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Miami-Dade County Business Briefs - Jan. 2005

In the News

CORAL GABLES -- The University of Miami's School of Business Administration has received a $10-million gift from Miguel (Mike) Fernandez, chief executive of Coral Gables-based CarePlus Health Plans. The gift will help fund a new building to be named the Miguel B. Fernandez Family Entrepreneurship Building. The building will be designed by internationally acclaimed architect Michael Graves.

MIAMI-DADE -- Miami-Dade Aviation Department Director Angela Gittens abruptly resigned under pressure from County Manager George Burgess. In her three years at the helm of Miami International Airport, Gittens earned high marks from local business leaders for standing up to lobbyists, but she fell out of favor with Burgess and some elected officials for her tough negotiations with airlines and airport contractors.

Voters approved eight bond measures totaling $2.9 billion that will be used to fund a host of infrastructure projects and social service programs.

Two Miami-Dade hotels -- the Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove and the Mandarin Oriental -- earned the coveted five diamond rating this year from AAA. The Mandarin's Azul was the only restaurant in the county to receive the top rating.

Dredging near the Port of Miami will resume after more than five years thanks to a $51-million federal appropriation. The project will deepen the channel, allowing vessels to turn around without reversing direction.

Recognizing the importance of Canadian trade and tourism in south Florida, Canada has upgraded its consulate in Miami to the status of consulate general. With the new designation, the office will offer a wider range of services. A 2004 study by Canada's trade ministry shows that Canada is Florida's top overall economic partner, top source of foreign tourism and top source of foreign direct investment.