MIAMI BY MARTIN October 2008

A monthly column from Martin Crossland

Welcome to my newsletter!
Current Miami Temperature: 82°F 28°C balmy degrees
Current Miami Beach Surf Temperature: 85°F 29°C degrees

Record Port of Miami Cruise Passengers
The Port of Miami reports continued success for the year to date. The latest figures released by the Port of Miami indicate that cruise passenger traffic for the first six months (January - June 2008) stands at a record 2.2 million passengers, an increase of 5.0% over last year. Sustained growth is due in part to the variety of cruise options offered by the Port of Miami.

GMCVB’s Travel Planner received American Graphic Design Award.
The 2007/08 Greater Miami and the Beaches Travel Planner was honored with a 2008 American Graphic Design Award from Graphic Design USA, which publishes monthly magazines, including the GDUSA Design Annual—a 300-page special edition seen by an audience of 100,000+ creative and marketing professionals. The Travel Planner is published annually and distributed worldwide. It provides travel trade professionals with a complete reference to Greater Miami's accommodations, ground services, sightseeing, entertainment and local services. Congratulations to the GMCVB Publishing team – Miami Begins with YOU!

Gee, why don't people trust Florida Power and Light?
It couldn't be because they're constantly doing this, could it?
State regulators on Tuesday shut down a Florida Power & Light Co. green energy program after an audit revealed most of the money collected from customers was used to pay for administrative and marketing costs.

FPL officials acknowledge that three quarters of the $11.4 million collected from customers since 2004 went to administrative, marketing and management expenses, according to a commission report. Much of the rest of the money went to buy renewable energy credits from companies outside Florida.

Sucking us dry!
Yet another plan by yet another bottled water company to suck 177 million gallons of water a year out of the already stressed Floridan aquifer. Staffers at the St. Johns River Water Management District have recommended approving a permit for Niagara Bottling, a California company that wants to build the plant in Lake County. An issue was whether taking water from the aquifer for such a use was in the public's interest. The answer should be no. Hopefully, the state Supreme Court will get a chance to weigh in.

Obama sure to win presidency, as per Jim Meeks
Later Friday, Obama made a surprise stop at Parkesdale Farm market in Plant City, Florida. Plant City is the winter strawberry growing area of the US, and the strawberry shortcake sold there is legendary. Owner Jim Meeks told him former President George Bush Sr., President G. W. Bush, former Gov. Jeb Bush and former Rep. Mike Bilirakis had all visited and eaten the strawberry shortcake. "And guess what? They all won their elections," Meeks said. "I should get some shortcake, too," said the candidate, who had to settle for a strawberry milkshake that Meeks said would be good luck, too.

Judge rules "sagging pants" law unconstitutional
A judge has ruled a city law banning sagging pants is unconstitutional in the case of a 17-year-old who spent a night in jail for having his underwear exposed. Circuit Judge Paul Moyle said Monday that the law is unconstitutional "based on the limited facts" of the case. Authorities charged Julius Hart last week when an officer spotted him riding his bicycle with 4 to 5 inches of boxer shorts sticking out of his pants. In the city, a first offense for sagging pants carries a $150 fine or a requirement of community service. Habitual offenders face the possibility of jail time. Hart's lawyer wants the city to drop the law.

Peter Lik's Miami gallery now open
Peter’s stunning new gallery located in Miami’s South Beach is now open. The spectacular new gallery offers residents and tourists a captivating experience that will enchant the senses inside the luxurious, yet rustic environment. From the Brazilian wood flooring to the exotic decor, the elegantly furnished surroundings mirror Peter Lik’s artistic photography that graces the gallery walls.

Miami International Airport faring OK as airlines cut flights, increase charges
As airlines cut flights and impose new charges to make up for rising fuel costs, Miami International Airport's international business is acting as a buffer to pain felt by other airports nationwide. International travel makes up 54% of Miami International's business, the highest ratio in the US, with domestic accounting for only 46%. Miami International is expected during the last quarter of the year to lose 70 flights a week, or 1,890 weekly departing seats. But Los Angeles International Airport is to be down 950 flights a week — 81,800 weekly seats. It's too soon to tell how the expected loss in flights could impact the airport's bottom line, we are just going to have to wait and see what the dollar signs are attached to this particular malaise, but we're faring much better than others are.

