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About the Author
Rich Robinson is the CEO and publisher of Rise News. He is also a journalist and a native of Miami. Robinson graduated from the University of Alabama and can be followed on Twitter @RichRobMiami.

Miami Shores Chamber Of Commerce Moves To New Location On NE 2nd Ave

What’s News In This Story?


 

The Greater Miami Shores Chamber Of Commerce has moved from its longtime office on a prime corner of NE 2nd Ave. 

–The new location for the office is only 50 yards away, on the second floor of the Chase Bank building (9620 NE 2nd Ave, Ste. 201).

–The entrance is the glass door directly across the street from the Expresso Mart gas station (Chevron). 

The building where the Greater Miami Shores Chamber Of Commerce is now based.

–Why did they move? Here’s the word from Chamber Executive Director Megan Gerstel:

“After many years on that happy corner, we chose to move to a smaller, second floor office because we didn’t utilize most of the old space. We were occupying a prime corner, which we wanted to free up for a potential restaurant or retail business. All in all, it was a great decision for everyone, we love our new office, and we’re excited to see who moves into our old space!”

–The Chamber represents business interests in Miami Shores, El Portal and Biscayne Park and has been in operation since 1949. 

–The Chamber’s 2015 annual budget was $280,000. They put on regular member breakfasts and lunch events and are behind the popular “Green Day” street fair that happens every fall on NE 2nd Ave. 

***Miami Landmark Football Sandwich Shop Will “Reopen Soon”***

——Here’s Something Completely Different: ——

There’s A Secret Buddhist Temple In This El Portal House

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Have a news tip about this topic or something completely different? Send it to editor@risenews.net.

 

Little Haiti Gentrification War: Business Owners Cry Racism As New Landlord Allegedly Forces Out Haitians

What’s News In This Story?


–A developer is forcing out Haitian owned businesses from two commercial strips that he recently bought near the intersection of NE 2nd Ave and 82 St in Miami.

–The developer, Thomas Conway has been accused of unfairly targeting Haitians and treating non-Haitians better. 

–Most of the businesses are on month-to-month leases and Florida law allows for landlords to end those type leases with 15 days notices.

–Some of the businesses have been open for decades, including a Haitian owned tuxedo store that has been in operation for 32 years. 

-Chronic road construction has also caused severe hardships for the businesses. One barbershop says that they have lost 60% of their customers over the last year due to the construction. 

–Haitian community activists are calling for public officials to intervene and provide support to the affected businesses. 


Little Haiti is about to get a whole lot whiter.

That’s if you believe dozens of Little Haiti business owners and community activists who are claiming that a real estate developer is forcing Haitians out of two commercial strips in a fast gentrifying area of Miami, while giving white owners better treatment.

The business strips are on the East and West side of NE 2nd Ave near the 82nd St intersection.

The buildings were recently purchased by Thomas Conway, a young real estate entrepreneur who has been active in the northern section of Little Haiti.

The buildings are full of dozens of business, ranging from a travel agency, to a bakery and a Metro PCS.

Most of the businesses are run by Haitians.

Over the past two months, local shop owners say that Conway has been trying to force them out.

Multiple owners claim that Conway has refused to accept their rent checks so he can get rid of them and court records obtained by the Miami Herald show that the new landlord has already started eviction proceedings on 13 of the 15 businesses at 8200 NE Second Ave. and 201 NE 82nd St.

Most of the businesses are on month to month leases and Florida law allows for landlords to end leases with only 15 days notice.

The situation has become so untenable that many of the business owners called a press conference on Thursday with the Haitian rights group Family Action Network Movement (FANM).

To add to to their misery, an ongoing construction project has ripped up parts of NE 2nd Ave for nearly a year and dramatically hurt business in the area.

The iconic Miami restaurant, Football Sandwich Shop has been closed for multiple months due to the same construction.

Marleine Bastien, the leader of FANM said that many business owners were angry that local authorities have not offered financial assistance to their struggling businesses.

“Some of them wonder, is this a way to get them out?,” Bastien asked during the press conference. “Because usually when businesses are impacted, they get some type of relief. But not these Haitian businesses.”

Bastien also said that Haitian businesses are facing discrimination because they were the only ones asked to leave by Conway.

Ramon Alvarez owns a barbershop on the strip of the westside of NE 2nd Ave.

Alvarez said that Conway lied to his face about what his intentions were about the future of the building and that the decision to force out his barbershop was racially motivated because of the Haitian staff he has.

“They see this as a black business,” Alvarez told RISE NEWS. “Everybody out. I don’t know, it’s scary.”

Alvarez said that Conway seemed very reasonable when the new landlord first approached him a few months ago after buying the property.

Alvarez said that Conway told him the plan was to fix up the building and put on a new roof.

Alvarez also said that Conway told him that the rent would gradually go up from the current $1,400 a month to $3,500 a month.

Alvarez said that he was ok with this new arrangement.

“I can manage it and If I can’t afford it one day I’m going to say, ‘Mr. Thomas, I got to go.'”

But Alvarez said that Conway changed his tune and even refused to accept a rent check.

Now, Alvarez said that he’s been told he is going to be evicted.

