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District 12 Newsletter
Commissioner Jose District 12 e-Newsletter
Dear residents,

July 4th is around the corner and I wish each and every one of you a Happy Independence Day! While it is a time to celebrate the birth of our nation, I also ask that you take a moment to remember the men and women of our Armed Forces who uphold our freedoms every day.

On behalf of my office, have a fun and safe Fourth of July!


Commissioner Jose 'Pepe' Diaz
District 12

June 2011
Safe houses for sexually-exploited minors passes Commission

At the June 7th Board of County Commissioners meeting, Commissioner Diaz's colleagues unanimously passed his resolution to create safe houses for sexually-exploited children and teenagers. Miami is one of 13 hubs for domestic minor sex trafficking in the United States. The commissioner's resolution calls for the County to locate unused space, leases, buildings, lots of any other property that could potentially be used for a safe house. The commissioner is also asking for any grants or funding that the County can apply to this very important project that affects many youths, especially girls.  

The shelters would have 24-hour staff specialized in treating sexually-exploited minors and would allow the minors a secure environment. The commissioner is working closely with the Miami-Dade Police Department, Kristi House, the State Attorney's Office and other agencies to ensure this project is successful and many children and teenagers are taken care of and safe. More>>

Commissioner Diaz expresses disappointment over "Senior Freeze" not passing Florida Legislature

Recognizing how seniors have been impacted by the difficult economy, Commissioner Diaz sponsored a resolution last October urging the Florida Legislature to amend the State constitution to provide a local option to prohibit an increase to property taxes for seniors who have a homestead property and are consider low to middle income. The commissioner's colleagues passed the resolution, and the bills sponsored by State Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla and State Representatives Jeanette Nuñez and Erik Fresen seemed to have the support to pass. However, on the last day of the session in the Senate, State Senator Diaz de la Portilla's Bill SJR808 died when it did not have enough votes from his colleagues. Commissioner Diaz along with Senator Diaz de la Portilla, and Representatives Nuñez and Fresen have pledged to ensure this benefit for seniors will pass at the next Florida Legislature session. More>>

Commissioner Diaz proposes "Wall of Heroes" to honor military men and women

Commissioner Diaz, who is the County's military liaison, is proposing legislation that would honor our local men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces who have died in Iraq or Afghanistan while serving in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. At least 35 local military personnel have been killed while serving their country.  The 'Wall of Heroes' would be installed in the southeastern wall of the interior lobby of the Stephen P. Clark Center. A plaque would have a dedication, as well as a list all of the names of these men and women with details about each one's rank, branch of service, and operation in which they served. The commissioner's resolution passed the Internal Management & Fiscal Responsibility Committee on June 14th and is expected to be presented to the entire Board of County Commission at a later date.

Chairman Joe A. Martinez and Commissioner Diaz must pay up friendly NBA wager with Mayor of Dallas

Commissioner Diaz, who is Chairman of the Miami-Dade Sports Commission, joined Chairman Joe A. Martinez for a friendly NBA wager against the Mayor of Dallas during the NBA Finals. Unfortunately, since the Miami HEAT lost, Commissioner Diaz will live up to his end of the deal: sending a special care package of Joe's Stone Crabs, hand-rolled cigars from Cuban Crafters, and Cuban pastries to Mayor Dwaine R. Caraway to enjoy. Commissioner Diaz must also join Chairman Martinez in performing a community service project wearing a Dallas Mavericks jersey later this month. While the Miami Heat lost in the finals, Commissioner Diaz would like to thank the entire team for a very successful year and knows next year will be our year!

Mom and Pop applicants awarded in District 12

Commissioner Diaz is pleased to announce that 43 small businesses in District 12 have been awarded with the Mom and Pop Small Business Grant for 2011. Each business was awarded more than $2,000 to help their businesses grow.

The Mom and Pop Small Business Grant program provides financial and technical assistance to qualified small businesses that are approved for funding. The program also allows these businesses an opportunity to interact with local government and provide financial assistance to promote the local economy. Businesses can use the grant to purchase equipment, supplies, advertising/marketing, inventory, building liability insurance, security systems, and make minor renovations. Anyone interested in applying for District 12's Mom and Pop Small Business Grant for 2012 can contact the commissioner's office in December 2011.

Coast Guard presented proclamation on the retiring of the HU-25 Guardian Jet

Commissioner Diaz was present as the Coast Guard bid farewell to the HU-25 Guardian jets and welcomed a new set of aircrafts for the Coast Guard - the HC-144A. As the HU-25 took its last flight on June 1st, Commissioner Diaz presented a proclamation to Coast Guard Captain Robert Grant, proclaiming June 1, 2011 as HU- 25 Guardian Aircraft Day in Miami-Dade County.

The HU-25 Guardian is a versatile fixed-wing maritime patrol platform that is capable of performing a variety of mission, including search and rescue, medical evacuation, essential mission logistics, defense readiness, environmental protection and law enforcement. It also has the capability to detect oil spills, airborne interceptions of air and surface targets suspected of narcotics smuggling, migrant smuggling, and terrorist threat vessels. The HU-25 is a remarkable jet that has protected our nation for over 30 years. The HU-25 has logged more than 150,000 flight hours, leading to the prosecution of 4,000 search and rescue cases, and 5,000 law enforcement cases, resulting in 3,000 lives saved or assisted. It has also discovered 20,000 undocumented migrants and assisted in the seizure of 30,000 pounds of illegal drugs.

