Add years to your pet’s life with expert tips

January 21st, 2015 by Brenda Bassett



Jodi Ziskin is a holistic nutrition and wellness specialist for pets. Her mission is to help cats and dogs live healthier and happier. She has a Master of Science degree in Holistic Nutrition and is the owner of Holistic Healthy Pets by Jodi Z. Her top tips for adding years to your pet’s life include:

1. Investigate pet food

While many pet parents feed their cats and dogs the same thing day after day, they may not realize it’s a habit that can lead to nutritional deficiencies and food intolerances.

“I recommend a holistic approach to a pet’s diet,” says Ziskin. “That simply means using real, whole food, not by-products, rendered ingredients, artificial colors, artificial flavors or preservatives. Homemade (cooked or raw) is optimal.” She recommends you work with a holistic veterinarian or pet nutrition specialist to create a good, basic recipe you can make at home.

“If a pet guardian is not interested in preparing homemade food, the next best thing is frozen raw food. All the pet parent has to do is defrost portions in the refrigerator overnight. Freeze-dried or dehydrated raw food is another good option. Finally, there are a handful of canned foods that are very high quality,” comments Ziskin.

She suggests always reading the label when selecting food. The first ingredient should be a high-quality meat, like de-boned white chicken. If the first ingredients are different types of grains and starches, then that food should be avoided.-
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 2. Consider supplements

Many people take multivitamins and other supplements to better their health, and this practice can benefit pets too.

“There are many factors that contribute to a pet’s lifespan. Some are out of our control, like genetic, congenital and environmental factors. However, providing a species-appropriate diet, including supplements like omega-3s, contributes to overall wellness, helping pets thrive,” says Ziskin.

Supplementing a pet’s diet with omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) has many health benefits, including healthy skin and coat, reduced inflammation that causes itching and hot spots, joint health with less inflammation, strong immune system and a healthier digestive tract.

“Using fish oils specially made for pets is highly recommended,” Ziskin says. “The fish oil I recommend to my clients is Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Pet.- This product is made from wild-caught sardines and anchovies that are cold processed. It is free from heavy metals, PCBs, dioxins and chemicals.”

3. Prioritize play and rest

“Exercise is paramount to the physical health of cats and dogs,” says Ziskin. “After all, a body in motion stays in motion. The simple act of walking a dog (or cat) helps to lubricate joints, preserves flexibility, maintains muscle mass (which protects joints), and keeps blood circulating through the joints and muscles.”

Make time every day to play with your pets. Cats need only five to 10 minutes once or twice a day for interactive play. “On days when you simply do not have a minute to spare, hide some cat toys around the house. Some high, some low. Your kitty will get extra exercise by finding and playing with their ‘prey,’” Ziskin suggests.

Walking a dog once or twice a day is good for both you and your pet. “If you cannot devote the time, please look into hiring a dog walker. Since it is detrimental to a dog’s health to have him hold urine all day long, having a dog walker come midday is optimal,” stresses Ziskin.

Remember, resting periods are just as important as physical activity. “Spending quiet time with our pets is so important for their overall well-being,” says Ziskin. “The simple act of petting a dog reduces their stress and helps them feel secure. The same is true for cats, however, most cats do not liked to be stroked for a long period of time.”

In addition to these tips, Ziskin advises pet owners of young and middle-aged pets to see their vet annually. Older pets should see the vet at least twice a year. This helps ensure you and your furry family members have many happy, healthy years to look forward to.

Beauty at the Beaux Arts Festival

January 19th, 2015 by Hal Feldman

The 64th annual Beaux Arts Festival was once again held on the University of Miami campus January 17-18. With South Florida winter weather the way it is, now is the season of the arts festivals and Beaux is one of the largest and best. A recent $1.5 million gift from Beaux Arts to the University of Miami’s Lowe Art Museum should keep this tradition for a long time to come.

