Thursday, October 8, 2015

From NBC5/WPTV: Family Literacy Night at Barton Elementary in Lake Worth TONIGHT (6:00 to 8:00)

Barton Elementary is located at 1700 Barton Rd. Here is a link to the news segment at WPTV about this free family event:

     The free event includes dinner, literacy activities, prizes, a fire safety demonstration and more.
      Activities include:
  • A book swap dinner where you can trade in books that you've read for different books.
  • An exercise to help parents and students talk about reading in a meaningful way.
  • An activity that aims to show parents and students how reading skills can help students understand math.
  • An exercise that shows how following recipes can increase reading and communication skills.
Have fun everyone and send me pictures.

Lake Worth Commissioner Ryan Maier doesn't know where the Ag Reserve is in Palm Beach County

[This post below was published yesterday (10/7). Check back later today for some very interesting developments. Suffice to say that Commissioner Maier has some explaining to do. Enjoy Maier's summation of his presence at the TCPRP.]

And note that Maier is the City's liaison to the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council (TCRPC). I was unable to attend the City commission meeting last night (10/6) but did watch much of the meeting online. I videotaped the segment off the City's website this morning (the video quality is poor taping off a TV screen but the audio is quite clear):
Maier thinks the Ag Reserve "surrounds Lake Okeechobee". The Ag Reserve is nowhere near the lake. You would think with former Commissioner Suzanne Mulvehill being in the news lately about her effort to develop more Ag Reserve land and widen roads in the area would have gotten Maier's attention; apparently that's not the case.

This isn't Maier's first embarrassment vis-à-vis the TCRPC. Who can forget his report to the City commission on 5/19 about how easy it is to fix the volume of train horns on the FEC. It's a "quick fix" Maier said, and all that needs to be done is take out some "little bells". Because of that misinformation the public had to be educated that this was not an easy fix and would take much time and effort to correct the issue. How many people in Lake Worth still think lowering the volume of train horns is a "quick fix"?

This latest misstatement of fact was such an egregious one that his cohort, Commissioner McVoy, asked permission of Mayor Pam Triolo to correct the record. He starts explaining where the Ag Reserve actually is located starting at about the 30 second mark in the video below:
I received some interesting anecdotes about Maier's misstatement from people in attendance and they ranged from disbelief to hilarity. On a serious note though, the next time we have to sit through another lecture about turtles from Maier do we now need to fact-check everything for accuracy?

He's already gotten his facts wrong about Gopher Tortoises in Lake Worth's Park of Commerce (POC). He wanted the City to find out how many turtles (if there are indeed any) on City property in the POC. Just one problem: almost all of the land in the POC, other than right-of-ways and maybe a miscellaneous lot or two, are private property. Thank you to Commissioner Amoroso for correcting the record on that issue.

One last thing: Maier said the Ag Reserve was a major issue at the TCRPC meeting on 9/18. It was a very long agenda but see no mention of the Ag Reserve; maybe he can clear that up. His next liaison report to the City will be from the TCRPC's October 16th meeting—expect that at the City Commission meeting on October 20th. I'll try to be there with my camera.

Can hotel(s) be built in downtown Lake Worth to 65 feet in height? Yes (and the city attorney explains "null & void")

At the end of this post Glen Torcivia, Lake Worth's City Attorney explains the concept "null and void" which some people in City still have trouble understanding. To the question, "Can a hotel be built to 65' in our City's downtown? The answer is Yes and the proof follows. Below is a portion of the City of Lake Worth zoning map which show the various zoning districts:
As indicated by the zoning map legend (below), the Downtown Mixed Use (DT) zoning district is shown in bright pink.
Click here for the section from the Lake Worth Code of Ordinances related to the Downtown (DT) zoning district.

Here is the table as it appears which identifies the area east of Federal Hwy. within this zoning district that can accommodate an additional 35 feet beyond the 30' of height which is "permitted by right."
You will notice that the box corresponding to Height - Primary allows for an additional 35 feet if it is a hotel or a mixed use building containing a minimum of 50 rooms. A conditional use request must be applied for which is a more rigorous standard that includes certain findings and additional public hearings. It requires that the project meet certain conditional use standards. Here is more information from the land development on the designation of a hotel district overlay.
Here is what the Comprehensive Plan has about this area which allows a height of up to 65' east of Federal Hwy. in the Downtown Mixed Use future land use designation, which is the foundation of the corresponding zoning district of Downtown (DT).
Here is another chart in the Comprehensive Plan that talks about this portion of the Downtown Mixed Use future land use designation:
The first column identifies the future land use designation and the second column from the right has the corresponding enabling zoning district. The second column from the left shows the additional 35 feet that would be allowed if certain conditions are met.

