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The only place for Coconut Grove, FL News, Views & Opinions - Sunlight is the best disinfectant

Monday, September 25, 2017

From Blk water to the Gentlemans Ride

It was a quiet weekend in the Grove, lots of clean-up on Saturday at Kennedy Park, where many volunteers were out trying to get the park back to looking good after Hurricane Irma, same at Vizcaya, where volunteers helped clean up the premises. 

I ran that rainbow photo below and got some comments on Facebook saying the Grove is boarded up and that CocoWalk is closed. The Grove is boarded up in sections, but CocoWalk IS OPEN. The sign on the photo states that clearly.


Tried Blk Water. I've been hearing about it for years through one of the Real Housewives shows (two of the sons were pushing it, they had an investment or something in the business). Got a bottle at Whole Foods. Tasted chemically, didn't like it. They say it has Fulvic trace minerals in it. Looks like flat Coke, tastes like chemically water.

Went to The Distinguished Gentlemans Ride in Wynwood Sunday, it's a motorcycle charity event to draw attention to men's health issues. Lots more pictures and details about the event at my Tomversation blog here.

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Sunday, September 24, 2017

Sunday morning

I caught this image about 7:30 am Sunday morning, a beautiful rainbow over Center Grove. Wasn't Saturday supposed to be the end of the world based on some ancient prophecy? Guess not. But the rainbow is a symbol of hope and happiness for me. I wish that for everyone.

There's a bigger, better version of this on our Facebook page.

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FAM Night is back for the season

After the past couple of weeks, it's great to see things returning to normal. And one thing that makes the Grove the Grove is FAM night, which is back for the season. Locals and guests are invited to enjoy all that Coconut Grove has to offer at the monthly Fashion, Art + Music Night, which kicks off Saturday, October 7. 

Hosted by the Coconut Grove Business Improvement District, the event, known in the community as “FAM Night,” will showcase the neighborhood’s world-class cuisine, retail and entertainment options and will expose attendees to Coconut Grove’s gorgeous tree-lined ambiance. There will be live music playing throughout, gallery exhibits and businesses will offer special promotions and extended hours. 

FAM Night occurs the first Saturday of every month. For additional details, please visit https://www.coconutgrove.com/fam/

2017 / 2018 FAM Night Schedule: First Saturday 6 pm - 9 pm

October 7, 2017

November 4, 2017

December 2, 2017

January 6, 2018

February 3, 2018

March 3, 2018

April 7, 2018

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Friday, September 22, 2017

Community Park Cleanup Day


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Win two tickets to this year's Halloween Sundowner

We are giving away two tickets to this year's 31st Annual Vizcaya Museum and Gardens Halloween Sundowner. The all-inclusive party takes place on Saturday, October 28, from 8:00 pm to midnight.

All you have to do to enter is follow the Grapevine on Facebook. That's it. We'll randomly choose a winner who will receive two entry tickets to the Halloween event, on Monday, September 26. You can follow us here: https://www.facebook.com/coconutgrovegrapevine

If you already follow us on Facebook, then you are already entered!

Tickets can be purchased online at www.VizcayaHalloween.org. For questions, please email events@vizcaya.org, 305-860-8420, 305-860-8408.

And Vizcaya may be followed on Facebook here: 
https://www.facebook.com/VizcayaMiami

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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Charging stations for those without power

For the next three or four days, CitiBank has set up a charging station at Milam's and Greenstreet Cafe, for those of you who don't have power and need to charge your electronics. 

These stations have tablets for you to apply for FEMA help and also contact Comcast and ATT U-verse.

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Glasshaus residences sales gallery officially opens

Glasshaus residences sales gallery officially opens Fortune International Development, Miami’s leading luxury condominium sales firm, representing its first project at Coconut Grove: 23 exclusives residences starting at $595,000.

Glasshaus is a new project in Coconut Grove. The new residences sales team comprised of Fortune International Development, one of the major real estate companies in South Florida, which has historically developed some of the most innovative and luxurious residential buildings, for the first time is representing this project in the Grove. Fortune Internationalis ready to assist the public and and show off the amazing amenities of this exciting new condo.

