Stories behind my Times stories

This kitty was the only visitor to the “park.”

This month’s Park Patrol column was a first: the first time that I have given a “zero” rating to a park. Read the review here. After seven years of visiting and ranking Miami’s parks, I found the bottom of the barrel in Gratigny Plateau Park.

Could there be worse parks in Miami-Dade County? This one had nothing to indicate it was anything other than an empty lot–and an ugly one at that.

I learned about this park from an email from the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade, which is trying to raise money along with Channel 10 News to rehabilitate the park. The estimated cost is $500,000. Meanwhile, how many millions is the county spending on the new museum park near downtown? While this hidden neighborhood park has a low profile, its children still need a place to play.

In my other Biscayne Times monthly column, called Going Green, the graphic editor did a poor job of selecting an underwater photo of a reef in the Pacific to illustrate my story about Our Florida Reefs (please join this worthy cause at The article is here.

A community meeting held in June to promote "Our Florida Reefs."
A community meeting held in June to promote “Our Florida Reefs.”

This story would have been published earlier, but it was requested after my deadline, which comes mid-month, or about 15 days before the monthly newspaper gets published. As a small operation based mainly on freelance writers, it cannot afford to have assignments appear at the last minute.

I’m always open to new ideas about what to cover in the next issue. For parks, I need to expand beyond the paper’s region of the “Biscayne Corridor,” because I’ve reviewed every major (and most minor) parks in the area–about 70 in total. I’m planning to tour the larger parks in the region, and next month’s stop is planned for Biscayne National Park.

For Going Green, I was thinking about addressing the shift of greenhouse gases to beyond the level of 400 part per million. This landmark needs some explanation as to why 400 is so much worse than 350. Numbers make no sense if they have no context. Any ideas on how to explain it?

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