Monthly Archives: June 2017

‘Rich history of Sunny Isles Beach’ features Paul S. George, PhD, historian, author

By Bari Auerbach

As a prelude to its festive 20th anniversary celebration weekend, the City of Sunny Isle Beach hosted the Aventura Marketing Council/ Chamber of Commerce June breakfast meeting featuring Paul S. George, PhD, resident historian for History of Miami Museum, author of 15 books, over 200 reviews and past president of the Florida Historical Society.

FP.1 – Gary Pyott, Chairman, Aventura Marketing Council / Chamber of Commerce; Guest speaker Paul S. George, Ph.D.; Mayor Bud Scholl, Comm. Jeanette Gatto and City Manager Chris Russo, City of Sunny Isles Beach

FP.1 – Gary Pyott, Chairman, Aventura Marketing Council / Chamber of Commerce; Guest speaker Paul S. George, Ph.D.; Mayor Bud Scholl, Comm. Jeanette Gatto and City Manager Chris Russo, City of Sunny Isles Beach

Before George shared rich history and “little known secrets” of Sunny Isles Beach and surrounding areas, AMC Chairman Gary Pyott welcomed hundreds of business and community leaders to Trump International Resort along with Sunny Isles Beach Mayor George “Bud” Scholl, Vice Mayor Dana Goldman, Comm. Jeanette Gatto, City Manager Chris Russo, Deputy City Attorney Fernando Amuchastegui and Police Chief Fred Maas.

Considering the Sunny Isles Beach tax base now exceeds $11 billion, residents had much cause for celebration when the city recently hosted a 20th anniversary weekend extravaganza with music, food, fun and a fabulous fireworks finale.  In his State of the City address, Scholl reported, “For the fifth year in a row, we have reduced our millage rate. Our collective assessed real estate value, now over $11 billion, demonstrates the incredible value creation that has been experienced since incorporating in 1997.”

Scholl also highlighted progressive initiatives including beach renourishment; beautification and capital improvements including resurfacing of Collins Avenue following the undergrounding of utilities; innovative technology solutions; the opening of five-acre Gateway Park; and enhanced cultural events. New stellar properties including the Ritz Carlton Residences, Armani Casa, Turnberry Ocean Club, the Residence Inn by Marriott and Porsche Design continue to attract international visitors and residents to “Florida’s Riviera.”

Reflecting on the city’s remarkable renaissance, Paul George noted, “Sunny Isles Beach is spreading magical charm throughout the whole area and is probably the most rapidly- changing community in all of America.”

George’s whirlwind historical retrospective dated back to the 1800’s when U.S. mail carriers known as the “barefoot mailmen” had to travel on foot or by boat because there was no road connecting their route between Palm Beach and Miami. On their trek, they kicked off their shoes and walked along sandy shorelines near Sunny Isles Beach.

George also shared the pioneer spirit and contributions of entrepreneurial developers and architects who laid the groundwork for the area’s bright future including Harvey Graves, Henry Flagler, George Merrick and Norman Giller. He recalled the days of prohibition, gambling, segregation and World War II, when there was an army gunnery range at Bal Harbour. Then the heyday of the ‘40s and ‘50s when Sunny Isles Beach became the “motel capital of the world” renowned for the first two-story motor hotels with rooms for $4 a night; and the Castaways in the ‘60s with its famous aquarium bar and go-go dancers.

Reflecting on the good old days, decline and then return to glory days, George said, “Over the years, the incredible transformation of Sunny Isles Beach and its escalating tax base has been absolutely unbelievable.” Summing up the success story of Sunny Isles Beach, Mayor Scholl predicted, “Hopefully by this time next year we’ll be a ‘$12 billion sandbar.’ There are still great things on the horizon!”

For more information about Sunny Isles Beach, visit the city’s website sibfl.net or contact the Visitor Center: 305-792-1952 

Comcast/XFINITY and SHOWTIME host Student-Run Breakfast Meeting

By Bari Auerbach

Just before students celebrated graduation, Comcast/XFINITY Communities and SHOWTIME hosted the Aventura Marketing Council/ Chamber of Commerce annual Student-Run breakfast meeting featuring inspirational keynote speaker Supt. Alberto Carvalho, Miami- Dade County Public Schools, National and Florida Superintendent of the Year. The event highlighted school/business partnerships supported by the AMC – recipient of the Dade Partner of Excellence award four times and inducted into the Dade Partners Hall of Fame for four consecutive years.

