Nancy’s Art admired, Tonkinsons come ‘Full Circle’

By Gloria Burns….

Tom Boswell, left, Miami Dadeland/ Pinecrest Rotary President presents certificate to guest speaker, Rick Tonkinson, with fellow member Ron Lieberman.

South Miami Rotarians are to be congratulated on another successful South Miami Rotary Art Festival. At a recent club meeting, Wendy Lapidus thanked everyone involved who went beyond the call of duty, especially sponsor First National Bank of South Miami and the Rotarian team that painted the streets Thursday morning for the event. South Miami Rotary meets every Tuesday noon at Carrabba’s in South Miami with visiting Rotarians always welcome to join this gregarious group of men and women committed to service above self. On March 15, guest speaker and local artist Nancy Martini will describe her incrediblybeautiful works of art that use recycled materials. Many viewed Martini’s work at the Manatee sculpture unveiling last month in the First National Bank of South Miami lobby. Martini hopes to take her artwork on tour to educate others on what can be done with recycled materials.

Gables Rotarian and Certified Financial Planner Rick Tonkinson who recently spoke to Miami Dadeland/ Pinecrest Rotary Club wasn’t the first of his family to address that group. Son, Steven Tonkinson, made a presentation a few years ago, educating the Club about the Shelter Box project that has provided untold thousands of tents and survival supplies around the world to countries devastated by natural disasters, such as the one destroying so much of Haiti.

In his talk, the elderTonkinson discussed Rotary’s impacted on his life and that of his family. Named for an uncle who had died from polio, Tonkinson was moved to travel to India to help Rotary International’s worldwide effort to eradicate polio by distributing vaccine to children. While volunteering in India, he met another Rotarian involved with Shelter Boxes, a project for which his son later became a volunteer disaster response team member, and thus the connection came full circle.

On the dining front, among many new restaurants opening is one you’ll want to try soon: Sake Blue, another success-in-the-making from the owners of Town Bar and Smoke’t. If you’re looking for a great bar with lots of atmosphere as well as an awesome Asian menu, you can’t beat this new and beautifully- renovated spot on Altara Avenue, just west of Ponce de Leon Blvd. in the Gables. Since opening, Sake Blue has already gained a great reputation for its menu, thanks to Executive Chef Robert Pagan. Baskets of shrimp bread and dipping sauce sauce whet appetites before ordering from menu portions great for sharing so diners may sample the incredibly delicious array of selections. Save room for an unusual dessert, too, such as the banana spring roll, a crowd favorite.

Thursday nights in the Gables are especially great during March with the free Bacardi Tastings each Thursday night at the Westin Colonnades Bacardi Room. Ladies may want to try the Bacardi Room first before moving on to free champagne served Thursday nights to the feminine side at Norman’s 180, also located at the Westin Colonnade, 180 Aragon Avenue, in the Gables.

John Martin’s St. Patrick’s Day Street Festival always is a great time with live entertainment and a portion of the proceeds from the event going to charity. Gables Rotarian Judy Pantoja is coordinating the volunteers and enlisting help of Deliver the Dream, one of the charities to receive funding, as well as Rotaract Club and members and friends of the Coral Gables Rotary to help out.

Until next time, keep making each day count.

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About the Author

Gloria Burns
A graduate of the University of Florida with a major in Spanish, Burns has an extensive background in advertising, marketing and reciprocal trade, travel as well as non profit consulting and management. Burns' volunteer activities led her to become a columnist writing Gloria’s Gab, a column that focuses on the non-profit activity. Burns was Executive Director of the Jr. Orange Bowl Committee for 6 years and then served as the first Executive Director of Coral Gables Community Foundation for 14 years after which she helped the emerging Community Foundation of Pinecrest. Active in many non profits, she received the 2015-16 President's Best Member Award from the GFWC Coral Gables Woman's Club, 2012-13 CGWC Leadership Award, 2012-2013 Rotarian of the Year Award as RCCG Public Relations Chair and Fund raising Co-Chair, 2011 Florida Federation of Women’s Club Volunteer of the Year for the District 11 and honored by the City of Doral as one of their first recipients for the Doralian Women's Award. Among her list of current responsibilities, Burns co-chairs two annual student recognition breakfasts for the Coral Gables Friends of Education; helps coordinate charity partners for the Westin Colonnade's Annual Give Kids the World Breakfast; serves on the board of directors of Doral Business Council; is Parliamentarian and serves on the board of the GFWC Coral Gables Woman’s Club; serves the board of the Rotary Club of Coral Gables and is Publicity Chair; and is a member of the Jr. Orange Bowl Committee. Gloria is also an active member of the Music Ministry at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church where sings sings in the choir. She can be reached at

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