Thursday, June 30, 2016

Shout-out to Lake Worth's Department of Leisure Services and let's get the City over 500 followers

By the way, the City is close to 500 followers (492) on Twitter so spread the word. They've also been doing a great job keeping everyone informed of what is happening including stressing public safety:
Lauren Bennett and Chiquita Brown deserve a lot of credit at the Department of Leisure Services. Some day give them a call at 561-533-7335 and tell them how much you appreciate keeping everyone informed.
Lauren Bennett (right) was recently recognized by Rotary for her efforts on behalf of the City. She is pictured along with Rotary President Nadine Burns (center) and the ubiquitous Mary Lindsey.
The page listing events (link in paragraph above) is updated daily with all the latest activities and happenings all around the City. Whereas the City used to be a "black hole" when it comes to getting information out to the public they've done a lot to change that.

If you would like to schedule an event or get more information send an email to

Blast from the past: July 4th at "Hot Dog" Park in Lake Worth, a tradition lost in time

A classic photoshop by the inimitable Tom McGow. Learn more using this link.
Here is the flyer from 2009 for the "Fishing Contest and Free Barbeque". 
Tom McGow wrote this about the July 4th 'tradition'/political fundraiser back in 2009 that's been forgotten in the annals of Lake Worth history:

     "The announcement encourages donations of time or money to help the event. I question the fact that you are being asked to donate to a Political Action Committee to fund the picnic. I am also concerned that since Mr. McNamara is running for Mayor the picnic is also a campaign event, no matter how he flips the burgers. Shouldn’t there also be a disclaimer to that effect?
     I’ll pass on the 'free' hot dogs this year."

Learn more about the CRA, Director Joan Oliva, and the $23 million NSP2 Grant

The oft-repeated 'Surprise(!)' for Lake Worth's CRA is overdue now. They're a regular target of those who always try undermining their efforts. But. . . do you remember the critics of NSP2? Continue reading to refresh your memory.
Enjoy the video (below) about the CRA's NSP2 grant. You'll recognize more than a few people if you were here in Lake Worth during that time. At one point, if you pay close attention, you'll see a few campaign yard signs of people you might know, including a current city commissioner. About the video:

"This video is one in a series of case study videos intended for NSP grantees and partners interested in learning about how other grantees are successfully implementing NSP. In Lake Worth, FL, the NSP2 consortium has taken a comprehensive approach in their stabilization efforts. Nonprofits and community leaders featured in this video demonstrate the keys to running their NSP program, including homebuyer counseling, home-purchase assistance, and connecting stabilization with broader economic development and revitalization initiatives such as the Cultural Renaissance Program."
Now, about all those people who thought the NSP2 was a bad idea. . . like former city commissioners who didn't make the effort to apply for the grant. But the CRA did. Here is an excerpt from this blog:

"Both the City and the CRA were eligible to apply for the funds. Leading up to the grant application's deadline, it became apparent that the City administration (Susan Stanton was the city manager in September 2009) and the City Commission (which included Cara Jennings, JoAnn Golden, and Susan Mulvehill) had demonstrated no interest in assisting the CRA or applying for the grant money itself. Wanting to make sure Lake Worth didn't miss out on this opportunity to address slum and blight in a big way the CRA went ahead and made the application itself, without any help from the City Commission at the time."

The book "On Lake Worth": A photographic history from the beginning of the City's rich history

Did you know there's a Lake Worth Historical Museum? The hours are Wednesday and Friday from 1:00–4:00 and tours by appointment: Call 561-533-7354. About the book On Lake Worth*:

"With over 200 fascinating photographs, On Lake Worth illustrates the rich history of the city from its beginning. See its growth from a small settlement around Lake Worth, named for Major General William Jenkins Worth, to a bustling community alive with energy. Join author Beverly Mustaine on a fascinating photographic tour that chronicles the community’s past. Discover the city’s story, from the early pioneers and their initial movement to the area to Henry Flagler and his dream of turning Palm Beach into a great winter resort. Included are rare photos, most of which are previously unpublished, which highlight significant events throughout the area’s history. Images of Flagler’s hotels in the early pioneer days, the 1928 hurricane that devastated the area, and scenes of World War II, as seen from the shores of Lake Worth, are revealed in this collection."