Jon-Carlos Moreno, The Victory Center; Daniela Fedele, David Lawrence Jr. K-8 Center; Rachel Eskandry, Hochberg Preparatory; Zyad Sibai, Norman S. Edelcup Sunny Isles Beach K-8; Rachel Kostyukovsky, Aventura Waterways K-8 Center; Brian LaTorre, Comcast / XFINITY; Jennifer Jackson, SHOWTIME; Anais Menjivar, North Miami Beach Senior High; Salma Castillo, Aventura City of Excellence School; Sara Blake, Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High; Denzel Augustin, Madie Ives Elementary School; AMC Chairman Gary Pyott, FirstService Residential; Nathaniel Lundy, Grace Academy Int’l

Jon-Carlos Moreno, The Victory Center; Daniela Fedele, David Lawrence Jr. K-8 Center; Rachel Eskandry, Hochberg Preparatory; Zyad Sibai, Norman S. Edelcup Sunny Isles Beach K-8; Rachel Kostyukovsky, Aventura Waterways K-8 Center; Brian LaTorre, Comcast / XFINITY; Jennifer Jackson, SHOWTIME; Anais Menjivar, North Miami Beach Senior High; Salma Castillo, Aventura City of Excellence School; Sara Blake, Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High; Denzel Augustin, Madie Ives Elementary School; AMC Chairman Gary Pyott, FirstService Residential; Nathaniel Lundy, Grace Academy Int’l

Hundreds of business, community and education leaders gathered at the Newport Beachside Hotel & Resort  were impressed by the “best and brightest” students who expertly ran the meeting representing the AMC’s Dade Partner schools: Salma Castillo, Aventura City of Excellence School; Rachel Kostyukovsky, Aventura Waterways K-8 Center; Daniela Fedele, David Lawrence Jr. K-8 Center; Nathaniel Lundy, Grace Academy International;  Rachel Eskandry,  Hochberg Preparatory School;  Denzel Augustin, Madie Ives Elementary; Sara Blake, Dr. Michael M. Krop Sr. High; Zyad Sibai,  Norman S. Edelcup Sunny Isles Beach K-8 Center; Anais Menjivar, North Miami Beach Sr. High; and Jon-Carlos Moreno, The Victory Center.

Clicking over to XFINITY Communities outreach initiatives,  Brian LaTorre, Senior Director XFINITY Communities and SHOWTIME account executive Jennifer Jackson explained the “Internet Essentials” program supports education and gives families with a child eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program the opportunity to receive low-cost Internet service, discounted computer equipment and free digital literacy training,  To sign up, phone: 855-846-8376 or visit internet-essentials.com.

Excitement was also activated by the XFINITY X1 Entertainment Operating System, empowering TV and the Internet with advanced search, personalized recommendations, apps and the fastest in-home Wi-Fi for all rooms and devices.  “SHOWTIME Anytime” is free with subscriptions, facilitates unlimited access to hit movies, award-winning series, sports and much more on virtually any device.

Supt. Carvalho, who provides brilliant leadership for MDCPS, one of the nation’s highest- performing urban school systems, emphasized, “Technology creates equity. Kids who might not otherwise have access to digital content now do thanks to partnerships like the ones with Comcast.”

Celebrating impressive accolades, Carvalho reported, “Miami-Dade has an 84 percent graduation rate - higher than the state average and most urban districts across the state.”  He also noted seven Miami-Dade high schools are on the top 100 list published by U.S. News and World Report. MDCPS was also recently recognized by Magnet Schools of America for having more high- performing academies with more minority students than any other school system in the country. “Where others are failing and blaming it on diversity, we are succeeding because of diversity,” he said.

Beyond academic competency, Carvalho said education plays a role in building character and promoting personal, civic and work place advocacies. “By building bridges between hearts and minds, children can become the adults we hope and wish they will be. The powerful impact of adults, guiding and advising can overcome budget cuts, opportunity gaps and make all the difference, ensuring tomorrow’s workforce will be better prepared.”

“I’m proud of what we do, and of this community, and of our teachers, the freedom fighters of our generation.  Most of all, I’m proud of the children, for despite challenges, they show up every day hoping something great will happen in their lives,  and magic happens -  it’s called the schools. There is no promoting social mobility and economic success in our country if we fail to invest in public education.”

