Pity the poor Orange Bowl parade. After 62 years the annual nighttime procession up and down Biscayne Boulevard now teeters on the brink of irrelevance. What once was a national spectacle that reached 12 million television viewers has devolved into the nation's largest small-town parade. At the most recent event the mayor and the police chief rode by atop a convertible on loan from a local auto dealer. The state-championship high school football team waved from fire engines. Marching bands from local high schools and middle schools paraded past in not-quite-lockstep. Municipal workers donated time to construct funky floats that would not be out of place in a suburban high school homecoming parade. Yet despite the low-rent atmosphere, the Orange Bowl parade remains the Magic City's most magical night. It is one of the few times in Miami that Anglos, blacks, and Hispanics smile while mingling. During this past parade, a Nicaraguan family grinned when an Anglo neighbor sublet his shoulders to a tiny black girl in need of an elevated viewing perch. In this context the provincial nature of the parade is not a drawback. It is endearing. Miami never feels more accessible and friendly.
Named president and CEO of Union Planters Bank of Florida this past year, Adolfo Henriques oversees a financial institution with more than two billion dollars in assets. But it is his involvement in the community that earns him the most respect. As chairman of the Financial Emergency Oversight Board for the City of Miami, he helped see that troubled municipality through its money woes. As chairman of the Beacon Council he has worked to recruit new businesses and jobs to Miami-Dade County. And as first vice-chairman (now chairman) of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, he promoted this community around the world. The 45-year-old, Havana-born Henriques is one of the leading fundraisers for the United Way, serves on the boards of the New World Symphony and Florida International University, and is a member of the Florida Board of Regents. Friends and colleagues of Henriques (who is married and has three teenage children) marvel at his ability to take on so many responsibilities and handle them all so well.
In the Fusion's inaugural season, this spunky Colombian was high-scorer. He was MVP. He's got wheels, a nose for the goal, and a rocket shot. Perfect striker material, and as the season progressed, and the coaching staff changed, he found both his position and his confidence. By the end he was scoring in every game, and hat tricks weren't uncommon. But that's not the only reason fans adore him. A little shaky every once in a while on his defensive skills (he's just not an enforcer), Serna would rather throw a play than challenge. In short his dives are Olympic-quality. Always elaborately contrived, frequently accompanied by dramatics, and hardly ever yielding the results he wants: Rather than hold up yellow cards, the refs practically flash placards with big tens on them.

For years the Dolphins were an offensive showcase. Of course a weapon such as Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino can be hard for a coach to ignore. Jimmy Johnson, though, never lost sight of his primary pledge to improve the team's defense. Mission accomplished. The Dolphins now possess one of the best defenses in the league. No defender better personifies the team's newly stingy soul than linebacker Zach Thomas. Since joining the Dolphins as an unheralded rookie two seasons ago, he has emerged as all-NFL, all-Madden, and all-important to a team that still hasn't won the Super Bowl Johnson promised three years ago. Management recently rewarded Thomas with a five-year, $22.5 million contract. Some of that money will replace the cash the player lost in January when he was mugged in New York City. Considering Thomas's imposing build, the bandit who blindsided him (he suffered bruises and needed five stitches in his lip) must be an all-pro in the criminal community. Best Moxie by a Mugger?
If it was in the news, José Quiñon was on the case. In fifteen years as one of Miami's top criminal defense attorneys, Quiñon defended a dizzying roster of Miami marauders. From Operation Court Broom to Operation Greenpalm, from Gutman to Gary, from oft-indicted Hialeah potentate Raul Martinez to Cuban American National Foundation president Pepe Hernandez. For a short while Quiñon even represented the defrocked basketball team at Miami High School. Then he had to go to a Grove nightclub and share margarita-flavored kisses with Esther Hernandez, wife of high-profile client Humberto. The illicit relationship cost "Q" at least $242,000 in legal fees paid by the former Miami city commissioner, and an awful lot more in reputation. It could even lead to his disbarment. Along the way it produced this joke: Why did Esther Hernandez cry when her husband was convicted of voter fraud and money laundering? Because her boyfriend lost the case.
