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District 12 Newsletter
Commissioner Jose District 12 e-Newsletter

Dear residents,

It's the end of October and you know what that means - Halloween! As you and your family get into the holiday spirit and prepare for trick-or-treating, please be mindful of safety tips provided by our own Miami-Dade Fire Rescue. These tips will help you navigate roads at dark, find safe costumes, and more. Just remember to be safe and have fun!

Wishing all of you a 'spook-tacular' Halloween!


Commissioner Jose 'Pepe' Diaz

October 2011
Commissioner Diaz sponsors ban on "pothead candy"

When Commissioner Diaz heard about the sale of a candy called “pot pops” shaped like marijuana leaves, he sponsored legislation urging retailers to pull the candy of their shelves. Even though the candy does not contain cannabis or illegal substances, the packaging includes a cartoon depiction of a character holding up a peace sign while smoking marijuana, with the word “legalize” across the front. Commissioner Diaz feels with Halloween right around the corner, concerned parents should be aware that this candy is easily accessible to their children and can purchased the product at any local retail store. Commissioner Diaz believes this candy should be sold only at adult novelty stores where consumers are over the age of 18. More>>

Free Trade Agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea approved by federal government Adobe Acrobat Logo

Commissioner Diaz, who is a member of the Federal Intergovernmental Policy Advisory Committee on Trade, praised the passage of the free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea. This agreement will eliminate tariffs on all products the three countries trade with the United States. For the past eight years, Commissioner Diaz has been a strong advocate for the free trade agreement because of the positive economic impact they will have in Miami-Dade County. This agreement will directly benefit the Port of Miami and Miami International Airport. It will also create much-needed jobs in Florida; according to the Florida Chamber of Commerce, the agreements will create more than 20,000 new jobs and generate more than $1.5 billion in international trade opportunities. In 2009, Commissioner Diaz sponsored legislation urging President Obama and Congress to pass the three trade agreements. More>>

Sweetwater residents to receive lower flood insurance rates after FEMA appeal Adobe Acrobat Logo

On October 3rd, Commissioner Diaz joined City of Sweetwater Mayor Manny Maroño and city council members to announce that more than 2,000 homeowners will receive lower flood insurance rates after filing an appeal with FEMA and successfully having it repealed.  In 2009, FEMA ruled some areas in Sweetwater as high-risk flood zones, forcing an increase in flood insurance costs for many residents, including Commissioner Diaz, who lives in Sweetwater. Commissioner Diaz along with Mayor Maroño filed an appeal on behalf of the residents of Sweetwater and also flew to Washington, D.C. to meet with federal officials. Both Mayor Maroño and Commissioner Diaz argued that the city had taken measures to prevent a flood-free zones in the city by implementing a $20 million project to install pumps that prevented flooding. While the ruling only affected some areas, Commissioner Diaz and Mayor Maroño are committed to changing the ruling for other residents in Sweetwater. More>>

Groundbreaking ceremony held for storm water drainage improvements

On October 27th, Commissioner Diaz joined Mayor Manny Maroño and the council members of the City of Sweetwater at the groundbreaking ceremony of the storm water improvements Phase IV project that took place at the intersection of SW 113th and SW 7th Terrace. The improvements will protect the western end of Sweetwater from flooding.  This last major phase of the drainage improvements will dramatically improve the flooding the city has faced over the years.

Commissioner Diaz hosts local job fair

Understanding how the economic situation has affected many of our residents, Commissioner Diaz sponsored a free job and resource fair on October 15th at the Miami-Dade Kendall Campus Gymnasium. More than 500 job seekers attended to take advantage of the opportunities present, as well as a 30-minute seminar held by the South Florida Workforce which focused on resume writing, power first expression, acing a job interview, and managing your career search. Other sponsors for this event included Chairman Joe A. Martinez, Commissioner Lynda Bell, Florida State Representative Frank Artiles, Michael Bileca, Jose Felix Diaz, Ana Rivas Logan, Jeanette Nunez, Jose Oliva and Carlos Trujillo. 

Police officers honored at Military Service Awards

Commissioner Diaz joined Miami-Dade Police Director James K. Loftus to honor sworn police officers who have served or are currently serving our nation at the Military Service Awards on October 5th at the Miami-Dade Police Department headquarters. Out of the 200 police officers receiving this award, 100 police officers were on hand to personally receive the award from Director Loftus.

