Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fed move breaks commercial loan dam - Miami Today

Fed move breaks commercial loan dam

By Scott Blake
    Lending for commercial and industrial properties has increased this year and experts are optimistic it will continue, aided by last week's aggressive move by the Federal Reserve to drive down the bond market and force investors into riskier investments.
   "This is historic for many reasons," said Ken Thomas, a Miami banking analyst and economist.
   "This is going to be a very bullish QE3," he added, referring a third round of a process known as quantitative easing by the Fed.
   Mr. Thomas was part of a panel discussion Friday in Coral Gables hosted by the Commercial Industrial Association of South Florida about the current lending environment.
   The panelists said they are "cautiously optimistic" that this year's increased lending activity in the commercial and industrial sector will continue.
   They said the Fed's new round of US Treasury and mortgage bond buying at a pace of about $40 billion a month was encouraging because it will drop return on investment in the bond market so low that investors will look for profits elsewhere, including stocks and real estate.
   "Florida is a real estate state," Mr. Thomas said, noting that 38% of all Florida's bank deposits are clustered in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.
   "This is where the money is, especially in Dade," he added.
   Another encouraging sign for commercial and industrial businesses was a study by panelist Mike Seemuth, a veteran business journalist, which found lending for that sector has taken off this year.
   Loans to South Florida commercial and industrial borrowers, the third-largest loan category, jumped to $4.1 billion by mid-year, up nearly 36% over mid-2011, according to Mr. Seemuth.
   "Community banks with headquarters in Southeast Florida have recorded net growth of 7% in their collective loan portfolio since the summer of 2011," he wrote, "driven largely by increases in secured real estate lending and financing for commercial and industrial business operations."
   The Fed's action may further stimulate South Florida's already rebounding commercial and industrial sector, but some panelists called for caution and restraint to avoid parts of the market overheating.
   "A hot product now is multi-family [housing]," said Thomas Wood Jr., president of mortgage banking firm Thomas D. Woods and Co. in Coral Gables.
   "Already, there's a lot of multi-family [projects] going on," he added. "I think South Florida is an exciting place to be investing. But I'm cautious. There's a lot of money coming into South Florida and there's not always due diligence done."
   Greater Miami's multi-family housing market is being helped by a surge of foreign buyers and people seeking to rent after their homes were foreclosed upon, Mr. Thomas said after the session.
   Loans backed by the US Small Business Administration have been a strong point because it is a relatively safe haven in a shaky economy, said panelist Eduardo Gesio, vice president of Miami-based Florida Business Development Corp.
   "The SBA has filled the gap in after the financial crisis," he added, "when nobody was actually lending."

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Police honor child who used self-defense - 7Online WSVN-TV

MIAMI (WSVN) -- A 7-year-old girl was honored by police after fighting off two men who wanted to attack her.

A-Nari Taylor was honored by Miami Police on Tuesday for the self-defense she used to fight off an alleged kidnapper. "My momma always says that safety is first," said A-Nari.

Her mother said she tells her all the time to look out for strangers. "She watches TV, we read, we talk, and I tell her to pay attention to your surroundings at all times, " said Tanya Dingle. "You don't talk to strangers. I don't care if they ask to give you candy, a dog. We go through all the safety rules, and I'm very surprised because A-Nari is not a violent child."

Police said, on the same day A-Nari and her 4-year-old cousin were playing outside, David Moor came by and tried to take the boy. "The man started pulling him then we started pulling him back, and I chopped and kicked him, so he could let Brandon go," said A-Nari.

Tanya is proud of her daughter after she faced two men twice her height. "She always said she wanted to get into Karate, so this is the beginning," said Tanya.

(Copyright 2012 by Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Local American Airlines' employees could lose jobs - 7Online WSVN-TV

MIAMI (WSVN) -- American Airlines has announced massive layoffs that could put a big dent in operations at Miami International Airport.

"I think maybe, in a couple of weeks, it can be a problem for us," said American Airlines flyer Bruno Castillo.

Bruno Castillo likes American Airlines' on-time flights. He's concerned that the news of job cuts around the airline could affect his travel.

Warning letters went out to hundreds of American Airlines employees today. The company said they do not have final numbers, but 47 employees at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport could lose their jobs come Nov. 16.

At Miami International Airport several employees said they received warning letters. As many as 158 employees might potentially lose their jobs, also on Nov. 16. An additional 1,209 could lose their jobs when Dec. 15 comes around.

American Airlines is trying to pull out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection by dropping $1 billion in labor costs to help do that.

