The Helping Hands column profiles the town’s 12 volunteer committees that promote various causes in Miami Lakes and help town government serve the community. Committees’ activities are funded by the town budget and by ticket sales from some events.
Committee: Blasting Advisory Board.
Founded: Sept. 18, 2018.
Chair: Miguel Martinez
Vice Chair: Rodolfo Blanco
Members: Steven Herzberg, secretary; Bryan Morera; Esther Colon; John Estrella; Angelo Cuadra Garcia and Angel Armesto.
Purpose: To discuss and provide the Town Council with recommendations and possible solutions to ease the effect of rock mine blasting, according to the Town’s website.
While working together to address the effects of limestone mining upon residents’ properties, the Miami Lakes Blasting Advisory Board has taken annual trips to Tallahassee to meet with lawmakers to try and enact change, and most recently went to the state capital in March.
Their immediate goal: To get blasting levels lowered in a quarry to the west of town, a compromise that would allow mining to happen but may not cause as much damage as homeowners say is happening.
Committee Vice Chair Rodolfo Blanco says he feels the effects of blasting in his own home and it’s why he joined the committee. He was appointed by town Councilman Luis Collazo.
“So many people are being affected [by the blasting],” Blanco said.
Residents say vibrations that travel underground during excavation of the rock used in construction has cracked their swimming pools, broken tiles and even damaged the foundations of their houses.
Blanco said two proposed bills in the House and Senate call for reducing the intensity of the explosions.
The committee has lobbied state officials.
“We talked to key people, [Lt. Gov.] Jeanette Núñez; the speaker of the [Florida] House, a lot of different senators and representatives in our area, to make sure that legislation gets passed,” Blanco said.
The committee has not been successful in getting local rock mining companies to meet with property owners.
“[Residents] know we’re doing as much as we can, they know we’re [advocating] for them, we even have a website for them,” Blanco said.
Residents who are affected by blasting can go online to www.blastingreport.com, which takes them to the mining activity page. There they can log complaints that are filed with the State Fire Marshal.
The page was created by Committee member Bryan Morera.
Miami-Dade County has installed 10 seismographs around the northwest section of the county, including in town, to collect data on blasts.
“We’re doing as much as we can within our power,” Blanco said. “We don’t want people to lose their jobs, but we have other mining companies that are [blasting] at [such] low levels that we don’t even know they are there.”
The next step for the group would be an attempt to try once more to get residents to go to the Capitol to speak with leaders; not many property owners showed up for the most recent bus trip.
The Blasting Advisory Board is next set to meet March 20 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall.
To join this or any other committee, file a form with Miami Lakes Town Clerk Gina Inguanzo and attend two committee meetings.
A council member will then recommend the applicant for approval by the full council. Committee members must live or work in town, and some committees require a background check.
For more information go to https://bit.ly/3lRTaA9.
In the photo: Members of the Blasting Advisory Board listen to residents during a Jan. 19 meeting with residents at Miami Lakes Town Hall. From left, Committee member Angelo Cuadra Garcia; Secretary Steven Herzberg; Chair Miguel Martinez; Committee member Esther Colon; Committee member Bryan Morera; Committee member John Estrella; Vice Chair Rodolfo Blanco and former Committee member Ralph de la Vega. Not pictured: Committee member Angel Armesto. Photo by Alexandra Herrera.