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Sunday, August 20, 2017

Visiting the Peacock Inn

A guy posted this photo on one of the history pages I follow on Facebook. It's The Peacock Inn which was in Peacock Park. The inn was built in 1882 by Charles Peacock, this photo is from 1896-1898. There were three buildings that were converted into the one structure. 

I never realized it was so large before, but you can see the people on the veranda in this photo by comparison. This photo below is how I always picture the Peacock Inn, this is Christmas Day 1886.



But if you look at this angle, you can see the three structures that make one.
And these are winter visitors on the porch in 1890.

I would love to see what it looked like inside, you know, the common areas and the hotel rooms; probably like something you see on Gunsmoke or Maverick ,I guess.

The photos come from Florida Memory, from the State Archives of Florida.

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Saturday, August 19, 2017

School starts Monday!

The first day of school in the Miami-Dade County Public School System is Monday, August 21. The county's 345,000 public school students will be welcomed by the 40,000 dedicated employees of the fourth largest school system in the United States. 

The 2017-2018 school term consists of two semesters with observation of most legal holidays and teacher workdays. The school year will end on Friday, June 7, 2018. Parents and guardians of students attending private and parochial schools should contact those institutions directly for information about school start days.

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New book showcases Hurricane Andrew

That ominous anniversary is coming up - August 24 will be the 25 year anniversary of Hurricane Andrew. 

On August 24, 1992, the most damaging hurricane to hit the US in nearly a century slammed into Miami-Dade County. Photographer and Grovite Barry Fellman has a new book out called, "Hurricane," which shows the drama and devastation wreaked by the Category 5 storm through spectacular bold images, most of which have never been seen before. The book focuses on the effect of the storm’s extreme forces at the Kendall-Tamiami airport, just blocks away from Country Walk, the residential community that was completely decimated at this pivotal moment in Florida history.


Barry's color photographs pack a punch that hits you with the intensity of a once in a lifetime event. These pictures transport you to an unreal world where the photographer transforms chaos into art.

"I put them away for a couple of decades in a box that stayed closed - they were too much to deal with at the time. I started thinking about the photos more and more and after a (long) while decided I was good to get them out and look. Last year I thought with 25 coming up that seemed to be a good target date to get them out," says Barry.

Hurricane features essays by New York Times photography critic Vicki Goldberg, and then WTVJ-NBC chief meteorologist and hero Bryan Norcross, "the man who talked South Florida through" the Great Hurricane of 1992.

The book will be available starting August 24, exactly twenty five years to the day after Andrew hit. 

Both a limited edition Artist’s Book with a handcrafted embossed metallic cover, and a soft cover edition will be available. Each edition features painstakingly reproduced color-accurate full page images, individually printed to give the impact of the photographer's original large format color transparencies.

Miami based Exile books is publishing an Artist's Book with a handcrafted metallic cover evoking the twisted airplanes in the book's images. There is also a soft cover edition. An exhibition of the photos will be up at Books and Books in Coral Gables during the month of September. The book will also be featured during a weekend presentation at the Miami Book Fair. There will be a presentation by the author and publisher on September 13, 8:00 pm at Books and Books Coral Gables store at 265 Aragon Avenue.

Barry Fellman’s photographs have been exhibited at museums, galleries and public venues in South Florida and nationally. Barry, a native Miamian, has contributed to the cultural landscape as an artist, educator and curator. He currently serves as director of Center for Visual Communication, a South Florida based non-profit organization that provides visual arts resources and programming to government, schools and cultural institutions. He is a Silver Knight awardee and is a recipient of a Pollock-Krasner grant for visual arts.

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Friday, August 18, 2017

There's a new after school program in the Grove

Benchmark Miami Academy is a new school in Coconut Grove, located at 3015 Grand Avenue (suite 237). They held a ribbon cutting ceremony earlier this week.

And this Saturday, August 18, Benchmark is holding a free art workshop at 10 am for young artists 5 to 15 years old. There will be art lessons, tasty treats, giveaways, cake and more. Please RSVP for this: info@benchmarkmiami.com or call 305-215-7441.