For more information, visit Comcast.com and Sho.com

 

North Dade Justice Center celebrates Law Day 2017

By Bari Auerbach

Business and community leaders recently collaborated with judges from the North Dade Justice Center to present the 58th annual Law Day celebration featuring Judge William Thomas, 11th Judicial Circuit.  Judges overseeing Law Day 2017, themed “The 14th Amendment, Transforming American Democracy”, were Associate Administrative Judge Linda Singer Stein, Judge Myriam Lehr, Judge Caryn Canner Schwartz, Judge Spencer Multack, Judge Betty Capote, Judge Jason Emilios Dimitris, Judge Diana Vizcaino, Judge Alex Bokor and Judge Linda Diaz.

FP.1 – (L to R) Judge Carlos Guzman; Judge Gina Beovides; Judge Alexander Bokor; Judge Myriam Lehr; JudgeSpencer Multack; Judge Bertila Soto; Judge Lisa Schwartz; Assoc. Administrative Judge Linda Singer Stein; Judge Betty Capote; Judge Karyn Canner Schwartz; Guest; Judge Diana Vizcaino; Guest Speaker Judge William Thomas; Judge Jason Emilios Dimitris

FP.1 – (L to R) Judge Carlos Guzman; Judge Gina Beovides; Judge Alexander Bokor; Judge Myriam Lehr; JudgeSpencer Multack; Judge Bertila Soto; Judge Lisa Schwartz; Assoc. Administrative Judge Linda Singer Stein; Judge Betty Capote; Judge Karyn Canner Schwartz; Guest; Judge Diana Vizcaino; Guest Speaker Judge William Thomas; Judge Jason Emilios Dimitris

Special guests included Chief Judge Bertila Soto, as well as county and circuit court judges, elected officials, law enforcement officials, Bar Association leaders, educators, and students from Alonzo and Tracy Mourning Sr. High Law Academy.

Law Day commenced with an invocation by Bal Harbour Village Mayor Gabriel Groisman; the Pledge of Allegiance led by the Bailiffs of the North Dade Justice Center; Color Guard presentation by Krop Sr. High’s NJROTC; and an inspiring rendition of “God Bless America” sung by talented 12-year-old vocalist Preston Howell.

During the event, proclamations were presented by Miami-Dade Commissioner Sally Heyman; Aventura Mayor Enid Weisman; Bay Harbor Islands Mayor Jordan Leonard; Sunny Isles Beach Vice Mayor Dana Goldman; North Miami Beach Commissioner Phyllis Smith and Kevin Brown, Legislative Ass’t. to Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert.  Proclamations  lauded Law Day as, “A public acknowledgement of our nation’s and state’s heritage of justice, liberty and quality under the law.”

Next on the docket, Chief Judge Soto introduced Judge Thomas, revered as “a brilliant jurist from humble beginnings, who has dedicated his life to public service to protect the legal rights of others.”  Thomas said, “The 14th Amendment resolved pre-Civil War questions of American citizenship by stating that all persons born and naturalized in the United States are citizens of the United States and in the state in which they reside. The Amendment reaffirmed the privileges and rights of all citizens, granting equal protections of the law.

“Choices central to personal dignity and autonomy are central to the liberties protected by the 14th Amendment. At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence. Some people believe you don’t make the marginal voice stronger because in doing so, you may make the privileged voices weaker. How long until we get it right? We should come together and we should start today. It’s time to conquer hate, ignorance and indifference and move our democracy forwards.”

During Law Day, it was announced the first place winner of the North Dade Bar Association’s Law Day student essay contest organized by attorney Esther Blynn  was Alexandra Leon, an 8th grader at Highland Oaks Middle. Attorney Russel Lazega of Florida Advocates, one of the first recipients of the first prize Law Day essay contest over 30 years ago, said, “The amazing kids who represent our future invested incredible talent, imagination and analysis into their work.  I look forward to seeing them sitting out here as dignitaries a few years from now.”

Ruling Law Day 2017 “highly successful,” North Dade Justice Center judges expressed special thanks to supporters including: Law Offices of Fenstersheib and Berkowitz, PA; Florida Advocates, a Private Law Firm; the Aventura Marketing Council/Chamber of Commerce; Bank of the Ozarks; Cuban American Bar Association; Dade League of Prosecutors; Gwen S. Cherry Black Women Lawyers Association; Haitian Lawyers Association; North Dade Bar Association; South Broward Bar Association and Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza Aventura.