So, yes, there is an area designated in our land development regulations and Comprehensive Plan that allows additional height up to 65 feet. This was unaffected by the 'heights vote' as that vote result was declared "null and void" by the state legislature.
I hope this helps.

Big votes tonight in Palm Beach Gardens on the Briger Tract

Sarah Peters at the Post has this news on big votes tonight on the future of the Briger Tract. Here is an excerpt:
     Two big projects are up for approval in Palm Beach Gardens Thursday — United Technologies’ highly anticipated showcase and a 300-plus apartment development, both on the Briger tract. [emphasis added]
     The United Technologies’ Center for Intelligent Buildings is likely to get the final nod from City Council at the 7 p.m. meeting at City Hall, 10500 N. Military Trail. Construction on the 265,000-square-foot, six-story showcase with a four-story parking garage could start later this year and be completed in 2016.
     State officials have said the center showcasing United Technologies’ brands will bring 380 jobs and a $115 million capital investment to the area. Palm Beach Gardens, Palm Beach County and the state offered millions of dollars in economic incentives to get the company to commit to South Florida.
Tomorrow will let you know how the vote went and take a trip down memory lane vis-à-vis our good friends in the Anarchist community here in Lake Worth. Who can forget the "battery in the lake"? For many years now they've tried to stop anything from being built in Palm Beach Gardens' Briger tract and the sluggish economy and Great Recession were a big help for them. It's a much different story now.
Here's a different vision for that large "in-fill site" in Palm Beach Gardens:

[PINNED POST] From Andrew Ruiz at NBC5/WPTV: The Lake Worth Casino/Pool continues to fail expectations

[In case you missed this. . .the news segment from earlier in the week.] Anyone still surprised? All this is courtesy of a previous city commission that's left us with this albatross.
They were so happy when the Lake Worth Casino first opened—no one is smiling any more.

Good news for our municipal neighbor to the north!

More signs or resurgence in the commercial real estate economy with the announced sale of the Carefree Theater. This is on South Dixie Hwy. in West Palm Beach, between Belvedere Road and the Norton Art Gallery, on the east side of the road. The new owner has plans to return the property as a mixed use entertainment center, including a movie theater. Long time residents will remember it as a unique theater experience that also housed a bowling alley and a few restaurants during its time. It has been closed since the hurricanes of 2004. Here's a brief description of the property's history I was able to locate.
The Carefree Theatre was an addition to the Carefree Center.
It all started in 1936. The building front on Dixie housed a soda fountain/cafe with billiards. Across the hall was a 10-lane bowling alley (later to become the Comedy Corner). The alley opened with “pin boys” who manually set the pins and rolled balls back to players. Automatic pin setters were later installed, at a cost of $50,000 a piece! In the early 60’s, part of the billiards room had pink carpet, attracting many women to the sport. When air conditioning was later added to the billiard room and bowling alley, people actually complained.
     The theatre began construction in 1946 and opened in 1947 with “The Egg and I” (Fred MacMurray and Claudette Colbert). It originally had 800 seats but the two front rows were later remove to add a thrust stage in front of the curved screen, reducing the seat count to 772. The screen measured 16 x 42 with a focal distance of 150 feet. A glass-front “crying room” (for parents with babies) was upstairs next to the booth. Alone the north wall, retail space was along the street (a barber business existed for years) and a suite of offices and dressing rooms located upstairs. The theatre was cooled by a 1946 60-ton York reed-valve compressor. Although very inefficient by today’s standards, it was capable of keeping a full auditorium at 72 degrees on a steamy summer afternoon.
     The Carefree usually beat out the competition in Palm Beach with premiere showings of films. The theatre was so successful at the beginning that film companies would not believe the ticket grosses. In the late 40’s/early 50’s, it was claimed that 1 in 10 people in Palm Beach County visited the Carefree Center every seven days. In 1950, outdoor roller skating was tried on the roof of the theatre but only lasted one season.
     When Fantasma took over the center, many conversions took place. The Comedy Corner was established in the area of the old bowling alley (carpet was placed over the alleys) along with a retail art gallery. At the time, it was the largest single screen theatre in the state of Florida. And in case you’re wondering, “Larry the Cable Guy” (Dan Whitney) got his start at the Comedy Corner as the warmup act/door person. Along the front of the building, a bistro and sports bar were added. The theatre got some updating with projection equipment (Century head with zenon lamphouse – converted to platter system at this time) and Dolby sound. The screen was later replaced with a silvered screen for 3-D. It was the only house in Florida with the aperture plates and lenses for the four major aspect ratios of motion picture film (1.33, 1.66. 1.85, 2.35). Fantasma began offering sub-run movies, live concerts on stage, and becoming the home of Rocky Horror Picture for South Florida (every Saturday night at midnight – third longest running program in the US). Films were later changed to first-run foreign and art in 1990, becoming the most successful art house in America. Concerts were primarily jazz and reggae but included live comedy (Sam Kinison) and jazz-pop (Basia). Harry Connick, Jr. and Melissa Etheridge performed on the Carefree stage just prior to “making it big”. BB King would always play two performances once a year to sold out crowds. Due to the size of the Carefree, it was the perfect place for an intimate concert. Several world premieres were held at the theatre, most notably the infamous film “Scooter in Palm Beach” (don’t go looking for it – it was so bad it was either retitled or completely removed from the history books). The theatre also played host to the Palm Beach Film Festival and the South Florida Jewish Film Festival every year.
     Unfortunately, damage caused by the hurricanes of 2004 forced the closure of what was the jewel of the entertainment business in Palm Beach County.