Tough couple of years for the 36-year-old Hialeah native. Now that she's awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty in April to federal corruption charges, the great irony is this: She's in a tight spot, facing up to ten years in prison, because some of her pals wanted to help her out of a tight spot. After being elected to the Hialeah City Council in 1993, Rovira earned a reputation as a close ally of Mayor Raul Martinez. Sadly her third marriage ended with a contentious divorce in 1996; she got custody of her two children but lost her banquet-hall business. In July of that year she got a job with the Port of Miami, for $39,799 per year, as an "international trade specialist." But as the investigation of former port director Carmen Lunetta heated up, Rovira's post was revealed to be among the alleged "no-show" jobs Lunetta had doled out as favors to his political allies. In mid-1997, then-County Manager Armando Vidal fired her. Her fourth marriage went into the crapper in early 1998. In her search for new work, she turned to the Miami-Dade County Public Schools, applying for a teaching position (with a résumé that included the port job). She was hired as a replacement social studies teacher for the 1998-99 school year, but federal prosecutors cut short her teaching and political careers in November, arresting her as part of the port scandal. The school district allowed her to resign, and the governor suspended her from the city council. A phrase Rovira might want to incorporate into her lexicon once she gets out of the slammer: "Don't do me any favors!"
Books & Books
Courtesy of Books & Books
Miami may not have much of a reputation as a haven for bibliophiles, but you'd never know that from spending time in the backroom of Books & Books's Coral Gables store. John Grisham may rule the Beaches, but the caliber of talent holding court in this intimate spot is strictly topnotch. Week after week store owner Mitchell Kaplan shepherds authors here and in his Lincoln Road shop from around the nation, where they read from their work, scribble their John Hancocks, and best of all, banter directly with the audience. Ever wonder what makes Robert Stone tick? What makes Salman Rushdie run? Just where does Elmore Leonard get those twisted ideas? Here's your chance to put the question to them, face-to-face. With an admission price that's (almost always) zip, you've got one of Miami's best bets for highbrow, low-budget entertainment.
All he did was rush for more than 1000 yards in two straight seasons. All he did was gain a mind-boggling 299 yards and score three touchdowns against top-ranked UCLA. All he did, basically, was put the Hurricanes back on the map. The importance of the victory over the Bruins, a game in which James was the winning difference, cannot be overstated. When the final gun sounded, wide-eyed high school blue chips across South Florida decided then and there they were going to be wearing Canes colors next season. UM's subsequent recruiting class is considered the best in head coach Butch Davis's tenure. James didn't just help his team win a big game. As much as anyone, and more than most, he turned around an entire program. Enjoy the pros, son. Miami will be thanking you for years.
There is little doubt that losing in 1994 made Jeb Bush a better candidate for governor in 1998. It also may have made him a better person. Bush worked hard this past year to broaden his appeal to the people of Florida, reaching out to black voters and listening to their concerns. He also tempered his rhetoric, talking less about hot-button social issues such as abortion and school prayer, and concentrated instead on education and criminal justice. Needless to say, the voters responded. Bush's victory over Lt. Gov. Buddy MacKay was resounding, and the early days of his administration have shown promise. Bush always said he left Texas and came to Miami in the Eighties to make a name for himself and to create his own opportunities. He's done that. Now it's time to see what he'll do with them.
Ho hum. The best jai alai player in Miami? Michelena. Still. As always. Forever. Since he debuted as a rookie in 1983, the Basque native has dominated his curious sport like no other athlete in the city. Marino? Mourning? No, Michelena. At age 37 he's not quite a world champion anymore, but he does have a world cup title on his résumé, along with nine Miami Jai Alai triple-crown titles. After all this time, he remains the man on which the smart money is bet.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®