This book, authored by Beverly Mustaine, can be purchased on Amazon using this link and is also available for purchase at the Lake Worth Library (15 North 'M' Street; call 561-533-7354).

*All proceeds benefit the Lake Worth Historical Museum.

"The people who vote in Lake Worth. . . don't stick to the issues."

[Already read this blog post? This is a "Pinned Post" meaning it's kept at or near the top of the blog due to high reader interest. Please scroll down for new content and Thank You for visiting.]
Remember, Lake Worth wouldn't be dealing with all those potholes now if the CAUT PAC stuck "to the issues." Learn more about that PAC who scuttled the 2014 bond vote using this link.

So. . . as Lake Worth continues the debate on how to fix the roads and all the potholes, can the voters "stick to the issues"? Or will they be distracted by things like sea level rise, "NO MORE TAXES!", water percolation, made-up 'Sunshine Law violations', and other lies "told at the door" to yet again scuttle progress?

Time will tell. But if history is a guide consider this Sun Sentinel article by Sally Gelston from March, 1986 (note that "Dorsey" mentioned below was a former mayor and the past Treasurer of the CAUT PAC cited above):

     "I'd like to see someone in there against the [Dennis] Dorsey regime," [Bob] Vaught said.
     If [Ron] Exline loses to challenger Roy Strohacker in the runoff, Vaught said, "It will be just like when Dorsey was in. I don`t know when this city is going to wake up."

[and. . .]

     "The people who vote in Lake Worth want constant change. They don't stick to the issues. They like the constant turmoil," said Exline, who considers himself part of the Andrews faction.
     Commissioner George Harrs said he read the vote as a mandate.
     "I really believe people want this city cleaned up faster," Harrs said.

Would you prefer "constant turmoil" or support those who "want this city cleaned up faster"? You'll have your say on March 14th, 2017, election day.

Remember Willie Howard? A short history of Post beat reporters in the little City of Lake Worth

There are many new residents in this City and every now and then will get a query like this: "Who is Willy Howard?"

Willy Howard was the City's beat reporter at The Palm Beach Post for many years. Former Lake Worth blogger-extraordinaire Tom McGow chronicled one of Willie Howard's many news items such as the one below, hard at work covering election results in November 2009:
Laurence McNamara lost big to René Varela in a landslide in November 2009.
The Post is a shell of what it once was. The actual printed newspaper is published by the presses at the South Florida Sun Sentinel. The paper went through a series of "bloodbaths" as Jose Lambiet at GossipExtra called them; there were also a series of buyouts and Mr. Howard was one employee who accepted and left the paper. 

Lona O'Connor was the City's next beat reporter but by then she was already approaching retirement. She penned excellent news items about the City including an article on the then-newly-formed Cottages of Lake Worth

The next beat reporter the Post sent to cover the City was Chris Persaud. He was honored with a coveted news award on election reporting and then he left the paper to go on to other things. Persaud is forever immortalized as one of the great reporters in Palm Beach County's long history. 

The current beat reporter for Lake Worth is Kevin Thompson who is a long-time reporter at the Post. He is also tasked with covering Greenacres, the Lake Worth Corridor, and areas in between in suburban Palm Beach County but the focus, of course, is almost totally on the 6 square mile City of Lake Worth. 

So, that's it for some history of beat reporters here in Lake Worth. If you live in Greenacres or an unincorporated area west of Lake Worth and are seeking news coverage for your community, here is how you contact the reporter:
Twitter: @kevindthompson1

Only because people want to know: What about that editorial in The Palm Beach Post?

[This is a "Pinned Post" meaning it's kept at, or near, the top of the blog for a period of time as determined by Yours Truly. As always, Thank You for visiting, Wes.]