'Journalist' Margaret Menge, 'pastor' Olive's Common Ground (no 's') church, and that "larger truth" about faith in Lake Worth

On Friday, January 30th (Vol. 1/Issue 3) in Margaret Menge's now-defunct (always-FREE, delivered-FREE, advertising-challenged) tabloid, she wrote the words below in her "House Editorial". In her editorial she gave clues to the nonsense that was to come about her "larger truth" vis-à-vis pastor Olive and the curiously named 'Common Ground' church:
     Media bias is often more to do with what newspapers decline to cover than what they do cover. There is almost no coverage whatsoever of churches or of faith in most American newspapers, except in articles about the African-American community. Churches don't get written about. Looking back at old newspapers one time, I saw newspapers reprinting whole Sunday sermons from a local church as a regular thing.
     I'm not planning to do that in these pages. But I do want to write about our churches, and the faith of the people who attend them. And I want to write about many other things, as well, to tell the larger truth of our community, and to make a more complete record of what is happening here.
There are so many churches in our 6 square mile City of Lake Worth that do so much for the community; way too many to name here. And most of us in Lake Worth, including myself, are very appreciative.

On Friday, February 20th (Vol. 1, Issue 6) Ms. Menge made good on her promise to tell her "larger truth". Unfortunately a local TV news station and some that were duped in the national press picked up on the nonsense before the real story could be told. It was a black eye the City didn't deserve:
CBS12/WPEC's Kathleen Walter with her news segment on February 26th about 'pastor' Olive and his Common Ground (no 's') nonsense. Interesting to note, and completely off topic, the segment aired 12 days prior to election day.
A "soviet-style crackdown"? So much for searching for the "common ground" (no 's').
Now you know the real story.

As far as churches and religion not mentioned in newspapers? Each week's Lake Worth Herald dispels that ridiculous notion. There is almost no news coverage about faith by the media? Did Ms. Menge ever hear of Pope Francis? And as far as sermons not printed in entirety in newspapers any longer. . .a thing called the internet made the effort unnecessary. And so did email. And Facebook. And YouTube. And Twitter. . .

Be very cautious when adopting a cat: was animal tested for feline leukemia?

Anyone who reads this blog knows I am not a fan of feral cats in south Florida. Cats have to be kept inside at all times and hope that is the intention of anyone who adopts a pet cat. Why? Feral cats are destroying the Florida habitat. In this last Saturday's Palm Beach Post was shocked to read this Letter to the Editor by Betty Taylor on another threat that feral cats pose, feline leukemia:
     I want to start this off by saying I am all for saving animals (“More than 200 animals find new homes at adoption event”; Sunday). I was one of, I am sure, several who went to the recent event to adopt/rescue a furry friend. I was looking for a kitty and walked around to several of the shelters, and there she was: the cutest little face. She stole my heart.
     I held her for a few minutes and just knew she was going to be a perfect fit to my kitty family. I then found out they do not do the critical testing for cats of HIV and feline leukemia. [emphasis added] I was smitten by this time, and said I would go ahead with the adoption and take her straight to my vet’s office and pay for the testing.
     I did speak with an agency veterinarian at the event, who told me they do not test. I do not understand: If the adoption agency does not test, and takes the animals out in such a public way, how are they not risking all the other animals?
     I went to my vet’s office, and my kitty tested positive for feline leukemia. So, not being able to risk my cats at home, I had to take her back to the event and leave heartbroken.
     I think events like this are great, but before any cat or dog is brought out in such a public way, they should be healthy.
Below is a video about feline leukemia; about the video:
Feline Leukemia is a deadly disease and once the cat is showing symptoms, they will die a slow death. The lucky ones are rescued and euthanized to stop their suffering. There are too many suffering cats. It needs to be stopped!!!
 If you've never written a Letter to the Editor at the Post it is very easy; here are the instructions:
Send a letter to the editor: (Letters are subject to editing and must include the writer’s name, address, e-mail address and daytime phone number. Preferred length is a maximum of 200 words.)

