Local charities affected by slow economic recovery

By Michael Miller….

Michael Miller

Judith Mori of the Salvation Army reports that their seasonal bell ringers aren’t doing as well as in years past. “Despite indicators that the economy might be slowly turning to the positive, contributions to the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign are down about 21 percent from last year. In 2009, The Red Kettles had raised about $93,000 in Miami Dade. Only $73,000 have been collected so far, which falls short of the goal needed to meet the growing needs of the poor and the hungry.”
The charity attributes the drop in part to the tough economy, but they also note there is a higher need for bell ringers to man the Red Kettles, with many not willing to risk their unemployment benefits for the temporary position, or to offer their time for free. The difficulty to find willing paid or unpaid bell ringers impedes The Salvation Army to cover all the hours at the retail locations that are willing to host them. The charity has roughly 40 Red Kettles out at a time but more locations are needed.

“In Miami-Dade only, 400 people sleep under the roof of The Salvation Army while 1200 others sleep on the streets every night,” says Mori. “The Salvation Army needs help to continue to give warm nights and food to those in need throughout its homeless and HIV shelters, rehabilitation centers, emergency food, late bill assistance, emergency disaster service, Christmas toys assistance and daily community center programs such as sports, music, libraries and more.”

To learn about Salvation Army programs visit www.SalvationArmyMiami.org. Aside from dropping dollars and coins into the Kettles, those interested in donating should start on-line giving at a safe and secure website by visiting www.OnlineRedKettle.com, text the keyword “GIVE” to 85944 to donate $10, or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY (725-2769). To volunteer, call 305-637-672.

Deck the Hall? Recent visitors to the Palmetto Bay Village Hall may have noticed a visible lack of holiday decorations, since in years past the place has been quite festive. But don’t blame it on Ebenezer Scrooge or the Grinch, or even the economy. The simple explanation is that with everybody there getting ready to pack up and move desks, chairs, files and everything else, including themselves, to the new building this coming weekend, it made no sense to put up more stuff that would just have to be taken down soon. Once everything’s set up at the new place, there will probably be at least a few decorations, or maybe a “Happy New Year” banner.

Well, here’s another invite from your friendly Metropolitan Planning Organization, more frequently called the “MPO.” Anyway, PIO Jane Rockwell who sends out these bulletins from time to time on behalf of the agency responsible for transportation planning in Miami-Dade County hopes you’ll provide ideas for transportation studies that can lead to “effective” solutions to deal with traffic congestion in the county. Such ideas “will be considered” for inclusion in the Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) for Transportation (UPWP) Committee for adoption by the MPO Governing Board. This is an opportunity for citizens to get involved.

Get it off your chest to the MPO by January 14 with submissions via the Internet at http://www.miamidade.gov/mpo/m12-plansupwp. htm; or by calling 305-375-4507; or faxing 305-375-4950; or by Email to mpo@miamidade.gov.

Is incorporation becoming a buzz around Kendall once again? After Frank Irizarry voiced his views in the Kendall Gazette couple of weeks ago, we quizzed Chairmen of Kendall’s two Community Councils for their views – and found some interesting responses, too. More on that later.

And don’t forget—shop local!

Patronize your neighborhood businesses.

Here we go again, MPO!

Well, here’s another invite from your friendly Metropolitan Planning Organization, more frequently called the “MPO.”

Anyway, PIO Jane Rockwell who sends out these bulletins from time to time on behalf of the agency responsible for transportation planning in Miami-Dade County hopes you’ll provide ideas for transportation studies that can lead to “effective” solutions to deal with traffic congestion in the county. Such ideas “will be considered” for inclusion in the Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) for Transportation (UPWP) Committee for adoption by the MPO Governing Board. This is an opportunity for citizens to get involved…dah, dah, dah. Okay, Jane – here are a few for Kendall:

(From EK Council’s Joe Valdes): “Just let MDX own up and say they made a mistake and take down the gantries on the Shula and Snapper Creek X-ways – it just doesn’t make sense to put this extra commutation tax on daily drivers during a tough economy.”

(From Martha Backer): When’re they ever going to finish synchronizing our traffic lights so we can move the congestion along we already have? (She asks this question every year).

(From several spouses): Pass an ordinance for illegal turns, speeding and reckless driving that triple fines when such acts are committed in any mall, supermarket or strip center parking lot! Discourteous driving to nab an empty space one of the worst crimes of the holiday season.

Pleeze finish the SW 104th Street bridge and Shula connection to the Palmetto – we’ve agonized to the limit with the detours and delays around the MDC/Kendall Campus. Or as your Great Aunt Yenta put it: Enuff already!

Well, we doubt if any of those suggestions will actually transpire but if nothing else, just having them said seems to make us feel a bit better.

Get it off your chest to the MPO by January 14 with submissions to the Internet at http://www.miamidade.gov/mpo/m12- plans-upwp.htm; or by telephoning 305- 375-4507; or faxing 305-375-4950; or by Email to mpo@miamidade.gov.

There, Liz’. We’ve gotten the word out!

Two Kendall areas upset by recent rashes of home burglaries include a halfdozen homes in Continental Park and a series of break-ins in Devonaire Two. We understand a youth caught in the act was reprimanded (rather than charged) after minor thefts and no one wanting to press charges at Continental Park. In Devonaire, extra cops are on the prowl to nab continuing house burglaries with one capture ending a series of neighborhood break-ins. Word is a recent mysterious murder or suicide is also disturbing holiday peace in that neck of the woods as Kendall cops investigate with special care and caution, we’re advised, due to unusual circumstances.