The development team is represented by Element Development LLC and GD.8, with a desirable Bauhaus-inspired design unifying art, craft and technology by the hand of Varabyeu Partners, an international architecture and design firm that have led luxury properties throughout South Florida, Mexico, and with landmark projects across Europe, now developing its most recent project in Coconut Grove, spearheaded by world renowned architect, Arseni Varabyeu.

Residences range in size from 1,080 to 2,380 square feet, offered in one, two, and three bedrooms, including terraces. Elegant yet contemporary minimalistic, the standard units will feature 11-foot finished ceilings. Owners will enjoy a spectacular rooftop with boutique resort style pool and cabanas, as well as summer kitchen and al fresco dinning overlooking to Miami’s downtown; a zen garden and a hidden grassed-wall fitness center with electric bicycles; underground private garage entry, and the privileged location of Miami’s historic waterfront neighborhood on Biscayne village, where everybody wants to stroll, shop, dine and live. 

The goal is to meld in with the Grove's natural beauty. They are steps from the bay and walkable to most of the Center Grove


Sales Contact

Sofia Espinosa
Director of Sales
Fortune International Group

C 305.409.2895
O 888.705.8848
sespinosa@fortuneintlgroup.com

3156 SW 27 Ave.
Miami, FL 33133

Open Daily 
Monday – Friday:     10:00 A.M. – 6:00 P.M
Saturday & Sunday: 11:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M

Visit their on-site sales gallery for private presentation. For more info: www.glasshauscondo.com

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Starbucks CEO visits CocoWalk Starbucks

There was some excitement Wednesday morning at the Starbucks at CocoWalk when Kevin Johnson, president and CEO of Starbucks stopped by for a visit.

Joel and Xavier, the manager of the Grove Starbucks, with managers and CEO Kevin Johnson to the left.
Joel and Elyssa flank Kevin Johnson.

I'm sure Kevin enjoyed his visit, as this particular Starbucks is like home to so many people. When you enter, they know your name and what your order is before you have to tell them. The staff always has a smile on their faces. 

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Checking out The Barnacle

Here is the video I mentioned that I took at The Barnacle on Monday. It goes thousands of views on Facebook, but if you didn't see it, here it is.

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What did FPL do with the billions in storm fees?

FPL made a profit of $1.7 billion in 2016. They also charge a fee on each month's bill for "storm fee."  Did you know you pay that? That is to be used to sure up their system and equipment. The CEO made $16 million dollars last year.

For 13 years, since Hurricane Wilma, FPL collected billions of dollars from these "storm fees" and they do nothing with the money. What they do is wait for a major storm like Irma, then they repair and replace, a lot of this is from their own insurance company!  Many of the light poles belong to ATT, the old Bell South. FPL uses them. So when the poles have problems, ATT is responsible, not FPL. 


The FPL Vegetation Management Department is supposed to make sure power lines are clear of branches. But do they really? Keep in mind that you need to call them and monitor your own trees. But so many trees in the right of way go un-trimmed. 


The lobbyists they pay millions of dollars to, write the FPL laws. And the Public Service Commission rubber stamps them.


If you would like to personally go off the grid and be FPL-less, you cannot do that. FPL charges you a fee and fights solar power. 


I know of some local politicians who through their political channels, had their home's power turned on the same day. FPL isn't ethical by doing this - kissing up to the law makers first. It's all about the law makers being on their side.


People died because of the heat. FPL has blood on their hands and they are sitting on billions of dollars that are to be used to upgrade the system. 


Burying the lines has it's issues. The lines are harder to maintain underground but according to the municipalities where the lines are buried, they lost no power during Irma and maintaining the underground lines are no different than maintaining water and sewer which are underground. But there is a cost in lost trees in many cases in swale areas. But the lines can also go in the street or around trees. The county would be involved and they would re-pave the street once the lines are encased. 

At Tuesday's City Commission meeting, Comm. Ken Russell proposed a pilot program where wires would be buried under a permeable asphalt material for the streets, which would allow water to seep below and that would help with the flooding issue. The other commissioners on the dais agreed that this was a good idea. Here is a short video on permeable concrete.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Desperate

This Florida resident is desperate for electricity; and she may get a boyfriend out of it, too.

This photo has been floating around the internet.

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Should FPL and cable companies be sued?

