•••Eight days after breaking out the shaving cream to celebrate their dramatic extra-inning district championship victory over Coral Gables, it was an entirely different scene for the Miami Springs High School girls softball team on Friday night, April 27 at Virginia Gardens Field. Hosting the Cavaliers in a Region 4-8A semifinal playoff game, it was hankerchiefs instead of shaving cream the Lady Hawks needed when it was over.
Thanks to a four-run blitz in the top of the first inning, Gables wound up cruising to a 6-2 victory to advance to its first-ever regional final and left Hawks players feeling glum and depressed as it marked the end of a terrific, yet slightly unfulfilling 19-4 season, as this talented group was hoping to advance to only the program’s second-ever regional final and a chance to advance to the state final four in Clermont.
MAYThe Gazette learned on Tuesday, May 1 and reported in its May 3 issue that Miami Springs public works director Robert Williams had abruptly announced that he would resign his position effective May 22. After almost 25 years on the job, Williams did not elaborate on his reasons other than the fact that he was taking another job and “there’s just too much stress and friction here. I’ve had enough and it’s time to go.” He also noted that public works had been disrespected by management, particularly because of the push for bids to privatize the department.
•••Even though the turnout wasn’t quite as strong as past years, Relay for Life of Miami Springs and Virginia Gardens benefiting the American Cancer Society once again showed the community it can help make a difference in people’s lives when the event took place from Saturday, May 5 at noon until 6 a.m. on Sunday, May 6 on the Circle in Miami Springs.
In conjunction with the event, the Miami Springs Woman’s Club hosted its annual Survivor’s Luncheon at the clubhouse on Westward Drive on Saturday to celebrate beating the odds. Survivors of any form of cancer and caregivers were invited to attend and celebrate with other survivors.
•••Being only 23 years old and on the force for a mere 21 months, one might have thought that Louis Ponce had no shot when it came down to the Medley Police Department’s annual Officer of the Year award.
But any perception that a virtual rookie police officer would never be able to garner such an award because he didn’t have enough tenure went right out the window on Monday, May 7 when Medley Chief of Police Jeannette Said-Jinete stood up in council chambers and announced that Ponce was Medley’s “top cop” for 2011. Working mostly the midnight “graveyard” shift, which most cops will tell you is by far the most dangerous shift, Ponce led the department in 2011 in self-initiated calls, had 87 arrests, more than 1,000 traffic stops and 490 citations. Ponce also participated in the closure of several marijuana grow houses in Medley.
•••The Village of Virginia Gardens held its Fifth Annual Police Appreciation Banquet at the Miami Springs Country Club on Saturday, May 12 to honor its officers and the Village went all out again with an open bar, sumptuous buffet, countless raffle prizes, domino tables on the patio and even a Cuban cigar maker.
And at the end, VG Police Chief James Chohonis made the big announcement, naming Rolando “Roly” Lugo as the Virginia Gardens Officer of the Year for 2011. Lugo, who was also received the award in 2006 at VG’s inaugural police banquet, was awarded a glass gun statuette and a framed showcase enclosing a gun and a VG Police badge.