He’s not the only one.

“I’ve been eight years here,” Pierre Richard Maximillien, the owner of a travel agency said.  “The guy next door to me who sells tuxedos and marriage dresses has been there 32 years. It’s a lifetime.”

A few doors down from Alvarez’s barber shop, Lucia Garcia runs The Furtnitue Store.

Garcia attended the press conference in support of the Haitian owners and said that she felt like Conway was treating her business differently than the others.

Garcia is Hispanic.

“We have not received any threats,” Garcia told RISE NEWS. “We have not received any eviction notices. We have been given until June to leave, supposedly due to construction. But we have received very different treatment.”

Lina Hargrett, the owner of the Empty Apartment said that she just recently signed a year lease to stay in the same building where Alvarez and Garcia have their businesses.

Hargrett said that she had not been asked to leave the building and seemed unaware of the controversy that was swirling.

Hargrett has a light complexion.

Hargrett’s store and the Metro PCS are the only two businesses that seem unaffected by the moves.

Both have two year leases.

Conway refused to speak to a reporter from RISE NEWS when reached via phone on Thursday, and hung up.

“Unfortunately, I can’t take this call at the moment,” Conway said before hanging up. “I appreciate it.”

In 2015, Conway opened MADE At The Citadel, a well-known co-working space on NE 2nd Ave and 83rd St.

It was reported in 2017 that he intends to turn the building across the street from MADE At The Citadel into a food hall.

A rendering for that building, which is called The Citadel, is available online.

The Citadel used to house the Federal Reserve in Miami and got its name from, wait for it, an historic fort in Haiti.

Gary Louis has worked as a barber for over 15 years at the shop that Alvarez now owns.

He has to pay to keep his chair there and has stayed despite losing 60% of his business due to the road construction.

Louis said that he’s stayed because he was excited about the changes in the neighborhood and thought that he would prosper from them.

“The city hasn’t done anything for the Haitian community at all,” Louis said. “So now, something is brought to life where we’ve seen the city has finally taken care of the community. But now as I’m seeing it, it’s not being cleaned up for primarily the Haitian community. It’s just mainly for a new form of business that does not include the Haitian community at all.”

——

There’s A Secret Buddhist Temple In This El Portal House

RISE NEWS is South Florida’s digital news network. Follow us on Facebook to make sure you never miss a story!

Have a news tip about this topic or something completely different? Send it on in to editor@risenews.net.

Miami Country Day Student Wins $20,000 Scholarship From Foot Locker

What’s News In This Story?


–Foot Locker surprised Miami Country Day School (MCDS) student Danielle Geathers with a $20,000 college scholarship Wednesday. 

–Geathers grew up in El Portal with her mom Marva Wiley. 

–Geathers is the captain of the MCDS soccer team and has a 3.9 GPA. 

–She also wrote a children’s book geared towards girls of color. The book is titled “Don’t Touch My Hair!” and reflects the common struggle found by young girls of color who go to schools where they are in the minority. 

–Geathers was one of only 20 people in the US to receive the prize from Foot Locker, which seeks to reward outstanding student athletes who demonstrates “academic excellence and exemplifying strong leadership skills both in sports and within their communities.”

–Geathers will attend MIT in the fall and will study biomedical engineering. 

——

There’s A Secret Buddhist Temple In This El Portal House

RISE NEWS is South Florida’s digital news network. Follow us on Facebook to make sure you never miss a story!

Have a news tip about this topic or something completely different? Send it on in to editor@risenews.net.

 

Miami Beach’s First Medical Marijuana Dispensary Has Opened

What’s News In This Story?


Surterra Wellness opened their storefront Monday at 1523 Alton Road after a “big effort” to get it opened. 

It is the company’s first South Florida dispensary and one of only a handful in the region. 

–The shop technically opened on April 20 (4/20, duh)- but was forced to relaunch on April 23. 

–Florida is one of 29 states have legalized medicinal marijuana. 

–A petition drive to get a measure to fully legalize marijuana for recreational use on the November ballot failed earlier this year. 

——

There’s A Secret Buddhist Temple In This El Portal House

RISE NEWS is South Florida’s digital news network. Follow us on Facebook to make sure you never miss a story!

Have a news tip about this topic or something completely different? Send it on in to editor@risenews.net.

Miami Has A Think Tank Now. Can It Save The City?

What’s News In This Story?


 

–The Miami Urban Future Initiative is a think tank that is 100% devoted to researching how to make South Florida better. 

A joint venture between FIU, the Knight Foundation and the Creative Class Group, it is connected to well known urbanist Richard Florida

–The group produces white papers on topics relating to growth and development in the region. 

–They consider “Miami” to be Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. 

–Operating under the theory that politicians don’t have a longterm view of the future, the group is trying to create data that can lead to better policy outcomes. 

–It is run by Chris Caines- a former interim director of the Knight Foundation’s Miami Program and Michael Aquino, a Miami native who grew up in Wynwood before it was gentrified. 

–The group hosts live events that are free to attend. 

——

There’s A Secret Buddhist Temple In This El Portal House

RISE NEWS is South Florida’s digital news network. Follow us on Facebook to make sure you never miss a story!

