Rockin’ In Palmetto Bay

Now in its third year, the Palmetto Bay Food & Rock Festival took place at Ludovici Park (behind the Palmetto Bay public library) on December 6. For seven hours, more than 1500 people were treated to incredible live music, high quality food/drink, glorious weather and an all-around good time.

Run by Florida Rock Stars’ co-founders Richard DiBenedetto and Mickey Filippucci, the multi-hour event raised money for charity, and brought Palmetto Bay another great outdoor event. “We don’t do this for the money, we have a love for live, local music and putting on a big party,” explained DiBenedetto.

Mayor Eugene Flinn attended saying, “This event sends out a clear note that our Village truly is an enviable place to be. Top-quality programs like this – along with our hugely successful ‘Holiday by the Bay’ event – are what people look for when deciding to keep their home or business here. Why go anywhere else when you can go right down the street for a great night out or a memorable family experience? Quality of life, that’s what it is all about.”

Daughter Meghan and Karyn Cunningham (Councilwoman – District 1), Susan White, Mayor Eugene Flinn and his wife Alex

Daughter Meghan and Karyn Cunningham (Councilwoman – District 1), Susan White, Mayor Eugene Flinn and his wife Alex

The festival featured performances by Cutler Stew, The Livesays, The Regs and Mr. Nice Guy, each delivering a solid 90-minute set of their high-energy rock. “This is one of the reasons to be in South Florida,” exclaimed concert-goer Karen Towriss, “Seeing so many great bands in one place with all this amazing food and energy is a real treat!”

Mr. Nice Guy’s Magoo, Alex Lencina, Maria De Crescenzo, Tom Hall and Johnny O performing.

Mr. Nice Guy’s Magoo, Alex Lencina, Maria De Crescenzo, Tom Hall and Johnny O performing.

In the past five years, Florida Rock Stars has put on several shows in Palmetto Bay and Homestead, each with challenges. They attempted to do a huge show at Zoo Miami this year, but couldn’t reach agreement with County officials. With the help of Ron Derrick of the band Cutler Stew, Palmetto Bay was tapped instead. “This really was a blessing,” explained DiBenedetto, “The Village rolled out the red carpet for us and people like Ron, MiamiHal, Ed Silva and Fanny Carmona of the Parks Department cut through the typical red tape to make this happen at an extremely high level. We couldn’t be happier with Palmetto Bay and the fans were awesome!”

The Livesays belting out a classic

The Livesays belting out a classic

The festival featured local food vendors and an impressive air-conditioned VIP area, complete with a live feed of the show and Rock Stars frozen margaritas. “The response was incredible and everyone is ready and excited for next year,” Filippucci added, “One of our main goals is to support charity. This year we helped raise $11,000 for Parker-Haar’s ‘Team Jess’ [Hughes], a 24-year old three-peat cancer survivor who lives in Palmetto Bay. We also raised $1200 for Mike Fink’s ‘Patches’ organization who helps poor sick kids in Homestead.”

Mayor Flinn looked toward the future, “This year the Ed & Arlene Feller Amphitheater at Ludovici Park was the right venue, but as this major community event grows, it could easily become a cornerstone program for a future downtown-district amphitheater. With fast access to mass transportation and ample parking, and a smooth flow onto the US-1 commercial corridor, this is exactly the type event that could really make our downtown rock and roll, and draw attention to this viable new business and residential hub.”



Welcoming Daniella Levine Cava

Daniella Levine Cava was officially sworn in as Miami-Dade County Commissioner (District 8) on November 18th. She immediately started voting on County issues and worked some very long hours even before she was ceremonially sworn in the following week.

“I’m very exciting to serve because I care so much about our County. I think our District has such great potential, so many wonderful opportunities and assets, but it also has huge challenges,” Daniella stated, “I’ve been very involved civically for many years, so stepping inside government and being able to take some responsibility for positive change is an amazing opportunity.”

After only a short time in office it is clear that Daniella is jumping in as quickly as possible. “My job is to learn about many things very rapidly. My district includes Palmetto Bay, Cutler Bay, Homestead, and unincorporated areas including Redland, Falls, Princeton, Naranja, Leisure City and parts of West Kendall, so I will meet often with those area’s leaders, governments and key people to understand their needs.”

To that end, Daniella knows she can’t do it all, so she is hiring a strong staff to make sure her office is responsive to all areas. “They’ll feed things back to me and represent my office when I have overlapping engagements. Two staffers will be dedicated to civic engagement and one will work solely connecting with non-profits and businesses. Still others will round out my team. This investment will ensure we have a strong presence wherever we are needed.”

Daniella will soon be transitioning headquarters to the South Dade Government Center, where the District 8 office was four years ago. “This is more centric making us more accessible to more constituents. We also plan to partner with several areas to have satellite offices.”

So how does Daniella Levine Cava want be perceived? “It is my hope that people will see me as open and available, dedicated and passionate. I think of myself as an advocate for South Dade and I believe I have an opportunity to address many unmet needs and further key goals in our County,” said Daniella. “I call South Dade the ‘last frontier’ and what I mean by that is that I think we have great opportunities to grow… grow jobs, our economy, transportation options, social services and more while still protecting our existing quality of life. I plan to do just that.”

Her main platform for her term is ‘Restore Trust In Government’. You can learn more at the official District 8 web page. Specifics on her agenda and plans are contained in her published installation speech.