111What is striking about this particular festival is how the campus seems to naturally enhance the art it hosts. Booths meander through grass, trees and walking paths reflecting art in nature. The nearly $20,000 in cash prizes to the artists may be enticement, but the clincher is the feeling of the weekend for both artist and visitors to the show. “We do this every year because it is relaxing. It’s part of the Miami experience and our family enjoys seeing the traveling art in our community,” remarked Miami native Elenita Rodriguez.

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Todd Andrew Babb’s sculpture work caught my eye. His pieces are long, flowing and seemingly dancing. “I’ve been at this particular style and format for about eight years now. I’ve done festivals all around the country and this is my first time here. I’m very impressed and please. My work is in collections around the world and the warm reception I’m getting in Miami is wonderful.”

Todd Andrew Babb with his 'DECOdent Blue' sculpture piece
Todd Andrew Babb with his ‘DECOdent Blue’ sculpture piece

‘DECOdent Blue’ stood out as my favorite. The misspelled name is a twist on the deco art inspired figure. The blue is from the woman’s long, flowing dress. Babb says he’s inspired by surrealism and the art deco period and this is his homage to both.

'Pressure' by Jack Hill
‘Pressure’ by Jack Hill

Another artist, Jack Hill, also stood out in my eyes. He too is a sculptor, but working mostly in wood. “I very strongly feel the goal in art or the essence of art is to comment on the times you live in. So I work hard to do so… and aspire to make even more universal observation,” explained Hill. One piece on exhibit, called ‘Failed’ showed a student growing from an old-fashioned school desk on wheels. His body is riddled with square holes and a broken pencil is evident. It is left it to the beholder to decide who or what has failed. Hill suggests, “Maybe its more than one thing that has failed.”

Jack Hill with his work 'Failed'
Jack Hill with his work ‘Failed’

With over 230 booths, there was something for everyone. If you missed it, there’s next year when the organizer promises it to be bigger and better.

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Four easy technology tips small-business owners can start using today

January 13th, 2015 by Brenda Bassett


Small-business owners say that managing their business creates twice as much stress as maintaining a healthy relationship with a spouse or partner, according to a recent Bank of America Small Business Owner Report. And it is nearly three times more stressful than raising children, small-business owners report.

While technology can enhance productivity and sales, provide access to wider audiences, and, ultimately, increase profits, it also can be a major source of stress for the small-business owner. There is so much change out there, small-business owners often experience fear and frustration as they try to keep up.

When it comes to implementing new technology, the two main challenges for anyone operating a small business are: money and time. However, it’s impossible to be a competitive business owner without taking advantage of today’s technology. The trick is investing in technology that will make your life easier not harder. While there may be a learning curve, there are a variety of ways to afford the technology you need as well as the technical support to help you learn how to use it.

Here are four turnkey technology strategies that just about any small-business owner can start using today.

1. Re-think your cash register – Until recently, millions of small businesses have long been at a technology disadvantage. By using antiquated, time-consuming methods of taking payments, they have missed out on the ability to capture useful sales data for inventory and sales tracking. Today, more affordable cloud-based point-of-sale software such as NCR Silver is made specifically for small businesses. More than a simple credit card swipe system, NCR Silver provides inventory support, profitability analytics, accounting integration, and live customer service and support to help the technology-shy small-business owner. Plus, with tablet capabilities, even mobile businesses can enjoy technologies that were previously only available to their larger competitors.

2. Amp up and automate your marketing efforts – Sending meaningful and relevant communications has never been easier for small-business owners who utilize smart technologies. Social media is here to stay – so it’s a wise business move to start a Facebook or Twitter account to interact with core audiences. Plus, it’s free. Email marketing also makes connecting with customers quick and easy. Seek out systems that allow you to set up automatic email marketing campaigns as an easy way to save time and stress. But remember, no one likes spam. Be sure to communicate with your customers in ways they actually want to be reached, otherwise they’ll opt out and move on.