K
Coral Gables and the City or Pinecrest are threatening to sue FPL for their incompetence and neglagence. And I think ATT U-verse and possibly Comcast should be sued, too. And just in the last day or two, citizens have put together a class action lawsuit against FPL.

How in this day and age, are the lines not buried and protected? If FPL wants a monopoly, they should be expected to perform. I am not understanding how it is cheaper to pay all these crews coming in from all over the county overtime and triple overtime, than to just bury the lines.

Why is it that when a hurricane or storm comes through, we revert to the stone age?

ATT U-verse has their service boxes at ground level, just feet from the bay.  Less than smart? 

The state should do something about this. This is about the whole state being vulnerable.

There are those of you I see online who are siding with FPL and calling the complainers "whiners." I find that offensive and rude on your part. We all appreciate the workers themselves, all those crews who came in from other states are heroes in my eyes. Everyone smiles at the sight of them. Many have missed personal family events to be here and they go on with little sleep, sleeping on cots when they can. 

I love how people cheer them on and pose for picture with them as if they are celebrities, which they are. Can a lineman calendar be far off?

But the billion dollar FPL corporation, that pays millions of dollars to lobbyists each year to keep solar power out of the state is a travesty and this must be stopped.

FPL must be accountable for deaths like those old people in the facility in Broward County. They must protect their lines.Every business goes out of their way to protect their assets, with FPL it seems to be the opposite, they let them be destroyed.

The FPL delays are what is causing that cable and internet delays because FPL is keeping the other utilities out until they can clean up their own mess. There is a chain reaction. But again, if ATT U-verse and Comcast protected their lines, they would not have to wait for FPL's mess to be cleaned up.

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Monday, September 18, 2017

The Barnacle survived Irma pretty well

Inside the boat house today, hand built rowboat made it through the storm, without any leaks either!

This morning I interviewed Katrina Boler, Park Ranger at The Barnacle. I posted a two minute video of our conversation at our Facebook page. When I can get it posted here at the Grapevine I will.

The Barnacle is a mess, but structures are standing. The old boathouse is standing, it's interiors were washed away, but the house itself and the main house withstood the brunt of Hurricane Irma. They had put up a special screening on the windows, rather than plywood, as the storm approached. Happy to say it did the job.

The boathouse was rebuilt by Commodore Monroe himself in 1926 after it was damaged by the Hurricane of that year. He originally built the boathouse in 1886-87. So the current structure, that is 90 years old, is doing fine, except for debris and a messy back lawn. 

As you can see, two large boats were swept up onto the big lawn.

Volunteers have been helping with clean up and it should be ready for this weekend's Moonlight Concert, which is Saturday, September 23. Gates open at 6 pm.


If you would like to volunteer, wear long sleeves and long pants, bring rakes if you have them and gloves. Ring them at the front gate and they will let you in.

This looks like Gilligan's Island, but it's the back lawn at The Barnacle.

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Ken and Cynthia to the rescue!

Comm. Ken Russell and Cynthia Seymour (photos courtesy Facebook)

Commissioner Ken Russell and Cynthia Seymour, who is District Director for Ken's office, are Superman and Wonder Woman to many in Coconut Grove. The fellow Grovites have the power, literally the power, to get FPL to move their butts and get the power on in Grove neighborhoods that have been in the dark for a week. It started out as emails to the commissioner's office and then moved online. We are happy to say that we've been a help, too, because we have spread the word on our Facebook page and people are using that posting to reach out.

People are giving their addresses and the electricity pole numbers that are down and Cynthia and Ken are working their powers to get the power on! Residents are so grateful. It really is an amazing thing. They have a line directly to FPL and once they report the outage, FPL is on the scene quite quickly to remove fallen trees and poles and to restore electricity.


Thank you Ken and Cynthia, for working what seems like 24/7 to help residents get their electricity restored. If you still don't have power, please email krussell@miamigov.com and give them the exact address and include the pole number.


Now if they could just get ATT U-verse and Comcast to get off their butts.


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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Trees, it's always about the trees

There are so many people concerned with the fallen trees and saving them. And then there is the bad.  Some home developers are taking advantage of the situation and are taking down healthy trees in their lots where before Irma, they would not be able to do that.

It will be interesting to see the local tableau after things are cleaned up around here.


One plus from TreeWatch is that they worked with Commissioner Ken Russell and the County and managed to save many trees.