Below are my random thoughts in no particular order on that editorial (also look in the right-hand column for, On Casino fiasco, Post editor chimes in: "Blah blah blah blah blah."
  • "[Vice Mayor Scott] Maxwell urged the city to hurl lawsuits immediately." Hurl? Really? More loaded language from the Post. The word "file" is a 4-letter word too.
  • "The city’s elected officials are all understandably upset." All? Commissioner McVoy too? Why wasn't he upset six years ago?
  • Editing error I: "the commission voted 3-1 to give the responsible companies. . .". Should read "the companies responsible".
  • Dear Editor used the wrong quote from City Attorney Torcivia. Should have been, "I'm being a nice guy here but frankly your comments are irking me."
  • Understatement by Dear Editor deserving of award: "To make ends meet, it appears some corners were cut." Clever turn of phrase to sidestep the building's "Greenwashing".
  • Editing error II: ". . . the builders [construction company] found more damage than expected." There was only 1 "builder".
  • For years the Post has been a crucial cog in the propaganda machine that the Casino building was "renovated". They finally gave up. They know the truth: it was 94% demolished.
  • It's disingenuous, at best Dear Editor, to care so much after turning a blind eye to all the problems for so long. Too little too late. Lake Worth needed your editorial a long time ago.
  • Why wasn't McVoy quoted?
  • But. . . "Maxwell could not be reached for comment." Why not hold off until he could? Nothing else to opine about Dear Editor?
  • Dear Editor mentions "The $6 million plunged" but not Greater Bay settlement of $1.6 million and City's legal fees.
  • "Lake Worth has been generous in giving the parties until October to fix the very real problems with the upper part of the building." What about rainwater that cascades onto the sidewalk?
Check back later on. Maybe I missed something else. Oh, and did you see that video in the right-hand column? Anyone want to talk about potholes now?
From another Post editorial in 2014. . . a rare moment in time when they could clearly see what was needed to improve the "city's basic needs".

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Very short video: Instruction for Lake Worth citizens on "How To Handle The Hostile Reporter"

Remember what to do when answering a reporter's question like, "Are you concerned about algae in the Lake Worth Lagoon next to Bryant Park?". Take a moment and. . .
  • "Rephrase the question"
  • "Give to Get"
Learn the technique: Don't let the 'professional' media "spin", or propagandize, what's happening in or near our little City of Lake Worth. 
  • Rephrase the question: "We're working very hard as a community to educate the public about algae and public health. The County's Emergency Resource Management is helping us too. Have you heard about that?"
  • Give to Get: Give information to Get positive media coverage. "Do you know about the NAPC? They do a lot to keep the public informed. Have you heard about the Little Free Libraries?"
Try this technique next time a reporter approaches you for a comment. Take a deep breath and just think for a moment before you respond. It's that easy.

Videos and information from 2nd Historic Preservation Neighborhood Workshop on Monday, June 27th

Note the "1/3" icon; use that to switch between the three videos:
This meeting included the combined Bryant Park and South Palm Park neighborhood association (NA). A week earlier a workshop took place for Parrot Cove and Mango Groves (use this link for list of NA's). Less people attended this second meeting as is expected; I counted 20+ (about the first meeting use this link). These meetings are being held in response to concerns over administration of the program and how to improve the resident/property owner experience within a historic district.

City staff did a good job explaining why historic preservation is important. However, according to comments from those in attendance many had a difficult time seeing the benefits. They cited delayed review times, for example, window and roof replacements plus a process that overly focuses on minutia. Some found it hard to understand regulations while areas in their own neighborhood have properties not maintained and some are eyesores. People expressed frustration being held to high standards of preservation but needs for storm protection and home security have taken secondary importance.

Recently, an interesting observation was shared with me: The City has put a lot of effort into hurricane preparedness but onerous rules send a confusing message. Should historic preservation be considered part of our City's storm preparedness?

Staff said the PowerPoint presentation will soon be on the City's website along with a questionnaire for feedback. A 6-month time frame was mentioned for review. Two neighborhoods, Downtown Jewel and College Park, are NA's that have yet to schedule a workshop. Stay tuned, as they say, for more information.