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Another reason to visit funky, quirky Lake Worth, Florida: Go to church and get SAVED! in a bar

Get up early on Sunday morning and visit the world's only 'Recovery' (Southern Baptist) church service IN A BAR! How cool is that? Grab a free breakfast and coffee, sober up, get SAVED, and then party like there's no tomorrow at the Bamboo Room all in the same building in Lake Worth!
Remember church attendees: stay behind the curtain and tip your server well!
Hope to see you next Sunday to praise the Lord at the bar. Service starts at 10:00 A.M. and the address is 25 South 'J' Street in downtown Lake Worth. There isn't a town in south Florida that can throw a party like Lake Worth can. The next big party begins this coming Saturday: make plans for the big "ArtOberfest" party this weekend—the 'Jacks' are in town*:
Click on the "Follow" icon in the Tweet above to get the latest from the Bamboo Room: featured music talent, drink specials, and so much more.
*Please drink responsibly.
It's ArtOberfest in downtown Lake Worth; Saturday & Sunday in our spectacular downtown. See the City's renaissance for yourself.

It's Official—The Season Is Here! Welcome back Snowbirds

Welcome back, Snowbirds, we missed you. Please know most of us here in Palm Beach County appreciate what you bring to our communities. September was a brutal month for many businesses here in PBC and they're all excited to have you back.
Lizzi Bickford Sned makes it official: "Season has begun!"
There are some malcontents and they do make noise about an inconvenience now and then because of Snowbirds (like parking at the BEACH!); just view them as entertainment and don't take them seriously. We hope you have a wonderful time and encourage all your friends and family to visit.

Jorge Pesquera of Discover the Palm Beaches in this short video explains why flying south to Palm Beach County in October is a good idea:

Make sure to visit the little City of Lake Worth. There are so many things to see and do here. And we have a BEACH!. Every now and then I'll feature some things for you to do and hope to see you around town. Here are a few:

NBC5/WPTV's news segment by Andrew Ruiz on the Gulfstream Hotel in little City of Lake Worth, FL

As is stated in the video, this is a "shot in the arm" for our City. Steven Michael of Hudson Holdings is interviewed and he does an excellent summation of what is proposed. Share this with your friends and neighbors so they are informed of what is happening.

News about the Sun Sentinel and it's not good: employee cutbacks on the horizon

Some of you will remember what happened at The Palm Beach Post when they cut their staff. The paper has never been the same; it's especially evident on the editorial page. Chris Joseph at the Broward New Times has this news about buyouts being offered at the Sun Sentinel; here is an excerpt:
     According to an anonymous source who works at the Sun-Sentinel, the entire staff received an email Monday announcing an "Employee Voluntary Separation Program," [emphasis added] which says the buyout program is "voluntary." Those who take the buyout, the email says, would receive a severance package that includes certain medical benefits continuation, outplacement services, as well as equity vesting, and retiree medical.
     The cuts have been something looming over the company since former Baltimore Sun publisher Timothy Ryan replaced the fired Austin Beutner as publisher of Tribune Publishing on September 8. But, according to the anonymous source, the feeling of foreboding within the Sun-Sentinel has been building up even before then.
It's not a good time to be in the newspaper business. Anyone remember the Post's former reporter Willie Howard? You'll be happy to know he writes for The Coastal Star now.

The bar/restaurant business makes technological leap forward: the "Bar Menu Generator"

Thinking of opening a bar and serving food as well? With so much to do the task of creating a menu just got a whole lot easier: the BROOKLYN BAR MENU GENERATOR (BBMG). This idea started in Brooklyn but you can see how the idea can be used anywhere. Look at this menu:
The Blistered Acorn & Sardine Pie sounds delish; and for only $10.
Here is how the good folks at BBMG describe their service:
Have you recently purchased a bar in Brooklyn, but are completely bereft of original ideas? Firstly, congratulations on joining the thriving Brooklyn bar scene! Secondly, relax! You can use this handy tool to generate a name and menu for your fine establishment – absolutely no imagination necessary!
Isn't the Internet amazing!

The Florida Corgi Picnic happening soon—Save the Date: November 14th

Here is the website to find out more and register if you wish. This picnic is to benefit CorgiAid. Palm Bay is located on Florida's east coast south of Cape Canaveral and north of Vero Beach. Here is the address: 220 Chandler Road NW, Palm Bay, FL 32907. 

Isn't this Corgi adorable:

If your interest is Complete Streets and walkability this may interest you

The Fort Myers CRA is hosting a "Mayor's Symposium on Walkable Urban Communities". Here is the event information. It's an all-day symposium on Thursday, October 18th.
Some of you 'walkability' folks here in south Florida will recognize two of the speakers: Joe Minicozzi and Jeff Speck. Fort Myers is a 2½ hour drive from Palm Beach County; a good opportunity to car-pool for those interested in attending.