Benchmark is is an expansion of a typical school with the addition of an outstanding after-school enrichment program. Their mission is to create a space where children feel welcome to improve in their academic curriculum once the school day is over in order to expand their horizons and creativity into other educational branches. They give them the opportunity to choose from activities pertaining to academics, sports and life skills as well as the option to participate in clubs geared towards finance, architecture, art, sports and science.

They also offer seasonal camps, which are available for ages 5-15. Benchmark Miami Academy will be open Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 4 pm.

For info: info@benchmarkmiami.com or 305-215-7441.

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Talking about Grove history with Ken Treister

Ken Treister
I had a conversion with Ken Treister, famous architect around these parts, who designed so many well-known structures in Coconut Grove from the Shoppes at Mayfair to Yacht Harbour condo to the Office in the Grove, now on the chopping block on South Bayshore Drive. He also designed the Holocaust Memorial on Miami Beach.

Office in the Grove was the second office building built in Coconut Grove. The Coconut Grove Bank was the first. 

Mr. Treister lives in central Florida now and has not been here in the Grove for awhile. I told him what the Coconut Grove Bank property is now - massive out of scale high rises. He was shocked. I told him how I was in Coral Gables the other day and I literally could see the massive buildings from there at street level!  Scale is important to him when it comes to architecture. 

Regarding the Office in the Grove, as a kid, I remember when the office building was new, there was a sign up on the berm that said, "If you lived here, you would be home by now." Funny how things like that stick in your head. 

Mr. Treister told me that he was part of a group that planted many trees you see on Main Highway and Grand Avenue now (well, most are being destroyed on Grand Avenue now), but many were his doing with partners like Lester Pancoast, son of Russell Pancoast, one of the key architects in the early days of Miami Beach. He says trees are the most important part of a streetscape and a building. 

"The secret of a city is trees. Trees hide ugly architecture, they give shade and cool the city, they give the neighborhood a sense of scale," says Mr. Treister. He still refers to Coconut Grove as a village. So do I.

We were talking about the original Mayfair which was an incredible space - an elegant indoor/outdoor mall, "with a lot of greenery," says Mr. Treister. The Mayfair Hotel still has so many of the same elements left, their atrium looks pretty much as the mall looked when it was enclosed.

He doesn't mind the offices taking over retail, as he says that is a sign of the times, but I think he does wonder about the fact that they tore down so much of his structure to open it up to the street, which obviously failed to bring in retail customers, as it is offices now.

Docomomo US / Florida, the local chapter of Docomomo International, applied to the City of Miami Historic and Environmental Preservation Board requesting them to designate Mr. Treister's Office in the Grove a historic, architectural resource. Mr. Treister is proud of this building. He described to me the purpose of the grass berm, the fact that parking is hidden and he explained the style - having the three bottom floors open and airy.

There is a petition to stop the demolition of this building. I'll share it when I receive the link for that.  There is a hearing coming up this fall and it would be great if we could prevent another part of our history from becoming a massive condo or office building.



Office in the Grove. Photo by Dan Forer.

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Pearl Jam concert in the Grove? Dan has a plan

Dan Travieso at 2016's FestiDan

So we normally would be celebrating FestiDan this weekend, as today is Dan Travieso's birthday. Every year for 10 years, Dan threw a big party to raise money for charity. Dan retired FestiDan after last year's event.

But now Dan has a plan. He wants to bring a big concert to Peacock Park next summer and he wants Pearl Jam to perform! 

Pearl Jam has no clue about this, they have not been approached and it's just an idea in Dan's head, but this afternoon, Dan started a social media campaign to make it happen. The concert will also be live streamed, as the park only holds 10,000 people!

For more info, check out his FestiDan site here.  You can see Dan's social media plan, which includes using the hashtag #PearlJamSavesFestidan. There are membership costs too to help pay for the event. I'm not sure how much Pearl Jam costs but it is a charity event, which benefits Castaways Against Cancer, which FestiDan has always done - raise money for charity.

