Community Voices

Two South Floridians awarded 2016 Japan Foreign Minister’s Commendations

From left, Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, 2016 Foreign Minister’s Commendations Recipients Jose Keichi Fuentes and Yoshiko Tokuda Carlton, Kagoshima Mayor Hiroyuki Mori, and Consul General of the Consulate-General of Japan in Miami Ken Okiniwa.
From left, Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, 2016 Foreign Minister’s Commendations Recipients Jose Keichi Fuentes and Yoshiko Tokuda Carlton, Kagoshima Mayor Hiroyuki Mori, and Consul General of the Consulate-General of Japan in Miami Ken Okiniwa.

Omedetou gozaimasu in Japanese, and congratulations in English, to two South Floridians for being awarded 2016 Japan Foreign Minister’s Commendations.

Miami resident Jose Keichi Fuentes and Plantation resident Yoshiko Tokuda Carlton were recognized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan for their “contributions to the promotion of friendship between Japan and other countries and areas.”

Fuentes, of Cuban and Japanese descent, has served as the chairman of the Miami Kagoshima Sister Cities Committee since 2002. He is a senior government relations consultant with Becker & Poliakoff and received this high honor for his work “facilitating mutual understanding between Japan and the United States by vigorously participating in developing the sister cities relationship between the City of Miami and Kagoshima.” Additionally, he has helped organize youth exchange visits for high school students from both cities.

Carlton was honored for her work promoting mutual understanding between Japan and the U.S. through music. She has assisted the Consulate General of Japan with events, and has given lectures and demonstrations at local schools, art galleries and museums to promote understanding of koto, a traditional Japanese stringed musical instrument.

Carlton also is a member of Fushu Daiko. Since 1990, the group has been training musicians and performing Taiko, a musical art form based on the more than 2,600-year-old tradition of Japanese drumming. Carlton is a longtime member of the Miami Kagoshima Sister Cities Committee, and she has welcomed delegations from Kagoshima and volunteered as a member of the Miami delegation to Kagoshima.

Both Fuentes and Carlton traveled with Miami City Mayor Tomas Regalado to Kagoshima City in November 2015 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the sister cities’ relationship.

Kagoshima City Mayor Hiroyuki Mori and his delegation visited Miami in July and the awards were presented during a welcome reception at the home of Consul General of Japan Ken Okaniwa.


The results are in and the fifth annual Billy Shockett Memorial Charity Golf Tournament, held in May, raised almost $12,000 for the Miami Beach Kids’ Golf Program.

A record 20 teams competed ​to help fund the Normandy Shores Youth Clinic Programs in Miami Beach. The programs include free twice-weekly clinics ​and free golf training equipment for deserving children in Miami Beach.

The tournament also funds a newly formed PGA Junior League team that represents Normandy Shores. The team of 10 ​Miami Beach young golfers plays against other club teams in fun competitions as an introduction to the formal competition structure.

The tournament is named for Shockett, an attorney who died in 2010. He graduated from Beach High, and was a former Miami Beach commissioner and committed leader of the community throughout his life. His widow, Jill Shockett, chaired the event along with Elsie and Gene Howard.

“We look forward to the sixth annual Billy Shockett, which will be held on Friday April 28, 2017,” Jill Shockett said in a release. “Our goal is to surpass this year’s total of golfers and to raise more money for junior golf in Miami Beach. This is a ​wonderful ​legacy for Billy and a promise for the future of junior golf in Miami Beach, a city he loved well.”

“A big thank you goes out to all of the sponsors and businesses that supported the event by donating items for prizes ​and to all of the players who come out every year for this great tournament,” said lead golf pro Steve Farrell in a release. “We will see everyone next year!”


AUM hOMe Shala in Coconut Grove will be able to help patients with Parkinson’s and other neuro-motor degenerative diseases through a $15,000 grant from the National Parkinson Foundation.

The funds will go toward clinical yoga therapy training and outreach. AUM hOMe Shala will offer a series of free 15 group yoga therapy classes for those with Parkinson’s, and their caregivers with goals to reduce symptoms, restore balance and increase vitality.

Additionally, the project will provide continuing education for yoga therapists, empower those with Parkinson’s and their support caregivers, engage the community, and raise awareness of the benefits of yoga therapy for persons with Parkinson’s.

“These group yoga therapy sessions will address the specific therapeutic needs of this population with a protocol of yoga asanas (postures), breathing, relaxation, and meditation,” said Melinda Atkins, AUM hOMe Shala founder and curriculum director in a release.

Remaining dates are Aug. 20, Sept. 24, Oct. 8, Oct. 22, Nov. 12, Dec. 3 and Dec. 17. For more about training and the free yoga therapy sessions visit or call 305-441-9441.


Don Stansfield, a newcomer to South Florida’s entertainment circuit, will sing his tribute to the Rat Pack — Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. — at the next New Neighbors of South Dade luncheon starting at 11:30 a.m. Aug. 10 at Devon’s Seafood + Steak, 11715 Sherri Lane in Kendall’s Town and Country Mall.

The cost is $23 by check and reservations are required. Send email to or call 786-250-4849. The New Neighbors Club of South Dade’s mission is to help residents develop community awareness while enjoying fun events. For info, visit

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