Commissioner Diaz presents check to Liga Contra el Cancer

June 5th held a special meaning for Commissioner Diaz as he supported La Liga Contra el Cancer (League Against Cancer) at its telethon at the Miami-Dade County Expo Center. The commissioner underwent an emergency surgery in May to remove a brain tumor that was thankfully benign.  Although still in recovery, he was able to present a check to the organization, and thanked everyone for their well wishes and the foundation for all the resources it provides to residents stricken with cancer.  Liga Contra el Cancer is a non-profit organization that provides free medical care to needy cancer patients who have no financial resources or health insurance. Since 1975, the foundation has more than 50,000 low-income, uninsured men, women and children.

Commissioner Diaz congratulates college scholarship winners

On June 30th, Commissioner Diaz presented seven high school students with a $1,500 scholarship check as they prepare to attend a public state university in Florida. The students all applied for an annual scholarship opportunity presented by Commissioner Diaz. In order to participate, students must attend a high school in District 12 and write an essay. This year's essay topic was 'What public service means to me.'  The lucky winners will be able to use the funds to purchase books or pay their tuition as they start their college years. The winners include:

  • Jacquelin Molina, who attends Mater Academy Charter School and will be attending Florida State University and majoring in Psychology.
  • Claudia Rivero, who also attends Mater Academy Charter School. She will be attending Florida State University and majoring in Biological Sciences.
  • Nicole Acevedo attends Ronald Reagan Doral Senior High and will be attending Florida International University and majoring in Broadcast Journalism & Telecommunications.
  • Naffty Castaneda attends Mater Academy Lakes High School and will be attending Florida International University and majoring in International Relations.
  • Yannel Celestrin attends Hialeah Gardens High School and will be attending Miami Dade College and majoring in Psychology.
  • Nathaly Olivari attends Mater Academy Lakes High School and will be attending University of Florida and majoring in Finance.
  • Ricardo Fraga attends Belen Jesuit Preparatory and will be attending the University of Miami and majoring in Business and Administration.

Commissioner Diaz is very proud of all the students and wishes them good luck on all their future endeavors. Any high school students interested in Commissioner Diaz's scholarship program should call Andrenella Dielingen at 305-599-1200 for more information on this program, which will most likely reopen April 2012.

Miami-Dade Public Library System's Summer Reading Program

Looking to keep your kids book smart this summer? Searching for your next good read? Take advantage of the Miami-Dade Public Library System's Summer Reading Program, a trip around the literary world offering something special for everyone! Children ages 0-12 can participate in the One World, Many Stories summer reading program and enjoy activities that bring the world up close and personal. Kids will learn about different cultures in an entertaining way, like Lamba: West African Dance and Drumming, Aztec Dance of Mexico, stories and songs from bilingual storyteller the Spanglish Wrangler, and Around the World in 60 Minutes with Joey and Alexandra. Teens ages 13-18 can explore the world through the You Are Here! summer reading program, and will 'travel' to India to experience the ancient art of Mendhi Henna or create a piece of Oriental art with Susan Wilder.

There is something for adults, too! Adults can learn about the world with Novel Destinations and get vegetable gardening advice with master gardeners Inara Mucenieks and Ernest Clark. They can go on a journey with Zimbabwean author Chenjerai Hove, who will discuss his travels and writings.

The summer reading program runs through July 23, 2011. To participate, children and teens are encouraged to read for two or more hours each week to qualify for the grand prize drawing. Grand prizes include laptops, iPods, a Miami Dolphins VIP Training Camp Experience, gift cards to Barnes &Noble, Gamestop, Best Buy, Toys 'R Us, and much more. For adults, the weekly challenge is to 'travel' to a novel destination through books, ebooks or VHS/DVDs. Prizes include a Barnes & Noble Nook eBook Reader and gift certificates to Publix, Barnes & Noble or Olive Garden restaurant worth $100 each. For a complete list of summer reading events, visit www.mdpls.org and click on 'Calendar of Events' or call 305-375-BOOK (2665).

"Beat the Hurricane Season Rush" on Bulky Waste Pickups

With hurricane season just around the corner, the Miami-Dade County Department of Solid Waste Management (DSWM) reminds customers that now is the time to get rid of yard trash and other bulky items.  Single family households in unincorporated Miami-Dade County and the cities of Aventura, Cutler Bay, Doral, Miami Gardens, Miami Lakes, Palmetto Bay, Pinecrest, and Sunny Isles Beach who receive full DSWM residential waste collection services can request two bulky waste pickups of up to 25 cubic yards each during the fiscal year (October 1st through September 30th).  Some of the items allowed for bulky waste pickups include sofas, mattresses, patio furniture, white goods (appliances such as stoves, refrigerators, water heaters, washing machines, dryers) and tree cuttings (must be no more than 5ft. in length).  Customers are reminded to schedule a bulky waste pickup before placing items on the curbside, by calling 3-1-1 or requesting a bulky waste pickup online at www.miamidade.gov/dswm.