3. Make sure your website is up to speed – Customer impatience is at an all-time high. Customers won’t wait around if your site is slow to load or if transactions are too time-consuming. Make sure your site can handle the traffic peaks 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Google Analytics is free and offers a simple snapshot of your customers’ experiences and how fast your pages load. Also, make sure that visitors can see and navigate your site no matter what device they’re using to view it. Test your user experience on smartphones, tablets and various email services.

4. Protect your computer system – Every day, viruses infect approximately 1 million computers around the world. Viruses can travel in anything from a USB flash drive to an email message, and can completely halt the productivity of a small business. To minimize your company’s exposure to viruses, worms and hackers, be sure you use the latest patches, system updates and firewalls for your software and computer systems. You can usually find patches and program updates on the software manufacturers’ websites. If you choose a cloud-based sales system, make sure your information as well as that of your customers, is safe by adopting an encryption strategy, such as NCR Silver’s encrypted card security feature.

To thrive in a competitive marketplace, small-business owners need to utilize technology like NCR Silver, social media and free online tools like Google Analytics. These modern tools will help grow a business, save you valuable time and perhaps make your day-to-day activities fun once again.

Survey: Teens not as cyber savvy as parents might think

January 13th, 2015 by Brenda Bassett

While 89 percent of the 700 teenagers polled said they don’t give out too much personal information online (although 46 percent said their friends do), many admitted to engaging in online behaviors that could put their personal information at risk. Three-fourths of kids 13 to 17 included some type of personal information (partial or complete birth date, address, phone number, school, etc.) on their social media profiles.

“Clearly, there’s a disconnect between what teens – and their parents – think they know about online safety and what they’re actually doing,” says Hilary Schneider, LifeLock’s president. “While teens may be experts at using technology and social media to stay connected, we as parents must help them understand the steps necessary to protect their online privacy – or how their online actions today could affect their lives in the future.”

Despite near-daily stories of social media misbehavior damaging the careers of politicians, athletes and entertainers, nearly half of surveyed teens don’t expect their online activities to hurt them later in life.

Many were unaware of how to tell whether a site is secure before entering personal information.

“Children are favorite targets for identity thieves because they have clean credit histories,” says Schneider, who herself is a mother of teenagers. “Fraud may go undetected for years until the child applies for credit as a young adult. With the risks so high, teens and parents have to take steps to protect their privacy, security and identities online.”

The identity theft protection professionals at LifeLock (www.lifelock.com) offer some tips:

* Limit the personal information you share in your social media profile. Listing your full name, full address or even your birth date could potentially open the door to identity thieves.

* Do not accept “friend” requests from anyone you have not already met in person, even if he or she claims to be a friend of a friend.

* Use strong passwords for each social media account and for all your mobile devices. Strong passwords include capital and lowercase letters, numerals and special symbols. Consider using a pass-phrase like “LincolnClassOf2013IsTheBestEver!” or the first letter of each word: “LCo2013itBE!”

* Do your best to verify the security and authenticity of a website before you interact with it, buy something from it or give any information about yourself. Look for the URL to begin with “https” or for the lock symbol on the page that indicates a secure site at checkout.

* Remember that anything you post online is forever. It’s almost impossible to completely eliminate information from the Internet. Inappropriate material posted online now may affect your future relationships, ability to get into the college of your choice – even your future job prospects.

“Today’s teens use technology in virtually every aspect of their lives,” Schneider said. “But they can still use some help from parents to ensure they safely navigate the digital world.”

More information is available at http://www.lifelock.com/education and from the Federal Trade Commission at http://www.onguardonline.gov/features/feature-0002-featured-info-parents.

 

New Pinecrest Salon – Olive’s Nail & Spa

January 10th, 2015 by Hal Feldman

Nail salons come and go, but newly opened Olive’s Nail & Spa plans to be a delightful exception to the norm. Owned by Tony Rad (long-time stylist at Pete’s Barber Shop in Suniland) and his newlywed wife Jenalyn Avella, the salon quickly stands out from the others.

