Community Voices

Friends and Neighbors: Coral Gables preservationists welcome author Hermes Mallea to Books & Books

From left, Historic Preservation Association of Coral Gables President Karelia Martinez Carbonell, author Hermes Mallea and HPACG Vice President Jane Maranos at Books & Books in Coral Gables.
From left, Historic Preservation Association of Coral Gables President Karelia Martinez Carbonell, author Hermes Mallea and HPACG Vice President Jane Maranos at Books & Books in Coral Gables.

Miami has its own chapter in the new book by Hermes Mallea, Escape: The Heyday of Caribbean Glamour that traces our region’s development between 1920 and 1980.

The book depicts the glamour of the Gilded Age to the world of jet setters in beautiful photography and description, and many of the historic places of Coral Gables are included.

The Historic Preservation Association of Coral Gables members welcomed Mallea at a December event hosted by Books & Books and the University of Miami Libraries. HPACG has as its mission, “promoting the understanding and importance of historical resources and their preservation.”

“I look forward to future collaborations,” said Maria Estorino Dooling, Esperanza Bravo de Varona chair, Cuban Heritage Collection at the UM Libraries.

Cristina Nostri of Books & Books agreed. “Here’s to a great collaboration,” she said.

Mallea, an architect and preservationist, received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the UM and later attended the master’s program in historic preservation at Columbia University. He is also known for his 2011 book, Great Houses of Havana: A Century of Cuban Style, an insider’s tour of Havana’s architectural gems.

Mallea serves on The Library Council of the New York Public Library, the board of directors of The Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts, and is a trustee of the Friends of Clermont State Historic Site in New York.

HPACG, a nonprofit organization, was founded in 1991. To get involved visit,


Be sure to check out the new production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof presented by our own Miami Acting Company. The shows, at the Banyan Bowl in Pinecrest Gardens, are always a hit and involve many volunteers and well-known leaders in our community. The Tennessee Williams classic will be presented March 19-22 in four performances only.

“Tennessee Williams is our Shakespeare,” director Ken Kurtz said. “Not that he wrote in rhyme or meter, but that his sinuous prose has become America’s poetry. His themes are also worthy of the bard. Cat On A Hot Tin Roof displays a story of growing greed and lingering lust in the midst of a Mississippi plantation populated by characters made famous by Paul Newman, Burl Ives, and most memorably, Elizabeth Taylor, in the title role.”

Kurtz also designed the set and lighting and John Weiss designed the costumes.

MAC strives to promote awareness and appreciation of the performing arts. Groups such as Casa Valentina, East Ridge Retirement Village, Big Brothers Big Sisters Miami, Legal Aid, and various high school and other educational groups often attend productions free of charge.

Tickets for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof are $15-$25 and may be purchased by calling Pinecrest Gardens at 877-496-8499 or online at


There is still time to get tickets to the 17th annual Jewish Adoption and Family Care Options (JAFCO) luncheon March 17 at Jungle Island’s Treetop Ballroom.

The theme is “Live, Laugh, Lunch” and more than 500 guests are expected to attend the event to honor chapter presidents from Miami to North Palm Beach for their years of dedication in raising awareness and funds. Their efforts help abused, neglected and developmentally disabled children in our community.

Glenda Krongold of Miami Beach, Mara Gober of Weston, and Ellen Greenspoon of Hollywood, are heading up the event. The luncheon will feature New York comedienne Cory Kahaney who has four good friends who were adopted through JAFCO.

“Seventeen years ago we could have never imagined creating an event for 500 people,” said JAFCO Executive Director Sarah Franco in a news release. “We’ve grown so much over the years and our success would not be possible without the help of our wonderful chapters, committee members and event chairs.”

The JAFCO Children’s Village in Sunrise is a 5.6-acre residential facility that includes a 24-hour emergency children’s shelter and six group homes where up to 52 children, from newborns to 21 years of age, have a safe and loving home.

More than 20 vendors will open for the boutique at 10 a.m. with the luncheon starting at noon. Contact Shelli Gold, development associate at JAFCO, at 954-315-8671 or Cost is $75 per person. Visit


Scott Bolton, associate vice president of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas, will speak at the next Southern Cross Astros event at 8 p.m. March 20 at the Florida International University Physics Building, CP-145 Lecture Hall, Modesto Maidique campus.

Bolton is the principal investigator for the Juno Project, part of the NASA New Frontiers Program. He oversaw the launches of the New Horizon Mission to Pluto and IBEX and was co-investigator for the NASA Cassini and Galileo Missions. He now manages the coordination and development of future NASA missions and proposals at SWRI. He has more than 30 years of experience in the field of aerospace and space engineering.

Bolton also leads several educational programs for developing science, math and art skills for students in elementary to high school. He has produced musical concerts, art exhibits, scientific document, videos and has appeared in space science documentaries aimed to motivate children in their studies.

The free SCAS program includes prizes and a food buffet. Park in visitor/faculty slots in the campus red garage west of Southwest 109 Avenue and Eighth Street. Follow the SCAS signs across the patio to CP-145. Call 305-661-1375 or visit


South Florida fifth-grade students have until March 21 to enter an important creative writing contest sponsored by the South Florida Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the American Immigration Council.

The topic is “Why I Am Glad America is a Nation of Immigrants.”

This regional competition is part of the national 18th annual Celebrate America Fifth Grade Creative Writing Contest. Students are encouraged to express their thoughts about America’s blended culture, their own family history and personal immigration experiences and the challenges for immigrants.

Last year’s national winner was Charlotte Leigh, a student of Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart in Miami, for her piece “The Land of Opportunity.”

South Florida submissions should be sent to Regional Coordinator Sandra Echevarria at To learn more, visit

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