"Hopefully we get enough traction on social media and enough people reach out to them in the various ways to get their attention.  It may be a long shot, but hey, my goal is to get Pearl Jam to Coconut Grove by any means necessary! " says Dan. He started his social media campaign at noon today, August 17.

I think Dan may have better luck getting Pearl Jam than having the City of Miami approve a concert in Peacock Park these days, but we hope he gets it done!


But could the future of FestiDan now be concert promoter? You know, Dan  can arrange and promote a big concert every summer? Why not?


 Pearl Jam in the Grove?

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New color-coded public notices are introduced

The City has announced that effective immediately, new public notice posters will be used to provide notification for upcoming public hearings and they will be color coded. They will not be using the ubiquitous red posters anymore. The new posters are orange. blue and green.

According to the City, "The color of the poster will indicate to all the board at which an application (or appeal) will be heard."

The color of the posters are assigned as follows:


Orange poster – Planning and Zoning matters to be heard at City Commission
Blue poster – Historic and Environmental Preservation Board 
Green poster – Planning, Zoning and Appeals Board 

Also, the name and telephone number of the planner working on the application will be printed on each notice. So this is excellent because you can speak directly with someone about an issue or upcoming meeting advertised on the posters.

The color code is excellent because you can easily spot from a distance, if it's an issue you are interested in - P&Z or Historic, etc.



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'Good to Code' Free Coding Workshops for Girls

Photo Credit: Christian Arevalo

SapientRazorfish is teaming up with CodeArt, a Miami-based nonprofit focused on computer science education for girls, on “Good to Code,” a series of coding workshops aimed at sparking girls’ interest in computer science through digital art. The workshops will be held at SapientRazorfish’s Coconut Grove office and will include guest lectures from SapientRazorfish thought leaders.

Despite the growing number of high-paying technical jobs, women make up only 18 percent of computer science undergraduates in the United States. This is down from 37 percent in 1984. This decline is partly due to the rise in popularity of gaming over the past 30 years. Boys, on average, start coding at an earlier age than girls, often because of their interest in computer gaming. When girls wait until high school or college to take their first computer science class, they are less likely to stick with it because they feel they are behind their male peers.

To offset this, they use art to encourage girls to get into coding at an early age. “Much like computer games are often an onramp to coding for boys, CodeArt uses art as an onramp to coding for girls,” said Amy Austin Renshaw, Executive Director of CodeArt. “Our workshops teach students how to write computer programs that generate different types of art.” 

The partnership between CodeArt and SapientRazorfish - a company that combines creativity and technology to positively impact the world - is a natural fit. By combining forces, they will give participating girls an introduction to coding through their curriculum and a better understanding of technical careers through guest lectures. “It is important to encourage more young women to study computer science. We get better results when we have diversity of voice and perspective on our technical teams,” said Eduardo Legorburu, Global Production Services Lead at SapientRazorfish.

The workshop series is free and open to girls in grades 4-8, who either live in or attend school in Coconut Grove. The workshop series consists of five monthly Sunday workshops that build on each other, with the fifth session being a showcase event for family and friends. No prior coding experience is required, but accepted participants must attend all five sessions. 

CodeArt instructor Anna Mistele commented, “This is an amazing opportunity. CodeArt inspires such incredible growth in everyone it touches. I’ve watched tentative students become skilled and confident as they progress through the workshops, and I’ve watched complete beginners learn in just one day to develop their own creative programs.” Middle school student Jenna Hart added, “At CodeArt [workshops], I’ve learned to refine my current coding skills, but I’ve also learned some exciting new coding skills, especially in animation!”

Workshops take place from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm on September 24, October 15, November 12, December 10, and January 7, 2018 at SapientRazorfish at 2911 Grand Avenue.

Lunch is included. Applications are being accepted online at https://code-art.com/SR_CodeGirl. The deadline for applying is Monday, August 28. Applicants will be notified if they have been accepted by Friday, September 8.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Asleep at the job?