If a tree looks salvageable in your neighborhood, put a big red rope or something around it to alert the City or County not to destroy it. I have one friend who woke up one morning and his salvageable tree was gone. He planned to raise it, but the County got to it first.

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Water handed out on South Bayshore Drive

Water and ice distribution continues in hard hit Coconut Grove here on Bayshore Drive with the help of city of Miami Police Officers Jose Prado and Martha Alas, Faith Mcfadden from Coconut Grove NET office, Frank Rodriguez from the Building Dept and community volunteers, Juana Guerrero and Diana amongst others. (Photos by Barry Fellman)

Thanks to Sedano's and Home Depot for the water.

NOTE: Your tap water is safe to drink. It's been tested. 

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Saturday, September 16, 2017

Lots of live music Saturday night

From our friend, Eric Wagner:

"Irma has been tough on the Grove (e.g., my North Grove neighborhood has been told 9/19 midnight is when the lights will come back on).  


"My musician buddies--the legendary Bobby Ingram, the Solar Dogs, the Iguanas, etc.--will be jamming."

The Grove Spot is at 3324 Virginia Street.

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Checking out the waterfront

I went on a little tour of the waterfront Saturday morning, I did a video, which is on our Facebook page right now, I couldn't get it posted to the blog, but there are some stills from the tour.

I started out at the gym, 24 Hour Fitness is open and operational, got coffee at Starbucks and was pleased to see the cyclists there as they usually are.

The first photo above is the yellow dock at the Seminole Boat Ramp, it's in tact, which was a great thing to see.

Seminole Boat Ramp area.

The sun rising next to City Hall.

Behind Scotty's Landing/Grove Bay Grill.

At Shake-A-Leg.

Shake-A-Leg.


Behind the Fresh Market.

Dinner Key Marina.

Behind the Fresh Market.

Behind the Fresh Market.

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After Irma videos

I posted these videos earlier this week on Facebook, which seemed more important than, since people wanted up-to-date news on what was happening around town after Hurricane Irma. But here they are again.



This is me coming home to the Grove, up Old Cutler Road from down south, this was Tuesday morning.

   

This is my first day venturing out into the Grove, finding The Grove Spot open and interviewing people on Wednesday.

   

This is a short one. My first visit to Starbucks, they had just opened up for the first thing Thursday morning. 

   

This is Thursday afternoon, I went to the Home Depot and McDonald's and too, this on my way home. There is a weird 30 seconds or so toward the end where I didn't realize the camera was on, I forgot to edit that out.

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Friday, September 15, 2017

Community picnic

As residents in Miami work to recover from Hurricane Irma, Commissioner Ken Russell and other elected officials, veterans and relief organizations are offering a respite from the heat and rubble clearing.

The entire community is invited to put down the debris for a moment to enjoy a free picnic at Regatta Park, next to Miami City Hall in Coconut Grove, Friday, Sept. 15, at 4 pm. Residents will receive picnic food, ice and fellowship. The site is also a collection point for donations for hurricane relief coordinated with the Community Operations Center (CEOC), a coalition of grassroots organizations helping communities in need in Miami-Dade, the Florida Keys and other areas of Florida.

Food will be cooked and served by the Rescue Warriors, an ad-hoc group of military veterans founded by Miami native Sean O’ Hanlon. The group has been informally going into disaster zones to provide rescue and relief for several years most recently during Hurricane Harvey in Houston.

O’ Hanlon, 50, was living on a boat at Dinner Key Marina prior to Irma and saw on the news that the boat had been destroyed. He and other veteran volunteers geared up to help provide meals and other needs to residents living without power or ready access to ice, food and water.

“Sitting and waiting is not who we are,” O’Hanlon said. “We wanted to make sure people didn’t have to live through Andrew again.”

Burgers, hot dogs, chicken, pork sandwiches and drinks will be available for free, courtesy of Rescue Warriors, the offices of Commissioner Ken Russell and Commissioner Francis Suarez, and Ricky’s Arepas and Hot Dogs. Residents will also be able to power up their cell phones via an AT&T charging station provided courtesy of State Rep. Nick Duran.

“This community has come together magnificently to help each other out for the past week,” said Commissioner Ken Russell. “We wanted to give people a break from the clean up and chance to get together and enjoy a meal. Everyone is welcome.”