Commissioner Diaz celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

On October 13th, Commissioner Diaz took part in the Hispanic Heritage Month celebration at the United States Coast Guard station in Miami Beach. The commissioner, who serves as the County’s military liaison, spoke about what Hispanic Heritage means to him as a Cuban-American, public servant, and United States Marine. At the event, Coast Guard active duty, reserve and civilian personnel were also able to enjoy delicious Latin food and a live mariachi band.
Proclamation presented to Officer Jenna Mendez and bloodhound Gunner

Commissioner Diaz was joined by his colleague Commissioner Lynda Bell, City of Sweetwater Mayor Manny Maroño and Miami-Dade School Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho  at Sweetwater Elementary School on October 24th to present a proclamation to Officer Jenna Mendez and her partner,  five-month-old Gunner, a black and tan bloodhound tracking dog. Gunner was donated by the Jimmy Ryce Foundation to the City of Sweetwater to assist law enforcement in tracking missing or exploited children, the elderly and subjects on the run from police. The Jimmy Ryce Foundation has been providing AKC bloodhounds for free to law enforcement in order to find abducted and lost children. The City of Sweetwater will also be offering Gunner’s services to the surrounding cities and counties once he is fully trained. The proclamation proclaims October 24th as “Officer Jenna Mendez and Bloodhound Gunner Day.”

Belen Jesuit Preparatory School celebrates 50 years

On October 14th, Belen Jesuit Preparatory School celebrated its 50th anniversary. This prestigious school located in Commissioner Diaz’s district was presented a proclamation by the commissioner, accepted by school president Mr. Pedro A. Suarez. Over the years, Belen Jesuit has produced many local success stories from politicians to business leaders. Commissioner Diaz thanks Belen Jesuit Preparatory’s faculty and wishes them another 50 years of success!
Commissioner Diaz hosts Medal of Valor families at U.S. Marine Band concert

Commissioner Diaz invited the family members of 20 soldiers who died in service to a United States Marine Band concert at the University of Miami’s BankUnited Center on October 14th. The United States Marine Band was established in 1798 and performs a thrilling blend of traditional concert band and contemporary wind ensemble music at hundreds of events annually for the President of the United States and the Commandant of the Marine Corps.

The family members will also be on hand on November 15th at the Board of County Commissioners meeting to receive the Medal of Honor for their loved ones who died serving their country The creation of the Medal of Valor was initiated by Commissioner Barbara J. Jordan after the death of local resident Louis Maxwell, Jr., who served as a United Nations Close Protection Officer. Maxwell was stationed in Kabul, Afghanistan in June 2009. Less than six months at his assignment on November 4, 2009, Taliban militants armed with assault rifles and suicide vests stormed a residential hotel housing U.N. employees that Maxwell was securing during the daylight attack. Maxwell and other security officers, armed with only handguns in their possession, were able to hold off the Taliban long enough for all 34 civilians sleeping in the facility to escape. However, Maxwell died in the attack. Commissioner Jordan attended the funeral of Louis Maxwell, a resident of her district, only to discover that there was no formal recognition of his sacrifice by any state or federal agency.

Celebrate Halloween throughout Miami-Dade!

October 31, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Dr. Wilde’s Creepy House at Zoo Miami
A 7,000 square-foot haunted house guaranteed to send chills up and down your spine. We will make your every fear come to life!  Roaches take over the kitchen while cats take over a cadaver’s home.  What will you find when the freezer defrosts – a zookeeper or two perhaps?  You’ll have to come and see for yourself!  With an admission cost of $5/person, this house of chills will remain open through October 31.  Parental discretion is advised for young children. Zoo Miami is located at 12400 SW 152 Street.  For more information, visit www.zoomiami.org or call -305-251-0400.

October 31, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Ghost Tours at Arch Creek Park
Have a ghostly encounter this Halloween at Arch Creek Park - one of Miami's best-kept secrets! This naturalist guided tour takes you on a journey through the park’s history, detailing ghost sightings that date back to the late 1800's. Arch Creek Park is located at 1855 NE 135 Street in North Miami. The cost is $6 per person and reservations are required. For more information, or to make reservations, please call (305) 944-6111.

October 31, 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
‘Light the Night’ at Deerwood-Bonita Lakes Park

A free family event with candy, games, rides, bounce houses and musical entertainment. The activities are sponsored by Miami Vineyand Community Church.  There will be gourmet food trucks at this event offering a variety of culinary treats for purchase.  Deerwood Bonita Lakes Park is located at 14445 SW 122 Ave., Miami.  For more information call (305) 234-9600.