[L to R] Olive’s Nail and Spa owners Tony Rad and his wife Jenalyn Avella, along with technicians Francesca Acosta, Lavane Brown, Monica Franco and Diane Silva
[L to R] Olive’s Nail and Spa owners Tony Rad and his wife Jenalyn Avella, along with technicians Francesca Acosta, Lavane Brown, Monica Franco and Diane Silva

“We spent most of our savings to create a premiere salon,” explains Tony. “We picked a prime location, spared no expense to bring the best equipment, talent and we have the experience to deliver a superior experience.” Jenalyn added, “This is our dream coming true. I’ve worked in other salons, both here and in my native Philippines, and it just feels different to build something from scratch. We are already having success and look forward to serving many more in the years to come.”

Olive’s opened on December 15th and has seen a steady stream of traffic. “We see a lot of people who stop in because of the Starbucks. Once they are here, they get pampered and become repeat clients,” explained Jenalyn.

New customer Araceli Rodriguez receives manicure from Diane Silva
New customer Araceli Rodriguez receives manicure from Diane Silva

First-time customer Araceli Rodriguez remarked, “I was taking my son to Game Stop and saw Olive’s. I’m trying it out and so far it’s better than my regular place with similar prices.”

So what is Olive’s like? Monica Franco, Francesca Acosta, Lavane Brown, Diane Silva, Yaneisy Herrero and Aniris Merida make up the friendly and smiling team of technicians. The row of sparkling new massage pedicure chairs, special ventilation system, artwork and spacious, pleasing layout let you know this is more than your regular nail shop.

Olive’s overall feel was even enough to inspire me, a person who had never gotten a manicure. I sat in the chair, enjoyed the massage chair and let the technicians do their thing. Fifty-five minutes later, I felt like a new man. Nothing fancy mind you, but well-nurtured nails does give you a feeling of relaxation. I walked out pampered and happy.

Olive’s is located at 9071 South Dixie Highway (in the strip mall with Starbucks, Game Stop, Cold Stone Creamery and T-Mobile) with ample parking. You can make an appointment by calling 786-212-1841 or by emailing olivesnailsandspa@gmail.com. Hours are Mon-Sat 8:30a to 7:00p and Sunday 10a to 5p.  First-time customers get a great deal of a mani-pedi combo for just $25.

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The psychology of seasons: Caring for your mental health

January 7th, 2015 by Brenda Bassett

 
Those who face this type of depression, known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), feel a physiological response by the body to decreases in light exposure associated with the fall and winter months, according to Dr. Gary Bruss, program dean of the American School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University, Southern California.

“This is one of the more biologically based forms of depression,” says Bruss. “SAD can be characterized by moodiness, heightened irritability, lack of interest in those things you usually take pleasure in, changes in eating and sleeping patterns, and difficulty concentrating that take place during those fall and winter months every year.”

Simply put, you may not feel as peppy as you normally do or have the same energy level or you may not want to be around people or follow your regular routine. If you are a student, you could see your grades declining and if you work, you may see your performance slipping.

Being proactive about your mental health and taking care of yourself can help address depression and mood swings. Bruss recommends engaging in exercise, going for a walk or meeting friends or family for coffee or some fun activity. He also adds it is important to eat a balanced diet, get enough rest at night, do nice things for yourself or find a hobby to help occupy your time.
 
 ”In the fall and winter, we tend to see an increase in seasonal affective disorder and in overall stress,” says Dr. Devin Byrd, dean of the College of Health Professions at South University. “Becoming more acutely aware of your habits, stress levels and social activities can help assess and counter-balance the onset of seasonal sadness or depression.”
 
 If you sense that the season may be negatively affecting your well-being, Byrd recommends you initiate a new hobby, increase exercise, watch what you eat and take measures to take an active role in social activities.

Light exposure therapy can combat the signs and symptoms of SAD. During this type of therapy, you sit near a device called a light therapy box. This box gives off a specific kind of light that mimics the natural light from the outdoors and can ease SAD symptoms.

