District 1 Newsletter
March 2014
Nutritional and Physical Activity Standards at Child Care Facilities

Currently, tens of thousands of children attend a child care facility in Broward County. In 2011 over 7 million children under 5 years age in the U.S. attended organized child care such as day care and preschool. The current law is lax when it pertains to physical and nutritional requirements at these facilities. This is especially concerning because studies have shown that obesity and other health ailments in adults directly relate to the nutritional and physical activity habits developed in childhood. For example, under current law, a child care facility may allow a child to watch two hours of television per day for physical activity.

Recently, I brought to the County Commission proposed changes to the County’s child care ordinance which increase the standards relating to nutrition, physical activity and screen time. The County Commission unanimously directed the County Attorney’s Office to draft language for the County Commission’s consideration that would set forth stricter nutritional and physical education standards. For example, some of the proposed increased standards that will be considered include: replacing whole milk with skim or low fat milk for children 2 years and older, reducing television time from 2 hours per day (which could be as high as 14 hours per week) to 90 minutes per week, so that our children engage in much more physical activity. I will provide you an update on this ordinance change once it is fully considered by the County Commission.

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Minimum Wage

Many of our residents work hard every day and earn the minimum wage. Currently, the Federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour and the state minimum wage is $7.93 an hour. The average person working full time on minimum wage in Florida earns approximately $16,000.00 per year, before taxes. That amount makes it very difficult for hard working folks to feed their families and make ends meet. During President Obama’s State of the Union Address, President Obama urged Congress to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. The Broward County Commission passed a Resolution on February 11, 2014 supporting President Obama’s proposal to raise the federal minimum wage and urged the United States Congress to enact legislation increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. The Resolution directs the County Administrator to transmit a copy of the Resolution to all members of Congress representing Broward County constituents. The following is a link to the Resolution.

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Update on I-595 Construction

For a number of years, all of us have experienced the inconvenience of the I-595 construction. I have always said that the inconvenience is short term pain for long term gain. Once the improvements are completed, our drivers will experience significantly less traffic congestion. Fortunately, the project is on target to be completed in the summer of 2014. The project includes the reconstruction of the Florida’s Turnpike Interchange, the addition of auxiliary lanes on the I-595 mainline, operational improvements to frontage roads, the addition of braided ramps and bypass ramps between SR 84 and I-595, and a new reversible express lanes system in the I-595 median.

The three tolled, reversible express lanes are on schedule to be open by spring 2014. All motor vehicles, including trucks, will be allowed to use the Express Lanes. All users will be charged a toll and must have a SunPass transponder and an associated pre-paid account. No cash transactions will be allowed. The amount of the tolls will be based on a system known as congestion pricing and will be displayed on electronic message signs prior to the entry points to the Express Lanes. Tolls will vary and be higher during peak periods, when there are more commuters on the highway, and lower during non-peak hours.

The reversible lanes will typically be open on weekdays to eastbound traffic between 4 a.m. and 1 p.m. and for westbound drivers between 2 p.m. and 2 a.m. The Express Lanes will normally be closed between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. and between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. for routine maintenance. On weekends, the Express Lanes will normally be open in the eastbound direction only. There will be entrances and exits to the Express Lanes in each direction. Eastbound drivers will enter from access points west of 136th (i.e. I-595, I-75, and Sawgrass Expressway) and exit either to Florida’s Turnpike or east of SR 7. Westbound drivers will enter from I-595 west of I-95 or from Florida’s Turnpike and exit after 136th Avenue before the I-75/Sawgrass Expressway interchange.

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Renaming of SW 39th Street to Father O’Reilly Path
Recently, I participated in a ceremony renaming SW 39th Street to Father O’Reilly Path. Father O’Reilly was the founder of Saint David Catholic Church and School and he made a positive difference in the lives of many people living in Broward County, the state of Florida and the United States of America. Father O’Reilly passed away last year and Broward County and the Town of Davie honored his name and legacy by working together to rename the street located near Saint David Catholic Church and School after him. It is exciting to know that folks will think about him and all the good work he did as they see his name when traveling on Father O’Reilly Path.
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Broward County Courthouse

The new Broward County Courthouse in downtown Fort Lauderdale is well on its way to completion and will soon be one of the largest courthouse facilities in the nation when it opens next summer. Estimated completion date is summer 2015 and project managers say that they are well underway to meeting that timeframe. The $315 million Courthouse Complex project has stimulated business locally and nationally, and generated approximately 2,400 jobs, including nearly 350 workers per day on site. In April, the bridge linking all of the buildings in the complex together will start taking shape. The new 1,000-vehicle parking garage will open in May. The project includes 714,000-square-feet of new office space featuring 77 courtrooms with additional space for expansion, an improved flow for visitors and employees and enhanced security screening areas.

 

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Construction of New Broward County Courthouse
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Construction of New Broward County Courthouse.
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