Other groups on hand from the CEOC will include Third Wave Volunteers and others, ready to sign up volunteers and accept donations that will go to a 12,000-square-foot warehouse at EcoTech Visions in North Miami serving as headquarters for the local disaster relief effort. 

The kitchens will also be cooking and boxing food for delivery to West Grove residents and seniors before the picnic. Volunteers from the Miami Children’s Museum and local churches will make the deliveries.

Thanks go to Sedano’s, and Home Depot for donations of food, water and charcoal, which will go to relief efforts. Ricky’s Arepas is also donating propane.

If you are able to donate items to hurricane relief, or want to sign up to help local relief efforts or share your story, this is the place. Appropriate items for donation include non-perishable food items, propane, charcoal, gas cards.

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Saving trees

If you have a fallen tree in your yard or you see one on public land that might be able to be saved or you would like to save it, please text Margaret at 201-207-4056

"There's a few of us gathering information on services and costs to get this done asap. We have a few in South Grove already. Worth looking into as an option and not immediately taking the chainsaw out, if possible," says Margaret Cardillo. 

If you see a red ribbon around a tree, please do not cut it. The city is trying to save those trees. 

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I went out foraging for gas and pastrami

I went out early today to forage for gas. I left before dawn, hoping to find a gas station that had gas and didn't have long lines. I figured I would make a circle, start at El Carajo at 17th and US1, then check Coral Way and come back to the Grove and check the gas stations around here.

Well, I got lucky. About 6:45, I got to El Carajo and it was empty. Dead. I thought they didn't have gas, but the gas tanks weren't covered up or blocked, so I drove in and low and behold, there was gas, lots of it. All mine!

I proceeded to fill the car and douse it all over me. Well, I only filled the car, but now I feel good for the weekend.

I headed right to The Grove Spot to get my daily pastrami sandwich, but they were not open yet. For a person who tries to be vegetarian, I have eaten a lot of pastrami lately.

I headed over to Starbucks and got an iced coffee, no milk, but good news, they do have milk today.


Drove around a bit, took some photos at the waterfront and came home. I'll look for that pastrami sandwich again in a bit.

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Be proud Coconut Grove; and patient

Got this email from Commissioner Ken Russell, who got an email from one of the out-of-town crews helping to restore electricity.

The Creel crew.

From Ken:

Hey Tom,

I wanted to take a moment to thank all of the people who left their states and families and headed into the storm to help Miami get back together.  I know that there is frustration, especially in the South Grove where I live, because it seems like power and road clearing is taking a long time.  It’s more difficult here because of the need for electricity repair crews and debris removal teams to work in tandem. Very large trees tangled with power lines can’t be done by either team alone.

I’ve met a debris removal team from Louisiana and a power line repair crew from Detroit.

The DTE Electric group from Detroit worked all yesterday to get Coconut Grove’s low income senior center back on line successfully. They had been without power since the storm and were at risk. My office had been delivering ice and food but nothing beats AC.

This message might otherwise get lost in the Facebook feed, but I wanted to bring it to your attention.  The Creel Brothers company is in from Louisiana to help us dig out of Irma.  They’ve been moving muck and hauling trees throughout the Grove since the end of the storm.  I met them last night just to say thanks and found such a warm bunch of guys.  After posting their photo on Facebook, their CEO wrote back with the following message...


The citizens of the communities we have visited since landing Monday night are amazing. Perseverance at its finest. From the guy that came over to cook BBQ in the back of his pickup truck for our team, the leaders in the communities, code enforcement officers willing to go above and beyond, the folks over at sewage and water board, EOC, and lastly the citizens of the Coconut Grove community. The people of the community are something special.

It's no secret they have experienced a great loss. Your community will need time to heal and to recover, but they will heal. I know it.

On behalf on the team here in Miami and the entire Creel Brothers organization, I want to take this opportunity to commend you, the mayor, and the City of Miami. Without the generous support of the community and the pro-active leadership, rebounding from this disaster would be an immense struggle. The citizens of Coconut Grove are fortunate and blessed to live in such a caring and compassionate community, and our team is happy to be here and be part of the rebuilding process.

Jason Creel
Creel Bros. Organization



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