Special to the New York Times: "Florida Fears That Lake Okeechobee Is Dying"

"Lake Okeechobee, giant linchpin of the water resource network of south Florida and the Everglades, is dying, and the state government is mobilizing to rescue the lake and prevent what some experts fear could be an environmental disaster."
Dateline: Buckhead Ridge, FL, by reporter Jon Nordheimer, August 21st, 1986 [link to article].

Commentary from the Poynter Institute, "A global leader in journalism"

Below is an excerpt from a commentary by Meredith D. Clark, PhD, titled "It’s time for a new set of news values. Here’s where we should start."

     "As Mizell Stewart, my former editor at the Tallahassee Democrat, now vice president of news operations for the USA Today Network (and new faculty at Poynter, to boot), said during the [American Press Institute’s] summit: Our values as a society have evolved, why shouldn’t our news values?
     Surely, our basic news values endure. There is no substitute for truth, accuracy and the timely delivery of relevant news. But for companies that serve hyperlocal, niche, specialty and digitally based audiences, there are unspoken, and perhaps unquestioned values that should be discussed. Any outlet that seeks to evolve and remain viable should examine its values. [emphasis added]

To keep up to date on fact-checking use this helpful information at the Poynter Institute.

News for Lake Worth's beat reporter from the Post* vis-à-vis the July 4th Parade/Raft Race

Greetings friends and neighbors of the Tropical Ridge Neighborhood Association:

Our July meeting is cancelled. Too many people are out of town and it falls on July 4th. Our next meeting will be on August 1st.

I heard from the NAPC President Jon Faust [Press Release] and Mary Lindsey. The 15th Annual Great American Raft Race has not been cancelled [as of 6/28]. The algae situation is being monitored by Environmental Resource Management. The NAPC will let everyone know immediately if it becomes necessary to change any planned events.

Have a safe and happy July 4th and look forward to seeing you on August 1st.


*Note: The Parade start time is 11:00. The start time given in the Post print edition on Monday, 6/27, is wrong.

Technology news: First there was the driverless car. Now there is the riderless bike.

"A bicycle has the power to transport us to another place"
—Ernest Hemingway

Would you believe me if I told you. . .

If I told you an elected city commissioner in the City of Lake Worth who:
  • Has a PhD in science
  • Is a believer in sea level rise
  • Is a believer in climate change
  • Is a supporter of "Green" technology
  • Is a supporter of "Best Practices"
  • Is a supporter of "sustainability" and "resiliency"
  • Is someone who demands accountability. . .
. . .would support building a large public structure east of the Coastal Construction Line and immediately west of a beach on the Atlantic Ocean WITHOUT PILINGS? You wouldn't believe it would you?
That's right. Lake Worth Commissioner Christopher McVoy supported constructing the 'new' Casino building without pilings. And to make matters worse the seawall protecting the Casino was never properly inspected. 
So much for the 'scientific method'. Also note no one is smiling any more about our failed Casino complex.

Duffy's Sports Grill "Launches Test Kitchen in Lake Worth"

This food news in Lake Worth comes from Nicole Danna* at the Palm Beach/Broward New Times:

     Last week Duffy’s Sports Grill, one of Florida’s biggest sports-themed restaurant chains, announced the launch of a new cutting-edge test kitchen in Lake Worth. Located close to Duffy's corporate headquarters, the state-of-the-art studio will serve many purposes ranging from research and development to hands-on culinary training for chefs and managers.
     The new facility, dubbed Duffy’s Culinary Arts Studio, has been designed to ensure quality remains a focus as the company continues to expand across South Florida, says Jason Emmett, president of Duffy’s Sports Grill.
     "This is an exciting time for us," says Emmett. "This new facility is the next logical step as we continue our expansion throughout Florida."

Duffy's Culinary Arts Studio is located at 1100 Barnett Drive in Lake Worth.

*Nicole Danna is a food writer covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her on Twitter: @SoFloNicole. Find her latest food pics on the BPB New Times Food & Drink Instagram.