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  • Sally B. Philips

Several Weeks' Collection


Vol. 3, No. 9 2 June 2022


CHANGES, A MUSING


Why make changes? Why do things that do not make my life any better?


These are questions I think about. I know that there are many for whom what matters is what happens today and in the near future. Doing what might be helpful twenty years from now is not what many people want to do. Many people do not have the luxury of doing something that will help others in future years: they are struggling too hard to survive right now.


However, the City of South Miami has been able to afford resolutions and ordinances about actions that may make a difference one or two generations from now. For instance, collecting material that can be recycled may make a difference in air quality or ground water purity or Biscayne Bay health. Promoting the use of solar energy - insisting on solar panels whenever possible - is another way to limit pollution. Planting trees wherever possible helps to clean pollutants out of the air. Limiting the amount of fumes from gasoline-powered engines may make a difference in the amount of toxic materials floating in the air. Providing battery-powered free transportation - FreeBee - helps. (As gasoline prices go up and up, it becomes more and more attractive to call FreeBee, does it not? Stopping pollution and saving some money, what could be better!)


If pollution were lowered and (if possible) eliminated, the sea level might stop rising.


It's very hard not to feel helpless or superfluous in the face of the enormity of the destruction that is threatening. It is hard to say, "Let me change my behavior even though my changing by itself doesn't matter." Then again if I change,

that might be the encouragement other people need.


Pollyanna, right?


Nonetheless, South Miami has passed an ordinance that says that it will move toward using electric-powered landscaping equipment as that equipment becomes available. Already, some of the City's leaf blowers are now battery operated. Complaints are heard that changing out batteries every so often is time-consuming. I believe that once the changes become automatic, a rhythm will develop and the sense of being hampered will dissipate.



PEACOCKS


There are places in South Miami that are over-run with peacocks. I have done some searching to find out more about these beautiful and, sometimes, nuisance birds.


(1) "Peafowl, more commonly known as peacocks or peahens, are a non-native, invasive species." Therefore, they are not protected by South Miami's being a Wildlife Sanctuary.


(2) However, Miami-Dade County permits "property owners to remove peafowl from his or her own property in a manner that does not hurt the peafowl."


Part II. Sec. 5-16. - Taking of peafowl prohibited; municipal opt-out. [Miami-Dade County Code of Ordinances] (a) It shall be unlawful for any person to take any peafowl. (b) As used in this section, "take" means taking, attempting to take, hunting, molesting, capturing, or killing any peafowl, their nests or eggs, by any means, whether or not such actions result in obtaining possession of peafowl or their nests or eggs. (c) Exceptions. (1) The prohibitions of this section shall not apply on property zoned for agricultural use and used for a bona fide agricultural purpose. (2) Nothing in this section shall prevent a property owner from removing peafowl from his or her own property in a manner that does not physically injure the peafowl. (d) Notwithstanding the foregoing, a municipality may opt out of this section by adopting a peafowl mitigation plan that provides for humane removal of peafowl, provided that the plan is also approved by action of the Board of County Commissioners. Such opt-out shall become effective upon the Board of County Commissioners' approval becoming effective.


(3) The City of South Miami has a code against feeding peacocks: "Feeding feral waterfowl and peafowl (peacocks and peahens) is prohibited anywhere in South Miami."[Code of Ordinances, Chapter 5, Article III, Section 5-20(c)]


(4) On the Internet I found this advice:

One of the most effective ways of removing peacocks off of your property is to set up a motion detector that triggers a cold-water sprinkler. Any sudden movement and the sprinkler goes off spraying the fowls.


Water is one of the best known deterrents for peacocks. A motion activated sprinkler, or a hose with a jet nozzle can be very effective to move the birds along. Avoid spraying right into the middle of a flock-family as this causes panic (and noise) as they try to regroup.


(5) Click here for a long list of peacock deterrents.



RATINGS FOR MIAMI-DADE THIRD GRADERS


I am sharing these excerpts, because I was pleased to hear that Miami-Dade County is doing well.

"Third-grade students in M-DCPS outscored their counterparts in the state and other large districts.

In M-DCPS, 56 percent of third-grade students scored at grade level or above (Levels 3 or above), as compared to 53 percent statewide.

The percentage of third-grade students scoring in Levels 3 and above declined slightly from 2021 to 2022 in M-DCPS, paralleling the results statewide."


Click here to read the complete report.



GIRLS ROCK CAMP


"Miami Girls Rock Camp is a week-long summer day-camp program for girls and non-binary youth aged 8 to 17. The program offers instrument instruction, songwriting/band practice, live performances by visiting artists/DJs, and workshops, culminating in a showcase concert. Campers receive two hours of instruction each day on selected instruments (drums, bass, guitar, keyboards, vocals), in semi-private groups organized by skill level and age. All classes are taught by volunteer musicians. Campers do not need prior musical experience." To read more about the camp, click here.


This year the dates for camp are Monday, July 25 through Friday, July 29. The finale will be Saturday, July 30. Camp will be held at Coral Gables Congregational UCC which is a very lovely setting opposite the Biltmore Hotel. The camp tuition is $300. Scholarships options are included in this application.


I received this message from the camp directors:

"42 campers have signed up and the waiting list has officially opened up. We will ultimately accept 50, as the remaining spots will be filled through outreach. If you know a potential camper who would especially benefit, though, send us a quick note so we can mark their application."

Because I have volunteered for a couple of years as a counselor (not as a musical teacher) and I know that the girls have a great time, please let me know about a girl who has applied.



INSULATION


The Green Corridor will once again offer free attic insulation. I took advantage of this offer and had insulation blown into the space between my ceiling and roof. It did make a difference both in cooling rooms and in keeping them cool. And that cut down on my home's use of electricity. As soon as I have details, I will forward them.



COMMISSION MEETING CONDUCT


On May 24, the Commission, the City Attorney and the City Manager had a Sunshine meeting about how to run Commission meetings. For the most part, the City's Charter follows Robert's Rules of Order as a guideline to running and speaking in a meeting.


Besides instructions on how the members of the meeting are supposed to act, many of Robert's Rules also apply to members of the audience. Speaking only after being recognized, staying on topic, and refraining from disparaging remarks applied to all in attendance.


The City Clerk taped the discussion. Copies of the tape are available to the public. Sometime, soon, the tape will be transcribed and copies of that will be available, too.




Keep safe and stay healthy!




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