Revelers celebrate at Main Street Festival of Lights

Featured By Alexandra Herrera, Reporter Wednesday, November 29, 2023

As a hush fell over a darkened Main Street, Santa flicked a giant switch and dazzled the crowd with hundreds of brilliantly colored lights that adorned the trees and facades of stores and apartment buildings.       This...

State of the Town: Strong, says Mayor Manny Cid

Government By Alexandra Herrera, Reporter Friday, November 4, 2022

      At this year’s State of the Town address, Miami Lakes Mayor Manny Cid was optimistic.

     “The state of our town is stronger than ever and continues to grow stronger every year,” Cid said at the event held at town hall on Oct. 27.

     “I’m the head of the town so I get blamed for everything and I get the credit for a lot of things,” Cid said of his leadership role.  He decided to share credit that night.

     “Instead of hearing a speech from me for the first time in this town’s history…” Cid said he wanted employees to describe their achievements.

      Then he presented leaders of town departments who appeared in a video and shared highlights from the year. 

      During the short film, they listed: Stormwater bond projects for flood relief; issuance of 385 senior citizen rebate checks; the development and redesign for Miami Lakes Optimist Park and preparing a bond referendum for voters to decide whether to fund it, and the low crime rate and short police response times.     

     Also, more than $20 million in grants, flooding remediation, the tree canopy and renovation of the T-ball field; new ordinances to improve business and economic development and expanded Freebee service.

     Additional accomplishments were processing variance applications to increase property values and, with the town’s dozen volunteer committees, hosted more than 50 events that served over 30,000 residents; an 85 percent compliance rate in code enforcement without issuing fines and resolving litigation around the Northwest 154th Street bridge. 

     “Our staff did a great job, and I think it sets the bar high, going forward,” Cid said. 

     He also recognized Vice Mayor Jeffrey Rodriguez, who is not seeking reelection after serving a single term. 

     Rodriguez, an attorney and partner with Adams Gallinar P.A., has said he wishes to spend more time with his family.

     Cid gave him a key to the town and a proclamation marking Oct. 27 as “Jeffrey Rodriguez Day.” 

     “He will be sadly missed on the dais,” Cid said, complimenting Rodriguez for “voting his conscience” over politics as he strove toward “making the town a better place to live,” by working to lower the speed limit, and improve town cul de sacs and Optimist Park, among other projects.

     “I would have loved for him to run for reelection,” Cid said of the friend he has known since kindergarten who is also his business partner in the Mayor’s Cafe. “I think he is someone we need in government.” 

     Rodriguez thanked “the amazing town staff ... Manager Edward Pidermann; Town Clerk Gina Inguanzo; town attorneys Raul Gastesi and Lorenzo Cobiella” and councilmembers and residents. 

     When he thanked his family and friends, he became teary. Rodriguez also paid tribute to Cid.

     “This community is made so much better because you’ve been our leader and honestly man, I think people need to be more grateful for all the service you have done,” he said.

       Rodriguez said councilmembers don’t do the job to be recognized.

     “We do this because each and every day, each and every one of us loves this town and wants to do what we believe is best for this town and its residents,” he said. “...Serving this town for the last four years has been an honor of a lifetime for me.” 

      The sponsor was JetStream Federal Credit Union. Students from Miami Lakes Educational Center’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality Program prepared and served hors d’oeuvres. The Mater

Lakes Academy band performed the “Star Spangled Banner.” 

     Other 2022 honorees were:

Business of the Year The Protective Group in Miami Lakes, which employs more than 500 people and manufactures body armor and other products for law enforcement and the military; 

Volunteer of the Year Hialeah-Miami Lakes High School student Maurits Acosta, 16, who formed a non-profit called Virtutem Populo and held a student forum in town hall about the U.S. Constitution;  

Vendor of the Year Donald Piquion, of Lansite Technology, Inc. who runs audio/video for town events and does internet technology too.

     The Employee of the Year was not present and was not named. Councilmembers Marilyn Ruano and Luis Collazo were absent.