A friend complained to the City about illegal signage recently and he included me in the emails. It makes me question the competence of our city Zoning Department.

The case is about an illegal sign, advertising a condo. The sign is on South Bayshore Drive and the condo is a block away, back on the water. You cannot see the condo from the sign and one good reason is because the condo has not broken ground yet, but even so, even after it's built, you would not be able to see the sign from the condo and vice versa.

The developers purchased a house on the corner of South Bayshore Drive, just for the purpose of planting a sign out front to advertise their condo in the back. It started with a huge marble or stone sign dug deep into the ground, right on the front lawn. The sign was at least 6 feet x 3 feet. The neighborhood were incensed. After contacting the Zoning Dept. for quite awhile, the sign was finally removed. But it took effort. The zoning people would claim to come out and not see the sign. But you could not help but see the sign. I truly believe they just don't leave their offices to inspect complaints.

I have had this issue with potholes which I've reported to 311, using their app. I posted photos with the address and I would get a form letter every time saying they went out, could not find the potholes and the "case is closed." The Case is Closed! They don't follow up, they just close the case. They have done the same with these illegal signs.

Back to the house and sign - after the large 6 foot marble sign was finally removed, a smaller sign was placed, but that was removed because it was illegal. The developer has been claiming to zoning that it's a 30 day temporary sign, and rather than inspect it, zoning just takes their word. The 30 days signs could be the type you use to sell houses or advertise a political candidate.

Now there is a "for sale" sign on the property, the type you would see on properties being sold, only they are allowed for 30 days and they must be on the property that is being sold. But this sign has been up for months and it is on the house property, a block from the actual property it is advertising. Imagine if I was selling my house and I had a sign on the lawn of all of my neighbors pointing to my house, sort of like a garage sale sign, but only permanent.

My friend has been going back and forth with zoning and they have used the same excuses as they always have - "the inspector went out and did not see anything." I think if they really would go out and open their eyes, they would see things.

My friend received an email and it said something to the effect, "We will go out and measure the sign to see if it conforms to Miami21." The issue was the illegal placement and the length of time that it is there, not the size of the sign. That's when I got involved, I really laid into the City in that email string, but it just frustrated me to see that they use the same excuse on every complaint - "No such thing." As if we are seeing things and when they arrive, the thing is not there. To be honest, the sign does not bother me, what bothers me is when they return emails that say, "There is nothing there." Every email comes back saying that. Every. Single. Time.

One time I literally had to print out a Google map of a pothole and put a big red X on the spot. That may have helped. I guess it did, the pothole is fixed. But I'm sure many cars were ruined until they city got their act together and fixed it. There are two right now on a street I drive through often. Big ones, both about 1 foot wide x 1/2" foot deep. Two right next to each other. I reported it Monday, let's see how long it takes for them to be fixed.

Here is an image of the potholes. If you hit these hard while driving, they will do damage.




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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

MCA Academy unveils new look

Here's some photos showing the facility and amenities at MCA Academy at Mayfair. They've moved to another floor in the complex and here's a preview of what the classroom and common areas look like. They are accepting new students now.

MCA provides a challenging, fully accredited and individualized program from 1st to 12th grade, nationally recognized as having an above average academic level.
Class size is small allowing every child to receive personal attention and work to full potential. Therefore, there is limited homework.

To find out more visit their website: mcaacademy.com

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Some changes on the trolley route

I took the free trolley again yesterday because I was getting new tires, so I left my car at the station and took the trolley home and then back again to pick up the car. There have been some changes since the last time I used the trolley. On June 4, they changed the route.

There are good points to this and not so good. The best thing is that it covers more of Coconut Grove, so almost everyone in the North and Center Grove can get to where they need to go. You can take it to Shell Lumber now and both Metrorail stations - 27th Avenue and 37th Avenue and you can even take it to Merrick Park. The trolley now goes down 27th Avenue and Oak Avenue and it really does cover a large area.

This is the new map, click on it for a larger version or you can see more details at the city's website here.