They have been working to re-negotiate union contracts including a judge-approved paycut for pilots earlier this month. All of this, while continuing merger talks with US Airways.

One American Airlines employee. who chose to remain anonymous, said the customers will absolutely notice the changes. "We, the employees who have been here for a number of years, we know what the passengers expect on a daily basis. If you bring in some contracted employees who have to be trained, and brought up to speed to where we are right now, they're not going to get the same kind of service."

A spokesman for the airlines, Bruce Hicks said, "We are issuing warn notices to the unions and employees who may be affected to comply with state and federal law, but expect the ultimate impact on jobs will be far less than the number of notified."

American Airlines believes about a third of those notified will actually be affected by those job losses, and there is still the possibility of a pilot strike. This is definitely affecting passengers, and pilots are working on that authorization right now.

(Copyright 2012 by Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

A few important Miami injury updates - Sun-Sentinel (blog)

CORAL GABLES â€" A few of the big questions regarding Miami's injury situation were answered this afternoon.

Coach Al Golden went down a list of players who will and will not play this Saturday at Georgia Tech.

A few of these are rather significant. Let's get to it.

  • Linebacker Denzel Perryman is out. The leg injury suffered against Bethune-Cookman did the trick. Jimmy Gaines and Gionni Paul are competing for that job.
  • The good news? Golden is feeling positive about receiver Allen Hurns. He will be making the trip and would be a huge addition after going down early in the Kansas State game with a "head injury."
  • More positive news came with safety Vaughn Telemaque's situation. Golden said he was surprised by the progress the starter made and is thinking he could see action at Georgia Tech.
  • Not quite as significant, but worth mentioning was Duke Johnson's brief scare Saturday. He said he left the game for a little bit after landing on his shoulder. Nothing was wrong and he went on to score four touchdowns.
  • With long snapper Sean McNally out for the year and Paul Kelly taking over, Golden said safety A.J. Highsmith becomes the backup.

More to come in a bit. Stay tuned.

Follow our UM coverage on Twitter at @ByCasagrande and Facebook.

Budare Bistro: A Taste of Venezuela in the Shadows of Brickell - Miami New Times (blog)

Photo by Zachary Fagenson

It's still unclear whether Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez closed his country's consulate in Miami or whether developer Tibor Hollo simply evicted Venezuelan diplomats from 1101 Brickell Ave. Either way, there's been an influx of Venezuelan restaurants to the Brickell area, and that's a good thing.

For a long time, at least for this gringo, arepas were those outlandish yellow disks found in the supermarket's ethnic aisle shrink-wrapped and stuffed with some kind of processed white cheese. The arepas at Budare Bistro, which sits in the shadows of Brickell high-rises along SW Third Avenue, are some of the best -- and the cheapest -- in the area.

I learned all about a proper arepa when I moved to Miami, but still there are drastic differences even among so-called authentic arepas. For starters, I learned that in Venezuelan cooking, which is what Budare offers, the yellow cornmeal cake I long thought was the only option is in fact a cachapa. They usually come stuffed with cheese or some kind of sweet filling. Meanwhile, arepas are made from white cornmeal, grilled, split open like you would a pita, and filled with chicken, cheese, pork, or beef.

The most attractive aspects of an arepa are the low cost, portability, and ability to contain a variety of delicious fillings. La Moon, the Colombian restaurant on SW Eighth Street, has long offered arepas as an optional "bun" for its chicken and beef burgers. El Arepazo 2, a longtime Venezuelan favorite in Little Caracas, AKA Doral, recently opened in Brickell, but for me, it didn't quite hit the spot.

At Budare, an arepa ($6.95) comes with a choice of chicken or beef, pico de gallo, and shredded queso llanero. Chicken is grilled and chopped, and the arepa seems to be brushed with cilantro mayonnaise. The menu also lists a variety of Venezuelan specialties, including mini tequeños, sticks of bread filled with cheese, chocolate, or guava jelly; mandocas, fried cornmeal rings; and cachapas or cachapitas, offered with queso de mano and queso guayanes.

Budare's only downfall is its early closing time of 11 p.m. That's a shame, because it seems like cheese- or chocolate-stuffed tequeños are exactly the sort of thing people would buy at 3 a.m. on a Saturday.

For more, follow Zach on Twitter @ZachIsWeird.

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Budare Bistro

1830 SW 3rd Ave., Miami, FL

Category: Restaurant

2 dead, 2 injured in Miami shooting - 7Online WSVN-TV

MIAMI (WSVN) -- Police are investigating a shooting that killed two people and sent two others to the hospital.

