With the holiday season upon us, it’s time to deal with long lines at check-out counters; extra traffic; visits from not-so-favorite relatives and of course, the obligatory fruit cake that just might sit in your kitchen until next year. But despite the hectic nature of the winter months in South Florida, – in Sunny Isles Beach, “’tis the season” for cheering gifts of services and amenities that make the holidays even more enjoyable for residents and visitors alike.
‘CHEER FOR A SAFE CITY’
Encouraging the community to step-up crime prevention measures, the Sunny Isles Beach Police Department led by Chief Fred Maas advises, “You should never feel hesitant about picking up the phone to call the police about a suspicious incident, person or something you feel uncomfortable about. We are far more willing to ‘check it out’ even if it turns out to be nothing – then to come out after the fact and discover a crime has been committed.
“During this time of year, have a heightened sense of awareness – you can be followed after leaving a store when people can see you putting packages into your car…We’re also stepping up our police patrols around banks and ATM machines. One of the biggest safeguards is to be sure not to leave valuables inside vehicles. The average thief looks to prey upon your attempt to conceal gifts. Our goal is to make the opportunity for a crime as difficult as possible for the criminal.”
Here are ways to “victim-proof” yourself:
• Never leave valuables inside an unattended vehicle or out in the open • Whenever possible, shop with another person or a group.
• Be aware of you surroundings, report suspicious activity.
• Do not carry large amounts of currency. Physical currency gets the attention of criminals when it is exposed, and it is very difficult to replace if stolen.
• Use safer means to purchase items – debit cards are a good choice. Even if stolen, the probability of a criminal being able to use them before you cancel them is slim. If they are used fraudulently, the charges are insured.
• Utilize safe online payment methods if making online purchases.
• Make sure you’re not being followed. People watch certain “high end” stores for items such as TV’s, stereos and computers to be brought to the car in boxes. Then when you make your next stop and leave the items inside, you can return to find a smashed window and your recent purchases gone!
‘CHEER FOR PROACTIVE INITIATIVES’
“Getting better all the time!” could be the slogan for Sunny Isles Beach thanks to ongoing beautification projects and capital improvements enhancing the city’s infrastructure and aesthetic appeal. Changing demographics have also served as a catalyst for progressive efforts spearheaded by the City Commission to build more parks including the new Heritage Park plus even more parks coming soon to the south end of the city.
Taking learning to higher levels, when students start the 2013/2014 school year, the Norman S. Edelcup/Sunny Isles Beach K-8 School will be expanding the existing school building to accommodate 12 new classrooms and roof deck. The Sunny Isles Beach City Commission approved the expansion project to alleviate student overcrowding and allow for the reopening of art and music rooms.
“New developments” in Sunny Isles Beach include projects on Sunny Isles Boulevard recently approved by the City Commission including: Two residential towers at 400 Sunny Isles Boulevard with 230 condo units and an enclosed commercial marina building; the Sunny Isles Beach Jewish Community Center at 488 Sunny Isles Boulevard – a five-story, multi-use building including a main worship area, a Montessori pre-school, social hall and private restaurant; and St. Tropez Phase II and III comprised of two new residential towers and an office building. Yet another new residential condo tower approved by the Commission is slated to rise at 17141 Collins Avenue.
‘CHEER FOR GREAT LEADERS’
Before the New Year, the community will also be seeing a new face on the Sunny Isles Beach City Commission. Following the Nov. 6 general election, new Commissioner Jennifer Levin was sworn in at the Nov. 15 City Commission. Levin, elected unopposed, is filling the northern area Seat 1 of former Vice Mayor Lewis Thaler who was term-limited out. At the Nov. 15 City Commission meeting, Commissioner Isaac Aelion was appointed to serve as Vice Mayor.
Familiar faces back on the Commission dais include Commissioner George “Bud” Scholl, who defeated opponent Harvey Busch. Scholl, officially sworn-in at the Nov. 15 City Commission meeting, will be embarking on his second four-year term representing the city’s southern area Seat 3. City Manager Christopher Russo has also returned to his post (as of Oct. 15). Russo formerly served as City Manager from 2000-2005.
Another general election will be held in November 2014, when the following City Commission seats will be up for election: Mayor (incumbent Norman Edelcup will be termed out); residential area commissioner – seat 2, central area currently held by Jeanette Gatto; and residential area commissioner – seat 4, currently held by Isaac Aelion.
‘CHEER FOR INTERNATIONAL EXPOSURE’
Early snow falls, along with exceptional values on air fare and room rates nationwide have helped set the scene for a “sunny holiday season” in the city of Sunny Isles Beach. Just before Thanksgiving, millions of travelers packed their bags while resorts and businesses along Collins Avenue spruced up to welcome holiday guests.
To let the whole world know about the city’s remarkable renaissance, the Sunny Isles Beach Tourism and Marketing Council is always on a mission to build markets for the “here and now” as well as the future. Beyond the vacation values at Sunny Isles Beach resorts, the Council promotes the great intrinsic value associated with enjoying a vacation in Florida’s Riviera…From multi-million dollar developments – to sweeping beautification and capital improvement programs initiated by the City Commission – plus heightened security ensured by the Police Department, Sunny Isles Beach is now being heralded as “one of the most desirable and safe South Florida destinations.”
‘Cheer for a happy New Year’ Aside from taking time off for Christmas and New Year’s Day, city officials and city staff continue to work tirelessly to ensure “everyday’s a holiday” for residents and visitors enjoying the highest quality of life in Sunny Isles Beach.
Promising to be another prosperous New Year, recent City Commission meeting agendas have already been featuring requests for property site plan approvals designed to help bring even more luxurious new developments to Sunny Isles Beach. For all the latest and greatest happenings, stay tuned to SIB TV, Cable Channel 77; the city’s website sibfl.netoiceveSsnr ciBa tIf;ithne oig ufotnstpr o receive information from the city via email; and keep reading the Sunny Isles Beach Sun.