This map doesn't show exactly the direction the trolley is going so it's a bit confusing, but basically, it comes from Mercy Hospital, goes down South Bayshore Drive to Mary Street, turns up Grand and goes straight down to Douglas and crosses the highway. After that, it's a bit tricky, it winds around that area and ends up at the 37th Avenue Metrorail station then comes out to US1 and crosses on Bird Avenue back into the Grove and here is where the change comes in, rather than turning onto McDonald back into the Grove, it now goes all the way down Bird Avenue it turns onto 27th and goes toward US1, crosses to the Metrorail and then comes back down 27th Avenue and goes to the peanut and turns on Tigertail and then onto Oak. It then turns on McDonald at Oak and ends up back in it's old route, stopping at Fuller Street and proceeding back to South Bayshore Drive and back to Mercy hospital. A bit confusing, but it covers a large area.

The negatives are that the wait times are much longer now and what used to maybe take 20 minutes takes up to an hour in travel time, since the route is much longer. It makes a weird pass through the industrial area of Coral Gables, on the other side of US1 and then ends up at the Metrorail after that.

But hey, it's free and convenient. People are nice on the trolley and so are the drivers. I would just allow a bit more time to get where you're going now. There is an app which is great because you can see the trolleys moving on the map in real time, so you know when to go to the stop and when to expect them.

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Monday, August 14, 2017

Tree hacking continues



So this was the scene at Jaguar restaurant early today, Monday, August 14. I guess the claim that all things would be stopped and discussed was a lie from our government.

To be honest, I understand what they are doing and this has been the plan for a long time, but either Friday or over the weekend, we were told that the Grand Avenue project would be halted and discussed. Guess not. Hope that's not the case with the Loquat project.

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Eagerly booting cars

Regarding the booting of cars and Premier Booting screwing the city. Someone mentioned to me that a lot of the problem is the moving away from people to automation. Most of the parking lots had people on duty at booths, where you paid to park. This alleviated the need for booting. But the booting company found a way around this, too.

I think I told the story before. I used to park in the Coconut Grove Bank Lot before it became condos. There was an attendant there from about 10 am to 10 pm daily and the lot was always open, even when the attendant was not present.


I would park there early weekend mornings and walk over to the gym, this was about 7 and/or 8 am. There was no attendant at that time and people would want to pay, but there was no one to pay, there were no meters in the lot because there was an attendant to pay. When they were on duty. I had a decal for monthly parking so I just used automatically used the lot.

Others would park the cars early, try to pay, find no one to pay and then walk off to eat breakfast or whatever. When they returned, they were booted. This was quite the racket. As you may know, city meters don't go into effect until 10 am, so you can park there for free until 10 am and I assume people thought the same of the parking lots.

So the booting company always had a hold on people. I was booted more than once in that lot and I had to call the booting company and point out the paid sticker in my window. They were so gung-ho to boot cars that they would overlook that people did pay to park in many instances. Some mornings I would return from the gym and see 20 cars booted. So that's what made me laugh about the booting company claiming that in their 20 lots that they cover, they only boot 7 cars a day, total. 

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About those trees at the Water and Sewer Dept.

Residents are concerned with the trees at the  Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Dept. on LeJeune and Loquat Avenue.  You'll noticed that many of them are marked.

The county is putting in a sidewalk and it seems that rather than go around the trees, they are cutting down nine large fully grown trees to do it.

But that many not be the case.




 The original plan was an artistic sidewalk along Loquat. The winding sidwalk would have gone through the trees.

A shoddy contractor came in and destroyed the trees by digging too close to them, exposing the roots. Poincianas and old oaks were hurt.


What is the next step? Someone from the county then came in and started marking the trees with big orange X's. 



But thanks again to questions from the community, the City has stepped in and they are working with the Water and Sewer Dept. They did an assessment and the Department says they will protect the healthy trees. 

One question - why are there always unhealthy trees on all projects the city and county does and why are those unhealthy trees always just coincidentially in the way of whatever they are doing. The healthy trees are the ones that are not affecting the projects, but the ones that affect the projects are "unhealthy."

