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District 12 Newsletter
Commissioner Jose District 12 E-Newsletter

Dear residents,

Welcome to the new and improved District 12 e-newsletter! As always, this monthly publication will inform you of the latest programs, events, and opportunities taking place in District 12 and Miami-Dade County. Make sure you remain subscribed to keep in touch, or visit my website any time for updates.


Commissioner Jose 'Pepe' Diaz
District 12

January 2011
Commissioner honored by local organization for youth initiatives

Commissioner Diaz was one of six individuals honored by the South Florida After-School All-Stars “Evening of Stars” event on January 15th at Jungle Island. Commissioner Diaz was recognized for his legislative initiatives and activities that focus on improving the community for our youths. More>>

Commissioner Diaz attends annual "Three Kings Parade"

As a tradition, Commissioner Diaz participated in the Three Kings Parade. As the military liaison for Miami-Dade County, the commissioner invited military personnel to join him as he proudly walked alongside the Coast Guard, the Florida National Guard, and the 82nd Airborne Division Association. Commissioner Diaz was able to greet residents and also joined many of his colleagues for pictures with attendees. The parade took place on January 9 and traveled from SW 8th Street from 4th Avenue to 17th Avenue where it turned north and ended at SW 6th Street.

Dolphins legend Manny Fernandez honored at special "roast"

Longtime Miami-Dade resident and football legend Manny Fernandez was honored by Commissioner Diaz for his 1972 perfect season during a special 'roast' at Jungle Island. Many of Fernandez's 1972 teammates - Larry Csonka, Dick Anderson, Bill Stanfill, Larry Little, John Schmitt, Tom Van Note, and Nick Buoniconti - attended and had the crowd laughing when they shared some of their most cherished memories of Manny. More>>

Mom & Pop applications due February 4

Just a reminder for all small business owners that all applications for the annual District 12 Mom and Pop Small Business Grant Program will be due on February 4, 2011 by 5 p.m.  Any business owner who has already picked up an application and will attend the mandatory informational meeting on January 27 at the Jorge Mas Canosa Center may be eligible to receive up to $2,500 in grant funding. For more information on the application process, call the commissioner’s office at 305-599-1200 or visit his website. More>>

Commissioner Diaz talks veterans' services at S. Fla. All Airborne Chapter

At the South Florida All Airborne Chapter breakfast meeting on January 8, Commissioner Diaz, Miami-Dade's military liaison, had the chance to meet and greet members and discuss some of his legislation concerning military personnel and veterans. For example, in 2009 Commissioner Diaz sponsored legislation that gave a preference in County contracts to local disabled veteran businesses, named the “Local Certified Service Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise Program.” The commissioner also had the Miami-Dade County Human Services and Veteran’s Affairs Department attend the meeting to answer veterans' questions.

"Wounded Warriors" heal in Miami-Dade

As the military liaison for Miami-Dade County, Commissioner Diaz met with 32 severely injured soldiers on January 13 at Jungle Island for a small reception and tour. Commissioner Diaz took the opportunity to speak to the soldiers and presented each one with a Distinguished Visitor Certificate. 

The 32 brave servicemen and women were in town to participate in the Wounded Warriors Soldier Ride from Miami to Key West. Many of the injured soldiers came from the Walter Reed VA Hospital in Washington D.C., and 13 soldiers came from Jacksonville, where the Wounded Warriors' headquarters is located. These soldiers are recovering from injuries such as amputation, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), brain trauma, and burns from combat. The ride offers the soldiers a chance to meet other soldiers who are dealing with similar injuries and be supportive of each other.

The Wounded Warrior Project is a non-profit organization  in Jacksonville which offers several programs that assist injured men and women. For more information on this organization, please visit www.woundedwarriorproject.org.

Senior citizen exemption can now be renewed online

Property Appraiser Pedro J. Garcia has announced that Miami-Dade County homeowners who currently benefit from the additional Senior Citizen Homestead Exemption can now renew online. Florida’s Senior Citizen Exemption provides a reduction in taxable value up to $50,000 for homeowners over 65 years old, who have a homestead exemption and meet the State defined Adjusted Gross Income limit as determined annually by the Florida Department of Revenue. The deadline to file renewal applications is March 1, 2011More>>

4th Annual College Scholarship Adobe Acrobat Logo

If you have a child attending a high school within District 12, your child could compete for a $1,000 scholarship to any four-year college or university in Florida. The winner has to attend a high school within District 12 or reside in District 12. The deadline for applications is April 20, 2011 at 5 p.m. Up to six scholarships will be awarded. To download an application, visit the Commissioner’s website. For any questions, please contact Andy Dielingen Nicole at 305-599-1200.