October 31, 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Trick-or-Treating at Bird Lakes Park

This free Halloween event includes trick-or-treating fun, spooky music and a bounce house.  The candy and festivities is provided by area businesses and sports leagues. Bird Lakes Park is located at 14365 SW 48 Lane, Miami.  For more information call (305) 207-1644.

For information about Miami-Dade Parks call 3-1-1, or visit www.miamidade.gov/parks.

Save money on your prescriptions with discount card

In a joint effort between Miami-Dade and the National Association of Counties (NACo), Miami-Dade County has launched a new prescription discount card program to help residents save money on their medications. The free Miami-Dade County Prescription Discount Card can save you an average of 24% on prescriptions at participating pharmacies. There's no enrollment, no fee, and it's available at numerous County facilities near you. For more information, visit the program website or call 1-877-321-2652.
District 12 projects underway

Commissioner Diaz announces the following public works projects taking place in District 12 to ensure a better and safer community for all residents:

NW 58th Street and NW 87th Avenue - Generator Enclosure
Work under this contract consists of furnishing all supervision, labor, materials, equipment, tools and performing all operations required to construct the work in accordance with the contract documents.  The construction includes but is not limited to the building, cast in place concrete, site preparation (including excavation and related earthwork), the relocation of underground utilities pipes, reinforced concrete walls, foundations and architectural components and the relocation of the existing generator. No mainline road closing are foreseen, therefore no alternate route is necessary. Construction is anticipated to be completed by September 30, 2011.

NW 97th Avenue from NW 41st Street to NW 45th Lane and NW 97th Avenue and NW 33rd Street
This project will to improve the drainage in the area which has been documented by flooding in this vicinity.  This work includes the construction and installation of drainage structures, exfiltration drains, miscellaneous drainage improvements, grading, sodding and miscellaneous roadway restoration including curb and gutter, and sidewalks as needed. Construction is anticipated to be completed by February 28, 2012.  No mainline road closing are foreseen, therefore no alternate route is necessary.

NW 138th Street Bridge over the Miami River Canal from NW 113 Avenue to Okeechobee Road
The scope of work consists of, but not limited to, furnishing all supervision, labor, materials, equipment, tools.  The project consists of replacing the existing bridge with a new and wider bridge; turn lane improvements and replace existing signal at the intersection of Okeechobee Road and NW 138 Street. Work also includes a striped median with a center left turn lane, sidewalks, a continuous storm drainage system, roadway lighting, signalization, pavement markings and signage. Construction is anticipated to be completed by April 30, 2012. Mainline Closure: The bridge will be closed for the duration of the construction.  Detour: Motorists are advised to seek alternate route or follow posted maintenance of traffic (MOT) signs or detour route.

SR 836/Dolphin Expressway closures Adobe Acrobat Logo

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. Starting in November 2011, there will be a major closure that will impact the westbound traffic flow on the 836 (Dolphin Expressway). FDOT will be removing the ramp used by westbound 836 traffic that travels southbound onto the 826 (Palmetto Expressway). Drivers wanting to go southbound on the Palmetto Expressway will still have the second ramp that is located at the north side of the 836 which loops and takes them onto the Palmetto. This also happens to be the side (north side of 836) that drivers take to go northbound onto the Palmetto; obviously this will cause major traffic in the area, so if you can seek alternative routes, please do so.  The closure will take approximately one year. 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.

Natural Gas Pipeline testing on November 1 to affect roadways

On Tuesday morning, November 1, 2011 from midnight to 4 a.m., the Florida Gas Transmission Company will test 11.2 miles of natural gas pipeline using water. The pipeline is underneath roadways in Miami-Dade County.

The following roadways will be closed to traffic and pedestrians the night of the test:
Along Milam Dairy Road/NW 72nd Avenue from NW 65th Street to W. Flagler Street.
Along W. Flagler Street from Milam Dairy Road/NW 72nd Avenue to SW 87th Avenue/Galloway Road.
Along SW 87th Avenue/Galloway Road from W. Flagler Street to SW 88th Street/N. Kendall Drive.

For more information about the test, please contact Mr. Terry Coleman at 1-800-381-1477 or you can visit our web site at www.fgthydrotest.com.

County construction jobs available Adobe Acrobat Logo

Successful bidders on County construction projects are required to post job opportunities with the Job Clearinghouse administered by the Department of Sustainability, Planning & Economic Enhancement Department (SPEED) - Small Business Development. If you have any questions about the attached list, please contact Small Business Development at 305-375-3111 or sbdmail@miamidade.gov.

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 CAA'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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