As of now, all worked related to the project has been haulted. There will be a city meeting on the site in the near future to discuss the project.


It helps when neighbors speak up. The Grand Avenue project is on hold and now this sidewalk project at the Water and Sewer Dept.


UPDATE: The trees at Jaguar restaurant on Grand Avenue are being cut as of 9 am this morning So I'm not sure what to believe anymore.

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Sunday, August 13, 2017

Craft Spirits Festival is coming back in the Fall


The Craft Spirits Festival (CSF), returns for its 5th year from October 9 - 13. This is the original exhibition of craft, artisanal, boutique, super premium, small-batch spirits and cocktails.

The CSF showcases spirit producers, brand ambassadors, bartenders and beverage industry leaders who are influencing today’s craft spirit and craft cocktail culture. The CSF also provides the opportunity for consumers to learn, interact and truly experience spirits & cocktails. 

While the five-day celebration will peak with the “Grand Tasting” at the Cruz Building in Coconut Grove, the preceding days are packed with bartender competitions, happy hours and more. 

Here are some of the activities:

Saturday, October 7
The CSF Kick-Off Pop-Up Bar happens at a secret location in Miami. A small number of ticket buyers will be chosen to join the industry professionals, bartenders and other VIP’s to this very special event featuring one of a kind cocktails at a secret speakeasy location. 
By invitation only.

Monday, October 9
BareKnuckle Bartender Finale at TBD at 8 pm. Come watch Miami bartenders compete to make their best cocktails to earn the coveted title of Craft Spirits Fest’s BareKnuckle Bartender Champ. Free and open to the public. Details to come.

Tuesday, October 10
Smoke & Spirits, our celebration of cigar and spirits, featuring our Official Cigar Sponsor – Drew Estate happens at Prime Cigar in Brickell. 
Open to the public. Ticketed event. Details to come.

Wednesday, October 11
In honor of the Breast Cancer Awareness month, they present the 4th Annual Women, Whiskey & Wieners at The Mighty (2224 Coral Way). Featuring the finest women in the spirits industry representing: Glenfiddich, Michter’s, Old Forrester, Wild Turkey and more. A $20 donation will score you some awesome American Whiskey samples, cocktails and house-made wieners and more.  Open to the public. Tickets available at the door.

Friday, October 13
The Grand Tasting is the Craft Spirit Festival's main event, and it’s happening from 7:30 to 10:30 pm at the Cruz Building in Coconut Grove (3157 Commodore Plaza). This event brings together 30+ spirit producers from across the country/world for a comprehensive, large-scale tasting event. Over 120+ different spirits and cocktails will be available to sample. At bars throughout the building, Miami’s best bartenders from the U.S. Bartenders’ Guild will serve amazing craft cocktails. Pair a cocktail with free food samples from local restaurants. Tickets for Grand Tasting are $75 and are extremely limited. 
Tickets available at: CraftSpiritsFest2017.Mixstir.com

Friday, October 13-14
Any great Party needs a great “After Party."  The Tank Brewing Co. will present the CSF Beer Chaser, after imbibing all those great spirits; nothing is better than a nice cold brew.  The After Party starts at 10 pm and will continue until the wee hours at Taurus: Beer & Whisk(e)y House (3524 Main Hwy). Attendees of the Grand Tasting receive a complimentary Tank brew plus other food and drink specials throughout the night!


For more information of the Craft Spirits Festival Week of events and for tickets please visit CraftSpiritsFest.com

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Saturday, August 12, 2017

Caught by their own greed?

There's an interesting story about Premier Booting, the company that is booting cars all around the Grove. 

I have received so many complaints over the years from people wanting me to me to do stories. One prominent Grove businessman had an idea to sort of vandalize their signs to warn people about parking in the lots that use the booting company! That's how frustrated people are.  

