Students, athletes, chef and police officers honored at Doral council meeting

The Doral council met on Tuesday, Aug. 11, and officials reveled in the accomplishments of many of the city’s residents.

The main item

The evening session kicked off with over an hour of award presentations that celebrated members of several Doral youth sports enterprises, as well as members of its police force.

“All of you have made sure that Doral moves forward in excellence,” Vice Mayor Sandra Ruiz said.

▪ Team Taekwondo Doral, a martial arts program for students that participated in July’s 2015 USA Taekwondo National Championships. At the competition, team members took home multiple gold, silver, and bronze medals. The program also offers after-school services, tutoring, and summer camps to the children to “help students develop strong minds, strong character, and strong bodies.”

▪ The Doral Field Hockey Club was rewarded for winning national and international tournaments. In February, DFHC’s U16 team placed first at the 2015 Disney Field Hockey Showcase at Orlando’s ESPN Wide World of Sports complex. Their U14 girls team and U10 mixed team placed first and second in their respective divisions at the California Cup in May, a yearly tournament in Moorpark, California, that features teams from the U.S., Mexico, Spain, India and all over the world.

▪ Irving Alvarado, a blind chef working at Tuttoria Di Campo, a local Italian restaurant, was recognized by the council for his volunteer work with Lighthouse for the Blind, where he has helped develop recipes to teach the blind how to cook.

▪ Doral Little League’s 12U team was recognized for winning the “Go The Distance” baseball tournament in Dubuque, Iowa. The team won the chance to play on the Field of Dreams movie set after winning the Papa John’s Youth Baseball Invitational, a 12-team tournament that featured teams from all over Miami-Dade County.

“We have a lot of talent here in Doral,” said Barbara Hernandez, the city’s Parks and Recreation director.

▪ Several police officers were recognized and credited with saving lives. Officer Edward Lopez was awarded Officer of the Quarter for saving the life of a war veteran who had gone missing. The man was allegedly suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and had inhaled 10 aerosol cans when Lopez found him outside of a Wal-Mart.

Officers Damian Markowycz and Victor Ten III resuscitated a man who was found without a pulse.

Officer Kevin Valencia reportedly dived 15 feet deep into a canal to help pull persons out of a car that was involved in a major traffic incident at Northwest 25th Street and 114th Avenue.

“We stand for truth, valor, diversity and reverence and I think these officers really exemplify that,” said Lieutenant Danny Muñecas, who presented the officers with their awards.

Other business

▪ Construction at City Hall: The council unanimously approved new space plan initiatives that would reconstruct and rearrange several elements of the government center’s first and third floors. The first floor would feature a new multicultural room. The third floor, where the council chambers is housed, would have individual offices for each of the council members’ legislative aides. The council expressed concern that the current third-floor layout causes difficulty as it relates to Sunshine Law, which prohibits council members from discussing city matters outside a public meeting. Total estimated costs for both floors amount to more than $700,000. Councilwoman Christi Fraga did point out that construction, which would not be completed until mid-2016, could stall or disrupt operations within City Hall.

▪ Naming parks: The council deferred a discussion item to rename Doral North Park and name the proposed Northwest 114th Avenue Park until the next council meeting because Councilman Pete Cabrera was out sick. Parks and Recreation suggested the council pick from a list five names for each park that were favored by the public in an online poll. Possible names for Doral North Park include: Doral Glades Park, Doral Civitas Park, Doral Egret Park, Doral Harmony Park, Doral Unity Park. Possible names for Northwest 114th Avenue Park include: Doral Northwest Park, Doral Island Park, Doral Legacy Park, Doral Sports & Recreation Center, and Doris & Alfred Kaskel Park (for the founders and namesakes of Doral).

▪ Bike sharing: Council approved the branding and purchase of 100 yellow bicycles with the city’s logo. These bicycles will comprise a bicycle sharing pilot program. Ruiz pushed the Public Works Department to seek partnership with Citibank, which has partnered with similar programs in the cities of Miami and Miami Beach, as well as other bicycle sharing programs around the country.

They said it

“We don’t have to worry about those residents.” — Vice Mayor Sandra Ruiz, regarding a cemetery located behind Veteran’s Park, where the council approved moving forward with a bathroom facility estimated to cost $200,000.

You said it

“I didn’t like that statue either.” — Ricky Fernandez, a local pastor, whose nomination for the Faith & Community Based Organizations Advisory Board was approved on Tuesday, to the council in reference to it’s denial of a $79,000 statue proposed to help Doral’s street beautification efforts.

The next meeting

▪ When: First Budget Hearing, Tuesday September 8th, at 6:00 a.m.

▪ Where: 8401 NW 53rd Terrace, Doral, Florida