Friends and Neighbors

Cutler Bay cops, business people collect toys for kids in need

From lefrt, Cutler Bay Police Officer Deborah Fleites, Officer Mary Ann Stahl, Sgt. Darren Handy, Maj. Julie Miller, with Jon Wilson, President of the Cutler Bay Business Association. Members of association and the Police Department filled an SUV with presents and toys for underprivileged children in the community.
From lefrt, Cutler Bay Police Officer Deborah Fleites, Officer Mary Ann Stahl, Sgt. Darren Handy, Maj. Julie Miller, with Jon Wilson, President of the Cutler Bay Business Association. Members of association and the Police Department filled an SUV with presents and toys for underprivileged children in the community.

Special to The Miami Herald

In this season of holiday giving, members of the Cutler Bay Business Association and the Cutler Bay Police Department took time out of their busy schedules to create a successful toy drive.

Their efforts will help underprivileged youth in the community.

More than 70 guests showed up to support this cause at the recent seventh annual holiday party. They brought gifts, toys and books to fill a large SUV.

“The Cutler Bay Business Association is committed to the community,” said Jonathan Wilson, CBBA president. “We always look for a way to give back to our neighbors in need, including children and youth. We are eager to see their faces when they receive their presents.”

Local businesses also joined in to spread holiday cheer in their neighborhood. At the party, Cutler Bay police officers helped collect and load the toys while DJ Jonny played holiday tunes. Santa was there too, to share magic tricks with children and adults

“With more than 70 guests in attendance, we easily filled up the SUV that the Dadeland Dodge Dealership contributed with toys. When we give back to those who are less fortunate than us, we continue building up and cultivating Cutler Bay,” Wilson said.

The Cutler Bay Police Department and members of CBBA will distribute the donated toys this month to a list of preregistered families with limited income. For more information to get involved with this group, visit


The holidays can remind us all to reflect and count our blessings. This is also a time to celebrate with others and the village of Pinecrest did just that at its recent Pinecrest Pioneer Luncheon for more than 100 of its seniors.

About 600 seniors over 80 years old live in village. Some are in their 90s.

They grew up in the once-rural area known as Pinecrest during World War II, when German U-boats cruised offshore. They raised their families during the area’s industrial boom and saw Pinecrest become something quite different from an area of nature trails, hammock lands and sprawling ranch-home properties.

And the pioneers stayed in their Pinecrest homes even through hurricanes of historical significance.

For five years their stories have been celebrated at the Pinecrest Pioneer Luncheon, a tradition started by Mayor Cindy Lerner in 2009.

The most recent special day included young musicians from the Palmetto Elementary School Jazz Troupe playing holiday classics. For more about upcoming special events, check out


Seven new board members were chosen recently to serve Friends of WLRN, the fundraising arm of WLRN Radio & Television. Their mission is to “support the future direction of the station and public media in South Florida.”

The new members are Carlos Blanco, Dwight Hill, Diana Parker, Flora Perez, Randel Ransom, G. Frederick Reinhardt and Tadd Schwartz. They represent leading fields in South Florida from real estate and banking to transportation and telecommunications.

“The diverse set of ideas and knowledge the new board members bring to WLRN are essential to our goal of being a high-performing, inclusive organization,” said John Labonia, WLRN’s general manager, in a news release. “I look forward to working with them to further the continued success and the mission of WLRN Public Radio and Television.”

Individuals on the Friends of WLRN Board of Directors are responsible for setting policy and contributing to the organization's general well-being.

“Friends of WLRN has built a presence that resonates within the South Florida community," said Victor Kendall, president of Friends of WLRN. "Its capacity to attract board members of this caliber is a reflection of WLRN’s next growth cycle.”

The group was established in 1974 to “cultivate individual, foundation, and corporate funding for 91.3 WLRN, South Florida’s NPR news station, and PBS Channel 17.” Revenues are projected to reach $10 million this year. Up to 15 representatives from business, civic, and community organizations can serve on the Friends of WLRN Board of Directors. For more and to get involved, visit

If you have news for this column, please send it to Christina Mayo at

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