I did a story here in May, where the Police Commander, Mike Gonzalez, added a bunch of things not do to so as not to get booted. There were mixed reactions. People feel that if you illegally park, you should be booted or ticketed. Fair enough. But now Premier Booting is being questioned by the city about the city's share of the booting fees, they feel that they were allegedly cheated out of $186,000 and more.

And you know what my question is? Was the City of Miami screwing over their residents? The City gets $25 from every $89 booting fee. Why? 

Why does the City always have its hand out? We lost most of the events here in the Grove because of the City's greed, they have their hand out for everything. I'm no friend of the booting company either, that stalks people and gives false tickets many times by allegedly deceptive practices.

I do blame the land owners where parking is allowed. Do you realize CVS and Yacht Harbor (they own and boot at the parking lot on Grand Avenue, next to the gym)  and all the other places that you are hurting residents and tourists and people who visit have told me to my face that they will never return to Coconut Grove because they were allegedly booted wrongly? If the city gets $25 of the booting fee, how much does Yacht Harbor get? How much does CVS get? And the US post office, how much do they get as their cut? And the lot on Fuller Street? 


The booting company is a menace to Coconut Grove, but so is the City of Miami. Here is a full story in the Herald about the alleged booting scam (where the booting company scammed the city), which I sort of like. You know, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. But in the end, I'd like to see the booting company fired and the city stop screwing over the residents.

From the Herald story: "Premier Booting, which manages more than 20 parking facilities, reported to Miami that it deployed an average of seven boots per day in the last year. In contrast, Elite Booting, which operates only three parking facilities, reported placing 18 boots on cars per day during the same period."

I had to laugh because I have practically seen Premier boot seven cars in seven minutes. Anyone can see it. Stand at the Yacht Harbor lot for a bit and see what goes on. They sit in the lots and stalk people and cars. They've almost killed people in the CVS lot because of the way they speed around trying to boot cars before people return to them. They speed from one end of the lot to the other like maniacs. It's all about quantity with them and for them to say they only boot seven cars a day? That makes me laugh.

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Friday, August 11, 2017

Tree cutting has been halted for now

Neighbors have been giving Commissioner Ken Russell an earful about the trees being removed on Grand Avenue.  The main issue is that the trees were not marked for removal, as they should be and the public did not have a chance to voice their concerns at community meetings.  People read the Grapevine story about the sudden hacking of  the trees and the open letter from TreeWatch, and then readers sent emails to the Commissioner to ask "why?"

Ken has now asked for the administration to halt the two projects on Grand Avenue and Bird Avenue. Ken says, "Until we can assess the viability and potential to preserve or relocate any of the trees slated for removal. I have also been walking and inspecting each of the trees as well. Several of the ones I saw truly do have visible rot in the trunk from the base to the top and are leaning over the road. There is not much we can do for these.  There are others however, which we will do our best to save or relocate."

Ken is also going through the notification process to make sure that all proper notification was posted for these removals. "If the process was not followed, the projects will not continue until proper public  notification and input have been followed and considered," he said.

Any mitigation replacement trees will be of the most mature state possible.

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Monty Trainer receives Hall of Fame award

Monty with his Hall of Fame award.
Monty Trainer was recently the recipient of the 2017 Coconut Grove Sports Hall of Fame award called the "Sports Saving Lives Community Leadership Award." He was awarded at a dinner/ceremony at the Courtyard Marriott here in Coconut Grove. 

For over 30 years, Monty was a member of the UM Golden Cane Society, where he provided the script to feed thousands of UM athletes. He also provided many restaurant jobs to college athletes and was known for his tailgate parties, with the Monty's Food Truck, one of the first in the State of Florida, which raised funds for the athletes. 

One of the main issues taught through the Coconut Grove Sports Hall of fame is the importance of leaving a legacy through investing in others. Their mission is to recognize and honor outstanding student athletes and coaches, who exemplify extraordinary sports accomplishments.

Monty is well-known for Monty's restaurant and as president of the Coconut Grove Arts Festival, among being part of many charitable groups and organizations and also fund-raising events like Taste of Miami, the Orange Bowl Parade, Super Bowl and more.

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