• Sally B. Philips

Where to start?

Information just keeps coming. Our US Representative, Donna Shalala sent these up-dates in her message today: Congress has approved the CARES Act. It includes:

1. Direct payment to Americans of up to $1,200 per adult, and $500 per child depending on one's income based on tax year 2018 or 2019. If your income is above $75,000 for an individual, or $150,00 for a couple, you are not eligible. The IRS will be making the payments in the next few weeks. If you do not file a tax return, you are eligible and the IRS will work with other agencies to coordinate making payments.

2. Unemployment will increase by $600 per week for four months. With a cap of $875 per week many workers will receive their full pay for four months.

3. The bill establishes free COVID-19 testing and full coverage of any recommended COVID-19 vaccine.

4. Florida’s state universities will gain nearly $249 million to offset lost revenue, fund new technology and help students with housing, food and other emergency needs. The agreement defers student loan payments, principal, and interest until October 1 without penalty for all federally owned loans. It includes protections for students who were forced to drop out of college as a result of coronavirus, ensuring that these students will not be barred from receiving lifetime subsidized loans and will still be eligible for Pell grants. ...The bill also creates a new program allowing employers to pay off up to $5,250 per year of an employee’s student loan debt without employees having to pay tax on that benefit.

5. It places a temporary moratorium on evictions and foreclosures for homeowners and renters living in federally subsidized apartments and homes with federally backed mortgages.

I have not listed all the provisions of the CARES Act, nor all the details. I am reporting those facts which might directly involve South Miami residents.

I received a call from Dr. Shalala this morning. One of the main reasons for her call was to be sure that I let hotel and small (500 or less employees) restaurant owners know that the CARES Act has a provision that Small Business Loans will become grants to all those hotels and small restaurants which keep their employees.

In addition to some relief about evictions and mortgages, FPL is asking permission to charge less for their May bill: "lower fuel costs are enabling FPL to issue a one-time decrease of nearly 25% for the typical residential customer bill, beginning May 1." Notice: this isn't a done deal, yet.

Farm Share will be distributing from 10 am - 1 pm on April 10 at Ambrister Park, 4000 Grand Avenue, Coral Gables. At this time, arrangements are being made to have a distribution event in South Miami some time a bit later in April.

South Miami's City government has worked intensely over the past couple of days to set up a Zoom program so that necessary meetings can be held virtually.

In order for you to know when/if City meetings are going to be held, you can check the City's web site and scroll down to the City Calendar.

All the newsletters I have sent as emails have been posted on that same web site. They can be found under INFORMATION DESK, at the top right of the drop down menu.

I have been asked if the City's budget is suffering due to all the shut-down businesses. The answer is "yes." For instance, the City receives about $5,000 in parking fees on an average day. There has been a 97% decrease in this amount - to $150 on average per day. It is to be hoped that some of the relief money that was earmarked for cities in the CARE Act will be available to South Miami to off-set revenue short-falls.

One iconic institution in South Miami has stopped publishing until late next fall. The next eye-catching issue of SOMI Magazine will appear in December. I will miss it.

If you find that being cooped up is getting to you, Baptist health has daily wellness classes available through Zoom. You can get zoom on your computer or smart phone through

This caught my eye:

And, remember, South Miami does not have a curfew. Our Officers are working to remind people to practice social distancing and to stay out of groups of more than 10 people.

There is an interesting article about an epidemic: How U.S. Cities Tried to Halt the Spread of the 1918 Spanish Flu. It contrasts one city that took early precautions and another than did not do much until later. Here, history tells us that the precautions we are taking will help.

if you can open this, you'll see my two seconds of recent fame!

And with that, I'm signing off! We're adjourned!

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