Thanksgiving is right around the corner and it’s bringing with it the season of giving. With hundreds of free turkeys on the line, a Miami gang is in on the merriment. Mirva Cadet, Gang Alternative program director, said the youth organization is indeed a gang. Gang Alternative was founded in 1987 at a time when the Magic City’s major tricks were crime and drugs.
Music, DJs, chicken wings and things
A short stretch of Ali Baba Avenue pulsated with bass booming from huge speakers. Night had fallen in Opa-locka and cool lights set the scene for the beat-heavy mania that was about to ensue. It was time for six DJs to take front stage at this year’s Art of Transformation in a battle on the ones and twos. I was honored to judge the competition with hosts DJ Laz, Hot 105's Jill Tracy and fellow judge DJ Immortal. The crowd had thinned a little, but the contenders had a sizable audience who stood in front of the stage with faces lit from the huge concert screen. They waited in anticipation.
Residents voted to pass term limits; commissioner may not see fifth term
Less than two weeks after Opa-locka election results were announced, a group of residents want a re-elected commissioner out of an office seat he’s held since 1994. Timothy Holmes received enough votes to garner a fifth consecutive term as Opa-locka commissioner during Nov. 4 elections. He was one of four candidates contending for two open commissioner seats on the city ballot and he won with the most votes. Newly reelected commissioner Terence Pinder trailed Holmes by only 50 votes.
Deemed a “visible eyesore,” the old hotel building on the corner of Northwest Seventh Avenue and 81st Street is expected to receive a major facelift that may attract future business to the corridor. Now that the county has determined improvements to Northwest Seventh Avenue an economic priority, officials are lauding the expected success of the hotel project as a gateway to increased business for the community. The hotel, purchased last May by developer MNK Hospitality LLC for $4.3 million, is expected to bring in dollars with a new name: City Inn.
EcoTech Visions to generate dollars, and improvement in environment
Liberty City will soon be home to the potato fork. It's one of the ways Pandwe Gibson looks to tackle environmental issues while addressing poverty in the area. Gibson is founder and CEO of EcoTech Visions, the region’s first environmentally conscious business incubator, which opens this month in Liberty City at 667 NW 90th St. By providing office space, consultation and equipment, EcoTech Visions can develop green start-ups like Earthware. It’s a cutlery production company that makes forks, knives and spoons from potato starches, cups from corn products and plates that when trashed do little harm to the earth.
Agency launches campaign for new name
A group of Black business owners filled the pews of the sanctuary at New Jerusalem Primitive Baptist Church. Kevin Greiner stood in front of the audience. They quietly stared back at him.
For the one-name singer-songwriter known as Kem, one song off his new album is especially personal. "Promise to Love" is about dealing with the guilt of losing the one thing he wanted the most. "There was a time in my life when I was in a relationship with someone who probably was 'the one' and I blew it. "Promise to love" speaks to the hope that we all have to be loved. It’s the greatest feeling that I’ve ever known," he said. The song is featured on Kem's la test album, Promise to Love: Album IV, and is the name of his upcoming eight-city tour, which he is kicking off at Fort Lauderdale's Broward Center for the Performing Arts Nov. 14.
Expected to reunite separated families
A new program flaunts promise to the large population of Haitians living in South Florida, but leaves many with pressing concerns, some with bad intentions and others with hope. Maggy hasn’t seen her daughter for seven years – years she’s spent trying to bring her ailing daughter into the country. She didn't want to provide her last name for fear of endangering or delaying her daughter's entrance into the U.S. For Maggy, her daughter's photo is the only thing that keeps her memory. “I have not been to Haiti since 2007 so I don’t remember any special moment; but when she was born, it was the happiest day of my life,” Maggy said. “Sometimes when I think about her, I look at her picture and I cry.”
Restaurant owner Shirley Ingraham was serving customers one day when two men walked in and made her an offer to buy two old abandoned buildings just within walking distance of her famous Jackson’s Soul Food restaurant in Overtown. The men offered to sell her the old structures for $125,000. She bought them without knowing what she would do with them or how she was going to pay to refurbish the old spaces.
Three Black female candidates express their platforms, agendas
Voters in the City of Opa-locka have three options for mayor in the upcoming Nov. 4 elections and the candidates share at least two qualities: they are Black women. It’s the first time this has happened in recent history, according to longtime city employees. The three women couldn’t be any more different in their stances on major issues like term limits and immediate priorities following elections. Mayoral candidates include incumbent Myra Taylor, former Opa-locka commissioner Rose Tydus, and current commissioner Dorothy Johnson. They join the ballot with four other candidates for the city commission board: Timothy Holmes, Deborah Sheffield Irby, Andre Faustin and Terence Pinder.