Miami residents ‘Most Attractive in U.S.’ according to Travel and Leisure magazine survey!
Miami residents have something new to smile about. An online survey of "America's Favorite Cities" by Travel + Leisure magazine ranked Miami number one for “attractive people.” The online survey of 125,000 people ranked 25 U.S. cities in 45 categories ranging from most affordable to most attractive people. With our destination’s year-round sunshine, emphasis on outdoor living and reputation for fashion and style, it’s no surprise that Greater Miami and the Beaches can boast about having the “most beautiful people” in the U.S. Congratulations to all you attractive folks. Visitors also noted the city's good weather (No. 3), but it's not the spot to see historic sites and monuments (No. 23).

Airline loses corpse for four days
I found this story somewhat disturbing. If they can loose a corpse, imagine what can happen to your suitcase!

American Airline's sent the body of a local woman to the wrong country for burial. Miguel Olaya said he made arrangements to send the remains of his wife, Teresa, to their native Ecuador. Instead, American mistakenly shipped her 1,400 miles away - to Guatemala - he said. "I went early to Guayaquil Airport to make the funeral arrangements," he said. "When I got to the airport to pick up the body, they told me they didn't know where she was. I was desperate." Olaya and his 16-year-old daughter drove to the airport every day for four days, but got the same story. "My daughter was crying, saying, 'Where's mama, where's mama?'" Olaya said.

Finally, someone at American Airlines told him the body was in Guatemala City. "How could they lose a body?" asked Olaya. "I mean this is American Airlines, not a small-time operation. And it's not like it was a purse or something." After the mistake was discovered, the airline even wanted to charge an extra US $ 321 to ship Teresa's body to the right place, adding insult to injury.

It turns out the goof was by someone at the airline who typed in the wrong airport code - GUA for Guatemala instead of GYE for Guayaquil. Once the airline verified that it made the mistake, it waived the charge.

American declined to comment.

More of Miami in the News
South Beach Is Alive These Days With (Even) More Change

'Hoods With the Goods in Miami
Is South Beach Growing Up?
In Miami, Art Without Angst
Lap of luxury: Super hot Miami sizzles
Art Basel Miami Beach: Fine Art, Great Party
Basel Dazzle


Through 2nd. Nov. 08
20th Century Spanish Drawings from the Fundación Mapfre Collection

Through 2nd. Nov. 08
Excavating Egypt: Great Discoveries from the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology

Through 2nd. Nov. 08
Nightmare: Ghost Stories

Through 25th. Mar. 09
The Eye of the Collector: Jewish Vision of Sigmund R. Balka

1st. Oct. through 1st. Mar. 09
Junior Orange Bowl Festival

3rd. Oct. 08
Jorge Celedón and Jimmy Zambrano in concert

4th. Oct. 08
Milton Nascimento and The Jobim Trio

4th. Oct. through 9th. Nov. 08
Pablo Cano: The Blue Ribbon

9th. Oct. 08
Frost School of Music Passion and Pathos: Gala Opening Night

9th. to 12th. Oct. 08
Something old, Something new - Firebird Chamber Orchestra

9th. through 14th. Oct. 08
Italian Film Festival

9th. Oct. through 3rd. Nov. 08
Festival Miami 2008

12th. Oct. 08
Head of the Indian Creek Regatta

12th. Oct. 08
Miami Carnival Parade and Festival

15th. Oct. 08
An Evening with David Sedaris

17th. to 18th. Oct. 08
Maximum Dance Ballet Gamonet: Program I

17th. to 19th. Oct. 08
Miami City Ballet: Program I

17th. to 19th. Oct. 08
Sunny Isles Beach Jazz Fest

18th. Oct. 08
Miami Symphony Orchestra - Season Opening

18th. Oct. 08
Vicente Fernandez in Concert

19th. Oct. 08
Dan Zanes and Friends

22nd. to 26th. Oct. 08
Miccosukee Golf Championship

24th. Oct. 08
Celebrity Chef Series: Giada De Laurentiis

24th. to 26th. Oct. 08
Miami Beach Antique Jewelry and Watch Show

24th. to 31st. Oct. 08
Monster Splash Nighttime Bash

25th. Oct. 08
New World Symphony. Heroes and Philosophers

25th. Oct. 08
Walt Disney Records' The Cheetah Girls

25th. to 26th. Oct. 08

25th. to 26th. Oct. 08
Spooky Adventures

25th. to 27th. Oct. 08
Miami International Wine Fair

27th. Oct. to 10th. Nov. 08
Alper JCC Jewish Book Festival

28th. Oct. to 2nd. Nov. 08
Broadway Series - The Wizard of Oz

30th. Oct. 08
10/30/08 Tina Turner in Concert

1st. Nov. 08
Peruvian Superstar - Eva Ayllón


October issue of Visit Florida