of,” explained Tony Abelo, head honcho.








Photos courtesy Grovetoberfest

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Monday, October 16, 2017

We have a new Police Commander

Our current Grove Police Commander Mike Gonzalez has been promoted to the rank of Major. Effective Wednesday October 18, he will assume new responsibilities in the police department and Coconut Grove will have a new Police Commander named Chiquita F. Thomas-Butler. Welcome to Commander Butler and congrats to Major Gonzalez.


Commander Butler
Commander Butler has 20 years of law enforcement experience all of which have been with the City of Miami Police Department. She is a proud graduate of Miami Norland Senior High, class of 1992. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice, a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership, and is currently preparing to pursue her PhD in Theology. She is also a graduate of the prestigious Southern Police Institute, Command Officer Development Course class #73. 

During her career, Commander Butler has had the opportunity to work in various capacities throughout the agency to include: the Problem Solving Team in Coconut Grove, Neighborhood Resource Officer in Coconut Grove, Criminal Investigations, and the Training Unit. 

Commander Butler has over 35 years of Martial Arts experience. She is a four time Florida Black Belt Association Champion and a two time Florida National Champion. She is also well trained in Armed Confrontations and Hand to hand combat. Commander Butler is also deeply rooted in the community and believes in serving the City of Miami’s residents as well as Miami Dade County at large to the best of her abilities. She is the president of her own mentoring program, Butler’s Angels, and serves as a member of the Coconut Grove Negro Woman’s Club, and is a past member of the Miami Bahamas Goombay Festival in Coconut Grove, Incorporated. She has been deemed an Unsung Hero by the Miami SOL and the Helen Bentley Family Health Center, Inc. of Coconut Grove. She was also honored as Law Enforcement Officer of the year by Zeta Phi Beta Sorority. Commander Butler still considers it an honor and privilege to dedicate herself to serve the community.

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Check out the Arbor, Coconut Grove's Boutique Eco-Living Community
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Barktoberfest featured at The Spillover

The Spillover now has stone crabs and oysters and they are presenting Barktoberfest on Halloween, Tuesday, October 31 from 4 to 7 pm.

Activities include:  
-Dog Costume Contest.
-Trick-for-a-Treat Contest. Best dog trick performed wins!
-Collecting donations of dog food, dog beds, leashes etc. to benefit our local shelters.
-Photo booth w/ tons of fun props.
-Pumpkin painting for kids. 

The Spillover is at the Mayfair Promenade.

Vicky's House on Commodore Plaza is now serving a Halloween themed milkshake named "Gouls Just Wanna Have Fun." It's a chocolate milkshake with a cream cheese frosted rim dusted in Reese’s Pieces, topped with chocolate mousse whipped cream, Oreo cookie crumbles, and a Jack-O-Lantern Ice Cream Sandwich by @wynwoodparlor which is orange cake chocolate chip cookies with vanilla ice cream rolled in chocolate sprinkles.


Veteran's day November 10, Lokal on Commodore Plaza and and Spillover at the Mayfair Promenade will be offering a free PBR beer to all service members in uniform. 

And at their sister location. Kush Wynwood, they are featuring a Beer Float Party on Friday, October 27. 

It's an ice cream party with craft beer! Sweet Melody Ice Cream is featured, try one of these epic floats, which includes Founders Green Zebra Watermelon Gose paired with Key Lime Pie Ice Cream, Southern Tier Salted Caramel paired with Salted Caramel Ice Cream and MIA Kaptain Kush paired with Doughnut Cream Ice Cream.

Kush is located at 2003 N. Miami Avenue, Miami.   

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