If signs of depression appear in a family member, friend or co-worker, Bruss recommends talking with them and encouraging them to seek help if depression persists or worsens. He also points out that the holiday season can have a major impact on depression if a person has experienced the death of a family member, close friend or a pet. If the severity of the depression interferes with a person’s ability to function socially and/or professionally, then it’s time to seek help from a mental health professional, says Bruss.

“Seeking professional help is an increasingly common practice and people should not feel anxious about seeing a psychologist for psychotherapy or taking medication for depression if it’s needed – especially for a disorder that is based so heavily on our biology. The most important thing is to connect with a professional who can help you restore emotional balance, peace and happiness to your life,” Bruss says.

Transform your home this season with a fresh coat of paint

December 29th, 2014 by Brenda Bassett

(NC) – With winter quickly approaching and more time being spent inside the comforts of the home entertaining, spending time with family or simply recovering from the busy summer, there is no better time to freshen up the interior of your home with a new coat of paint.

Painting is an easy, inexpensive way to breathe new life into your home and to give your home new curb appeal without having to make any additional decorative or reconstructive changes.

Get prepared with the right supplies – Avoid making any last-minute runs to the store and ensure you have everything for a great paint job by working with the following checklist of painting essentials from Canadian Tire:

Masking tape

Drop cloths

Paint tray

Paint brushes, rollers and roller cage

Paint extension pole

Step ladder

  • Choosing a colour – There are many things to consider when choosing what colour will best suit the rooms and décor in your home. Start by considering the colour of your furnishings and how much light the room gets during the day – both will determine how the paint appears in the room. Room size and use are also important when deciding – light colours will make the room appear larger and more relaxing, while darker colours can make a room seem smaller and more intimate. Have a favourite colour you want on the wall? A paint match system can match the colour of any item, fabric, piece of clothing, etc. to bring your favourite hue to life on your walls.
  • Getting the right amount – A paint calculator will help determine how much paint you need for each room in your home.

Don’t have time to take on the project? Canadian Tire’s Home Services will do the work for you! Professional painters can transform the interior and exterior of your home by painting areas such as walls and ceilings; windows, doors and trim; porches, and even concrete floors. These painting services come with a free in-home estimate and a 1-yr warranty.

Visit CanadianTire.ca and homeservices.canadiantire.ca for more information about products and services.

Make your preening routine green

December 23rd, 2014 by Brenda Bassett


Starting an environmentally friendly routine at home is a goal for many families who are concerned with reducing their environmental footprints. The age-old reduce, reuse and recycle mantra is a great start, but what many don’t know is that there are also simple changes you can make to your health and beauty routine that can make a big impact on the environment. Who knew “green” preening could be so easy?

In addition to finding beauty products you love, you can also support brands that promote sustainable living. Consider making changes in your health and beauty care routines that will help reduce your environmental footprint. It’s the small changes you make that can lead to a big environmental impact.

Here are some ideas to help you get started:

* Products that are offered in bulk – Buying products you frequently use – like skin lotion or tooth paste – in bulk sizes helps you to reduce the amount of packaging that ends up being thrown away or recycled. And not only does it help you reduce your waste, but buying bulk also tends to provide better savings. When shopping, however, only bulk up on items you use frequently enough, so you won’t end up with any spoiling before you use it.

* Packaging that’s a little easier on the environment – Purchasing products packaged in a sustainable manner is a good way to help reduce your environmental footprint. For example, the Pantene Nature Fusion collection is packaged in renewable, sugarcane-based plastic, helping to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Both the Pantene Nature Fusion shampoo and conditioner bottles reduce the use of fossil fuels by more than 70 percent versus traditional petroleum-based plastics, and release up to 170 percent fewer greenhouse gasses in the manufacturing process. But you don’t have to sacrifice beauty to be eco-savvy – the collection combines Pro-V science with naturally derived cassia to give your hair healthy strength and shine.

