We must do better to keep children safe

February 21, 2018 07:35 AM Updated February 22, 2018 03:13 PM http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/article201266279.html As we mourn the victims of the senseless violence in Broward County on Wednesday, Floridians are asking ourselves what we can do to prevent this kind of tragedy from ever happening again.   As a nation, we are facing the reality that no place is sacred or free from violence; not schools or churches, movie theaters, dance clubs or concerts. It is our job as local leaders to protect residents, and especially our children. Our hands are tied in some critical areas by state laws that prevent us from even having an honest conversation on the subject of gun violence. That doesn’t mean that we’re helpless. Local officials can and should urge the state to enact common-sense safety measures such as increasing the minimum age for all gun purchases. We can also demand the freedom to listen to our constituents and adopt sensible local gun-control measures. But even if the state continues to block our calls for greater gun safety, there are a few things we can do in our local community by focusing on school security and community caring. Police officers are heroic professionals who dedicate their lives to protecting us all. We should make sure they have all the tools they need. We must train children and school personnel on how to respond in an active-shooter emergency. We need to be particularly careful about who goes into our schools. More security measures at schools would help control access and keep armed intruders out, as we do for other areas of high risk such as our...

300 apartments on U.S. 1? Palmetto Bay tells developers to think again.

BY MONIQUE O. MADAN April 20, 2017 02:43 PM Updated April 22, 2017 04:13 PM Palmetto Bay council members turned down plans for a project that would put 300 new apartments on U.S. 1, the region’s busiest road. On Monday night, they also voted 4-1 to revisit the proposal in June if the developer pares it down. Monday’s discussion lasted more than four hours, with dozens of residents lining up to ask the council to deny the application. “I’m totally against this project and the over-trafficking of the neighborhood,” said Carol Vega. “This to me looks like a monstrosity. I don’t care how cute you make it sound. These projects never turn out that way.” The application for the Park View project outlined a six-story building with 300 one- and two-bedroom apartments, each with an average square footage of almost 900 square-feet. It would have a swimming pool, fitness center and clubhouse and would sit right next to single-family homes, adjacent to Palmetto Bay Park on Southwest 174th Street. It would have about 500 parking spots and take up  3 1/2 acres. The project was proposed by the current property owners — Jorge L. Morales, Pedro and Linette Gonzales, and Raggedy Ann and Andy’s Pre-School Corp. — on behalf of Anthony Pugliese III, who would buy the land and develop Park View if the site plan is approved by the council. In 2015, with hopes of revitalizing the downtown area, the council approved a new city code that offers incentives to builders who develop properties with certain environmental features such as a LEED certificate for an energy-conscious design, ample green space,...

Palmetto Bay is actively working to enhance school/community safety

By: Eugene Flinn – Mayor of Palmetto Bay Palmetto Bay is actively working to enhance school/community safety The Parkland shoot has led to conversations I never thought possible – talk of families pulling students out of area schools. School safety cannot wait. Our children’s safety is too important. Since the devastating shooting in Parkland, I have been working with fellow mayors and our County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava to do our local/municipal part in making schools safer. I personally met with our State leaders and our School Board Leaders, including Current Chair, Ms. Perla Tabares Hantman, District 4 and Ms. Susie V. Castillo, District 5. I also held a telephone conference with our own School Board Representative, Dr. Lawrence S. Feldman, District 9. Based upon their feedback, I was able to prepare a memorandum and School Safety Legislative Plan Resolution to be presented to our council. I brought this memorandum and resolution to a Special Council Meeting on Wednesday February 21st. Due to the importance of the topic, I asked that it not wait for our next scheduled council meeting set for March 4th. I asked for and received unanimous co-sponsorship of a resolution in support of the School Board request asking the legislature to provide an additional 30 million dollars to increase police and security at our schools. Additionally, your village council is addressing more than school hardening. While the action I prepared and brought forward on School Safety passed unanimously, we went even further. I was pleased to work with our Vice Mayor during this same Special Council meeting to address concerns about properly funding mental health...

Coyotes are on the prowl in this neighborhood. So residents will be taught to ‘co-exist’

BY HOWARD COHEN http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/palmetto-bay/article193868409.html January 10, 2018 07:02 AM Updated January 11, 2018 02:17 PM Are coyotes on the prowl in a South Miami-Dade neighborhood? Apparently enough so that the village of Palmetto Bay has booked Feb. 20 for a workshop with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. At the free event, the commission will lead what Palmetto Bay promises to be “an informative workshop about coyote biology and ways to co-exist with coyotes.” According to Palmetto Bay Mayor Eugene Flinn, “We have reports of a few cats taken. Many want to live and let live. A few want to hunt them or remove them.” The wily coyote sightings have prompted several blog posts from Flinn since last summer. In October, on his South Dade Updates blog, Flinn reported on a meeting the village held with a Fish and Wildlife representative. “Palmetto Bay is a paradise that we humans share with many native and non-native animals,” Flinn wrote, citing crocodiles, alligators, eagles, marsh rabbits and owls as denizens of the tree-lined community. “We do note that there are some animals that we do want to keep a close eye on — including those designated as ‘invasive species,’ ” he wrote. Several residents in Palmetto Bay and nearby Kings Bay reported coyote sightings in October 2017. In June 2017, Flinn posted on his blog an item from resident Suzanne Dundee Bonner. She reported coyote sightings at Deering Estate and adjacent to Bill Sadowski Park. At one of these sightings, the coyote was seen going after a cat in a neighbor’s backyard, she wrote. On the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission webpage, the group...

Discounts! Freebies! But you’ll have to ditch your car and take the bus

December 08, 2016 10:13 AM Updated December 08, 2016 03:24 PM http://www.miamiherald.com/article119645968.html Even if you love your car, kiss it goodbye for a day and say hello to the bus or the train. That’s what the Miami-Dade County Department of Transportation and Public Works is asking you to do Friday as part of the first-ever “Public Transit Day.” The community-wide day is aimed at encouraging people to use public transportation and use the hashtag #PublicTransitDay on social media while they commute. What started out as a Miami-focused effort has now expanded to include transit riders and leaders in Broward and Palm Beach counties as well. “I hope I’m not all by myself this Friday! Music, art, pop-up happy hours & more #PublicTransitDay,” tweeted Ken Russell, a Miami city commissioner. Public Transit Day is brought to you by civic innovation groups Radical Partners and Urban Impact Lab with help from the county’s department of transportatiuon It’s co-hosted by organizations and businesses that are eager to improve South Florida’s transit system. So far, 22 public officials have signed on with their support and 433 local residents have taken the pledge, something Rebecca Fishman Lipsey, co-founder of the transit day project, says is vital. “We want to see all of our elected leaders and engage locals riding public transit, especially those who haven’t been on it before,” Lipsey said in an interview with WLRN. “In the long term, strengthening public transit is for the vitality of the entire city. And we believe in order to make the kind of changes necessary our elected leaders are going to need to make this a...