Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Miami Herald

Creating a world-class water system

During that time, I was an appointed member of the SFWMD Governing Board and recall the many skeptics who believed that once Miami-Dade got its permit the county would go on with business as usual without regard to our natural resources, infrastructure needs, aging infrastructure, further affecting our water supply.

But Miami-Dade proved those skeptics wrong. In a short period of time, the Water and Sewer Department has been able to lower consumption simply by promoting conservation.

In fact, Miami-Dade County’s efforts have had a positive impact on our resources.
Since 2007, residents and visitors have helped conserve almost 8.5 million gallons a day, resulting in a record decline in consumption from 158 gallons to 134 gallons per capita a day. These conservation efforts have proven the department’s ability to manage our resources and have motivated the recent commitment of Miami-Dade’s mayor and commissioners to financially invest in our water and sewer systems.

They recognize the urgent need to update our aging infrastructure and invest to sustain and prepare for the future of our burgeoning community after recovering from the wake of a historic economic downturn.

As we move forward issuing bonds and raising water rates, we should look long and hard into our future. Make smart investments in new technologies, establish an ongoing plan to fund the operations and maintenance of our water system and take climate change, including rising sea levels, seriously, thereby creating a resilient world-class water system.

Our economic future depends on it.

It is important to work toward reassuring taxpayers that these increases to our water bills are worth it. This can be done by instituting appropriate measures; establishing accountability, transparency and oversight over the procurement process; and informing the public of our progress.

These investments will provide real opportunities for local companies and the workforce. Residents, visitors and businesses looking to locate in Miami-Dade County will benefit greatly from creating such a plan.

Irela M. Bagué, former member, South Florida Water Management District Governing Board, Miami

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Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Hot Flashes…My pick for MVP of the 2013 Miami International Film Festival (MIFF)

Well, my blog has been quiet for some time and I admit that work, family and other commitments have kept me from writing these past months but inspiration can come from just about anywhere. This time it came from a film debut I recently attended during the 2013 Miami International Film Festival

The MIFF as usual was chock full of variety. However, this year we were fortunate to have The Hot Flashes showcased for its first audience screening at the Coral Gables Art Cinema. A new film by Director Susan Seidelman known for her knack of directing mostly women in funny, quirky films (ie. Desperately Seeking Susan). The Hot Flashes was a nice change from the typical foreign, gritty independent films usually featured at the festival.

The film ensemble cast, stars Brooke Shields, Daryl Hannah, Wanda Sykes, Virginia Madsen and Camryn Manheim and delivers an inspiring, poignant and at times very funny tale about a group of women brought together for a common cause. As we all know, when this happens women are unstoppable and so goes for the cast of characters in The Hot Flashes. These ladies are all reaching middle age and dealing with flaws, flabs, wrinkles, insecurities and relationship challenges. The Hot Flashes decide to reunite their high school basketball team to help save their town’s breast cancer prevention mobile unit.  

Brooke Shields, on set of The Hot Flashes

Daryl Hannah, on set of the Hot Flashes
As The Hot Flashes work together, they manage to find their own inner Diva. They quickly turn into a true support group for each other and figure out that through teamwork and determination anything is possible at any age. Together they reinvent themselves for the better.

I agree with the film's director that it is refreshing to see aging Hollywood actresses playing parts that are not the typical role of playing someone's mother which was one of the reasons she wanted to do this film. The Hot Flashes will hit theaters this summer and I expect the film will become a sleeper hit in the midst of all the big blockbuster movie noise. 

I hope the The Hot Flashes will make an impact and help motivate more of us as it did for me. I plan to increase my blogging and act on some life goals that I've been ignoring. The lesson here is that every one of us has the ability to do more but by working together we can affect a positive change in ourselves and for others.  

The Hot Flashes PSA for American Cancer Society

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Girl Scouts Earn Highest Awards

Congratulations to The Girl Scout Council of Tropical Florida's Gold & Silver Award Recipients!

These young women are our leaders of tomorrow: the future CEOs of powerful
corporations, judges administering justice, scientists and engineers, university professors, and potentially Presidents of the United States.

For 100 years Girl Scouting has provided girls with the tools they need to thrive as adults. These young women are committed to achieving excellence. Today’s girls learn about environmental leadership, science/technology/engineering/math, healthy living, financial literacy, the arts and as we will learn today, much more.

Congratulations to the 38 Girl Scouts who have received the highest girl-earned achievement –the Gold Award and to the 100 girls who achieved the Silver Award- the second highest honor for girls in Girl Scouting.

It is equally important to commend the dedication of the adult volunteers who are committed to the values of Girl Scouting and the true girl-adult partnership.

Thank you for helping these girls become the future leaders of our nation!

Friday, January 13, 2012

My Travels: Visiting North Carolina’s High Country

During the winter holidays, there’s really nothing better than a little snow, but for most South Floridians the closest views we get are from wintery snow scenes on holiday cards and TV commercials.

Our family has been fortunate to enjoy a few winter breaks with lots of white fluffy snow at the top of Beech Mountain, North Carolina. Beech Mountain is the highest town in Eastern America and an ideal vacation spot in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains. The elevation is at 5,506 feet! It’s a great place year round, but the winters up in these mountains are breathtaking.

For those who enjoy winter sports there are two great ski resorts: Beech Mountain Resort and Sugar Mountain, which feature ski slopes, ice skating, snowboarding, sledding and adventure hiking.
There are tons of lodging options and rentals available for short or long stays; to stock up on supplies and firewood, visit my favorite traditional general store, Fred’s Mercantile.

As per cuisine, there are many options for all price ranges. My pick is Melange Mountain Bistro in Banner Elk at the bottom of Beech Mountain. They blend local game with traditional cuisine. If you go, make sure you try the lamb-stuffed meatball and the quail appetizers. For main entrée, you cannot go wrong with the filet or fresh trout…they melt in your mouth. Reservations are a must!

Finally, to warm up in front of a fireplace and revel in the view of the winter landscape outside is a treat, especially to get away from the warm South Florida winter, but it’s always nice to come back and thaw out.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Happy Holidays!

This time of year always makes me think back on the challenges and accomplishments of the last 12 months. It's been a tough one but the hard edges gave way to new opportunities.

Having run my own company for many years, in July of this year, I was fortunate to join a new company and quickly learned to enjoy the challenges and changes that this new career path has brought into my life.

On the charitable side, my work with Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida continues to fill me with great pride as I have seen so many young girls transition into amazing strong leaders doing great things for our community.

Lastly, my family is happy and healthy. There truly is nothing else a person can ask for. I am blessed.

Happy Holidays!
We wish you much health & happiness for 2012!

Alberto, Foxy & Jeb "the elf"

Monday, October 24, 2011

"Puss in Boots" South Florida Premiere Rocks the Boat!

Kudos to Dreamworks & Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines for hosting the South Florida screening of "Puss in Boots" on the Allure of the Seas docked at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Guests were treated to a sumptuous brunch reception where the stars of the film, Salma Hayek and Antonio Banderas attended. It was great timing to have both Latino stars at the event being that October is Hispanic Heritage month.

Salma Hayek & Antonio Banderas
As per the film itself, I was skeptical of it since most spin off characters movies from hit films usually go straight to DVD, however “Puss in Boots” sets those apart. The film is actually funny and witty with Shrek-styled jokes for the adults to catch. The storyline is entertaining with a few familiar fairy tailed friends from Shrek and some new surprise additions. There are beanstalks, golden eggs and dancing cats, add 3-D to the mix and it’s a must see film for all ages.
It is great to see Hollywood working more Latinos into  mainstream films even if its heavy Spanish accents behind cute animated cats for now.