For more information on the DSWM's bulky waste pickup service, please visit the DSWM website at www.miamidade.gov/dswm or dial 3-1-1, the County's Answer Center. 

Miami-Dade County is asking residents to spay or neuter their pets

Animal Services is excited to announce additional donor-subsidized surgery days for Miami-Dade County residents.   In an effort to help control the pet overpopulation problem, Miami-Dade Animal Services will offer donor-subsidized ($25 owner co-pay) spay/neuter services every Monday and Tuesday for dogs and ($15 owner co-pay) spay/neuter surgeries for cats every Thursday and Friday at the Animal Services shelter located at 7401 NW 74th Street, Miami, FL 33166. This starts on April 4th with check-in starting at 7:30 a.m. This is on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, please visit www.miamidade.gov/animals or call 3-1-1.

SR 836/Dolphin Expressway closures

On November 30, 2009, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) District Six in partnership with the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX) began a reconstruction project of the State Road (S.R.) 826 (Palmetto Expressway) and S.R. 836 (Dolphin Expressway) Interchange. Now that construction has begun, there will be many upcoming lane and ramp closures on the Dolphin Expressway. For more information about construction-related activities, please contact Oscar Gonzalez at 786-280-0983 or via e-mail at ogonzalez@mrgmiami.com. General information can be found at www.826-836.com. Motorists are encouraged to call 511 before they drive, or log on to www.fl511.com for real-time traffic and lane closure information.

Florida Department of Transportation projects

The Florida Department of Transportation will be conducting a landscaping project along SR 826/Palmetto Expressway from the FEC Railroad Track to West 42nd Street. The scope of work will include planting of native trees, palms shrubs, and ground cover on the existing grade along grass areas of the interchange and along the shoulders adjacent to the entrance and exit ramps. The project is anticipated to begin November 2010 and is expected to last approximately 240 days.

The Florida Department of Transportation is also developing a project which will construct a new sidewalk along SR 948/NW 36th Street from NW 79th Avenue to NW 74th Avenue. The project will provide a safe pedestrian path along NW 36th Street through the Palmetto Expressway Interchange. The new sidewalk will connect the existing sidewalk on the north and south side of NW 36th Street. It will also provide a median through the interchange. The project includes pedestrian signals, guardrails on both sides of the median, replacement of bridge railing, pedestrian crossing warning signs, new pavement markings and pedestrian ramps. This project is anticipated to begin June 2011 and last approximately 200 days.

The Florida Department of Transportation is also working on a landscaping project along 836/Palmetto Expressway from NW 62nd Street to 81 Street. The project will improve the appearance of the roadway by enhancing the canopy along 826 by planting trees, palms and shrubs on the roadside and ramps. This project will start August 2011 and will last approximately 200 days.

District 12 projects completed

Commissioner Diaz is happy to announce the following projects have been completed in District 12:

A traffic signal at NW 97th Avenue and NW 17th Street has been finished.  On June 16th, there was also a traffic signal ceremony at NW 12th Street and 124th Path with residents and business owners, who were extremely excited for this traffic signal. The signal will serve as a safety factor for drivers and pedestrians in the area.

Tamiami Canal Park
Construction will start in a week for the Tamiami Canal Park project and is expected to be completed in three months. Tamiami Canal Park is located between Tamiami Canal on the south and SW 7th Street on the north side. Its length stretches from SW 122 Avenue to SW 119 Avenue. This project will provide for new drainage improvements, a 10-foot asphalt walkway, connections to existing neighborhood sidewalks, landscape screening shrubs, fencing and site furniture. When completed, this project will provide the surrounding neighborhood a nice ADA accessible walking path with benches along the way to sit and enjoy the views. 

Affordable health care within reach

Miami-Dade County has launched a new online pre-screening tool to help people obtain health insurance. In less than 5 minutes, County residents can find out if they qualify for premium assistance in paying for their health insurance. By answering some simple questions, residents can find out whether Miami-Dade County's new Health Insurance Assistance program which provides premium assistance for Blue Cross and Blue Shield's Miami-Dade Blue, is for them. Just click on Health Insurance Assistance today and see if you qualify.

Need assistance paying your utility bills?

The Miami-Dade Community Action Agency's (CAA) Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is currently assisting eligible residents with payment of their gas or electric bills.  The program assists individuals who are experiencing an increase in their energy bill due to the weather as well as individuals with final notices or those who have had their services disconnected.  Applications for LIHEAP are available Monday through Friday at CAA Service Centers like the Hialeah Service Center, 300 E. First Avenue, or the Sweetwater Service Center, 250 SW 114 Avenue. For a complete list of all the CAA Service Centers or to download the application, please visit the County's website or contact the Miami-Dade Community Action Agency at 786-469-4600.

Contact us

Downtown Office
Stephen P. Clark Center
111 NW First Street, Suite 320
Miami, FL 33128

District Office
8345 NW 12th Street
Miami, FL 33126


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