Police responded quickly to complaints from folks living near David Fairchild Elementary School and South Miami Park, in the 4300-4600 blocks of SW 58th Avenue, with illegally parked vehicles on right-of-ways, sidewalks, private driveways and other street accesses. Kendall cops issued 22 citations including 12 for illegal parking after Ryan Devereux reported resulting traffic jams and blaring horns disturbed the neighborhood tranquility, especially during school let-out hours.

Incorporation becoming a buzz around Kendall once again? After Frank Irizarry voiced his views in the Gazette couple of weeks ago, we quizzed Chairmen of Kendall’s two Community Councils for their views – and found some interesting responses, too. Watch for the special coverages in upcoming profiles of two veteran community servants, Atty.Elliott Zack of EK’s Council 12 and Patricia ‘Shannen’ Davis who chairs WK’s Council 11, later this month.

If neighbors didn’t hear about that new 260-student school rezoning in Kendale Lakes area, you could blame the notice: a tiny (12-by-12-inch) sign stuck in the swale at the corner of SW 59th Street and SW 135 Avenue about the size of a small billboard for insect life. Even so, no objectors to the mixed usage site becoming a nursery/elementary school even tho’ another exists hardly a block away – except Planning/Zoning officials outvoted (in this case) by hard economics of the times, it seems.

…and remember, think of shopping local merchants first this season. They’re your neighbors who really care about keeping Kendall green.

Did the mayor’s invitation get lost in the mail…?

Ooops! Miami-Dade County Commission Chairman Dennis C. Moss invited about 40 guests consisting of local business owners, Miami-Dade Police Officers, clergy, CEOs, community activists, CBOs and residents to his monthly Roundtable meeting December 1 held at the South Dade Government Center located at 10710 SW 211th Street in Cutler Bay. This included a tour of the new South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center building which is nearing completion.

Also invited were Michael Spring, Director of Miami-Dade Department of Cultural Affairs and Eric Fliss, Managing Director of the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, to provide a progress report and visual account of the long awaited facility, close to the South Dade Government Center and across from the Southland Mall.

Nothing wrong with that, but Commissioner Moss somehow forgot to invite anyone from the Cutler Bay Town Council, the city in which the center is being built. “This is the first I’ve heard about it,” said newly elected Mayor Ed MacDougall when informed by our staff about the event. “It would have been nice if we had known.”

Moss and his staff also forgot to alert the news media, choosing instead to send out an after the fact press release almost a week later. Hmmm…was it something we said?

Judith Mori of the Salvation Army reports that their seasonal bell ringers aren’t doing as well as in years past. “Despite indicators that the economy might be slowly turning to the positive, contributions to the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign are down about 21 percent from last year. In 2009, The Red Kettles had raised about $93,000 in Miami Dade. Only $73,000 have been collected so far, which falls short of the goal needed to meet the growing needs of the poor and the hungry.”

The charity attributes the drop in part to the tough economy, but they also note there is a higher need for bell ringers to man the Red Kettles, with many not willing to risk their unemployment benefits for the temporary position, or to offer their time for free. The difficulty to find willing paid or unpaid bell ringers impedes The Salvation Army to cover all the hours at the retail locations that are willing to host them. The charity has roughly 40 Red Kettles out at a time but more locations are needed.

“In Miami-Dade only, 400 people sleep under the roof of The Salvation Army while 1200 others sleep on the streets every night,” says Mori. “The Salvation Army needs help to continue to give warm nights and food to those in need throughout its homeless and HIV shelters, rehabilitation centers, emergency food, late bill assistance, emergency disaster service, Christmas toys assistance and daily community center programs such as sports, music, libraries and more.”

To learn about Salvation Army programs visit www.SalvationArmyMiami.org. Aside from dropping dollars and coins into the Kettles, those interested in donating should start on-line giving at a safe and secure website by visiting www.OnlineRedKettle.com, text the keyword “GIVE” to 85944 to donate $10, or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY (725-2769). To volunteer, call 305-637-672.

Well, here’s another invite from your friendly Metropolitan Planning Organization, more frequently called the “MPO.” Anyway, PIO Jane Rockwell who sends out these bulletins from time to time on behalf of the agency responsible for transportation planning in Miami-Dade County hopes you’ll provide ideas for transportation studies that can lead to “effective” solutions to deal with traffic congestion in the county. Such ideas “will be considered” for inclusion in the Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) for Transportation (UPWP) Committee for adoption by the MPO Governing Board. This is an opportunity for citizens to get involved.

Get it off your chest to the MPO by January 14 with submissions via the Internet at http://www.miamidade.gov/mpo/m12- plans-upwp.htm; or by calling 305-375- 4507;or faxing 305-375-4950; or by Email to mpo@miamidade.gov.

And don’t forget — shop local! Patronize your neighborhood businesses.

Thought of the Day:

Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.

— Voltaire

Gary Alan Ruse and Richard Yager contributed to this column.

Got any tips? Contact me at 305-669- 7355, ext. 249, or send emails to <michael@communitynewspapers.com>.


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About the Author

Michael Miller
Michael co-owns Community Newspapers with his brother Grant and serves as Executive Editor of the group of newspapers. He enjoys writing about local politics and area businesses. Michael can be reached at michael@communitynewspapers.com

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