* Eco-conscious manufacturers – Many manufacturers of health and beauty products are becoming more conscience of how these products are developed. For example, some companies like P&G are developing techniques to reuse waste in the manufacturing process, combining reduce, reuse and recycle into one process. And many companies are adopting environmentally friendly manufacturing processes that help to reduce energy usage and use more renewable energy sources.

* Good things in smaller packages – Concentrated or condensed products allow you to purchase smaller quantities in smaller packages, resulting in less waste that end up being recycled or thrown away. In addition, concentrated products in smaller packages allow more packages per truck shipment, helping to reduce the environmental impact in the shipping industry. This helps to reduce the product’s footprint before it even reaches the store shelves. Do a little research to see if your makeup or lotion brands offer a concentrated option, so you can put the mantra, “a little dab will do you,” to good use.

For more tips on how you can add more sustainable practices to your health and beauty routine, or other areas of your home, visit www.facebook.com/futurefriendly. You’ll discover how small changes in your daily preening can really make a significant change.

Mangowood’s Santa Parade

December 22nd, 2014 by Hal Feldman

‘Twas the week before Christmas, and all through Mangowood the children were far from nestled in their beds. That’s because each year, Santa makes a special trip to parade through their neighborhood streets courtesy of the 56-year old voluntary civic association.

Known for its 1960s good feel, safe and beautiful streets and incredibly strong network of homeowners, the Mangowood section of Palmetto Bay could make just about anyone smile with all the community activities they do throughout the year, including Easter, the Fourth of July, a neighborhood garage sale and of course Christmas.

Mangowood’s Rose Van Patten (known in these parts as Mrs. Mangowood) reflected, “Ever since 1972 when my husband bought this car, it’s been tradition to do this for the kids. Before that, it was a gift exchange at the flagpole.”

On December 20th, the fire and police departments, along with Palmetto Bay Village council members (Mayor Eugene Flinn, Councilwoman Karyn Cunningham and Vice Mayor John DuBois) and a caravan of golf carts toured Santa past the homes of delighted kids handing out candy canes and good cheer to the residents of this idyllic area.

[L to R] Mayor Eugene Flinn, Councilwoman Karyn Cunningham and Vice Mayor John DuBois
[L to R] Mayor Eugene Flinn, Councilwoman Karyn Cunningham and Vice Mayor John DuBois

Mayor Eugene Flinn reflected, “It’s another great year here and we’d like to think a little bit of Mangowood goes all the way through Palmetto Bay this time of year.”

young Julian falcon meets santa
Young Julian Falcon meets Santa

After an hour parade, expertly chauffeured by community activist Stanley Kowlessar in a cherry red Model A rumble back sleigh, Santa joined the neighbors out on the street for a holiday block party. It was quite the clatter.

Stanley Kowlessar with santa in the back and Mrs. Mangowood, rose van patten, in the passenger seat
Stanley Kowlessar with santa in the back and Mrs. Mangowood, rose van patten, in the passenger seat

More than 100 people lined the streets and enjoyed each others company as the kids ate, drank and played in everything Christmas.

Seven-year old Victoria Johnson exclaimed, “We even made a hot chocolate bar with special toppings for everyone and Santa is right next door to our house!” Her sister, Madison, and mom and dad helped pour for anyone who wanted a cup.

[L to R] Madison and Victoria Johnson prepare hot chocolate for neighbors
[L to R] Madison and Victoria Johnson prepare hot chocolate for neighbors

This is the kind of place where homemade cakes, cookies and meals magically appear, all in the spirit of sharing and togetherness.

It’s where Santa comes for a special annual trip and takes the time so everyone can sit on his lap and reflect on another great year.

The spirit of this event is so strong that even our best and finest find themselves racing for a snapshot with Saint Nick.

And as quickly as it started, Santa sprang back into his sleigh saying, “Cheers and good wishes on this happiest of day. Ho. Ho. Ho! Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

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Rockin’ In Palmetto Bay

December 17th, 2014 by Hal Feldman

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.”

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