Music to our ears

Commissioner Diaz is once again supporting programs and activities for our children in District 12. Here's what he's doing so far in 2011:

  • Last year, the Mater Academy Charter Middle/High School Wind Ensemble and Jazz Band competed at the Heritage Music Festival in Lexington, Virginia, a trip the commissioner sponsored. The band came in first place and received a Superior rating, as well as an Excellent rating for wind ensemble instrumental. This year, the band has been invited to participate in the festival once again in Boston, Massachusetts from March 23-27. Good luck, Mater Academy!
  • For the fifth year, Commissioner Diaz is sponsoring a trip for about 60 students from John I. Smith Elementary School’s orchestra and chorus. This sponsorship will allow them to compete in the MusicUSA Festival at Universal Studios in Orlando in May 2011. The MusicUSA Festival is a long-standing, 30-year festival that has that gives a chance for the most competitive and talented students to showcase their music. Last year, the school’s orchestra and chorus received a Superior rating and won the Grand Champion Award for elementary schools.
Constituents first

On a daily basis, constituents either walk into the commissioner’s office or call to ask for his help regarding a variety of issues. From filling out forms to more complex issues, the District 12 office does extensive research to solve any problems that may arise, like the following:

  • District 12 resident Mrs. Gonzalez called the Office of Commissioner Diaz regarding several pot holes located at NW 132 Avenue between 8th and 9th Streets. She was concerned because many commuters, including herself, traveled that road, and she was afraid of the potential damage to her car's tires. After visiting the area, the commissioner worked with the County’s Public Works Department to resolve the issue for Mrs. Gonzalez. A few days later, Mrs. Gonzalez called the commissioner’s office to thank him for quickly getting the pot holes fixed.
  • District 12 resident Mrs. Torres, who is a senior citizen, called Commissioner Diaz’s office to ask for assistance regarding the removal of an old 56-inch television set that was too heavy for her to carry from her residence. The commissioner's office worked with the County’s Solid Waste Department to assist Mrs. Torres with the removal of the television set. Mrs. Torres was very grateful for the commissioner’s assistance in this matter.
Construction alerts in District 12

Several construction projects affecting major roadways in District 12 will potentially affect the commutes of motorists in the area. Make note of the following projects and plan your routes accordingly:

  • 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 (SR) 826 (Palmetto Expressway) and SR 836 (Dolphin Expressway) Interchange. 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.

  • Throughout 2011, FDOT will conduct several landscaping and construction projects along the Palmetto Expressway (SR 826) to enhance safety and aesthetics. A list of the SR 926 projects, as well as additional projects throughout Miami-Dade, can be found on FDOT's website.

  • As part of the ongoing construction activities for the Florida’s Turnpike conversion to all-electronic tolling, the eastbound SW 8th Street exit ramp from the southbound Turnpike will be closed from 9 p.m. on February 4 to 6 a.m. on February 14. Drivers on the southbound Turnpike wanting to proceed eastbound on SW 8th Street will be detoured to the exit ramp on SW 40th Street/Bird Road and then north along SW 117th Avenue to access eastbound SW 8th Street.

  • The construction of a traffic signal at NW 97th Avenue and NW 17th Street will start in January 2011, and another at NW 12th Street and 124th Path will begin in early to mid-2011.
Students can flex creative muscles with MPO's 8th Annual PSA Contest

The Miami-Dade Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), the agency responsible for transportation planning in Miami-Dade County, is holding its 8th Annual PSA Contest that has attracted applicants from high schools, colleges, and universities throughout Miami-Dade County. The focus of this year’s PSA Contest is to inform citizens about the County’s Bike & Ride Program. This program assists cyclists on extended trips as they can take a single-seat, two-wheeler bicycle anytime and just about anywhere in Miami-Dade County on many MDT Metrobus routes, the Metrorail and also the Metromover.  

Affordable health care within reach

Miami-Dade residents can now get help paying Miami-Dade Blue insurance premiums. Up to 400 Miami-Dade residents can get help paying their Miami-Dade Blue premiums. Residents who meet certain income requirements may qualify for the Miami-Dade Health Insurance Utilization Program (MDHIUP) which provides assistance with a portion of the monthly premiums households pay for Miami-Dade Blue. For more information about the Miami-Dade Health Insurance Utilization Program, visit a federally qualified health center, www.miamidade.gov/ochp or call 3-1-1.

Head Start/Early Head Start now accepting applications
Miami-Dade Community Action Agency’s (CAA) Head Start/Early Head Start Program will begin its open enrollment for the 2011-2012 program year, which will begin in August of 2011.  Applications are being accepted until March 18, 2011 for pregnant women and children ages two months to five years old (after September 1, 2011).  The program also provides services to families with children who are homeless.  Applications are available at all Head Start/Early Head Start centers, CAA Community Service Centers throughout Miami-Dade County, and online.  
Free Small Claims Court Clinics available to residents

The Miami-Dade County Consumer Services Department (CSD) will launch its 2011 series of Small Claims Court Clinics on Wednesday, February 23, 2011, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the South Dade Regional Library. This will be the first of six clinics scheduled for 2011 and will be led by Miami-Dade Consumer Advocate, Leonard Elias, who will explain the County’s Small Claims Court system. For more information on future clinics, visit CSD's website or call 305-375-3677.

Upcoming events

January 29, 2011 – Commissioner Diaz will be participating in the “First Annual Dan Marino Foundation Walkabout Autism Event. For more information on this event, please visit www.danmarinofoundation.org.
Time: 10 a.m.   
Location: Sun Life Stadium

January 30, 2011 – Commissioner Diaz, along with other colleagues, will kick off the 2011 ING Miami Marathon. For more information on this event, please visit www.ingmiamimarathon.com.
Time: 6 a.m.
Location: Downtown Miami

February 6, 2011 – Commissioner Diaz will serve as the Grand Marshall at the 9th Annual Tribute to the Military 5K Run/Walk. For more information on this race, please visit www.tributetothemilitary.org
Time: 8 a.m.
Location: Merrick Park to Coral Gables City Hall.

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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