The fatal shooting happened Monday at a home on Northeast First Court and 68th Terrace just before midnight. According to Miami Police, people were gathered at the residence watching Monday Night Football, when shots rang out.

A resident who lives in the area described what he saw after shots were fired. "I heard a pop, pop, pop, pop, and I looked out my window and I seen a man running down the street holding his pants," said Clay Owens.

Police said one victim died on scene and the other died at the hospital. Authorities said the pair may be juveniles.

The two other victims are listed in stable condition at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

Authorities are now trying to determine what sparked the shooting and are interviewing witnesses.

If you have any information on this fatal shooting, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward.

(Copyright 2012 by Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Ex-Knick Josh Harrellson added to Heat camp roster - Sun-Sentinel

September 17, 2012|By Ira Winderman, South Florida Sun Sentinel

MIAMI â€"    Quantity at center the Miami Heat now have. Quality? Erik Spoelstra and Pat Riley hope they can identify that during training camp.

   Former New York Knicks center Josh Harrellson joined the Heat's suddenly crowded field in the middle Monday, with the team announcing him as the 18th player under contract for camp, which opens Sept. 29 at AmericanAirlines Arena.

   "I'm taking my talents to South Beach! Let's go Heat," Harrellson posted on his Twitter account an hour later.

   Like Mickell Gladness and Jarvis Varnado, Harrellson was added on a non-guaranteed contract. Those three will vie with Joel Anthony and Dexter Pittman for minutes in the middle, with Anthony and Pittman holding guaranteed contracts.

   The addition of Harrellson likely ends the chances of the Heat adding a higher-profile free-agent center, such as Chris Andersen or Darko Milicic, and makes a third season with the Heat less likely for 39-year-old Juwan Howard, who nonetheless yet could be extended a camp invite. Howard continues to work in the Heat's ongoing informal workouts.

   Gladness, Harrellson and Varnado likely will be competing for the third-string center spot held last season by Eddy Curry, who remains an unsigned free agent.

   Unlike the Heat's other candidates at center, Harrellson provides a 3-point threat, an element the Heat added among their big men when Chris Bosh stepped out to convert several 3-pointers during the Heat's playoff march to last season's NBA title.

   Forward Mike Miller, who watched one of Harrellson's recent workouts, said Harrellson was particularly impressive from beyond the arc.

   Whether the Heat utilize any true centers, however, remains in question. Instead, with Spoelstra's move to a small-ball, "position-less" approach, most of the minutes in the power rotation are expected to be claimed by Bosh, who emerged as last season's de-facto center, as well as Udonis Haslem, Shane Battier and Rashard Lewis.

   Teams may carry a maximum of 20 players in training camp, but must trim to 15 by the start of the regular season, which for the Heat opens Oct. 30 against the visiting Boston Celtics.

   Last week, after an extended tryout at AmericanAirlines Arena, Harrellson posted on his Twitter account, "Done with it ready to move on! Can't wait to find my new home."

   Now he's moving in.

   Dealt by the Knicks in the offseason to the Houston Rockets in the Marcus Camby sign-and-trade and later released, Harrellson auditioned twice for the Heat.

   Before arriving for his most-recent workout, Harrellson posted on his Twitter account, "Kentucky it's been fun! Glad I got to see everyone! Now heading to Miami for hopefully the next 9 months."

  He then headed  back home, but now is back.

  Harrellson was selected with the No. 45 pick of the 2011 NBA Draft by the New Orleans Hornets, with his draft rights then traded to the Knicks.

  At 6 feet 10, 275 pounds, Harrellson would become the second-heaviest player on the Heat roster to Pittman. Forward LeBron James currently holds that distinction, behind Pittman.

  Harrellson averaged 4.4 points and 3.9 rebounds in an average of 14.6 minutes last season as a rookie with the Knicks, shooting 20 of 59 on 3-pointers.

  The Heat currently have 13 players under guaranteed contract for the coming season: James, Dwyane Wade, Bosh, Battier, Mario Chalmers, Haslem, Ray Allen, Lewis, Miller, Anthony, James Jones, Norris Cole and Pittman. Gladness, Varnado, Harrellson and guards Terrel Harris and Garrett Temple, who each hold non-guaranteed contracts, bring that total to 18.

   Forward Robert Dozier, a former Heat second-round pick who has been working with the team through the summer, is expected to be the 19th player invited to camp.

   In addition, guard Jerome Dyson, swingman Chamberlain Oguchi, center Hassan Whiteside, and several other free agents, also have received recent workouts with the Heat.

   Teams are only allowed to bring players under contract into training camp. Follow him at