Have a news tip about this topic or something completely different? Send it on in to editor@risenews.net.

Miami Landmark Football Sandwich Shop Will “Reopen Soon”

What’s News In This Story?


–There is literally a sign of life at one of Miami’s best loved sandwich joints. 

-Football Sandwich Shop (8484 NE 2nd Ave, Miami) has been closed for months for an unknown reason.

-But a new sign placed on the inside of the door at the shop is raising hope that it may open again. 

–The sign reads: “Closed due to construction. Will reopen soon.” It also says to send emails to an address that bounces.

RISE NEWS first noticed the sign on April 13 and sent multiple messages to a working email for the shop over the course of a week- but no one responded. 

–Yelp and Google have listed the restaurant as closed. –And there were rumors that the owner was trying to offload the property. 

-Football Sandwich Shop has operated in Miami’s Little River area since 1972 and is well known for its ties to Miami Dolphins history.  

-The shop is covered with drawings of former Dolphins greats and sandwiches are named after legendary players like Mercury Morris and Larry Csonka. 

-There has been significant construction along NE 2nd Ave for months. 

 


 

There’s A Secret Buddhist Temple In This El Portal House

RISE NEWS is South Florida’s digital news network. Follow us on Facebook to make sure you never miss a story!

Have a news tip about this topic or something completely different? Send it on in to editor@risenews.net.

There’s A Secret Buddhist Temple In This Miami House

What’s News In This Story?


–Located right in the middle of a neighborhood, The Open Awareness Buddhist Center has been open and aware for about 15 years.

-Run by Lama Karma Chotso, the center is located in a house in El Portal. 

-For dozens of members, it is a place of real refuge. 

-It is located right on the banks of The Little River. 

-The center started in 1996, when it was located in a Hollywood bungalow. 

-A patron gave the group money to purchase the property from a fellow member in 2003. 

-According to Lama Chotso, there was some controversy at the time about having a Buddhist Songha in the middle of a residential street- but she was able to win over the neighbors. 

-The center offers yoga sessions as well as other Buddhist related activities- including Sunday services. 

This Miami Beach Synagogue Is About To Make History

Look How Many People It Takes To Spay A Lion At Zoo Miami

What’s News In This Story


 

–Zoo Miami spayed an 8-year-old lioness Monday in a routine operation that showed just how much manpower it takes to take care of big cats. 

-A video shared with RISE NEWS by Zoo Miami’s Ron Magill, walks through the full extent of the operation. 

-The procedure was done on Kashifa because there were fears that continued breeding by her would mean an over-representation of her line.  

-She has already had three males and two female cubs- all but one of which now live at other zoos.

 -While under anesthesia, vets also took blood and checked her eyes and teeth to make sure they are healthy. 

-Kashifa’s daughter Amira will have the same procedure next week to avoid inbreeding. 

-Kashifa is expected to make a full recovery. 

Watch Another Story: Meet Miami’s Queen Bee And Her Backyard Insect Revolution

RISE NEWS is South Florida’s digital news network. Follow us on Facebook to make sure you never miss a story!

Have a news tip about this topic or something completely different? Send it on in to editor@risenews.net.

Kids Are Suing Rick Scott So Florida Will Act On Climate Change

What’s News In This Story?


–A group of Florida young people are suing the Governor and other state wide officials over what they say is government inaction over climate change. 

-The suit, which was filed in a Tallahassee court on Monday, seeks to require the state to “adhere to its legal and moral obligation to protect current and future generations from the intensifying impacts of climate change…” 

-Florida Governor Rick Scott does not believe in man-made climate change

-The eight young people are between the ages of 10 to 20 and they come from various parts of the state.

-There is a nine member legal team that is backing up the suit on behalf of the kids and “Our Children’s Trust”, a group that has helped young people sue their state governments around the country. 

-Fort Lauderdale attorney Mitchell Chester is part of the legal team. 

-“We can’t delay anymore because climate change is a huge problem,” Levi Draheim, a 10-year-old plaintiff in the suit said. “We must deal with it right now and start reducing the emissions that are causing it.” 

Watch Another Story: Meet Miami’s Queen Bee And Her Backyard Insect Revolution

RISE NEWS is South Florida’s digital news network. Follow us on Facebook to make sure you never miss a story!

Have a news tip about this topic or something completely different? Send it on in to editor@risenews.net.

 

Meet Miami’s Hip Hop Ice Cream Shop

What’s News In This Story?


–Mr Kream Wynwood has a pretty unique vibe for an ice cream place. Run by a group of Miami DJs, the shop is the perfect place for those with a serious sweet tooth and an ear for rap.

-The shop is just over a year old and has become very popular.

-Ice cream flavors are named after famous rap stars. An example?: 2 Live Blue.

-The stated goal is to give people a great desert while also teaching them about hip hop culture and history. 

 

Watch Another Story: Meet Miami’s Queen Bee And Her Backyard Insect Revolution

RISE NEWS is South Florida’s digital news network. Follow us on Facebook to make sure you never miss a story!

Have a news tip about this topic or something completely different? Send it on in to editor@risenews.net.

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