In the News
HIALEAH -- This Cuban-American stronghold of 226,000 is the fourth-most conservative city in the nation, according to a study by a San Francisco voter researcher firm. The city ranks just behind Provo, Utah, and Lubbock and Abilene, Texas. The nation's most liberal cities: Detroit; Gary, Ind.; and Berkeley, Calif.
MIAMI -- South Florida Workforce, the job training and placement agency for Miami-Dade and Monroe counties, has named Rick Beasley executive director. Beasley previously served as director of the Division of Workforce Development within the Missouri Department of Economic Development.
Despite skyrocketing real estate values and an unprecedented building boom, Miami jumped from fifth to third in the nation for the percentage of residents living in poverty. According to a U.S. Census report, more than 28% of city residents are earning less than $9,570 per individual or $19,500 for a family of four. The Census also reports that nearly two-thirds of city residents are paying at least 30% of their income on housing costs -- the most of any large U.S. city. In a similar ranking of metropolitan areas, Miami-Dade ranked second behind Brooklyn in housing costs.
MIAMI BEACH -- Montreal-based Cirque du Soleil, together with Clear Channel Entertainment and The Related Group of Florida, is proposing a $150-million plan that would bring a permanent Cirque show to Miami Beach's Jackie Gleason Theater. The plan, which calls for nearly $100 million in public funding, includes a major theater renovation, a convention center, spa, ballroom and restaurants and shops.
Real estate tycoon and former Miami Beach City Commissioner Abe Hirschfeld, one of Miami-Dade's most colorful and controversial figures, died at 85. Hirschfeld, who briefly owned the New York Post and once ran for the U.S. Senate, made headlines in 1998 for offering Paula Jones $1 million to drop her sexual harassment lawsuit against President Clinton. He later served time in prison for conspiring in the attempted killing of a former business partner.
MIAMI-DADE -- Developer Jorge Perez of The Related Group of Florida and U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez were named to Time magazine's list of 25 Most Influential Hispanics in America.
A program between Florida International University and Miami Dade College to recruit and train nurses from the region's minority populations has received a $1.3-million grant from the Florida Department of Education.
A highly controversial plan to build up to 6,000 single-family homes and a complex of commercial projects in deep south Miami-Dade outside the urban development boundary has suffered a setback after the Army Corps of Engineers suspended a permit to fill much of the land. Federal regulators say the permit had been issued to support agricultural uses. Atlantic Civil, the property's principal owner, along with home builder Lennar, is challenging the decision in court.
MONROE COUNTY -- After years of planning, commuter bus service has been inaugurated between Key West and Marathon, allowing riders to connect with scheduled service to Florida City in south Miami-Dade. One-way fare: $3.85. Hotel owners and others in the tourism trade have long requested the service as a way to attract low-income service workers driven to the mainland by skyrocketing housing costs.
OPA-LOCKA -- Former Mayor Myra Taylor has been sentenced to a year of probation after pleading guilty to charges stemming from a fraud investigation at a network of family-owned schools. Gov. Jeb Bush removed Taylor from office after her indictment a year ago.
SUNRISE -- The home of the Florida Panthers hockey team has a new sponsor and new name: BankAtlantic Center. Terms of the 10-year contract were not disclosed. Office Depot, the center's previous namesake, was reportedly paying $1.4 million a year for naming rights.